Continuing Tales

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 4 of 60

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There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope.
- George Eliot

"Why must I always be the one stuck watching you," Jaken cried for the fifth time in two hours.

"Because Jaken-sama, you are one of Sesshomaru-sama's most trusted servants," the little girl smiled as she picked another flower and placed it into the basket looped through her arm. Her pink and white kimono rustled gently in the spring breeze. Every day she came to the garden and picked flowers for the vase that sat in Sesshomaru's sleeping quarters.

"Of course I am one of his most trusted servants. Sesshomaru-sama entrusts me with your safety. I can hardly leave you out here with only Hoshi to protect you!" Jaken screeched as he thumped the Staff of Two Heads on the soft grass.

Rin turned to Hoshi and rolled her eyes. The housekeeper smiled slyly before removing all expression from her face.

It had been over a year since Sesshomaru gathered enough forces to wage the battle that reclaimed his father's lands. To keep her safe, he had taken Rin to a mountain in the far north where he placed her in the care of Hoshi.

Hoshi lessened the sting of separation by filling their time together with stories and legends of ages gone by. Rin became very fond of the woman and when Sesshomaru came to retrieve the little girl two months later, Hoshi was asked to accompany the pair home.

The woman's small frame and long black hair added to the appearance of benign kindness. Unique violet eyes were the only telltale sign of her vast age and wisdom. In fact, there were few alive who knew very much about the woman, only that she had been a valued ally to the Inu No Taishou, and remains a faithful servant in The House of the Moon and the Western lord to this day.

Rin loved everything about her new life. Between the perfectly manicured gardens, lavish bathhouse, elegant rooms, and all of the servants in the House of the Moon, Rin was never at a loss for company or something to do. Much of her time was spent in the company of Hoshi who, like Sesshomaru, fascinated her. When Rin wasn't asking the woman questions about every topic known to man, she spent the rest of her time staring at the sorceress's kimono. At first glance the fabric seemed to be made simply from a shimmering white silk. Though after careful observation, Rin noticed that slight patterns would appear and disappear when the woman moved. It would both infuriate and mesmerize the girl since the pattern never seemed to stay long enough to make it out. Hoshi was an enigma to all within the House of the Moon, especially the youngest resident.

However, Rin's most treasured aspect of this new life was that she was allowed to stay with Sesshomaru. It didn't matter to her that his manner toward her had not altered much, he remained as stoic and introverted as ever to all he came into contact with. He did make several changes in her life that belied this seemingly lack of affection. One such change was the addition of an education. Soon after settling into the House of the Moon, he had employed a fox demon by the name of Shizuka to teach Rin everything that a young lady living in a noble house needed to know. He came by everyday during her lessons and quizzed the little girl on what she had learned. After a few questions, he would nod curtly and leave as quietly as he came, seeming to be neither satisfied nor displeased. By now, Rin understood that no reaction from the Lord meant that he was at least satisfied with her progress.

Thinking of her Lord, Rin looked back toward the castle. 'I hope Sesshomaru-sama is having a good day today.'

Golden eyes watched the exchange in the garden from his office window. Sesshomaru should be listening to the bat youkai kneeling before his desk spouting advice, however, he needed no opinions from this lesser being. Sesshomaru, Lord of the Western Lands only asked advice of a select few, and that was infrequent at best.

The object of his attention had no idea that the Taiyoukai had reclaimed his inheritance sooner than he had planned because of her. Since it pleased him to keep her with him, he realized it would be more appropriate, as well as safer, for the little girl to have a stable place to live. Naraku had used her more than once to get to the Taiyoukai and he had decided to remove her from that threat and place her in a situation that he had complete control over.

Sesshomaru was very finicky about who entered and served in his home. It was made clear to all that should anyone harm the girl, they would not survive long enough to see the result of their actions. Sesshomaru knew that ambitious youkai who wished to usurp him might try and use her. Therefore he surrounded her by a select few members in which he placed his trust. These youkai were always in her presence and personally trained by him in the art of combat. That she was kept unaware of this was by his decree. He wished to preserve the innocent and trusting spirit she so boldly displayed, not be fearful of the home he fought to regain for her. Every youkai that she had come to love and trust was in fact, a trained assassin and bodyguard, with the exception of Jaken and Ah-Un. Their sole purpose in his home was to protect that which he refused to acknowledge as his most treasured possession.

