Haro! Haro! I come back long long time! *hesitant laugh* It has been a while, but I finally got around to getting the next chapter done after all the moving to a different place and other miscellaneous family problems I've gotten into. Also, it seems that while I was away, fanfiction dot net has been...weeding out our good M-rated authors of lemons and whatnot? Man, wtf? Where am I going to get my smut stories! Argh... Anyway, just for you guys, I will continue to post here until they give me the boot. If and when they finally do, you will find me on Dokuga with my Kag/Sess fics, as well as Adultfanfiction dot Net, which will also store any other M-rated stories that I have here. My pen name will still stay the same so look for me there (but there's nothing uploaded there yet). Till then, happy readings!
Chapter Thirty Four
I watched as the arrow I sent flying lodged itself into the youkai's neck. It gurgled, grasping into the air as if trying to cling onto life, and then fell to the ground dead.
"Thirty…" I counted, and gripped onto the bell around my neck.
The bell, of which I assumed had been lost during my fight with Sesshoumaru's dead ex-wife, had been returned to me by Bankotsu when I last saw him, who had found it. Where he found it, he didn't tell me.
I walked a ways ahead of me and notched an arrow. Right as I walked over what seemed to be a corpse, I quickly pulled the arrow down and shot the youkai dead between the eyes. His claws were barely an inch away from my neck before he slumped to the ground fully dead.
After meeting up with Inuyasha and his army, I told them of how I had "escaped" Onigumo. Of how, when they were attacked by a group of youkai (which was not necessarily untrue as the Shinigami had been youkai at some point of their lives and still were in a way), I had made my escape. Even Onigumo had not been spared. The Shinigami had no more use of him and disposed of him in the way they knew best, by eating him. Of course, they left behind very detailed evidence that youkai had raided the hideout and had taken every person out. As horrific as it had been for Inuyasha and the others to have found the bits and pieces of Onigumo's people splattered all over the walls and ground, they were finally able to write off Onigumo as a priority since he was now dead by whatever was left of him that they found anyway.
Now, we were headed towards the Holy Order but as we neared, what seemed like a battalion of youkai, of who were highly trained and actually gave me a run for my money, swarmed us and we all fought like our lives depended on it… Well, Inuyasha's people did anyway, many of who were felled by the first wave. I summoned my powers and obliterated the next three waves of youkai while Inuyasha's men recovered enough to push the other youkai back. Right now, I was by myself, killing any youkai that remained. I let go of the bell to grab an arrow and stab it into another youkai that had appeared behind me. It grabbed onto my sleeve with bloody claws. Annoyed, I tore the arrow out and it whimpered at the pain before falling to the floor dead.
"Thirty two," I hummed as I notched another arrow and pulled.
Another youkai jumped at me and I turned quickly, let go of the arrow and it dug itself into the youkai's arm. It howled at the pain as it continued falling towards me. Summoning my powers, I threw my fist into its gut, purifying it through my clenched hand and it evaporated into thin air.
"Thirty three-" I began to say, but someone familiar caught my eye.
"Shikon! You have betrayed our lord!" a blue haired youkai, looking to be somewhat high-ranking, came stumbling at me with a large sword in one hand, the other hand cut off, a missing eye and blood all over him.
"You are…" I raised an eyebrow, trying to remember who he was.
"Ryura of the Four War Gods!" he snarled at me, proud of who he was and yet angry that a mere ningen, such as I, would forget him.
Ryura? Ah, I remembered him, as well as his group. There were four of them total and were quite exceptional fighters. Sesshoumaru had come across them on some distant island that had once been habited by hanyou, where they claimed to be gods. He defeated them without batting an eyelash and let them live if they would pledge their loyalties to him, of which they did. Despite being defeated by Sesshoumaru, they proved their prowess in battle and truly did earn the name the Four War Gods, complete with their own army to command. Unfortunately for them though, this battle would be there last.
"You fucking whore! You killed my brothers and my men! You betray our lord Sesshoumaru with these-these ningens!" he spat, "I knew you were bad news from the very beginning! Traitor! I should have killed you!"
I scoffed at him, "And yet you didn't. You tried, and you failed."
