Continuing Tales

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 13 of 60

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Hope, deceiving as it is, serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route.
- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Kagome blinked, and then blinked again as Sesshomaru's words sunk in.

'Me?! What does he want with me?' Kagome thought as she stared at the imposing taiyoukai. She could feel InuYasha's youki as he got closer along with that of Shippo and Kirara.

'Sango and Miroku will be with them. Everyone has come,' she thought despondently. It was only a matter of time before they would all face off in the large garden of Naraku's hidden castle.

"The Miko?! Now what would you possibly want with a silly human?" Naraku chuckled in a knowing tone.

Sesshomaru made a low growling noise before launching at the hanyou.

Naraku easily dodged the attack and landed next to Katsuro.

"Handle this."

Katsuro nodded once and walked toward Kagome who was still perched against the massive tree. He wrapped a large hand around her elbow and hauled her to her feet.

"It's time to fight Miko. We must fulfill our promise."

Kagome pulled her arm out of his grasp. "I made no promise to you or Naraku," she hissed as she stepped away from him. Bravely she tried to hide her fear, but bits of it seeped through the cracks of her thin façade.

If Naraku won this battle, she would never see her friends again. If Naraku lost, that would mean she was dead.

Sesshomaru quickly tired of waiting and once again rushed toward Naraku. He never made it.

The Miko appeared directly in front of the hanyou with one hand outstretched. A moment later, a brilliant white light shot out, heading right for him. He gracefully arced out of its path only to have another equally as strong follow with little hesitation. Sesshomaru was surprised at the strength of her spiritual powers and how much they had grown since they last met on the battlefield. Though it had been a long time since he had bothered with his brother or this woman, he had no idea that a mere human could attain that much growth in just a few years. It took youkai several decades to grow their power that exponentially. 'This human has done it in only a few years,' he thought with slight surprise. Every evasion was met with a counterattack that had him expending more energy than he liked.

He set himself down on the other side of the garden and stared at the Miko. His mind focused on working out all possible solutions to this encounter. He refused to consider this woman at the level he would call an opponent. That would mean he had to give credit to a human as a worthy adversary, which she most certainly was not.

'Somehow I must subdue her without causing injury. Then I can focus on the lizard youkai controlling her.'

"I suggest you stop these attacks," Sesshomaru said in a tone that stated plainly it was not merely a suggestion.

Sesshomaru looked from the Miko to Katsuro and then dropped his gaze to the necklace hanging from the youkai's neck.

'I need that necklace'…

Katsuro watched this new opponent carefully as Kagome leveled her attacks against him. So far he had yet to return an attack but merely evaded with a peculiarly patient demeanor. His curiosity was beginning to spike when the powerful Taiyoukai landed and leveled a calculating stare at Kagome. His golden gaze then turned toward Katsuro.

'What is his aim?' Katsuro thought. He noticed Sesshomaru's eyes had dropped to the black stone hanging ominously around his neck.

Katsuro's blood turned cold as suspicion threaded through his mind.

'Could he possibly know?…'

Sesshomaru raised his gaze back up to the lizard youkai. The setting sun glinted off Sesshomaru's sword as he brought it up to attack position.

Katsuro glanced at the blade for a second before noticing a powerful burning within the black stone at his chest. The stone seemed to react to the powerful demonic energy of the taiyoukai's sword. It was as if they recognized each other.

"Tell me, Sesshomaru. What is the name of that sword?"

"Its name is of no consequence."

Katsuro bristled at the young lord's obstinate tone. "You're right. That sword is of no consequence. In fact, I would say there is nothing about you that is." Katsuro smiled to see that his words had an effect. Sesshomaru's eyes darkened and his youki spiked violently for an instant before he was able to bring it back under control.

"So be it….scum," Sesshomaru snarled before he launched at the youkai once again.

Naraku watched this exchange with interest. He wondered momentarily why Katsuro was interested in Sesshomaru's sword. Naraku knew that it had been forged from the fang of Goshinki, the demon that had broken InuYasha's Tessaiga. It was for that reason that Sesshomaru had the sword made, since it was of equal strength to the Tessaiga.

Naraku had never shared any of this information with Katsuro and was wondering if he perhaps should have when at that moment a flash of red caught his eye.

Naraku's lips spread into a malicious smirk.

