Author's Notes: Uh....I finally updated?
Chapter Four: The Frog Lord
It was beautiful... the kind of beautiful that stole your breath away. She could feel her mother's love etched in every stone that created this place and it gave her the urge to embrace herself in happiness. Cream marble lined every corner of the immense hallway but the stone was warm to the feet, inviting the visitor to leisurely walk towards an unknown destination. Bright light filtered down from a windowless ceiling arched so high that it gave the illusion that there was no end. There were stately columns made of the same creamy marble lined the walls and marked the path that she was to take. Her sister had already disappeared and she suddenly felt so alone in the vastness of the hall. Someone dropped behind her and she whirled around to see who it was.
"Sesshoumaru??" She eased her guard and put her hands on her hips. "I thought I told you to stay put."
He only gave a casual shrug of his shoulders and started to walk down the hallway, his arrogance visible in every step. She allowed herself to glower for a few seconds, then gave up and found herself following him with no complaint. The only sound was the gentle patter of their feet as the hallway appeared to go on into eternity. Then suddenly, the hallway ended short before a pair of sullen black doors that Kagome could have sworn wasn't there a second ago. An air of malevolence stained the area around it and they both stopped a few feet away. The unadorned door seemed out of place in the opulence of the hallway, but age was written in the worn surface. She cautiously took a step further and held her hands out, feeling the aura that pulsed in warning as she drew closer.
"What are you doing?" He asked as he took a step closer as well, not to be outdone by a girl.
"Just," She pushed her hands further and the aura began to move away from her body. "Testing a theory."
He jerked away and took two steps away from the door, batting at an invisible foe.
"What is this?" He growled as he stumbled back. The aura batted playfully at his soul, pushing him further and further away from the doors.
"It doesn't recognize your blood so don't force yourself in." A small voice called out.
The two whirled around but could see nobody behind them.
"Over here!" the voice called out again. Kagome peered close to see a small bug jumping up and down on Sesshoumaru's shoulder.
"Myouga???" She said.
"It is I, Kagome-san! It has been many years since I've seen you awake." He commented.
"Myouga, what is Kikyo up to?" Kagome asked but the youkai was preoccupied sucking on Sesshoumaru's blood.
"Oh, delicious, very delicious for a human. You taste of pride and power, mortal." Myouga said before Sesshoumaru slapped a hand on his neck, squishing the youkai. "Hey! That's no way to treat an old friend."
"You're not my old friend." Sesshoumaru remarked as the bug youkai popped back into normal shape.
"I believe your sister is after the Tetsusaiga, you should hurry and stop her, I'll wait here and guard the door." Myouga jumped down from Sesshoumaru's shoulder.
"Running away again, eh?" Kagome said but Myouga had already vanished. She opened the black doors enough to let her in. "Don't come after me Sesshoumaru, not if you want to get hurt."
She disappeared and he muttered a curse, a habit he rarely took part in. There was no way she was going in there without him. Who else was going to get him out of this strange palace? He took a step forward, centering his ki into moving forward. The aura's batting grew more forceful but he gritted his teeth and move towards the doors a step at a time, the aura pressing so tight that he felt like he could barely breathe. Then the aura gave up and disappeared, leaving him in front of the doors. With a smirk towards Kagome's warning he pulled the surprisingly heavy door open further and stepped inside.
It was a lush forest inside, the air so clean that he felt himself breathing stronger and deeper, his lungs anxious to get more of that pure oxygen. There was no sign of a room, only a stunning sapphire sky that was a deeper blue than he had ever seen, the same color as Kagome's eyes and trees perfect in every leaf. Even the flowers dotting the forest were perfect in color and shape. An explosion rocked the forest and he looked up to see a pillar of brilliant white light, a beacon of pure magic. His senses ached to be near that alluring magic and his feet moved on its own, hurrying to that pillar.
The forest suddenly disappeared to reveal an immense clearing of barren land. A clumsy arrangement of stones were circling around a tall statue of clear glass with Kikyo raising her hands up, a glowing fire of white magic surrounding her pale hands. The pillar of her magic had engulfed the statue of a woman and he felt the air pressure around him tighten.
