Chapter 6: The Dead Seal

"I...I got them from the forbidden garden." Rin lowered her head in shame; however, Sesshomaru didn't react. He seemed to be thinking about something. "Lord Sesshomaru?"

Sesshomaru thought back to earlier that evening when he last saw Rin. Then he finally recalled the flowers Rin was holding. "The marigold. It was a seal."

"A seal for what?" Kagome asked puzzled, awaiting an answer she wasn't going to get any time soon. She just continued to look at Sesshomaru who had gone back into deep thought.

'It's not normal to be drawn to marigolds in that garden. Rin didn't pick those flowers on her own. Some one with bad intentions...'

"Lord Sesshomaru?" Rin looked up at him with regretful eyes.

"Rin, who told you to pick those flowers."

"I..," she had a quick flash back to a dark cloaked demon leaving her sight but, it wasn't enough. "I don't remember. He was hooded."

'Someone in this palace. That is certain; however, why was Rin alone.' Sesshomaru thought to himself as he stood to proceed out the room until he was halted by Kagome's soft voice.

"Sesshomaru, if Rin is involved, I would like to help. Besides, I was the one who woke up with that bronze metal instead of the flowers. That must mean something."

"It means the seal is dead and something is on the rise," he stated looking down at the bronze in his hand. "Rin, come with me."

"Yes my lord."

Kagome watched the girl skip to Sesshomaru's side in wonder then hopped to follow them as they turned the corner. Who ever tricked Rin wanted whatever was on the rise to be set free but, why would they get Rin involved.

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Naomi had lead Kagome's friends deep within the forest where they seemed to be heading endlessly to no where. Multiple times Inuyasha or Miroku would ask where they were going but, Naomi continued to ignore them, focusing only on her destination. Sango remained just as unresponsive, feeling that every word she spoke would be of betrayal but, if she was asked where they were heading, she wouldn't be lying if she said she wasn't certain; after all, she only knew their destination was suppose to lead to the real Kagome.

With all the silence, Inuyasha's urge to empty his frustration finally broke free as he deepened his frown and crossed his arms. The quietness was harder to put up with than Shippo's mouth. "Alright! I'm getting sick of playing follow the leader! Where the hell are we going Kagome?"

"I thought I told you already." Naomi stated calmly, not even turning to look at him.

"Somewhere isn't an answer. I'm not that stupid. I can figure out we're going somewhere."

"Good, then there's no problem."

Inuyasha twisted his face up into a horribly angered expression and sped up to Naomi's side but, before he could crack his lips to fuss, his eyes darted to the castle ruins in the clearing ahead that Naomi had already began to walk towards, swiftly accompanied by Sango.

"Na...Kagome, can't you sense it, something ominous about this place?" Sango informed obtaining a firm grip on hiraikotsu.

"I know." Naomi smirked, progressing foward.

Sango studied the odd expression on Naomi's face and began to wonder if she planned on keeping the deal they made before leaving the village. The expression certainly said otherwise. She shrugged it off and continued forward with Shippo on her shoulder and Kirara by her feet. Inuyasha and Miroku followed not too far behind.

"See Miroku, I told you those two were up to something. All that time they spent in that hut alone. They've both gone nuts."

"If you say so but, whatever they're up to I'm sure it has something to do with returning the scrolls to the village."

"What sense does it make for them to keep useful information from us. After all, we are all looking for the same thing. I wasn't talked into helping another human village to not help at all and...," Inuyasha stopped, turning his nose to the sky then he narrowed his vision to where he last saw Kagome. "Kagome!" he yelled rushing forward and launching himself over a ruin wall. "Sango!"

"Gah...Inuyasha, what's wrong?" Miroku charged to catch up.

"Their scents are getting weaker."

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Sango followed Naomi into an entrance of the old castle ruins which upon their entrance, morphed into a regal room.

"What happen?" Shippo asked, looking around at the new view.

"I don't know." Sango answered.

"This is my room in the Southern Palace. The ruins you saw, are the Southern Palace. The only way to enter is to be invited. You're with me, so you were able to enter."

"That's interesting." Shippo said jumping down to Kirara's side.

"Yes, the Northern Palace is the same but, the Eastern and Western Palaces appear beautiful from the outside and in ruins from the inside if not invited in by the Lord of the palace."

"I wish I lived in a palace. Then my parents would have never died."

"Shippo, you know it's not really the palaces that creates those illusions. It's the demons who know the secret. Unfortunately, that's one of the many secrets that is only past down to the heirs of the four cardinal palaces."

"Fox demons are full of illusions so, how is that a secret?" Shippo spat out, folding his little arms.

"Their illusions aren't strong enough for one. That's all you need to know. Now..."

"Is Kagome suppose to be here or not?" Sango asked impatiently.

"She should be. The guards that took her when we accidentally switched places would have brought her back here and my father would have kept her locked up in here."

"Well then where is she."

"I don't know anymore. I do know the guards probably already caught on to us and are on their way."

"Well can't we just go back out your door?"

