{Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha, but if Sesshou keeps it up, I'm going to put his butt in a sling.}

Unexpected Allies

Part Three

Trial of the Century

By Striking Falcon

Chapter One:

Let's Make A Deal!

Last Time on Part Two:

Sesshoumaru suddenly jerked away from her, flying across the clearing in a flash of white and blue. He growled viciously as chains wrapped around him. Inu youkai suddenly fell from the trees, surrounding him and Kagome. Kagome stared in disbelief as Inuyasha was dragged into the clearing, chained as well. She watched as two inu youkai, dressed in golden armor, discussed the situation.

"Do we have them all?" a red-headed guard asked. The blonde guard nodded.

"Good. Let us return to the council."

Kagome stepped in front of them as they moved out of the clearing. Not far behind her were Sango, Shorin, Miroku, Shippou and Keni'Chi, waiting for her to give the first sign to attack. The blonde inu youkai tried to shove her out of the way, but faltered when she didn't move. Kagome snarled at the youkai, her voice barely human as she demanded "Who are you and where are you going with them?"

The youkai blinked a moment before snarling back. "We're taking them to the High Council."

"Under who's orders?" Shorin demanded from behind Kagome, walking to her side. The red-headed youkai growled irritably.

"Your taiyoukai is to stand trial," he said as he and the other brushed past them, dragging a struggling Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha behind them. Kagome refused to let them by so easily, grabbing the blonde inu by his haori sleeve. He turned and snarled in an instant.

"Human, I do not share your taiyoukai's affections. I suggest you release me."

"Not until you tell me what he's standing trial for!"

"You DARE order an imperial guard! I should kill you for your insolence! If you must know, he stands trial for treason!!"

Kagome watched as the youkai guards transformed and flew off, toward the south. She turned to Shorin and an unknown, fully transformed tiger youkai.

"What's going on?" Kagome demanded as Shorin transformed into a smaller, chestnut version of Sesshoumaru's youkai form.

'Get on my back and order your friends on Keni'Chi's. All will be explained,' Shorin told her through a mental link. Kagome nodded and did as she was told. Minutes later, Shorin and Keni'Chi were soaring through the air, following the Imperial Guards. Kagome nodded every now and then during the ride as Shorin mentally explained.

"Kagome, what's going on?" Miroku asked.

"Oh," Kagome said, realizing that the others couldn't hear Shorin. "Shorin says that the Imperial Council is the Taiyoukai Imperial Council. They govern over the other taiyoukai in the land, preventing wars and hostile takeovers. They also approve any marriages between lands."

Shorin growled some more, and Kagome nodded. "Shorin says that a treason charge from the council is serious business. It's not just giving weapons to the enemy. It's taking lands by force, wreaking havoc and assisting in the murder of whoever reigns in that providence. "

"Why was Inuyasha arrested as well?" Shippou asked. Shorin's answer was translated by Kagome.

"A charge so severe requires desperate measures. The council arrests everyone in the family, including any mates and pups."

"What happens if Sesshoumaru is convicted?" Sango asked. Shorin told Kagome, who gasped. As she turned to Sango and Miroku her face paled to a ghostly white.

"Sesshoumaru will be purified by a miko into a human. After that, he'll be torn apart by any wild youkai in the area. Inuyasha will become a slave and Sesshoumaru's lands, servants and wards will be divided by the council."

"That means Rin, right Kagome?" Shippou asked. Kagome nodded. "That means Rin, Kaede's village, Jaken, and any servant under Sesshoumaru's roof. That means all of us."

Kagome nodded as Shorin growled. "Shorin says that we're almost there."

The others nodded as Shorin approached a large wooden gate. She and Keni'Chi landed side by side in front of the gate. Shorin returned to her humanoid form, the long cinnamon strands cascading down her back as she straightened out her one-sleeved white general's gi. Kagome turned to help Sango and Miroku off Keni'Chi's back. He returned to his humanoid form as well, his glittering pale yellow eyes standing out against his orange and black striped hair. He wore a leather sleeveless gi with knee high boots.

Kagome gasped. "What's he doing here?"

