Disclaimer: I own not a damn thing! R.T. owns everything, except my lil plot!!

Chapter Thirty One: Attack

In the East…

In the dark cabin a young boy wiped his tears away as he looked upon the death of his family. "Why? Why would someone kill them?" He slid himself away from his brother and quickly crawled over to where his father laid. Kenji turned over his father so that he was facing him and began to shake him. "Father… father please…wake up. You can't die. I don't know what to do." He cried. When he got no answer he scooted over to his mother. "Mommy, can you hear me? I'm scared mommy, please." He laid down on top of her chest and silently began to weep. "Please wake up. I don't want to be alone."

Outside the night air took a sudden change as a breeze began to stir. A lone figure stepped into the clearing near the hut. They turned back to speak to someone who still stood in the darkness. "There was a survivor, stay here." Without waiting a response the demon made their way toward the entrance to the hut where the child's sobs could be heard.

Kenji sat up, wiping away his tears. Fear began to run through his blood as the realization set in that he was alone and who ever killed his family could still be out there. Just as the thought ran through his mind he heard the front door to his home creek. 'Someone is coming!' He slid back away from his parents and looked around for a hiding place. His mind became frantic with fear and his heart was racing a thousand miles a minute. The footsteps that were headed his way were almost silent but with his demon hearing he could hear them yet.

Red eyes glowed in the darkness of the hut. She could hear his rapid heartbeat and could taste the fear in the air. She made her way to the back bedrooms and had to swallow down the disgusting stench of death as it engulfed her senses. Looking to her left she saw the first of the victims. He looked to be a young boy, maybe the age of ten she guessed. 'Such a shame!' She looked to the right where she made out the shape of two adults, whom she guessed were the child's parents. Making her way into the room her eyes transfixed on a little figure balled up in the corner. "Child, you need to come with me."

Kenji jumped up from where he was previously crouched. "Who are you, why are you here?" He was alarmed but yet a little relief flooded him with the fact that this demon in front of him was not a snake demon, and also a female. But he was not stupid enough to trust a stranger.

"I will explain all, but we must leave here. They, who did this to your family, are still near. It would be best if you come with me now." She stated calmly.

"How do I know I can trust you?" Kenji asked with a little apprehension.

"If I wanted you dead, you would not be standing their questioning me. Now come." She ordered putting out her hand for him to take.

He slowly walked over to the demon with her hand out and placed his hand in hers. "Wait, what about my family?" He asked. "We can't just leave them."

Looking back down at the child she felt a pang of guilt rise in her heart. She kneeled in front of the small child. "What is your name little one?"

He looked up into the onna's eyes. "My name is ..Kenji."

A slender finger rose and pushed a patch of silky black hair out of the child's eyes. "Kenji, that's such a nice strong name. My name is Kagura, and I need you to trust me. If I promise to send someone back to care for your family would you come with me right now?"

Kenji looked over to where his family lay, and looked back at the woman who was trying to help him. "You promise?"

Kagura gave him a genuine smile. "You have my word. Come." She said as she stood and led Kenji from the dark hut he called home. She could sense the danger in the air as soon as she stepped into the night air with the small one in tow. "Kanna..." She called into the dark.

Kanna stepped out from the brush. "Kagura, we must go. They are near." Her mirror lit up and it showed an army of snakes creeping in the night.

Kagura whipped out a feather from her hair and it Kenji's eyes grew wide as he watched it become a floating vessel. "Kenji, Kanna get in." She waited until they were safely seated before climbing in."

"Where are we going Kagura?" Kenji asked.

"West."

In the West….

Kagome awoke alone in bed and groaned at how much she hated that. She rolled out of bed and slid on her robe all the while wondering where her mate had run off to. The memories flooded her mind of the activities that took place the night before and she couldn't stop the gasp that left her lips. Her hand gently laid against her belly. "Could I be…? Is it possible..? Oh my god, I could be pregnant." Kagome began to giggle as her thoughts of babies flooded her mind. "Well, maybe I should pick up a few things for myself while shopping for Sango and Kikyou."

"There will plenty of time to purchase things for our pups." Sesshomaru stated as he entered the bedroom and closed the door behind him.

Kagome turned and smiled up at her mate. "Good morning, I was just coming to find you. Where were you?"

