AN: I – (a group of angry readers coming running round the bend with torches) am so sorry this chapter took so impossibly long. I know, I say it every time, but this time it really was due to a writer's block. It was actually completed a week after the posting of the last chapter, but since I was stuck and my wonderful beta was busy, this chapter took longer than usual to be released. Once again, sorry. But I'll make it up to everyone by adding more fluff in the next chapter.

Pirate Pash

Chapter 16 – A Changed Woman

A light breeze sweeping over the young woman awoke her, and she barely managed a light yawn. She could feel the turbulence in the way she was moving, but from the way she was rousing, she figured she wasn't exactly walking herself. She was being carried by somebody.

Finally she opened her eyes and took in the first thing she saw - a man's rear end. 'What the…?' Too exhausted to do more than just groan silently, her body went limp and she closed her eyes again.

Her body was persuading her to bar her eyes closed. No matter how hard her body tried to push the idle part of her away, Kagome could feel the lack of air in her throat, and her jelly-like muscles bouncing about on the back of an unfamiliar person.

"You're lucky you got the light one." She overheard one man commenting dryly, "My back's gonna cave in."

"Just dump him."

"I'd love to, but I can't. Strict orders from the boss. 'Bring them back without a scratch'." He paused and glared. "Especially the wench."

The man chuckled. "Strange. If I were him this guy would be at the bottom of the ocean, not getting this first-class treatment."

"No kidding, huh? Shh - somebody's coming. Hand me the knife." The other man warned with a hiss and dropped his load onto the floor.

Still dangling on the stranger's shoulders, Kagome stayed still as another individual entered, "Who -?" before he could finish his question he gasped and crumpled to the ground. The man who had almost certainly attacked him picked up his weight again and motioned to the man. "We have to hurry, the rowboat's on the left side."

"Kouga'd better love us after this." Was the last thing she heard before her hearing too was cut off as she fell back into unconsciouness.

Hakkaku leaped off the edge of Inuyasha's ship and landed in the tiny rowboat bobbing discreetly under the plank. He turned back up to his partner who glanced both ways before flinging down the first prisoner.

The mighty captain flew through the air like a package, and had the young man not caught him swiftly, he would have sunk into the ocean. Hakkaku laid him down near his feet and reached his arms out again for the second.

Ginta lightly, and with a bit more care, tossed the unconscious Kagome overboard and into the arms of Hakkaku. He lost his balance for a moment, but managed to steady himself. "Now you, Ginta! I hear someone coming!"

"Alright! Alright!" The other pirate brought himself over the edge and landed with a harsh 'crash!', sending his face smack against the wood. "Oww!"

"For someone who can stun somebody with a single touch you sure are weak." The light-haired man added with a smirk, sitting down and rowing the boat swiftly. Once they were a relatively safe distance from the main vessel, Hakkaku chuckled. "Hey! Look at them."

The woman's body was sprawled above the captain's, her face pressed tightly into the crook of his neck. Her mouth was partly slightly, giving off the impression that they were quite the intimate couple. Had they been conscious, they probably would have shot off each other with their faces bright red.

"Cute. If he was awake I think he'd chop off our balls."

"Hm." Ginta's partner looked over his shoulder at the pirate ship that was fading away in the distance. Within moments nothing surrounded them but pure sky and water. "Y'know, this Inuyasha chap won't be too pleased after he finds out you fooled him like that. Although, I am surprised you managed to get away with it. Your luck is beyond belief."

Ginta pointed at the body of the captain. "Him? Holy shit, I was so sure I was a goner! That other woman on board was even testing me some names of the crew."

"Other woman?" He raised an eyebrow suspiciously and rested one foot on Inuyasha's chest. "Does this pansy have a ship of all women or something?" Hakkaku snickered. "And how did you know their names?"

"Kouga gave me some names to memorize before I snuck on board. She only asked for Miss Kagome's, though. Had it been a name I didn't know, Inuyasha would have chucked me."

"Thank god I wasn't chosen." Hakkaku breathed a sigh of relief. He reached his arms over his head to stretch his sore muscles. "Although getting down to that room was difficult. No one recognized me and I kept getting all these question from the crew. Good thing nobody on that boat is too wary of spies."

"Yea..." Ginta was eyeing the woman intensely, whose face had somehow rolled around to face him. She was smiling slightly and nestling comfortably against Inuyasha's chest.

"Hey, Ginta. Why are you staring at the lady like that?"