Shorin stared confused for a moment, the remembered what Sesshoumaru said about Kagome's ordeal at Naraku's stronghold. "Do not worry, Lady Kagome. Lord Sesshoumaru knows he is with us and he can be trusted. He even helped us fight Naraku back at Narasa's Mountain."

Kagome nodded, eyeing Keni'Chi suspiciously as a youkai guard opened the enormous gates. He stared at them warily before speaking.

"Who are you and what do you seek?"

Shorin stepped forward as Kagome masked hers, Sango's and Miroku's scents. She didn't know why, but she had a feeling that if she didn't, they wouldn't get in.

"I am High General Shorin, along with the Lady Kagome, Sango-san, Lord Shippou, and Miroku-sama. Also is Keni'Chi-"

"General Keni'Chi," Kagome interrupted, earning strange looks from the others.

Shorin mentally shrugged. "My apologies, General Keni'Chi. We are here to see the trial of the western taiyoukai."

The guard nodded and motioned for them to pass. Shorin went first, then Kagome, Sango, Miroku and Keni'Chi with Shippou on her shoulder. The guard moved in front of Shorin and lead them away from the gate down a long, dark tunnel. On the walls of the tunnel were torches that lit the tunnel enough for them to barely see. They guard led the way the entire time until Kagome saw daylight at the end over Shorin's shoulder. The guard stepped to the side at the other end of the tunnel and waited for the others behind him to step into the light. Kagome gasped.

They were at the top steps of a large arena surrounded by mountains. The entire structure reminded Kagome of the pictures of the Roman gladiator stadiums in her history book. The arena floor was made of the dirt below, with the seats on the wall above the arena floor.

'Wow,' Kagome thought as the guard lead the way to their seats. 'Stadium seating. Who would have thought the idea was so old?' The guard stepped aside and waited for them to sit down, Shorin sitting on one side of the humans and Keni'Chi sitting on the other. Kagome glanced into the arena and gasped.

Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha were chained by their wrists to a platform in the middle of the arena. Their clothes were changed, from Inuyasha's red gi and Sesshoumaru's blue dress shirt and black slacks to rough sackcloth gis that barely reached mid thigh. {SF: Drool!} Inuyasha snarled and snapped at any guard that passed, earning an elbow to the ribs by Sesshoumaru each time. Kagome mentally asked Sesshoumaru how he was.

'Perfectly fine, considering that I am chained near this idiot,' he replied, his stoic expression belying the annoyed tone in his voice. Kagome nodded and looked around the arena. Along the wall were thirteen chairs. In the center was a golden chair, and on either side were six wooden chairs.

"Those are the chairs of the Council," Shorin whispered. "The golden chair is for the Elder."

Kagome nodded again and moved Shippou to her lap as she looked around the stadium. All around them were thousands of youkai talking at once, all waiting for the trial to begin. A gate in the wall opened suddenly and the stadium fell silent as the members of the youkai council marched in and around the arena. Kagome glanced at each of them as they passed. First there were two male kitsune, a female kitsune, a male bear youkai, three female wolf youkai, a tiger male, a tiger female and three male inu youkai. They marched again, then turned around and stood in front of their designated chairs. The gate opened again and another inu youkai came out. He stood before the crowd as they cheered, watching with a small smile on his face.

'Wow, he's kinda cute,' Kagome mused to herself. A familiar growl resonated in her mind and she glanced at Sesshoumaru. He glared at her and Kagome raised her hands in self defense. 'Calm down! I'm just playing!'

Sesshoumaru shook his head in disgust, his silver hair falling over his shoulders as the inu youkai moved in front of him.

"That's him, Lady Kagome. Elder Kenirous."

Kagome nodded as she took in the older youkai's features. Compared to Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha, Elder Kenirous was huge. His lilac eyes shone with wisdom and determination, his navy blue hair pulled back in a low ponytail. He was dressed in a black, long sleeved gi with golden slippers and cape draped over one shoulder. His tail was navy blue and black. When he moved, it seemed to shimmer between the two colors in the sunlight. One silver stripe adorned his right cheek and wrist, and on his hip was a golden sheath. Elder Kenirous motioned for the members of the council to sit down before addressing the audience.

"Members of the Taiyoukai Imperial Council, I have called this emergency meeting because of a threat to our lands."

