Her breathing was regular and steady. Even if she knew not many creatures have such a developed hearing, she tried to make imperceptible the air that traveled through her lungs. Her muscles were tensed up, ready to make any move. The long black and silver bow was resting on the ground in front of her, she kept one of her hands over it, waiting to take it when her prey show up... No, she wasn't hunting in that moment... Though the sensation was very similar. Some meters away from where she was, a loud branch was breaking. She clenched her jaw, she was mad, it didn't matter if she was silent and hiding if a bunch of useless creatures will keep reveling her position... Even so, she didn't leave her hiding place.
That same morning, when the skies were just starting to become clear, Keri lead the walk, followed by a moody Rin (she didn't remember the sweet girl she knew in the past hated so much waking up early) and by the hatefully men (the man and the half) who were still pretending to hide their intentions of following them, not caring the girl already had made a ruckus when she discovered the pair sleeping near the fire at midnight.
The young wolf guided them through the woods, the mud and insects, until later, when the sun was getting closer to highest point in the sky, she stopped abruptly (Rin bumped into her back and Inuyasha almost did the same) in a clear that was delimited by an endless forest and a great wall of rocks. "Good, it seems you have no place to run, will you keep denying to talk with us?" Were the words said by the young woman before walking to the spot of grass with less dirt and sitting down with her impeccable posture, facing the rocks.
Rin and Miroku, each by their own, decided the sun and those dark clothes led their friend to madness. Only Inuyasha seemed to keep trusting her, and from his 'hideout' behind some plant, he watched everything in the clear with an expression very similar to the wolve.
After some seconds, a broke voice answered. "I'm tired of having to deal with this kind of meddling, why no one respect the forest spirits anymore? Who you think you are? And why you dare to come with humans?"
Rin, who sat down next to her friend, opened her eyes in surprise, but seeing Keri was not reacting, she kept composed. The young wolve didn't talk as rudely as before. "Oh, c'mon! Don't tell me someone so powerful as you is afraid of a kid! I can't accept the Great Royakan that my father talked about is a coward."
The name didn't sound familiar to the monk who kept his crosier high since the weird conversation started, but when he saw how appeared in front of them the big headed and ugly creature with who they crossed paths during their adventures; he relaxed so much he decided to laid on a boulder and maybe sleep for a while.
"Humans are destructive and egoistic not matter how old they are. They don't feel respect for living beings, nor for spirits. They're even capable of attack their own kind, if with that they get some personal satisfaction. Nobody can deny it's natural to mistrust them."
That was when Rin watched, for the first time since they met again, the closest thing to a kind smile on Keruri's face. "I won't deny that because I think you're right."
The enormous blue eyes of the canines splitter evaluated the words of the girl and after long minutes of doubting and thinking, finally he opened his big mouth to say something coherent: "Your father… What's his name?"
After that Keruri didn't doubt about having the Forest Protector as ally, after mentioning his father, Royakan changed his attitude to one more accessible; the young wolve was touching victory when she bumped into an unexpected obstacle. The wolf with big head wanted to help, but when they were talking about the travel they needed to do to her territory, he confessed it was impossible for him to leave his forest for so long, leaving would mean being unprotected for the spirits and animals that lived with him, many lives depend on him and he was not willing to abandon them.
It was hateful, the wolf did not only accept the big head vegetarian guy was being very reasonable, also she was forced to express admiration and respect before such a demonstration of fidelity, she said thank you for the five or six wolves with three eyes Royakan offered to barf for her (Like they would be any helpful!) and ended promising to the strange creature (that didn't stop crying those gigantic eyes out) that she will get rid of the invasion problem he had.
Keruri was not a negotiator. That was for sure. And more than the long wait, more than how angry she was because her two hunting companions were so useless (Ah! For the last time, she wasn't hunting! Why it was so hard to keep it on mind?!)… More than how much it bothered her Rin because that kiddo simply insisted on not coming with them and spend her time with an unknown big head monster... More than everything, what truly made her lowly growl was that she was so... STUPID.
The sound of a long group getting close by the sender stopped her thoughts. If she had accepted on this, she'll do it the right way. She never left things halfway.
She focused on that sound, metal against metal… A smile bloomed on her face, it was what she was waiting for! That people had armors, so they surely had weapons too.
Her breathing became lower. After a little and silent sigh, she changed her position, rolling over her back and standing behind a short tree hidden between shadows from those that were larger; her bow in her right hand and a long arrow in the left.
Inuyasha and Miroku got tensed. Those moves from the wolf were too fast and now they didn't know where their young friend was.
