Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Inuyasha. Those are the property of one Rumiko Takahashi. I thank her whole-heartedly for giving us such an amazing manga/anime to read/watch.
Temple of the Dog – Chapter 1
The first rays of the morning sun filtered through the small slits in the wall which passed as windows, flickering softly over the face of the sleeping priest. He stirred, loathe to be disturbed from his dreams. He turned over, burying his face in the soft surface of the bed. No matter how hard he tried to retrieve it, his dream was gone.
Damn. And what a dream it was. His dreams were always the same. Beautiful women surrounded him. Riches beyond his wildest dreams were his. And power. He always dreamed that he was in a position of power.
Groaning in disgust, he turned over and pushed himself up on one elbow. He used the other hand to push his dark bangs from his face and rub his eyes. He squeezed his eyes tightly, hoping to find some trace of the beauties that had just danced for him inside his head, but they were gone. He sighed and opened his eyes, glancing around his room.
Well, it wasn't actually his room. It was the chamber that was intended for the deity of the temple. But, the deity was not able to use it, so he had taken it upon himself to claim the room. As the temple priest, he should be sleeping on a hard cot in the main chamber of the temple. However, not being a man who could tolerate waste, he had long ago moved his own meager belongings into the chamber he now slept in.
The chamber was furnished sparsely, but the few items in it were of incredible quality. Who would have believed the bed that had been given to the temple as an offering for the deity. The priest had been amazed at the soft, feather-filled mattress that sat over the woven frame. It even had soft pillows and blankets woven of the softest fibers. How could he allow a bed so luxurious to go unslept in, while he suffered on the hard, wooden cot that served as his bed.
No, the offerings to the temple would not be wasted as long as he was the priest. He carefully selected the finest items for his own use and stored the rest in the second, smaller chamber at the back of the temple. Then, when need arose, he would transport selected items from the storage room to the markets in the north and sell them, using the proceeds for things that had failed to appear on the altar.
The priest never lacked for food. The local townspeople were not wealthy, but they did provide the best fish and vegetables, and many of the local women were good cooks. No, he never lacked for food, although his personal tastes often led him to purchase delicacies and fine wine when he traveled to the markets. These were things that appeared less often in the offerings, limited to travelers of means who had heard about the temple and come to pay their respects to its deity.
He stood up and stretched, reaching for his priest's robe which hung from the corner of the bed. He quickly changed from his sleeping robe into the black robe and purple overlay. Of course, most priests dressed themselves in traditional white. He, however, had chosen to chose a color usually reserved for the great pharaohs. After all, he was anything but traditional. And, his dreams of power led him to hope that someday he would move into a position more fitting for someone of his tastes.
The priest glanced one more time around his sleeping chambers, mentally making notes to what particular items he still wished to add to the room. Perhaps a few hints to the more affluent locals would yield one or more of his material wishes.
He pushed aside the mat that served as the door to the room, stepping into the main chamber.
A small fire still burned in the fire pit on the floor in front of the main altar. Several torches still remained lit, although most had burned themselves out during the night. The room was large. The scant light from the fire and torches flickered in the center, but failed to light the corners. It did, however, illuminate the empty wine jug that lay on the floor near the smaller, secondary altar. He quickly bent down, retrieving the jug and hiding it behind the altar. It would not do for his worshippers to find that the temple priest had drunk the wine that had been left for the deity.
Ah, and what a fine wine it had been, he though to himself as he placed the empty jug under the altar. Several other jugs were also hidden there, although these were full. He would have several nights of pleasant dreams with such fine wine.
The room was filled with smoke from the torches. He would have to open the main doors soon to allow the breeze to carry it from the room. Normally he would not open the doors this early, but the affluent travelers who had visited the temple the day before had spoken of other companions that were also on their way. He would guess that they would arrive early this day and was not going to risk them turning away from the temple simply because he had failed to open the doors.
