Hello all my avid readers of this story! I was going back re-reading it for some ideas and all cringed at my novice writing in the first several chapters! So, for this fic's second birthday, I'm going back and re-editing those chapters, maybe add a few more original things!
Disclaimer: I, Kaykai, herby claim no ownership over Yuu Yuu Hakusho or Inuyasha. They belong to the talented Yoshihiro Togashi and Rumiko Takahashi. I only own the plot of this story and any original characters that may appear. Thank you.
One Jewel, Two Souls
A young girl of fifteen with long, wavy raven colored hair and bright stormy sea-blue eyes crossed her arms over her chest as she waited at the bottom of the stairwell. Glancing over at the clock posted on the wall, her foot began to tap in irritation. Just as the minute hand ticked over to point at the number three, she huffed, "Kagome! Will you hurry it up!" she growled lowly when she heard the shoji door slide open and close. "That little squirt has already left!"
"I'm coming, Kaori!" a voice called back from the top of the stairs. "I just have to find my shoes!"
The girl - Kaori - huffed and rolled her eyes. "Well, speed it up! I have Kendo practice!"
Kagome scoffed, wondering why her older sister was so obsessed with her sword art practice. She was the only girl in a group of ten other boys! Digging around in her closet, she found one of her brown loafers and sighed when she all, but threw everything out of the closet and still could not find the matching shoe. Moving over to her bed, after putting everything back in place, Kagome finally found her other loafer and tugged them both on. Grabbing her bag, the younger girl quickly raced down the steps meeting Kaori at the bottom. "Okay, let's go."
Kaori nodded as she shouldered her own black school bag. After announcing their departure the two girls exited the house and ran for the steps. Out the corner of her eye, Kaori saw Kagome pause, looking over at the old well shrine. Tilting her head in confusion she walked over to her sister. "What's up?"
The younger sister looked back at the older, "Didn't you say that Souta had already left?"
"Yeah. Why?" she quipped.
Kagome lifted her hand, pointing a slender finger at the open door of the shrine and at the figure holding a green bowl, "Then, why is he at the Well shrine?"
Raising her sea-blue eyes in the direction of where her sister was pointing, she too saw that their little brother was shuffling his feet nervously in front of the shrine. "Souta, you little squirt!" she yelled as she ran over to where he was and grabbed him by the collar, "What are you doing?"
"You know that you're not supposed to play in there." Kagome chastised, placing her hand over Kaori's wrist and forcing her to drop Souta back on his feet. The elder sibling always had a tendency of being more violent with their little brother, saying that he needs to toughen up and having two sisters would not help if they both babied him.
Souta glared up at Kaori with light brown, almost hazel, eyes as he shoved the bowl of cat food in front of their faces. "I'm not. It's the cat!" he turned around and called out the feline's name, dejected when the creature did not show himself. "I don't know where else he could be."
Kaori rolled her eyes and kneeled down beside her little brother and placed her hand on his head. "Well, why don't you go down and get him."
"Are you crazy!" he shouted, shaking her hand off his face. "Why do I have to go down there?"
Kagome sighed and moved to walk down the steps, "Because you're the one looking for him." She whipped her head around when a scratching noise rumbled from down inside the well. Repressing a small chuckle when Souta screamed and fell on his rear, Kagome picked up the bowl of cat food. "It's just the cat, silly."
The older sister flicked him on the nose before following her twin down the steps. "Are you supposed to be a boy?" she snorted, her eyes flashing mischievously.
Scritch. Scritch. Scritch.
That once faint scratching noise, barely noticeable unless completely silent had gotten steadily louder and louder as the two girls neared the well. Cautiously they stepped on the soft soil that surrounded the well, their eyes scanning for their pet. The sound intensified, sending the twins on edge. Something brushed against Kaori's leg, causing her to jump and let out a small scream.
Kagome giggled at the terrified looks on her siblings' faces and bent to scoop up the fat, calico colored cat off the ground. "It's just Buyo." She ran her fingers through her pet's soft fur, smirking at the blushing siblings.
"You make fun of me for being scared and you're all Kyaah!" Souta taunted, his brown eyes narrowed at Kaori.
The older twin returned the glare full-heartedly as she shot back, "Look who's talking Mr. Why-do-I-have-to-go." a small stream of electricity formed between brother and sister as they continued to glare at one another. They did not even noticed the intensified scratching noises. It was not until the paper seal on the well flashing brightly caught Souta's attention.
"Uh, Nee-chan?" he opened his mouth to say more, but the wooden cover that closed off the well exploded into splinters as three pairs of ghostly white hands shot out. The hands floated towards Kagome, grabbing her shoulders and yanked her back. Buyo jumped out of her arms at the sudden jerk, landing on his feet next to Souta.
"Kaori!" Kagome screamed, her hand stretched out for her sister. She tried to fight off the hands, but there was too many and they were too strong.
