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Finding A Place in their Hearts

Chapter Text

“In the land of Hyrule, there
echoes a legend. A legend held
dearly by the Royal Family that
tells of a boy…
A boy who,
after battling evil and saving
Hyrule, crept away from the land
That had made him a legend…
Done with the battles he once
waged across time, he embarked
on a journey. A secret
and personal journey…
A journey in search of a
beloved and invaluable friend…
A friend with whom he parted
ways when he finally fulfilled his
heroic destiny and took his place
among legends…”

 

The woods were strangely quiet that evening, with night slowly creeping up, changing the once blue sky dark, with colors set off into the horizon where the sun began its slow descent. Alone in such a mysterious and dangerous place, a young boy, approximately fourteen years of age, wandered to and fro repeatedly in a manner of frustration. All the while, a memory which had burned itself deep within his subconscious years before pulled at his emotions. This memory haunted him during the day and throughout his restless sleep. Fear, helplessness, naivety, those were the three emotions triggered on that fatal day.

Flash back

While Link had searched throughout all of Hyrule for Navi, he could not find her. Without her there with him, Link felt alone, like he had long before he met her. Sure he had friends back in Kokiri Forest, but there was not one child who understood his feeling more than she did. There was no meaning if she was not there with him, and he knew it was selfish of him to want her back, but the truth in the matter must have been that her task was over. Navi was to lead Link forward on what seemed like an impossible quest filled with unspeakable dangers, yet she guided him through, warning him and educating him on the most common of things. Link was never truly a Kokiri; he figured that out long ago.

Link knew he would probably never see her again, and the thought troubled him. He searched through the Lost Woods, searching among the trees hopefully. There were several times he had even called out to her, but she never answered. Losing faith that he might never locate his fairy friend, Link ushered his foul, Epona, to stop as he looked about the forest. She wasn’t there.

Not long after his stop, he was suddenly bombarded by two fairies. Frightened, Epona reared back, throwing Link to the ground where he laid unconscious for a few moments. All of it was unexpected, and when he opened his eyes, he found who was responsible.

Playing with his ocarina, an imp, with his back to the child, slowly turned and jumped with alarm. Feigning innocence, he hid the ocarina behind him. Before Link could jump at him to retrieve his instrument, the imp wearing the strange mask jumped onto his stead before taking off in a mad hurry. Not giving up so easily, Link managed to latch onto the misfit’s leg, and although it was painful as his body hit the ground, he kept his hold tight. The moment Epona changed her direction, the imp kicked Link right in the face, effectively knocking him to the ground as he made his escape.

Link chased after despite that. He entered a tunnel and fell off a ledge into an abyss of darkness, with colors and shapes that rose up around him. Not a moment longer, Link reached the end, falling upon a flower which eased his landing. It was there, in that small dark room that he confronted the trouble maker, who at the time was hovering in midair. The thief laughed at him and explained that he got rid of his horse, much to Link’s disbelief. Because Link was not laughing right along with him, he suddenly placed a spell of some sort on the boy. After that he ran away, and one of his supposed fairy companions was left behind.

In his new transformed state, Link tried to chase after, but the fairy made that difficult for him, but before long she accompanied Link on his new adventure, wanting only to get to her brother.

When Link left the room, he realized he was inside a Clock Tower, and it was there that Link met a familiar man who claimed to have been following him for some time. The man, who was actually a mask-sales man from Hyrule, practically forced Link to recollect an important mask that was stolen from him by the same imp.

Link agreed on the task, and it wasn’t only because the older man needed help, but also to get his original form back, as well as the precious ocarina which was given to him by the princess. Not only that, but without his horse, how would he travel the vast distances around the land? That and he made a promised to a dear friend back in Hyrule. Epona was under his care, and Link wasn’t the type to break a promise.

No longer in Hyrule, Link found his surroundings strange. There was no castle, but there were familiar faces. No one seemed to recognize Link, and of course it was understandable since he was in the form of a Deku child. The land was called Termina, and at the time, it faced a calamity of terror. The moon, which appeared awfully close to the land, slowly descended upon Termina, and there was only three days before it would fall. The citizens were either in fear or were nonchalant about it. Either way, Link had to do something.

He traveled across the land’s four regions and defeated many familiar monsters and some that were morbid. On his way, he made friends and enemies; some proved helpful and others quite bothersome. There were also many side quests Link took part in. Whether it was saving a monkey who was imprisoned by a worried king or playing a melody on his ocarina to return a daughter’s father back to normal, Link helped in any way that he could, but he only had three days to save everyone, and with his ocarina, it was easily achieved. The Song of Time, taught to him long before, helped him greatly in this adventure. With the melody, he was able to go back to the first day he set foot in Termina, and he learned more melodies which allowed him to slow the flow of time or to make it go by faster.

Eventually he faced the true evil threatening the land, and with the help of the four giants which protected Termina, he challenged the mask which was responsible for everything. It was then that Link realized that it wasn’t the imp responsible for so much trouble, but it was in fact the mask. The artifact took complete control over the imp’s mind, making a puppet out of him.

Valiantly, Link defeated the cursed mask, known as Majora, and the imp was free to go about his life. The green garbed youth saved Termina from what appeared to be an inevitable end. The people, no longer living in the shadows of evil, celebrated jubilantly for the New Day. Link, however, would not attend such a festival; he had to be elsewhere. He knew he couldn’t put his previous quest on hold any longer. Because the land was safe, and no longer in need of aid, Link ventured away from Clock Town.

Standing near the outskirts of Clock Town, near the woods entrance, Link approached the grinning man before he could leave on his journey. Believing that he would finally return home, Link questioned if he remembered the path back to his homeland. For a while, Link pondered on how the man could have happened in Termina as it was indeed a mystery. Could he have followed Link or perhaps he knew of this other world?

“After retrieving my mask, I am quite thankful…indeed, it took me such great lengths to get this mask, but you were courageous enough to return it to me. I owe you greatly,” Happy Mask Salesman replied, marveling over the mask, yet inspecting the inside, before his smile fell. “I see…so the evil has fled…”

Baffled, Link couldn’t help but wonder if he was upset about the loss of the spirit that had dwelled within the mask. As far as he remembered, the spirit was filled with malevolent and ill powers, and still Link wondered why the Happy Mask Salesman went to great lengths to get the mask of Majora. In fact, where had he gotten it and why?

“Well I’m afraid my time is just about up. There are places I need to be, and I must be going.”
Link nodded. “I see. Good luck on your travels.

Pausing, he scrutinized the boy, before placing a finger thoughtfully on his chin. “But then…surely you don’t plan to remain in Termina, do you? For someone so lively and full of tremendous courage…”

Link smiled. “Actually I plan on heading back to Hyrule after today, but…I am unsure of how to return…I’ve traveled these woods, but they do not lead to my homeland.”

Having heard the name, Hyrule, his interest grew. “Hmm…Hyrule you say? Let me think…yes, I do remember spending some short days there, but I’m afraid I can’t remember the path back either,” He apologized, his regular smiling reappearing on his face. “You could always ask around, but I’m sure no one here has heard of the land, but then again, there are other worldly beings that might know.”

Link was surprised. Wait, didn’t the older man just recently arrive in Termina from the Lost Woods three days ago? And somehow he couldn’t remember the path back? It didn’t make sense, but at the time, Link didn’t think too much on it. “I guess I could ask the Great Fairy,” He said aloud.

Before departing, he turned back. “Where there is a greeting a parting is sure to follow, but that parting need not last forever…farewell, and I hope that you will not stay too long here.” With that said, he walked off a few short distances before his entire form disappeared from view, and it was then that Link couldn’t help but wonder about that man’s origins. Who was the Happy Mask Salesman?

Deciding not to think too much on the subject, he smiled, and turned back to the town. His walk into town was not as stifling as it had been three days prior, in fact, there was a certain skip in his step, and that was of fulfillment. Link had successfully saved the town and all of Termina from what seemed like an inevitable end.

Familiar faces passed him as he brushed by many civilians celebrating the New Year, and because it was so early in the day, the carpenters were busy setting up the fireworks for that night, while the children frolicked around joyously, and young couples conversed, holding hands and expressing their sweet affections. From all of this, Link smiled.

Everyone was happily, and there was important news abuzz, and that regarded a certain ceremony for a familiar and happy couple by the names of Anju and Kafei. Long ago, the two had made a promise to wed, and this day marked the day of promise. The wedding was said to begin exactly at noon, and because there was still time to spare, Link ventured up the ramp and past the Clock Tower toward the North sector of the town, where he was sure to find the cave of the Great Fairy. He knew that after getting exact coordinates to his homeland, he’d be sure to attend the ceremony and then leave the town.

Upon noticing his presence in her spring, the Great Fairy offered a kindly smile. Graceful and full of beauty, she hovered above her fountain, her long flowing hair cascading around her in soft curls. “Hello Link, what can I do for you today?”

“I was hoping you would know of a way back to Hyrule.”

At the mentioning of ‘Hyrule,’ her smile fell and she pondered for a few short moments. “Hyrule? Is that your homeland? I can’t seem to recall a place with that name.”

“Huh?” What did she mean she didn’t know of Hyrule? The path from the Lost Woods brought him to Termina, in fact it was that long drop down a tree trunk that manifested himself into the place, so similar to his own land. “I came here by a doorway leading from inside the Clock Tower. I arrived here three days ago, and once I entered into the tower, the door closed. It hasn’t opened since,” Link admitted despondently.

How strange. The Great Fairy couldn’t comprehend such a situation, and she wondered if it was possible he had been sent here to Termina to aid in the destruction of the land. “I see…”

Link sighed, and removed his cap, scratching his head uncertain of what to do now. Should he go out and search for clues on how to return? Other than trying to pry the door open, he knew it wouldn’t open with his strength alone. That’s why he sought the help of the Great Fairy.

She frowned. “I’m afraid I can’t help you…I’m not sure what magic brought you here to Termina, but I’m afraid you might be stuck here…but that does not mean you should give up on finding a way,” She kindly explained, hoping to refuel his ambitions to continue his search.

“I see…” If she did not know, then that meant there was no way to return. Still that didn’t mean he would give up on his search for Hyrule. If there was a way in Termina, then there was surely a way out… “I kind of wish see everyone again…” He faked a laugh. The whole point of this quest was to find Navi, his missing fairy companion, and after his quest in Termina, there had been no sighting of her anywhere.

“You miss your friends…” The Great Fairy noted, reading his thoughts easily. The enchantress could practically feel the sadness radiating off him, and it saddened her that she could not help him return home. “That door that you spoke of, in the Clock Tower…that door was used long ago by the ancient ones of Clock Town, but it was not a path leading to other worlds…in fact, it’s something much deeper, much darker, if you care to hear?”

Link nodded, bemused about the mystery surrounding that very door.

Seeing his confirmation to continue, she explained that the door was used long ago by an ancient tribe, known as the Garo. The door had initially been used as a place to house the spirits of the dead and departed; in other words, it was known as a cemetery of sort, except, the bodies of the deceased were thrown off the ledges and into the dark abyss; this was their ritual of course, but only for the elderly who died of natural causes.

But because Link had mentioned that the door had led to another world, truly did pique her interest, but as she explained, beyond that door, there was nothing but the darkness of the afterlife, and for many a millennium it had been sealed shut, and as the guardian of this world, the door had never opened as far as she knew. Even with her powers, she knew there was no possible way of breaking that seal, so however he appeared in Termina was beyond her, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t welcome to stay.

Link thought about this. How was it even possible. He distinctively remembered passing through that door, of course he had crossed through a strange path that turned in a clockwise fashion and then he was inside the tower and the door closed behind him. There was another world beyond that door…and it led to the Lost Woods; he knew for a fact because he had fallen through the tree trunk in the forest after the Skull Kid had stolen his horse and left through the same path and…

Realization returned to him. He had fallen a long ways down, so far, and had landed safely onto a flowery surface unscathed; the thought seemed too good to be true; any normal person would have possibly died from such a fall, but he hadn’t, and hovering there before him, as if awaiting his arrival was the Skull Kid, only without his horse. Somehow he had sent his horse all the way to Romani’s Ranch, but it such a short time; it seemed impossible, and why would he come back just to wait on him? There had been some strange magic used that day; Link didn’t understand how it was used, but maybe that magic could return him home.

Noticing his thoughts trying to decipher how he had been brought to Termina, the Great Fairy couldn’t help but wait patiently.

‘I don’t understand…I mean I never thought about it before, but my arrival here does not seem possible…’ In truth, Link knew the Lost Woods like the back of his hand, and all that time, he never knew of a place that could send you to another world, that held many of the same faces of the people he once knew back in Hyrule. A parallel universe? Or, was it something much more? If it was a parallel universe, then wouldn’t that mean there would be someone just like himself here?
No. There was only him, no other copy.

Fed up, and bothered because he could not fathom any of it, he turned his attention back to the floating enchantress. “Is there anything in your power that could possibly send me back?” Link didn’t belong here.

For a moment, she was silent. “I’m afraid I don’t have the ability to send you back into your world…my powers are limited, I’m afraid…however, I can try to focus on your world and show you a vision of your home land, if you wish? It might take some time…”

Link frowned deeply. No way home, huh? Gulping, he slowly nodded, and he watched as a bright light enveloped her form as she concentrated on her task.

Chapter Text

Four years passed since that fateful day when Link realized he could no longer return home; that alone made it difficult for him to accept. Not only was it impossible to open that door, which had brought him into the Clock Tower, but she had mentioned that it had been sealed for thousands of years, and it had never opened; that was impossible. Link remembered passing through it, but after, it refused to open. The Great Fairy had even gone on to say that she never heard of Hyrule, but she was able to show him a vision of his homeland, since her magical abilities were limited to such, and he agreed, if only to see the faces of those he once knew one last time.

On that day, his life changed. He witnessed the events that passed him by, as if he were standing there, next to the people, though everything was in black and white.
During his absence, the citizens of Hyrule lived on, carefree and without worries. Ganondorf had been bind and sentenced to the Evil Realm soon after Link brought the news to Zelda on the day he departed from the land. During that time, Link remembered the shock she received when he stumbled into the castle court yard without going noticed, and she at first couldn’t believe her eyes.

Zelda opened up to him, and she explained in a dream she had, that he was the light appearing out of the storm clouds, the darkness which threatened Hyrule. But because the future Zelda had sent him back in time to relive his childhood, the least he could do was warn her of the disasters to come when Ganondorf took control, and the news had startled her immensely. With her faithful nursemaid, Impa, the two had devised a way in which to trick him and to cause distrust amongst the Gerudos and Ganondorf, and soon after, the King banished him for all of eternity.

A happy ending? Yes…and no.

The land prospered, and stories were passed on from parent to child, but it was not a legend that Link felt pleased to hear, in fact, it dismayed him, angered him, and it hurt him deep inside.

After being sent back to relive his childhood, and after warning the Princess, there had been no reason to retrieve the Master Sword from the Pedestal of Time, and because of that, the legend did not speak of a hero rising up and quelling any kind of evil, simply because the evil had already been dealt with by the King. Therefore, his exploits were not seen.

If that wasn’t bad enough, she managed to show him his alternate future, the one in which he had fought and slain Ganondorf before Link was sent back to relive his childhood, and because he had disappeared from the land so suddenly, Ganondorf had somehow escaped from his imprisonment and with it brought catastrophe. The people pleaded to the Goddesses for the Hero’s return to save them once more, but the hero never returned; he had vanished, and a great evil descended upon Hyrule.

The fate of Hyrule was so clear to him, that he could hardly bring himself to look away. Evil minions, who had escaped from the Dark Realm ravaged the land, and a rein of darkness shrouded the land. All of the inhabitants succumbed to many disasters some natural and some not so. Zora Domain froze over; and the Gorons were trapped inside their village, except for a few survivors.

Water levels rose at an alarming rate from Lake Hylian, and in only a short amount of time, and the civilians were in such disorder that many tried in vain to flee by boats; many succeeded, braving the tides and dangerous oceans. Although the people continued to cry out for the hero, their pleas went unanswered, and soon after, the waters swallowed Hyrule.

The land, a barren ocean of a lost kingdom, with a forgotten legend was now forever buried and forgotten beneath the waves.

OOO

With his back to a lone tree, Link frowned at his reflection from the steel of his blade. While on his travels, he often pondered why the events that transpired in Hyrule happened after he entered in to Termina. Was it somehow planned out, or was it just a coincidence? There was no evidence that Ganondorf had escaped. So what was it? Was there even a reason?

Link remembered the first day he started out on his quest. At first he was naïve to a world he never knew existed. The vastness of the land intrigued the young hero, especially the village where so many people populated. While journeying across the land, still new to him, he found great excitement, that is, until he realized the sacrifices against him. For days on end, he practiced swordsmanship, archery, as well as his magic power which the Great Fairies granted to aid him on his quest. Clumsy at first, Link managed with what little he had, and it was enough to sustain him in harsh battles.

On his journey, he met friends, as well as allies, who expressed their concerns and secrets with him, and he in turn did the same. Unfortunately, they were gone, along with his missing fairy companion whom he never found. The memories of what he witnessed continued to haunt him, and at times, he was able to ignore them. Every night, when it came time to sleep, he found himself cringing at the nightmares regarding the death of his friends.

Every day, Link wondered why. Why was he given the title “Hero of Time?” How had he been a hero? If he was not destined to save Hyrule, then what was the point waiting seven long years in the Sacred Realm to defeat a man who would only die in the end? The title was nothing but a lie. Seven good years of his life were wasted, and he blamed the Goddesses. Were the Goddesses only toying with him? Did they think it was fun to mess with his life? Everyone he once knew was gone. In the end he was not a hero, he never was in the first place. Link was just another face, told that he was destined for great things. What was that? Well, apparently it was nothing.

Link’s life was messed up enough without that information. He never knew his mother or father, though he wished he had. Maybe his life would have had some meaning, and maybe just maybe it would have been less complicated. If the past had been different, then perhaps there would have been some kind of meaning.

For a moment, he realized he had been glaring at his reflection. The youth’s blue eyes were darkened with depression over the years; they were no longer full of innocence. This person staring back at him was not the carefree boy he remembered long ago. He was someone entirely different. Link had seen the evil of mankind, the cruelest of evil, and he was a survivor. Or was that part of himself already dead to the world?

Often, he wondered what it would be like to die. Would he finally be at peace? Over the past month, he attempted suicide, but he failed. Each time, he could not bring himself to do it. Every time, he felt a tightness grip at his heart, and the thoughts of life after death would penetrate his mind.

Currently, death sounded intriguing. Sure, maybe four years ago it would have frightened him, but after all that he experienced in his life up until now, all he wanted was to perish. What good was living anymore? He never had a regular childhood. He never had a real family. Link had always been alone.

The title he bore long ago was nothing but a forgotten memory. Back then, everyone used to cry, “Save me! Save me!”, but what about him? No, Link was only known as the boy who would save the land. Why would a hero need help? Rather than waste his time saving others, Link embarked on his own quest; it was a quest in search of who he really was. But after four years, he still could not figure it out.

Absentmindedly, he lowered the blade upon his wrist, watching as a trickle of blood fell to the earth at his feet. The wound he inflicted was not severe, only a slight scratch. He wanted death to consume him, yet, at the same time he was fearful. A while back, he heard tales of those that committed terrible sins. Link committed a sin; he killed. Never once did he kill a human, only monsters for the safety of the people. Yet, he was doomed to an everlasting death in brimstone and fire. Was this the fate of someone such as him? Saving a land by spilling the blood of evil?

He accepted his fate. One day, he would suffer the consequences of his actions, and he would confront an everlasting terror that he had ever faced. Even though he risked all that he had for Hyrule and Termina, he would have to pay for his sins. Was it fair? He didn’t think so, but so was the fate of the “Hero of Time.”

Wiping the blood from his wrist, Link sighed. As he stared off in to the distance, he realized he never truly left the land of Termina. Honestly, where else was there? Far out beyond the ocean, the canyon and over the mountains there was another kingdom, right? Were they any different from the others? Or was this all there was?

A soft, but strange jingling noise resonated around him, breaking Link from his thoughts. This noise, such as the sound of a bell, echoed through the forest. With his keen sense of hearing, he was unable to determine its whereabouts. With his eyes searching each direction, he expected a monster the cause of his distraction, but he was sure he was wrong.

Unexpectedly, a bright blue light blinded the boy, and he shielded his face with his hands. The light engulfed the entire area within seconds. For a moment, he thought it was a sign from the Goddesses. Who else could cause such a light? The brightness intensified, and a grunt of protest escaped his lips.

All at once, the jingling stopped, and the light faded, leaving the woods completely. Removing his hands from his face, he looked around curiously and when he did, his eyes fell on a sight he never thought he’d encounter.

Lying upon the forest floor was a group of strange foreigners, each unconscious. They were a sight to behold, and with their unusual clothing, it made them stand out.

Almost hesitant, Link approached them, keeping his eyes open for any sign of movement. His eyes fell on one of the strangers, a tall man with short ebony hair. He seemed to be in his twenties, maybe his late teens? A long purple robe, similar to a monk’s was draped over his slender form. There was something strange about him, and it wasn’t just the fact that he and his friends appeared from the sudden light, but his ears; they were round, indicating that the monk was of Gerudo descent. Overlooking that trait for now, Link took notice of the beads covering his hand and a golden staff lying next to him.

Moving along to the next, this one seemed peculiar. Unlike the normal tunics Link was used to seeing, this man was dressed in a strange red cloth, which tied at his waist. The sleeves were rather long and wide, and overall, his clothes were loose on him. Unlike the other man, this guy was much younger in the face. It wasn’t just the clothes that were odd, but the color of his hair. Long silvery hair cascaded along his back, a few strands over his shoulders. At first glance, one might mistake him for an elderly woman, but the masculine features told otherwise. Not only was his hair strange, but so were his ears. Different from his companion, this man had white canine ears atop his head, and they twitched every so often. As he peered closer, Link found the sight of him very intriguing. Not only was his ears a sight to behold, but so were his claws.

Perplexed, Link scrutinized the others before they awakened. As he inspected the remaining four, his noticed a small boy with chestnut hair pulled back in to a bun with a blue bow. The child muttered to himself, appearing quite restless. On further inspection, it was revealed that the child had pointed ears such as himself, and to top that he had a cream colored tail and fox feet. At first he thought that there was at least one of them that resembled a Terminan, but apparently not.

Movement, along with a soft sigh, perked the boy’s attention immediately, and he nearly jumped thinking one of them had already woken up, but to his relief no one had. The cause of the sudden noise came from a young woman lying on her back. She was dressed in revealing garb, and although it was distasteful for women to show so much skin, the clothes did compliment her slender figure. As flattering as it was, Link could not look away.

A blush crept onto his face, and when he observed closer, he noticed her dress was a two piece. Long ebony locks fell in curls around her form, and dark lashes brushed across her rosy cheeks. What came as a surprise to Link was that her skin was pale and unblemished, but only royalty had such skin. Perhaps she was? The rise and fall of her breast tempted him, and it took all of his control not to reach out and touch her. To him, she resembled a goddess.

The woman moved slightly, shifting in a more comfortable position as she slept. In the process of doing so, her short green dress inched up slightly, revealing more of her thigh. This woman left nothing to the imagination, and he had to avert his gaze.

A second female, sleeping right next to the other caught his interest. She seemed older than the other girl. Chestnut hair was tied in a high ponytail about her shoulder which revealed her rounded ears. She wore a white and pink dress, much different from the kind here, though it clung to her figure nicely. Lying next to her was a giant boomerang, and next to that was a strange white fur ball. This fur ball was a cat of some sort with two tails.

Taking his eyes away from the oddly dressed foreigners, Link sheathed his sword quietly. They did not appear threatening, and so he turned and walked away, but he could not help but take one final glimpse of the young female dressed in green and white before continuing on. All the while he did not notice the golden eyes watching him.

OOO

A few hours later, Link took the time to pick berries from a shrub. He’d forgotten to eat breakfast hours ago, and it was nearing late evening. The sun was beginning to descend, casting the forest in a golden glow.

The memories from before were not tormenting him as they usually did, and for that he was thankful. Perhaps the reason for this was that his mind was elsewhere. The event that took place a while ago still filled his thoughts. He wondered who they were, those people, and not only that, but the light that brought them here. If he were anyone else, the very thought of that would have been unbelieving, but it didn’t matter. Those people weren’t of any concern to him.

A noise from behind startled him from his pondering suddenly, and because of this, he dropped the berries. Nimbly, he moved away from the shrub just as an arrow flew by him. The arrow made impact to a tree a few distance away.

Standing ten or so feet from where Link stood was an average sized monster with deep scarlet eyes and green skin. Strange black markings covered its grotesque face, and a single horn stood erect upon its forehead. An arrow case was strapped to its back, and a battle axe was at his side, ready at any given time. In his iron clawed grip, he clenched a bow.

A cry escaped the beast and it suddenly charged. With its axe raised above its head, it swiped at him, but Link wasn’t the least bit worried. At the last possible second, he dodged and the attack plummeted toward the ground. As he rolled away from the beast, he unsheathed his sword and slashed at the foul monster’s open back. He learned this trick some time back on his traveling’s.

Frustrated from the Hylian’s attack, it turned and with an irate growl, struck at the boy repeatedly. Each attack was blocked by Link’s shield bearing the mark of the Triforce. Of course with the repeated assault on his shield, Link was forced backwards. Annoyed and fed up, Link thrust his shield forward, effectively ramming the monster in the face which caused it to stagger back in pain.

Within a second, and before Link could deliver another blow, the monster leapt in to the air. From below, Link followed its movements with narrowed, calculating eyes. Clenching the axe, it suddenly threw the weapon at its target, but Link easily rolled away.

Returning to his feet, Link eyed the beast hovering above. Throwing away one’s weapon was a foolish mistake, and Link already knew the outcome of this battle. Waiting for gravity to catch up to his enemy, he watched as it notched three arrows before taking aim. The arrows soared in toward Link, who remained standing. There was no point in moving, because if he did, then he would suffer severe injuries. One grazed his cheek, another his left leg, but the other one missed.

Finally gravity caught up with the feral beast, and the second it landed, the ground shook. At that moment, it ran to retrieve its weapon, and Link took that chance to charge forward. The moment he was in front of his enemy, he leapt in to the air and raised his sword.

Chapter Text

(Flashback)

“You’re already leaving this land of Hyrule, aren’t you?” A soft voice asked in a garden full of a variety of flowers. A frown marred the child’s countenance. “Even though it’s been such a short time, I feel like I’ve known you forever. I’ll never forget the times we shared together in Hyrule.”

Link stood before the girl, no older than himself. He bowed his head before her dejectedly. In truth, he did not wish to part from her, but he had to. He knew it might be a while before he returned to Hyrule, but it wouldn’t be forever.

After he returned the sword of “Evils Bane” in to its rightful place, the Temple of Time, Navi, his first fairy, left him. She said not a word and flew off. The reason for leaving was to locate his missing fairy friend, Navi, and admit his feelings of appreciation. Even though he could have admitted it while on his travels to save Hyrule, he never thought they’d part. Without her, he may not have been able to last a day out in the world, away from his forest haven.

Eyes filled with lament, he gazed upon the princess, noticing the same expression upon her countenance. Neither wanted this, but it had to be done.

But, suddenly, her face lit up. Her eyes glistened and a smile pulled at his heart. “I believe that a day shall come when we will meet again. Until that day comes, please take my Ocarina. With this, I want you to remember a song that will protect you wherever you go,” The child brought the instrument to her lips, and a soft melody resonated throughout the garden. “I’m praying that whatever you’re searching for, you’ll be safe.”

As he claimed the instrument he looked upon the girl he had come to adore. Knowing he couldn’t stand there forever, he turned his back to the princess and rode away on his stead. Link would embark on another journey in search of his missing friend. And one day, he would return.

(End Flashback)

OOO

A strange blast of light hurdled toward Link, much to his surprise. He barely dodged the attack, managing only to roll away the moment he hit the ground. The attack had sent waves of lightning, or so it appeared at his foe. The attack split the monster in half, and with one last agonizing yell, the fiend fell to the ground dead.

Blood stained the grass, spraying in all directions. Half of the body fell away while the other disintegrated. Puddles of blood surrounded the boy, soaking his boots and clothing, but it went unnoticed. While he sat there, his eyes widened.

This new found event puzzled the boy, thinking it was aid from the goddesses. Link cursed himself for getting lost in memories of old, rather than the battle. Such a careless mistake was foolish on his part. He would make sure it never happened again.

‘What’s wrong with me? Why did I suddenly think of her?’ His eyes narrowed slightly. ‘I should be paying more attention.’

Hurried footsteps approached him from behind, abruptly putting an end to his thoughts. Looking over his shoulder, Link found a puzzling sight. Running toward him, Link noticed it was the same foreigners from before. Their expressions were easily read; they were concerned and worried.

The moment their run fell short, they stopped and stared at him with relief washing over their countenances. Almost immediately some of the members looked off to what remained of the creature.

The woman that sparked Link’s utmost interest gazed at him with a calmed expression. “Thank goodness we got here in time!”

Sango, the female wearing pink and white, placed a hand to her lips. “What’s a little boy doing here?”

The man with the silvery hair, who stood a step or two in front of the individuals, turned his sights toward the monster before scrutinizing the boy. “Hey, you okay?” When he did not receive a reply, he glared. “Did you hear me? I asked if you were okay.” He was slowly beginning to grow impatient by the silent youth. Was he mute or was he deaf?

Before the half demon could do anything he might regret, which could be anything, Miroku interfered.

“Calm down, Inuyasha. I’m sure he’s quite frightened. After all, you did save him. Give him time,” Miroku suggested, though Inuyasha merely grunted with annoyance as he sheathed his sword.

Still baffled, Link regarded group. The attack had come from them? Such a powerful blast of light destroyed the monster so easily? Somewhat perplexed, Link stared with much curiosity. Just who were these people, and where did they come from? Just the oddity of their clothing was enough to set someone off with uncertainty.

Not at all hesitant, Kagome, the young female dressed in short attire, walked in his direction. Her expression told all that she was worried. “Are you okay? You’re not hurt, are you?” her soft angelic voice asked. In a troubled fashion, she placed her hand over her chest. When she was in arms reach, she bent down. Although she was not as tall as her companions, she was at least a head taller than Link. Yet, she was treating him as if he were a child who had fallen and gotten hurt, as were the rest of the odd people.

“It’s strange though,” the monk muttered as he glanced upon the body of the slain beast.

“What is it Miroku?” Sango asked, turning her head his way.

“When we neared this location, I did not sense, nor did I feel any demonic power,” he explained with bewilderment and concern. “Did you feel anything Inuyasha?”

The dog eared man, referred to as Inuyasha, gave a grunt of annoyance. “No. I just heard the shout of that thing,” he pointed toward the dead corpse. “But, it’s the strangest demon I’ve ever encountered.” His attention shifted to the young girl. “Kagome, do you sense any jewel shards on it?”

Kagome shook her head. “Sorry, but I don’t.”

Inuyasha cursed, but it was to be expected. They hadn’t found a jewel shard all week, and his impatience was beginning to run thin. Just once he would like to find one without something weird happening.

“Just what kind of demon is that anyway?” Shippo asked next to Kirara near Sango’s feet. “I’ve never seen one like that before?” The head, which sat a distance away, caused the child to shudder.

Inuyasha grunted. “Beats the hell outta me, but whatever it was its dead now.”

“It was so weak,” Sango began as she observed what was left of the Wind Scar. “I’ll have to say that’s the easiest we’ve had this week.”

The priestess smiled at this. “Well at least it wasn’t so dangerous.” Now standing, she gave Link a small smile. “What are you doing out here? It’s pretty dangerous.”

Link’s eye twitched. Of course he knew it was dangerous, though he wouldn’t expect these people to understand, after all they didn’t know him. Since the woman continued staring at him, as if waiting for a reply, he nodded. He was not agreeing with her, rather, it was a nod of understanding, though he could have just turned away without a word. But, given the circumstances, they did save him, at least, one of them did. He owed them his thanks, but being without human contact for a while, he felt uncertain of how to go about it.

Growing annoyed, Inuyasha stepped forward to stand next to the young woman. “Are ya gonna say something or what?” When Link gave no indication of listening to him, he continued. “I just saved you, the least you can do is say thanks!” ‘There’s something off about this kid.’ Inhaling a bit, he found the boy’s scent quite disturbing.

Such impudence irritated Link. Sure the man was correct, but Link refused to express his thanks to one as rude as him. The strange man, known as Inuyasha, towered over his form threateningly, his eye twitching ever so slightly, yet Link was not the least bit perturbed by his presence.

Kagome pushed the half breed aside, her face showing annoyance. “Give him a rest! He won’t say anything if you keep yelling at him!”

Annoyed by the priestess, Inuyasha merely walked away. “Whatever! What’s more important is finding answers about our whereabouts!” he said, which earned nods of approval from everyone.

Nodding in understanding, Miroku stepped forward. “I agree. Rather than waste time arguing, we should seek information.”

Hearing this, Kagome nodded. “Well, now that we know there is civilization here, we can ask—“ She was cut off when she noticed the boy, with his back now turned, walk deep in to the forest. “Wait!” Being who she was, she ran after him. “It’s dangerous!”

Inuyasha merely rolled his eyes, but chased after, followed by the rest. “Damn it Kagome! Don’t go running off like that!”

OOO

Of course, while he had stood listening, Link felt slightly offended by their concern and boastfulness. Link was not weak, nor was he incapable of fighting on his own. They pretty much interfered with his battle, though if they had not, he may not be standing here. He mentally cursed his ignorance.

While he continued on deep in to the forest, Link heard a cry from the woman chasing after him. If he were anyone else, he would have probably stopped, but he wasn’t. Besides, he wasn’t in the mood for talking with such people; in fact, he had better things to do.

“Wait!”

A blur of red unexpectedly landed before the boy, who on instinct unsheathed his sword with his legs apart. This blur turned out to be Inuyasha. Such a strange name for someone, but Link overlooked it.

“Okay kid, what’s your deal?” he barked with fangs barred.

From behind, Kagome gasped at her companion’s behavior. “Inuyasha!” she warned. “Don’t be rash!”

Not a moment later, the rest of the group appeared, frowning upon the scene. Miroku and Sango stared in bewilderment, while Shippo scrunched his face as he eyed the boy with his shield and sword at the ready. The sight of Link with his weapon drawn, baffled the foreigners.

“Don’t worry,” Kagome began as she moved to stand beside the silver haired man. “We mean you no harm. Sorry we frightened you,” she apologized. “You’re not hurt, are you?” She asked, inching closer with a hand held out. “Listen, all we want to know is if there is a village nearby.”

Again, Link couldn’t help but glare, though his expression softened when he realized she seemed contrite. However, he could not help but notice how Inuyasha had appeared so quickly; it was unnatural. No Hylian or Terminan could ever possess that amount of speed. Just what was he? Not only was his speed questionable, but so were his eyes and his ears. Was he human? His claws told otherwise.

Inuyasha suddenly cut in. “What’s with the puny sword? You think you can take me with that?” Inuyasha asked with annoyance as he fisted his hands. His golden eyes narrowed slightly at the boy’s reluctance to answer him. “Kids shouldn’t be playing with weapons! So put it away before you hurt yourself!” he warned, but again Link ignored him and settled for glaring.

“I don’t think he likes you Inuyasha,” Shippo bluntly explained as he surveyed the two. “But he is right.”

Sango was the first to ask her question. “Where are your parents, and could you tell us where we are? We seem to have gotten lost.” She was beginning to wonder if the boy was ever going to say anything.

After a moment of silence, Link nodded, earning a sigh of relief from Kagome. In truth, Link just wanted them to leave him be, but yet, something entirely different, something inside him wanted to know who these people were. Why? Did he miss human contact? Or was it the fact that they seemed to come from some other world?

“Thank goodness. For a minute, I thought he couldn’t understand. Well, I think it’s best if we introduce ourselves. I’ll go first. My name’s Kagome!” she held her hand out. When she failed to receive a reply back, she withdrew. “This is Inuyasha. Don’t let him get to you. He can be a little insensitive, but deep down he’s a big softy!”

“Let’s not forget a complete idiot!” Shippo added, only to receive a punch to the head afterwards.

Inuyasha didn’t hesitate as he raised his fist toward the young kit’s head. “Shut up you little runt!”

“Ow! That hurt! You big bully!” The child cried, which didn’t set well for a certain priestess.

“Inuyasha! Sit boy!” If it was one thing that bothered her greatly, it was Inuyasha hurting poor Shippo. The child hadn’t done anything wrong really. And it wasn’t as if Inuyasha should take the comment to heart, but he did.

The beads around the man’s neck suddenly glowed, and Link watched the scene take place before him. All at once, the beads of subjugation pulled Inuyasha’s body toward the earth and the moment he made impact, an agonizing yell followed after. As soon as the dust cleared, a rather large crater was left standing before Kagome.

Miroku sighed. “He just never learns.”

“Serves him right!” The little fox announced as he hid behind the monk. “He’s always picking on me!”

With a huff of annoyance, Kagome turned her back to Inuyasha. Almost immediately, her expression softened as she looked at the boy garbed in green with remnants of blood all over his clothes. While her attention was elsewhere, Inuyasha tried to get out of the hole, his hand reaching out to grab hold of something to pull him up.

Noticing Link’s stare on the half demon, Kagome apologized. “Sorry about that, but he’s not all that bad, like I said before,” She sweat dropped when she realized he arched a brow at her comment. “No, really!”

Having had enough of the delay, Inuyasha finally regained what dignity he had, and turned his sights toward the boy. He ignored the warning glare from the priestess beside him. Upon first seeing the kid, he thought he appeared strange; he was right. “If you’re not human, then what are you?” he questioned.

Upon hearing such a strange inquiry, Kagome took it as an insult. “Inuyasha, sit!”

Dust went flying as the crater deepened. A few curses were muttered afterward. Not thrilled about the same treatment, he stood erected and ready to pounce on the irritated girl. “Damn it Kagome! Enough with the sits!”

“Sit! What’s wrong with you? You shouldn’t curse, especially in front of Shippo!” she screeched, which sent Link’s ears ringing. Both her hands were fisted, and her posture rigid.

As soon as he could stand upright, Inuyasha got right in her face. “Take a look at him stupid! And it’s not like he hasn’t heard ‘damn it’ before!” he retorted.

Bewildered by his reply, and deciding to overlook his tone of voice, Kagome set her gaze upon Link, who had taken a few steps away due to the shouting. “What do you mean by what is he? He’s human, obviously!”

“Actually, he’s Hylian!” a small voice interrupted. A small orb floated slowly from the woods and landed upon the young boy’s shoulder. “Sheesh, I heard the entire ruckus a mile away! What’s going on?” she asked, her pink light radiating off her.

Disturbed by the sudden talking ball of light, the group couldn’t help but gape.

Shippo was the first to question. “What’s that?” His emerald eyes glowed with interest, as he watched the orb’s luminescent wings flicker each way. “It’s so pretty!”

“Looks like some kind of bug,” replied Inuyasha. “It doesn’t have a smell, and it’s glowing!”

Sango scrutinized it, though she never came upon one in her entire life. “I’m not sure, but it seems like a ball of light.” She eyed it some more.

“If you ask me,” Kagome began. “It sort of reminds me of a fairy I saw in my mythological book from school.”

Stupefied by her words, Inuyasha leered at her. “A mytho what?” he asked. “What, is it dangerous?”

She rummaged through her backpack, which appeared magically from her back, and began sorting through it. “I’m sure I had it in here somewhere. We’re supposed to have a test on it in a week,” she muttered as her head and upper torso disappeared completely from view. Books of the dozen, followed by strange objects, sailed through the air. One in particular pelted Inuyasha upside the head.

Miroku leaned in toward the demon slayer. “What’s she talking about?” he whispered.

In response to his question, she explained. “In her world, they have ‘tests’ and everyone is graded upon their knowledge of what certain information means. I believe Kagome referred to it as useless nonsense?” Sango pondered briefly before Kagome reappeared with an open green book in hand.

“Here we go! This is a fairy!” she exclaimed with joy. After several pages were turned, her friends awed at the image displayed on the page. “A fairy is a mythological being, able to take on human appearance, and they carry magical abilities. They derive from medieval tales of chivalry. It is said that those who are associated with such beings is considered a form of witchery,” She explained as she stared at her fellow comrades.

An image was shown to the group. A ravishing maiden sat upon a tree’s branch. Her garment consisted of vines and flowers of assorted colors. Long green hair fell over her shoulders in thick waves, ending at the lower back. Her faced was turned toward the glistening moon above her, casting her figure in a glow. Green eyes stared with forlorn and longing. This maiden’s golden wings were illuminated by the moonlight as they hung limply on her back.

“Witchery?” Shippo asked. “What’s that?”

“People, who do wrong, and in addition, do not worship the rightful God. In other words, they worship evil,” Sango clarified.

“Such people are called pagans,” Kagome clarified.

“What else is there about these fairies?” Inuyasha asked staring at the strange writing in her leather bound book before scratching his head. None of the writing made sense. “Are they good or bad?”

Once again, she fixed her gaze back toward the text, skimming along uninformative information. “It says that one belief is that fairies were of the dead. In other words they are considered demons. However, in the ancient times, they were known as Goddesses and Gods. Another belief is they are derived from human intelligence, often confusing wary traveler, as well as going so far as to kidnap human infants and raising them.”

All eyes fell upon the glowing orb. Their stares questioned why. Shippo, being a youth himself, took a couple steps away, his eyes watching the fairy distrustfully.

Hearing the absurdity, the fairy bobbed up and down irritably. “We do not kidnap infants!” she explained, though it was ignored as Kagome read further.

“These beings are also known for being pranksters. Their good qualities are regarded for protecting their masters from harm. These guardians inform their masters of important information, and the possibilities of danger.”

Again, their eyes fell upon the fairy, which ceased bobbing in front of Link, settling to sit on his shoulder. “We are guardians, yes, but not pranksters and we certainly are not kidnappers or demons.”

Kagome continued on. “Often, one might be unlucky to happen upon them on a night of a full moon while dancing in the moonlight.”

After hearing this, Miroku appeared perplexed. In his mind he had conjured up a woman, similar to the girl in Kagome’s book to be sinister and yet, with a sadistic craving for pleasure and violence.

Miroku’s thoughts:

A tall woman with curves of a princess beckoned him closer, as she sat on a cushion made of the finest silk imaginable. Her lips were a lovely hue of pink and her face flushed. “Come to me, Miroku,” she muttered, taunting him with her laugh. “Come dance with me.” She stood suddenly, revealing no shame of her appearance.

Miroku was practically drooling at the thought. He grinned. “Why would that be considered unlucky?” This earned a glare from Sango. Seeing this, both Kagome and Inuyasha sweat dropped.

Kagome closed the book, returning it to her back pack. “Well, it’s said that if you’re caught watching a fairy dance, she may lead you in to temptation, entrancing you in to dancing right along with the others.”

“Oh Miroku,” Still not satisfied, his grin never wavered. “I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

“If you are tempted, you won’t stop dancing until the sun rises and they vanish with the light,” Kagome explained, watching as his smile vanished, and the demon slayer beside him lower her weapon.

Having heard enough of the information presented, Inuyasha glared at the boy and the ball of light. “If what you’re saying is true, then these things can’t be trusted!”

“That’s not necessarily true, they’re not evil. They just enjoy tormenting lost travelers, leading unsuspecting men in to temptation, then there’s the stealing infants…” For a minute, Kagome forgot where she was going with this. “My teacher said they are kindred souls, heavenly spirits. They just enjoy having a little fun every now and then.”

Not liking this strange man’s tone of voice, as well as the glare Link was receiving, the fairy turned a light shade of red. “I’m not sure who any of you are, but I don’t like how you’re interrogating me and Link! What did we ever do to you?” Just who were they?

“Link?” both Kagome and Sango muttered. Their gaze settled upon the boy dressed in green.

Annoyed with this strange dog-eared man, the fairy pulled upon Link’s tunic. “Come on Link! We don’t need to get involved with the likes of him!” she spat.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean!?” barked Inuyasha, who took a couple threatening steps forward.

“Inuyasha!” Kagome began, distracting the half demon. “Apologize!”

Hearing this, he glared at the girl. “What the hell for?”

“You’re picking a fight with them! Besides, we’re new here and all you can talk about is how different they are.”

While the two continued bickering, the rest of the group sweat dropped. It was only a week ago that they had settled their qualms with each other, and now they were back at it again. What would it take to make those two stop fighting?

“Sheesh, leave it to Inuyasha to start something,” Shippo muttered with a sigh.

Sango agreed with the child at her feet. “I agree. Why does she constantly put up with him? They fight and then make up like nothing ever happened. Besides, Inuyasha seems to be acting a little too aggressive as of late.”

“I also agree,” replied Miroku. “Even though he does two time her with his old lover Kikyo, his behavior has gotten out of control, and I fear for lady Kagome’s safety.” The monk knew that the ‘sit’ command would not always work on Inuyasha. Eventually, he knew the half demon would probably lose control and continue on with his verbal assaults or maybe even worse.

Alarmed, Sango looked at the monk with a hand pressed to her mouth. “What do you mean, Miroku?”

Worriedly, he placed a hand on her shoulder. “I doubt it’s his hormones acting up, but I’m afraid our dear Kagome is unaware of his change in behavior, only regarding it as a slight mood swing.” Perhaps his change in character was a result of Kouga’s forward advancements toward Kagome? Since their last encounter with the wolf demon, Inuyasha seemed quite edgy and showing great disdain toward the demon and a little disinterest in their friend, Kagome.

They turned their sights back to the two, only to find Kagome standing before another crater.

A hand shot up and the half demon angrily yanked hard at his necklace. “Damn it! I hate these beads!” he cursed.

Kagome sighed, before inspecting the area. Almost instantly, her eyes widened. “Hey, where did they go?” Kagome asked, earning everyone’s attention.

Both the boy and the fairy had disappeared from sight and Miroku and Sango knew the answer; they had left while their eyes, ears and thoughts were elsewhere.

“This is troublesome,” Miroku scratched his cheek, with a sad frown marring his face. And here he had been hoping to get some answers about their whereabouts, but as fate would have it, Inuyasha had to open his mouth again.

The entire group sighed before continuing their way, in a direction they hoped would lead them to civilization.

Chapter Text

A few hours passed since the group happened upon the boy in the woods with his fairy companion. By now they were completely lost. The air grew cold, and no matter which direction they turned, they only ended up deeper in the forest. As they walked along a path with upturned roots, and scattered branches, they noticed an unsettling fog form around their ankles. Eyes watched the wary travelers from high in the trees, and in all honesty, it was difficult not to take notice.

Inuyasha led the group, refusing to let his friends rest, as they were growing restless. Twice, Kagome had toppled over protruding roots, yet she did not utter a word. In fact, her mind was elsewhere, but Inuyasha ignored it, happy that she was not complaining.

A howl erupted some distance away, startling the little fox child. Scared beyond his wits, he latched onto Sango’s leg, searching through the darkness for the source of the noise. At one point, while they traveled, he climbed onto Sango’s shoulder, afraid of the fog which slowly started to rise.

“Are you certain this is the right way, Inuyasha?” Miroku asked from behind. A familiar small tree with one broken limb caught his eye. Leaves lay crumpled and withered around its base. “I’m sure I recognize that tree,” he pointed out. In fact, there were a great many things which seemed familiar to the monk; this was the same for everyone else.

Fed up with the constant questions, Inuyasha threw his arms up and turned to face the others. “Hell if I know! This place is like a maze, and besides, it’s hard to pinpoint everyone’s scent.”

Hearing this, Kagome asked, “What do you mean? Is something wrong with your nose?” This was a first for her to learn. Since when did his nose stop working?

The half demon searched his surroundings warily. “This forest is strange, as was that kid and that bug a while back. It’s the same scent from him, though not as corrupted. There’s no scent of any one who may have traveled this way, nor ours. I can’t even smell those crows in that tree there,” he pointed. “All I smell is a forest, but it’s different than any forest I’ve seen.”

“No scent? Wait, so you’re saying that the kid we happened upon held no scent?” questioned Miroku. For a moment, he wasn’t sure what his friend was implying.

Annoyed by the monk, Inuyasha glared. “Like I was trying to tell you all before, but no one would listen, that boy smells like the forest. He didn’t have his own natural scent. All I could detect from him was blood.”

“That’s because he was drenched in it, Inuyasha,” Kagome argued. “I do wonder what may have happened to him. I hope he’s okay. He seemed so untrusting of us and his eyes…”

“They seemed empty,” Sango replied. “I wonder why?”

“That kid, it’s like he’s killed his entire life. That scent is practically stained on him,” he explained, catching surprised glances from the group. The fact that the child might have killed his entire life bothered Inuyasha, yet he didn’t seem like a threat to them. Whatever the case, he would keep his eyes open. Something was not right with this place or the people for that matter.

The group absorbed this information, thinking back on their previous encounter. Before they had wound up in this forest, they were walking along a trail in pursuit of Naraku, but a blinding light interrupted their travels. The next thing they knew, they were in a different forest. While they surveyed their new surroundings, they happened upon strange creatures, some of which took them by surprise.

One particular beast took the form of a plant with sharp teeth and acidic breath. It would lunge at the group, but it was retrained to one place. Inuyasha had easily killed it, but the minute the group turned around, more and more had appeared.

Then there were crows and bats which attacked, some of which were bigger than usual. These birds were easy to kill. The bats, on the other hand, attacked in groups of twenty or more, but after a while, they would lose interest and fly elsewhere.

Not long after, they had heard a commotion nearby. When they went to investigate, they came upon a boy that was being attacked by a strange demon, or so it appeared. Before the monster could make a move, Inuyasha interfered with his Windscar, barely missing the boy who landed on the ground in a heap. He didn’t appear to have any injuries, but they couldn’t help but worry.

This youth wore strange clothing, different from what any of the individuals had ever seen. A shield was strapped to his back, bearing strange symbols, and a sword was gripped tightly in his left hand. From head to toe, he was drenched in the demon’s blood. The boy remained quiet during most of the group’s bickering, and refused to answer each of their questions. He and Inuyasha didn’t seem to hit it off well, no doubt some half breed’s fault. In fact, he appeared somewhat curious and wary of them.

“I wonder if there are others just like him,” pondered Inuyasha, who received baffled stares. “What the hell are you all looking at?”

“What do you mean, like him?” Shippo asked, leaning over Sango’s shoulder.

Sighing, Kagome shook her head slowly. “There’s nothing wrong with him, Inuyasha. I keep telling you. And yes, I’m sure there are others out there.” ‘The nerve of the guy.’ Kagome could not believe how insensitive her friend was acting. Whenever they happen upon a stranger, he’s the first to think there’s something odd about them.

With crossed arms, Inuyasha gritted his teeth. He was sick and tired of Kagome always telling him he was wrong or something, when in fact the evidence had been right there the moment they set foot on the boy. “Shows what you know! You had your face in that book of yours, not to mention too busy sitting me!”

Knowing another argument was about to take place, Sango stepped forward, breaking the tension between the two. “You keep saying there’s something different about him, besides his scent. What is it?”

“His ears! His scent, but that’s beyond any of you,” he replied as if it were obvious while turning his nose up and folding his arms. Maybe now they would remember. But judging by their expressions, the news was lost on them.

“His ears?” she questioned. Sango thought back to the boy they had encountered. The image was a little blurred, but she recalled the green garb the boy whose name was Link, wore. A shield adorned back, and a sword was strapped to his side. As for his physical appearance, he appeared normal enough, except for the unusual hair color, and his eyes. To her, he seemed foreign, and she knew there was no one back home with those same physical traits. Thinking back to what his ears might have looked like, she could not recall. In her mind, they were probably rounded like theirs.

“They were pointed,” he explained, noting their surprised expressions. His friends really needed to pay better attention.

“If he isn’t human, then are you saying he’s demon?” asked the perplexed fox child. “He didn’t look like a demon to me.”

Inuyasha shook his head. “No, he’s not a demon.”

Perhaps Kagome had overlooked their new friend. “Half demon?” the priestess questioned. This was the first time she came upon any demon or half demon with blonde hair. The traits Link possessed were similar to Americans back home in her time. And on a couple occasions, she had actually been close up to seeing some that had visited Japan months ago.

Once again, Inuyasha shook his head from side to side, only furthering their confusion. Link wasn’t half or full demon, he didn’t have a natural scent, and to top that, his ears were pointed. Was that all true?

As if experiencing an epiphany, Miroku’s face brightened, causing the slayer to step away. “I believe I heard the fairy mention something about him being a Hylian!”

“That’s weird. I’ve never heard of that,” remarked Shippo, earning a nod from everyone but Inuyasha.

“Guys,” Kagome muttered, catching the ears of her comrades. “I get the feeling we’re nowhere near home.”

Hearing the comment said by the priestess, Inuyasha nearly fell over by her stupidity. “Just now figuring that out? Of course not! That damn light brought us somewhere strange!”

Upon noticing something a few feet away, Sango’s attention shifted. “Inuyasha is right. I’ve never seen a demon like that.”

Curiosity getting the best of them, they turned to stare at the being. A small creature, much bigger than Shippo, but smaller than the adults, sat a distance away watching them as if it too were curious. This creature appeared to have been made from wood with green leaves protruding from its head. Its eyes glowed red, yet it seemed gentle enough. Even if this creature were to attack, it was armless, making it vulnerable. The mouth of this creature appeared to extend outward, in a strange fashion.

All the while, Kagome could not help but awe at its cuteness. “Look at it! Awe, I wish I had my camera!”

Upon hearing the young girl’s squeal, the plant tilted its head sideways, earning yet another squeal, most of which annoyed Inuyasha.

“Damn it Kagome, stop that! I don’t know what’s so great about that thing.”

If anyone had noticed, a small vein appeared upon the plant’s head, and its eyes narrowed slightly at the comment Inuyasha made.

“It seems harmless, though it’s best to be on our guard,” muttered the slayer. She clutched her weapon on instinct, ready for anything.

Agreeing with her, the monk nodded. The creature sitting there did not seem threatening, but it was wise to be on guard just in case. But he couldn’t help but smile, and like Kagome said before, it was sort of cute, what with its head tilted. “I agree. There’s much we don’t know about this place.”

“Please, a puny piece of wood couldn’t lay a finger on us!” Inuyasha explained. He gave the plant quick glance before laughing. “It’s the funnies looking thing I’ve ever seen! I bet if I just flicked it, it’d be down for the—“

Something sailed through the air, and smacked the loud mouthed half demon directly in the face. Stunned and nearly flabbergasted, he turned on the priestess, who at the moment could not help but laugh. “What the hell!”

Trying to regain what composure she had, Kagome found it difficult. Already, she was bent over laughing, that she couldn’t catch her breath. Usually she wasn’t the type to laugh during inappropriate situations, but the look on her friend’s face was priceless.

“Damn it! Who did that?” he looked toward Sango and Miroku who were staring questionable at him and Kagome. Inuyasha knew better than to turn the blame on his friends, seeing as how they were more mature than that, so he turned his gaze straight ahead, staring at the strange wooden creature watching them innocently. He had reasons to believe that ‘it’ was the cause.

Recovering from laughing so hard, Kagome was just about to inform Inuyasha who had been responsible, but she gave a cry of pain suddenly. “Ah!”

With his anger diminished, Inuyasha stared worriedly at the girl next to him, taking notice of her pained expression. “What happened?”

Kagome rubbed at her butt achingly. “Something smacked my butt!”

With renewed anger, golden eyes fell upon a certain monk, who could do nothing but hold his hands up. Inuyasha saw the mixed expressions cross Miroku’s countenance, and they were fear and surprise. “Miroku you lecherous monk—“

Fearful, Miroku stepped back as Inuyasha advanced on him with every intention that he was going to hurt him. But Miroku was innocent, but it appeared as if no one believed him. Had no one been watching him? “It wasn’t me! I swear! My hands were here the entire time!” As if it were proof enough, he held his hands up, but it wasn’t enough to convince the half demon.

“You expect us to believe that!” he spat, fisting his hands.

Shaking his head, he moved his hands back and forth. “No honestly! Sango,” he turned his pitiful eyes upon the beautiful woman next to him. “You believe me, right?”

“I don’t know what to believe anymore, Miroku!” she turned her head away, her arms crossed with defiance. Leave it to Miroku to start his perverse actions again. An invisible flame encircled her form, and only Miroku could see it.

“I’m a monk in service of Buddha! I would never disgrace myself—”

“Don’t give me that shit! Apologize to Kagome!”

Shippo yelped suddenly, cringing as he rubbed at his head. Something had hit him also, and he knew it wasn’t Inuyasha because his attention was focused on Miroku. Immediately, he knew the answer to the sudden attacks. “I think I know what’s hitting us,” he said in a rushed voice, and it was enough for everyone to hear.

Off the hook for now, Miroku regained his composure. He noticed that Shippo was latched onto Kagome’s leg, quivering with fear. “What?”

“Them!” The child pointed.

Their eyes fell on not just one, but several small live plants, similar to the one before, however only their leaves were different; they were brown. Inuyasha and his friends failed to notice that they were completely surrounded. Since it appeared as if it was a fight these wooden creatures wanted, everyone stood ready. Shaking their bodies out of pure hate, the creatures leaned back ready to make the first move.

The air suddenly grew cold.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile, Link wandered his way out of the forest and in to the field of Termina. His gaze settled on the Clock Tower in the distance with giant walls surrounding the settlement. For a moment, he wondered if he was remembered.

The moon climbed the darkened sky, casting a glow upon the land. Brilliant blue eyes stared transfixed upon the tower. Some years ago, Link remembered appearing in the land through a door that led from the border from Hyrule to Termina. The people of this land wore faces similar to those in the forgotten land, but the roles each individual played was different. At first, he wondered if he had fallen in to another dimension, and that thought remained true to him this day. However, not everyone wore the faces of his friends. There were no Kokiri, and there was no castle, kings or queens or even...

A memory of radiant golden hair shimmered in the moonlight, and blue eyes instilled within him a compassion which he had never known. Her cheeks flushed prettily and a glow resonated from her fair skin. Though a smile graced her lips, her teary eyes betrayed her sadness; she didn’t want him to go.

“I believe a day will come when we will meet again.”

Link grasped his head, closing his eyes tightly at the memory. The image of the princess burned in his mind yet again. Why? Why did those thoughts return? He tried to push the memory away, but he only found himself delving deep in to lost times.

“I knew you were the boy from my dream!” Zelda clasped her hands together as she leaned toward the boy in front of her. Somehow or other, he managed to sneak past the castle guards and in to the royal gardens, yet the princess felt no fear. Just by looking at him, she knew he was the one she was waiting for. “So, will you help me save Hyrule from Ganondorf?” When she received a nod, she nearly jumped for joy. “Great! I need for you to gather the Goron Ruby and the Zora’s Sapphire! Once you’ve collected them, return to me. We must not let Ganon get his hands on those items. They are part of the key to opening the Sacred Realm. I hold the other one, but he does not know.”

Thunder and lightning lit the sky, and rain fell upon the land. Over a week’s time, Link had embarked on a mission to collect the remaining Spiritual Stones; there was one on Death Mountain, and the other at Zora Domain. Retrieving these items was not an easy task. After defeating a giant Dodongo, and a massive jellyfish, Link made his way back to the castle, but on his way to the drawbridge leading in to the market, the clouds darkened and thunder boomed in the distance. As soon as he neared the bridge, he stopped. Baffled as to why the drawbridge was still up, he tried to find another way in, but the attempt proved futile. Beyond the walls, he heard shouts and screams and a horrid thought struck him.

A moment after, the drawbridge fell, and on instinct, Link leapt out of harm’s way. When that happened, he smelled smoke, and when he looked upon the small settlement just ahead, his eyes widened. The townspeople were fleeing from strange creatures he had yet to encounter. Women and children suffered at the edge of several blades, and although the boy could do nothing, he let his gaze settle on a familiar structure resting above the town. Doing so, he found the castle caught up in flames.

Realizing that he could possibly save some victims from the terrorizing beasts, Link unsheathed his Kokiri Sword. His hands trembled, and just before he could charge in to the massacre, the sound of hooves met his ears. As he squinted past the inferno, a white horse galloped in his direction, fashioned with the emblem of the Royal Family. At the last possible moment, he rolled out of the way, watching as the beast made past him and in to the open field.

In those short seconds while the horse galloped past, two familiar figures were seen upon the white stead. A blonde and blue eyed child met his gaze, before throwing a blue object in to the mote; the object was the ocarina treasured dearly by the Royal Family. As she and her servant rode away, Link merely stood there watching until they vanished from view.

He opened his eyes, remembering the final words said to him that day.

“I’m praying that whatever you’re searching for, you’ll be safe.”

What was he searching for? At first, his journey was to save Hyrule, but afterwards, he went on a new journey in search of his lost fairy friend. Even after his descent in to Termina, there were no signs of his lost companion. He wondered if she had somehow suffered the same fate as the others. There were times he missed her advice, her words of encouragement and the subtle sound of her laughter. In addition, he missed her calls of warnings. Without her, he felt alone.

Not long after his coming in to Termina, he met a new friend named Tatl. This fairy was different from Navi, and she did her best to help him on his mission to put an end to Majora. In the end, she left him, just like Navi, just like the rest of the world…

So now he pondered. What was he searching for? In his opinion, everything was just fine with the land. Termina was safe, but for how long? For four years he’s secluded himself in the forest, away from Terminan eyes, fighting off the monsters dwelling there. Now that he left the sanctuary of his supposed home, he felt a stirring inside him.

“What’s wrong Link?” a voice asked beside his ear.

Perhaps, he was scared. Going so long without human contact would do that to someone. Maybe he felt nervous about what would happen if he so much as set foot inside the town. Would he be remembered or forgotten? After his departure, did things change? Or was everything the way he left it?

Unaware to her partner’s silence, the small fairy continued on. “I have to wonder, what made you want to leave the forest, Link?”

Why? That was something he was unsure of. Perhaps it was the strange happenings that occurred in the forest? Was it the kindness the young woman showed him? Link was puzzled by this. The kindness she displayed reminded him so much of a certain female in Clock Town. Maybe he would pay her a visit, a quick one. He knew she was probably busy attending to other people, but something wanted him to go there. Whatever it was it did not feel bad, but he hesitated with taking the first step forward.

Feeling the stress and nervousness radiating off her partner, the small fairy sat on his shoulder, her light brightening. “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. How long ago has it been since you last visited?” she pondered. “Four years? That’s a long time.” Seeing how he continued to stare off in to the distance, she gave the boy a pat on the shoulder. “Come on! Let’s get those feet moving! I’m sure you’ll be welcomed happily! There’s nothing to fear when I’m around!”

Nodding at her comforting words, he took his first step toward the town. As he did, a sudden rumble stopped him in his tracks. Turning his gaze upward, he noticed the darkening clouds overhead. A flash of lightening lit the sky, and a sudden down pour fell upon the land, abruptly drenching both Link and his fairy.

“Ah! Hurry up Link!” She whined as she sought cover in his hat.

OOO

“Looks like we’ll be here for a while,” Kagome muttered with dismay. “What luck, huh?” She fingered her wet locks before sighing.

The child nestled beside her and nodded. “Kagome.”
“Hm?”

Somberly, he glanced behind the tree to look at his friends, whom at the moment were trying to dry themselves with their backs against the same bark. “Do you think we’ll get back to our own land?” His emerald eyes returned to the woman beside him.

Kagome smiled. “Yeah, but it may be a while. It’s strange. I wonder where we are…” A small growl did not go unnoticed by the priestess. “I guess we’re all getting hungry.” She searched through her bag, sorting through it before pulling out a small bag of potato chips. “Here. It’s not much, but it should tide you over for a while until we find food,” she explained as she handed the bag to the child’s outstretched hands.

Feeling horrible, he glanced at her. “What about you and everyone else?” Shippo didn’t feel right eating right in front of them, and he couldn’t bear taking the first bite.

In response to his question, her smile brightened. “It’s okay. You’re a growing boy, and you need to eat in order to stay strong.” She ruffled his hair gently, earning a toothy smile in return. “We’ll be fine. Just don’t let Inuyasha know about the chips.” Kagome knew how jealous the half demon would be if he was not given anything from her era to munch on, and that included his favorite, ramen.

As the exchange ended, and while Shippo happily munched on his chips, another conversation began behind them. And it was enough to earn Kagome’s utmost attention.

“I hope we get back soon,” Sango voiced as she stroked Kirara’s fur gently.

Beside her, Miroku rested his head on the bark, his attention shifted to the young woman next to him. “There’s no doubt what Naraku’s up to. Who knows how much harm he’s caused by now?”

A chill of disgust crawled through Sango’s veins at the very mentioning of that half demon’s name. Naraku, the nemeses, the man behind all their misfortune, was responsible for destroying her clan. It was because of him that she lost her brother, her father, and all of her family. An image of her younger brother came to mind. Instantly, and she felt her eyes start to water. “I hope he’s okay.”

Noticing the stress radiating off his companion, Miroku gave her shoulder a slight squeeze. He knew what was on her mind without her having to explain to him. “Kohaku is just fine.”

“How do you know that, Miroku?” She asked incredulously. Her worried eyes turned toward the monk. All the time, she was the told, ‘he’s okay,’ or ‘we’ll get him back, we promise,’ but Sango knew it was not going to be easy. The reason behind this was that Kohaku was already dead. What kept him alive was a fragment of the Sacred Jewel imbedded in to his back. That jewel, no matter what, would put an end to Kohaku’s suffering. Why was that? The answer was simple. Right now, she knew Kagome had the jewel almost completed, and all that was left was the last shard. Once it was removed, Kohaku would die. No matter how many times she told herself, she couldn’t help but weep. At any given time, Naraku could easily put an end to the child’s life and take what was left of the jewel, but she knew that he would only prolong her suffering by keeping him alive and at his command. Sango didn’t want her little brother to leave her. After all, he was all that was left of her deceased family.

“Sango. We’ll find a way to destroy Naraku. Kohaku will be safe in your arms again, and my curse will forever be lost. All will be right again.” His eyes met hers, and Sango could not help but smile.

“Miroku I…” Sango felt the tears fall, and she tried so hard to hold on to her emotions. Out of all her friends, Miroku was always there to comfort her when she was feeling down. Without him, as well as the others, she would have lost her faith and would eventually fall apart, or succumb to Naraku’s evil intentions.

His hands grasped hers, and she noticed his face nearing. “Sango, I hope that when our quest comes to an end…” Though it might seem rushed, he only hoped to change her thoughts.

By this point, Kagome could not help but smile madly from the other side of the tree. In her mind, she had always pictured those two together. Other times he had consoled her, yet that was always followed by his perversion and in the end always ruining the happy moment. This time, it seemed different. She knew better than to look, so she busied herself with brushing the knots from Shippo’s hair.

Miroku continued. “you’ll have a place in your heart for me. I may be a monk in service to Buddha, but I have always…”

“Oh Miroku,” she gasped. All the while, her face turned a lovely shade of scarlet. Tears of joy slipped from her honey color irises, and she wished for her heart to cease its irregular beating. Her recent thoughts of Naraku and Kohaku suddenly vanished, and she now found herself lost in his eyes.

“I care for you Sango, so much that it hurts. I love you,” he finished softly.

Touched by his sentiments, the young woman timidly wrapped her arms around his neck. “I’ve longed to hear you say those words!” she cried.

An ecstatic expression passed over the monk. “Then you will bear my children? Ten or even twenty of them?”

Pulling away partially, she gave a nod. “Yes!”

Miroku pulled her closer to his chest, feeling the warmth of the one woman he truly loved. His hand, wrapped by the beads that kept his cursed wind tunnel at bay, softly stroked her chestnut hair, which calmed her. While on his journey in search of Naraku, he never dreamed of meeting such a female. He often asked himself, why he fell for her. Sure he had flirted with a number of beautiful women, but none compared to Sango. She held a determined spirit, a loving nature, and a leadership of which he never knew to be true in such specimens. All his life, he was so used to women running to him, but with her it was different. Sango never fell for his tricks of perversion, nor did she succumb as easily as many on their travels. Rather than enjoy his mischievous assaults, she would retaliate with much bolder attacks.

While gazing upon the lovely woman gathered in his embrace, he held her tighter, relishing the moment of pure bliss. One day, after defeating Naraku, he vowed to make her his wife. Every evening and in the early sunrise, he would make love to her passionately in the home that they would share. He could only imagine their children who would not have to suffer the same fate as their father; they’d be frolicking around joyously, singing and playing.

In a daring motion, he allowed his hands to travel down the back of her soft pink fabric kimono, with his fingers rubbing against the cloth which kept his skin from mingling with her own. While he knew it was foolish of him to attempt such actions, he found that he could not help himself, or the times before. He imagined her lying beneath him, with her hair strayed all around her in disarray. The rise and fall of her ample breast would taunt him. Long slender legs would wrap around his hips as he would…

A smack resonated through the woods, easily startling Kagome from her rhythmic brushing. While she had not been expecting it so soon, she could not help but sigh. There went her imaginings as a lady in waiting. “Guess I was wrong,” she sighed. Why couldn’t Miroku be the least bit serious without lechery?

Not surprised in the least, Shippo merely shook his head. He knew Miroku was bound to pull his stunt. “He’ll never learn!” Shippo muttered as he chomped on a chip.

Beyond infuriated, Sango stood upright, her expression telling all that she was ready to kill, but, she held herself back. “The only thing you love more is my butt! Screw you Miroku!” The slayer exclaimed angrily. With that said, she marched herself to the other side of the camp, away from lecherous intentions. “And here I thought you changed!” She settled herself across from Kagome, with Kirara seated in her lap.

Now sporting a red mark, Miroku sighed. Sometimes he just wished she would let him touch her, without getting a smack or a whack in the face, but she was making things difficult. On the other hand, that was what he loved about Sango, what with her timid nature, her fiery temper, or the fact that she was easily jealous; they were all attractive attributions that he loved. Of course he wouldn’t give up so easily. Sooner or later he would have her swooning in his arms, and his hand grasping what rightfully belonged to him…well he could dream.

After several long, awkward minutes seated in silence, everyone distracted themselves to their own devices. While Kagome busied herself to skimming the text in her reading assignment for school, Shippo messed around with his toys. Sango ignored the others, her mind elsewhere while a certain monk ambled around the camp. All the while, Inuyasha had yet to show; he’d gone out a while before to gather firewood, but because it had suddenly started to pour, firewood was no longer needed.

While everyone had been so fixed in their own musings, Miroku unexpectedly gave a shout, easily throwing everyone off guard. In a mad frenzy, Kagome had put her book away and shot to her feet ready to assist the monk. In the process of doing so, Shippo scurried behind the priestess’s legs.

“What’s wrong, Miroku?” Kagome asked.

The monk broke out in to a smile. “A village!” He exclaimed with joy. His staff pointed toward a lighted structure that towered over the trees a short distance away. “It doesn’t look too far!”

Following his gaze, she nearly leapt with excitement. Just the thought of sitting back in a warm room by a fire, and a delicious meal positively lifted her spirits. Not only that, but a nice warm bath could also do the trick. She’d forgotten when she and Sango had last gone out together to relax while they been on their travels. “I can’t wait!”

Appearing from the underbrush, carrying several loads of lumber, Inuyasha turned his body, so as to look at his companions, who were strange enough, smiling. Of course it wasn’t surprising that Kagome was smiling, but everyone, well something was up. They’d been conversing amongst themselves before he arrived, and he only caught part of it. ” What’re you all going on about?” he asked.

With much jubilance, Kagome nearly flung herself at the half demon, but she held back. “No need for firewood Inuyasha! Look!” She pointed past the line of trees. “We’ve found shelter for the night.” The wind ruffled her skirt, and she held it down in place in front of her as her hair fell over her shoulders.

Somewhat surprised by the sudden light appearing above the trees, Sango also nodded in agreement. While it was strange to see such a phenomenon, she didn’t question it. Besides, Kagome and Miroku didn’t seem the least bit troubled by the flashing light, but there were buildings ahead, or from what she could perceive through the darkness. “Yes. I’m sure someone there will give us information about our whereabouts.” She looked to her furry partner snuggled against her shoulder. “Let’s go Kirara.”

Grunting from annoyance, and also having no idea what was going on, Inuyasha threw the wood aside, and chased after his fleeing friends toward an unknown light in the distance. “Damn it! Every time!”

Chapter Text

Lightning lit the sky as heavy rain pelted the boy garbed in green. A strong gust of wind blew by, and Link shivered. As he hurried toward the town, whose lights guided him, something felt odd. The field, normally filled with beasts, was now barren. No other soul was seen through the darkness. Usually there were a number of creatures near the town, but on this night, there were none.

The trees swayed threateningly toward the boy, who cautiously kept his distance. This odd wind was carried by a foreboding moan. As the thunder clashed, the gale picked up. Even as he neared the town, the wind slowed his movements, pushing him back toward the forest.

“Link! It’s a storm! We have to seek shelter!” His companion cried from inside his hat. She held onto his hat tightly, sometimes pulling at his hair for support.

But just as soon as it had begun, the wind ceased and Link found himself stumbling forward. A cry erupted, and he turned to look over his shoulder. His hat had fallen from his head a foot or two away, and his partner lay sprawled on the ground.

“Sheesh! What’s going on?” She complained angrily, as she made to flutter toward the boy. She tugged on his fallen hat, but unfortunately for her, it would not budge.

Glancing toward the sky one last time, Link relieved her from the burden and ran in to the entrance leading to Clock Town. Once behind the safety of the walls, he stood and watched several familiar individuals run to and fro, trying to shield themselves from the heavy rain.

The town had not changed much, except perhaps a few new buildings. Standing tall and firm stood the Clock Tower, which could be seen from the far regions of Termina. The hands pointed at ten, a time that most slumbered.

The neighborhood dog continued its daily routine, running around the central square, barking at nothing like usual. The carpenters, done for the day of harsh labor, jogged toward the local bar just east of town, a habit they indulged in when their boss wasn’t around.

“Mama, where’s daddy?” a child asked, as he and an elderly woman sauntered by quickly.

“He’ll be home soon. Now we have to hurry.”

“So where to now?” His companion asked beside his ear.

Not forgetting the reason he came, he ventured across the pavement, east up a few stairs. The streets were empty there. On this part of town stood a couple shops such as the Shooting Gallery, the Honey and Darling shop, and the Treasure Chest. These were places where kids or adults would pass the time with entertainment. Also on this street was the Stock Pot Inn where wary travelers could make reservations for a night or two, and then there was the Milk Bar, known as Latte which was exclusively for members only. Those that did not show proof of membership wouldn’t receive any service. Link, however was a member, but that’s another story meant to be told later on.

As he stumbled his way toward the Inn, he heard a ruckus at the bar next door. No doubt a fight was taking place. Shaking his head, he hurried over to the door, only to stop. The sign read:

Open from 8am to 8pm

“Looks like it’s closed. Was there a specific reason you wanted to come here?”

In fact there was a reason, but not an important one. Link only wished to see how Anju and Kafei were holding up. He never did attend the wedding four years ago, and he never knew if Kafei regained his original form or not.

He placed his hand on the knob, knowing that the door would not open. The occupants inside were likely asleep, since it was well after ten. He could always sneak inside from above but thought better of it. Living in the forest his whole life, he was used to the outdoors and a little rain never hurt anyone.

“Link, I’m getting soaked!”

Sighing, he relinquished his hold from the knob, and looked toward the bar. Since he had proof of membership, he supposed it couldn’t hurt to crash there until morning. Yet, bad memories made him hesitate. The last time he had tried to go there, well, let’s just say they weren’t fond memories.

“There’s no way we’re going in there Link. I know what kind of people they are, and you are not going to become one of them, at least not while I’m around.” She warned.

The only other place he could think of was the Laundry House, where Kafei used to hide out long ago; that was a back entrance to the Curiosity Shop. The owner did not seem to mind when Link took refuge there several times in the past.

“Oh, what are you doing out so late and in this weather?” a gentle voice from behind asked.

Turning around, Link and his companion’s eyes fell upon a young woman with short brown hair and blue eyes. Elaborated gold designs decorated the edge of her ivy green dress. She wore a maroon vest over top her gown with white sleeves. In her hand, she held an umbrella, and her expression seemed worried.

Taking a step forward, she bent down so she was eye level. “Oh my, you’re the little boy I used to know, aren’t you?” Her countenance suddenly brightened. “But a little boy you are no longer!” By the looks of it, he had grown up into a fine young man.

Link could only nod. Before he could react, she pushed him inside the inn lightly.

“My, you must be cold! And you’re soaked to the bone!” she explained as she hung her umbrella up on a hook. “You go sit next to that fire while I let Kafei know we have an unexpected guest.” She winked before disappearing down the hall.
The fairy just stared after her for a moment. “Who was that?” When she received no reply, she sweat dropped. “Oh yeah. I forgot. So you know how her, huh? Well, at least we’re out of that storm.”

A new installed fireplace greeted Link and he appreciably sat in front of it to dry. Instantly, he felt comforted by the heat of the flames. He had not realized he was so cold until now. Removing his hat, he rung out the water and set it near the hearth. With eyes closed, he relaxed.

While the fire danced, voices caught his attention from somewhere in the Inn. Link didn’t have to think twice. He knew there were other people staying the night.

“Give that back!” a loud and obnoxious voice vociferated.

A cry followed soon after. “That was mine!”

“Sounds like the people who own this place have their hands full. I pity the owners,” The pink fairy stated as she sat on his shoulder, resting her head upon his ear tiredly. She was almost half asleep when light footsteps traveled in their direction.

“Come on in and join us for dinner, dear,” Anju called from the hall.

“Dinner? Now that you mention it, I am kind of hungry.” Now fully awake, his friend fluttered toward the woman. “Thank you for letting us stay for a while. We promise to be on our best behavior.”

Anju merely giggled at this. “Oh it’s no trouble at all. You’re both welcome anytime. Follow me.”

Following close behind the young woman, Link examined the interior. So much had changed since his last visit. The entire house was remodeled and painted a dark shade of maroon. There were two extra rooms added, as well as two fireplaces. One fireplace sat against the furthest wall closest to the door and there was one in the next room, the kitchen and upstairs.

“I must say we’ve been booked solid with many reservations. Good thing there’s plenty of food and wood to keep the fire going!” she muttered before stopping before a door.

The noise on the other side was much louder than from the entry way. When she opened the door, she ushered him inside. As soon as he stood before the entrance, all noise evaporated, and all eyes fell on him.

“Don’t be shy, go on,” Anju pushed him to a seat next to a young woman with long hair as dark as the night sky. “Now, then I’ll go see about some more food, you enjoy yourself. I’ll be back shortly.” With that, she left the room, closing the door behind her.

“Oh no…” his fairy companion muttered in his ear. “This doesn’t look good.”

As he sat at a long table filled with a bountiful feast, he could not help but stare in to the eyes of an irate man with his strange friends.

Chapter Text

Sweat fell from the youth’s brow while he sat awkwardly in his chair. He should have known better than to leave the forest, now he had to deal with this. In all honesty, he wanted to leave, though he hated having to hurt Anju’s feelings. After all, she hadn’t seen him for some years now. Should he leave, or should he endure this?

“Well look what the cat dragged in?” Inuyasha remarked with annoyance. “See? What did I tell you? Pointed!” The man explained to his friends with sudden seriousness. Now they’d believe him instead of saying he was crazy.

“Inuyasha!” Kagome warned. For once, couldn’t Inuyasha be at least a little polite? Openly pointing at someone was rude enough without him vociferating it to the entire table. People had feelings too, but did he care? Obviously not. Ignoring his grunt of ignorance, the priestess turned her apologetic eyes upon the boy before opening her mouth in complete wonder. Not once did she realize that her staring was giving the boy discomfort. ‘So it is true!’ Maybe pointed ears were normal here? As a matter of fact, everyone’s else’s ears were pointed.

While Miroku silently ate his meal, he glanced at the lad thoughtfully. His clothes were strange, as were the caretakers here. He guessed it was normal, and that their own appearance might have appeared foreign in their eyes. Miroku offered the child, who was seated diagonally from him and Sango, a friendly smile. “Nice to see you again. You come here often?” he asked as he held his utensils in the air awkwardly.

“Not often enough,” replied a youthful voice from behind.

Hearing the familiar voice, Link glanced over his shoulder with surprise. Leaning against the wall near the door, with his arms crossed, was Kafei. Only, Kafei wasn’t an adult, rather, he was Link’s age, fourteen. For some reason, the curse did not break. Did that mean he and Anju still married each other?

The youth smirked at his expression. “Surprised? So am I.” He walked over to an empty seat at the head of the table, smiling ever so friendly at everyone. “How’s the food? I’m sure my cooking isn’t too terrible?”

Kagome was the first to respond. “It’s great! Thank you so much!” All the while, she couldn’t help but awe at his cuteness. She also took note of his ears too. ‘I wonder if we stand out.’

The fox child sitting to Kagome’s right gave the food a questionable glance before poking at it. Everything was just odd and unfamiliar to him, and it wasn’t as if he disliked it, but it reminded him of some of the things Kagome brought back with her. “What is this by the way? It’s all white and squishy. What’s this yellow stuff?”

“That’s mashed potatoes, and that’s sweet corn,” Kagome explained, earning understanding from the others. “They’re good for you.”
Without taking the time to chew or savor his food, Inuyasha swallowed the whole meal down in one gulp. Trances of white morsels gathered around his lips. “It’s not bad.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Kafei turned his gaze to Link, whose stare did not falter. “How have you faired? I missed you at the wedding.” The fourteen year old boy remembered asking if Link would attend the ceremony, but when he hadn’t showed up, he thought something had come up. No, he wasn’t disappointed but rather curious.

Guilty, Link turned his eyes to the floor before nodding. It was true, Link didn’t show up, and it was selfish of him. At the time, Link only cared about returning to his homeland, and there was no time for a wedding. Sure it was rude of him, but he had more important things to worry about.

After the brief silence, the fairy spoke up. “He’s just tired from exhaustion. Doesn’t talk much these days,” she replied.

Blinking rapidly, Kafei gazed at the floating ball of pink light. “You’re not the same fairy from before. Who are you?”

Turning a vibrant pink, the fairy bobbed up and down. “My name is Serena! No, I don’t believe I have been acquainted with you Mr. Blue haired boy. How do you know Link?”

He laughed. “Pardon my manners. My name is Kafei. I met Link some years back.” Turning his purple eyes back to the boy, he noticed right away the blood stains upon his green tunic. “Forgive me for asking, but how did you acquire such stains?” Had something terrible happened to his friend?

Serena also stared. “Oh yeah, I nearly forgot about that. He doesn’t seem in pain. He was probably fighting those monsters in the forest again.”

OOO

After finishing his food, Inuyasha shoved his bowl to the side and yawned, while stretching his arms above his head. “Damn. This place is weird.” His eyes fell on the clock in the room, the walls, floors, and so forth. This house almost reminded him of Kagome’s time, only not as plain.

“Actually, it feels kind of homey to me,” Kagome muttered in to her steaming cup of hot tea. She took a sip, letting the liquid dance around her mouth. The drink left her feeling all warm and tingly inside. “I wonder what we do next,” She stated as she relaxed in to the comfy chair, happy that her legs could finally rest.

As if it was obvious, Inuyasha snorted. His friends could be so forgetful at times; it was not funny. Inuyasha crossed his arms. “We ask questions, that’s what! You shouldn’t be getting too comfortable.”

The door opened suddenly, revealing a young woman in her early twenties, Anju. In her hands she held a tray of delicious food. After setting the bowls and a cup of tea before Link, she patted his head. “You eat all you like, dear. There’s plenty more left in the kitchen. I’ve already prepared a bed for you and if you like, we have enough firewood for a hot bath.”

“Kind of overdoing it, aren’t you Anju?” Kafei laughed at Anju’s affection toward Link, who blushed at her antics. Of course he didn’t mind one bit, but she did tend to do that to every youth that crossed her path. Anju was kind and loving; those were two of the reasons he fell for her.

