Continuing Tales

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 18 of 60

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"A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open."
~ Francis Bacon

Kagome woke up with a start. She looked around with bleary eyes and quickly realized that the dim light in the room meant that it was evening. She sat up slowly and began rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

'Where am I?' She dropped her hands back to her lap and looked around the room. 'Oh yeah,' she remembered. The House of the Moon.

'Why am I even here?'

The door to her room slid open and Hoshi stepped in with a smile. The beautiful woman seemed to glide as she moved to the other side of the room and lit a large lantern. Light filled the room with a brilliant glow. Kagome shielded her eyes for a moment and asked the only question on her mind.

"Why am I here?"

Hoshi sighed and moved to a cushion beside the bed. She sat gracefully and turned violet eyes on the miko.

"You were brought here to heal Sesshomaru-sama's little girl. She was poisoned by Naraku three weeks ago and only you are able to help her."

"Sesshomaru has a daughter?" Kagome asked wide-eyed.

"In a manner of speaking, yes. We will all be in your debt if you're able to help her, least of all Sesshomaru-sama." Hoshi looked at Kagome with earnest kindness.

Kagome looked at her hands as Hoshi went on to explain the events that led up to Kagome being brought to the House of the Moon.

"Now that you know how and why you're a guest, let me take you to the bath house so that you can have some time to relax and clean up before we begin the purification process."

"Oh, a bath sounds wonderful!" Kagome's eyes sparkled at the thought. They lit up even brighter when they fell on the yellow backpack sitting next to the door. She scrambled out of the bed and hugged it to her chest.

"Where did you get this!?' she asked turning to the other woman.

"Your friends asked me to give it to you. They said that you would be very happy to have it back." Hoshi looked at the girl curiously. She was perplexed by Kagome's excitement at seeing the peculiar bag, which only grew as the young woman opened it and began pulling out objects that the old sorceress had never seen before.

"My friends are here? Is InuYasha okay? Where are they…can I see them? Kagome asked as she continued digging through her bag.

"They've set up camp a short walk from the castle in the Western Woods. You can see them once your task is done," Hoshi replied sniffing the air. 'What are these things?' she thought as several scents wafted from the bag, most of them pleasant and feminine. The scent of lotus, rose, and vanilla were among the strongest. Hoshi continued watching curiously as the miko mumbled about something called shampoo. The young girl's head disappeared into the bag as she continued her search through its contents.

Kagome let out a muffled cry that startled the woman beside her as she emerged from the bag holding a strange bottle.

"Got it!" she looked up triumphantly. Her smile was infectious as Hoshi could help but return it, enjoying being in the company of someone who showed their emotions so openly. The House of the Moon was often a cold place where inhabitants existed within the silence of their own thoughts. The exception was Rin, whose exuberance could not be contained, but with her illness the castle had returned to its former indifferent formality from long, long ago.

Kagome gathered together several bottles retrieved from the depths of the mysterious bag and looked at Hoshi expectantly. "I'm ready when you are," she looked at the housekeeper a moment before her eyes dropped down in respect.

Hoshi stood and glided to the screen door. She slid the door open and walked through into the hall. Kagome scrambled up from the floor, her bath supplies cradled in her arms, and followed after her with a tired shuffle.

As they snaked through the hallways, Kagome quickly realized that she would get lost in a heartbeat if it weren't for Hoshi's guidance. After countless turns down identical looking hallways they finally came to a door. Hoshi slid the door open and they stepped from the castle into a beautiful garden. The evening air was balmy for mid fall as they followed a stone path that wound its way to a large building surrounded by plum trees. Hoshi paused by the door a moment to let Kagome catch up before opening it.

Kagome let out a small "Oh," as she took in the sumptuous surroundings of the steam filled bathhouse. The floor was laid with intricate tile, the walls covered in rich dark wood panels. Large mosaics of the Inu no Taisho family were inlaid into the walls and floors. Kagome noticed that all around the pool lay the same pattern that was on Sesshomaru's kimono. The Inu no Taisho family crest displayed itself prominently in the center of the opposite wall facing the doorway.

