Hi! Thank you readers and reviewers for all your patience in the past. :]
Thank you to the first reviewer for chapter 24: xXKimiko SakakiXx
The Captured Princess
By Sanci J
Chapter 25: A Time of Healing, War, and Messages
When two weeks went by without war, Kagome grew worried. Sango, her faithful companion, tried her best to distract her from her thoughts by keeping her busy learning to cook and mend clothes. Until the last few days it had worked.
Two days after Inuyasha had left, his men followed, save about fifteen demons to protect the females and the secrecy of the camp. Luckily, his men had left her alone, yet when she was near them, she felt the weight of their eyes follow her. In order to be cautious, she usually was in the company of either Sango or Ayame.
As the weeks turned into a month, Kagome grieved for her lost family each morning and night at the rock, becoming more worried about the great war between the demons and her Kingdom. That day, she carried on as normal, waking up before sunrise to go to the large rock she sat upon every day to remember and mourn her family. An hour or so later she would return to find her friend cooking over the fire. By now, Kagome was almost used to the chilling stare of Inuyasha's men as they ate around the fire, but on this day, they seemed like something was different in the air.
Baltar, the leader, sliced his cold gaze over her. She ignored him, stiffening her back as she broke her fast.
"The war has begun," Baltar bluntly said, his mouth spewing bits of meat.
Kagome immediately stopped eating, glancing over at him narrowly. "When?"
He laughed, causing more food to spurt, a good portion falling down the front of his stained shirt. "See, men, how this bitch itch's for Inuyasha's bed. Do not worry girl, I'll be his replacement."
Kagome could barely tamper down her rage and fear. Inuyasha... her mind called out. Odd, how before she had felt like she needed protection from him, when now she needed him to protect her. To her dismay, she did not feel as safe as when she was with him. "All I want to know is when the war began," she said evenly.
At that, Sango and Ayame scooted closer, and to Kagome's relief, as did many of the females. Even Baltar knew there would be trouble if the women were upset. If the women were upset, then his men were not satisfied later.
Baltar's face grew an unsavory red, and he lifted his dirt-covered hand as if to strike.
"Baltar," said the face of one of the most hideous demons she had ever clapped eyes on, "You know she is favored by Master Inuyasha. He will kill you."
If Baltar's face could turn any redder, he would have expired.
"She smells of him still. She is probably his mate," another one said, this one with horns on his head.
She would have disagreed with them, but she feared what they would do to her if she told them the truth.
"When did the war begin?" she demanded, this time directing her question at the hideous one.
"Last week," was his squeamish response.
He hesitated, glancing at Baltar before turning back to her. "Inuyasha toyed with the Eastern Kingdom for a time before they readied their human men, in which the larger part of the men went with the Lord of the Western Kingdom to attack their allies, the Northern Kingdom."
Oh, Kami. What would happen to her Kingdom? Luckily, her father had advisors that were capable enough. Ach, this just could not be happening. The sides must be closely matched if they still fought.
What if Inuyasha was hurt? An odd sensation struck her. She needed to know that he was not injured. As if her life depended on it. Shoving her plate away, she stood. "Where is the messenger?"
Baltar walked by her, being sure to spit at her feet before leaving. She glared at his back. 'Just wait until Inuyasha hears about how his captain is treating me.'
"He is in his tent, the one beneath the cherry blossom tree," Ayame whispered in her ear.
"Thank you," Kagome said.
Sango jumped up too. "We will accompany you there." She frowned. "I do not like the men Inuyasha left us with."
"Nor I," Kagome said as she lead the way to a small tent, smaller than hers. She leaned her face close to the tent. "Hello?"
The face that popped out startled her, and she almost fell.
"Sorry," he quickly apologized. His brown eyes met hers.
Kagome stared. "Ha-Have I seen you before?"
Mirth twinkled in his eyes. "It's possible, but I know I'd have remembered you. Long, raven-colored hair like the darkened night, most likely as silky smooth as your porcelain skin. Eyes as passionate in fury as when in love. I could feast my eyes on your beauty until my dying day. Your-"
A blush graced Kagome's neck, but she did not smile. Not after the death of her family. "Enough, please, you embarrass me."