"Stop it! Stop doing that to my mother!!!" Kagome shouted as she ran towards Kikyo, her white clothes smudged with dirt. A line of blood was streaming down from her cheek but she appeared to feel no pain as she desperately ran to her sister. A barrier sprang up as Kagome neared, flinging the hanyou nearly twenty feet away. Without knowing it, Sesshoumaru had run to her side, helping the girl up.
"We have to stop her." She told him urgently as she wiped the blood on her cheek with her sleeves. She ran again to her sister and stopped before the barrier, hitting it for all she was worth. Kikyo appeared to notice nothing and only concentrated in her magic. With a look of frustration, Kikyo stopped her magic and dropped her hands in irritation. She turned to look at her sister, who was still furiously banging on the barrier.
"Sister dear, you should know by now that you can never get through my barriers." She said, exasperated. Sesshoumaru had to silently agree, seeing as how Kagome was making no progress in getting to her sister. But he had to give the girl some respect in her persistence.
"Never-say-never." Kagome stated as she paused in her banging. "You are defiling mother's grave, you don't even belong here!"
"Ah, I'm afraid you're wrong, sister dear. Mother left you something very special, something that I believe I am more qualified to have than a half breed like you. But it appears that mother has put another obstacle in my way of getting it." Kikyo disappeared from where she was only to appear right in front of Sesshoumaru, her hand poised right by the artery in his neck. He felt her clawed hands gently stroking his neck and he gave a look of disgust down at Kikyo. "Which is why I am asking you to get it for me, or else I'll tear this human's throat out before your very eyes. Now, just walk over to mother's statue and get the sword inside."
Kagome's eyes glittered in fury and Sesshoumaru could see that she was on the edge of losing control, but she stiffly walked over to the statue.
"I don't know how to get it out." She said gruffly.
Kikyo rolled her eyes. "Reach your hand in, grab the sword, and pull it out."
Sesshoumaru looked over to see Kagome placing her hand on the statue, a look of sorrow passing through her eyes as she pushed her body weight into the statue. Her hand slipped through the stone and suddenly, he could see the sword that Kikyo was talking about. It was an aged katana that gave warning to an even rustier looking sword inside the beaten scabbard.
"Well well well, so that's what the scrolls spoke of." Kikyo whispered to herself as Kagome walked over to them with a furious scowl on her face. She handed the sword to her sister.
"Now let him go." She demanded.
Kikyo shoved him into Kagome and snatched the sword from the hanyou's hands but gave a screech as the weapon came in contact with her skin. Lightning bolts of incredibly potent magic sprang from the sword to Kikyo, making her drop the weapon to the ground. Kikyo's face grew whiter and whiter in rage and her eyes bled into a dangerous crimson. She let out a piercing howl towards the sky and her white magic began to surround her, forming a vortex that grew larger and larger. Kagome grabbed his hand and the sword and began to run back into the forest. He didn't ask any questions and just let the girl pull him back towards the door. The earth was rumbling with Kikyo's anger and trees were becoming uprooted, crashing around them. The two spotted the door and sprinted toward it, slipping through and slamming it shut. Sesshoumaru waited until he had his breath back to finally speak.
"Is she always like that?" He asked her.
"Yes, always." She said as she looked down at the sword in her hand. She pulled the blade out to show a blunt edged sword with stains of rust everywhere on the dull metal.
"It doesn't look as impressive as Kikyo made it out to be." He commented as he slipped off her kimono. He threw it at her and she caught it with one hand.
"Well, if she says it's special, then I'm keeping it, since she can't touch it anyways." Kagome said as the two began walking back to the portal. She looked down at her dirtied white clothes and gave a sigh. She tucked the sword through the sash that held her pants up and pulled on the kimono, the obi long forgotten. "Let's go back before she snaps out of her temper."
Sesshoumaru gave a nod and was about to jump through when Kagome grabbed his hand. She gave a smile and pulled him into the portal with her, her grip never faltering for a second.
Her blue eyes were narrowed in impatience and her lips were in a pout. She crossed her arms to emphasize her displeasure but nothing could budge him from what he was going to do. She began to pace back and forth in front of the well, her sword bumping against her leg.
"Do you have to?" She implored desperately. "We have no time to waste in searching for the Shikon shards that YOU broke!"