Though his actions to ensure her safety seemed excessive, he knew it was only a matter of time before either Naraku, or a rival demon, made a move against him again. Sesshomaru intended to keep the fight strictly between his enemy and himself.

As he turned back to the droning vassal and mountains of paperwork covering his desk, he took a deep breath and repeated the vow he made to himself the last time Rin was abducted.

'My little girl is off limits.'

"Are you guys ready yet?" InuYasha impatiently paced in the clearing while his companions packed up their belongings.

They had decided to wait until dawn before setting off in search of Naraku, much to InuYasha's annoyance. Thankfully, Sango had slept soundly and awoke feeling much better. It was a relief that there were no lasting effects of the lizard-youkai's attack.

"Sango are you sure that you are feeling well enough to travel?" Miroku asked for the second time that morning. His concern was written plainly across his face.

"For the last time, I'm fine Miroku," Sango sighed as she slung Hiraikotsu into place on her back. She stopped and stared at Kagome's yellow bag lying at her feet. Tears gathered as she fought the feelings of fear and sadness. She refused to lose her composure in front of her friends again. Slowly she bent and retrieved the subtle reminder of the girl she loved like a sister. Turning around, her gaze fell on Kagome's bow and quiver held in Miroku's hands. Raising her eyes to his face, she could see the same thoughts and feelings reflected in the dark blue orbs. He took an unconscious step toward her but stopped himself. Instead he just stared at her. Compassion and something much stronger mingled together.

"We'll find her Sango. I promise."

Sango only nodded and turned to get on Kirara. Miroku hopped up behind her and placed his staff in its customary place braced against Sango's stomach. Shippo clutched Kagome's bag and breathed in her scent as he sat in front of Sango, a tear slipping down his cheek. The kitsune had been noticeably quiet since Sango's outburst the night before.

Kirara and InuYasha leaped into the air to begin their trek north.

InuYasha's anger had not faded. Every minute that passed was another minute that Naraku could be inflicting unspeakable harm. He would not even think that she might be dead. Bounding through the air, he inhaled deeply and prayed he would catch a whiff of her. As his thoughts swirled around revenge and rescue, a familiar voice broke through the haze.

"Master InuYasha, why the pensive face?" came from his left shoulder.

"Myoga, where did you come from?"

"I just arrived. I almost didn't catch up, you were going so fast. What's the hurry Master InuYasha?"

"We're hunting Naraku. He sent a demon to kidnap Kagome two days ago."

"Oh my. Well we must find her!" The flea sniffed as he settled into a more comfortable position on the hanyou's shoulder.

"That's the idea Myoga."

InuYasha took another deep breath and caught the slight scent of the one he sought. He picked up the pace and concentrated. The smell became stronger.

Rage and hope tangled as he let out a primal growl.

"What is it Master InuYasha?" Myoga inquired sleepily as he dozed languidly.


Kagome had been trudging through the forest for the last day with Katsuro walking casually behind her, as if they were on a stroll. The only telltale sign that this was no normal situation was the low buzzing sound from Naraku's Saimyosho that followed above them. That and the creepy lizard youkai shadowing her steps.

Kagome's confidence in her imminent rescue was beginning to fade. Her situation had become decidedly more sinister since she awoke in Naraku's castle. In fact, her circumstances were downright bleak at the moment. Katsuro had demonstrated that rather forcefully not long after he had first invaded her mind. She shivered as she thought back to that first encounter in the cell.

She had been sitting on the palette trying to think of a plan of action when she heard the door open. In strode the lizard youkai that had attacked her and Sango on the path. He walked to the center of the room and looked down at her with something akin to excitement shining in his green eyes.

His skin was a sickly greenish brown that seemed unnaturally smooth. He had no hair or eyebrows and his pupils were more slits than rounded ovals. He wore a light tan shirt and dark green loose pants, and a sword was strapped to his hip. It was the gold necklace that hung from his neck with a large black stone dangling from the end that caught her attention. The stone made Kagome feel uncomfortable as it exuded a very powerful demonic aura separate from Katsuro's.

