Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha or the characters.
Thanks to my beta dog-demon-emiko
The Dark Light
Chapter 21: Dance with the Devil
There was so much blood...too much blood. The strong coppery scent invaded the air, suffocating her. She could hear people screaming for help, but she could not see them. Sapphire blue eyes looked frantically around. Everywhere she saw there was darkness, pure and unadulterated darkness and unlike other times, this time the darkness was overwhelming and frightening.
The feeling she got was almost as if there was something hiding in that endless sea of black that wished to trap her, to ensnare her. She took a deep breath while she tried to control herself. Taking a step forward, she did her best to ignore the cries and the metallic scent of blood, even when her body and soul protested against it.
She couldn't stop herself from wishing that Sesshoumaru was there. She knew that he would protect her. A part of her protested against the fact that she needed someone to protect her. Kagome had always considered herself a strong person, with strength and iron will, but right now she felt her control and courage dwindling.
The fear was too potent, too strong and it was slowly eating her from within. She took another step forward, but she once again felt the same feeling of dread take hold of her. Biting her lower lip, she ignored everything else and took another step forward.
However a scream tore from her lips as the ground gave way under her and she fell forward. She felt her body hit some kind of liquid and she went under. Hands instinctively got slapped on her mouth, while she tried not to breathe, but it was starting to get difficult. Just when she thought she would suffocate, she fell out of the liquid, hitting hard ground or it felt like it. Gasping for breath, she was shocked at the taste of blood on her lips.
"What's going on?" Her whole body was covered by the liquid and by now she knew that it was blood...human blood.
It became hard to breath. She was covered in blood. Her mind was racing and her breath was coming in short pants. The feeling of panic was wrapping around her, chocking her and leaving her shaking. It was only getting worse by the second, as unknown feelings seemed to invade her.
She wrapped her arms around herself and closed her eyes trying to block everything out, but the emotions around her only increased.
Anger, fear, pain, helplessness, sorrow...she could feel them...she could taste them...she could not bear them.
Those raw sentiments cut through her like sharp glass, making her bleed and cry in despair. Kagome could feel her heart hammering in her throat, but the fear, which was the cause of it, wasn't her own.
She felt trapped and bound, her youkai instincts were scratching at the surface and wanting nothing more than to flee, while the angelic part of her shed tears of blood for the people and victims that she could not see, but could feel.
Those same lost and anguished souls wrapped around her own, desiring comfort from her. She wished to obey to their wishes, but she couldn't...not as long as their pain and anguished were ensnaring her and choking her.
Covering her ears, with her eyes still closed, she fell to her knees. She wanted to block everything out, but she wasn't able to. The emotions were in her blood...in her soul. Waves after waves of raw emotions hit her, almost knocking the breath out of her.
There was so much pain...so much agony.
So much dead. Too much dead.
"Stop...please," she whimpered, body shaking with uncontrolled strain.
It was becoming too much to stand. Tears were streaming from her closed eyes by now, but unlike other tears, these were blood tears. Tears of sorrow, tears of agony, tears of helplessness.
She could not...stand this. The screams were increasing in volume now.
"Stop it!!" she screamed.
However all of the sudden maniacally laughter echoed through all the pain and sorrow. The sound increasing in volume while ghostly fingers reached for her, wrapping around her arms and legs, sharp claws digging into her flesh.
Sapphire eyes snapped open, but all she saw was darkness, still she could feel those diabolical hands on her. Touching her, marking her, tainting her. A vile feeling rose in her throat, the urge to vomit proving almost too much.
Impure...too impure..., her mind and body screamed at her as she felt hot breath on her neck and hands running along her legs and back. Everywhere they touched her, it felt like a scorching patch was left on her skin.
A gasp left her lips as a pair of hands wrapped around her neck, claws digging into the soft flesh and making it difficult for her to breathe as the hold on her swan like neck tightened.
Fear like she had never felt before wrapped around her. Only this time it was her own.