The large, wooden doors creaked and groaned as he pushed them open one by one. There were four doors in all. Two sets of two. When these were opened, the temple needed almost no light during daytime. Both sets of doors faced the north. One angled slightly east and the other slightly west, allowing them to bring in both early morning and late afternoon sunlight. Whoever had designed the temple had known what they were doing. In addition to providing the best natural light, the doors also were angled to catch the breezes from the semi-desert surrounding the temple. The thick slabs of limestone and marble were able to prevent the scorching rays of the sun to heat the interior, while the strategically placed doors and windows provided the best of both natural light and the circulation of air.
The priest stepped from the temple into the growing morning light. He could see several birds circling in the distance, most likely circling the carcass of some dead animal. He pulled his hair back to the nape of his neck and secured it with a small length of cord before glancing back at the temple, doing his daily check of the building. Only minor repairs had been needed since he had become the priest here, but he knew it was wise to catch things early. Small repairs could usually be done by the locals, who donated their time and materials to the temple. Larger repairs would have to be done by the stone crafters in the larger cities, meaning the surrender of his precious gold. No, he would continue to do his daily inspections and assure that the gold remained in the temple coffers.
He circled the temple building slowly, making sure to take note of anything that appeared to be new cracks or nicks in the smooth surface of the stone. The seal on the smaller building behind the temple remained untouched, proof that the mummy of the dead priestess remained undisturbed. He finished his circuit of the building and returned to the main chamber.
Unknown to the young priest, a woman had entered the temple while he was outside. She now hid behind and slightly under the main altar, hidden from his sight. The look of fear on her face went unseen by the priest as he readied the room for the expected worshippers.
Several local children stopped by with freshly baked bread and butter churned from the milk of their family goats. The priest thanked them and placed the bread on the altar. He would eat it after the children left. It would not do for them to see the temple priest helping himself to the offerings intended for the deity.
The children were excited, chatting about the travelers who had visited the temple the day before. The elaborate and exotic attire had made the visitors stand out from the local villagers. Visitors like these were not only a benefit for the temple, but for the villagers, who often were able to sell their wares to those passing through.
Miroku's inquiry into the well-being of one child's older sister elicited giggles from the children.
As they left, the children turned and waved to the young priest.
"Good-bye, Miroku," one shouted as they ran in the direction of the village.
Miroku turned and entered the temple. His mouth was salivating from the scent of the fresh baked bread. Now that the children were gone he could safely eat.
Except that where he had laid two loaves of bread there was only one. He looked on the floor by the altar, thinking that perhaps he had dropped it. There was no sign of it. He nervously looked up at the figure behind the altar, but knew that he couldn't have taken the bread.
His deity stood against a marble pillar, the same as he had the past fifty years. The priestess's arrow still protruded from his left shoulder, pinning him to the pillar and sealing him in a type of suspended animation. There was no sign of movement from the silver-haired form.
Idiot, Miroku chided himself. Of course, one of the children must have sneaked back into the temple and taken the bread. It had to be hard to bring the bread to the temple, smelling its aroma all the way. Certainly one of the children had chanced the wrath of the deity to sneak one of the loaves.
Miroku picked up the remaining loaf and sliced it open, spreading a generous amount of the fresh butter on the still-warm surface. The butter melted almost immediately. The young priest made quick work of the bread, and then split open a small wheel of goat cheese that was also on the altar. He cut several small chunks for himself, and then with a grin, sliced another one, held it up in the direction of the deity, bowed and said, "For you, my lord." He set the chunk on the altar where the bread had been and stood up, brushing crumbs from his robe.
He would have to hurry and finish readying the temple. It would not do for traveling worshipers to find the temple priest in such a state.
Miroku straightened the altar, brushing the bread crumbs onto his hand so he could discard them. He went to his chamber where he quickly washed his face with water from a basin. He used his wet hands to smooth back his ebony hair, retying the cord that held it in small tail at the nape of his neck. He straightened his robes and returned to the main chamber. With his attention focused on replacing spent torches and sweeping away the sand and debris that had blown through the open doors, he failed to notice that the chunk of cheese he had left on the altar had vanished.
