Remnants of the Spider
The First Web of Deceit
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, or its characters, nor do I make any monies from this work of fan fiction. Duh…
The sun had made its descent some time ago, and now the last swirls of deep purple and red painted the sky. With the fall of dusk, an unseasonable chill permeated the air as light breezes ruffled bare branches of nearby trees. Though the lunar cycle would suggest that it was spring, winter had thus far shown reluctance to release the land of its biting chill.
Their movements commanded by a stiff breeze, tendrils of dark wavy hair began a mesmerizing dance about the still figure; a male who lay prone on the ground. He had occupied the same spot for hours, but found that it was of little consequence. He was nothing if not patient. And so he would wait; it was something spiders did well.
Around him, blood soaked into the ground as self inflicted wounds continued to trickle the precious life fluids from his body. If the woman did not appear soon, he would likely be forced to seal them, and thus compromise his ruse. His position in the sprawling valley was strategic, as in the distance there stood an enormous castle on the hill. Within those walls was a particular woman, a woman who would soon become entangled in his greatest web of deceit.
Izanami exited the front gates and breathed deeply, taking in the cool clean air. Many of the castle's occupants had been complaining about the unusually cool weather, but she was one of the few who enjoyed it. Things seemed much more peaceful when the weather was cool. As she occasionally did, Izanami wore her hair unbound allowing thin wisps of the light auburn strands to waft in the breeze when she began to move forward. The waist length locks rested against her back, providing some warmth against the chilled air. It was time for her evening walk.
As the daughter and only child of the northern lord, she lived a very sheltered life. Her only escape was her evening walks. She could go out during the day she knew, but like much of her family, Izanami favored the night. She loved getting out of the castle and seeing the real world, if only for a little while. Having recently achieved the status of adulthood, the young miko felt that she should be permitted to do as she pleased. Unfortunately, her parents would have none of it. She was permitted to leave the castle grounds, but her parents insisted that she be accompanied by at least two escorts at all times.
Mai and Akira...
Her over protective father insisted that her escorts be female, of course. It would not do for her to share the company of a male. Izanami rolled her eyes at the thought. Just barely taller than she, Mai the cat youkai was the more petite of her two guardians. Nearly reaching the bends of her knees, the feline's jet black hair was typically worn in two long braids which were bound by long leather straps. A striking creature, Mai's piercing yellow eyes glowed in the dark and were a stark contrast to her tan complexion.
A panther hanyou, Akira was much taller than both Mai and Izanami. Graced with light grey eyes and tan hair which fell just beneath her bottom, the only giveaway to Akira's mixed parentage were the two small ears which protruded from the top of her head.
Neither Mai nor Akira appeared particularly imposing, but appearances were deceiving indeed. Both women were accomplished warriors, each having trained since their youth. Adding to their formidability was their willingness to protect Izanami with their lives. They were more than just her constant guardians, they were her friends. They had helped look after her since her infancy and she loved them both dearly. It was just as well that they accompany her because aside from enjoying their company, she had begun to suspect that she was being watched.
While neither Mai nor Akira said anything, she could feel it. Perhaps it was due to her miko senses. As the females approached the gates, the sentries parted and opened the heavy iron doors, allowing the trio to pass through.
The women had not ventured far from the palace before the scent of blood wafted through the air. Even Izanami, with her inferior senses was able to detect it.
"We should head back to the castle." said Akira. "There could be danger."
"No. Someone could be hurt." Izanami insisted. "We should at least check."
Mai and Akira exchanged a worried look. Though neither woman wished to investigate, they knew that Lady Iza (as they had dubbed her due to their close relationship) would not turn away from someone who was in trouble. She was a selfless young woman who had always held a deep passion for helping others.
Suddenly, Izanami began to run and Mai and Akira quickly followed suit. After a short distance, the priestess skidded to a stop before taking to bend and knee. "Good heavens!" she cried, "Are you alright?!"
Moving to her left, Akira focused her attention on the ground to see the one with whom Lady Iza spoke. There, lying in a puddle of his own coagulating blood, was a dark-haired figure; a male. Only partially sealed by the thick dark fluid, his wounds were still open and bleeding while the man himself appeared as if he could hardly move.
"I… was attacked by bandits." the prone male replied weakly.
"Here, allow me to help you." said Izanami, as she pulled the man into a sitting position. "I am Izanami. May I ask you your name?"
Beneath a thick veil of dark wavy hair, a small smirk formed on the man's lips. "My name… is Naraku."
Far away, in a small clearing, a group of friends were seated around a small fire. It had been four years. Four long years had passed since the day Kagome was pulled down the well and brought to feudal Japan. Over that time, she and her friends had traveled, fought, and escaped near death together. The years gave them time to get to know one another, and they had grown extremely close. They were as close as any family, and Kagome loved them all. Though she often looked after him as a mother would, Shippou was a little brother of sorts. She adored the little kitsune. Well, he wasn't quite so little anymore. Over the years, he had grown quite a bit. It was hard to tell since she was around him so much, but he had needed to have his clothes replaced several times because he had outgrown his previous ones. Though he had matured somewhat, he still tended to act a bit childish at times; but, it only added to his charm.