Keruri let the little light that crept between the leaves above her head to fall on her face briefly as she studied those who where getting closer. Few creatures could see anything at that distance, but she had no problems. Her sight was good. Almost a dozen of armed soldiers, two mules and a simple little carriage. The lack of useless and feminine adornments on that conveyance indicated there was a man inside. She would had to confront eleven armed males. And as she could see: eleven katanas, eight spears, a big mallet, eight knifes... And three bows.
Showing a new smile, the wolf girl prepared her own bow and pointed it to the place she thought her preys would show up... "I'm ready."
Next thing Inuyasha and Miroku knew was after some kind of flying light the top of the carriage was on fire.
They were so surprised no one moved for a moment and Keruri took advantage from it very well, she got closer, without fearing being noticed and discovered what she was looking for.
When finally one of the men called to order and asked everyone to help the person inside the carriage and control the scared animals, the highest and stronger of them fell to the ground letting out a cry of pain. And those who looked where he was standing before found the image of a beautiful young woman in black clothes, with her leg extended on the air so gracious she seemed to be in the middle of a dance step.
The precious criature wasn't admire for too long, because while those weak humans were slowly processing what was happening (most of them probably noticed her tail only now), Keruri looked with satisfaction the results of a good kick on the jaw and disappeared in a wind swirl.
"SHIT! STUPID WOLF!"
Inuyasha's voice made the soldiers to freak out. They started screaming saying "To the weapons!", "We're under attack!" and "Protect the Honorable!" Hiding the expressions of surprise of the two archers that where in middle of the chaos.
A guy with long legs and a fat man were the next victims of Keruri, who took advantage of the attention the half-blood was getting, and ran at high speed, appearing before everyone's sight from a whirlwind of dust that faded among the users of the arches. When her objectives understood what was happening they only got the big smile of the monster before being thrown in the wind. The young wolf never played with time, she took with her right hand the quiver of the fatty man and with a rude movement got hold of it whilst, at the same time, was cutting with a ninja knife the younger's quiver straps before kicking him on the back.
Those who were next to her tried to hurt her with their swords and spears, but Keruri, thanks to her instinct, was able to dodge every danger, including the kicks of the mules, and after getting distance enough from the soldiers with a long jump, she landed on the branches of a dry tree. She took some seconds to admire in the middle of the ruckus Miroku and Inuyasha who were fighting as they were careful to not seriously hurt anyone. A grimace difficult to interpret was her response. Then she put on her back the quiver of the big man and tied the boy's on her belt. From the former she took out an arrow and studies it. Even if it was long, it didn't matched the longitude of hers. It would get complicated to adapt to them, but there was not more options.
She sigh. Then she looked for Inuyasha who was having a hard time and using her beautiful bow she shot an arrow. It flew until it got stuck in the sandal of a swordsman, tearing its leash and provoking the man to clumsily fall to the ground in a puddle. A smile took on her face. It wasn't bad. She could use them.
Keruri would get lost on her satisfaction if on that moment her instincts didn't make her react and jump to the ground exactly when an arrow stuck in the branch where she had been. How fool! The third archer just revealed his position in the crowd!
Without thinking it twice the young wolf took from it sheath the shining katana which blade had a black continuous line drawing squares and rectangles from the sharp tip to the handle. Decided, she entered in the crowd breaking through the mess, facing those who tried to attack her.
Few seconds later, as she got into a little fight with the biggest man and his mallet, she saw the archer, a tanned man with big ears. Without intentions of loosing her time, she prepared herself to seriously hurt her opponent, but before she could act a red point got in her way. Inuyasha hit the gigant with his fist and after shouting at him "Get out of my way, eyesore!" He focused on the pair of olive eyes that didn't approve his intervention.
"Didn't need your help." She told to the man with hairy ears and noticing he was blocking her pass, the girl added in a growl. "Move, this is not over yet."
"No. It's over." The cold voice of Inuyasha had not effect on the wolf girl. This made angry the half dog guy who took with his hand the top of her armor. "You never said we will attack humans! When you said you were able to help that beast with its problems we thought you were talking about insects! We won't help you if…!"
"Then don't do it!" With the back of her arm, without releasing the hold on her katana, she pushed away the hand of her ally with more strength than necessary. "I never asked your help!"
"I'M SICK OF YOU, IDIOT!"
