Continuing Tales

Divine Concubine

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 2 of 11

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Second Chances The walk to the village was not long. Soon the forest opened to a plain that was covered with rice fields. In their middle sat the village, a surprisingly large conglomerate of huts and sheds.

The fields around the village were green with growing rice plants. They looked healthy. The crop would be good – if demons or looting soldiers did not ruin it. Surprisingly, the fields were empty of workers. At this time of the year the peasants ought to be busy with replanting the saplings, and from the look of it they had done so until a little while ago.

Inu Yasha stopped and eyed the fields suspiciously. Kagome noticed the look on his face.

‘Is something wrong, Inu Yasha?’ she asked.

The hanyou shrugged. ‘I don’t know. I just don’t like the look of this.’ He gestured at the fields.

Kagome nodded. ‘Yes, it’s strange that there’s nobody working in the fields. What do you think? Did a demon attack the village?’

The girl who was still clinging to Miroku’s arm heard that and turned, her eyes wide in horror.

‘A demon?’ she breathed and swayed alarmingly.

Miroku wrapped an arm around her waist to steady her.

Inu Yasha grunted. ‘Nah, I don’t smell a demon. No blood. No fire.’ He shrugged. ‘The peasants have just left the fields.’

‘But why?’ wondered the monk. His hand on her waist twitched and edged downwards to the girl’s backside. She blushed prettily and smiled up at him through her lashes.

Kagome eyed them with a disapproving frown. From the corner of her eyes she saw something move and turned to the village.

‘Hey, Inu Yasha!’ she called and interrupted Miroku’s monologue on what might have happened. Hanyou and monk looked at her. ‘I just saw a man there! He looked at us and then hurried back into the village!’

Before either of her companions was able to say anything a shout rose from the village and several people rushed out of the gate. Inu Yasha tensed and his hand darted to Tessaiga’s hilt. For a moment he stared hard at the villagers. When it became obvious that they would not attack, he relaxed and stepped back to allow a flock of girls to pounce on the girl by Miroku’s side.

‘Bara-chan!’ they squealed and each tried to hug the girl. ‘We were so worried!’

‘We thought you were kidnapped as well!’

‘Oh, Bara-chan, I thought you died! Are you really all right?’

The next moment some village men arrived at the group. One of the older ones silently grabbed the girl’s – Bara’s – shoulders and embraced her tightly.

‘My dear child! I thought I lost you!’

Another man turned to Miroku. ‘Houshi-sama! Thank you a million times for finding the girl and brining her back! It’s not safe for young girls to go out alone. Now even less than ever before!’

The men around him nodded and bowed as well, exclaiming how happy and thankful they were that Bara was back. Bara’s father let go of her and bowed deeply to the monk, adding his thanks to the choir.

The girls pulled Bara into their middle, patting her arms and shoulders as if they wanted to make sure she was real. The one or other cast furtive glances at Miroku, who was listening with a polite smile to the men.

Inu Yasha snorted and stepped over to Kagome and Sango, who were watching the scene silently. None of the villagers spared them a single glance.

‘As if he did it all alone,’ the hanyou grumbled. ‘And now he’ll talk them into preparing a feast for him, the saviour.’

Kagome smiled lopsidedly. ‘I don’t think he has to talk them into it.’

The villagers proved her right. They begged the monk to come to their village and let the girl’s mother and the village’s eldest thank him properly. Naturally he would be given dinner and a place to rest!

Miroku smiled charmingly. ‘Well, I assure you, that is not necessary. I merely did my duty as a servant of Buddha. Besides, helping such a beautiful young lady is a reward itself.’

The girls giggled and whispered. Bara lowered her head bashfully. Miroku smiled at her.

A soft sound from behind her made Kagome turn and look back at the silent Sango. The look on the demon slayer’s face bode ill for the monk’s health. She had her teeth grit and eyes narrowed.

‘Sango-chan …’ Kagome hesitated, not knowing what to do or say.

Sango looked at her, her eyes blazing. ‘Don’t say it, Kagome-chan,’ she ground out. ‘Just don’t say anything!’