"Little Miko, are you ready to go and find sacred jewel shards for Naraku?"

"Are you kidding? The only thing I would help that creep do is set himself on fire." Kagome got to her feet and stared defiantly back at the youkai, looking much braver than she felt.

"I wouldn't say such things too loudly if I were you. Besides, you have no choice in the matter. I was merely being polite," Katsuro crossed his arms over his chest.

"You call holding me prisoner and forcing me to look for jewel shards for my mortal enemy polite!" Kagome's voice grew shrill as she continued, "You're crazy if you think that I'll do anything for that monster."

"Don't make this harder upon yourself," his tone was apologetic, but his eyes glowed in anticipation.

Without warning, Kagome felt the faint buzzing sound in her head begin as her mind was pulled into two directions. The conversation moved to inside her head.

'Not again!' she thought with despair.

'You're the one who needs a demonstration', his voice slithered through her mind. 'I warned you to play nice or things would get difficult.'

'Get out of my head!' she backed away from him and began circling toward the open door.

'I kind of like being in your head, you have strange thoughts and feelings. I also like your power. I've never controlled such a powerful human,' he mused with a slimy smile.

"Controlled? What do you mean controlled?" she said aloud this time.

He answered in her head 'Simple, like this.'

Kagome's body turned and walked right up to Katsuro. Kagome could still feel her body, but it was as if she was just a passenger and not the driver. She tried to fight the movement all the way across room but only succeeded in feeling a pain bloom inside her head. When she reached the youkai she felt her body drop to her knees and bow her forehead to the floor in a formal, perfectly executed bow.

'What? Stop it!' her distress brought her holy powers to the surface and as they flared she was hit with the most intense pain she had ever experienced. Her powers seemed to scald her, but do nothing to the youkai standing only inches away.

She gasped as she looked up at the youkai. 'What just happened to me?'

'I'll tell you so that you can keep from killing yourself. You're no good to me dead. Whenever your holy powers flare to attack me, they're directed back at you. The pain you feel is the same that a demon feels upon purification. Since I control the stones, they protect me and I decide what to do with your powers at all times. I suggest that you keep your powers under firm control because every time you try and attack me, the same thing will happen. And if we should run into your friends, well, I could turn those powers against them if I so choose. Be a good girl and don't make me punish you, all right?

With that he turned and left the room, leaving Kagome on her hands and knees staring into the depths of her growing despair.

Kagome's thoughts were drawn back to the forest floor in front of her as she stumbled on a root. Righting herself, she heard that wheezy chuckle that she had come to despise sound behind her. He seemed to find her more and more amusing as they traveled along.

'If he laughs at me one more time, I swear I'll…' she stomped along and stumbled again when he answered her out loud.

"You'll do what little Miko?"

She had forgotten that their minds had been linked since first leaving the castle. "I'll do something really bad to you, I can tell you that!" She didn't know what she could do yet, since everything she tried seemed to either cause her incredible pain or become a mortifying experience.

The worst of her encounters so far was with Naraku. As Katsuro was escorting her out of her underground prison, she tried to make a break for it.

Running quickly through the hallways hoping that one way would lead her outside, she collided with a very solid body and hit the ground with force. As she scrambled to her feet she looked up into the one face that brought her absolute fear. Naraku stared down with loathing.

"Katsuro, why is this pathetic human running through my hallways?"

Katsuro had followed her flight at a leisurely pace and stopped a few feet behind Kagome.

"I thought it would be fun to allow her, for a moment, to believe she could escape."

Naraku continued to stare at the human that had foiled his plans so many times. Her resemblance to Kikyo was disturbing and fed his anger even more. He wanted to strike her down right there and watch her blood soak the walls. If it were not for her ability to see the shards of the Shikon no Tama, her body would already be cold.

"Naraku, allow her to make amends, what can she do to appease you?"

Naraku thought for a minute and then grinned cynically. "She can stand there and watch me kill every last one of her friends, including that weakling InuYasha."

With this he backhanded Kagome, knocking her against a wall. Her holy powers flared again and she tried without success to contain them. The pain made her scream in agony.

Naraku stepped over Kagome, allowing a heavily booted foot to make contact with her side, and walked down the hall. His evil laughter echoed throughout the castle.