Hearing this, she laughed, before throwing her arms around Kafei. “Someone’s jealous!” she kissed him on the cheek before picking up Inuyasha’s dishes as well as both Sango and Miroku’s. “I’m just being hospitable.”

Watching the couple, he couldn’t help but think back, before the two wedded. Link remembered it vividly, as if it had happened yesterday. On accident, Link stumbled upon a child, no bigger than himself, who wore a mask. Many times he came across him, but he never got the chance to ask his name because he ran with incredible speed, as if he were in a hurry to be somewhere. The Laundry House, near South of town, was the only place he occupied. Often, Link would follow the boy out of curiosity, and he had recorded his routine walk. Every day, the boy stood outside the Inn, looking in through the windows occasionally, as if he were locating someone. On and on again, Link watched as the child stared upon the young woman working at the Inn, but she was unaware of his presence, sometimes just standing in front of the entrance to the building, staring off with unfocused eyes.

It wasn’t until some trips back in time that Link finally understood the story between the boy with the mask and the woman working at the Inn. With everyone, there was a story waiting to be told, and with those two, it was one of tragic lament. On the day, when Link appeared in the land, where it seemed everyone had a problem, he realized there was a sense of longing and uncertainty lying between both persons. Anju explained to Link that she was waiting for someone special to her, a man named Kafei, but one day he disappeared. She waited day in and day out for her companion, and when he failed to show, her hope started to diminish. Of course his disappearance didn’t help much as her mother told her that he had run off with someone and he wasn’t good enough for her.

One night when the land was about to suffer a fatal attack, the child had tried to break in to the Inn, and Link just happened to be near to stop him. Of course he didn’t have much time to deal with the lad, but he wanted answers as to what he wanted with Anju. The boy fled, and Link gave chase, ignoring the bell from the Clock Tower and the fireworks above the town. When he finally caught up with the lad, the child’s mask fell away, revealing a youthful but familiar face. The boy claimed that he was Kafei, and when Link doubted that, the boy spoke of an imp wearing a mask. A cursed was placed on Kafei, and he was now an adult trapped inside a child’s body. He admitted he wanted to tell Anju that he hadn’t abandoned her, but in his state, he was mortified at being rejected. Unfortunately for him, Link explained that Anju had taken refuge at a ranch in order to escape the peril threatening to befall any moment. She had given up hope that her love would never return. Heartbroken, Kafei fell to his knees in tears.

Understanding Kafei’s dilemma, Link agreed to help him get to Anju, but this did not ease the lad as he believed it was too late. Little did he know that there was a boy who could travel in time standing right before him. Eventually, after a rigorous side quest, Link managed to bring them together, only minutes away from certain doom. But, no matter how many times he tried, he always had to go back in time and do it all over again, and eventually he succeeded. Link saved the land, and the marriage was still on. If Link had not interfered, he may not have gotten to Anju and Kafei in time.

“But Kafei’s curse was not lifted…Why is that?’ A girlish squeal interrupted Link’s thoughts, and he woke from his musings.

“Awe. They’re so cute!” Kagome exclaimed, easily embarrassing Kafei and Anju as they blushed.

Miroku nodded in agreement. “Surely you must be brother and sister. I’ve never seen such growing affection in all my life.” He gave the woman a charming smile. “I’m sure you’ll make a wonderful bride one day.”

Anju smiled kindly; however, Kafei clenched his hands, his smile faltering slightly. “You’re all kind.”

“What was that, monk?” The slayer questioned next to him. Sango’s eyes burned with jealousy.

Gulping, Miroku gave a weak laugh. “Oh nothing, my dear Sango! No one’s beauty compares to one as lovely as yo—“

A slap ceased whatever words left Miroku’s mouth. A red hand print marred his face, yet he continued smiling nonetheless.

The couple glanced at one another warily. They hoped that this was not the beginnings of another fight. They were lucky enough to have the roof still over their heads.

“Actually,” Anju began as she leaned over Kafei’s chair from behind. The woman wrapped her arms lovingly around his shoulders, her blush darkening. “We’re husband and wife.”

Hearing this, Kagome choked on her tea, and Inuyasha just stared between the two with a strange silence. He didn’t know what to think, yet he did not detect any lies.

“Married?” Sango asked. “But aren’t you older?” Sure it was natural for an older man to marry a younger girl, but to have the complete opposite happening here was baffling to her. Yet, the two seemed happy enough. But it was still strange.

Miroku leaned closer to the woman next to him. “I believe the customs are different here. Though, I suppose if you’re really in love, age doesn’t matter,” he whispered.

“Wait, wait! You two are married?” Inquired Inuyasha, who pointed toward Kafei, who merely arched a delicate brow. “He’s just a kid! What kind of sick—“

“Sit boy!”

Before the dog eared half demon could continue his rant, he was once again reacquainted with his friend the floor. This made five times in one day, but he held a record far larger than this. He grunted as he tried to stand, placing his hands on the table for support. Under his breath, he cursed Kagome for sitting him. Heck, he was only stating the facts.

Happy that her companion had settled down, Kagome gave the couple a smile. “That’s great!” She ignored Inuyasha as he now sat glaring at her. “So, how long have you been together?” She pretended that the strangeness of the couple did not bother her one bit, but she did find the customs interesting.

“Four years,” Kafei explained, smiling at the young girl. “To be more precise, four days from now is our anniversary.”

“Pardon me for asking, but how old are you now…” Miroku could not think of his name.

“Kafei, and fourteen. I know that our ages may seem questionable, but I’m fourteen and my wife Anju is in her early twenties. We were betrothed when we were children, but that’s another story I don’t wish to trouble you with. I’m sure you’re all quite tired.”

Shocked, the group was astounded to find out that he was fourteen. Were all kids so young looking at that age?

Forgetting her manners, Kagome stood up, causing all eyes to fall on her. “Sorry. My name is Kagome. I guess we should have introduced ourselves sooner.”

“And I’m Shippo! I’m a fox demon!” The kit replied. Turning his gaze toward Inuyasha, Shippo pointed. “And you already met Inuyasha.”

Miroku nodded. “I am Miroku, a monk in service to Buddha.”

“And I’m Sango. I’m a demon slayer. This is Kirara, a cat demon.”

He couldn’t help but smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet all of you. Tell me, what brings you to Clock Town? The festival, I’m sure?”

“Festival?” Kagome asked.

“Actually, we have traveled from a distant land. I’m afraid we do not know what land we reside in,” Miroku explained, watching as Kafei’s expression turned perplexed.

Taking a seat next to Inuyasha, Anju gave the strangers a kind smile. “That would explain why we had no other reservations. This land is called Termina. Right now, you’re in Clock Town. Three days from now is the Carnival of Time, a festival we have every year in honor of the Gods.”

“In other words children,” a weak and tired voice exclaimed between both Kagome and Link, who jumped nearly a foot from shock. “Each year, the season of harmony begins when the sun and moon are in alignment. Paying homage to the way that both nature and time are tirelessly in the process of progressing…The Carnival of Time is when the people of the four worlds celebrate that harmony and request fruitfulness for the year. For years, people have worn masks resembling the giants who are gods of the four worlds. Now, it has become a custom for each person to bring a handmade mask to The Carnival of Time.”

After her speech, Inuyasha couldn’t help but stare. “Where the hell did you come from? And who are you?”

Sitting across from Anju, sat a little old woman in a spiked wheelchair. Her nose was fairly larger than any normal person’s, same with her chin. Her appearance was frail and weak, and her skin somewhat pale. This old woman sat hunched over in her chair, with her gray hair pulled up in a messy bun. The old lady had squeezed herself in between both Kagome and Link.

When the little old lady heard such words, she reached over the table and smacked the dog eared man across the head, earning a yelp. “Watch your tongue silver hair! There are children present!”

Having seen this, Shippo laughed. “Serves him right!”

Anju apologized to the half demon, who held himself back from attacking. “Granny? I thought you were going to bed?” Anju asked, but the old lady merely gave a grunt.

“I couldn’t sleep with all the racket! What? Does my presence here bother you Tortus?”

Anju shook her head. “Not at all. But it is getting late.”

Paying no mind to her granddaughter, granny turned her head to stare at Link. “Hello young lad. Are you staying for the Carnival of Time?”

“Wait, what’s the Carnival of Time again? I’m afraid I only caught half of the story.” Sango asked. She felt a little embarrassed for not understanding. In truth, she was surprised when the old lady showed up, and her mind just did not click when she suddenly started talking.

Noticing her slight discomfort, Anju explained, “Well, in the past, it was a tradition to wear masks resembling those of the four gods who protect the land of Termina. To this day, it’s a custom to wear hand-made masks of whatever you want. The main attraction of this carnival is the Clock Tower. On midnight, there will be a display of fireworks and after this the door to the Clock Tower opens and falls over so that it’s level with the ground. The people stand on the clock’s face, praying for a bountiful and rich harvest, as well as singing the ceremonial songs to the gods.”

With excitement coursing through her veins, Kagome gave Inuyasha the puppy dog look. “That sounds amazing! We should all stay for the carnival, right everyone?”

Not at all hesitant, everyone agreed, Shippo being the most enthusiastic. Everyone, except Inuyasha was excited.

“Oh, but I’ve never made a mask before,” Shippo muttered. “Is it hard?”

“Actually it’s quite easy. I used to make masks when I was little all the time. I’ll teach you!” Kagome explained, giving the child hope.

“Not only that,” Anju began. “But there’s also a legend. It states that if any couple should unite on the day of the carnival, then good fortune will be bestowed upon them. This is done by fusing both masks together.”

Bewildered by the information, Shippo asked, “You said something about four gods?”

Nodding, Kafei told the group of strangers about the gods and it ended up leading to what took place four years ago. Kafei elaborated on the past, while Anju could not help but laugh. “But all is right again, and the moon is where it belongs.”

Annoyed by everyone’s sudden excitement over a festival, Inuyasha growled, slamming his hands on the table thus causing some of the tableware to shake. “We’ve got more important things to worry about than some festival!” His eyes glared at Kafei, who merely stared with confusion. “You! All we want to know is how to get back home. Do you know anything about some strange light?”

Kafei and Anju were beyond baffled by his question and could only stare at him as if he’d grown two heads.

“Pardon, what? I’m not sure what you mean?” Kafei began. “You’re all lost?”

Laughing at the sudden strangeness of it all, Kagome nodded. “Yeah. Actually, we were taken from our home and brought to this land. I know it must sound strange, but a light brought us here.”

“Yeah, that’s strange,” Kafei replied, causing her to sweat drop.

Anju leaned in to her husband and whispered something in his ear.

Nodding, his eyes fell upon the group. “We’ll allow you stay for three days until after the festival is over.”

“Really?” Kagome asked. “How much will it cost?” Kagome had not expected such kindness from the people here. They were allowing her and her friends to stay for three days, but there had to be a price.

“Normally it would range to fifty rupees, but for you it’s our treat!” Kafei winked, causing Kagome to grin and Inuyasha to glare.

Realizing that her grandmother had fallen asleep, Anju stood up and wheeled her toward the door, before turning around. “I’ll be back. Link, I have something for you, if you don’t mind waiting.” She left the room, leaving behind a baffled Hylian.

Looking toward Kafei at the end of the table, Sango asked, “What other countries are near here?”

Bewildered, he shook his head. “None. Unless you mean the regions? This land is Termina. As far as I know, this is the only land we are aware of, yet you were all brought by a light. The only explanation I have for you, and forgive me if it sounds strange, but perhaps you might have a purpose to fulfill here.”

“So, I’m guessing you’re Hylian. Am I correct?” asked Miroku.

Not sure what a Hylian was, Kafei replied, “Actually, I, and from what I’m aware, all the people of Clock Town are Terminans. Though, there are some who’d rather live in different climates in the four regions.”

Again, the group could only stare at the boy, who simply sighed. “Termina is made up of different regions with different climates. North of here is Snow Head Mountain, south of here is Woodfall, east is the Lost Kingdom of Ikana, and west is Great Bay. There are different inhabitants living in those regions.” Kafei hoped this shed some light on the foreigners. While he explained this information, he wondered just where these people came from. Their clothes were also baffling and strange, as were their accents. To top the strangeness, their ears were not like the people of Termina, except for the little boy with the tail. No, their ears resembled the pirates he heard much of in stories and rumors.

Before the group could ask what he meant by different inhabitants, the door opened. Thinking it was Anju, everyone was surprised to see a huge robust naked man enter? No, it was not a person, rather a creature made of rock. This creature had huge beady black eyes and a wide mouth. Its face was round, and strange tattoos adorned its arms. Not only that, but its head resembled that of a miniature size of Mount Fuji to Kagome.

“Where is the bathroom, Goro?”

Standing up, Kafei pointed toward the corner of the room. “Right over there sir.”

“Thanks, Goro.”

The moment he disappeared through the door, Kafei grinned at the newcomers expressions. “I take it you’ve never seen a Goron? Yes, they inhabit the mountains north of here. They are one of the four races of Termina.”

“One of the four?” Kagome asked. “What are the others?”

Despite their lack of knowledge, Kafei did not mind as he explained the other three races. In fact, he enjoyed having friends to talk with. After he finished with his explanation, Kafei stood and stretched, before pushing his chair in. “The storm has yet to let up,” he muttered as the wind howled from outside.

Shaking his leg out of irritation, Inuyasha finally cracked. “Damn! We’ve wasted too much time listening to stories! Does anyone know how we might get back home?” Inuyasha asked.

A little irritated by his foul words, Serena, who had sat patiently listening, gave a grunt of annoyance. “The only person that can help you is the Great Fairy.”

Not sure exactly what the floating ball of light was talking about, Inuyasha asked, “What’s a Great Fairy? Is she like you?”

“No,” she replied. “The Great Fairy is our birth mother. She looks more Terminan than us. If anyone would know how you got here it would be her. She knows all about the land, and what goes on.”

Finally satisfied with this, Inuyasha stood raring to go. “Well, it’s about time we got some answers! Let’s pay this fairy a visit. The sooner this is done, the faster we get back to destroying Naraku!”

“There’s no hurry Inuyasha,” Kagome muttered as she placed her tea down on the table. “Besides, if you haven’t noticed, there’s a storm going on out there!” She settled back in her chair as she closed her eyes. “We can do that in the morning, besides it’s too late and we’re all tired.”

“Kagome’s right, Inuyasha,” Sango replied, ignoring his death glare. She silently took a sip of her tea, while Miroku merely yawned.

The door opened again this time, and to everyone’s relief, it was Anju. In her hands she carried a bundle of what appeared to be clothes. Her eyes fell on the group. “Where is Link?” She asked as she searched around. “The bath is almost ready, but…”

Noticing that they were missing a person, the group also looked around.

“He was just here a second ago,” Kagome explained curiously. “Do you know where he went Inuyasha?”

“Who cares!” was his reply.

Serena floated toward the door. “He went to see the Great Fairy, if that’s what you want to know.”

Hearing this bit of news, Anju walked over toward the window, watching as Lightning illuminated the sky. “Oh dear, He shouldn’t have gone out in that storm.”

Kagome sighed. She wanted so badly to have a hot bath and a nice bed to sleep in, but that would have to wait. “Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go see the Great Fairy.” She turned her chocolate orbs to the young woman who continued to stare out the window, still holding the bundle in her hands. “We’ll bring him back, don’t worry.”

The group removed themselves from the table and stood ready to leave. Though their appearance, they were quite weary from travel and in desperate need of sleep. Each acquired dozens of bruises and scrapes, though many were harmless. Their eyes fell on the pink fairy.

“You want me to lead you to the Great Fairy?” When she received eager nods, she sighed. This was the very same group that interrogated her partner, well, it was mostly from Inuyasha. “Okay, follow me.” What could it hurt to lead them there and back? Besides, they were strangers to a world they did not understand, and as a fairy, it was her duty to guide others, even if some didn’t deserve it.

Kafei and Anju watched as the strange group went off into the night. Their silhouettes were illuminated by the fairy guiding them through the darkness.

“Such a strange group of people,” Kafei muttered as he cleaned off the table.

Suddenly, the Inn shook, much to the young couple’s surprise. The tableware fell, shattering the moment they hit the floor, and as for the couple, they had trouble staying on their feet. After a minute or so, the shaking stopped, and the door flew open, letting in a mighty gust of wind.

Startled, Anju hurriedly shut the door. “My goodness! What was that?” she asked her husband, who was busy picking up the broken glass.

“I don’t know.” Kafei knew it was too quick to be an earthquake. Whatever it was, it was gone now.

Chapter Text

The group ventured through the storm, following Serena, their only source of light. Nearly blown away from the strong winds, Kagome held Shippo tightly. Kirara decided to stay behind at the Inn, refusing to go out in such a storm; no one could blame her.

“I can’t see a thing!” Miroku exclaimed. His robes fluttered in the wind.

“What?” Somewhere far behind, Kagome shouted.

“I said I can’t see a thing!” Miroku replied as he shouted above the storm.

After a while of walking, or attempting that is, the group now stood in the northern part of town. Though, all they could make out was darkness and the fairy’s light.

A sudden rumble halted the travelers, as thunder cracked harshly from above. Kagome screamed out of fright and Shippo cried in her bosom. The first thought that came to the group was that it was an earthquake.

While the ground trembled, a strong gust of wind pushed them back. Inuyasha was the first to go down, followed by the rest.

“Hurry up!” Serena called from somewhere on Inuyasha. She tightly gripped the fabric of his top. “Just up ahead, see!”

After what seemed like a second later, the earthquake stopped, but the rain continued to fall. Taking this chance, they ran toward a flickering light in the distance. Finally, after a few trips up a small hill, the group found themselves inside a cavern.

Kagome fixed her hair. “Sheesh, what was that?”

“An earthquake, I take it,” Sango replied next to her. “But it was too fast for a normal one.”

Whatever it was, it was lost to them as a soft melody drifted to their ears. This soft music resonated deep inside the cavern. As if by some strange magic, the group found themselves pulled further inside. Their footsteps reverberated off the stone cavern walls when they ventured further in to its darkening depths.

As if by magic, the torches that lined the walls of the earthly structure burst in to flame, revealing white marble flooring. While they stopped to admire both the floor and the fire, the music grew louder. Compelled by the soft, melancholy melody, Kagome led her friends through the passage until a dim light caught her eye.

Wary of the strange circumstances, Inuyasha quickly grabbed her arm to stop her. “Wait!”

Serena fluttered forward, not at all bothered by the phenomenon, but stopped halfway to look at the travelers. “The Great Fairy is up ahead. You don’t have to be scared; she’s not evil.” She rolled her eyes at Inuyasha’s protective stare; he did not believe her.

Continuing onward, a sudden calmness washed over the group. When they finally stood at the end of the cavern, they were beyond amazed. Words could not even describe the granger of the sight before them.

Two torches flickered around an immense sized fountain of sparkling clean water. Like fallen rain, shimmering lights of blue, violet, and silver illuminated the walls. Just as the marble that led them there, three steps of the same, led to the opening at the rim of the fountain. Columns with carvings of a cherub’s face, circled the fountain. Engraved upon the second step were three golden triangular symbols.

“So beautiful!” Sango and Kagome exclaimed in unison.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life!” remarked Shippo who stood looking at the cave walls with wonder.

Before Inuyasha could get a word out, a ball of silver light appeared above the surface of the water. As it did, ripples formed from the center, turning the water in to a lovely shade of blue. A sudden whirlpool formed, filled with every color imaginable until it finally settled down peacefully. Much to everyone’s fascination, a figure ascended from the middle of the pool. Finally, the form floated above the surface, regarding the travelers with a serene expression.

Right before their eyes was a beautiful maiden. Luscious red hair fell over her pale luminescent skin in soft curls. Her captivating blue eyes seemed to stare right in to their very souls. Vines and blossoms did little to hide her feminine assets, leaving a certain monk weak at the knees. Knee high Ivy green boots adorned her small feet.

For the first time in his life, Miroku seriously contemplated breaking the vow of chastity he’d made upon becoming a monk, his mind conjuring up vivid scenarios of ravishing the obviously divine celestial being…well, maybe not the first time. Remembering the image in Kagome’s book, he thought the picture did not do this fair maiden justice. While the others’ attentions were focused elsewhere, Miroku stood transfixed, the drool spilling from the corner of his mouth like a waterfall, his eyes as big as the woman’s ample breasts. Surely, he thought, no eyes could be wide enough to take in the full vision of even one of them.

“Welcome to my spring oh wary travelers,” intoned the Great Fairy. Even her voice sounded like sweet, melodious music.

No one in the group knew what to say, stunned by her beauty as they were. Even Kagome, who was never at a loss for words, was rendered speechless in awe of this magnificent creature. She had never believed the existence of such a being to be possible, but then again, with all she’d seen since falling down the Bone Eater’s Well and landing in the Feudal Era, who was she to question what did or did not exist?

Seeing this, Serena rolled her eyes and fluttered toward her mother, who greeted her. “Great Fairy, how are you?”

Delighted that her daughter was among these people, she welcomed Serena with open arms. “Fine, and how are you Serena? It feels like forever since I last saw you.”

“Sorry. I was kind of busy.”

“You’re forgiven. Now then,” The Great Fairy turned her sights upon the group, who had yet to look away. “Who are your friends?”

“Well, they claim that they were taken from their homeland by a strange light. They want to know how to return.”

Intrigued by this information, she looked into each individual’s eyes, but she did not detect any lies. “You wish to return home? I’m afraid I’m not entirely sure how to send you back. Whatever magic brought you here was not my doing.”

As they listened, their delighted expressions fell: except Inuyasha who decided to march himself up the three steps to the woman defiantly. He wanted answers, and he wanted them now! “What do you mean you don’t know how to return us home? Listen, we have to get back so we can destroy Naraku!”

Surprised by his words, the Great Fairy laughed, leaning back in midair as she acknowledged the man below her. “Such bravery and courage you have. You are heroes in your land, correct?”

Kagome blushed. “We wouldn’t call ourselves heroes exactly. We’re just defenders of justice, that’s all.”

“I see. Neither of you are selfish; you protect the lives of others. In my opinion, that makes you each a hero worthy of praise.”

Miroku finally pulled himself from his fantasies, shaking the string of saliva from his face. He should feel ashamed of entertaining thoughts of this woman! Never mind that he was a monk. He had declared his love for Sango earlier that day! “Wait! How is it you know of our heroic deeds?” he asked, his companions having wondered the same thing.

“Hello!” Serena could not believe her ears. “The Great Fairy knows everything!”

“Even if we’re from another world?” Kagome asked, receiving a nod from the woman.

“Yes. From just looking into your souls, I know exactly who each of you are,” she explained. “I am the Great Fairy of Magic. You may know that my sisters live in the four regions, north, south, east and west.”

“There’s more than one Great Fairy?” Sango asked, surprised.

The Great Fairy laughed at this. “Oh my, yes! There are a total of five of us. I’m the Great Fairy who protects Clock Town. Each of my sisters protects a certain place.”

Fed up with the fairy woman, Inuyasha growled. “Listen, and you listen good!” he commanded, his golden eyes blazing. “We don’t have time to piss around here while Naraku is still alive. Isn’t there any other way?”

“Inuyasha!” the incensed monk exclaimed. “Watch your language! There’s a lady present!”

Sango turned to glare at Miroku with a growl of agitation. A split second later, her giant beige boomerang collided with his head. The others in the group sweat dropped as the crack echoed in the vast space around them. The Great Fairy giggled.

All were silent for the longest time, and Inuyasha’s left ear twitched.

Even though Kagome was annoyed and appalled at her friend’s behavior, he did have a point. If they were unable to get back, what would become of them in this strange land? Without a bone eaters well, Kagome would never be able to travel back in time to see her family. She’d miss her annoying little brother, her senile grandfather and her loving mother. By now, she knew her grandpa had probably run out of lists of ailments to tell her teachers and friends.
Both Sango and Miroku were frozen with regret and anguish. What would become of Kohaku now that Sango was in a different land? Even though Kagome still had the power of the Shikon no Tama, Naraku would not be invincible. By that point, he’d probably be causing more mischief while they were stuck trying to figure out how to get back to stop him.

The mother fairy regarded the half demon, whose eyes burned with rage and fear. As she gazed into the hearts of the foreigners, she gained a vast understanding of each of their pasts. The memories of each individual seemed to fast forward in her mind. With this new insight, she slowly began to form a plan, yet she knew it would take a great deal more thought to perfect.

Footsteps echoed from behind the group, instantly breaking them from their personal thoughts.

“There you are Link!” Serena exclaimed with joy. “What took you so long?”

Shaking his head, Link continued walking until he stood next to Inuyasha. His expression was neither pained nor joyous. The youth was soaked from head to boot. Soaked golden blond hair lay plastered to his face.

“Welcome to my fountain, dear Link. How have you faired?” The Great Fairy asked as she gently floated toward the boy. “My, but what happened here?” Her gaze was transfixed on his garb.

Knowing that her mother wasn’t going to receive an answer, Serena answered for Link. “Oh, another fight I believe. And of course he’s soaked. My partner is so careless, Great Fairy!”

Accepting the answer, she pulled away, extending her hands outward as they began to glow. “Very well, I shall replenish your health. It’s the least I can offer you.”

A green light fell upon the boy, shocking the travelers. The warm light enveloped him, instantly healing the wounds on his legs, face, back, and arms. He was lifted a few feet in the air before he was slowly placed back on his feet. Link’s wounds had vanished, but his tunic could not be salvaged; he didn’t seem to mind though.

“Amazing!” Kagome could not believe her eyes. For the second time in her life, she had another glimpse at magic; the first was traveling five hundred years into the past. Lady Kaede had tried to teach her how to help others with some bizarre hocus pocus that Kikyo had mastered, but Kagome refused. No matter what the old priestess told her, she did not desire to be like the one person she envied.

Suddenly, the entire cavern shook with tremendous force, frightening the group. Rocks pelted them from above but none were large enough to seriously harm them. Shippo skirted around Sango’s legs, his small arms flailing. He was just a little guy after all, and those tiny pebbles hurt his fuzzy noggin.

“What’s happening?” Shippo cried, clinging on to Kagome as tight as he could.

As she held the kit close, Kagome could only close her eyes. “Another earthquake?”

No sooner had the earthquake begun; it abruptly ended, leaving the group baffled. Where had those tremors come from, and why? It was all very strange, yet the Great Fairy didn’t seem the least bit fazed.

“Damn that’s getting annoying!” Inuyasha yelled, agitated by the constant interruptions. “What the hell is going on?”

The Great Fairy merely shook her head with disappointment. “I’m afraid that was not a mere earthquake. We’ve had quite a dozen happen this year, and a strange storm always follows.”

“Really?” Serena asked. “That’s strange because Link and I haven’t felt any earthquakes or seen any storms.”

“Because neither of you have left the forest. Only Clock Town is plagued by this. I’m afraid, even as we speak, something foul has crept into the land,” she explained, her expression sad. “The land is dying.”

“Dying?” Kagome asked. “When did this all start?”

“Many years ago, before Termina came into existence,” She replied solemnly. She turned her back to them. “Do you ever wonder about the land’s name?”
“Termina?” Serena asked. “What about it?”

“Like its name implies, the land is destined for an end.”

Kagome thought about this. The name sounded vaguely familiar. She could have sworn she heard Termina before, but she just couldn’t remember where. “I’m sure I’ve heard about Termina somewhere,” she muttered softly. Perhaps one of her professors at school mentioned something about it; if he did, she was probably half asleep.

“Termina is prophesized to perish soon, as it was meant to four years ago when the moon threatened to fall from the sky. Because the moon was stopped and returned to the heavens, peace returned, but for only a short time. A land destined for destruction will suffer, no matter how many times it’s saved. Peace will not last forever, I’m afraid.” As she trailed off, her expression only dampened more.

“That’s terrible,” Sango gasped.

Lights suddenly fluttered about the fountain, circling their mother, the Great Fairy. These lights were revealed to be little orange fairies. Each little ball of light circled the now speechless travelers.

“My children,” The Great Fairy muttered, watching as each of her babies fluttered around Inuyasha and his companions. “They are curious. It’s not often we receive company.”
Kagome laughed as two brushed across her skin tickling her. “Hey, come on now!”

A fairy tugged Shippo’s tail, causing him to jump. “Hey!”

During this, Miroku and Sango both watched as a fairy sat on each of their shoulders. One danced around the monk’s staff, causing the two to smile in amusement.

“Get off! Stop pulling!” Inuyasha; however, did not see the fun at all. Thrashing his arms around wildly, he tried to rid himself of the annoying fairies. Two of them had latched onto his pointed ears. “What’s with everyone touching my ears?”

Seeing this, everyone couldn’t help but laugh.

After a few minutes, the fairies relinquished their hold on Inuyasha and followed the rest of their brothers and sisters to the fountain.

As amusing as the group was, it was time for the Great Fairy to be serious. Struck with a brilliant thought, the Great Fairy gazed hopefully at the travelers. “There may be a way to return you all to your rightful land.”

Instantly, the travelers were interested, especially Inuyasha, who grinned, glad to finally be getting somewhere.

“You must save the land of Termina from destruction,” was her reason for their unexpected arrival. “If you do this, the Goddesses will grant you a wish, but be warned that the wish must be pure, and only the true savior must make it.”

Inuyasha smirked triumphantly. “That’s what I’m talking about! Just bring on the evil. Once he or she has had a taste of my Windscar, they’ll wish they’d never been born!”

“I’m afraid your sword will be of no use to you here, Inuyasha,” replied the Great Fairy. “So, I’ll be taking that.” With just a flick of her wrist, Inuyasha watched hopelessly as his sword vanished in midair. “Do not fret, it shall be returned the moment you save the land.”

For a moment, Inuyasha was nearly frozen speechless. He regained his voice quickly though. “What the hell? Give it back!”

Hearing this she laughed.

“I’m freakin serious! Hand it over or else!” He waved his fist at her.

Alarmed and irritated by the rude man, Serena flew right in his face. “Don’t you dare say such things to the Great Fairy! She’s doing you a favor since your sword is utterly useless here!”

Tempted to slap the annoying bug, Inuyasha suddenly found his face yet again planted in the ground. He didn’t have to guess twice to know who was responsible for it. The first time he’d been subjected to the Beads of Subjugation that day was when he was simply seeking answers from the weird little brat that he had saved (Inuyasha was still waiting on a simple thank you). The second time had been when he’d been trying to find a way to get home while his friends only cared about going to a damn festival; he’d been reacquainted with his friend, the dirt, several times. Now Kagome saw fit to punish him for demanding that this stupid fairy hag give him back his sword! What the heck!

“Sheesh Inuyasha! Just hear her out. I’m sure she has a reasonable explanation for taking your sword,” Kagome glared with her hands fisted on her hips. “You’ve been such a pain all day, so give it a rest!” Sudden realization hit her. “Oh! That’s right! Without your sword—“

“He becomes a full demon, unable to control himself,” the Great fairy finished. “Do not fret young one. He shall not be consumed by such darkness; I won’t allow it.”

Stepping forward, Miroku gave Inuyasha one glance before settling his eyes on the nearly naked woman before him. “You wish for us to save a land that is destined to perish. Even if we somehow do save the land, wouldn’t it once again need saving?”

“You are correct monk,” she replied. “But as I stated before; only one with a pure heart can lift the curse forever. Now it is time for you to go forth in this new quest. If you are able to save the land, then that will be your souls’ ultimate form of judgment.”

Chapter Text

“Judgment?” Kagome muttered, hoping that the Great Fairy would elaborate.

The Great Fairy leaned on her elbows as she began to retell the legend that had been passed down since the beginning of time. “To fully understand your quest, you must first know the history of this land.”

Knowing that this was probably going to take a while, the group seated themselves on the marble floor, giving the woman their utmost attention. Even Inuyasha, who was still sulking about his sword, gave in and listened, his arms crossed over his chest impatiently.

Long ago, the Three Goddesses gave life to a new world full of wonders. They were known for creating another world long ago, and so they took what they knew from the old and put it with the new. Din, with her strong flaming arms, cultivated the land to create the red earth. Nayru poured her wisdom onto the Earth to give the spirit of law to the world. Farore’s rich soul created all life forms who would uphold the law.

After the new creation, the three great Goddesses returned to the heavens, leaving behind a great kingdom with a soul reminder that the land will always be loved and protected. That soul reminder was the Triforce.

As the years rolled by, the land was known as Nimtera; the original name before Termina came to be. Chaos did not exist for many moons, until one day an uprising started in the kingdom of Ikana, a desolate valley beyond the mountains of Nimtera. A clan of evil worshippers rose and revered giants rather than the three golden goddesses.

Sacrifices were often made to honor these giants they believed to be gods, and the ancient kingdom was known for using Majora’s Mask in hexing rituals, the same mask that contained an evil spirit found in hell. The people of Ikana had sealed the demonic power away within the relic so that its power could not be misused. But they did have plans for this mask.

Afraid of the tribe’s bloodstained and violent actions, the Nimterans went in to hiding. Even though they were never targeted for annihilation, they feared the dominating power of the mountain from the east. In order to protect the town, soldiers, known as the Garo, were sent to spy on the tribe from the mountains separating them. Sadly, all the soldiers were murdered the moment they attempted to invade, leaving the kingdom vulnerable to the savage attacks from Ikana. Even as they were slowly slaughtered, they cried to the heavens, asking the Goddesses for help, but help never came.

A blood bath ensued, and the land fell in to a violent history. The tribe left only a few remaining Nimterans alive, but soon grew annoyed by their constant praying. These blood thirsty people believed the world could not have been created by three women; the very idea was absurd. Instead of worshipping the true rulers of the world, they kept their faithful eyes on their own deities.

As a form of blasphemy, the tribe built offensive statues against the Goddesses. They continued doing such acts when an idea came to them. They would build a tower so high that it would reach the heavens. Once the tower was complete, they would climb the steps in order to slay the Goddesses, and continue to torment the last of the Nimterans.
But the tribe did not get far in building the structure. The Goddesses, angry with the tribe’s wickedness, flipped the universe upside down. The tower, no longer able to reach heaven, now flipped, reached for hell instead. Realizing that they were forgotten, the Goddesses cursed the world and made each tribe differ greatly from the others. They also separated the world in to four regions, leaving the town of Nimtera at the center, the town that now suffered.

Knowing that the humans would fall in to ignorance again, the Goddesses wiped their memories and created four giants to protect the four regions of the land. As punishment upon the people, they also unleashed their anger, causing destruction and ill will to descend upon the land. Like an hour glass filled with small grains of sand, they gave the land a time limit. When the last grain fell, the people would be doomed. However if the land were somehow saved, then the hourglass would flip and start again. Only one with a true heart would be able to stop the cycle from repeating itself.

It is not said what became of the Goddesses except that they were needed elsewhere. They abandoned the world and the people, waiting for the prophesized hero to shed peace on the land. If this was done, then the land would be saved and restored, and the savior would be blessed with one wish.

Ending her story, the Great Fairy sighed. “But lately that hourglass has weakened, and I’m afraid that the end is drawing near. Once that last grain falls, all is lost. I give this land one month.” With pleading eyes, she held her hands before her in a gesture of helplessness. “I beg of you all, please. Please save this land. Among you is one with a pure heart, and I believe you all hold the strength needed to save Termina from destruction.”

Inuyasha was silent for the longest time, contemplating such a legend. Kagome stood deep in thought, along with all the others. This Great Fairy was asking for them to save the land, and the one with the pure heart would be granted a wish. That wish was the answer to returning to the Feudal Era and finally destroying Naraku. In only a month’s time, this world would suffer a devastating end, and Inuyasha and the gang would be destroyed along with it.

Kagome knew it was the right thing to do. Besides, there was no way they could escape Termina if they didn’t help to save it. What would her family do when they assumed the worst had happened to her? “We’ll do it!”

Nodding in agreement, the monk and the demon slayer both stood beside Kagome, along with Shippo. Inuyasha still remained hesitant, but he soon joined the rest of his friends. Heck, they busted their butts for everyone before, this would be nothing new.

“Thank you!” She clasped her hands together as she grinned from ear to ear. “I had almost given up hope.”

Serena, who had sat on her partner’s shoulder listening, suddenly had a thought. “Wait, do you think the reason the light brought them here was to save the world?”

All heads turned to her. Even Link turned to give her a look. All that time, Link had been leaning against the wall, listening to the story. This story was linked to Hyrule, he was sure. The Triforce was mentioned and the Great Fairy said that this was the second world created. He wondered if his assumption was right. At first he had thought he’d been transported to a different dimension, but after hearing the story, he thought otherwise. Everything was beginning to make sense.

“Because, if that’s so, then do you think the Goddesses brought them here?” Serena asked, hoping to be right. The story had intrigued her, especially when the group had appeared; it was like they were destined to come here, leaving behind their own land to save another.

Shaking her head enthusiastically, the Great Fairy agreed. “That’s what I was thinking the moment they walked into my fountain!” Her eyes fell on the group again. “I wish for each of you, including you as well Link, to gather the four pendants from the four regions. It won’t be easy, but I assure you the task will be simple.”

“So all we do is get four pendants, and that’s gonna save the land?” Shippo asked. “That’s easy!”

“Sorry, but there’s more to it than that. After you receive the pendants, return to my fountain and I shall explain the rest.”

“Then where do we go first?” Inuyasha asked, no longer angry. “Which region? Does it matter?”

She nodded. “First you must go to the Snowy Mountains just north of here. Then head for the Ocean, then the Canyon, and last the Swamp.”

Nodding in understanding, the group turned their backs to the woman when they assumed that that was all the Great Fairy would say.

“Excuse me, but I’ve yet to bestow my magic on each of you,” Her voice rang out, causing each individual to stare back at her with wonder and confusion. “Come here.”

Miroku was the first to step up for his gift, the others watching in fascination. A polite smile formed upon the monk’s lips and he cleared his throat to speak. “Oh great enchantress, you are indeed a truly divine creature, and I am forever humbled by your presence. And it is with great honor that I, Miroku, accept such a blessing. I would, therefore, gladly be the father of your future children.”

The Great Fairy gazed down at the man who now kneeled before her, thoroughly confused by his words.

Shippo slapped his own forehead in exasperation. “Oh brother!”

Sango gave an agitated growl, glaring at the lecherous monk, holding her tongue. She swore once they left this fountain, she would pound him into the ground. She should have known his words of love earlier had meant nothing.

Inuyasha was not surprised in the least. He crossed his arms with a smirk. “Humph. I was just waiting on him to pull a stunt like that,” he muttered to himself.

The Great Fairy, still not quite sure what to make of the scene before her, decided to continue on with her blessing ritual. “I shall relieve your suffering monk, and with this gift, may you always remain confident.” A shimmering blue and green light lifted the man from his feet, and surrounded his form completely. The beads fell away from his hand, much to his surprise as well as everyone else’s. “You are no long burdened with the wind tunnel; your life has been spared.”

The moment his feet touched the ground once more, everyone gathered around to see if what the fairy said was true. He opened his palm and to everyone’s relief, the vortex was gone. “Thank you!” was all he could manage when faced with the woman’s miraculous feat. Miroku stepped back as another of the group was called forth. The fact that he had been liberated from the curse of the wind tunnel made him forget all about his proposal to the Great Fairy.

“Kagome Higurashi, step forth to claim your new skill.”

Kagome did as commanded of her and stood before the Great Fairy with nervousness. Almost immediately, a fire burned deep inside her. Her fingers felt tingly and she had the sudden urge to run a marathon.

“I bestow upon you the power of healing,” she explained, watching as the girl stared with wonder at her hands. “Because you are a priestess, I also give you these.” A bright light came forth from her open palms, revealing a luminescent bow, complete with its own divine arrows. “I give to you the light arrows. It is said that the goddesses once used these to flip the universe, but do not fret; with these you can push away darkness and restore goodness within the world.” Her eyes fell on Shippo. “You are next young one.”

Hesitantly, Shippo slowly stepped toward the floating woman. “What do I get?” he asked, watching as a smile graced her lips.

“I shall give you a boost of power. You will be capable of transforming more efficiently and for longer periods of time.”

Just like everyone else, he was also surrounded by a light. “Neat!”

Sango was blessed with a lighter boomerang, able to change its size. For short distances, she was also given a small version of a fairy boomerang to carry. Both weapons held a far stronger power than her original and were both durable.

“What about me?” Inuyasha asked. “What do I get?”

“I’m sorry Inuyasha,” she began. “But you are strong enough.”

Angered slightly, Inuyasha did not say a word. He was strong enough as it was? Did that mean the monsters here would be a piece of cake? Even though he just received a compliment, he wanted so badly to have some kind of new technique or a spell.

The Great Fairy noticed his forlorn expression. “I shall give you this though.” A sword appeared in her hand, elaborated with designs. Old writing was engraved into the steel, and the blade curved ever so slightly. “Though this weapon does not contain any destructive power, it will be light and easy to handle. The blade is made from the strongest of iron, and can penetrate the hardest of rocks. Not only that, but as long as you have possession of this sword, your demonic power will be subdued.”

Inuyasha took claim of his sword with wide eyes. Unlike his father’s sword, this one shimmered with a bright blue light, and it was far bigger than his original. He wondered just how powerful this sword actually was. Was it strong enough to kill Naraku?

“When battle has made you weary, please come to my spring,” her voice trailed off as she suddenly disappeared in a vanishing light, leaving behind her fairies who danced around the fountain.

“So, I guess we prepare for our journey to the mountains then?” Kagome asked, watching as her friends nodded. “Okay, let’s go back to the inn and get some deserved rest! Then in the morning, we will stock up on whatever supplies we’ll need.”

“Sounds like a good plan to me,” Shippo said enthusiastically.

“Alright,” agreed Sango. “But before we leave, I think someone needs another blessing.”

“What blessing?” asked Inuyasha, confused. When he saw the woman’s eyes shift to the purple-garbed monk, he fought another smirk, deciding not to give him a heads up.

Before Miroku could comprehend what was going on around him, he was greeted by Sango’s new and improved weapon as it collided with his face. He let out an undignified yelp, and he landed on his back at her feet.

“That’s for being a pervert as usual! And for lying to me!” Sango yelled before turning to stalk out of the cave, Kagome skipping merrily along behind her. Shippo leapt up onto the irked slayer’s shoulders, the former sticking his tongue out at the dizzy monk.

Inuyasha leaned over Miroku with a smug expression. “Serves you right. And you serve Buddha? Pft.” The half demon then walked away, leaving Miroku to lie alone on the floor.

Chapter Text

After gaining powers beyond their wildest dreams, Inuyasha and the gang quickly returned to the Inn, where Anju and Kafei waited. Warm baths were set up for each member, and warm beds made ready for a good night’s sleep. Yet, as they slept, they could not stop themselves from thinking of what this new adventure had in store for them.
The early morning sun greeted the town’s people. After yesterday’s horrid weather, today was starting out nicely. The birds were chirping their own little song, and the kids were running around with joyous laughter.

“Can they take any longer?” complained a loud mouthed half breed. Both he and Miroku had been standing near the Clock Tower plaza for over an hour, waiting for the females to hurry with their shopping, but the wait was proving to be troublesome. Inuyasha didn’t know how much longer he could stand it.

Sighing, Miroku watched the peasants as they went about their normal day, not at all worried or aware of the danger that threatened them. Each person was full of mirth, merry smiles upon their glowing faces. Miroku turned his attention back to his friend. “While we’re waiting, we might as well explore.”

Taking one last glace around, Inuyasha followed behind the monk with annoyance. “They better not take all day!” he grumbled. Throughout the morning, he received strange looks from some of the passers, which only further aggravated him. At one point during their walk, a tall man with a rather large mustache and gelled back brown hair had rudely walked right in to him. Neither would apologize, and they began a childish argument.

After a few twists and turns around the town, they turned up a set of stairs, coming upon the same part of town as the Stock Pot Inn. Near the Inn were a few shops which caught their interest.

“I wonder what that place is?” Miroku questioned as he pointed toward the shop in front of the Inn. Coming upon the store, he read the sign. “Open the chest for something splendid. The thrill of surprise…” Miroku placed a hand to his chin. “It’s a treasure chest shop.”

“Gee Miroku, what gave you that idea?” Inuyasha pointed toward the building with sarcasm dripping from his lips. “The shop is a chest!”

Seeing this, Miroku was surprised. “Fascinating! Well, let’s not stand by all day. Let’s see what’s inside.”

As he opened the door, the two were greeted by loud music and blinding lights. The floor was made of concrete, decorated with patterns of red and green diamonds. The walls were pitch black, except for large green circles; those were the lights, which led toward a counter a small distance away from them. To their right was a large empty room with black and white checkered floors, which puzzled the monk.

Upon noticing that the room held another occupant, both Miroku and Inuyasha approached the counter. Their eyes fell on a young woman, seemingly in her early twenties. Her hair was blue, cut to where it was long in the front and short in the back. This young woman wore blue eye shadow, which brought out her green eyes and rouse for her lips. Her face was practically covered with expensive makeup. The dress she adorned was pink with short sleeves, rather tight around her the bust.

“Welcome!” A giggle escaped her. Casually, she leaned over the table to inspect the customers, which revealed to Miroku that her dress was a two-piece. The moment she caught sight of the monk, her heart pounded with much ferocity. “Well hello handsome, wanna play?” she asked as she batted her eyes charmingly.

Not sure how to respond, Miroku gave a hesitant laugh, though he could not help but think her pretty. “Actually, we’re just looking. But, what is this shop’s purpose?” Miroku’s eyes fell on the checkered tiles.

Again the woman giggled. “Oh my! This is the treasure chest shop. In here, you pay to play a game where you must get to the treasure chest in that room,” she explained, following the monk’s gaze. “But be warned there is a time limit and there is only one true path to the chest.”

“I see,” Miroku muttered. Noticing her hopeful smile, he leaned his arm on the table, all the while giving her his most attractive smile. “And how much would this game cost my dear?”

Again the woman giggled. “For you and your sexy friend,” she began, startling the half demon next to him. “five rupees each!”

“Five rupees?” Inuyasha asked. In his mind, he was wondering what a rupee was. Of course, he was a little thrown off by the woman’s forwardness. ‘What the hell is a rupee?’

Her expression faltered upon realizing the situation between both men. But, being a woman in her line of work, she had a wonderful idea that could solve both of their dilemmas. “Or, we could forget about money!” She tugged upon the monk’s robes, earning a questioning stare from the man, and a blink from his friend. “I’ve been meaning to get a boyfriend for a while now…” she began as she suddenly had Miroku half way over the counter. “Now then sir, if you’ll just…” she slowly began inching her way toward him.

Realizing the situation at hand, Miroku gave a cry. “Inuyasha!” Trying his best to hold off the woman, Miroku glanced over his shoulder, only to witness his friend on the other side of the room with his back turned.

Looking back toward his friend, Inuyasha gave the monk a look that said, ‘what?’ Hey, it wasn’t every day you see your friend panicking from the touch of a woman.

Finally getting his attention, Miroku tried even harder to push the girl away, though it was futile; her grip was too strong. “A little help?” he cried, trying his best to escape the young woman’s tight grasp. As her lips were nearing his, Miroku suddenly felt his face redden. He had meant for his first kiss to be with Sango, not another. As he was about to succumb to the inevitable, his head was suddenly yanked back.

A familiar voice started near his ear. “Forget? You mean you’ll let us play for free?” the half demon asked distrustfully. “How the hell would you make business? You can’t just go around giving your customers free games,” he began before staring at Miroku. “Besides,” he pointed toward the monk. “You don’t want this guy. Trust me. He has fooled around way too many times.”

Annoyed by his comment, the monk suddenly moved away from the woman, who let go in sheer surprise and shoved the half demon’s hand away. “And just what do you mean by that, Inuyasha? Are you implying that I, Miroku, a holy man, am a player? What does that make you?”

Somewhat shocked by his sudden outburst, Inuyasha merely crossed his arms. “Excuse me? What’re you talking about?”

With fisted hands, Miroku got right up in the half breed’s face. “You’d rather lay with a dead woman than someone who’s right in front of you!”

A sudden gasp caught the ears of both men, who turned to stare at the shocked woman. “Oh? Then what you’re saying is…” she began, scrutinizing the man she was just about to kiss. “Oh my, oh my!” Her entire countenance confused the two men as she turned this way and that with her hands placed upon her flushed cheeks. “I never would have guessed…that you two were gay!”

Inuyasha’s eyes widened at the word ‘gay,’ and he was just about to tell the girl off when she suddenly attacked.

Both Miroku and Inuyasha were stuck between a hard place and a squealing obsessed girl. What were the two of them to do in such a situation?

From outside the Treasure Chest Shop, screams of agonizing terror frightened the town’s people who were walking past. Even Anju, who was busy sweeping, had to take a second glance before rushing back inside the inn. The children outside the shop had turned with curious stares before continuing their game of chasing a cuccu.

OOO

As the day waned on to around eight in the morning, Higurashi strolled along the northern part of town. Most of the time, she was sightseeing. In order to take less time looking, she and Sango decided to part ways. While on her walk, she had managed to get herself lost a couple times, but with the clock towering overhead, she realized she was never truly lost.

As she walked up a set of stairs, she came upon a door to her left with a sign posted to the wall.

The Curiosity Shop Open at 10pm

For a moment, she wondered what kind of shop it was to open in the dead of night. However, she soon pushed those thoughts away as she continued on up the stairs. Once again, she came upon another door beside the curiosity shop.

The Trading Post

When she stepped inside, she was greeted by a surprising sight. Kagome stood on a little wooden bridge leading across a small body of water. To her left was a scarecrow, and to her right was a giant table with a jar seated in the center.

“Welcome!” A male voice rang out.

Kagome walked along the bridge, watching with wonder as a few fish swam by. A second later, she stood before a middle aged man with brown curly hair, a mustache and a goatee. This man was constantly itching his back, which bothered her slightly. Along the walls was an assortment of items, those of which she had never seen before.

“What will you be purchasing?” He asked, giving her a quick once over before frowning. This man wore a red vest with a blue long sleeved shirt underneath.

Noticing the strange look he sent her, Kagome gave a small laugh. “Um, actually, I’m just looking, thanks,” she explained.

A thought came to the man, “You must be from out of town, correct?” he asked, catching her off guard. When he received a nod, he continued on. “Then I’m sure I have some great items that will fancy your interest.”

“Actually, I’m only looking…thanks.”

Unfazed by her response, he decided to explain what each of the items were. “This here is a red potion! This does the trick when you need quick energy!” He moved on to another jar next to it on the shelf. “This is a green potion! This replenishes your magic if you’re running low!” The man pointed below the top shelf. “This is a fairy I caught this morning! If you’re ever in danger, this little guy will save you!”

Listening to the man continue rambling on about his merchandise, Kagome found great interest in the fairy. She was amazed to find that it looked just like Link’s partner. “Wait? You sell fairies?” Why would anyone want to sell them? Sure they bring up a lot of money, but fairies have feelings too.

“Why? To bring customers of course! Brings in good quality money!” he replied, causing Kagome to frown. It was those kinds of people that Kagome despised.
“How much is it?” she asked as she searched through her skirt pocket. No one deserved to be bottled up and sold for money.

“Fifty rupees!”

Kagome stopped mid-search and gave the man a bewildered stare. “Rupees?” She realized that their form of currency was much different from that of her time and of the Feudal Era. Where in the world was she going to find rupees? Speaking of which, what was a rupee?

“Yes,” he replied, holding out his hand. “Fifty rupees.”

“I don’t have that kind of money,” she explained awkwardly.

The man’s face turned red and his frown deepened. “What?” he asked. Steam erupted from his ears as well as his flaring nostrils. A twitch had suddenly developed under his eye. “No money, no fairy!”

With that, Kagome found herself literally thrown out of the shop as the door slammed shut behind her. Sighing, she gave the building a glare before continuing on with her exploration. She realized that she would need to find some rupees if she was going to be able to buy anything. But where would one find rupees?

OOO

Donned with a new green tunic with long brown sleeves, compliments of Anju, Link left the Inn. Shippo followed him as he strolled to the northern part of town. The night before had been somewhat eventful with the ominous weather and earthquakes, a sign of the end of Termina, as explained by the Great Fairy. Following the path toward the shrine, he came upon giant crevices in the ground. Normal lofty trees were lying on the ground in a heap, and the post box was stuck in a lean.

“Gee! What a mess!” remarked the fox boy from behind. “Did that earthquake do this?”

“Looks like it,” Serena began from her place on Link’s hat. “Something foul is at work here, but what?”

Shippo pondered. “I don’t like this. Why can’t things just be normal for once?”

“Huh? What do you mean normal for once?” the fairy asked with a sudden interest. “Does this type of stuff happen to you and your friends often?”

Shippo nodded. Boy would that be a story to tell. “Yeah, but it’s a long story. We’ve been tracking this evil man for a while now. We almost got the jewel complete, but…”

“Now you’re here in another world to vanquish evil,” she finished with lament. “Your friends sure are taking a while to get supplies…”

Shippo nodded. “They’re probably looking around before we leave. Besides, if this is going to be a long journey, then we’ll need all we can get.”

“What? Traveling to the northern mountains only takes half a day,” she explained which surprised Shippo. “We should be able to get the pendant easily. The Great Fairy never mentioned anything about obstacles. So, I’m thinking the elder must have the pendant.”

“Are you serious?” Shippo could not believe it. He had been on many adventures with his friends, and it always took weeks on end just to get somewhere. Here this little fairy was saying it’d be half a day. “No way!”

Ignoring the child’s skepticism, Serena gave her partner a pat on the head. “Link, I think we’ll need to stock up on some potions and arrows before we leave,” Serena explained as the boy nodded.

Baffled, the fox child came to stand in front of Link. “Why do you need arrows? Kagome has a ton.”

“Well, Link is pretty good with a bow, and his aim isn’t bad; actually, I’d say it’s more than perfect.”

“How old are you Link?” he asked, causing the other boy to arch a brow. “And why don’t you say anything?”

Somewhat annoyed by his constant questions, the fairy appeared right in his face. “He’s fourteen of course!” Serena explained causing Shippo to gape in surprise. “Yeah, you and your friends keep saying he’s a child. All the kids here age differently. Actually, at his age, he’s practically a man. And the reason he doesn’t talk is his own business.” Serena hoped this would end the discussion.

While Shippo trailed his new friend, his eyes turned toward the sky. The weather was sunny, the sky was blue, and the breeze was warm. Nothing seemed out of place, except for a small shadow looming over him. Looking up, Shippo’s eyes widened a fraction of their normal size.

“Shippo, what’s wrong?”

In response to her question, he pointed toward the sky where a red balloon, carrying a little green person floated. “What’s that?”

“Oh, that’s Tingle,” was her calm reply.

The two watched as the red balloon began descending toward the ground in a slow fashion. The person revealed as Tingle, appeared to be a middle aged man wearing tight green clothes. The man seemed oblivious of their presence, muttering to himself as he examined a piece of parchment which contained the sketch of half a map. He turned in the opposite direction, continuing on his way.

OOO

After hightailing it out of the Treasure Shop, both men were found outside heaving sighs of relief. Miroku was worse off than his companion, due to the number of kiss marks on his person. Luckily for Inuyasha, he had escaped with less, though he seemed initially wounded from such an attack. Yes, it was after the young lady had proclaimed them both gay that she flung herself toward Inuyasha, who was unaware of her intentions.

Let’s just say, they had barely made it out…

“What the hell was that?!” Inuyasha asked.

“That, Inuyasha,” Miroku began, speaking in an educated manner. “was one of the few signs that a woman is interested in you.”

Fed up with his smartass friend’s words, Inuyasha hurriedly tried to fix his clothes, which now sustained rips and hints of wrinkles. “Damn it!”

“Inuyasha!” A female voice called, startling the half demon.

The only word to leave his mouth was a panicked ‘shit.’ As he watched his female friend run toward them from the town plaza, Inuyasha could not help but glance every which way with anxiousness. When Kagome was within ten feet of them, Inuyasha flung Miroku over his shoulder and once again hightailed it up the steps, away from a now baffled priestess.

“What’s wrong with him?” she pondered as the last of the dust cleared away.

Finally escaping danger, Inuyasha gave a huge sigh of relief as he dropped Miroku on the floor. “Damn that was close!”

“What was that about?” His friend asked as he stood upright while straightening his clothes. “You just ran away like a scared puppy.”

Annoyed that his friend did not catch the idea, Inuyasha explained. “If Kagome were to see both of us the way we are right now, she’d think we were with other women, and when one female in the group knows, so does the other!”

A look of astonishment came upon Miroku’s face, and with that, he hurriedly rubbed away the makeup; his friend did the same. “Good thinking, Inuyasha!”

When the two finally fixed themselves up, they glanced around the room they were in. Inuyasha hadn’t paid the least bit of attention to what door he had entered.

A red carpet led to a counter just a few feet away from the boys. Expensive looking plants and flowers gave the room a homey feel, and a fresh scent greeted their noses.

“Welcome!” A cheery voice greeted them from across the room. A woman, with short green hair waved to the two gentlemen. She wore a long sleeved white dress shirt, revealing a little cleavage, but not too much to scare them. Yellow eye shadow brought out her dark eyes, and yellow lipstick with a hint of pigment covered her lips. “Do you have an appointment with the mayor?”

“Oh please tell me this isn’t another obsessed girl—,” Inuyasha began, but Miroku interrupted.

The moment the woman had opened her mouth, Miroku was suddenly in front of her. Already he had her hands in his. “My dear woman, though I may not have an appointment, I gladly wish to.”

Blushing from this charming man’s boldness, the woman suddenly removed her hands from his grip and pulled out a writing utensil and a sheet of paper. “Your name sir, and the nature of the appointment?”

“My friend and I simply ask a night with yo—Ack!“

Before the monk could finish his sentence, Inuyasha wacked him a good one. “You can’t go one day without saying something perverted, can you? Maybe I should have left you with Kagome! Also, don’t get me involved!”

“Now Inuyasha, must you be so brash?” He rubbed his aching head while the young woman laughed.

“Did you hear?” they heard someone whisper somewhere to their left. Their interest piqued, they turned their attention to find two armored guards standing in a far corner of the room near a giant plant, seemingly discussing some matter of great importance.

“Hear about what?” came a bored reply.

The man closest to them was frightened. His eyes were wide with alarm and every so often his body shook. “These storms are getting worst, and the earthquakes much fierce. There have been rumors spreading among the town’s people about a great terror. I may not have believed it at first, but I’m starting to think that the legend may be true!”
“What are you talking about? You mean that old kid story?” He started laughing at the hilarity of his friend. “Just because there have been frequent storms and earthquakes does not necessarily mean that the end is near.”

“How do you know? Don’t you remember the events four years ago, how the moon was so close to annihilating the entire town?”

“Of course I remember! I was stationed there, along with a few others to protect the people who stayed behind. The whole time, I swore it was staring at me! But that was just a fluke! Did it fall on us? No! We’re still alive, aren’t we? Stop being such a skitzo!”

“Is that what you think?” His friend sighed and his shoulders slumped.

The man patted his friend on the shoulder with a happy-go-lucky grin. “You need to relax! I’m sure a night at the bar will fix that worry off ya!”

“Maybe…”

Inuyasha and Miroku shared a glance before making their way to the door. All the while, they could not help but think that the town’s people were actually aware that something was not right. Somehow, they were taking charge of saving the land from some unknown force. Their task was to collect the four pendants located in each of the four regions.
As the door opened, both men exited the building, only to come face to face with a suspicious and irked priestess.

The moment Inuyasha saw her angered expression, he jumped. ‘Damn!’

With hands placed on either side of her hips, Kagome leered at her silver haired friend, who could do nothing more than shrink away. “Mind telling me what that was all about?”
“N-nothing!” he said with a stutter.

Still not convinced, Kagome gave both men a once over. “Nothing? It looked to me like you were running away!” She couldn’t understand what they were up to, nor why they were acting so secretive. Her thoughts soon came to a halt when a familiar brunette appeared around the corner. “Sango!” She waved joyously.

“There you guys are!” The oldest woman of the bunch now stood with her friends, along with Kirara sitting on her shoulder. “It seems the form of money is different here,” she explained.

“Yeah, it would seem so. Their currency is measured in rupees,” replied the priestess. “Where are we supposed to find rupees?”

While contemplating the matter, the group suddenly noticed a pair of familiar faces behind them. Both Link and Shippo stood side by side, accompanied by Serena.
“Link! Shippo! I was wondering where you’d run off to,” Kagome exclaimed. “Sorry, but I think we’re out of luck with stocking up.”

Baffled, Link pulled out a bag from his pocket and held it out to the group.

“What’s this?” Kagome asked taking it in her hands. Opening the bag, Kagome marveled at the small colorful gems inside. “Oh wow!” Her eyes widened a fraction, and her mouth fell agape at the shiny objects.

Serena was the one to appease their curiosity. “Those are rupees. Link already bought some potions for our trip to the mountains. There are enough for each of us,” Serena explained.

“Potions?” Kagome asked. She noticed the satchel slung over Link’s shoulders. Not only that, but she became aware of the case of arrows strapped to his back, along with his own bow. He was still wearing his shield and sword, though they were much different from the previous night. It was as if he had packed lighter. “Actually, why are you accompanying us?”

“I was wondering the same thing,” Sango explained, eying the boy. He seemed too young to be going off on an adventure, especially with the weapons he carried, yet he seemed unafraid. “It’s far too dangerous. I wonder why the Great Fairy wanted him to tag along?”

Once again, Serena was annoyed. “First off, Link is not a child. He’s actually fourteen, a year younger than a couple of you, I’m sure. The children here all age different, and to most, fourteen is a sign that a boy has become a man. Not only that, but Link is accustomed to traveling on his own. He’s done so since he was ten.”

“Really? Doesn’t your mom worry about you?” Kagome asked, though in response to her question, Link turned his back to them ambled off toward the northern part of town.
Not sure why he’d decided to ignore her question and snub her, Kagome turned to her friends. “Did I say something wrong?”

Everyone merely shrugged at her question before following the boy…man…whatever.

“I guess it can’t be helped, besides, it’s nice to travel with new people. Perhaps we’ll learn more about our new friends. They seem familiar with this land, and I’m sure with their knowledge, they’ll prove to be helpful,” Miroku mused.

So, with that taken care of, the group made their way on a journey to the snowy mountains, in search of a pendant.

Chapter Text

After finally stocking up for their journey, the group left the sanctuary of the town and stood outside the walls. From their vantage point, they were amazed to see snowy mountains just a breath away. How could a mountain, covered with snow, be so close? It was practically summer where they were standing.

Tall white mushrooms, or so it appeared, were spotted just below the ledge of the hill they stood on. Snow covered the ground just below, and giant, green lizards roamed freely. There were horns on their heads, and their claws were massive. When Inuyasha saw them, he of course jumped right in to action.

“Inuyasha!”

Intrigued, Link watched as the man garbed in red fought against the giant lizard, known as a Dodongo. The young boy was impressed with the demon’s agility. The sword he held in his possession, bestowed upon Inuyasha from the Great Fairy, glowed brighter the moment it came within range of the monster.

The Dodongo turned suddenly and opened its mouth. Just as it did, flames shot out toward the half demon, who quickly dodged the attack. While Inuyasha hurried around it, it turned again, repeating the same attack. Inuyasha continued to dodge. “This thing is so slow!”

Quickly tiring of watching Inuyasha, Link’s thoughts ventured back to what the Great Fairy had said. She claimed that the land was destined for an end. Once again, Link had failed in saving another world from terror. Hyrule drowned after the defeat of Ganondorf, and even after he saved Termina from Majora, it too was still doomed. Why? Why did the Goddesses punish the land? If he was not destined to save Termina, then who was? Only a pure heart could vanquish the evil. Was his heart not true?

His eyes fell on the group. Sango was a supposed demon slayer from the other world. Miroku was a monk, blessed with spiritual powers. Shippo was a demon, or so he said during dinner at the Inn; the same with Sango’s cat. Kagome, well he was uncertain of her status. She just seemed like an ordinary girl, with strange and revealing clothes. But there was something mystifying about her. In his opinion, a girl with unblemished ivory skin must be of great status. Was she of royalty?

His gaze fell on Kagome’s bow and arrow, and Sango’s boomerang. These two were fighters, capable of battle. Although it wasn’t normally uncommon, women in this day and age remained at home, tending to their families, yet there was the exception of a few from his past. These two were different. Perhaps it was normal in their home country, but here it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary. There were still those around who would question such a matter, but to Link, it made no difference. Just as long as they could hold their own, as well as having the company of male in case something should go wrong.

Link realized that he was getting off topic. He would think about all that at a more appropriate time. These people knew nothing about this world, and it appeared like it was his responsibility, as well as Serena’s to watch out for them.

“You know…you could always walk around them?” Serena explained, though everyone ignored her. “They’re not really worth the trouble.”

“What kind of monster is that?” Sango asked from the sidelines.

Hearing her question, Serena answered. “That’s a Dodongo. It’s a monster that breathes fire, but it’s actually really slow.”

Again, Inuyasha was flung back by the power in its tail, but that did not stop him. Bringing his sword down on the monster’s head, Inuyasha was surprised that his sword did not penetrate the monster’s skin. ‘What the…it’s like it’s made of stone.’

“The tail! Hit the tail! That’s its weak spot!” Serena shouted over the battle.

When he heard this, Inuyasha charged at the beast. “You don’t have to tell me twice!” With its back left wide open, he slashed the creature’s tail. The lizard gave a roar of pain. “So I just keep doing this? This is too easy!” Again and again, Inuyasha attacked it, dodging the flames that came with each slash of his sword.

“Look at him!” Shippo awed at the sight. “That sword is strong!”

Miroku agreed. “Seems Inuyasha has this under control.”

Kagome, who stood a few feet from her friends, rooted for her companion. As she watched, she suddenly felt the ground shake below her. “What?” She glanced over her shoulder, surprised that another giant Dodongo had crept up from behind her. “Ah!” Barely having enough time to dodge, Kagome watched in horror as it opened its giant mouth.

“Inuyasha!”

“Kagome!” Inuyasha shouted from a distance. After giving the finishing blow to the lizard he’d originally been fighting, Inuyasha ran toward his companion. Just as he was close enough to save her, someone intervened.

An arrow zipped past the young woman, and entered the mouth of the large reptile. Its entire body trembled before it started stomping in place with cries of anger. A burst of fire encircled its mouth before taking over its entire head while it thrashed about more and more.

“Oh no! Kagome!” Miroku shouted to the stunned priestess who stood watching the scene in stunned fascination.

In danger of being trampled, Kagome found herself in the arms of her usual savior. “Inuyasha!” She held onto him as he jumped away from the burning beast. With one final howl, it fell to the ground; the fire consumed its entire body. A foul odor swirled around the carcass, which was now no more than a pile of bones.

“Alright Link!” Shippo cheered at the archer to his side. The silent boy gave a nod of acknowledgment. “That was amazing! It just suddenly burst in to flames!”

Worriedly, Sango ran to her female friend as Inuyasha set her down inspecting the woman for any sign of injury. “Kagome! Are you okay?”

With a smile, the priestess nodded. “Yep!” Kagome was lucky enough to escape with no wounds. Her eyes turned to her other rescuer. At first she thought she was a goner, but Link had managed to pierce the monster with one of his arrows. Who’d have thought he’d save her life? With a smile, she waved to Link, who stood near Miroku and Shippo a distance away. “Thanks Link!”

Even Inuyasha had to take a second glance at the boy who had proven to be useful. Perhaps there was more to him than met his eye originally.

Without even responding to her gratitude, Link turned his back to them for the second time, making his way up the hill toward the mountains. As he went, he managed to easily evade the monsters that still prowled the frosted plain; they were not worth his attention, and would inadvertently hinder his and everyone else’s progress.

“There he goes again! Is he in a hurry or something?” Inuyasha asked with annoyance.

After dodging the monsters, the group managed to follow after Link, who had slowed down just enough to let them catch their breaths. They were now standing at the entrance of the mountain steps.

“So cold!” Kagome shivered as she held Shippo close to her.

Puzzled by the giant ice blocking the way, Inuyasha pulled out his sword. But this attack would not break the ice. This angered him to the point of cursing. “Why the hell won’t it break?”

“It’s crystalized ice; it can only be shattered by a piece of the same element,” Serena explained as she bobbed up and down near Kagome. “See the stalactite just above it? If you can knock it down with one of your arrows, it will destroy the block of ice.”

Agreeing, Kagome aimed her arrow and released. She watched as it hit its target. “I did it!”

The block of ice fragmented the moment it was pierced by the falling chunk of ice. They were now able to proceed onward up the trail, the winds growing stronger. Inuyasha wasn’t fazed by the gust, but the others were having a hard time keeping their footing. Never mind that Kagome was in a skirt! She clutched Shippo to her chest to keep both of them warm. If only they had prepared for the bitter cold.

Sango stopped, noticing her friend’s constant shivering. “Maybe we should head back, I’m afraid the weather is too severe,” she suggested as she feared for her female companion’s condition. “Kagome, you’re freezing. If we keep going like this, you’re bound to catch a cold.”

Agreeing with the demon slayer, Inuyasha urged the priestess to reconsider, but she would not listen. “Kagome…”

“No. I’m not staying behind. What if something happens?”

Serena, who had been resting on Link’s shoulder, expressed her concern as well. “You’re shaking from the cold. The weather only worsens the higher up we go.”

Even as her teeth chattered and her legs trembled, Kagome still refused, which only worried her companions further. “No.”

Knowing that arguing with the headstrong woman would not change her mind, Inuyasha stripped off his haori and wrapped it around Kagome’s thin frame. “Then wear this. It’ll keep you warm for a while.”

Kagome clung to his shirt tightly before staring at her shirtless friend. “Inuyasha? What about you?” she asked with worry, though her friend only shook his head.

“Please. A little cold like this won’t kill me. Heck, I can hardly feel a thing!”

Satisfied that they could continue on, the group made their way up the steep slopes. As they rounded a corner, they came upon three giant snow balls blocking their way. Of course, Inuyasha could always leap over them with ease, but he decided to pick on Shippo.

“What?”

“I said to use your fox fire!” When he saw the bewildered look on the child’s face, he continued. “Might as well try out your attacks. Besides, a few practices will come in handy later on.”

Uncertain of why Inuyasha wanted him to use his fox fire, Shippo faced the snow balls and focused his energy in his palms. He felt the fire surge under his skin, and the moment it surrounded his form, he unleashed it. “Fox fire!”

The blue flames shot from his entire body rather than just his hands, engulfing frosty blockade that stood in their way and revealed a few stone steps that led up to a higher path ahead of them.

“I did it!” Shippo exclaimed excitedly. The others were just as impressed. His fox fire was even stronger than ever. “That was nothing!”

Surprised, Inuyasha moved onward. “About time you’re useful! Let’s go so we can get this over with and go home!”

Once again, Link astonished at the power of his new traveling companions. There was more to these people than he had originally thought. What else could they do? He decided to leave those thoughts alone, following after the group and watching for any enemies that may be lurking nearby.

After being ambushed by several giant spiders that lay hidden beneath the snow, the group managed to make it to an open area. The air seemed chillier now, and snow started to fall from the heavens in a gentle fashion. Not once during their travels up the mountain did the group notice a bird or animal cross their path. After a while of constant walking, they were relieved to see a cottage up ahead.

“Finally! I was starting to wonder if anyone lived up here!” Miroku muttered as he headed for the shelter. “Strange… The snow up here reaches to our knees!”
“I wonder who lives there,” Shippo wondered.

Link also stopped to stare at the scenery in awe. Four years prior, when he saved the land, Spring had returned to the mountains. Now it was winter again. ‘Is this because of the new threat?’ He searched around, and even the lake a distance away was partially frozen over. With a sigh, he followed behind Sango and the others as they neared the cottage that was just a few feet away. ‘What was the point anyway?’

“There’s a sign here!” Kagome muttered, as her friends came to stand near her in order to see. “Though, it looks like someone broke it,” she explained as she saw the remnants partially buried in the snow.

Unfazed by the sign, Inuyasha marched himself up the steps and to the door. His friends were cold, and he didn’t know how long Kagome could take being in such weather. He unleashed his fists, as well as his fury upon the door. “Open up!”

As if by some strange phenomenon, the door creaked open slowly, startling the travelers. From inside, darkness greeted them. Inuyasha was the first to enter, followed by the others.

The door suddenly shut behind them, hearing surprised yelps from the gang. When they realized it was only Link closing it, having been the last to enter, they continued scanning the interior of the house.

‘I wonder what happened here?’ Link pondered while searching the familiar cottage. His eyes fell on broken furniture and splintered floorboards.

“Hello?” Kagome called through the dark room. Of course there was no reply. “We just want to seek shelter for a while.”

“Seems abandoned,” said the monk as he touched the walls. “There’s dust everywhere.”

“Really?” Shippo asked. He pointed toward the raging fireplace. “Explain that.”
Tables were covered with dust, and webs accumulated in the corners of the walls. There was something metal near the fireplace, but it was hard to make out. Some of the chairs in the room were broken, and pieces were scattered on the floor as if there had been some sort of struggle.

Inuyasha had already disappeared through a door to their left. During this time, both the demon slayer and the monk decided to make themselves cozy by the fireplace with Kagome and Shippo.

“I’m sure that whoever lives here won’t mind if we just rest for a while,” Sango explained as she held Kirara in her lap.
Eventually, Inuyasha returned to the main room wearing a frown. “Well, no one’s home,” he explained as he took back his haori from Kagome. “This place stinks!” He complained as he settled against the wall; the same wall Link was currently sitting against with closed eyes.

A sudden muffled noise echoed in the room, startling the six individuals. As soon as it had come, it was gone, leaving the travelers perplexed.

“What was that?” Kagome asked searching through the darkness.

Even Inuyasha was baffled, yet he could not detect any scents. “I don’t know. Sounded like someone fell.” Still not sure, Inuyasha moved away from the wall and searched the other rooms. “I don’t hear anything in here,” his voice called from the other side the house.

“Then where? I’m sure it wasn’t our imaginations.” Sango searched through the darkness, but even Kirara could not detect any movements.

Suddenly, a shout was heard from the direction in which Inuyasha had gone, followed by the sounds of something crashing to the floor. Constant screams resonated through the entire house, rousing the gang in to action.

“Inuyasha!?” Kagome called, only to hear sounds of pain from the other room. Worried, she and her friends ran to the half demon’s aide, but the boards beneath her suddenly trembled. Kagome fell back on her butt, watching with absolute horror as a figure shrouded in darkness rose from the floor in front of her with a terrifying moan.

The massive dark silhouette reached out toward her. “Ugoh-ooooh!” The sound of its monstrous voice sent shivers down her spine. “Ugoh! Ugo-a-go-go!”

“What’s that?” Shippo screamed as he clung to her shirt in terror.

Frightened, and with no way to escape, she backed against the wall, watching with fearful eyes as the form approached her. “Inu-Inuyasha!” She hugged Shippo to her and could only watch the giant hand as it reached for her.

Chapter Text

In all of Kagome Higurashi’s fifteen years, she had never been so terrified. Here she was, backed in to a wall with a giant monster towering over her frail form. What was a high school girl to do? Call for help, that’s what.

“Inuyasha!”

Movement from the other side of the room was heard, and the monster nearing the priestess suddenly let out a tremendous roar before collapsing at her feet with a loud thud.

“Kagome!” Inuyasha voice shouted the minute the door from the other room slammed open. The minute he charged for the beast, blue eyes stared back, halting him from his attack.

“Wait! Wait! Stop!” A male voice cried from another part of the house.

Before Inuyasha, Miroku, Sango, Shippo or Kagome knew what to expect, lights suddenly flickered on, revealing the cabin’s state of disarray. A short man with a white cloth over his head now stood among the group. He had a black mustache and a goatee, and his eyes were slanted. A band, seemingly made of copper was wrapped around his upper right arm, and heavy boots adorned his feet. His only source of decency was a one piece dark blue shirt and pants that only revealed his arms and his chest. Only his nipples showed as the fabric seemed tied around his neck.

“What do you think you’re doing?” he asked, his expression angered and confused.

Kagome, now behind Inuyasha, gazed at the man inquisitively before turning her sights to the monster that attacked her.

The monster, revealed to be very grotesque with grayish skin and tremendous robust features, grunted from his place on the floor. Armor covered its chest, and an iron mask, with only one hole for the eye, covered his entire head. The purple pants it wore were shredded to ribbons at its knees, and thick work gloves covered its enormous hands.
Link, who she had thought to be with the others, was casually sitting on the monster’s back, eyes closed as he gave a sigh of what seemed like relief.

“What do you think you’re doing?” the small man asked with anger. “Why do you attack Gabora? Are you all crazy?” His anger was directed at Inuyasha who had unsheathed his sword.

With a sigh, Link stood up and scratched the back of his head. All the while, he could not help but feel embarrassed at such a situation. He felt bad for the guy he had pushed to the floor, but it was either that or let him suffer at the end of Inuyasha’s blade. Gabora didn’t deserve such a fate.

“Well?!”

Somewhat surprised and almost at a loss for words, Miroku stepped up. “Sorry for the intrusion, but we mean you no harm.”

An eye brow arched with suspicion. “Really? Then why is my assistant on the floor?” The small man’s eyes narrowed angrily, crossing his arms.

“Assistant?” Sango muttered as she turned her attention to the monster as it rose to its feet.

Annoyed by the strangers, he nodded. “Yes! Of course!” He hadn’t been expecting any company, so he was a little surprised to find a strange group of people in his home, attacking his fellow assistant. “Now answer my question!”

“Sorry, but we needed shelter from the cold. We called numerous times, but we got no answer,” Kagome explained from next to Inuyasha. She stared at the massively tall man with an iron mask, similar to a killer from a scary movie. He towered above her and her friends.

“What the hell is that?” Inuyasha asked with a wide eyed expression as he and the monstrous beast stared at one another.

Surprised by his rudeness, Kagome smacked him. “Inuyasha!”

Blinking at the man with the strange ears and hair, the little man answered his question. “Gabora’s his name, I told you. Now why did you attack him?”

“We thought he was attacking us!” Shippo explained from Inuyasha’s shoulder. “It was too dark!”

Finally satisfied, the little man gave a sigh. “That’s what I wanted to know!” He muttered as he stood next to Gabora before patting him on the stomach. “Gabora here is as dangerous as a Deku stick. He won’t hurt you, don’t have the brains to!” he explained, watching the relief wash over the travelers. “My name is Zubora. We own the smithy here. Can fix any weapon, and sharpen it just as new!”

“Really? We didn’t know. Your sign outside was broken…” Miroku explained.

“Yes, I know. Haven’t gotten around to fixing it.” Placing a hand to his chin, Zubora turned his eyes out the window. “How long do you wish to stay?”

“Until we’ve rested and gotten warm,” Kagome explained with relief.

Rubbing his chin, Zubora fixed his eyes on the young girl, before narrowing them. “No one followed you?”

The way he asked this baffled everyone in the room as they turned to stare at each other with uncertainty.

“…Um…no…” Kagome muttered. Actually, she wasn’t positively sure if anyone had been following them. Yet his questioned didn’t make any sense to her.

Satisfied with this reply, he set about fixing the chairs in the room “Good! Good! You may relax.” Zubora straightened up a table for the guests, and moved all the chairs in to their respectable places.

“Ugohhh!” Gabora yelled, causing Kagome to jump with surprise. “Ugoh…Ugoh!”

Not sure how to respond to his shouting, the group could only stand there and stare as he jumped up and down in place while waving his arms. The giant hammer in his left hand swung dangerously in their direction.

“Calm down!” He grinned toward the group. “He’s excited because we haven’t had a visitor for some time now. Gabora, go fetch our quests some coffee, quick-like!”

“Uugohhhhhhhh!”

“Don’t act like you know what you’re talking about, you Deku stick! Now make haste!”

As Gabora disappeared through another door, Zubora exchanged glances with the others as he ushered them fervently to their seats. “Sit! Sit! Why are you all standing?” Again, he went about cleaning the room, before looking out the window with uncertainty. After picking up some discarded weapons that were all strewn across the floor, he walked toward his guests, only stopping to unlatch a lock to a cellar down below. “I’ll be back shortly.” With that, he opened the secret hatch and descended a hidden staircase, closing it behind him with a click.

“What was that?” Shippo asked, though his friends’ only replies were bewildered shrugs. “They’re kind of weird, aren’t they?”

Inuyasha sheathed his sword, disappointed that there was no real threat. “Keh! Who cares.”

Doing just as the little man said, Kagome and Sango, joined by Shippo and Kirara, took a seat near the hearth, while Miroku and Link sat at the table. The room was quiet, save for the moaning of Gabora in the kitchen fixing their coffee.

While the men sat in silence, Kagome and Sango chatted. Shippo busied himself with rummaging through Kagome’s backpack, while Link went about fixing the string on his bow.

A shout was heard from downstairs, and the door leading to the basement swung open, revealing an angered smith. “No good, I say!” He shut the door before hurrying across the room to glance nervously out the window. He then disappeared in to the kitchen. The others could hear his loud inquiry. “Gabora, what’s the delay?”

“Uuugoh…Uugoh go go!”

“What? Already? Then forget the coffee!”

“Ugoh!”

“Don’t sass talk me!” Zubora’s voice rang through the entire house. “Make that instead!”

After a few seconds of what sounded like glass shattering, Zubora returned to the living room. “Sorry. Seems we’re out of Coffee beans. Gabora is preparing tea as we speak.”

Kagome gave a weak laugh. “Thanks, but you don’t have to go through all the trouble,” she insisted.

Zubora waved her off as he once again stared out the window. “Hm…I wonder…”

Fed up with the constant staring, Inuyasha asked, “What the hell are you looking for?”

Startled from his ponderings, Zubora glanced at the silver haired man. “Pardon?”

“Well,” Miroku began. “You seem a little anxious about something, and you keep staring out the window. Is something wrong?” he asked, watching the man.

“Well you see, not long ago, we were happily enjoying our lives when Spring returned to the mountains…”

Gabora interrupted his explanation, crashing through the door thus surprising everyone. They turned their attention to the weird creature who now wore a pink frilly apron with flowery designs while holding a tray of hot, steaming tea in his wobbly arms.

Noticing his friend enter the room, Zubora gave a shout. “Sit down Gabora! I’m telling them a story!”

“Ugohhh!” Gabora did not seem pleased about being yelled at, but he complied well enough as he handed each of the guests a cup. After that, he sat down next to Shippo.

Zubora coughed. “Well, as I was saying, spring did not last. Strange occurrences have transpired as of late. Just yesterday, I was out fetching some wood for our fire, and that’s when I saw it.”

“Saw what?” Kagome asked.

“A monster!” He explained. “The moment it saw me, I ran for the house, and it followed. Day in and day out, that beast shows up, tormenting Gabora and I.”

“Uugohh Ugoh!”

The little smith sighed as he took a seat near Miroku. “Even Gabora is afraid to leave the house. We thought to build a secret room, and we did,” he pointed toward the door on the floor. “Whenever that beast shows up, we hide in there.”

“With all the weapons you have here, I’d never thought you’d be afraid to take on that monster,” Inuyasha replied. His eyes roamed all the weapons on the walls.

Zubora nodded. “Yes, but its size out matches that of me and Gabora combined. We couldn’t defeat the likes of it. When I heard noises inside the room, I had thought it might be the monster, so I had Gabora check it out.”

While Link fixed his bow’s string, he listened to the story. While on his travels, he had never heard of such a beast wondering around the mountains. But, stranger things had happened. Once again, it was winter in the mountains, and now there was a beast on the loose. ‘I just don’t understand.' Looking around the room, Link realized that his fairy friend was missing. Upon closer inspection, he found her resting by the fire, listening quietly to the man’s tale.

Zubora suddenly stood and quickly made his way across the room. He picked up a block of wood and tossed it in the fire before settling down at the table. “We don’t know what to do.”

“We’ll help!” Kagome all but blurted out, catching both the Zubora and Gabora off guard. “Don’t worry! That monster won’t stand a chance against us!” She declared.