Kagome nodded and with a sigh she turned to the group in front of her. The villagers had just discovered the presence of Miroku’s companions, and now they bowed and asked them to persuade the modest houshi-sama to come to their village to be thanked properly.

Inu Yasha growled some choice words at them that made them recoil. Miroku coughed politely, transferring the villagers’ attention back to him. Then he smiled.

‘If you desire it, it would be impolite to refuse your invitation. Of course we will come to your village.’

Some time, several bows and tears later the group sat in the village eldest’s house, facing the old man. At the eldest’s sides sat his sons, and the daughters of the house served dinner. The eldest was chatting amiably to Miroku and made most honourable attempts to draw the others into the discussion as well. Kagome answered readily when addressed, but Inu Yasha and Sango remained obstinately silent and concentrated on their food.

‘It was an extremely lucky circumstance that you found Bara,’ said the eldest. ‘We would have been desolate to lose her.’

His elder son nodded vigorously. Kagome smiled sweetly at him.

‘Oh, it was nothing at all,’ replied Miroku nonchalantly. ‘But I’m surprised you were in such a worry about her. Of course, it is always dangerous for a beautiful young woman to be alone in the woods, but we haven’t heard of any demons in this area.’

The eldest hung his head and sighed. ‘We don’t know about demons, houshi-sama, but during the last months several young women have disappeared without a trace.’

This captured the attention of the whole group. Inu Yasha sat up straight and eyed the old man.

‘Disappeared without a trace?’ he repeated.

‘Yes,’ answered the younger son. ‘Almost every village from here up to the mountains have a loss to mourn.’

‘The dragons?’ asked Shippo excitedly.

Inu Yasha growled. He did not like being reminded of this special topic.

The eldest and his sons exchanged confused glances.


Miroku nodded and explained, ‘We have had some trouble with them these last few weeks. It’s a new kind of dragons that came from the Far West to this country, and they prey on virginal human females.’

The villagers gasped in shock. The older son blanched and clenched his fists, murmuring something about protecting the girls in the village. The eldest looked searchingly at his guests.

‘Is this true? There are dragons who …?’ He sighed but shook his head. ‘I don’t think we lost our daughters to those dragons. After all, I expect someone would have seen one of the creatures and … well, the remains of the … prey would surely have been found.’

The younger son looked sick.

Kagome nodded at the old men. ‘If you haven’t seen one of the dragons then they’ve not come this far. Maybe they didn’t like the climate or something. Besides, we saw what attacked Bara-chan earlier this day and it definitely didn’t look like a dragon.’

The men sat up, eyes wide, and stared at Kagome.

‘She … She has been attacked?’

Kagome blinked. ‘Oh? Didn’t you know?’

They shook their heads, looking stunned and horrified.

‘No,’ said the eldest finally, ‘she didn’t tell us. Please, tell us what happened! Who attacked Bara? And what for?’

‘Some kind of spooooky ghosts!’ chirped Shippo.

Miroku hushed him with a glance and went about to explain to the eldest and his sons how they had come to meet Bara. When he had ended, the old man bowed.

‘So you have saved her from even greater danger than we believed! We are very thankful, houshi-sama. My family will be forever in your debt.’

Miroku smiled and shook his head. ‘Ah, don’t thank me alone! My companions were all there, and if it had not been for Kagome-sama I would not have known what to do.’ He frowned and turned to the girl.

‘Now that I think about it, how did you know what these ghosts were, Kagome-sama?’

Kagome blinked. ‘Uh …’

The eldest eyed the girl from the future. ‘It was this young woman who knew how to defeat them?’

‘Yeah, have a problem with it?’ growled Inu Yasha and leant forwards, staring at the eldest with hard eyes.

The old man shook his head. ‘Oh, no, no! Of course not! It’s only … and I don’t mean to be impolite, please excuse me, but … she does wear so strange clothes!’

Kagome looked down on her body in surprise. ‘What’s strange about them? It’s a perfectly normal uniform!’

Miroku grinned and explained, ‘Kagome-sama is a miko. She comes from a land very far away, and her … er … garbs are normal for this land.’

‘Really?’ The younger son eyed Kagome and when he was caught looking by Inu Yasha he blushed, mumbled an excuse and ducked his head.

