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"Oh Bankotsu-chan! Whatever are we to do! Naraku is going to recollect our jewel shards! I don't want to leave! There so many villages I haven't plundered, so much blood I haven't yet spil—" Jakotsu sobbed melodramatically into Bankotsu's shoulder and the plaited man belonging to the shoulder just about had enough from his adopted younger brother.
"Get a hold of yourself Jakotsu" Bankotsu warned with a soft tenor voice. "We shall just have to find a way to simply destroy Naraku before he destroys us, right Suikotsu, Renkotsu?" The plaited man looked to them and they both nodded their heads in full agreement. It was their only choice, however the plan was easier said then done. Even with Jakotsu's findings of Naraku's imbalance, it was too risky to simply storm the castle. For one, Kagura has gotten immensely strong for reasons unknown, and two Hakudoshi and the Matsuke incarnations were deadly to a fault, especially combined with Kanna. That left them outnumbered, not even counting the demons Naraku could vomit up when necessary.
"Well, fearless leader, how do you suggest we go about this rebellion? Though we are the mightiest warriors in the land, and you are quite unmatched with Banryuu; Naraku has us beat especially if he is on the offensive." Renkotsu angered Bankotsu by being so blunt, but he was most certainly correct. 'If only we could get stronger…or get more numbers! the four of us cannot simply do this alone, we need allies….' then jakotsu came up with an idea.
"I just thought of something Ban-kun! When I was at the castle, Hakudoshi was just arriving from a defeat at a fierce battle! Someone here obviously is against Naraku who survived the final battle!" Jakotsu reported and Bankotsu promptly hit him upside the head.
"Why didn't ya tell us this earlier!…now, who would still be alive, who would still have the ability to fight Naraku?" They were all silent for a moment, thinking of people who could have possibly survived the battle…then Suikotsu, usually the silent one, or more act with his fist more so than his mouth.
"The priestess…the one with the brown eyes…the pure one. Kikyo. She is still alive, my claws sing for her requiem." Suikotsu stated; ironically quite poetic. Bankotsu looked as if he agreed, Jakotsu didn't care much for women so he settled with a snarl, but Renkotsu spoke up.
"Though she is powerful, she cannot possibly be defeating Naraku alone. She must have allies that are helping her. We must find those allies, for trying to track down her ki will be no easy task since she is human and quite already dead." Renkotsu reasoned, and right as he did, a ki sparked off towards the West, a startlingly powerful one, that made the four almost tremble to its power and intensity. It was out for blood, it was out for revenge…it seemed more blood thirsty than they, and that frightened them. Though just as soon as it sparked, it faded like a shooting star.
"Ban-kun, what in all the seven hells was that! I have never felt such a jaki before!" Jakotsu exclaimed, though fearful, a lust was brewing in his eyes; Jakotsu adored power.
"I have no idea what that was, it might have been one of Naraku's new Incarnations, but it didn't seem like the rest of them at all." Renkotsu supplied, though it looked like baffled was written across his forehead with a wide calligraphy brush.
"It came from the west." Suikotsu said simply. "I thought the West was the only part of this vast region that was not in Naraku's clutches, it is controlled by a powerful Lord correct?" Suikotsu asked, pondering what energy that could have possibly been. it would be very bad if that was in fact one of Naraku's Incarnations, because how fast it moved, how angry it was, and how powerful it felt, it was like a meteor.
"The Lord! Now it all makes sense, the Lord of the Western Lands is Sesshoumaru! and doesn't Sesshoumaru know the priestess kikyou!" Jakotsu exclaimed, turning to suikotsu, looking for agreement but only to find a blank stare. Suikotsu had bad memory problems.
"Yup. He does, and he is also Half-brothers with that dead idiot Inuyasha.He could also reveal what that power was, It couldn't have been Naraku if he is still alive." Bankotsu paused, reaching for his Banryuu, twirling it in an elaborate pattern and pointing it to the West. "The Tai-youkai of the West. Once we find him, and use him to beat Naraku will crumble like the children's sand castles." Bankotsu smirked proudly. Oh, with he as an ally and perhaps the cunning priestess as well, they couldn't lose.
"Bankotsu, Sesshoumaru is a formidable foe, how are we supposed to obtain his allegiance? He as opposed to humans as Jakotsu is to females." Renkotsu imputed, gaining a blanching look from Jakotsu, not thinking one could have his hatred directed towards humans akin to his own of females.
