InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Fireside Chats ❯ Part Ten: The Spear Carrier ( Chapter 10 )
Author's Note: Because I think it's completely out of place, I'm ignoring the Viz dub's use of "ye" when Kaede speaks. It seems entirely too awkward. She's the only character who does it, and it sounds really-bizarre.
Update: A few clarifications added, adjusted some grammatical inconsistencies and streamlined the punctuation.
Part Ten: The Spear Carrier
Kagome yawned and stretched. It felt good to not have to worry about safety, especially on a moonless night like tonight. It had been a month since the confrontation in Nijimaru's forest. They could only speculate as to what the outcome of the fight between taiyoukai might have been.
Tonight, they were in Kaede's village, having turned around shortly after leaving Nijimaru's forest and returning here so that Kagome could restock supplies from the other side of the well. While Kagome had been away rounding up fresh supplies, a horde of demons had attacked and Naraku had made an appearance... or rather, he'd let a puppet make an appearance. Either way, last night he'd even sent Kagura to stir up some trouble, and Miroku had accidentally taken in some of the saimyosho insects, receiving enough poisonous stings to knock him out of commission for a few days. In protecting his friends from Kagura's Dance of Blades, Inuyasha had inadvertantly exhausted himself to the point where afterward he'd slept most of the day leading up to his monthly transformation.
Sango had come to the conclusion that Naraku was just doing this to keep them confused and on guard. There couldn't possibly be anything he wished to hide or protect from them around here; therefore, he was just being the antagonist and stirring up trouble for the sake of it, which was extremely annoying.
Oh well. At least Naraku was likely to leave them alone tonight, and even if he didn't, even if he sent trouble their way, Inuyasha could probably be forced to hide in one of the huts.
This was probably the first moonless night since his mother died that Inuyasha hadn't spent in deep-seated fear. Surrounded by allies, most of them unaware of his identity, he was relaxed enough to joke and tease. It had been ridiculously easy to fool the villagers, most of whom were a little nervous around Inuyasha anyway. They'd grown up on stories of his exploits prior to being sealed to the sacred tree. It was hard for them to believe he wasn't that same rampaging demon. Only Kaede had seen Inuyasha's softer, more humane side. This was the first time Kaede had seen his human form, though she'd heard about it from Kagome and Shippo. After having slept most of the day, the hanyou had made his way into his forest as the sun began to set. Once the sun had completely set, thus completing the transformation, he'd removed the red haori, hiding it away in a tree, and bound his black hair up in a white hair tie. With his rosary-beads necklace tucked underneath his white undershirt so that it wasn't visible, he didn't look that much like his hanyou self unless you were familiar with him and knew what to look for. Kagome had met him at the edge of the forest and escorted him back into the village, all the while teasing him under her breath and relishing his blushes.
The villagers were easily fooled. A few had inquired into the half-demon's absence as the stars began to shine that evening, but Kaede had assured them that Inuyasha would be scouting his forest all night -- after all, hadn't he slept all day? -- and would be back by sunrise. Kagome and Sango had been hard pressed to keep straight faces at the expression on Inuyasha's face when a few villagers expressed relief. He'd looked torn between anger and bewilderment.
Kagome glanced over where Sango and Inuyasha were sparring. With Tetsusaiga unable to transform tonight -- and thus rendered a mere katana -- there was nothing to give away his identity to villagers, and Sango had proposed that they brush up on swordfighting skills. She was interested in seeing just what he knew, how much of his fighting skills were raw talent and how much was training. With the sky lightening toward dawn now -- full daybreak was less than an hour away -- the two of them were a pleasant sight to watch, trading blows and critiquing each other's moves.
"They're both amateurs with a blade," Kaede chuckled as she followed Kagome's gaze. "Inuyasha had to learn by watching, I imagine. And Sango, if I'm not mistaken, is mostly trained in using her giant boomerang."
"They're both better than I am." Kagome dropped a hand to Shippo's back in a gentle caress. The little kitsune was curled up beside her, using her thigh as a pillow.
"I imagine Sango would be willing to teach you if you're interested. I don't know that Inuyasha could teach you; he never bothered to learn. If he's the same as he's always been, he just rushes headfirst and relies on his luck and strength."
"Two priestesses, sitting by a fireside, talking about swordplay. Somehow that just doesn't fall into place," a voice said from behind as Miroku emerged from the hut. Kirara trotted at his heels. She'd been watching over him, as per Sango's request.
"How are you feeling, Miroku?"
