Disclaimer: I own nothing. The anime and all its characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi. So yes, I will basically kill you if you sue. (smiles)



"Have you had a good rest, everyone?" Densuke asked as everyone got ready to go.

"Yes. Thank you again, Densuke," Kaname replied, bowing. Densuke smiled at the group.

"May you be blessed with a safe journey," he said, bowing back.

"We're finally here!" Shippo cheered as the group came upon a bridge leading to the nearby village. A tower in the distance seemed to stretch into the sky.

"This is the Castle Town?" Kaname asked, putting her finger to her chin. "It looks pretty normal."

Inuyasha turned around, inspecting the village.

"Maybe so, but I'm getting a weird feeling," he said. Miroku followed Inuyasha's gaze.

"I do sense something a bit off," he agreed. Shippo hopped on Kaname's shoulder.

"Everything's never as it seems," he excaimed. "Otherwise we'd have no need for monks like Miroku!"

Sango smiled, saying, "I guess so."

"What do you mean by that?" Miroku asked, turning towards Shippo.

An short silence fell between the group. Kagome broke it by saying, "Now that they mention it, doesn't it seem kinda gloomy for a castle town?"

"Maybe," Sango agreed. Kagome nodded.

"But I'll be happy as long as I can take a bath!" she added, grinning. Kaname smiled at the thought of a nice bath.

"I agree. We've been camping out this whole time and we've had to make due without one," she said, taking a lock of her hair and twisting it around.

"...A bath?" Inuyasha asked. "What do you need one of those for? We don't need them yet, do we?"

He came towards Kagome, sniffing the air around her. Kagome yelped, blushing.

"You're awful! Sit, sit, sit, sit, SIT! Stupid Inuyasha!"

Inuyasha was forced to the ground a total of five times. Everyone watching the scene sweatdropped.

"There they go again!" Shippo exclaimed. Kaname sighed.

"Look at these lines!" Shippo exclaimed when they saw not one, but two long lines of people going into separate stores.

"What's so great about them?" Inuyasha asked.

"Come on in! My prices are much cheaper than the store next door!" A girl coming from one of the stores called.

"That's a lie! My store has cheaper prices!" A man from the next store called.

The two shopkeepers glared dirty glares at each other before returning to their duties.

"...I think I'll pass shopping for a while," Kaname said. Nobody disagreed.

"There's an inn! Maybe we could stay there for a bit," Kaname exclaimed.

"Don't be so sure," Kagome said, pointing at the nearby sign. There was a notice that said, "This inn is currently full, please come back later."

Kaname and Kagome sighed. So much for that bath...

"Excuse me. Are you going to the castle?" a voice said. The group turned to see a woman in a green-and-red kimono. She was looking at them hopefully.

"Yes, we are," Miroku said, smiling charmingly. The woman smiled and turned towards the inn.

"Girls!" she called. "These travelers are going to go to the castle!"

Whether we can get there or not is the question... Kaname thought as three more women came out of the inn.

"Is it true?" One woman asked.

"Are you really going to the castle?" Another asked. Shippo blinked.

"Why the ruckus? What's going on at the castle?" he asked.

"My name is Shino, and these are Naka, Matsu and Katsue. We're the wives of the samurai. Our husbands went to the castle and they haven't returned yet," the first woman explained.

"We haven't seen them in months!" Katsue added.

"We really miss them," Matsu piped in.

"Poor things," Kaname said, sympathizing with them.

"It must be really hard work for a samurai," Kagome said, nodding. Shino nodded, saying, "The four of us just got together to discuss how we could possibly get some food to our husbands."

"Is that why you're all here? Would you like us to take the food there with you?" Kaname asked. Inuyasha gave her a flabbergasted look.

"Hey, kid! What the hell are you saying?" he demanded. Kagome gave him a warning glare before turning towards the women.

"It's fine, really," she said. "We can take them."

"We're going to the castle anyway, so why not?" Sango added. The women's eyes lit up.

"Thank you so much," Shino said, handing Kagome a rice ball. "Could you please deliver this rice ball to my husband? His name is Yukimura."

"And these, too!" Matsu added as she, Katsue, and Naka gave them three more riceballs.