"You worry too much Renkotsu, take it eeeeaaaasy. We'll think of something when we get there, and I think that Sesshoumaru more hates things that are weak, more than humans. Once we show that stuck up mutt what we are capable of; he'll welcome our party with open paws." that seemed to satisfy Renkotsu for the time being, but since they had no idea where the Tai-youkai had run off to, they began walking in the pitch black of midnight towards the Western Lands, hoping to find of his allies in his domain. all the while suikotsu felt in his heart that he was getting closer and closer to someone he knew…a presence that he missed that has been bottled up for many a month
"This is marvelous simply marvelous! The West will run red in the blood of Sesshoumaru's victims! Oh, this is so much more fun than the plan actually working!" Matsuke shrieked in a whispery delight, after his rendezvous with Kanna and looking into her cracked mirror by force. Kanna was stoic as usual…or so she thought. Lately, She has been confused over a great many things…such as: she just might be beginning to comprehend feelings. When she saw the sheer determination, grief, despair, rage, desperateness, hate, love swirled around in Miroku's eyes like the kazaana he wielded; she think she submitted to his attack.
There could be no other way, if she thought Kagura deserved her freedom, and she was beginning to understand what those fleeting things emotions were going though Miroku's teary eyes; she had to let him beat her.
"That wolf is still alive however…most troubling. I simply don't understand how they both survived my dreamscythe." Matsuke ran a death white hand through his tangled, blood red mane. Matsuke was definitely bothered by the fact the wolf survived. He thought that a youkai of Sesshoumaru's caliber could have found a way to bypass it…but not the wolf. Yet, the most troubling thing was the fact that he could have sworn Sesshoumaru was dead before he left. He didn't know how a youkai could come back from the dead, so that made him think he was just hasty or that Sesshoumaru was pranking him. Little honor, but still cunning nonetheless.
"It is because…they were woken up from the dream." Kanna stated plain as day
"What do you mean, woken up! They are catatonic when they are induced with my dream. There is simply no way they can be WOKEN up from my dreams." the phantom Youkai scowled and clicked his tongue between his dagger-like teeth. He wanted to tear Kanna apart right then and there, but decided to wait because hunger is the best spice after all.
"The humans care for the demons." Kanna retorted stoically, forever a glacier, but as the future can say about global warming, she may warm up soon…
"CARE!" Matuske's voice almost raised above a whisper "You think the hearts of humans actually trumped my dreamscythe? Ha! Preposterous. I am the Phantom youkai, I weave dreams out of blood and anchor them with bones, and you believe an intangible, negligible human emotion awoke them!" He reached over and tied to back hand kanna, but only succeeded in slapping the mirror, which inturn his hand bounced back to hit him in the opposite shoulder.
"Mind your manners." She stated "My attacks still affect you when others fail." Kanna would have smirked had she had emotion, and began gliding along the path way back to Naraku's fortress. The wind played with her hair, but it did not do the same for Matsuke's, who was unaffected by wind, rain, fire or earth, any of the four elements. He looked on at Kanna, the little nothing child and smirked, thinking of what he could do to her at this very moment if he wasn't so fatigued with fighting. Though he was unaffected by most things; he was more affected by fatigue and mental and physical stress since his senses were so out of whack, being blind, and a phantom.
Kanna could have been at the fortress before now, but she had a premonition, or a psychic wave, or an ominous…feeling…. that Naraku did not want to be disturbed and that Matsuke was the last thing he wanted to deal with. It wasn't that big of a hunch, considering that he never wanted to be disturbed, and no one, save for a few brief times with Hakudoshi discussing torture techniques; tolerated the phantom youkai. Yet…she had a psychic wave that when she arrived back at the fortress, things would be quite complicated.
and Kanna preferred simple, it was more effecient.
"How could I forget that…my sweet sister Kanna." He whispered her name accompanied with a sister that didn't belong. The word instantly reminded her of Keiji, who was so different than this phantom youkai. Keiji was efficient without the unnecessary force. And he had very interesting things to say.
"I am not your sister." Kanna said plainly.
"You can't play favorites Kanna, I know you were connected to that Keiji incarnation that died." He whispered menacingly…making kanna's breath hitch for a moment. Matsuke talking about Keiji didn't seem right…Keiji was so different from Matsuke. "If you thought of him as a brother, then I should be one too right; it's only fair." Matsuke hissed, taking a lock of kanna's snow white hair between his fingers.