"I didn't break them, that frog youkai did. And I need to check on my sister." He said sternly. He matched her scowl with a look of coolness. He didn't wait for her answer and jumped down the well, hoping that it would take him back to his time. That same light of magic surrounded him and when he softly landed, he looked up to see the frantic faces of Rin and Jaken.
"Sesshoumaru-sama!!!" They both cried out.
"I'm home." He said, unsure of himself.
They released a rope ladder for him to climb up and Rin threw herself into his arms while Jaken threw himself at his feet. A warm bath, a hot modern meal, and his usual clothing of black pants and a black turtleneck had him feeling like he had never left. But that unwanted sense of responsibility was still there whenever he saw the color blue inside his house. He had silenced Jaken and Rin's endless stream of questions with a strict answer of that they would never understand and they hadn't asked a question since. Sounds of passing cars and the eternal glow of streetlights kept him up all night and it was only when dawn came that he was finally able to relax, seeing that the picture of the rising sun was the same as the sunrises in the past.
His eyes somehow looked over to the well house and he half expected Kagome to saunter through the doors with that look of annoyance she always had. Gods, who would have thought that cracking the Shikon would give him a burden of responsibility. He shook himself out of a very un-Sesshoumaru like daze and gathered his things to go to college, anxious to make up all his missed classes. But the thought of the past persisted even when he was catching up on work. And it continued to persist through lunch and dinner. He was leaning back on his chair when Rin unexpectedly hugged his arm. She looked up at him with worried eyes.
"Sesshoumaru-sama looks like he has unfinished work to do. Rin thinks he should do whatever it is he needs to do and then look happy again, neh?" She said with the innocent nature of a child. He patted her head and nodded at her, watching her face melt into happiness. He pulled out an old backpack and began throwing things he would need in the past. After looking in the kitchen for a second, he added a few bags of Rin's favorite snacks. He had almost considered wearing his own clothes but then wore the clothes Inuyasha had given him instead. He was just finishing his instructions and threats to Jaken when the shoji door slammed open. Kagome stood in the doorway with her trademark look of annoyance.
"Two days! I gave you two days Sesshoumaru." She said.
"Hold your tongue, you rude girl!" Jaken scolded her, waving his wooden cane at her. "You do not talk to Sesshoumaru-sama this way! And what are you doing intruding in our house?"
"Jaken." He said and Jaken backed down and left the room, grumbling to himself.
"Let's go." Kagome said and he nodded, hoisting his backpack When they were back through the well, Kagome's look of annoyance left her face. "I don't like your time very much. There's too many bad smells."
"We call it pollution." He said flatly as she led him back toward the village. The villagers stopped and stared again, some of them even praying to the gods. Inuyasha was talking to a group of men and he gave a nod of his head to Sesshoumaru. To Kagome, he gave a strange look and went back to talking to the men. Sesshoumaru looked at the hanyou's face to see her expression. She had stopped her walking for a second, gazing at the silver haired miko with a look torn between sadness and regret. Then the look was wiped off her face and her walking grew faster. He didn't say anything, only wondering what had really happened between the two that had resulted in such remorse and grief.
They had been walking on the lone road for several days, coming across only harmless youkai that looked at the two in curiosity. They were resting on a large boulder when a clumsy young man with a white monkey on his shoulder walked by. The two silently watched as the man carelessly walk off a small cliff. He fell with a large cloud of dust and was sprawled underneath a small cliff when the two travelers looked to see if he was alright. His clothes were dusty and his hat was tipped over to hide his face. He looked up and gave a carefree grin while pulling himself up, his monkey hopping back onto his shoulder.
"Hello fellow travelers, it's good to see other people on the road, especially towards danger." He said happily while brushing the dirt off his clothes. "Might you happen to have victuals on you?" He asked hopefully.
Kagome nudged Sesshoumaru and he rummaged through his backpack, throwing a small bag of chips to the man with a sigh. The man and the monkey devoured the chips like ravenous animals. When he finished licking the insides of the bag he daintily wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his shirt.
"Wonderful tasting food, is it foreign? I've never had anything like that in my life. Oh, forgive my manners, I never introduced myself, I am Nobunaga."
