The Book of Shikon

Chapter 1

Do You Believe in the Devil?

"A lot of these books aren't really anything special. A couple thousand a piece, but nothing more then 15K." Inuyasha Taisho grunted, sliding one said book out from the bookcase he was looking at and flipping through it. These clients had recently had their father pass on, and he was a fanatic collector of books. Thus they had called him as an infamous dealer to price them.

"Anything in particular we should hold onto?" The woman asked. Inuyasha nodded and set the book he had in his hands on a table, next to another four or five.

"This one here is a nice. Not rare, per say, but in excellent condition. Nothing less than 20 grand for it, or you're getting ripped." He said, tapping the book. "These other ones aren't much separate, but as a collective, very nice. 50 K for them."

"Fi-fifty thousand?" The dead man's son gasped. Inuyasha inwardly grinned. Someone must like him somewhere, he always got the morons.

"Yeah. And there's this one." He finished, pulling one last book from the shelf. He didn't really pay attention to the cover, he didn't care which one it was. Hell, he was pulling stuff from his ass, pretty much every book on the table was crap. But if you wanted to properly swindle someone, you had to make it look like you were giving them sound advice. "It's an excellent work, it was probably the crown of the collection. If you let it go for less than a hundred thousand, you're insane." The losers looked ready to faint.

"Would you like to buy any of them?" The woman asked. Inuyasha held back a snicker. Not really, he had plenty of toilet paper.

"Well." He said, lifting up a second stack of books from the floor. These ones were the good ones. "I sadly, can't afford that much, but I did pick out a couple personal indulgences I have an interest in. Now they're pretty worthless, honestly, but I like them myself. Alone they're about 2 grand each, so I'll give you fifteen thousand for them."

"Sold." The man said, shaking Inuyasha's hand. Inuyasha smiled. Score.

- - - - - - - - - -

Inuyasha whistled happily as he strolled down the hall of the apartment complex to the elevators, patting his book bag happily. The elevator opened, and he entered, passing a man who got out that he recognized as a rival dealer.

"Son a bitch Taisho!" The man growled.

"You're getting slow in your old age." Inuyasha teased. "Sorry, cleaned them out."

"You bastard, is there nothing you wouldn't stoop to?"

"For a 1st edition Sons of Egypt, not really." Inuyasha hit the button for the lobby, and the doors began to close. The man looked ready to explode.

"You lying, cheating asshole!"

"Peace fucker." Inuyasha replied, flipping the man off as the elevator doors closed.

- - - - - - - - - -

Inuyasha pushed open the door to Kouga's Reads. Kouga wasn't really a friend, when you conducted business like Inuyasha did, friends weren't something you kept. But Kouga was just as crooked as he was, so they did a lot of business.

"Oh goodie, the mutt returns, who'd you cheat today?" Kouga asked, looking up from the solitaire game he was playing on the counter. Inuyasha reached into his book bag and tossed the Sons of Egypt onto Kouga's cards. "1st edition, you bastard." Kouga muttered, opening the cover. "You are a jackass, you know that?"

"Told every day." Inuyasha confirmed. "Bought for less than 5 grand, yours for sixty thousand."

"It's worth 50 Inuyasha, you not ripping me off as much as you usually do. I'm flattered and annoyed at the same time." Kouga growled, pulling a checkbook from under the counter. "Sold. By the way, you got a call, Naraku's looking for you." Inuyasha perked up and frowned. Onigumo Naraku was an infamous collector in the city, but Inuyasha himself had never done business with him.

"What he want?" Inuyasha replied, stowing the other books he had bought behind the counter.

"Don't know, he said to head to his office." Kouga replied.

- - - - - - - - - -

Naraku made the most of his money via investments in the stock market, but he also gave lectures and wrote himself. He had bought a three-story complex to accommodate it all. The lower complex housed a lecture hall, the middle level was Naraku's home and office. The top floor, so Inuyasha had heard, was his library. It had just turned over to night outside as Inuyasha entered the complex.

"Excuse me." Inuyasha said, strolling to the receptionist. "I'm Inuyasha Taisho, Naraku is expecting me." The receptionist nodded.

"He is, but he's giving a lecture right now, if you'd like to go in and wait." Inuyasha nodded and walked past her, pushing open the door to the lecture hall. He sat down at a vacant seat at the back and pretended to listen to Naraku at the front of the hall.

"In the Bible, Satan is classified as Lucifer, a fallen angel who was cast from heaven for rebelling against God. A third of the angels rallied to him and so were cast out with him. His angelic name of Lucifer means 'light bearer', and it is commonly thought Lucifer was an archangel, although such things vary from believer to believer. In Christianity, as in most other depictions, Satan is the embodiment of impurity and evil, but not necessarily the source or cause of it, just the avatar of it." Naraku said, walking along the stage. Inuyasha rolled his eyes and looked around the room. Most of the people were taking notes or watching Naraku. Except one. Inuyasha stared at a young woman who was staring back at him. She wasn't bad on the eyes, blue eyes, black hair. She wore a knee-length, dark green skirt and a black jacket. From this angle, Inuyasha couldn't see much else about her. She stared at him for a few more moments before turning back to Naraku.

