AN: Ug. I'm so sorry for the wait, guys, but I have really, REALLY dreaded writing this chapter. It's just one of those chapters that it drains you to write. I mean, I know the outline of what is supposed to happen, but actually putting it down on paper. . . not so easy. Uhg! I really don't want to write this, but I think I've made you guys wait long enough. So here it is. The dreaded chapter that explains Kagome's past. (sigh) I don't wanna! But I will. This next bit here goes more for the chapter six, but I decided to put it here because. . . because. . . well, because I can: I think I should warn you. Things may get a tiny bit violent. Aw, what the hell am I saying? Someone decides to use the main character as a cutting board. There is also a bit of adult content. Not much. (A brothel, a few lewd comments here and there, but nothing too awful.) If reading something like this offends you, (I personally don't think it's that bad, but whatever) I recommend that you don't read this chapter or the next. Or parts of them. Whatever. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Disclaimer: I don't own him. Wish I did. But I don't.
Chapter Five: Plague of Memories- Part One: The Beginning
Kagome shook her head. "I can't."
"What do you mean?" Kaede asked, stroking the hair from the girl's face.
"Why?" Sesshomaru inquired, leaning against the dresser.
She just shook her head again sorrowfully. "You don't understand." She appeared to be on the verge of crying again.
"It's alright, Kagome," said Sango, arm still around the girl's shoulders.
She didn't reply, but instead closed her eyes.
Kaede spoke to her softly. "We only want to help."
She shook her head again. "You can't help." She started to continue but didn't, looking down at her hands instead.
"What?" asked Sesshomaru, voice remaining patient.
There was no response. They watched each other over her head, exchanging puzzled looks.
"Kagome–" started Kaede.
"It won't matter if you help or not. It'll all end up the same," the girl whispered.
The woman nodded. "Okay. If you don't want to, you don't have to."
The girl blinked. They were giving her a choice? She thought the woman's words over, staring blankly ahead of her. 'Maybe they can help,' she thought. Making up her mind, she took a deep breath and began to speak.
"We were outside, Momma and me. It was time to take the laundry in. . ."
The sun was shining, but there were clouds off to the east. Mrs. Higurashi looked up from the dinner she and her daughter were preparing.
"Come Kagome. We have to get the laundry before it starts to rain."
"But Momma, it's not going to rain for a while, and it's hot outside," the girl whined, looking up from the pot she was stirring.
"Less complaining, more walking. I'm going to help, so it shouldn't take long at all." The woman took her daughter's hand and led her to their clothesline. Kagome sighed. 'Well, there's no use in moping. Might as well get it over with.' she thought, starting to take the sheets down and putting them in the basket between them.
"See? It isn't too bad out here. There's a breeze," her mother said cheerfully. Kagome, although she tried to, couldn't hide the slight smile that sprang to her lips. They continued to work in companionable silence. Finishing quickly, as Mrs. Higurashi predicted, they decided to stay outside a moment longer and enjoy the slight wind.
"Momma," the girl said, laughing softly, gesturing to their left.
The woman turned to find her husband and son sparring, whereas the should have been repairing a wagon wheel. "Will you look at that?" She shook her head, also laughing. "Men."
"Men," her daughter agreed with a nod. They both giggled slightly.
"One of these days, a boy will catch your eye and you won't be saying that anymore."
Kagome rolled her eyes. "Not likely."
Now it was the mother's turn to roll her eyes. "Right." The two fell quiet once again and continued to watch the other two's roughhousing.
Minutes later, an expensive looking carriage rolled past, starting to slow in front of their house. Mrs. Higurashi frowned.
"Momma? Who's that?" asked Kagome, also eyeing the carriage curiously. The woman didn't reply at first. "Momma?"
"Get inside Kagome. Now." Her voice was firm, leaving no room for argument. The girl nodded, disappearing inside the kitchen.
The carriage stopped as Mrs. Higurashi called to her husband. But he saw it too, and shared his wife's worried expression. Mr. Higurashi and their son quickly made their way back inside, watching from a window as five men exited the carriage.
"What's going on?" asked Souta, Kagome's younger brother. Neither of his parents answered, and his sister shrugged. A knock sounded. Her mother and father looked at one another. There was another knock. They crossed their living room and opened the door.
"May I help you?" asked Kagome's father, blocking the entrance to his home with his body.