"Making the required preparations for your journey to the market." Walking over to where Kagome stood, his eyes never leaving hers. "You know how much I despise the idea of you being out of my presence."

"Well, you could come with me." Kagome reached out and grabbed his hands enter twining their fingers. "It could be fun."

"Hn. As entertaining as that sounds I must decline." He let go of her hands and made his way onto the balcony.

Kagome followed closely behind. "What is it? Has something happened?" She watched as he began to look out over the vast valley of his lands as if concentrating on something.

"I do not know Kagome. I have called a meeting with my generals. They will be arriving this morn. There will be much to discuss." He looked down at his mate. "I have made arrangements for you to go into town. The three guards have already been chosen to escort you. I have also arranged for a carriage to follow for the items purchased. I will give you three hours Kagome. If you are not back, I will come for you."

She knew that this was a huge step in allowing her out of his sight for even such a small span of time. But she had to show him that she could be trusted to take care of herself if and when she was without him. "Three hours is plenty, thank you." She said with a smile before standing on her tip toes and giving him a gentle kiss. "I will be back before you know it."

He wrapped his arms around her. "Good. The horses are being saddled up and you leave in one hour's time."

Kagome jumped out of his arms. "I gotta get ready." She began running around the room gathering her things before turning to run down to the hot spring.

"Kagome."

She stopped and turned around, flashing him a generous smile. "Yes, my love?"

He quirked an eyebrow. "Just remember. I have no problems massacring an entire village if one hair on the top of my mates head is harmed."

Kagome laughed. "You are such a drama queen Sesshomaru." She laughed even harder when she saw the look of shock on his face.

"A queen am I?"

Kagome stopped laughing when she noticed the glint of feral lust flash through his golden orbs. "I …I was…just kidding." She started to back up when he slowly started making his way toward her. "Sesshomaru…..eeek!!" She turned around and took off in a fast run.

In a flash he was after her. It didn't take more than a few seconds before her laughter and his growls filled the castle walls.

Somewhere on the edge of the Western lands……

The sun had began to rise and it no longer was safe to fly for fear of being spotted. Kagura's feather came to rest on the ground and all three crawled out. "From here we walk."

"Why are we heading west, Kagura?" Kenji asked still a little groggy from falling asleep inside the feather.

"Because that is where the lord of these lands resides. We must give him warning of what is to come." She responded to him. She closed her eyes and sniffed the air, sensing there was no close danger she began to walk. "Come."

Kenji began to follow closely behind Kagura and Kanna. His eyes grew wide once he realized who she was talking about. "You mean we are going to see Lord Sesshomaru?"

"Yes, do you know him?"

Kenji beamed. "Yes, my father is a general in his army." His sudden realization of his error brought tears to his eyes. "Well…he was. Do you think that what happened to my family has something to do with Lord Sesshomaru?"

Kagura had to think over her response to the child. While he had slept, Kanna had shown her images from within the mirror. It had shown her the murders of Kenji's family and that of three other families. Although witnessing murder of the innocent was not a new experience, it never got easier to see. Guilt began to flood her heart. She had been just as bad as those snakes which had killed Kenji's family. She would have been forced to do it herself had Naraku ordered it.

She didn't deserve to breathe the air as she did now. Which is why she was so confused. Why had she been effected by the miko's wish? They should have been dead along with the evil hanyou. She didn't understand it, but she was thankful none the less. She owed the miko her life.

Remembering back, she and Kanna had been thrown quite a distance from the battle when the mikos began their assault on Naraku. Her next memory was waking up with Kanna smiling down on her. It was the first time she had seen her sister smile. That's when she heard it for the first time; her own heart beating within her chest. They were free, truly free.

Sensing the boy's eyes still on her waiting for an answer, she simply stated. "I believe that the Western lands are under attack. It is up to us to warn the lord. Are you ready to be a hero Kenji?"

His eyes grew wide with her words and he smiled. "I am ready. I will make my father proud."

"Good. Let's go." Kagura said as she grabbed his hand and led the three towards the west.

Back at the in the West…

Kagome arrived into the small village nearest the castle wearing a royal blue hooded cloak. As promised, there were three guards within arms reach of her at all times. She had told them to be as discrete as possible for if anyone were to recognize her as royalty it might cause a stir. They had agreed to give her a little more space, but that was all.