A familiar tingling started in her head as she sensed a shard in the distance. As soon as this thought materialized, Katsuro changed their direction and they headed off toward the shard.

"You are a handy little thing aren't you?" Katsuro quipped with what seemed like pleasure. "Maybe I'll keep you after this whole thing with Naraku is done."

Kagome trembled at the thought. 'InuYasha, please hurry and find me?'

The youkai chuckled again, letting her know he had heard her silent plea.

A few minutes later, the pair broke into a clearing and came upon a huge youkai that was feasting on a dead cow. The demon turned toward the pair and stood, eyes locked on Kagome.

"Retrieve the shard," Katsuro said in a bored voice.

"Are you kidding me? That thing could kill me with a single blow!" Kagome backed away from the clearing and turned toward the woods.

"Must I do everything?" Katsuro said with a sigh.

Kagome's body stopped and turned back to the clearing. She walked with such an outward appearance of serenity that the violent and loud stream of curses pouring from her mouth made for quite an odd sight.

"Not again! I swear when this thing kills me and comes after you, you'll be sorry you ass. And if by some miracle I do kill it, you better run because I'm going to make you pay you bastard! Son of a Bitch!" Her scream pierced the air as her holy powers surged from her body, dissolving the youkai in a pink haze.

Kagome hit her knees as tears streamed down her face. She bowed her head and prayed the feeling would go away, the use of her holy powers was excruciating. It felt as if the inside of her body was being scalded, her skin bubbling and peeling off of her body.

By the time she regained her breath; Katsuro had retrieved the shard from the youkai's remains and handed it off to one of the insects.

"Get up. We don't have time for this."

Kagome struggled to her feet and fought down the nausea that threatened to cause even more misery.

Katsuro was becoming curious about his little miko. Even though he was protected from her powers by the stones, she had such incredible strength that when her powers flared, he could still feel a slight burning in his youkai. He could tell that she had no idea how to use her powers; since she could have easily withstood the sedation he placed her under as well as killed him before he had even gotten close enough to kidnap her. He was sure that even his control over her at the moment was not harnessing her full potential. Yes, his curiosity was peaked. 'Now I understand why Naraku fears her.'

Katsuro watched the miko in front of him. He could feel how much the recent use of her powers had drained her energy. He needed to strengthen her considerably in order to defeat the one who planned to betray him. He was no fool, Naraku would kill him as soon as he completed the Shikon no Tama. However, Katsuro could feel that his little miko was vastly stronger than the jewel could ever be. She was completely unaware of her power, and he planned to take full advantage of her ignorance.

"We have company. I suggest you warn them to stay back, otherwise someone may get hurt."

Kagome turned to the youkai, question showing in her eyes as a familiar voice called out to her.

"Kagome!" InuYasha shouted as he came into sight.

"InuYasha!" she could feel Katsuro gathering her powers to the fore. "Stay away from me!" She didn't like how easily he seemed able to control her powers when most of the time she had a hard time shooting a simple sacred arrow.

InuYasha landed about twenty feet away, soon after followed by Kirara. Sango and Miroku hopped to the ground and flanked InuYasha, weapons drawn and ready. Their faces showed their confusion at her statement.

"Kagome, are you alright? Did he hurt you?" InuYasha's voice was gentle, but his face was harsh.

"I'm okay, but you need to stay back…please" Kagome arms were outstretched palms up, warding her friends away.

"Why should I do that? What is that thing on your head?" His eyes looked her over and then moved past Kagome to Katsuro standing a few feet behind.

"I don't know, but I can't control my powers anymore so stay away. I could purify you InuYasha," her voice wavered and broke on his name. "They're using me to find jewel shards."

InuYasha took a step toward Kagome but stopped when she took a step back in the direction of Katsuro.

"What are you doing to her you bastard?" InuYasha drew Tessaiga and glared at the youkai.

"I am the master of this Miko and her holy powers. You need not worry, she is valuable to me and I'll allow no harm to befall her." His expression was smug as he walked up to Kagome and ran his clawed fingers through the hair lying over her shoulder.

InuYasha's growl almost drowned out Sango's question.

"What do you mean master?"

"She now wears the Crown of Chikara, I control it and her."