"Kagome!" the older sister yelled as she raced towards the younger and grabbed her hand. Pulling with all her might, Kaori tried to forced the hands to let go of Kagome, but to no avail. The ghostly hands yanked the younger girl down hard, nearly ripping her from Kaori's hands. The elder twin held on tight and was pulled off her feet and both were pulled into the well with a flash of pink light.
Souta stared at the empty spot where his sisters' we're standing not even two minutes ago. "Kagome-nee! Kaori-nee!" he screamed in a panic. Jumping to his feet, he pulled at his hair and frantically asked what should he do over and over again. "I've got to tell Okaa-chan and Jii-chan!"
Scaly red and green flesh began to cover the long skeletal body of the creature holding Kagome close to its chest. She moaned in pleasure as she turned the young girl around in her hold, her beady black eyes locked with two pairs of storm blue. "Already my flesh and strength are returning to me." the centipede woman pulled the twins closer to her, despite their struggling. "You have it, don't you?" her long, pink tongue slithered out past her lips and ran up Kagome's cheek. "Give it to me!"
"Gross!" Kaori hissed. "What are you doing to my sister!" she raised her hand to shove the creature away from Kagome.
The younger sister shoved her hand into the centipede woman's face, pushing her way. "Let go of me!" she blinked when a strange blue light flooded from her palm, burning the flesh of the creature. Glancing over at her sister, she saw that a pale violet light was shining from her hand as she shoved the centipede woman away from them.
The creature grabbed Kaori's arm. "I must have it! You can't keep it from me!" she flew back into the swirling abyss of glittery blue light, her hand still clutching the older twin's arm. "Shikon no Tama!"
Kagome looked over at Kaori, a questioning look in her sea-blue eyes as they bother voiced, "Shikon no Tama."
They floated through the blue glow, wondering what the heck just happened to them. The reminisce on what transpired the morning and nothing seemed out of ordinary. They woke up, had a quick breakfast with the family, got dressed for school and let a little later than usual. Soon they landed softly on the floor of the well.
"That was strange... " Kaori was the first to speak, her voice soft as she clung to Kagome tightly.
Kagome nodded her head in agreement and placed her hand over her forehead. "Maybe we hit our heads on the fall down." her eyes widened when she caught sight of the ghostly white arm that had grabbed her sister and let out a soft cry, "Maybe not. "
The elder sister rose to her feet, pulling Kagome up with her, her face pale as a sheet. "Anyway, let's get out of this creepy well."
"Yeah." the younger twin agreed before cupping her hands over her mouth, "Hey Souta! Get Jii-chan!" she sighed under her breath when she could not hear their younger brother respond. Glancing over at Kaori, who had a scowl on her face, Kagome shook her head sadly.
Kaori moved forward and grabbed a vine that was crowing out the crevices of the well's walls, testing the strength of it. "He probably ran off, the little brat."
Kagome frowned as she grabbed a root next to the one her sister was climbing up and struggled to keep her balance. "Yeah, you're probably..." she trailed off as a small white butterfly flew in front her face, landing on her nose before fluttering away when she sneezed lightly. Ignoring the heavy feeling in the pit of their stomachs, Kagome and Kaori continued to climb up the well and finally reached the top.
And was completely blown away with the sight they were greeted with. The home that they grew up in was gone. Nothing but the wilderness of a grand forest lay in the area where the Sunset Shrine used to be. The beaming sun almost blinded them as they took in their new surroundings. While it was very beautiful, this was not their home.
"Kagome, I don't think we are in Tokyo anymore." Kaori finally choked out as her eyes widened to their extent.
"Kaa-chan! Jii-chan! Souta! Buyo!" the younger girl called out, hoping that this was all a bad dream. She pinched her arm sharply, pain jolting up and down her body, but no matter how many times she blinked her eyes, she and her sister were still in this large clearing. Looking over at Kaori, Kagome began searching for any signs of their former house or anything that would look remotely similar. "Ah!" she cried out, pointing, "Kaori! It's the tree!"
Kaori looked over in the direction when her twin was pointing and saw the top of the large tree that their shrine was built around. A large beaming smile spread over her face as she grabbed Kagome's hand and raced towards the spot. "That means we're practically home!"
Together they pushed through the foliage towards the giant tree that they grew up around. They came to a skidding halt once they saw the Sacred Tree. There with an arrow shot through his chest and held up by the large dried vines was a boy with flowing silver hair, who looked to be sleeping peacefully. He was dressed in a white toga with matching pants, and when the wind picked up they saw something flash behind him.
Kagome took a few steps forward. "Is that a boy?" she ignored her sister's demand for her to stay away and climbed up the vines that held the boy up. She noticed that he was extremely tall, towering over her by several feet. He also had the face of an aristocrat with a strong jaw and high cheekbones. "Kaori, he has kitsune ears." she stood up on her tiptoes and stretched her arms up, petting the boy's ears. The fur covering the fuzzy appendages were soft and silky. "He's really handsome." her voice took on an excited pitch. "He has tails, too!"