She found her friends smiling softly at her knowingly.
He looked hesitant, but welcomed them in his tent nonetheless. "I could speak of your timeless beauty, all of yours, for many hours yet."
"We appreciate it, but we have pressing matters," Sango said gently.
"I am glad to be completely sober today, so that I might gaze upon the three of you with a keen eye." He moved so they could sit, and then winked. "I am truly blessed."
Something clicked in Kagome's memory. She gasped. "Sir Shanto?"
His grin grew wider. "So, we have met?"
She smiled a small smile. "Yes. Inuyasha and I came upon you in a drunken stupor over a month ago. We carried you to your room. My name is Kagome, and this is Sango and Ayame."
"Drunken-?" Sango and Ayame asked.
"Yes," Kagome said, glad to see he was better.
He thought for a bit. "Ahh. I vaguely recall you asking my name, and where I was spending the night."
Kagome felt a pressing need to ask about Inuyasha. "And you are also the messenger. What did Inuyasha tell you?"
Her bright smile made his chest expand. Such innocence. "I spoke mostly to his confidante Miroku."
Something unintelligible flashed through Sango's eyes.
"So Miroku is unharmed?" Kagome prodded.
"As of the last I saw of him, no. But this is a bitter war, of bitter enemies. There will be many injuries and deaths to come."
"True," Sango said, clasping her hands tight on her legs.
"And Inuyasha?" Kagome held her breath. He could not die before she was able to try out her beads on him.
"Other than the natural scratches of war, he is well. Are you two with them?" Shanto asked curiously.
Kagome bit out a choked laugh, waving her hand. "No, no. I do ask that you say nothing about it in front of any of the demons here, though. They aren't to be trusted."
"Among three wonders such as you, what male could be?" He said with a mischievous grin.
Within seconds, all three girls had pink cheeks.
"So, you just wanted reassurance that they were well?" He asked.
Kagome met his eyes once again. "Did they tell you anything else? Any other messages? Did he mention me?"
Swords slashed in every direction as the sun rose. Demons rose against humans all over the Eastern Kingdom, blood covering the land and air.
The demons' knew the human Kingdom had been prepared for them, seeing as how they had thousands more men at their disposal. In addition, much to Inuyasha's frustration, his men weren't gaining much ground. And it showed.
He came at each human as if they were minor hurdles. With one swipe of his mighty Tetsusaiga, he killed many men, but throughout the first week he was bored. This part of the battle was not important. Sesshoumaru was soon to arrive at the Northern Kingdom, where he would take them by force. Then the leaders of the human army would be caught off guard, something he was more than counting on.
"Master Inuyasha," gasped a demon wolf.
He turned around, himself breathing albeit harshly. "What?"
"A pack of us...were...ambushed...came from the left." Blood spurted from the demon's mouth and he fell.
Inuyasha swiped his kimono over his bloodied face, grunting at the morning chill. Before long, the ground would freeze and snow would come. He welcomed it.
He took off into a run, leading a score of his men to the ambush. Inuyasha cursed his weakness that he could not sniff out the warriors with so much blood around. In fact, he was feeling dazed.
Inuyasha... Instantly he felt fear. Kagome?
As he fought against another ambush, his amber eyes were drawn to the tree he had first seen Kagome at. Remembering the way she had touched him before he left for war made him fight with more even, sure strokes. He would go back to her and take care of their unfinished business.
He snorted, and his opponent took it as an insult. Steel clashed against steel. Inuyasha ducked when the human aimed his sword higher. Inuyasha's sword went through the human's gut.
Such sweet, sweet victory, however short it was. Many hours later, the enemies left the battle to recuperate overnight.
He called his men to line and they returned to their tents. Inuyasha helped carry the injured to their camps' physician, and once that was completed, gathered men to bury those lost.
Luckily, the war had not taken too much of a toll on Inuyasha's side as of yet. He slowed his heavy breathing after burying the last one, four hours later. He was bent over a stream, washing up when Miroku found him.
