The Crest
Part 4: Changing
An Inuyasha Fanfiction
By: Azurite

azurite_moon@yahoo.com
http://www.geocities.com/azurite_moon

Author's Notes:

(1) As I ranted about in my last three chapters, I don't take flames. They are signed, stamped, sealed, and delivered "returned to sender." So be nice or say nothing. ^^;;

(2) Also, I do not own Inuyasha. Keh. Feh. Or whatever. ^^

(3) Anyone who has read Ookami's "Turnabout is Fair Play" (and by anyone, I mean everyone) is either wondering how in the heck my fic could have been inspired by it… so in answer to that… *grin* You'll see. It'll probably diverge so far off Ookami's tangent you won't even see it coming, but when you do get it, I think you'll laugh.

(4) I know Tsubaki is a manga character in Volume 20, but in this, Tsubaki is a male councilman. I might end up bringing the other Tsubaki in later, but it's doubtful, since so few people read the Japanese manga like I do… ^^;;

Request:

I am looking to make a collection of sorts—quotes from bishounen and bishoujo alike. I originally got quotes from actual animes and mangas that said what a certain character thought of a certain subject. For example, Ranma Saotome on Sex would be: "Uh… doesn't it like mess up your training, or something?" [From the Ranma ½ OAV Series – ep. "The Two Akanes! Ranma, Look At Me!"] But now, I have collected funny quotes from signatures, fanfictions (^^; I'm kinda ashamed to admit it because it makes me look an über-otaku, and certainly a fangirl/stalker, but most of them are from "Turnabout is Fair Play," and more than one is from LilFoxGirl's "You Make Me Retch." ^^;;; Anyway, I'm looking to collect more quotes of this same kind—

1)   Signature quotes – funny, uplifting, inspiring, or just plain weird quotes from signature files.

2)   Bishies On… - quotes from your favorite bishoujo/bishounen on a subject of their choice—only a few lines to a paragraph at the most; as many topics as you wish… but the quoted material must be canon (i.e. from actual anime or manga, and please specify the episode/manga # / act # in question).

3)   Fanfic Quotes – something that you read in a fanfic that was absolutely funny, incredibly angsty, or totally romantic. Be sure to quote the name of the fic, the author, and what chapter (if applicable) the quote can be found in.

Domo arigatou, minna-sama!

Vocabulary:

I'm fairly sure I only use the most common terms, and considering the only 'dub' of Inuyasha that is out is the Viz Manga, well… here are some words:

hanyou – half-demon. Literally, a contraction of the word hanyoukai, with han meaning 'half' and youkai meaning 'demon'. Normally refers to any demon whose parentage is mixed between that of a full demon (a youkai) and a human.
miko – priestess. Normally refers to a woman of the cloth (similar to a nun, but with more power) from the Shinto religion, like Kikyou, Kaede, etc. Shinto no miko are supposed to be able to detect unnatural energy (such as that of youkai) and purify them with their powers.
taijiya – exterminator. Literally taiji is 'to exterminate' and ya implies a store or person who performs the action. Essentially, this means that a taijiya is an exterminator. Usually refers to the exterminators of demons, though certain kinds of demon exterminators are not exactly taijiya. For example, Miroku… he's a Buddhist priest who expels demons… not exterminates them.
houshi – Buddhist priest: like Miroku. At the time when Inuyasha takes place, Buddhism wasn't too common—but it was spreading, from where it originated in India to China, and then to Japan. Miroku is no doubt one of the people spreading the word about Buddhism, which emphasizes non-material possessions (explains why, aside from greed, Miroku always sells whatever he "steals" from the houses that he expels evil spirits from) and a life away from wealth.
-sama, -chan, -dono, -san – Respectively, varying suffixes that one attaches to someone's name (usually the family name, or last name) to add respect. To not add a suffix implies (depending on the people) disrespect, or a very close relationship. Even brothers and sisters refer to each other with –san or –chan attached to their name. In Inuyasha, since it's 500 years before Kagome's time, many suffixes aren't in use, such as –san. That is why Kagome and Miroku respectively refer to each other as (insert name here)-sama. –Sama is a suffix that implies great respect to a person of power, which can include religious figures, monarchs, or government officials. –Chan, on the other hand, implies affection –either between friends or lovers. –Dono is a very old suffix, used in the same way –san is—it is interchangeable between girls and boys, and is usually used towards someone older than the speaker. It implies respect, or a lower position.
hakama, haori – The first word is the bottom portion of a kimono robe, like what Inuyasha wears. It is also the same kind of pleated pants-dress that mikos (such as Kikyou and later, Kaede) wear. Haoris are the inner robe (usually white) that are worn underneath the overcoat.  