Miroku nodded. “Of course. It’s the least we can do since you’ve allowed us to take shelter from the cold.”

Before the group could say ‘Naraku’, both Zubora and Gabora were on their knees with their hands clasped in front of them, pleading.

“You will. Will you really?” Zubora asked. “Thank you! Please, feel free to use any weapon you want in the room!”

Inuyasha removed himself from the wall he had been leaning against. Angrily, he glared at the priestess. “Kagome! Stop offering to help! You do this every single time! Listen we don’t have time for this. Don’t forget the reason we’re here.”

Expecting as much from Inuyasha, Kagome stood with her hands fisted at her sides. “Inuyasha, they need help! We can’t just stay here and watch them hide in fear!”

Much to his annoyance, everyone else in the room agreed with her. Inuyasha’s blood boiled. “But—“

“Don’t make me say it, Inuyasha,” Kagome threatened.

Not wanting to say hi to the splintered floorboards, the half demon decided not to argue. “Fine! But on one condition!”

“Condition?” Zubora gave him a startled look. “You name it!”

“We’ll take care of that monster if you let Kagome stay here and keep warm.”

Kagome could only gape at her friend. Even though he was being kind enough to assist these people and wanted her to stay warm, she would not allow it. “What?”

“Deal!” Zubora grabbed Inuyasha’s hand and began shaking it enthusiastically. “Don’t worry about a thing!”

“Inuyasha!”

Gently, Sango placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, distracting her from her rage. “Kagome, I think it’s best if you stay. You’re not wearing suitable clothes for weather like this, and we would hate for you to catch cold,” the demon slayer explained, watching as her friend relaxed.

“But what if you need me?”

“Don’t worry! Heck, we’ll worry less if you’re safe inside the house!” Inuyasha explained. “Miroku, Sango and I can handle this.”

With a huff, Kagome sat down with Shippo and Kirara. This was so typical of her friends. Just because she wasn’t as strong as they were didn’t mean she was useless. “It’s not fair,” she muttered.

Not only was Kagome upset, but so was a certain fairy. “What? Link, aren’t you going after the monster too?” Serena asked as she bobbed up and down in front of her partner who was currently staring at the priestess.

“…”

“Oh come on! You’re normally more active than this!” she cried, though Link swatted her away gently, somewhat annoyed.

Inuyasha, who had heard the fairy, gave a grunt. “You two will only get in the way! Just stay here. We’ll be back shortly,” he said as he left through the door with the others, following Zubora.

“What? What?” Serena’s light turned a dark shade of red. “What does he mean we’ll get in the way? Heck, we showed them the way up the mountains for crying out loud! Not only that, but you saved Kagome’s life, and I had to explain what certain monsters were!” Before she could fly outside after Inuyasha, Serena found herself pulled back by her partner. “Link?”

He shook his head lightly. It didn’t matter to him whether or not he fought the monster. Even if he was annoyed, he didn’t show it. Instead, he focused on sharpening his sword which was beginning to dull.

“He thinks you’re weak,” Serena explained, though she was ignored. “Hmpt!” Realizing that she wasn’t going to bring her partner back to his senses, she fluttered over to the window sill, deciding to mope.

“Sorry about that,” Kagome muttered from her place near the hearth.

Glancing up from his work, Link regarded her downcast expression. He watched her hug her knees to her chest, while resting her head on them. ‘She seems so sad…’ For a moment, Link pondered why Inuyasha always picked a fight with her. ‘Her friends treat her as if she’s weak.’ When she had aimed her bow, her eyes held such determination that he could not help but watch her hit the target straight on. Her archer abilities were top notch; for a female that was remarkable.

“Inuyasha is like that sometimes,” she said with a sigh.

Realizing he had been staring too long, Link returned back to his task. While he sharpened his blade, he wondered why he was even helping them in the first place. If he was not destined to save Termina, then what was the point in teaming up with these people? To Link, it was a complete and utter waste of time. Actually, he could leave whenever he wanted, but where would he go? The forest was out of the question.

“Link,” Shippo’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

Link looked down, noticing Shippo staring up at him worriedly.

“Why do you look so sad?” he asked in a childlike voice, completely surprising the boy warrior. Even Kagome had turned to look at him with curiosity.

Not sure how to respond to such a question, Link suddenly stood up and approached the door. Taking hold of the handle, he opened it, letting in a cold gust of wind. Seconds later, he and his fairy friend were gone. Kagome and Shippo stared after them, bewildered.

Shippo questioned whether he said something he shouldn’t.

Chapter Text

Snow blanketed the land, that’s all one could really see. The land was frozen and it was dying. The flowers, which had only begun to bloom, were covered with thick layers of ice. Their stems were unable to reach for the sun. Life was forever in a dormant sleep. Never again would the plants, the grass and the mountain feel the warmth of the sun as they had long ago.

The wind, with its ceaseless howling had yet to be calmed. The mountains and the people were bound by a timeless eternity in this everlasting winter. Their hearts, still thawed with hope that spring would one day return, thrived on.

Inuyasha let out a sneeze as he stood glaring at the fallen snow. This had been the thirteenth time that damn cold got to him, and he was fed up. “Damn snow!”

“Where do we even start to look?” inquired the demon slayer. Unlike her silver haired friend, she wasn’t the least bit bothered by the snow, though it was proving difficult to walk through.

“There’s a sign up ahead,” replied the monk.

Goron Village ahead.
Beware of the White Wolfos!

Pleased that they were getting somewhere, Inuyasha marched onward. While he walked ahead of the others, Sango and Miroku glanced at one another.

“It says to beware of Wolfos…” The demon slayer doubted they ever came upon a creature.

“Seems like they’re common around here if they’ve posted a warning sign,” Miroku explained before looking back in the direction their friend departed in. “Let’s hurry or else we’ll lose—“ Before the monk could finish, he caught a glimpse of something to his right. “Sango, we’ve got trouble.”

OOO

The sound of snow crunched under Link’s boots the moment he exited the house. He needed some air and some time to think. He couldn’t fathom all these strange events; it upset him. Only yesterday he had been wondering the forests like any other day, but those people appeared from a blinding light. Apparently, they were going to save this land and no doubt return to their own world to destroy someone named Naraku. If he couldn’t save that land from danger, then how could they?

“A land destined for destruction will suffer, no matter how many times it’s saved. Peace will not last forever, I’m afraid.”

“You must save the land of Termina from destruction,” was her reason. “If you do this, the Goddesses will grant you a wish, but be warned that the wish must be pure, and only the true hero must make it.”

The Great Fairy wanted Inuyasha and his friends to save Termina. Only someone with a ‘pure heart’ can vanquish the evil. Only the ‘true hero’ can bring peace to the land. Was he not the hero that saved Termina four years ago, or was he considered just like the rest who have managed to stop the land from dying only for a certain amount of time before another arises? His soul must not have been pure because even he lacked the innocence to smite evil.

This got him thinking. Just who was the true hero? Had the Goddesses made a mistake when they thought he could save Hyrule? Was he only a normal Hylian? Did he waste his life to rid the land of evil?

Sighing, Link set off toward the frozen lake. Just up above that high mass wall covered with ice was the grave of Darmani, a Goron hero. He was the fastest among all the Gorons. Four years ago, during the event in which the evil mask had tormented the people, placed a curse on the mountains. Darmani, the bravest out of all of the tribe, set off to defeat a monster lurking in the temple in Snowhead Mountain. Unfortunately, he was blown from a ravine along the way by immense winds. It is said that his spirit still watches over his people. (Poor guy never had a chance! T^T)

For a minute, Link thought back to the time, after he saved Termina, or so he assumed he did, when he gave each of his masks away. Yes, it was probably best just to throw them away, and yet it may have been a loss of all that he achieved in Termina. What was he going to do with all those masks anyway? It wasn’t like he was ever going to need them. So, he gave them to the mask salesman, before he disappeared.

The mask, which the masked salesman longed to have in his possession was Majora’s mask, and it vanished along with him. Evil that once plagued everyone was gone. Was it really? Of course, Link wouldn’t be at all surprised if Majora still lived.

A shout broke Link from his reverie, and he turned as soon as the sound of footsteps crunching through the snow reached his ears.

“Link! Why did you leave?” Kagome asked. ‘Is he distancing himself from us?’ Kagome could not fathom why he would just leave, unless he wanted to prove to the gang that he could kill the monster terrorizing the people. Sure he may have been familiar with the Dodongos but this was a monster the size of a house!

Serena, who fluttered by idly, flew between both humans. She knew Link enough to know that he was not going to answer her. The moment he left the house, she had been quietly observing him as he was lost in thought, a habit he does when he goes off alone. So, until he decided to talk again, she would answer the distraught maiden. “He left because he doesn’t like being confined for too long.”

“Confined?” This was strange coming from the fairy. Her expression soon fell. It wasn’t like they were locking him up. Inuyasha wanted them both to stay, mostly because he worried. “Do you mean, you’re both leaving?” They wouldn’t leave just like that, would they? Here she was hoping to get the chance to know her new companions.

“He’s a wanderer. Being cooped up in a house for too long irritates him,” She explained. “Besides, he’s not used to taking orders from others.” Noticing the sadness and worry washing over her, the fairy sighed. “No, he’s not going to abandon you guys. Please. Link has more honor than that.”

Breathing a relieved sigh, the priestess approached Link. Wrapped around her shoulders was a blue blanket, which she calmly removed. Without any hesitation, she stepped closer to the boy before wrapping the blanket around his shoulders. “It’s cold out here, so you’ll need this.” Her gaze softened. “Come back inside soon, okay?”

Link accepted it, though he turned his back to her the moment she stepped away. Fingering the blanket absentmindedly, Link turned to look back at the girl, only to find her heading back to the cabin. ‘I don’t understand. Why does she worry so much?’

“Link?” Serena began as she fluttered in front of him abruptly. “Maybe you should go inside. Your face is awfully red!” she pointed out.

Hearing her concern, he swatter her away, before turning away.

Watching as her partner searched his surroundings, Serena fluttered in place. “Hmpt! Don’t come to me crying when you catch a cold!” She muttered under her breath. For two years, she’s been with him, and her partner never acted like that. Something was up with him lately, and she intended to figure him out.

Inside the cabin where a nice warm fire warmed the inhabitants, Gabora went about cleaning the room, with help from Kagome of course. Zubora disappeared a while ago down in the cellar, doing God knows what, probably hiding.

Shippo was busy coloring in a book with his crayons Kagome gave him a while back. When Link had yet to return, he grew puzzled. “Kagome. Why is Link out there?”

As she swept the floor, Kagome looked out the window. There was no sign of the boy, and he’d been out there for a good twenty minutes. “I don’t know. I guess he’s keeping watch. Serena told me that he’s a wanderer and doesn’t like staying cooped up too long.”

“A wanderer? Link?” Shippo was puzzled. “He’s only fourteen. Why is he out on his own? Aren’t his parents worried about him?” he asked, startling the priestess from her musings. After his father was killed by the thunder brothers, Shippo joined Inuyasha after they avenged his father’s death. Even though he was a demon, Shippo was better off staying in a group, rather than on his own.

“Wait, he’s fourteen?” That meant he was only a year younger than her. He seemed much younger than that. Well, now that she thought about it, Kafei was also fourteen, about the same height as Link. Were all boys eligible for marriage at that age? Like Shippo asked, did his parent’s know of his leaving?

“Ugoh!”

Realizing that she was zoning out, Kagome gave Gabora a small smile. “Sorry Gabora. I shouldn’t be leaving you to clean by yourself.” She resumed her sweeping.

OOO

A village in slumber greeted the three travelers. Large caverns were carved deep within the mountains that surround a tall rock with rings descending around it leading to the top. Mounds of snow balls are gathered around the tall rock tower. Altogether, it appeared as if the place was deserted.

“So this is the village?” Inuyasha asked to no one in particular. “There’s nothing here!”

Seeming quite puzzled, the monk scratched his chin. “This is Goron Village.” Miroku had to agree with his friend, the place was empty, and there were no signs of life what so ever. “Perhaps they have taken shelter from the snow?” If that were the case, then where would they seek shelter?

“What’s that?” Sango asked a few distance away. Her eyes were set upon a tall dome like structure. Engraved on the door were strange symbols unknown to the slayer. “Seems like a door.”

They set about looking for another way in, but this was the only entrance inside. All that stood before them was a giant dome with a door with strange red engravings etched onto the surface. Whatever the symbols meant, it must have been either a secret code for unlocking the door or it was their language.

“I say we bust our way through it!”

“Come now Inuyasha. Instead of destroying everything in our path, why not ask or simply knock?” Miroku inquired though Inuyasha merely grunted with annoyance.

“Fine!” Before either Sango or Miroku knew what to think, the half demon aimed his fist for the door, and with all his might, hit the rock repeatedly. “Hey! Open up! It’s damn rude leaving us out here to freeze to death!”

Both sweat dropped from his words, both nonetheless, they were happy that he wasn’t destroying the door. Though, as they thought this, they realized that no one was answering.

“What are you doing, Goro?” A voice echoed from the area, startling the group, and halting Inuyasha’s repeated actions of trying to pry open the door with his claws.

Perplexed by the voice, the group turned their sights upward. Above the large pillar of rock was what appeared to be a Goron, covered with snow on its head and shoulders. This Goron was trembling from the cold. At first the Goron wasn’t sure what to make of the newcomers, but they didn’t appear like a threat.

“What do you want, Goro?”

“We need access inside to meet with your people!” Sango shouted.

Hearing this, the Goron questioned, “You aren’t going to hurt anyone, are you, Goro?”

“No! We simply need to talk with the Goron in charge!” Miroku confirmed, earning a nod from the Goron above.

Suddenly, the Goron wound itself in to a ball and before the group knew what to expect, its entire body leapt in to the air before dropping back to the ground, unleashing a loud impact. When it did this, the door in front of the three started going up, revealing the entrance inside.

“Thanks!” Miroku shouted as he followed Sango and Inuyasha inside. “Strange way of opening the door, but interesting,” he muttered.

After several minutes walking up the spiral walkway up the tip top room of the dome, they managed to stand on the uppermost level. A red carpet led to a room in the back, guarded by two Gorons who were jumping in place while rubbing their arms. A ramp of some sort led off behind them over a chandelier.

Inuyasha approached one of the Goron’s stationed near the entry way of the room. “Where’s your leader? We have some business to discuss with him!”

“Goro? Inside the room. It’s so cold!”

Happy that they weren’t going to make it hard for them, they entered the room, following the red carpet until they reached a one room with a huge throne made of stone. A tall, robust Goron sat in the throne, surrounded by many of his peers and what appeared like guards holding spears.

“Who’re you?” The Goron asked from his seat. He narrowed his eyes toward the three strangers. “What business do you have here?” The moment he spoke, all eyes fell on the group with questionable stares.

“Name’s Inuyasha! We’re here for the pendant! Now hand it over!” He decided it was best just to get to the point, rather than stand listening to useless chitchat. Inuyasha knew his friend Miroku would go in to long dialogue about what they were after, and then the Gorons would no doubt introduce themselves and he just didn’t have the time and the patience for it.

Surprised, all the Gorons in the vicinity gave a jump and started talking amongst themselves in loud whispers. Their expressions revealed fear as well as surprise. Those that aligned the walls were frantically looking between them and the bigger Goron.

This tribe of Gorons had small black eyes and noticeably large mouths, which concealed their square teeth. Their round bodies resemble that of boulders. Ridged stones trailed their backside. On the side of their arms, a tattoo appeared in a shape of a stone. Whether it was natural or not, the group did not know.

Angered, the larger Goron crossed his arms as he loomed over the group. “How is it you outsiders know of the pendant? Only those in the Royal Family know of it. Surely you are not messengers?” He glared as he ordered his men to surround the exit. “Just what are you? Clearly you are not Terminans,” he explained as he eyed Inuyasha with interest.

A twitch developed itself on Inuyasha’s head. “What the hell do we look like you overgrown—“

A cough interrupted the half demon. “Sorry, our friend likes to get to the point and doesn’t realize how impolite his words are.” Upon noticing he had the elder Goron’s attention, he continued on. “Pardon the intrusion, but my name is Miroku; I’m a monk, and this is Sango, a demon slayer. You’ve already met our friend Inuyasha. Inuyasha is a half demon, and we are human.”

Intrigued, the Goron circled the three. “I’ve never seen your kind, but I have heard rumors of those with rounded ears. Are you certain you’re not Gerudo? Of course I’ve never heard of men with rounded ears.”

“A Gerudo?” Sango asked. “No, we’re human. We’ve traveled far from our home and seem to have gotten lost.”

Nodding, Miroku continued. “We were asked of the Great Fairy to retrieve all four pendants from the four regions. She fears that the end may be near,” he hoped this was enough to satisfy their questions, and he hoped that they were not aggressive. ‘They don’t seem trustworthy of outsiders. I wonder why?’

A fury of widespread uproar startled the group.

“The Great Fairy?!” A Goron asked his neighbor.

Nodding, the Goron scratched its head. “The end is near then?”

Another turned to its partner. “What do we do?”

“I don’t know…”

With all the noise vociferating in the room, the elder Goron gave a shout that cringed each individual. “Quiet!” After his order, everyone immediately silenced, so he continued.
“Surely you must be the one they speak of in the legend. I’m sure the Great Fairy has told you already, but the end is drawing near. Peace returned four years ago, but then it vanished as a new threat appeared.” Of course he considered the three to be the possible heroes, but were they who they said they were?

“Yes,” Miroku explained. “We need the pendant in order to quell this land of evil.”

Pleased that they meant no harm, the Goron suddenly laughed. “Yes. We’ve been waiting for you! I’m the elder of this tribe. As you see, this is the entirety of our tribe,” he explained as he held his arms outward toward the few remaining Gorons in the room. You see, a strange winter has blown upon the mountain, and we have lost many Gorons due to it.”

“We heard from some villagers nearby that a monster was lurking about causing trouble,” Miroku began, noticing the dreadful expression deepen upon his and others faces. “However, we have yet to come across such a beast.”

“You heard correct,” he explained. “It’s not easy tracking this beast; we have tried and failed. We keep ourselves closed off inside here, and so far we are safe. But as long as we hide inside here, we are unable to get food.”

“What do you eat?” Sango asked.

“Rocks,” was his simple reply.

Of course hearing this, the three were shocked. These rock people actually ate rocks. Was that natural? Well, if it worked, it worked they guessed.

“Now,” the elder began as he scrutinized the three. “You want the pendant, but unfortunately I will not hand it over so easily.”

Knowing something like this would happen, the half demon unsheathed his sword, which in turn caused the leader to laugh out loud, much to Inuyasha’s annoyance. “I figured as much! It’s always something! Let me guess, you want us to kill that monster and then you’ll reward us with the pendant?”

“Correct! Now do not fret. The monster you’re searching for, you will not find, but it will find you. We’re counting on you three!” was his reply and after that, the three found themselves outside in the cold winter snow.

“Figures we have to help someone!” Inuyasha growled.

Nodding, Sango thought about the elder’s words. “He said that the monster will find us, but we won’t find it.”

Miroku’s expression faltered. “I have a feeling that our friends are in trouble.”

“What makes you say that?” Inuyasha asked, though he also had the same feeling nagging him.

“I believe its best we return to the cottage before something—“

Inuyasha’s ears suddenly twitched at the sound of a female scream. He recognized the scream and cursed. “Damn it! Too late!”

Before either of Sango and Miroku knew what to say, their friend had run off in the direction of the cottage. Fearing the worst, they followed after.

Chapter Text

With the quiet of winter falling upon them, Kagome, Shippo and even Link settled themselves by the fire. Only shortly did Link return to the cottage. Expecting some explanations, he was surprised to find both of his new companions settled on the floor playing what appeared like a game. In each of their hands were what appeared like small pieces of paper.

After a while of toying around in the basement, Zubora returned and joined Gabora for a drink of tea at the table. Both men seemed out of sorts as their expressions, or mostly Zubora’s, were weary. During the long wait Zubora busied himself with bouncing his leg repeatedly as if impatient and anxious of when the monster would appear.

“Yeah!” Kagome shouted, causing all the males in the room to jump with a start. “I win!”

Shippo threw his cards down in defeat, and a frown marred his face. “I thought I had you this time!”

Curious, Link examined both occupants from his place against the wall. His eyes fell upon the small pieces of paper they held in their hands. When he looked closer, he found that there was writing in different colors on the paper as well as pictures.

Pleased that she won again, Kagome gathered up all the cards and began shuffling them with expertise. “What shall we play next?”

“What else can you do with them?” the fox child asked as he watched her take two cards from the deck.

“Well,” she began by placing the cards on the floor very slowly. Both the cards were leaned against one another, revealing what looked like a small tent. Taking another card from the deck, she began making a wall around it before placing more cards over top.

All the while, Shippo was amazed. “What are you making?”

“A fortress!” Kagome explained. “It takes time and lots of patience. Just the slightest of movements can cause this fortress to fall.”

Taking some cards from the same deck, Shippo managed to make his own little tent. After a few futile attempts at making the wall, Shippo gave huff and the beginning of his fortress fell. “I can’t do it!”

Stroking his red hair, Kagome softly said, “It takes a lot of time, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll come easily.”

Even Gabora who was curious of the game joined Kagome and Shippo on the floor, along with Zubora who had nothing better to do.

“What’s this now?” Zubora asked as he eyed the cards. He held one of the cards in his hands as he studied the small drawings.

“A game!” The priestess explained. “Wanna play war?” Noticing the confusion amongst them, she began explaining the entire game, and soon enough both men were playing against Kagome and Shippo.

“Beat that! No one can beat my ace!” Shippo exclaimed with triumph.

Zubora, who had been calculating each of the numbered cards, drew his from his small deck before placing it beside Shippo’s. “It seems we have both aces?”

Seeing this, Kagome gave a start. “This means war!”

Shippo narrowed his green eyes at the man in front of him. “You won’t win so easily!”

“Oh really?” he arched a dark brow at the kid’s spunk.

Seeing the sparks fly between the two, Kagome began explaining to Zubora. “Now, when you have both of the same numbers, you then draw three cards from you deck face down. Then you pick out one card from you deck and have it face up. That card will decide who keeps what’s left between the two of you.”

“Very well, let’s begin!” Zubora declared and he placed three cards face down and watched Shippo mimic him.

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Shippo reached for his card. ‘I have to win!’

Of course Zubora didn’t seem the least bit worried, after all he was winning. The only players left were him and Shippo, and the tyke’s deck only contained one card. Both Kagome and Gabora lost a while ago due to an onslaught of cards that packed a horrible punch.

“It all comes down to this,” Kagome began as she eyed the two. “Shippo seems determined to win, but Zubora seems confident, after all his deck is much larger. But Shippo could turn this whole game around with one card. Who will win?”

“Prepare yourself!” Shippo warned as he drew down his card.

Zubora laughed. “Already have!” His card met his and he gave a cry of victory.

A gasp escaped the entire group seated on the floor, and Link could not help but stare at them. They were all getting worked up over a simple game involving paper called cards. Was it really that fun? Shippo, from what he saw, was glaring at the owner of the house and Kagome was doing her best to console the demon.

“Link!” The young girl called. “Come play with us!”

Link, who had been watching gave a start when he heard her call. She wanted him to play? Why would he do that? Weren’t they the least bit worried about the monster lurking somewhere outside? Why were they busying themselves with a game when they could be preparing themselves for a surprise attack?

He turned his gaze toward the window. ‘What’s taking them so long? They should have been back hours ago.’ He thought it was strange, even if they were strangers to this world; it was not difficult to miss the Goron village, unless they ran in to trouble along the way.

“Why aren’t Inuyasha, Miroku and Sango back yet?”

Looking away to stare at the kit, Kagome sighed. “I’m sure they’re on their way.”

“But,” Shippo turned his gaze out the window in which Link continued staring out. “The sun is already going down. They’ve been gone for too long to slay a monster!”

Shippo did speak the truth. Inuyasha and the others should have returned long ago. Sure she didn’t want to believe it, but she was starting to think the worst had happened. Had they succeeded in defeating the monster? What was taking them so long to get back? If it was one thing, it was a priestess who couldn’t help but worry.

A mighty wind blew in suddenly, causing the door to slam open. Alarmed by the event, Zubora quickly went to shut it, only to scream the moment he went to grab the door. Filled with fear to the highest, Zubora stood frozen as a shadow towered before him.

Link, who had heard the door open and the scream escape from the smith’s mouth, stood ready for action with his sword drawn. He noticed Kagome already at the ready with her arrow aimed for the door.

Gabora, who was quick to react, managed to grab his friend and haul him in to the cellar, along with himself. There was just no way that he would stand in the line of fire and bloodshed.

“It’s the monster!” Shippo cried from behind the priestess’s leg.

The moment the monster crashed in to the room, tearing the door from its hinges, everyone stood with trepidation rolling off them in waves. Dark eyes with red slits stared back. This beast’s fur was black in color that stood on end. Almost mistaken for horns, its ears were long and curved with a point. With its mouth wide open giving a tremendous roar, jagged, long teeth were revealed.

If Kagome were any ordinary school girl, she knew she would have run moments ago, but she wasn’t. Kagome was the reincarnation of Kikyo, and the keeper of the Sacred Jewel which she wore around her neck secretly from evil eyes. No, it was Kagome’s sworn duty to protect the weak, no matter what the costs. Though sometimes she wondered if there was a limit. This monster was a good example, but then again, she had been up against far worse.

Raising its arm in the air, its claws came crashing down toward three. Unfortunately for it, everyone managed to move away in time. Tables fell apart the moment its claws made impact, and chairs went scattering.

“Take this!” Kagome aimed and her arrow hit the beast in the right shoulder, effectively injuring it. The light that surrounded her arrow pierced through its right shoulder, deteriorating the skin until nothing but bone remained.

Of course the monster was not pleased about this, and turned its eyes toward the girl. All at once he charged, and Kagome could do nothing more but watch with terror filled eyes.

Not fast enough to dodge, a sword intervened, slicing the arm of the monster’s straight off. Now standing before the frightened girl, Link handed her his shield, which she took absentmindedly. ‘It was just a matter of time. I knew something like this would happen, though why is it so weak?’

Kagome stood there with his shield in hand watching as he effortlessly attacked the beast. For his age, he was quite nimble with a sword. ‘I can’t believe this. Link is winning.’ Even if she knew better than to look, Kagome could not pull her eyes away from the decapitated arm that lay at her feet. ‘How did he manage to do that without getting injured?’

Even Shippo, who had taken to hiding behind one of the upturned tables, could not tear his eyes away from the boy. Though he looked young, he was actually quite skilled with his sword. ‘Where did he learn those moves?’

A howl escaped the dark monster, and Link found himself thrown back by its sudden strength. As it was already one arm short, it continued its onslaught. Again and again, one after another, its claws met his sword. With each swipe, it was determined to break the blade, but it proved too strong.

Leaping back, Link dodged another swipe attack. As he stood staring at his opponent from across the room, Link took the time to survey the surroundings. The entire room was wrecked, books were scattered and weapons were in a disarray. He noticed Shippo cowering from behind a table and Kagome stood a couple feet from him.

“What’s wrong with you? Get back or you’ll get killed!” Serena’s voice shouted from the farthest side of the room.

“Serena?” Kagome called. “No way, I have to help!” She lowered the shield and reached for another arrow, the priestess ignored the warnings from the fairy and the cry from Shippo as she notched her arrow. Aiming true, the arrow managed to fly past the monster’s head and she gaped. “What? I missed?” Before she could reach for another, a loud vociferous howl erupted.

Shippo’s voice suddenly rang out, “Kagome! Watch out!”

Distracted, Kagome watched helplessly as the beast charged toward her. Its eyes burned with incredible rage. Her bow and arrow fell from her hands and she could do nothing more than wait for the strike. She suddenly screamed. Not just any scream, the scream. The scream one would hear if they were watching a horror movie. A moment later, she found herself thrown to the ground and wetness upon her neck. Stunned that she may have been attacked, she opened her eyes only to gasp when she realized that it was not her blood but…

“Link!” Shippo called. “Watch out!” Of course the warning came too late and Link found himself thrown across the room. His back met the wall with a loud crack before sliding down onto his knees.

A startled gasp escaped the girl. “Oh no!” She turned her eyes back to the beast, realizing it now stood above her. Eyes widened in fear, Kagome crawled away with sheer panic. Both her bow and arrows were on the other side of the room.

“Kagome!” A familiar voice rang out.

Looking up from her place on the floor, Kagome’s eyes brightened. Here she had thought something might have happened to him, but he was okay. “Inuyasha!”

Also entering the room were both Sango and Miroku, whose faces were laced with worry and anger. Their eyes were drawn to the beast that stood rigidly in the darkened room. The candles had long since burned out and the stench of blood filled the air.

Startled, Sango gasped. “Link!?”

All three of their eyes turned to the boy across the room. There were nasty gashes on his arms and upper torso. Blood fell from his forehead and down his face. From their scrutiny, Link appeared unconscious and mortally wounded.

Returning his eyes back to the beast, Inuyasha gave a loud growl. “Damn you!” Just before he could draw his sword, he realized that something was wrong. “What the?”

A dark purplish light left the mouth of the monster, creating a haze in the room. Before either of the gang knew what to make of it, the vapor shifted and escaped through the open door, leaving the group to stare upon a smaller version of the monster. On closer inspection, they realized it was a white wolf. Instead of standing like it had a moment before the haze left its body, it now laid on the floor with a sword pierced through its head.

“I-is it dead?” Shippo asked.

“Yeah…it’s dead alright,” Miroku explained as he pulled out a sutra from his pocket. Placing it upon the wolf, he began praying for the soul to depart peacefully.

With worry, Kagome hurried over to Link’s still form against the wall. “Link?” She wiped the blood from his mouth and softly patted his cheek. When he refused to wake, it only furthered her fear. “Guys, he won’t wake up!”

The door to the cellar slowly opened just a crack. Realizing that the worst was over, Zubora and Gabora opened the door and joined the rest.

Appalled that his entire house was in shambles, Zubora was about to explode, but he realized that something was amiss. From where he stood, he noticed the group gathered around a small form sitting against the wall soaked with blood. “Oh my…Gabora, fetch some hot water and rags!”

Chapter Text

Link found himself standing, lost in the shadows that surrounded him. Whether or not he was dead, it mattered not. He glanced each way, his ears tuning in to a soft melody; it echoed through the darkness. Almost immediately, Link knew he was dreaming. A mist surrounded his feet, and the music grew louder. This melody was not familiar to him, yet it held a sadness to it.

“Link? Link?” A voice called from somewhere in the darkness.

Looking each way, Link could not pin point what direction it was coming from. The voice continued calling for him and it sounded familiar.

“Wake up! How can the fate of Hyrule really rest in your hands?”

Startled and perhaps just a bit confused, Link recognized the voice. This voice was his friend which whom he left Hyrule in search of, Navi. But why was her voice appearing through his thoughts?

A vision formed from the darkness, and he watched as a version of his younger self woke to find a fairy in his room. She explained that the Great Deku tree had summoned him. Of course, naïve and full of innocence at his age, Link was overjoyed to have his very own fairy guardian.

The image around him altered, and he found familiar blue eyes staring back at him with joy. The familiar short green hair framed her face well.

“Oh wow! You finally got your very own fairy! I’m so happy for you Link!” Saria exclaimed happily. “Now you’re a true Kokiri!”

Grinning from ear to ear, Link felt his face redden. “Her name is Navi. The Great Deku tree summoned me, so I have to see him.”

Hearing this, Saria’s smile broadened. “Really? Well what are you standing around here for? Get going! It’s not good to make the Great Deku tree wait. I’ll wait here until you get back!”

The Great Deku tree, withered from age, moaned from pain. “Link, I am dying. It was already too late for me from the beginning. Now I ask of you now, do you possess the courage strong enough to quell the evil that torments this land? You are destined for great things. Because you bare the weight of the Triforce, you must save the land of Hyrule.”

“But how am I destined for great things? How can I save the land?” Link, who had been unsure of who he was for years, thought himself to be a Kokiri. He was only ten years old. How was he supposed to save a land from evil?

“In time, you will understand. You will save Hyrule and peace will be restored as it should be. Only you Link, can save us all.”

“But,” his voice trailed off as tears fell from his eyes. “I’m just a kid…Great Deku tree don’t g—“ His voice faltered when he realized that the Great Deku tree was gone. The only father he ever knew departed.

All of the children of the forest gathered around the tree with gasps of surprise and fear. Upon realizing that their only father was gone, they could not help but release their laments.

Leaving the group of children, a red haired youth with freckles and a frown on his face marched himself right up to Link, who stood watching with remorse. “You killed the Great Deku tree!” he shouted, startling the other young Kokiri that gathered around their deceased father. “It’s your fault! You never belonged here! You were never one of us!”

The words hit him hard, so hard Link believed that perhaps he was right. If he’d gotten to the Great Deku tree sooner, then perhaps he could have been saved. But the person responsible for his death was in fact a Gerudo man, Ganondorf.

Unsure of how to explain to him, Link lowered his eyes. “Mido…I…I…didn’t…”

Tears spilled and Mido’s face reddened with remorse. “Get out! Don’t you dare come back here again!”

“Link, don’t listen to him! He wasn’t there when it happened,” Navi explained, though when she noticed her partner’s distraught expression and his downcast eyes, she sighed.

“Link…

“Link…Link…”

The darkness faded away, along with the faces of those familiar and forgotten. Opening his eyes, he took notice of the candles lit in the room. Familiar voices conversed from somewhere, and Link realized he was lying on a bed.

Sitting up, Link grunted from the pain on the back of his head. He must have gotten hit pretty hard. Not only that, but he realized that his tunic was missing, leaving him in nothing but his pants. Bewildered by his lack of clothing, Link took notice of the bloodied bandages around his upper torso. The events from earlier returned to him, and he noticed a lingering shadow above him.

“He’s up!” Shippo shouted, catching the attention from everyone in the room. Turning his eyes back to the boy, he leaned in closer to the side of the bed. “Are you okay?”

Link placed a hand through his hair and winced when he felt the same sting and wetness upon his skin. Blood stained the tips of his fingers, running down the length of his arm. ‘I wasn’t paying attention…’ A second time did he get distracted.

When he saw the monster charge for Kagome, Link took the initiative and threw his sword at the beast. Sure it was reckless of him, but if he didn’t have such precise aim then he wouldn’t have even done it. The moment his sword hit, he didn’t hesitate when he grabbed the girl by her middle, pushing her toward the ground, barely missing the claws aimed for them.

Kagome was fortunate that her life was spared, due to his act. Almost breathing a sigh of relief, Link then went to pull himself off the girl, only to stop when he realized how beautiful she appeared. From a distance her radiance shimmered, but up close was entirely different. Drawn to her beauty, Link could not tear his eyes away from her face. Her lips were parted, and her eyes closed revealing her long lashes that brushed against her rosy cheeks. Even her hair fell around her in curls like yesterday evening. For a split second, Link had felt himself shift away when he noticed movement from beside him.

Because of his foolishness he met the wall with wounds and a headache to go along with it. He shouldn’t have allowed himself to get distracted again, but he did. What was wrong with him? These distractions were going to get him killed one day.

“Thank goodness!” Kagome’s voice filled his ears and he turned his eyes to meet hers. Bending down, she took a strange white box from the table by the bedside and began sorting through it. “We were getting pretty worried. You hit the wall pretty hard and we almost thought the worst!”

Grunting from the other side of the room, Inuyasha gave the boy a glare. “That’s why I wanted the two of you out of harm’s way! Why didn’t you two take cover in the cellar?”

Ignoring the half demon, Sango placed a hand over Link’s forehead. “He seems to have a fever.”

“Really?” Kagome asked. She turned her attention to Shippo who sat on her shoulder. “Shippo, could you go through my bag and get me my bottle of pills?”

“Sure!”

Serena fluttered above Link with concern. “Are you okay?” She smiled when she saw his nod. “Good! Now where’s your satchel?” Before Serena could open the pocket from his bag, she found herself pushed away by both women.

“Link, I’m going to need you to take this medicine. It’ll help lower your fever,” Kagome explained as she handed him a small pill with a can of soda in her other. Kagome noticed the disdain and uncertainty reach his eyes. “Trust me. It might taste bad, but it’ll help.”

Pushing her hand away, Link turned his head and pushed himself off the bed. Of course he didn’t get very far when he found himself back on the bed with Kagome trying her hardest to hold him down.

“You have to stay in bed!” She warned. Almost fed up with his constant thrashing, she pushed the contents of the pill in to his mouth, much to his displeasure. “Sango, hand me the alcohol and peroxide please.” After receiving the medicine, she got herself onto the bed and held Link down as she sat on him. He kept kicking his feet, so what else was the priestess to do? “Hold still, this won’t hurt.”

From the other side of the room, the males sweat dropped. The two girls, especially Kagome, were practically torturing the poor lad, and there they were just standing there watching. Even Serena watched, though she was bemused by the entire situation.

Sango held both his arms down, wincing as his cuts bled out more from his struggling. “They’ve reopened again.”

Almost instantly, Link stilled, much to the girl’s appreciation. The strange liquid that they poured on his open wounds stung terribly, but not enough to do him actual harm. Whatever they were doing to him, he did not appreciate it one bit, especially when all the males in the room were watching.

“Sorry,” Kagome muttered before softly blowing on his wounds. “Is that better?”

Instantly he went rigid, and he felt his heart pound in his head repeatedly. The surge he felt when the girl above him eased his wounds did more than just ease the pain. Physically, he could feel her above him, and mentally he wanted to touch her but at the same time he wanted to get away. Instead of using all his strength to push her off, he let her clean his wounds.

“Could you hand me the bandages, Sango?”

“Here,”

“Thanks”

As he sat up, she wrapped the bandages around him, in which Link looked away. A strange but also mystifying scent filled his senses. It was sweet like vanilla. From a distance, he never paid any attention to scents, but up close, he could not help but notice. Almost immediately, Link felt himself relax when she suddenly pulled away to stand on her own feet.

“Done!” She exclaimed as she placed everything inside her bag.

Worriedly, Sango placed a hand to Link’s cheek, only to pull away with shock. “I think his fever’s gotten worse!”

“What?” Taking a look for herself, Kagome too gasped. Leaning herself closer to his face, Link fell back with shock. As she leaned over the bedside, she placed her forehead against his before pulling away. “You’re right! His head is so hot, and he’s flushed terribly!”

“Kagome!” Inuyasha’s voice complained from the background. “What the hell are you doing?!”

Perplexed by his sudden anger, the priestess turned around. “What do you mean? I’m checking his fever.”

“That close? Looked to me like you were about to kiss him!” his face angry with jealousy. He wasn’t stupid. That was the problem. Kagome was getting too close to him, though he understood because Link was hurt, but that didn’t mean she had to get that close.

Upon hearing this, Kagome blushed madly. “What? No, it’s just that my mom said that’s the best way to tell if someone is sick!” The thought of Inuyasha even mentioning such a thing made her angry. Sure she knew he could get jealous, but to say such things out loud embarrassed her. Of course what did it matter to him anyways? Every time she turns around, he’s gone off to be with Kikyo. Even though he knows of her love for him, he still leaves every night to be with his old love.

“You guys should have seen him!” Shippo suddenly said, catching everyone’s attention. “He sliced that monster’s arm off with his sword like it was nothing!”

Kagome smiled. ‘It was something. He was so fast and determined.’

Of course none of this mattered to the half demon as he grunted. “Well, big deal! Look at how he turned out! If it was me, it’d be different.”

Sango and Miroku only shook their heads, while Shippo merely glared at the pompous jerk. “Yeah right! Link was so fast; hey I bet he’s even faster than you!” He didn’t notice the glare and the twitch develop on the half demon’s eye as he continued on. “Link saved Kagome, but he ended up suffering from the attack. He threw his sword at the beast and it hit!”

“And he managed to make it in one piece too,” commented the monk. “I believe we owe him our thanks for protecting lady Kagome and Shippo,” he explained and Sango also agreed.

Delighted that someone, besides Inuyasha believed Link deserved some credit for his act of heroism, Shippo jumped for joy. “That’s right!” Shippo replied with much enthusiasm.

Serena, having witnessed the entire scene, fluttered over to Link with his satchel bag opened. “Link, those injuries look pretty bad.”

Hearing her concern, Kagome approached the two. “Don’t worry. They’ll heal in no time. It might take a while though, maybe a week before he’s on his feet.”

“Instead of waiting for a while, why not speed up the process?” The fairy asked, but that only seemed to baffle them.

“Speed up the process?” Sango asked. “You can’t. Healing takes time, and with Link in the condition that he’s in, there’s no way to speed up the progress.”

Sighing because of their lack of knowledge on medicine in this world, Serena rummaged through Link’s satchel by his bed and pulled out a small bottom filled with a red substance. “This is called Red Potion. It will miraculously heal anyone’s wounds, not matter how terrible they are. You can easily buy it in Clock Town for a reasonable price.”

“Red Potion?” Miroku took the bottle and eyed the liquid inside. “You say it will heal his wounds instantly?” Miroku was doubtful of this, but also curious.

From the background, Inuyasha snorted. “Yeah right!”

“It’s true!” Serena insisted, earning a nod from both Gabora and Zubora who now stood beside the bed, leaving Inuyasha standing all alone in the back.

“Actually,” Kagome began as she eyed the bottle. “I remember going to a store in Clock Town and the guy there said it will give quick energy. But does it really?” she wondered.

Miroku unscrewed the cap and gave the bottle a sniff. “Smells like ordinary water.”

“Hand it to Link. It really does work!”

Giving in, Miroku handed the bottle to Link’s outstretched hand and watched as he swallowed the Liquid until there was nothing more left in the bottle.

Much to everyone’s surprise, even Inuyasha’s, the bandages fell away from Link’s chest and the wounds suddenly vanished from sight, leaving behind the small s that still marred his skin. Finally healed, Link reached for his green tunic and his belt that lay neatly folded near the bedside table.

“They’re gone!” The slayer could not believe such a liquid could heal the wounds so quickly. They were even better than Kagome’s medicine. “Amazing!”

“I’ll say!” Even the monk was flabbergasted from the sight. “So that Red Potion is affordable in town?”

Even as Link now stood standing, Kagome could not help but stare. There were no indications of pain whatsoever on his face. “Unbelievable. If we had this stuff while battling Naraku, then we wouldn’t have to worry as much.” Realizing that she almost forgot, Kagome turned her eyes back to her three friends. “I almost forgot. Did you get the pendant?”

Miroku, upon hearing this shook his head. “No. The elder of the Goron’s said we had to defeat the monster, and seeing as how it’s no longer a problem, I guess we should head back.”

“I almost forgot about that!” Shippo explained. He had been so caught up with everything that’s happened in the last hour, that it completely slipped his mind.

Before the group knew what to expect, they found that Link was no longer in the room.

“Where’d Link go?” Shippo asked, but everyone seemed just as puzzled.

Annoyed, Inuyasha exited the house and saw the boy standing a distance away. “Hey! Where the hell do you think you’re going! Get back here!” When he was ignored, he felt himself grow angry. “Damn it! I told you to get back here!”

‘I need air,’ Despite Inuyasha’s shouting, Link continued on his way toward the Goron village. His headache only worsened with his yelling, and he was starting to get annoyed. Besides, who was he to tell him what to do? Link was his own person, not a slave to anyone.

“Where’s he going?” Shippo asked from the door.

“I think he’s going to the village to get the pendant…” Kagome smiled nonetheless. “Well, let’s get going!” She was tired of staying in the house anyways.

Seeing Kagome following after, as well as Shippo, Inuyasha couldn’t help but grow more annoyed. “Where the hell are you two going?”

“To the village, duh!” remarked the priestess as she jogged to catch up with Link. “Hurry up!”

No sooner then she said that, Miroku and Sango, followed by Kirara trailed after the three, ignoring Inuyasha’s protests. Giving up, he decided there was no use in yelling. His friends could be so difficult.

Zubora and Gabora waved to the travelers until they disappeared through the darkness of the night.

An hour later, the group stumbled upon the village. With Miroku leading the way, they noticed torches along the path toward the giant dome like building. While on their way, they had not been attacked by any beasts much to their satisfaction.

A figure stood at the door of the building, and gave a nod of the head before disappearing inside. The group took this as a notion to follow, and so they did. Upon entry, they were greeted by numerous Gorons.

“What’s this?” Kagome asked. “Did they find out?”

“Seems so,” replied the monk who gave a wave to some of the Gorons. “Thank you. Thank you!”

The elder of the tribe approached the group, wearing a smile that brightened upon their arrival. “My friends, welcome! You have done well!”

Bewildered, Inuyasha stepped forward. “How did you find out?”

Winking at the half demon, he patted him on the back so hard, Inuyasha’s face met the floor; the Goron was strong. “We have our lookouts who watch from a distance. You did very well young lad,” his eyes fell on Link who merely nodded. “Here is what you wanted, the pendant for which our tribe have guarded since the dawn of time. I give it to you.”

Taking the pendant, Link placed it in his satchel for safe keeping before bowing to the elder respectively.

Pleased beyond any means, the Gorons welcomed the guests to feast, to which they declined. Rocks were on the menu, and as healthy as that sounded,(not really!) they did not wish to lose any teeth.

“I believe that all of you will save the land,” the elder explained. “Do not let us down!” At this, all the Gorons clapped.

Saying their good byes, they left the village and made their way down the mountain toward Clock Town whose light led the way.

Chapter Text

With one pendant down, the group only had to search for the remaining three which were located in the ocean, swam and the canyon. With Link being the bearer of the first pendant, the group returned to Clock Town for a peaceful nights rest at the Stock Pot Inn.

The next morning, Kagome helped Anju with her many reservations. Most of the time, Kagome took part in showing the guests their rooms, while Anju waited on the rest. Some of the customers were very kind while others thought they were well above the others because of their flashy clothes or lack of. The day was proving quite busy for the Inn keepers, and they needed all the help they could get.

While Kagome scurried from one person to another, Miroku offered his assistance to Kafei in the kitchen. He helped prepare the food intended for the approaching festival. Kafei welcomed the help, and during the long hours of chopping and baking, the two conversed in light conversation.

Shippo on the other hand, disappeared a while ago to play with some of the neighboring kids, and Sango thought it might be best if she also gave the Anju some help. Even though Anju explained she didn’t have to, Sango insisted. For half the morning, she took time to straighten and clean the rooms. The beds were made with care and the floors were clear of dirt, and the windows were spick and spam.

However, Inuyasha thought it was best to just let his friends do whatever while he explored the town and its many inhabitants. For the most part, he wanted to test more of his new sword that the Great Fairy had given him. Though it was light and durable, Inuyasha thought perhaps it had some magic to it like his old sword. Of course he’d have to find a place to practice without anyone getting hurt.

Inuyasha decided he would just look around town before he went off to practice. Of course he wasn’t planning on stopping in front of a Swordsmen’s school. “Now this is what I’m talking about!” Not even thinking, he walked right inside where a huge room greeted him.

Inside sat a little man with a brown mustache and what appeared to be either his brown hair that fell all around him or it was some kind of head piece. Whichever it was, it hid his eyes from view. This old man wore a sleeveless orange shirt which was unbuttoned, revealing his hairy chest for the world to see. As for his pants, they were blue.

“Welcome to my school!” The man yelled from across the room. “Please come closer so I may see my new student!”

As he approached the man who sat Indian style on a small mat, Inuyasha couldn’t take his eyes off the huge gong that sat beside him. ‘What the heck is that?’ When he stood in front of the man, Inuyasha wondered where all the other students were, not that he cared.

“Now then, will you be taking the novice course or the expert course?” He asked, and of course we all know Inuyasha.

“Expert of course! Bring it on!”

Surprised at his boastfulness, the old man shook his head. “You’re new here. Sorry but I will not be fighting you. In fact you will not be fighting anyone.”

“What?”

“You will be attacking simple logs, but you must reach them before the minute is up,” the old man explained. “Now then, it seems easy enough, that is if you’re fast.”

Grinning, Inuyasha pulled out his new sword the shinned with its mystifying blue light. “Of course I’m fast! This will be nothing!” He was already itching to show off his bad ass skills.

Delighted that he may actually have a remarkable and talented student, the man slapped his knee. “Good, the course is ten rupees!”

Pulling a small bag from his pocket, Inuyasha pulled out a couple of rupees. “Uh how do I know which is what here?” When Link wasn’t looking, Inuyasha took the bag right from under his nose. Besides, what was a kid doing with so much money in the first place?

“Two blue rupees together equal ten.”

Handing them over, Inuyasha positioned himself in the center of the room, his sword at the ready. This would be nothing, though he was a little bit saddened that he wouldn’t be fighting against anyone. But this was to hone his skills. Maybe he’d figure out what his new sword could do.

“You have one minute before your time runs out. Begin!”

A single log rose from the ground in front of him, and with his speed, he hacked at it. Two more appeared behind him, and just like the first attacked it quite harshly. Just as he was feeling cocky, five more appeared and of course he wasted no time splitting them in two. Two flew through the air hitting the farthest walls opposite from one another. Heck, one even soared over the teacher’s head, narrowly missing him.

“Finish!” The old man pounded the gong with a stick repeatedly.

Smiling from ear to ear, Inuyasha marched himself right up the teacher. “How was that? Told you I was fast!”

Quiet at first, the man scrutinized the half demon from head to toe. “You are very fast, but you lack the appropriate skills for combat! You’ll get nowhere just swinging your sword like a mad man!”

To say Inuyasha was flabbergasted was an understatement, in fact he was appalled. “What the hell do you mean?! I destroyed everyone one of those stupid logs. You saw it with your own eyes!”

“Yes, but the cuts were not neat. Do you see that?” he pointed to a fallen log with slinters poking out from it and part of it hacked away. “Why it’s just like hacking off your enemy’s arm or leg, but that does not mean they will fall so easily. Sorry, but you have failed. I recommend that you take a novice course.”

Annoyed, Inuyasha turned and marched himself toward the door. There was no way he’d listen to some stupid human. What did he know anyway? Heck, he never saw the battles he fought in against Sesshomaru, Kouga or ever Naraku. He would take his training elsewhere.

“I see my course is too much for you,” the man’s voice reached Inuyasha’s ears, effectively halting him the moment his hand touched the knob of the door. “And here I thought I had such a talented student; I guess I was wrong.”

Inuyasha took his hand from the knob and turned with fueled anger. “What was that?” He laughed at the absurdity. “Nothing’s too much for me! I’ll take that course!”

Delighted for the change of mind, the old man stretched out his hand. “One rupee then.”

After a moment of trying to figure out which rupee was which, he handed the bag to the old man. After taking one green rupee from the sack, Inuyasha stood waiting at the center of the room with his sword unsheathed. Failing to hear any response from the old man, Inuyasha growled. “Well?”

With a disappointed sigh, he shook his head. “Your stance is all wrong and put your sword away. You will not need it just yet.”

Of course this only annoyed Inuyasha further. “What for?”

“Put it away or get out!” He bellowed causing his student’s ears to pin back.

Putting the sword away, Inuyasha stood waiting. From underneath the floor a log rose in front of Inuyasha, hiding the master from view.

“I shall teach you the basics of unarmed combat. You need to keep your eyes on the log as if it were your sworn enemy. Visualize your enemy getting ready to attack you.”

The log suddenly transformed in to Naraku, and Inuyasha stood with feet apart. He laughed at the half demon. “What’s wrong Inuyasha? Come at me or should I come at you first?” Naraku’s sadistic voice taunted the half demon.

“Now, what do you do when you’re unarmed?”

Already knowing the answer, Inuyasha explained. “Use your fists!”

“Wrong! You dodge!”

“You can also use your fists!” he argued back, but that only made the older man angry.

“Don’t sass talk me!” Coughing, he continued his teaching. “So I want you to first do a back flip while keeping watch on your enemy. Get to it!”

Rolling his eyes at the simplest of moves, Inuyasha did a backflip and landed three feet from the log. ‘That was easy! Can’t he make this harder?!’

“Now do a sideways jump, while still watching your enemy!”

While he did so, he felt like such a fool Inuyasha already knew this stuff, why was he putting up with all this in the first place? Oh yeah, because he wasn’t weak. He’d show him.

“Good! Good! Now do a roll attack at your enemy!”

Scrunching his face in confusion, Inuyasha just stared at the man from behind the log. “Roll attack? What the hell is that?”

“Don’t question me! Start rolling!”

Just like his teacher said, Inuyasha distanced himself from the log and ran at it. The moment he came within five feet, he fell forward and rolled until he made impact with the log. After impact, he laid sprawled on the ground with small little Kagomes began dancing around his vision. ‘God if he actually tried that with Naraku, he’d just receive odd looks from everyone.’ Grunting from the impact, Inuyasha rubbed his head. ‘Damn that hurts!’

“You can do better than that!”

Standing up, Inuyasha fisted his hands. “Hey! Cut me some slack! I just rolled like you wanted me to!”

“It can’t be helped. We’ll move on. Now then, since you understand some of the unarmed dodges and attacks, you may now draw your weapon,” he explained watching as his student unsheathed his sword. “First, do a horizontal strike at the log!”

Inuyasha swung his sword sideways toward the log, effectively slicing it in half with a nice and neat cut. There were no small pieces left behind and he felt proud.

“Good! Now do a vertical cut!”

Delighted that this proved much easier, Inuyasha jumped and aimed for the middle of the log as he envisioned himself cutting Naraku in half. ‘Take that you son of a b****!’ With Naraku’s cry echoing in his mind, he watched with satisfaction as the wood fell to the floor in half. “How’s that?”

“Wrong! No jumping! Do it again!”

“What? You never said anything about—“

“Are you whining?”

Keeping himself from attack him instead of the log, Inuyasha raised his sword above his head and with rage boiling in his veins, he sliced the log in half. “That better?”

“Much! Now thrust!”

Without any problems for that and the final jump attack; which Inuyasha demonstrated a moment before, he now finished his novice course.

“Well done! Do not forget what I have taught you thus far and do not neglect your daily practice!”

“Is that it?” he asked.

Nodding in reply, the old man bowed to the student. “You did well. Are you ready to try the expert course again or would you like more training?”

Without so much as giving it a second thought, Inuyasha handed the man two blue rupees. “Like hell. I know enough already! Bring it on!”

After receiving the money, the man started up the logs and watched as his student ran at each of the logs. One by one, he was thoroughly impressed by the half demon. At first he thought this man to be only a novice, but in fact, he held some skill that might even rival his own. Much happier with the results, and no logs flying over his head, he hit the gong. “Finish! You have passed! Congratulations!”

Before Inuyasha could boast and before the old man could reward Inuyasha, a sudden wave of blue energy swirled around the blade itself, much to their astonishment. The blade shined much brighter as the blue energy wrapped around the half demon’s grasp. Lettering appeared on the blade in a silver light. The letters were unlike any that Inuyasha had seen before. In a way, it resembled some sort of ancient writing. Just as it appeared, the energy suddenly retracted inside the blade, but the writing remained.

“What was that?” Had he somehow unlocked a move or what?

From a distance, the old man left his seat and stood before Inuyasha as he stared with wide and frightened eyes. “Could it be that blade has resurfaced?”

“You know this blade?” Inuyasha asked with shock. “What kind of moves can it do?”

“It’s not what kind of moves; it’s the power that resides in the blade!” With shaking hands, he moved his fingers along the smooth steel. “This sword was used long ago in ancient times. There are stories about it dating back to the beginning of mankind,” he explained. “How it’s still here and without any rust is beyond me, but, it should have perished—“

“Well thanks for the training old man!” Without looking back, Inuyasha returned his sword to his sheath and left through the door. He ignored the calls from the teacher to wait. The moment he stood outside the school, Inuyasha felt a bit stronger. ‘Wait until the others see this.’

The clock ticked to the 12th hour, and the customers started to dwindle as there was only one more vacancy left for that day. Kagome had wagered that there were now twenty new faces staying at the Inn. One customer was left standing in the room, actually, he had been standing there were over an hour waiting for the line to let up.

Happy that this was the last one, Kagome greeted the customer with a hello. “Good afternoon. Do you have a reservation sir?” Kagome asked with a pencil in hand as she held the book open.

A Goron, with a hat much like a policeman’s, stood before her. “Yes. My name is Link-Goro,” he replied.

Searching through the lists of reservations, Kagome found the name. “Mr. Link Goro, your room is the Knife Chamber; it’s the second room from the right as soon as you go up the stairs. Please enjoy your stay here,” she explained before pulling out a silver key. “And this is yours.”

Taking the key from her hand, he canted his head and continued on his way. “Thanks, goro.”

Closing the book, she returned it in the drawer before walking down the hall toward the lobby where Miroku sat drinking some tea. While she sat down beside him, she couldn’t help but wonder about that Goron. ‘Hm, Link must be a popular name.’

“Finished already?” Miroku asked as he eyed the tired girl.

Nodding, she leaned back against the sofa. “You can say that again. Are you done with the food?”

“Yes.”

The door opened suddenly, revealing a smirking Inuyasha. “Are you guys done yet?” He asked.

“Yeah, why? And where were you? You know it couldn’t have hurt you to help!” Kagome didn’t even bat an eye lash when she said this. The least he could have done was act like a gentleman and help in some way.

Of course he saw this coming, but he simply ignored her. “Just training is all,” he replied before going to stand next the two. “Where’s Sango and the runt?”

Kagome explained, “Well Shippo went out to play and Sango’s—“ Before she could finish, she jumped with slight alarm; Miroku did the same, and he nearly dropped his cup of tea.

Inuyasha’s face was contorted in pain as he grimaced in agony with wide eyes. “Uhg ah!”

“What are you children still doing here?”

Both Miroku and Kagome turned away from their friend and looked down near his legs to see the little old lady; it was Anju’s grandmother, in front of them in her wheel chair. Her hair was held back in a messy bun, and on her lap she had a red book. A red shawl was wrapped around her shoulders, and to both of them, she appeared asleep what with her eyes closed.

“Granny?” Kagome was surprised to see her all of a sudden. “What are you doing here?”

Inuyasha, tempted to flip the entire chair, along with the old lady over, grasped the handle of the moveable contraption. With his strength, he managed to lift the spiked wheel and remove his bruised foot from underneath. He nearly cried at the damage done, and he wanted to know why it was always him. Knowing he couldn’t do anything to harm the old lady, because Kagome would sit him a thousand times, he instead glowered at her. When she failed to acknowledge his presence, he growled. “Watch where the hell you’re going old hag!”

Just hearing the vulgar words leave his mouth was enough to upset the little old lady. With her small and wrinkled hands, she reached toward Inuyasha and with speed much faster than the average old lady, she yanked hard on his hair, earning another cry from said half demon.

“Owe! Owe! Owe! Let go!”

Of course granny didn’t let go, rather she held on fast. “Now you listen here! Just because I may seem old does not mean I am hard of hearing! Now settle down. Stop whining like a baby for crying out loud! And such language, I will not allow in this house. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yeah, I hear ya, now let go!” In response, the old lady let go, and he made sure to step out of her line of fire.

Sweat dropping from the scene, Kagome turned her attention to the old lady. “Granny, I thought you were asleep?”

“Actually I just woke up. There’s something very important I think you youngins ought to be aware of.”

Bemused by her words, Miroku noticed the grave and seriousness in her voice. “Whatever do you mean?”

“If you’re wise, you’ll all leave town while you still can,” she informed most sincerely. When she saw the confusion on their faces she continued on. “Those that have stayed long will suffer terribly.” With that she took her leave and the group only could only stare at one another.

“She can’t mean the evil, can she?” The priestess asked.

Somewhat perturbed by this, Miroku could only nod. “It seems we are not the only ones aware of what’s taking place. I had thought everyone was unaware, but I see I was wrong.”

“If you ask me, she’s nothing but a senile old hag!” was Inuyasha’s reply, though he was rewarded with his face to the wood floor.

With renewed strength, Kagome got on her feet and left the room. Instead of wasting her time and anger on Inuyasha, she would go help Sango. ‘He can be so rude!’

Picking himself off the floor, Inuyasha rubbed his sore face. “Damn. What’s her problem?” All he did was tell the truth and here she was sitting him. Not only that, but she didn’t even interrogate him, rather she just left. ‘What’s gotten in to her?’

While Inuyasha got to his feet, Miroku took another sip of his tea. “Inuyasha, is there a reason for that smile you were wearing when you entered the room?” Of course he wasn’t stupid. Something happened while he was gone.

Focusing his attention on the monk, he gave a nod. “Actually there is. Come with me, I wanna show you something!”

Puzzled, Miroku placed his tea on the table and followed his friend outside. Of course it was a bit strange, seeing as how Inuyasha wanted nothing to do with them half the time and the other he was always complaining that they had to get a move on. But, rather than whine about not doing their job at finding the rest of the pendants, he was actually relaxed. “What is it?”

Pointing at his sword in his sheath, Inuyasha’s smile broadened. “Wanna see something cool?”

A laugh sounded from behind the two expectantly, but both males ignored it and continued their conversation.

“What is it?” The monk questioned. “Did you finally figure out how to use it?”

“Not entirely, but something happened to it not long ago. I was over at one of those schools and when I was practicing with it—“

Again there was a laugh, and again the two ignored it. Inuyasha didn’t appreciate the interruption, but he decided to overlook it.

Uncertain of what he meant, the monk scrutinized his friend. “What exactly happened?” While he watched his friend unsheathe his sword, the monk’s eyes widened. “My, this is something! What does it mean?” he asked as he touched a few of the strange letters.

“Don’t ask me. It just started glowing and then that showed up. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Miroku couldn’t agree more. “Strange. I’m sure the Great Fairy would know about it. Why don’t you go ask her?”

“Why would I do that? I don’t need anyone telling me how to use it! You remember up in the mountains, don’t you? You were there.”

Nodding, Miroku took his hand away from the blade. “How could I forget? You used it like a pro, even though it was your first time.”

Snorts of laughter bellowed from behind the two and with annoyance, Inuyasha turned his sights to the interruptions.

“What’s so damn funny?!”

Two men were seen juggling four blue balls to each other. Both men appeared like twins. They both had the same short brown greasy hair, and the same brown mustache. Only distinguishable difference between the two was their different tunics. The man closest to Miroku wore red and the one farthest from the two wore blue. Their white pants consisted of white and brown boots adorned their feet.

The man in blue spoke up. “Oh ho ho ho! What do we have here?”

His twin appeared baffled. “What’s that?”

“Those two men there,” replied the man in blue.

Startled, the other man glanced at Inuyasha and Miroku. “Oh my, what about those two men there?”

Grinning from ear to ear, the man in blue explained. “I heard a rumor.”

Somewhat perplexed by the two men, Miroku watched as his friend glared at the man in blue.

“What rumor?!”

“Oh ho ho ho!”

Tempted to wring his neck in order to get answers, Inuyasha sheathed his sword. “Answer me!”

“The rumor about you two,” he explained before a gasped from the man in red caught their attention.

“Oh my, you don’t mean that rumor?” A laugh escaped him. “Oh ho ho ho!”

Giving Miroku a strange Look, Inuyasha realized that he wasn’t the only one baffled by the strange words said by those strange men. “What the hell is so funny?”

Knowing that Inuyasha was getting nowhere, Miroku thought it’d be best to figure out just who they were. “Sorry but who are you two?”

“We’re the twin jugglers from the Gormon Troupe! We’re practicing for the festival tomorrow night. It happens once in a blue moon,” replied the man in red.

“You see we’re entertainers. We must keep people smiling. No matter how grim things get, we must always be optimistic.”

Delighted that they were getting somewhere, and knowing that they were going to perform in the act tomorrow night, Miroku introduced themselves to the men.

“We already know about you,” replied the man in red who continued smiling.

“Really?” asked the monk, only to receive a nod from the man in blue.

“Yes. We’ve heard lots of things about you and your friend. Haven’t you heard?”

Shaking his head, Miroku merely scratched his face. “I’m afraid we don’t. We just got back last night, so—“

“Oh ho ho ho! Quite busy were you?”

“Oh brother please!” The man in red laughed. “Stop tormenting them!”

Agreeing with the twin, Inuyasha got right in his face. “Yeah! What the hell is this rumor?” When he failed to receive an answer, he went to grab the man by the scruff of his neck, but Inuyasha suddenly gave a loud cry of pain when something stomped right on his already injured foot. Turning around, he grabbed Miroku the moment he went to brush past him rather quickly and glared. “What the hell Miroku? First that old hag runs over my foot and now you?! Watch the hell where you’re going!”

“My apologies, Inuyasha.”

“Sorry ain’t good enough!”

Worriedly, Miroku tried to pull himself from Inuyasha’s claws, which were beginning to dig in to his shoulders painfully. “I really think we should wait for interrogations later.”

“Oh really, and why not now?”

“Oh ho ho ho!”

“Oh shut up!” Inuyasha turned to glare at the man in blue. “What the hell is so funn—“ Inuyasha found the reason for their laughter and quite possibly the reason for Miroku’s behavior. When he looked over Miroku’s head there was the answer to everything. “Shit!”

Chapter Text

“Well, looks like that’s that!” Kagome sighed as she flopped herself on to the small bed. She and Sango just finished sweeping the floors and making all the beds inside the inn, including their own. Her eyes fell on her friend standing across the room. “Sango, what’s going on with you and Miroku?” Sure it came out of nowhere, but she was curious about her two friends. After all, Sango seemed quiet for the last week, and so it was only natural for Kagome to worry. Besides, Sango was like a sister to her.

Somewhat startled by her friend’s question, Sango lowered her eyes. Talking about such things always made her feel strange, especially when it concerned a certain monk. “Nothing really.”

“Nothing huh?” Kagome asked before sitting up. “Same here.”

Sensing the priestess’s lament, Sango took a seat next to her on the bed while softly stroking her back. “I’m sure something will spark between you two,” she tried to explain, but she only received a bitter laugh. “Kagome?”

Kagome bore her gaze toward the wall opposite from them. “I don’t think he can ever forget Kikyo, and I don’t blame him. We’re constantly at each other’s throats, and I hate sitting him,” Kagome sighed just remembering all the times he upset her. “I mean, his behavior is beginning to be too much Sango. In fact, I don’t know what to do.”

“Well, do you still love him?” The slayer asked.

Kagome tore her eyes from the wall and toward the eyes of her friend. “That’s the thing. I don’t know. I feel so distant from him these days.” Sighing, Kagome decided to change the subject. “What about you? I haven’t seen Miroku flirting with anyone as of yet, and has he tried to… you know?”

“Actually, no. The only time he did was in the forest.”

“Well, the festival is tomorrow,” Kagome replied. “Maybe then we can be alone with them. What do you think?”

Blushing, Sango nodded. “Just as long as he doesn’t grope me again.”

Laughing at her words, Kagome stood and raised her arms above her head to stretch. “Then it’s settled. When Shippo gets back, we’re going to make some masks. Are you going to make one?” Just the thought of making something from scratch, especially with Shippo, excited her; it kind of reminded her of her younger days.

Actually, Sango hadn’t thought about it. “I don’t know. Maybe.”

“I wonder if we have to dress up for this festival,” Kagome pondered this. Sure it’d be nice to dress up once in a while, but she felt bad about asking Anju if she and Sango could borrow a dress. “I’ll have to ask Anju about that when she has time.”

A loud and agonizing scream from outside startled both women from their thoughts. The yell was very familiar. After a moment of silence, there was another shout, most of which sounded like a certain monk. While the screaming continued, laughter soon followed.

“That sounded like Inuyasha,” Kagome muttered. Why was her friend screaming? ‘Did something happen?’

Sango was just as perplexed as she. “And Miroku. I wonder what’s going on.”

As the two dispersed from the room, they came upon Anju walking down the hall wearing a happy smile. Of course, when wasn’t Anju happy?

Seeing the young girls exit one of the rooms in a hurried fashion, she smiled kindly. “Hello. Where are you two off to in such a hurry?” When they explained that they were going out for a bit, Anju looked thoughtful. “I think I heard someone outside scream quite loudly.”

Kagome nodded. “I think it was the guys,” she explained before all three of them carried on light conversation as they descended down the stairs.

At the bottom, they came upon Kafei in the lobby staring out the window.

Bewildered as to what her husband could be looking at, she went to stand beside him. “Kafei?”

He merely looked up at her with a childish grin. “Seems like Inuyasha and Miroku are having quite a time out there.” Kafei couldn’t help but turn his gaze back toward the window before laughing.

OOO

The moment Inuyasha noticed the reason for his friend’s behavior, he cursed and with his strength, pushed Miroku in to the throng of squealing girls that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Sure it was wrong to throw his friend in to the line of fire, but it was either him or Miroku; Inuyasha chose Miroku, besides, he was already sporting another bruise, no thanks to the monk of course.

Hoping that with the monk as a distraction, Inuyasha hurried toward the Inn for safety, but he didn’t get very far. In fact, something had latched itself onto his back and he found himself pushed to the ground. No matter how hard he tried to crawl away, the squealing girl on his back would not allow it.

“Oh my oh me! Is this a doggie I see! You’re so cute!” This woman’s hands found his ears, and she couldn’t get enough of the softness. “I love your ears!”

“Traitor!” Miroku shouted from somewhere inside the crowd of girls. Only his hand was visible. “No! No, stop!” He screamed as he tried in vain to get away. Hands were grabbing at him from every direction, and as any guy would have welcomed it, he was only interested in one female at a time. “Inuyasha!”

Giggles erupted from a few women to his right. “Oh my, isn’t he just charming!?”

“I demand that you let me go!” Miroku declared, but he only received a pinch on the cheek.

“I love it when a guy demands what he wants,” A seductive voice whispered in his ear, causing him to jump away, but only in to the arms of another woman. She unbuttoned her blouse, smirking all the while. “Wanna have a look?”

“Nooo!” The monk thrashed and kicked, but it proved futile. One minute he was with his robe on, the next, his entire torso was bare. When he realized this, he couldn’t help but wonder just how the girls managed to take it off so quickly and without his noticing. From a distance, he saw two girls fighting over what was left of his robe, most of which was tattered to ribbons.

Managing to pick himself up on his hands and knees, Inuyasha attempted to throw the girl off, but it only proved to excite her more as she wrapped her legs around his middle and her arms around his neck. “Get off!”

“Oh you’re just a tease, baby!” She murmured in his ear. “Come on! Go faster!”

“I said get o—“ He winced when she latched onto his ears. “Stop pulling!” Of course all he got in response was a laugh.

Unbeknownst to a certain fairy, Serena fluttered on by and boy did she see an eyeful. “What the?” As her eyes fell on all the crazed women and what was left of the two men, she could only stare. “What let loose here?” Deciding against getting any closer to the mob, she settled back and watched with horror as well as amusement as Inuyasha screamed his head off. “Serves him right, heh heh heh.”

It was around this time that Link came waltzing around the corner. He heard the commotion all the way in the south of town, but he wasn’t expecting the sight that was in front of him. From his line of vision, Link watched as both men were desperately trying to get away from the horde of girls. Of course, while he watched, he wondered about something. ‘When did Clock Town have these many girls?’

“Oh ho ho ho!”

Glancing to his right near the Stock Pot Inn, just opposite of the ruckus, Link noticed the two jugglers from the Gormon troupe laughing their heads off. Obviously they got a kick out of the scene.

“Oh my, but what a sight!” Replied the man garbed in red. He was practically crying from the whole thing.

“Oh ho ho ho! They’ll never get away!”

“Should we help them, brother?”

Shaking his head, the mustached man in blue grinned. “Oh no! If we do that, they’d start liking us, if you know what I mean? Those homosexuals are weird like that.”

Surprised by this new information, Link tore his eyes away from the twins and onto the men who were now held back by their arms. During his childhood years, Link never once saw the likes of such men. Sure he heard rumors every now and then, but he never thought he’d actually be acquainted with them. For a minute, Link was caught up in this small moment.

“Come on, kiss him!” A girl shouted from the crowd that now surrounded them from either side, making escape impossible.

Trying his hardest to pull away from the three women latched onto his arms, Miroku never thought he’d fear anyone as much as Naraku. Sango was a different matter, but this was too much. ‘If Sango saw this…’ He paled at the thought. “Release me!”

“Don’t touch me! I ain’t kissing him! What the hell is wrong with you girls?!” Inuyasha cried, but it was no use. Inch by inch, he found himself pushed closer to the monk, and vice versa.

Murmurs started around them, and the two men found themselves a foot away from each other, both wearing terrified expressions. All around them, the women appeared baffled by Inuyasha’s remark.

“What’s wrong with them?” A tall woman with long blond hair asked her neighboring friend.

“I don’t know.”

“I think they’re too shy to admit that they love each other!”

At the sound of such a remark, both males turned their heads up toward the girl. When they did, they realized it was the same woman from the Treasure Chest shop. It all started to make sense.

The rumor must have started from that woman, because she got the wrong idea the last time they paid a visit to her shop. But there she was, wearing a long pink dress and loads of makeup on her face. Even her hair had a little curl to it since they last saw her.

A sudden rage initiated inside Inuyasha. “You! This is your fault!”

Smiling, she knelt down and patted his head gently. “What do you mean?”

“You spread those rumors around!” He pointed to all the women. “Listen, there’s nothing going on between me and Miroku! You’re all sick to even suggest such a disgusting thought!” Why if those women didn’t have firm holds on his arms, he would have made her and all the others pay.

Surprised, the woman with short blue hair stood up and walked over to the silent monk before sitting in front of him. “Oh really? If that’s how you feel,” She glided her hands up and down his perfect chiseled chest, earning an intake of breath from Miroku. “Then I’ll take him.”

“Then, can I have the man with the strange ears?” asked a young women who suddenly threw her arms around the half demon from behind. “I call dibs first!”

Startled by the turn of events, Inuyasha cringed at the thought of being shared among all the women. ‘Oh god! I hope Kagome doesn’t see this! She’ll sit me all the way to hell if she does.’

“Haven’t you any modesty?” Miroku asked as he found the woman now straddling his waist as she now sat on his lap. Of course she ignored him while she played with his pony tail. “I’m sure there are a number of better guys out there. Besides, I already love someone!”

“Who?” she asked. “Is it a woman?”

“Of course! I’m only interested in the opposite sex!” It was against his religion to love a female, but he did take after his father.

This elicited a giggle from the woman above him. “I can tell,” she whispered in his ear, and he blushed when she brushed her body against his. He was already starting to lose himself, and she already knew. “Tell me, does she excite you more than me?” Perfect manicured hands roamed his chest, slowly descending in a lustful manner.

‘Oh Buddha please! I can’t betray Sango, I can’t!’

“Get a room!” The girls shouted together before laughing at the sight of the man caught in her trap.

Seeing his friend struggling to overcome his desire from the woman in his lap, Inuyasha knew he had to do something. While everyone’s eyes were glued to the monk and the woman, he took the opportunity to slip out of one of the girl’s clutches that suddenly slackened. The moment his feet touched ground, he was about to leap in to the air away from the chaos, but of course fate had other intentions for him.

“Not so fast!” A small woman with short chestnut hair threw her arms around the half demon’s waist, earning a grunt of annoyance from the man. “We’re going to get married! You and me!”

Just as he was about to grab the woman and throw her across the town, a woman grasped his ankle and pulled with all her strength, thus causing Inuyasha to fall on his back with the woman now above him.

“Heh heh heh! This is great!” Serena laughed as she helped herself to leaning against the Treasure Chest shop’s sign.

Link, who had watched the entire scene, could not help but look away. As he did, he eyes fell upon two females, who stood standing outside the Stock Pot Inn. ‘This ought to be interesting,’ he thought as he leaned against the post in the square.

“Marry me, Inuyasha!” The woman above him exclaimed with hearts in her eyes. This woman’s chest was pressed against his as she practically held him down with force, aided by some of her friends. “I’ll make you the happiest man aliv—“

“Sit boy!”

The ground beneath them trembled suddenly, alerting and frightening the women, who jumped to the possibility of an earthquake. Dust gathered around them and they coughed as the dirt entered in to their lungs. Screams vociferated in the entire vicinity, before diminishing altogether.

As the dust cleared, Miroku regained what dignity he still had and scramble to his feet. He was breathing quite hard, and he fought to regain some control over his body, but it had other ideas. Of course his heart hammered in his chest when he realized that Sango and Kagome were there. Gulping, he slowly turned his head to look over his shoulder.

Grasping for air, Inuyasha pulled himself up slowly. Rocks fell from his hair and he winced when he saw angry brown eyes glaring at him some feet away. ‘Oh no!’ Waving his hands in front of him, Inuyasha shook his head from side to side. “Kagome, it’s not what it looks lik—“

“Sit!” She shouted with venom. “Sit sit sit sit sit sit sit sit!” Kagome took a deep breath before turning away from the half demon.

From so many sits, the ground suddenly shook with great velocity. Both Kagome and Sango were unable to keep their feet in place and fell over. Anju and Kafei emerged from the Inn, and they held on to the building with fear and surprise. The crater in which Inuyasha occupied was so large and massive, that it caused the ground to crack.

“Again?” cried the demon slayer.

After a minute of the interruption, it ended. Sighs filled the air and everyone regained their bearings. As for Inuyasha, he had yet to move from his hole. The crater was a sight to see, and Kagome suddenly felt responsible.

“Sorry…I didn’t mean…I…”

Sango patted her shoulder comfortably. “It’s not your fault.”

“But,” she began as she stared at the wreckage. “I sat him and then—“

“That wasn’t your doing,” Kafei interrupted. “Actually it was another earthquake I’m afraid. We’ve been getting quite a number of them as of late.” Kafei sauntered over to the massive crater and bent down to look upon the man inside. “Are you alright, Inuyasha?”

“Ugh…fine…”

“Kagome,” Sango began with concern. “Maybe it’s best not to sit him again. It seems that just sitting him may upset the earthquake again.”

Still a little shaken by the sudden tremor, Kagome nodded. “Yeah.” A sudden realization struck her. “Oh! I hope Shippo and Link are alright!”

“Link’s right over there,” Sango pointed for the distressed girl beside her. “As for Shippo, I wonder where he could have run off to.”

The moment she said this, a pink ball with crazy looking eyes flew overhead before popping in midair. Shippo appeared in his normal shape, completely unfazed by all the stares given to him by Kafei, Anju and Link “What happened?”

Relieved that he was alright, Sango explained about the earthquake. She left out the part where all the women bombarded both the guys.

“Another one?” Shippo found his way over to the giant sized crater, where a certain half demon managed to slowly crawl out. “Man, what happened to you?” Sure he’d laugh at his predicament, but he was a little worried, even if he was a jerk sometimes.

“Just having an off day, that’s all,” Inuyasha huffed as he straightened himself and managed to turn his eyes toward Kagome. ‘She must have gotten the wrong idea. It wasn’t my fault.’

“Brother, seems like another earthquake,”

“Yes. I wonder why we have so many.”

“Do you think the end is near?”

“Who knows!”

While the two jugglers went on talking amongst themselves, Shippo noticed a tension form in the air around him. Miroku and Inuyasha appeared frightened and guilty, and Kagome and Sango were quite quiet. Even Link, who stood leaning against the post a couple feet away, was quiet, but then again when wasn’t he?

“Inuyasha…” The priestess muttered, causing him to flinch.

“Kagome, it’s not what you think!” He hurriedly explained. “They came out of nowhere and attacked me and Miroku!”

Unconvinced, Sango pointed toward the monk. “Oh, really? How do we know it wasn’t Miroku’s perversion that started this whole thing? Huh?” Just leave it to Miroku to stir up a woman. She couldn’t believe him or Inuyasha.

“Sango I would never eve—“

“And more importantly, how did they know your names?” Kagome interrupted. She was not very thrilled about his. When she saw the woman on top of him asking Inuyasha to marry her, it just set her over the edge. “Well?”

“It was that woman’s—“ Inuyasha began, but unfortunately he was once again interrupted by the angry girl.

“You know what? Forget it! I don’t care,” With that, Kagome, as well as Sango turned their backs to the men. ‘So much for going alone together to the festival.’ The priestess sighed. When she suddenly noticed Kafei and Anju looking between the two awkwardly, she felt herself blush. “I’m so sorry! You shouldn’t have seen that.”

Waving it off, Anju merely smiled. “It’s alright. Actually, those girls have been known to stir up a lot of trouble. Whether or not a guy wants them around, they automatically assume that they’re interested,” she explained to the two girls, who looked shamefully back to the two guys.

Pleased that someone was taking their sides, Inuyasha grabbed the top part of his shirt before looking back to the girls. “See? What’d I tell you?”

Miroku nodded. “The moment he and I walked out of the Inn, we were attacked. The girls claimed that we were both…uh…” Just thinking about it made him cringe. It was sickening that anyone, especially girls would even want such a thing.

“Homosexuals,” Serena explained from nowhere. She fluttered toward the boys before snickering as she returned to her partner’s side. “You should have seen the beginning Link, priceless!”

Arching a brow at his fairy’s laughter on his shoulder, he shook his head and brushed a blond lock of hair away from his eyes. While he stood there, he wondered about the relationships between the girls and the guys. Kagome had expressed her anger toward Inuyasha for something he was not in control of, yet it surprised him when she said the word ‘sit’ multiple times. Was it a spell? Somehow or other, she had some sort of hold over him, which was uncommon for women unless they studied witchery, but he doubted this about her. This only made him more curious about her.

“Sorry for yelling and saying the s.i.t. word.”

“Whatever. I probably would have jumped to conclusions too if It’d been me. Don’t worry about it,” he explained with nonchalance.

Waltzing himself right up the demon slayer, Miroku took her hand in his. “Sango, will you forgive me?”

Blushing lightly, she nodded. “Yeah. Just as long as you didn’t touch them.”

Hearing this, Miroku was appalled. “Never! I only have eyes for you, my dear sweet Sango!” One by one, he began nuzzling her hand, furthering her embarrassment when she realized people were staring.

“Stop that!” Freeing herself from his hands, she turned her gaze elsewhere, causing everyone around them to laugh.

A couple elderly ladies sauntered by the group, discussing important matters. They wore fancy dresses with elaborate designs and handmade laces. Their graying hair was tied back in high buns, and they wore thick powder on their faces. Suddenly they stopped and turned to stare in the direction of the Stock pot Inn where Kafei and Anju stood. All at once they began walking away in hushed whispering.

“It’s that woman that runs the Inn!”

“You mean the one that married the kid? What was his name again?”

“It’s disgusting! Why, she should be married to an older man, not some dim witted child. How do they expect to earn a good living?”

“I blame the mayor for even allowing such a thing!”

Frowning at their rudeness, everyone turned their eyes to the couple near the door. Anju stood behind Kafei with a comforting hand on his shoulders wearing a solemn expression. Kafei stood in front of her, barely tall enough to reach her neck. His eyes were downcast in a manner as if he were sorry. Both his hands were fisted, as if struggling to control himself, but he remained calm due to his wife rubbing his shoulders in a soothing manner.

Kagome pitied them. It must be hard for Anju and Kafei since their ages were completely different. Sure it wasn’t uncommon for rumors to spread, but they’ve been together for four years. ‘They made a promise to each other.’ Kagome decided she would talk with Anju at a later time that day about a few things.

Changing the subject, Anju’s face suddenly brightened with a false cheery smile. “Let’s go inside for lunch. I’m sure you’re all hungry by now, right?”

Oblivious to the whole incident, Shippo leaped for joy. “Yeah! I’m starving!”

Miroku picked up the remainder of his robe and followed everyone inside the inn. “That sounds lovely.”

Over all, everyone agreed to lunch, deciding to overlook the awkward silence just moments ago. Even Link followed the gang inside along with his fairy companion who finally quieted down.

Chapter Text

There was music and there was laughter buzzing in the air around Clock Town that night. Lighted lanterns were hung around the shops and streets above displaying stands with food and games for the many. Banners were decorated around every stand. Children were running around with their own masks, and the adults busied themselves to conversing with one another as they walked by.

As the night weighed on, Link sat on the roof of the Stock Pot Inn, watching as a small parade of soldiers marched around the square and in to the town, each holding banners signifying harmony for the New Year. Along the way, the children followed, each mimicking the march they displayed.