"Allow me to introduce myself," a man's deep voice said, but the children couldn't see him. "I am Lord Naraku of Taisoku. I was wondering if my men and I could come in for a bit?"
The parents shared a look. They very well couldn't defy a Lord, but there was something about this man. Something that wasn't right. However, he was a Lord.
With a stiff nod, Kagome's father moved aside, allowing the Lord and his men into their home.
"Please. Sit," offered Mrs. Higurashi. Kagome could hear a note of nervousness in her voice. The man nodded, taking a seat, but the other four men that entered behind him remained standing. "Can I offer you anything? Perhaps some sake?" Although she was anxious, the woman acted the part of a gracious hostess.
"No thank you. I'm sure that you are busy, so I will not waste your time." Despite his words, his voice implied that they could be doing nothing that mattered, and if anyone's time was going to be wasted there, it was his. "We just happened to be passing through, and I couldn't help but notice the young woman you were with, madam. Your daughter, I assume?"
Mrs. Higurashi swallowed nervously, glancing at her husband. He seemed as unsettled as she. The woman nodded. "Yes."
"She is quite lovely. It runs in the family, I see."
"Thank you." There was no warmth in the words.
"My Lord," started Mr. Higurashi, "I do not mean to be rude, but. . ."
"I understand, but, before I leave, I would like to see her." However politely it was spoken, it was an order.
Mrs. Higurashi's mouth worked, but not a sound came out. She looked to her husband helplessly.
He was quite obviously upset, but they couldn't defy a Lord. "Kagome," he called, his voice a mixture of regret, contempt, and sadness.
The girl entered the room from the kitchen, bowing politely to their guest. As she straightened, she looked to her parents, confused.
"Look at me, girl," the Lord commanded. Her gaze snapped to him immediately. He didn't speak at first, taking several long moments to study from head to toe. Finally, he looked her straight in the eye. "Beautiful."
She swallowed nervously, unconsciously licking her lips. The man saw the gesture and smirked. "How old are you?"
"Eighteen, my Lord."
"Eighteen? And not married?" He turned to the husband and wife. "Why?" There was a heavy, pregnant pause. "And do not lie to me, saying that she his betrothed when she is not."
It was many seconds later when Mr. Higurashi replied. "She doesn't wish to be married."
"Ah. A free spirit. Doesn't want to be tied to a man. Is that right?" He directed his attention back to the girl.
She nodded hesitantly. "Y-yes, my Lord."
He nodded also, eyes glinting with something closely related to hunger. " Wonderful." He addressed the parents once again. "She's exquisite. There are not many young women like her."
The Higurashi's said nothing, expressions lingering somewhere between horror and anguish.
"I do not believe in beating around the bush. Your daughter is simply stunning. I am willing to take her back to Taisoku with me."
Mr. Higurashi didn't hesitate to respond. "No."
"I thought you would say that. Will this help you change your mind?" He dropped a rather large purse of money in front of the girl's appalled parents.
"No," the father repeated, shaking his head.
"Not enough for you? Fine." He took out another purse, even larger than before, and dropped it next to the first.
"We are not selling our daughter," hissed Mrs. Higurashi, voice trembling with pent-up emotions.
"Would you like to reconsider?" He dropped a third purse, then gestured to the three bags of money. "A small fortune, that is."
"We said no," Mr. Higurashi growled angrily.
The Lord sighed, shaking his head. "I hate to resort to this." He got to his feet.
The girl's parents also stood, positioning themselves in front of their daughter protectively.
"Momma?" Kagome asked unsteadily, tears burning her eyes.
The woman reached behind her and squeezed the girl's hand. "It will be alright," she said, glaring daggers at the man advancing towards them.
"I do not like turning to violence, but. . ." He sighed. "The things a man will do for a woman."
"Over my dead body," uttered the girl's father menacingly.
The Lord sneered. "If you insist." He looked over his shoulder to the four that entered with him. "Get her." The men started forward.
Mr. Higurashi pushed his wife and daughter back into the kitchen, pressing his back against the door. His wife mirrored him, positioning her heels firmly on the floor. "Kagome," she said breathlessly, "Take Souta and get away from here. They won't be able to find you in the forest."
"Momma," Kagome whimpered, tears streaming down her cheeks.
The woman wiped the wet streaks from her daughter's face, kissing her gently. "Go." She pushed her children towards the kitchen door.
