Continuing Tales

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 20 of 60

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"It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission." ~Grace Hopper

Kagome stared at the little girl. Her fear was almost palpable, but that didn't lessen an ingrained need to help. It was not the time to let weak emotions keep her from saving a girl that had once been so brave as to stand in front of one of Kagome's own enemies. Kagome wouldn't be much of a Miko if she couldn't save Rin, not that she ever felt she was much of one to begin with. It was time that Kagome return the favor to the little girl that seemed never to experience fear. After all, Rin had survived living with Sesshomaru for years, which said something about her ability to survive.

Kagome felt her resolve harden as the strong hum of her powers helped bolster her courage. "Hoshi-sama, tell me what I have to do?"

Hoshi looked at the young woman and saw the determined set of her jaw. It was time to get this over with and Hoshi knew that the next few hours would be a test of not only herself, but of the two human girls in front of her.

"When you're ready, take a deep breath and close your eyes. The most important thing to remember is to remain calm and in control. This poison, its very nature, is to gravitate toward darkness and misery. If you become fearful, the evil of the poison will descend toward it, making it stronger."

Hoshi pulled the blanket from Rin's still form. "Are you ready Miko-sama?"

Kagome audibly swallowed and nodded jerkily. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and gathered her courage. The air in the room seemed to press down on her while the evil energy of the poison pulled at the edges of her mind. Kagome kept her eyes closed as Hoshi continued instructing her.

"Keep your breaths deep and steady, feel it move through you, quieting your soul. What you will do is pull the poison from Rin and allow it to flow through you and out into the air. Your body will purify it as it passes through, but you have to keep breathing in order to make sure that you're not allowing any to remain within your body." As Hoshi spoke, she pulled the black stone taken from Katsuro from beneath her kimono. She held the smooth stone in her hand, gently turning it within her palm, and closed her own eyes.

She focused in on the power contained within the Crown of Chikara and felt the spiritual powers of 100 Mikos. It was an incredible amount of power to tap into, taking Hoshi's breath away in the first moment's contact. As she focused, the shape and color of Kagome's power revealed itself, allowing the sorceress to take stock of its awesome capabilities and fearful limitations. It didn't take Hoshi long to find Kagome's hidden secret. Concentrating her powers to probe a little deeper, she spread out her senses to discover the disturbance deep within Kagome's mind. The presence of one Miko in particular seemed to be independent, retaining her own identity. This Miko's soul was very strong and seemed to be holding up a barrier against the powers coursing through the Crown. It was then that Hoshi understood how such an untrained Miko was able to survive the ordeal that this young woman had been subjected to. If it weren't for this other Miko holding back the impressive power of the Crown, Kagome would certainly have been ripped apart, body and soul.

"Miko-sama, I need you to focus your powers and allow them to course through your whole body and into your fingertips. It might feel strange at first, but let it move through you like water. Don't try to stop it."

Kagome swallowed the last of her fear and summoned her own powers, feeling them move through her as Hoshi instructed.

"Not enough, you need more. Tell the other Miko to let more through. I'll tell you when it's enough."

Kagome's breathing faltered for a moment; her eyes snapped open at the housekeeper's words. "Wha…"

"Just do it and keep breathing. Do as I say Miko-sama and everything will be fine," Hoshi replied curtly, not bothering to open her eyes.

Kagome closed her eyes again and resumed her breathing. She felt her powers come to the surface again as well as some from the Crown. Obviously Kikyo had heard the order and seemed inclined to obey. Either that or she had finally lost the strength to hold it back any longer. More power surged through Kagome and she tried to adjust to the sensation. Memories of the recent battle against Naraku crowded to the front of her mind as she was reminded how horrible it felt when the Crown's power was unleashed on her body.

"More…" Hoshi ordered.

Kagome felt more power surge. It was getting uncomfortable as the feeling of being stretched from within escalated.

"Just a bit more…"

Kagome's brow creased as she tried to continue breathing deeply. Her chest felt tight as more power rushed through her body, pushing against her from within as the oppressive weight from the poison crashed against her from the outside.