The temple was ready. All that he could do now was wait.
Miroku sat crossed-legged on the floor, looking over several scrolls that contained the written legend of the temple and its deity. He had worked hard writing the hieroglyphics that adorned the rolled pieces of paper and wanted to be certain he had made no mistakes. He was deep in thought when the first visitor arrived.
"Priest," the man said.
Miroku looked up, surprised that he hadn't noticed the passage of time or the presence of the soldier standing before him. By the looks of his attire, the man was a soldier of the pharaoh's own personal guard. This was an unexpected turn of events.
"My apologies, sir," he addressed the soldier as he rolled the parchment he had been working on and stood up. "I was concentrating on my duties to the temple and didn't hear you enter."
The soldier looked around him. It was obvious that the priest was alone.
"The pharaoh would like to pay his respects to the deity. However, first he has asked me to inquire if you have seen a young woman. She would be a stranger to your village. It is important that we find her."
"I have seen no strangers today, other than yourself. And, the travelers who have been to the temple over the last few days have all been older men." Miroku nodded his head to show respect to the soldier.
The soldier glanced at the altar, taking in the numerous offerings still sitting on it. "So, your deity does well for himself. However, the pharaoh would like to pay his respects and leave an offering of his own."
Miroku nodded again, fighting the grin that played with the corners of his mouth. An offering from the pharaoh himself would certainly be elaborate and most likely worth a lot of money. This was the very thing he had been hoping for.
"You can tell his highness that we would be honored to have him visit our humble temple. As you can see, the deity, Inuyasha, remains sealed to the pillar as he has for the past fifty years. I would be honored, too, to be able to relate the story to his highness, if he so wishes." Miroku's mind was racing. He would have to make a very good impression on the pharaoh if he wished to benefit from his visit. Perhaps, if he played his cards right, he could even manage to find a way into the pharaoh's court. Certainly they could find another priest to watch over the temple. It was not a difficult job, and without even a priestess on duty, not a very interesting one.
Certainly a priest of his caliber deserved a post where there would at least be a priestess. The young women of the village all knew his reputation, and he found that his flirtations no longer worked with them. Of course, on occasion he would have a young woman arrive with a group of traveling worshippers, but with the location of the temple being so far from the larger cities, this was seldom.
The soldier nodded his head in return and turned to leave the temple. "The pharaoh will be arriving shortly. Naturally, it is expected that he will be treated according to his position. He asks that the temple be closed to other visitors while he is here."
"Of course, I would expect nothing less. You can tell his highness that he will have the temple to himself."
Miroku waited impatiently for the pharaoh's visit. He stood at the open door, breathing deeply of the fresh air as he tried to calm his nerves. He failed to see the young woman slip from underneath the altar and hide in the shadows behind the pillar to which Inuyasha was pinned. She crouched down in the shadows, trying her best to remain hidden from view.
Finally, the young priest could see a cloud of dust in the distance that grew as its cause drew closer. When the pharaoh's party was close enough, Miroku could see several horse-drawn chariots. Surrounding these chariots were more of the pharaoh's personal guard. The group approached slowly, limited to the speed of the soldiers who were on foot.
A cloud of dust hung momentarily in front of the temple when the pharaoh and his group pulled to a stop. The cloud dissipated quickly with the breeze. In moments, the pharaoh's guard had taken position and the pharaoh himself stepped down from his chariot.
"It is indeed an honor to have you visit our humble temple. It is my desire to provide your highness with whatever you desire while you grace our temple with your presence." Miroku bowed low, his right hand moving in a sweeping motion in the direction of the temple.
"I see that you have chosen to wear colors of power over traditional white," Pharaoh looked over the young priest.
Damn it, Miroku thought to himself. Why hadn't he thought to change into a more traditional priest robe for the pharaoh's visit. Hopefully this would not cost him what he desired.
