InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Transformations ❯ Strength ( Chapter 35 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

She began searching the piles of bodies, trying desperately not to retch from the scent of burning, rotting flesh and organs. It didn't matter who was on which side, the point remained that she had to save everyone she could - and as soon as she could.

Naraku would pay dearly for this.

Thirty Five

Not even a dozen were left.

Kagome made a mental list of everyone she found alive, and there weren't even a dozen left. Inuyasha had helped - he'd found Koga only just barely alive, and had gotten a lot of information out of him the past hour. Gar almost didn't make it, but there were six children who were, more or less, unharmed. However, all of them were now orphans.

By piecing together what she'd learned from Gar and gotten from Inuyasha, just before the battle began, a black mist had descended on them and they'd all breathed it in, unwilling. It contradicted with their bodies, forcing their regenerative powers to be completely concentrated on getting the mist out of their systems above healing external wounds. That's when the fight began.

At first nobody seemed to be winning, and then Koga's pack tipped the scale. He'd brought half of his pack here, and left the other half to restrain Shippo and take care of things at their cave. Murlo's side began losing, little by little, until Murlo himself was left. At that point, something had happened that sent them into another fight.

Six or seven of Naraku's puppets were sent to watch Murlo's back, undoubtedly in hopes that her pack would be further depleted. And because they hadn't breathed in the cloud, they could still regenerate. Miroku and Sango had to teach the others how to destroy the puppets, but by the time they killed the puppets, only they, Gar and Dar, Sesshomaru, Koga and a few of his pack were still in fighting shape.

And then Miroku and Sango, along with Kirara, just vanished. No one saw where they went, and in that instant, when they were all distracted, Murlo attacked again. Two more of Koga's pack were killed, he himself was thrown against a tree and knocked out, and when Dar retaliated, he was killed. Gar, in a moment of ultimate rage, managed to cut of Murlo's head.

He stood there for perhaps fifteen minutes, trying to regain his strength, when Kagome made it there. And the rest she knew.

That was an hour ago, and still Kagome was no closer to the calm she usually held. Inuyasha had barely said a thing after filling her in, knowing that with the slightest push she'd snap. And what she would do after that would be anyone's guess.

Right now they were all in Koga's cave, and Shippo was as well keeping his distance. The story - more specifically the part about Miroku, Sango and Kirara's disappearance - was a shock to him just as it was to everyone else.

What scared them all most, however, was Kagome herself. After bandaging her pack and leaving them to disperse of the mist from their bodies, she'd taken a seat just inside the waterfall. She hadn't moved, tense and with a very dark, brooding look that had no place on her face.

But then, at the moment, everyone was tense and had a dark look.

Sesshomaru hadn't stuck around. After everyone was safely inside the cave, he'd left, without so much as a word. He'd nodded once towards Kagome, but that wasn't the same thing.

And at the moment, no one had anything to do but wait.

~*~ Miroku ~*~

He had no idea what time it was when he lifted his head, or how long he'd been out. Everywhere he looked he saw no candles, no windows, no torches. The only light source was a rectangle of red light around what was obviously a door. From there, he could see vague shapes of gray and a few tinted pink. And what he saw in front of him both stunned and enraged him.

It was Sango. She was gagged, on her knees, with her arms held back and up in what was the most uncomfortable position created. But that wasn't what made him so angry. It was the fact that she was naked, and there were scabs and lines of dried blood all over her.

He could feel, somewhat numbly, that his hands were tied together above his head, and so were his ankles. But unlike Sango, he was held straight, with the balls of his feet just touching the stone beneath his feet. He had no gag.

He yelled. He was awake for perhaps a minute, if that, and he already knew where he was. He yelled again, calling for the creature that put them here.


The door made a metallic scraping sound as the door was unlatched and opened, and then Naraku was silhouetted against a blazing fire behind him. [DL: I just had to include the dramatic entrance.]