That shout was what distracted the man who was fighting Miroku. The monk, after using his crosier to knock him off, got to see the moment Inuyasha unsheathed Tetsusaiga and blocked again the way to the younger. He sighed tired as his elbow hit the face of another person. He knew his friend had not intention of hurting her, but he should make an intervention before the two of them engage in a futile fight. And he would if the gigant with mallet didn't come to him surely with intentions of having a good fight after being ignored that way by a woman.
In front of her eyes the long blade of the famous sword was dangerously shinning, only in that moment, being so close, Keruri noticed how impressive and wide was the katana. She understood a little why every time the half dog used it her body reacted and asked her to run away. No, it wasn't how imposing the weapon was. Her eyes moved to its user. It was Inuyasha. The true reason to her instincts to be so violents in front of it was because it was in the hands of a fool. Now she saw it. She had traveled for long time with someone who had more than a weapon like that, in fact they were more powerful, but she never felt she was in danger because she knew they would never been used against her. On the other hand, Tetsusaiga was in the hands of an unstable being, who was explosive and irritable, capable of attack his own comrades just to protect criatures he barely knew.
Her body insisted pulling her to run, her muscles were ready to move fast, but the rage she was feeling forced her to stay in place. He tightened her grip on his sword and her expression showed her fangs.
She didn't care if Inuyasha was trying or not to hurt her, she was fighting him right there. How was that stupid his brother?! They were so different! She never felt threatened by the older brother! No. Unlike it. She felt safe by his side!
For her, for her people, the most important thing was confidence and fidelity. In the clan, in hunt groups, between friends, at home, in her territory... That was the only thing that matter. It was true they protected humans, but never they would be capable of putting those beings over their clan mates.
She felt offended! It didn't matter why they were in that place anymore, or why they were surrounded by enemies, nor which was their goal. Keruri raised her katana and advanced against the half-blood. Against the traitor she trusted.
Inuyasha didn't expect something like that, he was still stunned and avoided clumsily the lunges of the wolf protecting himself with his sword. He made her angry. Those stupid wild animals did not understand reasons when they reached this point. The best he could do was use his force to stop her and take her away from those innocent humans... Maybe if he could tie her to a tree they could talk this out.
The half-blood managed to get away enough to brandish his sword and make her step back. He returned his sword to its sheath and prepared his fists, he never wanted to hurt the girl. But Keruri still tembled because the rage she was feeling, and seeing Inuyasha's actions as an act of contempt, she got ready to attack, feeling how her energy concentrated on her hands and her breathing became deep, she felt the heat increasing on her palms and she was doing nothing to control it.
Both opponents ran towards each other, nobody would step in-between, soldiers noticed their strength wouldn't affect a fight of monsters and focused on the only enemy who was at the same lever as them, Miroku managed as he could.
The fight would be long. However, in the moment the wolf woman was raising her sword over her head to make the bigger damage possible, her body stopped.
She couldn't move. The air around her was heavy and strong chills ran down her spine.
"What the…?!" Inuyasha's words were said with some difficulty, it made her pay attention to what was happening around them. In front of her, with his fist pointing her face was the half-blood who seemed to be in the same situation as her, like a sculpture, the only proof he was alive was the temblor of his arms and legs, and the swearing that came from his mouth. They were trapped, but by who?
To her right a metal sound called her attention. She noticed how Inuyasha turned her head to see. She was incapable of doing so and that made her despaired. At the end she focused enough to move her eyes and look in that direction.
Hardly she could see on the ground, knelling there was Miroku, tied up and gagged. They caught him but he didn't seem affected by the foul air like they were... No, only Inuyasha and her were feeling that way; soldiers were in line behind the beaten Monk and seemed at ease, all they breathing agitatedly because of fatigue, but nothing else. They were making a weird bow and mumbling the words: "His Honor."
Until that moment she hadn't noticed that presence, to her left, Keruri felt a enormous energy that came from nowhere. With great effort she forced herself to look the source of it. Inuyasha took less time to turn at the same direction.
Standing some meters from where they were there was a short and round man wearing a religious outfit of bright colors. He was the person that was traveling inside the carriage and now he was looking at them with a frown and a large rosary in his hands that were intertwined over his chest. No, he wasn't looking at her but Inuyasha.
"How is that you still can move?" He had the weirdest accent and talked full of authority. The strange monk got close to them with too much confidence as he studied him. "Ah! Could it be…? Maybe you are a half blood? That should be the reason."
"Any problem with that, stinky oldie?!" Keruri was frustrated. How it was possible Inuyasha was able of shouting nonsense whilst she has so many problems even only for blinking?