"My apologies, your highness, but I wear what is considered traditional for my family. My grandfather was the first priest of this humble temple. He was followed by my father. Now it is my turn to keep watch over our deity, Inuyasha." Miroku once again bowed to the pharaoh.
"Yes, I seem to remember the first priest for the temple. So, he was your grandfather." Pharaoh's gaze took in the young priest before him, noting for the first time the purple covering on his right hand. Wrapped around the purple cloth was a string of blue beads.
"Your pardon, your highness, but it seems that you are too young to have met my grandfather. Perhaps it was my father you remember."
Pharaoh smirked. "I am older than I look, young priest. It would, indeed have been your grandfather who I met. I can remember the deity before he was sealed by the temple priestess."
Impossible, Miroku thought to himself. The man who stood before him could be not much older than himself. However, arguing with the pharaoh would not help his cause.
"It seems that your highness has found the fountain of youth. Perhaps you could share your secret with one such as myself." Miroku smiled and nodded his head. This was not going to be easy. He would have to be careful that he didn't offend the pharaoh.
The pharaoh's advisor stepped forward. "Perhaps his highness can now enter the temple? It is hot standing here in the sun."
"Again, my apologies. Of course, your presence in our temple would be a tremendous honor." Miroku moved to the side and motioned for the visitors to enter the temple.
The pharaoh moved into the main chamber, walking directly to the small altar that stood in front of the sealed deity. His gaze took in the arrow that sealed him. Good, he thought to himself. The priestess's arrow was holding. It wouldn't be long now before Inuyasha was no more.
The pharaoh motioned to his advisor, who moved forward and held out a cloth-covered item. The pharaoh took it and carefully unwrapped it, placing the contents on the altar. It was a small statue of himself, accurately carved and detailed with liquid gold. What more fitting item to leave at Inuyasha's altar than a statue of the one who caused him to be sealed. Again, the pharaoh smirked, content in his secret knowledge.
Miroku noticed the expression on the pharaoh's face. It puzzled him, but he decided it must have been his imagination. He stepped forward and looked closely at the exquisite piece of statuary. Surely a carving of this quality would fetch an extremely high price, especially being of the pharaoh, Naraku.
The young priest failed to notice the pharaoh's advisor leave the temple, followed by several of the soldiers. His attention was focused on the dignitary whose presence meant so much for his temple.
"I'm sure our deity, Inuyasha, will be pleased with your offering. The work is truly amazing, and the visage of your highness very accurate." Miroku bowed his head, trying hard to look humble.
Naraku stepped forward, skirting the low altar and stopping just in front of the unmoving deity.
"So, this is the arrow that caused your minor god to be sealed."
Miroku cringed at the pharaoh's reference to Inuyasha as minor. While he might not be one of the more powerful gods, surely even the amazing story behind both he and the temple made him more than a minor deity.
"Yes, your highness."
"And, if the information my advisor was given is true, then the tomb of the priestess who sealed him is near this temple. I would very much like to see it."
Miroku nodded again and motioned to the open doors. "If you would like to step outside, I can show you the resting place of the priestess, Kikyou."
Miroku stepped to the door, not seeing the look of pure venom that Naraku shot at Inuyasha before following the young priest out into the sunshine.
Miroku lead the dignitary to the sealed tomb that stood behind the temple. It was plain, being built only of limestone and not marble. There were few markings. Other than the name of the priestess who was interred there and the dates of both her birth and death, the walls were smooth. The tomb had not been decorated with hieroglyphics as was the practice among their people.
"A rather fitting end for any priestess who would betray her deity," Miroku offered as he pointed out the lack of decoration on the tomb. While he had not been born at the time of Kikyou's betrayal, he knew of the story from his father, who had learned it from his. That a priestess could do harm to the god she served was unspeakable. And, more importantly, unforgivable. Miroku's own feelings towards the dead priestess were obvious.
"So, the dead priestess did not even have the luxury of having her life told on the walls of her tomb. Pity that a beautiful woman should meet such a morbid ending, but natural that the priest of the temple would scorn her." Naraku turned and looked up at the main temple, shielding his eyes from the mid-day sun. It was the hottest time of the day and he was not anxious to stand outside in the heat.