A Saimyosho flew to Katsuro and hovered next to his head. He nodded and turned back to the group in front of him.

"I feel it necessary to show you just what your friend is capable of. After all, Naraku did instruct me to kill you when you came after the girl InuYasha."

A blast of holy powers struck the ground where her friends were standing, shearing off several trees in its wake. When the dust cleared an empty crater showed that the blast had missed its target.

Kagome was sweating and barely able to stand. Katsuro knew that her body was not strong enough yet to release the amount of energy it would take to kill InuYasha. He needed to postpone this encounter until after he had strengthened the miko. They needed to leave before she killed herself.

"Now if you will excuse us, we have things to do," he turned and walked back into the woods, leaving Kagome behind with her friends.

"Get back here you coward!" InuYasha shouted before he looked again at Kagome. "Come on Kagome," his voice gentle once again as he took her arm. As soon as their bodies touched, red sparks shot out and slammed into the hanyou, knocking him to the ground.

"What the hell was that?" InuYasha struggled up off the ground, smoke rising from his clothes, his hand burnt.

"I'm sorry InuYasha." Kagome felt Katsuro pull her body after him into the woods. As she glanced over her shoulder, she caught her friend's confusion and upset.

Her heart broke with every step that took her farther from her friends.

InuYasha was just about to follow Kagome when a voice at his shoulder stopped him.

"Master InuYasha, do not follow her."

"Why the hell not?"

"Did you not hear that demon? She is wearing the Crown of Chikara. We must come up with a plan before approaching her again."

"I don't need a plan. I'll just use Tessaiga and kill that demon that is with her. Then we can just take the crown off."

"Unfortunately that will not work. The crown has harnessed Kagome's holy powers and he controls the crown. He can turn those powers against you at any moment."

"I've heard of the Crown of Chikara, but until now thought that it was only a legend." Miroku said as he continued to look toward the woods. The monk went on to tell the legend of the Crown to his companions.

"Yes, I had heard that it was found, but I had not heard by whom. The power of the crown is immense and Kagome is in great danger. We need to do something soon, otherwise we may never see her again," Myoga said gravely.

"Well, how do we get the crown off her?" Sango said as she cradled a weepy Shippo in her arms.

Myoga turned to the hanyou. "The binding spell of the stones can only be released by the one wearing the necklace, or by severing it from the wearer's neck. Then the crown can be removed, hopefully without any side-effects."

"What do you mean side-effects?" InuYasha asked.

"What do you mean hopefully?" Sango demanded at the same time.

"Well, Kagome's spiritual powers are entwined with the crown and if the spell is not released correctly, or if one of the stones is to become damaged, then Kagome's powers will be absorbed by the crown. She cannot survive this." Myoga explained. "The true intention of the crown is to absorb miko powers and kill the miko. If we are not careful, that is what is going to happen."

"Look, just tell me how to save Kagome without hurting her?" InuYasha said impatiently. He was not going to let Naraku kill another woman that he cared about.

"The youkai Goshinki was the only demon to sever the spell of the dark priestess Leiko. It will require the help of someone in possession of equal power." Myoga paused, "We are going to need his help," The flea said tentatively, bracing himself for the coming explosion.

"Whose help? What're ya talkin' about Myoga? I killed Goshinki a long time ago," the hanyou bit out impatiently.

"I think I know," Miroku said calmly. "InuYasha, Sesshomaru's sword Tokijin is made from the fangs of Goshinki. His sword will be able to sever the spell."

"You mean I have to ask that bastard for help? No way! I'll do this without him."

"InuYasha, this is important. Sometimes we have to do things that are unpleasant in order to get the desired results." Miroku walked toward InuYasha, hoping to convince him.

"I know, but I won't ask him. He'll never do it anyway." InuYasha looked down at his claws, "Kagome is my responsibility and it's up to me to save her. I'll have to find another way."

Sango and Miroku shared exasperated glances and Shippo, ever the antagonist, spoke aloud what they were all thinking.

"Man InuYasha, you're such a jerk sometimes. Forget your stupid pride and do what has to be done to get Kagome back!"

A loud thump followed by a sharp cry of a kitsune was the only response.

The Wind and the Mountain

A InuYasha Story
by Mearasama

Part 4 of 60

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