Where is it, we can sense it...the taint...?
Disembodied voices kept whispering around her.
A painful cry left her lips, there was something digging in her chest and she could feel something now wrapping around her heart. Sapphire eyes grew wide, the pain becoming too unbearable.
The taint...the taint...
She couldn't stop herself anymore and she screamed.
It felt strange eating with the dark hanyou. It wasn't that the food was foul tasting or that he did anything, on the contrary, the food tasted exquisite and Naraku had treated like the most gracious of host. She didn't really have anything to complain...that was precisely what worried and bothered her.
It felt almost like a she was dancing with the devil himself. He knew exactly what steps to take and she was left to follow like a naive little pup. Taking a sip from the cup of tea she couldn't help, but let her gaze wonder to the enigmatic spider hanyou, who was drinking some sake.
The butterfly youkai watched almost mesmerized as those sinful lips touched the small white ceramic cup. Her eyes lowered to his pale throat and she watched in rapt attention the way his Adam's apple moved as he swallowed the hot liquid. For a moment, she could almost see herself running her lips along that deliciously long neck, but she quickly pushed the thought away and instead focused on the food in front of her.
"I've decided to surprise Sesshoumaru and the group." Naraku's voice broke through her thoughts, causing her to gaze at him.
His eyes held a certain glint that made her internally shudder. Whatever he was planning would really be bad for Sesshoumaru and the group.
"What are you planning?" she asked softly, an eyebrow raised at him.
He only smiled indulgently at her, his crimson eyes holding her amethyst ones. She refused to look away, even when she felt like she was drowning in those crimson pools. There was just something about the spider that both allured her and made her suspicious of him. The feeling was unnerving, causing the hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end.
Her earlier thought about dancing with the devil once again passed through her mind. It was like Naraku was weaving some sort of web around her and she was slowly being ensnared by it and yet...she wasn't protesting. Focusing on him once again, she tried to follow whatever he was saying.
"I've decided to let some of the condemned beasts have some fun."
The smirk on his lips was tantalizing to say the least and once again she felt the same feeling of mesmerism come over her. Mentally shaking her head, she tried to clear her fuzzy mind. Nevertheless she noticed disturbingly that it was becoming harder and harder to keep a coherent mind when she was around Naraku. Taking hold of herself she concentrated on what she wanted to ask. The task for some reason was proving rather hard, but she quickly pushed the bothersome thought aside.
"Condemned Beasts?" she asked softly, her curiosity not fake at all.
She was truly interested in whatever he was planning. Sesshoumaru wasn't at all a easy opponent and even though she hated to admit it the Dark Light was probably the Demon Lord of the West's equal, if not even more powerful. So Naraku needed some really strong and interested allies to take them down or at least make some considerably damage.
"Yes, creatures of unmentionable strength that were sealed away by the Heavens. They have so much untapped power, you wouldn't be able to believe. "
The butterfly youkai recalled the army that he had seen. Many of his so-called soldiers were creatures that she had never seen before. She didn't know what they were capable of, but she had a feeling that these beasts were something completely different and would not be easy to take down.
"What are you planning?"
She watched as he let out a tired sigh and leaned back a bit, his whole posture radiating tiredness, but she knew that he was far from being tired. This was just a show, Naraku was an actor in some way, knowing exactly how to let his enemy think that they had won, before snapping his trap into place.
"You could say that recently one of plans hasn't gone the way I would have preferred it. An associate of mine backed out of a deal." The tone in which he spoke showed slight tiredness, but she didn't miss the angry undertones. It was clear that he wasn't pleased by the betrayal, for it was betrayal in her opinion from what she deducted. She silently wondered who had dared to defy the hanyou, but she wisely kept her questions to herself, knowing very well that she didn't want to further infuriate the spider.
Until now he had been more than civil to her and she wanted to keep it that way. Instead she decided to point out the obvious.
"You sound angry."