While he sat there, he thought about the coming end of the land. So far, Link only spent two days with the group. Sure it wasn’t long, but he felt like an outsider. Perhaps if he opened up to them more he wouldn’t feel like that. To Link, two days was not enough to befriend strangers, especially when they came from another world. After hearing from the Great Fairy that the land was going to end in a month or less, Link was yet again bound to another quest. Only this time, he wasn’t alone.

For the most part, he found Shippo to be talkative and full of energy. He claimed he was a fox demon. This youth would constantly fight with Inuyasha for being called a runt and so forth. Link knew Shippo wanted to possess as much strength as all his friends, but his cowardice would get the best of him.

Sango and Miroku were comfortable to be around. The two seemed knowledgeable about their weaponry, and were always the first to seek information. Both seemed close to one another, and judging by yesterday afternoon’s misunderstanding, they had some sort of relationship. Neither one gave him trouble, and for that Link was thankful.

As for Inuyasha, well what more was there to say? He was a half demon with an impolite personality. When Inuyasha rescued him from the monster in the forest, he issued many rude comments and questions concerning Link’s appearance. Sure he was grateful for the rescue, but Link would not forgive his behavior. Even as they were on this quest to save the land, Inuyasha treated him like he was unfit for battle.

Pushing Inuyasha away from his thoughts, Link focused on the other member of the group, and that was Kagome. This girl, from the moment he first set his eyes on her, he knew he had fallen for her. Link was sure it wasn’t what the adults called love, rather it was an infatuation, a simple crush. He hadn’t been with her long enough to actually fall for her. The way she talked, walked, acted and even the way she laughed would bring warmth inside his heart; something he hadn’t ever felt before.

He found himself in the situation where he wanted to know her, yet he was fearful. After his descent in to Termina, Link lost all communication with the ones he loved in Hyrule. The land flooded the moment he left in search for his old partner, and he witnessed, through a vision from the Great Fairy, the sufferings all of Hyrule went through. Saria was gone; she was the only Kokiri that befriended him in the forest. Even though he was never a true Kokiri, she accepted him, but now she was gone, a memory that slowly drifted away. Link supposed he was afraid that if he did make friends with anyone, he didn’t want to lose them like he had before.

There were times he missed visiting his old friend Malon at Lon Lon Ranch. Fiery as a wild kitten, she grew fond of him. Though he found her forwardness quite different than what he was used to. In a way, she aided him on his quest to save the land from Ganondorf; she let him borrow her horse for the long journey through harsh terrain. But now, as he no longer required the use of a horse, he gave Epona to Romani and Cremia; they were caretakers of Romani’s Ranch just south of Clock Town.

Looking up in to the dark sky, Link wondered what would happen in the near future. If they should somehow save the land, would peace return? Afterward, what would he do? Would he continue wandering or would he settle down?

A ball of pink light fluttered around aimlessly before ascending to the roof near the giant bell. “Link, what are you doing up here? Everyone’s inside getting ready.”

Sighing, Link removed his hat. “Just thinking,” he muttered, completely surprising the fairy next to him to no end.

“You talked!” Words could not describe how ecstatic she was feeling at that moment. “Thank the goddesses! I’ve missed your voice!” With her small wings, she flew around him multitudes of times with pure bliss, before snuggling up to him with her warm light.

Pushing her away with his index finger, Link stood up and turned his eyes to the moon above. Link’s thoughts wondered to the new threat. Now that Ganondorf was sealed in the Sacred Realm for all eternity, and Majora’s mask vanquished to the fiery pits of hell, what was next? ‘What is this evil reining over us right now?’ Though he couldn’t see it, he knew it was there, watching them.

Laughter from inside the Inn broke him from his ponderings and he leaped from the roof top, rolling the moment he hit the ground. Opening the door, he found that the sound inside was much louder, as he expected.

“Kagome, look! I did it!” Shippo exclaimed with delight. He bounced up and down in his seat holding what appeared like a small red mask with wild and vicious yellow eyes painted on it.

Upon seeing Shippo so full of excitement, Kagome gushed over how amazing it looked. “Oh you’re right!” From her pocket, she pulled out a small white mask with blue and red markings painted on it. “Mine doesn’t even compare to yours in the least!”

Anju wondered in to the room, dressed in an extravagant white lace dress. Her hair remained the same, but the light makeup on her face brought out a new sight. “Oh, Kagome, if you’d like, I have some extra dresses in my room, if you’re interested. Sango is trying one on as we speak.”

Surprised by this information, Kagome bowed deeply to the woman whom she had become such great friends with. “For real? Thank you so much!”

While settling himself against the wall, Link watched as the young maiden ran up the stairs, no doubt to try on one of Anju’s dresses. As he looked around the room, he pondered about the men’s whereabouts.

“Link?” Shippo asked, causing him to look down by his boots. “Where’s your mask?”

Blinking, Link shook his head. He remembered giving most of his masks to the mask salesman a long time ago. However, he did keep the most important ones which might prove useful on his journey. So, he would just go to the festival without one. It wasn’t really any big deal.

“What’s your mask, Shippo?” Anju asked as she came to kneel in front of him.

Puffing out his chest, Shippo placed his masterpiece on his face. “My warrior mask!” With this on, he wouldn’t have to fear any monster, no matter how intimidating they were. “Do you like it?” he asked as he removed it.

“Very! It suits you well.”

“Anju, do you recall where I may have placed my mask?” Kafei’s voice asked from the other room.

Picking herself up, Anju turned and walked toward the open door a few doors away from Link. On her way, she grabbed something from her desk, and giggled as she entered the room where her husband searched relentlessly for his mask. “Are you looking for this?” she asked.

The second she left the lobby, Miroku exited from the door just to their right. “Well, what do you think?” he asked coming to stand by the desk.

“Different,” Shippo replied, though Miroku agreed. “I’m sure you can get another robe when we get back to our own world.”

Even without his normal garb, the one he wore now flattered his features almost perfectly. The shirt he wore was a brown vest over a white button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The black pants he wore were loose fitting, and yet they complimented him
quite well. Rather than wearing his plain monk’s sandals, he wore knee length brown boots. All in all, he didn’t look half bad.

“Kafei let me borrow some of his clothes,” Miroku explained as he touched his sleeves. “This material is quite different than that of our own world.” For a moment, he pondered why Kafei had adult clothes, but he decided to overlook it.

Laughter issued from the other room, followed by what sounded like complaints from Kafei. Apparently he was having trouble trying to find his shirt, but that would be because Anju was holding it behind her back.

While the boys were alone, Shippo tugged on Link’s tunic. “Link, is it wrong that they’re married?” he asked with childlike curiosity.

When Link didn’t answer, as to be expected, Miroku cleared his throat. The moment he was to open his mouth, someone beat him to it.

“No. Age doesn’t matter if you’re really in love, Shippo,” Kagome explained as she waltzed in to the room followed by Sango. “Anju and Kafei love each other, and due to some circumstances, Kafei is much older than what he seems.” She recalled the afternoon when she and Sango confronted the Inn keeper in her room. Anju explained that a curse had been placed on him long ago. But, they made a promise to marry, no matter what. In a way, Kagome found it romantic.

Baffled about her explanation, Shippo thought back to when the old ladies were whispering about the couple. “But those old ladies were talking about them.”

“True, but does it really matter what others think?” When she asked this, Shippo shook his head from side to side. “It shouldn’t matter what other’s think. If you love someone, then aren’t you supposed to embrace such matters together?” Her words brought new insight to the young kitsune, even though he was naïve to such adult things, but he realized that it didn’t really matter.

Beautiful, that’s what Link thought the moment she stepped in to the room. Her long ebony tresses were pulled back in to a half braided ponytail along her back. Not a strand was out of place. The dress, which was unlike the one she wore moments ago, fell to her ankles gracefully. The deep maroon color brought out her chocolate brown eyes. Laces, crafted with great care, brought a sweet elegance to the short sleeves of the gown. Green intricate designs were embroidered along the ends of the dress, as well as her petite waist where a large deep green ribbon wrapped around her figure.

Besides her dress, Link took notice of her lips. Normally they were without rouse, but to Link it didn’t make any difference. At this moment, they were a luscious light pink, which flattered her rosy cheeks. Instead of wearing much more flattering shoes, she wore instead her regular brown shoes. Either way, she was breathtaking.

“Right, Link?” Shippo’s voice brought him back to the real world and he found himself lost to what the child was asking. “Aren’t Kagome and Sango pretty?”

Realizing that her eyes were on him, with her smile alluring him, Link’s entire countenance fell. He couldn’t help but turn a deep cherry red, especially at the thought that she may have noticed his staring.

Seeing this, Serena laughed. “Why he’s utterly speechless! I haven’t seen Link turn this red in a long time!” She couldn’t help but tease her partner; after all it was very rare for him to stare so openly at the female. “You’re both very pretty!”

Even Miroku couldn’t help but smile. “You’re all as radiant as ever, but exceptionally beautiful today.”

Hearing this, Kagome blushed and smiled shyly. “Thanks! Sango picked it out. Though I think she would have looked better in it,” she explained as she fingered one of the laces on her sleeves.

Of course it was obvious for her female friend to object. “That’s not true. This dress flatters you wonderfully. Besides, I’m sure a certain someone will find you pretty,” Sango replied, watching as her friend’s blush darkened.

‘Certain someone?’ The thought brought him back to the conversation. While he regained his normal nonchalance, leaning against the wall, Link watched as Kagome smiled at the mention of ‘a certain someone.’ ‘Does she like Inuyasha?’ Which brought him to one question, why?

And speak of the devil, that’s who walked in. The door slammed shut behind him as he hurriedly stepped in to the room from the back door. Inuyasha wore his same red clothing, disregarding the fact to even dress up. Maybe it was a girl thing, but even Miroku dressed up, especially because his clothes were torn to shreds.

“Are we ready yet? I’m tired of waiting, and I’m starving,” he complained standing in the room with indifference. “Why are you three dressed up?”

Blushing, Kagome fiddled with her fingers. “Do you like them? Anju said we could borrow them while we attend the festival,” she couldn’t help but glance at him and look away bashfully.

His golden eyes roamed her features, taking every detail in. There was a difference in her hair as well as her posture. “Keh!” Inuyasha turned his nose in the air with crossed arms. “At least you’re not wearing that skimpy outfit!”

Rude. Inuyasha, the one Kagome lost her heart to, gave no indication that he liked her new look. He was insensitive to her feelings, and any man would be lucky enough to have such a nice girl. The more Link spent around this man, the more his hatred burned.

Kagome’s eyes fell to the floor and a frown marred her once beautiful smile. ‘I guess things have changed. I’m no longer interesting to him. No matter how I change my appearance, he won’t look at me like he does Kikyo.’

“Kagome?” Sango was no idiot to not notice her sister’s lament, but Inuyasha was. ‘I can’t believe he said that!’ In her mind, Kagome didn’t deserve him; she could do much better.

Also sensing her distress, Shippo accusingly pointed at the half demon. “That wasn’t nice, Inuyasha! The least you could have said was she was pretty!”

“Oh shut up you little runt!” he growled toward the child no bigger than his knees. “Fine she’s pretty, big deal! Now are we ready to go or what?”

Entering in to the room was a huge lady with high red hair. Around her neck she wore white pearls. This middle aged woman, known to be Anju’s mother, wore a long black skirt, and over top that she wore a green turtle sleeved sweater. She stood in the door way next to Inuyasha holding on to the handles of granny’s wheelchair. Her expression was friendly. “My, don’t you all look nice.”

“Head my warnings children,” Granny’s voice captured everyone’s attention. “Do not forget that if you stay here any longer, great misfortune will come your way,” Granny muttered, causing everyone around her to stare with uncertainty. Before long, she dropped her head and fell asleep.

“I told you guys, senile,” Inuyasha muttered.

At long last, Kafei and Anju left the room. Kafei grinned at his friends. Rather than wearing his normal purple and white clothes, he wore a simple ornate black shirt with long sleeves that too were designed with a sun and a moon; they resembled the masks that he and Anju gave to each other years ago. The pants his wore were white, plain. In his hand, he carried a Keaton mask; it was a yellow fox with a grinning face, while Anju had a simple pink mask with the eyes cut out. “You didn’t have to wait on us,” he explained nervously.

Although he was only looking for his mask and his shirt, he found himself blushing. Nothing happened, and nothing between he and Anju did for some years. The couple were determined to wait until after he grew to be a man, that way he could properly woo her. Even though he was cursed in to a child, he did not give up on Anju. She accepted him the moment he walked in to her room that dark and eerie night. Of course she’d been crying, but her tears vanished upon his arrival. They made a promise to each other that they would marry the morrow and exchange their sun and moon mask. They did marry, but any intimacy between them would have to wait until later, much later.

“Well let’s not just stand here, let’s go!” Anju exclaimed, exciting everyone, including Inuyasha.

Chapter Text

“Look at that!” In all his childhood fantasy’s, Shippo never believed he would ever witness such an event in his life. There was dancing, music, games and so much to see. He wore his mask as he ventured around the town, careful of the many inhabitants walking by.

A group of Gorons were seen in south of town, playing their drums while the men played their flutes along with the steady beat. Many passers stopped to listen to the music, and few took the time to dance hand in hand with their partners. Every year, the Gorons traveled down from their mountain to play at the festivals held each year.

As the group went their separate ways, Kagome watched the display happily. Apparently, it did not matter what race either of them were; the people here seemed to respect each other and there were no problems. Such involvement and understanding of each of their differences made this town all the more appealing. There was no foul talk about the Gorons and vice versa. Pretty much Kagome believed the people were nicer than the ones in her own time.

Food filled the air, tempting the half demon who took to investigating some of the stands near the Clock Tower. Strange spices swept by his sensitive nose, urging him forward. The aromas were sweet and with just a hint of spiciness.

“Sango, may I have this dance?” Miroku asked as he offered his hand to the young lady beside him.

Stunned and somewhat embarrassed, she accepted. She placed her hand in his, and just as she did, he pulled her to his body eliciting a gasp from her. Shyly, she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and together, the two danced.

Some people stopped to watch the two, including Kagome, Shippo and Kirara. Miroku was grinning from ear to ear and spun Sango gracefully, and the whole time through the dance, Sango could not help but laugh.

‘I’m happy for you Sango.’ As Kagome watched, she felt a sadness sweep over her, but it only lasted a brief moment before she cheered for her two friends.

Leaning against the Clock Tower door, Link watched as the children ran about with their masks on, aka the bomber squad. In the past, he joined their Secret Society of Justice who sworn themselves to help every inhabitant in Termina. Sure it was childish, but back then Link had never been part of such an interesting group.

“Link?” His fairy companion called suddenly and he shifted his attention to her. “What are you doing just standing here?” When she received only a shrug, she began bobbing up and down. “Hey! You need to go out and have some fun! Come on! It’s a celebration that only happens once a year!” She began tugging on his tunic. Letting go, she sighed before an idea came to mind. “I saw the way you looked at Kagome.”

Blinking with surprise, Link shook his head as if to dismiss the very idea. ‘Great. She saw. She’ll never let me live this down.’

“Yes you were! And you were blushing!” she teased, much to his annoyance and embarrassment when people were looking toward them as they walked by. “Why don’t you go and ask her to dance?”

Dance? Such an idea was ridiculous. Besides, she only had eyes for Inuyasha. Why would she dance with him? Furthermore, she hardly knew him. No, it was best to just keep his distance. As he stood there listening to his partner rant, he couldn’t help but glance toward the crowd of couples dancing.

Serene continued ranting. “I can’t believe she likes that mangy mutt! Besides, what’s so great about him, he—“

“Link!” a feminine voice called his name, catching his and Serena’s attention almost instantly. “Come and dance!”

Surprised, Link didn’t know what to do. Even as his partner urged him to go and have fun, he was frozen. Turning his head away from her, Link felt his face burn slightly. When he refused to acknowledge her calls, as well as Shippo’s, he debated whether or not he should leave. If he did leave, he would no doubt hear Serena’s complaints all through the night. Not only that, but then Kagome might wind up hating him. Sure he feared befriending her and her friends, mostly because they might end up hurt in the end, but what was he supposed to do?

What was wrong with him? Why was he worrying over such a trivial matter? No; that was what he decided. He would just stand there the entire time. No one was going to change his mind.

Even as she stood there calling for him to dance with them, Kagome could not help but wonder why he was just standing there. “I wonder what’s wrong?” Even if he was a year younger than her, Kagome never knew of a boy to not have fun. In her eyes, he looked lonely and sad.

“Maybe he can’t dance?” Shippo asked as he too stared at the boy. “Or he’s shy. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t talk to anyone?”

Smiling to herself, Kagome withdrew herself from the dance and briskly hurried across the path leading to the Clock Tower, while calmly dodging some friendly faces along the way. ‘He’s going to have to join in some time.’ Managing to make it across without bumping in to anyone, she stepped toward the boy, whose eyes were shut as if to block any noise around him.

Before he knew what to expect, Kagome reached out grasped his hand, much to his surprise when he abruptly looked up. “Come and dance with us, Link.”

Not sure what to do in such a predicament, Link could only watch as the young maiden pulled him toward the crowd. While on his way, he noticed Sango and Miroku laughing, before turning their eyes toward him during their dance. He blushed when they cheered for Kagome, and he strained to pull out of her grasp, but her hold was firm. Even Shippo started cheering when he saw him, though Link didn’t know why.

Suddenly she stopped and turned herself toward the boy who was only a head shorter than herself. Without so much as a warning, she enclosed his arm around her petite waist, while she held his other hand in one of her own. Delicately, she placed her left hand upon his shoulder. “It’s no fun just being by yourself! Now let’s dance!”

Before Link could fathom what happened next, she moved her feet and he had no choice but to follow. While they danced, quite fast like, Link was drawn to her ever present smile. ‘Why?’

“I won’t bite, promise!” She winked.

OOO

While Inuyasha busied himself near the food stands, he could not help but glance back toward his friends. He noticed Sango and Miroku dancing together. For a moment he was surprised that the monk hadn’t pulled any kind of perverted stunt, yet that didn’t mean it wasn’t going to happen. Inuyasha expected Kagome to be looking at some of the jewelry stands, but he never expected to see her dancing. ‘What the?

There they were, Kagome and Link, dancing together, though Link looked a little awkward as he tried to keep up with Kagome, but he grew annoyed at the small smile tugging at Link’s lips. Their closeness was maddening to the half demon. If Kagome wanted to dance so badly, why didn’t she just ask him? No, she had to ask Link, someone she hardly knew.

The music ended, and everyone applauded the couples. Sango and Miroku said their goodbyes to Kagome as they walked off toward the stairs leading to the Inn. The two explained that they would meet up near the Clock Tower before the fireworks started.

Satisfied that she got Link to dance, Kagome turned her eyes to the boy. When she did, she realized that he was missing. “What the? The priestess turned each and every way, but he was nowhere in sight. “Where’d he run off to so fast?” While she stood there pondering, she couldn’t help but smile. ‘Maybe he’ll start opening up to us more.’

“Kagome, let’s go look some more!” Shippo explained by her feet.

Forgetting about his disappearance, she smiled toward Shippo and Kirara. Without glancing back, they walked past some guards and toward the west part of town. The three strolled up the stairs in the dark part of town. Overall, the path upward was mostly empty, save for a young man who sat across from the Curiosity shop.
“Hello! How are you on this fine night, lady?” The young red haired man asked as he slapped his knees repeatedly.

“Hi,” She replied. “Just fine, thank s, and you?” Kagome took the time to stop and stand before the young man who wore all green and a black cap on his head.

“Great, thanks! So would you like to make a deposit?”

Bewildered, she scrutinized the man with great curiosity. “What?”

“A deposit,” he repeated. “I keep a small bank just behind me.”

Understanding, Kagome shook her head politely. “No thank you. But I’m actually just looking around.”

“I see,” he muttered sadly before glancing around the area. “But be careful. The town has become quite unsafe at night, and be weary of your surroundings,” he warned.

Nodding, Kagome continued on and for a moment, she thought she heard music up ahead. The sound of a flute being played drifted to her ears softly and quite high pitched. On her last step up, she saw a small gathering up ahead. “I’ve never heard such music.”

Leaping onto her shoulder, Shippo awed at the sight. “There’s two girls doing some strange dance!” he pointed out.

Indeed there were two girls dancing inside the small gathering of individuals. These girls had short red hair which was partially pulled back out of their faces. The outfits they wore were very revealing and tight fitting. One girl wore a white and blue one piece dress, while her sister wore a pink and white one piece. Their dresses reached mid-thigh, which was probably the only reason for so many men to crowd around them.

“What kind of dance is that?” Shippo asked. “It’s different.”

“I don’t know,” she replied, but she started to walk past them and toward the steps leading back in to South Clock Town. “Why don’t we look around some more before the fireworks, okay?”

OOO

Quietly, Sango and Miroku ambled together down the path leading toward the Stock Pot Inn. Passing the Honey and Darling Shop, the two spotted a small gathering of five children playing near the post up ahead. Hand in hand they wielded small wooden swords, and on their faces were masks of various colors; most resembling monsters.

“Die you loathsome beast!” One child stood upon one of the crates with his sword held high.

“I will not! Not until you hand over that which belongs to me!” the other cried before attacking the boy, who leaped away before his friend went tumbling over a crate in a heap, his friends holding him down.

The boy with the red bandana laughed at the sight. “Pathetic! And you call yourself evil?”

“You’ll be sorry! All of you!” he cried as he friends held him down by his arms.

Sango and Miroku exchanged a glance before snickering at their childish antics. The children acted just like the ones back in the Feudal Era, only more active.

“Really?” One of the boy’s holding him down asked before laughing right along with his friends. “What are you going to do?”

Kicking his feet, the youth struggled in their grasp, but not before laughing like a complete lunatic. “Like the legend says! I shall conquer this land when the two moons unite together and the sky turns to blood!”

“Yeah right!” One boy shouted in his ear disbelievingly. “That’s only an old tale told by the elderly.”

The boy to his right nodded. “He’s right!”

“It’s true!” He exclaimed suddenly freeing his arms. He jumped up and escaped their grasp. He didn’t get very far as he was tackled from behind. “You’ll all die! Every last one of you!”

Having heard enough, the boy with the red bandana approached him, and raised his sword above his head. “Sorry to burst your plans, but you’ll never get the chance. With this blade, I shall send you back to hell where you belong!”

Miroku and Sango once again exchanged a glance. Of course, their expressions were that of surprise and confusion. The only thought swirling around in their heads were what they were doing. Perhaps they were a little too imaginative in their games.

“What are they doing? I’ve never known of games to be so violent,” Sango asked in a hushed whisper. She remembered when she was just a little girl. Although she never really had anyone to play with, except for her brother, she played with Kirara. The games they played were nothing compared to this.

Realizing they were not alone, the leader of the group, Jim, turned to face the two. “What are you doing here? No adults are allowed! This is our turf!”

Hearing this, Miroku apologized. “So sorry, we do not mean to intrude. We’re only
passing through.”

A sudden gasp issued in the group, and the young boy escaped from the children with fear. “Oh no!”

Surprised, Jim turned toward the so called evil doer. “What? That’s not part of the game!” Curious, he noticed his and everyone’s eyes turned upward in childlike curiosity. Bewildered, he turned his eyes up and he too gave a jump.

OOO

There was silence in the town and all eyes turned toward the sky. No, it was not Tingle floating through the air hanging by his red balloon singing “Tingle Tingle koolah limpah,” rather it was much worse.

The clock struck midnight, but it went unnoticed by the many faces who’s eyes and ears were elsewhere. Darkness rained upon the townspeople almost instantly and an eeriness settled itself around them. The moon, which was always so pale and bright, was now the color of blood. Even as it appeared much closer, its difference in appearance stirred an uproar of confusion and alarm.

Centered perfectly inside the circumference of the startling red moon was another moon. As shocking as this was for the majority of the population in Clock Town, the towns people began murmuring about what it could mean, while some of the elderly claimed it was a sign of misfortune. This other moon, much smaller and black in appearance was crescent shaped, facing toward the left. There was no glow emitting from this moon, just darkness.

Lighting flashed in the eerie night, and rain fell from the heavens, drenching the townspeople who ran to seek shelter from the storm. The fireworks, which were supposed to go off, were delayed due to the morbid weather. The guards, who were stationed around the exits in town, stared at the strange event; they were not allowed to leave their posts without authorization from the mayor or the mayor’s wife.

“What does this mean?” Sango asked her companion from inside the Inn. Her eyes were looking outside toward the two moons hanging above the town. “Could this be an evil omen?”

Not sure how to explain such events, Miroku could only stare. “I believe we may not have much time than we first thought. Surely it is unusual for there to be two moons, and in alignment like they are, we may be in for some trouble.”

The door opened and a burst of wind flew in surprising the two, as well as both Anju and Kafei who stood at the desk. Just as it had come, it was pushed back by the door closing and Inuyasha now standing in the room, drenched.

“Something weird is going on,” he explained. “This wasn’t part of the whole festival, was it?” He questioned both the Inn keepers, who could only shake their heads; they were just as concerned as he was.

The floor beneath them shifted and the pictures hanging from the wall fell, startling the four. Anju held onto the table and Kafei leaned himself up against the table. Inuyasha remained standing, just as Miroku and Sango. The shaking wasn’t enough to knock them on their feet. But just as it came, it went.

Lighting outside continued to flash, but the rained ceased. From the window, Sango grew worried about her friends who were probably still out there. The small earthquake wasn’t too bad to hurt anyone.

“I wonder if we should go out and find Kagome, Shippo and Kirara?” she muttered.

“I’m sure they’ve already taken shelter. Remember, they said they would be looking around other parts of the town before the fireworks?” Miroku explained. ‘I highly doubt there will be fireworks now.’ “There’s no need to worry. They’ll return when they’re done. As much as Kagome doesn’t like rain, they’re probably inside one of the shops by now.”

Convinced that they were probably alright, Sango felt relief wash over her. “So now what?”

“First thing tomorrow, we should head out and get the next pendant!” Inuyasha explained. “But first…”

“First?” Miroku and Sango simultaneously asked.

“Let’s eat. I’m starving!”

OOO

After the rain let up, Shippo was found staring up at the sky with wide eyes. “I don’t get it! What does it mean? We’ve been here two days already and there’s these weird quakes and storms and now that!” he pointed toward the two moons above. “Is whoever doing this as evil as Naraku?” The child asked his surrogate mother, who appeared just as perplexed as him.

“I don’t know,” she replied. There were earthquakes like this back in her time, but none so strange as these. These earthquakes were much safer, because no one here seemed hurt or bothered by them as much. One thing was strange though; there were two moons. One was a full red moon and the other was a black crescent moon. Kagome was sure it wasn’t normal for there to be two of them.

“Kagome?”

“Let’s go see the Great Fairy,” she explained. Kagome looked around them, realizing they must have been in the east part of town. Currently, she and Shippo, along with Kirara were standing in front of the Mayor’s office. “I think it’s through there,” she murmured mostly to herself. Instead of just returning to the Inn, where she knew her comrades were already seeking shelter, she left through the entrance toward the north part of town.

“Why are we going to see the Great Fairy?”

“Just curious is all. She was not very specific on what this evil was, and I doubt we have less than a month to save this land.” If things kept up like this, then the land would perish much sooner than expected.

The moment all three stumbled in to the northern part of town, they were greeted by silence. The crickets weren’t chirping and the wind suddenly stopped. When they first happened upon this area in search of the Great Fairy, it was so dark, due to the storm, that they could hardly make anything out. But now the storm had ended, at least for a while. Besides just the three of them standing there, no one else inhabited the area. No one. Dead silence.

“I don’t like this. Maybe we should head back to the Inn,” Shippo explained with fear. “Kagome, let’s wait until tomorrow to talk to her.”

Sensing and hearing the fear in his voice, Kagome smiled. “I guess you’re right.” She had been hoping to talk with her, but seeing Shippo as he was now, she couldn’t say no. Besides, the place was giving her the creeps. ‘Why is it so quiet here of all places?’

“I wonder where Tingle is?” Shippo muttered as he stepped away surveying the area.

When she heard this, Kagome just blinked. “Tingle?” ‘What kind of name is that?’ Well, it was better than naming your kid Tinkle, right? But this got her thinking. “Shippo, did you come here before?” She asked the boy who stood a few feet from her with his back to her.

“Yeah! I was with Link and Serena,” he explained turning his eyes back to the priestess before walking toward the exit. “He’s a fairy boy or something. Says he’s been waiting thirty five years for his own fairy.”

Kagome’s attention shifted to movement behind her. Somewhat worried and scared, she looked toward her feet, noticing another shadow overlapping hers. Someone was behind her, but this shadow was not Inuyasha. Before she could make a move to turn, a hand clamped over her mouth and she felt her vision blur.

Shippo continued on, despite what was happening behind his back. “He was kind of weird, but you should have see—“ Fear suddenly gripped the young kit the moment he turned and found his mother lying on the ground unconscious and with a tall figure standing above her. Frozen with fear, he watched this person’s mouth curve in to a sadistic grin. All he knew was he needed to get Inuyasha and the others.

Chapter Text

He panicked. All he could do was sit there and watch as the strange man wearing a mask threw his mother over his shoulder before running at a breakneck pace out of town. He could have done something. Although it was not a demon, Shippo found himself scared. As he sat there in the mud, he watched his furry friend, Kirara, chase after. She was a member of the team and nothing scared her, and here he was, just watching with fright.

“I have to get Inuyasha and the others!” Standing, the youth ran out of the area and toward the Stock Pot Inn, where he was sure his friends were waiting. The only help he could bring was telling the others. It’s not like he’d go out after the man, but he should have. Shippo knew Kirara would take care of it. Besides, someone had to warn the others, if not him then who?

The Inn came in to view, and the youth descended the stairs without fail of falling. As soon as he rushed past the window, he drew back and peered inside with shock. There, lying on the wooden floor was Inuyasha. Pain was etched on his face, and he shook as if he were frozen to the bone. Both Anju and Kafei were hunched over him worriedly. There were no signs of Sango and Miroku.

“Oh no! Inuyasha is sick and both Miroku and Sango are nowhere to be seen! What do I do?” Scared beyond his wits, Shippo knew he had to go after the man who took his surrogate mother, but the only problem with that was he didn’t know where he was now. “By now, he could be anywhere!” Not only that, but Kagome was probably in deep trouble. What was he going to do?

With so much running through his head, he ran in circles hitting himself over the head. “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”

OOO

 

“Inuyasha?” Kafei called his name, but the half demon would not respond. “What’s wrong with him? He was fine a few moments ago,” he explained to his wife, who placed Inuyasha’s arm around her shoulder.

“I’m not sure. Let’s hurry him to the bed!”

By this time, Sango and Miroku came hurdling from the dining room. At first they had been drinking some tea, while conversing in light conversation, but then a sudden crash from the main lobby startled them. They thought the noise sounded like someone fell; they were right. Hanging limply while Anju and Kafei helped him to stand, Sango and Miroku wondered what happened to their friend. Only a second ago, Inuyasha explained that he was going to go out to find Kagome and the others, but that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

“Inuyasha?!” Sango worriedly called. “What happened?”

“Don’t know? He seems to be running a dreadful fever,” Anju explained as she and her husband stumbled to the back room in which Granny occupied. Because the other rooms were upstairs, Anju thought it was best to not use the stairs in his condition. “Could one of you open the door?”

Without a second to spare, Miroku held the door open for them.

A bright fire warmed the room in which granny sat in front of. The room was small but enough to get around in. A bright red carpet was laid out before the fire, and a giant bed with giant pillows was placed against the far corner of the room. Against the wall just ahead of them was a small table with books and paper scattered on it, and a small bookcase beside the wall.

“Oh Tortus, is something wrong?” granny asked as she closed her book, glancing at her granddaughter and son in law as they gently placed the half breed on her bed.

She nodded. “I’m sorry, but Inuyasha will have to stay here for a while. I’m afraid he’s gotten ill,” she explained. “Granny, I’ll take you to one of the guest rooms. Is that okay?” The only room Anju could think of was her grandmother’s, since it was the only bedroom on the first floor.

“No. I’m fine just where I am. Hurry along and make some tea and honey for the child.”

While Anju left the room, Miroku looked upon his ill friend whose face was flushed terribly with a fever. “This is dreadful. I wonder what caused this. Only a moment ago he was fine.”

“Looks like we won’t be leaving first thing in the morning,” Sango explained with sympathy. Casually, she took a seat on a chair next to the bed, while Miroku began to pray.

“I warned you children, but you didn’t listen,” Granny explained as she began reading her book.

Ending his prayer, Miroku went to stand beside the old lady in her wheelchair. Kneeling down, he asked her softly. “Tell me, you seem to be aware of the evil lurking around the town, right?”

“That is correct young lad,” she replied.

“I see. Some of the town’s people don’t seem concerned that something is not right, but you do?”

Nodding, she turned her tired eyes toward the monk beside her. “Of course I am. I’ve lived here all my life and I know for a fact more people will fall just like your friend in bed.”

Worried, Sango pressed a hand to the half demon’s head. “That’s horrible. We have to stop it.”

“But it is something that cannot be stopped,” the old lady explained. “I tell you that it is very wicked, and I myself have avoided such tragedies.”

“Really?” Miroku asked. “How is that?”

Hearing this she laughed. “Why it’s quite simple,” she explained with mirth. “Keep yourself far away from it!”

Both Sango and Miroku stared at one another. In their minds, they knew that running away was wrong. In fact, they’d have to face it head on anyway.

During their conversation, Kafei busied himself with covering Inuyasha with two thick blankets. For a fever like his, he would have to sweat it out.

OOO

 

While he continued running in circles, Shippo suddenly noticed a shadow looming over him. With fright, he turned around, and before he could run, he found himself staring in to blue eyes.

“Shippo?” Serena just stared at him. “Why were you hitting yourself? Are you okay?”

Before either Link or Serena knew what hit them, Shippo burst in to tears and latched himself onto Link’s tunic. “It’s awful! Please, you have to help!”

“What is it? Did something happen?” The fairy asked with alarm.

“Kagome! She was kidnapped!”

Link just stood there with his heart pounding in his ears. The girl he fell for was kidnapped? When had this taken place? ‘Who would’ve…’

Distressed, the pink fairy bobbed up and down. “What?! Where were you guys last? Did you get a good look at the creep? Which way did he run?” She couldn’t help but ask so many questions to the boy. To hear such a thing happen, it was despicable. Even if she hardly knew these people, she still possessed feelings.

Wiping the tears from his eyes, Shippo continued to sob. “In the northern part of town…I think. No one was there but me, Kagome and Kirara,” he explained as he unlatched himself from Link’s tunic. “Some guy came up behind us wearing a mask over his eyes.”

“What else?” She asked. “Did you get a good look at his appearance?”

“He,” Shippo hiccupped. “He was bald, I think. He wore a white long sleeved shirt and blue pants…” he explained. “He ran out of town really fast with her and Kirara went after him, but…” Shippo knew he had acted cowardly and did nothing to help; he was ashamed of himself.

“But? But, what?!”

Tears sprung from the child’s eyes again. “Inuyasha’s is sick and I can’t find the others!”

Before the two knew what to think, Link darted past them and the Milk Bar. Link was running toward the exit where the guard was positioned on duty. In his mind, he wandered why the guard in the north part of town did nothing to stop such a such an act. Of course, something almost similar happened four years ago, only no one was kidnapped. An elderly lady who owned the Bomb Shop in town happened to be crossing the north part of town. The man, whom Link assumed kidnapped Kagome, robbed the old lady and forcefully pushed her to the ground. Lucky for her, he happened to be in the area at the time. He put an end to his thieving that night, but he ended up getting away. The guard that had been on duty was half asleep during the time.

Noticing his leave, the two chased after. While both Link and Serena were able to dart past the guard, for Shippo it was another matter. The second Shippo tried to run on by the armored man, he was caught in mid run.

“Sorry, but children are not permitted to leave town at nightfall, especially without a weapon. Also, they are certainly not permitted to leave without the accompaniment of an adult.”

Surprised, Shippo squirmed in his armored grip. “Let go! I have to save my friend!”

Of course, the guard laughed, thinking it was some game he was playing. “Sorry, but I’m afraid it’s too dangerous. Why don’t you run home now? I’m sure your mom is worried sick about you.”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you! My mom was kidnapped by some creepy guy wearing a mask! I have to save her!”Again, all Shippo received was more laughter, which upset him even more. “I’m not lying!”

“If such a thing were to happen, one of our guards would have taken care of the perpetrator!” He shook his head at the boy.

After waiting for the guard to stop his laughter at something that was not funny, he sent Shippo on his way. Of course two could play this game. The moment Shippo marched behind the Milk Bar, out of sight, he transformed. “Now try to stop me!”

OOO

 

“Link! Where are you going?” Serena called from behind. “Will you stop already!?”

Doing just that, Link stopped, though he managed to scowl as his partner. There was no time for stopping and she knew that. But she seemed like she was having difficulty chasing after.

 

Finally managing to sit on his shoulder, she sighed. “Man you run fast. Just hold up. Now where are you heading? You acted like you knew just where to go find the creep.”

“I do,” he replied. Turning his gaze past the six pillars leading in to a wasteland ahead, Link pointed. “He’s headed for Ikana.”

“Ikana? What’s that?” Though this was not her first time here in Clock Town, she never wandered anywhere outside Termina except for the woods. Anywhere else was a complete mystery to her.

“A haunted wasteland. That man who kidnapped her is a known thief around these parts. His hideout is located near there.”

“Really?” she asked with surprise. “He’s a thief alright, but does he normally kidnap people, or is it a hobby of his?”

Hearing this, Link shook his head from side to side. ‘Not that I’m aware. All I know is he’s up to no good again. But, I’ve never heard of him kidnapping people before. What reason would he have to?’ Horrible thoughts ran through his mind in very descriptive images. A scene played out where he was plotting to sell her or worse. If his only priority was to kill her, he would have done so there in town.

“Well, what are you doing standing here for?” She questioned as she glanced around their surroundings. To be honest, she was tired of standing outside the entrance to the town. “Lead the wa—“

“Wait!” Inuyasha’s voice carried from behind them, surprising them to no end. He stood outside the opening with worry laced on his countenance.

Serena was just surprised to see the half breed standing. “I thought you were sick? Listen, we’ll save her, don’t worry! Now get back in bed before you get even sicker!”

“No!” Before the two knew what to expect, a blast of pink smoke filled their eyes suddenly. When it cleared, they found a surprising sight, and it wasn’t Inuyasha.

“Shippo?” Serena couldn’t help but fly around him. “Wait, how did you do that?”

Sighing from her forgetfulness, Shippo fumed impatiently. “I’m a fox demon. I’m able to transform in to anything, remember?”

“Oh. Well that sure is helpful, but what are you doing out here? You should go back to and find your friends and let them know about this.” Although it was sweet of the tyke to want to go out and save his friend, but it was dangerous. Shippo was only a little boy, compared to Link, that was a huge difference. “It’s dangerous out here, especially at night.”

“I can’t! Kagome needs help, and who knows what you guys will come upon out there! Now way, I’m going with you!” he explained without any indication of fear whatsoever. “Now let’s go!”

Surprised by his words, Serena bobbed up and down. “You’re too young. Besides, you don’t even have a weapon.”

Fisting his tiny hands, Shippo pointed an accusing finger at her. “I’ll have you know that I’m older than what I look! Demons age differently. Sure I may look eight, but I’ve had a lot of experience!” he exclaimed with his chest puffed out. “I’m not weak!”

Scratching his head, Link shrugged to his fairy companion and led the way toward the haunted waste land of Ikana.

Releasing a huge sigh, Serena followed after her partner with the small fox following behind closely. “Just stay close.”
Even as they ran toward the canyon up ahead, Link realized that the distance between them was great, especially with the night upon them. While he’d traveled to Ikana before, he knew it would take hours just to climb the terrain in order to rescue Kagome. ‘If there was ever a time I needed Epona, it’d be now.’ Link thought sourly. Years ago, he left his horse at Romani’s Ranch, and she’s been there ever since. Of course, if his ocarina still held its power, he might have used the song of soaring to get there faster.

“Do you know where you’re going, Link?” Shippo asked from behind. Even as he followed after the boy, he felt like there was a wedge placed between them. He never spoke, not once to him. Link was a mystery to Shippo.

Link nodded, and while continuing on, he took a glanced at the kid. What was remarkable was that Shippo had insisted in accompanying him and Serena. Though it may seem foolish, but his intentions were pure and righteous. Link had to hand it to him for pushing away his fear and putting his friends at the forefront.

Doubtful, the kitsune looked around. “Really? So you know where to find this guy?”

“Of course he does,” replied Serena who now sat on his hat. “Link’s been in Termina for four years now. Of course I’ve never heard of the kidnapper, but apparently Link does, and I guess he knows where his hideout is.” Noticing the worry on the child’s expression, Serena muttered softly to him. “Don’t worry. We’ll save her.”

With this being the first time without traveling with his companions, Shippo found himself on a mission with Link; the boy who does not speak and a fairy that seemed to know everything you needed to know.

Still following closely, Shippo’s eyes fell toward the six high pillars leading to what appeared like red mountains in the distance. ‘Don’t worry Kagome. We’re coming.’

A noise drifted to Serena’s ears, and she suddenly shuddered. “Link, we’re not alone.”

Hearing the same noise, Shippo glanced around, but he could not make heads or tails of where it was coming from. “What is that?”

A blue flame appeared in the darkness ahead of them, easily putting a halt to their steps. It moved about in a sideways motion as if performing some kind of dance. Another flame, followed by four more appeared side by side, mimicking the first. As they approached, the three got a better view of the creature. Six skulls were headed right for them, with black bat wings attached to either side of their head.

Even more terrified, Shippo gave a cry of alarm. “What’s that?” His knees began to buckle underneath him.

“Blue Bubbles,” Serena explained. “They’ll curse you if they touch you. You won’t be able to move. The best way to kill it is with a light arrow.”

“There’s six of them! And we don’t have light arrows, do we? Kagome has them, but they’re back at the Inn.”

Serena nodded. “Actually, Link has light arrows, but he doesn’t use them. They consume a lot of energy and magic for him. So, he can just hit them with regular arrows, but it’ll probably be a waste.”

Bewildered by her words, he asked, “What do you mean a waste?”

“There’s a high chance we’ll come upon more of these guys up ahead, so it’s best to save our arrows and magic.” Serene flew up ahead, over the skulls. She knew their heads were too heavy for their wings to carry them even higher, which was good for her. “There’s a huge fence up ahead, but how are we going to get over it?”

“Leave that to me!” Shippo exclaimed and with a poof, he transformed in to a giant pink ball with crazy eyes. “Get on!”

Somewhat dubious of the fox child, Link got on top of the newly transformed Shippo and found himself rising high in the sky. ‘Amazing. So he’s able to transform in to anything. The Great Fairy also made his transformations more efficient. I wonder what else he can transform in to.’

Serena of course was just joyous over his transformation. “I’ve never seen anything like it! Can you transform in to objects too?”

“Yeah.”

As they flew over a few fences, Shippo landed and Link hopped off with Shippo transforming back in to his normal self.

“Great, there are more of them!” Shippo whined the moment they came upon seven more in an open area. As if having an epiphany, Shippo reached in to his shirt and pulled out his red mask with yellow narrowed eyes painted on them. Even as he went to place it on his face, he could still see thanks to Kagome’s cut work. “Bring them on!”

Seeing this, Serena sweat dropped. Whatever worked for him, worked for him, she guessed.

Reaching for his quiver on his back, Link held it firmly in one hand and reached for his arrow. With careful accuracy, he aimed and released, letting his arrow soar through the air toward a Blue Bubble.

When it made contact, Shippo jumped for joy. “You did it!”

“Link was always good with a bow and arrow,” commented Serena who now sat on Shippo’s head.

Shippo took his eyes away from Link. “Where did he learn to use them?”

“He never said.” Was her reply.

Suddenly, while Link busied himself with the skulls, a flock of birds swooped down toward them from behind. Noticing the danger, Link turned and concentrated on his arrow before taking aim and firing. As the arrow headed straight for the flock, fire surrounded the arrowhead, and the birds suddenly burst in to flames.

“I didn’t know magic existed here,” Shippo explained as he watched the flame above distinguish. “Were those crows? I’ve never heard of birds just attacking people.”

Shaking her head, Serena began explaining to Shippo while Link took care of the rest of the skulls that blocked their path ahead. “Those were Guays. They are known to attack people often. Even if you have a shield to block their attacks, they’ll just bounce off and continue where they left off.”

Absorbing this useful information, Shippo realized that he would need to learn more about all the beasts in this world. They were different alright; they weren’t demons. At least these monsters weren’t as bad as the demons back in the Feudal Era; the beasts here were much weaker. An idea came to him. ‘If they’re not demons, then what do I have to be afraid of?’ Shippo’s eyes fell on Link. ‘He’s not the least bit scared. What am I doing just standing around? I should be helping!’

With newfound confidence burning within him, Shippo leaped forward and scampered past Link, who turned and gave him a bewildered and stupefied look. The thought of helping Kagome pushed him to attack the nearest skull. “Take this! Fox fire!”

His flame surged from his form and surrounded the skull, but to his surprise, his magic did not do what he expected it would. The moment his flame connected with his enemy, the foul skull opened its mouth and absorbed the flame as if it was nothing but a tasty snack.

“Shippo!” Serena called from behind. “Fire is useless against those! You’ll have to try something else!” she shouted.

Gulping, Shippo reached in to his shirt quickly as he searched for a weapon that might help him prevail. A roughness caressed his fingers and he withdrew the object from his shirt and aimed it high above his head. “Take this!” The moment the skull charged toward the fox child, Shippo threw the cylinder object from his grasp.

A sudden small explosion filled the area, causing both Link and Serena to cover their eyes as dirt flew past them. As soon as the dust cleared, they both turned their eyes toward the small child who stood standing with his back facing them.

Serena nearly gaped. “What was that?”

Blinking, Shippo pulled out his small firecracker and awed at it. Usually his fire bombs were weak, but now they were more powerful. “Wow.” Looking up, he found the creepy flying skull gone; he defeated it just like that. “I did it?”

“Amazing! What did you throw Shippo?” Serena bounded over toward his still form.

Turning around, Shippo held out his firecracker. He couldn’t help but smile in triumph. “My fire bombs! The Great Fairy wasn’t kidding when she said she would give me a boost of power! But, I thought it was just for my transformation?”

“Well it sure is helpful! Good job, Shippo!” Serena congratulated.

Blushing, Shippo nodded before turning around to scan the area, but it was empty. “Now which way do we—“ Before he could finish, the ground beneath him suddenly shook. Shippo suddenly had a terrible feeling. This shaking was different; it wasn’t an earthquake. “Feels like there’s something underneath—“

A skeletal hand pushed through the dirt under Shippo’s feet, causing him to fall back in new found terror. Before he could scramble away, another hand shot up, and grabbed his leg in a tight grip.

Chapter Text

“Look at that!” In all his childhood fantasy’s, Shippo never believed he would ever witness such an event in his life. There was dancing, music, games and so much to see. He wore his mask as he ventured around the town, careful of the many inhabitants walking by.

A group of Gorons were seen in south of town, playing their drums while the men played their flutes along with the steady beat. Many passers stopped to listen to the music, and few took the time to dance hand in hand with their partners. Every year, the Gorons traveled down from their mountain to play at the festivals held each year.

As the group went their separate ways, Kagome watched the display happily. Apparently, it did not matter what race either of them were; the people here seemed to respect each other and there were no problems. Such involvement and understanding of each of their differences made this town all the more appealing. There was no foul talk about the Gorons and vice versa. Pretty much Kagome believed the people were nicer than the ones in her own time.

Food filled the air, tempting the half demon who took to investigating some of the stands near the Clock Tower. Strange spices swept by his sensitive nose, urging him forward. The aromas were sweet and with just a hint of spiciness.

“Sango, may I have this dance?” Miroku asked as he offered his hand to the young lady beside him.

Stunned and somewhat embarrassed, she accepted. She placed her hand in his, and just as she did, he pulled her to his body eliciting a gasp from her. Shyly, she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and together, the two danced.

Some people stopped to watch the two, including Kagome, Shippo and Kirara. Miroku was grinning from ear to ear and spun Sango gracefully, and the whole time through the dance, Sango could not help but laugh.

‘I’m happy for you Sango.’ As Kagome watched, she felt a sadness sweep over her, but it only lasted a brief moment before she cheered for her two friends.

Leaning against the Clock Tower door, Link watched as the children ran about with their masks on, aka the bomber squad. In the past, he joined their Secret Society of Justice who sworn themselves to help every inhabitant in Termina. Sure it was childish, but back then Link had never been part of such an interesting group.

“Link?” His fairy companion called suddenly and he shifted his attention to her. “What are you doing just standing here?” When she received only a shrug, she began bobbing up and down. “Hey! You need to go out and have some fun! Come on! It’s a celebration that only happens once a year!” She began tugging on his tunic. Letting go, she sighed before an idea came to mind. “I saw the way you looked at Kagome.”

Blinking with surprise, Link shook his head as if to dismiss the very idea. ‘Great. She saw. She’ll never let me live this down.’

“Yes you were! And you were blushing!” she teased, much to his annoyance and embarrassment when people were looking toward them as they walked by. “Why don’t you go and ask her to dance?”

Dance? Such an idea was ridiculous. Besides, she only had eyes for Inuyasha. Why would she dance with him? Furthermore, she hardly knew him. No, it was best to just keep his distance. As he stood there listening to his partner rant, he couldn’t help but glance toward the crowd of couples dancing.

Serene continued ranting. “I can’t believe she likes that mangy mutt! Besides, what’s so great about him, he—“

“Link!” a feminine voice called his name, catching his and Serena’s attention almost instantly. “Come and dance!”

Surprised, Link didn’t know what to do. Even as his partner urged him to go and have fun, he was frozen. Turning his head away from her, Link felt his face burn slightly. When he refused to acknowledge her calls, as well as Shippo’s, he debated whether or not he should leave. If he did leave, he would no doubt hear Serena’s complaints all through the night. Not only that, but then Kagome might wind up hating him. Sure he feared befriending her and her friends, mostly because they might end up hurt in the end, but what was he supposed to do?

What was wrong with him? Why was he worrying over such a trivial matter? No; that was what he decided. He would just stand there the entire time. No one was going to change his mind.

Even as she stood there calling for him to dance with them, Kagome could not help but wonder why he was just standing there. “I wonder what’s wrong?” Even if he was a year younger than her, Kagome never knew of a boy to not have fun. In her eyes, he looked lonely and sad.

“Maybe he can’t dance?” Shippo asked as he too stared at the boy. “Or he’s shy. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t talk to anyone?”

Smiling to herself, Kagome withdrew herself from the dance and briskly hurried across the path leading to the Clock Tower, while calmly dodging some friendly faces along the way. ‘He’s going to have to join in some time.’ Managing to make it across without bumping in to anyone, she stepped toward the boy, whose eyes were shut as if to block any noise around him.
Before he knew what to expect, Kagome reached out grasped his hand, much to his surprise when he abruptly looked up. “Come and dance with us, Link.”
Not sure what to do in such a predicament, Link could only watch as the young maiden pulled him toward the crowd. While on his way, he noticed Sango and Miroku laughing, before turning their eyes toward him during their dance. He blushed when they cheered for Kagome, and he strained to pull out of her grasp, but her hold was firm. Even Shippo started cheering when he saw him, though Link didn’t know why.

Suddenly she stopped and turned herself toward the boy who was only a head shorter than herself. Without so much as a warning, she enclosed his arm around her petite waist, while she held his other hand in one of her own. Delicately, she placed her left hand upon his shoulder. “It’s no fun just being by yourself! Now let’s dance!”

Before Link could fathom what happened next, she moved her feet and he had no choice but to follow. While they danced, quite fast like, Link was drawn to her ever present smile. ‘Why?’

“I won’t bite, promise!” She winked.

OOO

While Inuyasha busied himself near the food stands, he could not help but glance back toward his friends. He noticed Sango and Miroku dancing together. For a moment he was surprised that the monk hadn’t pulled any kind of perverted stunt, yet that didn’t mean it wasn’t going to happen. Inuyasha expected Kagome to be looking at some of the jewelry stands, but he never expected to see her dancing. ‘What the?

There they were, Kagome and Link, dancing together, though Link looked a little awkward as he tried to keep up with Kagome, but he grew annoyed at the small smile tugging at Link’s lips. Their closeness was maddening to the half demon. If Kagome wanted to dance so badly, why didn’t she just ask him? No, she had to ask Link, someone she hardly knew.

The music ended, and everyone applauded the couples. Sango and Miroku said their goodbyes to Kagome as they walked off toward the stairs leading to the Inn. The two explained that they would meet up near the Clock Tower before the fireworks started.

Satisfied that she got Link to dance, Kagome turned her eyes to the boy. When she did, she realized that he was missing. “What the? The priestess turned each and every way, but he was nowhere in sight. “Where’d he run off to so fast?” While she stood there pondering, she couldn’t help but smile. ‘Maybe he’ll start opening up to us more.’

“Kagome, let’s go look some more!” Shippo explained by her feet.

Forgetting about his disappearance, she smiled toward Shippo and Kirara. Without glancing back, they walked past some guards and toward the west part of town. The three strolled up the stairs in the dark part of town. Overall, the path upward was mostly empty, save for a young man who sat across from the Curiosity shop.
“Hello! How are you on this fine night, lady?” The young red haired man asked as he slapped his knees repeatedly.

“Hi,” She replied. “Just fine, thank s, and you?” Kagome took the time to stop and stand before the young man who wore all green and a black cap on his head.

“Great, thanks! So would you like to make a deposit?”

Bewildered, she scrutinized the man with great curiosity. “What?”

“A deposit,” he repeated. “I keep a small bank just behind me.”

Understanding, Kagome shook her head politely. “No thank you. But I’m actually just looking around.”

“I see,” he muttered sadly before glancing around the area. “But be careful. The town has become quite unsafe at night, and be weary of your surroundings,” he warned.

Nodding, Kagome continued on and for a moment, she thought she heard music up ahead. The sound of a flute being played drifted to her ears softly and quite high pitched. On her last step up, she saw a small gathering up ahead. “I’ve never heard such music.”

Leaping onto her shoulder, Shippo awed at the sight. “There’s two girls doing some strange dance!” he pointed out.

Indeed there were two girls dancing inside the small gathering of individuals. These girls had short red hair which was partially pulled back out of their faces. The outfits they wore were very revealing and tight fitting. One girl wore a white and blue one piece dress, while her sister wore a pink and white one piece. Their dresses reached mid-thigh, which was probably the only reason for so many men to crowd around them.

“What kind of dance is that?” Shippo asked. “It’s different.”

“I don’t know,” she replied, but she started to walk past them and toward the steps leading back in to South Clock Town. “Why don’t we look around some more before the fireworks, okay?”

OOO

Quietly, Sango and Miroku ambled together down the path leading toward the Stock Pot Inn. Passing the Honey and Darling Shop, the two spotted a small gathering of five children playing near the post up ahead. Hand in hand they wielded small wooden swords, and on their faces were masks of various colors; most resembling monsters.

“Die you loathsome beast!” One child stood upon one of the crates with his sword held high.

“I will not! Not until you hand over that which belongs to me!” the other cried before attacking the boy, who leaped away before his friend went tumbling over a crate in a heap, his friends holding him down.

The boy with the red bandana laughed at the sight. “Pathetic! And you call yourself evil?”

“You’ll be sorry! All of you!” he cried as he friends held him down by his arms.

Sango and Miroku exchanged a glance before snickering at their childish antics. The children acted just like the ones back in the Feudal Era, only more active.

“Really?” One of the boy’s holding him down asked before laughing right along with his friends. “What are you going to do?”

Kicking his feet, the youth struggled in their grasp, but not before laughing like a complete lunatic. “Like the legend says! I shall conquer this land when the two moons unite together and the sky turns to blood!”

“Yeah right!” One boy shouted in his ear disbelievingly. “That’s only an old tale told by the elderly.”

The boy to his right nodded. “He’s right!”

“It’s true!” He exclaimed suddenly freeing his arms. He jumped up and escaped their grasp. He didn’t get very far as he was tackled from behind. “You’ll all die! Every last one of you!”

Having heard enough, the boy with the red bandana approached him, and raised his sword above his head. “Sorry to burst your plans, but you’ll never get the chance. With this blade, I shall send you back to hell where you belong!”

Miroku and Sango once again exchanged a glance. Of course, their expressions were that of surprise and confusion. The only thought swirling around in their heads were what they were doing. Perhaps they were a little too imaginative in their games.

“What are they doing? I’ve never known of games to be so violent,” Sango asked in a hushed whisper. She remembered when she was just a little girl. Although she never really had anyone to play with, except for her brother, she played with Kirara. The games they played were nothing compared to this.

Realizing they were not alone, the leader of the group, Jim, turned to face the two. “What are you doing here? No adults are allowed! This is our turf!”

Hearing this, Miroku apologized. “So sorry, we do not mean to intrude. We’re only
passing through.”

A sudden gasp issued in the group, and the young boy escaped from the children with fear. “Oh no!”

Surprised, Jim turned toward the so called evil doer. “What? That’s not part of the game!” Curious, he noticed his and everyone’s eyes turned upward in childlike curiosity. Bewildered, he turned his eyes up and he too gave a jump.

OOO

There was silence in the town and all eyes turned toward the sky. No, it was not Tingle floating through the air hanging by his red balloon singing “Tingle Tingle koolah limpah,” rather it was much worse.

The clock struck midnight, but it went unnoticed by the many faces who’s eyes and ears were elsewhere. Darkness rained upon the townspeople almost instantly and an eeriness settled itself around them. The moon, which was always so pale and bright, was now the color of blood. Even as it appeared much closer, its difference in appearance stirred an uproar of confusion and alarm.

Centered perfectly inside the circumference of the startling red moon was another moon. As shocking as this was for the majority of the population in Clock Town, the towns people began murmuring about what it could mean, while some of the elderly claimed it was a sign of misfortune. This other moon, much smaller and black in appearance was crescent shaped, facing toward the left. There was no glow emitting from this moon, just darkness.

Lighting flashed in the eerie night, and rain fell from the heavens, drenching the townspeople who ran to seek shelter from the storm. The fireworks, which were supposed to go off, were delayed due to the morbid weather. The guards, who were stationed around the exits in town, stared at the strange event; they were not allowed to leave their posts without authorization from the mayor or the mayor’s wife.

“What does this mean?” Sango asked her companion from inside the Inn. Her eyes were looking outside toward the two moons hanging above the town. “Could this be an evil omen?”

Not sure how to explain such events, Miroku could only stare. “I believe we may not have much time than we first thought. Surely it is unusual for there to be two moons, and in alignment like they are, we may be in for some trouble.”

The door opened and a burst of wind flew in surprising the two, as well as both Anju and Kafei who stood at the desk. Just as it had come, it was pushed back by the door closing and Inuyasha now standing in the room, drenched.

“Something weird is going on,” he explained. “This wasn’t part of the whole festival, was it?” He questioned both the Inn keepers, who could only shake their heads; they were just as concerned as he was.

The floor beneath them shifted and the pictures hanging from the wall fell, startling the four. Anju held onto the table and Kafei leaned himself up against the table. Inuyasha remained standing, just as Miroku and Sango. The shaking wasn’t enough to knock them on their feet. But just as it came, it went.

Lighting outside continued to flash, but the rained ceased. From the window, Sango grew worried about her friends who were probably still out there. The small earthquake wasn’t too bad to hurt anyone.

“I wonder if we should go out and find Kagome, Shippo and Kirara?” she muttered.

“I’m sure they’ve already taken shelter. Remember, they said they would be looking around other parts of the town before the fireworks?” Miroku explained. ‘I highly doubt there will be fireworks now.’ “There’s no need to worry. They’ll return when they’re done. As much as Kagome doesn’t like rain, they’re probably inside one of the shops by now.”

Convinced that they were probably alright, Sango felt relief wash over her. “So now what?”

“First thing tomorrow, we should head out and get the next pendant!” Inuyasha explained. “But first…”

“First?” Miroku and Sango simultaneously asked.

“Let’s eat. I’m starving!”

OOO

After the rain let up, Shippo was found staring up at the sky with wide eyes. “I don’t get it! What does it mean? We’ve been here two days already and there’s these weird quakes and storms and now that!” he pointed toward the two moons above. “Is whoever doing this as evil as Naraku?” The child asked his surrogate mother, who appeared just as perplexed as him.

“I don’t know,” she replied. There were earthquakes like this back in her time, but none so strange as these. These earthquakes were much safer, because no one here seemed hurt or bothered by them as much. One thing was strange though; there were two moons. One was a full red moon and the other was a black crescent moon. Kagome was sure it wasn’t normal for there to be two of them.

“Kagome?”

“Let’s go see the Great Fairy,” she explained. Kagome looked around them, realizing they must have been in the east part of town. Currently, she and Shippo, along with Kirara were standing in front of the Mayor’s office. “I think it’s through there,” she murmured mostly to herself. Instead of just returning to the Inn, where she knew her comrades were already seeking shelter, she left through the entrance toward the north part of town.

“Why are we going to see the Great Fairy?”

“Just curious is all. She was not very specific on what this evil was, and I doubt we have less than a month to save this land.” If things kept up like this, then the land would perish much sooner than expected.

The moment all three stumbled in to the northern part of town, they were greeted by silence. The crickets weren’t chirping and the wind suddenly stopped. When they first happened upon this area in search of the Great Fairy, it was so dark, due to the storm, that they could hardly make anything out. But now the storm had ended, at least for a while. Besides just the three of them standing there, no one else inhabited the area. No one. Dead silence.

“I don’t like this. Maybe we should head back to the Inn,” Shippo explained with fear. “Kagome, let’s wait until tomorrow to talk to her.”

Sensing and hearing the fear in his voice, Kagome smiled. “I guess you’re right.” She had been hoping to talk with her, but seeing Shippo as he was now, she couldn’t say no. Besides, the place was giving her the creeps. ‘Why is it so quiet here of all places?’

“I wonder where Tingle is?” Shippo muttered as he stepped away surveying the area.

When she heard this, Kagome just blinked. “Tingle?” ‘What kind of name is that?’ Well, it was better than naming your kid Tinkle, right? But this got her thinking. “Shippo, did you come here before?” She asked the boy who stood a few feet from her with his back to her.

“Yeah! I was with Link and Serena,” he explained turning his eyes back to the priestess before walking toward the exit. “He’s a fairy boy or something. Says he’s been waiting thirty five years for his own fairy.”

Kagome’s attention shifted to movement behind her. Somewhat worried and scared, she looked toward her feet, noticing another shadow overlapping hers. Someone was behind her, but this shadow was not Inuyasha. Before she could make a move to turn, a hand clamped over her mouth and she felt her vision blur.

Shippo continued on, despite what was happening behind his back. “He was kind of weird, but you should have see—“ Fear suddenly gripped the young kit the moment he turned and found his mother lying on the ground unconscious and with a tall figure standing above her. Frozen with fear, he watched this person’s mouth curve in to a sadistic grin. All he knew was he needed to get Inuyasha and the others.

Chapter Text

The path leading to Sakon’s hideout was long and steep. Rolling boulders sailed past them, falling from the high mountains around them. Of course they were easy to dodge, but sometimes they collided with the sides of the mountains, causing them to turn in diagonal directions, in which case proved annoying as they ran and dodged repeatedly.

Along the way, Shippo suddenly smelled something familiar. His nose tuned in to something lurking around him. “Strange. Why do I smell gun powder?” he asked Link beside him. To be honest, he was surprised to smell many things in this world. Inuyasha was always the one to sniff out anything, but now it seemed like Shippo’s sense of smell heightened. “Link, there aren’t any explosives around here, are there?” He asked as he and Shippo jumped away from another boulder.

Before Link could reply, five giant round rocks sprung from the ground, some of which startled Shippo who leaped on Link’s shoulder.

“What are those!?”

Even though they stood stationary, it was revealed that they had narrowed eyes that watched them. Their feet were small but they somehow managed to hold their giant body’s up. These odd living light brown rocks held their small crossed arms in front of them. In a way, they resembled Gorons, but only without the giant lips, long legs and big beady eyes.

 

“Those are Nejirons,” Serena explained. “Don’t get too close to them! They smell like gun powder!” she warned. “They hide underground and they can only be destroyed by a hook shot or a bomb. Arrows are useless against them.”

The minute they heard the warning, the Nejirons scrunched themselves in to a ball and rolled in their direction at a fast like pace.

OOO

“Has it gone down yet?” Miroku asked Anju who was replacing a cold cloth on their friend’s head. He stood near the bed, watching Inuyasha sleep peacefully, while occasionally moaning in what he assumed was pain.

Nodding, the young innkeeper took a seat near both Sango and Miroku by the bed. Her expression was soft and kind. At first she thought the situation was serious, but it appeared as if the young man would be just fine. “Yes. He’ll be just fine. He just needs to rest.”

Hearing the good news, Sango felt pleased. “Thank goodness.” For a moment, she thought Inuyasha would be bedridden for a while. At least now they’d be able to proceed first thing in the morning. But something was nagging the slayer, causing her to bite her lip with worry. Her three companions had yet to return, and the night wasn’t getting any younger. ‘I wonder if they’re okay. Why haven’t they returned?’

Noticing the uneasiness in the demon slayer’s eyes, Miroku couldn’t help but lean toward her. “Is something wrong?”

She nodded. “I think I’m going to go out and find the others. I’m starting to get worried.”

Understanding, Miroku suddenly stood. “I’ll go with you. It’ll be faster if we search separately.”

Agreeing, the two both waved their goodbyes to both Anju and Kafei, before setting out in to the dark night among them.

OOO

Stepping back from the Nejirons, Shippo and Link found themselves surrounded from all sides. The path leading for Ikana was blocked off by the rocks, and both Link and Shippo were staring in to angry eyes.

“You know, instead of just standing around, why don’t we just fly over them? Really! How much time do you guys think we have, huh?” Serena was beginning to get fed up with the boys. Kagome was in serious trouble, and here her partner was just standing around.

Shippo suddenly felt embarrassed and offered to transform, but Link stopped him. “What is it?” Turning to his line of vision, Shippo realized that if he were to transform, and with the enemies so close, there would be no doubt that they would detonate. Usually Shippo could escape these kinds of situations, but this was different. There was hardly any room to move; they were completely enclosed. “What do we do?”

As they stepped closer, Link came up with a solution, but it would be risky on his part. ‘There’s no other way.” Grasping the young fox kit and his fairy friend, Link threw them both in to the air, much to their surprise. He knew they would only get in the way if he didn’t do something about it before it was too late.

“What are you doing!?” Shippo cried from in the air.

Noticing the look in her partner’s eyes, Serena understood before turning her sights to Shippo in midair. “Transform! Don’t worry, Link has it covered!”

Doing just that, Shippo transformed in to his pink ball, with Serene perched atop him. “But he’ll get…”

“Don’t worry he’ll be fine, now hurry on ahead. He’ll catch up!” Serena ordered.

Doubting her words, Shippo took one last look below him, watching as one of the Nejirons detonated, before floating off over a grassy path leading toward their destination.

“Can’t you go any faster?” She complained.

“This is as fast as it gets in this transformation,” he explained. Still, he worried about his new companion. Unlike Inuyasha who would have hit him in such a situation because he was in the way, Link on the other hand let him and Serena escape. Even though he never showed it sometimes, Link did care. “I hate running away!” For a moment, Shippo admired Link’s courage. ‘He’s not afraid of anything.’

“What’s that?” she asked. “It’s not running away. Listen, if we stayed back there, all three of us would have been blasted to smithereens.” Well Serena knew she could have flown out of danger, but there was no way she’d let her friends die without her.

“So it’s okay for Link to die, and let us go ahead?” Somehow that did not sound right.

“What?” Shaking her head at the boy, Serena hit him. “Shippo, Link is okay. Stop worrying so much. I’ve been with the boy for a while and nothing like that is going to hurt him.”

A ravine came in to view, and in the distance, on top of a cliff were old dilapidated buildings overlooking the gorge directly below them. Black birds circled the area, and an eerie wind blew. The two found the sight unsettling and unnerving, especially during the night of an eclipse. To them, the structures looked like remains of a lost civilization.

“I wonder what’s over there,” the fairy muttered as she looked at the village in the distance before turning her sights below her. “Drop us down there Shippo.”

Sinking down in to the open area, Shippo noticed how small he was compared to all the canyons surrounding him. Off to the side, he spotted a flowing river where an abandoned dock sat weathered with age. “I wonder if we’re close.” He transformed back in to his normal self.

Glancing around, Serena looked about the grassy area. The place was empty, yet it felt as if they weren’t alone. Something else was there, something unseen. A whisper met her ears, and she suddenly flew closer to Shippo. “Something is out here!”

Jumping from her remark, Shippo hurriedly glanced each way with renewed fear. “What? Where?” He gulped when he too heard the whisperings, but he couldn’t understand what they were saying. “Where’s it coming from?”

Gulping, the pink fairy moved to sit on the child’s shoulder. “I can’t see it, but I sense there’s a thirst for blood looming all around us.” Serena suddenly felt a dreadful feeling washed over her. “I feel sick, do you feel sick too?”

“Sort of,” he replied. A scent assaulted his nose, and he abruptly felt the hairs on his neck stand on end. “I smell something strange mixed in the air around us. It smells like blood.” Shippo gulped. Not only did it reek of blood, but it felt like sadness was rolling off in waves from the canyons. ‘It feels like everything around us is sad,’ But how could that be? It wasn’t possible for a land to be filled with such lament, was it? Shippo only thought humans and animals, even demons possessed those feelings.

Shaking with trepidation, Serena snuggled closer to the youth, but she could still hear the soft whisperings in the air around them. “I can’t understand what they’re saying.” In her position, it sounded like the voices were talking in a different language.

A growl from above was heard, causing both Serena and Shippo to fall back. They didn’t have to guess what was behind them. The large shadow overhead was enough to send waves of adrenalin through their veins. Shippo didn’t hesitate as he took off running, and Serena was not far behind. How many more monsters were going to show up out of nowhere and harass them?

OOO

The town was vacant of any souls; it seemed as if the townspeople decided to turn in early for the night, but no one could blame them. After all, with the sudden random eclipse and the turn of the weather, it was no wonder the streets were empty. Today was supposed to be a day of joy, but it ended abruptly.

“Where on earth could they have gone?” Miroku pondered with a lost expression pulling at his countenance. Usually his friends were never missing like this, unless something happened, but nothing, except for the lack of people, looked out of the ordinary. While continuing his search, Miroku ended up chatting with a few of the guards around the town, asking if they saw anyone in his description around, but all he received was the same reply; ‘Sorry, but I haven’t.’

The shops were all closed for the festival, except for the Bar which was loudly populated by most of the men. Music from inside was heard faintly, but he refused to walk inside. Why? Well, he knew his friends well enough to know they would never go in to such a place.

Anju and Kafei locked up for the night shortly after his and Sango’s departure, but they gave Miroku a spare key if they ended up returning sometime later on in the night. If Inuyasha hadn’t gotten ill, then he would be able to track their scents.

Scratching his cheek, the monk worriedly glanced around. “Now what? I’ve searched all over town, but they’re nowhere to be seen. They wouldn’t have left town, would they?” If they did leave, what would be the reason? As he stood there in front of the bar, he found himself in deep thought. ‘I’m sure the Great Fairy would know. Since she watches over the land, she’s bound to know of their whereabouts.’

“Miroku!” A female voice called, causing him to turn around. Sango rushed toward him with concern plastered on her lovely face. She searched relentlessly for hours, but she found no trace of her friends. “Anything?” she asked.

“No. I have a feeling they’re not in town. I hope I’m wrong.”

Catching her breath, she looked the monk in the eye. “Did you check ‘every’ shop?”

“Yes,” he explained. “I even went to check the Inn again, but nothing.”

Sango pondered. “Every house?”

“Yes…”

Noticing the faint silence after his reply, Sango knew he was lying. “Miroku…you did check every building, didn’t you?” She scrutinized the man whose eyes began shifting.

“Miroku!” Now was not the time for one of her comrades to be silent, especially in a situation like this.

He placed his hand up in defense with a troubled laugh. “Well, I didn’t check one shop.”

“Which one?”

“That one,” he pointed toward the giant shop across from the Stock Pot Inn which resembled a treasure chest. The only reason he avoided the shop was because of the woman inside, the one who spread the rumor about him and Inuyasha. He knew if he even attempted to knock on the door, he would no doubt get attacked.

With a huff, Sango ran for the shop with Miroku hesitantly following after. The moment she stood before the building, she rapped harshly on the door. “Open up! Please, it’s an emergency!”

After a few seconds, the sound of a switch inside was heard before the door opened. A young woman with short blue hair stood in the doorway, with confusion on her powdered face. “Yes? Sorry, but we’re closed for the night.” She eyed Sango up and down until her eyes landed on the person behind her. Her eyes suddenly brightened. “Oh, but you can come inside whenever you want, Miroku!”

Sango recognized the girl before her immediately. This woman was the one who was all over Miroku. She immediately felt her eye twitch, but she decided against using any kind of violence. There were more important things to worry about. Blocking Miroku from view, Sango began explaining the situation to the young girl who listened intently. “Are you certain you haven’t seen them?”

“Sorry, but I haven’t. The moment that strange eclipse appeared, I hightailed it back to the shop,” The young girl’s expression fell. “I wonder what’s happening. We have these strange earthquakes and storms, and now this!” She turned her eyes away until a thought hit her. “Wait, you said there was a female friend of yours missing too?”

“Yes,” Miroku explained, watching as her face saddened.

“You should all know that it is not safe for young women to be walking around at night. There have been reports of kidnaps and rapes recently,” she explained. “Just to give you all a heads up, there have been four reports of missing women, and…”

Immediately worried, both Sango and Miroku had a feeling they weren’t going to like the rest of her sentence. While it wasn’t the first time their friends got themselves in to trouble, they didn’t expect it not to happen here. No one was after the sacred jewel shard here, so it only meant one thing. Of course, for some reason, Kagome always ended up kidnapped, but mostly because she held in her possession the Sacred Jewel.

“They never show up again. I’m sure she and the others are okay, just as long as they didn’t wander too far from…” she paused when she realized both the monk and slayer were gone. Blinking, she gave an annoyed grumble and slammed her door shut.

OOO

Shippo, who was running ahead of Serena, managed to cry out. “What is it?” He was too terrified to look behind him. Just standing in that canyon was enough to scare anyone, especially with the strange whispers and the thirst for blood that Serena had been kind enough to point out.

“It’s huge! It’s as big as any human that I’ve ever seen!” she cried from behind. The moment she saw those long fangs and piercing red eyes, she knew what true fear was. “It’s got large fangs and red eyes!” The pink fairy never saw anything like it in her whole life.

Realizing they were running in complete circles in the gorge, Shippo made a dash down the path where he abandoned Link, but he only managed to collide with something bigger than him, thus causing the child to fall back on his butt.

There Link sat on the ground, covered with dirt and blood. He managed to take care of the creatures, but he couldn’t help but get wounded. Of course, he expected to have Shippo and Serena waiting patiently or doing something to occupy their time, but he didn’t imagine Shippo to run right in to him. ‘Now what’s happening?’

Looking up at the boy clad in green, Shippo nearly fainted from surprise. “You’re alive!” His eyes landed on the small cuts on his face and the blood stains seeping from his side, though he showed no indication of pain, rather his blue eyes were staring with much bewilderment toward him.

Overlooking the strange remark, Link stood up and before he could take one step, Serena suddenly collided in to his face, surprising him. Link flicked her away, somewhat bemused by their strange behavior. What was wrong with his companions? Had they gone insane?

“Ow that hurt!” Serena muttered. Upon noticing Link, circled him with great trepidation. “Link, we’re under attack!” Before she could explain fast enough, the sound of something touching ground caught their attention. The fairy hid behind her partner and eyed the terrifying creature.

Just a few feet from where they stood was what appeared to be a giant saber tooth with white and red fur, twin tails and red eyes. This cat like creature watched the three, canting its head as if puzzled.

Realizing they were not under attack, Shippo ran right up to the cat. “Kirara, it’s you! You scared us!”

“Shippo?” Serena called hesitantly. “Did you say, Kirara? The kitten, Kirara?” Hearing the boy say that this creature was one of their companions only furthered her confusion.

He nodded. “Yup! She’s a demon like me. She can transform in to her big self when there’s danger, but she’s mostly in her kitten form.” Noticing the fairy peering from behind Link’s shoulder, Shippo smiled. “She’s harmless.” Turning his emerald eyes back to his dear friend, Shippo suddenly noticed the red stains on her white fur. “Kirara, what happened? There’s blood all over your fur!” He pointed out. Kirara didn’t appear hurt, but if it wasn’t her blood, then whose?

In response to his question, Kirara growled and turned her head toward the river behind her. She turned from the group and led Shippo over to the body of running water that led to an archway leading deep in to the canyon.

“What’s wrong with the river, Kirara?” Shippo asked as he stepped along the deck and peered in to the water. When he did, he gave a start. “Blood?” The river was nothing but blood, and it appeared as if something was lurking at the bottom of it. “Something is down there.” As he peered closer, an emaciated hand shot out only a few inches from his face and suddenly swiped at him. Shippo fell back with a gasp, before turning to find both Link and Serena leaving him and Kirara behind.

The reason why Kirara was soaked with blood was due to a careless act on her part. She’d been following the running man, who ended up noticing her presence. When she flew closer, he took something from his pocket and threw some strange dirt in her eyes, temporarily blinding her as he made off to escape.

Because she couldn’t see, she fell in the river, where hands suddenly shot out and grabbed her. For a while, she’d been trying to escape the river. After a few seconds, she regained her eye sight and broke free from the river. Kirara resumed her search for the kidnapper and Kagome, but she couldn’t pin point their whereabouts; it was like they disappeared.

A small dark tunnel formed by rocks, led the four toward a winding path around the canyon surrounding them. Along the way, they walked along a narrow route where the ground below them proved to shift due to the erosion in the earth. Pebbles fell off the side of the trail they walked along. The red river flowed down a giant opening to their left where a waterfall fell almost endlessly.

Looking down the cliff they were traveling across, Shippo took notice of the fast river leading to who knew where. “Why is this place so creepy?”

Link couldn’t argue with that. There were a few times in the past where he traveled to Ikana; the land was haunted. Of course he lifted the curse on the dreadful kingdom by destroying the evil that resided there. Now the land was infested with multitudes of beasts. The spirits haunting the region were not at rest, and he couldn’t help but listen in to the soft whisperings around him. Of course hearing the strange voices was a first for him. His attention shifted to the bloody river. This canyon’s river flowed all the way to the Southern Swamp near Woodfall. If that were the case, then the inhabitants of the area were probably in turmoil.

Finally, what seemed like forever in Shippo’s case, the winding path they followed led to a small dead end. On the side they occupied was half grass and half rock, on the other side, there was a giant gap leading down in to the river below. Two giant overlapping slabs of stones lay ahead of them; they just seemed out of place for some reason.
Coming to a halt, the four stared at giant boulder blocking what appeared like an entrance way in to part of the canyon. A sign was sticking out of the dirt beside it.

“Is this it? There’s nothing here,” Serena complained. “All I see are dumb rocks!”

Holding his hand up to silence her, Link lazily pointed to the sign, in which Shippo ran over to inspect.

“It says, Sakon’s hideout,” Shippo muttered. A thought came to him. “Is that the name of the guy who took Kagome?”

Link nodded and signaled for them all to follow him behind the two slabs of rocks, in which they followed. The rocks effectively hid them from view.

Outraged, Serena once again complained. “Who the heck leaves a sign outside their own hideout, saying this is their lair? It makes no sense!” She loudly exclaimed, her words earning a nod from the others. Of course it didn’t make sense. Any villain would be stupid to have such a sign sitting outside for anyone to see. It’s pretty much asking for someone to break in. Was it intentional, or was the guy a complete idiot? Changing the topic, she continued on. “How do we get in?” Serena asked. She was almost expecting to see a sign that explained how to get in, but there wasn’t any. “Looks like an ordinary bomb won’t work, and I doubt either one of you can lift it.” She stared at her companion for a moment, watching as he held his back to the stone while closely monitoring the entrance. “I think we’re going to need reinforcements for this one. Kirara!” she called, gaining the two tail’s attention. “Do you remember how to get back to the town?” Upon seeing her nod, she continued. “Okay, go back and bring the others, okay?”

Nodding, Kirara suddenly took off in to the air and soon she was out of sight, leaving the three to wait.

“What now? How do we get in? Don’t forget Inuyasha is sick, and not even Miroku and Sango can open something like that!” Shippo explained growing even more impatient. Not only that, but he wondered how the thief managed to get inside his hideout. In order to do that, he’d have to be very strong.

Serena nodded. The real reason she sent Kirara back to the village to get the others was because they may end up needing help if something goes wrong. “Shippo, since you have the ability to transform, our problem might be solved. In fact, we may have a way of getting in.”

“Huh? What? You want me to transform? In to what?”

“A woman,” she calmly explained, earning a look from both boys. “What? Apparently Sakon has a thing for girls. So if Shippo transforms, maybe he can get Sakon to open his door. When he does, we will invade and take Kagome back!” The idea sounded fool proof to her.

Chapter Text

Shippo eyed the fluttering fairy in front of him warily. “You want me to transform in to a woman?” The child incredulously asked. “Do you really think he’ll fall for it?”

“Of course, if you’re convincing enough!” she explained. She suddenly began tittering away, though the guys didn’t know why. To be honest, she was hoping to see just what Shippo was capable of in his transformations. Now, she was going to put him to the test. “Okay, transform!”

Sighing, he did just that. A blast of pink smoke filled the air around them and a small figure stood in the place Shippo was previously. Auburn hair was held up in a neat and orderly bun. Flowery pink petals decorated his jade traditional kimono. A faint blush gathered over his face, and a bright red rouse adorned his small lips. A touch of teal eye shadow was evenly applied, which brought out his emerald eyes wonderfully.

But, of course this transformation was not what Serena was hoping for. “No, no! What’s with the getup?” Her eyes scanned his foreign outfit. “First of all, the hair should be down not up. Secondly, you look better without the makeup,” She explained while Shippo stood there not knowing what to think. “Well?” Serena was growing impatient.

“I’m not a girl. I don’t know much about them,” he explained, receiving a sympathetic look from Link who was casually leaning cross armed against the rock.

Serena sighed before yanking at the bun he wore, letting it fall down in long waves. “Okay, the hair color is okay, I guess, but red heads are kind of boring, Shippo. Why not try chestnut hair, okay?”

Sighing, he transformed again, only this time his hair was light brown and fell in luscious soft curls about his shoulders. There was no makeup whatsoever on his face, and he decided upon wearing something similar to Anju’s dress. “This better?”

Eyeing him up, Serena beamed upon the hair and the lack of makeup. “Very nice, I’m not really feeling the hair color…it’s not quite right yet,” she muttered as she circled the boy. “You need to be curvier.” Secretly, she was enjoying this.

“Curvier?” he asked. Why did she want him to be curvy?

She nodded. “Yes, and you need bigger breasts!” she clarified, in which Shippo scratched his head in bewilderment. “Small breasts aren’t attractive, trust me, I know!” The fairy explained as if she too had gone through the same predicament in her life. “I know what boys like.”

Shaking his head at the fairy, Shippo readied himself to transform again. In all honesty, what did it matter how a girl dressed or appeared? Did men really have such views on women? Heck, he’d seen his share of women in his life, and it didn’t really matter how big their…er chest was or what color their hair seemed. Girls were pretty in his eyes. “Bigger? Okay, I’ll try.” Another blast filled the area and this time, a small shriek resonated through the area, causing Link to jump in alarm.

“Not too big! Shippo, no!” Serena’s voice shouted, hinted with surprise and fear. “They have to be smaller! I’ve never seen them that big before,” she muttered the last to herself. Due to embarrassment, her pink light darkened.