Kaori resisted the urge to roll her eyes at her twin's rather childish curiosity when a dark shadow beside the fox-eared boy caught her attention. 'What's this?' She looked back up at Kagome and saw that she was still engrossed with playing with the silver-haired one's ears. Kaori stepped through the dried vines that held the white-clad boy up and crossed over to the other side of the tree. Her eyes widened as she raised her hand to her lips to stifle a gasp. Pinned in the same way as the silver-haired boy was a dark-haired one, his black cloak fluttering in the breeze. 'He's kind of cute.'
Walking over to him, the older sister saw that he was not much taller than her, maybe a few inches taller. He had dark hair that seemed to defy all laws of gravity as it stood up in soft spikes, but the middle of his bangs were a startling white color that greatly contrasted with his black hair. As she got a closer look at him, Kaori took in his sleeping face, noting the white cloth around his forehead and that his ears ended in an elegant point and she reached out to trace it with her fingertip.
"Forget about being cute, he's beautiful." she said out loud.
"Kaori!" Kagome's scream broke the older sister out of her trance and she scrambled over back under the vines. Her eyes widened at what she saw. Her little sister was clutching the silver-haired boy's shirt tightly as she cringed close to his chest, arrows surrounding her head.
A man pulled another arrow from his quiver, notching it in place on his bow. He hooked his finger on the bowstring and pulled it taut as he took aim at the girls. "Get away from there!"
As the men surrounded the two girls, the elder sister cried out, "Just what the hell is going on!"
A small crowd of villagers gathered in the center of the village, staring with wide eyes at the two strangely dressed girls sitting on the ground. The people began whispering quietly among themselves, making accusations about the girls. Kagome struggled against the bindings around her wrists and ankles as she glared up at the villagers. "You didn't have to tie us up, y'know!" She narrowed her eyes as she assessed the people surrounding her and her sister. 'Top-knot. Top-knot. Top-knot. What is this? Something out of Sengoku Jidai?'
"Do you think that they are kitsune in disguise?" a woman asked, hiding her lips with the back of her hand.
"Naw, them shape-shifting foxes are a lot craftier than that." another woman responded.
"You reckon it's war?"
A man glared at the twins, balling his hand in a tight fist. "Of course. And right in the middle of rice planting season."
Soon everyone was quieted when someone began shouting that the priestess of the village, Ren, was coming. The twins tensed as they picked up the slow shuffling of feet as the woman drew closer and closer, but looked up in confusion at the elderly woman that approached them. She was short with graying hair and a black eye patch over her left eye and was dressed in a plain white haori with bright red hakama. She was also carrying an urn.
Dipping her hand inside the urn, the miko grew the grainy powder on the sisters. "Youkai begone!"
Kaori shook her head to get rid of the weird smelling salt that was clinging to her hair. "Cut it out!" she growled, glaring up at the old woman. "We aren't youkai!"
Ren pulled her hand out of the clay urn, her single brown eye locked on the twins as her thin lips pulled down in a frown. "If ye are not youkai, then why were ye found in the Forbidden Forest?"
"Could they be spies from another village?" a man questioned the old priestess.
"Then they would be fools." she stood up straighter as she addressed the man who spoke. "Who would raid such a poor village as ours?" Ren glanced back down at the two girls, seeing the piercing glare in their sea-blue eyes before they blinked in surprise. "Let me have a better look at ye." she reached out and grabbed Kagome's face, twisting her head left and right. "Try to look more intelligent." Ren then let go of the younger girl's chin in favor of taking the other's, "Be a clever girl or a half-wit."
The twins gritted their teeth. 'Why you...'
Ren released Kaori's face and took a few steps back, her eye wide. "It's there, yet I know not why.
she turned to a man and ordered for him to release the two girls and bring them to her hut immediately. With those final commands said, the old miko turned and hobbled back to wherever she had first came from.
Night had fallen by the time everything had been sorted out with the girls and now they sat on their knees inside Ren's hut, rubbing their rope burned wrists gently and cursing the men who tied them up. The old woman was stirring a cauldron with a wooden spoon before scooping some of the contents inside two bowls.
"Stew?" she offered the steaming bowls to the girls, who graciously accepted them and began sipping at the thick red liquid. Ren watched the twins carefully, trying to gauge their reactions to how they were treated earlier. "Bare us no ill will, children. We now know that ye mean us no harm." she stabbed at the hot coals with an iron spike. "In harsh times such as these, no trespasser is accepted without interrogation."
Kagome sighed as she lowered her food and look sadly at her reflection in the steaming soup. "We really aren't in Tokyo anymore."
