Strange New World
Chapter Four – Rin Goes Missing
By Crow Skywalker
Disclaimer – I do not own Inuyasha, or its characters. It belongs to Rumiko Takahashi, and I'm not making any money off of writing fanfiction.
Author's Notes – Wow, it's been a while since I updated this, huh? I started out writing pretty fast, then it all started to slow down. That's because this fic was moved further down my priority list ; But hey, once I get my other fic, Creatures of the Night, completed, this one's back up there! Until then though, updates may take a while. Anyway, R&R and enjoy the fic!
Other Notes – I'm going to leave the rating at PG-13 for now, just because I know there will be swearing later on in the fic. However, I may up the rating at any time, so be prepared for that. This fic will contain the pairings Sesshomaru/Kagome, and may or may not include Miroku/Sango, Inuyasha/Kikyo, or others, depending on how far I take the fic. If you don't like these pairings or characters, please, feel free to flame me and be an idiot. I will only laugh at you.
Summary –When Naraku and Kikyo join forces to take care of Sesshomaru and Inuyasha and when Rin goes missing, Sesshomaru must search out the aid of a miko to help get the girl back.
The field was empty, a lone wood and stone structure the only thing that could be seen through the fields of lush grass. As the stars glittered above a small breeze found its way into the clearing, bending the blades of grass back and forth in the darkness of the night. Very little could be seen with normal human eyesight due to the lack of moonlight, but the lone miko knew exactly where she was going as she stepped into the clearing she had known so long ago.
The Bone Eater's well, Kikyo stopped, looking at the structure off in the distance. She had spent a lot of time here in this clearing near the old well in her lifetime. When the Shikon no Tama had been her burden and she had been the protector of the village, this was where she had brought the bodies of the demons she had slayed. Any who dared challenge her abilities for the jewel had ended up in the dark depths of the well, their bodies decaying and disappearing to only God knows where. She had spent many a night here alone.
She'd also spent a lot of time there with Inuyasha, talking quietly and gazing up at the stars.
Kikyo mentally shook her head before her mind could wander further down that memory lane. She didn't want the past to be dredged up, not now while she was working with her sworn enemy to get her old lover back. Inuyasha would never approve of the thing she was about to do, and she didn't want to think about his reaction when he finally heard that she was helping Naraku. When he did find out it would be too late, but hopefully he would forgive her. She was only looking out for his best interests, after all.
Walking through the tall grass, she walked to the center of the clearing, just a few feet away from the Bone Eater's well. Shifting her bow and arrows that hung on her back, she settled them down on the ground and withdrew the old scroll that she had showed Naraku earlier. Unrolling it, she stood up straight as the writing upon it seemed to glow, appearing almost as if someone was writing it with white ink. Despite the darkness, the ink was clear and visible, shining with its own light.
Kikyo stared at it for a few minutes before her arms, which were outstretched before her as she held the scroll up, faltered and lowered as if they had a mind of their own. She closed her eyes for a minute, calming her nerves. Never in all her life had she brought harm upon another living being besides the youkai that she had killed to protect the jewel. Never had she hurt a human, even after she had been brought back from the dead. Attempted, maybe – but only because of the anger and betrayal she had felt. And now, here she was, preparing to cast some powerful magic on a human, the race she had sworn to protect.
I have to be strong, her eyes opened, holding the same emotionless look she had always worn upon her face. This was no time for backing out – she had a plan to put in motion. In order to destroy Naraku once and for all and to have her lover back in her arms, she had to do this.
No harm will come to the girl, she told herself, my reincarnation will be able to bring her back, once the time is right. This spell will be cast to distract both her and the Western Lord, and the only one who will end up dead in the end is Naraku and Inuyasha.
Her eyes narrowing in new determination, Kikyo raised her arms to look at the scroll once more. The glowing writing had stopped, though it still shone as if the old tattered paper had been set on fire. Her mind set on it, she began to read the writing on the scroll, knowing full well that the human girl was approaching the clearing following her soul bringers.
The girl appeared not long after Kikyo began to speak, following the whitish glow of the soul bringers as they floated into the clearing, their serpent like bodies moving through the air with ease. It seemed that at some point one of them had picked up a wandering soul, the glowing ball in its small legs held firmly as it made its way towards Kikyo to drop it onto her. It disappeared into her body, though she didn't lift her gaze not once. Her concentration on the task at hand could possibly mean disaster if it was destroyed now.
Rin stopped when she saw the soul bringers stop at a strange looking woman standing in a clearing. They floated around her, twirling around her body before returning to the air to stay that way, suspended just above her head. The small girl did not know what was going on, nor did she know who this woman was – but she knew she couldn't leave until she found out where Sesshomaru had gone to. Would this woman know?
