I am extremely sorry about not updating, but Rilac just started Year 11 and got absolutely swamped by work.

Kagome trudged through the thick underbrush, "Inuyasha you better appreciate this," she muttered peeking damp leaves off her legs.

"Hey do you hear that?" Shippou asked.

"Hear what?" Kagome muttered pushing aside waist high grass, "Ow" She exclaimed, cutting her hand on some saw-edged blades of grass.

"It sounds like…"

"Water" Sango cried from further ahead, "Running water, there's a stream over here."

Kagome broke into a stumbling run, half wading through dead leaves and fallen, wincing as the saw grass tore at every piece of exposed skin. She burst into the clearing, Sango was kneeling next to the stream, "Kagome? What's wrong? Oh look at your hands."

"Is Inuyasha here?"

Sango stared at her friend, "Kagome what are you talking about?"

"I thought that if Inuyasha was anywhere he'd be near water." Kagome said quietly.

"Well that makes sense, he might be somewhere along this stream." Shippou and Miroku emerged into the little clearing.

Shippou practically dumped into the stream. "Yay," he shouted and began to slurp water greedily, "All this searching is thirsty work."

"Inuyasha" Kagome yelled.

"Lady Kagome, what are you doing?"

"Kagome thinks that Inuyasha might be somewhere nearby. It's logical he should be near water." Sango explained.

"Indeed" Miroku said quietly.

"Houshi, what are you hiding from us?"

"I'm hiding nothing!" Miroku exclaimed indignantly.

"You've been quiet and distracted for three days now, you haven't even tried anything perverted!" Sango snapped, hands on her hips, as she glared at Miroku.

"You sound almost disappointed," Miroku smirked raising an eyebrow, Sango flushed red. "I'm merely worried about lady Kagome's health and not just her physical health, I'm afraid it's her mind I'm worried about."

"Her mind!" Sango asked perplexed.

"Lady Kagome cares deeply for Inuyasha… even if neither of them will admit it. I fear that if we don't find Inuyasha, Kagome's mind may…"

"NO" Sango cut him off, then lowered her voice. "Kagome's strong, even if we don't find Inuyasha and I pray we will, Kagome'll make it. She's got to for her sake and ours."

Miroku nodded silently before saying, "I thought you didn't believe in prayer."

"I don't, not really but extreme times call for extreme movements. My father used to say that. We'll find Inuyasha." Sango said determinedly and added silently, 'I hope'.

The wind began to blow rustling the leaves of the trees, making little waves in the stream and carrying a foul stench down to the group. "Oh that reeks," Kagome cried, clamping both hands over her nose.

"Yuck, it's like… rotting meat," Shippou muttered.

"Or a dead…" Sango began as she tugged her mask over her face, "Kagome, I didn't mean to say…" but Kagome was already running in the direction of the smell, screaming Inuyasha's name.

She rounded the corner and disappeared from view, crying "Inuyasha, Inuyasha, Inuyasha, AHHHH!"

Kagome's voice rose to a frenzied scream, "Kagome, Kagome what's wrong!" Sango shouted grabbing Kagome by her shoulders. A body lay in the clearing, dried blood caked everything around it. The corpse had been there for weeks if not months. "It's not him" Kagome sobbed with relief, "It's not Inuyasha."

The body did not have a head. Miroku and Shippou's footsteps came up from behind them, "poor soul" Miroku said pityingly "We must put him to rest."

"Maybe we should find the head first," Sango suggested.

Kagome lay the flowers on the little grove the group had dug. Miroku said a short prayer and they moved on, Kagome and Sango riding Kirara. They had spent the better part of two hours digging a grave and making a marker for the unknown warrior.

Sango had looked at the armour he wore and had realized that he was probably a soldier from a larger group. So they had carved the words, 'A great warrior. He will be missed.' on the marker and left.

As they continued into the forest, Kagome noticed the smell of rotting meat getting stronger. "Are we going around in circles?" Kagome asked, "Because I think that smell is getting worse."

"No this place is different from the others we were passing." Sango remarked.