Ren gave her a strange look. "To-ky-o?" she pronounced the name slowly, the word strange on her tongue. "Never heard of it. Is that where your people are from?"
"Ahh!" Kaori laughed nervously as she pinched Kagome's foot, making the sleeping nerves jolt in a sudden burst of painful tingles. "Yeah, so we should probably be getting back now." she raised her bowl back to her lips and took another sip of the rich flavorful stew. 'Though we have no idea how.'
The old priestess quietly watched the two girls carefully, trying to see how and why she noticed something about them. Was it the cold, calm look in their strangely colored eyes or was the faint aura she felt around them? She could not figure out which one it was. As she continued to gaze at the twins a rather sad memory surfaced within the ocean of her mind.
Dark, sagging clouds hung low in the sky as blood splattered on the ground, forming a puddled around the two women as a young girl around the age of seven clung to the hakama of the one with a gaping wound on her right shoulder.
"Sisters, please, you must." the girl cried.
A woman with long ebony hair and piercing hazel eyes kneeled down towards the little girl, placing her hand over her still bleeding wound. "Ren, listen well. We don't have much time left in this world."
"Kikyou-onee-sama, please don't talk like that." Ren pleaded, tugging at her haori and tried to help her stand back on her feet. "We'll get you to a healer and you're going to be alright."
The other woman with her long black back tied back in a low ponytail, the left side of her body scorched almost beyond recognition, narrowed her eyes. "Now, Ren, listen to your older sisters." she cringed in pain, it took nearly all her strength to just speak.
Ren looked at her older sister, fear evident in her large brown eye. "But, Kaede-onee-sama, you two need a healer and..." she pulled at their shirts once more, trying to usher them to the doctor's hut so that he could treat her injured sisters. She was surprised that they were able to defeat the fiends that nearly destroyed their village with such terrible wounds. Kikyou's arm was nearly torn off and would require many stitches just for it to even have a chance at working properly and Kaede needed medicinal salves and aloe to treat her horrible burns.
Kikyou smiled faintly at her little sister's attempts to save their lives from their inevitable fates. She lifted her left hand and opened her fingers, revealing half of a purplish-pink jewel. "The Shikon no Tama. Ren, you must take this and burn it with our bodies." Her once bright hazel eyes were dulled and glassy.
Kaede held out her half of the jewel to Ren as well, her breathing labored. "So that it may never fall into the hands of those who would abuse it."
"Sisters, please do not talk of such things." Red cried, her brown eye filling with tears as she pushed their hands away from her. "You're the protectors of the jewel."
"Ren..." Kikyou smiled softly, her eyes nearly lifeless as she drew in a ragged breath. "I'm sorry." Surcoming to her wounds, the miko fell to her side, her blood pooling around her as the jewel half rolled out of her hand and towards Ren.
"NO! KIKYOU-ONEE-SAMA!" Ren screamed out, shaking her sister as if that will cause her eyes to open and she would be okay.
Kaede kneeled next to her twin sister, the grief of losing her too strong. "Ren, we love you. Take care." Her heart throbbed painfully in her chest as her burned flesh finally took its toll on her body. Her hazel eyes lost all the light as she collapsed next to Kikyou.
The dam holding back Ren's tears broke and they fell in streams down her face and she doubled over. 'KAEDE-ONEE-SAMA! NO!" She pounded her fists on the ground as she let out all her sorrows. Her sisters were dead! Gone and never coming back! Ren screamed when a village man picked her up, kicking and fighting as she demanded to be let down.
The man merely closed his eyes and held onto her tighter as he ordered two other men to carry out the twin priestesses final wish and began to set up the pyre. Fire blazed high in the sky as the flames licked at the clothing of the two miko inside. The jewel shined brightly as the fire burned away at the holders of it.
"We shall take it with us to the next world. So that no evil shall ever come for it."
Ren stabbed at the hot coals with her iron pike as she gazed into the flames somberly. Fifty years have passed since that day and there has not been a single second where the old woman questioned whether her sisters' deserved to die so prematurely. They had just seen their eighteenth year when their lives were ended. Screams broke the comfortable atmosphere the three women were sitting in as the jumped to their feet. The second they were outside, they had to jump back to avoid being crushed by a dying horse, its side ripped open and organs spilling out.
Looking up at the source of where the animal came flying from the twins' eyes widened. "It's that thing again!"
Mistress Centipede heard the familiar voices of the girls she had capture and turned her eyes on them. "Give me the Shikon no Tama!" she screeched as she twirled her body around, knocking away anyone who dared to get close to her.
The girls bit their lips as they narrowed their eyes as sweat dripped from their hairline. 'Damn her! She's after us!'
Ren turned her eye on the twins, her voice hoarse with fear for her village and the people living there. "Ye have the jewel?"
Kagome raised her hand as if to defend herself from a fight as she said, "I don't have it!"