As she waited for his opinion she picked up her cup and took a sip from her tea. For an instant she thought she saw his eyes linger on her lips, but she blamed the assumption on her muffled mind. Rough chuckle caressed her ears and she raised her face to gaze at the amused hanyou. Yet his amusement quickly died down as he focused his red gaze on her.
"I'm not, but I do know that I have to act quick. You see it has recently come to my attention that the White Light might prove to be quite a problem to me and she needs to be taken care of. She might be strong, but she lacks the spirit and the experience of the Dark Light."
His voice was now eerily calm and for a moment you could have mistaken him for talking over the weather and not taking someone's life. Still she did not miss the change in his voice when he spoke of Kagome. She had to quickly squash the burning feeling of jealousy that threatened to take over her. She didn't really understand what the males saw in that bitch. First Sesshoumaru and now Naraku. She wondered if the woman was enchanting the males.
"It seems that you've really studied them. And yet do I detect some kind of infatuation in your voice? Do you lust after the Dark Light as well?" She had sounded colder and angrier than she would have liked, but it was already too late to take it back.
She watched in curiosity as those eyes darkened in color and for a moment she wondered if maybe she had made him mad, but her assumption was proven wrong as he offered her a small smirk.
"I lust after power, my dear, and right now Kagome is power; untapped, unrestrained and unadulterated power. She just needs someone to make that power in her bloom."
She felt something freeze in her as she saw the promise in his eyes. It was clear that Naraku was a few steps ahead of everyone.
"You know more than you let on." She made sure that her voice didn't tremble, even if she was feeling slightly scared now. Who knows what he was truly planning. Knowledge was often power and it clear that Naraku knew a lot more than any of them. Therefore he was even more dangerous than they thought.
"You have no idea."
She didn't know what else to say and she knew that even if she asked him, he would probably not tell her either what he was planning or what else he knew. However one thing was for certain that the White Light was now in deep trouble.
If Naraku wanted her dead, there would be little than anyone could do to stop it.
"I'm bored," Ciro muttered yawning, his eyes slid shut, dark red lashes brushing against high cheekbones.
It had only been a few days since Sesshoumaru and his group left, and he had been bored ever since. He knew he should be leaving to his lands, but wasn't really feeling up to it. He wanted excitement, he wished for a fight, he desired to see Kagome once again.
God, that woman was addicting. One taste and he was already a slave. His body yearned for her. Even in his dreams she taunted him. There was no sweeter fruit than the forbidden one. A tongue darted out to lick his dry lips.
"You want to follow her?" It was more of a statement than a question by the way Arashi said it, but he definitely heard the eagerness in the other lord's voice.
Eyes opening, he focused his golden eyes on the fox youkai. Being the two youngest lords, it was easy for them to get along better with one another. They even seemed to think alike in certain circumstances, just like this moment.
It was quite clear that Arashi wanted to follow the group just as much as him. Of course the fox youkai didn't really give a reason for his interest, and he wasn't about to ask him either.
"Sora, will not like this,"Ciro admitted, running a hand through his crimson hair.
"Since when did we ever listen to the old bird?"
The fire inu chuckled. It was true. They never really did abide the rules. So why should they start now?
"We'll leave in the morning," Ciro answered grinning, earning a smirk from Arashi.
Things were finally looking up.
Natsuko had retired to her room, leaving Naraku to his own devices a short while ago, but it seemed that he already had another visitor.
"Hakudoushi," the spider murmured, whirling around to gaze at the youkai, who appeared out of nowhere.
Naraku's eyes momentarily lingered on Kagura, before meeting Hakudoushi's frosty gaze. Father and son gazed at one another in silence, both seizing one another. Breaking the staring contest, Naraku moved to the open window. The wind blew gently ruffling the dark locks. At the moment, he resembled more of the dark prince he truly was. Crimson eyes reflected nothing but malice and unmentionable evil.
"Your first target is Akuma, kill him," the spider hanyou muttered in a low voice.
