DISCLAIMER – All of Inuyasha and its characters belong solely to Rumiko Takahashi
The Assassin's Moon
The night was a liquid darkness. The Gods opened the skies with a vengeance that made all the living creatures cower with fear. Overnight, new oceans and rivers were carved by the fury of the elements. Men and animals alike took shelter hoping that they would survive to see a new dawn. Only the most brave or foolish would be out on a night like this.
Such a man galloped on the main road with only one destination burning in his mind. His vision was completely obscured by rain and darkness. He could hear his heart beating in time to the pounding of his horse's hooves on the wet path below. Completely soaked by the sheets of rain, he was cold but there was nothing as cold as the chill that had settled in his heart. He felt nauseous with exhaustion and with the excess blood rushing to his head. He had lost feeling in his hands and legs long ago and could only hope that he would not slip off his horse. As dangerous as it was to go at the breakneck gallop that he was pushing his horse, his life was worthless if he didn't make it in time.
Please let me be wrong. he thought to himself. I'll dedicate the rest of my life to your service if you will spare their lives. Oh God. Let me be wrong.
The man who lived by no one's rules but his own prayed for the first time in his life. He prayed to a God that he never believed in. A God that he will be spending the rest of his life repenting to for his sins if only He would let them live.
"Run for me." he whispered to the hose.
As if the stallion understood him, it surged forward in the rain with another burst of reckless abandon. Senses rendered useless, the proud man keenly felt his helplessness. His arrival and life was completely dependent on the heaving beast beneath him. He grimly hung on and prayed to which ever God was listening that he will get there in time.
The gate to his estate was wide open. He had left instructions to keep it closed at all times. There was absolutely no reason for it to be open. Urging his steadfast mount on, the stallion flew through the swinging gates. The man jumped off before the horse stopped moving. He hit the ground hard and came up rolling to his feet. His right shoulder throbbed with pain where it took the most impact from his fall but he ignored it. Pain was good. It meant that he was still alive.
There were bodies strewn all over the courtyard. There was so much blood that the ground of courtyard was converted into a lake of blood. He refused to let himself identify the bodies. There would be more than enough time to grieve later.
He ran back the outer garden and burst into the house. Inside the house, it was even worse. Without rain to obscure their features, he could not distance himself from the gruesome deaths of people that he had known most of his life. Servants, men and women, young and old, no one was spared. The children...the nursery.
Sprinting upstairs, he prayed that they had missed the nursery. He ran down the hallway to the very end where the nursery was located. Steeling himself for the very worst, he burst into the nursery.
No no..NOOO. Beside the cradle, he saw the ravaged body of his beloved wife. It was obvious that she had been stabbed several times in her pregnant stomach before they slit her throat. They obviously wanted to make sure that there would be no heirs to continue his line. The vision of her face frozen in fear and agony would be forever seared in his memory. There was so much blood and pain on her precious face. He wiped at her face tenderly and gathered her broken body to him.
Her swollen belly which he had listened to for so many nights was now covered in blood and fatal wounds. The life that he had so eagerly listened for was now silent. Dead before it had a chance to take a breath in their cruel world. He would never get to teach his son how to swing his first sword or hear his daughter sing again for him. There would be no more sweet homecomings to his wife's welcome arms and her bright smile that meant the world to him.
For the first time in is life, he wept. He had not wept when he was kidnapped and sold to the slavers. He had not wept when he as a Duke's son felt the first touch of the whip upon his virgin back. He never broke down or pleaded for mercy. All of his trials had made him that much stronger. He had vowed to himself to never be vulnerable again. Now, they were all dead because of him.
It was then that he heard her.
"Is anyone there? Help me!"
Carefully laying down his wife's corpse, he frantically crawled to the place where he thought he heard the voice.
"Where are you?" he cried out.
"Here!' said the slightly muffled voice.
It was closer this time. The dresser. He shoved the dresser off the seemingly covered hole and dropped to his knees. Just a week ago, the workers had accidentally dropped the newly made dresser on the floor. The heavy dresser went right through the floorboards and left a massive hole. He had sent for the master carpenter but the man went over to the next province to take care of his ailing mother. As a temporary solution, he had fitted planks of wood over the hole.
A few of his fingernails snapped as they dug into the wood. He growled at the weakness of his human hands. Pain clearing his mind, he remembered that he had a dagger. He worked the blade into the trench that his fingers made. After an eternity, the plank of wood sprung up and revealed his dirty but completely alive daughter.
"Kagome." he breathed.
He picked her up from the hole and hugged her tightly. She was alive. Kagome wrapped her arms tightly around his neck.
"Oh daddy! I was so scared. Mommy forced me down there and all I could hear was her screaming." She looked at him with horror filled eyes. "What happened to mommy?"
Forgetting in his relief that she was alive, he belatedly covered her eyes.
"Don't look sweetie. There is nothing here that you need to see."
He reluctantly let go of her. She kept trying to look around him.
"Where is mommy?" Her voice rose higher and higher as she began to panic. "Where is she?"
"Hush darling. Mommy is -"
"I WANT MOMMY!"
"KAGOME SAKURA HIGURASHI." he snapped at her. She looked at him with wide eyes. "This is not the time to ask for mo-mommy." he choked past the lump in his throat. "I need you to stay calm. It's dangerous. We need to leave now."
"What about -"
"No questions. I need your complete obedience. Understood?"
She nodded woodenly. "Now close your eyes and don't open them until I tell you to."
She shut up. He hated being so harsh with her but questions were not a luxury that either of them could afford. Kagome closed her eyes. He picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. He quickly moved through the house and out of the courtyard. His faithful horse was standing exactly where he left it.
"One more long journey my friend and then you'll enjoy green pastures for the rest of your life."
He put Kagome on the saddle.
"Stay here. If you see anyone but me, I want you to ride for the border. Promise me."
Kagome nodded solemnly. Running back into the house, he pulled out his flint and struck a flame. The wood easily caught fire. He ran back out into the courtyard.
"Goodbye my Heart. I swear to take good care of our darling for the rest of my life." he vowed to his dead wife as he watched the flames grow higher.
Running out of the courtyard, he swung up and sat behind Kagome. He turned the horse towards the gate and urged it into a canter. Riding swiftly for the border, he left the wreckage of his home burning in the distant past.