Recap:

A miko-to-be. A captured hanyou boy searching for the one human who doesn't fear him for what he is—or what he isn't. A wise elder who knows more than he's letting on. A young orphan girl who idolized her adopted sister. A devious councilman with a secret or two too many. A rigid religious Magistrate trying to keep a village of extremists and sympathizers in line. A war being fought on invisible fronts, and hundreds of races split up amongst themselves. Where will destiny take these people…?

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Inuyasha and Naraku stared at the tree—smoldering with a purple smoke from the point where Kikyou's arrow hit it—and then at the girl. When she finally opened up her violet-blue eyes, she too stared at the arrow in amazement. It was a good ten meters from her position, and yet… and yet… there it was.

What happened next amazed those present even more—for though the blackened tree looked to burn into ash any moment now, a bright light filled the region, extending as far as the grassy knoll where Inuyasha sat—and he was forced to shield his eyes with his sleeve, the light intense even for his sharp eyes.

When all was calm once more, where a rotting, youkai infested tree had once been sat a tiny little sapling—the arrow gone from its bark, the purple smoke dissipated into the air. The last wisps of it curled into the clouds, vanishing from sight as if they'd never existed in the first place.

"…Incredible, Kikyou-chan." Naraku commented, causing the young miko to blush slightly. She was still in awe of what she had done—Tsubaki had been so much more disciplinary with her, and yet she'd never excelled as far as this with his training…

Yet one compliment from Naraku, and she was already shooting purity arrows! How was it possible…? Kikyou shook her head to rid herself of these pestering emotions—they only served to upset her balance, and that would lead to unwise actions.

Yet…

'I should not be questioning the ways of the Old Religion. I felt a strange presence from Naraku… my Extending capabilities are not as high as they could be. I must talk to Tsubaki as soon as possible.'

"Feh." Inuyasha muttered, though he too was in awe. The girl wielded this much power…? If this was what happened when she shot a single arrow, what would happen if he upset her? The way he'd observed it, she had to be in absolute control of her emotions—and in fact, even when she wasn't, it made her all the more powerful. She'd been totally aware of the fact that she hadn't yet enchanted the rosary… so to incur her wrath in any way would be asking for certain death.

However, it seemed as though his little remark went unnoticed—as Naraku and Kikyou continued to practice. Or rather, Kikyou continued to practice, eventually purifying every tree lining the Great Western Forest and the village hills, while Naraku watched her closely.

Inuyasha didn't like the man—councilman or not. He'd sensed –ever briefly- Kikyou's apprehension at seeing the man who quite obviously replaced her normal trainer. Inuyasha only knew Kikyou, her father, the idiotic servant in their house, and of course, the Hinos. All these other people—Elders and Trainers; Councilmen and Taijiya—were foreign to the thirteen-year-old hanyou.

It was the youki swirling about the human that worried Inuyasha…

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The sky had darkened to a thick blue color, perfectly cloudless as the sun rose higher. It was at least a quarter of its trek through the sky by the time Inuyasha and Kikyou left the hillside—and Inuyasha couldn't be happier. His stomach was growling in loud protest to the fact that he hadn't been fed, and so he kept himself at least twenty paces ahead of the miko who was stroking the arrows in her quiver all too affectionately.

"Inuyasha—matte!" Kikyou called, looking up every now and then, annoyed that the hanyou dared to run so far ahead of her. Was he trying to threaten her –that he could easily break her hold on him with a simple burst of speed?

'Bah! Let the dog try!' Kikyou smirked, having spent all of the previous night giving thought to the enchantment she'd use on the rosary. Many times she'd seen similar devises used on humans who'd committed great crimes, but never on anyone of youkai blood before. Kikyou imagined that had the Hinos not taken the orphan hanyou in, Inuyasha would have remained "unchained," as it were. Or, another distinct possibility arose in her mind, he could be dead.