Even Link, who had been calmly leaning against the rocks, found himself on the ground with a deep scarlet covering his face. His mouth was parted slightly and he found himself staring at the newly transformed Shippo. Catching himself staring, Link turned his head rather quickly and attempted to recollect himself.

One after another, Serena did not find what she was looking for. Shippo had the right idea, but he just seemed naïve to what older men were looking for. She turned back to Link, noticing his stare was elsewhere. “You could help!” she exasperated.

Link looked back, and nearly rolled his eyes. He didn’t have all day. Besides, Shippo seemed good enough.

“What color should his hair be? Brown is kind of dull, and red heads are definitely a bore…”

Shippo scowled at the last remark. “It’s fine! Now let’s save Kagome!”

“Blonde…” Link muttered suddenly, and Serena had to lean in closer. “Blonde is fine.”

Serena eyed the small woman in front of her. Although Shippo’s mind was far too innocent, he did have a good idea of what a girl’s figure should be like. “Blond…” she muttered to herself. That was a rare color, and she’d only knew one of the Great Fairies to have such hair color. “Well, try blonde hair.”

Shippo stumbled over the word. “What’s blonde?”

After a moment of trying to explain what ‘blonde’ meant, and few transformations later, Serena finally found what she was looking for. “That’s what I’m talking about!”

A young petite woman stood amongst them with long golden hair that curled ever so slightly near the ends of her lower back. An added accessory was added to her wardrobe, a giant green bow. Her tiny waist complimented her ample breasts, which were faintly bigger than either Sango’s or Kagome’s. Patterned green leaves decorated the tight fitting brown lace dress. Finally, light brown eye shadow was applied to his eye lids.

“Not bad, not bad at all, but,” Serena faltered irritating the fox child greatly.

Shippo fisted his hands and pursed his lips, only making him look even cuter. “Now what’s wrong?”

Retraining herself from hugging the guy, Serene fluttered around him. “First off, lose the tail. Sorry, but it’s just not natural. Secondly, your voice needs to be more girly.”

Blinking from her words, Shippo tuned to look over his shoulder. Swishing from side to side, he immediately located his tail. Like his previous transformations, Shippo was never good at concealing it. “Sorry,” He apologized before closing his eyes in deep concentration. “Transform!”

After yet another blast of smoke filled the clearing, the new and improved Shippo stood impatiently before the two, only this time he was without a tail. “How is this?” he asked in his best female voice. Slowly, he turned in small circles. “Do I look and sound like a girl to you now?”

Overjoyed, Serena circled the child laughing. “Yes! You look beautiful!” Words could not describe just how amazing the young kit appeared as a woman. In her mind, she knew he could rival even the Great Fairy, but, only if he was the very enigma standing before her. Sadly, Shippo had been cursed to be the very opposite of said woman. “I just can’t get over how you look! Why, you put all the women on this planet to shame.” Serena turned her bright eyes to her partner. “Link! Doesn’t he look…Link?” she muttered with an arched brow.

Link had moved away from the rocks in order to access the boy… or that is woman before him more clearly. As his eyes trailed the youth’s body slowly, he couldn’t help but blush at the sight. It seemed wrong to be staring at Shippo, but he did make a beautiful girl, but it hardly compared to Kagome. Besides, Shippo wasn’t even a woman, so it didn’t count as real beauty there. When he noticed his companions watching him, he averted his eyes, his face darkening. Shippo did his transformations too well in his opinion. The strange imaginings conjured up in his mind were enough to further his blush.

Seeing her flustering partner, she tittered away. Not everybody knew, but Link wasn’t as innocent as he seemed. Actually, Link was pretty good at hiding his feelings, but now was not one of those times. At that very moment, she knew what was running through his mind. But he couldn’t help it. Most boys were like that.

Shippo felt his pride sink as he stood awkwardly before his newest companions. Sure he transformed in to Kagome a couple times, but he never thought he have to make himself look like too much of a girl. For the first time in his life, Shippo was deeply embarrassed, especially with the fairy and Link looking him over. Growing more irritable and impatient, he whined. “Are we going to get this over with?”

Of course she nodded. “Yes! Shippo, go stand over there and scream the best girl scream you’ve got!” she explained, indicating to a small spot a few distances away. “When he opens his boulder…uh…whatever, you explain that you got lost and you were attacked by a ghost. When he leads you inside, we’ll follow from behind! Just try not to transform until we’re inside, got it?”

Shippo nodded and stood a good five feet from the giant boulder. He hoped it was not too late for Kagome. He took a large inhale of breath and thought of the perfect scream he would use to capture Sakon’s attention. ‘I hope this works.’

OOO

Sakon absentmindedly stared at the enchanting woman. Although she did seem frightened and upset about her predicament, he couldn’t help but smirk. There was nothing she could do to get away, and besides, he found her quite interesting. What was the harm in keeping such a cute mouse around?

Upon hearing his darkly chuckle, Kagome scooted back against the wall. She didn’t trust him. Ever since she woke up, his eyes had been glued to her, watching her. “You won’t get away with this!”

He laughed. “But my dear, I already have. See?” He explained. “Why so frightened? I won’t bite.”

Kagome glared. “What are you scheming? What are you after?”

“Indeed…what am I after?” He questioned, and upon her surprise, he frowned. “I have enough riches to satisfy me for a life time, but that just doesn’t seem to be enough. I want more…” he replied darkly. Removing himself from his chair, he stalked closer toward his victim. As soon as he kneeled in front of her, he inhaled her scent and stroked her chin, much to her disdain. “I had intended to sell you…I’m sure even foreign girls wage quite a hefty price,” he whispered.

Kagome stiffened. ‘Sell?’

Gently stroking her hair, he inhaled her sweet scent. Such an interesting girl she was. Such a beauty. Deciding against the idea of selling her, he had a much better proposition for the girl, and he hoped she would accept. If not, he’d take matters into his own hands. “I have a proposition for you, Kagome…become my wife, and you can have anything your little heart desires. What do you say?”

“Never,” she spit in his face.

Sakon’s eyes darkened at this, but his smirk remained. So she was going to make things difficult for him? No matter, she would submit to him either way. Grasping her shoulders, he slammed her to the ground and towered over her form. “I’ll make you mine, and if you cooperate, I’m sure you’ll find my presence to your satisfactory.”

Kagome struggled below him and thrashed. Honestly, she was terrified. She knew what any man was capable of, and she felt more fear than that of any demon. She screamed and kicked, but that just seemed futile as he pinned her arms above her head with one hand, while the other searched his pockets. Meanwhile, he practically sat on her, making it impossible to cause him any damage. Wanting so desperately for him to get off her, she kneed him in the sides repeatedly. “I’ll never marry you! You creep!” As if it weren’t bad enough, she felt his erection against her.

Smirking at her helplessness and pathetic insults, he retrieved from his pocket a small vile of purple liquid. Removing the cap, he took hold of her chin and tried to open her mouth, but her stubbornness made it difficult. “Open up, Kagome. You’ll feel a lot better once you do.”

‘Inuyasha, Sango, Miroku, anyone help me!’ As he tried to force open her mouth, she bit his finger hard, earning a grunt of pain from the man above her. There was no way she would swallow any liquid.

Automatically, he raised his hand to her and slapped her. At the moment, she was being difficult, and how dare she bite him. He would show her who was in charge. He grabbed her chin and forced her to look him dead in the eye, and again he tried to pry her mouth open, but she fought against him. “Kagome, you’d do best to open up, or I shall get rough.”

Her response was not what he was expecting. Kagome did open her mouth, only to spit in his face. “I’d rather die!”

Wiping the spit from his face, he removed his hand from her chin and opened the small vile. Since she wasn’t going to cooperate with him, he would have to force it down her another way; this one he didn’t mind. Sakon pressed the contents to his lips, and just as he did, he brought his mouth forcibly on Kagome’s.

She struggled, especially when she felt the liquid enter her mouth. Feeling the liquid burn her throat, Kagome suddenly felt strange. Her eyes were unfocused, and she suddenly felt weak all over. This entire situation felt familiar. A couple months ago, she found herself in the same predicament. After the resurrection of the band of seven, she was kidnapped by one of the members; his name was Mukostu. For some reason, he fell in love with her and attempted to marry her. Of course, he used his strange poisons to paralyze her body during his brief ceremony. He tried to rape her, but unfortunately for him, he was slaughtered by Inuyasha’s half-brother who saved her and her friends.

A strange sensation coursed through her lower abdomen; it was the effects of the liquid. ‘I can’t move. Can’t…talk.’ Silently, she watched as the man above her removed his shirt before pressing himself against her trembling body, which strange enough, would not move. Whatever was in that bottle, it effectively stilled her. She had no energy to lift her arms or to kick at the perverse man above her. Eventually, her vision darkened, yet she could still hear him breathing above her.

Deciding it was time to get serious, he slowly started removing her dress. At one point he grunted with annoyance at the buttons getting in the way of his goal. “I should rip if off.” He didn’t, and he proceeded with the last one, before slipping the lace dress off her shoulder, revealing creamy flesh beneath. The man nearly drooled at the sight of her breast, which were covered by a strange flimsy lace cloth. “What is this?” Was it some sort of protection? Some use that was, and he laughed as he easily ripped it off her still form.

Sakon’s breath caught in his throat at the breathtaking view. He reached out and grasped one of her ample mounds, fondling it forcibly. They were beautiful, and they were his to touch. One after another, he removed her entire dress, and lastly her shoes before throwing them across the room and out of the way. Not only were her breasts amazing, but so was the rest of her. His hand roamed her body.

“Such flawless skin,” he muttered, while stroking her shoulder and arms. All at once, he brought his mouth to her neck, running his tongue along her flushed skin. “Isn’t this more pleasurable?” While he kissed her more fervently, he ran his other hand down her body, knowing all well how it was affecting the young girl. Sakon smirked when he saw her shudder beneath him. Such a delectable woman was now at his mercy. Just seeing that smooth, flawless skin, kindled a strange desire within him. He wanted her all to himself. Her mind was gone from her, and it was all thanks to the potion an elderly woman gave him a while back.

“If you give this to a woman of your choosing, sir, you are bound for great pleasure,” she explained. “This potion contains a venom, not strong enough to harm one, but enough to elicit great desire. Think of it as a ‘Love Potion’ sir.”

Yes, Sakon remembered it quite well. In fact, just the other day, while he was out stealing from elderly people, he had passed a cloaked woman on her way from Ikana. She seemed about to fall over, as she was out of breath. She offered him a small bottle of potion, strange enough and he took it, obviously. Who would turn down free gifts? Not him. After he was given the vile of mysterious liquid, she died. Yep, she died right there at his feet. And being the kind of person that he was, he decided to throw her in the nearest lake. It was the least he could do after receiving such an interesting and useful item.

He smiled at the memory, and the fact that the potion was doing just what it was supposed to. Nothing was going wrong, and she was all for the taking. For a moment, he wondered if she was a virgin. Lustfully, he trailed his fingers down her bare stomach, toward his destination below. “Kagome, what riches do you hold?”

Before he could touch her, a shriek rang in his ears, and he jumped suddenly. With narrowed eyes, he realized it was not the girl below him who made noise, but from somewhere outside. He scoffed as the woman he was planning to rape had fallen unconscious. Sakon would have rather have her awake while he pleasured her. Until later.

Taking a black blanket from the side of the room, he draped it over the woman lying on the floor. He took from his pocket a key and unlocked the door before exiting. As he stood in the other room filled with crates that were piled high to the ceiling, Sakon looked out a small peephole in the door that led outside.

It didn’t take long for his eyes to fall on a woman kneeling in the cold night air. “What do we have here?” Puzzled, Sakon withdrew from peering out and scratched his chin thoughtfully. Aside from a couple people from his past knowing of his hideout, no one else knew. So, accidentally, she managed to find his lair? Perhaps he wouldn’t have long to wait…to do his task that he had tried to accomplish.

Deciding to push his thoughts away, he took hold of a wooden lever to his left and he pulled down on it. Ever so slowly, the door leading outside opened, and he took a few steps out of his home.

Cautiously, he searched his surroundings, but he didn’t stray too far from. The thief knew that if he were the least bit off guard, then there would be problems. When he was sure there were no other souls outside, he turned his gaze toward the woman a short distance away, and who appeared to be crying. “Excuse me, miss,” he called, alerting the woman of his presence. “Why are you out so late?”

OOO

Shippo slowly stood, and acted the part of a damsel in distress, no matter how ridiculous it was. He noticed that the thief wasn’t wearing a shirt, and he only hoped that his mother was alright. “I’ve lost my way, sir,” he explained as placed more weight on his other foot. “I was supposed to meet with someone and a ghost chased me. I was so frightened.”

Taking a closer inspection of the woman standing before him, Sakon nearly fell over in astonishment. The woman standing before him had to be the most dazzling and radiant he’d ever seen in his entire life. Her breasts were the right size, a bit large, but he liked them the same. Even her face was beautiful, and her figure petite. What caught his eye more was her hair; the golden locks were shimmering in the moonlight, and he was tempted to reach out and touch it. Realizing that he’d been ogling at her for a long minute, he cleared his throat. “My apologies miss. Why don’t you come inside and get warm,” he offered, causing her to fidget. “You’ll be safer inside than out here, I assure you,” he explained. On the inside he laughed, knowing she would fall right in to his trap.

Hesitantly, Shippo sauntered toward the man who kidnapped his surrogate mother. With his heart pounding loudly in his chest, Shippo managed to play his part well. “T-thank you, kind sir,” he murmured softly, as he nodded almost eagerly.

Following her inside, Sakon pushed on the lever to lower the door and disappeared inside.

Removing himself from their hiding place, Link managed to dart inside, as well as Serena before the door fell behind them. From inside, they noticed a door at the far side of the room, presumably the only door Sakon and Shippo disappeared in. Link knew Kagome was on the other side waiting for rescue.

“That didn’t turn out bad. Now let’s go kick some butt!”

The sight that greeted Shippo was not a pleasant one. His eyes fell on Kagome, who was laid out across the floor with glass and gold coins littering the ground. Her pale face, as well as her arms, was covered with bruises. From what he could see, she was covered by a black blanket, and her clothes were lying in ripped pieces on the other side of the room. There were marks on her skin, most of which baffled the child. Angered, he turned his glare to the man responsible.

In turn, Sakon feigned innocence. “Seems I’ve forgotten to clean up.” He pulled from his pocket a silver key.

Angry, Shippo scowled at the thief. “What did you do to her?” He kept himself from actually harming the man, only because it would ruin their plans of rescuing Kagome.

Blinking at the woman’s question, Sakon shook his head. “She must have had too much to drink,” he explained grinning maliciously. Forgetting to lock the door, he approached Shippo in an intimidate manner. “I’m not a bad man,” he began, turning his eyes to the woman on the floor briefly. “I just get carried away sometimes…”

Fearful, Shippo took a few steps back. “What did you do?”

Again the man grinned, this time diminishing the space between him and Shippo. His fingers brushed across his skin lightly and he leaned to whisper in his ear. “Would you like to find out?” Sakon seductively asked, causing Shippo to grimace at the close proximity.

When he went to place his hands upon the woman’s shoulders, a bright pink light blinded his vision, and he was forced to move away in order shield his eyes. “What the hel—“ Not a second before he could finish, Sakon found himself tackled from behind. His chin collided with the hard stone floor and a strangled gasp escape him.

“You dirty, lecherous, distrusting thief! What did you do to Kagome!?” Serena screeched, causing Sakon to cover his ears.

Link didn’t hesitate in the least as he grasped the thief’s neck roughly, forcing him to turn. The second he saw his widened and surprised eyes, Link struck his face, earning a cry of agony from the man below him. With Serena cheering in the background, Link continued throwing punches. Just seeing this man was enough to make his blood boil.

While Link fought against the brute on the floor, Shippo scurried over to his fallen friend. “Kagome! Kagome, wake up!” His green eyes widened a fraction of their size when he saw dry blood along the corner of her bruised lips. In his mind, he hoped they weren’t too late. Of course, he wondered what took place while they were on their way. ‘Inuyasha isn’t going to be happy one bit when he finds out.’

Kicking the boy off him, Sakon moved to stand, wiping the blood from his mouth and nose. His irritation only heightened when he recognized the boy standing feet apart in front of him. “You’ll pay dearly for that!” Spitting, he grabbed Link by his tunic and pushed him against the opposite wall, intent on teaching him a lesson.

Knowing her partner could handle himself, Serena fluttered over to Shippo and Kagome, watching as the young kit, who still kept his woman form, attempted to help the female to her feet. “Is she okay?” When she noticed the fear in his eyes, she assumed the worst. The fairy watched with extreme surprise as the blanket slid from her body, revealing her nakedness. “Not good!” Before she could come up with anything else to say, green flew pass her vision and she noticed her companion lying on his back on the far side of the room. “Link!”

Sitting up, Link returned to his feet. Wrapping his fingers around the handle of his blade, he was about to unsheathe it, but he noticed the thief take off out of the room in a mad dash. “Damn!” he muttered before sheathing his sword. The next time he saw him, he’d kill him.

“Link! Don’t let him get away!” Serene bellowed as Shippo wrapped her up in the blanket.

Ignoring his fairy friend, Link strode across the room and helped Shippo carry Kagome toward the door. He didn’t bother questioning what happened; he already knew. Of course he blamed himself for not taking care of the thief when he had the chance four years ago.

Once they exited the hideout, the cold dark night greeted them. There were no traces of the thief in the area; no doubt he wanted a quick escape. After all, he got what he wanted. As they set her down upon the cool grass, Shippo collapsed with a sigh.

“I’m whipped!” He wiped his eyes and he suddenly transformed back in to his child appearance. “So tired.”

Inspecting Kagome thoroughly, Serena worriedly bobbed in the air. “He touched her! That man, he…”

“That’s enough, Serena,” Link muttered as he fixed the blanket. “We need to get back to town,” he explained as his blue eyes fell on the two.

Surprised, Shippo gaped at the green warrior. “You talked! I thought you were mute!”

In response to his words, Link shook his head. “No, I’m not mute. There are just times I’d rather not talk.”

Bewildered, the tyke canted his head cutely. “Why?” Shippo asked as he examined the boy kneeling beside Kagome. He couldn’t understand why Link didn’t want to talk, but he knew it was none of his business.

Link shook his head, allowing his blonde hair to fall over his eyes. “It’s not important. Right now we need to get back, so let’s go.”

A little dismayed that the youth refused to answer his question, Shippo begrudgingly stood up and readied himself to transform, but he suddenly found himself swaying from side to side.

Serena took notice of his strange behavior. “Are you okay?” She and Link watched as he fell backwards until he sat, rubbing at his eyes tiredly.

“I feel exhausted,” he muttered before yawning. “Can’t transform.”

Surprised, Serena sighed. “It’ll take us longer to get to town, and I don’t know how long it’ll take for Kirara to get back with the others.” When she turned back to Link, she gave a start. “Link? You’re not planning on heading there on foot, are you?” She asked, watching as he placed the unconscious girl on his back. “It’s suicide!”

Again Link ignored her and managed to kneel next to Shippo, who stared at him tiredly. “Get on.” If Sakon were to return, Link wanted Kagome as far away from him as possible. Link didn’t have to bother hunting him down, he knew Sakon hung around the town on more than one occasion, mostly stealing from the unsuspecting. “It’ll be faster this way,” he clarified.

Absentmindedly, the kit nodded as he leaped onto his shoulders, before falling in to a deep sleep. The effects of his multiple transformations, as well as the fights earlier wore him out. Inwardly, he thanked Link for his amiable gesture, as he was too tired to utter a word.

Making sure Kagome wouldn’t fall, Link made his way around the canyon, in hopes of returning to town safely without any unsuspecting ambushes.

Chapter Text

As the night waned on, Link managed to set Kagome down in the gorge, a safe distance away from the river. Although it would have taken him a good while to get back, he was tired. He knew the others would come, so there was no point in going further. This was the safest place of all of Ikana. Taking a deep breath, he sat down with his sword ready in his left hand. The air was chillier than usual, and he frowned at the woman beside him. Seeing the bruises upon her unblemished skin was enough to rile him up. Even if he failed to better acquaint himself with her, he knew she was innocent. Kagome didn’t deserve such treatment. In his mind, he could only imagine what Sakon must have done to her. From her appearance, it was obvious she put up a fight.

A soft snore alerted the boy that Shippo was somewhere close to the maiden asleep, though he didn’t bother looking. Serena, on the other hand settled herself against Link’s shoulder like always. She too was out like a light.

A yawn broke from him, and he settled himself against the canyon wall, with his hand resting on the hilt of his sword. Again, he heard the faint sounds of whisperings around him, though he ignored them. While he sat there, he let his eyes drift toward the sky where a shadow hovered overhead.

OOO

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Inuyasha’s voice vociferated in the lobby of the Stock Pot Inn. His golden eyes narrowed threateningly toward Shippo and Link. The moment he woke up from a rather strange dream, he found the old lady staring him down near his bed side. After a few minutes of awkward conversation, he learned that both his companions went off in search of their three missing friends. Of course he hadn’t known, and when he heard from Miroku, the moment he and Sango returned, that Kagome had been kidnapped, well he flipped. Not only did that upset him, but to hear that one of his team mates didn’t tell him, it made him even more irritable. “Are you both stupid or what?”

Miroku felt sympathy for the two, but Inuyasha did make a point. “If you’d just told us, we would have helped,” he explained as he sat in the cream colored sofa. “You should have come to us the minute it happened. Going off on your own like that and so suddenly was dangerous.”

Embarrassed and ashamed, Shippo lowered his head. He inwardly blamed himself for not telling them. “I’m sorry. But, I couldn’t just let him get away, and Link was there!” He pointed toward the boy beside him, who at the moment was having a staring contest with Inuyasha. “She’s safe now!” Why couldn’t his friends see that? A while ago, he explained to everyone that he couldn’t locate Sango or Miroku, and that Inuyasha was ill, but apparently that wasn’t a good enough excuse.

Sango, who’d been standing in the hallway for some time, sighed. She’d been standing there listening to Inuyasha and Shippo argue for a good ten minutes. Though she didn’t blame Shippo for going off after Kagome, she was still bothered by the events. Sango hadn’t known that there had been recent kidnappings in Clock Town. If she’d known earlier, then she would have accompanied Kagome. Shaking her head as Inuyasha continued his rant; she turned and ascended the stairs to Kagome’s room. When she stood before the door, she entered softly so as not to wake her friend. They’d been fighting all night, and if they continued, then Kagome would no doubt wake up, as well as everyone else staying at the Inn. After what she must have gone through, she needed her rest.

As soon as the door closed silently behind her, she walked herself over to the other bed in the room, directly across from hers, before shedding her clothes. While she took her time slipping in to her regular attire, she couldn’t help but worry about what might have happened. ‘I sure hope she’s okay.’ Even as those thoughts ran through her mind, she couldn’t help but frown at the bruises. Sighing, she slipped under the covers and blew out the candle on the night stand for the night.

“And you let him get away?! What the hell is wrong with you?”

Miroku sighed as he scratched his head awkwardly. Of course he was every bit worried about his female friend, but he’d rather deal with all the arguing in the morning. Not only that, he was sure the neighbors could hear the ruckus from the Inn. “Inuyasha,” he called, earning the half demon’s attention. “Why not continue this in the morning? It’s late and I’m sure Anju and Kafei are trying to sleep.”

With one last glare at the boys, Inuyasha turned his back on them and marched himself up the stairs. Heck, he was tired of looking at their faces for the night anyway. “Fine by me!”

“But we saved her, Miroku!” Shippo whined as his emerald eyes watered toward the monk. “Really! Why are you all angry?” The child couldn’t understand.

Again the monk sighed before bending down to ruffle his hair. “Shippo, Kagome is covered with bruises, and when you returned, she was without her clothes,” he began with discomfort. He knew that Shippo was too young to understand, so he didn’t blame him. Shippo was just looking out for Kagome’s safety, but he did the wrong thing in not coming to them first. “I’m not sure what may have happened to Kagome, but Inuyasha is deeply upset, as we all are. We’ll talk more of this in the morning,” he explained before brushing past the boys and up the stairs. “Let’s get some rest.”

With tears brimming in his eyes, Shippo sobbed. “I don’t get it,” he muttered. The tyke’s eyes fell on Link, who at the moment was holding onto Serena’s wings as she struggled in the air. “We saved her.”

While the fairy continued throwing insults about a stupid half demon and what not, Link let his eyes drift the kit by his feet before frowning. “Don’t worry,” he explained before walking toward the door leading outside. Before his hand could reach the knob, there was a tug on his pants.

“Where are you going?”

“Out,” Link muttered before opening the door and stepping out. As he was half way out, he glanced back toward the child who stared solemnly at him. “You should get some sleep. You used a good portion of your magic today, I’m sure you’re exhausted.” After that, he closed the door behind, leaving Shippo alone in the lobby.

OOO

In the dead night, a silhouette of a cloaked figure shrouded in the darkness stood upon the base of the Clock Tower waiting. If anyone happened to look up, they would first see nothing out of the ordinary. However, it was not difficult to discern the glowing red eyes from the black of twilight.

A figure stepped out of the shadows before the cloaked person, seemingly out of breath from exhaustion. The reason for his fatigue was likely due from running from the canyon at a break neck pace. Sakon, the man who mugged the townspeople and kidnapped the innocent, retrieved from his pocket a small object. This object emanated a mystifying glow that intrigued the person to whom he was offering it to. Hesitantly and with shaking hands, he placed the orb in to the person’s outstretched hand.

“You did well,” a husky voice replied. This figure gazed upon the object in his hand with great interest. “I assume you want your reward?” Red eyes fell upon the shaking man, whose eyes were wide with fright but with a hint of anxiousness.

“Yes, but—“

Arching a brow, the hooded figure placed the orb in to his pocket before walking over toward the trembling man, who fought to control his urge to run. “Relax, why do you fear me?” It was more of a statement than a question. “I have another job for you,” began the person. “You’re reward will be doubled, but only if you do this one small favor.”

The man gulped before nodding. “Of course. Whatever you say.”

A smirked grazed this figure, whose face was shrouded by shadow. “Good.”

OOO

A startled gasp escaped the priestess, who woke with quite a fright. The patterned blanket that warmed her through the night sailed through the air. Her ebony hair was tangled and her mouth agape. Involuntarily, she placed a hand to her aching head, flinching the moment her fingers grazed her skin. Everything from last night came back to her, and she trembled suddenly.

Her throat felt hoarse and her body strangely sore. When she looked at herself, she realized that she was wearing her school uniform, though with its shortness, it did not conceal the various bruises on her legs. Placing her feet on the floor, she was bewildered when she noticed she was in the Inn room Anju had given her and Sango during their first stay. Of course she wondered how she got back. She realized she was alone in the room, and the bed across from her was nicely made.

At the moment she was safe, and she knew her friends must have saved her. However, her mind returned to the fact that she couldn’t remember anything except that she was chased by Sakon. After that, everything had gone black and now she woke up in the Inn with the sunshine pouring through the windows. Kagome dreaded what might have transpired after her world went dark so suddenly. Subconsciously, she placed her hand on her belly, hoping that her thoughts were wrong. Her entire body was sore and just moving her legs the slightest pained her.

‘I wasn’t raped.’ She thought trying to remove the thought from her mind. ‘Nothing happened.’

The door to the room opened, and she shifted her attention to the female figure standing in the door way; Sango. A small smile graced her lips and she entered slowly before throwing her arms around the girl.

“Sango, what happened?” She asked.

Removing her arms from her friend, Sango moved away before frowning. “Kagome, you were kidnapped,” she replied. For a brief second, she wondered if she’d somehow forgotten. “Don’t you remember?”

Kagome nodded. “Yes. I remember that, but what happened?” Her tone took on a more serious one with a hint of fear. “I blacked out when I was trying to get away, but I can’t remember anything after that,” she explained as she touched the bruises on her legs. “Sango, was I…I wasn’t…” The young woman found it hard to say that she may have been raped. Tears were beginning to fall from her eyes and her body trembled.

“I’m not sure, to be honest,” the demon slayer began before rubbing her arm soothingly. “But, Link and Shippo were able to save you from that man,” she explained, watching as her friend blinked at the names. “Kirara led us toward the canyon where we found you, along with Shippo, Link and Serena. We were surprised you were so far from town.”

Hearing this piece of news, Kagome managed to stand, with help from Sango. “Where’s everyone at?”

“Down in the dining room. We were about to get something to eat, so I came up to see if you were awake,” she explained. The older woman noticed the sadness in the young priestess’s eyes. “I can bring it up to you if you like. I’m sure you’re tired.”

“No, I’ll go down. Yesterday was our last day to stay here, and I don’t want to burden Anju and Kafei any longer.” With a few stumbles, she managed to exit the room, with Sango following close behind.

Noises drifted to her ears as she descended the stairs. A few times, she had to steady herself with the railings, and she refused any kind of help from Sango. Sure she was stubborn, but she felt it was her fault for getting kidnapped in the first place. Here she was again hindering her friends. Today was a great day to go out in search of another pendant, but and she was not going to let Inuyasha tell her otherwise. She knew her friend was overly protective of her, but it was her decision to do what she wanted. Kagome hated taking orders from others, especially where her friends were concerned.

As soon as she was on the first floor, she walked the halls toward the dining room, passing granny’s room on her way. When she finally stood before the door with the most clatter coming from it, she entered with a sense that nothing happened. Unfortunately for her, the moment she stepped one foot inside, the sound dissipated and all eyes shifted her way. Gulping, she took a deep breath before waving at her friends. “Good morning everyone! Sorry I slept in,” she laughed before taking a seat near Miroku, who lowered his utensil.

Anju and Kafei, who were chatting with their guests, turned their eyes toward the young woman with sympathy. They were informed the moment they woke this morning that she had been kidnapped. The couple kept their mouths shut, especially when they took notice of the marks on her neck and the bruises on her legs. Anju and Kafei smiled nonetheless, not wanting to upset the girl in any way.

Brimming with enthusiasm, she greeted each and every one of her companions, her smile etched on her face forcibly. “It’s such a beautiful day!” She said, as she accepted the bowl of hot oats from Anju.

Sango took a seat next to the priestess, and she frowned upon her odd behavior. There were times when she’d also hide her feelings, but be that as it may, it would only cause her much more grief. Sango knew this from experience.

“Kagome,” Miroku began with puzzlement. “Are you okay?” He asked, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder lightly. To see his friend smiling as if nothing happened worried him, but he knew she was putting up a false front.

She nodded her head, her smile baffling both Inuyasha and Miroku. “Of course! Why wouldn’t I?” She asked with a laugh. As she went about eating her breakfast, she couldn’t help but feel their eyes on her. Looking up, she turned her gaze to Inuyasha, who sat directly across from Miroku. “Where’s Link and Shippo?” she asked, as she looked around the room.

“Well, Shippo is outside somewhere, and Link,” Miroku paused, earning a questionable stare from both females. “At some point during the night, he disappeared. I searched around, but I couldn’t find him.” He was pondering if perhaps the interrogation from last night might have caused him to leave.

“Who cares! I don’t even know why he’s journeying with us in the first place!” Replied Inuyasha. In all honesty, that was true, but the boy did prove useful in saving Kagome a couple of times on their way to the mountains, and from what Shippo explained from a greedy man. But the kid hadn’t earned his trust. And from last, no matter if he rescued Kagome, he failed to warn the team of such an event. If the kid wanted to do things by himself, then he can just leave. Besides, they didn’t need him anyway; one kid was enough. Inuyasha knew he could be there for he companions, heck, he was there for them twenty four seven.

Worriedly, Kagome stood and excused herself from the table, only furthering everyone’s confusion. The second she went to reach for the knob of the door, Inuyasha shouted.

“Where the heck are you going?” Already standing, he made his way across the room, his expression angered.

Already knowing where this was leading, the young woman merely shook her head. “Just out for some fresh air is all,” she explained, but the look her friend sent told her otherwise.

Annoyed by her cheery attitude, the half demon grabbed her wrist and started pulling her back to the table. “Oh no you don’t! Are you trying to get yourself kidnapped again?” He asked sternly. When he felt a tug, he glared at her. “Kagome!”

“No!” Her voice screeched suddenly, and she pulled her wrist free, before holding against her chest as if it were burned. Kagome’s brown eyes were wide, and a hint of fear etched her face.

Upon seeing this, Sango left the table and approached her. It wasn’t hard to see that Kagome was still affected by last night’s event. Though she’d never gone through the same situation as she, the slayer had a pretty good idea of what she was experiencing. As soon as she stood beside her friend, she placed a comforting hand upon her shoulder. “Are you okay? Maybe you should go back to bed,” she urged.

“I’m fine,” Kagome explained, though she refused to meet either Inuyasha’s or Sango’s eyes. “There’s nothing to worry about. I won’t go far.”

Her words did little to suit the man in front of her, who gritted his teeth out of irritation. “You’re not fine. Look at you!” He pointed toward her frail figure and her pale complexion. “You’re completely shaken up!”

Kagome refused to listen. “I’m telling you I’m okay, Inuyasha. Really!” The young priestess’s gaze fell on the others at the table directly behind Inuyasha; they were watching closely. All she wanted to do was go out and get some air, not be locked up in the room, where she knew she would only dwell on her emotions. She didn’t want that. “I’m going out and that’s that!” Sure she knew she was being unreasonable, but she hated it when others gave her orders.

Fed up with her impudence, Inuyasha growled. “The hell you are! If you’re so damn insistent, then I’m coming with you!” There was just no way in hell he was going to let her go off on her own. Knowing her, she’d just end up kidnapped again. “And don’t go acting like everything is okay!”

“What?” Her eyes grew wide.

“You heard me!” He replied with a grunt. “You were kidnapped and you’re just acting like everything is right with the world! Pisses me off!” He clarified with a snarl. “Just look at you! You’re covered with bruises and—“

“Shut up!” she bellowed with unshed tears. She swallowed a lump in her throat. “Just stop it, okay!?” Kagome didn’t want to hear it, because she knew if she did, then she wouldn’t be able to stop the tears. The priestess covered her ears, with her face turning red.

Annoyed, Inuyasha took an intimidating step toward her. “No!” he responded, quite aggravated by her words. “What the hell Kagome?! After what happened, how can you just act like everything is fine?” He asked. He knew he was going too far, but he had to get it through her head. “You’re just asking for it! Do you want to get abducted again?”

For a while, she was quiet. Still she refused to look him in the eye or anyone for that matter. First of all, she was embarrassed about the entire situation, and secondly, she felt like a part of her was gone. “I don’t need protected twenty four seven!” Kagome was not completely helpless, and she refused the very idea of having a body guard in her shadow.

“The hell you do!” He blurted, watching as her eyes were set ablaze. “Every single day I have to go out of my way to save you! You’re always getting in to trouble!” His words hit hard.

Those who had been in the room felt an awkward silence fall over them. Sango, who had been standing near the priestess wanted to shut Inuyasha up, but she knew that his words were somewhat true. Kagome would always manage to get herself in to trouble, but not on purpose.

OOO

Silenced by his words, Kagome’s eyes fell downcast. A tear fell from her eyes, and her face reddened in shame. “So I’m a burden, is that it?” She asked, though she didn’t wait for a response. Without looking back, she ran out of the room, ignoring the yells from her friends.

Realizing too late, Inuyasha cursed. As he was about to head out, a hand stopped him. “Sango?”

“I’ll go find her,” she explained. Sango excused herself from the room.

Anju and Kafei glanced at one another.

Chapter Text

Shippo kicked the rock at his feet lazily. His head was downcast and a frown marred his youthful face. Currently, he was walking around north Clock Town. Around nine in the morning he left. Inuyasha was still upset about what he’d done, and Shippo just didn’t understand. In all honesty, he thought he did the right thing.

“It’s not fair,” he muttered. No matter what he did, he was always picked on by the older half demon. Just because he was small, didn’t give Inuyasha the right to bully him. To top that, even when he tried to do the right thing, Inuyasha continued tormenting him. There were times back in the Feudal Era, when Kagome wasn’t around where Inuyasha would laugh at him, especially when he was trying to introduce himself to a girl. Not only that, but he’d steal his share of food, though Kagome always sat him; that would always make him feel a little better.

Sighing, the child kicked at the dirt. Strangely, he wondered why he returned to this part of town. Only last night did that strange man kidnap Kagome, and here he was walking around the area. A laugh brought him out of his ponderings, and he looked up to see who it was.

Across the dirt path leading to the Great Fairy’s fountain, Shippo noticed a group of children around his age, in human years, playing together. There were five total, and they were all wearing matching blue bandanas on their heads, except for one whose was red. They wore blue and white shirts and short pants which were questioning to the child. With a small distance separating them, he noticed numbers, similar to those in Kagome’s trigonometry book, on each of their backs.

Taking a closer look, Shippo realized that they were all identical. Sure he’d heard of twins before, but to see five kids with the same faces was just mind blowing. They hadn’t noticed him, as they had their backs to him. He debated whether or not to introduce himself, but he thought better of it. Shippo was too depressed to talk in the first place.
As he was about to turn and leave, a shout was heard, and Shippo stopped and glanced over his shoulder warily. From his line of vision, he watched as one of the kids with the red bandana approached him in a calm manner.

Not a moment later, he stood before him. “Hey you! What’s your name?” The boy questioned while he scrutinized Shippo from head to toe. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

Blinking, Shippo shook his head. “No. My name is Shippo,” he replied. “Who are you?”

The boy stepped back and snapped his finger. As if on command, each of the boys leapt from their spot in the background and stood beside their leader; their arms were crossed, and their expressions were serious. “We are the Secret Society of Justice!” He exclaimed with pride. Smirking at the boy, he pointed toward himself. “My name is Jim, and I’m the leader.”

Scratching his head, Shippo nodded. “Hi.”

“Say, what are you? You’re not like us, and yet you’re not like any of the other races outside of town,” questioned Jim.

“I’m a demon,” he explained, most of which perplexed the children. “I’m not from around here.”

Waving his hand as if dismissing him, Jim smirked. “How would you like to join our group?” Jim didn’t care what specie he was. Besides, he certainly looked human enough.
Shippo canted his head. “What do you do?”

“We help others out,” replied a boy to Jim’s right. “That’s what the Bombers do!”

Again, Shippo blinked. “Bombers?”

Jim nodded. “That’s what we go by.”

As he listened to the kids, Shippo wasn’t sure what to say. He had never been part of a group with other children his age, and the thought excited him a bit. However, the child wasn’t sure whether or not to accept. All in all, it was a little sudden. “I don’t know. I’m a little busy,” he explained.

Somewhat saddened by this, Jim nodded. “I see. Well, if you ever find the time, let us know. We’re currently looking for new members to join,” he explained before sighing. “Gee, and here I thought we had another member.” The child pouted.

Shippo was about to apologize for turning them down when he suddenly noticed a shadow tower over him from behind. Glancing over his shoulder, he nearly gave a start when he saw Link regarding him with an arched brow and a hand on his hip. “Link? Where were you?”

An intake of breath was heard from Jim as all the other members gasped in complete shock. “Link?” His eyes were wide and his mouth agape. “Is it really you?” The boy questioned as he took a step forward, most of which baffled Shippo who stared between the two.

Link nodded toward the boys, who all at once circled him. They were smaller than Link, only because they were at least twelve years old.

“Where have you been all this time? You just up and disappeared on us,” remarked one of the boys curiously. “You look so much different.”

“And your hair is longer!” replied another youth.

Perplexed, Shippo couldn’t help but wonder how Link knew them. Of course it wouldn’t have surprised him if he was friends with them. There was a lot Shippo didn’t know about the green warrior. “Link, you know them?”

Jim turned toward the boy and grinned. “Of course! He’s an official member of our group!” he explained with much enthusiasm. “Actually, he graduated to the top some years ago.” Jim remembered that day well. Link had aided all the citizens in Termina, and was offered a higher position in the group. Sadly, he declined and left that day after the festival.

The kids circled around Link, nodding vigorously. “That’s right!” They exclaimed in unison.

Shocked, the tyke looked upon Link with wonder. “I didn’t know.” Somewhat jealous of him, Shippo bit his lip, all the while his tail twitched. Only last night, Shippo had grown kind of fond of the boy, though he rarely talked to him or anyone for that matter. However, his kindness lifted his spirits, and it was when he fought in the canyon that he truly admired the boy. “I wanna join!” He looked to Link for permission, though he wasn’t really paying attention.

Thrilled, Jim turned his attention away from Link and bounded to the lad. “That’s great! All right! Line up, guys!” Jim ordered, watching as all his members lined up on each side of him. His eyes turned to Shippo. “If you can find all five of us by tomorrow morning, I’ll teach you the code!”

Bewildered, Shippo was hesitant. He knew that his friends were likely waiting for him to return so they could continue their journey, but he didn’t want to go back yet. Not wanting to keep the boy waiting, he nodded. “Alright!” If all he had to do was catch them, then that was easy. Catching them would be a piece of cake!

OOO

Inuyasha marched himself out in to the streets of Clock Town. The fact that Shippo and Link had not shown up for hours was beginning to irritate him to no end. Not only that, but Kagome had yet to be found, and this only furthered his anger. The guards stationed around the town explained that no one had left the town, so he knew she was still in the area somewhere. Because Kagome wanted space, Inuyasha let her. He wasn’t in the mood to be sat, especially after what he said earlier.

“Damn it!” The half demon cursed as he cross the paved path of south of town. The clock, which towered over him and the town, baffled him. The letters painted on the wooden surface were unrecognizable to him. It was as if they were written in some unknown language. Inuyasha was unsure of what the time was, and so he turned his sights toward the sky. Little use that did! The freakin eclipse was still there, however, the sun was high in the sky; indicating that it was at least noon, and the sky was blue again.

On his way to wherever, Inuyasha walked past a few workers, who appeared to by lazing around near the food stand to his right. He didn’t know where he was going, but he needed a little time to think. Sighing, the half demon placed both his hands behind his head as he walked around the town.

As he walked around the Clock Towerand up the ramps, Inuyasha found himself in north Clock Town. Almost immediately, Inuyasha remembered that this was where the Great Fairy’s fountain was located. He wondered what she was up to, but of course he really didn’t care. The area was completely vacant, except for the guard stationed near the exit leading to the Snowy Mountains.

Straight ahead of him was a big red box, most of which puzzled the half demon, though he spared it a second glance. Again he continued on his path toward the other exit, which led to another part of the town. He hadn’t explored that area yet, or at least that’s what he thought. Before he could manage another step, something behind him fell. Curious, he turned around and glanced down.

No bigger than him, but small enough to reach his knees, Inuyasha noticed a short, paunchy man garbed in a one-piece green suit. He was strange looking, that was for sure. This small man’s suit clung to his figure tightly, showing off his medium sized gut and rather big backside. The outline of his chest was seen, making him freakier. This person’s ears were hidden behind the strange hat that pointed at the top and was also connected to the suit he wore. Over top his garment was what appeared to be red underwear? A brown belt held the red cloth together. Around this person’s neck was a round watch, fairly big in size.

Taking a closer look, Inuyasha watched as the man, who at the moment was on the ground picking up his parchment and bottles of ink that lay scattered at his feet. His face was hidden from view, so this made Inuyasha even more curious. He couldn’t figure out just what he was. Yes he was an inhabitant of this town, or so he assumed, but he never saw anyone like him, especially someone so small.

The short man, noticing a figure standing over him, glanced up with wide eyes and his mouth agape, showing off his sparkling buck teeth. Bushy black eye brows were above his slanted sparkling dark eyes. This green man’s face was oval shaped and his nose fairy large and red. To top that, his cheeks were rosy as if he wore makeup; Inuyasha didn’t bother asking. Lastly, a mole lay under his lip, just above his black goatee.

Surprised to see such a fella, the green garbed man hurriedly picked up his belongings and smiled before the half demon. “Hi!”

Not sure what to say, Inuyasha squinted his eyes at the man. “Yo.” Knowing he had somewhere else to be, Inuyasha walked away from the little guy, much to his surprise. ‘What a strange person,’ He thought. The sound of pitter patter sounded from behind him, and he glanced over his shoulder in mid walk. “What?”

Brimming with delight, the strange man ran around Inuyasha, causing him to stop and stare at the man with confusion. As soon as he stood before the tall man with silver hair, he awed. “You’re not human!”

“Gee, what gave me away?” Inuyasha nearly rolled his eyes, watching as the little man eyed him from head to toe. “Do you need something?”

The green guys nodded his head vigorously. “I’m Tingle! And I’m a fairy! But I’m actually thirty-five, and a fairy hasn’t come to me yet, so I help my father sell maps!”

Inuyasha narrowed his eyes as he crossed his arms. “Uh…why are you even talking to me, pip squeak? I didn’t ask to hear your whole life’s story.”

Tingle ignored him and continued scrutinizing him. “I see you’re not from around here,” he explained. “Could Tingle interest you in a map, sir?”

“I don’t need no stinkin map.”

Tingle nearly gasped from shock. Why, everyone he knew bought his maps. “But everyone loves Tingle’s maps!” The little man began jumping in place as he pulled out a few maps to the half demon. “They’re the best maps in the land! They are the most accurate, and every good traveler must have one!” Tingle ceased his jumping and gazed hopefully toward the man he wished would buy his maps. “Buy a map of Clock Town, and I’ll give you one of Woodfall for free!” He knew no one could turn down such a deal, and besides, this was Tingle’s bargain day special.

Annoyed, Inuyasha brushed past the strange thirty five year old man. “Get lost!” He didn’t have time to deal with a man who thought he was a fairy.
From behind him, he heard Tingle following. “It would make Tingle very happy if you would buy one of Tingle’s maps!”

Aggravated, Inuyasha stopped and turned toward Tingle. “Why the hell are you talking in third person? And I said get lost, fairy boy!” If he didn’t leave him alone soon, Inuyasha was going to hurt him.

Hearing this, Tingle gasped, but not in the hurt kind of way, rather it was just the opposite. “Does Tingle really look like a fairy?” Before Inuyasha knew what to think, the green man began twirling on his dainty small feet. The man was grinning from ear to ear and his face reddened with embarrassment.

Feeling a twitch develop, Inuyasha glared. The stupid man was supposed to be offended and leave him alone. “No! You look like a middle aged man with no life, and probably no girlfriend either! Now leave me the heck alone!” With that said and out of his system, the half demon turned his back to the man and continued on his way to find Shippo and Link. ‘I don’t know why, but he really pissed me off.’

“Wait!” Tingle’s voice shouted from close behind. “At least let Tingle bless you with my magic words!”

“Shut up!” Inuyasha growled, his anger heightening.

Not dropping his renewed enthusiasm, Tingle leaped in to the air over the half demon’s head, which cause him to look up. “Tingle blesses you!” Confetti and strange sparkles fell upon the half demon who ceased walking. The moment Tingle touched the ground he twirled. “Tingle, Tingle, kooloo-limpah!” His hands reached for the sky and his mouth opened with joy.

A rock soared through the air and wacked Tingle across the face. No sooner than that happened, Tingle found himself on the ground, sporting a rather large bruise. Sitting up and shaking away his dizziness, Tingle watched as Inuyasha marched away. Placing a hand to his mouth, Tingle whispered to himself, “Tingle has a friend…”

OOO

As soon as the half demon reached the exit, he thanked god or whoever for letting there be no one there, save for the guard, but he was quiet. Seriously, Inuyasha thought he’d pulled his hair out if he spent one more second around the strange man who thought he was a fairy. Well, he was sure he learned his lesson about bothering others. And what was the deal with the maps? As far as he knew, Inuyasha didn’t need a map to know where he was going.

As he sauntered by a few shops, he stopped and sniffed. “This place is just plain weird to begin with.” The smells assaulted his nose, and he released a sigh. “What else is going to happen today?” he muttered to himself briefly.

A childish scream reached his ears, causing them to twitch. Just as he heard that, a shadow fell over the half demon, and he looked up. A curse left his lips as he ducked out of the way as a kid jumped from the top of the bar’s roof top. The child landed, stumbling a bit before dashing down the stairs toward south of town.

“What the hell?!” Before he could continue, something hard connected with his head and he gave a “oomph!” before falling back on his butt. Blinking, he watched as a child with a familiar tail sailed across the air, holding on to what appeared to be a chicken. The chicken flapped about wildly. Before Inuyasha could yell insults, Shippo scampered away in the direction of south Clock Town. “What just happened?” Realization hit him and he waved his fist in the air. “Shippo, you little runt! Get back here!”

The guard stationed a few feet away chuckled at the half demon. “Kids these days!” When he noticed the glare sent his way, the guard cleared his throat, but his smile remained.

Glaring at the soldier, Inuyasha dusted the dirt from his clothes and turned his back to the man and walked toward the Inn. He was growing very annoyed. The minute he got his hands on the brat, he was in for it. It was obvious that today was not his day.

Chapter Text

No sooner had the game of hide and seek begun, Shippo now stood before Jim and the other bombers in north of Clock Town. Shippo smiled triumphantly. He had proven himself worthy of becoming an honorary member of the Bombers. While it took the child only an hour to locate each individual, it took Link a whole night some years back. Because of this record, Link was impressed while he stood in the background grinning.

"Um, Link," Serena murmured as she cushioned herself on his shoulder. She'd been watching the kids for a while now, and she was beginning to wonder when they were going to head back to the Inn. There were some important matters she wanted to settle with a certain white haired mutt. "Do we really have time for this? Don't forget that the Great Fairy needs our help saving the world," she reminded her partner, whose eyes and ears were elsewhere. Serena huffed indignantly and turned her head.

Jim and his squad surrounded Shippo. "As an official member of the Bombers, I give to you the Bomber's Notebook!" The leader handed a medium red sized tome to the boy. "With this, you will record everyone in Termina who has a problem. It's your responsibility to help in any way that you can. When you do help someone, mark down that you helped that person."

Shippo examined the book with childlike wonder. "Whoa."

"Also," began Jim. "You should know our secret code for our hideout." With a raised hand, all the kids turned their backs to Shippo. "Our code is 34512! Just give the password to one of our members in east Clock Town," he explained as he pointed to the large black numbers on each of the kids back.

"Neat!" Shippo was now an official Bomber member of the Secret Society of Justice, AKA, the Bombers. He put the book in his shirt pocket and grinned at the leader. "Thanks a lot! I won't let you down!"

Jim laughed as he nodded enthusiastically. "No, thank you!" Facing his fellow members, Jim snapped his finger, signaling that it was time to head out, as he was the first to amble away with the others trailing behind him in an orderly fashion. Half way across the path leading toward the Great Fairy's shrine, he ceased walking and glanced over his shoulder. "If you ever need any help, just talk with one of us!" After that, he and the other boys who resembled him returned to their previous game.

Relieved that they were gone, Serena fluttered in between the boys. "Well, that was certainly interesting," the fairy remarked. "So, is everyone still upset with us?" She asked changing the subject. When Inuyasha had first started interrogating them, she got angry and threw all sorts of insults his way. The pink fairy wasn't sorry for it, and she didn't plan on apologizing.

Shippo, who had temporarily forgotten about the enraged half demon, nodded. "Inuyasha is." He knew Inuyasha could hold a grudge, and he was certain he hadn't forgotten. "I don't know about everyone else though." When Miroku and Sango had turned their eyes to him last night, he saw disappointment. Shippo couldn't help but remember their expressions, and it made him feel worse. The kit knew he needed to apologize to Kagome, in order to get this off his shoulders.

Serena huffed. "Well, we were only doing the right thing! They're going to have to get used to our ways!" She ranted. "Hey, they should be grateful that we saved her. Besides, where the heck were they in the first place?"

Looking away from Serena, Shippo regarded the green warrior apologetically. "Link, I'm sorry you got yelled at," Shippo solemnly explained. "You're not mad at me, are you?"
Bewildered and a bit stupefied, the youth shook his head. Why would he be angry with him? Shippo was only trying to look out for his friend's safety, and he knew it wasn't his fault. For a moment, Link wondered if Inuyasha always treated Shippo unfairly. "You've done nothing wrong," he explained with a raised brow. Perhaps later he would have a talk with the half demon, that way they could settle their differences and move on.

Sighing, Shippo sauntered past Link. If anyone had noticed, there was a small storm cloud hovering over the child. "We should head back to the Inn. They probably want to head out..."

Nodding, Link followed close behind, though his thoughts were elsewhere. A certain dark haired woman with ivory skin came to mind, and he sighed at the wounded image. He could only imagine what may have happened to the woman. No doubt she was beaten. He'd seen the bruises, the marks of a man whose life was corrupted by sin. She'd been crying too, as he had also noticed the tear streaks on her face. 'I didn't make it on time.' He felt terrible, and that was strange for him. Although he hardly knew the girl, he still felt an obligation to protect her. Link thought that was too sudden in his case, but he had allowed himself to show fear, which he hadn’t shown since that day when his world suddenly changed.

A figure stepped in to grassy field from south of town, and Link recognized the woman as Sango. The slayer's eyes shifted from one place to another and her expression appeared strained and worried. She was searching for something almost relentlessly.

For a moment, he watched her. "Something is wrong," he muttered, alerting both Shippo and Serena.

Stopping so that he stood at Link's feet, the fox child glanced questionably at him. "What?" Shippo asked, but when he saw that he was staring straight ahead, he shifted his attention in that direction. "What's Sango doing?"

Her voice carried over the wind. "Kagome!" Sango was frantically searching as she stumbled toward the slides. When she discovered that the area behind it was vacant, she moved on. "Kagome!"

Bemused by the situation, the boys ran toward the slayer, who had yet to notice their presence. They noticed at once that her posture was rigid and her hands were clenched tightly. As soon as they were directly behind her, Shippo stepped forward.

"Sango!" Shippo alerted the slayer of his and Link's company. "What's wrong? What's going on?"

Relieved that the boys hadn't run off again, Sango managed a small frown. "Kagome is gone," she explained. "Inuyasha said something he shouldn't have, and I can't find her. I sent Kirara to search the skies, but she hasn't returned." It was obvious that she had been crying while searching for her friend. Sango's eyes were red and puffy, and there were streaks left behind by her fallen tears.

Link couldn't believe it. They saved her last night and she was missing? That couldn't be right. The guards were on duty, and from what he could tell, none of them were slacking off. If she was kidnapped, then whatever thief was around would wait until night. Who would steal a girl in broad daylight? 'But what if she wasn't kidnapped?'
"Don't worry, we'll find her!" Shippo explained before scampering off toward the east of town. "Come on Link!"

As Sango continued looking, Link turned in the opposite direction leading to South Clock Town. He had a pretty good hunch where Kagome disappeared to. If Inuyasha had said something that would make her upset, then she would most likely be somewhere quiet and without a soul to be seen.

"Don't tell me she's gone again?" Serena began. "We just saved her!" The fairy was beginning to wonder if this was a normal thing for the girl.

Shippo's voice rang through the air from behind, reaching both Link and Serena's ears. "Hey! Where are you going?" The child was a little hurt that Link had not followed him, but something told him that maybe he had gone in the wrong direction to begin with.

"She's not gone. She's still in town," Link explained softly as he descended the ramps with the fairy following. 'Maybe, but I doubt I'm mistaken.'

Puzzled, she fluttered onto his shoulder. "How do you know?" She noticed his manner of walking, and the unusual calmness swept over his features. Blinking at the oddity of his behavior, she fluttered over to Shippo, who now followed behind closely before settling on his head. "Don't worry, she's safe, Shippo."

Bewildered, Shippo felt the fairy pat his head lightly. "How—"

"He just knows. Don't ask me why, Link is like that."

Stepping off the last ramp that led around the Clock Tower, Link continued on his way nearing the exit of the town, before he stopped abruptly. His eyes narrowed in a direction to his right. 'What is he doing?'

Noticing the sudden halt, Shippo looked toward his line of vision before gaping. Miroku sat on one of the crates smiling like an idiot as always, while telling the line of women their fortunes.

"Oh my! Will my breasts really get bigger?" A young brunette asked as she kneeled before a certain monk's feet with her hands intertwined with his.

"Of course! My fortunes are never wrong, I assure you!" Miroku explained as he took the hand of another woman, this time with long ebony hair. "My," he remarked as he examined her palm with a thoughtful expression.

Startled, the woman bent down so that she was eye level with the monk. As soon as she bent down, the top of her dress opened revealing a pleasurable amount of cleavage that the monk noticed almost immediately. "What is it?"

Inching to grasp her mounds, Miroku grinned. "You're going to have many children. Your future looks prosperous and your husband will be well known over the land!"
Annoyed, Shippo stuck his tongue out at the perverted monk. "He's doing it again! Why does he always have to lie?" he asked aloud. When he realized that Link was no longer standing next to him, but rather walking away up a flight of stairs, he scampered after. "Hey! Wait for me!"

A narrow path greeted the three as they rounded the corner from the South of town. A small river of running water, along with lush greenery filled the small area. Vibrant flowers were settled beneath a medium sized tree just ahead of them whose leaves swayed in the wind. A small bridge led across the running water, which seemed to run through the town from outside. The scenery was quite nice and relaxing. Link remembered how he used to sit here and clear his mind in the past.

Seated upon the small bridge was a petite figure which caught Link's eye immediately as he stood near the entrance of this small area known as the Laundry House. The maiden, who brought about laughter and innocence, sat with her legs dangling off the bridge, mere centimeters from touching the water. Unnoticed by Kagome, she calmly and quietly sat by herself, and appeared lost in thought. Her pink lips were parted and her brown eyes fell upon the flowing water. Her hands were placed upon her lap, and her ebony tresses hung over her shoulders delicately.

Even from a short distance, Link could not help but admire her radiance. She was after all the most beautiful woman he'd ever laid eyes upon, though he wouldn't tell her that. Link hardly knew her; this was the same went for her friends. When he noticed the lament in her gaze, he stepped forward.

Shippo, who had stopped to admire the flowers, noticed his surrogate mother sitting alone on the small bridge ahead, and in an instant, he dashed to her side. "Kagome!"
The priestess jumped, and her head snapped in the direction of both boys. She'd been so lost in thought that she hadn't heard either of them arrive. "Oh, there you guys are," she gasped. A smile graced her lips, a smile that Link found false. "Were you looking for me?" She asked, and seeing Shippo's nod, she frowned. "Sorry, I just needed some time alone. I didn't mean to make you guys worry."

"Did Inuyasha say something again?" Shippo asked with annoyance.

Kagome sighed. "It's okay. He's right though. I get in the way a lot and I always need protected. I can't blame Inuyasha for getting annoyed with having me around."

Hearing her belittle herself, Link sat beside the girl, his eyes closed and his fists clenched. "I'm sorry about what happened," Link muttered softly, much to Kagome's surprise.
Blinking rapidly, the young woman was dumbfounded. Here she thought Link was mute, but it turned out he could talk. Still surprised, Kagome lowered her head. "It's not your fault. I was reckless, and I shouldn't have gone off on my own,” she explained. Curious of the boy beside her, she scrutinized him. The boy was just a head shorter than she and was actually fourteen years old. After the battle up on the mountain, she realized that there was more to this boy than she first thought. She judged him too quickly.

Raising her hand, she held it up as if to inspect it. A frown once again stained her face. Gently, she placed her hand upon her leg, and the second she did this, a blue light illuminated her hand. The light fell from her hand in waves of swirling blues on to her leg. Instantly, the bruises vanished from sight; she did this to her other leg.
Awing at the sight, Shippo leaned over her and watched as the strange but also mystifying light dwindled away. "How did you do that?"

"A while ago, after the Great Fairy gave this to me, I tried practicing with it," She explained softly before placing her hand onto her lap. Her eyes fell upon the boy next to her who was watching her carefully. "I forgot to thank you for saving me on the mountain," she began. "If you hadn't saved me the second time, I probably wouldn't be here." Kagome thought about what Sango said to her earlier. "You followed after his trail, Sakon's, to save me, didn't you?"

Link's eyes narrowed slightly at the mentioning of that dirty thief's name.

"Hey!" Shippo intervened in the conversation. "I helped save you too!" If it hadn't been for him, they probably wouldn't have gotten inside the hideout. The child pouted cutely from in between the two.

Kagome smiled brightly. "I heard! Thank you very much!" She ruffled his hair lovingly, easily ceasing his anger. "Such bravery. I'm proud of you!"

Shippo blushed as he rubbed his head timidly. "Gee, Link did most of the rescuing," he admitted. In his eyes, Link was a hero, one of which he never knew before. The boy deserved the credit. Without his help, Kagome would most likely still be in the clutches of that wicked and sick man.

Brown eyes fell upon Link. "What are you sorry for?" She asked. When she noticed his frown, she shook her head. "Oh, it's not your fault. I don't blame you for this Link, I—"
"I was worried."

Surprised, Kagome stared at Link for the longest second. "Huh?" A blush stained her cheeks. Kagome glanced elsewhere. She hadn't been expecting him to say such words. They were strangers, and here he was concerned about her wellbeing? Not even Inuyasha would say he was worried about her. If it did, it would be said with many cuss words. "You were?" When he nodded, she smiled to herself.

A light blush darkened his face, and he avoided eye contact. He was hesitant to say anything more. Besides, this was the most that he'd actually said to her. Though, even as he tried to conceal his embarrassment, he couldn't help but notice the small smile gracing her lips. 'If only she'd smile more.

Shoving away her blush, the woman turned toward the boy, whose eyes were locked with her own. "I'm sorry; I didn't get the chance to introduce myself properly. I guess we were all in a hurry." A thought came to her. "You know, this isn't the first time I ended up in a different world, or should I say time?"

Bewildered, Link listened to the girl tell her story of how she appeared in the Feudal Era by a well in her family's shrine. He gained knowledge of each of her companions and their roots and pasts. It was during her explanation that he heard the name of the demon tormenting them in their world. Naraku, a half-demon like Inuyasha, was a man who enjoyed toying with his enemies and making them suffer.

As the time passed, he was informed of the Sacred Jewel of Four Souls, a jewel which was said to hold great powers, whether used for good or for evil; it held a great impact on humanity. Kagome explained to him that it was her fault for breaking the jewel, and so she ended up traveling all over Feudal Japan in search of the fragments. While on such a journey, they encountered enemies and war. Of course, there were a few details left out of her story that he couldn't help but notice.

"And that's when a light transported us here," she finished with a sigh. Kagome was amazed at how easily she was able to open up to him, despite them being strangers. "What about you?"

Surprised, Link mused to himself. He had never told anyone of his past before, but that did not mean he wouldn't. Kagome went out of her way to tell her, why not him? "When I was a baby, my destiny was already planned out," he explained bitterly. When he noticed her puzzled expression, he sighed. "Perhaps I should start with the Hylian Civil War. I lived in a land known as Hyrule. The land was created by the three Goddesses known as Din, Fafore, and Nayru. Before they left the world in which they created, they left behind the Triforce, which would grant any wish to whoever touches it. Similar to your Sacred Jewel, the wish is determined by the one who makes it. Whatever wish is made, the person will gain the power to govern over all," Link explained as he leaned back on his hands with his eyes toward the sky.

Kagome and Shippo listened to his story intently, though they would stop and ask questions every now and then.

"However," Link began with a dramatic pause. "many tried to search for the Triforce, but none were successful. Eventually, the news spread to the ears of a dark tribe of magic wielders who were known as the Interlopers. This tribe hungered for the Triforce's power, and so they searched throughout Hyrule. But when they were unable to find it, they believed the Royal Family had it in their possession. Before the king was able to unify the country, an uprising began, and immediately after so did the Civil War."

"Civil war?" Shippo thought of the strange word before war.

Link nodded. "Yes. While the war plagued my country, my mother was able to escape in to the forbidden woods known as Kokiri Forest. It was there that I was brought up as a child whose destiny was unknown to him. On my tenth year, I left the woods to begin a new quest in a world I never knew existed beyond the forest."

Bewildered, Kagome asked, "A world you never knew existed? You mean you never left the forest until you were ten?"

He nodded. "Yes. The Kokiri are children born from the Great Deku Tree, their father. Those children never age over ten years, and they live forever, unless they disobey the law. If the children were to leave the forest, it's said that they would forever be lost and or die. When I was informed of this information, I obeyed, yet I secretly longed to see the world."

"Children who never grow up?" Both Shippo and Kagome asked with amazement.

Link continued on with the story of his past. "I was destined to save the land from a wicked man named Ganondorf," he clarified. "I traveled the land in search of stones that would help open the Sacred Realm. With the help of the Royal Family, I was able to wield the sword of evil's bane. However," he paused. For a moment, he couldn't believe he was being so open with them. He never spoke of such words anyone, not even Serena. "Because I was not yet old enough to wield the sword, I was trapped in the Sacred Realm for seven years. I woke up as an adult and again, I traveled the land to free the sages. Before long, I found the missing princess of destiny, and with her help, I was able to defeat Ganondorf and restore peace to the land," he muttered the last part with a frown, which puzzled both listeners.

While Shippo sat there, he couldn't help but open and shut his mouth during the whole story. "Is this true? You were really locked away for seven whole years?" In his mind, he wondered what a Sacred Realm was.

Having heard this, Serena snorted. "Of course he's telling the truth! Link never lies," she explained hotly. "What about you miss priestess?" She looked upon the female in question.

"Huh?" Kagome blinked upon the mentioning of her name.

"Is your story true? Did you really fall in to the past?" She found it hard to believe. Don’t get her wrong, Serena wasn’t mad at the girl, rather just a little annoyed that her partner had kept all this information to himself and then decided to tell these strangers.

Sensing the rage radiating off the fairy, Shippo stood up with fisted hands. "Of course! Kagome doesn't lie!" There was no way he was going to let the fairy talk in such a way to his mother. "How else do you explain how we got here?"

"Hmpt!" Serena turned away, but not before noticing Link's questioning and bewildered eyes upon her. For all she knew, they could be lying. "What?"
With a delicate brow arched, the warrior shook his head. "Something is troubling you?"

"You got that right!" Her voice screeched. When she refused to say anymore, mostly because Kagome was listening, she turned away, but not before turning toward the young girl. "We better get going! You've stirred up your friends, and it looked like that older woman was about to send out a search party for you."

Biting her lip, Kagome stood and ambled toward the exit of the Laundry House. "They're overreacting again," She muttered somewhat irritated. She felt bad that she ran off so suddenly and that her best friend who was like a sister to her was searching for her. How many times in the past did she make her friends worry? Too many on her count. Sometimes she wished she could be left alone to do whatever.

Giving her space, Link followed behind. Yet as he followed, he couldn't help but notice the rigidness of her form. 'She's upset.'

Shippo sighed as he walked along side Link. He knew exactly what was going to happen when they got back to the Inn. Inuyasha would start yelling again, mostly at him and Link, and then Kagome would get all defensive and sit him a dozen times.

Chapter Text

The return back to the Stock Pot Inn proved quite eventful in Link's opinion. The moment he set foot inside, a chorus of shouts and insults ensued. Blinking from surprise, Link watched from his place at the door as Miroku, the monk he had yet to understand, fall back against the far wall of the lobby, as a familiar boomerang narrowly missed him.

"Sango, please!" He cried with panic lacing his countenance. "Can't we just talk about this?" The monk asked as he dodged another attack from his female partner. When he scrambled out of her path, he managed to tumble over a chair, falling in the process.

A noticeable fire enveloped her dangerous form. "Why should I listen to you?"

Kagome and Link, who had been standing in the door way for a few seconds, glanced at one another. Kagome managed a weak smile and scratched her cheek as she sweat dropped. Link on the other hand merely observed as the Slayer aimed her weapon threateningly toward the cowardly man. He realized that Sango must have feelings for the monk, but if she did, why would she hurt him?

"I swear you're the only one in my life!" Miroku cried as he rolled away and in to the arms of Inuyasha, who had been innocently watching for some time now.
Noticing the monk grab at his clothes, Inuyasha felt a twitch develop. "Get off!" Inuyasha pushed the man away with a disgusted snort. What was with people and grabbing at him? "Time to face the music, oh holy monk."

Panicked, Miroku turned with sweat falling from his brow. There was nowhere else to run. He never knew Sango to hold so much anger, and it was his fault for upsetting her, but he was a man with needs. "Sango, I'm sorry. What will it take for you to forgive me?" On his knees, he placed the palms of his hands together in a pleading gesture.
Feeling a twitch develop, the slayer returned her weapon to her back and stood quietly with her feet apart. She would teach the monk a lesson for his dirty perversions. She clenched her fists, her hands trembling from her anger and betrayal.

Before Miroku knew what to think, he was pulled to his feet roughly as Inuyasha held his arms back. "What are you doing? Inuyasha?"
Smirking with mischievous, the half demon turned his eyes to the irate slayer just a few feet away. "Okay Sango, get it all out of your system." He explained grinning from ear to ear.
Surprised, the monk struggled against the man. "What?" His eyes darted from Sango and Inuyasha. "I'm sorry! I swear to Buddha it will never happen aga—"
"Too late!" Sango's fist made impact with the monk's face before he could finish. She didn't give a damn about him or Buddha at the moment. Miroku had promised not to look at or touch another woman, but she knew better than to trust his words of supposed sincerity.

Dropping the monk so that he fell on the floor with pained agony, Inuyasha smirked. "Serves you right. You can't go one day without groping a woman, can you?" A familiar scent filled his senses, and he turned his gaze toward the door. "Kagome?"

Sango too turned with surprise and relief. "Thank goodness you're okay. We were worried." Upon noticing that her friend was okay, her anger dissipated.

Kagome nodded as she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Sorry about that. I seem to be causing you so much trouble," she explained softly. "Uh, should I ask what happened or was he up to his old tricks again?"

"Same shit he pulls all the time," remarked the half demon. Inuyasha's eyes scanned the woman. "Kagome, where are your—"

Noticing his quieted stare on her legs, she lowered her head. "Bruises? They're gone." Kagome fixed the hem of her sleeves as she refused to look at the male. "The Great Fairy's blessing removed the marks," she explained. She turned her eyes toward the half demon and looked away; this did not go unnoticed to Inuyasha or anyone else in the room.
Almost forgetting about her blessing, he decided to get to the main point of his annoyance. "Where the hell did you run off to?" he asked as he stalked across the room toward his female companion who still refused to look him in the eye. "We were looking all over for you." Now standing in front of the girl, he watched her carefully.

Sighing, she managed to look in to his eyes. "I needed some time alone. So much has happened. I'm sorry I worried all of you, but I'm okay."

He knew she wasn't. Sure she acted like everything was alright, but in truth it was not so. Kagome had been beaten by a strange man who was still out on the loose, yet she still managed to smile regardless? "Are you really?" Inuyasha asked softly, inching to caress her, but he held back. "Because, you know you can tell me anything." It pained him to see her like this.

Kagome smiled. "I'm fine. Thank you for worrying."

Feeling forgotten and annoyed by the staring, Link turned to walk out of the Inn, but he didn't get very far. Before he could place his hand on the door knob, an irritated growl reached his ears.

"And where do you think you're going?" Inuyasha asked with annoyance. "Don't go running off too! We're about to move out. We've wasted too much time as it is." They'd be taking their sweet old time here in town, and he was getting sick of it.

"Oh shut up mutt!" Serena bellowed from her place on Link's hat. "I'm tired of you acting like you're the top DOG around here! Guess what? You're not!"

Surprised, Shippo and Kagome stepped away from Link and the irate ball of light. They'd never known the little pink fairy to hold such a grudge against Inuyasha. Of course, if this was only a brief idea of how she was when she was angry, they couldn't wait to see her when she was furious. Maybe that wasn't a good idea.

Angered and infuriated by her insults, the half demon clenched his hands, not caring the least if his claws dug in to his palms. "Excuse me? What the HELL did you just say? Who do you think you're talking to, you little knat!"

Before Serena could continue on verbally attacking the half demon, even though he deserved it, Link managed to grasp her wings in midair, before she could also fly in to a certain dog’s personal space. 'What's gotten in to her?'

"Let me go Link! We're not taking his orders like we're his followers or something!" The fairy attempted to pull away from Link's grip, and when she realized she could not, she ceased movement. "What makes you the leader here, huh? You can't tell us what to do!"

"The hell I can! I'm the leader here!" Inuyasha pointed at himself as if to clarify. "If you don't like it, you can leave!"

"Inuyasha," Kagome muttered as she reached for her companion who was starting to stalk up to the boy and his fairy. "Don't."

"That's fine by me!" Serene replied with as much venom. Ever since last night when he was interrogating Link, that sent her over the edge. She was dying to throttle the man to the extreme. No one was allowed to bad talk her partner. Why? Because, that's why. "Link, let me go. We're leaving!" They could save the land without their help!

Sighing, Link raised a brow at his impossible fairy friend. "No. We're to guide them across Termina. We can't just walk out on them." Besides, these people were a mystery to him, and he intended to figure them out. So what if Inuyasha hated him, it didn’t make no difference to Link.

"Well the brat can speak?" Inuyasha remarked with surprise. "And we don't need any guiding!" He knew that he could lead the group anywhere; he'd been doing it for months now. What made the kid think he knew anything about directions?

"Inuyasha!" Kagome warned from beside him. All this time, she couldn't fathom why he held a grudge against Link and Serena. Link was the human they'd seen in Termina, and he was innocent, same with Serena. In her eyes, Link was a good person and there was no reason for Inuyasha to get all defensive and upset over them, for whatever reasons they may be.

Ever so quiet, Serena turned her gaze toward each individual in the room, and that included Anju and Kafei who just waltzed in to the awkward silence a moment ago. "Hmpt! Fine! But one more insult from him, and that's it!" She flew in to Link's hat after that, leaving everyone to stare at the boy.

Kafei coughed, easily grasping everyone's attention to him and his wife standing near the doorway that led to the hall. "So, I take it you're ready to leave?"

Sango nodded. "We're truly sorry for having bothered all of you," she explained apologetically. "We'll pay you back when we get the money."

Anju waved it off with a smile. "That's quite alright. We've enjoyed your company, and you were all great help during the festival. I'd say you earned your keep. But please stop by and visit every now and then."

"We will!" Shippo chirped, earning smiles from all around.

Satisfied, Inuyasha sauntered to the door. "Alright everybody, let's get go—"

A gasp halted the half demon, much to his bewilderment. Turning to glance over his shoulder, with his hand still clenching the door knob, he noticed the frantic stare on his friend's face. "What's wrong Kagome?"

The female in question searched the room with a hint of fear. Her entire complexion paled as if she'd seen a ghost; this only baffled her friends further. Without warning, she dashed up the stairs in a mad hurry, leaving everyone to stare at the place she once stood.

Blinking at the scene, Inuyasha scratched his head as he leaned toward the slayer, who was just as curious. "Is she okay?"

The slayer shook her head. "I'm not sure," she replied. Before she could reach the stairs to see what was ailing her partner, the sound of hurried footsteps descended the stairs, causing her to step back when her friend reappeared.

Kagome took a moment to steady her breath. "It's gone," she muttered.

"What's gone?" Inuyasha asked as he approached the rigid girl. Somehow, he was fearful of what it was that was missing. If it was Kagome, it'd be something girly, and he really didn't need to hear any of that.

With her hair in disarray and her book bag hanging open in her arms, she lowered her eyes with lament. "The Sacred Jewel is gone."
A silence filled the room suddenly.

Miroku, who had been on the floor trying to ease the pain on his eye, gasped as he stared at the girl. "What do you mean it's gone, Kagome?" He regained his footing.
"I searched upstairs, in my book bag, but it's not there. I always wear it, but…"

Inuyasha cursed, causing Kagome to flinch. "Damn it!" He should have guessed that's what it was. Leave it to her to lose the most important item on their travels.

"I'm sorry," Kagome apologized with unshed tears. "It's my fault, and now it's gone." Kagome pondered of where it might have disappeared to. "I'll retrace my steps but I know I didn't leave it anywhere…" She murmured the last part to herself.

The half demon shook his head. "Damn it! Out of all the things that can go wrong! First we end up here in this strange land that's going to end soon if we don't do something. Second you wind up kidnapped, and third, that damned jewel is missing?"

Miroku scratched his chin as he mused. "This is troublesome. Are you sure you didn't just misplace it?"

"I'm sure." Kagome zipped her pack as she bowed her head to her friends. Here she was supposed to be the guardian of the Sacred Jewel, but she lost it again; this wasn't the first time she let her friends down.

As if struck with a thought, Sango turned toward Miroku. "You don't think…he stole it?"

Overhearing this, Inuyasha snorted. "Wouldn't surprise me, but why would he take it?"

"A thief is a thief," Miroku explained. "I doubt he knows anything about the power residing in the jewel."

"Let's hope you're right, Miroku," The half demon crossed his arms. "That man's scent is on Kagome, so it shouldn't be difficult to track him. When I find him, I'll kill him."
Kagome's face flamed with embarrassment as she could not bring herself to stare at her friends. 'Inuyasha will find him since his scent is on me. I'm sure we'll find the jewel soon.'

"We know where his hideout is!" Shippo piped up, earning everyone's attention.

Kafei, who'd been listening for some time, also nodded. "As do I. If you need assistance in tracking him, I can help," he explained. Though the thief was still a puzzle to him, he knew enough to know his routes, the time of day he usually attacked, and where his hideout was hidden.

Ignoring the fox child, he turned his eyes toward the man leaning against the wall across the room. "What? What do you know about that thief who took Kagome?" Inuyasha asked the blued haired boy with seriousness.

"That guy is a regular; his name is Sakon. He frequently mugs the townspeople, especially at night in the northern area of Clock Town," Kafei explained. "You're all in a hurry, I'm sure. I'll keep my eyes open for him, if you like? I also have a friend that lives here in town that may be of assistance in catching the thief. We go way back."

"That's awfully kind of you, but you've done so much for us already," Sango explained. "We couldn't ask you to do this. I'm sure you're all very busy."

Kagome piped up. "That's right!"

Anju smiled. "Not at all," She kindly waved them off. "Actually, our last customers just left this morning. We normally don't have anyone for weeks. The only time we're booked solid is during the festival we have every year. We want to help."

Agreed on the extra help, Inuyasha and the gang departed from the Stock Pot Inn. As soon as they stepped foot outside, Inuyasha turned his eyes to a certain ebony haired girl at his side. "Are you sure you want to go with us? There's no telling what might happen."

"Of course! I don't want to be left behind like last time," she explained as she made her way past the silvered haired man. She was going and that was final! No one was going to stop her! She was left behind last time; it wasn't going to happen again.

Sango shrugged as she strolled alongside her friend. "I hear the Zoras inhabit the ocean up ahead," she explained as she began her conversation. "Kafei said they were nice people, so we shouldn't have any trouble getting the next pendant." At least she hoped.

"The ocean?" A smile broke on her face. Kagome couldn't help but think of the hot sand between her toes and the cold waves of the ocean splashing her. "That sounds great!" She was a little saddened that she hadn't brought her swimsuit or sunscreen.

"The hell! Why are you following?" Inuyasha's voice rang out, causing the group to stop and turn toward the half demon. "If you've both got a problem following, then go your own way, otherwise get lost!"

Link merely glared at the insolent man. The boy wasn't in the mood to argue with a man whose brain was probably the size of a Deku seed. Besides, whether or not Inuyasha liked it, he was accompanying them on their quest, mostly because the Great Fairy wanted him to, and also because he was curious.

Sensing Inuyasha was about to go off the top, Kagome moved to stand in between both males. "Come on you two! Can't you both get along? We're supposed to be working together," she explained, but all she received was a snort from Inuyasha and a roll of the eyes from Link.

"Says who? It's obvious they don't want to travel with us, so good riddance!" He huffed as he crossed his arms. "We're better off without them!"

Glaring, the female planted both her hands on her hips. "For your information, if it wasn't for Link, you probably wouldn't have found me way out in the canyon! Secondly, I seem to recall a certain boy in green saving me a couple times on the mountain! So don't go saying that he's useless! This brings me to question, where were you when I needed saving? Huh, Inuyasha?"

Feeling his face grow hot, the half demon turned his eyes away. "I was out looking for the pendant with Miroku and Sango, actually!" The girl was starting to piss him off. He couldn't understand why she was siding with the brat any way. She hardly knew him. Besides, since when was Kagome his responsibility?

"Apologize to Link, Inuyasha," the priestess ordered. "Because whether you like it or not, he is accompanying us. Who says you have to control everything?"

Surprised by her orders, that half demon turned his nose in the air. "I ain't got to do nothing!"

"Inuyasha…" Kagome's voiced calmly, causing the half demon to reconsider his words. "Sit!"

Once again, the half demon met his good old friend the ground. Dust filled the air around Kagome's feet, and when it cleared, a small crater was seen outlining his form. Though the command was only told once, he found himself hardly injured, save for a bruised jaw.

Without batting a lash, Kagome grasped Link's hand and pulled him in the direction toward the West of town.

Miroku leaned over the half demon with a sly grin. "Be grateful she only used it once, considering the situation. While we embark toward the ocean, it would be wise to settle things between you and Link." With that said, he followed after his females and Link who were already a good distance away.

Removing himself from the crater, the half demon contemplated on the monk's words before growing aggravated. "That hell! He was making fun of me!" There was no chance in hell that he was going to apologize to that brat and his knat. If anyone was going to apologize, it was going to be them. 'Giving me orders like that!' He marched himself in the direction his so called friends disappeared in.

Chapter Text

Due West of Clock Town was Great Bay, an ocean that reached as far as the eyes could perceive. The ocean, though a good distance away, lied just beyond a sea of sand. In all honesty, the journey there appeared easy enough to tread. In the past, the group managed well enough in long travels, and this was not a difficult task.

As they looked out in to the horizon, overlooking the ocean from there place of stand just outside the walls of the town, a gentle breeze brushed past them. For a brief moment, they admired the sight with wondrous eyes, especially a certain ebony haired maiden.

“Ooh! It’s been so long since we last been to the ocean,” she exclaimed cheerily. As she stood before the long stairway leading down toward the vast sand below, Kagome could almost picture the cool water splashing across her bare feet, and the moist sand between her toes and breathing in the scent of the salt water. “I can’t wait!”

Ignoring the school girl, Inuyasha brushed past her, and calmly descended the stairs with his arms hidden in his sleeves. “Keh! Hurry up! We don’t have time to sight see!”

Pushing aside her plans, the young girl followed after with Miroku, Sango, Shippo and Link trailing behind.

The sky, which had been so blue this morning, suddenly darkened, and the sun slowly fell, in a fashion that awed the group. As they continued on, the sun set in but a few moments, and it stayed there, as if waiting for the dark of night to approached. When this happened, the sky returned to its sinister shade of red. Ignoring it as a sign of misfortune, the travelers trekked through the sand leading to the salty waters just ahead. They’d be lucky not to come across anything out of the ordinary. Actually, the walk through the sand proved quite delightful in Kagome’s opinion. The young maiden was eager to get to the beach and walk across the shore as the waves swept over her feet. Of course the thought sounded nice, but she knew that she’d have to postpone that for another time.

About half an hour of walking, Inuyasha let out a fury of curses a small distance in front of the group. His expression was angered and somewhat pained. “Damn it!”

Miroku wiped the sweat from his brow as he adjusted his robes. “Something wrong, Inuyasha?” He asked, as he watched as the half demon kicked at the sand with irritation. The girls behind him were keeping up, despite the halt of the half demon up ahead, though they were just as curious.

“Damn sand is pricking me!” He explained as he held his bleeding foot with irritation.

Kagome eyed his foot from a short distance before trudging through the sand to stand before him. Kneeling toward his foot, she gasped at the sight. “Oh, what are those?” She pointed at the small green needles piercing his skin.

“Hell if I know!” he grimaced at the strange small thorns before ripping a few out, much to Kagome’s disgust.

Annoyed, the priestess placed both hands on her hips. “If you would wear shoes, you wouldn’t have these problems!”

Shippo nodded from his place on Sango’s shoulder. His eye caught sight of his feline friend pawing at the sand a few steps behind them. “What’s wrong Kirara?”