"E-Excuse me.." She started in a small voice, her hand lifting into the air as she stared at the woman uncertainly. The woman did not move to acknowledge her, just continued to talk in a language that Rin did not understand. Finally, she decided that perhaps the woman had not heard her, and taking a few more steps into the clearing, she asked, "Have you seen Lord Sesshomaru?"
The woman did not answer and Rin took another daring step forward. Whoever was standing not too far away from her seemed to be in a trance like state, and although the odd language the woman was speaking frightened her, she continued her way towards the woman. She was somewhat fascinated and a bit curious – what was the woman doing, and why was she speaking another language?
Standing a few feet away from the odd looking woman dressed in white and red miko garb, Rin clasped her hands behind her back as she leaned forward, tilting her head ever so slightly. The woman uttered the last word on the scroll she seemed to be reading, her dark eyes finally lowering to look at Rin.
"Hello," Rin smiled, remembering her manners. "I'm Rin! Who're you?"
The scroll snapped together as the woman let go of it, letting it fall down to the ground. The spell was done, now all she had to do was –
"They call me Kikyo," She leaned down so that she was eye to eye with Rin and then she forced a smile.
Rin grinned – this lady seemed pleasant enough! The grin faded, however, as she glanced around her surroundings and suddenly the fear was back in her eyes. "Rin's sorry for disturbing you Miss Kikyo, but Rin seems to be lost!"
Blinking, Kikyo stared at the girl before a real smile came to her lips. No, it seems like you've come to the right place.
"I was looking for my guardian," the girl continued, "Sesshomaru, and I followed those," she pointed upwards to Kikyo's soul stealers, "to this clearing."
"Ah, so that explains why a young lady such as yourself is out wandering at this hour!" Kikyo played with it, putting a hand on the young girl's shoulder. "Don't worry, I know the way back."
Rin giggled – nobody had ever called her a lady before! Usually Jaken called her silly names that Sesshomaru refused to tell her the meaning of, and the youkai lord himself had only ever called her by her name. "Really?" she smiled brightly, taking the woman's hand, much to Kikyo's surprise. She felt another pang of guilt in her heart, but chose to ignore it.
She nodded. "Yes." She gripped the girl's small hand in her own, standing up, "But let me ask you something, have you ever gone on an adventure?"
At this, the girl perked up and almost jumped excitedly. "Oh yes! Rin goes on adventures all the time! Jaken usually comes with me!"
"Have you ever been on an adventure by yourself, Rin?"
The girl tilted her head, looking up at the miko in the darkness. "Jaken never lets me do anything by myself," she looked down "And before Rin met Sesshomaru Rin did not have time to go on adventures. Rin was alone."
Another tug at the miko's heart that went ignored. Kikyo looked over the young girl's shoulder, seeing the spell start to form and take place. Behind Rin a bluish light was starting to swirl through the darkness. Soon, it would be time to do what she had come here to do.
"I'm sure Rin will have lots of adventures in the future," Kikyo looked down at the girl as she put a hand on either of her shoulders. The young girl seemed to brighten, a small smile making its way across her lips.
"Will Sesshomaru accompany Rin on her adventure?" Behind her, the swirls were growing larger. The portal that Kikyo had summoned using the scroll was opening.
Kikyo once again looked at the girl, a sad smile upon her face. "Where you're going Sesshomaru will not be able to follow."
With one soft push from the miko, Rin stumbled backwards into the blue glow that consumed her.
He moved silently, almost like a panther on the prowl as he made his way through the trees of the dark forest. His head was raised high, ears and nose trained on his surroundings as he followed the familiar scent of the wind youkai. Above him, even the stars could not filter in through the trees, and he was forced to rely heavily on his sharp eyesight as he made his way towards what seemed to be a clearing, the sound of water off in the distance. Stopping just before the forest ended, he could see her standing on the edge of a cliff, waiting for him.
Dressed in her usual garb, Naraku's minion was standing half towards him, half facing away. She appeared to be looking at something down the side of the cliff, possibly the ocean below, if Sesshomaru's nose served him right. The salty smell in the air was mingling with the stench of Naraku, but it was still easy to detect. Quietly, Sesshomaru came forward, finally alerting Kagura that he was there.
She turned fully towards him, fan in one hand as she slowly fanned her face. "I thought you'd never show. For a taiyoukai, you're quite slow."
Sesshomaru said nothing, his face frozen in its usual mask of unfriendliness and uncaring. Finally, he asked, "What are you doing here, Kagura?"
The wind youkai lowered her fan to her side before turning and then waving a hand at the ocean. "Nothing much, it's just a pretty sight at night, don't you think?"
Again there was silence, and Sesshomaru was growing irritated. Why had the woman youkai allowed her scent to reach his nose if she had not wanted to be found, had no words for him except for silly things such as this? He turned to leave – he had better things to do than to waste time with one of Naraku's minions.
