Continuing Tales

Dragon's Prey

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 3 of 10

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Second Chances

During the next week they were attacked by three more dragons and came across two more villages whose inhabitants begged them to kill a dragon that had attacked them.

When the travellers were assailed the events of their second encounter with the winged beasts repeated themselves. The dragon would try to catch the girls and, if deterred, not attack but circle above their heads, screeching until Miroku sucked it into the air-rip.

In the two villages they were told stories similar to the one they had heard in the first hamlet. A dragon would attack the community and take away a young woman. It would not show up for several days, but after at most a week it would return and steal away another girl. If the men of the village defended themselves and their women they were able to drive the dragon away for some time. But it would always return.

Inu Yasha had been more than willing to help the villagers. Instead of his usual grumblings about wasting time he had been the one to offer help and push the others on. While her friends were very much surprised, Kagome knew this to be proof of his caring heart, hidden beneath his mask of grumpiness and the that's-not-my-problem attitude. Therefore she followed him on every dragon-exterminating mission without letting him know how much she hated the carnage he would cause, or how much she was affected by the girl-eating monsters.

Nine days after the girls' abduction and rescue they made camp for the night in an old, deserted hut they had come across while traipsing through the forest. After Inu Yasha had made sure the dilapidated roof wouldn't come down anytime soon they took possession of the hut by lighting a fire in the fireplace.

While they were eating dinner it began to drizzle, and everybody was grateful for the shelter the hut provided them. They huddled closer around the fire, the sounds of light rain outside causing a comfy atmosphere within.

After a while, though, the pleasant talk they had been entertaining turned to the most prominent problem: the dragons.

"They are strange indeed," remarked Miroku.

"Keh, stupid snakes with wings."

"No, Inu Yasha. There is more to them," Miroku chided gently. "If you think back, can't you see what I mean?"

Inu Yasha just shrugged. He had no interest in talking about the beasts. They were ugly, dangerous and did horrible things. But they died when you cut their heads off. That was all he needed to know.

The rest of the fellowship was more interested.

"You mean that Inu Yasha can't use the wind-scar on them?" asked Shippo. Inu Yasha huffed.

Miroku weighed his head. "This, and other things as well."

Sango nodded. "They never attacked us when it became evident that we would defend ourselves. Even the villages were spared when the men fought. This is nothing I have ever seen with a demon so far. Usually they attack again and again each day until the defence is broken."

Miroku looked at her. "Yes, that is one of the things that have been bothering me. One other thing is: the weapons these dragons are most afraid of are swords!"

Sango blinked in surprise. "Are you sure? Swords? Not spears or even your holy powers?"

"I'm sure about this. You see, I talked to the men who defended their villages. Every time I was told the same thing: the dragon would always evade that man that carried a sword. I think this is the reason why we haven't been attacked by dragons. As soon as one of them shows up, Inu Yasha draws out Tessaiga in the hope to be this time able to use the wind-scar. The dragon, who doesn't know about its special powers, only sees the sword and doesn't dare to come near it," the monk explained.

"That does make sense," Sango admitted slowly. "But what about your holy powers, houshi-sama?"

Miroku sighed and shook his head. "I could not use them."

That gained him many surprised glances. Only Kagome didn't seem astonished. She drew her lower lip between her teeth and nibbled worriedly on it.

"This is another thing I find strange about these dragons," Miroku went on.


"No, that wasn't what I meant. I noticed from the beginning that the dragons don't harbour a particular loathing for humans with special powers such as monks and mikos. They don't make a difference between me as a monk and other men. That goes for mikos as well, doesn't it, Kagome-sama?" he turned to the girl from the future.

Kagome shivered and hugged herself. "One dragon had captured the miko of the last village. I wondered how it managed to do that. I would have thought her holy powers would... would purify it or something, like it would have happened with any other demon."

"It is most peculiar," Miroku went on. "My powers don't affect them. That one miko was helpless. What about your powers, Kagome-sama?"

"No. My arrows were just ordinary arrows to the dragon I tried to shoot," she answered. Grimacing she added, "And not very effective ones. The scales of that dragon were too thick."

"We're lucky Miroku has that air-rip," chirped Shippo, snuggling closer to Kagome, "otherwise we'd have problems with these dragons, what with Inu Yasha without his wind-scar and Kagome without her arrows and Miroku without his spells."

The monk's eyes darkened. "Yes, very lucky," he said gloomily.

Sango shot Shippo a sharp gaze and put a hand on Miroku's shoulder. Kagome shook her head at the child. For a moment nobody said a word and it was silent save the sound of falling rain. Then the thud of a hand hitting a cheek with considerable force broke the silence. Sango glared daggers at the monk, shaking her right hand. Miroku rubbed his face.

"I thought you wanted to console me, Sango," he said reproachfully.