"Of course not. That had never been an impediment for purifications."
"Purification." The monk now was passing around them acting like he was admiring a piece of art. "That's what I do. I clean the world from violence caused for malignant presences like you and this creature."
Oh, no. Did that mean he wanted to destroy them? How this was happening?! Keruri remembered that sensation. Purification. It was something painful. She had stayed on Hakurei Mountain enough to make the horrible effect to be engraved in her memory. Even if she got as far as her capabilities let her, her body suffered for some time.
Now whilst Inuyasha keep insulting them, she was sunken in fear. She had been so fool and had to escape right now, she managed to close her eyes tightly as she fought to lower her sword trying to reach her foot. Her father had told her some times that pain let free the mind from certain kind of control some religious used.
The Monk had begun a serie of prays and he kept going when his hands touched both creatures' shoulders.
Keruri was desperate, was she having time to run? Was she in need to leave Inuyasha behind to save herself?
She tried to move with all her forces, but the energy around her was increasing. She started to feel pangs everywhere in her body and she was not even capable of opening her eyes to see how was Inuyasha, who (over the buzz in her ears) seemed to be screaming. Air refused to get into her lungs and she feel...
To her ears reached the sound of thousands bluebells... The buzz was disappearing! And her breathing became agitated and loud like she was trying to recover the air she was missing! The hand of that man was not longer over her. Keruri opened her eyes surprised, not fully understanding what had happened, seeing how Inuyasha was kneeling on the ground in front of her gasping like she was. To her left the monk was trembling down, touching his wrist, and surrounded by thousands beads that made up the not longer existed rosarium. And then she realized about the little green figure that just stopped before the scene. "My master, why were we running to…?"
Her eyes met its gaze... But before the dwarf regained speech Keruri opened even more her eyes. Was it possible? She looked everywhere with urge. Where was he?
In that instant the metal sound of her sword falling to the ground called her back to Earth. She looked at her weapon and then her wrist. A long and elegant hand had prevented her from hurting herself with the katana (and from falling into the ground like the half-blood did), it was holding her too tight and Keruri would had loudly complained about it if she hadn't recognized those reddish marks on the white skin... She turned her head quickly.
Those golden eyes.
"Are we heading to the sea?!"
Wouh! Teruri rolled her eyes shamelessly when she heard the same question umpteenth from Kōga's subordinates that were walking by her side at a steady pace through wooded vegetation. Of course Kōga had decided to travel with few comrades back then! These people was so sloooow!
"That's exactly what I said." (Since we left). "We're heading to the sea."
That moment they were reaching the young leader who waited for them with his arms crossed over his chest. Although they agreed on making part of the travel by walking, Kōga was just really fast, and even when he walked he needed to wait for the rest of them.
Silent. Everyone waited for a new fight to be started. Teruri and Kōga did it as part of their regular activities. Specially because, as Ginta and Hakaku had pointed to their friends, their admired leader was extremely fool and never thought before speaking. Also a more kind theory had emerged between some werewolves, they thought the head of the pack did not stop bothering the young woman to keep her mind away from her problems.
Anyway, this time, both wolves just intense glances. And after some seconds a weird smile appeared on their lips (making the whole pack to feel chills), the girl just continued on her way. Then the leader went after her saying a loud "What are you all waiting for?!"
Fast everybody got back on the way, most of them fastening the pace to be by the side of the girl with black fur again.
"But, Teruri-san…" The young Mio, who walked between the girl and the enourmous wolf that accompanied her retook their conversation. "Weren't you saying your territory was high on the montains?"
"And that's true. But before we go there we need to make a last stop. We need to see some friends before going home."
Ayame, who was beside Kōga, could swear he had just growl. And she thought she understood what her future mate was thinking. "Won't they deny us their help? We're enough now, we should…"
"No. The most help we can bring the better." Teruri didn't bothered turning around to answer. "Besides there's not doubt we'll find support with them. I left those clans that were surely joining me to the last part of my travel."
"Surely?" There was something Ayame was missing and she didn't like it at all. "Were you sure about Kōga's help? Why? Because he loves humans?"
Another growl from the tall man with dark hair.
"What…? No. It's not for that." Teruri stopped, she laughed at the confused expression of the wolf with white fur. "I knew it for sure because Kōga-kun owes me, isn't it?"
A third growl. After that Kōga started to run without saying a thing, leaving behind the complaints of his comrades. Most of them rushed after him.
Ginta, with a bored expression was one of the few who remained walking. "So what, Teruri-chan? How is this pack we're meeting?"