Also noticing her strange behavior, the group turned to look in the direction of the feline who continued pawing at the sand. As she did this, something small but long shot up from the grit, causing the kitten to jump back as it eyed it with curiosity. It swayed in a slow motion back and forth, intriguing the feline as she pawed at it in interest.

“What’s that?” Kagome asked as she sauntered over to investigate. The moment she stood a few feet away, she bent down. “It’s shaped strangely.” To her, it reminded her of a leaf, but it wasn’t. The wind wasn’t making it move; it was doing it on its own. She reached her hand out, hoping to touch it, but a hand shot out and grasped her wrist, shocking her as she glanced up. “Link?”

“Don’t,” he warned the girl. “Move away before it acknowledges your presence.” Link released her wrist as she stood with puzzlement.

Surprised by his warning, she nodded. “What is it?” She eyed the strange green appendage swaying back and forth before Kirara. “Kirara, move away from there.”

“It’s best if we move away from here quickly. I’ll explain th—“

“And what’s dangerous about that?” Inuyasha inquired distastefully. “Looks harmless enou—“

Annoyed at the half demon, the boy pulled Kagome away from danger, with Shippo following curiously. “I won’t say it again.” What was with him? If the group wasn’t able to spot danger, then they were seriously in trouble. Without his brains, he was sure that the half demon would lead his companions to death in this world easily. It was always, ‘What do you know?’ Or ‘I’m not taking orders from you!’ Was it that difficult to trust someone?

Blinking from the shock of it all, Inuyasha was just about to throw some insults at the boy, mostly because he was holding Kagome’s hand, and for also issuing orders. Inuyasha was the head of the group, not some kid. Before he could utter a word of protest, a rumble from beneath his feet distracted him. “The hell?”

Sango reached for her weapon, her eyes searching her surroundings, and Miroku readied his staff. Inuyasha wasn’t slow in unsheathing his weapon; his sword was already out and ready to use. The ground beneath them and the others shook with much ferocity, but it was not so strong as to knock them over. From all the earthquakes they witnessed here, this one was weakest.

“Another earthquake?” murmured the priestess, who stood clenching her bow beside Link with Shippo attached to her ankle.

The strange green appendage sticking out of the ground ceased its sway and shot back underneath the ground; this did not go unnoticed by a certain half demon. Just as the earthquake had come, it was gone in but moment of seconds.

“Strange,” The monk commented while lowering his staff to scratch his chin. He thought for sure that something was out of the ordinary, but he must have thought wrong.

Relieved that it was nothing more than just a small shake of the earth, the group turned toward the direction they had been previously traveling, but before they could take one step, an eerie screech reached their ears, instantly drawing them back toward the commotion. As they searched about the area, they found nothing out of the ordinary.

“What was that?” Kagome asked, though all she received were shrugs. To her, it sounded like that of a baby’s cry, only much louder and ear-piercing. “Where did it come from? There’s nothing here.”

Suddenly, small forms shot up from the sand dunes, much to their disbelief. In each direction, strange mottled green creatures surrounded them, with short tube-like bodies, with red protrusions hanging from their circular mouths. On top of these beings were what appeared to be four light green appendages which resembled that of mouths with small sharp teeth?

“What are those?!” Shippo cried, still clinging to Kagome’s ankle much tighter. His eyes widened while he searched the area around them. “They’re everywhere!”

Link nearly rolled his eyes in irritation. He had wanted to avoid such conflicts, but there was really no avoiding them now. “Leevers,” he answered their questions while looking about the area. Upon noticing one creeping up on Sango, who stood but a few feet away, he unsheathed his sword. “This is their territory, and we are a threat to them. Either we fight them and waste valuable time, or flee before they attack, it’s your call.”

“What should we do?” Sango asked the monk as she eyed them. “Should we fight?”

Inuyasha grunted. “We’re surrounded already. So we might as well kick some ass!” There were no questions about it. Besides, they didn’t look strong. Spotting the closest, he charged with his word aimed high. “Take that!”

The Leever nimbly dodged, kicking up the sand as it sped away and around the half demon, who turned with startled eyes.

“They’re fast!” Kagome gasped.

Miroku, spotting one of the creatures heading toward Sango, hastily pulled her out of harm’s way, and raised his staff toward the beast, easily injuring it. “They are fast!”

The Leever sank back in to the sand, before reappearing beside Kagome’s feet, easily tripping her as she fell back. Again, the Leever circled the group, this time moving in the direction of the fallen girl.

Upon noticing the sudden attack toward her comrade, Sango rushed over to aid Kagome, but three Leevers blocked her path. “Out of the way!” She raised her boomerang and attacked, but they would not hold back. She stepped back and a sudden excruciating pain ran up her leg, causing her to drop to her knees.

Seeing this, Miroku ran to her side, using his staff to push back the Leevers that circled his partner. “Sango!”

Rubbing her bleeding ankle painfully, the priestess winced when she felt a few needles sticking in her skin. Kagome recognized them as the ones that punctured Inuyasha not long ago. ‘So, they’re like cactus monsters, then?’ Grimacing, she went to stand, only to fall on her hands and knees from the throbbing in her ankle.

“Kagome!” Shippo cried as he ran to her with tears brimming his eyes. The moment he was close enough, he clutched on to her shirt. He noticed the swelling on her ankle and gasped. “Are you okay?”

Kagome nodded, not wanting to upset the kit. From the corner of her eye, she caught sight of a Leever heading straight towards them. Before she could react fast enough, she fell back and pulled Shippo close to her with her eyes closed. When nothing happened, she warily opened her eyes, only to see a figure standing in front of her, Link. From her position on the ground, she spotted the Leever lying at his feet dead, its blood spilling on his boot.

“Whoa!” Shippo looked on in admiration at the youth who stood defending him and his mother. No matter how many times Inuyasha fought demons, his skill wasn’t as impressive as Link’s, and that was the truth. Where Inuyasha was fast and powerful, Link was an expert in sword fighting and archery.

Kagome observed the boy who maneuvered around the area, slashing at the creatures, while also protecting her. His blue eyes were narrowed, and his movements were well calculated and exact. While she watched him, she could not help but awe at his speed and his aggressiveness, not to mention his determination. ‘He sure is fast.’

One after another, the Leevers fell dead at his feet, leaving only a few for the others to dispel. Glancing in all directions, Link turned toward the fallen girl, eyeing her form with concern. “Are you alright?” He asked, offering his hand to her, though she merely nodded. After helping her stand, despite her warning of protest, he kneeled beside her, with her arms resting on his shoulders.

“Link?” Shippo curiously watched as the boy removed the needles painlessly.

Kagome watched him silently. This boy hadn’t even broken a sweat while eliminating the Leevers, it was as if fighting came naturally to him, just like on the mountain. “Thank you for saving me again, Link,” She smiled as the boy wrapped a small white cloth around her wound before standing. But I could have healed it, no big deal.”

Not even answering her, Link sheathed his sword and glanced toward the others, who were having some difficulty trying to eliminate the creatures. ‘At this rate, the land will no doubt suffer if they continue wasting time.’

Kagome, used to always having Inuyasha come to her rescue, glanced in his direction, only to frown when his attention was on the enemies surrounding him. Although her friends may not have noticed, Inuyasha was distancing himself from her, and this time he didn’t even rush to save her.

Her sadness did not go unnoticed by either Shippo or Link. Shippo was just upset with Inuyasha in general, especially his ignorance toward Kagome. She was nothing but kind to him, but then he goes and says something to upset her. Link on the other hand despised the half demon in general. No matter if Inuyasha was taking less care of his companion or not, Link also hated the fact that he issued orders, especially to him. Weren’t they supposed to help one another? In his eyes, the group was scattered, fighting for their own lives, at least that’s how it seemed.

Dodging yet another attack, Sango managed to dispel three more before glancing toward the Monk on her right. “They just keep appearing!”

Nodding, Miroku turned toward the half demon a few distances away, who was currently hacking at the sand in irritation. Sand flew in all directions. Sweat dropping, Miroku cuffed his hands over his mouth. “Inuyasha! They’re too many. Let’s continue on our way!”

Inuyasha glowered at the sand, before sheathing his sword. Although he wanted to kill every last one of those creatures, he knew Miroku was right. He was holding everyone up, and they only had so much time left. “Fine!”

As they hurried to leave, the Leevers ceased their movements in an odd manner that seemed questioning to Link. However, he didn’t think about the strangeness of it all considering they did half the damage than in previous years.

On their way toward the salt water ahead, a giant white fence with steel bars blocked their path. Small blue designs decorated the bottom of the exterior in what appeared like ships, the ones Kagome recognized.

“Seems like someone doesn’t want us to cross over,” inquired Miroku who looked toward Inuyasha.

The half demon grunted as he bent down. “Who cares? We’re going over there because that’s where the next pendant is. No stinkin fence is keeping me out!” He remarked as a matter of fact as Kagome situated herself on his back. Without another word, he leaped in to the air with Kagome and disappeared on the other side.

Serena who’d been quietly sleeping inside Link’s hat, stirred from her partner’s movement. “What’s going on?” She asked as she peeked outside his hat. “Are we almost there?”

“Yeah,” Link replied. He climbed the rough surface of the fence, surprising both Sango and Miroku. Back when he was ten, it was almost impossible to climb the fence and he always had to use the help of Epona, his horse. Now that he was taller and capable of climbing higher places, the challenge was now easier to manage.

As Sango and Miroku rode upon Kirara’s back, Sango could not help but watch as the youth climbed the tall gate before leaping off the edge to join the others. “He could have ridden with us…”

Noticing her gaze, Miroku nodded. “Yes, but it seems he likes to do things on his own,” he replied before a smile pulled at his lips. His hand, which at the moment was fixed around her waist, unbeknownst to the slayer, caressed her sides before falling upon her butt affectionately. Ignoring her rigidness, he leaned his head upon her shoulder, sighing as he did. “How long do you think this journey will take us, Sango?”

A twitched developed beneath her eye as she felt his hands continue to rub against her virgin body repeatedly. How many times had she warned him in the past to stop? Too many by her count. Beyond irritated, she turned and raised her hand.

“Wow, Shippo, you’re getting better with your transformations!” The priestess cooed as Shippo transformed from his pink bubble to his original form.

He blushed and puffed out his chest. “Thanks!” He would remember later to show them all his other transformations that Serena taught him.

While Link fixed the sleeves of his tunic, a loud slap resonated from above. Before he could turn his eyes upward, a body fell and collided with the sand quite painfully a few feet away from him. Link wasn’t even going to ask as he stared blinking.

“Uh…” Serena looked upon the bruised man lying on his back with a small smile still etched on his face. The red hand print on his cheek did not go unnoticed by her. “Well I never thought I’d see the day a holy man would fall from the sky…but there it is.” She wasn’t fooled by his act; the fairy knew he was a pervert. Somehow, a holy man and a pervert did not mix right to her.

Sitting up, Miroku grunted as he felt a small pain on his back. Yes it was his fault that he got injured again, but he could not help but be tempted by his lovely companion. He grinned as he massaged his reddened cheek.

Sango turned her nose in the air and leaped off Kirara before walking briskly ahead without a word. ‘That jerk! I wish he’d stop pulling those stunts!’ Even as Miroku called her name, she ignored him.

Kagome, noticing this, hurried after, despite her injury. “Wait up Sango!”

Inuyasha sweat dropped. “Again? You know if you keep this up, she’s going to hate you, right?” Without even waiting for a response, Inuyasha followed the girls, with Shippo and Link following; they both spared the monk a glance.

After what seemed like ten minutes, they group managed to safely arrive in Great Bay. What they hadn’t expected was a desolate beach littered with bones and carcasses as well as an eerie quietness. The sky above darkened ominously and the wind suddenly grew cold.

Kagome supposed plans dwindled as she stepped lightly through the sand. “This is strange.” As she looked around the shores, she spotted and grimaced at the sight of dead skeletal fish lying across the bank near the ocean. ‘So much for relaxation…’

Sango agreed. “It’s completely deserted. Where is everyone?”

Shippo scratched his nose as he scanned his surroundings. He spotted a house a few distances away near a patch of green. “Maybe someone there will help.”

Miroku frowned as he kneeled upon the ground, much to Sango’s bewilderment. “What’s this?” The monk examined the scrap of wood with writing on it.

“What is it Miroku?” Both Sango and Kagome asked as they stood beside the man.

The young maiden recognized part of the wood to be a remnant of a sign. “What does it say?”

“It says to beware of humanoid fish…” He scrunched his nose in confusion. “I can’t read the rest.” Miroku dropped the scrap and stood up. “That’s strange indeed.”

Surprised, Sango glanced at Miroku with a hint of worry. “You don’t think it refers to the Zoras, do you? Kafei told us they were kind folk.” ‘What happened here?’

Miroku wasn’t sure as he shrugged. “Perhaps whosever living there might know,” he suggested toward the hut.

As they ambled along toward their destination, Link stopped and glanced upon Mikau’s grave, a Zora guitarist who died some time back. His grave was completely demolished and his remains lying all over the beach. Something was not right. First off, the beware of humanoid fish was perplexing to him. He’d always known the Zoras to be friendly, not hostile. Looking away from the grave, the boy followed after the group who stood before the multicolored blue and white patterned doorway of the round and white hut.

“There’s no door?” questioned the priestess who stood marveling at the exterior.

Not bothering to knock or anything, seeing as how there was no door present, Inuyasha marched himself inside. “We don’t have all day.”

The moment they entered inside, a tall robust man turned around to face the strangers. “Who are you?” This man was quite pale with an enormous gut hanging out of his white tattered shorts. Blue tattoos covered his arms, and he was bald. What more was there to say? His home was quite small, yet he managed to fill it with everything relating to fishing inside.

Along the walls were pots and empty buckets. On the right side of his home was a large chest with a giant fish tank beside the door with two giant fish inside. A medium sized net hung from the wall toward the left of the room along with some hooks, and a hearth sat behind him. There was a small single bed in the room as well, signifying that he was the only occupant in the house.

Before anyone could utter a word as to why they entered his house, he looked at them with a serious expression. “I’ve been catching fish in these seas for thirty years. When it comes to catching fish, I’m even better than the Zoras. Unfortunately, I can’t go anywhere near the water, haven’t for a year now. Strange things are happening lately, if you haven’t already seen. You should be wary during the night, and keep your doors locked tight,” he explained as everyone merely stared at him. The fisherman scrunched his eyebrows together. “Hm? I don’t believe I’ve seen your faces around these parts?”

Miroku cleared his throat as he stepped forward. “Pardon our intrusion, we are just passing by and we could not help but notice how ominous Great Bay is.”

The man nodded in understanding. “I see. You’re correct young man. Lately things have gone amiss, and I’m not telling you this to be funny.”

“What’s going on?” Kagome asked.

“A year ago, things were quite normal. I was out fishing like I do every day when suddenly the ocean turned a strange color. I noticed that all the fish were lying dead on the shores of the beach. Then at night, the wind would blow very loud, and I swear I saw shadows outside my door,” he explained as he shivered at the thought. “The next day, I found a body of one of the Zoras dead on the beach, its skin torn off its person. I was scared out of my wits, especially when I noticed one of the said creatures walking towards me.”

Surprised by his short story, Sango asked, “What was it that killed the Zora and the fish?”

“Why the Zoras of course!” The fisherman continued on. “Those Zoras have completely gone wild! If I were you, I’d hurry away from here before night approaches,” he warned. He suddenly noticed the wounds on the young women’s ankles. “What happened here?”

Noticing his gaze, Kagome waved it off. “We were attacked by some Leevers,” she answered as if it was no big deal, but the look on the fisherman’s face told otherwise.

“Hurry here!” he ushered her over to a chair, as well as the Sango before unwrapping some gauze. The man removed the bandages from her wound and pulled from his pocket a vile of dark liquid. “This is a panacea. Those Leevers are poisonous. The wound is not so deep, thankfully.”

Kagome nearly gasped. It was a good thing she didn’t heal it otherwise the poison would have been stuck in her body. The moment her wound was rewrapped, she allowed Sango to sit in her place as the fisherman went to work on her wound, which wasn’t as deep either. “I had no idea those creatures were poisonous.”

“So where are these Zoras?” Questioned Inuyasha.

Finishing up on Sango, the man stood up and turned toward the man with oddly colored hair. “Why do you youngsters want to know that?”

“Well, the thing is,” Kagome began. “We are certain that they have something we need, but…”

He interrupted her with a grunt. “Listen here dear,” he wrapped his arms around her shoulder much to her surprise. “It’s best if you forget about paying them a visit. Those creatures have turned bad. I don’t know what happened, but I’d hate to see any of you hurt.”

Removing herself from his grip, Kagome wondered just what the Zoras were up to. They were supposed to be benevolent creatures, at least that’s what Kafei said.

“Listen here! Just tell us where they live. If they’re a problem for ya, we’ll take care of them,” remarked Inuyasha who stood with his thumb pointed at his person and a disgruntled expression upon his face.

Kagome was surprised to hear this side of her friend, as was everyone else. Normally he didn’t go around offering help, but here he was. “Inuyasha…” ‘What’s gotten in to him?’

Flabbergasted to hear this from the silver haired man, the fisherman nodded. “Seems I cannot change your mind. The Zoras live on the other side of the coast through the tunnel. There is a dome on the water; that is where you will find them. Be warned though, the water is not safe to swim in. I highly recommend you take my boats just outside.”

Miroku thanked him kindly before his eyes fell upon a poster hanging on the wall beside him. “hm?”

“Heh-heh! Isn’t she pretty?” The fisherman asked, and upon noticing the young man’s nod, he continued. “But you know…those female pirates are frightening, they could scare a crying baby in to silence. See, it was a long time ago when I used this thing called a hook shot to catch fish off the coast…but I was attacked by those pirates and they took it away with them.” The man suddenly threw his arms around both girls who just happened to be standing next to him.

Inuyasha glared, and Miroku arched a brow at the man’s friendliness.

Meanwhile, Link leaned against the doorway nonchalantly. He’d been listening to the fisherman’s explanation regarding the Zoras, and so far he was unconvinced. Just how was it that they could suddenly change from hospitable to hostile so quickly? Something was amiss in Great Bay, and he was sure it wasn’t just the tribe of water people. ‘If what he says is the truth, then something needs to be done. What could easily transform their behavior so quickly?’ Link knew the tribe did not get along well with the pirates. Could they be responsible for their actions?

While Link pondered, Shippo took the time to stare at the giant fish tank near the door way, opposite of where he stood. The moment he stepped foot inside, he’d been curious of the fish inside the giant clear container that resembled something almost similar to Kagome’s water bottles, only not as big. With wide eyes, he approached the tank to get a closer look at the fish.

There was one that was bigger than the other, and its teeth were sharp, different from the normal fish he’d seen. Wanting to get a better look, Shippo climbed the step leading up to the giant fish tank, careful of falling before placing his face against the cool glass. ‘I’ve never seen them so big!’

Serena, who at the time had been listening calmly and quietly, glanced over from her partner’s hat to check up on the fox child. Noticing his closeness to the fish, she tapped Link’s forehead, effectively gaining his attention. “Aren’t those man-eating fish?”

Turning his eyes to his left, Link nearly fell over when he saw the tyke leaning over the opened tank before reaching his hand in the water. Nearly cursing, Link hurried over and before the child fell in, Link managed to grab him, much to Shippo’s surprise.

Upon the sudden attack from behind, or so he thought, Shippo jumped with alarm before waving his arms comically in the air. The tank moved suddenly, and in an instant, the giant red fish leaped from the water, splashing Shippo in the face. Shippo fell back and slammed in to Link’s face, effectively knocking him over.

There was a moment of silence as the group turned their eyes toward the boys, who at the moment were on the floor.

Rubbing his face, Link glanced at the kit next to him with annoyance. He was just trying to stop him and he gets hit in the face, but he knew it wasn’t on purpose. Still it hurt. Thinking nothing of it, Link stood up, wiping the invisible dust from his tunic with his face as red as can be.

Shippo on the other hand, who had yet to gather his composure like his friend, was holding onto Link’s boot with wide and surprised eyes. “Gee!”

Serena tittered away, quite amused by both her companions. She’d seen the way Link blushed in embarrassment when he noticed Kagome’s gaze on him, and Shippo was just hilarious. “Ah, I needed a good laugh.”

Kagome and Sango, who were both still in the older gentlemen’s grasp, decided to overlook the strange event, though they were puzzled.

The man continued on, smiling nonetheless. “Say, just where bouts do you all come from? Never seen the likes in all my life, but of course I rarely leave the confines of my home.”
Trying to squeeze herself from his grasp, Kagome managed to explain. “Oh, far away actually.” It was the truth.

“Why don’t you girls stay here tonight? I’ll keep ya safe?” He chuckled as they each cringed at the thought. Noticing their discomfort, he removed his arms from the girls.
Sango smiled. “No thank you. We wouldn’t want to trouble you.”

Kagome nodded. “We’ll be fine.”

Frowning, the man took on a look of seriousness. “Very well. There’s a house just across from mine that’s been abandoned since last year. The person who bought it ran away. You’re all welcome to stay there.”

Thanking the man for his informative information, they left. They were now ready to continue on. As they ambled along the beach toward the tunnel leading toward their destination, Kagome turned toward Link and Shippo.

“Hey, what happened back there?”

Feeling his face redden again, Link walked ahead, leaving a baffled priestess to stare behind. Shippo on the other hand merely kept quiet. He didn’t want anyone to know, especially Inuyasha because he knew he’d make fun of him.

Watching as Shippo scurried after the boy, Kagome turned toward her companions who too stood watching in curiosity. “Oh well, let’s get going.”

Chapter Text

Shambles, that’s what greeted the travelers the moment they reached the other side of the beach. Jars lay broken and shattered with their sharp edges strewn upon the sand along with wooden splinters from the crates. The sight was not welcoming, but questioning to the puzzled eyes of each member.

The color of the ocean, not at all gray as it should be, was murky. Just as before, fish bones littered the coast, leaving behind a foul smell. A cool breeze brushed past the ever quiet individuals, while they ambled toward their destination.

“This is horrible,” remarked the priestess who suddenly stopped beside her female companion with disappointed eyes. “Are the Zoras really responsible for this?” she thought aloud as she placed a delicate finger to her chin.

Disgusted by the smell of rotten fish and murky water, Inuyasha brushed past the perplexed maiden and stared at the small island floating above the dark water a few distances away. “Won’t matter for long,” he replied suddenly. “Whoever or whatever is responsible will die by my sword anyway.” The young man turned his eyes to the other members standing behind him. “After we dispose of those wretched monsters, then we’ll get our answers!”

Nodding in understanding, the monk approached his friend with a thoughtful expression. “Perhaps we will. But we cannot be certain that our answers lie just ahead. Perhaps they are doing it on their own, or there could be another force behind their bloodlust,” he mused.

The sky unexpectedly grew dark, startling the youths whose eyes turned up curiously. The giant red moon glistened above ominously, with the small black crescent centered in the middle, however this time it was upside down.

“Why did it grow dark?” Shippo asked with fear. “It’s supposed to be morning!”

“As it should. Strange,” replied Miroku. “I noticed some storm clouds blow in a while back…”

Sango and Kagome were just as puzzled, but a certain half demon on the other hand wasn’t. He was used to everything not making sense. Back when Kagome first entered the Feudal Era, he’s been shocked, especially when he found out that she could travel back in time; this was the same for him too. Their entire search for the Sacred Jewel shards was full of surprises, but many of which came natural, no matter if any of it made sense. Then there was the mysterious light that teleported them to a new world recently and now with the sky suddenly changing, he wasn’t one bit stunned.

“Why the hell are you guys still staring? Let’s hurry this up!”

Nodding, Sango glanced upon her faithful feline. “Kirara.”

Hearing the voice of her dear companion, the feline leaped from her shoulder and transformed in to her giant saber toothed form. A growl left her throat as she stood majestically and ready for action.

Nodding, both Miroku and Sango took their regular places on Kirara; Miroku was behind Sango like always with one hand positioned around her waist with his staff in the other.

“Didn’t the fisherman say we could use his boats?” Shippo asked questionably. He didn’t understand the point in flying there one by one, and neither did Serena, who at the moment was sitting on his head comfortably.

Inuyasha snorted. “Yeah, but this is faster.”

As Kirara carried her two companions to the small island across the ocean, Kagome shivered. “It sure is chilly,” she muttered as she rubbed her arms.

“If you’d wear more clothes you wouldn’t have that problem,” replied Inuyasha.

The young girl ignored his words and turned her brown orbs to the island ahead. As the fisherman said, it did resemble a dome. From what she could perceive, the roof, belonging to the Zoras did resemble a dome, and from the short distance, she found what appeared to be an upside down tail fin at the very top of the structure. In her mind, she thought it was a symbol of their territory. “I hope they’re not as savage as he made them out to be.”

Inuyasha rolled his eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re already scared?” He nearly rolled his eyes. “Figures. You haven’t even seen them yet.”

Annoyed, Kagome turned her glare to the man standing next to her. “Shows what you know! He said they eat humans! So of course I’m going to be scared!” She huffed as she crossed her arms.

Sensing the frustration radiating off her person, he put up his hands. “Sheesh, calm down. You don’t have to get all upset about it! I was just sayin!” His friend always took everything seriously, even when he was sometimes joking; that was what he hated about women.

“I’m not upset!”

He merely rolled his eyes. “Like hell you’re not.” Inuyasha wanted to laugh at her remark. From her scent, he could easily sense her fear and aggravation. What was with women and denying how they truly felt? It didn’t make sense. Irritated, he turned his nose up in the air. “Whatever.”

Watching the sparks fly between the two, the fairy fluttered beside Link, who at the moment was calmly watching the verbal fight. “You two really don’t get along, huh?” Her question was directed to both adults. She wasn’t stupid. Although she wasn’t a human, she understood Kagome’s feelings quite well.

The kit nodded his head. “Oh, you don’t know the half of it!”

Inuyasha’s blazing eyes fell on the child threateningly. “Shut up you little runt!”

Puffing his cheeks out, the child stuck his tongue out at the brazen man. Who was he to give orders? “Make me!” He knew as long as Kagome was there, he’d be safe from Inuyasha’s wrath.

Hearing such insolence from the child, Inuyasha bared his fangs. “Why you little—“

Seeing his lifted fist, the young woman placed herself between Shippo and the half demon. “Hey! Leave Shippo alone!”

Feeling a twitch develop, Inuyasha turned away. “Women!”

“Excuse me?” Kagome responded irritably. She was tempted to sit him, but after what happened recently, she thought better of it. No matter how many times they got along, it was days like this where his mouth would get him in to trouble. “Can’t you act mature, for once?” she asked, easily angering the half demon further.

It wasn’t surprising that the half demon turned on the girl. “What’s that supposed to mean?!”

Serena sweat dropped. “I take that as a yes.” She was convinced that Kagome and Inuyasha did not get along well together, especially in a romantic sense. Briefly, she wondered why Kagome put up with his brazen attitude. When they started their adventure, Inuyasha did express his concern for the female, even if that was with force, but now there seemed to be some sort of drift edging its way between them.

Thinking along the same terms as his companion, Link silently watched the scene take place. A man, in his eyes, was to treat a woman respectively, however, in the past he did witness terrible sins, much of which made him cringe. Although Inuyasha was protective of his companions, to an extent, not counting earlier today, he also expressed a small animosity toward himself and a couple of his teammates. Whether this was a routine thing for the half demon, Link kept his eyes open. If one wrong move was issued, Link would take the initiative and act on instinct.

Kagome sighed, distracting Link as she casually took a seat next to him and Shippo. “Why is it always like this?” Her frown deepened. Sometimes she wondered if it wasn’t just her that was at fault. ‘Of course it is…’ she thought sadly. ‘But, it’s not like I’m the one starting all this. Inuyasha is a jerk.’

Shippo stuck his tongue out at the half demon. He was fed up with his treatment toward his mother. Someday, in the distant future, Shippo couldn’t wait to be big and stronger than Inuyasha. When that day comes, he’d be sure to repay him with all the hits, insults, and bullying he did to him and the past and the cruel words and actions he displayed in front of Kagome. ‘One day I’ll show him.’ After that thought, he flopped himself onto Kagome’s lap comfortably. “Kagome, do you think we’ll be able to find this evil monster?”

Taking her eyes off the island, the priestess nodded. “Of course.”

“And the jewel shards?” he asked worriedly. He knew Sakon, the man who had kidnapped Kagome just a short while ago, was the one that stole them. The question was why? He wasn’t from the Feudal Era, so he wouldn’t have any knowledge on their power.

Swallowing, the woman nodded again. “I’m sure we will. Don’t forget I can sense the jewels.” She reminded with false cheeriness.

Somehow Shippo doubted that. “Then, wouldn’t you have been able to sense them by now?” If she could, then why didn’t she sense them before? Something was off. If the shards were missing, then Kagome would have used her ability to sense them, but she hadn’t. Maybe the shards were too far to sense?

Stunned in to silence, the priestess pondered to herself. In truth she hadn’t sensed the jewels. The man had stolen them, and who knew where he was now. Usually, she could sense them hanging around her neck, but the moment they entered this world, the power seemed to diminish. Of course she never paid it much mind. Perhaps the power of the Sacred Jewel only worked in the Feudal Era? But why not here? This was quite puzzling, but now that Kagome recognized the extremity of the situation, she felt the need to tell her friends. ‘If I tell them…’ Kagome glanced up suddenly, recognizing Kirara overhead without her passengers. ‘I’ll tell them later.’

The moment Kirara touched ground, Kagome regained her footing and sauntered over, followed by Shippo and Inuyasha who was ready to get going. “That didn’t take long,” she commented before situating herself on the furry feline’s back effortlessly. “Come on Shippo.”

Hearing his name, Shippo scampered over toward the two, before he stopped midway to look back. “Link? Aren’t you coming?” He eyed the boy who remained standing as before.

Nonchalantly, Link nodded. Only, he wasn’t going to go airborne like the others, rather he would take another way, a way which involved more physical action. All his life, Link had never taken an easy way to get from one point to another. The destination was always challenging, and that was the way he liked it. Everyone else would have to accept that. While flying there had its advantages and seemed a brilliant idea, in Link’s eyes, it was lazy. As he walked across the sandy beach to the darkened waters, Link stopped and gazed upon the sea. ‘Strange. Much different from before.’

Bewildered by his strange behavior, Shippo scurried over to the lad who at the moment was placing his hand in the murky water without any hesitation. “Link!” Gaining his attention, Shippo tugged on his shirt. “What are you doing? We’re ready to go.”

“Checking,” Link muttered before removing his hand from water before observing it. “As I suspected…” he muttered, earning Shippo’s curiosity. Black stained his hand.

Seeing this, Shippo’s eyes widened. “What’s that?”

Ignoring the child, Link shook his head. “The water is not safe to swim in,” he replied, baffling the child further, though he nodded any way.

“Hey! Hurry up!” Inuyasha barked.

“Wonder what they’re talking about?” Kagome watched them with a sense of confusion as she stroked Kirara lovingly.

“Who cares? We don’t have all day.”

Still not sure what to make of Link, who was still a puzzle to him and the water staining his hand, Shippo again informed Link that they had to get going. “Inuyasha will get mad if we don’t hurry.”

Arching a brow, Link glanced at the half demon. “Really?” From his line of vision, he watched as the half demon stood impatiently with his hands hidden in the sleeve of his red attire. His golden eyes were narrowed directly at him, but he did not flinch away.

Shippo nodded. “Yeah. You don’t seem afraid of him,” he commented suddenly, though Link waved if off.

“What have I to be afraid of?” he questioned, earning a startled look from kit. “Although he may act tough, I have yet to see him hold power strong enough that would have me quiver in my boots.”

Feeling a twitch develop, Inuyasha raised his fist. “I can hear you you little runt! Say that again to my face!” He bellowed some feet away.

Kagome giggled at the scene, before calling over to the boys. “Come on you two!”

Sighing, Link ambled toward Kirara with Shippo trailing behind him, his emerald eyes watching him carefully. As he brushed past Inuyasha, he glanced up at the woman seated upon the two tailed feline before seating himself directly behind the woman.

Shippo didn’t hesitate to jump up with the two, seating himself between them. “Alright, let’s go!”

Serena watched as Inuyasha placed a hand on Kirara’s back before they were lifted up in to the air. “Whoa, talk about strength.”

Quietness fell upon the five as Kirara soared through the air toward their destination ahead. After a few minutes, they were directly above the Zora’s lair, where both Sango and Miroku were waiting. As Kirara landed upon the mossy green surface of the small island, everyone hopped off, and she returned to her normal size.

“We’re here. That was fast,” Kagome muttered as she fixed her skirt.

“We have no idea who we may be dealing with. If what Kafei says is true, then these creatures are benevolent,” remarked Miroku. He noticed the doubtful expressions marring his comrades. “But, we were informed that these creatures suddenly turned bad. Whatever force is behind this madness, it’s best to be on our guard.”

Both Kagome and Sango nodded.

“Heck, let’s hurry this up!”

The monk sweat dropped at his companion’s impatience. “Now Inuyasha, we cannot be rash.”

Inuyasha brushed by him, much to Miroku’s dismay as he rubbed his temple. “Yeah, yeah. I already know this,” he replied uninterested. “Hurry up!”

Kagome ran to catch up with the half demon, with the others trailing behind on their guard. ‘This is it. I sure hope they’re hospitable.’

As the group disappeared inside, Link turned his attention behind him. The island which sat directly across the Zora’s home was gone. Although he had known that the island was in fact a giant turtle that had carried him across the ocean to the dungeon years back, he did not think much of it. Glancing down to stare at his hands, he grimaced. Some of the grime staining his hand burned, creating small blisters on his palms and fingers. Deciding to look it over, and treat it later, Link followed after the others, not knowing what would lie ahead.

Chapter Text

Sounds of running water echoed off the walls of the cavern surrounding Link and his newest companions. The walls were a dazzling blue gray and green moss covered the floor, with remnants of seaweed, small shells and starfish. No sooner had they entered the cave, a soft melody drifted to their ears, one which Kagome recognized as a harp. Though the melody wasn’t as enchanting as that of the Great Fairy’s Fountain, it was calm and relaxing.

Inuyasha sniffed the air before grimacing with displeasure. The half demon said nothing, but kept his ears alert, and his sword at the ready. Though the place reeked of fish, he did find himself more relaxed due to the harmonious melody.

On their way down the small hill, they stopped before two paths; one forked to the right and the other up a steep incline. The right seemed to lead toward the source of the soft melody as well as the sound of running water.

“Let’s go this way.” Kagome said in a hushed whisper.

Sniffing the air again, Inuyasha nodded. “Yeah.” Before he turned, his eyes fell on an ornate door to his left decorated with seaweed and colorful shells. The door itself was blue and green. Since the moment he and his friends were brought to his world, he’d been meaning to ask why all the doors were so colorful. Not that it mattered to him.

“What’s in there?” Shippo asked. His eyes fell on the wooden post just above the doorway. Try as he did, Shippo could not make out the strange words written above. “I can’t read it.”

Miroku and Sango both glanced over the strange letters etched in to the wood before shrugging. They would worry about that later. Right now they had to focus on their task, locating the Zoras.

As they rounded the corner, they stopped. Their eyes fell onto a spectacular sight. Four waterfalls fell elegantly from the high cave walls in to a large spring of clean water that took up most of the space in the large room. Unlike the ocean outside, this water was so pure and crystal clear, that they could make out the rocks, coral and seaweed just beneath its surface. Centered almost perfectly on top of the water was a small mass of land with a giant sized open white seashell where a small throne sat elegantly. Blue cushions adorned the chair, giving off a regal appearance.

Alongside the circular room, dozens of doors aligned the walls, each with a different shell, starfish, or octopus designing its exterior. Although the area they occupied seemed abandoned, the group treaded out in to the open, prepared for some kind of attack to spring on them, but to their suspicion, nothing happened. Everything was quiet, save for the harmonious music which they could not locate.

Scratching his chin, Miroku regarded the small spring before him with curiosity. “Strange. Only this water is fresh.” The monk crouched down and slipped his hand in to the cold water.

Ignoring the monk’s observation, Inuyasha searched around rubbing his head. “What the heck. Where are they?” he growled out in irritation. “Figures.” He sheathed his sword, which he unsheathed the moment they stepped out in to the open.

Shippo, no longer frightened, walked along the edge of the spring while surveying his surroundings with awe. At first he was scared to know what lied beyond the cavern, but he hadn’t expected this. “There’s no one here?” he asked his fellow friends, but they were just as puzzled.

“You don’t think they’re out….hunting, do you?” Kagome asked suddenly. She couldn’t figure out any other reasonable explanation, unless they were inside one of the rooms. Although she was thankful they weren’t anywhere within the vicinity, she was also fearful of their whereabouts. Somehow, she had the feeling they were being watched. But, as she looked around, she could not pinpoint the watchful eyes. ‘There I go again. Stop being paranoid Kagome.’

“Let’s keep looking,” Sango suggested before walking around the lake with Miroku trailing behind. Eventually during their search, they disappeared behind the falling waterfalls directly behind the huge seashell.

Curious of the display, Kagome viewed if from afar with interest. “I wonder how they got that down here.” Although the platform was just a short swim away, she made no move to jump in and swim over; besides, she forgot to bring her swimsuit. “I wonder who these Zoras really are.” She pondered whether or not their government was a monarchy. In Clock Town, when two old ladies were gossiping about poor Kafei and Anju, she remembered hearing them mention that Kafei was the son of the mayor. And with the modern objects and houses that had in town, Kagome knew they were well past the medieval times, but she couldn’t be sure that everyone lived the same lifestyle. Perhaps the other civilians, rather than the Terminans, had their own form of government. Maybe her hunch was right; maybe the Zoras had a king or Queen ruling over them.

Inuyasha remained close to keep an eye out for his friends while also searching the premises. Even as he tuned his hearing to the melody, he could not pinpoint its location. The scent of fish was all over the place, not surprising since it was their domain. ‘Where are they?’ Was it some kind of trap set for them or were they out hunting like Kagome said?
Meanwhile, Link quietly leaned against the wall further back from the others waiting. Examining his hand, he thought over the fisherman’s words regarding the people living here. He’d known the tribe to be gentle, but if in fact they were corrupt then he had no choice but to fight them. ‘What could have happened?’

While her partner seemed deep in thought, Serena fluttered around the room with interest. “Marvelous. Such beauty exists here?” Though it was nice, it hardly compared to her mother’s fountain. There was a sense of tranquility here, and she felt the urge to dance along the water, but she refrained from doing so. Noticing the priestess picking up a few shells, the fairy soared in her direction. “Hey,” she called, surprising the girl that was bent over in mid-reach of a pink shell.

Kagome smiled. “Hello.” She grabbed the object before removing traces of dirt from its surface.

Noticing a pile of colorful shells by her feet, the fairy returned her eyes back to the girl. “What are you doing?”

Not sure how to respond, the priestess held out the shells. “I think I’ll make a necklace out of these. What do you think?” she asked before frowning. “I hope they don’t mind…” Kagome was referring to the Zoras, whether or not they were peaceful folk.

“Really?” Serena heard of making necklaces out of flowers, but she never thought a human would craft one from sea shells. However, the fairy thought that the right now was not the time for gathering shells. Wasn’t she the least bit worried or frightened? Bewildered by her smile, Serena continued her staring. ‘I thought since she was kidnapped and all she would be more cautious of her surroundings, but she’s acting like nothing happened.’

Kagome nodded. “Yeah. We did this a lot back home, but I guess right now really isn’t the time for making necklaces, huh?” She laughed before tucking the three in to her bag near her feet. Turning away from the fairy, Kagome made to leave when her foot unexpectedly snagged on something rough. Before she knew what to expect, she found herself falling backwards with a shriek escaping her.

All ears in the room hearing the cry hurriedly ran in the direction of their comrade. Inuyasha, being that he was closest, boldly ran to her rescue in a break neck pace. He wanted to curse at her clumsiness; she never watched where she was going. If he were to let her fall he knew he’d never hear the end of it; after all, he was responsible for her safety. The moment she was to make impact, he reached out to her, but to his dismay her hand slipped away. “Kagome!” he shouted with panic. Water sprayed at him and Serena from the supposed impact.

Link didn’t hesitate as he darted toward the spring, along with Shippo following after, where he saw the whole scene. He saw her slip and fall in to the water. Not sure if she could swim or not, he still ran to her rescue. But his efforts diminished when he stopped where Inuyasha stood gaping at the sight. Perplexed at his morbid behavior, he turned his gaze toward the spring where the priestess had fallen in only to blink at the sight.

“What happened?” Miroku cried with concern as he and Sango darted toward them. The moment they stood beside the others with their weapons ready, their eyes widened at the sight.

With her eyes closed, Kagome felt strong masculine arms encircle her small form. One hand was under her legs and the other secured around her waist. Opening her eyes, she looked upon her savior, only to gasp at the sight. Lying motionless in this creature’s arms, Kagome could do nothing more than just stare gaping. ‘Oh my gosh!’

An aquatic blue skinned being was surfaced in the water, holding their dear companion in its clutches. Though almost human in appearance, it was clear that this individual was not mortal, but was in fact a Zora. This Zora had a pronounced nose, and familiar long pointed ears just as the Terminans. From closer inspection, its skin was covered in silver scales which seemed to give off a pale blue sheen from a distance. This creature’s head was shaped like a human’s with a rear-hanging caudal extension of a dorsal fin down his boyish back. This Zora had the physical traits of human with broad shoulders and a nice jawline.

At that moment, Kagome could do nothing more than just stare. She had been so close to falling in the water, but the man…er… Zora had sprung from the water and caught her just in time. What more was she supposed to do? For some reason, she couldn’t look away. ‘Green eyes…’ Although this creature was a fish, it was undoubtedly human in form. So her questions were, were they half fish or were they more human than fish? She just knew her science teacher would never believe her if she told him she had contact with such a being. Of course it wasn’t the time or place to be wondering such thoughts. ‘Am I going to be eaten?’ She didn’t want to die, at least not yet. Kagome had her whole life ahead of her, and to top that, she was responsible for the guarding the jewel and to help track down Naraku.

The Zora on the other hand neither blinked nor moved a muscle to release its hold on the young girl. He too was just as curious of the vixen. Never in all his years had he ever come in contact with such an enigma. Of course he heard tales of those that walked on land, but to see one in person was unbelievable. The rumors he heard many moons back was that these land walkers were terrible beings that were corrupt with evil intentions. Up close though, he couldn’t help but be transfixed to the young one. What was so dangerous about this mortal? She appeared harmless enough, but he wasn’t so sure about her companions.

Realizing he’d been staring too long, Inuyasha unsheathed his sword. “Alright you disgusting vermin, let Kagome go!”

A sudden rush of footsteps shifted their attention away from the lone Zora. To the group’s surprise, they found themselves outnumbered. Directly behind them were not one, not two but over twenty Zoras, each wielding swords with armored plates placed upon their scaly bodies. They appeared fearsome, especially with the glares burning holes straight through them.

“We’re surrounded!” Shippo cried with alarm as he scuttled behind Sango’s legs.

Inuyasha sent them a glare back. “So you finally show your faces!” ‘Is that all there are?’ Smirking, Inuyasha pointed his sword at them. “Mind telling me what the hell is going on?”

One particular Zora stepped forth. This one was tall in appearance with dark blue stripes upon his legs and arms. A belt was wrapped around his waist, and gray armor upon his forearms and lower legs which were adorned with knee length brown boots. “What business do you have here land walkers?” his voice was low and husky and quite threatening.

“I hear you and your friends have been causing some trouble lately,” remarked Inuyasha. “So, is killing a new hobby of yours?” he questioned with disgust.

Lifting his head, the male Zora scrutinized the half demon. “What manner of human are you?” he questioned curiously before shaking his head. “It matters not. I suggest you all leave now if you value your lives.”

Reaching for her weapon, Sango stepped next to Inuyasha. “I think we’ll take our chances!” With all her might, she threw her boomerang in their direction, much to her teammates’ surprise, but Inuyasha wasn’t arguing.

Not at all surprised by the sudden attack, the Zoras dodged the spinning weapon, most ducking while others side-stepped away as the boomerang returned to its owner. Before any could charged with pent up furry, a hand halted their movements and the Zoras stood down with annoyance but obedience.

“Why do you attack?” the same Zora questioned with hostility in his voice; this did not go unnoticed to a certain priestess who finally snapped out of her daze. “Do you realize your attack means war?”

Before Inuyasha could retort, Miroku stopped him. “Let’s not be rash.” He placed a hand on Sango’s shoulder. “If we continue on, think of the lives at stake,” he was referring to Kagome, and also the possibility of a war with the innocent folk back in Clock Town. Stepping away from his comrades, the monk raised his hands in surrender. “Forgive us. We do not mean to attack you without a reason, but we were informed that you were responsible for some mishaps recently,” he explained with a forced smile. “We do not mean to put the blame on anyone, but we are curious.”

The males in the room glared at the man before crossing their arms distrustfully, though the leader acknowledged him with intrigue. Now that the group looked closer, they realized that these beings were scarred with hints of burn marks on several of their persons.

“We’ve done nothing wrong!” One of the males replied with agitation. A frown marred his scarred face, and most of his friends near him agreed.

Hearing the absurdity, Inuyasha gritted his teeth. “You expect us to believe that? We were told strange mutant fish were causing trouble!” He replied angering many. “I don’t see any other fish walking about! So cut the crap and fess up!” Either they were going to surrender or he was going to unleash the power of his new sword on their puny lives.

Irritated by his loud mouth and insulting words, the same Zora with the scar under his eye waved his fist. “Who’re you calling strange!?”

Inuyasha smirked. “Better take a look at your reflection!”

While Inuyasha and some of the Zora fought verbally against each other from across the room, the main Zora, whom appeared in charge looked past the group with an arched brow. “What do you have there, Kauji?” he asked when he noticed a petite figure in his arms. “And what were you doing? You had orders and you disobeyed.”

Bewildered, Inuyasha ceased his shouts and turned his eyes back to the other Zora, as did the others. Nearly forgetting the ‘thing’ was behind him, he turned fully and glared. “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll let her go!” He warned with a vicious snarl.

No longer dwelling in the water, the Zora, known as Kauji stood behind the group still holding their companion in his arms. Water dripped from his lean masculine and naked form, and he didn’t appear one bit ashamed but rather proud; Sango blushed at the sight. He did not linger for long as he made to step past the group blocking the view of his own kind; however Inuyasha and the others weren’t going to make it easy for him.

Seeing this, Miroku sighed before shaking his head. Why couldn’t they resolve things peacefully? Although he understood his friend’s anxiousness, such situations did not need violence; this was the same for Link, who was watching with interest, Serena on the other hand had an eye full and was shockingly silent during the whole ordeal.

“Where the hell do you think you’re going!? I told you to let her go!” He raised his sword as a warning. Inuyasha wasn’t going to risk hurting Kagome so he refrained from actually using his sword.

Stopping the moment the half demon’s sword was inches from his neck, the Zora arched a delicate brow. “Is she your lover?” he asked earning surprised glances and a sputtering half demon.

“W-what the hell?” He was completely shocked and taken aback by such a question that he was almost speechless. ‘Where did that come from?’ Turning his eyes toward the young woman in his arms, Inuyasha felt his face grow red when her eyes locked with his. “N-no. And it’s none of your business!” He answered, not once seeing the hurtful expression gracing the young woman’s countenance.

Smirking at his embarrassment, the Zora chuckled. “I see,” he replied with mirth. Noticing the rigid woman in his arms struggle to get free, he released her and calmly placed her on her feet, much to everyone’s relief. “My apologies for frightening you. I mean you no harm,” he explained still smirking.

Feeling the ground beneath her feet, Kagome glanced up and gave the Zora a sheepish smile before a blush suddenly stained her cheeks. On accident, her gaze followed the droplets gliding down the curves of the male before her. At that moment, she realized she was staring at a ‘man’. Embarrassed, the high school girl gasped and turned with her eyes covered. ‘Oh my gosh!’ This wasn’t a first for Kagome; she’d seen Inuyasha once before, but that was completely on accident, and there were a few times where he happened upon her too. However, this wasn’t the first time that she caught sight of a naked man’s full body. In fact, she’d seen the dirty thief who had kidnapped her. Beyond embarrassed, she couldn’t find it in herself to look at him. Her friends, Eri, Yuka and Ayumi would have gladly jumped such a fine specimen, but she would rather hide with shame pricking at her, besides, she wasn’t that kind of girl.

Noticing her friend’s discomfort, Sango placed a hand on her shoulder. “Are you okay Kagome?” She was relieved when she saw her nod. After all that Kagome’s been through, this was probably too much.

Chuckling at the sight, which furthered Sango’s and Inuyasha’s anger, the male Zora sauntered past them and toward his own kind which stood completely unfazed by the incident. “Forgive me for my disobedience, but I thought a nice swim sounded nice.”

The leader merely shook his head at the smiling Zora. “Don’t let it happen again.”

Regaining his thoughts, Inuyasha continued where he left off. “You’ve got a lot of nerve!” he spat, earning renewed glares from the tribe. “Now either you fess up or—

“There’s nothing to fess up,” replied the leader. His dark eyes scrutinized the group. “I don’t know who told you such tales, but we have nothing to do with it.”

Sango reached out and grabbed the monk by his robes, which had been nicely stitched by Anju some time back, and brought him close. “What’s going on? They’re acting like they’ve done nothing wrong.” She wasn’t sure who she should believe. Were the Zoras truthful in their words?

Inuyasha narrowed his eyes distrustfully. “There you go again with the lies.”

A tall, skinny Zora stepped out from behind some of his fellow friends and glowered at the foul mouthed half demon. “Unlike the others, he did not wear armor or possess a weapon. “It’s not lies. You should get your facts straight first before placing the blame!” he remarked with his friends behind him nodding agreement.

“Inuyasha,” Kagome began, shifting the half demon’s attention away. “Let’s hear them out first, okay?”

Feeling his annoyance spike, the half demon gave in with a grunt as he lowered his sword. “Better be good!”

Noticing the silver haired stranger back down, the leader spoke up. “So, you agree to hear our side of the story?” he asked skeptically. At least he wasn’t trying to start a fight yet.

“Hmpt. As long as it’s believable, and don’t bother lying. I can smell deceit a mile away,” he replied.

Accepting this, Kauji stepped forward. “A year ago strange happenings occurred in Great Bay,” he began. “Normally we never had any problems, but as of late other creatures suddenly started surfacing, most with traits similar to our own.”

“You mean there were others that look like you?” Sango asked with disbelief.

The Zora nodded. “Not entirely, but yes. Once they appeared, the seas grew dark and the fish washed up on shore. Only after did they attack our people and steal our women,” he explained before pointing to a group of three women huddled together on the far side of the room. “Few of our men were slaughtered trying to save those that were taken. Just yesterday five of our best men were killed. Because of this, we live in fear of another attack. So we’ve gotten what remains of our settlement together and have stood guard waiting for those creatures sent from hell.”

Having heard such words, Inuyasha sheathed his sword. During the brief story, he smelled no hint of lies. He remained quiet as the other Zoras whispered amongst themselves.

“That would explain why you were ready for battle and why you wanted us to leave,” Kagome muttered softly. “That’s horrible. I can’t imagine what you’ve been through.” Her sentiments reached all ears in the room. At least she didn’t have to worry about being eaten yet.

“I figured this place would be well guarded, especially with so many wanting to protect their territory,” Inuyasha began slowly. “So how come when we showed up, there was no one here?” he inquired.

The leader chuckled. “We knew you were here,” he answered without missing a beat. “We were only waiting to see if you were actually a threat. When we saw you advance on Kauji, we took action. A trap had already been set for those other creatures, but fortunately for you, the trap is still set.” Noticing their uneasiness, he shook his head. “Unfortunately, now is not the time for visiting, I’m afraid. It’d be best if you leave now before the night approaches.”

“Now hold on just a minute. We’re not leaving yet,” he sheathed his sword, much to his companion’s relief before marching himself right toward the Zora supposedly in charge. “We didn’t only come here to ask if you were responsible, but we came here for the pendant.”

Blinking, the Zoras glanced at one another before returning their baffled stares back to the half demon.

“The pendant?” A short skinny Zora asked. “What’s he talking about?” He whispered to one of his neighbors, but he was equally confused.

“I don’t know anything about any pendant,’ another remarked.

Turning his ears to each response, Inuyasha’s shoulders dropped. ‘Don’t tell me they don’t have it.’

Kagome, noticing the confusion stood beside Inuyasha. “The pendant is round and it’s about this big,” she explained as she used her hands in clarification, but her explanation only furthered their confusion. An idea came to her suddenly and she turned toward Link, who happened to look at her at the precise moment. “Link, show them your pendant.”

Obliging, Link removed the said object from his satchel at his side which he had earned and received from the Gorons a couple days back. The pendant he held up appeared like an ordinary carved gray stone, but if one looked closely, they could make out foreign letters around the edge. A small circular white rock sat perfectly in the center of the pendant, and seeing this, the Zoras gasped. Seeing that they recognized the relic, Link returned the object back in to his satchel.

Upon noticing the situation, Miroku scratched his chin. “Well it seems they recognize it.” That was a good sign.

There was movement in the crowd as a short pale Zora suddenly shoved through the throng with his eyes wild and frightened. “We thought only our tribe knew of the necklace, but it seems we were mistaken! Our king has what you are searching for,” he explained quite troubled.

Delighted by this bit of information, and because she was right that they had a king or queen government, Kagome clasped her hands. “That’s great! Where is your majesty?”

When the little Zora heard this, his eyes fell downcast. “Unfortunately he is not with us at the moment…”he muttered quite ashamed.

Shippo, who was no longer hiding, canted his head as he gave the morbid creature a baffled look. “Where is he?” Shippo asked. Somehow he had a bad feeling. Of course when was there ever good news. Standing there, Shippo watched as the little guy let out a strangled cry.

Taking a breath to calm himself, the Zora sighed. “Our king was taken many moons ago by those dreadful beasts,” he explained with solemnity. “Our King is the proud owner of the necklace, and we are not sure why he was taken so forcibly.” The small creature’s eyes suddenly began to water. “We have tried to rescue our king, but the water will not let us. The water burns our flesh.” Tears gushed from his wide round eyes, and he fought to overcome the loss of his king.

Kauji bent down and patted the Zora on the head before looking upon the group. “How is it you know of our majesty’s pendant, if I might ask?” the mortals proved suspicious all of a sudden. “And also, how is it that you have traveled here?”

Sango turned her eyes to the man. “The Great Fairy of Magic told us to we were to collect the four pendants scattered across Termina in order to return peace to the world.” The slayer hoped this information would suffice. “As for our transportation, we flew here,” She pointed to her feline friend beside her feet. “While Kirara is not in her bigger form, she has the ability to fly.”

With this new information, the Zoras suddenly broke out in to hushed whispers. Some were so surprised by the very words spoken by the slayer, that they began pointing toward her and Kirara with some form of hope. The rest on the other hand were quite doubtful as they openly glared.

“Amazing!” The chubby Zora exclaimed. He was no longer in tears, but suddenly approached the feline with his eyes sparkling. “Such a creature is capable of flight.”

Having heard a great deal, Link left his spot next to Kagome as he approached the Zoras without any fear, not that he would be afraid. Just as he thought, the Zoras were not at fault. But there was one thing that baffled him. “Why have you suddenly taken a government? Normally you are free of any law, so why now?” he questioned, earning glances from his comrades.

“Since strange happenings occurred a year ago, we weren’t sure what to do. There was chaos and disorder among us, and so naturally we decided to elect a leader,” Replied the head Zoras. “We chose the elder because he was the only one among us who remained calm. Not long after, we decided to name him our king.”

Unconvinced, Link remained silent. ‘I suppose it made sense, but to suddenly create a government seems strange in itself. If they were so concerned for their own safety, wouldn’t they have just chose the strongest from their tribe to head out and fix things? How is a king supposed to help?’ Though it didn’t make sense, Link decided to play along with the bizarre idea.

Knowing they were probably unconvinced, Kagome sauntered forward. “We’re very sorry to have caused you so much trouble. We realize you probably don’t trust us.” At this her friends’ nodded, all except Inuyasha. “If you would, allow us to help you.”

Now this was a surprise to the Zoras, especially to the females huddled against the wall. These strangers, whom only just knew of their problems, were willing to help them fight against this new found terror. But, to have a woman offer assistance was surprising enough.

“You would be willing to help us in our time of need?” A youthful male asked as he eyed her curiously.

She nodded. “Of course!” she exclaimed with a bright smile. “Right guys?” She turned her eyes toward her friends, who all nodded in consent to help, all except Inuyasha; that wasn’t surprising. “See!” Seeing an opportunity, the priestess pointed to each of her friends, including herself. “We might not look like it, but we’re pretty good in battle. If you let us help you, we’ll save all the women and your king. We’ll even take care of those monsters.”

The head leader of the tribe merely shook his head. “You have no idea what you’re putting yourselves up against.” Though they looked old enough to take care of themselves, he was unsure of their physical strength. Not only that, but he did not seem too fond of a woman going off in to battle, no matter if they were skilled or not. Such an idea was absurd.

“Trust us, we’ve been through a lot,” Kagome explained as she thought back to all the battles and adventures they’d gone through. “We even have the scars to prove it.”

Sighing, Inuyasha grumbled. “I suppose it couldn’t hurt. Who knows, maybe their king will reward us with the pendant afterwards,” he muttered the last part to his comrades. Seeing the smiles on his companions’ faces, he crossed his arms. “But I ain’t doing this because I want to! It’s either we do or we all die!”

Pleased with the turn of events, Kagome couldn’t help but smile at the half demon whose caring nature finally resurfaced. Little by little, it seemed like he was loosening up. At first he was a grouch, but now not as much; this was the side Kagome loved. “Thanks Inuyasha.”

“I suppose I can’t change your minds?” the leader asked hoping to change their minds.

Inuyasha merely stared at them. He had nothing to say to them anyway. Don’t get him wrong. He didn’t have anything against fish people, but he didn’t feel the need to argue with them because there was no point. Now that he learned the truth, and because they didn’t have what they were looking for, then they would go to battle.

Musing to himself, the head Zora turned his back to the travelers. “We will think on it. Come back tomorrow and we will have your answer,” he explained.

“Tomorrow?” Kagome questioned. “But what if something happens tonight?”

“She’s right!” Shippo piped up. “There’s no telling when those things will show up!” He knew he and Link could take care of it, and with Inuyasha and the others with them, they were sure to have a grand victory. “Besides,” he began as he remembered an important task he had to accomplish. “as a member of the ‘Bombers,’ it’s my duty to help those in need!” Pulling from his shirt a red book, the tyke opened to the first page and began scribbling away in the book.

After hearing the words from the child, Kagome couldn’t help but smile; this was the same for Sango and Miroku, though all three were equally confused. Inuyasha though ignored him altogether, but he did stare at him long and hard, especially wondering what a ‘bomber’ was.

Realizing that they weren’t going to get anywhere as well as overlooking Shippo’s oddity, Inuyasha turned his back. “Fine then. We’ll be back tomorrow morning.” Sheathing his sword, he calmly started ambling out of the room.

Surprised by this, Kagome stopped him. “Inuyasha?”

Sango was equally confused by the sudden agreement. “I don’t see why we don’t just stay the night here. What if something happens while we’re gone?”

“She’s right. Are you certain we should head back?” Miroku asked before looking at the Zoras over his shoulder. “They’re in a tough predicament. I don’t know why they won’t just accept our help.” The monk realized they weren’t going to convince them much more, and he turned to follow Inuyasha. “It can’t be helped. We’ll return in the morning.”

Agreeing, Kagome, Link, Sango, Shippo and Serena followed after the boys before taking one last look behind. It was a shame to just leave them, but what else could they do? Whether they agreed to offered help or not, they would have to accept it. Who knew what would lie ahead of them tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Smiling to herself joyfully, Kagome followed after the others. Today they were heading back to the Zoras cavern and hopefully they agreed on the extra help. But as she thought about them, she wondered just who was the cause of such misfortune if it was not them. They claimed that they were innocent; however, Kagome just wasn’t sure. As she ambled along merrily, she could not help but notice how the sky seemed to darken with every step she and her friends took. Surprisingly, it appeared as if she was the only one witnessing this event.

“Guys, something isn’t right,” she warned them, but no one was paying her the least bit of attention, rather they were all conversing with each other. “Guys! Can’t you hear me?” she called, but it didn’t appear as if they had heard her. She stopped and watched as they continued on, having not noticed her fall behind. Shippo was chatting happily with Link, who was nodding at every word leaving the young child’s mouth. Inuyasha and Miroku were laughing together, and Sango was silently walking just ahead of her with Kirara perched on her shoulder. “What’s going on?”

There was a scuffling behind her suddenly, and when she turned, she found herself shrouded by darkness, but she could have sworn she saw something move behind her, but maybe her eyes were playing tricks on her. With wide eyes, she noticed she was no longer on the beach or anywhere that seemed familiar to her. Right now, she was standing in complete darkness, and she knew she wasn’t alone.

A faint voice whispered in her ear, and unexpectedly, a vision flashed before her. Almost immediately, Kagome found herself standing within a gorge, with the high canyon walls surrounding her small form. Shadows danced around the small area, most with heights exceeding that of the tall mountains. One by one, each silhouette circled her, their laughter sending chills down her spine. Unsure of what to do, she watched them with morbid fascination. With each turn and spin they performed, she found herself delving in to a trance like state. Try as she could, words would not leave her lips. For some reason, it felt as if she were paralyzed, especially when she found she could not move a single muscle.

The laugher grew louder, and the whisperings much harsher. She didn’t understand. Where was she? And what was happening? Nothing made sense to her, but then again when did it? Heck, not even the voices talking to her made sense; there were many voices overlapping the other. The words spoken were faint but distorted in an unknown language that was beyond her comprehension.

‘I don’t understand,’ she thought. The words spoken to her sounded urgent and pleading. And because of the urgency, she felt that they were trying to communicate with her. Closing her eyes, she concentrated hard. ‘What are you trying to tell me?’

As she fell in to state of stillness, the shadows continued their dance, only this time they linked hands while smiling sadistically at the silent female; their laughter continued.

Fire. That was the first thing which entered her mind. A thick haze of smoke filled the air around a desolate valley. Although the vision appeared blurred and dark, she did notice a small village straight ahead of her, and at the moment, it was up in flames. Many villagers fled from the blaze through the open gates surrounding their home, but there were those that were not so lucky; many were trapped in their homes with the roofs collapsing in on them. And as she stood by watching, Kagome knew she could do nothing to help.
The scene changed, and Kagome saw from a distance the same settlement, only this time it was completely demolished. The walls that had once surrounded and guarded the people now lay about the area crumbled in bits and pieces.

Searching the grassy area, she easily located a group of people. There were few who were on their innocent people on their knees before a large group of dark figures with long black cloaks that stood before them unmoving. But as she looked closer, she strained to see each of their faces, but she could not. Everything at that point was blurred; this did not hinder her in the least as she strode forward. ‘Who are those people?’ With each step, she could not help but feel a strange force tugging at her heart, as if trying to stop her from approaching any further. What happened next she did not see coming. Before she could take another step, she watched helplessly as one of the individuals fell at the feet of those that remained standing. Surprised, she watched in horror as blood splattered the ground at her feet.

The trail of blood flowing from those that were slaughtered one after another gushed straight toward her in a manner that was peculiar. Arms, legs as well as heads were strewn around the area, and this seemed to please the strange men gathered before the lifeless souls.

Kagome gasped at the sight of their grinning faces. ‘They’re enjoying themselves!?’ A sound left her throat and because of this, all heads snapped in her direction. Frightened, Kagome nearly jumped when she saw those dark figures watching her. Any other facial features were distorted or blurred, but Kagome knew enough to know she was not wanted just by the rigid postures and the frowns.

The blood, which had slowly been collecting around her feet suddenly latched onto her legs, much to her surprise. As she tried to step out of its reach, she found that she could not; the blood was swallowing her. ‘No!’ Panic stricken, she tried to free herself, but it was useless. Pushing through the liquid which quickly climbed her legs and upper torso, Kagome turned her body to the best of her ability to look back at the blood-lust hungry men who were the cause of the blood that was quickly consuming her. When she did turn, she watched with startled eyes as the town behind them faded away. But what really caught her attention were their moving lips. They were speaking to her, but she could not hear what was being said. ‘What?’

No sooner had she saw that, her vision clouded and she found herself overwhelmed when she was suddenly pulled under. Unable to breath, she began flailing her hands, but they too were swallowed.

Beads of sweat fell from her brow as she snapped out of the trance that had been placed upon her. When Kagome found that she was no longer surrounded by canyons or dancing shadows, she looked ahead with uncertainty. ‘That was strange, and so real.’

Hesitantly, she sauntered forward, but she should have known better because when she did, another vision appeared before her. The ground beneath her shook, and she fell back with a start. Unbeknownst to her, she realized she had been standing at a ledge where a river flowed. Bones were scattered around her sitting form. Curiously and unsure, Kagome crawled forward so that she could look at the fast moving currents below her. As she bent forward to inspect the river, she found that the water seemed strange. And to confirm her suspicion, she noticed shadows moving just below the surface, some of which frightened her. Gently, she placed her hand in the water only to quickly remove it. Red fell from her fingers and she quickly tried to wipe it away.

“This can’t be real,” she told herself before closing her eyes. She wished it would all just go away. This was just a dream, she told herself repeatedly, but no matter how hard she tried, she could not wake herself up. ‘This isn’t real. Come on Kagome, wake up already!’ As she sat there in the darkness, she tried to erase every negative thought tormenting her. Nothing around her was real. The shadows weren’t real. The blood that had consumed her wasn’t real, and neither were the voices and shadows; it was just her mind playing tricks on her; it was just an illusion. Either that or she had eaten the wrong thing before she went to sleep. Knowing she couldn’t just sit there with her eyes closed all day, she warily opened them, and to her relief there was no blood to be seen at all, but she wasn’t awake.

The river had vanished, just like all the other surreal images. However, in its place was a giant hourglass which towered over her form. This transparent container was golden in color and within its chambers were black grains of sand. On closer inspection, Kagome realized that the grains were trickling very slowly at the bottom where a small heap formed at the base. Near the base of this tall structure, numerous skulls littered the ground surrounding it; it was a sign of death which Kagome noticed immediately and right now time seemed to be running out.

While she stood there watching the grains fall, she pondered to herself. ‘Termina is doomed to end, unless one with a pure heart can rise up and quell the evil. After that, only one with a pure heart can make a wish. Depending on the wish itself, the land will either survive or be doomed again until another can step forth. The cycle just keeps going.’ In a way, the saving and the wish making was similar to that of their previous adventure. But, now that the jewel shards were gone, and because she and her friends were not back in the Feudal Era, their journey was now postponed.

A burst of light suddenly emanated from inside the hourglass, and seeing this mystified the girl. As she slowly approached the glass, she reached out, and the moment her fingers grazed the surface, the glass cracked. Startled, she staggered back, watching as a bolt of lightning lit the darkness around her. Just as it had come, a mighty wind blew; this was followed by terrible moans and shrieks which sent shivers down her spine and chills upon her skin. She suddenly felt very cold.

“What’s happening?” She muttered with anxiousness. Terrified, Kagome wanted nothing more than to just wake up from this nightmare. “Inuyasha! Sango, Miroku!” She called, but she knew it was hopeless. “What does this mean? What’s going on? Where am I?” Nothing around her was making sense, and for the first time in her life, she actually wished to have her normal dreams of mathematics which had always haunted her in the past, or at least a normal dream.

Even as she covered her ears to muffle the sounds tormenting her, she still felt the fear clawing at her skin and the heavy breathing on her neck. Had she just imagined that? Of course she had heard stories from her classmates regarding their strange dreams and how real they seemed, but Kagome wondered if this was similar to their own. Somehow she doubted that, but then again who knew.

Laughter reached her ears, and fearfully she looked up in to the eyes of a dark and tall figure sitting on the edge of the hourglass in a nonchalant manner. Although she could not tell the person’s appearance from where she stood, she made out the red glowing eyes and the outline of his pale skin through the darkness.

Gathering up her courage, she glared at the being. “Where am I? And who are you?” There was no telling what could happen next or what that person was even capable of.

The person to whom she was referring to chuckled and Kagome immediately recognized the laugh belonging to that of a man. In his hand he held a silver chain which held a small round object that emitted a faint pink glow. Feeling her body go numb, Kagome watched dazedly as the man began swinging the object in his fingers. Back and forth it swayed like that of a pendulum. The swaying was almost hypnotic, but Kagome remained strong and forced her eyes to meet his.

“Did you hear me?” she asked, but when it seemed like he was ignoring her, she clenched her fists. “Why won’t you answer me?”

Refusing to answer or acknowledge her questions, the man smirked before pointing at the hourglass itself, much to Kagome’s surprise.

Without a doubt, she figured that he wanted her to see something, but she had already seen the hourglass. Because of his earnestness, she once again gazed upon the structure, only to gasp as the moving pictures in the glass.

“Kagome, look! I did it!” Shippo exclaimed with delight. He bounced up and down in his seat holding what appeared like a small red mask with wild and vicious yellow eyes painted on it.

Upon seeing Shippo so full of excitement, Kagome gushed over how amazing it looked. “Oh you’re right!” From her pocket, she pulled out a small white mask with blue and red markings painted on it. “Mine doesn’t even compare to yours in the least!”

Surprised by this, Kagome could not tear her eyes from the scene, even as it fast forwarded. What she was witnessing right in front of her was the very night of the festival, before her kidnap. But why was he showing her this?

“No. Age doesn’t matter if you’re really in love, Shippo,” Kagome explained as she waltzed in to the room followed by Sango. “Anju and Kafei love each other, and due to some circumstances, Kafei is much older than what he seems.”

The scene changed suddenly to the following morning, before the festival. On that day, there had been a misunderstanding between the group when both Sango and Kagome had thought the guys were to blame for stirring up the local women. But it was also the same day when two old ladies had walked by. They had each glanced at Kafei and Anju before hurriedly walking away in hushed whisperings.

“It’s that woman that runs the Inn!”

“You mean the one that married the kid? What was his name again?”

“It’s disgusting! Why, she should be married to an older man, not some dim witted child. How do they expect to earn a good living?”

“I blame the mayor for even allowing such a thing!”

Anju stood behind Kafei with a comforting hand on his shoulders wearing a solemn expression. Kafei stood in front of her, barely tall enough to reach her neck. His eyes were downcast in a manner as if he were sorry. Both his hands were fisted, as if struggling to control himself, but he remained calm due to his wife rubbing his shoulders in a soothing manner.

Kagome sympathized with them. Although she had already lived this before, she still could not help but feel for the couple. Kafei, now that she looked closer, wore a melancholy expression; just seeing this and his frown told all that he felt ashamed of himself and that perhaps he had failed his wife. From Kagome’s perspective, he was not angered merely at the two old ladies, but at himself because he knew that because he was not a true man, he could not make Anju happy. Anju on the other hand also wore the same expression, but she seemed torn between wanting what she couldn’t have and keeping which was precious to her. But they seemed happy enough, but their love would just have to wait, and Kagome could only imagine how they must feel.

“Why are you showing me this?” She suddenly asked, but again she was ignored. When she noticed the scene change once again, she waited to see what was in store for her next. The moment the vision in front of her cleared, uneasiness stirred in her abdomen. Eyes widening, she stood transfixed to the sight, her complexion paling.

A dark familiar room appeared within the glass, and Kagome saw coins strewn upon the stone ground in which a certain female sat bound by thick ropes. The mask she had worn was long since gone, and her expression unsure and frightened. She was alone in a room, and she couldn’t remember why she was there or how she got there in the first place.
“Where am I?” She wondered while attempting to break free of her ropes.

The door creaked opened, alarming the young girl. A dark figure walked in, their footsteps loud with every step. The moment this person stood before her, the door slammed shut. “I see you’re awake, my dear,” a deep husky voice rang to her ears, causing her to scoot back.
“A thief? Why did you kidnap me?”

Sakon kneeled before her, and she managed to look him dead in the eye. “I was told to,” he explained as he reached his hand to remove a lock of her hair out of her face. Softly, he caressed her smooth and flawless skin, causing her to shudder. “You have something…and I want it,” he explained before inching toward her intimidatingly.

She turned her head away with fright. “Stop it!”

Kagome gulped as a renewed fear suddenly swept through her. She did not want to see this. Why was that man showing her this? What was the point?

“You’ll never get away with this!”

“Planning your escape, aren’t you? How cute,” he began as he eyed her slender form hungrily. “Kagome, who travels with a monk, a demon slayer, a fox demon, half demon and a Neko. An interesting group.”

After hearing this, she narrowed her eyes. “How do you know?”

“I’ve been watching from the shadows, my dear. Too bad you don’t have your bow and arrows, huh? What will you do now? Do you honestly think anyone will save you?”

The priestess watched as the man whom had once gotten a hold of her stalk toward the woman in the glass. Every evil intention he wanted to inflict on her showed on his disgusting face. “Please,” she begged, though her eyes did not leave the sight. “Please, I don’t want to see this. Make it stop.”

“Get away from me!” She kicked at the man, who only laughed in response. “I’m serious! Don’t touch me!”

She watched as the man pinned her to the ground, earning a startled gasp from the woman below him as she felt certain areas of his body against her own.

“That’s my girl.”

Just after he said those words, he removed from his pocket a vile of purple liquid which he used to force down her throat. Only seconds after did she feel the effects. Her body grew numb and painfully sensitive as he touched her with his filthy hands. Kagome had had no control over her body’s reactions and was too weak to stop him. While she succumbed beneath his touch, she lay there motionless, feeling his fingers glide upon her skin in places that should not have been touched. Not long before he had forced the liquid down her throat had he torn at her clothes savagely.

“Isn’t this more pleasurable?” he asked, running his tongue along her flushed skin.

Shutting her eyes, Kagome refused to look at any more. “I said stop it! I don’t want to see anymore!” Although she had tried to hide it, Kagome’s world was a mess. She’d been fooling her friends with her carefree smile, hiding behind a façade that fooled the eye. Deep down, she was distraught and scared. She’d been robbed of her virginity that night, and because she couldn’t remember it only frightened her more. Just the sight of watching her kidnapper begin his assault was enough to make her sick. “No more.” Kagome knew she would break down. Already she could feel the tears trickling down cheeks.

All she wanted right now was to return home. She missed her mom, her little brother and also her grandpa. But now that she was stuck in another world that needed saving, and also because there was no well that could send her home whenever she wanted only furthered her lament. To top that, Inuyasha didn’t even care about her the way he had long ago, although it was obvious she loved him. Why was she the one to suffer? She knew she wasn’t the only one with problems, and that her comrades had each suffered something traumatizing, but she just felt alone, unloved, and unappreciated. After all, she didn’t belong here or in the feudal era, and she knew that once their adventure was she would have to return home. Never again would she see all the friends she made. She knew, no matter what, that she was destined to be unhappy.

After a few minutes of silence, Kagome managed to open her eyes, only to take an intake of breath when she saw another scene play out before her. Why couldn’t the man stop tormenting her with visions of the past?

"I'm sorry about what happened," Link’s voice reached her ears, and Kagome could not help but notice the seriousness in his voice. The way his eyes lingered upon the pond and the way he sat confirmed how apologetic he was. Although her friends had no idea about the recent attack on her person, Link wasn’t blind. He and Shippo did rescue her, and he must have seen enough to confirm what must have transpired that night.

"You followed after his trail, Sakon's, to save me, didn't you?" Kagome remembered asking, and at the time, she didn’t seem to particularly bothered by asking that question, though it seemed to bother Link as he had suddenly scowled at the very mentioning, but she hadn’t paid it much attention then. In truth, she had begun building a wall around herself, not enough to where she would stop talking with her friends, but enough to where she would hide the pain.

"Hey!" Shippo intervened in the conversation. "I helped save you to!" Shippo had amazed her immensely when she had heard he went off to save her. It seemed some of Link’s determination and fighting spirit was rubbing off on the lad. Even in her situation, the child had always managed to put a smile on her face. Without him around, she wouldn’t know what to do. It was for his sake, as his guardian to keep a good front, though it was challenging.

"I heard! Thank you very much!" She ruffled his hair lovingly, easily ceasing his anger. "Such bravery. I'm proud of you!"

Shippo blushed as he rubbed his head timidly. "Gee, Link did most of the rescuing," he admitted.

Brown eyes fell upon Link. "What are you sorry for?" She asked. When she noticed his eyes weren't looking at her, she glanced at her bruised legs. "Oh, it's not your fault. I don't blame you for this Link, I—"

With a strange anticipation, Kagome found herself holding her breath as she waited for him to say the very words she’d been waiting to hear, especially from a certain someone. But she hadn’t been expecting to hear them from Link, mostly because they hardly knew one another and it was the first actual conversation they had together.

"I was worried."

Not surprising, the vision faded away, though Kagome could still see the event as if it were still happening right before her eyes. Those very words he had spoken had such an impact on her then that she’d begun to feel the walls loosen around her. Her heart had almost melted when he had admitted that he had indeed worried for her safety, and it was clear that he felt discomforted because he could not save her in time, and she didn’t expect him to. But, it was also at that time that she had suddenly felt appreciated, that she was worth enough that someone had actually cared so deeply about her wellbeing, although they were strangers at the time, not that they weren’t now. In fact, Kagome still knew hardly anything about her new friend, and here she was acting like the whole world was against her. What had she done for him in return? Nothing. She hadn’t even repaid him for all his daring rescues either.

‘I’m so selfish.’ She thought as she frowned. Only moments ago had she been so scared, and now she felt so miserable and ashamed. Knowing she couldn’t just stand there, although she had the urge to sit in a corner and cry her eyes out, because that usually helped to lessen the pain, Kagome turned her gaze back to the man, only to cringe when she saw his eyes boring in to her own. Swallowing down her misery, for the moment anyway, she glared. “Is that what you wanted to show me?” She asked, and this time she saw a smirk.

He that was hidden by the darkness narrowed his blood red eyes before holding his arms out wide and letting the necklace between his fingers slip away. As the necklace fell, Kagome watched as it suddenly stopped in midair of its own accord. Mystified, she saw the pink light suddenly dull, its light fading before turning an eerie red. With such power, the world in which Kagome recognized as a nightmare suddenly began shaking. Stumbling to catch her footing, Kagome watched as the hourglass teetered. The man sitting on top seemed unaffected as he appeared quite amused with her.

As the shaking increased, the necklace, which Kagome finally recognized as the Sacred Jewel, which was only one shard short, suddenly began swaying back and forth like that of a pendulum.

“Time is running out,” the voice belonging to the man explained.

‘Time is running out?’ She thought before her eyes fell on the hourglass suddenly. Worriedly, she watched as more sand began accumulating at the base, and very few remained at the top.

So intense was the tremor that the hourglass again continued to rock back and forth until something horrible happened. A sudden crack ran down the entire length of the structure, alarming Kagome instantly. Just as it had appeared, the force behind the strange phenomenon abruptly shattered the sand glass. Shards sailed through the air, many soaring past the woman who shielded her face with a shriek. As glass went flying so too did the sand, but as it did, Kagome suddenly found herself drenched with a sticky wet substance.

Removing her hands, Kagome looked upon what remained of the hourglass before looking at whatever it was that had drenched her. With wide eyes, she fell back in disarray. It was not water that had drenched her, or even sand. Blood stained her very clothes, her face and also her legs and arms.

“Don’t get carried away…time is of the essence, is it not so?” The man’s sinister laugh echoed through the darkness, and Kagome could not make heads or tails where he was before her pulse suddenly quickened.

Kagome awoke with beads of sweat falling from her brow. The dream that had plagued her was over, and she took the time to catch her breath. From what she could perceive, she was not covered with blood, but she could not help but erase the horrid images from her mind. The dream had felt so real, and she could still recall the words spoken to her by that strange and mysterious person who hid in the shadows.

While calming her racing heart, Kagome glanced around the dark room. The room she and her friends dwelled in for the night was the Spider House which was next door to the Fisherman’s hut. They’d taken lodge there for the night, and the place was not as cozy as she had thought. There were still the sounds of screeching on the walls and ceiling coming from somewhere in the room. Since there was no furniture or any kind of decoration inside, they made do with what they had and what the kind man next door had offered them.

At the moment, Kagome was tucked inside her sleeping bag, with Shippo snuggled up against her in deep sleep. As she looked about the darkness, she found that she had not woken anyone from their sleep, and for that she was thankful. Inuyasha was on his side with his arms tucked away in his sleeves as always just snoozing away, his silver hair scattered around the cold floor. Sango and Miroku were leaning against one another with a thick blanket around them. Sango rested her head against the young man’s shoulder and as for the monk, his rested on her head; their weapons lied beside them. The sight was cute and worthy of a Kodak moment.

Turning her eyes to the final member of the group, Kagome couldn’t help but look upon the boy and his fairy. Link sat underneath the open stone window where the light of the moon seemed to cast a faint glow around his form. Link’s blond hair, which fell over his face partially, was illuminated by the moon light which gave off a golden glow. His mouth was parted slightly, and his left hand rested on the hilt of his blade. Even in sleep he prepared for the unexpected, and for a moment, Kagome wondered if he ever had a good night’s rest. Judging by the sight, she would have to say no. However, she was curious of the lad. He never mentioned anything about his life or his family, other than the time when he said he saved a land. The boy always kept to himself, and that bugged her, but it was also none of her business, though she wished to learn more of her new friend.
Sighing, she lay back in her blanket and thought about her friends back home. They must have missed her terribly, probably thinking she was in the hospital or she was suffering from another one of her grandpa’s fake illnesses. ‘Grandpa…’

“Hey Kagome! Guess what?” A picture of her younger brother smiling flashed in her mind. “I got an A on my test!”

‘Sota…what are you up to these days?’

“Oh Kagome, you’re back?” Her mother smiled as she rushed to embrace her daughter. “You’re back early. Come inside, I’ve already made dinner.”

Tears sprung from her eyes, and she turned over as she wiped them from her cheeks with the blankets pulled over her neck. ‘Mom…I miss you.’ As she lay there, she wept until finally the tears subsided and she fell in to a dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

Link awoke to a cool breeze coming from the open window. He’d been awake few times during the night with dreams of regret and memories of old that he’d thrown away long ago. Of course it wasn’t that he had these dreams regularly, but once in a while they would show up, whether he wanted them to or not.

Shaking his blonde locks from his face, the lad removed himself from the cold stone floor and stretched his arms above his head. A yawn left him, and he looked about the room until his eyes fell on a certain female lying not too far from where he’d been sleeping that night.

Since it was well before dawn, the boy settled himself against the wall pondering last night’s events. While it may have seemed that he was asleep, the truth of the matter was that he was very much awake. He’d heard the sobs that Kagome cried, and the words she whispered to herself hours before sleep consumed her. She was so distraught, that it pained him to just sit there and listen. What could he have done? They hardly knew each other, and if he were to comfort her, no, that would not happen. Link knew that he could not allow himself to get too close to these people, because if he did then he knew he would lose them in the end. Either way, he could not let such a thing happen.

Sighing, the youth left the sanctuary of the house and crept out in to the cold air. From what he could tell, a storm was brewing off in to the direction where Clock Town sat. Link remembered the Great Fairy mentioning that strange storms had been transpiring in town as of late, and he remembered experiencing such an event well after meeting the strange foreigners. Turning his gaze away, Link looked about the shore and dark waters. While he had been keeping watch that night, there had been no trouble lurking about. Everything had been relatively peaceful.

While he walked across the beach, he could not get over the fact there had not been any attacks from Leevers, though they may have come across them yesterday morning, on the beach was a whole other matter. The environment near the shore seemed quiet enough, and though it might seem like a good sign, the truth of the matter was that it wasn’t. Black acid blanketed the ocean, making it nearly impossible to swim through without having your skin peel. Something had crept in to Great Bay, and now it was plaguing the Zoras. How long will it be before they too plague all of Termina?