The audience gasped as Kagome and the others looked on.

"This threat," Elder Kenirous continued, "Is an evil unlike anything we've ever faced. This hanyou has run rampant through our lands, executed hundreds of females and pups; human and youkai alike; and murdered three taiyoukai already." Elder Kenirous waited for this information to sink in, then continued.

"It would seem after all of this, it would be improbable for one of us to knowingly ally himself with this Naraku, but one of us has!" He whirled around suddenly, pointing an accusing finger at Sesshoumaru. "You, Taiyoukai of the West, are guilty of high treason! Do you have anything to say before the Imperial Council passes judgment!"

Sesshoumaru glared at him in contempt, but didn't say a word as the audience and the other members of the council whispered. Kagome glared at the Elder, her thoughts tumbling around in her head.

'Who does that guy think he is?' Kagome thought to herself, her hand balling up into a fist. 'I mean, he hasn't even given Sesshoumaru a fair trial! He hasn't even defended himself! Plus Sesshoumaru wouldn't side with Naraku, then help me fight him! He's just not that fickle! This sucks!'

With this thought Kagome stood up and swung a leg over the wall. Moments later she was over it and walking toward Elder Kenirous's turned back. Shorin glanced to her side, then gasped when she saw Kagome's ponytail disappear over the edge of the wall.

"Lady Kagome, come back!" she hissed. Inuyasha peered around Kenirous' side and groaned.

"Aw hell."

Sesshoumaru and Kenirous glanced at him, then continued to stare each other down. Inuyasha sat back on his haunches and waited for trouble to walk up and start talking. He didn't wait long.

"Excuse me?" a small voice said, tapping Elder Kenirous' back. Kenirous blinked a moment, surprised as Sesshoumaru sent a mental order for Kagome to get back. She ignored him. Kenirous turned toward the voice, looking directly over Kagome. Where she stood to the middle of Sesshoumaru's chest, with Kenirous the top of her ponytail barely made it past his last rib.

"Excuse me?"

Kenirous looked down, finally seeing Kagome as she bowed before him. She kept her eyes on him the entire time.

"Yes?" he asked, stunned that a mere human would dare address him in such a way. Kagome straightened, with her head leaning down.

"Forgive me Elder Kenirous-sama, but I do not understand," Kagome said, using the etiquette lessons Sesshoumaru taught her. Kenirous motioned for her to continue.

"Lord Sesshoumaru-" 'At least she's not calling me Seishou here,' Sesshoumaru thought as he listened. "is accused of treason, is he not?"

"He is," Kenirous assured her, nodding. He found the little human curious, so he decided to let her live in order to see what she'd say.

"What proof do you have?"

"Oh crap," Inuyasha moaned as Kenirous raised an eyebrow quizzically.

"Are you calling me a liar, human?"

Kagome shook her head. "No, not at all. You have stated your case so passionately and convinced everyone you are serious. I just do not see any proof."

Kenirous was slowly regretting not killing her when he had the chance. "I do not need proof, human. What I say is the truth."

"I am sure it is, but it is for the benefit of all that I ask. It could be another taiyoukai, and Lord Sesshoumaru could be innocent. Plus, if you have proof, no one could dispute your decision afterward."

Kenirous stared at her for a while, thinking. 'The human is right, surprisingly enough. Well, I'll humor her.'

"Reports from informants are proof enough. Sesshoumaru accepted a human arm, powered with a shard of the Shikon no Tama, in a pact with Naraku!"

The crowd whispered again as Kagome considered this. 'A year and a half ago, he did have a human arm with a Shikon shard. He could have found the arm anywhere, and'

"That proves nothing."

The crowd fell silent as Kenirous glared at her. "Does she wish to die?" a few asked. "To openly defy the Elder in such a way."

Kenirous instantly wrapped a hand around her throat, his index finger stroking the back of Kagome's ear as he lifted her off the ground. Kagome's hands grasped his wrist in a futile attempt to get free.

"You DARE," he growled, ignoring the growls coming from the brothers behind him. "You come in here, where no human has been allowed, and presume to defy me! Lowly creature, do you not fear for your life?"