After one hour, Kagome had picked some crafty baby furniture as well as some of the softest linen for her new nieces or nephews. After each item was purchased it was loaded unto the separate carriage that had followed them into the village. Kagome looked around

with a smile. She had managed to get all of her shopping complete and with a little time to spare when something across the street had caught her attention.

There was a young girl, no older then maybe sixteen or so, hanging the most exquisite paintings. Kagome looked over to the guards and quietly whispered that there was one more thing she wanted to look at before she left. They nodded and followed their queen across the street.

Audrina winced as she hung the last of her paintings. Her arm still hurt from the previous night's incident. Noticing the bruises that threatened to peak their way out of the edge of her sleeve, she gave a light tug pulling the sleeve back down over them to hide them from view. That's when she looked up to notice the woman admiring one of her portraits. She smiled at the hope of a potential sale.

"Good morning." She greeted.

Kagome looked up and returned the smile. "Good morning to you. Did you paint all these yourself?"

"Yes. It's a passion of mine." Audrina beamed.

Kagome couldn't help but admire the beauty in each and every piece. "These are exceptional. You are very talented. How long have you been painting?"

"Thank you. The one you are looking at..." She pointed up to the painting. "It is a portrait of the village miko as I remember her. She died a few years ago." Noticing that her bruises began to creep out she quickly pulled her hand back to her side and tugged the sleeves down again.

Kagome noticed the bruises immediately but didn't want to make the girl uncomfortable by questioning her right away. She moved onto the next picture which was of a little girl sitting amongst a field of wild flowers. She could tell that each portrait was carefully painted with a vast of colors. They were just beautiful.

She was admiring a painting as a sudden feeling of warning came over her. It was as if someone was watching her. Without making any hasty movement Kagome scanned her side views for anything out of place. She didn't see anything at first but then she caught something or rather someone in the reflection of the store window. She slowly placed her hands inside her cloak and placed her hands on her daggers which were pinned to her sides. She looked at the young girl with a smile. "What is your name?"

The guards noticed Kagome reach for her daggers and immediately took a defensive stance.

Audrina was a little startled by the question and the way the four strangers were acting. "My name? It's Audrina. What's going on?"

Kagome looked back into the reflection and noticed someone crouched down on the roof across the street aiming a bow and arrow right at the two of them. "Audrina, I need you to get down…. NOW!!" Kagome yelled as she pushed the girl to the ground as the arrow was released from the bow.

Kagome moved faster than the eye could see, turning in time to catch the arrow in mid air and pointing it right back at its archer. The masked demon stood in shock before taking off and running. "Stop him." Kagome yelled.

One of the guards took off in a flash and in mere minutes had captured the masked offender and brought him back to where Kagome stood. The guard tossed the demon to the ground before his queen. "Neal before her you piece of shit." The guard spat as he grabbed the demon by his hair and yanked the mask off.

"Enough." Kagome ordered. She heard Audrina gasp when the mask come off. She turned to the young girl and asked her. "Do you know this man?"

When Audrina didn't answer she turned back to the demon that was now kneeling before her and slid back the hood to her cloak. She could hear the gasps from the villagers as well as from Audrina. "Who are you and why do you aim an arrow at me?"

When she didn't get an answer the guard grabbed him by the back of his hair and yanked his head back. "Answer her or I will end you now."

The demon's eyes grew large when he laid his eyes upon the Western Lord's mate, his queen. "I…I was not aiming at you. The girl, she was promised to me, and she has rejected me. Her life belongs to me." The demon spat.

Kagome turned to face a crying Audrina and her blood began to boil. How could it be that a young girl could be promised to someone who was clearly way too old for her? She knew that there were arranged marriages but this was going a little too far. A woman should have the right to choose whom they are to spend the rest of their lives with. But she knew that this was how things were in this era. "Audrina, is this true?"

Audrina looked from the demon on the ground and back to Kagome. "Yes…and no. He and my father were partners. He had asked my hand in marriage when I was thirteen, but my father had said no. He was persistent and my father grew angry. My father was preparing to cut all ties with him, but my father disappeared soon after that. I believe he killed my father to get to me. He approached my mother a three moons ago and threatened to take our store away from us if she did not hand me over to him." Tears began to stream down her face. "I don't love him! He is old and a murderer. I could never love him!" She spat with hatred.