"Noth – Nothing." His fingers fiddled nervously and he gave his friend a tense glare. "Swear on your life as a pirate that you won't tell Kouga this, but I hated putting her out. I mean - I've never regretted doing it to anyone but I just feel this ball of guilt in the pit of my stomach."

The other man snorted with disbelief. "It's because she's a woman. You'll get over it soon enough."

"She's smiling at me…" Ginta smiled back despite the fact that she most likely wasn't directing it at him. "What a nice girl… she was such enjoyable company when we were downstairs, and -"

"Stop it before you open your mouth again. Don't you even dare tread those grounds, Ginta!" Hakkaku warned seriously, his muscles bulging from the rowing. "You should know better than anyone else what you were sent to do. And that was to fetch Kouga's woman."

"Of course I know that, idiot!"

"Then stop smiling at her."

Ginta ignored him, but instead of watching the girl his gaze turned toward the new boat that was now pulling into view. The familiar pirate ship was a little smaller than Inuyasha's, but he personally preferred it. The ship felt like home and in his opinion, he thought it was stronger. "We're home."

They watched silently as their buddies ran onto the deck to wave and call them in, clapping and hooting at their success. They could clearly see Kouga from the window, his face beaming.

"WE'RE BACK!" Ginta screamed, waving his hands madly in the air. "AND WE'VE GOT COMPANY!"

The cheering roared even louder and everyone could spot the two new figures aboard the boat. Kouga had come out of his room to watch the arrival of his worst enemy and his woman. 'So they succeeded…'

"Ginta! Hakkaku!"

They docked their boat at the base and quickly scurried up the steady rope ladder. They were carrying the bodies over their shoulders and deposited them when they reached the top. The Wolf Gang crew stared at the two figures laying on the ship with devilish smiles upon their faces.

"So what should we do with him?"

"Let's kick him until he coughs up blood."

"No, wait! Let's torture him slowly and then - "

Their captain broke the silence with a simple wave. "Enough! Ginta and Hakkaku will be rewarded for their services, and none of you are to touch the prisoners -."

"But Kouga, we should kill him before he wakes up." All eyes turned to stare at the person who had interrupted the captain. "I mean, Ginta's stun attack only works once on a person, so when this captain wakes up in a few hours he'll go absolutely ballistic and murder us all!"

"Don't flatter him." Kouga sneered and nudged Inuyasha slightly in the ribs with his boot, receiving a soft grumble in response. "Everyone back to work. First I have to get some work done, and I'll deal with them when I'm finished." He turned his back. "You guys know what to do."

He shook his arms to rub his eyes but felt somewhat constricted. Inuyasha snapped open his eyes and realized right away that he wasn't in the right place. 'Please don't tell me we're on that damn island again…'

Inuyasha shook his head and once again tried to move his arms, but found he couldn't. His head was spinning and a certain sore spot in his body was cramping tremendously.

What the hell had happened?

Looking up, he swore at the sight of the silver chains holding his wrists above his head and to the wall. His feet were bolted by metal chains leading to balls of metal, and his arms felt like they were losing every ounce of blood.

"Where is this?" He snarled angrily, not able to fully react because he was only half-awake and still faint. He was in a prison cell. And it wasn't the one that Kagome was locked in.

'Wait… I locked Kagome in a cell, but then something happened. Shit! Where is she?' He glanced around quickly and his heart almost stopped when he noticed she was resting next to him, in the same position as he was, but devoid of the leg chains. Her face was lowered and she appeared to be asleep.

"Kagome! Kagome!" He shouted, wanting desperately to slap some sense into the woman but not able to because of his restricted movement. "Wake up!"

"Souta, I told you…" She seemed to have been roused from her sleep, but he sighed when she began to snore lightly.


"Wha -? Where?" She shook her head and snapped open her eyes, turning around to face him before squeaking. "Inuyasha? Why are you in here with me?" Obviously she still thought they were on their ship. The young woman looked down at herself before turning bright red. "What is wrong with you lately, Inuyasha? Why did you tie us up?"

"Are you hurt?" He asked quickly.

She ignored his question as she absorbed the surroundings. This was a smaller metal cell, not like the roomy wooden one she had been locked in earlier. "Why are we on this ship? Whose ship is this?" Kagome growled furiously, to his surprise, and tugged at her bindings again. "Damn! I've had enough of this."

He began to tug at his chains as well, pulling with every last ounce of his strength at the powerful cords. Inuyasha wheezed and gasped after a minute of intense struggling, but nothing budged the bondage. 'I can't believe I let Kagome and I get into this….'

