Okay, second part!
Next morning at the Palace of Justice. Naraku stared angrily down at Inuyasha, who was on his knees in front of him. Captain Kouga had just told what he had been arrested for. This was troublesome for Naraku, for he couldn't let Inuyasha go without revealing his involvement to the matter. So he laid the sentence.
"Inuyasha, you have been found guilty for assaulting a woman. You shall receive twenty lashes and full hour on the rack. Take him away!"
"But, Master…" Inuyasha tried to beg but soldiers already started dragging him away.
Inuyasha was taken to the middle of town's square, where his robes were ripped so his upper body was revealed and then his hands were tied and pulled up. The people had gathered around by then and took almost sadistic pleasure in seeing "the demon" being punished. Each time the whip came down to land an angry red mark on Inuyasha's skin the people cheered. Inuyasha tried to catch the eyes of Naraku, to plead for him to stop this, but all he received was cold denial.
Why, he thought. I did what he asked me to do!
When the final lash had been given, Inuyasha's arms were lowered down and he was taken to the rack and chained tightly to it. For full hour he was left there, in the mercy of the hot sunlight, being mocked and humiliated by others. He was sweating, his throat was dry and he hated each and every person he could raise his eyes to meet. He wanted nothing more than get out and make them stop laughing.
And then suddenly the laughing stopped. Inuyasha didn't know how long he had been there already, but it did feel like an eternity. He raised his head to see what had caused the silence and saw the dancing girl he had tried to abduct approaching him.
Great, juuuuuuust great. So she comes here to humiliate me also, huh? Keh, go ahead. Do your worse, he bitterly thought.
However, he received no hurting words or spit to his face. Instead he felt a cool wet cloth on his face, wiping the sweat away. Inuyasha's eyes went wide and he stared the girl in shock, as everyone else in the scene did also.
"Do you want some water?" she asked, showing a small container in her hand.
Inuyasha's throat was burning and he was in too great of a shock to believe what was happening. He half expected her to pull the container away from his mouth as he opened it, but she didn't and he felt the refreshing sweet water in his mouth. He drank long and gratefully, and when he was done he dared to look into her eyes. He saw no disgust that he was used to seeing.
"Why…?" he asked in a weak voice.
However, Kagome did not have time to answer when another voice was heard.
"You there! Get away from him at once!" Naraku shouted. He had also recognized Kagome as the woman he had wanted to posses and was now furious to see her offer kindness for Inuyasha of all people.
"I am doing nothing wrong, your honor. Just as your laws don't forbid people to mock tortured ones they neither forbid relieving their suffering" Kagome responded.
"How dare you? Captain Kouga, arrest that woman!"
"Enough of this, Naraku!"
The entire square gasped as they turned to see who had shouted. It was priestess Kikyo, coming down from the shrine.
"Surely kindness has not become a crime also in our town, Chief Justice?" Kikyo asked, her gaze hard and her voice showing no respect.
Naraku gritted his teeth. What he wouldn't give to have that woman disappear from his life. Kikyo was the spiritual leader of the town. She was the only one who could defy him and get away with it.
"I also believe that the full hour has passed" Kikyo added.
It had indeed. "Let him go" Naraku spat.
Inuyasha was released and as he weakly walked to the direction of the shrine, he gave one last grateful and almost awed look at Kagome, but saw that she had already disappeared to the crowd.
Naraku turned to his spy Kanna. "Find that woman for me. I want to know where I can find her" he whispered.
Inside the shrine Kikyo tended Inuyasha's bloody back. Although she wouldn't show it, she had been worried when Naraku had come to take Inuyasha away and he had not returned the whole night. As she rubbed cooling ointments to his back, she noticed that Inuyasha was slightly trembling.
"Are you in pain?" she asked.
"No" was quiet answer and as Kikyo looked closer she saw Inuyasha biting his lips hard.
"What is it?"
For a long time he said nothing and then…
"She gave me water" he sobbed.
