by Nana

Chapter I


Author's Notes: (Updated 11/16/02) I changed the format a bit and edited a couple of things to make them run smoother. This was my first fanfiction ever, and I really had a great time doing it. I hope you will enjoy!^^ Reviews are very welcome!

Disclaimer: Inu Yasha and all its characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi.

Hachi, the tanuki, glided along smoothly through the night sky. Above them, shining its soft, austere light, was a full moon. Below them, the vast forest lay in secret shadows.

Sango could feel the cool wind on her cheeks, but it was nothing compared to what she was feeling inside. It was though she had been plunged into the icy depths of the ocean. She did not see the majestic beauty of the night, did not care for the cool night breeze. Her full attention was focused on the man before her.

With numb, trembling fingers, she pressed the makeshift bandage on the houshi's shoulder, trying to stanch the alarming flow of blood. Miroku lay unconscious, his face and lips pale. Sango did not care for the fact that he was getting rapidly cold. "Please…please," she whispered. "Don't die…don't die on me like this!"

"How much longer?" she asked Hachi. Her tone came out more sharply than she had intended.

"I-I'm trying to go as fast as I can!" Hachi cried, agitated.

Please…please hold on, Houshi-sama!

This is just a nightmare, she thought. It has to be!

Dazed with pain and shock, she tried to remember what had happened. She could only recall bits and pieces.

It had been a late-night trek through the woods again. They had been searching for a place to sleep. The day had been long and fruitless.

Inu Yasha and Kagome had been in front, Shippo already falling asleep in the basket attached to Kagome's carriage (bicycle, she had called it). Sango remembered they had been arguing. About what, she could not recall. She herself was feeling very tired. And cold. And hungry. She had said nothing, made no sound. Miroku had already glanced at her once or twice. The fact that the houshi seemed to know she was uncomfortable was unnerving.

"How can he know things he has no business of knowing?" she remembered thinking when it happened.

Exactly what, she could not remember. All she could recall was the houshi suddenly yelling her name. He had slammed into her, and then there was nothing.

When she came to, she had found Kirara by her side, nuzzling her awake. Something somewhere was painful, she thought, dazed. What happened?

Suddenly tense, she had quickly surveyed the scene. Something, whatever it was, had left a path clear through the trees. A few feet away lay the unconscious form of the priest. Fear had clenched abruptly at her gut.

"Houshi-sama!" she had cried, galvanized into action.

He had been bleeding. She had seen the blood seeping onto the grass below him. Frantically, she had torn off a piece of her yukata's sleeve and tried to bandage the wound on Miroku's shoulder. It was huge.

"Houshi-sama!" she had called, trying to shake him awake. Gods, he was out cold.

Inu Yasha? Kagome? Shippo? Where was everybody?

They were gone. Sango had felt herself grow cold. Where are they? What is the meaning of this?


They had to get out of here. That much had been certain. Kirara had already transformed, as if picking up her mistress' thoughts.

Sango had just put an arm around the unconscious houshi when she heard rustling in the bushes. Quick as lightning, she had dove for her boomerang. She had been about to let it go when out came…Hachi.

"Miroku-danna!" he had screeched.

I should have used Kirara, thought Sango. But he's the only one who knows where Oshou-sama's temple is…

So in the end, Hachi had transformed. But by the gods, could he possibly go any faster?

She tore her eyes off Miroku and quickly surveyed the landscape from above. So far so good…it seemed they were not followed…

Calm down…calm down…

What could have happened? Sango had very little doubt that this was Naraku's doing. What was it? Another youkai creation of his? Kagura, perhaps? No, the attack pattern did not fit her…and she had not sensed any youkai presence. But perhaps Houshi-sama did? He had yelled her name…did he shield her from the attack?

And Inu Yasha? What happened to him and Kagome? Had they possibly been taken? Or-

He's splitting us up! Sango thought. If that were so…

"Hold on, Houshi-sama!" she said loudly, trying to drown the panic gradually coursing through her veins. "We're almost there!"

The elderly priest replaced the towel on Miroku's hot forehead, tutting loudly. It was simply too much for him, at his age and particularly after a drinking binge, to be subjected to this kind of aggravation in the middle of the night!

But the look on the girl's face, and Miroku's state, had effectively shut him up. The young priest was already developing a high fever by the time they got to the temple.

Sango waited as Mushin-sama inspected the ugly wound. She did not like the grave expression on the priest's face. He looked…almost afraid.

"You say you were not followed?" he asked.

"As-as far as I know. I cannot be sure," she said.

"We'd better make sure, then," said the priest as he got to his unsteady feet. "In the meantime…better prepare that medicine…"


"He's been poisoned." The priest pointed a trembling finger on Miroku's shoulder. "A bite…"

Without another word, he wobbled off to the direction of the kitchens.

Sango kneeled beside Miroku's futon, a bowl of the steaming herbal medicine beside her.

There was no time to lose. He was already having chills, and Oshou-sama had said the medicine might take some time to act. Most importantly, the young houshi was unconscious. He would never know.

But why? Why me? Why can't it be Hachi, for instance? She wailed inwardly.

Because he was out with the elderly priest, securing the perimeters of the temple with a sealing charm to prevent the entry of any youkai into the temple grounds, that's why.

He'll never know, anyway…

With that, Sango took the bitter medication into her mouth, tilted the young priest's chin, pinched his nose, and sealed his lips with hers.

***Oshou-sama (Mushin-sama)- Miroku's foster father.