"No. Momma, Daddy," she started, echoed by her brother.
"Go. Now!" Her father ground out, pushing a heavy cabinet in front of the door and grabbing a sword as his wife got a heavy kitchen knife.
Taking her brother's hand, she ran towards the woods a hundred meters away, but looked back at the sound of splintering wood and her mother's scream.
Kagome paused, trembling. "I-I-I knew I shouldn't have gone back. I knew w-we should have kept going, b-but she was screaming. . ." Two tears crept down her cheeks. She took a deep, shuddering breath before continuing. "W-we ran back to the house. . ."
Kagome and Souta rushed into their kitchen breathlessly, and heard the Lord bellow a command. "Find her!"
He and his men weren't in the house. She looked around. The cabinet was destroyed. She paled at the sight of blood smeared on their usually clean kitchen floor. Following the red stain, the two siblings ended up in their living room. Kagome gasped, clamping a hand over her mouth to stifle the sound of anguish trying to escape her lips. She and her brother couldn't utter a word. She grasped the boy's hand tightly, tears spilling down her cheeks once again. The girl could feel her little brother's body shaking with muffled sobs and pulled him to her. She tried to take in the sight before her. Their father's bloody, obviously deceased form was slumped over the table, eyes gazing straight ahead lifelessly. She could see that he was dead, but it didn't convince her. She stepped forward, her brother still clinging to her and sobbing. The girl knelt next to her father's body, gently pressing her fingers to his lips. There was no gentle, warm gust of air. She then placed her hand over his heart. There was no beating beneath her palm. She rested her hand on his cheek, gazing at him before hugging him close. 'Daddy' she thought, sobbing softly. A few moments later, she pulled away and kissed her father, gently closing his eyes. 'I love you, Daddy.' She stood, hugging her brother to her once again.
A sound caused by neither her nor her brother made her look up. Fear tightened cold fingers around her heart. After seconds of frantic looking, she discovered the source of the sound. "Momma!" she cried, stumbling towards her mother, who was beneath an overturned shelf. Kagome and Souta moved the cumbersome piece of furniture as quickly as they could, then dropped to their mother's side.
"Momma," Souta began, voice thick with tears.
"Souta?" whispered the woman, reaching to touch his cheek. There was a knife wound between her ribs, and her usually immaculate clothing was stained crimson. Kagome barely succeeded in stopping a sob from leaving her throat. Swallowing, she touched her mother's face. "Kagome." Mrs. Higurashi smiled briefly before frowning. "You shouldn't be here. They'll be back."
"Momma, let me help." Kagome ripped a length of fabric from her skirt, pressing it to the laceration. She was stilled by a hand on hers.
"No," whispered her mother, removing the girl's hand. "Take your brother and go."
"We won't leave you," said Souta, hugging his mother.
"Souta." She gently stroked her son's hair. "You have to go. They will be back." Her breathing became labored.
"Momma," cried Kagome, wrapping her arms around her mother's slight form.
"Shh." The woman held her children, tears streaming down her cheeks. "You have to go. They're coming back. Go–" Her voice caught and she kissed her son first, then her daughter. "Leave." She then fell silent. The siblings could feel her death. They felt her last heartbeat; felt the last breath leave her body.
Kagome fought to bring her back. She tried everything her mother taught her, even channeling her energy into the woman, but to no avail. "Momma," she sobbed, slumped over her mother's newly deceased form. Long moments later, the girl looked down at her brother's tear-streaked face and opened her mouth to speak.
"I think I heard something." It was one of the Lord's men.
The girl kissed her mother's cheek, then their entwined fingers. "I love you." She hesitantly let go of her mother's hand and stood.
Turning to her little brother, she hurried him out the door. As she left, she noticed something she had overlooked before. The bodies of two of the Lord's men. After checking to make sure that no one would spot them, they ran as quickly as they could to safe-haven of trees.
Several minutes passed, and still they fled. They continued to run until they thought their lungs would burst. The siblings finally stopped, resting against tree trunks and panting.
"What are we going to do?" asked Souta, catching his breath.
His sister studied him for a moment. "I don't know." They fell silent once again.
"We didn't even hear them at first," the girl said softly. "When we did, they had gotten too close. . ."