From what he could remember, Great Bay used to be peaceful, but that was after it was saved. Before, the Zora were bothered by their lead singer, Lulu, and the loss of their guitarist, Mikau, whom lost his life attempting to rescue Lulu’s eggs from a band of pirates whose hideout was just on the other side of the coast facing the mountains. For some reason, Lulu’s eggs had been taken from her room one night, and she lost her voice. It was at that time that Link stepped in, taking the place of the former guitarist. After sneaking in to the fortress belonging to the pirates, he successfully fought and saved all of Lulu’s eggs, including the ones in Pinnacle Rock. However, his task was not yet done there. Link too had gone off to the temple and after defeating the monster within and freeing one of the giants, the Ocean cleared, and Lulu found her voice again.

But that was then, and things seemed much worse. Now, a new evil had risen, taking a form similar to the tribe’s own appearance. This newfound evil, whether it’s doing this on its own accord or under some ones orders, had taken to kidnapping and supposedly slaughter. To make matters different, a monarchy was established some time back, and now the tribe lives in fear. There just never seemed to be a dull day in Link’s life. Well, whoever or whatever was responsible for this, there was only one person who knew, and that was the Great Fairy of Courage.

Taking one last look at the Spider House where the others were sound asleep, he continued on, passing the fisherman’s hut along the way before coming upon the formation of rocks which created a passageway leading to the other side of the beach toward Zora’s Cape. Down that path, he would no doubt reach her fountain.

As he wandered along silently he could not help but notice the same mess from yesterday morning still lying around the beach. Stepping over the shards, he turned his eyes toward a cave a short distance away; it was there that the Great Fairy of Courage dwelled. In the past, she had enhanced his defense remarkably and also took the time to heal the wounds he had suffered during his quest to save humanity, but when did the Great Fairies’ not help him?

Link thought about paying a small visit, he wondered why the foreigners hadn’t gone to see her the day they ventured to the snowy mountains, or even this one. But he supposed the reason behind this was due to their lack of knowledge. At first, the group had it in their minds that there was only ‘one’ Great Fairy. Link didn’t blame them; he too had made the same mistake when he was naïve to the outside world long ago.

A shadow stepped in to his line of vision, and Link knew without turning around that there was someone following him. With narrowed eyes, he unsheathed his sword and swiftly turned and made to strike at the follower, only to pause in mid-swing. Normally he wouldn’t have ceased his attack unless it was for a good and legitimate reason, and right now happened to be one of those moments.

Staring agape and somewhat perplexed, he stood his ground as he stared upon to fallen form before his feet. “Uh, Kagome?” Her name left his mouth smoothly and somewhat softer than usual. Truth be told, he hadn’t the faintest idea why she was up so early and following him.

The woman sitting on the ground merely smiled at his person, though she did seem a little frightened of the blade mere inches from her face. “Sorry if I surprised you,” she apologized before taking Link’s offered hand and regaining her composure. “It’s just, you suddenly took off,” she explained in a way that made Link blush. “I was kind of worried.”

Not sure how to respond to that, he merely scratched the back of his head in a manner of embarrassment. “I just needed some air.” Really, there was no need for her to worry. In fact, this was different. Since when did she suddenly portray such emotion to him? “There’s nothing to worry about…” As he stood there staring at his boots, he wondered why she hadn’t gone back. The way she was staring at him made him a feel a bit uncomfortable, and he wondered why. Normally he’d feel embarrassed but not...uneasy.

“Link…” she muttered softly before stepping closer to his form, much to his surprise. “Aren’t you cold?”

Blinking at this, he shook his head before taking a step back. “N-no,” he replied, earning a frown from the girl before him. ‘Why is she looking at me with so much emotion? This isn’t like her…’ “If you’re cold,” he began awkwardly. “why don’t you go back?” He offered, but she remained unmoving. Before he knew what to expect, the priestess suddenly threw her arms around him, and because he hadn’t anticipated this, he fell back with her nearly in his lap.

“But I’d rather stay here with you!” She exclaimed, only furthering his blush as her body rubbed against his in an intimate way. “Link, what do you think of me?” she asked out of nowhere, completely catching him off guard. Her big brown eyes stared up him, and her hands rested on his chest.

Taken aback from this, he merely stared at her hopeful expression. ‘What?’ Was he dreaming? Was this really happening? Such a strange girl she was. None of what was happening made sense. They were strangers from different worlds and here she was asking what his feelings were. That wasn’t the Kagome he knew. The Kagome he had come to observe over the past few days was well reserved, or so he thought.

Noticing his hesitation, the young girl’s expression saddened. “Or…could it be that you like another?” She asked as she waited for his response. Her brown eyes locked with his as she slowly began closing the distance between them both. “Why don’t you just admit that you like me?”

As he stared at her long and hard, Link suddenly came up with a reasonable explanation for all of this, and it wasn’t only because of the cream colored fluffy tail which had suddenly slipped out from under her skirt, but because Kagome wouldn’t have acted in such a manner. “Shippo, what are you doing?” he questioned with a slight twitch under his eye, earning a gasp from the female or that is to say the fox child.

Caught in the act while attempting to fool Link, the child suddenly transformed. After the pink smoke cleared, he stood awkwardly while smiling timidly at the youth sitting in front of him. “Oops, guess I was caught,” he faked a laugh before lowering head. Expecting to get hit or scolded, Shippo held his hands above his head. “Sorry, don’t be mad!” When nothing happened, he looked up, only to see Link curiously staring at him.

“I’m not going to hit you, Shippo,” he explained somewhat perplexed before regaining his footing. “And what might I ask were you trying to accomplish?”

“N-nothing really…just,” he scratched his cheek as he saw Link arch a brow at his hesitation. Truth be told, Shippo was thankful that Link was nothing like Inuyasha. Not once after he had met the young swordsman did he ever raised his fist or issued an insult toward him. Link was different, and that was what he liked about him.

The prank he played on Link was pretty much what he had used on Inuyasha when Kagome had fallen ill many months back. Instead of asking why he pulled such a stunt, the half demon had hit him; there were times after where even Inuyasha would steal his food. But moving back to the prank, while Shippo and his friends were on their travels in search of the fragments of the Sacred Jewel, he’d seen enough to experienced how and why girls act the way they do when they’re attracted to a guy.

Musing on this, Shippo wondered what he did wrong. “Well, I just wanted to know how you felt about Kagome is all.” Not long ago, he’d seen how easily Link blushed whenever his surrogate mother would either start up a conversation with him, or even look his way. So Shippo automatically assumed that the green warrior had fallen for his mother. It wasn’t surprising to the child. Kagome was a compassionate and well liked individual who always took time out of her day to aid a friend or stranger or even put a smile on someone’s face. She was the type to keep personal secrets, care for her companions, and stand up against bullying and also quarrelling between two idiots, namely Inuyasha and Kouga. But it wasn’t just her carefree nature that men were so attracted to, but it was her loyalty and self-determination that many admired.

“I see, well the answer to that is no,” he explained. That was a lie, but it was better that way. Shaking away his blush, Link nodded as the child stared up at him with a solemn expression. “I’m impressed, Shippo. Your transformations are getting better.”

Shippo’s tail swayed when he heard this. “Really?” A grin suddenly broke out on his face. “But how’d you know it was me?” Lately he thought his transformations were doing well, but he had messed up; that wasn’t unusual.

Shaking his head at the toddler, Link answered him. “Well there are a couple reasons. One, your tail for the most part gave you away,” he explained watching the youth scold himself for messing up. “Two, make sure that the person you’re transforming in to matches their personality, otherwise it will be easy for someone to see the mistake.” Noticing the child frown, he went on. “What’s the real reason you’re following me?” Link was smart enough to know that Shippo hadn’t just followed after him just to pull some sort of trickery.

“I couldn’t sleep,” he admitted. “Why are you out here so early?” It was Shippo’s turn to ask. He noticed before that Link tended to either go off on his own without telling anyone where he was going, or he was silently pondering to himself. Not only that, but he refused to listen to a word Inuyasha said, not that Shippo did either.

Realizing where this was going, Link turned and continued in the direction he had been following before Shippo appeared. “Scouting,” he replied. That’s what he did most of his life; it was a habit he could not seem to come out of.

Shippo followed after. “Why? Do you think those mutant fish are around?” he asked as he glanced both ways, dreading even the possibility of one of those creatures jumping out. He sure hoped they weren’t. It wasn’t long before another thought came to him. “Do you think those Zoras were telling the truth? Everyone else believed them, but I don’t know…”

The answer to that was obvious. “Yes.”

Hearing this, Shippo went on. “But what if they’re lying?”

“What reason would they have for lying, Shippo?” Link asked. “It’s clear that they are distraught over the attacks and the kidnapping of their king and women. You could see the fear on their faces, especially when we showed up. Zoras are not used to seeing humans, and with our unexpected visit, I would have been surprised if they hadn’t confronted us.” Besides, if they had wanted to kill them, they would have already. But that just wasn’t in their nature.

Thinking on this, Shippo realized he had a point, but that didn’t mean he trusted them entirely. Though he swore allegiance to the Secret Society of Justice to help anyone in need, he knew he had to take responsibility and help the Zoras, even if their might be a possibility that they couldn’t be trusted. Link trusted them, and so far the boy hadn’t been wrong on anything. The warrior was there to warn them of the Leevers, and before he never spoke, but his actions spoke louder than words. Without him, Kagome would no doubt have fallen prey to some misfortune, but at least she was well and safe. And this was all thanks to Link.

Not long after he asked his previous question, Shippo’s gaze fell on one of his hands clenched tightly at his side. “So Link, why do you always have your left hand covered?” he asked as he referred to the white wrappings covering his left hand. “Did you get hurt?” The child noticed it the moment he first set eyes on him; it was at that time that Link had almost fallen prey to a strange looking monsters. If it hadn’t been for Inuyasha, Link might not be walking beside him.

The child seemed so interested as of late. The questions he asked weren’t startling, but he hadn’t thought anyone would comment on his hand. But he supposed it was bound to happen sooner or later. “I hide it because I do not wish to see it.” That seemed like a perfect explanation, one that need not bothered being answered. But Shippo wasn’t going to make this easy for him.

Shippo went on, his voice raising. “Why? Did you get hurt? Is there a scar there?” Of course this wouldn’t have come as a shock to the child. Before, when they were up in the snowy mountains, he’d seen Link’s back scarred in several places, and that wasn’t counting the ones he acquired when he saved Kagome. There were so many on his back, chest and arms; some were old and others quite recent. Link wasn’t naïve at all when it came to battle; he had experienced a lot, and Shippo had been wrong to judge before.

Feeling a migraine all of a sudden, Link stopped and removed the bandages around his palm. Although he didn’t want to show him, he knew he would keep hearing it. As the bandages fell away, he revealed to the youth the back of his hand where three golden triangles rested forming what appeared to be an emblem.

Seeing the glowing symbol on his hand, the child gaped. “Whoa, what’s that?” He was tempted to reach out and touch it, but he didn’t. For some reason, he thought it looked familiar, but he couldn’t remember where he’d seen it before.

Looking at it with a sense of displeasure, Link’s eyes darkened somewhat with his frown more apparent than before. “A sign that I have failed,” he explained before rewrapping his hand. Just the sight of it sickened him. “It’s nothing of importance,” he scoffed.

Bemused by his reply, Shippo scampered after the fast-walking boy. ‘A sign that he failed?’ he thought. Since there was much about his comrade that he did not understand, Shippo hoped that Link would be willing to open up more, and express his feelings which were continually concealed behind a mask of indifference. Although Link remained silent after his curt response, the child could not help but be troubled. If Link had wanted to tell him, he would have, but seeing that he was still uncomfortable around the group, Shippo accepted this. Sooner or later, however, he knew Link had to break from his shell. There was so much the child wanted to learn from the young warrior. What was Link’s life about? What was his past? Why was he here? And where was his family?

In Clock Town, Shippo remembered when he revealed his past to him and Kagome about how he had saved his land from peril long ago, back when he was only a child. At first he found it hard to believe, but after all that the child witnessed after his descent in to this world, perhaps what he said was true. Shippo had never known Link to lie, yet he hardly knew anything about the boy, only that he was determined, secretive, and that he did things on his own; Link demonstrated all of this through their travels.

After a short walk, the boys finally arrived at the shore which overlooked the cave a small distance away. Getting there seemed challenging in Shippo’s eyes, but not at all in Link’s. The only way of reaching the dwelling was either to fly, or jump from each of the small islands, leading there. One wouldn’t call them islands, because they weren’t big enough to hold more than four people. Perhaps, in a way, they were like steps leading to her fountain? Whichever it was, they had to cross these if they were going to get anywhere.

While Link searched through his satchel, there was a movement underneath his hat. Of course he would never pay it any mind, because it was obviously his small companion. For some reason, fairies seemed to have a habit of sleeping inside their partner’s hats; this had been the same for Navi, Tael, and also Serena.

“Is it morning?” a small voice asked, earning Shippo’s attention rather immediately.

“Almost,” the child replied before canting his head suddenly. “Are you okay?” For some time now, he noticed the small fairy had been quiet, and he wondered why. Right now, she seemed out of sorts.

As she left the comfort of her partner’s hair, she fluttered out and landed upon the child’s head in a tired fashion. “Just tired,” she replied feebly. “Feels like my energy has been sapped or something lately,” she explained.

When Link found what he had been searching for, he glanced at his partner before lifting her off the child’s head and in to his open palm. “Serena?” Although he figured something was up with her, he didn’t think it was serious. This had happened once to Navi, but not to the point where she could hardly fly.

“Sorry. I haven’t been very useful lately, Link,” she muttered softly before her wings drooped, unable to keep her upright.

Somewhat wary of her unusual behavior, he placed her in to his bag carefully before bending down and picking up Shippo. Without a moment to spare, he started in to the water, wincing as the acid burned his skin.

Seeing this, Shippo gasped. “What are you doing?!”

Grimacing, Link reached the small piece of land and pulled himself up the ledge before grunting as the pain seared in his legs and lower abdomen. “This is nothing,” he muttered.

Seeing Link’s beige pants disintegrate, Shippo stared at his exposed flesh which was slowly turning black, with trails of fresh blood flowing down to his boots. “Why did you do that?” he asked as he situated himself better on Link’s shoulder.

Wincing again, Link managed to stand, though the pain was quite incredible, but not enough to weigh him down. He pointed straight ahead, near a huge foundation of rocks not far away. “See that there,” he asked. “The Great Fairy’s fountain is just beyond that cave,” he explained.

One after another, Link jumped from platform to platform. It wasn’t long before he stopped and pressed his hand upon his leg in order to stop the throbbing. ‘If what the Zoras said was true, then how could those imposters swim in such waters? Could it be possible that they can? If that’s so, then the Zoras are trapped in their own home. Though they are prepared to go out and rescue their king and women, how will they do so if the water burns your flesh away?’ Link thought back to what the fisherman said before. That man had explained in his story that one of the Zoras was found along the beach without his flesh. Maybe the reason behind that wasn’t because of the imposters, but because that Zora had swam through to rescue or send for help?

With narrowed eyes, Link aimed his hook shot at the small island across from him; his target was the lone palm tree. “Hold on tight,” he warned, and Shippo prepared himself as he clung to his tunic. Not a moment after the hook shot made impact with the tree, both he and Shippo were dragged in that path before landing on the small isle.

“Whoa!” The word left the child’s mouth. “I’ve been meaning to ask you a while back, but what is that?” He pointed at the golden colored object in his grasp.

“This is called a hook shot,” he explained as he held it up to the child. Link ran his hand over the surface. This was the hook shot he found while invading the Pirates Fortress a few years back. Link never knew that such a small object could come in handy, but it did.

Shippo awed at it. “So, it just grabs onto anything and pulls you where you want go then?”

“Not always,” Link explained. “It depends on how far you are from your target, and how rough it may be. Usually I’m only able to latch onto wood,” he clarified, before aiming at another tree in the distance.

“Wait!”

Blinking at the child perched on his shoulder, Link brought his arm down. “Yes?”

“Let me fly you over! It’ll be faster that way!” he explained as if he were worried about something. His green eyes were wide and pleading.

“There’s no need,” Link replied questionably. “Impatient?” He inquired with an arched brow which earned a scowl from the small boy.

Shippo indignantly crossed his arms. “I just don’t get you!”

Again Link could only stare at the child and his sudden spark of fury. Had he upset him by not wanting to fly over? Link could not fathom this. “Would you rather fly?” he asked, earning a nod soon after. Sighing, Link returned his hook shot back in to his satchel, being careful not to hurt Serena in the process. “Very well…”

Upon hearing his acceptance, Shippo nearly jumped with renewed enthusiasm. Even his tail swayed from side to side because he was pleased. Maybe it was strange for his sudden change of behavior, but the truth was that he did not want his new friend to worsen his injuries. But when he’d heard Link say there was no need to fly over, it upset him.
He leaped from his shoulder, and suddenly transformed. “Get on!”

Sighing, Link perched himself upon the giant pink ball. ‘I suppose this works too,” he thought.

Not a moment later, both he and Shippo stood upon rough ground with their backs to the ocean. Directly in front of the boys was the cave which Link explained belonged to the Great Fairy. However, the outside was blocked by two large boulders, making their entrance seemingly impassable.

“Now what?” Shippo questioned as he looked from boulder to boulder and back to Link. “We can’t get in.” When he saw Link standing there with an appearance of nonchalance, he scratched his cheek.

Already knowing how to solve such a predicament, Link turned his eyes to Shippo, who was still staring up at him. “Shippo, why not use your fire crackers? One should suffice,” he explained calmly as he pushed back his bangs.

Shippo’s eyes brightened at this. “Alright!” He took from his shirt the very weapon needed to demolish these obstructions, and he smirked, easily amusing Link who was standing not too far from him. “Take this!”

The object soared through the air and made impact right between the two boulders. A small explosion took place, and as they both took cover to dodge the sailing pieces of rocks and debris, the boys found the entrance cleared.

“I did it!” The fox child cheered triumphantly. All in all, he was so happy to be of assistance, and he hoped to be more helpful to his comrades. Maybe instead of one day in the far future, he might be able to help them out sooner than expected.

“Good job,” Link commented as he brushed past the tyke and some big pieces of rocks lying around the entrance. ‘He’s improving.’

Delighted, the child bounded after Link. “Hey, wait for me!” He called before walking right alongside him. Emerald eyes gazed around the darkness warily before a bright light ahead mystified him. ‘I wonder what this Great Fairy looks like,’ he thought curiously.

Finally reaching the fountain, which was similar in appearance to that of the Great Fairy back in Clock Town, both Shippo and Link stood before the empty fountain with a sense of calmness washing over them. The same melody echoed in the room, yet it held sadness to it. Because it seemed to come from nowhere, it still mystified the fox demon.

Although this fountain did not contain torches that aligned the wall, it did in fact have the same appearance as the other. Directly in front of them was a rather large fountain of sparkling water belonging to that of this Great Fairy of Courage. The floor inside this cave was also made from white marble, though it shimmered intensely as the two torches on either side of the steps leading in to the spring lit the small area. Falling from the ceiling were violet and blue shimmering lights, a sight that seemed to mesmerize Shippo. Around this spring were columns and arcs, with a cherub upon the farthest arc.

Without missing a blink, Shippo finally recognized the same symbol that was engraved on the white stairs; it was the similar to what Link had on his left hand. What did the symbol mean? And why did Link say it was a sign of failure? Perhaps Shippo would ask him at a later time.

Link’s satchel cover opened, and the small fairy known as Serena fluttered out weakly toward the fountain. When it seemed as if she could fly no longer, Link reached out to catch her unsteady form. The sight baffled both boys.

When the child saw her unmoving form in Link’s palm, his eyes grew wide. “What’s wrong with her, Link?” Shippo asked worriedly. He watched as her light dulled ever so slightly.

Concerned about her health, Link climbed the few steps leading to the rim of the fountain, and as he did, the symbol below his feet glowed. Small pink lights emanated from the emblem and encircled the boy and his fairy, though neither seemed surprised. When the light circled Link from foot to head, it slowly left his form and descended toward the center of the pond before disappearing in to the water. As it did this, it caused the spring to ripple with several shades of pinks and purples. Suddenly a figure materialized from the center of the spring in which the light had vanished.

Beauty that could not compare to any other citizen residing in Clock Town, this woman, although similar in appearance to the Great Fairy of Magic, possessed a charm that seem to infatuate those that looked upon her. Gentle curls of luscious indigo swept about her shoulders, though most of her hair was pulled back with pink ribbons, some of which fell knee high. Just as her sister, she too wore decorative clothing made from vines and flowers of assorted colors which fitted to her slender figure quite nicely. Alluring brown eyes looked upon the boys lovingly, and a smile graced her flawless face. “Welcome to my spring.”

Shippo stared at the luminescent woman floating in front of him. As she greeted them with her warm voice, he could not help but lower his head. Before, the Great Fairy of Magic had told them of a prophecy, but what would this one tell them? And also, what was the reason Link wanted to come here?

“Great Fairy,” Link’s low voice echoed off the walls suddenly, earning the respective acknowledgment from the godly being before him. “I have come to ask you about what might be happening here in Great Bay, but first…” he held out his palm with the silent ball of light to the woman before him. “I do not know what ails her, but will you help her?” he asked.

Hearing his plea, Shippo looked at Link closely. This had been the first he’d seen or heard him solemnly speak with such earnestness. But he understood his feelings. Though he wondered what would happen to the little fairy. Although she always annoyed Inuyasha, she seemed like a caring and kindhearted follower of Link’s. Whatever was the cause for her sudden weakness, it was beyond him. Shippo hoped it wasn’t serious.

With open arms, the woman approached the boy before gathering the small fairy in to her open palms. “Poor dear, she is worn out,” she commented before closing her eyes. “It pains me to say this, but I have not the strength required to heal her as you would like, young one,” she explained softly as she opened her eyes with grief. “Unfortunately, my power seems to be weakening, and I can only do so much in my healing.”

Shippo’s enthusiasm fell, and his eyes landed on the unmoving fairy in the woman’s hands. From what he could see, her light was dimming more so than before. “She’s going to be okay, right?”

The Great Fairy lowered her eyes. “While it is sad to have our young ones go out in to the world, it’s even sadder when it comes time to say goodbye,” her choice of words bothered both Link and Shippo. “I’m sorry, but my magic cannot fully heal her,” she explained.

Link’s eyes fell downcast as he realized the situation before him. Though he never thought it would happen, it was. Serena was sick for some reason, and not even the Great Fairy could heal her to recovery.

“Do not fret, young Link,” The woman leaned back as she looked at the boy before her spring. “You came here to learn of the evil plaguing Great Bay, right?”

Irritated, Shippo bounded up next to Link, his teeth clenched as he eyed the woman. “Don’t change the subject! What about Serena?!” There was no way she could let the fairy die and go on and change the subject. Serena was more important.

With the fairy unmoving in her hands, she sighed. “Forgive me, child. What can I do? As we speak, my magic is slowly diminishing; the same is for her, I’m sure,” she explained ruefully. “Something outside my fountain is sucking the life force from me, and the same with my sisters and all the fairies spread throughout Termina. I am not long for this world, and yet I have no regrets.”

Hearing this, Link looked upon her and Serena. “Is there anything I can do? Is there no way to reverse this?”

At her nod, his hopes renewed. “Nothing is impossible, yet some things are easily conquered than most,” she replied. “I shall be brief, the evil that is plaguing this land is not here, but will soon be. What you face now is only a glimpse of what will take place.”

“You mean the evil isn’t really here?” Shippo asked as he scratched his head.

She nodded. “Correct. If my assumptions are correct, all those with magic will cease to exist. Right now, that very evil is growing stronger with our energy.”

“Can’t you stop it?” The child asked. Maybe Miroku could place some sutras around the fountain?

The woman shook her head from side to side. “Not even the strongest of barriers can stop this,” she explained. She suddenly drew back and raised her palms above her head, before smiling sadly at the boys. “As I am not long for this world, I shall aid you in your last request. I shall give this fairy what remains of my magic, but it alone will not last long,” she explained before closing her eyes.

The water beneath her feet rippled, and a bright light suddenly enveloped her slim figure. Her hair fell loose from the many ribbons in her hair, and cascaded down her back in thick waves. With her eyes closed tight in full consternation, her palms glowed brightly, nearly blinding to both youths.

Just as it had come, the light faded away, and the boys looked upon the sight before them. Flowers fell in to the empty spring, and the ribbons which belonged to the Great Fairy of Courage floated toward the rim of the pond.

Looking around, Shippo could not make heads or tails where she could have gone. “Where is she?” He didn’t want to believe that the woman had given up her life just like that to save Serena. Such a compassionate person existed, or once did. “She’s gone…”

Holding his hand out, Link reached for the small fairy as she fluttered in his direction joyously. The moment she sailed in to his grasp, Link smiled his very first and true smile.

“Link, I feel so much better!” She exclaimed enthusiastically. “What happened? All I can remember is all of us confronting those Zoras.”

“That was yesterday,” Shippo replied. He was glad Serena was acting like her usual perky self, yet he was still saddened by the turn of events. It was like they just came here to the woman in order to save Serena’s life. That hadn’t been Link’s intention from the start, was it? “Link, is she…”

He nodded with darkened eyes. “Yeah…”

Noticing the sudden tension, Serena looked about the room. “The Great Fairy...is she…did she sacrifice herself to save me?”

Link lowered his head, his bangs falling over his eyes. “She was already dying…and so she gave what was left of her magic and energy to help heal you, but…”

Serena didn’t need to hear more to know where this was heading. From the start, there had always been that moment when she wondered when it might happen, but it seemed as if her life was prolonged, but only for a short time. “Even that is not enough…”

Chapter Text

The day brought on some interesting surprises. First off, the sun had yet to rise and it seemed very peculiar. Burgundy red still filled the sky, just as last night, with the stars hanging just above. Of course this night wouldn’t be complete without the massive red moon, and if anyone had noticed, which they had, the alignment of the two moons was fine, but there was a difference in the phase. Although the evening had yet to end, the foreigners could not help look up warily. Sometime during the night, the smaller moon must have altered its appearance. During their sleep, it had flipped, thus resembling a frown. Why was this so startling? The answer lied with Inuyasha.

“This is weird,” Shippo commented. At this time, he sat on Miroku’s shoulder, staring at the half demon with bewilderment.

Sango nodded. “I’ll say. I wonder why this happened,” she replied.

For the first time in Link’s life, he’d never seen such magic, yet he knew he should have been used to it by now. Why, it happened instantly and right before his eyes. One minute he stood before the half demon, listening to him lecture his companions to hurry up and the next there was silence.

What stood before him was Inuyasha, only he seemed slightly changed. Strange enough, Inuyasha resembled more of a human. Long ebony tresses fell to his lower back and his furry white ears which were usually atop his head were now on either side of his face, resembling that of the others. Not only that, but his eyes were no longer the color of gold; they were brown like both Kagome’s and Sango’s. The last change was his fangs and his claws, and for just a moment, Link found the sight quite intriguing and less threatening. But it wasn’t like Inuyasha was the least bit intimidating to him.

Stupefied, Link’s stare did not falter, and yet how could it? This was by no means questionable and worth asking a few questions. All the while he ignored the glare sent his way by the said cause of his distraction. “He is different,” he commented. Now Link wasn’t the type to just point and gape, no, he handled this situation quite maturely, much to everyone’s astonishment. Or maybe it was the fact that this was the most he ever spoke?

Kagome tore her eyes away from the man and leaned closer to the boy next to her. Although she was startled to hear his comment, she was also amazed that he was taking the whole situation well. “Since Inuyasha is a half demon, he loses his powers on certain nights and he becomes human,” she explained. Somehow, she knew sooner or later something like this would happen and Link would be bound to ask some questions, but she wasn’t planning on it happening now.

Nodding in understanding, Link eyed the priestess next to him. “So, why now?” he questioned. “You all seem stunned. Is this not the time he changes?” His eyes fell on each individual, and he knew by their stunned expressions that he was right in assuming so.

“Very perceptive,” The monk commented. Miroku had to give the boy credit for his sharp intellect. He looked to his rather annoyed friend before regarding Link who stood quietly next to him. “Inuyasha’s change comes on the night of the new moon, however…”

Link knew enough to know where this was going. “There is no new moon, but perhaps it’s different in this world.” That seemed like a reasonable explanation. Or it could be that someone was responsible. The words spoken by the Great Fairy bothered him. She said in her brief explanation that all magic would cease to exist because it was slowly being consumed by the evil; was this also connected to Inuyasha losing his demon powers? Would one call demon power magic?

“I guess that could be it,” Kagome pondered. She didn’t seem the least bit bothered by the transformation, but it was baffling to her.

“Well now you know! So stop with the staring!” Inuyasha growled before crossing his arms. “It won’t last long.” Nothing made sense in this world, and he wanted nothing better than to just move on so they could get back to their own world and finally destroy Naraku, but that wasn’t going to happen any time soon.

Having observed the situation quietly, Serena fluttered over toward the human Inuyasha. The change baffled her, and she had to see for herself if it wasn’t just her eyes playing tricks on her. Circling the human, she scrutinized his appearance very closely, hoping to pinpoint the use of this strange magic. She was well aware of Shippo’s transformations, but was Inuyasha also capable of such feat? When she reached his right ear, she pulled on the flesh with little strength, before dodging the man’s hand that swiped at her. “It’s true?” her eyes fell on the others. “What about the rest of you? Is there anything else we should be made aware of?” The fairy gave the individual another once over before returning to her faithful companion.

In response to her question, Kagome shook her head. “No. Since Inuyasha is half demon, it only applies to him,” she explained. “Don’t worry though. When morning comes, he will be back to normal,” she reassured.

“But how long until morning?” Sango asked, earning everyone’s ears.

“I’ve been meaning to question that as well, Sango,” Miroku stepped in. For some unknown reason, the night was lengthened, and it was unknown to him and the others why that may be the cause. The monk’s eyes glanced up at the crescent moon. ‘Perhaps Inuyasha’s change in to a human will only result in this moon phase, rather than a new moon.’

Sighing, he glanced at his comrades. “We will have to wait and see where this takes us.”

Aggravated by the long pause afterward, Inuyasha marched himself past the fisherman’s hut. “Why are we still standing here? Let’s go!” If it was one thing, it was his teammates always slowing him down. Really, this could wait until later.

As everyone ambled after Inuyasha, Kagome fell behind, lost in thought. By this point, she was haunted by the dream she’d dreamt earlier that night. The feeling of sadness filled her heart as she recalled the voices of her family that had lingered in her sleep; it felt as if they were calling out for her, yet she could not reach nor see them.

The dream or that is to say nightmare seemed so surreal, that she could actually feel the cold hands wrap around her very bones, and the warm blood which had trapped her in the darkness, threatening to engulf and suffocate her. The blood, which she gathered must have come from the lives of those that were slaughtered, and let’s not forget the river of blood and the hand that tried to pull her in. Was her dream trying to tell her something?

But that wasn’t the strangest part; in fact, what was strange was the looming hour glass filled with black sand. That part of the dream signaled that time was running out.
Perhaps, because of this new adventure, maybe Kagome was so stressed that she ended up having such a dream? It was possible, but somehow she didn’t think so. It wasn’t just that, or the blood, or the whisperings which called to her but the man shrouded by shadow.

That man, that figment from her imagination had about him an air of death and stillness. His voice, though young was deep, and his eyes were scarlet, which watched her unblinking through the dream. Before she woke, she replayed the words he said to her. They were on the lines of ‘don’t get carried away’ or something like that. But there was something else in the dream that worried her. In his grasp, he was swinging a familiar pink jewel in a swaying motion, before letting it drop. Normally Kagome would have forgotten such a nightmare in a matter of minutes, but she did remember it, as if she had physically experienced it. It felt so real…so…so…

“Kagome?” A feminine voice called to her, easily bringing her out of her musings. For a while now, Sango had been worried about her female companion, whom she considered a sister. After her kidnap, the two had hardly conversed with each other, and she wanted everything to return to normal, but she knew it was not as simple as she would like it. She wondered if Kagome was truly okay. “Is something wrong?” she asked softly.

Kagome smiled. “No, not at all,” she replied. Everyone else was standing directly in front of her, staring. She hadn’t meant to slow them down. “I was just thinking.” Kagome wondered briefly why they were not moving, but to answer that, she found the reason; they were already on the other side of the coast. When had that happened? Well, whatever the case, they were there.

Still unconvinced, Sango nodded. She would let it slide until later. ‘Kagome is bothered about something. Could it be what happened before?’ That had to be it. What else could it have been? There was no telling what her friend must have experienced, but it must have been dreadful. If they ever found the man that caused her so much grief, she would deal with him personally. No one messes with her friends and gets away with it unscathed. No one.

Lightening lit the sky overhead, and not a moment after rain fell, effectively drenching the travelers who looked up with dismay, especially a certain priestess. To make matter worse, it was a cold dreary rain, with a mighty wind to go along with it.

In a weak attempt to cover her head with her arms, Kagome gave a sound of protest. Sometimes she hated when there’d be a torrential down pour.

“That sure was quick,” Sango commented. The rain didn’t concern her much; in fact, she was used to it, what with her being a demon slayer. All her life, she’d gone through rigorous training back home with her father. This was nothing. “We’d best hurry.”

Nodding, Kirara leapt from her shoulder and transformed. Before either Kagome or Sango could manage one step in the feline’s direction, multiple balls of light sailed in their direction. The sudden attack came out of nowhere, and they leaped away in fear of getting hit.

“Ah!?” Kagome fell to the ground as one flew past her. The sight had scared her to death, and she had not seen it coming. As she picked herself off the ground, she looked around for the source. “What was that?” she asked, but everyone else seemed equally confused as they regained their footing.

Sango looked off toward the ocean. There was something there, but from where she stood, she had to squint in order to see. After a short pause, she found who or what was responsible. “There!”

Looking past her outstretched hand, Inuyasha and the gang readied their weapons. Through the darkness of the night and the storm, it was still somewhat difficult to tell what it was they were up against, but from what they could perceive, there was just enough light from the moon above to aid them through the night. Something was out there. From their place near the shore, they spotted silhouettes in the dark water ahead. Their faces were concealed by the night, and the rest of their body was submerged, yet there was a faint silver glow emanating from these beings. Whatever they were that could swim through acidic acid, it was beyond them.

Orbs of light formed above the surface of the water, once again lighting up the evening. And in a way, they resembled fireflies from so far a distance. All at once, several of these lighted orbs soared in their direction and within seconds, everyone managed to dodge the attack, but it proved challenging. One sailed past Miroku’s head, the other past poor little Shippo who was currently running out of harm’s way every second. Another went flying inches from Inuyasha, and poor Kagome was on the ground again. But despite that, they picked themselves up from the ground again. Just as they had eliminated their old attackers back in the Feudal Era, these creatures would be no different.

Serena, though frightened by the chaos around her, tapped her partner on the head, while hiding most of her body inside his hat. “That was fire! Be careful everyone!” In her opinion, she had a sneaky suspicion about those silhouettes shooting the fire balls at them. They were probably the ones responsible for such heinous acts here in Great Bay.

‘One hit from those and we’re done for,’ Inuyasha thought warily. Inwardly, he cursed his abrupt transformation. At that moment, he felt completely useless, and he hated that his friends had to do all the work. Just what was he supposed to do, stand there and look pretty? No. A thought hit him, and he glanced down at his sheathed sword tied to his waist.

Tired of dodging, Sango sprinted forward, her battle expression in place. “Kirara!” She yelled, and it was enough for her feline friend to know it was time for some action. The minute the two tailed transformed, she jumped in to Sango’s path, and after seating herself on her back, they ascended in to the air.

No sooner had they taken flight, Sango peered down, keeping firm hold of her boomerang strapped to her back. From her vantage point, she could see much better, and the sight below was appalling and grotesque. ‘What are those?’ Not wasting another second, she threw her boomerang to the closest target. But to her despair, the disgusting vermin swam out of harm’s way.

While Sango was busy attacking from above, the group decided to put their skills in to action. Almost immediately, Kagome readied an arrow and aimed for the waters, all the while concentrating her sacred powers and infusing them in to her arrow. Link, who was next to her, did the same; only he did not use magic.

One after another, arrows flew in one direction, and balls of fire in the other. Now mind you, this was not like any battle the group had faced on their adventure. No, it didn’t compare with Naraku, nor was it like that of the millions and millions of demons from hell they battled a while back. This was something entirely on its own, almost supernatural. But like any battle, it was against the good and the bad.

“What are those!” Shippo asked in a high pitched voice while cowering at the priestess’s feet. Though he could not see the enemy, he was still frightened.

“I don’t know,” Kagome replied. Wary of another attack, Kagome hurriedly drew another arrow and aimed. Because they were too far from the enemy, she knew her arrows were likely to miss their intended path, but she had to try. If only she’d gone with Sango.

Bound and determined to put his sword to the test, Inuyasha unsheathed it. Withdrawing it from his scabbard, he watched as the letters which were inscribed in the blade suddenly brightened, and to his fascination, the sword pulsed. Before, he’d been doubtful that with his transformed state that it wouldn’t work, but apparently he was mistaken. For the first time since he was granted this new sword, he was actually going to get the chance to use it.

Lowering his bow, Link glanced over his shoulder, having witnessed something from the corner of his eye flash. Looking back curiously, his eyes widened. The sight that met him was quite interesting.

Also distracted, Kagome turned her body half way to see what was happening behind her, but she stopped halfway. From what she saw, her companion was cloaked in a bluish light which emanated from his sword. Although the sight was quite captivating, Kagome had to partially shield her eyes from the intensity. ‘What’s happening?’

“Damn. What is this?” He asked himself. The blade felt lighter all of a sudden, and his strength seemed to heighten. Inuyasha couldn’t help but grin at the sight. For the first time, he knew he would get to use the mysterious power his sword possessed. An unseen force seemed to take control of his arms, and he found himself raising the blade above his head. And as he did this, the sword pulsed again, stronger this time, and he felt the warmth radiating off the hilt tingling his fingers. Inuyasha closed his eyes in deep concentration. ‘Don’t let me down.’

The area around them shook; everyone in the vicinity fell back from the brute force. Yet they kept their gaze locked on Inuyasha, their eyes widening at the very scene. Even Sango held back off her attack and glanced at the shore where her companions were. A blue light greeted her vision, and she could not help but stare at the beautiful sight. The whole scene was unexpected, and she forgot that she was in the midst of a battle.

“Look at that!” Shippo pointed. His mouth flew open in sheer surprise.

The light which came from the blade wrapped around the user’s arm, and the air around Inuyasha slowed. Before the group knew what to anticipate, Inuyasha brought his arm down and when he did, a blast of white light hurdled across the ocean in a straight line. The waters seemed to separate from the power exerted by the sword. Upon impact, the light exploded a distance away at the intended path.

Having been so enthralled by the scene, Kagome regained her senses. “He did it!” she cheered.

Surprised by the show of power, Link stood and readied his arrows before staring ahead where the attack had gone. The sword, granted to Inuyasha was very powerful, but somehow it seemed like too much. If the half demon wanted, he could very easily destroy a whole town; that’s how strong he was. ‘What weapon can hold such power?’ Surely something such as that was not a belonging of the heavenly Great Fairy. The only weapon that was bestowed upon him was the Fairies Sword, and it was strong enough to cut through the toughest of webs or vines, but it had its weak points. That, though, was of another world. Wasn’t it?

Looking off in to the distance, Link saw no movement in the water, nor any signs of the foe. It was quiet, almost too quiet. Had the attack been so strong that it wiped out the enemy completely? Whatever the case might be, he kept his eyes focused and his ears open.

The light faded from the half demon, and Inuyasha stared at the blade with wide eyes. “Such power.” This sword was so powerful that it might actually rival his father’s fang. On their next trip back to Clock Town, he would be sure to thank the Great Fairy. ‘I didn’t think I’d be able to use it in this state.’ So what else could it do?

Stepping up to the half demon, Miroku patted his shoulder. “Well done, Inuyasha.” To him, it looked like all was good again, but the storm continued and the waves picked up. The power which resided in the blade was so incredible, that the monk had to take another look to be sure he wasn’t seeing anything. Though it appeared like a lovely piece of craftsmanship, it was actually quite ancient, but its luster would easily fool the eye.

Elated, Kagome ran up to her friend, her arrows forgotten at her side. “Are you alright?” she asked. In her opinion, the attack was breathtakingly beautiful, and just the sight of seeing Inuyasha’s form enwrapped in the blue light excited her more. ‘I wonder what he’ll name his new attack.’

Inuyasha nodded. “I feel great,” he replied, also feeling a smile pull at his lips. The light which surrounded him was warm and comforting. He wondered why he hadn’t been able to use it before. Somehow he guessed he must have unlocked the power in town when he was training under that weird old man. “Heck, those things were easy!” he bragged before resting the blade over his shoulder, his smile never wavering.

“It’s not over yet,” Link remarked suddenly. He stood in his spot, his arrow clenched in his left hand. Yes it was quiet, but somehow Link doubted that the attack was enough to eliminate the foe. The fight wasn’t over yet; Link knew this from experience. Nothing was ever that easy.

Annoyed, Inuyasha’s eyes searched the waters. “What are you talking about?”

Taking her eyes off Inuyasha, Kagome turned to Link, her smile faltering. “Link?” Noticing his posture and his fixed gaze, she turned and resumed her previous stance. ‘He could be right. That was easy.’

Narrowing his eyes, Link stepped forward. “They were merely testing us,” he explained with his back turned to them. Wasn’t it obvious? The enemy was attacking from a distance, and from what he was informed, those creatures were able to walk on land. From their vantage point, they were demonstrating their power, as well as testing everyone’s abilities. “They must have known we were coming.” Or it could have been a coincidence.

Inuyasha cursed. He knew Link was right. Heck even back home in the Feudal Era, they never got off so easy. Most of the time, their enemies were feeble, and they were sometimes lucky to go on half a day without any strange encounter. But there were many times they were evaded the most extreme of forces. While he stood there looking about, he questioned if they weren’t just hiding. There weren’t any lights off in the distance or dark silhouettes.

While Kagome readied her arrow, Miroku stepped beside Link, admiring how prepared the lad appeared. For his age, he seemed to possess the attributes of a knowledgeable warrior. From afar, Miroku witnessed his capabilities, and he was astounded. Miroku knew there was more to Link than what he first thought. In his eyes, Link was not a child, but a young man who braved danger without any hint of trepidation. Before, it had been wrong of him to judge him by his appearance, and he was deceived at first.

Hovering overhead, Sango tore her eyes away from the shore and looked about the ocean. Had Inuyasha’s attack easily overwhelmed their enemy? That blast had been so intense, that there was no way anyone could escape its path. So far, everything seemed calm, except for the thunder and the moaning wind. ‘Amazing’

Seeing as how nothing was about to jump out and get them, Kagome lowered her bow and stepped forward. “I think we did it,” she muttered. And here she thought they were up against something terrible.

Leaving his hiding place, which was at Link’s feet, Shippo felt his fear slipping away. “So it’s over?” he asked.

“Seems so,” replied the monk.

“That had to be the easiest battle we’ve had since we got here!” Inuyasha sheathed his sword. He moved toward the water, until his feet were inches from the waves. “And it looks like the storm cleared up,” he commented.

“That’s a relief!” Kagome sighed before removing a strand of hair out of her face. At the moment, she was soaked. “I wonder what those were. Do you think those were the monsters that were causing trouble?”

“Does it matter?” Inuyasha asked. “They’re dead. And now we can tell those Zoras that we kicked their ass!” Yesterday, he was annoyed that the male leader had to think about whether or not it was a good idea for them to help out. They weren’t useless.

Relived, Shippo remembered that he had a job to do. If the enemy was defeated, then that had to be marked off in the book. He searched his shirt pocket and pulled out a red tome and began turning the pages. When he found he had no pen, he ran up to Kagome, who was busy fixing her clothes. “Kagome!”

“Yes?” She turned to the child at her feet. “What is it?”

“Do you have a crayon I can use real quick?”

Blinking, Kagome began sorting through her yellow bag. “Let’s see…What color?”

“Black.”

Puzzled, Inuyasha strode over. “What are you doing now?”

Removing the Crayola box from her bag, Kagome pulled out a new black crayon and handed it to Shippo, who took it eagerly. “Getting a crayon,” she replied. Looking away from Inuyasha, she canted her head as Shippo began scribbling away in one of the pages of the red book, with fixed consternation. “I’ve been meaning to ask. Shippo, where did you get that book from?”

A smile broke out on his face, and he glanced at the woman kneeling before him. “I’m a member of the Bombers!” he declared. “The leader gave me this, and I have to keep track of all the people we help.” Link had once been a member, and he was ranked at the top of the secret group. It was now Shippo’s turn to give it a shot.

Link couldn’t help but smile at the child, whose tail was happily swaying from side to side. And as he watched him, Link could not help but curiously examine the strange object in his grasp. The letters written on it were similar to Kagome’s unusual necessities which she carried in her rather large bag.

“A Bomber?” she questioned. Did that mean that Shippo had made some more friends? She practically beamed at the thought.

Having heard enough, Inuyasha brushed past them. “Just as long as you don’t get in the way, I don’t care.”

Shippo ignored him, and when he was done, he handed the crayon back to Kagome and placed the book back in his shirt. He had just recorded his very first task. That was one to go, and who knew how many citizens had problems in Termina. In an instant, his emerald eyes widened, and his smile fell away. Fear clouded his expression, and he fell back with a startled gasp. “Oh no!”

Snapping their heads away from the tyke, everyone found the source of his unexpected behavior. One by one, numerous dark-skinned, robust creatures crawled their way out of the acidic water and onto the shore. Their scarlet eyes watched them hungrily as they made to stand and resume their intimidating pace. The sight was grotesque and appalling. These creatures were not at all similar to the Zoras. While they had had an air of cleanliness about them, these monsters had muck and seaweed stuck to their rough scaly green skin. It wasn’t just that, but also their wide mouths, where if anyone looked closer would see sharp fangs. As they ambled closer, everyone fell back with sudden trepidation, everyone except Inuyasha and Link. They were hunched over, with their heads extended away from their boney bodies. Their height exceeded that of their own, and they appeared quite menacing.

Frightened by the approaching fiends, Shippo cried. “They’re alive!” He latched himself onto Kagome’s leg yet again. And here he thought Inuyasha had done away with them. Apparently he’d been wrong to think so. His eyes fell on Link, who had moved to stand protectively in front of Kagome.

“Shit! What the heck are those things?” Inuyasha exclaimed with disgust.

“River Zoras,” Link explained. Yet, they were unlike any he’d ever seen before. There was something odd about these fish. Especially considering that they could swim through flesh dissolving acid.

Serena took the time to peek out from underneath Link’s cap. “Eek! They’re hideous!” Noticing that everyone wasn’t doing a thing, her light darkened. “Don’t just stand there! Do something!”

Miroku stepped back from the imminent danger, and readied his staff. “Not good.”

Stepping to her left, so that Link wouldn’t get injured, Kagome aimed her arrow at the nearest target before releasing. Her aim was true, and she succeeded in eliminating one of them. “They just keep coming!”

All at once, the monstrous beasts charged at them, not at all hesitant for their lives. If what the fisherman said was true, then they were carnivorous. Close combat was risky, and one wrong move could prove fatal.

Alarmed, Kagome hurriedly aimed her arrow, but when she released it, she missed. Noticing the fast approaching mutants, she grasped Shippo and ran back, hoping to find a place where she could attack from a fair distance, but she didn’t get very far. One of the offending creature’s had stepped in to her line of vision, blocking the path from her. Looking behind her, she realized they were completely surrounded.

Noticing that her friends were in danger, Sango motioned for Kirara to hurry back to the shore. ‘They’re in trouble!’ Without her knowing, the monsters had traveled under water toward the shore, using that to their advantage. As soon as she reached a fair distance, she pulled out her small version of her boomerang, and within seconds, it grew. This new weapon was red, with green vines nicely decorating the surface. Sango threw it, and with careful precision, her weapon split through seven of the vile creatures, easily dismembering many.

Before her weapon could return to her, she was suddenly caught off guard when a fire ball sailed directly for her and Kirara. Unable to dodge fast enough, Sango was knocked off with extreme force. She gasped as a sudden pain shot up her arm and upper torso. The attack had literally knocked the air out from her.

Kirara, easily missing more attacks, caught her owner in midair and once again ascended in to the air. The boomerang which she had thrown swiftly glided in her direction, as if controlled by an outside force. She caught it, and once again she led Kirara back in to the line of fire.

Kagome shrieked as one of the nasty vermin made to swipe at her, but to her surprise, Link stepped in its intended path and easily sliced its arm off. The creature howled in pain, but Link didn’t seem the least bit fazed. Before it could move to attack again, Link disposed of it entirely before another stepped in its path.

“Damn it! Back off!” Inuyasha swung his sword each and every way, careful of those around him that were not his enemy. Few were brought down by his mad swinging, and he moved on to his next victim, and then the next. ‘There’s too many!’ If he could, he would have used the power in his sword, but he couldn’t with his friends fighting so close around him. “Damn it!”

Terrified beyond any means, Shippo scampered around what little space he and the others had. Right at the very moment, he felt useless. Stopping, he looked at each of his companions. He saw Miroku holding back a few, and eliminating a few with his staff, while Inuyasha kept on swinging. Link had stepped in the way to shield Kagome, and she stood behind holding her bow tightly, trying to find a point where could shoot. Taking a deep breath, he removed the firecrackers from his pocket and threw them at one of the creatures closing in. “That that!” To his astonishment, his attack didn’t miss, and he defeated two quite easily. “Alright!” Debris scattered in multiple directions. But his victory wasn’t over.

No matter how hard Miroku tried, he could not dispel the bothersome creatures. Fixated on pushing back the water imps, Miroku used his staff, easily injuring a few at a time. “It’s no use. They just keep coming!” They were stronger than he first thought.

A red boomerang sailed past, easily getting rid of quite a few. Sango urged Kirara down, and as soon as she was in close proximity, she gave a cry of warning to her friends. “Watch out!”

Hearing Sango, everyone ducked, and as they did, a mighty wind blew around them. The sound of broken bones, caused most of them to shudder, and when they looked up, they found that a good majority had been eliminated.

“Sango!” Miroku called.

While many bodies lay at their feet, more and more of the disgusting creatures swam out of the water. Apparently they weren’t finished with them yet. They began charging at them, their eyes yearning for food, and their mouths dripping with saliva.

Realizing they had a chance to get out of harm’s way, Shippo transformed. “Get on!”

Seeing this, Kagome climbed onto the newly transformed Shippo. As soon as she was seated, she reached out her hand. “Link!” As she pulled him aboard, Shippo ascended in to the air sighing in relief.

“Miroku! Inuyasha!” Sango called. As soon as the two tailed landed, Miroku climbed behind the slayer while Inuyasha held on to Kirara from the back, seeing as how there was hardly any room for all of them to fit. As soon as everyone was on, Kirara took to the skies, everyone glanced down at the inert forms below watching them.

Placing a hand to her chest, Kagome sighed. “Those were not Zoras.” No, they were savage and they spat fire balls at them. ‘There were so many of them.’ Looking away from the danger below, Kagome glanced at Link. Her eyes fell to his bandaged hands. “What happened to your hands?”

Noticing her stare, he glanced at his right hand, not bothering to look at the other one. Yesterday, he burned it while testing the water yesterday. Link remembered to put medicine on it, but it still bothered him slightly. Instead of answering her, Link shrugged. “Nothing.”

Unconvinced, Kagome took his hand in hers, and seeing him flinch, she unwrapped the bandage. “Like I’m going to believe that,” she sternly replied. “You’ve hurt yourself,” she commented the moment she saw the nasty blisters on his hand, and the redness around the edges.

Because it was nothing terrible, Link pulled his hand back, but Kagome held on strong. “I said it was nothing,” he said softly. What was she so worried about? It was just a minor injury, nothing more. “It’s only a flesh wound.”

“What? Only a flesh wound?” she questioned flabbergasted. She wasn’t going to have that. For a moment, she remembered how her brother Sota had hurt himself at soccer practice, and he too had acted the same. “Hold still.” With her eyes closed, she focused on the injury. Warmth flooded through her veins, traveling down the length of her arms to her hands, until she felt the tingling sensation just at her fingertips.

Link didn’t bother pulling away, instead, he allowed the girl to do as she wished. Besides, he didn’t feel up to angering her. He’d seen her wrath before when she and the half demon were fighting. Somehow, she used some sort of spell on Inuyasha which in turn caused himself great injury; Link was referring to the command the priestess used. Actually, now that he thought about it, he wondered about the girl more. Although she explained her story to him a while back, she wasn’t very specific on some minor things. For example, why Inuyasha is the only one subject to her wrath and spells. And it wasn’t only that, but he wondered about their relationship.

“Done!” Kagome marveled at her work. She turned his hand over to look at his palm and back again. “Look! Good as new!”

Pulled from his thoughts, he stared at his hand for a short moment. ‘Gone, just like that.’ There was something mysterious about Kagome, and he intended to find out just what it was. A second later, Link hurriedly pulled his hand from her grasp and crossed his arms in a manner that puzzled the priestess.

Noticing his sudden strange reaction, Kagome went to grab his other hand. “Now let me see the other.” As she went to reach for it, Link hid it from reach. “What’s wrong? Come on, I’ll heal it,” she explained, but Link wasn’t making it easy for her.

“It’s something that cannot be healed,” he explained, earning a baffled stare from the woman seated next to him.

“What?”

Something bright and also hot flew past Shippo’s vision, and frightened for his life, he shifted in the air. “Oh no!”

Holding on, Kagome and Link watched as dozens of fire balls sailed straight for them and the others. They realized that at this speed, they weren’t going to get anywhere.

Taking the initiative, Kagome got on her knees and readied her arrow. “Knock it off!” she warned. Concentrating, she put all of her power in to the arrow before releasing. A golden light wrapped itself around the shaft’s head, much to her surprise and everyone else’s, and as it made impact, a bright light enveloped her arrow.

Shippo, who had missed the scene, jerked away from another attack which had been closing in on him. As he moved, he heard a shriek from above. “Oh no!?”

Losing her balance, Kagome found herself falling backwards, her arms flailing to grab onto something. While she did so, her bow fell from her grasp and in to the waters below. Before she could utter a scream, a hand reached out and grasped her arm. Looking up, she watched as Link pulled her up with all his strength. With one strong tug, he easily brought her back safely next to him. With her heart still pounding, she smiled at the boy next to her throwing her arms around him. “Thank you.”

Link flinched from the contact of her body mingling with his. He felt his face grow hot; he hadn’t expected that. While he had been thanked long before for his kind words and actions, never had anyone ever wrapped their arms around him. Well, wait. Now that he thought about it, there were a couple people. The first was Anju, she had hugged him while he was in his Deku form. The other was Cremia. After Link had saved her important milk from the Gorman brothers, she had thanked him with an embrace.

Kagome pulled away, and turned so as to look back to where her bow had fallen. All the while, she had not noticed the pink staining Link’s face. “That’s not good.” She looked back toward the shore. “They just won’t give it a rest!”

“Transform!”

Startled, Kagome and Link found themselves falling unexpectedly, but just as they had started falling, they found themselves seated atop Shippo’s new transformed state. They felt soft feathers under their skin, and saw the expanded wings pushing against the wind.

“Oh, Shippo, you make a great Hawk!” Kagome complimented him, while fixing the bow in his hair. Something around her waist moved, and when she looked down, she blushed. ‘Why am I blushing?’

Because Link had not been aware of Shippo’s sudden transformation, he had reached out to grab Kagome, and now that he was situated behind her, he found his arms wrapped around her middle. Although she appeared not to notice, he pulled away, his face darkening to a red hue once again.

Now that Shippo had taken on a new form, with his agility, he was able to get away from the danger zone and catch up with the others. “I thought we’d never get away!”

Shaking off her embarrassment, the priestess refocused her attention. “Well, it looks like we’ll have to let the Zoras know about this,” Kagome sighed. After all, they weren’t sure if they wanted the group to fight against the enemy, which was strange to Kagome. Perhaps they were simply modest?

Nearing the small island ahead, Inuyasha looked back. Their sinister eyes followed them, yet they made not a move to chase after. Instead, they submerged themselves under the dark water, until they disappeared from sight. “Hmpt. Just what were those?”

The monk looked back also. “Well whatever they were, they’re gone now.” A sigh escaped his lips and he leaned forward, resting his head upon Sango’s shoulder, while breathing in her sweet scent. Slowly, he rubbed the soft flesh of her thigh in a circular motion, which to his dismay was hidden by the fabric of her clothes. “Oh Sango, won’t this night ever end?”

A tick developed, and beyond irritated, Sango reach back and smacked the monk. “Lecherous monk!”

Inuyasha sighed. “We should have left him behind.”

Disappointed by his actions, Kagome shook her head. “He won’t ever learn.” Was there a day where Miroku ever stopped his perverse actions? The answer, no. Kagome didn’t understand him, and he knew that Sango held feelings for him, yet he continued despite that. ‘If he keeps this up, there’s no telling what Sango will do.’

“Oh brother!” Shippo nearly rolled his eyes.

Seeing the display, Link merely blinked. The boy hadn’t been wrong thinking there was something seriously wrong with the man who claimed he was a monk. Such actions were forbidden, yet he did them despite that. Whether he was a monk or not, no man should ever take advantage of a woman; such an act was unforgiveable. Taking his attention away from Miroku and his perverse actions, he let his eyes fall upon the cavern just ahead.

Chapter Text

After managing to escape the dangerous sea urchins, the group safely arrived at the entrance of the domain with no trouble at all. They escaped without any injuries, and for that they were very fortunate. The mystery behind them was quite puzzling, and at the moment, they would have to wait until their next confrontation. Now that they knew what the cause here in Great Bay, they were prepared for the next time.

The second their feet touched the mossy surface below, Inuyasha led the way inside. Kagome on the other hand stayed behind, walking alongside her good friend Sango. How long had it been since she and Sango last talked? For some odd reason, Kagome felt distant from everyone around her. Of course so much had happened since their descent in to this world, but she never would have thought this would happen.

“Sango, are you okay?” she asked softly, while watching the older woman’s expression intently.

Sango nodded, her anger already subsiding. “I’m fine. He just can’t keep his hands to himself.” The slayer eyed the monk in front of her, who was now sporting a large bruise on his right cheek; it served him right. When would he ever learn? Instead of venting out her emotions, which she tried so hard to hold back, Sango sighed.

As their footsteps echoed off the cavern walls, the sound of splashing ahead did not go unnoticed. Making their way down the small incline, they turned the corner, not at all worried about any surprise attacks. But, the moment they arrived the large room, they were greeted by a surprising sight.

Rather than standing watch for any surprise attacks, the males were gathered together conversing with one another. They were each situated next to the large spring, while a few others were mostly sitting or swimming. These Zoras were not wearing any armor or breast plates, no, they were completely nude; it was just a little too much for Kagome to handle. As for the few remaining females, they were standing on the other side of the room, casually talking.

With her face hidden by her hands, Kagome couldn’t help but gasp. Of course Kagome wasn’t completely naïve to the opposite sex, she had, some months back accidentally seen Inuyasha when he had almost passed out from bathing too long in a hot spring, and then there was the incident with Sakon. But, for her, a teenager to see so many men naked at once, she felt embarrassed. If her friends had been in such a situation, they wouldn’t hesitate a second. She’d been with them enough to know what goes on in their minds.
Serena too blushed at the sight before her. Why, it wasn’t a day ago that they were without clothing. “Oh gosh!” She returned to Link’s hat fully embarrassed. While Kagome and Serena made it obvious that their appearance was too much, Sango and the others restrained themselves to not look too low.

Noticing that they were not alone, all eyes turned toward them, most out of mild curiosity, and the other out of either annoyance or deep respect. The truth in the matter was that they had not been expecting to see their return, but there they were standing. Many of the young males were curious of these strangers, and the fact that they were able to cross the dark water was puzzling.

There was a slight stir in the group ahead, and a figure stepped out from the crowd. To be more exact, it was Kauji who had noticed their presence, mere seconds before they had stumbled inside. With his ever present smile, he walked across the room, shortening the distance between them. His friends on the other hand stayed back, not out of annoyance, but rather curiosity. “So you’ve returned!” He exclaimed with laughter. Out of deep hospitality, he ushered them inside. “Come inside, we don’t bite.” He teased.

In the background, some of the onlookers glanced at the travelers warily. Their appearance didn’t go unnoticed by any of them. All of their garments were in disarray, and some of their hair was quite untidy. There were some scratches and some singed marks on their clothing.

“Did you have trouble getting here?” Kauji asked eyeing their clothing. He felt unsure of these people who claimed that they could save their king and their women. First appearances always put strangers off. Perhaps there was more to these people then he first thought?

Before Miroku could answer his question, Inuyasha cut in. “Actually, we ran in to some trouble. We found what was responsible,” Inuyasha explained with his arms crossed in an irritable manner. “Now are you willing to accept our help, or not?” he demanded, but he only received odd looks and more glares from all sides of the room. Inuyasha had not set a very good impression upon the Zoras, so it was no wonder he was receiving glares. But it didn’t matter to him one bit.

The male merely continued grinning before turning to the closest Zora next to him, who was shorter and skinnier in stature. “Go fetch the leader.” Looking back, he smirked. “Well, make yourselves at home, he will be right out shortly.” He eyed Inuyasha from top to bottom, as if he were trying to put the pieces together.

While that was taking place, Kagome examined the occupants in the room, curiously, though her blush did not go unnoticed by some. “Why are you all out here?” She thought they were standing ready for any attack, but instead they were just lounging around without much care. Were they not terrified? What was going on?

Kauji took his eyes off of human Inuyasha and turned his attention to the young woman standing next to the half demon. “Why?” He questioned. His eyes trailed her figure before he turned his back to her. “Well, we’re getting ready for our competition, of course.”

Sango and Miroku merely blinked at this. “Competition?”

He nodded. “Of course, this is a normal custom our tribe has. Of course we were going to wait until all the women were rescued, but some of our men are impatient. You see, it’s a type of sport that everyone is allowed to participate in,” he explained. When he saw their puzzled expressions, he went on to clarify. “Think of it as a coming of age sport. It’s a time when the young ones grow to show off their abilities and the sort.”

“I see, but can’t this wait until after everything is settled down?” The monk asked. “Right now, many of your women have been taken, as well as your king.”

Kauji nodded. “Yes, but we cannot postpone this event any longer, I’m afraid,” he explained as he rubbed the back of his neck.

Bewildered by this, Shippo scratched his head. “Is it that important?”

“Yes,” he replied as a matter of fact. “And you’re all just in time.” Kauji was not oblivious to their stares. “Do not fret, we are still on alert. Some of the older males, who are not participating in this year’s event, are stationed on guard. We have some on both exits of our home.”

Relieved by this, Kagome sighed. “That’s good.” She was beginning to worry, but it seemed like they had everything under control.

Aggravated, Inuyasha searched the room. He wanted to get his over with as soon as possible, and he hated waiting. “Damn it. How long is this going to take!” he mumbled to himself.

Again Kagome sighed. “Quit being so impatient Inuyasha. We don’t always have to be in a rush.”

In response to her reply, Inuyasha grunted. “Listen here, we can’t just sit back and relax all the time. Don’t forget we’re on a time clock here.”

Hearing this, Miroku walked across the room. “That may be true, but don’t forget that we’re only human, Inuyasha.”

“He’s right,” Sango cut in. “We at least need to gather our strength. Now that we know what we’re up against, we’re going to need all the energy that we need.”

While Inuyasha grumbled incoherent words to himself about lousy friends and how weak they were, Kauji leaned in closer to the monk. “So, who exactly are you people?”

“I’m Miroku, a traveling monk in service of Buddha,” he explained in a polite manner. “Seems we haven’t had the opportunity to introduce ourselves.”

Kagome nodded at this. “We seem to be doing that a lot lately,” she laughed. She stepped up to Kauji, and bowed her head respectively. “My name is Kagome Higurashi. I’m a priestess in training,” she explained joyfully. She regained her original posture. “I want to thank you for saving me the other day.”

Seeing her beautiful smile, Kauji couldn’t help but return the kindness. “I see. Well, you’re welcome. To be honest, I’ve never heard of a monk or a priestess before. And, what is Buddha?” he questioned.

Surprised by this, Miroku was just about to explain to Kauji just who Buddha was, but before he could answer that, Kagome stepped in. “Buddha was a title given to a young man by the name of Siddhartha Gautama; he was the son of a Nepalese Raja. Siddhartha was a Zen priest, who went on a spiritual journey in search of self-discipline and contemplation. One day, he sat under a tree and he reached a peaceful state. So he spent his whole life teaching his disciples about his beliefs and how to achieve the enlightened state of Nirvana,” she explained.

Miroku marveled at her knowledge. “Kagome, I didn’t know you knew so much about Buddha.”

Embarrassed, the priestess scratched her check. “Actually, I learned it not long ago in my history class.” Kagome remembered studying for that exam, and it took her four nights to catch up on all of her assignments. In the end, she decided to memorize a small paragraph about Buddha. To be perfectly honest, she couldn’t believe she still remembered it. “It’s nothing really.”

Absorbing this, Kauji turned back to the monk. “And what is a monk? Or a priestess?” In fact, he wanted to know much about these people. Was that strange? They talked in a funny accent, and their clothing was strange to him, but there was something that seemed to lure him in to their own world.

Miroku cleared his throat. Seeing as how the leader had yet to show, and ignoring Inuyasha’s glare, he went on to explain just what a monk was. And being such an expert, Miroku told him everything, especially the fact that they exercised evil spirits and demons. Of course that led on to what a demon was, and it seemed to branch off to more questions on why it was so. During his explanation, some of the other Zoras listened in with interest.

After a few moments, Kauji understood some of what he explained. “I see. Such a strange land you must all come from. Of course, it’s not at all surprising. Many of us have never left the sanctuary of our home for many years.”

“Why is that?” Sango asked joining the small discussion.

“We cannot leave our home, and without enough water to sustain us, well, it would be hard to survive.”

That made sense. Kagome felt sorry for the tribe. Here they were trapped in Great Bay, and it must be hard for them to travel on land. They probably never really explored all of Termina. “I see. I guess you dream of going out to see the world, huh?”

Kauji nodded. “Yes. I’ve always wondered what lied beyond Great Bay. You see, we have a music band here, and they get to go off to a town in Termina to perform once a year.”
“Really?” Shippo asked. He paused after a moment. “What’s a band?”

Before his question could be answered, Kauji turned his head to look toward the far side of the room where a door opened, revealing a tall Zora. “Seems we’ll have to wait until later to talk more.”

Looking away from the male in front of them, everyone turned their eyes to the Zora approaching them. He was the very same male from before, who acted high and mighty. The leader, whose name was never given, never took his eyes off of the travelers. On either side of him were two other Zoras, covered in armor, and their expressions were hard and calculating.

A frown marred his expression as he stopped and examined each and every one of them. “I see you have returned.”

Satisfied that he finally showed, Inuyasha stepped forward. “Well, what’s your answer? Because whether you like it or not, we’re going to help.”

The leader eyed him, just as Kauji had done not long before. Something just wasn’t right with his appearance. “You are not the man from before, are you?” He certainly resembled him, but his hair was darker, as were his eyes, but his commanding nature was still there.

Inuyasha nearly rolled his eyes. “I am. Now, what’s your answer?”

Deciding to overlook the oddity, the leader nodded his head. “We give you permission to go after our people and his majesty. You are to return them safely. If you do this, a great feast shall await your arrival, and you shall be rewarded for your success,” he explained with his head held high.

“Very well,” Miroku replied. “Have no worries, we shall return your women and your king safely. Although you offer us a feast, we must decline. I’m afraid time is running short, and we must continue on our journey after this task is completed.

The leader understood this. “I see. So be it.”

Glad that this was taken care and without any threats or use of violence to talk them in to letting them help, Inuyasha turned his back to the taller male. “Alright. Let’s get this over with!”

Before either of his teammates could move one muscle, they were blocked by five young Zoras, armored and with their weapons at the ready in front of them.

Inuyasha glared at this. “What the hell? Move!”

Someone from behind them cleared his throat, and Inuyasha didn’t have to guess twice to know who it was. “I’m afraid I cannot allow the women to go along.”
Surprised, Kagome turned questionably to Kauji and the leader. “Why is that?” Why were she and Sango not allowed to go?

“Women are not warriors, and are definitely not suited for combat,” Kauji explained with an air of nonchalance. His previous joy had dissipated, and he now wore a stone mask.
“While you may claim to be worthy of battle and great strength, we Zoras have rules. Women must not participate in such fatal feats. Instead, you may both make yourselves at home here until the task is completed.

Shippo did not understand this. He’d seen his friends in combat plenty of times, and without them, he knew it would prove difficult. After all, he was there to witness the strange creatures which had attacked them moments before. Not even Inuyasha’s new sword could defeat them so easily. How were they going to fair without Kagome’s sacred powers and Sango’s exceptional skill as a slayer? Miroku no longer had his wind tunnel, so he couldn’t attack from a distance like Sango and Kagome.

“We’re not leaving them behind!” Inuyasha barked.

Kauji merely eyed the younger woman before him, whose eyes were turned toward her friends. “Then how do you suppose they could protect themselves?” he questioned with an arched brow. “Larith is right. The men are to go out on such missions, and the women are to stay at home where they are safe, and out of harm’s way.”

“What?” Inuyasha turned his glare to the younger Zora, whose expression was passive.

“Actually, Inuyasha…” Kagome began, earning all of her friend’s attention. She blushed in embarrassment. “You see…I kind of lost my bow and arrows when we were fighting those monsters…” From the look sent her direction, she nearly cringed. “Sorry.”

Miroku calmly patted her shoulder. “There’s nothing to apologize for. These things happen.”

Inuyasha did not say a word, but instead he just sighed.

“Do not fret. I’m sure you will be fine,” the leader explained. “Now then, you don’t have much time, go along.” Noticing how quiet the males had gotten, he once again cleared his throat. “You have nothing to fear. They shall be safe. I assure you. Besides, I’m sure you don’t want any harm to come to your lovers.”

Remembering something the monk had said before, Kauji stepped in. “Oh, the monk does not have a lover. It’s strictly forbidden for him.” It was strange to him that some land walkers refused to have mates, but apparently it was so. The thought seemed lonely to him. How could a man live a life without a female companion?

The leader blinked at this new information. “A monk? Forbidden to love? I’ve never heard of such a thing.” He glanced back at the other girl. “What say you, woman?”

Confused, Kagome pointed to herself. “Me?” she asked.

“Which man are you with?” he clarified. Apparently there were two girls and three guys. There had to be at least a couple of lovers in the group.

Seeing this, all the men stared at Kagome, which of course completely made her uncomfortable. “Uh…I…don’t have anyone like that,” she stuttered feeling her face grow hot. What did it matter if she was with a man or not? Besides, it was none of their business, but they seemed completely interested in knowing for some reason.

“For such women as yourselves, it is quite surprising that you do not have someone,” A tall Zora stepped next to Kauji, with his arm around his shoulder. “Kauji, can you believe that?” He seemed serious one moment, then the next he laughed.

“Not at all,” he replied as he stared at the women with piqued interest.

Out of the corner of his eye, Link noticed many of the Zoras approach the group, and he wondered about their strange behavior. Of course the situation was baffling, he moved away from the crowded area and stood before the entry way. It made Link’s job easier if Kagome was going to stay. At least he wouldn’t have to worry about her, seeing as how she did seem to attract trouble. Besides, she wouldn’t be alone; Sango would be with her.

Unsure of how to respond, Inuyasha merely glared at them. There was no way he would allow his companions to stay behind. He needed their aid, but then again, Kagome might get in the way. When wasn’t she? And if she stayed here, then she would probably stay out of trouble, and the domain was protected. Sango could stay and keep her company as well. He didn’t trust those Zoras one bit, and with Sango there, he knew she’d be safe.

“Inuyasha? What are your thoughts?” Miroku asked, noticing his stern glare.

After a moment of reconsideration, he nodded. “Fine. And if anything happens to them, just remember I hold your king’s life in my hands,” he warned.

The Zoras each glared at the remark and many scowled at his ignorance. Neither of them had forgiven Inuyasha for the rude comments he said yesterday, and so they bitterly resented him. They could care less about the other guys. As far as they knew, they didn’t have a problem with them.

Hearing such a rude and arrogant reply from her friend, Kagome grew upset. “Inuyasha!”

“I’m just saying!” He growled at the leader before turning his back to Kagome. “Let’s get going!”

As Miroku and Inuyasha departed off, Link remained where he was, and stared at the Zoras. Nothing made sense. These new rules about not wanting women to go off in to battle stumped him. The Zoras were never acted that way, not that he knew. For some reason, he had the urge to stay, but he thought better of it. He knew more about Great Bay than anyone else, and the guys would need his help.

“What do we do, Link?” Shippo asked at his feet.

Turning his attention away from the females, Link followed the path Inuyasha and Miroku took seconds ago. “We follow. I may need your help Shippo.” With that said, he continued on, with Kirara following closely behind.

Glancing in both directions, the child wasn’t sure whether he should follow Link or not. He wanted to stay with Kagome, and he was in no hurry to face any dangerous sea monsters any time soon. Remembering his promise to Jim and the Bombers, he sighed before scampering after the green warrior. “Wait for me!”

Link stopped suddenly, and turned to Serena sitting on his shoulder comfortably. “Serena, can you stay here and keep a watch on them?”

“Of course!” She replied joyously. “But, will you guys be okay?”

Link nodded. “Yes. If anything should happen, come and find me. I shouldn’t be too far. I have a good hunch where we might find these creatures.”

“Really? Where?”

“Hurry up!” Shippo called ahead of him.

Link shook his head at his fairy companion. “If my hunch is right, I want you to find the fisherman we met before. He will direct you the way. After all, he was the first one to come upon the beasts.”

Serena nodded at this. “Got it! I’ll keep Kagome safe!” Leave it to Link to figure out the mystery behind the mutant fish.

Link blushed at the mentioning of Kagome’s name, before following after the others. He realized that Serena must have noticed his infatuation with the girl. The boy knew he’d never hear the end of this.

Left out once again, Kagome sighed, dropping her shoulders as she did. Yet, she wasn’t alone. This time Sango was with her, and for that she was truly grateful. If she were left alone here, she wouldn’t know how to behave with so many nude men in the same room as her. So what would she and Sango do during their stay here?

Chapter Text

While they were in midflight, the boys looked about the ocean. There had been no signs of movement in the water after they left the domain, and things were strangely quiet. The storm which had taken effect a short while ago subsided, leaving behind a cool breeze and the strong scent of the acid sea.

Shippo sat in front of Link, who sat behind Miroku. Once again, Inuyasha hung off the side of Kirara as usual, seeing as how there wasn’t any room for him on her back. But he was fine with it of course. He wasn’t complaining.

“I wonder where we should start?” Shippo began. There was no telling where those creatures were, or where they would even find them, and he didn’t feel up to another confrontation.

“First, we need to ask around,” Miroku muttered. “I think we should ask the fisherman about their whereabouts, what about you three?”

“Fine by me,” Inuyasha replied. “He probably knows something.”

With that in mind, Kirara flew them in the direction of the small hut which belonged to the older man. The night was still upon them, and the group kept their eyes out. After a while of silence, they reached the shore safely and without any trouble. The hut was just a short distance away and there seemed to be no sign of life inside it.

Stepping inside the darkened room, the older boys peered in to the room. There was not one bit of candlelight to light the way inside, so it made matters difficult to approach any further. The desolate room was void of any life, and seeing as how the fisherman was nowhere in sight, they left.

“Where’d he go?” Inuyasha complained.

“Seems he’s not here.” Perhaps he got frightened by the ever present night? Or maybe he was out doing something.

Inuyasha rolled his eyes. “I figured that out!”

Link, who had yet to step inside, turned his back to the hut and switched his attention directly ahead. A small hut rested above a platform which floated above the surface of the water. It was there that a crazy professor dwelled, and from what Link could remember, the old man was knowledgeable about the area and all inhabitants of the sea. Surely he would be of great assistance. If anyone knew of the disturbance as of late, it would be him.

“What are you looking at Link?” Shippo asked.

Barely giving the child a single glance, he pointed at the platform a small distance away. “You see that? There’s an old man who lives there, and I’m sure he will aid us in seeking these fiends,” He paused for a moment before adding. “For all we know, the fisherman might have already been taken.” Or it could be that he fled for his life. Whatever the case, Link knew they had to get moving. He hated staying in one place for too long. Wasn’t that obvious?

Shippo cringed at the last remark. “Taken? Y-you mean kidnapped?”

In his usual nonchalance façade, Link nodded. “Or worse,” he replied. Of course it didn’t surprise him in the least. When weren’t people kidnapped or eaten by monsters? That was just an ordinary part of Link’s life, but for others such as Shippo, perhaps it wasn’t so normal. Link shook his head, letting his golden locks fall away from his head in a smooth motion.

With Inuyasha’s attention focused elsewhere, Miroku sighed. “It’s too bad Inuyasha can’t sniff them out,” he muttered suddenly with a puzzled expression gracing his countenance. But the monk did not seem disheartened; instead he seemed prepared to continue on in their search.

“Yeah, well it wouldn’t matter anyway,” Inuyasha’s voice carried from right behind him. He was fed up with the searching, and the delay. Because he was not in his normal form, he was just like his friends, weak.

Because time was running out, Link spoke up. He didn’t have all day, and he wanted to make some progress before morning came, if ever. “We should ask the professor living in the marine research lab over there. If anyone knows anything, it would be him,” he explained.

Hearing this, Kirara transformed in to her bigger form, and Miroku and Inuyasha took their seats. Before Link could settle himself on the feline’s back, Shippo tugged at his pants. The boy glanced down to stare curiously at the youngster.

“I’ll take you across!” Shippo declared. Before Link could protest such a demand, Shippo suddenly transformed.

Link accepted his offer, mostly because the child seemed so intent to offer him a ride across the water. He settled himself upon the newly transformed Shippo; he was in the form a giant pink pall with crazy eyes again. Miroku and Inuyasha didn’t seem to care one bit, and just like that, they were up in the air, following behind Kirara. Honestly, he found it strange to ride on Kirara, only because she could fly; this was the same with Shippo, but it did not matter. Link preferred any other option, rather than taking the easier way, but since time was against them, he had no choice.

Within seconds, they arrived at the platform’s bottom. Because the area above was narrow, Kirara touched ground on the bottom where the ladder led up to the small hut. On the other hand, Shippo had no problem reaching the door of the hut, and he returned to his normal form inches before he landed.

“What is this again?” Inuyasha asked as he made his way up the iron ladder.

“This is the Marine Research Lab,” the youth replied from above. Link reached his hand out, brushing his fingers across the cool metal surface of the door, where bars decorated its exterior, before knocking. When there was no answer, he knocked again. Normally the professor inside would answer it, or he would yell in his shriek filled voice for them to enter, but there was nothing but silence. “Strange.”

With his annoyance flaring, Inuyasha pushed the boy aside. “What’s taking so long? Just open the door already!” The delay was starting to bother him, and with Link’s persistence to knock, it only irritated him more. Although the strange metal resembled some of Kagome’s futuristic devices, Inuyasha did not let it get to him. “Let me show you how it’s really done!” Rather than take the time to knock, he grasped the knob, twisting it each way before pulling it with as much strength as he could force. When that failed, he decided to bring his fist down hard against the door, hoping to break it open, but it would not budge. “Damn it!”

As the seconds passed, his eyes fell on a circular window. Peering inside, all he saw was darkness. There was not a soul inside, and his shoulders nearly dropped in exasperation. He was beginning to dislike Great Bay and the strangeness that surrounded it. He resumed trying to break the door down.

To Link, the scene seemed almost comical, but still ignorant. The warrior was not at all fazed by his behavior. He was inching to push the man out of the way, but he kept himself passive. Was there not one decent trait about the half demon? Link did not understand how he and his friends got along together. By now, Link would have willingly left him behind, but because of the circumstances, he held himself back. “It’s common courtesy to knock before entering, Inuyasha,” Link remarked with a hint of displeasure dripping off his tongue. He made sure to stress ‘courtesy.’

Of course Inuyasha ignored the youth, but his pounding did not cease. “Like I care! You and Kagome are the same with that damn ‘courtesy’ crap!” Inuyasha did not have all day to wait outside someone’s door, and there was no way in hell he would knock; it wasn’t in his character. “OPEN UP! WE WANT ANSWERS!”

From his loud bellowing in the quietness of the night, Shippo covered his ears. “Yeah, that’s really showing us…” Shippo rolled his eyes. Who was Inuyasha kidding? There was no one there, so of course he wasn’t going to get an answer.

Disappointed that there was yet an answer, Inuyasha turned and glared at the child nestled atop Miroku’s shoulder. “What was that?”

Link sighed. Why couldn’t he at least act the part of a civilized individual? Was it so difficult? He was sure, if the old man was inside, he was probably cowering in a corner or something of the nature.

“Whoever lives here has either retired for the night, or they are not home,” Miroku mentioned before musing to himself. “Seems like we’re on our own on this one.”

Again, Inuyasha cursed. Nothing was going right, and he was not in any mood to search the entire beach for any hint of evidence pertaining to their whereabouts. If he had been in his half demon form, it wouldn’t be a problem. “Well let’s not stand here all day, let’s—“

A soft whimper cried out in the night, and the sound was shocking to say the least; it captured everyone’s attention. The cry was strangled with a dreadful sense of lament that the boys could not help but grow curious. It was close bye, yet the vicinity that they occupied was vacant. After a pause, an ear shrieking wail broke the once silent night, and followed after were repeated sobs. In-between those wails, a high pitched squeaky voice muttered incoherent words which were loud and strangely obnoxious.

Baffled by the cries and to whom it belonged to, the group searched around them, hoping to locate the source, but they couldn’t find anyone. Concerned, Miroku searched behind the small hut, but to his dismay, there was nothing there but a few empty crates. Shippo on the other hand looked below the higher platform, but all he saw was Kirara at the bottom looking up at him.

As for Inuyasha, he covered his ears as the wailing increased tenfold. The noise was unbearably maddening, and it felt for a moment that his ears would bleed. “What the heck is that?” he asked. It was more almost as annoying as Shippo when he cried. In fact, the cry sounded like it came from a woman, an older one, but there was no female around that he could see.

Perplexed by the situation, Link didn’t have to look too far. From his line of vision, he noticed a round shadow lingering before his feet. Turning his attention upwards, he found the source. “Tingle?” he voiced, easily gaining everyone’s attention, including the small man.

Hearing the name ‘Tingle,’ Inuyasha felt a headache come on. Didn’t he run in to the little guy in Clock Town not long ago? Just yesterday that little pipsqueak tried to sell him maps, after claiming that he was a fairy or something of the sort. Why the heck was he all the way out here? “Oh great, not him.”

Wiping away his tears, the little guy squinted so as to clear his vision. “Could it be…” he softly muttered to himself as he eyed the group. Tingle’s mouth fell open with sudden delight. “It is!” He declared, and without any warning, he pulled the string to his balloon and gravity caught up to him.

“Who is this?” Miroku asked Inuyasha. The monk eyed the strange man, especially his strange sense of fashion. Out of all the folks he’d seen in Termina, none whatsoever resembled him.

Leaning in closer to Miroku, Inuyasha whispered, “Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact.” Before he could pull away, there was a tug at his pants, and he glanced down to see small arms wrapped around his leg affectionately…

“Oh, Tingle missed you!”

“Get off!” Inuyasha kicked the little man with the green tight fitted clothes away. If it was anyone who truly pissed him off, it was this guy. Heck even Kouga wasn’t as annoying as this shrimp, and Inuyasha only met him once a while back.

Not at all put down by his words or actions, Tingle smiled regardless, overjoyed that his friend was still around. “Tingle cannot express just how happy he is to see you!”

Beyond perplexed, Miroku leaned in to whisper to Inuyasha. “You two have met?”

“Don’t even ask. Tinkle here thinks he’s a fairy,” he explained.