The very thought sickened Kikyou… and she couldn't figure out why. All these emotions she'd been having lately… perhaps the hanyou gave off some strange aura that forced her to feel things. It wasn't normal—not for her, anyway.

Children could act like children, as Kaede so often did, playing in the mud and tangling her hair. No one chastised her for it, because she was not the one destined by Tradition to be the miko. She was an orphan whose parents had been killed by youkai… merely living with the family of the future miko.

It was sad, really. For many years, Kikyou had longed for a companion of sorts… a younger sister to care for. And in the recent past, she'd gotten that wish, but only when it didn't matter anymore. Kikyou had to lose herself—her youth, her childhood innocence—to duty and religion. But from that duty, she found herself bound to a strange half-boy, half-demon. It was very strange indeed.

When Kikyou arose from her thoughts, Inuyasha was even farther ahead of her. Kikyou stopped, waiting for Inuyasha to look back—but he didn't. In fact, he just kept right on traipsing ahead—led by his stomach. Her right eye began to twitch with annoyance, for even after she called his name twice, he paid her no mind.

Finally, Kikyou, in a moment of weakness, uttered the single word that had been on her mind since she awoke this morning.

"HEEL!"

And with a bright, steaming pink glow, the rosary activated, the spell weaving its way through Inuyasha's aura, affixing itself to him and his soul. And within a moment, the hanyou who had been marching ahead of Kikyou stopped—and not of his own free will. In fact, he verily tipped forward, finding his feet inexplicably stuck. If he'd heard Kikyou, he made no point of it, thinking the heels of his feet stuck in *something*, rather than his body itself being stuck.

By this time, Kikyou caught up with the hanyou, a smirk on her face. Glad that her spell had actually worked as planned, she crossed her arms over her chest, daring to give Inuyasha a smug smile.

"I asked you politely to wait, you know."

Inuyasha suddenly made the proper connections, and fury came over his face as he tugged on his legs, desperate to restore the feeling. Being unable to move as he was, it was being vulnerable all over again, and unwelcome images of dark youkai swarming upon him flashed through his vision.

'Bah! I have no reason to be fearing youkai… after all, I want to become the greatest taiyoukai there ever was, and avenge my father's name…'

But inside, a twinkle of doubt appeared, partially glad that she'd finally subdued him. The hanyou dared not prod this foolish consciousness inside of him further, for slight fear that it might overtake him, and make him weak. And weakness was simply not tolerable.

"You… you wench!" Inuyasha growled through his fangs. He could feel the force pulling his legs down to the Earth lessening, and he leaned forward with the anticipation of being able to scare the girl with all the youkai in him that he could muster. How DARE she—of all words, treating him like… like…!

'Aren't you a dog demon? Why would it shame you so to be compared to one?' That inner consciousness awoke with a clear voice, pointing out to Inuyasha what was already a blatantly obvious fact to him. Befuddled with his own mind turning on him, Inuyasha settled for silent growling—unaware that Kikyou had stopped, less that a meter in front of him, her eyes narrowed.

She turned around to face Inuyasha, the tears that had dared to form at her lash line splashing down—if only slightly, and in anger.

"You…" Kikyou stared down at her feet, clenching her fists until the knuckles were white. She would not stoop to his level! Calling her a wench… of ALL the nerve! In a cool voice that spoke volumes of Kikyou's true maturity, she whispered, soft enough only for Inuyasha to hear—"Heel." And the hanyou, who had thought himself free of the subduing spell—crashed into the ground, rolling down the hill like a loose pebble.

His face lay caked in a fresh pile of thick mud and straw, while Kikyou walked by, not smirking in any manner, but laughing. The tears fell down her face freely now, as she laughed out of joy and amusement… and though he was covered in dirt and mud, Inuyasha couldn't bring himself to be very angry.

Only one thought ran through his mind—"D-Damn girl!"

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"You did not tell me that Kikyou-chan wielded such a fantastic power, Old Man." Naraku murmured as he stepped into the dim cave.

The dungeon where he kept the old Tsubaki prisoner was nothing more than a hollowed out cave underneath a hill—less that twenty meters from the village. It was far enough away from the fields that hardly any villagers wandered this way; close enough to the youkai perimeter that even the taijiya stayed away; but still close enough not to draw any attention to Naraku, should he be seen going to or returning from the place.