"Yes but, we need to find out where my father is before we leave. I can't feel his aura."

"Why is that important? We need to spare ourselves so you can help me find Kagome so, we can get those scrolls with out too much suspicion from Miroku and Inuyasha. They aren't stupid. They've probably already figured out something's not right."

"Well apparently you don't think I'm that bright. Every time my father leaves the palace I am with him so, where ever my father is Kagome is with him."

"Then what are we going to do?"

Naomi stared at the door for a brief period before rushing past the group to look both ways."They're coming from the left so, that's to our advantage at the moment. We need to get to my father's quarters. He always leaves his plans in there."

"Right, which door is it?" Sango peered down the right side of the hall then back at Naomi.

"Make the first left and it's the last door on the right."

"Aren't you coming?" Sango asked in a hurry.

"Just take Shippo and Kirara and find my father's plans, I'll be right behind you."

Naomi's words could very well be a trick but, without time to argue, Sango took off down the hall with Shippo and Kirara.

With the small group no longer in sight, Naomi flipped up a floor board from beneath the elaborate mats and blankets that made up her bed and pulled out an arm full of scrolls. Fiercely shuffling through them, she searched for the ones that were expected to be marked with marigold seals. They weren't there.

Growing frustrated with the situation, she threw the scrolls at the wall then quickly gaining her sanity back, she tossed them all in Kagome's yellow backpack and scrambled out the room, the guards now on her heals.

"There's the intruder!" Yelled the leading guard.

'Damn.'

"Wait!" yelled another. "Isn't that Naomi?"

"No you idiot! Naomi is not a human! You can't even sense Naomi," the leading guard scolded.

"If this girl is a human, then why can't we catch her?" the other guard asked as they made a sharp left after Naomi.

"I...Naomi?" the guard in front called out gaining Naomi's full attention as she slide her father's quarters open. "Shouldn't you be at the Western Palace?"

"Yes and... that's where I'm going."

"Who other do you hid in this palace?" he asked.

"If you believe me to be Naomi with this human scent, then you will refrain from questioning me." Naomi quickly flipped the authority. "Now out of my sight."

"Um...yes, of course my lady."

Naomi shut the door behind her to find Shippo and Kirara still searching the room for the plans and a flustered Sango.

"I couldn't find them," Sango said coming to her feet.

"I know," Naomi stated with simplicity, causing Sango to give her a leery look.

"You're breaking our deal."

"No I'm not. It's time to go." Naomi smirked, advancing back out the door.

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"Sesshomaru, why do you continue to ignore me?" Kagome asked, seating next to Rin on a stone bench in the forbidden garden. She felt she had asked a hundred questions even if it was only five or six. He didn't open his mouth once to answer but, his calm silence was quickly calling forth her attitude that she had no intentions of holding back. Rin would just have to see her get a little upset.

"You know it's rude to ignore someone whose talking to you. I just asked a couple of simple questions I know you're capable of answering so, you should answer me."

Sesshomaru, easily blocking out Kagome, continued to examine the area where the marigolds had once been. The remaining stem and roots of the flower had already died and the only trace that they had even lived was a lingering scent in the soil.

"Sesshomaru," Kagome called for his attention.

"What is it girl?" he asked, turning towards her, allowing the moonlight to illuminate his pale skin and platinize his silver tresses.

"I want some answers."

"Everything you asked I already answered. If you failed to hear, the fault is your own."

"If I failed to hear, you didn't answer my question." Kagome poked out her lips after slapping her hands down to support her slight lean forward.

"You expect me to answer your questions when you couldn't even answer mine."

"Lord Sesshomaru?" Natsumi's voice came from the entrance of the garden.

"Take Rin to her room and stay with her. After I'm through here, I will deal with you."

Natsumi gave fearful eyes to his last statement before collecting a response. "Yes my lord but, the other lords sent me to ask for a brief meeting for your disappearance from the dinning hall."

"Very well. Tell Akio to give them my response. I will be with them promptly. Keep Rin close."

Rin got up from her position next to Kagome and flashed a worried looked over her shoulder before joining Natsumi. With the short time she spent with Kagome sometime back, she had never seen her look so mad. Sesshomaru as usually was nearly impossible to read but, his responses to Kagome didn't seem too friendly. Rin felt the need to say something but, nothing came to mind so, she sadly skipped along down the hall by Natsumi's side.

Kagome eyed the two for a short while then turned her attention back to Sesshomaru who never stopped staring at her.

"I didn't have an answer but, I was telling the truth. I bet you can't even remember the question I asked although you said you answered it." Kagome asserted with amusement as a light smile graced her lips.

Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow. "Since you were the one with the bronze, you're compelled to assist in resealing this thing that has yet to be identified."

"Assist who? You? And how come you don't know what was sealed in your own garden?" Kagome frowned.

"What do you think?"

Kagome only gave him a lazy eye with her mouth open clearly not prepared to give an answer.