"Ah, I see you are awake." He took a step towards Miroku, then changed his mind and stepped over to Sango.

"Don't you touch her!" Miroku snapped, when Naraku's hand stretched out to place a hand on her hair, still held up in her ties.

"And what are you going to do to stop me, suck me up?" His eyes glittered at the joke, and a smile turned his lips, like he and Miroku were sharing a secret.

"I'll do anything I have to," Miroku ground out, eyes narrowed at Naraku.

After a moment of silence, Naraku withdrew his hand. "Perhaps, but just now I'd like to play a game." He stepped closer to Miroku, and as he did, Miroku could sense his malice. He'd never been this close to Naraku before, and he didn't like it.

"Let me put it this way," Naraku went on, "it's like a game of truth or dare, but not quite. And yes, I've heard you and your companions playing that game before. This is how it works - I'll ask a question, and you answer truthfully. Sounds easy, doesn't it?" He smirked and went on. "These are the rules - if you lie, you get punished."

He turned and stepped over to a wall, picking up a shard of glass. "There are seven types of torture, Miroku," he said. "Personally, I've always liked glass. The way the blood pours off the shards and how you can see through it. . .But I'm sure you'll learn all about that in due time."

"You're going to hell," Miroku told him. "You're going to burn until you can't take it. And then they're going to start all over."

"Precisely what I'm going to do to you," Naraku returned. "There are seven, as I said. Glass, fire, ice, loud, blunt, slow, and then there's the pokers." He gestured towards the fire to Miroku's left. Now that he looked, he could see several long metal poles - undoubtedly sharp on one side - in the fire. "I'll start with glass, if you don't mind."

Still smiling, Naraku came up next to Miroku and began whispering. "That woman right there," he began, "didn't want to answer truthfully. She didn't tell me what I wanted to know. But perhaps you will." He lifted the glass. "Now, tell me - why is it that your Kagome can so frequently disappear from existence?"

"I'd never betray her," Miroku said back.

"Mm, so I see. Let's hope you can let go of your honor." He lifted the glass. "This is going to hurt," he told him.

Miroku clenched his jaw. If he couldn't find a way out of here, then he wouldn't give Naraku the satisfaction of hearing him scream.

~*~ Kagome ~*~

Kagome's head snapped up. There was a great yawning pit in her stomach, and it has been growing since she felt it, but just now she pushed it aside.

Glancing around, she saw that just about everyone was asleep. She must've been as well, and judging by the sky, it was just an hour or so before dawn. She got up and carefully stepped around and beside everyone, leaving the cave to await the force she felt approaching. She knew who it was.

Sesshomaru. He was riding that two-headed beast again. Show-off, her mind said, surprising her as she did not know any part of her mind was still functioning sanely.

He landed just before her and began talking. "I believe I've found your allies."

"Friends," she corrected automatically. "Where?"

"It's not good," he warned her. "It's in the East pack's territory."

"So?" She knew her pack was the southern by now, and the north pack was Koga's, the brown pack.. And since Sesshomaru was a pack unto himself, the entire west lands were his to keep or give. The east lands were the big mystery. They were the golden pack, and generally considered themselves higher than the rest, so high that they ignored the other three completely. Or so she was told.

"If you go there, they might kill you to seize control of your lands"

"So come with me," she said, without thinking. "Maybe you can convince them to let me look around."

"They won't allow that."

"And how do you know? How many of them have met."

If she didn't know him better, she'd swear she saw a pained look flash in his eyes. "Too well," he said indifferently.

"Let me put it this way," she said, "either you come with me or you don't. One way or another, I'm going." She waited.

She could feel his mind, his conflict. Obviously, he didn't like the idea of going there. But he didn't have a choice - he was bound by the rules of the youkai, as her ally, to protect her if need be, and she was bound by the same rules.

She saw his jaw tense and knew his decision. "Come," he said, and she stepped onto the demon, standing just behind him.