The old man was chained to the wall with old-fashioned bracers and shackles, rather than a spell that he would doubtless have no trouble breaking. He struggled with his bonds upon seeing Naraku re-enter, his face contorting with anger at what had been done to him.

Naraku, fully aware that he was in complete control, slid easily up to the former councilman and removed the gag obstructing his mouth. He backed away enough to avoid a bite from the prisoner, chuckling as he did so.

"So the old goat still has some spitfire in him! Enjoying your new home, Tsubaki-sama?" Naraku asked with fake respect.

"You fool! It is YOU who will be living out your days in misery here in this place!" Tsubaki spat out, his eyes narrowing.

Naraku frowned, but then his lips broke into what could only be described as a demonic smile.

"I don't think you understand the full scope of this situation, old man! It is you who are shackled to the wall, while *I* stand on the stage of the town, extending my influence over the people! All I do for them is for their own good…" Naraku chuckled. "And Kikyou-chan… my beloved cousin…"

At the mention of the young miko-to-be, Tsubaki struggled even harder in his bonds, fiercely yelling as loud as he could—"Do not play with her, Naraku! She is only a child, and doesn't deserve to have her innocence tampered by the likes of you!"

"Deserve…? Her innocence? Why, I think she's misled you all these years, Old man. After all, you saw what she did… saving that… hanyou boy from death. A pathetic excuse for a being, and she spared him… when she could have demolished him with one blow…" Naraku turned once more, sliding close to Tsubaki and patting his cheek with a gloved hand.

"You didn't tell me she was so advanced in the Higher Spirits. She will be of great use to me… my Kikyou-chan…" Naraku laughed as he walked out of the cave, snuffing the candle with his fingers as he went. Tsubaki continued to struggle with his bonds futilely, yelling even as Naraku left the cave.

"NARAKU!!!!!!"

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Meanwhile, Kikyou and Inuyasha had returned to the House of the Magistrate to attend to their morning meal. Inuyasha ate like the dog he was named after, using all of his youkai speed and strength to empty rice bowl after rice bowl. At first, Kikyou found it amusing, but that amusement quickly faded into disgust, and even surprise as he continued to wolf down much of that morning's rice helpings.

Annoyed, Kikyou lifted her rice to her lips, her eyes closed in a moment of serene calm, and muttered under her breath, "Heel." All of a sudden, the hanyou fell backwards, his feet rooted to the floor like stone statues. He cast an angry glare at Kikyou, but knowing now that to anger her more would make the spell last longer, he kept silent. He started to eat slowly, to a point where Kikyou no longer was staring at him in disgust, and finally, the feeling in his legs returned.

Swallowing a particularly sticky lump of rice, Inuyasha settled back on his haunches, adopting a kneeling position as Kikyou did. He cast several slight glances at Kikyou to mock her position, unaware that both she and her father noticed his copycat moves. Kikyou found herself smiling at the hanyou, though he didn't see her expression as he kept his face to his bowl, and in turn, the Magistrate eyed Kikyou. He let a small smile of his own creep across his aged face, and he resumed eating.

But an hour later, when both Kikyou and Inuyasha were suitably filled and refreshed, they went out to the village, wandering around. It was more than a bit strange, what with all the village people staring and talking in hushed tones.

There goes the village miko with a hanyou! What was she thinking, saving a demon like that?

What does Kikyou-sama think she is doing, parading around with a dog like that? That mutt should be kept in a prison!

Inuyasha's finely tuned ears caught all of these secret conversations, the fur-covered appendages turning left and right as people swarmed around them. They didn't seem to have any particular destination, and Inuyasha quickly tired of all the chatter.

'It's hopeless. I instill fear and hatred in all those I meet… or all those that even see me.' Inuyasha would have sighed, had he known how, but instead followed Kikyou with a quiet obedience. People talked about her too, questioning her methods and ideals. Some thought she was too young and immature to be filling such a high ranking position as village miko, while others thought it was simply wrong to have a child's opinion sway the results of a Determination. She too, Inuyasha realized, was a bit of an outcast.

"Oi." Inuyasha murmured, walking up closer behind the girl.

"What?" Kikyou said softly, her eyes not shifting to Inuyasha's at all. The hanyou was irked for a moment, but soon brushed it off, noticing that she had her head lightly cocked to the side—she too, was listening to the conversations of the people around them.