"Perhaps we could retire into the temple, my lord," Miroku suggested when he saw Naraku's actions. It would not do to anger the pharaoh simply because of an oversight in manners.
Naraku simply nodded and walked back to the doors of the temple, leaving the young priest to follow behind. He stepped into the cool main chamber and stopped, allowing his eyes to adjust to the low light inside. It took only a moment for his vision to adjust from the bright sunlight and he moved once again towards the sealed deity.
"Perhaps your highness would care for some wine. While it was left in offering to Inuyasha, I'm sure that even my god would not deny you some refreshment."
Naraku once again nodded. His personal guard had followed them to the tomb and back to the temple. The men stood at attention near their leader, watchful that no harm would come to him.
Miroku reached behind the altar and brought out the best jug of wine. He silently cursed his loss. Well, at least he would be able to share the fragrant nectar with his pharaoh. He proceeded to find two cups and poured a small amount for each of them.
Naraku took a cup and then waited for the priest to drink. Naturally, he would be cautious. Men in positions of power like himself were often the target of enemies.
Miroku took a sip, savoring the smooth liquid. He nodded his approval. Naraku then sipped his own wine. Miroku filled both cups more fully. The two men sat silently for several minutes, each lost to their own thoughts as they finished their wine.
When his cup was empty, Naraku stood. Miroku set his cup down and also stood.
Naraku's soldiers formed ranks to both sides of their leader, ushering him from the temple.
"Be sure to guard your deity well. Surely you wouldn't want anybody to disturb him." The pharaoh's words were pleasant enough, but Miroku couldn't help but notice the underlying tone of sarcasm in them. Why would the pharaoh be concerned about such a minor deity, as he had so carelessly referred to Inuyasha? And, why would one of such power feel anything at all for the deity, let alone the hatred that his tone implied?
Miroku sighed. He was secretly glad to see the pharaoh leave. Once the dignitary had boarded his chariot and had ridden out of sight, the young priest closed the doors of the temple, closing out the dust and heat of the mid-day sun. He had suffered enough visitors for one day and decided to close the temple early. He would need to relax after dealing with the pharaoh. He uncorked the jug of wine and filled his cup again, drinking deeply of the dark liquid before setting it down. Yes, he had served his god well for this day and certainly deserved a break.
The young priest lifted the jug of wine, tilting it to refill his cup when a muffled sound caught his attention.
Miroku was on his feet instantly, clearing the altar in one leap and circling the column to which Inuyasha was sealed. He saw some movement and sprinted towards the figure fleeing to the temple doors. The heavy doors were closed and locked, making it impossible for the uninvited guest to escape.
She turned and pressed her back to the doors, fear evident on her face.
Miroku stopped and stared in amazement.
Standing with her back against the heavy wooden doors was a beautiful young woman. Her shiny black hair hung below her shoulders and was cut into unruly bangs. Unlike most of the women on their land, her hair did not hang straight, but fell in soft waves around her face and shoulders.
Most startling were her eyes. They were large and very round. In the dim light of the temple's interior he could see that they were a soft brown. Full lips quivered as she faced the young priest, uncertain of what would be done to her for invading such a holy place.
The young woman's attire was that of a family of some means, but no power. The material was of smoothly woven cotton and simply cut, hanging in complimentary folds around her perfectly curved body.
Of course, Miroku always noticed these things about women. However, one other thing that he noticed was the look of fear on her face.
"There is no need to be afraid," he began, trying to put the young woman at ease. "I am the priest of the temple, and as you can see, I have closed the temple early to visitors. The doors can easily be opened again, so you are not trapped."
The woman simply nodded, obviously still scared.
"Perhaps I can offer you something to eat and drink. It is obvious that you are not from the village, so I can assume you have traveled some distance to pay homage to Inuyasha."
The young woman squeezed her eyes closed for a moment, swallowing hard before speaking.