However, when he turned his head he tried very hard not to become too fascinated by her display, although he failed quite miserably. He watched Kagome squirm about with another scenario in his mind in which she would be shaking and gasping as she tugged at the restraints. 'Why am I thinking of that in this kind of situation?'

"It's no use, Inuyasha…" She whined – effectively ending his perverted train of thought. "Who could have done this to us? Was it anyone we know?"

"Keh! How am I supposed to know? I can barely even remember entering your room, all I remember is that everything turned black. It felt like somebody threw a sack over my head." He strained to remember, but his mind felt drained – his brain was still desperately trying to piece everything together.

"…Ginta." Kagome whispered into the cold air. "He was the only one – but… but he couldn't have! He wasn't that sort of - "

"Ginta?" He blinked a few times before the traitor's face appeared in his mind. "I remember that slimy bastard now…"

"But he couldn't have!" She could not believe this. But no one else could have had such easy access to her cell. And there was a faint image in her head of Inuyasha being wiped out that set everything in place. She glared at him. "I still can't believe he managed to get you out cold so fast."

"Don't talk about it." He snapped, his pride deflated. "No way on earth that shrimp managed to get me down on the floor."

She watched him with a confused expression. "See… that's exactly your problem, you arrogant ass!" She took a deep breath, in obvious preparation for a tirade, "You underestimate people all the time and look where we are now! What kind of a captain are you? Not even knowing traitors were aboard…" She glared, eyes full of accusation.

She hadn't really meant for her words to come out so bitter and harsh, but she was downright irritated. There she was, bouncing back and forth from one cell to another like some common prisoner, and even worse was the fact that HE had been one to do it to her the first time, starting this whole delightful chain of events.

The captain gaped at her. For a second he saw a glimpse of his past girlfriend in her, and it made his blood boil. Kikyou was nothing but a cold-hearted, cruel, and hurtful bitch… nothing at all like Kagome. "Oi! What's up with you?"

"My arms are numb and I feel like the cell is closing in on me. And my arms feel like they're going to fall off…" Her voice lowered and she closed her eyes, her mouth trembling lightly as her anger faded into exhaustion and hopelessness.

He sighed and tried to use his most compassionate voice to convince the sniffling girl. "Kagome, don't do that now. I need to get us away from here."

"Well, now you know how it feels to be locked up like a rat." Her voice quickly picked up and she looked enraged again with renewed energy. She snapped with venom in her voice. "Serves you right."

"What the hell is up with you, woman? Don't you dare turn into a bitch all of a sudden!"

"Or what, Inuyasha?" She retorted angrily, the images of him bolting her in that cell returning to her by the second. "What will you do to me, huh? Come on! I'd like to see what a great captain like you could do."

"Take a deep breath, wench. You're losing your mind."

"Don't try to act like the adult here, Inuyasha! I know you're not even thinking about how to save us, but how you were 'weak' enough to lose to Ginta! Listen, no need to be sore about losing." Her voice laced with sarcasm.

That was it.

"Shit, Kagome! You bitch! Just shut your mouth and stop squealing. I can't take much more of it!" He sighed and attempted to struggle against at the bonds again. "And I'm not sore about losing to that wimp. You're just too much of a crybaby to deal with anything yourself so you blame me, is that right?" He couldn't stop his mouth now. "Who was the one screwing around with him downstairs anyway?"

Her mouth dropped open and nothing came out.

He turned away from her coldly and started tugging again at his ties. "I can't - believe this – crappy - " He was pretty much waiting for her to start crying again, but she didn't.

She bit her lips and turned to face the other way. "We're probably going to be murdered and… and tortured! They'll hold knives at our throats until we tell them everything…" The reality of their situation had finally hit her. "Inu – Inuyasha… I'm worried…"

"All I want to know is how we managed to get spies aboard. How did they get onto our ship without us noticing? Damn! I can't believe I fell for that bastard's trick!" He swore.

"Glad to know you acknowledge your failure."

"You…" Inuyasha glanced up from his position on the wall as a new voice entered their conversation, and he practically tore out the bindings on the wall. Anyone… anyone but this jerk. He would much rather be caught by that hair-fetish Yura than him…


The arrogant pirate watched his two fuming captures with a huge beam on his face. "Tsk. Tsk. Inuyasha. I guess I won this round, haven't I?" He took another step closer. "How does it feel knowing that you're tied up in my basement while your ship is leader-less and probably drifting in circles?"

He snorted. "Keh! They know what they're doing."

