A/N: All Inuyasha characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi!
The Long Awaited Adventure
The Long Awaited Adventure
"Things Changed and Forgotten"
"What's going on?" Rin asked Jaken, "you're making no sense."
"Tell her, milord! I know you know what's happening," Jaken said in a shrill cry. "You always know, milord."
Rin and Jaken looked at Sesshoumaru, waiting for answers, but none came. Sesshoumaru just stared into the crackling fire as if he was only one in the world. Rin's stomach ached and her limbs began to shake. No one would tell her what was happening or what those shrieks were. Jaken seemed to be more scared and jittery than normal, which made her own heart sink in fear, but on the other hand, Sesshoumaru was acting as if nothing were happening, of course he seemed to always be calmed and relaxed. She was confused.
"Oh, Lord Sesshoumaru!" Jaken pleaded, "how are you so calm?"
Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed slightly, but he still said nothing.
"Sesshoumaru," Rin whispered out of fear," can you please tell me what's going on? Is there something out there?"
"Yes," he said," and yes, we're surrounded." Rin's eyes widened further.
"I knew it!" Jaken yelled.
Rin sat up, ignoring the pain she felt coursing through her body,"Are you certain?"
He looked bored,"Of course, I never lie."
"Why didn't you tell me, milord?" Jaken asked almost in tears,"And how are you not afraid? We're trapped and surrounded."
"I am not afraid of things that I can destroy so quickly."
Jaken was obviously distressed by his master's reaction to the situation, and only wanted to complain. "I bet you knew what we were getting into before we even arrived at this village." The toad gasped,"And you willingly made me go and investigate knowing I would probably die!" Then the small, green demon began to wail most noisily.
Sesshoumaru wanted to roll his eyes and throw something very heavy and very painful towards his annoying servant. He hated crying, and he especially hated noisy crying. While he was busy ignoring and mentally throwing things at Jaken, Rin was crawling her way over towards the corner where Sesshoumaru sat.
She was a few feet from him when he finally noticed her presence. He was surprised and annoyed to see her so close. He wondered, maybe out of guilt, if she had crawled all this way on her own, but of course she did, how else would she have done it? She crawled a little bit further then propped herself against the wall beside Sesshoumaru and sighed. He looked down at her labored breathing, but did not linger.
"What exactly is out there?" she asked through deep breaths of winced pain.
"Kriechen," he replied.
She quirked an eyebrow,"What are Kriechen?"
She was getting nowhere. A Kriechen far off in the distance gave a blood curdling howl, which was replied by other similar howls, then silence. Each time she heard one of the Kriechen her skin crawled. She inched closer to him, hoping he did not notice, but he did. He grew more tense, straightening his back, and raising his chin higher.
"What are they like?" she asked in a whisper.
"Irritating." She couldn't help but sigh, because he was being of no help.
"They're a clan of demons that use an old form of magic to trap and steal souls, including the victim's body, to fuel their own survival. Kriechen would suck the souls out of people, then would send their flesh to an underworld holding cell. They do this so that if the Kriechen were destroyed, their victim's souls would be lost forever and could never return to their bodies, becoming eternally damned." Jaken said, then shook with chills as he stared at Rin. "And do you know how they take your soul?" She shook her head. "They torture their victims with horrible visions and nightmares, so that they would live their worst nightmares, driving them to the point of insanity, before taking their souls."
Her jaw dropped in astonishment,"You can't be serious! You're just trying to scare me, Jaken."
"Shut up, you stupid human! I wouldn't lie about some so horrifying!"
"Have you ever seen one, Jaken?"
Jaken shook his head, "No. No one has. The only thing to identify them by are their shrieking howls."
A cold chill climbed over her body, creaking along her back as another howl echoed throughout the forest floor. She was starting to get scared. So many traumatizing events had happened in the last few days, that she didn't think her body and mind could take anymore. She just wanted a time of peace, even if it was for only a day. The howls grew louder and louder, but it was hard for her to decipher how close or where the Kriechen were. She wished Miroku was here. For once, she wanted to welcome him lecherous touch on her butt, just to know that he was there, close to her, to ease her frightened and weak body, because she knew that Sesshoumaru would never dream of doing such a thing.
Sesshoumaru's face grew hot as he noticed her scooting closer towards him. Was she really that frightened?he wondered as his golden eyes watched her with mild interest. His emotions had been all over the place that night, and even minutes before he was utterly disgusted with her, but now as she inched closer, he could sense and smell her fear emitting from her body, and he liked it. The demon inside of him liked the smell of her fear, but at the same time, the thing about himself that he had been trying to control for days, wanted to comfort her, reassure her that no demon would ever lay its nasty, clawed fingers on her again. He didn't think this way because he liked her, but because he realized that when she was passed out on the mat that she in turn could be of great help to him. She was Miroku's apprentice afterall, and even though she is a beginner, her probably had left her clues as to where the sword is, the sword that could not only give him immense power, but restore his honor that he had lost when Warrik destroyed his castle. He needed her.