It didn't take long before Miroku had gotten quite used to his life in the group of wanted men and women. He had learned that the resistance group had existed for nearly two decades already, and had expanded from the group of few men to an almost army of people. It included families that Naraku had destroyed, orphans whose parents had been killed and people who simply craved for justice. Sesshoumaru had become the leader about ten years ago then. He was a former noble man whose lands and fortune Naraku had taken with false accusations. Only thing that was left for Sesshoumaru was his servant Jaken, who still loyally stayed by his side.
The little girl who was constantly around him was called Rin. She was an orphan whom Sesshoumaru found on the streets and had been raising as his own. The girl was very fond of Sesshoumaru, though never had she referred to him as "father". The woman who also spend great amount of time near Sesshoumaru was called Kagura. She used to actually work for Naraku but due to speaking against him was severely tortured and left to die in the gutter. It was said she still carries scars on her back. Although nobody knew for sure, there were rumors that she had become Sesshoumaru's lover.
The young dancer Kagome had apparently moved here from another village, where she had been living with her grandfather, mother and younger brother. She had been forced the move when the village was raided. Her family had survived, but they had chosen to live outside of town where Naraku could not reach them. Meantime Kagome had met Sango and befriended with her. Kagome was definitely one of the kindest persons Miroku had ever met. She had become sort of a foster sister to young Shippo, who was an orphan.
Sango and Kohaku too had lost their families when Naraku had persecuted them. Kohaku had even been taken to prison for months and still suffered from nightmares. However helping other people and acting as a babysitter/bodyguard to Rin, of whom Kohaku was obviously fond of, during daytime was doing good for him.
Sango too was very kind towards other people and was fond of her yellow cat Kirara, although she also possessed quite a temper. From the beginning she and Miroku had had a rocky start. It seemed Sango took any look he gave for women, whether to her or others, as lecherous. Miroku knew he owed his life for this woman and was eternally grateful for it. He also many times found himself to be surprisingly attached to her.
One beautifully sunny day, about a week after Inuyasha's whipping, Miroku was with Sango, Kagome, Shippo, Kohaku and Rin when they earned money on the square. It was a very ordinary day which usually meant that neither Naraku nor his men spend much time on the square. And even if they did, as long as they gave no reason for arrest, they were left alone.
Sango and Kohaku started once again making music and Kagome danced. Rin danced also for the sheer pleasure of it and Shippo half danced, half kept guard. Kirara jumped on the ground when hearing the music. Miroku, who could neither play nor dance, was left with something else: Sango had taught him to juggle. For the life of him young monk could not understand what was so great of having three balls and not to drop them. But it seemed passersby liked what they saw and money was thrown to their feet.
What they didn't know, was that at the same time, Captain Kouga was introducing town to his recently arrived fiancée Ayame. She was a young woman from a good family with red hair and complete adoration towards Kouga. Kouga too was very fond of his fiancée but he was bothered by the fact that they would be living in a town led by a man like Naraku.
Shippo noticed them coming. "Kagome, your dream captain is coming" he said in a sing-a-song voice. He just barely avoided her hand making contact to his head.
"Look, Kouga. What a cute little girl" Ayami said when seeing the happily dancing Rin.
Kouga looked at Kagome and recognized her as the one who defied Naraku during the "demons" whipping. "Yes, very cute indeed".
"Ah, if it isn't the captain that keeps our town safe" Miroku said with a flattering tone.
"Hey, who do you think you're talking to?" Sango whispered.
"Your performance is so lovely to watch" Ayame said as she handed few coins to Rin.
"It is a pity we don't see you more often…dancing" Kouga said, still looking only Kagome. This made the young dancer blush.
"Well, I…we shall be performing again tonight at the town's wall" Kagome said.
"Really? Well, Kouga we must see them then, right?" Ayame squealed with delight.
"Right" Kouga said, still watching Kagome and then leaving with Ayame.
"Kagome!" Sango scolded. "It's one thing to perform for town's people who are neither our nor Naraku's side, but to invite his captain of the guards there…"
Kagome sighed. "It's not like he's coming there with soldiers or with Chief Justice".