"It's beautiful…" Kagome breathed the words more than said them. None-the-less, Hoshi heard and smiled.

"Sesshomaru-sama likes to surround himself with beautiful things. This castle did not come to him easily and since he has taken possession, he's been very particular in its renovation."

"…Oh," was all the miko said. She walked to a low table next to the pool and placed her various bathing supplies down.

In a matter of moments Hoshi had helped Kagome undress and slip into the water. A soft moan escaped her lips as the warm water soothed her tense muscles and washed away the grime of the past few weeks. Kagome took a deep breath and dunked her head under the water. She ran her fingernails through her hair and scalp. Surfacing, she wiped the water from her eyes and looked around to find Hoshi gathering her hamaka.

"Wait, what am I going to wear when I'm done Hoshi-sama?" Kagome asked with worry.

"I'll bring you a fresh kimono. Continue with your bath and I'll return shortly." With that, Hoshi turned and left the bathhouse.

Kagome listened to the quiet solitude as she sunk lower into the water.



'Are you holding up okay?'

'It is becoming harder. I am weakening.'

'Is there anything I can do? Can I try and hold back the powers of the Crown for a little while?'

'No. Instead see what you can do to get rid of the Crown. The woman that brought you here might know something. She is certainly powerful even though she suppresses much of her spiritual powers.'

"Mm hm," Kagome responded to the miko imprisoned in her mind. The steam curled around her as she thought about the best way to ask Hoshi how to remove the Crown.

A noise sounded outside the bathhouse calling Kagome's attention back to the steamy room. She grabbed her shampoo bottle and squeezed out a liberal amount thinking that Hoshi was returning. Not wanting to keep her waiting, she started scrubbing the dirt and dried blood from her hair. The noise sounded again, closer this time.

"Hoshi-sama is that you?" Kagome called out, causing her voice to echo off the stone walls. The sound of sloshing water and the slow methodical drip from a nearby spout feeding continuous water to the pool was the only answer.

She was startled by a scraping sound along the wall closest to her. Moving to the center of the pool, she faced the wall as shampoo dripped precariously close to her eyes before she brushed it away hastily.

"Who's there?" Kagome called out louder. Reaching out with her miko senses, she could feel Hoshi in the distance along with Sesshomaru. Suddenly a new demonic aura filled her senses for a moment before subsiding into a barely noticeable hum against her aura, as if to let her know it was there. Whoever this demon was, it was playing a game trying to scare her.

Kagome crossed her arms over her chest and listened while she felt the barely there presence of the demon move along the outer wall of the bathhouse toward the door. With shampoo still in her hair, she moved to the edge of the pool and reached for the towel she had brought along with her. Kagome pulled herself out of the water and wrapped herself up quickly before facing the door.

'I really wish I had my bow and arrows with me,' she thought, fear, not cold, making her body tremble.

Hoshi was returning to the bathhouse with a fresh kimono in her arms when Sesshomaru appeared in front of her.

"Is the miko ready yet?"

"Not yet. She is in the bathhouse right now. The girl deserves to have a few moments of relaxation before the coming hours."

Sesshomaru snorted and turned to walk with Hoshi as she continued toward the bathhouse.

"The miko can have all the relaxation she can stand once Rin is better," he stated with slight frustration that only Hoshi could recognize.

"I said it before Sesshomaru, she deserves more than your distain. The miko has great courage and strength for a human. Never forget that she was the one to slay Naraku. Because of this, many in the land now fear her. Besides, I thought it would be in everyone's best interest for her to wash away the stench of that disgusting hanyou after being in his captivity for so long."

Sesshomaru had no time to answer this as he felt the miko's powers flare heavily, burning against his youki.

Hoshi looked up at Sesshomaru a split second before he vanished from sight. Hoshi quickly followed, arriving at the doorway to the bathhouse seconds after Sesshomaru. He stood slightly inside the doorway staring at the miko with a curious expression.

Hoshi stepped around the stoic lord and walked to Kagome. Her miko powers pulsed around her, creating a soft pink glow as she looked at Sesshomaru.