"AND…" Kouga pointed out, taking a few more steps toward Kagome, who was watching with an absolutely perplexed expression. He dragged the back of his finger along her cheek tenderly and she quickly twisted her head away. "How does it feel knowing that Kagome is now mine?"

This Inuyasha could not take. "Get your filthy hands off her. You couldn't even capture us yourself. You sent some slimy pigs to do all your dirty work. Disgusting bastard."

"I would watch my mouth if I were you, prisoner." Kouga hissed, lightly touching her chin and bringing it closer to his face. She struggled against his hold but could not do much in her confined state. "You do realize that I could kill you this second. And I would not consider my actions filthy, as long as I win in the long run."

"Kouga, get your hands off me." Kagome breathed, squeezing her eyes shut and pulling away even more so than before. Nothing was making much sense anymore. She stared at him in bewilderment. "I can't believe you're doing this to us."

The captain grinned and stroked her right arm up and down. She shuddered under his touch. "Your arms must hurt, Kagome. Here." He quickly reached his hand into his vest pocket and pulled out a set of keys. "I'm sorry I had you in this crap hole for so long."

Both she and Inuyasha watched in silence as Kouga released her from her hand cuffs. She pulled her arms down and massaged them lightly to regain the blood flow. Then she turned to the bitter Inuyasha. "Now let him go too."

She was completely thrown off guard when he grabbed her around the waist and pulled her against his chest. "Wha -? Let me go, Kouga!" She angrily punched his strong chest but he was far stronger than she was, and she was trapped in his embrace. She did not want Inuyasha to see this.

"I can't let him go, Kagome. But YOU – you will be accompanying me in my room as my woman. It's furnished beautifully and you'll love it."

"Are you deaf?" Inuyasha shouted. "She said she didn't want to go with you so let her go! You have to have the thickest skull in the world, you wimpy wolf!"

"Shut your face, dog." Kouga turned to him with a furious glare. "She's finished with you for good. I'm going to take great care of her."

He chuckled and tightened his arms around the woman still hostile against his hold. "I haven't thought of what to do to you yet, dog-breath. But just to piss you off even more I'm going to tell you that we're arriving at a large town with a huge chance of having the Shikon within hours. We're going to raid the place and then you're probably going to be left here to rot while I become the strongest man on Earth. With Kagome as my wife."

"I'm not going to be your wife! Let me go! And let him go, too!" She said angrily, too afraid to face her captain, who was probably ready to tear apart the ship.

"You'll grow to love me, Kagome. I'll make sure of it. Now, let's bring you upstairs, why don't we?"

She sneered at him and refused to move, her eyes filled with pure anger. "Either I stay here or I will jump overboard the second you're not looking."

He raised an eyebrow at the woman. "You're suggesting that you'd rather spend time in a cell with dog-breath than come live in luxury with me?" Kouga asked in astonishment.

"Have you lost your mind?"

"I thought I told you that I'm not interested." She stated clearly. "I demand you bring us back to our ship."

"Hm. Can't do that, love. I don't have that kind of time nor energy. We're already heading towards our next destination, and you'll be following me into the town. I want you to watch me absorb all the power imaginable to man."

She sighed. "You aren't listening to a word I'm saying, Kouga." Then it hit her. She had a decent plan and she was going to try and follow through with it. Staying in the cell wouldn't give her the freedom to save them both. If only…

"I'm way too much of a gentleman to leave you in this crummy place. Come on now, we don't have much time."


"We have to hurry." He grabbed her arm and began to head towards the door. "We're arriving in an hour or so and I need to get my crew together."

Kagome sent Inuyasha an apologetic look over her shoulder sadly before following Kouga out the doors. "Kagome?" Inuyasha watched with a pained expression on his face. The captain could not believe his eyes. She brushes the guy off at first and now she just follows him like a loyal servant. "Why the hell are you following him, Kagome?"

She kept her back to him as Kouga began to lock the doors.

"Kagome, what are you doing? Answer me, damnit!"

"I'm sorry, Inuyasha…" She didn't want to hurt him, she really didn't. She could tell by the horrified look on his face that she had done more than that. His brown eyes were filled with confusion and his face looked suddenly pale. But they had to get off this ship as soon as they could.

And she was going to do it any way she could, even if it meant pretending to love Kouga.

"Miroku! Sango! Something's horribly wrong!"

The pirate ship led by Captain Inuyasha was leading towards an uproar.

"The captain and Miss Kagome seem to have disappeared from the face of the ship!" Hojo stumbled up the stairs and hurried to the couple cooking up their dinner: fish that Shippou had caught that afternoon.