‘Ah, I beg your forgiveness, miko-sama,’ bowed the eldest.

Kagome blushed and waved her hand. ‘Oh … um … that’s okay, no need to apologise.’

‘Thank you, miko-sama. But, please, tell us what these ghosts were.’

The girl knit her brows. ‘I’m not quite sure what exactly they were. I mean, they seemed to be like some kind of shikigami, but I don’t get why they would attack a girl and try to kidnap her.’


‘Huh? Oh, well, it did certainly look as if they tried to kidnap Bara-chan.’

Miroku weighed his head. ‘Yes, you are right Kagome-sama. They were kind of wrapped all around her and seemed to be somehow weakening her.’

‘And they tried to prevent her from shouting for help,’ added Shippo.

‘Yes, but why would shikigami do something like this?’ asked Sango, who came out of her dark brooding.

The eldest and his sons watched in stunned silence as the travellers began to discuss the matter.

‘Shikigami are servants of people with great spiritual powers,’ lectured Miroku. ‘So of course it would be their master or mistress who made them do it.’

‘Yes, yes, we know that!’ grumbled Inu Yasha. ‘A dark miko or something ordered them!’

‘No, not a dark miko,’ disagreed Kagome. ‘They had no evil power in them, no matter how spooky they were.’

She laid a finger on her cheek and pondered this fact.

‘You mean it was an ordinary miko?’ asked Sango in surprised disbelief.

‘Hm, no, not ordinary. I mean, she must be pretty powerful to be able to a: call them and b: control them!’

‘But you are sure you felt purity around them?’ enquired Miroku.

Kagome nodded. ‘Hm … well, not exactly purity, but definitely no evil powers either. Why do you ask, Miroku-sama? Didn’t you feel it?’

The monk shook his head. ‘No. There was something about them that felt familiar to me, but I couldn’t name it.’

‘But you are sure they tried to kidnap Bara-chan?’ interrupted one of the young men.

‘Well, that would be the most reasonable explanation,’ answered Kagome.

‘It certainly looked like this,’ agreed Miroku.

‘Then … perhaps these wraiths are responsible for the abductions of the other missing girls as well?’ the young man ventured.

His father nodded slowly. ‘Yes, this is a good thought, my son.’

The young man puffed out his chest proudly.

‘However, what could a miko possibly want with young girls? Especially if she is not a dark miko.’

‘Perhaps she wants servants?’ suggested the other young man.

The eldest shook his head. ‘A miko does not need servants, and even if there was something she needed help with everybody would be glad to help her. Can you, houshi-sama and miko-sama, think of a reason?’

Miroku and Kagome shook their heads.

‘No, not really,’ answered the girl.

At that moment the shoji-door slip open and the eldest’s daughters came into the room to remove the wooden trays on which they had earlier brought the food. When they had left, the door slid open once more and Bara and her father entered, bowing deep to their eldest.

The older son’s face lit up at the sight of the girl and he beamed at her. Miroku straightened. Bara knelt next to her father, her head bent, but she peeped at the monk through her lashes, smiling shyly. The young man’s face darkened.

‘Excuse the disturbance,’ begged the father, ‘but my daughter just told me of the danger the honourable houshi-sama has saved my misguided child from. I could not let houshi-sama belief I am not deeply thankful for what he did.’

The eldest smiled and gestured them to come in. ‘Ah, yes, we have just spoken about this very topic, and we have reached astonishing conclusions. Those wraiths that attacked dear Bara-chan earlier might even be responsible for the abductions of other girls in our neighbourhood!’

Bara raised her eyes to Miroku’s face, her large, dark eyes glowing with admiration. Sango snorted and turned her back to the display. Kagome sighed unhappily.

Bara’s father looked at the monk as well. ‘Is this true, houshi-sama? But why would ghosts desire to abduct my daughter?’

‘I don’t know,’ answered Miroku. ‘But I shall find out!’

Bara sighed. “Oh, houshi-sama!”

Kagome’s eyes met Inu Yasha’s and she smiled weakly at the sight of his annoyed face.

‘He’ll never change,’ mumbled Shippo.

Divine Concubine

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 2 of 11

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