'So… he is finally here.'

Kagome could feel her power gathering again as Katsuro was planning another assault on Sesshomaru. One moment she was staring at Sesshomaru's lone figure across the garden and the next she was staring into InuYasha's golden eyes. Kagome gasped not only out of surprise but also at the look on his face.

He looked worried. Tired. Wild.

"InuYasha…" Kagome whispered as she took a step forward. She was just about to reach out and hug him when she heard a familiar voice crack through her mind like a whip.

'Kagome! Get away from him!' Kikyo's voice bellowed urgently.

Kagome's confusion lasted only a moment before she felt her powers surge, waver a moment, and then surge again. Katsuro had been momentarily surprised at Kikyo's outburst, but focused his attention on InuYasha again.

'This one will be much easier to defeat than the Taiyoukai over there.'

He needed to act quickly before Kagome began fighting against the crown as she did in the past encounter with InuYasha. He couldn't afford another incident like the one by the river. It was dangerous for Kagome to fight the spell, especially considering Kagome could push her body beyond its physical limits without even knowing. She was still too inexperienced to control the vast depth of her powers with safety.

He summoned Kagome's holy powers and shot a blast at InuYasha just as he felt her mind catch up with his plans. He was so surprised to hear the other Miko actually come out of hiding long enough to bring Kagome back to her senses that he almost stopped his attack before it started. He did follow through however, and thought he had succeeded in landing a direct hit, but to his disappointment, saw the hanyou land a few feet to his left.

Katsuro paused a moment to take in the current situation. On his left stood InuYasha, an opponent that wouldn't be difficult to defeat in terms of power, but would prove a challenge in that Kagome would fight against his attacks to the point of endangering her life. To his right stood a very worthy opponent in Sesshomaru. His power was incredible and added to that was the suspicion that the young lord understood a great deal about the Crown of Chikara and the spell that bound Kagome to it. That knowledge made him a very real threat indeed.

'I need to know more about that sword,' Katsuro thought to himself as he continued to take stock of the situation. If the sword was able to break the chain, then the binding spell that gave him control over Kagome would also break. Should that happen, she could easily turn that great wealth of power that he helped to develop against anyone she wished. This fight was going to take thoughtful strategy and a great deal of concentration.

Katsuro wondered if he should share his concerns with Naraku, but thought better of it after casting a glance toward him. Naraku had a very smug expression that spoke of confidence and anticipation. If Naraku was that sure of the outcome, then Katsuro could also be confident. After all, he held control of the most powerful weapon in this garden and had anyone else known what he did, he was sure that none of them would be standing there about to face her in battle. Not even the famous lord of the Western Lands.

If Katsuro was honest with himself, even he was a little uneasy to be this close to the miko. Though he had control of her, he also knew what she was.

'It is time to end this bargain with Naraku.' He just hoped that her body could hold up long enough and that her own soul would be able to handle the amount of spiritual energy that would be passing though it from the stone in the crown. If not, this would be over sooner than expected.

Kagome dropped to a crouch with one palm flat to the ground and the other forearm resting on her knee. She began to glow a pale pink that seemed to flare brighter with every heartbeat.

Katsuro was getting ready for the final showdown by transforming his unassuming little Miko into a warrior.

Kagome dropped to her knee under the weight of the spiritual pressure flowing through her. Katsuro had done this same thing before but never to this extent. She knew that it was the energy from the stone in the crown and that it was being channeled through her body. She wasn't sure how much holy energy the stone contained but she could tell that Katsuro wasn't releasing all of it. Any more and she felt like it would kill her.

The air around her began to pick up and a whirling vortex spun up the leaves and dirt to surround her. A quick burst of light shot straight up and lit the sky over the garden for an instant.

Katsuro forced her body to stand and extend both arms out, one pointed at each brother.

Kagome's head was bowed, her eyes shadowed. To a casual observer, she looked to be a willing participant, but Katsuro knew that she was simply overwhelmed by the immense spiritual energy flowing through her soul. She was close to losing consciousness and he knew that it was only a matter of time before her body adjusted to the feeling. Once that happened, she would be able to function independently again.

Two blasts shot out with such intensity and speed that not even Sesshomaru could avoid the attack.

Katsuro smiled with a sigh of relief for the first time that day.

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 13 of 60

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