The Four War Gods had been one of the first youkai to try to kill me, but by sheer luck, I had defeated them.
He howled in fury and flew right at me with lightning speed. Raising my hand forward, I summoned my power just in time for Ryura to slam into a wall of purifying energy and disintegrate inch by inch into it.
"You damned bitch! Curse you! CURSE YOU! I'll be waiting for you in hell!" he screamed as he turned to dust.
His screams faded away with the wind.
" …Thirty four," I muttered to no one in particular.
Ryura would have to get in line when he got to hell. He wasn't the first to tell me that, and he definitely wouldn't be the last.
A loud, agonizing howl in the distance caught my attention, followed by something humongous falling and sending up clouds of dust into the air. With no more enemies for me to take care of, I ran towards there and was met with the huge armored body of what was once Gora, the enormous tortoise youkai of the Four War Gods.
"That was *wheeze* a close *pant* one!"
I turned to see Sango leaning over with her hands on her knees, panting for breath. Blood and bits of gore were splattered all over her tajiya outfit. It suited her occupation, but not her caring personality.
Looking all around, I saw wounded soldiers standing and bodies of the dead littered all over the ground, having survived the attack and the ordeal with the large youkai. Inuyasha was holding up an equally bloody Miroku who was trying to talk on the other side of the big youkai's body.
"Did we…*pant* get him?" wheezed Sango.
I examined the limp body of the huge tortoise and confirmed that he was in fact, dead. Turning to her, I nodded. She exhaled loudly and fell to the ground, glad to be rid of the great beast. I was going to walk over to where Inuyasha and Miroku were limping to, but was stopped by the sounds of sobbing where Sango was at. She was… crying?
I stood over her for a bit, unsure of what I had to do next. I didn't want to get on the ground because my joints were sore and my body ached, but I was still the "nice girl" that everyone here knew. Deciding against the pain, I got down to the ground and after a bit of hesitation, I hugged her sobbing form.
"I thought *sobs* I thought I was going to die, Kagome-chan!"
I patted her back as she continued crying. Some soldiers nearby looked away from the scene, afraid that they would burst out in tears as well. As much as I loathed ningens as I did youkai, I have to say, I was quite impressed that they had gotten as far as they did and were still alive.
"Oy!" came the voice of Inuyasha.
Everyone turned to see him, sans Miroku, standing on the tortoise's body. Sango wiped her eyes and I helped her stand up.
"We lost a lot of guys today, but we can't stop here! We gotta get moving to the Holy Order as soon as possible, before night falls!" he told us all.
"But what about the dead?" asked one of the soldiers, "we should bury them at least!"
He shook his head, "I wanna do that as much as you, but we can't afford the time to do that!"
Another soldier spoke up, "Why not! They deserve to be buried! They fought hard and died! We should give our dead comrades a proper burial!"
Some soldiers joined in too, but Miroku spoke up from where he sat by a tree.
"If you want to be a meal for the lesser youkai when darkness falls, then be our guest! There's enough food here for them to feast on and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't mind having a little extra meat on the side," he told them all, "Aside from the lesser youkai, for all we know, there may be another battalion a day's ride away and we would be perfect sitting targets for them to dig their claws into."
That shut them up.
"I know… I know you wanna bury them all and believe me, I wanna bury them too… but I can't have you guys dying on me either!" Inuyasha told them.
Everyone turned to see Kikyou helping a soldier on the ground and she turned to Inuyasha.
"We may not be able to bury the bodies, but at least I can lay their souls to rest," she told him.
He was hesitant for a second. "Can you make it short?"
Kikyou was quiet for a moment and looked my way, "If I can have her help me, we can make it quick."
Inuyasha jumped down and came towards me, "Kagome, can you help? I know this wasn't supposed to be your battle and we're asking a lot out of you lately, but-"
I rose my hand to stop him, "Enough, Inuyasha. It is a miko's duty to send off the souls of the dead. Also, it would shameful of me if I did not honor the dead by doing so."
He shut his mouth and nodded as I walked past him to where Kikyou was. She looked at me, as emotionless as she could be, but her eyes told all. She really didn't like me, and I could tell because I was a master at reading people's eyes due to the many years with Sesshoumaru. Plus, I had been egging her on with stolen moments with Inuyasha. Though petty it may have been, it helped to quench the rage I felt every time I looked at her and thought of my stupid father as he rotted away in Naraku's dungeons.