Sango was the sister she had always wanted. The demon huntress was strong and brave. For her young age, she was a seasoned warrior. She had even been good enough to teach Kagome some of her skills. They talked and shared secrets. They were as close as true sisters could be.
Then there was Miroku. He was great! The monk was wise and intelligent beyond his years. He was also brave, devoted, and dependable. And he could always be counted on for a laugh. Over the years, his lecherous ways had improved... somewhat. While initially he seemed intent on propositioning any pretty girl he came across, he now focused most of his perversion on Sango. Most of it…
And of course, there was Inuyasha. He was… well… he was Inuyasha. In spite of his gruff outer appearance, he had a good heart. Many lives had been saved both directly and indirectly by the hanyou. Reluctant as he may have acted about it, Inuyasha had even buried the ones he had not been in time to save. Yes, he had a good heart. Kagome knew that he cared not only about her, but the rest of their friends as well.
She loved Inuyasha. He would always hold a special place in her heart but as of late her feelings for the hanyou had begun to change. At one point, she had wanted more than anything for him to declare his undying love to her, but now, she wasn't so sure. The hanyou still had lingering feelings for his first love.
Within the first year of coming to this era, Kagome had discovered and accepted the fact that Inuyasha would never forget about Kikyou. How could he? They had been in love. While Kagome loved him too, she did not want to be his second choice. She was nothing special really, but she at least deserved better than that.
Their search for jewel shards had ended some time ago. All of the jewel shards were accounted for. Unfortunately, Naraku had most of them, while they held a mere three shards: The two from Kouga, and the one from Kohaku.
In this era, the boy was considered an adult though he was but fifteen years of age. Though he typically remained elusive, he did make the occasional appearance. Like so many others, Kohaku wanted revenge against Naraku. Unlike most others, he was determined to see it through.
For the past year, there had hardly been any sign of the despicable hanyou. It was as if he had fallen off the face of the earth. They were sure he was up to something. Though most of his minions had been sacrificed to his cause, they were sure that he was not hiding due to fear. He was scheming. It's was what he did best. They could only hope to track him down and destroy him, before he set into motion whatever evil plan he was concocting.
"Awwww, fish again?!" whined a young red-headed kitsune.
"Keh! If you don't like it, then maybe you should start doing the hunting around here!" answered the gruff voice of the silver-haired hanyou.
"Don't be mean Inuyasha." Kagome chided lightheartedly. "I've got some rice. You can have some if you want Shippou."
The kitsune licked his tongue at Inuyasha, before turning back to Kagome. "Sure, I'd love some. It's better than just eating plain old fish."
"Feh!" the hanyou grunted.
Kagome ignored the gesture and went for her bag. She had replaced her yellow book bag that she'd used during high school. The poor bag had been completely destroyed a couple of years ago during an unpleasant incident with a hoard of rat demons. The bag she carried now was just as yellow as the one before it but was slightly larger. Now, instead of having to carry heavy books for studying, she could use all of the room for food, clothes and medical supplies.
Kagome dug deep into the yellow bag feeling about until her hand grazed over a large bag of rice. Wrapping her fingers around it, she pulled the bag out not realizing that something had been clinging to her arm. The notebook sized piece of paper was freed by a faint brush of air and wafted slowly to the ground a short distance from her.
"Hey, what's that?" Shippou inquired curiously, as he went to retrieve it.
Kagome handed the rice off to Sango, and gestured to the fox kit. "Here, let me see."
He eagerly handed her the paper and sat down next to her. "Oh, right, I was supposed to ask Kaede about this." she said.
The curious eyes of her companions landed on her, as Kagome studied the paper. "Hey Miroku, have you ever heard of this before?" she asked as she held the paper out in his general direction. The monk rose from his place on the other side of the fire, and made his way toward Kagome. "May I?" he asked Sango, who had been sitting next to Kagome.
The demon slayer narrowed her eyes at the monk. Shippou was sitting on one side of Kagome, and she was sitting on the other side. Clearly, he was asking to take her place next to Kagome. "You'd better behave yourself, monk." she warned sternly.
"Why Sango, what ever do you mean?" Miroku asked with his usual mock innocence.
The slayer's eyes only narrowed further. "You know exactly what I mean, you lecherous monk!"
"My dearest Sango, such an accusation wounds me deeply." Placing his hand over his chest in a theatrical gesture, he continued, "I love only you."
The demon huntress scoffed as she scooted to the side allowing him room to sit. "Yeah, well that never stopped you any other time." she murmured quietly.
Before he could think to respond the wavering sheet of paper to his right drew his attention. "My arm's getting tired here." Kagome grumbled as she used her free hand to support her arm.
"Oh, yes," he said as he took the paper from Kagome's hand. He sat in the newly available space between Kagome and Sango, and began looking the paper over. The quality of the paper was foreign to him. It was smooth and somewhat shiny. It was starkly different from the paper of this time. On the paper was a large jewel-encrusted amulet. The outer edges were gold. In its center, there was encased a large emerald. Each corner of the amulet had an arrow shaped edge, with smaller jewels embedded into them. At the top, there was a red jewel, to the right, there was a yellow jewel, at the bottom, was a white jewel, and on the left, was a blue jewel. Miroku began rubbing his chin thoughtfully before asking, "Where did you get this?"