"I did not mean to intrude in a place so holy. I didn't know where to go, and I…" her voice trailed off.
Miroku smiled and motioned towards the center of the large room. "Perhaps you would like to sit down and rest. I will find you something to eat and drink." The missing loaf of bread came to mind when he noticed that the chunk of cheese he had left on the altar had also vanished. So, this young woman was the thief of the deity's offering. He could forgive a young woman of her beauty for such a small transgression.
The young woman moved forward cautiously, slowly moving to where Miroku had indicated. There were several stone benches in the center of the large room. When she reached them, she sat down, looking down at her hands as she twisted them together in her lap.
Miroku quickly cut more chunks of cheese from the wheel that lay on the altar. He placed them on a tray and added some fruit before offering them to the young woman. He then filled a cup with water from a jug and handed it to her.
She took the food and water eagerly. The young priest sat near her on the bench and waited for her to finish eating. It was apparent that she had not had much to eat in recent days from the way she quickly finished what had been offered to her. However, it was equally apparent to him that she had not been without food for long, since she was definitely not emaciated.
A beautiful damsel in distress who didn't know about him or his reputation. Perhaps this was his reward for suffering through the pharaoh's visit earlier in the day. Of course, the young priest would do his best to work his charms on her after she had eaten and rested.
The young woman finished the food and water, setting the cup on the tray and standing up. She carried the tray back to the altar and set it down. Miroku noticed that her gaze turned to the still figure pinned against the pillar behind the altar.
"Ah, so you see our deity, Inuyasha. Perhaps you would like me to tell you his story." The story of the temple and its deity was always a good way to break the ice with a beautiful woman. Miroku smiled at her, but noticed that her gaze remained on the silver-haired figure.
"My grandfather has mentioned something about this temple. I really don't remember. Grandfather is always talking about old legends. I guess I should listen more to what he says." She stood and walked around the altar, stopping just in front of the sealed figure. She found herself drawn to him. He looked so peaceful, more like someone asleep than dead…or whatever you would call the state he was in. She really wasn't that knowledgeable about these things and reprimanded herself for not having been more attentive to her grandfather's stories.
"I remember something about a priestess shooting him with an arrow." Her gaze traveled from his face to the arrow that protruded from his left shoulder. She looked back at his face, mesmerized by him. As if by their own volition, her hands traveled to the two triangular ears that peeked from his rather unruly bangs. Before Miroku could stop her, she rubbed the ears gently.
"They're so soft. And warm. I didn't expect them to be warm."
Miroku fidgeted, not knowing what he should do. Certainly this beautiful woman could do no harm to his deity, but he was also sure that he should not be allowing someone to touch his god this way. He didn't want to do or say anything that would lessen his chances of a conquest of one so beautiful, but perhaps he should stop her.
Before he could react, the young woman took her hands from Inuyasha's ears. Good, thought the young priest, now perhaps I won't have to take any action. He smiled and moved toward the young woman, intending to gently escort her from behind the altar. His smile quickly faded when he saw her hand move from his deity's left ear to the arrow.
"No!" the young priest shouted, but it was too late.
The moment the young woman's hand touched the arrow, it glowed. The light was bluish and unearthly. Then, as quickly as she had touched it, the arrow simply disappeared.
Miroku's eyes widened. Surely he hadn't seen what he thought he had seen.
The young woman took a step backwards, confused and nervous.
There was a glow around Inuyasha. It was barely noticeable at first, but gradually grew until it nearly blinded the young woman and priest. Suddenly the glow pulsed several times. The still figure against the pillar moved. Both hands clenched and then unclenched, the fingers shaping like claws. His eyes opened and he lifted his head from its resting place on his right shoulder and stared directly at the young woman.
"Bitch." Suddenly he lunged at her, knocking her to the ground and pinning her there. Miroku ran forward, trying to help, but didn't know what he should do. The young woman's head had hit the floor with a crack, but she seemed all right otherwise. Naturally, she was terrified.