"Life is not fair Matsuke." She softly stated; ripping her hair from his grip and resuming walking to Naraku's castle.
Kouga was concerned, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he couldn't let Sesshoumaru run amuck in his own lands with an experience similar to his own. That he couldn't do, the experience undid him, and that was with people discounting what happened. If Ginta and Hakkaku and even Kikyo hadn't been there to prove that his wolves were still aligned with him; he would have really lost his mind.
And Sesshoumaru as cold as he is, with such a sudden burst of emotion; he is lost.
Sesshoumaru needs their help. the almighty taiyoukai.
"Well? Are you two fools going after Mi'lord or not!" Jaken emerged with Kirara, Shippo and Rin in tow. 'They can't all go, if they all went all hell would break loose. But who to go? that Rin child probably' Kouga thought. 'I need to protect Kikyo, and I can't guarantee that if I'm going to be after Sesshoumaru.' Kouga looks out of the corner of his sharp teal eyes and smirks.
"I need to stay here and hold up camp. It'd be too risky if we all decided to go." Kouga admits, straightening his back and swishing his tail towards the monk clad in purple robes. "Yo, Monk, you, the green toad and the kid go on Kirara. Shippo you stay with me." Kouga expected a look of dejection to appear on the kits face, but his face seemed almost…relieved? Perhaps he really wasn't that keen on confronting an out of control Youkai Lord. Kouga snickered to himself. Jaken looked as if he approved of the plan and Miroku looked a bit pale, but a concrete resolution appeared on his face and he walked by Kouga who was still cradling Kikyo as if she were made of porcelain.
Which, a few days ago, wouldn't have been far from the truth.
"I read you loud and clear, you just want some alone time…" Miroku looked suggestively at the unconscious miko in his strong arms and Miroku would have sworn on his father's grave that the hotshot Wolf Prince blushed slightly.
"Heh. You just hurry up and go before I drop kick you to your destination." Kouga huffed, looking away and putting down Kikyo on the ground. Miroku chuckled and slipped upon Kirara's back with Rin in his lap and Jaken holding his robes from behind. Jaken shoved up a scrap of bloody cloth that tore from Sesshoumaru robes in his unconscious torture. Miroku put it to Kirara's nose in hopes the Nekomata would find the trail.
Kirara just inwardly hmphed, even a third rate demon could pick up on Sesshoumaru's ki or scent miles away…then again, Jaken wasn't that bright. And in a fiery flash, the cream colored Nekomata ascended the sky and soared off in attempt to bring back their lost comrade in arms. Kouga watched them till they were but a speck in the azure sky.
"Kouga…can I tell you somethin?" Kouga almost forgot about the little kit as he scooted closer to the familiar wolf demon. His eyes were wide and emerald irises clouded in confusion. Kouga couldn't help but feel a fatherly compassion akin to pups in his tribe when they had questions too.
"Shoot kit, what is it?" Kouga asked, slightly curious to what was on the kit's mind. He figured it was along the lines 'when are we going to get the jewel shards, or will Kagome be back?' He almost visibly flinched at the thought of her name…in his eyes the betrayal ran deep to his bones. Even though logic screamed at him otherwise.
"I-I don't hate you or…Sesshoumaru. Seein ya'll dead like that, kinda made me realize that you guys aren't that bad." Shippo tried to resolve himself to seem strong, not overly emotional…but he didn't do a very good job. He missed Kagome and Inuyasha sure, but he never realized how the others were good in their own ways until he lost what he thought he couldn't live without. Kouga sighed and tussled his hair. "I hope you guys don't hate me for being so selfish." Shippo finished and his eyes averted to the forest floor…suddenly grass became very interesting.
"Pfft. I don't hate you, and I know for a fact that the frost bitten ass Sesshoumaru doesn't either…or well he didn't." Kouga resolved, while watching the motionless Kikyo on the grass, her black hair, fair skin and green grass all complimented each other nicely. Kouga was worried though, not just about Kikyou though. He knew that it was just a matter of time before Kikyou recovered…but what if Sesshoumaru killed Miroku then came back to get them? a surge of anger flooded his senses.
He would NEVER let anyone lay a hand on her….
Yet…he thought about it for a moment…did he actually really love her? He looked at her…her resemblance to Kagome was obvious…but she had her own charm.