The sound of snapping twigs suddenly registered in Kagome's mind. She turned to her brother quickly. "Souta ru–"
"Got ya!" A pair of hands suddenly had an iron grip around her arms. She struggled, kicking and clawing, but it was no use. The Lord's man held her in place as if it was no trouble in the least. "You got that one?" he called to his accomplice.
"Yeah. Put up one hell of a struggle, though."
The girl turned towards the other voice and cried out. "Souta!" Her little brother was sitting, unconscious, on the forest floor. The man who had spoken was binding his wrists and ankles together. He then crossed to the girl and her captor, holding her still as the man behind her tied her wrists together.
"Walk," he ordered once finished. She stubbornly refused, starting to fight once again.
"I believe I said walk," he said, holding a knife to her throat. Kagome went still, feeling the cold metal rub against her skin. She took an unsteady step, then another.
"Hurry it up, bitch," he snapped, pressing the blade snugly against her. She complied, quickening her steps. The other man walked to her brother and tossed the boy over his shoulder, following. They walked on in silence for several minutes. Finally, the one with the knife spoke to the other. "What do you think he's going to do with her?"
The other man laughed. "I don't know. She's got a wild streak. It's gona be interesting to see him break her." She kept walking, eyes straight ahead.
"Yeah. He usually likes the bold ones. Likes to tame 'em, he says," the voice closest to her said with a laugh. "Then again, I wouldn't mind taming this one myself." She swallowed, trying to ignore the terror creeping up her spine.
"Uh huh. She's a pretty one, she is." The one with her brother then sighed. "But she's Lord Naraku's. After he's gone through all this trouble, he won't like it if we get to her first."
"Who says he's gotta know?"
"You wanna risk it? Risk him finding out? You know he'd kill you."
He sighed. "You're right. But maybe after he's done with her. . .?" He pressed his lips against her exposed neck and inhaled deeply. The girl's entire body went stiff, her breath coming in short, panicked gasps.
The two men laughed obscenely and hurried her along once again. They arrived to the girl's house a few long minutes later.
"Lord Naraku. Look who we found," called the one holding her, pushing her forward. She stumbled, but didn't fall, and kept her eyes on the ground.
"Ah. My lovely Kagome." A hand tilted her chin up, and she found her face inches away from the Lord's. She jerked her face out of his grasp, looking at her feet. To her surprise, he didn't get angry or strike her. Instead, he laughed. "Ah. That 'free spirit' of yours." She swallowed, not replying. "Well, lets have a look." He held her at arm's length, taking in her face and clothes streaked with her parent's blood. The Lord sighed, 'tsk'ing at her. He took a handkerchief from his pocket, touched a corner of it to his tongue, then proceeded to wipe a smear of blood from her cheek.
Kagome was looking ahead blankly, as if seeing the event played out before her eyes. "He said 'Look at you. You're filthy.'" A solitary tear rolled slowly down her cheek. "He got in the carriage. . ."
Lord Naraku gently grasped the girl's hands. "Here. Let me help you." He assisted her into the carriage, then let his men, plus her brother, enter behind her. There were five of them. Five passengers, as it was when the carriage had first arrived.
Kagome looked out the window to her home and silently said goodbye to her parents one more time. 'I'm sorry,' she thought, tears coming to her eyes once again.
As if sensing her melancholy thoughts, the Lord tilted her face towards him once again. "I assure you, Kagome, things will start to look up ."
As she did before, she jerked her face away from him. "You killed them," she whispered, watching her house recede as the carriage moved forward.
Lord Naraku sighed, stretching slightly. "You will soon come to see, darling, that I am a very dedicated man. Nothing comes between me and what I want." He tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear. She said nothing, turning her face away from him and looking out the window once again, just in time to see her house disappear around a corner. She closed her eyes, willing herself not to shed a tear.
Several hours passed. Every once and a while, Lord Naraku would reach over and touch her hair, face, or neck, making some sort of bodily contact that she could, quite frankly, do without. Kagome never responded. She would stubbornly ignore him, refusing to look at him when she felt his hands. It was never indecent, though. His gestures were gentle, almost casual.
Suddenly, as he was stroking her cheek and twirling that same loose piece of hair around his finger, she realized what the Lord was up to. Something her father taught her long ago came to mind. 'When you're training a horse that has never been ridden, you start light touches, until it knows your touch and realizes that you won't hurt it. Lightly at first, then the you will eventually be able to saddle and ride the animal. It's the basic building of trust.' The girl started in horror, quickly putting as much distance between herself and the Lord as the carriage allowed.