Hakudoushi narrowed his eyes slightly at the blatant order, but decided not to say anything about it. For now he would play the good and obedient son, but the first chance he got, he would kill Naraku and claim the shikon no tama. Unlike Naraku though, he would kill Kagome and the rest of the inu-gumi. He did not need the dark light at all. To him, she was just another distraction from the main purpose. There had to be another way to harness the true power of the shikon and he would be certain to find it.
"What about the others?" he asked, without a hint of what he was truly thinking about.
Naraku chuckled, understanding perfectly well. Hakudoushi loathed the inu-gumi more than he let on and would do almost anything to see them destroyed. Of course he couldn't allow that just yet...no...each one of the group had their own purpose in his plan. They were all weaknesses to Kagome and he would exploit them as much as he could.
"One opponent at the time. I will send the condemned beasts to take out the white light. You just need to take care of the angel of death for me," Naraku replied, a smirk on his face.
"Very well," Hakudoushi answered coldly.
Without a word, he stalked out of the room and whistled for his demonic horse.
"Follow him, Kagura. Do not let him out of your sight. Hakudoushi might betray me," Naraku admonished.
"Don't you think I would do the same?" the kaze youkai shot back angrily.
"Unlike Hakudoushi, I have you heart in my hand. Hakudoushi on the other hand is only serving me at the moment, because of what he can gain later on."
"Why do you not kill him now then?" she asked softly, watching as he stalked towards her.
She tried to take a step back, but within a blink of an eye, he was already upon her. His larger frame, pressing her against the wall behind her back. She snarled at him, but he only chuckled, enjoying the anger and uneasiness that was rolling off her in waves.
"Have you ever played checkers Kagura? If you did, you would know that it's all about the moves you play. In order to gain what you want at times, you have to sacrifice something in return."
She flinched as he took hold of her chin, making her gaze into his crimson eyes. Looking into those endless depths of red, Kagura knew and understood true fear. She could practically see her own death in them. So she was more than relieved, when he finally released her.
"Now enough of your questions. Follow that son of mine and make sure he does what he's told."
She stumbled back as he freed her, but quickly composed herself. Without saying a word, she rushed out of the door, unable to be in the same room with the dark hanyou any longer. Finally gone, Naraku turned to the shadows in the back of the room.
"I want the white light killed tonight. You can do whatever you want with the others, but do not lay a hand on the dark light,"
"As you wish. The village wasn't a challenge at all to us, so we hope that this one will be different," a feminine voice whispered, the owner disappearing as the last words echoed into the otherwise silent room.
Smirking, Naraku gazed at the darkening sky outside the window.
"Moonless Night, tonight you will show your true face, angel of death," he murmured, a sadistic grin on his face.
Sesshoumaru watched Kagome quietly, while she carefully set up camp. He wasn't certain what it was, but there was a tenseness and tiredness to her frame that was not hard to miss. Golden gaze settled on her young face and took each and every detail in. There were dark circles under her blue eyes. She was not sleeping well.
Each night there were those nightmares that kept her awake. She would wake up screaming and it would take him quite a while to get her back to sleep. He did not know what else to do for her. He hated to admit it, but he was worried about her.
Even the rest of the group were worried about her. Mitsuko looked to be most worried. Each time Kagome would wake up screaming, the White Light would be the last go to sleep. She would make sure that her sister was soft asleep, before going back to sleep once again. He felt so powerless to help her. He would be able to deal with an life opponent, but not with something that seemed to attack her in her dreams. He was powerless there and it angered him.
A soft whisper brought him out of his thoughts. Turning at his side, he noticed Rin sitting next to him. He had been too far in his thoughts to notice the human girl. Warm brown eyes stared up at him with curiosity and concern.
"Is Kagome-chan going to be fine?" she asked in a small whisper.
He hated to lie, but the worry in her eyes was enough to undo him. A child like her wasn't supposed to be bothered by such things. He only wished for her to happy.
"Hai, she will," he answered in the same calm and unemotional voice of his.