"He doesn't? Sesshoumaru hates everyone! I mean everyone!" Shippo spat out; thinking it was as obious and as truthful that the sky was blue and that the grass was green. Kouga huffed.
"Nah, sure it's easy to say he hates everyone…but that's just not the case." Kouga stood up, looking down at the little kit. "If sesshoumaru hated everyone he'd be a Naraku…and Sesshoumaru certainly isn't he. Sesshoumaru is just very selective about his company; he doesn't care for anyone he doesn't have to, and he doesn't hate anyone he doesn't have to. To put it simply, he just doesn't care about a majority—" his speech was cut off by a stir from the Priestess.
"Mmmmph." Kikyou was slowly coming out of her dead recovery sleep. Her senses were all dulled and she couldn't move her legs…or at least she didn't think she could. Her eyelids felt thick, and her whole body felt lethargic and heavy. Yet she forced her eyelids open and her blurred vision revealed a dark haired figure…Naraku? No…Miroku?...no…
Kouga. She inwardly winced…the one who she thought she could love.
"Take it easy Kikyou…there is no rush." Kouga spoke softly and slowly…but all his words didn't make any sense at all. She simply couldn't concentrate. She tried getting a feel for her surroundings, but to her surpise the enormous ki of Sesshoumaru was no where to be felt. She knew, deep down, something was wrong.
"Kouga…Sesshoumaru. Where is he?" She sat up, noting the little tuft of fur Shippo, looking at her as if he would burst. Perhaps he warmed up to her a bit. However Kouga looked a little tense. 'Of course…the first word he muttered was kagome.'
"He's taken off, I'll tell you the details later.Do you know how close you were to using your whole life force? Huh! You could have died. If you had died how could we have found the shikon shards? How could we have defeated Naraku!" Kouga hollered; not realizing how shallow his words sounded to her. He was in fact extremely worried, but just didn't know really how to say it.
"So! That is I knew it!" She stood up, teetering a bit but refused any help from the callous wolf demon. "I am just a tool! A shard detector! Oh, you only cared about my well-being because of the shikon no kakera! Well, I am the guardian of them, but by no means does that make me anyone's tool!" She stood up; completely livid but having no power to really back her anger, and stormed off towards the forest, wanting to be alone…she would figure out where Sesshoumaru ventured off to later. She vaguely heard Kouga behind her protesting, but the high-pitched voice of Shippo retorted. She struggled through the underbrush, trees and small shrubs to a large tree. At once she sat at the base, her strength had left her as soon as she got it back.
"Oh. I just want to get this over with." She grumbled to herself and as if right on queue; she sensed a group of jewel shards coming her way. She knew at once it either was Naraku, unlikely or the more reasonable reason, the Shinichin-tai. She scrounged for a weapon, but since her legs gave out on her, she could only manage a branch.
Like warding off a pack of hyenas with a needle.
"Well, well, well, look what the dog dragged in!" She heard that tenor before…Bankotsu. She turned to see the braided mercenary and his lackeys, all equally deadly in their own ways. Her eyes lingered on Suikotsu…but seeing he wasn't himself she knew he could find no compassion in his fiery eyes. She would be dead in a few minutes, but at least she wouldn't go without a fight. If they wanted to torture her and possibly rape her, she would simply commit suicide before she allowed them to defile her body.
"What are you doing here? Begone ruthless war-monger or I will purify the shards from all your dense heads!" She meekly held out her elegant arm and willed for her energy to spurt forth, but not even a glimmer showed. They all grinned. Her gaze hardened. She prepared for her evitable destruction. Yet, surprised when none reached for their weapons or spiked their ki.
"Oh…so you have already used your energy have you priestess Kikyou? Perhaps against Naraku?" Renkotsu asked, his words snaking through the air and suddenly Kikyou understood why she was still alive. She then put the puzzle pieces together.
"I see it now…you want me to help you destroy Naraku don't you? Traitorous serpents, has Naraku tired of his pets and wishes to return them?" Her harsh words initiated a hand to her throat, dragging her up the tree trunk to Bankotsu's eye level. His ki was spiked and though he was only human, she could tell he was angry.