"Kagome is in looooooooooooove" Shippo teased.
"You should be careful, Kagome. Did you see his companion just now? He might be one of those men to whom one woman is not enough" Miroku warned.
"A dog knows a dog?" Sango asked.
"Precisely…wait, what? No!"
None of them saw Kanna, who had heard enough from some distance.
That night many of the town's people headed to the town's wall where a small performance by different artists was arranged. Miroku was this time appointed as host of the evening, apparently his joggling wasn't good enough. Instead he got a little white makeup and honor to be the clown.
Kami-sama, please don't let any of my old mentors be here tonight, he prayed.
"Ladies and gentlemen, a little musical opening for our evening" Miroku said, trying to sound as cheerful as possible.
Shippo was peeking behind the bushes where Kagome and Sango were getting ready. "Your captain charming is here with that woman again, Kagome".
"Kagome, seriously, you do not have some silly little girl's dreams about him, do you" extremely worried Sango asked.
"Do not worry, Sango. I can stop before things go too far. It's just…I'd like to see if there is any chance there. I haven't even considered the idea of loving someone since I moved from my home village. Is it forbidden?"
Sango sighed for she knew that Kagome was in some areas of her life still horribly naive. "No, it is not, just be sure of what you're doing, okay?"
"Sango, our turn!" Shippo whispered.
Sango and Shippo left Kagome to prepare for her dance show. The moment they left a figure appeared from the shadows, dressed in a white baboon fur that covered his identity.
"Who are you?" Kagome asked, very alarmed by the sudden situation. She backed away as the figure came closer but she was cut off by a tree. The figure came directly in front of her and though Kagome didn't see them, she felt the person's eyes on her.
"What do you want?"
"You have woken inside of me all that was asleep. Ever since I first saw you I haven't had a moment's rest. Everywhere I turn I see you dancing there. No one has ever done this to me".
Kagome was trembling now. "Please, move aside. I must go. They're waiting for me to dance".
The person grabbed her arm. "I don't want you to dance for them. I want you to dance for me. Only for me. No one else can have you!"
With a force created by fear Kagome managed to push the man away and ran where the others were.
"I will have you", the man said. "One way or another I will either have you or be rid of you".
Kagome ran where Sango and others were and started her dancing, casting worried glances to the darkness. Still, when she noticed Captain Kouga watching her dance, she felt reassured and safe. Kouga also noticed that Kagome had her eyes only for him. Maybe it was night air or the warming wine Kouga had been drinking quite nicely already, but suddenly the captain forgot all about his fiancée who wasn't that far off.
As the night went on Kagome too managed to forget the stranger in the fur. She too threw the cautions aside and melted to Kouga's embrace when he pulled her close and started walking them away from the crowds. When they were far away that the partying was only a sound in the distance, Kouga kissed Kagome. To her this was a dream come true, to him a new conquest.
When Kouga's kisses moved from her lips to her throat, Kagome leaned her head back to give him better access. In the middle of the bliss she opened her eyes slightly…
…and saw the man in the fur standing directly behind Kouga, one arm raised in the air with a dagger in it. Before Kagome could scream the man stabbed Kouga to the back and ran to the darkness.
Kouga fell to the ground, groaning in pain. Kagome screamed and everyone could hear it. She tried to help Kouga and pulled the dagger out of him, but Kouga was no longer speaking. People came running to them and they found Kouga's motionless body and Kagome standing there with a bloody dagger in her hand.
Ayame screamed and fell sobbing next to Kouga.
"The dancer murdered Captain" someone whispered.
Sango and Miroku tried to get through the crowd to Kagome, who was just standing there in shock, when suddenly Chief Justice Naraku appeared out of nowhere, soldiers with him. He pointed right to Kagome.
Next day Kagome stood in the Palace of Justice. She was chained and trialed. Naraku stood looming over her.
"Prisoner Kagome, will you confess of stabbing and killing of Captain Kouga?"