Another howl from a Kriechen made Rin jump, which startled Sesshoumaru, but only a little. Jaken opened his ugly mouth and let out a few curses, either to his lord or to the Kriechen. The toad demon shivered with fright, clutching his staff tighter, giving Sesshoumaru an accused look, as AhUn, distressed by Jaken's behavior, let out a soft, pathetic whimpers. Sesshoumaru had had enough. The way his servant was acting was not only extremely annoying, but also very embarrassing.
"Jaken, are you frightened?" he asked in a commanding and uncaring voice.
Jaken shrank back and stuttered,"N-no, mi-milord!"
Sesshoumaru didn't believe him, and waited for him to tell the truth. Jaken could never keep a lie, especially when Sesshoumaru did on thing in particular. Sesshoumaru smiled, his sharp fangs gleaming in the firelight. Jaken gave out a squawk
"The Kriechen will kill us, milord!"
His smile disappeared, and Rin watched the interesting way these two were acting with curiosity and amusement. She hadn't expected him to smile. Actually, his smile wasn't that comforting at all, and she could tell Jaken was nervous. She too was a bit nervous and scared just by looking at the way his smile craved for blood.
"What happened to your loyal faith in me, Jaken? You've even said yourself that no one could defeat me, so why no faith now? Do you not think that I can defeat these creatures?" Sesshoumaru asked, not really caring whether or not if the toad replied.
"No one can defeat Kriechen and live!"
Sesshoumaru wanted to roll his eyes the way Inuyasha usually did, but he decided to use his own method, by picking up a log and throwing it at Jaken. The toad fell backwards with a squawk, lifted his finger in the air and quickly said in a daze manor,"Lord Sesshoumaru can beat anything!"
This was fun, the thought, always enjoying to use Jaken as target practice. He picked up another log, which made Jaken add," and even Kriechen!" the toad whimpered a little,"please, milord, don't throw another log at me."
Rin flinched slightly as another log went flying throught the air, hitting Jaken on the head, which made him pass out. She watched in stunned silence, as a smirk grew across the demon prince's face.
"That was rude!" she said, wanting to put her hands on her hips as if she were scolding a small child.
He looked down at her in surprise, forgetting that she was there beside him, and now was glaring at him. "And you throwing sticks at me isn't?"
Her jaw dropped,"That was an accident, and besides, I've already apologized."
Sesshoumaru didn't hold back his emotions this time, and rolled his eyes as he picked up a tiny piece of bark from a log beside him, and through it lightly at her. The bark hit her on the cheek and splattered into tinier pieces. Letting out a gasp in shock, she picked up her own piece of bark from the firewood and chunked it at the dog demon. It hit him on his neck and fell down into his kimono. Rin let out a triumphant "Ha!" but didn't duck in time when the same piece smacked her in the forehead. She couldn't hold it in anymore, she burst into laughter. She didn't know why she was laughing, because they were both acting childish. Maybe it was because laughing was something she hadn't done since her friends were killed, and it just needed to escape, but whatever the reason, she laughed and laughed.
Sesshoumaru looked at her in confusion, wondering why this human girl was laughing so hard. All he did was throw bark at her, what's so funny about that? Unfortunately for him, he was beginning to understand why his father always said "laughter was contagious". The way her nose wrinkled and her eyes squinted was indeed quite amusing, but every time she gasped for another breath of air to only be giggled out, made something inside of him wanted to explode out. The urge got stronger and stronger until suddenly his own laughter was ringing in their ears. It didn't last long though, and soon they were both calming down. Of course he was much faster at doing so, but also found Rin's quieting giggles somewhat sad. It's not like he had never laughed before, and he actually laughed a lot when he was younger, before Inuyasha was born, but usually it was over someone's misfortune or pain, never something as random as throwing pieces of wood. It wasn't even over that, it was Rin's laugh that made him laugh. The girl from somewhere completely different has made the emotions he has tried for years to bury, to just spring up in unexpected ways.
"I'm sorry, Sesshoumaru, I don't know where that came from," she blushed. "I haven't laughed like that in so long. It felt nice." Leaning up against his right arm, she let out a pained sigh. The laugh was good, but all of it made her wounds ache ferociously. He said nothing, and did nothing, but only looked across the room at the fire, she assumed lost in his own world. He definitely was a strange one, seemingly always staring into space with an indifferent glare. His golden eyes melting around his surrounding as his pointy, almost elven ears took in each tiny sound. There were so many things she wished she could ask him, but the likelihood of him actually answering one of the questions without a vague answer was almost impossible.