Before Miroku could reach Inuyasha, the silver-haired man looked closely at his prey and shook his head.
"You're not her." He stood up and looked around the room, obviously searching for something.
"Where's the bitch who shot me. I'm going to kill her." He glared in Miroku's direction.
"My lord, there is nobody here but the three of us." Miroku's mind raced. It was apparent that his deity was no longer sealed, but also as apparent that the young deity was not aware that fifty years had passed since the arrow had sealed him.
Inuyasha snarled. "Well, I'll just have to find her." He stood up and glanced down at the place the arrow had pierced him. There was no sign of a wound or scar, but he could still feel the sharp sting of the arrow hitting him. He would make quick work of the bitch who had betrayed him and then shot him.
He quickly searched the main room and then looked briefly in the two adjoining rooms. When he found no sign of her, he moved to the heavy doors, which were locked and barred.
"My lord, please listen to me. The priestess you are looking for is already dead. She died fifty years ago, right after she sealed you with her arrow." Miroku would have to calm his angered deity. He just hoped that he would not become the target of this anger. Why did that young woman have to touch the arrow?
The young woman, in the meantime, stood up and rubbed the back of her head.
"You could have at least helped me up, after knocking me down like that. I don't know why you felt you had to do that…"
Inuyasha turned and glared at the young woman.
"Feh. I don't have to answer to anyone. You don't belong here, anyway."
Miroku stepped forward, trying to defuse what appeared to be a growing situation.
"My lord, this is the one who unsealed you." He still wasn't sure how she had done it, but Miroku wasn't going to let this woman get away. It was apparent that she had some special powers, to have been able to unseal Inuyasha with just a touch. In fifty years, a number of potential priestesses had visited the temple, but none had been able to free the sealed deity.
"It seems that perhaps we have found a new priestess for your temple." The young priest glanced at the young woman. Yes, not only would she be a proper priestess for the temple, but would be a pleasant sight for the young priest. Perhaps, if he played his cards right, he might even be able to…
"I don't need a priestess. I don't need anyone. I just want to be left alone." Inuyasha wrenched open one of the doors and stormed outside. He sniffed the air and then closed his eyes and leaned warily against the temple wall. How could this have happened. The last thing he remembered was Kikyou screaming at him to die. And, then there was the blinding pain as the arrow ripped through his shoulder and pinned him to the pillar. He could remember his vision blurring as Kikyou stumbled towards him, shouting about how he had betrayed her. The spell from the arrow had sealed him before he saw the young priestess fall to the floor, her own blood pooling around her prone body. He hadn't known until the young priest told him that she had died.
What the hell had happened? His thoughts were jumbled as he tried to remember the details of that day. Why would she have yelled that he had betrayed her? It had been the priestess who had betrayed him, after all. None of this made sense.
He walked slowly back into the temple and confronted Miroku. The young priest was nervous, having his deity standing so near him with such a look of anger on his face.
"You, priest. I need to know what happened. Tell me now."
The young woman stepped forward. Inuyasha turned and glared at her, surprised to find that she stood fast, not backing away in fear as he had expected. He stepped toward her, expecting her to move away. But, she stood and faced him.
"You know, you knocked me down pretty hard over there. You didn't stop to help me up, and you didn't even apologize."
Miroku shook his head, trying to get her attention. It wouldn't do to anger Inuyasha. But, the young woman either didn't notice or chose not to heed him.
Inuyasha smirked at the young woman. "So, you think you can stand up to me." He was surprised at the bravery she showed. Most humans would have been begging for his forgiveness or fleeing by now. This young woman was different than most.
"My lord, please forgive her. She is a stranger here and doesn't know about you or the temple."
Inuyasha snorted and turned to the young priest.
"You will tell me what I need to know. Now."
The silver-haired deity sat on the floor where he had stood, his legs crossed and arms folded against his chest. Miroku sighed and sat on one of the stone benches, motioning to the young woman to also sit.
"Well, my lord. I guess it would be best to start at the beginning, for everyone's sake."