"Then what stinks?" Shippou said and sniffed tentatively, "bad meat and," he sniffed again, "bad meat and ash."

"Ash?" Miroku said, "How do you know that?"

"I wouldn't know but there was a big fire here," Shippou told the monk.

"A big fire, when?" Kagome asked.

Shippou shrugged, "A while."

"If there was a fire," Sango said slowly.

"There was I can smell that there was," Shippou exclaimed.

"I'm not saying you didn't, I'm saying all this undergrowth and leaf litter would make perfect kindling, so we need to be careful when we make camp tonight." Sango said, as the group cleared the line of trees, they found the source of the smell.

Bodies were everywhere, burnt and twisted, decapitated disemboweled they lay amidst the ruins of a very large mansion or maybe a small palace. Kagome recognized the burnt misshapen armour before any one else did.

"It's the same armour as that soldier's we buried" she gasped.

"They were demons," Shippou said sniffing the corpse.

"Why didn't you say so before?" Sango said tiredly.

"It didn't matter before" Shippou told her.

"Couldn't you two sense that he was a demon?" Sango said rounding on Miroku and Kagome.

"He was dead, obviously for a very long time, his head was gone and the decomposition had begun so that his demon aura was cancelled out," Miroku snapped.

"Thank you," Sango said sarcastically, "Now everything makes sense."

"I'm glad you understand," Miroku snarled in the same tone.

"Hey," Kagome said grabbing her friend's wrists, "Please don't fight."

Sango blinked, "I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me."

"It's alright, I think." Kagome said, "There's alot of negative energy in this place and the longer we stay here, we absorb more and more of it."

"Come then," Miroku said, "Lady Kagome, if Sango or I begin to act strangely please inform us. I suggest we conclude our business here quickly."

"What business?" Shippou said confused.

"We must lay these poor souls to rest of course."

"Right then," Kagome sighed, "Let's get started."

Kagome and Miroku were strongly reminded of Sango's village as they picked their way through the ruins, there had been a furious battle each warrior had taken at least two or three smaller demons with them. "Oh god" Kagome whispered, "They were slaughtered."

One hand covered her mouth and her eyes wandered restlessly. She knocked her foot against and looked down, a half-rotted skull grinned up at her, Kagome stifled a scream and did the best she could to hold down her breakfast, it didn't work. Kagome left as quickly as she could.

"Hey" Sango said softly, "Are you okay?" The two girls stood in the late afternoon sunlight filtering down through the trees.

"We've seen worst stuff then that Kagome and you've always held your own before."

"I know but in there I just kept seeing Inuyasha," She shuddered, "It was horrible. Maybe I'm cracking up, going insane but something is connecting Inuyasha to that place."

"Are you alright, Lady Kagome?" Miroku asked as he appeared next to the girls.

"Yeah" Kagome said with a small nod, "Yeah, I'm fine"

"Then I suggest we continue," Miroku said quietly giving Kagome a sidelong glance. "What did she say?" he asked Sango as Kagome strode ahead.

Sango shook her head, "She said something was connecting Inuyasha to that place."

"Hmmmm…" Miroku murmured thoughtfully, "We would probably do best to get away from this place as soon as possible. I'm not sure about Inuyasha being connected to this place but it is indeed unsettling here, a lot of evil and sorrow haunts this place. I'd not be surprised if the dead walk."

"Don't even say that." Sango shuddered, "I've seen corpses walk before,"

"As have we all."

Sango turned away, "Yes but was that corpse your brother?" Miroku reached out and took her hand, Sango didn't respond for a moment before giving Miroku a fleeting smile and squeezing his head gently, "I don't like this place Houshi, it makes me feel weak, vulnerable, angry, I don't have any powers like you or Kagome but even I can fell that something here is very, very wrong."

Miroku nodded his agreement, "I suggest we hurry and be gone from this place before dark. Although I feel we've not seen the last of this place."

In the dying light Kagome picked her way through the burnt out wreckage of the palace. The saw-edged grass that had troubled her earlier was bent doubled, weighed down with blood and ash and bodies. It had been a grim afternoon, piling the bodies and fetching dissembled limbs and other bones.

