Chapter 4: It Hurts

The castle's greeting hall was beyond anything Meaganu had ever seen. The gold embroidered in the marble columns, the cathedral ceiling painted with unmatched skill and beauty, and the stone floor that was smooth as the Lord's silks made her pause and hitch in breath.

            "Oh." Was all she could muster as she followed the demon lord, their footfalls echoing softly. Her thoughts had been pulled out of the past and she was relieved. It seemed that every day something was dredged up from her subconscious that hurled her into those bygone times.

            Inuyasha, Kagome, Sango, and Miroku had been lead through a different archway; she supposed to the place that they had a healer. The archway she passed under was over ten foot tall, with detailed engravings cut into the stone. In contrast to the wonderfully sophisticated surroundings, the air held a scent of nature; something feral and untamed, that was somehow… free. It was a scent she was used to; she herself carried it with her.

            The inu-youkai was looking at her expectantly; she must have missed something.

            "What? What did you say?"

            Sesshoumaru sighed slightly. "Dinner will be in an hour. You will be seen to a room." Before she could protest, he turned and briskly left the room.

            Meaganu was once again utterly dazed.

Where was he going? He's treating me like a guest or something. A room?

She was left in the middle of the cavernous area, feeling as if she could be swallowed any minute. The room seemed to loom around her, too silent and too motionless. A beast holding its breath. From one of the innumerable doorways  a squat servant scurried out and bowed clumsily before her. It was an odd looking creature; large boggling eyes, a snout like that of a pig, and large paws. A little creepy.

"My name is Ogath. Follow." It turned and hurried, leaving her to follow in its stead. She didn't know whether to laugh or yell at the thing.

After what seemed like thousands of winding halls, elaborate staircases, and treacherous-looking weapons strung up on the wall, Ogath arrived at a doorway at the end of a hallway. He pushed the door open and bowed clumsily again, his goggling eyes never leaving her face.

"Dinner soon. You come." His gait was surprisingly fast as he left her to the room. She walked in and stood in the middle of the room, turning to get a full look. The guest room's windows were immense and covered with deep burgundy velvet drapes. The rugs beneath her were incredibly soft and laced with the patterns of dragons in emerald green and gold. But by far the most impressive thing in the room was the bed. It's curtain was held with golden tassels, the curtains themselves made of a heavy fabric that was smooth to the touch. The sheets were satin and matched the carpet; emerald green laced with gold and crimson. Meaganu allowed herself to fall gently to the bed, and the smoothness enveloped her. She curled up and smiled, then remembered that this was not hers. She was here on a mission; this stuff was the pompous brat's and she did not want to even touch it. But she couldn't help herself. It was so soft… Like his hair. Her mind left her alone on the rich sheets.

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She had to start walking. She had to stop it. The condor demon was closing in on the small hut where the one thing that was precious to her lived and breathed. But for how long…

Meaganu's legs felt like water and every breath she pulled in sent pain like cut glass through her ribs, but she kept walking. The practice stick was her only weapon and she picked it up off the ground. The demon had entered the hut, ripping out the molding over the door. A scream. A sound like ripping cloth. A splatter. Meaganu quickened her pace.

She entered the hut and stopped short; Danichel's mother's leg lay in the doorway. Meaganu turned her eyes away from it, a wave of nausea rocked her as she continued through the room. Danichel's parents were some of the better off people in the village; their hut had several rooms and the floors had rugs. The rugs were soggy and made sloshing noises under her bare feet. She shuddered.

The condor had Danichel. His face was turning a violent shade of red as Meaganu fought her way into the room over her disgust. He was raised five feet off the ground and his legs had ceased to kick. She took the rod in her hands and heaved a blow onto the beast's hands. Amazing, it let go, sending the blonde boy crashing to the ground with a thud that pained her. It turned back to the fallen boy and its eyes shown with a deadly glean. Before Meaganu could deliver another attack, the condor demon shoved her against a wall, making her teeth chatter and her chest cry out in screams of pain. It turned to the fallen boy and smiled; as it watched the wounded warrior it sent a claw through Danichel's stomach. Meaganu screamed.

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Hot tears of rage and hurt fell down Meaganu's cheeks and soaked the expensive silk sheets. Her body shook slightly, and she clutched fistfuls of the fabric. She didn't want to remember. She wanted to stop this nightmare before it could finish. But the pain wasn't over yet.

                                              ~*~

Finding strength she didn't know she had, Meaganu rose to her feet. Her steps were slow and uneven; she pitched back and forth like a sailor lack in sea legs, but she finally made it to the condor's back. She crouched down, ready to spring.

"You bastard. I will rip you apart for what you've done. You do not deserve to live. Die." With these words dripping hate, she launched herself onto its back and clutched its massive neck in her slender hands. With a wild scream that housed every emotion from love to remorse to hate that only resided in the cracks of hell, Meaganu broke the beast's neck with a satisfying crack.

It slowly fell to the floor; Meaganu balanced on it's broad, and now utterly dead, back. With chest heaving and hands shaking, she remembered him.

"Oh Danichel." She dropped to his side and placed a feeble hand over the fountain that gushed from his stomach. His eyes were open and alert, but they were frightened. He was trying to speak.

"Me…Meaganu. I have… something… to tell you." She tried to hush him but her shook his head, wincing slightly at the pain.

"Please don't talk, Danichel. Save our strength. You'll need it." Her voice was calm and cool, but her eyes were full of hurt and spilling tears. He smiled gently at her words and continued.

"The forest, Meaga. It was… a lie. Do you understand? A… lie." She closed her eyes and her lips quivered. She remembered. How could she forget; he had ripped open her heart… but it wasn't true. Oh God, it wasn't true.

"My parents… made me. I didn't… want to." Danichel's eyes were slowly closing, and he lightly gripped her hand. The blood wasn't a fountain anymore; it was an ocean of crimson that ran down his legs and over her lap. She brushed a loose strand of hair away from his brow. His breaths were shuddering and wet, a tiny line of red mage it's way down his chin.

"It's okay, Dani. I forgive you. You'll have plenty of time to make it up to me…" Even as she spoke these words she knew they were untrue. He was dying… and she could not save him. He sighed, and his chest stopped moving. His exhale formed words… words that would haunt her through every tangle of brush and every tree canopy. Words that she tried to run away from and failed miserably.

"I love you, Meaganu…" His body went slack and his head fell into her lap. She tasted blood as she steadily bit her lip. Dead. Danichel was…

                                                ~ * ~

"Dead." She whispered to empty room. Strips of red, gold, and fire fell across her face as the sun fell to its knees behind the harsh mountain tops. Her whole body shook, the wound that she though had healed long ago now bleed anew. Meaganu hid her face from the world, drowning in ceaseless pain. One sole thought ran through her mind as the sun was dying.

"I couldn't save him. It was my fault and I couldn't save him…"

(End of chapter 4! I hope you got as much emotion out of it as I tried to convey. This is the fuel for many of Meaganu's actions. Please review! I have to know if my skills are worth acknowledging! PLEASE, PLEASE!