(A/n~ This is a test chapter. For this story I'm going to be writing it completely from my phone. I'm not sure how it's going to look once uploaded, if it doesn't look how I hope it does then I'll have to download a new app and try again. Please bear with me for the time being. If all goes well please look forward to more frequent updates on this while I'm in between chapters of Just Instincts.)
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the
main characters within this
fabrication. Their rightful owner
is Rumiko Takahashi. Please support
the official work.
The calm of the night was disrupted by plumes of smoke, rising into the sky from the small castle on the hill to the east of the village. The night air held the sharp sting of a fire just starting to smolder, the untouched huts of the village were dusted with white ash. No one dared leave their homes while the threat of attack lingered. The demon that had attacked was well known throughout the region and no one would risk an encounter. Even if he were dead, as was rumored behind shuttered windows, the villagers feared him still the same.
Even a dead dog had sharp teeth.
There were other rumors floating around the small village. Some said that the Lady Izayoi, the kind princess of the castle, had been killed by the demon before she could bear her child. Others claimed that the young heir was born in the night, only to be killed in cold blood by Takemaru, Izayoi's betrothed. It varied by who people believed the father to be.
It was a shock to the village to learn that their beloved princess was with child out of wedlock but most people forgave her, believing that the child was the product of a forced encounter beyond her control. Though most assumed Takemaru to be the culprit, once the great demon general began being spotted outside the village many changed their opinion. Who else would be heartless enough to do harm to the princess other than the strongest demon of the region? But just because many changed their opinion of Takemaru that didn't mean that his reputation was left unbruised.
He went insane, some said, insane enough to try and take on the wretched demon on his own. Guards were triple posted by the gates that night, the night that Lady Izayoi went into labor. He knew the demon would come. It would be summoned by her pain like some sick leech.
Sure enough he arrived. Warning bells tolled as people scurried to their homes. Nameless guards shouted out and screams rang through the night as they were ripped apart and flung to the side like slips of parchment. A fire raged, threatening to burn the castle to the ground with everyone inside. One last battle cry was heard from within the walls and then all was silent following the cracks of timbers and falling support beams. The battle was short but it could only be assumed by the villagers hiding fearfully in their huts that there were no survivors.
Kagome looked down at the metal hairpiece in her hand for what seemed like the hundredth time. Her thumb rubbed over the smooth, aged surface following the contours of the designs that were nearly weathered out of existence. There were two herons dancing within a whirlwind of what could have been snow or flowers on the fan. Along the edge hung tapered metal streamers with dark ceramic beads that were once in a pattern before a few of them were lost with time.
It was one of the things that her mother had given her that day, her 18th birthday. It wasn't quite an heirloom because her father had found it twenty-odd years before and given it to her mother, but it did have several hundred years of history. Kagome's mother had been planning to keep it until her daughter was older, but she figured that Kagome would get more use out of it in the past than the present, what with all of the festivals that she had been going to.
In Inuyasha's time Naraku had started targeting large groups of people as a show of power. So to protect the spider's next move Kagome and the group crashed festivals and celebrations, much to Inuyasha's chagrin, and destroyed any puppets that were hidden within the crowd.
This, of course, left a very disgruntled half demon. Inuyasha wasn't one for large groups of people, let alone large groups of happy humans who were willing to give him odd looks.
He absolutely refused to allow them to stay in any of the villages. So Kagome and the others were forced to sleep in the forest with their extra boxes of formal-wear that they used to blend in.
'It needs to be repaired,' The priestess thought again before giving the pin one last spin and wrapping it in cloth. That was something that she would do in the past where she assumed it was cheaper. There were also bound to be more experts for accurate repairs in the past than in the present at the local jewelry shop.
A rap at the window caught her attention. As expected, Inuyasha was kneeling on the edge outside of the closed window. She made it a habit to lock her windows ever since he had accidentally jumped in on her when she was changing a year beforehand. His impatient frown was as prominent as ever as she lifted the latch.
"You're late," he said in his gruff voice.
"I said I'd be back tomorrow," Kagome replied, "you said I could spend my birthday with my family. "
The half demon scowled, crossing his arms as he pushed away her textbooks and sat down on top of her desk. "Well, it's sundown so it's not like you're missing anything exciting. Besides, the Gyoretsu festival is tomorrow and I don't wanna waste precious travel time in the morning waiting for your ass to get through the well. "
Kagome was about to argue with him, but stopped abruptly when she remembered something. "That's right! The Gyoretsu mask festival!" her words continued as she went to dig in her closet. "I found this in the shed the other day. Since I know how much you hate being a Tengu. I figured you could wear this instead. " She turned around holding a bag.
"That's 'cause Tengu are disgusting," Inuyasha complained as he took the bag. The mask that was inside was a smooth ceramic. White with pointed ears and red markings. "Oh, hell no."
"Oh, come on! What's wrong with it?"
"It's a fuckin' fox!" He growled, twisting it around to glare at it in every angle. "Shippo would never let me live that down."
Kagome ripped the mask from his hands. How could she have ever thought that he would appreciate the gesture? "Well at least it's a canine. It's not like there are any dog masks, apparently you dogs aren't as memorable as the Kitsune!"
"That's like saying 'sparrow, hawk, whatever, they're both birds.' And who says there ain't no dog masks? Just because you're too stupid to find one don't mean they don't exist."
Before Inuyasha even had time to register that he said something wrong, the priestess lashed out. "Well maybe the reason there aren't any is because there are no more Inu to design them after! Have you ever thought of that? In the three years that I've been in the past I've never seen another Inu aside from you and your brother!"