"Thank you so much!" the four said in unison. Kaname smiled when she felt a tug on her arm. She looked down and she saw a little boy.

"Are you really going to the castle? Can I ask you to do me a favor?" he asked hopefully. Kaname crouched down to his level.

"Sure. Ask away," she replied. The boy held out a purple pinwheel.

"My name is Jiro. Can you send this pinwheel I made to my sister? She lives in the castle," he said. Kaname took the pinwheel as Kagome said, "You miss her a lot, don't you?"

"No!" Jiro said, blushing a bit. "She's the one that misses me. I bet she cries 'cuz she can't see me as often as she used to. So, tell her to hang in there for me."

Kaname nodded, saying, "Okay, I'll definitely give it to her if I see her. What was your sister's name?"

"It's Toki. Make sure you give it to her, or you'll be sorry!" Jiro exclaimed, running off.

"...Feh," Inuyasha muttered as the group started to head toward the castle.

"So there's the castle," Kaname said as the group stood in front of the massive tower.

"It looks so big...How are we gonna get those rice balls to the samurai?" Shippo asked.

"I'm not so sure..." Kagome said when a hand grabbed Kaname's shoulder, causing her to yelp. The hand belonged to an old man in a red outfit.

"You scared me!" Kaname exclaimed, putting her hand on her heart.

"Sorry. I just wanted to tell you that the king has changed!" the man said frantically.

"Changed? Changed how?" Sango asked.

"The look in his eyes has changed, and he swears a lot. Not to mention that he kills you on the spot if he doesn't like you!" he said. "He's gone so far to kicking me out, and I'm his chief advisor!"

Shippo smirked, saying, "Sounds like somebody else I know of." All eyes turned towards Inuyasha, who blinked.

"Hey, why are you staring at me like that?" he asked.

"I tell you, he's been possessed by a demon!" the advisor said.

"Who has a hot temper," Shippo added. Inuyasha glared at Shippo.

"I'll remember that," he growled. The advisor looked at Shippo and Inuyasha with a curious stare.

"I don't know what your situation is..." he finally said, "but the rumor is he's been possessed by a demon. If this keeps going on, the castle will be ruined and our king lost forever!"

"Want to find out what's going on?" Kaname asked.

"Sounds like a good idea," Kagome replied. Everyone agreed.

They were about to go into the castle when they heard a voice shout, "Wait just a minute!"

They turned and saw one of the guards.

"Don't you know that's the road to the castle grounds?" the guard asked.

"That's where we're trying to get to," Kagome explained. The guard gave them scrutinizing looks.

"You must be up to something. This is a restricted area," he finally said.

A silence followed as an old man came by, greeted the guards, and made his way to the castle without so much as a single protest.

"But he's going through!" Inuyasha exclaimed.

"He's here to pay his taxes, so he is allowed inside," the guard explained.

"WHAT? Stop stalling us!" Inuyasha yelled, putting a hand on his sword.

"Inuyasha, SIT!" Kagome yelled.

As Inuyasha was pummeled to the ground, Kaname said, "Maybe we should get out of here."

"Arguing here won't do any good," Kagome agreed as Inuyasha slowly got up.

"Maybe so, but how are we gonna get through?" he demanded. Unfortunately, nobody had an answer.

"Now what do we do?" Kaname lamented. The group had returned to the inn and saw that a room had been emptied. They happily took the room and were now sitting around the room.

"I don't know. Maybe if we said we were going to pay the tax too, maybe we would've gotten in," Kagome said.

"Yes, but would they have believed us?" Miroku questioned. Everyone sighed.

"Come on. We've relaxed enough. Let's get into the castle somehow and get to the bottom of this," Inuyasha said, getting up.

"Inuyasha, you're being hasty again!" Kagome said as they got out of the room. Before Inuyasha and Kagome started to bicker, Kaname saw a familiar face in the lobby.

"Hey!" she exclaimed, pointing to the figure. The others turned towards the figure, surprise on half of their faces and confusion on only two.

I'm gonna end the chappie here. Please review. And before you guys shoot me...*Gets a blindfold, wraps it over eyes, and puts a chocolate cigar in mouth*

Okay. Fire away!