"What?" Sango stared at the injured man. "Are you kidding me? We saw Inuyasha a while ago."

"Hojo, he's most likely in the basement visiting Miss Kagome." Miroku added as he took a bite into his burnt fish. "I knew it was bothering him! Maybe they're making up in the prison cell?"

"No! I went to go check a minute ago because I was looking for the captain and he was nowhere on the upper or main floors, and definitely not in his room. Then… then I went to go check in the cell and the door wasn't locked. Miss Kagome has vanished as well."

"Don't you think it's a little early to be saying 'vanished'? For all we know they could be hiding somewhere." Sango didn't seem impressed. "How could they just disappear like that? They don't have anywhere to go."

Both leaders resumed to their meal, ignoring Hojo's comments.

"I'm dead serious!" Hojo pleaded, his bandaged arm flinging about.

"Are there any other missing crew members?"

Hojo stopped to think about it. "I'm not too sure, but Miss Sango should know. After all, didn't you bring her the meals everyday? Did you see her earlier today?"

She shook her head and stopped paying attention to the burnt slab of fish. "No… no I didn't. Inuyasha specifically told me not to go for some odd reason. I haven't seen Kagome in days."

"But then… who brought her the meals? Did the captain do it?"

Sango dropped her dinner onto the floor and her face turned urgent. She glanced around before taking a deep breath to calm herself. "Ginta."

"Who's Ginta?" Manten chose that exact moment to wander into the kitchen to check on the progress of dinner. "I've never heard of him."

"Manten." Miroku inquired. "When did you last see the captain or Miss Kagome?"

"Hmm… I remember I saw the captain a few hours ago. I passed by when you were all fishing. The wench I don't recall or care about."

"Then… then Hojo's not exaggerating. Ginta got to them! I knew something was wrong…" Sango gasped and reached for the sword at her hip. "Quick! Announce to everyone aboard! It's an emergency! Start a thorough search of the ship right away!"

"But… somebody had to have seen them…" Hojo added in a confused tone of voice. He suddenly turned his face toward the exit. "Do you think the five men saw anything?"

Miroku shrugged. "Perhaps. But I believe it is time to release them. They look like they're on their last legs. Order someone to do so right away. And inform Hiten of the emergency situation."

Hojo nodded and made his way to the deck. He lowered the men by releasing a knot and brought them down slowly by dragging the rope. "Your punishment has ended, men."

They looked no better than sick old men with scurvy laying on the ground like that. They were scattered on the floor and all with their eyes shut. He could barely stand to look at their pasty faces. Someone ran over at the moment with a pitcher of water.

He lowered himself and felt their wrists, but the only person with a faint pulse was Sogo, who was now gasping for air. Hojo immediately fed him some of the drink, and he gulped it down in small gulps.

The others needed to be disposed of… 'This is too cruel.' He thought bitterly, still helping the man drink. 'They deserved to live.'

Sango, Miroku, Hiten and Manten made their way out as well, and soon most of the crew followed. "Are – I mean, is Sogo the only surviving prisoner?"

"I believe so."

Everyone stared quietly and gulped. None of them felt like running away from battle just then, no matter how gruesome it was. Their tarred bodies laid there and their cheekbones were apparent, showing through their skin.

"Do a prayer for your comrades, men!" Hiten swiftly stepped up onto the platform, "Because they are the result of a cowardly act. Now let's say goodbye and drop them overboard."

Before any of them could respond, Sogo began to sputter his liquid and opened his eyes warily. "I… I - "

"What is he trying to say?" Hiten asked impatiently, feeling quite proud of himself for being able to order the crew around without another presence around to govern him. "Get it out of him."

"I… I saw…"

"What did you see?" Sango asked worriedly.

"Captain… Ka – Kagom…" He wheezed and leaned back. "Taken… by two - men…" Sogo soon gave in had to close his mouth wearily. His stomach was growling again and he had barely any energy left to continue.

"Two?" Miroku asked, "but Sango said there was only one."

"There must have been another." Someone from the crew pointed out.

"Only talk when you are spoken to!" Hiten cut him off rudely. "You are not permitted to speak unless I give you the permission to."

He quickly shut his mouth.

"Hiten, let him speak. He might have something important to say." Mioku pointed a staff at the older man who now looked frightened for his life. "Speak, old man."