The half demon went white then quickly became red. "Well I'm sorry for not sitting down with that bastard and chatting it up with him about the clan over a fuckin' cup of tea!"
"Maybe you should sometime!" Kagome countered. "You'd learn something for a change!"
"Right, because I'm stupid." Furious, he kicked her textbooks off the desk and started out the window. "I'm getting you if you're not back by sunrise tomorrow," he grumbled as he disappeared into the evening. Kagome frowned solemnly as she picked up her scattered books and papers one by one.
Clouds that threatened rain covered the sky, a dampness hung in the air that made the stench of smoke all the stronger. The fire still burned in small patches on the ground as if it refused to be extinguished. Timbers and burnt shoji paper littered the area. Bodies, both those killed by sword and claw and those killed by the fire were barely recognizable in the rubble.
The only sound or movement was the storming wind that the rustled leaves in the surrounding trees. There appeared to be no life left in that place, but appearances were often deceiving when dealing with demons.
A large timber shifted, one that had been a support beam in the Lady Izayoi's bed chamber no more than an hour earlier. A clawed hand reached up to heft the charred wood away. Bleeding, burnt and battered, the demon that had attacked the castle slowly emerged. He gripped his torn side, his body too weak to heal at it's normal rate. The armor that covered his body was shattered, his haori ripped and covered in black soot.
"Still alive, mighty demon general?" A raspy voice asked between coughs, quietly as if he were far away.
The Inu no Taisho looked up, his melted amber eyes burning with hatred for the human man that stood staggering at the other end of the charred courtyard. "Takemaru," he ground out, his already deep baritone sounding darker and hoarse.
Takemaru held onto the stump that was his left arm. The bleeding had stopped, having been cauterized by the fire. A line of blood was sliding slowly down the side of his face and dripping onto his samurai armor.
If he had the energy the Inu no Taisho would have scoffed. Like a coward Takemaru had fled the demon's last attack at the last second, escaping the full force of the building's collapse. For that he was a disgrace to the human concept that was samurai, but most of all he was a disgrace to any race for killing the woman that he supposedly loved out of jealousy for another. It was as if he believed her to be defective because she was capable of loving the demon lord. It was the same way his eldest son treated him. Was the concept so abstract that both species refused to acknowledge it?
The demon stepped forward with unsteady legs. He had lost so much blood that he could hardly feel his heart in his chest when he knew that it should have been pounding hard. As he closed the distance between himself and the human he growled. "You should have let me kill you quickly."
The young samurai grinned through his heavy panting. His confidence was surprisingly palpable for a human. The Inu no Taisho couldn't help but admit that if things had gone differently he could have been an acceptable ally for human affairs. "If my death would right the wrongs that you've committed, then so be it! As long as I take you with me I can go with honor." Takemaru called out with as much venom as he could muster in his current state. He fell to one knee as pain took hold of him. "Come face me!"
The demon said nothing as he extended his claws and slowly stepped between piles of rubble. His balance wavered but each step, no matter how slow and no matter how painful, got him closer to the man that dared call himself human.
Takemaru's grin widened with each step that the daiyoukai took. He looked like a spider that had dinner in it's sights.
The Inu no Taisho's booted feet crushed embers and stepped over large pillars. In his state the path was more than a few simple obstacles, it was a mountain that separated him from victory. Takemaru was not even a stone toss away. One more step. One more hurdle.
One hurdle too many.
The demon's eyes widened when his foot didn't touch solid ground. At that point thoughts were so far beyond him that he didn't even realize that he was falling into a dark abyss until he was already surrounded by the red light.
The grin on the samurai's face blossomed into a full out smile as he dropped to his hands and peered into the deep hole in the ground before him. "The well that eats the flesh and bones of the damned." He allowed himself to fall to his back as he erupted in mad laughter. "A fitting end for a beast!"
His laughter echoed throughout the courtyard as rain began to fall.
With a cardboard kimono box in one hand and her trusty yellow backpack in the other Kagome shut the front door with her heel and started across the shrine courtyard. Small piles of colorful leaves dotted the sidewalk that her grandfather had been sweeping earlier that evening. It felt like autumn had come earlier that year, but in reality Kagome had lost track of a few weeks in the past. Never had the search for Naraku been so draining. It was fun for the first few weeks of going to festivals but after that it started feeling like a chore.
'One extra day, Inuyasha,' Kagome thought, 'and you couldn't even give me that.'
The light of the waxing moon disappeared when she closed the door to the well house behind her. The stairs were as old as ever and probably could have been replaced but the well was as timeless as ever. The priestess ran her fingers over the aged wood, looking within the dark depths.
She brushed down her longer, blue high school uniform before climbing up onto the lip. It was then or never, Kagome sighed. If she waited any longer then Inuyasha would have been in an even worse mood than he already was.
As she has done innumerable times in the past, the young high school student took one foot from the edge and took her leap of faith. Through the portal that had changed her life forever on her fifteenth birthday. Through time and space that led to her destiny.
Though destiny had other plans for her on that particular evening.
Kagome's eyes widened when she wasn't greeted by the calming ripple of blue light that she had come to love over the years. The light that enveloped her was a ruby red and instead of having a cradling tingle like the blue it gave her an uneasy itch.
In vane, Kagome called out the name of the boy that she had fallen in love with over the years, the boy who had been her savior more times than she could count.
But his time was beyond her reach.
End Chapter 1
(A/N~ Hey everyone, I hoped you liked reading this first chapter. So, if you did like it or were excited to see my name in your inbox then instantly disappointed that it wasn't Just Instincts that I updated, free to leave a comment and review ^, ^. It's been real!)