Kagome glared at him defiantly. "No. I have stared down worse than you and lived."

"That is a mistake." The claw of his pinky finger dug into her jugular, scratching her. A thin trail of blood ran down her haori collar.

Shippou jumped over the wall and ran toward Kagome in an instant, attaching himself to her shoulder as he tried to free her. "You let go of my okaasan!" he screeched. The crowd rustled again in wonder as Kenirous' grip slackened.

"Who is the pup?" he growled, bringing Kagome closer to his face.

"He is my son."

Kenirous blinked in confusion. "You do not smell like a youkai. Human either. Drop the spell."

The air around Kagome, Sango and Miroku shimmered a moment, then was gone. The youkai around Sango realized what she was and moved away. Kenirous shook Kagome roughly, earning another growl from Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha.

"You dare bring a youkai exterminator in our Council?"

Kagome said nothing. She glanced at Shippou, who was still trying to break Kenirous' grip on her neck.

"Shippou, stop before he hurts you."

"But okaasan-"

"Shippou," Kagome warned. Shippou sighed in defeat and returned to her shoulder. Kenirous watched this in mild interest.

"You adopted a kitsune pup. Why?"

"Because I love him. I would die before I let anything hurt him," Kagome replied. Shippou hugged her head lovingly, then glared at Kenirous. Elder Kenirous smiled, his fangs glimmering in the afternoon sunlight.

"I see. Since you are nothing but a weak human, and are loved by a youkai, I will let you live."

He released her, sending her unceremoniously to the ground. Kagome brushed herself off and stood back up, bowing again.

"I need no other evidence," Kenirous stated.

"At least allow Lord Sesshoumaru to speak," Kagome requested. Kenirous sighed. "Since you have provided me with some entertainment, I will allow it." He stepped on the platform and stood behind Sesshoumaru, jerking his head back by his hair.

"Speak, taiyoukai. Do I tell the truth? Did you not accept the arm from Naraku?"

Sesshoumaru grimaced, but otherwise didn't struggle. He opened his eyes, staring into Kagome's before speaking.

"I accepted the arm, but I-"

Kenirous shoved Sesshoumaru's head back down before he could say anything else. Sesshoumaru tapped into Kagome's thoughts, vaguely making them out.

'How could he?! He's been friends with Naraku this entire time! He lied to me!!' was all he received before she shoved him out. Kagome's face turned cold, stoic, as she looked up at Kenirous.

"What has to be done to free them?" she asked. Sesshoumaru's head shot up as Kenirous moved to her side.

"What did you say, little one?"

"What has to be done to free them?" Kagome repeated, watching him.

Kenirous shook his head, amused. "Not a lot. Just the destruction of the hanyou."

"Kill Naraku?" Kenirous nodded. "Fine. I will do it."

The audience burst into laughter, and Kenirous chuckled. Sesshoumaru tried again to reach her, but all he found in the recesses of her mind was a large door with a 'Keep Out!' sign. He sighed and growled at her instead, which she ignored again.

"You, weakling, kill Naraku?" Kenirous questioned. Kagome glared at him, her eyes glowing white.

"I am not weak," she whispered as purple energy glowed around her. It flicked at her feet, racing to his before taking to the air like a roman candle. Kenirous stared at her as she and Shippou stood in the barrier. He touched it and was zapped by the energy.

"You are a miko. Why did you not say so sooner?"

"You did not ask," Kagome commented as the power receded and her eyes returned to their natural bluish-gray.

Kenirous turned to Sesshoumaru with a smile. "What an intriguing human you have here." He turned to Kagome. "What makes you think you can destroy what others ten times stronger than you can not?"

"I could do it without mercy. Plus, he carries half of the Shikon no Tama."

"Who carries the other half?" the female kitsune behind Kenirous asked.

"I do. I am its keeper as well," Kagome said as she lifted the jewel shard on her necklace from her armor. The owl on the breastplate flew to another branch, then went still. The female kitsune council member nodded, the owl unseen, and stood up.

She stopped before Shippou and asked him a question. "This is your okaasan, right?"

Shippou nodded.

"Can she defeat Naraku?"

"Not by herself."

Kagome glared at him. "Hey!"