"Can we go somewhere… quieter?" Inuyasha flattened his ears as a particularly noisy child ran by them, screaming about a demon chasing him. Of course, it was really just the child's friends, playing a simple game of tag…

"I would be much appreciative." Kikyou murmured, her hands lifting to her head as if trying to ward off a potential headache.

The two soon found themselves up on the same grassy knoll as earlier, overlooking the morning hustle and bustle of the village in quiet contemplation. Finally, Inuyasha broke the silence.

"What happened to the old man?"

Kikyou looked at him, surprised—he knew of Tsubaki?

"…Tsubaki-sama… he… I do not know what has become of him. I find it troubling that Naraku has so readily replaced him… I would have thought to have heard from my old master at least once before he went into retirement…"

"Do you honestly believe that guy?" Inuyasha snorted, casting a sidelong glance at the miko. She'd drawn her knees up to her chest and was resting her chin on them, staring off into the sky with a faint nostalgia in her eyes.

"Cousin Naraku? Well…" Kikyou was silent. Could she truly voice the doubt in her that rose whenever she saw him? That sickening feeling, almost choking –constricting, all around her—when he looked at her? The bile that rose in her throat at his touch… how could she explain that all to… Inuyasha, of all beings. What would he understand?

"He stinks of youki." Inuyasha grunted, barely turning his head. Kikyou stared at the hanyou in amazement—they had Extending powers as well? Or perhaps it wasn't a facet of Inuyasha's youkai side… but rather… his human one?

And then, that same curiosity that had blossomed in Kikyou when she first saw him emerged once more. Why had Inuyasha been injured when the Hinos found him? How long had he been orphaned, and who had killed his parents? Why? If he was a hanyou, then just who was his mother? Was she anyone of significance, or just a human that the Dog Clan's taiyoukai kidnapped and raped? It didn't seem that way, in any case. Yet, Inuyasha was far too complex for a simple hanyou child…

"Youki…?" Kikyou asked, wondering what it meant. She'd learned about the ki one had in her body, and the energy that all living beings gave off—an aura of sorts, to distinguish one from another. Likewise, non-living things gave forth a sort of energy of their own, making them distinctly different from all the creatures around them.

"The energy of youkai—demons. He has it all around him," Inuyasha gestured broadly with his arms, "Wrapping him like… like a cloud, or something."

"…" Kikyou pursed her lips in silence. She'd noticed the cloud of energy around her cousin as well… in fact, it seemed just as Inuyasha described it… and the thought that her cousin, and now her mentor, could at all be affiliated with… youkai…

'And what of yourself? Your very job is to deal with youkai. You are not a taijiya, but you must purify the souls of those who are tainted with evil. Though… Naraku doesn't seemed tainted at all… the energy surrounding him is his own!'

"…I do not know what to make of this… I feel… I felt something similar to you, Inuyasha, yet… different."

"…How can you sense such energy anyway? You're just a child yourself… not of any youkai blood…" Inuyasha trailed off, his golden eyes shifting over Kikyou's form, as if searching for some telltale reason why she should be able to sense the energy and presence of others.

"It is a technique my former master taught me… called 'Extending.'"

There was silence for a moment, and the only noise seemed to be coming from the throngs of people moving out of the village and into the fields to work for the day.

"Do you think, perhaps… you could teach me?" Inuyasha asked, his gaze not drifting from the people of the town.

Kikyou stared at the boy in surprise.
"It is quite obvious you can already sense such things. Why would you need any help from me?"
Inuyasha shook his head.
"I know what little my mother taught me when I was a pup." Kikyou smiled at the strange term the hanyou applied to himself, but with his fuzzy dog-ears, the term certainly fit. She felt the strange need to touch them, just to ensure that they were real, if even for a moment. But before she could make such a move, she stopped herself, chastising herself mentally for even entertaining such a thought.

To tell the truth, Kikyou practically swelled with pride at someone wanting to learn something from her. Most people avoided her, daring only to speak when she spoke to them, or when they were in dire need of assistance. She was just a figurehead, to be used and used again. She could never make friends, or gain any real respect from the villagers. It was only worship…

It might have been taboo to teach the Extending Arts to someone with demon blood… but…

'If we both sense correctly, then perhaps Naraku is the one with demon blood mixed in him. I do not know what happened to my beloved cousin during the years he was gone, but he is not the same. And I will not stop training on my own until I find out just what he has become.'