"Where's Rin and Jaken?" she asked, sometime later. She didn't like the silence they were in.

"At one of my stronger castles."

"How many do you have?"

"Eleven," he said, and then looked down. "We are here."

They were on the ground before she could question about what he needed eleven castles for, and then they were walking side by side, just as silently as ever. But only this time she could feel Sesshomaru had taken the lead. She had the strangest feeling that she'd know if he was going to turn before he would. But stranger yet was the feeling she got in this area.

She was sure she'd never been here before, but she could feel a continuing stream of déjà vu every time she looked at something. Perhaps Kikyo had, she decided.

Something was speeding towards her. She could feel it before she could see it, and when she looked up, she saw an arrow in a glowing blue aura. It was going to hit her before she could catch it. . .

Sesshomaru swatted it to the side like it was nothing, but there were burns on the back of his right hand as proof that he'd touched it. Immovable as ever, he didn't even glance at his wound. He was looking straight ahead.

Kagome lifted her head from her gaze on the arrow to see who her attacker was. Speaking of Kikyo. . .

"Get back!"

The order was from the woman in front of Kagome, the one with her previous face. "Aren't you going to give me a hug and sing kumbaya?"

"Get out of this area!" There was that order again.

"Kikyo, let me through!" Kagome snapped. That second order had struck something in her, something that was connected to her youkai heritage. She wasn't in a mood for playing. "I don't want to kill you. The only reason why you're living now is because - " She cut herself off there. In another second she went. "There is no reason why you're still alive."

"We are here just to see if we can find an enemy." Next to her, Sesshomaru gave his own order, but Kikyo took no notice.

"This is your last warning! One more second and I'm going to shoot."

"One, time's up," Kagome said. In a blur of motion that only Sessomaru could follow, she moved in front of Kikyo, dodging the arrow she let loose easily. In less than a second she had Kikyo by her throat against a tree. She tightened her fingers and then jerked her hand, snapping a certain nerve in Kikyo's neck. And then the form in her hand went limp, unconscious.

She dropped her. "This time I did you a favor," she told the sleeping miko. "Next time I won't be so generous."

Sesshomaru was already walking again, and she joined him just as she finished speaking - in fact, it was a little unnerving. It's almost like they practiced that scene to get it right.

Not even another minute passed before she saw it. It was a pack's village, much like her own. Huts everywhere, but where they were kept them out of site. Kagome knew, vaguely, that in the future this ground was leveled out, but just now the pack was protected on all sides by mountains, and she and Sesshomaru had had to scale it to reach the pack's home.

She hesitated for one moment, eyes scanning the area and taking in what was where. She spotted the biggest hut, obviously the home of their leader. Next to her, Sesshomaru hesitated as well, but more out of something like dread. He's been here before, she realized. And he didn't like his encounter. This should be something.

She began walking and for the first time, Sesshomaru wasn't directly at her side.

She almost laughed.

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You guys are so nice, giving me so many weapons and such. I really ought to make a list of them. I will - someday. Until then, I'm going to have to dig deep into my head to think up something - Ah HAH!!! I got it!! None of you suggested THIS. . . .Mwa ha ha!!

*Pushes a button* THIS is a mind-controlling device! It sends a signal directly into your brain, telling you insesin. . .incessant. . .incessantly to review until you do! *Pushes it* Mwa ha ha ha haaaaaa!!!!!

*Zombie-like readers begin typing reviews. . . .then stop*

What the. . .*Pushes button repeatedly*

*Zombie-like readers start communing*

This ain't right. . .Hey!! Hey!! HEY!!! I told you to REVIEW!!!!! Uh-oh. . . *Starts running*

*Zombie-like readers chase after me, angry, with boards, pipes, bats, chains and torches*

This is, more or less, the opposite of every zombie movie ever created. . .Yipe!!!! *Keeps running*

Why does this always happen?!!! *Cries*

See ya. . . . Maybe. . .