"We heard stories about the jewel, but we don't have it." Kaori back her sister up, crossing her arms over her chest. Looking back up at the centipede demon, she knew what they had to do. Sighing, she reached for Kagome's hand and looked her in the eye. She smile faintly when her sister caught on and squeezed her hand. They girls turned when a man ran up to Ren and told all what was going on and how their weapons seemed to do nothing against that creature.
Ren had a grim look on her face as she stared up at the beast, watching it tear into another horse. "We must lure it to the Dry Well."
"Dry Well?" Kagome quipped, tilting her head to the side.
The old woman nodded. "The well in the Forbidden Forest."
Kagome's eyes widened. That must be the well that they had came out of prior that day. Scanning her eyes around for the forest that those men had drug her and Kaori out of. "Which direction is the well." she looked to the east and saw a rainbow of light shining over the foliage of the forest. "Where they lights are shining, right?" she then proceeded to pull her sister over in the direction where the glow was.
"Wait!" Ren called out, her arms stretched as if to grab the girls. She frowned and lowered her hand as she watched Mistress Centipede chase after the twins, screaming for them to stop. The old woman shifted her eyes over to the direction where the Forbidden Forest was located and saw only the pitch black sky above. "How can they see what cannot be seen in the Forbidden Forest?"
"Ren-sama!" a man called out, bringing a horse over to the old miko. He had seen the girls' brave act and wanted to help them the best that he could. When the other village men saw their priestess hop on the stallion and rush off to the east where the forest was located, they quickly followed in suit.
Kagome pumped her legs harder as she dodged another attack from the creature chasing her and her sister. Glancing back, she screamed as she pulled Kaori to the left and narrowly avoided the lunged Mistress Centipede gave. "I have no idea what is going on, but someone will save us right?" she gasped as she looked over at her older sister.
Kaori struggled to keep up with her sister's pace, nearly tripping twice. "I don't know, Kagome. But...Somebody! Anybody! Please help us!" she yelped when she lost her footing on the loose soil around the waterways and fell to the ground, pulling Kagome down with her. They tumbled a few times, skinning up their knees and the palms of their hands as they tried to break their fall.
Turning around the twins saw Mistress Centipede crawl closer to them and scrambled to their feet, ignoring their stinging wounds as blood pooled in the scrapes.
Energy swelled around the Sacred Tree as the arrows pinning the two boy to it glowed faintly. Two pairs of sharp claws flexed as eyelids veiled away to reveal their eyes. Sadistic smirks spread over their lips when a familiar scent in the wind breezed their way. Reflectively they took in a deep breath of the once comforting smell and growled low in their chests.
"I can smell it, Fox." The dark-haired boy said, his voice slightly hoarse.
The silver-haired one nodded slowly, his bright golden eyes narrowed in distaste. "Yes, it is the scent of the blood of the women who tried to kill us."
"And it's getting closer." the other one hissed as he finally remember the predicament they were in. "It's time we took our revenge."
The two youkai reached for the arrows lodged in their chests, closing their fists over the thin wooden shaft only to growl in frustration when the weapons glowed brightly. The arrows rejected them. It was a special type of seal that only the one who cast it could remove it. They were bound to the tree until the women who shot them came to break the spell.
Brooding, the two of them waited patiently for the scents of those girls to come closer and then they will demand to be released from the seal.
"Give it to me!" Mistress Centipede snarled as she wriggled after her targets, the scent of the jewel took much for her to handle and caused her to go into a frenzy for it. "The Shikon no Tama!" Lifting her upper body, the creature lunged at the twins, barely missing them.
Kaori turned around and yelled at the demon. They've told her multitudes of times that they do not have the jewel. They've never seen the artifact in their entire life! Her greyish-blue eyes widened when the creature raised up it's body against, this time lifting up much higher than before and lunged. A scream was torn from Kagome and Kaori as they were thrown into the air, coming to a skidding stop in front of the Sacred Tree.
Kagome groaned as she rubbed the top of her head. "Okay. That hurt."
"I see we are interacting with insects now, Kikyou." a silk like tenor voice taunted.
The younger twin blinked in confusion as she raised her head and locked eyes with a pair of blazing gold ones. Her mouth dropped open when the large ears on top of his head twitched every now and then as he glared down at her. Elbowing her sister softly, Kagome questioned, "Did he just talk?"
Another rougher, but just as smooth voice snorted, "Of course, you incompetent onna."
Kaori gasped as she turned to see that the dark-haired boy next to the silver-haired one was wide awake as his carmine eyes bore into her own. She was shocked to see the anger and hate that he was broadcasting towards her with just his eyes. Her tongue felt numbed as she dumbly said, "You're talking, too?"
Crimson eyes rolled as he bit out, "Just take it out in one blow like you tried with us, Kaede."