It was at that moment that Kikyou realized she was changing. She had passed the limits of her father's teachings, of Tsubaki's teachings, and would develop her own methods of finding that equilibrium within herself. And from there… who knows what she would do?

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It was three days later when Kikyou was called to a village nearby. It was to be her first "official" act as a miko, not just in training, but ascending to a more respectable (or so her father said) position within the village.

Kikyou kept silent about the whereabouts of Tsubaki—she was worried for the old man she'd come to love as a grandfather, but since no one else mentioned her former teacher's disappearance, Kikyou and Inuyasha both concluded that Naraku had something to do with it. How could it be that they were the only ones who remembered Tsubaki?

Kikyou knew, just as well as Inuyasha, that there were certain things that, in the hands of anyone sinister or evil-hearted, would do much harm to the innocent civilians of the village. They could not confirm any suspicions they had of Naraku, but to act upon instinct was to leap headlong into fire, and so they kept quiet.

Perhaps things would reveal themselves.

But this unexpected turn of events left the pair in confusion; for the first time, Inuyasha would be unguarded, as it were, since all the council members were too busy dealing with other matters; the taijiya would have nothing to do with Inuyasha, and the Hinos were far too busy working in the fields. Inuyasha gladly would have returned to the fields to assist his former surrogate parents, but the Magistrate warned him that many of the villagers still feared him—and, out of simple respect of that fear, Inuyasha remained on the outskirts of the village, resting in an over-sized tree with many large branches to rest upon.

There he lay, the hours going by uncounted. He idly wondered how long it would take Kikyou to return, and if she was totally safe in the village she was going to. But he quickly reminded himself that no matter how thin-skinned and weak she may be—as both a girl and a human—she had the ability to purify anything dangerous to her. Provided her aim was true, she would be well protected.

'Feh. As if I need to show any concern for that wench anyway.' Inuyasha opened one eye, glancing over the knoll where the road led. She'd disappeared down that path so long ago… the sun had trekked across the sky nearly three quarters since she left. When was that girl coming back, anyway?

"…a youkai exterminated in the village not far from here!"
"Truly, something of that power? Inside a youkai? Such a thing would be dangerous in these parts."

Inuyasha heard snippets of the conversation of two passing villagers, coming from over the road. His ears twitched, honing in on the sounds, even as the men came closer.

"That is certainly true, what with all the youkai roamin' the forest. I don't care what they say, that Kikyou is just a whelp, and certainly doesn't reassure me any from a demon attack. They say they're building up from the East—a whole bunch of wolf tribes out to claim the forests here as their own."
"Aye, something along those lines happened not seven years ago, if I remember correctly… but when that great burst of power came from that village off to the East, they all scampered away."
"True, the youkai be fearin' the humans now! But if they should get something such as the Shikon no Tama into their possessions…" The old man clicked his tongue while shaking his head.
"Just what would it do now? You say a demon who swallowed the jewel whole was killed… ain't that jewel supposed to make a youkai all powerful or something?"

"That it is… but I suppose it depends on how the demon uses it. Now I hear the folks are keeping it safeguarded until they can figure out what to do with it."
"Aye, it's safest there, you know? A whole bunch of taijiya guardin' something of that magnitude," The old man's companion clicked his tongue, "Much safer in their hands…"

The conversation died there. Inuyasha twitched. The Shikon no Tama, eh?

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End of Chapter 4: Changing

Well, I got the parts I wanted to in! Chapter 5 and 6 are the BIG ONES, so they'll probably be over 11 pages (this one is 10, the last couple have been 8 or 9, and the first one was 11). I'll try to put them out together within the next week, so look forward to it, okay!

Does anyone like, still? ^^;; Maybe it's silly of me, but I'm hoping that by the time I get up to chapter 5, I can have at least 100 reviews… it'd be a first for me… ^^;;;

I have all the chapters 5-11 plotted out already, and then some. So, while I may not update on a daily basis, like some incredible writers, I will try to update at least twice a week. ^^ So please, review, let me know what you think… and of course, VISIT MY WEBSITE!

http://www.geocities.com/azurite_moon ß just updated the Inuyasha section!

~Azurite