"Well you can't Kagome-okaasan!" Shippou said. "You need help, but you can do it!"

Kagome sighed and waited for the female kitsune to say something. She smiled at Kagome and returned to her seat. "It is fine with me, Elder."

Kenirous stared at the other council members. "Do you agree as well?"

The other members nodded. Kenirous shook his head. "I believe you will regret this decision miko, but so be it. You cannot go alone, as your pup so eloquently stated. Your humans must stay here, but you may take two youkai with you. One must be willing to go, the other you must chose. You will be equipped and given supplies before you leave." Kenirous turned to the audience, gazing at each youkai in the crowd.

"Are any of you willing to go with this mortal to defeat the hanyou?"

The crowd went silent, no one willing to say a word. Shippou opened his mouth to volunteer when a cinnamon blur landed beside them on their right.

"I will assist the Lady Kagome," Shorin said, bowing low before Elder Kenirous and Kagome.

"Do you not need your lord's permission, general?" Kenirous asked. Shorin nodded and bowed before Sesshoumaru. Sesshoumaru nodded curtly and Shorin returned to her place by Kagome's side.

"What do you need?" Kenirous asked. Shorin thought a minute before answering. "Sai."

Kenirous nodded and gestured to one of the guards. Moments later the guard returned holding a blue bundle. He handed it to Shorin and walked away as she inspected the weapons.

The pair of sai were made of strong, black metal with leather-wrapped hilts. The two sheaths were made of black metal as well. Shorin handed the sheaths to Kagome and tested the sai out, twirling the small knives between her fingers like a baton twirler in a parade. She tossed them in the air, juggling them almost as the weapons blurred and moved in dark flashes of light.

Shorin stopped them as suddenly as she started. She nodded to Kagome and took the sheaths; placing the sai back inside and tying them to her waist. "Thank you, Elder. They will do nicely."

{SF: If you're wondering what sai are, they're the weapons Rafael used in 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', that girl in 'Daredevil', and Melina on 'Mortal Kombat'.}

Kenirous nodded and turned to Kagome. "Now, who do you choose?"

Shippou looked up expectantly, but Kagome shook her head. "Not this time, little man." Shippou started to protest, but Kagome shook her head again. "This is too dangerous for you. You stay here." Shippou nodded in defeat as Kagome leaned toward Shorin.

"Thank you Shorin," she whispered. Shorin bowed her head. "There is no need for thanks, my lady. You wish to help my lord, then I wish to join you."

"Who should I choose?" Kagome asked her. She waited patiently for Shorin's decision.

"Keni'Chi."

Kagome nodded and turned to Elder Kenirous. "I choose my general, Keni'Chi."

If Keni'Chi was shocked, he didn't let it show as he leaped from his seat to Kagome's left.

"What weapon do you need?" Kagome asked him.

Keni'Chi thought a moment, unsure. "I have always used my fists and claws in a battle, my lady," Keni'Chi said with a bow.

Kagome thought for a moment, then smiled. "General Keni'Chi will require a gauntlet and steel-toed boots."

Kenirous gestured to another guard, who quickly left in search of the weapons. He returned moments later with a large sack in his hands. He handed it to Keni'Chi and retreated to the other side of the arena.

Keni'Chi pulled the boots out first. They were made of strong leather, tinted a forest green, with metal covering the tips of the toes and the heels. He put them on and marched in place a little, adjusting to the feel of the extra weight on his feet.

Keni'Chi then pulled out the gauntlet, pulling it onto his right hand. It was made of a strong metal, gleaming silver in the afternoon sun, with oval jade stones on the knuckles. Keni'Chi balled his fists and tested the weapons, his fists and feet green and silver blurs as he jabbed and kicked at the air. The crowd cheered over the display; his moves lightening quick with a feline grace and agility. Keni'Chi stopped before Kagome, bowing low.

"These will do, Lady Kagome. Many thanks, Elder Kenirous-sama."

Kenirous waved aside the thanks and turned to Kagome. "You are last. Mikos use arrows, do they not?"

"Most do," Kagome said with a light blush. "But I do not. I use a sword. Your guards took mine from me when we arrived."