The golden-eyed youkai smirked down at Kagome. "I see you've changed your clothes since the last time I saw you, Kikyou." he looked her up and down slowly, drinking in the sight of her in that short green kimono.
Kagome self-consciously tugged her skirt down over her knees in effort to cover herself from the piercing gaze of the kitsune. "My name is not Kikyou..." she whispered softly.
Kaori narrowed her eyes at the dark-haired youkai, his lips pulled down in a frown. "What are you talking about? My name isn't Kaede..."
The two youkai snapped their heads up when the wind changed and a loud echoing roar ripped through the sky. A vibration went down the tree as they said, "It comes." Not even three seconds after the demons spoke, Mistress Centipede scrambled down the tree, twisting her long scaly body around the base as her hands stretched out for the twins. The girls screamed in terror as they covered their faces with their hands.
Arrows whizzed through the night sky, soaring with precision towards the centipede youkai. The sharp-pointed heads burrowed deep into her flesh, blood pouring from the entry wounds. The ropes tied to the arrows were pulled taut as the villagers dragged her body away from the girls. The twins let out a sigh of relief, placing their hands over their fast beating hearts. Kagome and Kaori flashed grateful smiles to the village men.
"Pathetic." the two pinned youkai. "I'm disappointed in you. The miko we knew would have never wasted time of such vermin."
That did it. Kagome jumped to her feet and ignored the creature that was still trying to grab her in its arms and marched up to the kitsune. "That does it, Mister!" she all but shouted. Kagome was sick and tired of this demon calling her some other girl's name. She was Higurashi Kagome and no one else. "My name is not Kikyou! You've got me confused with some other girl!"
Kaori followed her twin to the tree, staring into the red eyes of the dark-haired youkai. "Why do you keep calling me Kaede! That ain't my name." she snapped, her finger coming up to jab him in the chest. Kaori was sorely tempted to shove that arrow deeper into his body, but she was not the mean. From seeing injuries during Kyudo practice, arrowhead wounds looked very painful.
The golden-eyed youkai scoffed as his partner rolled his eyes. "Stop trying to fool us. There is no way that your blood could smell so..." the two demons paused as the girls' scents wafted up to their noses. While the scent was similar, there was a distinct difference. "You're not them." And now that they've gotten a better look at them, the two of them noticed that these females had grey-tinted blue eyes. The women they knew had hazel eyes. These girls had wavy hair that stopped at the middle of their backs, while Kikyou and Kaede's was straight and went down past their hips when let down.
"Duh!" the girls stated, crossing their arms over their chests. "That's what I've been trying to tell you!"
"My name is Kagome. Ka-Go-Me!"
"It's Kaori. "Ka-O-Ri!"
The fox-eared boy sighed almost wistfully as his silver ears flattened against his skull. "You're right. You're not them." he looked down at the out of the corner of a single golden eye. "They were much more intelligent looking and very beautiful.
"Hn." the other one nodded, closing his eyes and tilting his head back against the bark of the tree.
The twins jerked their heads back as if they'd been slapped. Did they just say that the looked dumb? The twins did not know what to say as they settled for gritting their teeth and glaring at the demons. They shouted when clawed hands gripped their shoulders tightly; Mistress Centipede managed to break away from her captors. Kagome grabbed the closest thing to her, which happened to be the kitsune's forelocks of silver hair.
"Let go of me!" she screamed.
The boy snarled as pain shot down his body from his skull as his hair was being pulled to the point where he thought the girl might rip it out. Baring his fangs at Kagome, he growled, "You let go of me."
"I advise you to release me, Onna." the dark-haired demon scowled down at Kaori, who grabbed onto the white scarf he wore over his black cloak.
She shot him a dirty look. "And let that thing get me!" Kaori shot back, her voice a frightened pitch. "Not a chance!"
The galloping of horses came closer as the old miko came riding in, pulling the reins to make the stallion come to halt. When a villager announced that the two pinned youkai have awakened from their seal, her brown eye widened. 'What? But my sisters' spell should have lasted forever!'
Mistress Centipede dug her claws into their twins' shirts as she yanked on them harder, trying to forced them to let go. She snarled when that only made them cling on tighter. She opened her mouth, her lips spreading open further to accommodate her her long glistening fangs. Saliva dripped from the pointed tips as she hissed, "I'll devour you whole! Shikon no Tama and all!"
Crimson eyes sliced over to look at the kitsune. Shikon no Tama? Isn't that the artifact that we were after?
The fox's molten eyes locked with the dark-haired demon's. Yes, it is.
The twins' eyes widened as the centipede woman launched herself at them, her fangs reflecting in their frightened gaze. Lifting out their hand, they screamed for Mistress Centipede to stop and the light that emitted from their fingertips when they were in the well made itself present as it blasted the demon away from them. The force of the light ripped the youkai's arms off of her body as she flew back several feet. Kagome and Kaori slid to the ground as they stared in wonder at their hands.