"You are lucky you live priestess. You are going to be our ally against Naraku." Kikyou couldn't breathe, she tried kicked Bankotsu's arm with her sandled foot, but her leg couldn't move she then clawed against his grip but it had no effect. "You will follow our rules and you will serve us however we see fit until your service is no longer needed. Since you cant speak, nod if you understand and we shall be on—"
"GET YOUR HANDS OFF HER!" a blur of black and tan whirled by and Bankotsu was thrown through a bush and tumbled against a tree. Kikyou slid down the tree and crumpled to the ground, cursing herself at being rescued by him. Yet her pride knew most priestesses would have been dead if they attempted what she did to literally save his life, and recovering from it was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength that she could heal someone and so she allowed her momentary lack of strength.
"Oh, so the wolf wants to play tag…" Bakotsu rose, his eyes afire and Banryuu raised. His team mates wanted in on the action too, but they soon noticed something a bit…off with Kouga. Kouga's eyes were red-rimmed and his ki was crackling with an intensity that they never witnessed before. Also he had a sword drawn, Sesshoumaru's sword Tokijin and before Bankotsu could move he sliced the sword in a horizontal direction.
"Tsunami no rippuku!" a wave of indigo jaki rushed at him and he barely had time to dodge it. The other were taken aback instantly, since when had the wolf used a sword, and not just any sword, Sesshoumaru's? Unfortunately none had time to huddle for a conference as Kouga continued his ruthless attack against them, Jakotsu throwing out his snake sword in vain, the only weapon having an effect was Banryuu who was crackling under the sever fever of Kouga's power. Bankotsu was pushed back and as a result Tokijin cut down Bankotsu's left arm.
"Ban-chan!" Jakotsu yelled as he attacked Kouga from behind which did little to lessen his fury. Bankotsu, severely bleeding and leaning on banryuu lightly motioned for Jakotsu to stop. He figured out why the Wolf Prince was so bent out of shape…it was this little miko. Which, come to think of it, looked like the one who traveled with the mutt Inuyasha, always parading about it skimpy clothing. This was most certainly in their favor. If Kikyo was aligned with Sesshoumaru, then Kouga would have to be aligned with her to make sure that she didn't get hurt…or claimed by another.
"Stop this nonsense. I didn't come here to fight! We came here to propose a deal." Bankotsu said smoothly, and Kouga turned to face him, he anger draining from his eyes as the old political training set in from his lessons. Kouga was a prince, and in being a prince he had to be diplomatic…it was just lucky that he happened to revert back this time. Bankotsu leaned Banryuu up against a tree and looked down at the recovering priestess.
"We think it would be in yours, and our best interest if we formed an alliance against Naraku." Bankotsu said confidently, his head tilted upwards and his plait flitted about him as if he was the regal prince that Kouga was supposed to be. Kouga frowned a bit, though the shinichin-tai would by no means hinder them, it was a bit odd to suddenly get ambushed with such an offer. 'they must know something about Naraku that we don't.'
"Pfft. I have a hard time believing you want an alliance with a weakened Miko and me. Let me guess, you didn't wander into that stoic, stuck up pain in the ass Sesshoumaru's domain for no reason." Kouga curled his lip a bit. Sesshoumaru was the only demon that Kouga could think of that was remotely close to Naraku's power and had the inclination to kill him as well. If one was to think that Sesshoumaru was the most powerful demon in all of the lands; one wouldn't be mistaken
"Yes. We wish a council with him. If you could please direct us to his location." Renkotsu replied coolly, not liking the rough edged Wolf prince before him.
"Well, you came at a bad time. Sesshoumaru, Taiyoukai of the West, took off in a frenzy; he is quite insane." This made every member of the Shinishin-tai blink and gape. Sesshoumaru was that shooting star they saw? Sesshoumaru had lost his cool and left his lands unprotected? Sesshoumaru had lost the sanity, collectiveness, calm, poise and intelligence that was envied for lands over? How could this have happened? Could Naraku have planned this from the beginning? The Shinichin tai was in deep turmoil. If Naraku had planned this; he is the most cunning mastermind of all; however, any demon could return in 100 ability, it would be that once-stoic demon lord.
"Well, looks like we have another job don't we guys?" Bankotsu laughed and shook his head side to side. This was not shaping up the way he planned at all, but this seemed a whole lot more fun. "Lost and found!" The rest of the Shinintai smirked "One lost puppy, one found sociopathic hound." Renkotsu sniggered; his eyes flitting around towards his comerades; Naraku was going to like this information indeed.
sorry for the lack of an update….high school doesn't allow me much free time….please drop a review if you still read this story