Glancing over her shoulder, Kagura frowned as she saw the taiyoukai turn his back to her. If she didn't say anything to catch his interest soon, he would leave the small clearing and disappear back into the night. The plan would most likely be ruined and Naraku would be very upset with her – she had to stall! "Naraku's been gaining power lately. He's managed to get two more jewel shards."
The Western Lord stopped but did not turn towards her right away. Finally, he turned his head to look at her. "Does Naraku know you're out here, giving away his secrets?"
Kagura laughed, walking towards the youkai. "Of course not, though he will probably find out." She smiled bitterly, "Naraku knows where I am at all times; he always has his little bugs out watching me, watching to see if I will disobey or desert him."
"He has a right to," Sesshomaru turned towards her, knowing better than to keep his back open for attack. Though she could be tolerable at times, Kagura was working for Naraku, which made her Sesshomaru's enemy. "Anyone who would wish death upon their master and would want to betray him should be watched carefully. Naraku is smart to keep watch on you."
The wind youkai frowned, her lips curving into a sneer. She had once come to the taiyoukai in hopes that he would kill Naraku for her and set her free, and he had declined. Now he was throwing that fact in her face. "You don't know what it's like to be controlled like this, to have your heart in someone else's grasp."
"Then maybe death is the key to your escape." Sesshomaru answered her.
Kagura's eyes blazed a sharp red, visible even in the dark of the night. "I will not give in to death! One day, when Naraku is defeated, I will be able to do and live as I wish once again! It's only a matter of time now."
"Are you still hoping that my idiot brother will defeat Naraku?" The taiyoukai questioned almost in amusement.
"He is my only hope." Kagura's hands, clenched into fists, twisted in her clothes at her side. She hated to admit it, but she did hope one day that the silver haired hanyou would finally defeat her master. He was her last chance, though by doing Naraku's bidding she was doing everything she could to stop him.
Sesshomaru made an amused sound much like a laugh. "Relying on a stupid hanyou to do the job," he shook his head slightly, "If I were you, death would be my chosen option. Never would I sink so low to rely on filth such as my brother."
Kagura's eyes narrowed, glaring at the male youkai. "I have to take what help I can get. It doesn't seem like anyone else is willing to help. Soon Naraku will have all of the shards and it's only a matter of time before he destroys everything around him, including your precious Western Lands."
"Only when it involves me will I step into Naraku's path," Sesshomaru stated. "Nobody touches what's mine, no matter what it is."
The wind youkai raised her fan to cover her smirk. "Is that so?"
Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow, giving the female youkai a strange look. There was something odd about what she had just said and the smirk that she was covering. Could it be that she knew something that he did not? Now that he thought about it, there was something really odd about all of this. Here he was, calmly standing near the edge of a cliff with Naraku's minion, having a talk with her. The only other time they had talked was when she had asked him to kill Naraku. Something was definitely wrong with all of this.
"Why are you really here?" He asked after a moment. Kagura suddenly looked upwards and he followed her gaze. Far above them an odd looking beast was flying. It was long and emitted some sort of glow, and even though Sesshomaru was far below it he could tell what it was. He'd seen them quite a few times in the past.
Kagura turned her gaze back to him, her fan dropping to reveal the smirk that was still upon her face. "I'm here on business."
Things suddenly snapped into place. Kagura wasn't one to stand around and chat, not unless she absolutely had to. Naraku had sent her here to keep him busy while the hanyou did only God knows what. Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed, studying the woman before him. She was stalling, but what for?
Kagura's grin widened as she realized the taiyoukai was catching on. She would have to make her getaway soon or he would probably slice her in half once he finally found out what was going on. With one swift motion she grabbed a feather from her hair, throwing it to the ground where it expended. Within moments she was upon it, floating safely just out of Sesshomaru's reach.
"I'd go check on your little group if I were you," she commented before she flew away.
When she glanced over her shoulder a moment later, the taiyoukai had vanished.
His figure was nothing but a white blur as he sped through the forest, going so fast that he could barely be seen. Trees went by unnoticed and he didn't even stop to rest as he continued to move, his eyes narrowed into slits as he searched with his youkai senses. When he arrived in the clearing that he had left Rin and Jaken, he was not surprised to find it empty, though Ah Uh still slept where Sesshomaru had left him earlier.
Kagura had tricked him after all – he'd fallen for the trap.
With a fierce growl, angry at himself for being so stupid when he should have caught on a lot quicker, Sesshomaru stopped momentarily to get a good look and smell of his surroundings. Perhaps nothing had happened to them at all, and Rin had just wandered off like she usually did? No. The small clearing with the dieing fire smelled oddly of death, despite there not being anyone around.