"We did that back at the well..."
"You damn bitch!"
Kagome watched in horror as the creature lunged at her sister, biting into her side, blood spraying everywhere as she ripped something out. She screamed when Mistress Centipede tossed Kaori aside in the air and turned around for her. Cringing at the pain at came with the vicious bite the youkai gave her, Kagome saw a glassy purplish-pink jewel half was torn out of her body. 'It came from inside us.' she stared at the gem as it floated through the air in front of her face. 'Is that the Shikon no Tama?' Kagome groaned when she landed on her injured side.
"Those jewel halves," the fox said sharply, his tongue lit with poison. "Give them to me."
Kaori pressed her hand against her bleeding wound, cringing at how deep it was. "You want us to what?"
The ruby-eyed youkai growled low under his breath. "The jewel shards!" he snarled at the girls. "Hand them over!"
Mistress Centipede wrapped her long red and green scaly body around the tree, circling around the twins' body and trapping them against the two demons. She chuckled softly as she lowered her face down to stare the pinned teenagers. The monster locked eyes with the two youkai and smirked, "I've heard of some kitsune whelp and his wretched hybrid companion panning after the jewel. It's you, two, isn't?"
"A whelp am I?" the silver-haired demon sneered, baring his fangs at the creature. "I could easily kill you for that."
"Does a death wish cause you to talk to me that way?" the red-eyed youkai growled lowly at the centipede.
'Kitsune? Hybrid? Just what are they?' The twins gazed up at the two demons they were trapped against.
She laughed scornfully. "What can you do?" a wide grin spread over her lips as the centipede youkai lowered her upper body towards the jewel shards, "Can't move, can you? It looks as though your powers are being sealed. All of you are helpless." her long tongue slipped out of her mouth as she ignored the warning growl the pinned demons gave. Mistress Centipede scooped the two halves of the Shikon no Tama into her mouth and swallowed them whole. Her severed arms glowed bright red as they flew back into their prospective places.
Kagome gripped the white toga of the kitsune's as she said, "It's rearming."
"Hey?" Kaori whispered, tightening her finger in the dark-haired boy's cloak and tugged at it until he looked down at her. "Are you strong?"
He narrowed her eyes at her. "What?"
The elder sister nodded her head over at Kagome, who was staring at Mistress Centipede with fear evident in her eyes. "You and your friend; you aren't normal. Are you and him strong enough to beat that thing?"
"Hn." he turned away from her, looking back at the opponent in front of him and so that he could not look at a face that he did not wish to see.
Mistress Centipede smiled as her face began to split down the middle before arched her back, ripping her tanned skin off to reveal ugly, spotted brown flesh. She moaned in pleasure as she body was filled with energy that has been dormant for far too long. Her eyes turned red and bulged out of their socket as her teeth grew into sharp jagged fangs. "At last my power is complete!"
Kagome curled her finger tighter into the boy's toga, her knuckles brushing against his chest slightly. "It's even uglier than before." she commented and soon her her sister's soft snickers from her right and she glanced over to flash Kaori a cheeky grin.
The centipede woman turned her head and hissed as she began to constrict her body around the base of the tree, crushing the twins' bodies. How dare they call her ugly! Her power was marvelous! It was beautiful! At first, Mistress Centipede was going to allow them a swift death by devouring them whole, but after hearing that; she changed her mind. She'll crush the life out of those pitiful humans!
"It's crushing me!" the girls screamed as their bones grind against each other as the monster wind its body tighter.
"Hey." the silver-haired demon said softly. "Can you pull out this arrow?"
Kagome blinked in surprise at the tone he was using with her. Ever since she's met this strange boy, he made it clear that he wanted nothing to do with her. "Excuse me? What did you say?"
He looked down at her with bright golden eyes, his face devoid of all emotions as he repeated what he asked. The younger sister shifted her eyes over to Kaori to see her speaking to the other youkai and it seemed that he asked the same as the kitsune for the older sister was hesitantly reaching for the arrow jutting from the hybrid's chest.
Kagome took in another breath, which was difficult because the centipede woman was still strangling her with her long scaly body. "I'm not sure..." Her fingers barely brushed the shaft of the weapon when the old priestess' voice called out to them.
"You must not pull it out!" Ren yelled at them. "Those arrows are Youko Kurama and Jaganshi Hiei's seals! They must not be freed, lest they will kill us all!"
The kitsune scoffed at the old woman and narrowed his eyes at her. "Don't be a fool, Babaa." he hissed between his teeth.
The hybrid bared his fangs at Ren as his eyes flashed dangerously. "Do you want to become that vermin's bait? If it completely absorbs the Shikon, it's the end!" he turned his burning gaze down at Kaori, his voice cold and detached as he said, "Do you want to die, Onna? Here with everyone watching?"