"The only reason I need your assists is because you have something to do with this. The seal was only in my garden to keep from careless hands. What is now on the rise, was not buried here. And before you ask, I do not know where it's burie...,"

"How can you seal something that's not there?" Kagome asked still full of questions. She knew she was aggravating him but, she was finally getting answers; serious and important answers.

"Listen, despite the fact that I didn't ask you to follow me here, you are not the real Naomi and I am not bound to stay here and continue to answer your questions. I gave you all the information you need to know as of now and I have all I need from you. I will lead you back to your room."

Kagome quirked her lips to the side and frowned at his back as he walked back towards the palace. Straightening up, she followed.

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In the dinning hall, Akio informed Sesshomaru's guess of his arrival and stepped to the side to wait patiently. He observed the lot at the table whose conversation had become quite entertaining.

"Isn't it obvious Mori, he went to go punish that filthy half breed who actually had the nerve not to show up," stated a bat demoness with a glint in her red eyes.

"Don't be ridiculous Akari. You're just jealous because Lord Sesshomaru always seemed to take a better liking to Naomi. Jealously only brews chaos," Mori smiled over at her husky father who grinned back proudly.

"Both of you aren't even being rational to the situation. Did you not hear a scream?" the Southern Lord butted in.

Akari raised her eyebrows in a arrogant manner and turned her attention to the Southern Lord. "Yeah and your daughter was probably the cause, that's why she's being punished."

"If that's what you chose to believe," he said, gazing over at the huge double doors. Sesshomaru had entered but, he was the only to notice which was odd since everyone else should have sensed it as well.

Instead of fully entering the room, Sesshomaru stood back and recorded the happenings of the room as did Akio, refraining from announcing him.

"Of course bats are too blind to see any damn thing, that's why Akari thinks the way she does; just a jealous mess," Mori continued to insult Akari who was taking her to seriously.

Akari slammed her hand down on the table. "I'm not jealous you fool. You're just...err I can't stand you."

"Akari!" called a masculine voice. "Why do you continue to play the fool with that bear? Maybe it is just that; your too blind to see. Do you truly think Mori would praise Naomi more than herself? Her words are obviously meant to infuriate you. As for my take on the anonymous scream, I believe our young lord has taking a liking to Naomi and has likely already blemished his title with her. She did arrive a day early. We all know how crafty the Southern Lord over there can be," the elder bat demon shifted his gaze over to the Southern Lord who sat with an empty seat in front of him.

"As I said before, if you chose to believe so," came the Southern Lord's neutral answer.

"I believe I've heard enough." Sesshomaru finally interjected, taking his seat at the left end of the table. "Lord Reihiko, bat lord of the east, do you truly doubt my respect and honor that much?" Sesshomaru catechized eyeing him vacantly. "There were some complications in another wing of the palace so, I was obligated to be where I was needed. That is all there is to my absence."

"Very well then, young Lord Sesshomaru," Lord Reihiko emphasized.

"It will take longer than I first believed to select my mate so, if you will have patience, I ask that you all remain in my palace until I have made a final decision. Tomorrow, our formal events will progress. As of now, this night is over."

The room cleared out momentarily, soon leaving only Akari and Sesshomaru. If what her father said about Naomi was true, she felt the need to find a way to gain an advantage over her. Akari's arrogant eyes simply refused to have the vision of Naomi and Sesshomaru drill through her mind while she slept. Seeing that Sesshomaru had finally looked at her she spoke.

"Lord Sesshomaru, I would like to know, where is Naomi?" Akari asked sweetly.

"Where you should be."

"Do you mind assisting me there?"

"No."

Sesshomaru stood and walked in the direction of the double doors, followed by Akari who wrapped her arm around his. Seeing that he didn't respond, she smiled up at him, expecting a smile in return. Too bad, all she received was his same passive expression. He didn't even look down at her.

Stopping at the entrance, he turned to Akio who was waiting to close the huge doors. "Do you mind assisting Akari to her room?" he asked unwrapping her arm from around his own.

"Not at all my lord," he responded.

"But...," Akari began, looking up at Sesshomaru.

"Did I not allow you to have my assistance?"

"Um...,"

"You have what you asked for, now go."

Sesshomaru watched Akari and Akio disappear down the hall before closing the double doors. Before returning to his own room, he checked on Rin and made sure Natsumi was still there. Since Rin was asleep, he decided he would speak with Natsumi when the sun rose. After dealing with that matter, he would need to figure out when would be the right time to tend to the broken seal and Kagome's involvement. He might have to send the lords and their daughters home for the time being. Then again, it was a possibility that one of them were the main cause for the broken seal, eliminating that option. It would be rude to ignore his guess complete to tend to what seemed most important so, he would have to make a few brief decisions or a huge sacrifice.

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Meanings

Reihiko- Law

Marigold- sacred, affection, caress,

sorrow, jealousy

I finally found a stopping point.

I rewrote this chapter like five times

trying to get my thoughts together but,

I got it thanks to a random word in Kitsune Diva's

review. So, everybody thank her. I look forward to reading more

reviews so, feel free to tell me what you think.