"My brother Sota." she said as she pulled a small pot out of her bag for the rice. "He said it was something he was learning about in school; an old fairytale. Since it was kinda around this time, he wanted me to see if someone had ever heard of it."
"Hmm." the monk turned his attention back to the paper. Something about that amulet did strike a chord in his memory, but he couldn't quite get a hold of it. He continued to study the picture a bit longer willing his memories to surface. Just as he was prepared to accept defeat, and return the paper to Kagome, he noticed the small printed letters that had been hiding beneath his right thumb. The words read: The amulet of Makka Doragon.
That was all that was needed to draw his memory to the surface. "Yes." he said quietly. "I have heard of this before. When I was young, Master Mushin told me the tale of Youichi's downfall."
"Youichi?" Sango, Shippou, and Kagome all asked at the same time. Inuyasha, who was sitting off by himself, acted as if he wasn't paying attention though a single white triangular ear turned in their direction.
"Yes, Miroku answered quietly. About three hundred years ago, the north was ruled by a powerful leopard demon named Kanagawa Youichi. This amulet was used to control his enormous three headed dragon. It was said that the dragon was immensely powerful... unstoppable even.
"Youichi used the amulet to keep the beast under his explicit control. He used the dragon itself to impose his will upon his people and to visit his wrath upon his enemies. Finally, it was discovered that Youichi had gone mad with power and the people under his rein began to turn against him. His cruelty and insanity had become too much to endure. But with his control over the dragon, it would be difficult to defeat him. In the end, Youichi's downfall turned out to be… a beautiful princess." The monk let the last word slide off his tongue silkily as a small smile formed on his lips. 'Yes, the princess must have been a true beauty indeed.'
The sharp jab of an elbow to his ribs jarred Miroku from his thoughts and drew his attention to the woman at his side. "Get on with the story monk." grumbled Sango.
"Oh, yes of course my beloved Sango." said the monk as he offered a placating smile. "Anyway, Youichi's most powerful general, a panther youkai named Hiro spearheaded the revolt against him. Hiro betrayed Youichi, by forming a secret alliance with Tokushima, Akio, and the lord of the east. Akio's sources had informed him that Youichi was planning to expand his in the upcoming months. With this discovery, the old priest knew that Youichi would likely start with the east. As it is today, the east was ruled by a family of powerful priests and priestesses. As powerful as they were, they were still human so Youichi would have considered them an easy target.
"After much consideration, a plan was concocted in which Akio would need to risk the life of his only daughter. Under the guise of forming an alliance that he knew the dishonorable Youichi would not uphold, he offered his beloved daughter Izumi, as his bride. Youichi agree and accepted the human female as his mate.
"True to the vow she had made to her father, Lady Izumi managed to successfully steal the amulet. Without the powerful relic and the exclusive command it granted him, the northern lord fell quickly. General Hiro himself was the one to deliver the killing blow. With his demise, Hiro inherited Youichi's land while the responsibility of guarding the amulet fell to Lady Izumi. Because the dragon was so dangerous Izumi, together with several other powerful priestesses placed the creature under a spell which caused it to fall into a deep sleep. It was then taken to a secret location and bound with enchanted locks and four heavy locks. To keep them from falling into the wrong hands, the keys were separated and hidden in specific locations in each region. One was hidden in the east, one in the west, one in the north, and one in the south.
"Eventually, Lady Izumi and Lord Hiro married, their influence spreading throughout the land. That is why even to this day the northern region is made up of demons, humans and hanyou. It is the one place where all are treated as equals."
"Wow." said Kagome as she took the paper back from him. "All of that from this one picture. Thanks Miroku! That was some story."
"My pleasure." the monk answered with a small nod.
"Rice's ready!" Sango announced pulling the pot away from the fire.
"Great!" said Shippou as he rubbed his hands together eagerly. "I'm starved!"
With that, the companions had their rice and fish. Afterwards Inuyasha took up his post in one of the tall trees while Miroku leaned against his chosen boulder on the other side of the camp. Kagome bedded down in her sleeping bag, while Shippou, who now had a sleeping bag of his own did the same. Kirara transformed, allowing Sango to sleep against the lush fur of her belly and in no time at all, they had all fallen asleep.
Alright my darlings! As some of you know this story has been posted before. I had pulled it and now I am editing and posting it again. I will do the work as quickly as possible as I am eager to catch back up to where I was. I'm kinda glad I did this because it allowed me to clean up some things and fix some minor plot holes. ^_^'
That's one drawback about writing such a long story, it's hard to remember stuff from chapter one when you sit down to write chapter forty! And, if you're lazy like I am, you might find yourself reluctant to go back and skim through everything.
For those of you who are reading this for the first time, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and will also enjoy the entire story! I will warn you thought that it's a long one!! After the 41 chapters I have already written, I am estimating that the story is three quarters finished, maybe slightly less.
The next chapter will be edited and posted within the next few days.