Miaka woke up, in Nakago arms. But as she opened her eyes, she looked on, recalling what had happened. Both in this yurt, and what had happened only yesterday.
Despite the luxury, she missed the small house that they had shared for only a short time. But at least it was still standing.
That was when she felt his grip on her tighten slightly.
"Just thinking...about the house."
"There really is no excuse for me not being careful."
Miaka sat up and faced her husband.
"Stop blaming yourself. We're together, that's all that matters."
He slowly ran his hand through her hair.
"What matters is that I protect you, and our unborn child. I just wish I knew when Hotohori will come."
Miaka say up, and placed his hand on her belly.
"Just relax. The import thing is that he will come. And I know you'll keep me, and our baby safe."
"After what I did to the Emperor that should get him to leave us alone for a bit."
"That was kind of messed up..." she said, not that surprised that Nakago had kicked another man between the legs.
"After what he did to us, I wanted to thank him."
They had stopped for a short rest.
He noted that the men seemed extra wary of him today. No doubt they knew what had happened last night.
But that wasn't a bad thing. And after yesterday, his tolerance for anyone who bothered them was almost non existent. And anyone who did bother them would suffer for it.
Still, what really irked him was that that he didn't have a plan. And that was something that he needed soon. But what could be done? As temped as he would be to look around for whatever that had saved the Emperor's life, he couldn't risk Miaka, or his unborn child. And he still had to find a way to get delayed.
The only thing that would help was if he was needed in Qu-Dong. Pity the mirror and necklace were ordinary items...at least so far. But give how all the priestess had come, that wasn't surprising.
That was when he looked over as he saw movement in the shadows.
"I suggest you reveal yourself" he smiled.
"Kouji?" Miaka asked, as an unknown man slowly stepped out from the trees.
"You know him?" he asked, as he gave the man a cold smile. The man gulped and took several steps back.
"Yeah, he's Tasuki's friend. Oh, I'm married to Nakago now Kouji!" Miaka said.
"Yes, and I need you to do something for me" he smiled. He wasn't going to bother with introductions. This had to be done immediately.
"Uh, sure" Kouji said, sounding nervous, as he began to sweat.
"I want you to gather all the bandits you can, and invade Qu-Don when the snows melt in the spring."
"Wait, you want me to..." he asked, jaw dropping.
"Talk to Tasuki, he'll explain things."
"Wait, what's going on?" he questioned.
"As I said, talk to Tasuki. He should be in Hong-Nan, so I suggest you get going."
"Wait, you want me to invade Qu-Dong and Miaka's..."
"Get going" he said, making sure the boy knew it was an order.
Nodding, the boy ran off, as he smiled. He'd deal with the invasion, and just wait for Hotohori to show up.
"So you're gonna use the invasion as an excuse for us to stay in Qu-Dong?" Miaka asked.
"Yes, but I don't think I'm going to be motivated to deal with a bunch of bandits."
Tenkou glared, as the Emperor sniveled. Maybe it had been a mistake to let him live, as he hadn't been useful.
"Really...you are beyond incompetent!"
"You have one final chance...or I'll kill you myself!"
"What am I supposed to do?"
"Use Miaka...she's his biggest weakness."
"What am I supposed to do?"
"The fool needs to learn a lesson...and Miaka is his weakness."
"But he won't tolerate being separated from her...and after last night...I don't wanna geet him angry at me again."
"Then offer him a deal. Nakago's other weakness is his old home. Say that if he does one thing, you will have him destroy the Valley of the Hin with the army. After all, it's where he probabay wants to go back to."
"That might work, or he could just turn on me."
Tenkou gave the man a gal warning glare.
"Look you fool, either take action by tonight, or I will kill you myself!"
Nakago smiled. The soldier tried to hide his fear, but he didn't succeed.
"Just tell me whatever it is you have to say" he smiled. It seemed to make the man even more nervous.
"Please go see the Emperor...sir. Your wife is supposed to go with you as well."
Amused, he got down and smiled as he gently helped Miaka down. After last night, this should be interesting.
"You don't need to accompany us. It's not like you can stop me" he stated, as the man gulped, and slowly walked off.
"Really, can't you be nicer?" Miaka frowned.
"Having the men scared of me will be more useful. Come on."
Miaka looked up, sensing Nakago was extremely pissed off, and trying very hard not let the Emperor see how mad he was. But slowly, his chi became more visible.
With Yui gone, he still had his chi abilities, but not to the same extent. And he rarely used them. But right now, she knew he wanted to use them...badly.
But she didn't blame him. The man had said that unless Nakago didn't show anything but complete loyalty, he would have him personally destroy his old home, if he didn't want their child to be harmed.
"Now, what do you think?" the man smirked.
"Do I have a choice?" Nakago asked, his voice cold, just as it had been when they had been enemies.
"You do. That brat in her belly, or your old home" the man smiled.
"And would I be dealing with Hong-Nan eventually?"
"Maybe, but you'd deal with your old home first."
Miaka squeezed his hand.
"Its fine, we'll be fine..."
The Emperor laughed.
"You see Nakago, I'm afraid that I really need to ensure that you won't cause trouble. You did try to kill me."