"Hoshi-sama… I…" Kagome began only to be cut off.

"Remember, no fear. No hesitation either. You're doing fine and this is something you're more than capable of doing. Now, put one hand on Rin's brow and the other on her chest."

Kagome did as she was told, pushing the doubt away and trusting that the housekeeper knew what she was talking about. Instinct took over the moment she touched the little girl as the poison leached trough the contact and into Kagome's body.

Cold shocked Kagome's senses as it traveled up each arm like a snake, winding and creeping. She wanted to pull her hands away, but stopped in time. Resolve surged to the fore again and Kagome pushed her hands down firmly against the little girl. Each breath deepened as the poison reached through her core and tried to grab hold of any doubt or sadness that resided there. Whether it was intuition or help from the many miko's lending their power, Kagome forced the impurity from both of their bodies. Moments of happiness and laughter rose in Kagome's mind, strengthening her, making her power more focused. Memories of InuYasha and her friends came to the front, pushing the darkness away with their warm and vibrant light. These cherished moments were the only thing warding off the evil that coursed through her, trying to fill it with darkness.

With a violent tremble, the cold continued to move through every corner of her body and soul. Finding no foothold, it was drawn from her as she breathed steadily.

Hoshi opened her eyes to find the Kagome enveloped in a soft pink glow. The amount of energy that the small woman was expending was evident as she visibly shivered under the cold weight of the poison. Hoshi felt the remnants of evil energy in the room hovering, searching for a new victim. Setting the heavy black stone on the floor above Rin's head, Hoshi chanted a soft spell. The stone sparked in the air as a purple glow erupted from the center of the stone. The evil energy swirling helplessly throughout the room gravitated toward the stone and disappeared into its glossy surface.

Kagome had no idea how long she had her hands on the small girl as she felt her strength fading. Hoshi must have felt it as well because she suddenly called out to the Miko.

"More Miko-sama. You must keep going."

Kagome felt more power let go from Kikyo and she wanted to die. It burned as the poison flowed from the little girl's ravaged body to her own, feeling as though hot coals were replacing the inside of her body.

Kagome whimpered as the searing pain took over her senses. Instinct was allowing her to continue the purification, but her mind was now consumed with the pain and suffering of both Rin and her own soul. Every breath brought the poison in, attacking at full strength to claw and scratch at her soul. Her strength wavered for a moment as doubt of her own survival tried to reassert itself. Kagome's breath hitched painfully.

Just then, a soft voice called to Kagome and she felt the comfort of not being alone in the chaos while the Crown was released even more.

'Hang on Kagome. If you can handle a little more we can finish this. It'll be over soon,' Kikyo called out tiredly.

Exhaustion kept Kagome from answering, but the looming doubt faded as her overwhelming weariness mixed inexplicably with renewed determination. It was clear that if this went on much longer, she was going to be in bad shape.

Hoshi opened her eyes and looked at the miko a moment before closing them again. She was unobtrusively monitoring the exchange, not wanting to interfere with the pair's effort.

Kikyo released the rest of the power from the Crown and Kagome took a deep breath, exhaling the rest of the poison from both Rin and herself. The power swirled violently and Kagome cried out as wrenching pain tore through her body. She pulled her hands from the girl and put them on the floor, head bowed under the relentless assault. Tears streamed from her face as she radiated a bright pink light. Hoshi rushed forward and reached out to help the young miko, only to pull back as the purity of Kagome's powers scorched her hand.

Kikyo tried to reign in the power, but the past few days of holding the Crown's immense power at bay had weakened her considerably. She fought to regain some of the previous control, but to no avail. Kagome's holy power was spinning dangerously out of control and soon no one would be able to help her.

Sesshomaru casually leaned against the wall in the hallway for more than an hour as the power fluctuated in the room at his back. Though Hoshi had placed a sealing spell over the door to protect the other youkai in the castle, Sesshomaru's heightened senses could still feel what was going on, though it was thankfully dulled.