Yet he could not stop his inner voice, which assured him that there could be a possibility that she would not be fine. He could already see the toll those nightmares were taking on her.
Closing his eyes, he tried to push the headache that was bound to come. Nevertheless a new scent caught his attention. It almost felt like burned flesh to him.
"There's something coming," Onyx growled, the furs on his back standing on end.
Teeth got beared and eyes narrowed dangerously. The scent of burned flesh and rotting blood seemed to get stronger with each passing second.
Kagome who had been standing a few feet behind Sesshoumaru felt the feeling of total dread invade her. She recognized this feeling, it was the same feeling like the one in her dreams. She watched in horror as the land in front of her, bled red. Her vision going crimson.
Not again, she screamed mentally at herself, but it didn't seem to work.
Disembodied, haunting voices invaded her and ghostly fingers once again wrapped around her body. Closing her eyes, she tried to block out the screams and the anguished voices, but no matter what she did, it was only getting stronger. Her breath was coming in short pants, the oxygen not able to get in her lungs. She was gasping, her body wanting and needing air, but unable to.
Her knees gave out from under her and she fell to her knees.
"Kagome," Sesshoumaru whispered, whirling around to gaze at her. Her aura was swirling around her, but there was something completely wrong. Fear like he had never felt before knocked into him, making him mentally wince. He could hear her heart beating rapidly, her short gasps of breath sounding harsh to his sensitive ears.
He tried to take a step towards her, but was halted as the presence finally enveloped the whole clearing.
"They're here," Mitsuko whispered.
Blood red eyes snapped open. He cursed himself for not having felt them before. He knew why they were here. The god of chaos hated to admit it, but Mitsuko and the rest of the gang did not stand a fighting chance against these three. He needed to get there and soon. Closing his eyes, he tried to concentrate on his powers.
However just before he could teleport himself, he felt another presence invade his space. The thought of an unknown visitor made him growl in annoyance.
"Who are you?" The angel of death asked without even opening his eyes. .
"So, you're Akuma, the one Naraku so foolishly set free." The voice taunted, making Akuma snap one eye open.
He narrowed his eyes slightly as he stared at the youkai standing below the tree, gazing at him with clear boredom and something more in his eyes that he couldn't quite name. Another presence caught his attention and his eyes slowly diverted to the wind witch standing a few feet behind this youkai and he couldn't stop himself from wondering what the relation was between the two.
"And who might you be?" Akuma asked lazily pulling a leg up and resting his elbow on his knee, making his long dark hair cascade freely along his shoulder. The wind momentarily treaded through the silky strands, causing them to sway lightly.
A smirk tilted Hakudoushi's lips, making Akuma internally bristle. The youth was cocky and he was going to regret it soon enough. He was not one to meddle with. The thought of killing the lilac haired youkai passed his mind and he wasn't that disappointed. However he had more pressing matters at hand. He could feel the increase in dark energy increase, which meant that he didn't have much time left. Mitsuko needed him.
His blood red eyes rested on the weapon in the youkai's hand and he noted with satisfaction that the blade was rather sharp.
A smile curved his lips; maybe the youth could have proven to a challenge after all...if he didn't have something else to do. The God of Death brushed some strands behind one of his pointed ears, his claws running over the silver earrings that adorned his ear as he stared almost amused at Hakudoushi.
"I'm Hakudoushi, you can say I'm Naraku's son." He said in a silky voice that made even Akuma aware of how treacherous and dangerous he could be.
Still the competitive part of the angel of death reveled in the possibility of a good fight. His dark wings unconsciously flexed behind him as he raised his face arrogantly.
"Don't tell me you're here to avenge your father." He mocked, his voice low, making Kagura shiver.
She had seen many beautiful males in her life, Sesshoumaru being one of them, but Akuma was in another category. He oozed sexual prowess that would make even the most seasoned whore blush with just a simple look.