Kagome let out a breath as she made her decision. Curling her finger around the thing wooden shaft of the arrow, she flashed Kaori a quick look. "Sis, I don't know about you," she yanked on the thin weapon, "but I choose to live!" The arrow in her hand vanished in brilliant flash of light, desegregating in silver glitters.
"Ren-sama!" the villager voiced out, his eyes wide with shock. "Youko Kurama's seal has been broken!"
"I'm going on a whim here, and ask if your name is Hiei then?" Kaori said as she placed her hand on the arrow stabbing out of his chest. "Well, I'm not ready to die!" she yanked her hand back, breaking the seal on the hybrid in a flash of pale violet light, the arrow dissipating in glittering silver slivers.
The old miko's body went numb as she watched her sisters' spells being broken; by mere children no less! Those special seals should have lasted forever since only Kikyou and Kaede could remove them. So how were these girls able to break them? Unless...
B-thump. B-thump. B-thump.
"Youko..." Kagome said softly, her eyes wide as she felt the kitsune pulsate beneath her fingers.
"Hiei?" The older twin gasped as she tried to catch his eyes, but his bangs prevented that. Soon a soft low and dark chuckle reached her ears, which quickly turned into a full-out evil laughter. The twins screamed when the creature let out a hissing roar as she wrapped her scaly body around them, enveloping the group completely. There was a flash of ebony flames surrounded by a rose-colored light as Mistress Centipede's long body was blasted away, her thick red blood spraying out over the small clearing.
Kagome and Kaori cried out as they were thrown away from the two demons, landing on their injured sides.
Youko somersaulted backwards over the centipede youkai, his fingers running through his long silver waterfall of hair. "Hiei, this one is mine."
The shorter demon merely nodded his head as he stepped back and leapt in a nearby tree. Mistress Centipede hissed as she charged at the kitsune, her mouth open and saliva dripping from her fangs. Youko smirked as he pulled a small green kernel from the base of his scalp and fed his youki into it. The seed bloomed into a beautiful red rose - the twins scrunched their noses up at that. What could he possibly hope to do with a flower? The blossom began to glow faintly as the kitsune continued to fill it with his power and the petals exploded off of the stem and it elongated into thorny whip.
"I told you I would kill you." he said coldly as he flung the whip towards Mistress Centipede, slicing her down the middle, bisecting her and crimson fluid colored the ground as the grass was soaked with it, Kagome and Kaori watched with sick mortification as Youki answered the elder sister's question from earlier. The kitsune was strong. Really strong.
Pieces of the creature's body began twitching, scaring the living daylights out of the girls. How could it still be moving after it had been cut down by Youko? They saw its end with their own eyes. Kagome cringed behind her sister, whimpering softly as Kaori in turn wrapped her arms around her little sister. "Obaa-san, it's still moving!" the twins said in unison.
"Quickly. Find the glowing flesh!" Ren ordered. "The Shikon no Tama should be inside." she repeated her command to the girls, this time telling them that if they did not find the flesh, the monster would come back to life over and over again. No matter how many times they try to kill it.
Kagome flinched when the flesh twitched once more and began to scan the pieces of Mistress Centipede's sliced up body. Her eyes narrowed as she looked at a far away piece that seemed to be glowing faintly. She grabbed Kaori's arm and pointed at the large hunk of flesh where she saw the sparkle. There hidden deep inside the chunk was two glowing half-moons. "There!"
Ren stiffly walked over to the twitching piece of carcass and withdrew the halves with a low grunt. The instant she removed them, the skin melted off the body and left nothing but bones left behind. She moved back over to the girls and held her hands out toward them, which the reflectively cupped their palms together. "Ye two must bow protect the jewel." she dropped one of the shards in each of the girls' hands and leaned back. 'Ye who resemble the dead twin miko, Kikyou and Kaede,'
"But, why?" Kagome looked up at the old woman with a questioning look in her eyes.
Kaori picked up where her sister had left off. "Why would we have a jewel wanted by youkai?"
The sound of bone being crushed resounded throughout the forest and everyone turned around to see Youko take another threatening step towards the girls with Hiei bounding out to the ree he was perched in.
"Exactly." the kitsune said lowly as he snapped his whip against the ground, bring up pieces of the earth.
Hiei swept back his cloak, revealing a katana as he placed his hand on the hilt of the blade. "Give us the jewel now, and I may consider letting you keep your heads." his eyes and voice took on a dangerous edge as he watched the twin's reaction carefully.
Kaori grabbed her sister and pulled her closer to her as they bother said, "What?" They looked into the cold, emotionless eyes of the two demons and saw the seriousness on their faces.
I'm happy with the development I made in the chapter's improvements. I'll keep my guest reviews on in case any of my former readers want to comment on how they liked or disliked the new quality of the chapters :)
~Kirei Ai Tenshi