Sesshoumaru felt his mouth fall in complete astonishment. THE Nobunaga? One of the most famous figures in Japanese history?
"Nobunaga Omari." The man said proudly and then pointed to the white monkey. "And this is my monkey."
Sesshoumaru promptly closed his mouth, glad he hadn't made a fool of himself and asked Nobunaga of his tactics in battle.
"What do you mean by danger?" Kagome asked curiously.
"Ah-um," He stammered. "There has been reports of a lord who orders all the maidens of a village to his castle, but the maidens are never seen again. Some whisper of possession and youkai work."
"We'll accompany you." Kagome said quickly.
"The more the merrier!" Nobunaga exclaimed and stood up to lead the way.
"Nobunaga-"Kagome called out to warn him but it was too late as he fell off the same cliff he had fallen from earlier.
"Idiot." Sesshoumaru muttered as Nobunaga uttered apologies for his clumsiness.
After much apologizing, the man finally led them to the village half a day's walk away. A gloomy atmosphere pervaded the village and mothers kept walking out of their houses and looking at the far off castle in worry. Upon asking, several men pointed fingers toward the castle and gave a shudder when the travelers began to anxiously walk towards the castle. When the three reached the gates, only silence greeted them. Kagome's face grew grave as her ears swiveled to listen for any signs of life while her nose sniffed around.
"It smells of death there." She said. "Be careful when we go in."
"But the gates are locked." Nobunaga said as he pushed at the sturdy gates. Kagome pushed him aside and gave a hard kick at the doors. The wood split apart with a crack and she pulled off the logs to create a big enough opening for the three of them.
"I'm not a hanyou for nothing." She remarked.
"Oh! You're a youkai!" Nobunaga exclaimed as he stumbled through the opening.
"Ssh." She said as they came upon a very empty and quiet courtyard. There were no signs of life as they strayed further in, entering the castle. The whole place made the hairs on the back of Sesshoumaru's neck rise in danger and he kept his senses alert for anything. They warily checked behind every door but found nobody in them. They were getting deeper into the castle when they same upon a bare room with an old woman laying still. Kagome sniffed the air and nodded her head, there was nothing dangerous about this woman. They crept closer when Nobunaga gave a cry and ran to the woman, grasping her hand with tears in his eyes.
"My princess!" He cried out. "I've finally found you! But you've grown so old!" He bawled.
Kagome pointed off to the side. "Isn't that your princess?" She pointed to a youthful woman sleeping on a futon. Nobunaga dropped the sleeping old woman with a thud and rushed to his princess with renewed tears in his eyes.
"But she's sleeping!" He said in dismay.
"I'll wake her up!" A familiar tiny voice called out. Myouga jumped to the princess's neck and began sucking on her blood.
"Nobunaga?" The princess whispered as she slapped her neck and sat up. "What are you doing here?"
"Myouga, back from running away?" Kagome asked flatly.
"Oh, Princess Tsuyu, I heard of the lord's demand for maidens and their disappearances so I grew worried of your presence here." Nobunaga said.
"I admit, my lord has been acting odd lately. He always wears bandages but when I ask if I could heal him he denies me immediately. I think he is very ill and needs your help, for he won't take mine!" Princess Tsuyu begged.
"A-anything for the Princess Tsuyu." Nobunaga declared bravely and he quickly stood up. "Come, comrades, we must aid the lord."
As of on cue, the lord appeared, swathed in bandages as the princess had said. But he had a strangely irregular shaped head and body. Kagome whipped out the sword on her back and faced the lord.
"There's something very wrong about the lord of the castle." Kagome remarked as the lord attacked her with a roar. She fended off his blows with her sword but the rusty katana was doing nothing to help her other than block. With a war cry, the lord blew out a stream of poisonous gas and Kagome fell to the floor just as the poison flew over her head. With a war cry of her own, Kagome sliced the lord's bandages off, revealing a horrible frog face. The princess gave a gasp and fainted into Nobunaga's arms.
"I knew it, a possession by a youkai." Kagome said with a knowing grin. "Sesshoumaru, do you see any shards on him?"
Sesshoumaru concentrated his sight on the possessed lord to see a familiar purple glimmer. "It's on his forehead."