Her gaze shifted to Hakudoushi and she could see strain in his jaw as her brother tried to keep his temper at bay.
"Not really. However you might prove to be a problem for our plans and therefore I need to eliminate you...that is after those condemned beasts take care of the whitelight." Before Hakudoushi could even attack, Akuma had already jumped out of the tree, making the lavender haired youkai slice through the branch.
Akuma landed easily on his feet a few steps away from Hakudoushi. Yet even if he had anticipated the attack, he was still not happy. He had no time to play around with this child.
"You're fool to attack me...and you're an even bigger fool for bringing the white light into this." Akuma growled reaching for his sword, but before his hand could touch the hilt, he felt an excruciating pain go through his body, causing him to fall to his knees.
Kagura who had stood a few feet away, watched as small cuts appeared everywhere on his body. She took a step back as he coughed up blood. She wasn't certain what was happening to the God of Chaos, but it almost seemed like he was being stabbed by an invisible force.
Hakudoushi watched in sadistic glee as the angel of death was repeatedly struck by the invisible force. Raising his face to the now darkened sky, he couldn't stop the cruel smirk from appearing on his lips.
"Have you forgotten what night it is today, God of Chaos?" Hakudoushi asked softly as he lowered his face so that his eyes were boring through Akuma's narrowed ones.
The shock was brief, but it was there nonetheless on Akuma's face.
"A moonless night." Akuma managed to whisper between coughs.
"It's a night when you're the weakest and a night where you pay for all of your sins." Hakudoushi muttered in an overly sweet voice, clearly enjoying Akuma's pain and torment.
Akuma growled deep in his throat, but his attention was quickly diverted to the stabbing pain in his back. The pain was almost unbearable, making him fight to keep consciousness.
He mentally cursed himself for forgetting about this night. He should have sought out shelter or at least thrown up a barrier, but instead he had been too preoccupied with thoughts of Mitsuko.
His attention quickly diverted to Naraku's son as he once again spoke.
"Ironically you will die on a similar night on which you were born. A moonless night." With those last words, he charged at a weak Akuma that could nothing more than watch as his enemy's weapon came down on him.
"Kikyo-sama, you need to rest," one of the surviving villagers urged, but the priestess refused to listen.
Her blood soaked clothes had been discarded and had been replaced with clean ones, but even though she had cleaned and bandaged her wounds. It was clear that she still needed to rest in order to heal.
However Kikyo didn't want to. Instead she was already packing some things in order to leave once again. She needed to find Inuyasha and the others. Whatever those things were, they could be going after them now.
"Kikyo-sama!" she whirled around, brown eyes pinning the poor miko in training to the spot.
"What do you want Miyako?" she asked, hissing as she felt the wounds on her back protest against the rash movement.
"Kikyo-sama, you cannot travel like this. Your wounds will get infected if you don't take care of them properly. Or you could bleed to dead," Miyako whispered tears gathering in her eyes.
"Miyako, I need to go. My friends might be in danger."
"What about the villagers? They're scared Kikyo-sama. They need you."
"They have you. You're stronger than you know. This is just something I have to do," Kikyo answered sternly.
"Very well, but promise me, you will be careful," Miyako pleaded, her brown eyes gazing sternly at the older miko.
"I will, I promise," With that the miko, stepped outside.
She could see some the villagers gazing worriedly at her and she couldn't stop the guilty feeling for leaving them at such a crucial moment, but she knew that she had too. Bracing herself, she started walking. With each step she took, she prayed that Miyako would be able to protect the village.
However with each step she took, she hoped that she wasn't too late to warn Inuyasha and the others.
A/N: This wasn't the best of chapters, but oh well. The next one will be better. Thanks to everyone who reviewed. I'm really grateful for the constant support and I'm deeply sorry for the long wait. The thing is that I'm having a bit of a problem with the story. I know how it will end, it's getting there that's so difficult. However I'm now working on the next chapter and hopefully I will be able to get back on track. Anyways thanks again for those reviews and the support!!