"Much better. Almost back to normal. Those damned bugs sure do come out of nowhere. From the moment I saw them, I didn't have time to seal up my Wind Tunnel before a huge swarm of them had dived in and stung me." He flexed his right arm. "The arm's still a little stiff and sore, but I see no reason why we can't depart after the sun comes up. I imagine I'll be back to my old self in no time."
"Heavens help us," Kaede murmured.
Miroku followed Kagome's gaze to watch as Inuyasha disarmed Sango, sending her katana flying.
"Hey! Careful! Don't take my whole arm off!" Sango yelled.
"And if I were an enemy, that's exactly what I'd do. After I stabbed you here." He mimed a blow to her abdomen.
"Give over, you oaf, that's excessive. A gut wound puts your opponent out of the fight; there's no reason to cut off an arm on top of that."
"I have a history of hacking arms, you know!"
It took conscious effort on the part of all members of the group to not call Inuyasha by name. They carefully avoided saying any name to him, as a matter of course. It wouldn't do to make some villagers suspicious to see a young man being called by and responding to the name of the hanyou that "haunted" their nearby forest.
"So," Kaede said conversationally. "Tell me more about this confrontation you had with the horse demons."
Kagome sighed. "Well, Inuyasha said he's pretty sure that Sesshomaru killed Nijimaru. Sesshomaru was in a killing rage -- honestly, I didn't realize he had that kind of rage in him, he's usually so calm and cold -- when we left the forest, and Nijimaru had battled him before, with nearly fatal results. As we were leaving the forest, we could hear the sounds of demons fighting."
"What's weird," Miroku said, "is that Inuyasha doubled back after dropping Kagome off just outside the forest. He also forbade any of us to follow him."
"He said he went back to Bokuseno," Kagome said. "I have no reason to doubt his explanation. Why is it so weird?"
"If you had just escaped from getting caught up in a battle between fully-transformed taiyoukai, the last thing I'd think you'd want to do is go anywhere near the area again."
"Our conversation with Bokuseno got interrupted by the attack on Rin," Kagome replied. "Inuyasha didn't get a chance to ask all the questions he wanted, and he didn't want to take me back in there because of how the uma-youkai behave towards humans. I mean, think about it. Kiniromaru shot a little girl from some distance away, simply because she believed Rin was there without permission. Rin could've died. I can imagine that Inuyasha didn't want to risk that happening to any of us."
"Namely you," Kaede added. "So, what happened after that?"
"Nothing, really," Kagome shrugged. "He was back by sundown and we left that same night. I don't know if Kiniromaru left or if she stayed and tried to fight Sesshomaru herself."
"If she did, she's dead now. Sesshomaru is incredibly powerful," Miroku said, situating himself beside Kaede, respectfully placing the elderly priestess between himself and Kagome. He was indebted to Inuyasha for holding off Kagura while Sango and Kagome had gotten him to safety after the poison insects had rendered him too weak to move, and he didn't want to infuriate his friend by appearing to hit on Kagome.
"And you haven't even seen his true form," Kagome retorted. "He's HUGE! He's bigger than Nijimaru's spirit-horse form. He's frightening in his dog form."
"They say his father was the size of a large warship," Kaede said as she sipped at her tea. "The Inu no Taisho had no rival in size. He was a warlord and sorcerer, as well as a demon lord. It's too bad he'd long since passed away by the time I was born."
For another half hour or so they watched in silence as Sango and Inuyasha continued to circle each other, trading strikes. Sango never did disarm Inuyasha, though she did get him at a disadvantage enough times that by the time they stopped it was as much of a draw as anything.
Finally, the two of them gave up and called it a draw. As they came to sit beside the fire with the others, Sango let her hair down from its ponytail. Inuyasha hesitated. "It's almost daybreak. Perhaps I should get going."
"I'll come with you," Kagome said as she stood up. Inuyasha looked at her with an unreadable expression, then nodded.
"So, how good is Sango?" Kagome asked as she and Inuyasha made their way toward the forest.
"With a sword, you idiot. How good is she?"
"Passable. She should stick to Hiraikotsu though. Come to think of it, though, Kagura's Dance of Blades did some damage to that thing, didn't it? I wonder if she's going to need to repair it again."
Kagome giggled and took his arm.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm escorting you, what does it look like?"
"You really want to know what I think it looks like?"
"Like you're dead scared some monster's going to jump out and eat you." He snorted. "I'm more dangerous than anything in this forest!"