He laughed softly, but the sound seemed menacing to her ears. "Yes," he said, almost musingly, "I believe you will do nicely." The urge to cry suddenly presented itself once again, but she fought it, glaring at him.
They stopped at an inn, apparently for the night. She knew that she wasn't in her native Sakaio, so she assumed that they had gone to Taisoku, where his power and influence would be even greater. She paled at the thought.
"Come now, darling. I want you to meet a few friends." He took her from the carriage, and didn't look back to see the two men haul her brother out as well. Yet again, one of them tossed him over his shoulder, and they approached the inn.
"Meoko?" called Lord Naraku, entering through the kitchen door without knocking.
"My Lord," a young woman bowed. She was pretty enough, but average.
"Ah. My Meoko." The Lord released Kagome and hugged the woman. "How has it been?"
"Marvelous, my Lord. Simply marvelous." The 'Meoko' woman spared the girl a glance, then looked at Lord Naraku with a sigh, hands on hips. "I see you've got another one."
The Lord shrugged, almost sheepishly. "You know me. I just can't resist."
"By the looks of it, you had a bit of trouble." She was eyeing the girl's blood-stained clothes.
"Yes. The parents and I didn't exactly see eye to eye."
"Mmhmm. Well lets have a look at her." The woman held Kagome's face in her hands for a moment before the girl jerked her head away. She rolled her eyes. "Rebellious as always. But she's very pretty though."
"Isn't she? My best find yet."
"That's what you always say," Meoko muttered, studying the girl.
"But can't you see it? This one's different," said Naraku, voice harboring a nearly child-like awe.
"If you insist." Jealousy tinged the woman's voice.
The Lord sighed. "Meoko." He drew her away from the girl and kissed her. For the first time in a long while, Kagome's stomach threatened to empty itself. "Please?" he asked softly.
It was the woman's turn to sigh. "Fine. But only if you promise to make it up to me."
The Lord smirked. "I will." He kissed her again, hands springing into action.
Meoko gasped as if surprised. "My Lord!" Kagome kept her gaze well away from the couple in front of her. Moments later, when they showed no signs of letting go of one another, she took the opportunity to observe her surroundings and see if there was a way out. She looked behind her. The men were standing about two meters away, watching Lord Naraku and the Meoko woman. Her brother, who had been transferred from the man's shoulder to the floor, was still unconscious. Her lips curved downward in a worried frown. 'They didn't kill him, did they?' she thought anxiously, wanting to go check on her brother, but knowing that the consequences wouldn't be in her favor if she tried. The men were blocking the door. The only other exits were a door to what appeared to be a common room, which was blocked by the Lord and the woman, and a tiny window. She was small enough to fit, but she knew that she wouldn't be able to maneuver herself through it before they caught her. Perhaps, if her arms were free, but there was no use in trying it with her wrists still tied behind her.
She gave a small sigh as a testament of her hopeless. There wasn't a way out. But then again, from the woman's earlier comments, it would appear that they had done this many times before. Enough times to know the ways out and block them. How many girls had been brought there before her? A dozen? Two dozen? Five dozen? A hundred girls standing in that very spot? And what did he do with them? She flushed slightly. She knew what he did with them, but what happened to them? Where were they? Were they still alive? The girl tried not to shudder, but with no success. A tremor shook her small form as she closed her eyes. Moments later, she looked back to her brother. The girl tried to concentrate on his chest. Was it rising and falling, or was her hopeful mind playing tricks on her?
"He's alive, if that's what you're worrying that pretty head of yours about," one of the men said with a smirk. She glared at him, then spared her brother one final glance before gazing at her feet.
Lord Naraku turned away from the woman in his arms many long seconds later. "Kagome," he said finally. The girl ignored him.
Meoko sighed, shaking her head. "No respect for her superiors."
"I do have respect for my superiors. He just isn't one of them."
The woman, appalled and shocked, started to reply, but Lord Naraku held up a hand to stop her. He crossed the room in long, confident strides until he was face to face with her. She didn't look away. She let the hatred she felt for him impregnate itself into her gaze as she met his eyes.
He touched her hair, gently stroking her cheek. She ground her teeth, jerking away, but never breaking their eye contact. Once again, he laughed. "Isn's she something," he said softly, as if showing off a new colt or his newest in a collection of jewels. Meoko sighed, shaking her head.