I moved to stand behind her and looked out at one end of the battlefield as she looked at the other.
"I do not like you," Kikyou spoke loud enough for me to hear, "but this is for the people who have died. As mikos, we must carry out our duties."
How very Sesshoumaru-like I sounded.
"…Do not dally with Inuyasha any longer." A warning.
I smirked and moved forward to begin the soul sending rites.
I led one of the remaining horses that held a makeshift sleigh for the wounded soldiers to lie on. The send-off had been quick, but sorrowful as the soldiers could not help but cry as our voices joined in the lamenting song of the soul send-off. Even Inuyasha cried, but jumped away into a tree to hide his tears. Now, we were making headway to the Holy Order with less than half the number Inuyasha had first set out with from the capital. It was very depressing, but the numbers be damned, Inuyasha was what mattered. He needed to survive and I needed to be nearby to make sure he would do so or my plans would all fall apart!
"General! We've spotted the town!" the head scout informed Inuyasha.
Inuyasha nodded at him, "Good! Have one of your men go ahead to tell them that we're here!"
The head scout hesitated for a bit, "About that sir, there is a problem…"
This caught everyone's attention and they feared the worse.
"What? What is it!" Inuyasha growled at him.
"I already sent one of my men ahead…"
He hesitated again and Inuyasha grabbed him, snarling, "What. Is. It?"
He was agitated, tired and sore. It was no wonder that his youkai side was acting up. Kikyou placed a hand on him arm and spoke a few words to him before he let go of the head scout. He scoffed and mumbled an apology as he let the soldier go. The head scout exhaled and stood firm in front of Inuyasha like the soldier he was supposed to be and forgot he was.
"Sir, the town… it's been decimated! Bodies littered the floor of not just ningens but youkai as well!"
At that moment, everyone's hearts must have stopped, for all was quiet before Inuyasha's ear splitting scream.
Sesshoumaru knew about the Holy Order, and had probably carried out orders to get rid of the natural enemy of youkai; the mikos and priests. With them out of the way, his soldiers would have no need to fear their holy purifying power. This would prove to be a problem as I needed them to take down the numbers in Sesshoumaru's army.
Screams and cries filled the air as terror and hopelessness spread throughout the ranks. This would prove to be a problem. With the lesser youkai partaking in a huge meal where the battlefield had been at, it would only be a matter of time before their appetite would send them our way. I only had enough energy to get rid of some of them and to keep Inuyasha and a few alive. Getting away was another problem altogether.
Before I could think any further, I felt the reiki of several powerful people coming our way. Kikyou and Miroku, along with Inuyasha, looked towards where they were coming and soon, three people appeared before our group, three monks.
"S-sensei!" Kikyou blurted out.
The head monk took off his straw cone hat and smiled warmly at Kikyou. He was elderly man with a calming aura about him.
"Konbanwa, Kikyou-chan. I trust you are doing well?" he nodded to her and turned to Inuyasha, "And you are… General Inuyasha?"
Inuyasha, mouth gaping open, nodded, "Y-you're alive! We thought you were all dead!"
There was a light chuckle coming from the elderly man, "We would have all been, but I believe luck was on our side today. Come, we must not tarry, for the youkai are very hungry this night with so much food lying about. I would not wish to see us as dessert for them."
Without a second word, we all followed.
The Holy Order survived, I thought to myself as I stared ahead at the three monks, and with that, Sesshoumaru, your life is forfeit.
Suggestions, suggestions, suggestions... Ah... If you're into the Narnia universe and you're a particular fan of Susan and Caspian (from the movie), I really recommend Buried Queens by Shiegra. It starts out at the end of the book series, Susan is all that's left of the Pevensies and left alone in London, but all that changes when she finds herself back in Narnia, a very different Narnia where she is captured by a darker Caspian who does not know her and is fighting Miraz, who is still alive, to take back his crown. All while this is happening, there is another enemy afoot... Unfortunately the author hasn't updated in a while, not since the beginning of this year, but give it a read anyway, it's REALLY WORTH IT!