"Islams call Satan 'Iblis'. Iblis was jealous of Allah, and in a fit of rage proclaimed so, and was cast from His grace for it." Naraku continued. Inuyasha closed his eyes and leaned back, waiting for Naraku's lecture to finish.

- - - - - - - - - -

"Wake up, Mr. Taisho." A foot kicked his, and Inuyasha blinked sleepily to see Naraku standing over him.

"The lecture over?" He yawned, rubbing his eyes.

"Yes, for ten minutes now. I'm flattered you found it so transfixing." Naraku replied, clearly annoyed but also a little amused. Inuyasha stretched his arms out.

"Did I snore?"

"Not that I noticed. Nice of you to ask though." Naraku said. "Come with me." Naraku walked to the front of the hall, and Inuyasha grabbed his book bag and followed. Naraku swiped a card key through a reader next to a steel door, and his private elevator opened. Inuyasha followed him inside as Naraku hit the F3 button.

"Tell me Inuyasha, what do you know about Midoriko?" Naraku asked as the elevator lurched upwards. Inuyasha shrugged.

"15th century Satanist or something. Burned at the stake for it, along with pretty much all her work on the Devil." He muttered.

"Not all her work. A few things survived, carried off by loyalists." Naraku corrected.

"Yeah, a book or something, The Shikon-no-Tama." Inuyasha said. "What's that have to do with me?" The elevator opened, and Naraku led Inuyasha to his library. The shelves were filled with rare books, and all of the shelves were covered with glass and locked at the sides. Naraku waved a hand at the display case at the back of the room. It was a black leather-bound book, not too thick but enough to warrant serious reading. The symbol of a pink jewel glowed on the cover.

"Behold, mint condition." Naraku said, pulling a keyring from his pocket and unlocking the three locks on the glass case. He opened it and withdrew the book. "The culmination of Midoriko's research on the Devil, The Shikon-no-Tama, one of only 4 copies remaining in the entire world. Originally there were many but they were burned, these four copies carried into the night by Midoriko's illegitimate daughter. Its pages are rumored to contain the secret to the power of Satan himself, the power to summon him. And I own a copy. The book is based on the Japanese Shinto belief that the four souls of Courage, Love, Friendship and Wisdom form a composite whole called Naobi. This book dictates that when the proper ritual is performed one can harness the powers of the four souls to become a Naobi, a person of power so great they are nearly the equal of the Devil himself and can channel his energies through themselves. Such powers include immortality, invincibility, levitation, super-human strength, teleportation, etc. Such rituals have been performed by many throughout history, but there is no record of them ever succeeding."

"Fascinating." Inuyasha said. "So what?" Naraku smiled.

"Inuyasha…do you believe in the Devil?" Inuyasha shrugged.

"I believe in money and the people who supply it to me."

"Yes, I know, that's why I hired you. I respect men whose loyalties can be bought for hard cash." Naraku replied. "I want you to take this." He held the book out to Inuyasha. "Research it. There's a problem with it." Inuyasha took the book and looked down at it.

"What, you tried to summon the Devil with it and it didn't work?" Inuyasha laughed. Naraku didn't.

"I want you to track down the other three copies. I know their last owners, you can start there, they should still have them. They live in Italy, France and England. I want you to take my book and compare it to theirs to ensure the authenticity of my book."

"Maybe you got swindled when you bought it." Inuyasha suggested. "If you think it's a fake…"

"I bought it from Musou Fletcher, recently deceased. He is succeeded in life by his wife, Kikyo, and I have no desire to speak with her, but if you wish then be my guest. Before her I do not know the owner." Naraku said. "As I was saying, compare the other three books to mine. Find out which, if any, are authentic. If all four copies are forgeries then you will return my book and your job is complete. If, however, one copy is genuine then you will acquire it for me by any means necessary."

"Any means? That sounds illegal." Inuyasha accused.

"Another reason why I hired you." Naraku smirked. "I know for a fact you don't care much for fair and legal game, do you?"

"Not really, like I said before I do what I can to get money." Inuyasha said. He looked the book in his hands over and shrugged. "Feels real." He flipped the pages. "Sounds real." He opened to a random page. "Text looks real. Thing seems legit."

"But I have reasons to believe it is not." Naraku said. "This is to pay for your travel expenses." He held out a credit card, which Inuyasha slipped into his pocket. "And this is your pay when you complete your work and return my book to me." He flashed a check, and Inuyasha whistled.

"There's a lot of zeros in that check." He warned,

"And there's a lot of power in these books, a fair trade." Naraku explained. "Do we have a deal, Mr. Taisho?" Inuyasha grinned and shook Naraku's hand.

"We have a deal, Naraku." He confirmed.