Kagome wandered aimlessly sometimes finding a charred scrape of paper or cloth, a piece of broken armour or pottery, some tarnished jewellery, a few broken toys and weapons and once the torn, tattered remains of a woman's kimono, ripped from it's previous owner's body as she died. The whole place made Kagome want to cry.

She sighed and kicked away a pile of rubble and spotted a scroll lying on the ground. She picked it up, it was in surprisingly good condition for something that had been out in the open for so long. Shadows danced eerily across the ground as the sun set behind the trees, Kagome ran through the darkening night and the shadows chased her.

Kagome appeared in the circle of firelight, swaying slightly clutching the strange scroll loosely. "Lady Kagome are you alright?" Miroku asked rising his feet, Kagome held out the scroll.

"They're after me," she whispered faintly "Uhhhnn" she groaned and collapsed.

"Kagome" Shippou cried leaping on top of Kagome's chest.

"Maybe this has something to do with it?" Miroku said reaching for the scroll but snatched his hand away with out touching it, "That scroll is seething with malicious energy, it's to strong. I can't touch it," Miroku said shaking his head.

"But why did Kagome faint like that?" Sango asked wrapping her friend of a blanket." If she can withstand energy from Naraku what did that little scroll do to her?"

"I believe this has caused more by tiredness and stress, than the scroll's negative energy besides this place has probably been draining her slowly, coupled with her sheer mental and physical exhaustion. I don't think Kagome fought that scroll's magic very hard."

But she is going to be alright?" asked Shippou.

Miroku laughed softly. "By morning she will be as good as new trust me."

"And the scroll?" Sango said.

Miroku shook his head, "I expect it's a curse of some sort."

"A demon curse!" Sango exclaimed. "Kagome must of found it among the ruins."

Miroku nodded carefully bending over the scroll to examine the outer writing. "I believe this is the family seal." He said tapping it with the end of his staff.

"What does the writing say Houshi?" Sango asked impatiently.

"I cannot read it all, the paper is too damaged but I believe it says 'To those who would betray out family may the ghosts of those you have wronged take their vengeance upon you.' The rest is unreadable."

"Ghosts?" Shippou squeaked and pulled his blanket over his head, "Do you think they'll come for us?"

"No Shippou, this scroll is not cursing us, but we must be aware, this place is full of evil and darkness can take many forms." Miroku told the little kitsune.

Sango threw an armful of wood on the fire, watching sparks and smoke rise into the night sky. She looked at Miroku, his back was to the fire, and he was fast asleep. Sango sighed. "I'll take first watch then" She muttered

Reviews:

mayiko

this is a really good story cant wait till ur next chapter .

Angel8818 – I'm glad you think so

Divine Guardian (Rilac) – I'm so glad you like it, I absolutely luv getting reviews.

HopelesslyEscaflowne

Good story, I am anxious to see what happens next. This dream connection that Inuyasha and Kagome have, I hope it's explained more. It was kind of weird, Inuyasha making Hatsumi promise him to think about joining their group. I really do hope Kagome figures out what the riddle about the eyes means so we can figure it out too. I also hope that when Kagome does find him that she finds him without the presence of Miroku, Sango, and Shippou so that they have a little reunion alone time. I hope you post a new chapter soon as it has been 6 months since you last updated.

Angel8818 – Thanks for the fantastic review, it's always good to get people's opinion. I am extremely sorry about the long wait and you will pleased to know that it is your review that convinced me that I needed to start annoying Rilac again for some more chappies

Divine Guardian (Rilac) – Do not blame me! Year 11 is hard. And I am on a different campus to Angel8818 which makes it hard. Everything will be explained in time, so glad u like. Plz read and review the next chaps too.

The next chapter will be out in a week, and hopefully : nudge nudge Rilac: the epilogue won't be much longer after that… Yes the story will end soon, and if you're lucky Rilac might write another story. Plz review, both of us luv to get them. Ciao