She was breathing hard, probably from the pain her wounds were sending her, but he found it oddly relaxing. To be honest, he had never been this close to a human woman without having an arousal of selfish desires. He was strangely relaxed though. Actually, over the past few days, he had felt himself relax more and more, and mostly in the evening when all they did was sit around the campfire in silence. Her presence was warm. Even that first night making camp, he found her presence warm and inviting.
The scent of her fear seemed to have disappeared until a much louder and closer howl rang throughout the forest, and answered by a distant one. Her soft brown eyes widened, her body tensed, and she drew in an intake of air, then relaxed again when the howls were over. He looked down at her slightly, watching her eye lashes flutter with every blink, and the skin on her cheeks were slightly flushed. He didn't understand why, but he was very attracted to her at that moment. As she looked up at him, he looked away with a cold glare, which made her heart sink.
"Sesshoumaru?" she asked quietly.
He looked back at her, blinking slowly in an indifferent way.
"I've been thinking a lot about Warrik lately, and I feel," she laughed at herself softly as a very small smile graced her lips," scared."
Without thinking, his eyes grew softer and he quirked his head to the side questionably.
"How am I supposed to defeat this guy when all I can do is throw sticks and have strange dreams that somehow predict the future? I don't even have any ways to defend myself." She paused and stared into the fire, which seems to be her favorite thing to stare at lately. "I guess, I'm scared of dying."
Dying? He though to himself. He too used to be scared of the thought, but after what happened at Mondlicht, and to his brother, he realized he will die someday also.
"You will not die, Rin," he answered a bit coldly.
"How do you know that?" she asked in tears. "All of my life I prayed for an adventure, an adventure where I was the hero, and the bad got what was coming to them. Now that it is all to real, I never expected it to be so scary. I thought I was strong, but I'm weak, and the aspect that death is far too close is terrifying."
"You will not die, because I will not let it happen," he said a little softer than before.
"Are you sure?" she asked suspiciously.
"I never lie."
A few hours later, and they were still sitting side by side watching the fire in welcomed, relaxing silence. Sesshoumaru guess it was around midnight, and they hadn't heard a single Kriechen for about an hour; although, he knew that they were still out there. Rin would occasionally drift off to sleep, then suddenly wake up in a start, startling both of them. She was now sleeping softly against his arm, her breathing soft and slow. He had decided that he would not fall asleep this night, want to risk an unexpected attack from the Kriechen. At first, he thought the Kriechen weren't really a threat, just possibly curious, but now he thought otherwise. Still, he knew however, that they would not initiate anything that night, because they still seemed to be a bit wary of him, but who knows they they'll think tomorrow.
Rin mumbled something in her sleep, and snuggled up closer to him as his body grew rigid and his cheeks turned a bright crimson red. While sitting there, he wondered what she had meant when she said she prayed for adventure in her life. Was her life before really that dull? Noticing her peasantry attire that was old and withered, he knew she had to have led a dull life. All peasants were dull, doing the same task over and over again, even though, he himself led the same life over and over again, dull and unsatisfying for hundreds of years, yet he still considered himself more superior to her.
As the night went on, he found it highly satisfying to watch her sleep, although, there were a few times he wanted to shove her off of him, like the time she moved suddenly and him across the face. It was probably a good thing though, he was beginning to fall asleep, so in a way, she helped him keep alert. Plus, the warmth of her body and the way she kept snuggling up against him was making him sweaty and hot, which annoyed him. He was a bit uncomfortable as well, but he didn't dare move in risk of waking her from her peaceful slumber.
Soon the sun began to rise, and the morning air was sweet from the rain that night. It was a nice morning, but it disturbed him greatly. Even though the sun was poking its shiny bald head, and the greenery of the forest was bright, healthy, and beautiful, there was no sound. No rustling of the leaves being caressed by the morning wind. No birds chirping and singing their heavenly songs. No forest creatures stirring for their early morning duties and foraging. Nothing. Dead silence. It was very unsettling to him.
Rin stirred beside him as a soft coo escaped her lips, and her eyes fluttered slowly open, looking around the hut in what look like blank confusion. Her neck was stiff, her back ached, and her wounds sent out a dull numbing pain. She sat up slowly, stretching her arms as high into the air as she could, ignoring every signal of pain her body sent out.