"And you had my tribe killed."
"And you cremated everyone...I'm sure your mother is so proud of you."
Miaka held his hand tighter as she gave the Emperor a glare.
"Shut your rice hole! Why wouldn't she be proud if him?" Miaka said, furious. She was going to defend her husband. "He's good to me, and I'm proud to be carrying his child! You're a coward who just sits on his fat ass! Go to hell you bitch!"
The man glared at her, as he slowly stood up.
"Touch her, and I'll end your miserable life" Nakago warned, his voice a clear warning.
"Hmph, why he waited...and what he sees in you is beyond me. But watch your tongue."
Miaka glared and knew her chi was manifesting...but she didn't care. That man...he was beyond disgusting.
Looking over she saw a gold statue of Seriyu. Had Nakago been chosen at random, or had it been something else? Could even Seriyu have wanted to use him?
"Why didn't he have the chance to have a normal life? He never deserved to suffer!"
Hating the deity that had given Nakago his powers, she threw a small chi blast. The statue melted in a matter of moments.
The man stared, and took a step back, as she gave him a cold glare, hating him.
"That's... how did...what did you teach her Nakago?" the man demanded, as liquid gold dripped off the table.
"Just what I've learned" Nakago replied. She could hear the smirk in his voice.
They walked around as the men tried to deal with situation.
Miaka smiled, feeling proud that had stood up the man that had stolen Nakago's innocence. Pity she had stopped at the statue...
"Try to avoid using your powers. I don't want you to do anything that could make you weak" he said, as they walked back to the horse.
Miaka smiled. At least he didn't sound angry. And his chi wasn't visible.
"What about you? How are you feeling?"
"Better, after seeing the look on his face when you destroyed that statue of Seriyu."
"Look, don't let him get to you. We'll stop him soon enough."
"I know, and I shouldn't have let him get to me. But after all this time...it's hard."
"Then ignore him. Things will be settled soon enough. Besides, we're married, and have a child on the way."
"True and our best bet is to just wait for the mountain bandits to invade Qu-Dong. And I will find out what helped that man to survive."
"No, let it go. We're still under his authority."
"No, it could come after us. Besides, if I haven't dealt with it by the time Hotohori arrives; I might not be able to kill that fool."
"Just be careful. And what if he wants you to leave before the mountain bandits come?"
"Knowing Tasuki, I'm sure he'll be more than eager to have Qu-Dong invaded. I'm sure things will work out."
"But what will happen to it?"
"Hard to say. Hotohori could just have it eliminated, or could assign a new ruler."
"Do you have a preference?"
"All I want is to kill the emperor, and raise a family with you. What happens to Qu-Dong is irrelevant."
Chichi had left, coming back with very surprised Kouji. And the room liked the idea.
"Hey, so we invade...I like it! Can we keep whatever we get?" Tasuki asked, with a fanged grin.
"That's stealing" Nuriko frowned.
"But after Hong-Nan deals with Qu-Dong...what are you gonna do with it?"
"I don't know. I will let Nakago deal with the Emperor. But Qu-Dong is so corrupt..."
"That doesn't mean everyone is corrupt. But after so long..." Song mused.
"What do you think? Should it be eliminated, or should a new ruler get assigned?" Hotohori asked.
"It would be best to just assign a new ruler...I think that with time and effort, the place could get cleaned up. Besides, it's the only way to ensure it doesn't get corrupted ever again."
Looking over, Ying noted Tamahome's sour expression. No doubt he was bitter at having lost Miaka to Nakago. But trying to talk to Tamahome wouldn't do any good.
"Do you think...Ashitare, Tomo, and Miboshi...could they have been reborn by now?" Song asked.
"Probably Ashitare and Tomo, Miboshi wasn't human" Chiriko said.
Song shook her head sadly. "Pity we all had no true loyalty among us. I think we all were unhappy. Without our powers...we all might've had normal lives. Except for Miboshi. He was just evil. I'm glad he's gone."
Nakago looked on as the boy watched them. The golden eyes and black hair...was it possible Tomo had been reborn?
"Hi mister!" the boy smiled, waving. His clothes were simple, but clean. "I'm getting flowers for my momma!"
He just nodded. If the boy was indeed the reborn Tomo, the boy's memories were still sealed. It was possible that the boy might not remember the past, which might be for the best. Tomo had been just as troubled had he had been.
As much as Tomo had irked him, he wouldn't wish his past on anyone. But if the Emperor still had a taste for children...the boy was in danger.
"Nakago...is that Tomo?" Miaka asked.
"I think so. But he looks like a normal child. It's possible that he might not remember his past life."
"Here, toss this; tell him it's a present for his mother."
He looked down and saw Miaka was holding out the necklace. Memories came back, as he recalled when she had come to his yurt...and nearly ruined his chances at having children.
"Are you sure?"
Miaka nodded, and he threw the necklace across a steam and saw the boy look over when it landed by him.
"It's a present for your mother. Why don't you give it to her?" Miaka yelled, as the boy smiled.
"Thanks!" the boy said, picking up the necklace. With a smile he ran off.