She calmed herself enough to go on. "He came to me last night when I was closing the store and told me that my mother had agreed to the marriage. I told him that I didn't believe him and he tried to force him self on me. I fought him off and he eventually left, but not before threatening me and my family." Audrina reached out and grabbed Kagome's hands. "Please, I beg of you…do not make me go with him. Please!!"

Kagome looked back down at the demon. "Is this true?"

The demon began to laugh. "You have no right to accuse me or question me miko. I have done no wrong and you can't prove anything. She was promised to me, and I have every right to come and collect. Law states she is mine to do what I want with."

Black began to seep into her eyes. "I think you lie. She states her mother disapproved of the marriage and therefore what you did was plot to rape and murder an innocent young girl. Even if her mother agreed and an arrangement had been made, law states that the girl may go before the village council and asked to be released from the pact. I know the law. So do not quote it to me." Kagome finished trying to get a hold of her temper.

"What shall we do with him?" The guard asked.

"Take him to the village leader. He will need to stand trial for his crimes." Kagome ordered.

The guard yanked the old demon up by his hair. "Get up!" He demanded.

"No. I won't go. She is mine. I will kill her and I will kill you! I will kill all of you!" The old demon began to struggle and fight with the guards. Just as the guards were trying to gain hold on him Kagome noticed the old demon grab for something shiny under his hakama. She didn't have time to even contemplate before she had her dagger out and shot it at the old demon. It hit him dead center of his forehead and within an instant he became dust. The knife he had grasped fell to the ground with thud.

"You…you killed him." Audrina stuttered before throwing her arms around Kagome. The guards went to pull the young girl off but stopped when Kagome held up her hand letting them know to stand down.

Audrina pulled herself back and looked up at her hero. "You set me free. How can I ever repay you?"

Kagome smiled down at the young girl and then looked out at the bystanders who looked on at the scene. She became a little nervous. What if she had just put herself in more danger? Her fear began to dissipate when everyone just seemed to smile and bow there heads with acknowledgment. Then as quickly as they came the villagers moved on with their business as if nothing had happened. She sighed in relief.

"My queen, we must take leave or we will be late." One of her guards advised with their head bowed.

"Yes. You are right." Kagome stepped away from the girl who just stood there with anticipation. She turned back and looked at the girl. "Audrina, would you consider once in awhile painting portraits of my family, with pay of course?"

Audrina's eyes lit up. "I would be so honored."

"Well then, it's settled. I will see you soon." Kagome said with a smile, then turned and walked away toward her awaiting horse and carriage.

On the horse ride back the leader of the guards rode next to his queen. "I must give my apologies to you Kagome-sama. We failed you back there and we will be turning ourselves over to our lord for our punishment upon our return"

Kagome was a little taken back. "You and your men did not fail me. I am unharmed as was promised. There will be no need for punishment for as far as I am concerned, you saved my life, as well as the young girl's. That will be my report to my mate."

He was stunned. A woman of her stature could have them all removed from their positions as well as punished. "You…you are too kind. I can promise you that we will take this as a lesson learned, and it will never happen again. You are milady, and I will gladly lay my life down for you. You have my word."

Kagome smiled at his devotion. "What is your name?"

The guard smiled with pride. "I am Lieutenant Souta, but my friends just call my Souta."

Kagome smile grew wider. "Well Souta, let's pray that it never comes to that."

"Yes milady." The Lieutenant agreed.

OOOooooOOOOooooOOOoooo

Ok, I have a small confession. There was a huge part of me that wished this story away. But then, I get reviews on it, and I am just shocked. It was my first story and I saw so many errors it made me shudder. How is it you like it?? I tried to fix it, but with no beta, I wanted to give up. There was one review that just stuck with me and I realized no matter how long it takes me, I will NEVA give up on this story. The review read…

okay where's the rest of the story? great lemons great storyline, BUT WHERE'S THE NEXT CHAPTER YA HOOKER?

Now that was the best review. I loved it, almost fell outa my chair laughing. So thank you Stiffinme!!

I don't deserve your reviews with my lack of updates, but they are so appreciated. So thank you to all who have reviewed. Hugz!!