"That's all I need." Kagome said as she rushed to the lord as he heaved another breath for poisoned. The frog youkai knocked her aside with one hand, making her crash through a wall., and knocked Nobunaga aside to take the princess and run away. "Stupid coward." Kagome sputtered as she struggled to stand up. She tightened her hold on Tetsusaiga and ran after the youkai. "Come back, you idiot!"
Sesshoumaru stayed behind to look after Nobunaga, who had a long slash down his leg from the youkai. The man looked glumly down at his injury.
"Please, go help Kagome-san save the princess. I'll come when I can, right now, the princess's safety means more to me. Please go." Nobunaga said as he tore his shirt into bandage strips. Sesshoumaru took off in a light run, hoping he was going the right direction. He heard crashes in the near distance and followed the sound. The room was silent when he walked in and he took a step back in surprise. The large room was filled with frog eggs holding all the missing maidens from the village. And the newest one held the princess Tsuyu. The frog youkai was on the ground with several large bumps on his head and a gash on his shoulder.
"Hahaha, you think these injuries can stop me, you puny hanyou?" The frog said. "Come to me souls!!!" He called out and glowing lights from several eggs flew down and into the frog's body, healing every injury to perfection.
"Cheater." She spat out as she raised her sword once more.
"No, this is cheating." The frog said as he let out another stream of poison, this time towards Sesshoumaru, and behind him, a limping Nobunaga.
"No!" Kagome yelled as she rushed towards the two. She waved her sword down on the stream and was stunned to see not her rusty old sword but an immense blade that gleamed with a precise beauty. "W-wow."
"That's Tetsusaiga, the sword that can cut down a hundred youkai with one swing." Myouga commented on Sesshoumaru's shoulder. "It is the inheritance your mother gave you."
"How come it wasn't like this before?" Kagome asked as she jumped away from the frog's quick arms.
"The Tetsusaiga's true powers emerge when the holder is protecting someone. You weren't protecting back then, you were just swinging the sword around like a fool." Myouga stated.
"And you could have told me this when?" Kagome said as she dodged another blow. She ran out into the hallway, hoping to get the frog away from his source of energy. Meanwhile, Nobunaga used a small dagger to cut open the egg sac that held Princess Tsuyu.
"Tsuyu-hime." Nobunaga looked at her with glittering eyes, anticipating what was coming next.
"Nobunaga...thank you for saving me." She said. "Please help my lord!"
Nobunaga dropped his head in disappointment, his forehead displaying a sweatdrop.
"Oy! Is there some easy way to get rid of this youkai without hurting the lord?!" Kagome called out from the hallway.
"Fire works well." Myouga said.
"Fire...fire." Sesshoumaru delved through his bag and took out a bottle of fine wine. He had hoped to save this for a time when Kagome's antics was too much for him, but now would have to do. He took out a lighter and the wine and ran out into the hall. Kagome was in the air, reading to slice the frog in half, in addition to the lord.
He quickly filled his mouth with wine, clicked on the lighter, and let loose a spray of alcohol, creating an enormous flame. The frog youkai cried out and released it's hold on the lord.
"Finish it off." Sesshoumaru told Kagome, who sliced the floating youkai in half with her sword. The youkai disappeared with a yowl and a tiny shard of Shikon dropped to the ground. He picked it up and dropped it into the small plastic bottle he had bought in his time. Princess Tsuyu appeared out of the room with Nobunaga right behind.
"My lord!" She said as she dashed to the man on the ground. Nobunaga gave a weak grin at the couple and shrugged his shoulders.
"You don't think he was in love with the princess, do you?" Kagome whispered to Sesshoumaru.
"Idiot." He muttered.
Author's Note: Eeee, don't be mad, I swear I have good reasons as to why I haven't updated in checks calendar wow, months? Has it really been that long? Oops....
Fire Kitsune Goddess: Yay! I wanted this plot to be really unique, since I haven't read any stories in which the roles are reversed. And no worries, this will be a sess/kag
Neko-chan n Inu-sama: eh, considering how late this update is, I'm guessing you'll be torturing me till beyond the end of time?
Shampoo ul copt: I think I left a note in the first chapter in that mikos in this story are male and have very long lifespans. I'm glad to hear so many people are telling me this is story is different! Thanks guys!