He nodded and proceeded. "Sir, earlier today these two men I had not ever seen before were talking to each other, and when I approached them they practically jumped. 'Do I know you two?', I asked, and they told me I did. I still wasn't sure and felt suspicious, but I'm positive I've never seen those two before and I've been around here for twenty-five years."

"What did they look like?"

The old man paused to recount his encounter. "One had this strange, spiky blond hair and the other had this short black hair with a stripe. Similar to that of a skunk. They both looked relatively young."

"I recognise Ginta," Sango said calmly, "But who's the other?"

"Who cares?" Manten said angrily. "All we know is that Inuyasha has been captured. Where do we begin to search for them?"

"We won't." Hiten surprised the group once again by his loud announcement. "I don't know why Inuyasha was captured. We all trusted him to defend himself and he failed us as a whole. We're probably dealing with a strong enemy here, and looking for them isn't the best thing to do. We should wait it out until we get some sort of signal. Otherwise we'll be circling and looking for nothing."

"And we might run into the navy." Manten added for his brother.

"Precisely." Hiten nodded appreciatively. "Do you all understand my order?"

"But Hiten," Sango asked, "What if we don't get a sign at all? Are we just going to ignore our captain's capture and do nothing to assist him?"

He sent the woman a disgusted look before snorting. "If he doesn't return, then I guess we'll figure something out then."

"I see it. Do you, Kagome?" Kouga held her back front the edge of the ship as they watched the boat head toward a village alongside the ocean. "That's the destination."

She rolled her eyes without interest. "That's nice."

Her caught onto the sarcasm in her voice. "Don't tell me you're still feeling bad for dog shit. I've told you a million times that I won't kill him."

"But you're going to leave him there to die slowly, which is even worse." The young woman pointed out in disgust. "I don't see why you two have to feud like this. It pisses me off."

Kouga was taken back by her usage of language, but discovered she was fiery, and he liked a strong woman. "It's a male thing, Kagome. A delicate woman like yourself needn't bother to understand it."

"Hm." She hmphed in a very Inuyasha-like fashion. She hated it when people called her delicate.

Kouga rubbed his hands together in anticipation as they neared the island. "I can't wait to get in there." He smiled happily and smirked. "The Shikon will be mine by the end of the day."

"What are your crew getting, then?" She asked innocently.

"Who knows. I'll be too powerful by then to worry about stuff like that. They'll be rewarded, most likely, after I take over the country." His vision was growing stronger as they slowly docked the ship in a hidden area behind a forest. "And you, my dear, will be spoiled with riches."

"That doesn't really interest me." It was true, too. Riches never appealed to her as much as it did to the other young women from her island. They always had wagers with one another to see which wealthy bachelor they could snatch and whose husband was the richest. She was too busy selling flowers for Souta to worry about those gold diggers and their petty bets.

"Money doesn't interest you?" He raised an eyebrow. "That's rare."

She shook her head. "I suppose it is to most people. But as long as your stomach's full with good food and you have warm clothing and a roof over your head, you should be grateful enough. I don't need terribly expensive jewelry or any of that nonsense."

"Don't worry. I'll teach you to enjoy the more… pleasurable things in life." He smirked and she backed away slowly. "I can envision it now, we'll be swimming in pools of diamonds together."

"Captain! We are already docked and ready to proceed!" Hakkaku rushed over and he breathed a sigh of relief when Kagome did not recognize him. He lowered his head in respect and awaited his order from the captain.

"Great. All is going to plan. We'll capture this small town and then I want a thorough search of each home. I want every crook and cranny to be searched, and if nothing is found, set it on fire."

"But sir, won't that destroy our treasure?"

"All the more reason to burn it. The Shikon will glow brightly in a fire and when we put it out it will remain completely unharmed. Anyone who sees it is to report to me immediately," he ordered and his lackey quickly nodded. "Now go inform the crew of it."

"Set it on fire?" Kagome watched the man she had though of as somewhat fair-hearted with a frown. "I can't believe you, Kouga! That's their home! And you're setting it all on fire for some stupid prize?"

"It's not stupid, dear. But if you want I can order my crew not to set houses on fire until the people are gone or dead."

"Were you planning to do that when they were still in the house?" She snapped, amazed, as painful memories forced their way back into her head. People she knew screaming with every last breath from burning buildings…

"I can't believe I'm listening to this! You're kidding." She convinced herself as Kouga led her off the ship, the booming steps of his men chanting ringing in her ears.

But nothing she could say registered in his mind, because when she looked up at his face all she saw was greed. He was so desperate for this jewel that his face looked like one of a hungry dog.

And it scared her.