Remembering Sesshoumaru was beside her, she smiled at him. "Good morning! I see the sun is coming out, and isn't it beautiful?"
Sesshoumaru frowned and shrugged his reply.
"Did you sleep there all night?" she asked feeling a bit guilty.
He didn't reply, and instead stood up without a word, almost knocking the girl over. It was good to stand up again. His bottom was numb, his legs were cramping, and his shoulder hurt from the pressure she had put on it in her sleep. His legs were screaming out in pain, but it did not show on his face. He quickly exited the hut, swiftly and elegantly, but before he could exit all the way, she called out to him.
"Are the Kriechen gone?" Sesshoumaru sighed and left the hut, the flap swinging back and forth, leaving her confused and upset.
The rising sun shone brightly on his hair, and the rain from the night before gave the wood a beautiful earthly glow. The ground was muddy as he walked around the empty village, avoiding massive puddles that lay in his way. He agreed with Rin, it was indeed a beautiful morning, and he loved the morning after a night's rain. But this one was different, which found very difficult to enjoy. There was no wind, not even the slightest breeze. The world around him seemed to have stopped, as if it were frozen in time. Even the scent of the morning was different, maybe because of the lack of wind, but he noticed there was hardly even a scent, which disturbed him the most.
As he walked around investigating the village further, he could feel the presence of the Kriechen prying their eyes upon him. He couldn't pinpoint where they were. Sometimes it felt as though they would be right beside him, then in the next instant, they were far away. He guessed that because there was no breeze, following a scent would be impossible. Sesshoumaru didn't like it. He felt trapped, and he absolutely hated it, which led him to the conclusion that they should all leave this area immediately.
Before turning around and heading back to the hut and his companions, a shuffle and the sound of twigs and vegetation breaking not far away caught his attention. Without hesitation, he lunged towards the direction, poisonous claws ready to strike. His eyes gave a ferocious glare just before his claws punctured the living flesh of a demon.
"Sesshoumaru," the demon called out before the poison melted its skin. For some reason, this voice made Sesshoumaru stop dead in his tracks as he looked, for the first time, at the demon before him. Sesshoumaru made a choking gasp as his arm dropped to his side, and he stumbled backwards in disbelief, his mouth opened in dumb shock. He blinked a few times before composing himself back to his stoic manner.
"Sesshoumaru", the demon said again in a deep, caring tone as it reached its arms out to the demon prince.
"Who are you?" Sesshoumaru asked angrily, pushing the demon away.
The demon looked at him in hurt, sad eyes," My son, it's been a long time."
"I am not your son," Sesshoumaru replied with annoyance. "I am the great Inutaisho of Mondlicht's song, and he is dead."
"Stop acting defiant, Sesshoumaru, I am he. Just because I have not been around for a while doesn't mean you can be disrespectful of me."
"I can and I will, because you are not him."
The demon sighed," I guess, you have grown up. You are not fearful of me anymore."
Sesshoumaru's eyes narrowed. The situation was confusing. The demon in front of him looked and sounded like his father, but he was sure his father was no longer living, so they only conclusion was that this was a trick.
"Who are you?" he spat," and if you do not answer, I will surely kill you."
The demon stood straight and matched the younger demon's glare. "You foolish boy. I am Lord Inutaisho of Mondlicht. The demon who slew a thousand demons with one swoop of his sword. The demon who conquered demon tribes. The demon who sired and ungrateful son, and the demon who loved a human woman." The demon looked at Sesshoumaru squarely in the eyes," I am he."
Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes even more in anger. "Liar," he spat, "Inutaisho is no more! Prepare to die, filth!"
"But I am your father, Sesshoumaru!" The demon almost pleaded with the younger one," Believe me!"
The demon pointed at Sesshoumaru," Look! That's the family pendant I gave you so many years ago! You are my hier," his eyes softened," you're my son!"
For some reason, something inside of him changed. Even though he knew this demon before him was a lie, something inside of him wanted to believe. The more he resisted the notion, the more he began to really believe that the demon was his father. He knew his father was dead, but to reason unexplainable to him, he could not remember how he arrived at that conclusion.
The demon inched forward, hands outstretched until Sesshoumaru was in his embrace. Sesshoumaru flinched and thought about pulling away, but his body would not move as he returned the embrace.
"Ah, my powerful son, I haven't done this to you since you were small."
Sesshoumaru's voice did not soften,"I do not remember."
"You were a sweet boy, and you do not remember?"
"No," he replied simply, a cold tone wrapping around the word.
His father grimaced at the reply, stopping the embrace, and looked at his son in disappointment. "I see you have changed a lot. You're even colder than from what I can remember." His father walked away with a sigh.