Lifting his face ever so slightly, Sesshomaru tried to catch the scent of Rin or at least Jaken. He found their trail within minutes, heading off into the darkness of the forest. He followed it with less speed than before, careful to keep his eyes trained on his surroundings in case of danger. For some reason Rin and Jaken's scent was mixed with the smell of death and clay and this worried him.
"Jaken," he stopped after a few minutes of searching, finding the old toad like youkai fallen against a tree. The old youkai squawked when he heard Sesshomaru's voice, jumping to his tiny legs and grabbing hold of his staff. Sesshomaru looked around to find no sign of the girl. "Where is Rin?"
Jaken suddenly looked very nervous, looking down and fiddling with his robes. "She ran off, Lord Sesshomaru!"
Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed at the smaller youkai. "And you did not follow after her?"
"She was running fast! I could not catch up!"
"Where was she headed?" Sesshomaru made to step past him.
"She was…she was following the undead miko's soul stealers," Jaken said quietly. He pointed north, "They went that way, I'm sure Rin –" He didn't finish because Sesshomaru was gone, off in the direction that Rin had run off to. Jaken blinked, shifting his staff before running after his master. Hopefully the girl would be alright now that Sesshomaru was here, and he would not get too much scolding for leaving her.
By the time Sesshomaru reached a familiar clearing just beyond Inuyasha's forest, which smelled oddly of his half brother and the hanyou's woman and friends, he found that there was nothing there but the scent of death and an odd feeling of leftover magic. The undead miko and soul snatchers explained the dead and earthy smell, but it didn't explain the leftover traces of magic.
Following Rin's scent, he saw that it stopped just a few feet away from an odd looking well. Slightly confused, he used his senses to try to find out where Rin had gone after that, but found no trace of her. The grass below him smelt of Rin and the miko but Rin's scent ended there and the traces of magic started only a few feet away.
Standing still, he closed his eyes as he tried to push his senses further. He could smell nothing but Rin, the miko, and magic. There was no sound except the breeze blowing through the blades of grass, and even when the breeze blew harsher making his hair whip around his face, he did not open his eyes. He knew that the wind was Kagura's trademark, and he could feel her presence behind him.
"Where is she?" He asked, his voice cold yet still calm. He would never show how concerned he was over the fact that Rin was missing. She was only a human girl, after all, and he was a powerful emotionless inuyoukai. He would not let Kagura know how the disappearance of Rin effected him, and he silently cursed himself for over reacting even now. He shouldn't have even cared that Rin was gone – she was of no use to him.
His eyes opened, amber melting into a fierce red in his anger. But she's under my care…I took her in, and she's my responsibility, he told himself. He had a right to be angry! Something of his had been stolen – again!
"She's gone." Kagura stated simply, and even with her youkai reflexes she could not stop what happened next. Faster than a blink of an eye the taiyoukai swung around, grabbing her by the neck and pulling her close she that she was forced to stare at his angry red eyes. She struggled against him, choking when his fingers dug into her throat, his claws piecing her skin.
"Gone where?" He questioned, almost a snarl.
Kagura coughed again, her fingers prying at the ones around her neck. "I don't know!" she replied truthfully, "I'm only following orders!"
"You must know something!" His grip tightened again, a sign that he was willing to kill her if she did not answer. Kagura gasped in fright as she felt blood dripping down her neck and struggled harder.
"All I know is that Kikyo came to Naraku with some sort of plan!" She gasped again, though this time from lack of air, "I was told…to tell you…that in order to get Rin back….you need to…seek out…a miko…"
Sesshomaru glared at her for a moment longer before letting go of the wind youkai. She stumbled backwards, almost falling in her haste to put some distance between them.
"A miko?" The redness of his eyes seemed to fade, "What could a miko do to help Rin?"
"Only a powerful living miko can bring the girl back," Kagura answered, her hands soothing her throat as she glared at the taiyoukai. She stressed the word 'living' to get her point across, hoping that the taiyoukai would catch on to it, just in case he decided to seek Kikyo out. Kikyo would be of no help now, and he had to know that there was only one other option.
Sesshomaru looked at her, his fingers arching at his sides. Kagura had told him all that she knew, and now it was time for revenge. "You are of no more use to me now, wind youkai," he stepped forward.
Kagura sensed what he was about to do and before his poisonous claws could reach her, she was floating away on her feather, looking down at him with a smirk. He didn't move to go after her, but she knew that she was now on his bad side. They'd been civil in the past, but now that small truce was gone. She'd betrayed him, taken away something that was his, and now he would hunt her down until she paid for it.
Sesshomaru watched her go, sensing Jaken making his way across the field towards him. He had a choice now. He could continue to search for Rin on his own, though he had no idea where she might be, or he could search out some help and answers. But first…
"Come, Jaken," he started to walk away.
The small toad youkai struggled to keep up. Ah Un, who had been awoken by Jaken, was following after him. "Where are we going?"
"We're going to visit Naraku."
To Be Continued…