"Retrieve the miko's sword-"

"Elder Kenirous," Sesshoumaru called. Kenirous glared at him. "You wish to speak, western taiyoukai?"

"I wish to give the miko a gift, since she risks her life for mine," he glanced at Kagome, who looked at him expectantly as Inuyasha glared at him. "I wish the Lady Miko to take the Tenseiga, my father's sword."

He nudged Inuyasha, who quickly took the hint. "And I, Elder, wish to give the Tetsusaiga to the 'Lady Miko'."

Kagome stared at them in shock as another guard rushed away to retrieve the swords. Kagome shook her head as the guard handed the three swords to her.

"I cannot use either sword. I only require my own."

"Take the swords, Lady Miko," Sesshoumaru ordered more than said.

Kagome stared at him warily, but did as she was told. In an instant, three swords became one at her touch. Kagome gasped as Kenirous looked in in masked confusion. 'I thought the swords of Inutashio were meant for the brothers only. How is a mere human able to use them?'

"Draw the sword," Inuyasha instructed next. Kagome did so, but not before reading the seal.

'Tosusagia, A Ripple in Still Waters.'

The sword transformed into a giant fang, three times larger than either the Tetsusaiga or the Tenseiga. Kagome split the air in front of her, the tip of the sword landing in the dirt on her right. She stared at her hand as if it belonged to another.

"This is our gift to the miko," Sesshoumaru said grandly. "May it protect her from the evil that is Naraku."

Kenirous nodded at his choice of words and turned to Kagome. "Do you need any supplies?"

Kagome shook her head as she sheathed the Tosusagia. It instantly returned to the three swords. Kagome strapped the Tetsusaiga to her right hip, the Tenseiga to her left and the Reioseiga; her sword; to her back.

"Then you are ready to go. The Taiyoukai Imperial Council gives the Lady Miko and the Generals Shorin and Keni'Chi two weeks to destroy the hanyou Naraku."

"We can't even find Naraku in two weeks! What makes you think we can kill him in that amount of time?!!!"

Kenirous stared at her in amusement as she dropped back into her usual way of speaking. Sesshoumaru resisted the urge to shake his head as Inuyasha started to laugh.

"I knew that wasn't gonna last," he mumbled. Sesshoumaru added another bruise to his ribs. Inuyasha growled at Sesshoumaru, who growled right back as Kenirous addressed Kagome again.

"Two weeks is all you will receive, human. That is more than generous. If you do not return at the end of two weeks then we shall pass judgment on the sons of InuTaisho. If you return without proof of your success, then you will share the fate of the taiyoukai's family, along with your friends."

"Do you insure the safety of the monk, the exterminator, and my pup?" Kagome asked, slipping back into formalities.

Kenirous nodded. "As long as the exterminator does not practice her trade in the city walls, they will be safe and well cared for. Be off, miko, and may your journey be successful."

Kagome turned and left the arena much like the way they came in, climbing the wall and ascending the stairs to the top of the stadium then through the tunnel that lead to the gate. Once outside, Shorin turned to Kagome.

"Well, My Lady, where shall we begin?"

Kagome tapped her chin for a moment, then smiled. "I know! Four months ago, Inuyasha and I sensed a Shikon shard in the mountains near the well. That's where we should go. I need to go home first to get some supplies."

"My lady," Keni'Chi asked, bowing low.

"There's no need for you to do that now, Keni'Chi," Kagome told him, a bright smile on her face.

Keni'Chi nodded. "Forgive me, miko-sama, but what does the Shikon no Tama have to do with anything?"

"Naraku has one half, I have the other. There are only three pieces that are loose. One is in Sango's brother's back and the other two are in various demons. Naraku wants the entire thing. If we at least get two of the three remaining shards, Naraku will come to us. I know there's one south of the village, in the mountains. It's what Inuyasha and I were fighting about a few months ago. It's still there, I think."

Shorin nodded, turning toward Kaede's village. "Sounds good to me, Lady Kagome. Let us be off. I suggest that you accompany general Keni'Chi back." Shorin transformed and bounded away. Keni'Chi transformed moments later. He lowered his giant head and helped Kagome to his back. Once she was secure, he leaped after Shorin, his orange and black striped fur a blur as they made for the well.