Kagome was nearly crying. "I have already told you, it was the man in the fur. I did not kill him".
"The evidence is overwhelming. There are plenty of witnesses who saw you spend the entire evening near captain Kouga. You seduced him with spells like the witch you are. You were found with a bloody dagger in your hand. And no sign of anyone wearing furs! Now prisoner, what do you have to say for yourself?" Naraku demanded.
"I am innocent" she whispered.
"You leave me with no choice then. Take the prisoner down below" Naraku commanded.
The guards took Kagome in the cellars where the torture chambers were. Naraku's top interrogator Hakudoshi smiled a sadistic smile when he saw Kagome.
"Such a pretty one today. We certainly do not get many of you down here. It is my duty to ask you one final time before we proceed, do you admit that you are guilty of…whatever it is they claim you did?" he said.
"Please, sir" Kagome pleaded "I am innocent".
Hakudoshi smiled. "Let us continue then".
Hardly had an hour passed when Kagome was brought back before Naraku.
"Hakudoshi tells me you have confessed your crime of seducing and stabbing Captain Kouga. Is this true?" he asked.
Kagome could barely lift her head. Her skin had become pail and she was trembling. "It is" she whispered.
"Prisoner Kagome, this court finds you guilty. Tomorrow at noon you shall be taken to the square where you will be executed. Take her away".
As Kagome was dragged away, Naraku's eyes kept following her.
That night Naraku headed to the shrine. Priestess Kikyo was surprised and worried to see him there.
"It is already late, Chief Justice. I hope you have not come to drag Inuyasha out of his bed at this late hour" she said.
"No, priestess. I have come to look for spiritual guidance" Naraku answered.
"You, Naraku? You have always made it clear that you do not need the opinions or support of the shrine".
"Shrine is but a building and you are a thorn in my side. You are necessary things to keep people under control. I do not like nor need you. But like all men I need the Gods and their guidance".
"Then what is it that troubles you?"
"I have condemned a young woman to be executed" Naraku started.
"The dancer who stabbed your captain" Kikyo said.
"She is a demon. She has been sent to waver me of my confidence".
"What makes you say that?"
"She makes me feel…things. Desires I have long ago then rid myself of. I need to be rid of her, yet I can't stop thinking about her. Wanting her has driven me to insanity and made me do things I never considered to do. She made me stab my own captain".
Kikyo stared the Chief Justice. "Then…she is innocent".
"No, she isn't. She made me do it. She is as guilty as if she had held the dagger herself. It is clear that she must die. For her death is my salvation".
"You can't let this happen, Naraku. If you let her die Gods shall never grant you peace".
"And as long as she lives she will not grant me peace".
Kikyo looked at him helplessly for a moment but then steeled herself. "The sacred laws of the shrine forbid me to reveal what has been said in here as well as interfere with things. But know this, Naraku. If you let that girl die for your crimes you shall be damned forever, and you shall never have rights to walk in this shrine again".
Naraku was quiet for a long moment and then turned to door. "So be it".
Neither of them knew that Inuyasha had been standing on a doorway and heard every word that was said.
"But why?! Why can't we do anything?!"
Sesshoumaru kept his face straight as he answered to nearly hysterical Sango. "There is nothing we can do for Kagome anymore. It is impossible for us to free her from the dungeons and tomorrow when she is taken out there will be soldiers everywhere. We would suffer great losses and probably even loose Kagome anyway".
"But…but…" Sango helplessly repeated.
"We can't just let her to die!" Shippo insisted.
"Losing our friends and allies is a risk we live with everyday" Sesshoumaru said.
"But…!" Shippo was about to scream when Sango laid a stopping hand to his shoulder.
"Don't Shippo…it's no use, he is right…it's no use…" she managed to say before her voice betrayed her and she ran.
Shippo soon followed.
Rin casted an angry look to her foster father.
Sesshoumaru wanted to turn his gaze away but he held it until she gave up. Kagura laid a hand on his shoulder.
"She'll understand one day" she said.
End of Part Two
One more to go!