"Not right now, you're not!"
A stray beam of sunlight knifed through the forest and glinted off his hair as he pulled the hairband out. There was an audible heartbeat as his transformation took shape. His hair illuminated from black to silver, his dog ears lifted up off his scalp and his claws visibly lengthened.
"You were saying?" he opened one citrine eye and smirked.
"Now you are, I suppose."
"Hold that thought. I'll be right back." He sprang upward and bounded through the trees.
*Beware the Spear Carrier.*
"Huh?" Kagome whirled around. "Who said that?"
"Mew?" Kirara tilted her head from where she was sitting on the ground next to Kagome.
"Kirara, when did you come here?"
*Beware the Spear Carrier.*
"Who's speaking?" Kagome scooped up the tiny firecat and held her close, a little nervous at the disembodied voice.
There was a thump behind her as Inuyasha landed. "What's the matter, Kagome?" He'd retrieved his haori and was rearranging the rosary beads over top the haori.
"I heard a voice say 'Beware the Spear Carrier.'"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Kagome shrugged. Kirara mewed again.
"Kirara?" Inuyasha patted the firecat on the head. "Did you follow us?"
"Let's go, Kagome," the hanyou said finally. "I think we'd better get moving. There are still shards out there to find and Naraku to defeat."
Kagome glanced up at the trees. There were no demon trees here, but somehow she couldn't shake the dark foreboding feeling. Something was trying to warn them. But what was this Spear Carrier they were supposed to beware of?
The broken palisade of the Demon Slayers' village loomed ahead. Kagome suppressed a shiver. Sango didn't like coming back here as often as she once had; it had too many sad memories. Still, Hiraikotsu required repairs and Kagome was hoping to borrow some of the arrows Sango remembered were stored in the storehouse.
Miroku stopped abruptly. The rings on his staff jangled at the sudden halt.
"What's the matter, Miroku?" Inuyasha cocked an ear at the monk.
"Something is really wrong."
Inuyasha sniffed the wind. "I don't smell anything."
"That could be because the empty village is upwind. What I'm feeling is behind us." Miroku turned and looked down the trail. "I don't see anything, but there is definitely something back there."
Kagome stiffened. "I... I sense Jewel fragments. Behind us. At least two."
"Fucking hell," Inuyasha growled. "Not that damned wolf again!"
"No," Kagome said hesitantly. "Koga moves a lot more quickly than these are. And these are tainted. Koga's shards are used to increase his speed and power. These are... they're sustaining something... and feeding on hatred. I can feel their taint from here."
The hanyou let out a feral canine growl as his hand came to Tetsusaiga's hilt. Then suddenly there was a flash of black and Inuyasha screamed in blazing agony as a long black spear sliced through his midsection.
Miroku uttered something very un-monk-like as the spear was followed by an arrow that just missed him. Sango, two feet away from Inuyasha, swung Hiraikotsu around and braced it as a shield. Two arrows bounced off it.
"I recognize this spear," Inuyasha grunted laboredly as Kagome pulled the spear out of his torso.
"So do I," Kagome murmured. Beware the Spear Carrier...
"Watch yourselves!" Sango shouted. A flash of gold and silver emerged from the forest at the edge of the trail and streaked toward them.
"Soul Scattering Iron Claws!" Inuyasha slashed his claws, sending the blades of energy wheeling at the charging opponent.
"Kirara!" Sango commanded her companion. The firecat transformed and lunged forward.
The streak dodged both Inuyasha's attack and the angry firecat, and lunged at Inuyasha. The hanyou drew his sword and slammed its blade into the ground, using it as an impromptu shield.
"Mother of Buddha!" Miroku swore. "Look!"
A cloud of saimyosho darkened the northern horizon.
"I was just about to say that I smell Naraku," Inuyasha said.
"It has to be another incarnation of his!" Sango yelled as she swung Hiraikotsu wildly at their assailant.
"Incarnation? I am no one's incarnation!" the opponent, whom they still couldn't see clearly because it moved so fast, laughed contemptuously.
Shippo jumped up ontop of Kagome's head, tracking the swirling opponent. "Show us who you are, coward!" he yelled, leaping straight up. "FOX FIRE!"
Their opponent sputtered as it took the full brunt of the fox-fire. Kirara roared and landed square on the demon's shoulders, forcing it to the ground.
"Bloody hell, I feared that it was her!" Inuyasha growled as they stared in disbelief at their attacker.
It was Kiniromaru.
last updated: August 28, 2005