"Miko-san, what's wrong?" Hoshi asked, hoping to calm the young woman. The smell of fear was overwhelming in the warm bathhouse.

"I…I felt something," she stammered, her eyes never leaving Sesshomaru.

"What do you mean? Was something in the pool with you?" Hoshi asked as she turned her attention toward the pool, scanning the still water.

Kagome pulled back her miko powers as she visibly calmed.

"No, it was a demon. It was outside the bathhouse coming around to the door. It kept masking its aura…except once when it let me know it was there. I think…I think it was toying with me…" her voice trailed off as she pulled the towel tighter.

Without a word Sesshomaru turned and left, closing the door behind him with a snap.

Hoshi watched him leave and could feel as he looped around the bathhouse and then back toward the castle. She smiled, wondering if Sesshomaru realized that he instinctually came to the rescue of the miko when he felt her in danger. 'He has only done that with one other,' Hoshi thought curiously.

"Come miko-sama, finish your bath so that we can return," Hoshi spoke gently.

Kagome regarded the woman before her, feeling the comforting presence of a power that rivaled the demon that had just vacated the room. Kagome thought it curious that she felt safest in the presence of demons. Though her miko powers rebelled against that kind of power, she knew deep down that this woman was a force to be reckoned with and that if the mysterious demon returned, she would be safe.

Kagome removed the towel and slipped back into the water to quickly finish bathing. After furiously scrubbing her skin and hair, Kagome emerged from the water feeling somewhat normal. She dried herself and Hoshi helped her dress in a beautiful dark blue kimono with silver embroidered flowers and birds along the edge of the sleeves and bottom. She brushed her hair and Hoshi helped to wrangle it into a thick braid that reached past her waist.

After gathering up her things, Kagome followed Hoshi back to the castle and her room.

"Take a few minutes to collect your thoughts. I'll return with some dinner for you."

Kagome turned worried eyes toward the woman prompting a response from the beautiful housekeeper.

"You're safe in the House of the Moon miko-sama. As the keeper of the Shikon Jewel, you are probably safest here than anywhere else. Have no fear; no one will harm you. The demon you felt was probably some youth playing a prank and nothing more. Many of the servants here have sons and daughters and it would not be the first time that they have done something reckless. I'll make sure it does not happen again."

After Hoshi left, Kagome sat on the bed and went through her bag to sort out the contents and repack them away carefully, thinking about what Hoshi had just said. She couldn't explain why, but she felt that it was not some young demon trying to scare a human. There was something sinister and malevolent in the demons aura.

Once done, she looked around the room she was staying in. It was really beautiful and from what she saw on her way to and from the bathhouse, Sesshomaru's entire house was exquisite. It wasn't surprising that his home was perfection itself in its structure and cleanliness, what was surprising was how comfortable it felt. Kagome found this to be quite a revelation since the owner had always made her feel everything but comfortable.

She thought back to only a short time ago when she saw Sesshomaru for the first time since the battle against Naraku. She had watched in fear as the screen door started to open as the mysterious demon tried to gain entry to the bathhouse. Kagome flared her miko powers heavily in warning, hoping that it would scare off the demon or make it at least think twice about tangling with her. A responding demonic aura flared from somewhere inside the castle a moment later. That had the mysterious demon pulling back from the door and retreating from the bathhouse altogether.

In the blink of an eye the door was pulled open and Sesshomaru was standing there looking about the room with an intense expression. The moment his eyes fell on Kagome they stopped. His icy gaze swept the length of her body and returned to her eyes. There they stayed until Hoshi arrived and she had given an account of what had happened. He didn't bother saying a word to her before leaving.

'He's one demon I know I'll never understand.'

'Don't be so sure. It's been my experience that all demons are alike in many ways,' Kikyo responded drolly.

'No way! Sesshomaru is definitely different. He has no emotions for goodness sake. If I ever see him smile I think I might have a heart attack!' Kagome responded.

'He may be different on the outside, but I bet once you get past that frigid exterior, he's like all the others.' With that, Kikyo retreated to the back of her mind where she had been right before the appearance of the mysterious demon.

"Perhaps," was all Kagome said in reply.

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 18 of 60

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