"Things are going well thus far," Miroku said and knelt beside Inuyasha to wash his hands.
Water splashed Inuyasha's face, and he quickly dried with a cloth before responding. "And back at camp?"
Miroku hid a grin. "There has been little word, so that is good."
"What about the females?"
Miroku got up and sighed. "Are you inquiring about your suitcase girl yet again Inuyasha?"
"Of course not. A mighty demon can never have feelings for a petty human girl who just happens to be witty, challenging-"
Inuyasha got a look on his face as if he was going to go into a rage, but somehow he kept himself from reacting. "Shut the hell up, Miroku. I am just trying to make sure our camp is safe for our return."
Miroku grew serious. "If we return."
"Exactly. So are they safe? Baltar had better be doing his damn job." He remembered how eager Kagome was to start trouble and hoped she was keeping herself from being a target from Baltar, who had a liking for arrogant women.
Oh, yes. Kagome was a spitfire.
"That is just what I would expect from you, a filthy bandit whose lips are as callous as his heart." Kagome's words spiked a challenge, a challenge he wouldn't soon forget. He would make her plead for his kiss, and beg for his touch. Oh yes, he would; he had sent the messenger specifically to bring Kagome to him. After all, she couldn't be trusted without him watching over her.
"Last I heard from the messenger, all was normal. If something does go wrong in battle-"
"Miroku, we will return within the year victors. You worry like a woman."
Miroku paced. "Something just does not seem right Inuyasha. I have started to get a bad sense. There is something we are missing-But what? I do not know."
Inuyasha began the walk to their temporary camp, Miroku by his side. "It's war. There's always something, someone working behind it all, playing people like puppets."
Suddenly the wind blew, carrying with it a chill that bespoke an early winter.
Inuyasha cursed to himself. "The snow and frost will be our graves if we don't finish this."
"Kagome, did you feel that wind? The cold times are coming. We must finish the sewing soon," Ayame said through the opening of the tent after a visible shudder overtook her body.
Kagome, within the tent, barely made a sound.
Sango looked at her friend sadly and sighed. "I fear she gives up on life if the cold does not bother her. Time has passed, yet it is still as if I just told her."
"She needs more than what we can give her, Sango, but what?"
"She needs to fall in love, and be loved in return."
Both girls looked toward the sound of the voice.
"Sir Shanto," Ayame said, surprised.
Shanto nodded. "I apologize for listening in, but I felt I should offer my advice on the situation."
"Just who do you imagine Kagome could fall in love with?" Sango asked. "Love is not always the answer to a problem."
"Love, my feminine friends, heals all things." Shanto stretched and spread his legs wide in a self-assured stance. "Well, dearest ladies, considering Kagome is a tender-hearted girl, he must be attentive to her needs and be her fiercest protector. He must also be of some-what good standing in society, handsome, and gentle."
"Sounds like you are describing yourself," Sango couldn't help but roll her eyes. He reminded her of Miroku.
"I appreciate the compliment, Lady Sango," He grinned, "and it is a great possibility that I am describing myself…but first I must prepare her to leave."
"I was originally sent here for more than to bring word of your safety. Kagome will be leaving with me."
Sango narrowed her eyes at Shanto. "That is one of the most half-minded things I have ever heard!"
"It appears to be as you say Lady Sango, but I have orders to bring her back with me."
It was snowing. It had begun in soft, pillowy flakes, sticking to the ground.
A figure was in the distance.
Kagome leaned in closer to see, but found she could not move. She was unable to feel the chill in the air or the flakes of snow that fell. A dream. As she watched the figure, it came closer, grunting as if in a struggle. A flash of red.
The shadow revealed itself. Inuyasha was there alone, practicing his fighting skills for battle. He did not know she was watching him, but irrevocably she felt a small twinge in her chest and took a deep breath.
Then he was gone.
She was alone in this wilderness of snow. She leaned down to touch it, wondering if it was real.
It turned blood red upon her fingertips.
A rusted crown lay in the snow.
A scream died in her throat.
I apologize for the long delay. Most of this was written in the last two years... Anyway, hope you enjoy the continuation. :)