"Yes, houshi-sama. Console. Nothing more!"

"But I'd find it most consoling if you would-"

Another slap interrupted his words.

"Keh, he'll never learn," commented Inu Yasha as the monk keeled over, now both cheeks wearing the imprints of a hand.

"We have been discussing the dragons," Sango said scathingly. With a last glare at Miroku she turned to Kagome. "So, Kagome-chan, it appears as if these dragons aren't affected by holy powers. Therefore they can't be demons. Or at least not the usual kind of demons."

"Well, the first one that kidnapped us said it that he had come from very far away," Kagome pointed out.

"That's true! Oh, and it said they had enormous powers. So maybe that's the reason why none of the beasts reacted to either yours or houshi-sama's powers!"

"Yes, maybe. But on the other hand, if they have such enormous powers, why didn't they... I mean, that one dragon claimed his kind had special powers but they are afraid of swords? Okay, maybe a sword somehow... blocks their powers but nevertheless, they could have... tried to manipulate us or the villagers." Kagome frowned.

The girls lapsed into thoughts, pondering on the mystery of the dragon's powers.

"Perhaps that one meant something different when it talked about its powers?" suggested Shippo.

"But what?"

The kitsune rubbed his chin like he had seen Miroku do. "Hm, maybe the ability to talk? Or to fly? Or to breathe fire or... hm..." he finished with a shrug.

"None of them has breathed fire so far," interjected Kagome.

"Maybe they don't like their meat roasted," said Inu Yasha darkly.

"EEWWE! INU YASHA!" screamed both girls.

"That was gross," added Kagome with a disgusted expression.

Inu Yasha shrugged. "Might be true."

"While I agree that their powers are indeed a mystery," said Miroku who had recovered from Sango's ‘love-slaps' and was eager to put a stop to the threatening argument between hanyou and miko, "this is not what I think most interesting."

Five pairs of eyes turned to him and he went on explaining, "Why, has neither of you realised these dragons only catch women? Whenever we have been attacked, the dragon always went for the girls. It was the same in the villages. The only victims we heard of were women and girls. I think that is very remarkable!"

"Perhaps these dragons are all lechers?" said Inu Yasha with a broad grin on his face.

Miroku cast him a reproving glance. "That is not funny, Inu Yasha!"

Kagome put one finger on her chin. "You're right, Miroku-sama. The only people that have been kidnapped were women and girls. Not one boy or man!"

Sango wrinkled her brow thoughtfully. "Hm, maybe they thought women the easiest prey?"

"Or the most tasty," put in an irrepressible Inu Yasha.

Sango and Kagome turned to him with murder on their faces, and the hanyou ducked back. Hastily Miroku agreed: "Yes, I think you're right, Inu Yasha."

Two dark-haired heads whirled around to glare at him, and he held up both hands in a calming manner. "Please, ladies, let me finish."

Sango and Kagome crossed their arms in front of their chests and regarded him with the same expression on their faces, an expression that clearly said ‘You'd better talk quick and explain yourself or we might forget that we're supposed to be the weak sex.'

"Kagome-sama, Sango my love," Miroku spoke in his most soothing tones, "give it a thought. Every victim was either a girl, a young woman or, in case of the miko, a middle-aged single woman. Doesn't this tell you something? What had all these women in common?"

Sango was still implacable, but Kagome frowned heavily.

"I still don't see your point," said the huntress somewhat icily.

"What I try to tell you, sweet Sango, is that these dragons only eat-"

"The pure flesh of a virgin!" Kagome shouted.

As everybody turned to look at her she went on. "Don't you remember, Sango-chan? That is what the dragon said when I asked him why he didn't eat animals! He said ‘only the pure flesh of' and then Inu Yasha killed it! But that's it, Sango-chan!"

She raised her hands and began to count with her fingers. "The two girls from the first village! The one was about to marry but hadn't! The granddaughter of the village's eldest was unmarried, too, because she was only fourteen. Maybe she hadn't had her...," she blushed under the interested glances of Inu Yasha, Shippo and Miroku.

"Uh, never mind. The victims from the second village were the fifteen-year old sister of the smith and that young woman with the many younger siblings. She was twenty but unmarried because she had replaced her dead mother in caring for the whole family. In the last village there were the miko, who was unmarried because of her profession, a twelve-year-old, and a sixteen-year-old whose fiancé was killed in the war and who was still mourning him. They were all virgins, Sango-chan!"

While Kagome had been talking Sango's expression changed. At first unbelieving, than embarrassed and in the end shocked. "It even called you virgin," she whispered.

Kagome nodded, not taking notice of Miroku's eyes sizing her up. "Yes, now it all makes sense. The dragons only eat virgins. Female virgins."

Dragon's Prey

A InuYasha Story
by CiraArana

Part 3 of 10

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