"I'm guess you want me to clean her up."
"And the boy, if you don't mind."
The woman rolled her eyes. "The boy too?"
"It won't be trouble. He will not wake for a while yet."
"What did they do to him?" Kagome demanded, glaring at the men.
"Nothing a good rest won't take care of. I assure you, the boy isn't where my interest lies." He shrugged, walking in a slow, tight circle around her. "The only reason I wanted him here is because I thought you might like him to stay. Isn't that what you want?"
"Then you want me to kill him."
The Lord looked at her inquiringly. "Then what do you want?"
"I want you to let him go."
He started to walk around her once again, taking making three slow rounds before replying. "No. I can't do that now."
"Why not? You said the only reason he's here is because of me. You have no interest in him."
"And that is true. But you are interested in his well-being, no?" The girl didn't reply, and he didn't seem to expect her to. "The only reason he is here is because of you. I would have just let him be a comfort to you, but now I see I have more options." The Lord stopped right in front of her. Kagome stiffened. "I see I can use him to my advantage. You must understand. You are a thing of beauty. I cannot just slap you around as I see fit. It would be nothing short of sacrilege. But now I understand that I have leverage." He paused, then resumed speaking. "If you give Meoko a hard time, the boy will pay for it."
"Why?" Her voice was small, barely a whisper.
"Hmm. What an interesting question. 'Why?' Perhaps I enjoy it." He started around her again. "Perhaps I find it invigorating. Perhaps I find it satisfying. But then again." He stopped behind her, putting his hands on her shoulders and leaning in close. Kagome could feel his breath on her nape. "Perhaps it's just because I can." He kissed the smooth skin of her neck. "You will soon find that I like to surround myself with beauty." He gently stroked her earlobe. "Why should my female companions be any different?"
"How can you call them companions when they are unwilling?" the girl asked, voice trembling and tears in her eyes.
Lord Naraku laughed softly. "Meoko can tell you, my dear Kagome. No woman comes to me unwilling."
At the mention of the other young woman's name, the girl looked up. When she sighted the face of the Lord's 'female companion', the fear in the recesses of her stomach redoubled. Meoko was smiling.
Time for Q&A, darlings!
Rogue Socks: Who's your new character gonna be? Shhh. It's a secret. But I assure you. She will be bitchy. You already met one of them (Meoko) Naraku's men are kinda original characters, but not really. They don't really play big roles. They don't even have names, in case you haven't already noticed. They're just referred to as 'that one' and 'that other one' quite a lot. Once they get to their destination, they won't be heard from much. :) As I said. Meoko's not the main bitch of the story, but you've gotta hate her. Anywayz. . . next question!
DudettRin101: Is she going to tell them soon? Uhm. . . does this question really require an answer? Lol. Just kidding. If you didn't know it already, the answer is yes.
Inu Girl Demon: When is Sesshomaru going to fall in love with her, or is he already in love with her? (Sigh) People, please. I'm not just going to have them fall in love right off the bat. That'd be unrealistic. So I'm going to answer your second question first. No. He's not already in love with her. He's kind of. . . intrigued by her, slightly, in a way, and kind of annoyed with her whole 'servile' thing, but nothing remotely close to love yet. And, as for your first question. . . I'm not exactly sure. I mean, is it possible to pinpoint exactly when we fall I love? I don't think so. I think it's a gradual buildup of very nice emotional stuff. But don't worry, folks. Long before I start throwing around that big ole 'L' word, there's going to be fluff. Unintentional, very awkward, fluff. Tee hee. Being an authoress is so fun.
AN: (Gasps for breath) Wow. That was a really hard chapter. I've checked. It's over half the length of the entire story up to this point. (Collapses) Ow. My brain. My fingers. Sorry for any errors (spelling, grammar, etc.) This chapter does have a second part: Chapter Six: Plague of Memories- Part Two: The Meaning of Pain. Yes. She does go on to continue telling her story. It will pick up. . . in the bath tub, of all places. But it will go on. However, folks, I do have a bit of a letdown: School starts next week. So that means. . . yep you guessed. A few hold ups in updating. It shouldn't get too bad at the beginning, but this is just a heads up. Please review. To all of you who did: Thanks guys! And to you who didn't. . . well. . . thanks for reading. Goodbye, people!