"After your mother died, almost the very instant of her death, I watched your heart ice over. You were cynical in your replies, and your thirst for blood and death grew. I never saw your beautiful smile again."
Sesshoumaru's eyes grew even colder,"How dare you bring up mother. I grew up to be the way I am because her death proved to me how short even our lives are. Mother grew weak and sick, so I knew I had to become strong. I vowed to myself that nothing will make me weak. Every joke or laughter haunted me with unexplainable emotions, emotions that let my gaurd down. Mother was an emotional woman, she laughed all the time, she cried, she grew angry. Her emotions proved weakness."
"You're such a fool," growled his father, " A life cold and heartless is not a life at all, but an empty shell! You have already died, my son! Physically, no, but your heart has died. You will die old and alone."
Sesshoumaru growled as his upper lip curled in anger. "I will not die! Death does not strike the strong."
His father shook his head. Sesshoumaru smiled cynically,"Take your bastard son for an instance."
"Do not speak of Inuyasha in such a way," his father snapped.
Sesshoumaru snorted,"He fell in love with a pathetic parasite of a human, and he was physically weaker thank I, and yet he now lies in digestive fluids, and fecal remains of a lowly dragon. Now explain how I am alive and he is not."
The demon before him growled deep in his chest and brought up his arm to hit the younger one, but was blocked by Sesshoumaru's fast reflexes.
"How dare you speak of your own brother in that way!" roared the older demon in a low, gruffed voice.
"He is the son of a human!"
"He is also my son," his father's expression grew suddenly sad. "You forgot your promise to me, didn't you?"
The quick change in his father's expression made him feel slightly guilty. This argument had gotten way out of control, and this wasn't the way he wanted to speak to his father. The things he said, he knew, were way out of line.
"What promise?" he asked, restoring his monotone voice.
"The promise you made to protect your brother and family."
"I made no such promise."
The demon walked towards him, and took the crescent moon pendant in his hands. "But you did. You did the very second I gave you this pendant. This pendant represents everything you protect and hold dear to your heart. That includes the estate, the people and demons living in your kingdom, and your brother."
"This was never discussed," grumbled Sesshoumaru.
His father shook his head in disappointment,"I have failed then. I taught you these values everyday of your life, but because you grew distant and your heart began to harden, all of these became lost to you." His father looked almost hurt. "You've lost your honor, and everything you should hold dear. They're all gone, and you will never gain them back."
"Father, I am sorry to disappoint you, but there must be a way to gain it all back!" he said almost desperately.
"No. Can you bring back your people? Can you resurrect your brother? No, they are gone forever."
"Is there any way to restore my honor though?"
"Until the day you can restore your kingdom, resurrect your brother, and learn to love, you never will."
"Love your home, love your people, and lover your brother."
"That's impossible!" he spat out in anger," You're asking me to love humans!"
The demon smiled faintly, "They're not all that bad."
Sesshoumaru was losing his cool again. "You're disgusting!"
"Then you shall die alone and without honor. No doubt you will live to be much older than me, but it will be painfully slow. You will love old and withered. Your youthful eyes will be clouded and blinded with age. Your bones will become brittle and broken, and all the while, you will be alone, living your worst fear." His father laughed," After all, isn't dying alone and worthless all of our worst fears?"
Sesshoumaru's eyes widened, as he was about to make a remark, but suddenly his father disappeared in front of him. One second he was there, then in another he wasn't. Sesshoumaru turned around quickly, scouring the woods for a glimpse of his father. Even as he turned around, the world around him grew darker and darker. The only light that illuminated him was from a small hole. Confusion and claustrophobia struck him as he tried to grasp what was happening. Feeling his way to the hole, his bones began to ache and his back slumped forward in excruciating pain as his skin grew drew and thin. He looked infront of him at his hands as walking towards the light grew more difficult and tiresome. He drew in an intake of air and lout out a wheezed gasp at the site of his hands, which were deformed and crooked, his claws dull and yellow, and his skin wrinkled and thin so that every blood vessel was a large bump on his hand, and it horrified him.
He walked forward in terror only until his legs gave out beneath him and he fell down in a large thump. Desperate and confused, he tried to pull himself, but only in vain. His breaths grew long and haggard as he lay face down and helpless in the rocky dirt.
A/N: Doh! I'm so horrible! I left you all on a major cliff hanger! I hope this is enough of a chapter to satisfy you all for a little bit. I'm so sorry it took so long to finish. I've been busy with school and all. Thank you so much for everyone who left a review on the last chapter! I appreciated it so much! Thank you! I love you all! I hope you all enjoyed this chapter as much as I do. Don't cliff hangers just suck?