He felt the evil of the poison warring forcefully against the miko's spiritual powers. The purity of the holy energy snapped powerfully against his own youki, which he suppressed not only for his own comfort, but also so as not to interfere with the process happening only a few feet from where he stood. The evil was lessening steadily and had become almost nonexistent when he felt the miko's powers surge with renewed strength. The force of it knocked the breath from his body as his own powers leapt up to defend against the onslaught of pure energy. He heard the miko cry out and a moment later felt Hoshi react painfully.

An alarm sounded in his head as he realized something had gone wrong. Heedless of Hoshi's earlier warning, and of his own regard, Sesshomaru broke through the seal and slid the door open.

A cursory glance analyzed the scene before him. Rin lay in the center of the room, color and warmth replaced the eerie look of death he had seen only an hour prior. The miko had succeeded. That was good.

Hoshi leaned away from the miko, holding her hand, which was still smoking. That was not so good. He looked at the miko.

She was on her hands and knees, head down as she radiated an incredible amount of power from her small frame. That was bad.

Sesshomaru could tell she was in pain and had pushed the control of her powers much farther than she could handle. If something wasn't done, she was probably going to die. He decided that was an undesirable outcome. Without further thought or concern, Sesshomaru reached down and grabbed the miko by the upper arm, pulling her up to her knees. Kagome immediately reached out and grabbed his shoulder with both hands in a viselike grip.

Sesshomaru jerked back as an intense feeling lanced through his body from her touch, forcing her hands to slid down to grip tightly around the area InuYasha had sliced off in battle. A tingling sensation started in his shoulder and traveled quickly down to pool at the end. The tingling began to burn as Sesshomaru tried to pull out of the woman's hold. Her forehead was pressed against her hands as they gripped his arm for all she was worth. She was much stronger than he realized and he found it surprising how fierce of a hold her small hands could have for a human. Her powers escalated a moment more before they started to pull back and become focused once again. Sesshomaru looked over at Hoshi and saw the sorceress had picked up the black stone in both hands and seemed to be speaking quietly. He thought perhaps she was trying to speak to him, though he couldn't hear anything over the howling noise that filled his ears from the spiritual powers pouring from the miko gripping his arm.

Hoshi opened her eyes and met Sesshomaru's for a moment. "I'm sorry yama," she murmured, slight regret written across her features. Sesshomaru's eyes widened in confusion.

Kagome whimpered as a burst of power poured out of her hands and into Sesshomaru's arm, sending the powerful lord across the room and through the opposite wall.

The dust cleared and Hoshi took a deep breath. Looking around the room, she took stock. The miko was slumped on the floor unconscious but alive. Rin's breathing came easy as the color seeped back into her skin, a telltale sign of life pouring back into her body. Hoshi hesitated only a moment before glancing through the hole in the wall next to the door. She saw Sesshomaru's leg and hamaka, though the rest of him was covered in debris from the collapsed wall.

It was a calculated risk that she made in a split second of clarity. Even though it happened in a moment of chaos, it still had the desired outcome. Her objectives were clear now and she knew just how to proceed.

Of course he was going to be angry and probably want to throttle her, but in the end it would all be worth it. The biggest challenge was going to be keeping him from killing the miko, but she was sure she could prevent that. After all, the miko did return what was precious to him. In more ways than one. Even if he had convinced himself over the years otherwise.

Hoshi strode to the door calling for a servant. One appeared within moments and looked with wide eyes from Sesshomaru's prone form to Hoshi, accusation and fear plain to see.

"Take Rin to her chamber and see that she is settled. Send me Hiraiku and Shizuka immediately."

The servant bowed and gently picked up Rin from the floor. He hurried out and down the hall. Hoshi turned back to the Miko and smiled.

"You did well Kagome."

Feeling the cold weight of the stone, she looked down. It glittered ominously in her hand.

"And you, my old friend, will soon be at an end."

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 20 of 60

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