Of course Inuyasha’s reply did not help Miroku in the least. Instead, he just stared at the small man with the bushy eyebrows, the goatee, and strange point of his head, and so forth. ‘Fairy?’

Shippo, who had remained silent, could not help but also stare at the small man. Although it was night, and it was somewhat difficult to see clearly as one does in the morning, he thought for sure that Tingle was around his age, but he was wrong. Since when did he and Inuyasha get acquainted? It seemed that not only did Serena know him but so did Link.

“My name is Tingle, sir,” the tiny man corrected, pained that his new friend had forgotten. “Because we are friends, I must ask your name.”

Inuyasha merely eyed the creature at his feet who stared up at him intently. “Don’t you have somewhere else to be?”

He shook his head, before wiping the snot which was hanging down from his nose away. “No.”

“You were crying a moment ago, does something trouble you?” Miroku asked, ignoring Inuyasha’s glare to keep silent.

The smile fell away, and Tingle lowered his head almost shamefully. “Yes. You see, I was robbed a while ago…” He sniffed.

Instead of quietly ignoring him, Inuyasha looked at the guy with a hint of sympathy. Although he seemed annoying, and because Inuyasha had only met him briefly before, he felt bad. It occurred to him that bad things probably happen to Tinkle all the time; it wasn’t surprising. “And so you’re just going to cry? Did you try getting it back?”

Tingle shook his head. “No. I couldn’t possibly anyway,” he admitted.

“How come you’re out here?” Shippo asked suddenly. “I thought you lived in Clock Town?”

Tingle, snapped out of his melancholy state and eyed the fox child standing at the monk’s feet. “I don’t live in town. I’m a seller of maps. Wherever the people are, that’s where the business is,” he explained.

“I saw you once before floating in the air…” Shippo explained thoughtfully. Whatever it was that was keeping the little guy in the air was a mystery to him.

Noticing the confusion in his eyes, Tingle turned around to show them his backpack upon his back. “There is a balloon that I control inside here. Whenever I want, I can take to the sky. My father created this contraption some years ago, and it comes in handy.”

“For what?” Shippo asked.

Tingle placed his hands on either side of his waist, with his feet apart, and his expression consorted sternly. “Why to sell maps of course! Tingle is the best when it comes to drawing maps!” A thought passed over the man’s face and he turned his eyes back up to Inuyasha. “Which reminds me, you never did buy one of Tingle’s maps.”

“Yeah, and I still don’t want one.”

“Really? Are you sure? Are you positively certain that you will not need one? Because Tingle’s maps are still on sale,” he reminded. The fairy man was hoping that his new friend would at least consider buying one of his maps. “Will you buy one?”

“Will you cut that out? I said I don’t want one!”

Musing for a moment, Miroku stepped forward. “Maps? Actually, a map might be of some assistance to us. How much are they, by chance?” he asked.

Pausing briefly, Tingle nearly swooned with joy at the question. Someone actually wanted to buy his maps. “A map of Great Bay is ten rupees!”

The price seemed cheap to the monk, and he considered the amount. “Hmm, ten rupees. Sadly, I do not have any money on me, so maps are out of the question…”

While an awkward silenced washed over the group, Link calmly reached in to his satchel, rummaging through his items in search of his wallet, but he could not find it. Baffled, he searched through his pockets, and when they too turned up empty, he wondered where he might have misplaced it. ‘Strange, I know I had in my satchel…’

“Oh, well in that case I’ll give you one for free!”

“Free?” Shippo asked. “Thanks!”

“Are you certain?” The monk asked. “We do not wish to trouble you…Tingle.”

But it was no trouble to the little guy at all, in fact, he was overjoyed. Removing the bag from his back, he sat it down in front of their feet and began sorting it through it. “Let’s see…which one was it?” After a moment or two, he retrieved what he had been looking for. Delighted, he handed the parchment to Miroku, who took it earnestly.

“Thank you very much. We shall repay you,” Miroku promised while taking a gander at the worn piece of paper with multiple scribbles. The hand writing was written strangely, and most of the writing overlapped each other.

Delighted, Tingle danced in small circles, much to everyone’s surprise, all except Inuyasha and Link; they’d seen his dance before. “Tingle, Tingle, Kooloo Limpah!” His twirling ended soon after it had begun, and unexpectedly to Miroku and Shippo, he jumped for joy, with many sparkles and confetti falling over his form. “Those were Tingle’s magic words, do not steal them,” he warned gleefully.

“…ok…” Shippo sweat dropped. He wasn’t even going to ask. The man was weird in his opinion, but maybe he couldn’t help it.

An awkward silence washed over them, and Miroku felt a forced smile graze his expression. The little guy was intriguing, that was for sure, but he didn’t say anything, especially when the small man stared at them long and hard with that ever present smile glued to his face.

Fed up with the staring, Inuyasha made past them. “Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m outta here.”

“Wait!”

Inuyasha sent a glare over his shoulder. “Now what? Listen, we don’t have all day to be talking!”

Not the least bit offended, Tingle suddenly threw himself onto the half demon, with renewed tears falling from his bulging eyes, while also grasping his red shirt. “No! Tingle needs you! Please hear Tingle out!”

“Get off!” Inuyasha tried to push the ‘thing’ off him, but it was no use, the little guy had a strong grip. He sighed. “What?”

Sniffing back his sobs, Tingle began the sad story. “You see, Tingle was robbed. Last night,” he began solemnly. “At least Tingle believes it was. The day and night have been strange,” he muttered to himself. When he noticed Inuyasha’s eye twitch, Tingle continued on. “Anyways, Tingle was selling his maps when these strange monsters appeared from the waters!” Fear took over the paunchy man’s countenance. “Tingle was so frightened that Tingle escaped to the roof up there,” he pointed up at the hut’s roof before continuing on. “But, in the process of escaping, Tingle dropped something very important.”

Inuyasha felt the little man clench his clothes too tightly, and he had the nerve to flick him off. “And? What was it?”

“A watch,” Tingle replied. The tears and the sobs worsened. “You see, it fell right where you are standing. And one of those foul creatures took it. That watch belonged to my father.”

Inuyasha glared. “And? Was there a point you were trying to get across?”

Tears sprang from Tingle’s eyes, and he sobbed quite loudly. “I couldn’t do anything! Father will be deeply upset!”

“Well it’s not my problem,” Inuyasha replied uncaring.

Deeply regretful for the little man, Miroku interrupted. “These creatures stole your father’s watch?” The monk was a little perplexed the word watch, but it must have been something deeply important to upset Tingle. “Do you know the last you saw them leave?”

Rubbing his eyes furiously, Tingle nodded. “After they kidnapped the older man, they disappeared around the other side of the coast.”

Surprised by this new information, Inuyasha removed the little man off his person, and dropped him. “And you just sat by and did nothing?

Tingle rubbed at his red eyes, though the tears remained. He lowered his eyes. “There was no way Tingle could possibly standup to them…there were too many,” he hiccupped. The little guy appeared so distraught before the group.

“Well, is where in that direction did you see them heading?” Inuyasha asked the sitting man.

Blowing his nose, Tingle discarded the cloth and looked up at Inuyasha puzzled. “Why do you want to know where they went?” Could it be that his new friend was willing to go to extreme lengths to get his watch back? If that was so, then he couldn’t be any more ecstatic.

“We’re on a quest!” Shippo explained suddenly, baffling the little man further, but also gaining his interest.

Tingle’s eyes sparkled at the word. All his life, he had always dreamed of going out on a grand adventure. Just like the heroes in the story books, he wanted to help someone, save a lamented princess, find the riches, and also to travel the seas. Not only that, but to find his fairy friend he longed to have. “A quest?” The little man stood up and faced the child, his buck teeth sparkled in the moonlight.

“Shippo, don’t go telling random people we’re on a quest!”

Shippo stared at Inuyasha questionably. “Why not? It’s true.”

Although the child didn’t know, Miroku understood Inuyasha. “It’s best to keep ourselves secretive. We’ve only told certain ones about our purpose here,” he explained to the child.

Link nodded. “Yes, it’s best that the wrong ears do hear such information. As we speak, we may be watched. So, it’s best to say little or nothing at all, and to keep our guard up at all times. There’s no telling who we can trust these days.” So far, they have been secretive on their travels, and the only ones that knew of this this was the Great Fairy back in Clock Town. Kafei and Anju weren’t completely sure of their journey, but Link knew that they could be trusted.

Finally understanding, Shippo nodded. “Oh sorry.

Inuyasha cursed. “Just what we need, more people knowing!” He crossed his arms. He wasn’t mad at Shippo, just annoyed.

“I said I was sorry!”

After looking between the males, Tingle faced Inuyasha. “Do not worry. Tingle won’t tell a soul!”

After calmly regarding the little man, Inuyasha shrugged. “Fine. Just don’t spill this information to anyone,” he warned.

“You have Tingle’s trust!” Tingle found himself lost in thought. “Tingle has always dreamed of going on an adventure! Why are you on this quest? Tingle thought it was strange that there seemed to be some foreigners around lately.”

Inuyasha felt a headache coming on. “Look, Tinkle, we don’t have all day! Now just tell us where in that direction they were headed!”

Gasping, Tingle firmly planted his fists on either of his hips. “My name is Tingle! How could you forget?”

“Yeah, yeah, Tingle, Tinkle, whatever your name is.” Inuyasha didn’t care to learn what the little man’s name was, and he was already annoyed that this delay was holding them up. But the green guy must have known what direction they left in.

“If you’re Tingle’s friend, the least you could do is remember Tingle’s name,” he retorted completely abashed by the misuse of his name.

“Who said I was your friend?” Inuyasha questioned, only upsetting Tingle further.

Gasping, Tingle felt his knees weaken. “You do not wish to be Tingle’s friend?” A gush of tears suddenly fell from his eyes, and his sobs increased nearly ten times louder than before.

Seeing the dramatic scene play out before him, Link sighed. They really didn’t have all day for any of this. And he’d seen Tingle like this plenty of times on his quest before. The little guy was always so emotional, but he always got over it after a while. Sometimes, Link just didn’t know how to handle his sudden outbursts; that’s why he preferred to keep his distance.

Shippo groaned. “Now you made the poor guy cry!”

Inuyasha nearly groaned at the sight. This was getting ridiculous. “If you’re a man, then stop crying!” It was no wonder the guy didn’t have any friends. Realizing that the situation wasn’t going to get them anywhere, and because he knew what Kagome would say if she saw this happening, Inuyasha decided to do the one thing he dreaded. “Fine, I’m sorry!”

Tingle looked up, and wiped away his tears. “You are? Does that mean you are Tingle’s friend?”

A twitch developed under Inuyasha’s eye. But he said nothing in return.

With his arms crossed, Shippo turned toward Tingle. “Inuyasha’s always like that. Don’t take him seriously. Sometimes he just can’t explain his feelings to others, and most of the time he acts like he doesn’t care.” Shippo hoped this was enough to cheer the little guy. “It’s just who he is, and he needs to get over it.”

“What was that?” Inuyasha glared at the child.

Sniffling, and rubbing the snot from his red nose, Tingle broke out in to a grin. “Inuyasha? Tingle understands now,” he replied and stared up at the irate man in front of him. He finally knew the name of his friend.

After a few seconds of strange silence, Inuyasha saw Tingle’s continuous stare on him, and it was enough to make him want to growl. “What?”

“Inuyasha… Inuyasha…Inuyasha,” At this point, Tingle appeared mesmerized by the sheer fact that he had finally figured out what his friend’s name was. Although it sounded strange, Tingle did not mind. “Inuyasha…”

Growing irritated even further, Inuyasha restrained himself from hurting Tinkle. “Will you stop that!?”

Without any warning, like usual, Tingle latched himself onto Inuyasha’s leg. He rubbed his cheek against the red fabric, his eyes closed. “Tingle is so happy to know the name of his friend!”

“Get off!"

Link smirked at the sight. For all that Inuyasha’s done, he deserved a little torment, and Tingle was just the kind of torment he needed. Inuyasha had no idea what he had just signed himself up for. There was only one way to truly get rid of Tingle, but Link wasn’t feeling all that generous at the moment.

Removing himself from his leg, Tingle stepped a couple feet away, his smile never faltering. “If Tingle tells you the whereabouts of those beasts, will you do Tingle a favor?”

Miroku nodded. “But of course. After all, you’ve helped us greatly already. What do you need?”

“Tingle will reward you handsomely if you retrieve his stolen watch,” he explained.

Inuyasha nearly rolled his eyes. If the guy was so desperate to get his father’s watch back, then he could at least go get it himself. But Tingle was in no way, height or strength, not that he could see anyway, go against such monsters. The little guy would surely die. “Fine. But what would you have that would be of any value?”

Excited, Tingle hoped from one foot to the other. “Why my maps of course!”

Suddenly intrigued, Miroku stepped forward. “Are you saying that if we do return your watch, you would be willing to offer us free maps for our travels?” The thought seemed good enough for him. And they wouldn’t have to worry about money either.

“But of course!”

“Then we accept!” Miroku declared joyously. Things were starting to look up.

Delighted, Tingle turned to Inuyasha. “Tingle saw them head for the giant wall. Tingle has never been there personally, and Tingle doesn’t want to either. Bad things happen there. Tingle believes it’s there that the black water came.”

“The giant wall?” Miroku questioned. He was sure he hadn’t missed a giant wall on their way around Great Bay, but then again, they had yet to search the entire island.

Knowing exactly what Tingle was talking about, Link spoke up. “I know where he means,” he replied, earning everyone’s attention. “I know the way there, and it’s not far. Like Tingle said, it’s a bad place, especially for men.” But Link knew that they would be fine, if nothing went wrong. Personally, Link would rather go there alone and take care of the mess, but because of the group, he knew it would prove difficult. He could only imagine what might happen once they get there.

Tingle nodded earnestly. “I heard it’s a dreadful place! There have been many bad rumors lately. So be extra careful.”

Grateful for the information, and that someone in the group was pulling their weight, Inuyasha stalked toward the ladder leading down to where Kirara sat patiently waiting. “Well, let’s not stand here all day talking. Let’s go!”

As Inuyasha and Miroku took their places on Kirara, and Shippo carried Link toward back toward the coast, Tingle watched them leave. In all his life, Tingle never thought he’d ever come across such a group. Although they were foreigners, he found their presence a delight. Not only that, but he was able to make a friend.

“Inuyasha…” The name fell off his tongue nicely. With his eyes sparkling, he waved the group off. “Don’t forget! Tingle will be waiting!”

With Shippo leading the way, Link pointed them in the direction of the wall. The destination was not far, and should take them ten minutes to get there.

“I thought we’d never get away!” Inuyasha complained.

Miroku chuckled at the man behind him. “You seem to have made friends so quickly, Inuyasha.”

“Friends? With that annoying pipsqueak? I never agreed! He just assumed that I was his friend,” Inuyasha recalled the time when he first met the little guy. It was not very pleasant.

Miroku laughed at his friend’s behavior. “Well we are very fortunate to have run in to Tingle. He has helped us, and we should return the favor.”

“Yeah. I know,” Inuyasha replied.

The giant wall soon came in to view, and the men found their eyes clued to it as they slowly approached. The sooner they took care of the problem here in Great Bay, the sooner they could head out. It seemed that Great Bay was not the only region afflicted by such a dilemma. Surely other wrong doings were also transpiring in the last two regions of Termina.

Chapter Text

While the guys were away, the girls settled themselves quietly in the Domain. There wasn’t much to do, since the Zoras were all sitting around conversing before the big event they were going to display. While in the process of also waiting, both Sango and Kagome decided to explore the cavern. The Zoras had been so nice as to let them roam freely and to relax, and for that they were grateful.

The doors which aligned the walls were all locked, and because it would seem rude to enter in to someone else’s room, they strolled along the mossy flooring, their gaze pointed upward and around. The sight was indeed breathtaking, and there was a sense of calmness surrounding them.

Sango had taken the time to survey the natural beauty surrounding her. At first she was quite shocked when it seemed as if the Zoras were not the real threat. First impressions were not always good, and this one was sort of in between. Honestly, Sango wasn’t entirely sure if she should trust them. So for now, she would keep her guard up. You could say she got used to the trickery, and there was no telling when something would go wrong.

She explored the upper levels of the domain, allowing herself to breathe in the fresh smell of the water down below. Lights danced off the walls reflected from the spring. She had to admit, she enjoyed the view. There wasn’t much to look at, but then again, too much would have been too much. Down below, the males were preparing for the event. They were nice enough to allow them their freedom here while their friends were away, so maybe she felt they were somewhat trustworthy.

At one point, Kagome managed to slip away; no doubt curious when she came upon what appeared to be a small room, filled with laughter. The room was situated away from the spring, down a small hall where sea shells adorned the walls abundantly. The door was already open, and curious of the laughter, she peeked inside. On the other side, she noticed a female Zora standing between two small children who were intent on fighting it out.

“But it was my turn!”

“That wasn’t fair to her! Now give her back her shell!”

“You’re not my boss!”

The adult between them held each of the boys apart while scolding them on their bad behavior. “Listen, you both need to get along. I don’t care who started it, but you will apologize at once.” She took a small item from one of the small Zoras and handed it to another who was standing off to the side crying. After handing the item to the child, she turned her head toward the open doorway. “Yes?”

Realizing that she had been caught, Kagome stepped out of her hiding spot and scratched the back of his head embarrassed. “I’m sorry for interrupting. I was walking past when I heard laughter.”

Almost instantly, the Zora’s expression brightened up, and she waved Kagome in. “Please, won’t you come inside? I don’t mind at all.”

“Are you sure?” The priestess’s eyes fell on a few children sitting on the floor playing together. Almost immediately, her eyes sparkled. The children were completely adorable.
“No you are fine,” she replied before making herself comfortable in a skeletal chair off to the right. She eyed the girl in front of her curiously. In all honesty, she was excited that the young woman had come to visit. It wasn’t often that she got to speak to townsfolk from Clock Town. Not only that, but she was puzzled by her and her friends. They had managed to come across the dark sea without any burnt flesh. “What is your name?”

Turning her eyes away from the children, Kagome scratched her head in embarrassment. “Oh my name is Kagome. What is yours?”

“Lulu,” the Zora replied politely. “Kagome?” The name was strange coming from her mouth. But she shouldn’t be surprised, after all, this woman who along with her friends were also quite different. No doubt it had been a while since she had last seen a land dweller. “Do you live in Clock Town?”

Kagome shook her head. “No. Actually, my friends and I just arrived in Termina not long ago. We’re still getting used to things around here.”

“Where is it you and your friends come from?”

Watching herself, and making sure not to give out too much information, the priestess explained. “Well our homeland is quite far from here actually,” The young girl began with a small laugh. She wasn’t sure what to tell her. If she just came out and said she was from the future of another world, it might be too much. “I suppose across the seas and over the mountains.” That seemed like a good enough answer.

“Oh?” She replied. Lulu didn’t mind the girl standing in front of her. Of course she couldn’t help but notice that she was keeping her home a secret from her. But it wasn’t any of her business to pry in to other’s affairs. What she was interested in was that she and her friends were willing to help their clan. “That is far.”

Deciding to change the subject, Kagome again turned and looked at the children. “So are they yours?”

“Actually only one, that boy there,” she pointed with a small smile.

Looking closer, Kagome saw the young lad standing with the other three across the room. His expression was childlike and innocent like all children. He didn’t seem as developed as the other males, and he seemed to be at the stage where he was starting to grow his fins. Unlike the other kids his age, his skin was much paler in comparison to the other children. His ears appeared small and pointed, and there looked to be a small scar under his eye, clearly bewildering the young woman. The boy did not have a caudal extension like the adults and neither did the other children. The children weren’t exactly wearing any clothing, and she wondered if their tribe was always like this.

“He is my youngest out of many,” Lulu explained. “I’m looking after the children, until the mothers are safely returned.”

“Where are his brothers and sisters?” Kagome asked.

Lulu’s expression fell at the mentioning. “I lost them years ago. A few days after they hatched, they grew sick,” she replied sadly. “He is the only survivor. I haven’t told him of his brothers.”

“I’m sorry Lulu. I shouldn’t have asked…” Kagome felt her good mood drop suddenly.

“Mikau is a good boy. Sometimes he can get rough, but he’s the sweetest out of all the children,” she replied with a small smile. “He takes after his father…”

Kagome smiled. “What about his father?”

A frown crossed her face, and she sighed. “He passed away some time ago. I’m sure you’ve seen his grave on the shore. If it weren’t for his sacrifice, Mikau might not be here with me now,” she explained. “You see, my eggs were stolen back then.”

Kagome frowned. “Sorry. Your eggs were stolen?”

She nodded. “Yes. Some thieves snuck in my room one night, and I had tried to fight them off, but I was unable to. I told Mikau about the incident, and he disappeared that night. There were a few times I thought I saw him. No, I was certain it was him, only much different. You see, Great Bay was in turmoil back then also. The sea was murky, and the fish were quite nippy. The ocean didn’t burn as it does today. But, after three days, everything returned to normal miraculously.” She sighed. “I heard that the moon was said to fall, but it didn’t.”

Almost immediately, Kagome remembered seeing what appeared to be a grave site on the beach. The grave was demolished terribly, but Kagome kept her mouth shut; she didn’t want to upset her. “I’m sorry.” Kagome remembered when she was a little girl her father had too passed away, two years before her brother was born. Kagome never knew what happened to him; her mother never said anything more about it. The day had started out like any day. While her mother was busy tending to the laundry, there was a phone call. Mom had fallen tears, and she would tell Kagome that it was nothing.

After a few weeks, her mother told Kagome that her father had gone far away. A few days after the incident, they had moved in with her grandpa on the Higurashi Shrine, a few miles away from their old home. Recently, before the accident, grandpa also lost his wife, and had been living alone. Kagome had been living there for the remainder of her life. She guessed her mother couldn’t stand living in that old apartment where everything reminded her of dad. In a way, Kagome didn’t blame her.

“Kagome?”

Snapping out of her reverie, Kagome smiled at the Zora. “Sorry.” Of course there had been times where she would sit down and think about what might have happened if her father hadn’t passed away. They usually led to what if she never fell in to the family’s shrine well. If her father had lived, she probably wouldn’t have met Inuyasha and everyone else. Was it destined to happen? Her father was a kind man, with a steady job, and he did his very best to keep a roof over their heads. Back then, when she had started kindergarten, she remembered how he would often come home late at night from staying at work late. Then one night, he didn’t return.

“Mikau, not so rough!” Lulu scolded.

Turning toward the boy, Kagome watched as the youth scowled at her temper before settling himself back in to a pout. Deciding to introduce herself, she approached the young one, who eyed her somewhat distrustfully. “Hi there, so you’re Mikau, huh?” She smiled her sweet smile and kneeled so that she was eye level with the youth. “My name is Kagome.”

Regarding her rather closely, the boy planted his fists on either side of his hips. “That’s a strange name,” he replied indifferently. “Are you really a land dweller?”
Kagome nodded. “Yes.”

“I didn’t think you showed as much skin as us? How come land dwellers wear clothes?” he asked eyeing her uniform with strange curiosity.

Kagome smiled regardless. “Well, I don’t really know the answer to that.” Actually she did, she just felt it was best not to confuse the lad any further. “Are these your friends?”
The child grinned suddenly, nodding vigorously. “Yes.” He pointed to each of his friends who stood off to the side, staring at Kagome warily. “That’s Ralif, Meplin, and Eizel.
Kagome smiled. And he said her name was strange. “Nice to meet you.”

Ralif was a taller Zora, a few inches taller than Mikau. His scales were slightly darker than Mikau, and contained a few indigo spots on his skin; one was on his left leg, one on his arm, and the other on his stomach. His eyes were also green, a trait that all the Zoras seemed to have.

Kagome moved her gaze to the other Zora, Meplin. She was the smallest of the three. Much like Lulu, this young girl had a rounder, feminine body. Like all the females, her ears were visibly pointed. On either side of her wide head, was a pair of extra eyes. Although the characteristic was strange, Kagome didn’t mind. The child held herself steady, not at all modest as the males. Timidly, she held her hands behind her back, looking up at Kagome as she did.

As for the other, Eizel, he was a tad different. One eye was golden, and the other green. He was the same height as Ralif, and his skin held a green hue to it. He too was also growing out his fins like the others. He seemed to hold a strange aura around himself, and she couldn’t quite make out his expression.

“Is it true…what they say about…land dwellers?” Meplin asked shyly.

Interested, and resisting the urge to hug each and every one of them, Kagome held herself back. “What’s that?”

She blushed suddenly, and found herself struggling to get the words out. “Well…um…that they can’t have…eggs?”

Kagome blinked at that. She never knew of a child to ask such a question. “Oh, well um…” For that moment, Kagome felt unsure whether to answer that or not.

“Meplin, stop asking stupid questions!” Ralif scolded, easily upsetting the young girl.

A whimper escaped her. “But…I only…wanted to ask…”

“Oh I don’t really mind!” Kagome reassured. “Well, yes we do have eggs, but the eggs stay inside our tummies for a while.”

Even the boys found this news interesting. “Really?” They simultaneously asked.

Kagome nodded. “Yes. And they decide sometimes when they want to come out. But it takes a long time. Nine months in fact.”

“I never knew that! Mom, did you know that?” Mikau asked with sudden interest.

Lulu stared at Kagome with perked interest as well. “Is this true, Kagome?”

Kagome nodded. “Yes.”

“So, is it true that some land dwellers can’t swim?” Mikau asked. “Why can’t they? When we were born, we knew how to swim,” he explained. Why, the very idea of a human not being able to swim was alarming and mysterious to the lad, possibly all the other Zoras.

Kagome merely laughed. “Well, many of us can swim. I can,” she explained. “But we have to be taught in order to swim. But there are many of us who have a fear of the water.”
“Fear?” Meplin asked.

“What fear is there in the water?” Eizel asked.

Kagome mused for a moment. “Well, sometimes, when they are children, they might have traumatizing experiences, and that might hold them back up until they are adults,” Kagome explained.

“Oh,” Mikau understood suddenly. “So you can swim?”

The priestess nodded. “Yes. Not as well as most, but I can swim.”

Meplin looked up at Kagome. “That makes sense…because…you must have…swam here…”

Ralif pushed her. “Don’t be ridiculous! No land dweller can swim in the water now. Not even the adults.”

Meplin sobbed again and ran behind Eizel for comfort. “But…but…how…do you…explain…”

Mikau sighed. “Meplin has a point,” He eyed Kagome again. “How did you get here if you didn’t swim? Are you what they call a witch?”

Taken aback, Kagome shook her head. “No. Actually my friends and I had our own transportation.”

All three of the children, including Lulu blinked at this statement.

Kagome sweat dropped. “No magic involved.”

Mikau overlooked the strange words from the woman and moved on to the other issue. “There are more of you?”

She nodded. “Yes. Sango is here somewhere, and the others went out to take care of something.”

“Meaning they went out to save everyone?” Eizel asked.

Kagome nearly fell over in exasperation. The kids sure were inquisitive, and Eizel seemed to hit the nail on that one. Apparently, even the children were up to date with what was happening.

“Hey.” Mikau pulled on Kagome’s skirt, easily earning her attention. “Are you going to see the event?”

“Yes. Are you?”

Hearing this, Mikau frowned. “No. I’m not allowed. Not until I’m older at least.” He pouted, but he continued on. “But one day, I’m going to be the strongest Zora here!”
Kagome smiled at that. “I bet you will.”

He grinned before a thought crossed his mind. “Hey, are you married?”

Seeing where the questions were going, Lulu interrupted. “Alright, enough questions,” Lulu yelled across the room. “Now it’s time for all of you to get some sleep.”

Ralif and Mikau whined about the order. “Why?”

Realizing it was time to make her departure, Kagome excused herself from the nursery, waving goodbye to the children and Lulu before walking out. While she had been busy talking with the children, and reminiscing about her past, Kagome had forgotten to ask Lulu more about the event.

OOO

After crossing the ocean for some time, the group found the wall they had been searching for. The sight was certainly interesting. The gang, except for Link, never realized that there was such a wall close by, and the sight baffled them.

Realizing that they were intending to cross over the fortification, Link turned his attention to Inuyasha and Miroku who were making their way in front of him and Shippo. “Land there,” Link told them the moment they closed in.

“What for?” Inuyasha asked with annoyance.

Ignoring him, Link turned his sights to Kirara. “Kirara, take us down.”

After disembarking, the four look upon the giant structure in front of them. Few lofty trees occupied the area around them, with traces of starfish, and seaweed lying on the sand at their feet.

Almost immediately, Inuyasha turned on the boy. “Who are you to give orders?”

After easing himself off of Shippo’s transformed state, Link glared at the said human Inuyasha. “I did it because otherwise you wouldn’t have listened.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He growled.

Link removed a strand of blond from his eyes. “What lies beyond these walls is a fortress,” Link began, suddenly earning their attention. “Although it’s been four years, I’m certain that it’s still there.” Link continued on. “If the water weren’t acid, it would have been easier for us to take the secret passage, but seeing as how things have turned out, our only chance of getting inside is to fly over.”

Inuyasha nearly rolled his eyes. “And you stopped us to tell us this? We could have already been over that wall by now and facing the enemy.” Inuyasha eyed the kid, regarding him as he did. He still thought there was something strange about Link.

“Yes, but the fortress is guarded well. Right now, it’s practically swarming with pirates, and if something should go wrong, we’re in trouble,” Link replied.

“You sure know a lot,” Inuyasha replied suspiciously.

Link crossed his arms, his face remaining passive. “I know enough to learn where my faults and strengths lie,” Link explained with an air of nonchalance. “Luckily you’ve all been fortunate to get this far, but there is much that is unknown to all of you.”

“What are you talking about?” Inuyasha questioned.

“I think,” Shippo interrupted. “that Link has been here for a long time. He knows more about Termina than we do.” Shippo had complete trust in the warrior, and it wasn’t just because he saved Kagome a couple times, but because he was there for Shippo.

Miroku nodded. “I agree. If we had not stumbled upon him the day we arrived in the forest, then we might have had difficulty getting where we are now,” the monk replied. He was curious of the boy, and although he was a younger than both Kagome and Inuyasha, his skills in combat were remarkable. Of course there had been an incident which had damaged him severely, he did not waver or simply cry. Rather, he faced it, as if he had faced it all his life. The reason was also in his eyes. The boy was wise for his age.
Somehow, it was like he had an old soul.

“Our only option is to carefully lay out our plan of action,” Link explained. “And for that to work, I’m afraid that one of us will have to return back to the domain.”

Already fed up with the boy, Inuyasha pushed him aside. “Listen here, who are you to give orders? If anyone should leave, it should be you! We’ve been fighting demons long before you, and we don’t need some smart mouthed brat to give us orders!”

Shippo grew upset at his choice of words to his friend. “He’s trying to help!”

“Stay out of this runt!”

Miroku sighed. “What do you have in mind Link?”

OOO

After a while of walking around, Kagome managed to find a secret path behind the waterfalls which led up to the giant white shell which had caught her fancy yesterday morning. Of course she wasn’t sure if she was allowed to step on to the smooth surface, but none of the Zoras seemed to mind. Without the least bit of hesitation, she stepped onto the white pristine surface.

“Amazing,” The young woman leaned over the throne while inspecting the fine cushions. She fingered the fine cerulean fabric. “This looks like real velvet,” Kagome muttered to herself astonished. The chair that she was leaning over was the throne of the king who ruled over the Zoras. Small golden intricate emblems decorated the rich velvet, and draped over the chair was a luminescent pink sheet. Even the throne was a sight to behold. Every inch of the chair was carved with many of the same emblems that adorned the cushions.
“You seem to be enjoying yourself,” A nearby Zora commented suddenly. He leaned against the shell, watching the woman with interest.

Realizing that she must have been staring for too long, Kagome pulled away from the chair and sheepishly smiled at the tall humanoid Zora a few feet away. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” he replied with a chuckle. “It’s sad we can’t do anything to help rescue everyone. But now it seems like there is hope,” he explained with a small smile. The tall Zora removed himself from the side of the shell as he had been leaning against for some time, and walked toward the water’s edge before jumping in. As soon as his head submerged, he turned toward the priestess. “You’re free to explore until your heart’s content.” After that, his head disappeared underneath the surface of the water.

Serena, who had been calmly relaxing around the lake, sighed. She already missed her partner. Of course she understood his reasons to leave her behind, but she would have rather gone with him. What was she supposed to do while he and the guys were gone? Surely she wasn’t supposed keep watch on the girls until then? Whisperings caught her attention, and she turned her gaze over toward the Zoras who were sitting around the spring’s edge. Intrigued, she listened in.

“I don’t know if we should believe them,” The one who had argued with Inuyasha yesterday openly voiced. “They’re strange, and I don’t like the fact that our people’s fate rests in their hands.”

“My thoughts exactly, but they seemed sincere,” another replied.

Kauji, who’d been listening in for a while, leaned back on his hands, his legs submerged in the water before him, but his eyes were focused elsewhere. “Well, as strange as they may appear, I think we can trust them.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, I think it’s obvious,” Kauji chuckled at the surrounding Zoras. “Their women are here, and ours our held captive someplace else. They seem trusting of us, so we’ll leave it at that.”

“But what if they’re lying?!”

Kauji looked at the Zora. “Our people’s fate rests in their hands, and their women’s rests in ours. If anything should happen…well, we should hope nothing does.”

Baffled by Kauji’s words, the other members scratched their heads. In truth, many thought his words were understandable, and yet at the same time wrong. The Zoras were supposed to be an amiable tribe, not secretive and plotting devious plans. Sure they were worried about their king and their captive women, but playing this sort of game was wrong.

“Wait, what are you planning? That if we don’t get our people back, then they won’t get their women back? So, you’re offering a trade then?”

“Perhaps,” Kauji replied. “If things don’t go our way, then they stay, forever.”

A chuckle resonated from many of the Zoras.

“I like that,” The Zora with the scar under his eye replied. “And for land dwellers, they aren’t half bad looking either.”

Kauji smirked. “Just don’t do anything you might regret. Land dwellers can be quite testy when they choose to be, and not only that, but we are responsible for their well-being,” he reminded his fellow Zoras.

From her hiding place behind a torch, Serena nearly gasped. “That’s not good. Not good at all. I have to tell Kagome and Sango.” There was something strange with this tribe, and she had a feeling that Kagome and Sango were not safe here. The fairy had to get Link and tell him, but she was supposed to stay on lookout. What was she supposed to do?
Unexpectedly, a hand reached out and grasped the small fairy’s wings. “Hey Kauji, looks like someone’s been listening in,” a Zora voiced a few feet away.

Seeing this, the Zora smirked. “Is that so? Well, we’ll just have to fix that, won’t we?” He smirked before stepping forward.

With so much still on her mind, the priestess sighed. Moments before, she located Sango, but neither really said a word. They were each in their own thoughts.

“Hey!” A cheerful voice resonated through the massive room.

Baffled, Kagome and Sango watched as a familiar monk sauntered inside, a small smile forced on his face. What was even surprising was that none of the other guys were with him.

“Miroku?” Sango could not understand why he had returned. “Why are you here? Where are the others?”

Halting a few feet away, Miroku scratched his cheek awkwardly. “Well, Link wanted me to stay behind just in case something should happen. He, Shippo and Inuyasha found where the beasts were hiding.”

“Link told you to stay?” Kagome asked quite perplexed. “Are they ok?”

Miroku nodded. “Yes. It seems that Link is knowledgeable of Termina and its people.”

Both Kagome and Sango shared a glance before accepting this.

“Inuyasha wasn’t starting anything again, was he?” Kagome asked already knowing the answer. It was clear that he and Link didn’t seem to connect, and it wasn’t as if it was Link’s fault.

“Just the usual, but it didn’t escalate any further. Inuyasha seemed willing to cooperate. I sent Kirara back just in case,” the monk explained before his gaze looked past Kagome.

Kauji eyed the man before stepping beside the priestess. “You returned?”

Miroku nodded. “Yes. Our friends have located the whereabouts of those beasts,” he explained. “They agreed on taking precaution. So, I’m here in case something should happen.”

The Zora accepted this information with his usual smile. “I see, we are most grateful for your sincere dedication, monk. Now, I just wanted to inform you,” His eyes turned toward the girls. “that we are ready to begin the tournament.” Kauji placed a hand on both Kagome and Sango’s shoulder, turning them toward the spring where the others were waiting, preparing themselves for the big event. “As you are our guests, you have the rights to sit anywhere to enjoy, unless of course you each wish to participate?” He questioned, earning a surprised glance from Kagome. “Ha ha ha I’m only joking.”

Kagome sweat dropped as he led everyone onto the giant shell. The leader was already sitting at the throne, with a few of his guards beside him; he was neither happy nor angry. The Zoras were lined up, each garbed and ready for action. There was no telling what they would witness, but she felt a little excited.

The leader, commonly known as Larith, raised his hand suddenly, silencing the Zoras. “Let the games begin!”

Chapter Text

After Miroku’s departure, Link explained the strategy to Inuyasha. Although Inuyasha argued that it was a waste of time to sneak inside, he had to admit that the boy was only trying to help, but that didn’t mean he would listen. The best course of action, in Inuyasha’s opinion, was to jump in and destroy all in his path; that was his plan of attack.

“What makes your idea so great? I’m telling you that my idea is best!”

Shippo merely rolled his eyes. They had yet to make it over the wall, since Inuyasha was constantly on Link. Besides, even if the plan was different, he still liked Link’s best. When did Link’s plans not work? The child remembered not too long ago, how he and the warrior had gone after Kagome, and although it was sudden, Link knew what to do.

“Inuyasha, blindly charging in has its downfalls,” Link explained sternly. “I believe our best choice of action would be to simply sneak inside.” He should have known that this argument was unavoidable, but that didn’t mean that Link would keep it up for any longer. Besides, they were running out of time, and the longer they delayed, there was a chance something terrible could happen.

Fed up, Inuyasha turned his nose in the air. There was no way that someone like him was going to order him around, and it was definitely not going to be some snot nosed brat. Since when was he the leader? “Listen, either you butt out and leave this to the adults, or you follow me! Which is it?” Inuyasha should have known better then to bring him along. It would have been better if Link stayed with the girls. Sneaking inside? That would just be a complete waste of time.

For a moment, they both leered at one another.

Annoyed, Link stepped away. “Very well, Inuyasha,” He muttered with an air of nonchalance. Turning around, the boy’s eyes fell on Shippo.

The look was enough to let the child know it was time. Automatically, he transformed in to his pink ball, and as soon as Link situated himself on top, Shippo ascended in to the air, leaving behind an irate half demon, or that is to say, human.

“Hey! Get your asses back here! Shippo you runt! You’re both going to get it! You hear me?!”

The fox child sweat dropped. “Link, are you sure this is alright? We might need him…”

Thoughtful for a minute, Link sighed. Perhaps Shippo was right, but either way, Inuyasha was acting unreasonable. “If Inuyasha is as he claims to be, then he shall catch up eventually. But, in his state, I’m sure we will save a lot of time getting inside before we are spotted.”

Shippo understood, but he wasn’t looking forward to when Inuyasha caught up. For all he knew, he would get hit. Fortunately, Inuyasha had yet to strike him.

As soon as the pair reached the top of the wall, they turned their glances to the mighty fortress floating over a massive body of water which appeared clear of any contamination. In fact, the water shimmered in the moonlight, reflecting the moons above.

“Hey, how come the water isn’t black?” Shippo questioned.

Those were Link’s thoughts exactly. Why? He wasn’t sure, but they would find out soon, at least he hoped so. As they hovered above the wall, Link turned his gaze below. “Do you see them, Shippo?”

Shippo looked in his line of direction. “Yeah.”

Four boats circled the perimeter in front of the fortress. Eight female pirates, commonly known as Gerudo, were standing watch from their boats, their weapons at the ready just in case. They were not an easy tribe to bypass, but Link had proved otherwise in the past. On this day, it shouldn’t be any different, but then again things were out of the ordinary.

The pirates were too far for him to see, especially when it was so dark. “How do we get inside without getting caught?”

Link mused for a moment. Years before, he remembered sneaking inside the fortress, and it wasn’t very difficult, but there was much he had to accomplish in order not to get caught. He knew if they were to simply fly over, then there would be a great chance that they would be spotted, and in just seconds, the entire fortress would be made aware of their presence. Link made his decision, and it was risky. “Shippo, when I tell you to fly over the wall, go straight until I say stop. Ok?”

Shippo wondered what Link had in mind. “Ok…”

From their hiding place above the wall, Link watched the boats turn in the opposite direction. The Pirates roamed the waters in a pattern, and while it might have seemed like a good strategy for keeping watch, Link saw through their failure. “Now Shippo.”

Wary, Shippo moved forward, both he and Link cloaked by the night. The fox child’s heart pounded in his chest, and he could not help but worry. While they were a good distance above the guards, he had a feeling that infiltrating the fortress wasn’t going to be easy. In fact, any second, one of those guards would look up and then what? Shippo gulped loudly when they reached the center of the lake below. Something was going to happen. “Now wha—“

Link quickly shushed him, and he glanced below, hoping that they were not yet caught. To his relief, they had not noticed. If they were to continue any further, they would most definitely be discovered. As soon as all three boats made the next turn, Link tapped the tyke’s pink head. “Ok, Shippo trans—“ He was cut off suddenly when a male voice rang through the air.

“Yoo hoo! Fairy boy!”

Upon seeing the little green man fly over, held up by his red balloon, Link nearly face palmed. The little guy was smiling from ear to ear, obviously unperturbed about floating in at the wrong possible time.

“What’s he doing here?” Shippo cried with surprised, shifting suddenly.

The thirty five year old man waved at the two. “Tingle has come to help!”

Before Link and Shippo knew what to think, dozens of arrows shot toward them, the arrowheads wrapped by flames. From below, feminine voices rang out, their voices filled with panic and rage.

Realizing instantly that their cover had been blown, Link knew he and Shippo had no other choice. “Shippo! Transform back!” It was the only thing he could think of. If he and Shippo were to continue on in their path, the guards up ahead would no doubt stop them now.

Panicking at the sound of alarms going off around him, the youthful kit cried out. “Why? We’ll be killed!” He replied. Link wasn’t making any sense. Shippo could easily turn in to a different form and they could get away faster, but here Link wanted him to return to his original form. If he did that…

Avoiding another arrow aimed for his head, Link shook his blond head. “Seems we’ll be taking a detour,” Link’s gaze fell on Tingle who at the moment was trying his hardest to approach him and Shippo without getting hit.

“But…”

Nearly gritting his teeth, Link looked away from the green man and turned his gaze toward the oncoming arrows sailing in his and Shippo’s direction. Time was running out, and Link nearly cursed when the child hesitated. Of course he understood his fear, but stalling was not in their best interest right now. “Shippo!”

Pink smoked filled the air, and immediately, Shippo felt gravity take effect. He should have known something like this would happen. With the wind pushing all around him and Link, Shippo yet out a panicked cry. There was nothing to hold on to.

A few arrows zipped past him, and Shippo cried in fright, but thankfully they missed. Noticing the lake closing in on him and Link, Shippo prepared for the dreaded impact. Just as soon as he shut his eyes, murmuring his last goodbyes, strong arms wrapped themselves around his small form, covering his nose and mouth in the process.

The balloon which held Tingle up suddenly popped. Tingle screamed in fright when he found himself falling. In an effort to somehow fly, he flapped his arms, but he failed. With widened eyes, Tingle grew frantic. All of his brushes fell from his pack, along with his many containers of ink and parchment. Even during his free fall state, he could not reach out and grasp them. What more could the helpless man do? “Ah!”

Barely missing the arrows, they both plunged beneath the water’s depths. From above the surface, the pirates sounded the alarms, turning their boats back to the fortress to possibly warn their comrades of the sudden attack. Below, Link relinquished his hold on Shippo, and allowed him to cling to him freely while he swam toward his destination straight ahead.

The fox child held his breath, his eyes shut tightly while Link took charge. Water filled his ears, and he felt this unpleasant helplessness beneath the waters. Shippo did not know how to swim, and so he felt completely useless, only relying on Link to guide the way. He hoped he could hold on long enough without breathing, but he didn’t know how long he could handle it.

A tunnel appeared before him, and to Link’s relief, he found it was not locked. The pirates must not have noticed over the years that the tunnel leading in to their fortified fortress was open. He would have laughed, but because of the situation, he kept going. He knew he had to hurry for Shippo’s sake and for his own. If only he had his Zora mask; getting inside would have been so much easier with it.

Darkness clouded his vision for a moment, but his eyes readjusted to his surroundings soon enough. A narrow tunnel led him to the fenced off maze just around the corner. Long before, he had opened the very path, and fortunately it remained as it was. Ducking under the sharp edges of the broken steel, Link pushed himself forward and toward a geyser that brought him up to the surface.

Shippo finally released the breath he’d been holding. “Gosh, I thought we’d never make it!” Shaking his head, he looked around. “Hey? What happened to Tingle?”

Link caught his breath and shook his head. What happened to Tingle wasn’t really any concern of his right now, especially after he blew their cover. But, whatever the case, they were both inside, and that alone was enough to satisfy Link. The blond warrior turned in the direction of the far off door. The path before him was blocked by a couple spikes; if one false move was made, they’d detonate.

While Shippo settled himself on the blonde’s head, Link bypassed the spikes floating above the surface before approaching another geyser, this one shooting out from the wall to his right. Link prepared to go under.

The child was about to comment on the strange spiked objects, but before he could, Shippo groaned. “Not again…”

Not a moment later, Link submerged, this time lifting himself out of the water and onto the small platform above. Now that they had made it, inside would be a different story. He turned to the door where a golden anchor decorated the surface. Grasping the knob, he opened the entry way and both he and Shippo walked inside, leaving a trail of water behind.

Within the large room, a large body of water greeted them. More spikes sat atop the surface threateningly, and beyond that a ramp that would lead them onto dry ground. Barrels filled the room, their placement out of the norm but ignored.

Searching around, Link stepped off the ledge and back in to the water, wading over to the ramp easily. In just moments, he stepped onto the cemented floor. “Seems the entire fortress is aware…” He could hear the alarms echo through the tunnels of the dungeon room.

“I should have figured this would happen,” Shippo muttered with a sigh. He dropped to the ground near Link’s feet and looked around the damp room. His emerald eyes fell onto a large cell which sat a few feet away from the two. “Where do you think the king and the others are?”

Link pondered. ‘The pirates must have placed them someplace else…but where?’ Link also mused about the whereabouts of the mutants. He would have presumed they’d come upon them soon enough, but so far nothing. Pushing away his thoughts, the youth knew they didn’t have much time.

Before Shippo could say anything, he watched as Link climbed the steps before scampering after. “Hey! Wait for me!”

OOO

Inuyasha cursed. This was the second time, Link and Shippo went off on their own. The first time the half demon was unaware, but this time, they just took off ignoring him. He was irritated. The boy had just recently appeared in their lives, and already his teammates were trusting, especially Shippo. It was obvious Shippo was fond of the boy, but Inuyasha didn’t trust him; it seemed he was always showing him up one way or another.

Inuyasha grabbed onto the rough surface of the wall and attempted to climb it, but it proved difficult. From above, he heard the sound of alarms going off. ‘Figures!’ The minute he got over the wall, he would take care of whoever was in charge, and then he would deal with Shippo and Link.

Inuyasha wasn’t even half way up before he found himself sliding back down to the bottom. “Damn it! How the heck am I supposed to get up there?!” His fingers were already bleeding, and he clenched them before hitting the wall with one hard strike. For some reason, he was still in his human form. The moon had yet to change, and it seemed he was stuck like he was for a while.

A strange noise from behind caught his attention. Turning around, he saw a strange creature slowly advance on him. The faceless, armless, legless creature with a slimy body swayed toward him.

“What the?” With his back to the wall, Inuyasha unsheathed his sword, preparing to cut the strange being in half, but he stopped when a familiar feline swooped down. “Kirara!”
The two tailed dispelled of the Like Like, and looked around the area, curiously wondering what happened to both Link and Shippo.

“Glad you’re here!” Inuyasha exclaimed before situating himself on her back. “Let’s go!”

OOO

Kagome clapped from her place on the enormous shell with Sango. The Zoras had demonstrated their agility in the speed competition quite wonderfully, and it surprised her that such creatures were capable nimbleness. Of course she shouldn’t have been so surprised, considering they were sea creatures, capable of such feats, but this was the first time seeing it. The school girl wished so badly that she had her camera.

Kauji had won the first round, showing off to the girls with his high jumps and flips, that made many of the other Zoras cry out in jealousy. Of course Kagome only marveled further at the sight, often cheering loudly, which only proved to boost his ego which pushed him on. At the very end, when he made the tenth lap around the spring, which included many hoops beneath the surface where the competitors had to swim through in order to finish successfully, Kauji leapt from the water and onto land gracefully. A moment later, the others emerged with visible frowns.

Sango was impressed, and she couldn’t help but smile when the males turned on the energetic Zora. “Those flips were remarkable,” she commented. At one point she had been sitting with Kagome, with their feet hanging off the ledge of the shell, but nearing the end of the race, both she and Kagome were standing with awe.

The priestess nodded eagerly. “I know! I wonder what the next one will be.” She watched as some of the males started placing various jars around the shell, the entire spring before them, and up on the cliff resting overhead. Among the room, several pillars were also placed, and on top of each were more jars, some larger than others. She was about to comment on the placement of the pots, but she frowned noticing her female friend’s gaze settled elsewhere. “Sango?”

Sango frowned. “Where is Miroku?” The slayer swore he was with them a short moment ago, but sometime during the race he disappeared.

“I don’t know.” Speaking of which, she wondered what happened to Serena. Kagome remembered the little fairy staying with them while the guys were away, but she hadn’t seen her for quite a while. Did she fly off somewhere? Since it would be a few minutes before the games started up again, Kagome and Sango made their way off the shell and around the spring in hopes of locating their friends.

Some of the female Zoras were off to the side, flirting with some of the males with proud smiles. One of them even had her arms linked with a male, obviously showing her affection. Of course, it was strange that they would hold a competition, especially when most of their tribe was abducted. And to Kagome and Sango, they would have thought they’d reschedule the event to a much later time when all was at peace, but apparently not.

Along the way, a familiar grinning Zora found his way toward them. “Where are you two off to? The next game will start soon.” Droplets of water fell off his form, and of course it was enough to embarrass the girls who were still not used the tribe’s current nude form. “Looking for your friend?”

Sango perked up. “You know where Miroku is?”

Kauji nodded before pointing behind him. “The guy went off that way a short while ago I think. Probably touring the place.”

Sango smiled. “I see. Thank you.” She turned to her companion. “I’m going to go find him. I’ll be back,” she explained before leaving a puzzled school girl behind.

Kauji smirked. “Are you ready for the next event?” He asked, watching the girl’s expression turn from confusion to excitement almost instantly.

“Of course!” Kagome marveled at the male standing before her. “How did you do those high jumps?” She had a feeling that not all the Zoras could make them. Perhaps he underwent difficult training in order to pull off such moves; that was a great possibility. Or maybe the tribe was born with it.

Again Kauji smirked. “It wasn’t so hard. In fact, I’ve been training for this moment for a while now,” he admitted before scratching his head embarrassed. “But, I didn’t think I’d win like I did,” he laughed.

Kagome grinned. If only everyone pushed themselves a little harder, instead of just sitting around doing nothing. People could make something great of themselves if they only put in a little effort, like Kauji for example. He might have only won the first part of the competition although he probably went through some rigorous training, but with a little push and more endurance, he might just succeed. “I’m sure you’ll do great in the next event.”

The Zora smiled. “You really think so?” He laughed. “I don’t know. Everyone else is pretty good,” he explained while turning his gaze to the other competitors who were warming up. “Strength isn’t a strong suit of mine.”

Kagome waved it away. “You’ll do just fine.” The priestess had faith that he would win, and she was cheering for him, as well as everyone else.

The male blushed before scratching his cheek. “Kagome…”

“Yes?” she cocked her head to the side.

“Would you cheer for me in the next match?” he asked. He had to admit, he liked having someone applaud him on.

Hearing this, Kagome smiled warmly. “Of course! I’ve been cheering from the start!” she explained with a laugh that melted his heart and sent his heart pounding. “I know you’ll do great! So far, you’ve impressed me and Sango.”

Kauji felt his face light up. He felt a sudden urge to jump in to the pool and do twenty more laps. This had been the first time he ever had a girl cheer him on, not counting his mother who had passed away some years before his training. “Thank you Kagome.”

She nodded before noticing his friends look in their direction. The young girl didn’t feel like keeping him for too long, and besides, there wasn’t much time left. “Better get ready,” she mentioned.

He nodded. “The next match is dealt with breaking all the jars in one motion. There are three levels that we must reach, and whoever remains, they win,” he explained. “Watch me break all those jars!” He grinned before walking away with a wave to the girl.

Kagome grew curious of this new information. ‘So, they’re dealing with distance now…I wonder what they will use to break those jars.’ She thought about what weapons they would use. Surely bows and arrows would work, but then again, the jars were scattered around, not in a straight line where they could easily be eliminated in one blow. ‘A boomerang?’

OOO

Allowing himself a few seconds of rest, Kauji prepared himself for the next event. He wiped the sweat from his brow, and he couldn’t help but inwardly smile.

“That was something,” a voice said from behind. “I never saw you jump that high nor swim so fast before Kauji.” As far as this Zora thought, Kauji was more laid back, not the energetic male he had grown to understand.

Turning toward the lean Zora, Kauji grinned. “Merek, yours was quite impressive also,” he replied. “I just felt more exhilarated than usual is all.”

Merek raised a brow. “Oh? Surely you weren’t because of that human woman, were you?” he scoffed at the younger male before him. “You’d be wise not to get way ahead of your thoughts, Kauji. Humans girls are not as subtle as our own,” he warned. Merek was reaching his early fifties, and he’d seen the world a little longer than Kauji and a few others had.

Kauji frowned. “What are you implying, Merek, that I would have some infatuation?” He turned his back to the older male. “What I do is none of your business.”

Merek shook his head with shame. “You could do so much better…but I’m afraid you’ll only lose your heart along the way…”

Ignoring the Zora, Kauji ambled away, hoping to continue his preparations for the next event without any disturbances. What did Merek know anyway? Merek was living his life single, and he had the impulse to talk about his love life? Kauji was in his early twenties, and sure he’d had girls hanging around him constantly, but that didn’t necessarily mean he was hoping to settle down with any other them. Then again, he did have the occasional thoughts.

Kauji sighed before wrapping a white cloth around his waist that reached mid-thigh. “He speaks the truth though…” But Merek never experienced anything involving the opposite sex, nor did he participate in any activities with a female. What made him think he could just say he’s making a mistake when he wouldn’t even know? What Kauji did with his life was his own business, and he’d deal with it by himself.

“Hey, Kauji!” Another Zora called out to the male, and this time, it was a friendlier face.

“Zaruth, how have you faired?” He greeted the male with pat on the back.

The other male, taller in size and much darker in comparison to Kauji, chuckled. “Oh I’ve seen better days. I came in dead last, but that was to be expected,” he explained pointing at his injured leg. “You did a splendid job coming in first. Who’d have thought I’d seen the day you’d be doing flips for them there girls!” Zaruth laughed again. “I don’t blame you, they are gorgeous.”

Kauji nodded. “I was surprised you were entering, considering what happened to your mate…”

Zaruth nodded. “Yeah…I thought I’d give it another try. I’m tired of being lonely. I’m doing this to earn Shunte’s heart after all,” he grinned. “She and I have been courting for a few months now.”

This was a surprise to the Zora. “Really? I didn’t know. Well, I wish you the best of luck, my friend.” He and Zaruth shook hands.

“Yes. Me too.” The older male turned away and continued on his path elsewhere.

OOO

Elsewhere, Miroku leaned against the walls of the cavern, his thoughts trailing back to the guys. He pondered deeply, hoping they were alright on their own. Sure Inuyasha was with the youths, but then again, something could go wrong. There was no telling what lied beyond that massive wall. Link mentioned before that it was well guarded on the other side, and it seemed like he had a plan.

“Miroku?”

Glancing up from his musings, Miroku smiled at the slayer in front of him. “Ah, Sango?”

“Miroku? What are you doing here?” She questioned the monk. Sango found him leaning against the shop’s door, not far from the spring.

He apologized. “I was just thinking,” he explained. “How did it go?”

“Kauji won,” she replied. “You’re worried about the others?” She knew exactly what was troubling him. When he returned unexpectedly, he informed Kagome and herself about how Inuyasha, Shippo and Link were going to go inside the fortress on their own. Of course the news was questionable and also surprising, but in a way it did make sense. The whole reason Miroku came back was to keep steady watch on the domain, in case anything should go wrong, and Sango knew that she and Kagome might need the extra help.

Miroku nodded. “I just can’t help but think I made the wrong decision coming back here…”

Sango understood. “It can’t be helped now.”

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Kirara’s already left.”

“I’m sure they will be back soon. After all, Inuyasha is there,” she reassured. Inuyasha didn’t normally fail to protect his companions or fail to complete a task. Not only that, but with the power inside his new blade, she was sure they would be just fine.

The monk nodded. “Yeah, you’re right,” he replied and removed himself from the wall. “Let’s head back.”

OOO

The town was quiet that eerie day with the eclipse still high in the sky. The residents, still fearful of the oddity, went about their normal routines, with shushed whispers behind their doors. Many, on the other hand, refused to leave their homes due to strange happenings recently, regarding kidnaps, or robberies.

Kafei took his time sweeping out front the Stock Pot Inn, his thoughts elsewhere. The past day, he sent word to the soldiers stationed around the town about the local thief that was on the loose. Of course the name Sakon didn’t come as a surprise to them and the soldiers kept their eyes out, but he knew that wouldn’t be enough to stop him.

“Honey, dinner,” Anju held the door open, watching her husband stare off in to space. She was troubled about the strange mishaps these days. Her thoughts traveled to the folks that had visited not too long ago. Anju wondered how they were holding up. “Kafei?”

The youth narrowed his eyes, spotting a familiar figure leave the Milk Bar next door. Although the figure was shrouded in shadow, he recognized the outline of the person. The person, Kafei watched, glanced both ways before dashing up the steps in a hurried fashion. Dropping the broom, Kafei ran after the man, leaving a baffled Inn keeper behind.

The individual was much too fast for him to catch up, but the moment he reached the stairs, he found the area vacant. Glancing both ways, he could not tell which way the thief went. “It’s like he vanished!”

A door closed a few feet from the lad, and he realized it came from the Mayor’s office. The building was straight ahead, and the sign on the door read closed. Surely it was locked he thought. The mayor, Dotour and his mother Madame Aroma resided there. The building acted as their home, as well as an office where his father ran meetings several times a day. But as far as Kafei knew, his father was not holding any meeting at the moment.

“It couldn’t be…” A dreadful thought pushed him forward. He grasped the handle and turned, but the door would not budge, in fact, it was locked. That was odd. Someone had gone inside the moment he reached the end of the steps, and he was sure it was Sakon. Of course, the lad wasn’t sure what reasons the thief would have to enter his parent’s home. “Open up!”

After several calls, someone from behind the door unlocked the lock. “Who is it at this hour?” a male asked from behind the door. As soon as door opened, Mayor Dotour stood staring at his son questionably. “Kafei? What brings you at this hour?”

Kafei glared and glanced behind his father. “Father, are you alone? I thought I saw someone walk inside just now.”

“Hmm?” The mayor scratched his chin. “No one but your mother and I. No one’s been here since yesterday my boy,” he explained. “The doors have been locked for hours now.”

That was strange indeed. Kafei went on. “Are you certain? The door wasn’t locked a moment ago.”

Again the mayor grew perplexed. His son wasn’t making any sense. As far as he knew, no one had sneaked inside. If so, he would have been the first to know. Yet, his son claimed his door wasn’t locked. “Kafei I think you’re worrying too much. Just your mother and I are here. I assure you that there is nothing to worry about.” Dotour hoped this would ease his son’s troubled thoughts. “Now, hurry home to your wife.”

“Father—“

The older man closed the door, leaving Kafei to stare at the old oak. Something was not right. His father was acting strange, and the youth was sure he wasn’t hallucinating. Kafei turned away from the house. He would not give up his search yet. Sakon was somewhere in town, and he was going to find him at all costs.

OOO

To say Kagome and Sango were surprised was an understatement, they were astounded. They had just been sitting, waiting for the next event to take place, and not a moment later, they watched what appeared to be a razor sharp boomerang fly past, destroying several jars in its path.

The attack was so fast, it made Kagome break out in a grin. “Oh wow!”

The said boomerang made a U-turn, breaking several more jars before returning to the owner’s arm in one swift movement. It was clear that the weapon was not merely just a boomerang, but a removable extension of their fins on their forearms.

Sango couldn’t believe her eyes. “Amazing. It’s an attachment,” she breathed. How that was possible, she couldn’t understand.

Unfortunately for the first male, he was unsuccessful breaking all the jars. That was one Zora down, and only fourteen more to go. The game was simple, as Kauji had explained to Kagome earlier. In order to progress to the final event, the Zoras must eliminate all jars before ascending to the next level and then the last. Whoever reaches the third level, and is left standing, they are the victor.

The next up was a lean male, with a darker hue to his skin. A scar ran down the center of his eye, but all in all, he was well built. A grin spread across his face and he prepared himself in a stance just as the one before him had. He brought his hands together in front of him and narrowed his gaze at the new replacement jars in front of him, as well as those aligning the edge of the spring. All at once, two arm-fins broke off and flew in the direction of the pots. In a fluid motion, all of the pots were destroyed, including those around the bank of the spring.

Kagome and Sango applauded.

After watching a few more take their chance, Sango found herself wondering what they would achieve at the end of this tournament. The prize must have been important if all the males were participants.

“Oh look!” Kagome pointed, gaining Sango’s attention. “Kauji is next!”

A few of the males around them hollered and cheered for the male, who in turn waved back with a bright smile. He didn’t seem the least bit worried, but he took his stance. Kauji glanced at the female Zoras along the side of the spring, who waved and smiled him on. He couldn’t help but wink at them, watching them swoon. The young male’s eyes turned toward the travelers, who were standing on the shell with the leader and a few other Zoras sitting back relaxing.

Kagome threw her arms in the air, her smile never leaving her face. “You can do it! Go for it!”

Her teammates smiled at the sight. Obviously Kagome was enjoying herself, and it was enough to put her teammates at ease. They’d been worried about her ever since she was kidnapped. They brought her back to the Stock Pot Inn without any clothing but blanket that concealed many bruises. Although a couple days had passed, she didn’t seem to fret about it. Besides, they knew that if Kagome ever wished to talk about it, she would in time. But for now, they would enjoy their time watching the event.

Kauji winked at the team and turned his gaze to the pots in front and around him. He would take them all out with one go and advance to the next level. Crouching down, he brought his hands together, and after a short moment of concentration, the fins released and shot forth toward their targets.

One by one, the pots broke, leaving behind several more shards that would need picked up. The sharp blades swiftly swerved around the spring’s edge, destroying the remaining jars easily before returning back to their owner.

A roar of cheers sounded, and the Zora waved at his friends, his smile bigger and brighter than before. Among those were Miroku, Sango and Kagome. There was no doubt that he would advance to the next round.

Kauji stepped away and turned to rejoin his companions on the sidelines. Since he had just progressed to the next event, he sat down, and made himself comfortable. Of course, from his seated position, he couldn’t help but look across the spring. His emerald eyes fell on Kagome, and he waved when she smiled in his direction.

While some of the males went about replacing the jars, Kagome turned to Sango. An idea had already formed. “Sango, why don’t you participate?”

Sango was surprised to hear this. “Me?”

Miroku was just as surprised as Sango, but he thought the idea didn’t sound bad. “Sango?”

“Me? I don’t know…” Sango replied uncertain.

“Sure you can! You’re just as good!” The young girl assured knowingly.

The leader, who had been sitting there for some time, overheard the conversation and chuckled. “A female? Why, I’ve never heard the likes.”

The males gathered near grew interested. They eyed the slightly older female up, wondering if she was actually capable of breaking all the jars in one motion. But then again, she didn’t appear to have any attachments like they did.

“And what is so wrong with a girl wanting to participate?” Kagome questioned moving to stand before the leader with hands placed on both her hips. Girls were just as capable as men were, especially at sports. First he tells them that she and Sango can’t join their companions to help rescue the tribe, because women were supposed to be out of harm’s way. Not only that, but now they weren’t allowed to play any sports. What, did they think women were fragile creatures, and were only allowed to look beautiful for male eyes?

“The idea is ludicrous. A female participating in male sports?” The leader laughed on.

Sango sighed. “That’s ok, Kagome.”

The priestess sighed and sat down defeated. “I suppose…”

One of the males sitting nearby spoke up. “Hey, give the girl a chance.”

“Yeah!” Another Zora beside him replied. “Let’s see just how good she is. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Kagome perked up. That was a surprise. Apparently not all the males here were sexist. She turned to her companion hopefully, before her eyes fell on the leader who instantly looked agitated.

Upon hearing the conversation, Kauji stood up and casually walked onto the pristine shell. Passing Miroku and Kagome on his way, he stopped and regarded the older woman. “I see no reason why she can’t participate.”

The leader scoffed. “Get back to your place, Kauji. This is not a sport for women, and it is deemed inappropriate,” He argued, though Kauji only laughed before leaning against his throne in a manner that seemed rude.

“Oh why not? Are you afraid she might actually possess some skills that might out match our own?” He asked. “A little break wouldn’t hurt anyway.”

“I’m in charge here and—“

“You’re in charge?” Kauji questioned with nonchalance. Sure he was the leader, but that didn’t mean he could control their lives. The only ruler they had was their king, and it was the only leader they had whom they would take orders. “I believe you don’t have control over everything, Larith,” The male began with a sneer. “While the King is away, that doesn’t mean your word is law. Everyone here has a right to do what they please, and although she may not be a Zora, she does not need to abide by every rule. They are our guests, and as such, should be treated with a little more respect.” Besides, their teammates were helping their tribe also.

Kagome sweat dropped. While it was very nice of Kauji to stand up for Sango, she thought he might have gone too far. She hoped his display wouldn’t drop him from the rank in the tournament.

Silent for a moment, Larith scoffed and glared at the male. “Very well. A small demonstration is fine,” He admitted. “However, we do not have that much time to dawdle.”
Kauji smirked. He knew that old Zora would see it his way. “We thank you for your most humble offer,” his voice dripped with sarcasm as he gave a small bow, the smile never leaving his face. Turning his back, he patted Sango on the back. “Looks like you’re up.”

Sango thanked him, but he waved it off as if it was nothing.

Larith’s hand rose, easily silencing the room, but most of the Zoras rolled their eyes. “Attention!” He smirked when he earned the ears of his fellow males and few females. “We shall be given a small demonstration from one of our guests,” he explained suddenly. “This woman,” He pointed to Sango who suddenly found all eyes on her. “Will break all the jars around the spring in one go…but,” he stopped, puzzling the team as they watched him scratch his chin thoughtfully. “She will compete against one of our best.”

Sango and Kagome glanced at each other. Was it really that necessary?

“If only to make it interesting…” Larith explained before snapping his finger. “Minarv!” He called.

There was movement in the crowd, and a long Zora, quite tall in appearance stepped forward. Out of all the Zoras in the room, he seemed ordinary. What made him so special? He brushed past some of the males, earning glares and disapprovals as he ambled onto the shell to stand before the leader. His expression was passive.

Larith smirked. “The woman shall be given one try.”

Hearing this, Kagome frowned. Only one try? Was that even fair? The priestess looked to her companion, and smiled when she saw her encouraging smile. She supposed it was only fair. After all, this was a competition exclusively for the males. She knew Sango would break all of those jars.

Larith looked at the slayer closely. “Now I will ask you this, do you still wish to compete? Against one of my men?” He asked. “There’s still time to back out…”

Sango shook her head. “I’m not backing out.”

The opponent chuckled. “Doing this, there’s no going back. Are you prepared for the consequences if you should lose?” he asked, earning baffled stares from the team, and knowing looks from the other males.

Sango was perplexed. “Consequences?”

Kagome tapped her friend on the shoulder. “Don’t listen to him. He’s just trying to scare you in to backing out.” She’d seen this trick plenty of times. In this situation, the guy wanted her to back down so that he was the dominant one. Well, Kagome knew Sango stood a good chance against him.

The slayer understood. She wouldn’t back down so easily. “I’ll take the chance,” she replied before turning her back to the male before sauntering off the shell to take her position off to the side.

Minarv smirked before following after her. “Interesting…”

The leader smiled. “That’s settled. We shall begin. Who has more power? Male or female?” he cackled, ignoring the glare sent his way by Kagome.

Sango positioned herself. Still in her battle suit, she grasped her boomerang before a thought occurred to her. Glancing down, she unhooked the fairy boomerang granted to her by the Great Fairy a few days back. This weapon was capable of traveling short distances, while her original was lighter and manageable than before, also capable of changing its size; she decided to put not use it. The slayer held the small weapon in front of her.
Larith cleared his throat. “Let’s begin!”

Chapter Text

The task was simple. Both competitors had to break all of the jars aligning the spring in one hit. If both opponents tied, then the match would end. No one would be claimed victor and the match between all males would continue.

Sango glanced at the male beside her, who was currently sizing her up. Wary and suspicious, she briefly pondered what the consequences of losing would be. Was he just trying to scare her like Kagome said? Somehow, she thought it was strange, but she tried to push those negative thoughts away. Grasping the small fairy boomerang, she readied herself. Pushing her feet apart, she narrowed her eyes before throwing the small weapon toward her targets. Of course she could have used her original boomerang, but she thought a little practice couldn’t hurt. Besides, she had yet to test the strength of her new blessing the Great Fairy bestowed upon her.

Everyone in the room gasped when the jars broke apart in one motion, easily scattering many shards across the room. The speed in which it traveled was so fast, that it left the leader stunned, it even shocked Minarv, but his surprise quickly vanished.

Upon seeing the sight, Kagome jumped elatedly. “You did it Sango!”

Squinting, Miroku placed a hand on the young girl’s shoulder. “I’m afraid not all of the jars were broken…”

“Huh?” The priestess looked along the edge of the spring, hoping her friend was mistaken, but to her disappointment, there was one pot untouched. “What?” How did that happen? Sango was an expert with her Hiraikotsu. On closer inspection, she realized that her friend was not using her primary weapon as it was currently strapped to back. ‘Sango used her new weapon?’

Sango eyed the mini version of her Hiraikotsu. ‘Looks like a little practicing is in order,’ she thought before putting the weapon away. The slayer missed, and so it was Minarv’s turn.

Chuckling, Minarv scoffed at the woman. “How unfortunate. Just one more and you would have won,” he explained with a shake of his head. He appeared disappointed. “Though I admit that wasn’t bad…”

The woman turned toward him. “I don’t mind. Winning isn’t everything,” she replied. Sango was a head shorter than he was. Whether he won or not, it made no difference to her. She wasn’t in for it for the glory.

Minarv shook his head again before turning away from her and readying his own weapon. “That’s too bad.” He watched the Zoras replace all of the pots before taking a step forward. “I guess you aren’t worried then?”

Sango eyed him suspiciously. “Why should I be?”

Minarv smirked. He wondered if all humans were clueless. “Because you’ve already lost,” he replied. Just as soon as he said that, quite sure of himself, the sharp blades on his forearms broke off and sailed in the direction of its target.

To her companions surprise, plus her own, all of the jars were destroyed. Kagome’s mouth fell open with great disappointment, and Miroku frowned with dismay. Somehow I just didn’t seem right that their friend had lost. After all, Sango wasn’t one to back down from a challenge or lose so easily.

Again Minarv chuckled. “I’ll see you later,” he said before walking away.

The match was finished. Sango lost, but she wasn’t upset. Winning wasn’t everything in her opinion. She’d lost fair and square, and she would accept that. Although anyone else would have dropped their head in embarrassment, she held hers up and returned to her companions. “Well, that’s it.”

While Minarv returned to his station, the entire room grew quiet. Some of the Zoras were quietly observing the woman from afar, while others were visibly disappointed that she hadn’t won. They guessed that human women were just as weak as their own females.

“Let us carry on with the competition, shall we?” Larith exclaimed with a wave of his hand. The elder Zora knew the outcome of the quick match, but he never thought the female would destroy even one of the pots.

Regardless of her miss, Sango smiled, earning a grin from Miroku and a frown from Kagome. “It’s alright,” she said.

OOO

Inside the mighty fortification, several guards roamed the grounds on patrol. Elaborate red cloths hung on the beige painted walls, revealing the symbol of their dominance and existence. Along the far left side wall, a large staircase stood, allowing access in to one of the many entrances to different rooms in the area, of course, many of the entrances were quite hard to get to, considering their location. Crates filled almost the entirety of the grounds, their placement quite spacious and out of sorts, but then again, it was also beneficial to Link and Shippo.

The two had arrived a short moment ago without raising another alarm. Getting inside was easy enough, but now they were at a standstill. Hiding behind one of the many crates, both youths spied on the encampment. So far, everything was calm and the security looked tight.

“Now what do we do, Link?” the fox child asked in a hushed whisper.

Link continued observing the area before his eyes fell on a tall watch tower positioned in the center of the open area. From their vantage point, Link’s eyes fell on the ladder which he knew he and Shippo would need to reach in order to gain access to the leader’s chambers. Of course, getting past the guards was their first priority. He pondered his strategy.

A conversation broke the boy from his musings suddenly, and he and Shippo turned their attention to the two guards straight ahead; two women were standing in front of the watch tower, completely oblivious to the intruders hiding a small distance away.

One of the guards, quite youthful, sat down on one of the crates with her feet hanging off the edge. Long brilliant red hair was held high in a ponytail, cascading down her back gently. Strands fell around her bronze face, framing it well. From so short a distance, the young girl wore a beige strapless top, exposing the rest of her skin without a care in the world. A golden necklace with a red ruby hung around her neck. On her left upper arm she wore a golden bracelet. Her stomach was exposed, as of the rest of the women in the vicinity. Not only that, but she wore red blooming pants with white slippers.

“Amber, return to your post immediately!” A taller woman ordered. The guard wore a purple veil over her mouth, and her hair was pulled back in to a bun. She resembled many of the other lookouts around, wearing similar purpled blooming pants with purple slippers, oddly enough. Perhaps that was because of their stature; it was a step up at least from the lower classman pirates.

The young Gerudo sighed and dropped her shoulders. “What for? This is so boring!” She complained. “Besides, what’s the point staying watch when no one can cross the water?” She questioned.

Hearing this, the older woman leered and planted a hand of her on her hip while she held her glaive in the other. “Aveil will be angry with you again,” she replied. “Return to your post!”

Amber sighed, but instead of following orders, she stretched her arms above her head, yawning as she did. “But I don’t want to!” Her eyes looked upward at the hovering eclipse. “What was up with those alarms a while ago anyway? Did those Zoras get loose again?” she questioned, staring back at the woman curiously.

“No, there was an intruder,” the guard replied. “Someone managed to fly over the walls.”

Amber’s mouth flew open at this. “For real? How could someone fly over?” She asked. This was news to her. Was it magic? She found this odd. “Are you sure it wasn’t just a bird?”

The guard shrugged. “I’m certain. But the intruder was shot down, probably drowned in the lake just beyond our home,” she explained.

Again Amber sighed. Well that wasn’t any good. Here she thought something interesting would happen, but it turned out they killed the person trying to get in. The young girl pondered who that person was. Of course she was a little dismayed by that.

Before the guard could scold the younger girl yet again, a rush of footsteps drew her attention away. Turning, her eyes fell on several guards directly behind her. “What’s going on?”

One of them stepped forward, her expression troubled. “Aveil requests our audience.”

“Oh?” Puzzled, she glanced back at Amber, who was still lounging around, her eyes elsewhere. “I see. And what news do you have about…”

Amber wasn’t stupid. She knew something was up. While overhearing most of their conversation, she turned noticing their retreating forms. “Hey!” She called, and the woman who had reprimanded her a moment ago, stopped and glanced back.

“Return to your post and stand watch,” she ordered. “And if you see anything out of the ordinary, alert us at once!” After that was said, she sauntered off, along with a few other guards in the area.

Growling at the orders, Ambers crossed her arms. “Stay and watch she says. Hmpt!” What was the point in watching when nothing was going to happen? During all of her fourteen years, no one had ever crossed over the walls. ‘Wait…that’s not true…’ She thought for a moment. ‘No…some kid snuck in a few years back, I remember that much.’ That of course was a long time ago. Ever since the ocean turned to acid, no one had been able to cross over, not even their best boats could make it without disintegrating.
Sighing yet again, the small pirate placed her head in her hands.

Noticing that the area was mostly clear, Link placed a finger to his lips, telling Shippo to keep silent. Removing themselves from their hiding spot, he and Shippo stealthily ambled forward. Now was their chance. As they sneaked by, they were cautious of the young girl sitting with her face covered.

Link found this too good to be true. Now that most of the guards were sent away, the area was mostly clear, and they could easily manage to cross the perimeter of the courtyard without the fear of getting caught.

“It’s not fair!”

Her loud outburst nearly gave both youths a heart attack, mostly Shippo who hadn’t seen it coming. Fortunately for him and Link, they were well behind the girl by that point. They held themselves still as they watched her lift her head from her hands while clenching them.

“What’s the use staying watch when no one is going to break in?” she asked herself. “Gosh, I don’t know why everyone is so worked up!” If they wanted her to stay and watch then they had another thing coming. She’d been staying watch since she was ten years old. Sure she was the youngest of the tribe, but she was tired of being bullied and ordered around. “No more! I’m not taking any more orders from them!” Abruptly she stood up, her posture rigid.

Her loud cry caught the ears of the woman just above the watchtower standing watch. Leaning over the railing, the guard glanced at the girl. “Aveil ordered you to stay watch Amber! No slacking!”

With her back still turned, Amber pouted. “I hate this!” She sat back down with her arms crossed, while muttering low under her breath. For now she would stay put, but she had bigger and better dreams that would one day come true.

Holding their breaths, both Link and Shippo glanced at each other. Quietly, they both ascended the wooden ladder, careful of the woman above patrolling the bridge.

Upon making it to the final step, Link raised himself out of the opening and onto the wooden surface above. The woman was well across the bridge that connected to the tower right now, and that gave Link enough time to plan his next move.

The child leaped from the warrior’s shoulder. “That was close,” Shippo muttered. His heart was still racing when he thought they had been caught just seconds ago. So far they were safe. Still, he wondered about Link’s plan. Obviously he’d done this sort of thing before; otherwise they’d been caught for sure.

The child heard approaching footsteps walking in their direction, and he had the urge to climb back down the ladder. Instead of running like a coward, Shippo remained where he stood. Both he and Link were concealed behind the tall post which separated them from the fast approaching woman on the other side.

Before Shippo knew what to think, Link suddenly took action. Without any warning, he moved away from the column until he stood directly behind the woman, who had yet to sense his and Shippo’s presence. As she was about to round the corner where she would most likely spot Shippo, Link covered her mouth and applied pressure to her neck with his index finger. Instantly, her vision faded, and Link carefully lowered her still form to the ground, careful of her weapon still grasped firmly in her hand.

Shippo blinked, stunned for a moment. “How did you do that?”

Link shrugged. “I’ll explain later. First we need to concentrate,” he replied. Link’s eyes settled on the bridge. Just ahead, he knew there was a drop off where he and Shippo could take that would lead them to Aveil’s chambers. “Shippo, I want you to transform in to this guard.”

“Huh?” Shippo looked at the unconscious woman at Link’s feet.

“That way you won’t get caught,” he explained. “Hurry before she wakes.” Link knew that he had to get Shippo to resemble the guards. If not, Shippo would no doubt get in a bad predicament.

The tyke nodded and transformed. He took on the form easily enough. The boy had the red hair, the bronze skin, and the outfit down perfectly. The child bent down and grasped the large staff like weapon with the long curved blade.

Link nodded. Shippo had done as he asked, and he knew that as long as he stayed in that form that he would be alright. “Shippo, your task is to act natural and try to obey Aveil.” For the child’s sake, Link would take care of the rest.

“Huh? What for?” he asked.

Link looked around before turning his ears to Shippo. “Because if you do not, then they’d suspect you.”

“Oh…” Shippo was unconvinced though.

Kneeling before the child, Link whispered the plan in his ear. He wanted Shippo to be aware of what might happen in case things should go wrong and to not panic. When the boy nodded in understanding, Link pulled away. “Are you ready, Shippo?”

Shippo nodded. “I’m ready.” For his friends’ sake, he was determined not to screw this up. He’d do his best. With that taken care of, Shippo followed the young warrior across the bridge, where they knew they would confront more obstacles in their path. Whatever the case, they would push forward, in hopes of retrieving the pendant.

OOO

After managing to fly over the wall with Kirara’s help, the two tailed hovered over the lake below. From his line of vision, Inuyasha could not locate any signs of Link or Shippo.

A chorus of shouts brought his attention to miniature boats beneath him where young women stood upon looking up at him. Obviously he’d been spotted, and he narrowed his gaze. Too bad for them, they were only girls. What damage could they do when he was so high up? He would have laughed at their meaningless shouts and warnings.

“Looks like we got trouble!” One of the guards muttered with agitation. There was no way some perpetrator would get inside so easily. What made matters worse and questionable was that they were flying. Certainly that was impossible. “Ready! Fire!”

An onslaught of arrows, wrapped by flames flew in Inuyasha’s direction. The sudden attack urged Kirara to move out of harm’s way. Arrow after arrow soared past the feline, many narrowly missed Inuyasha. Just when it seemed like they halted their attack, more arrows flew at them.

“What the heck!? Cut it out!”

The female in charge of her crew gritted her teeth. “No good! Why are we missing?!”

Another female couldn’t explain. “He’ll get inside our walls!”

Annoyed, the woman in charge took from her pocket a strange item, and tossed it in to the water. “This ought to take care of them.”

After nimbly dodging the attacks, both Inuyasha and Kirara’s attention shifted away from the guards and to the water. A strange blue static swirled around the lake ominously, and it was so strange that they couldn’t take their eyes from it. The sight was oddly mystifying to the human.

Immediately, dozens of orbed lights appeared on the surface of the water. All at once, many the spheres shot up from the lake toward the two above.

Snapping from his sudden daze, Inuyasha nearly cursed. “Watch out Kirara!” He warned before unsheathing his sword. Seemed like the enemy decided to show themselves. Now that he knew who was in charge of those beasts, he would take care of the situation. “Take this!” Inuyasha raised his mighty sword above his head. With deep concentration, a bright light enveloped his form until it wrapped itself around the point of the blade.

“What’s that?” cried one of the many guards from their small boats.

“Magic? Impossible!”

Inuyasha couldn’t help but smirk. “Take this!”

The moment he brought his sword down, a gush of air whipped past him and a bright light shot from the blade and toward the enemy below. The light was so intense, that it brightened their surroundings with great intensity.

OOO

On account of hearing the sudden explosion so close by, Amber shot to her feet. Her blue eyes turned toward the walls, and they widened. “What the?” From where she stood, a wave of blue light swirled in the night sky just above the walls, its width expanding by the second. The sight was enough to drop her jaw. Instantly, a smile spread across her face. It was about time something interesting happened. Rather than alert the others, she made a dash toward the light. On her way, she watched as one of the walls close by crumbled. ‘This is great!’

Because of the impact, a massive whirlpool formed. The boats found themselves trapped by the vortex, if only for a short time while Inuyasha and Kirara made their escape. As for the few remaining left standing, they managed to lift themselves onto the bank; they’re boats likely destroyed in the water.

After climbing the steps that led to the exit, Amber finally made it, but to her disappointment, the light show ended without her. She saw a wreckage of the boats in the lake, along with a mighty whirlpool where dozens of scaly bodies were tossed to and fro with great force. The young girl frowned until her gaze fell on a few of her female friends kneeling on the other side of the bank. ‘I wonder what caused that?’

“We have to warn Aveil!”

Amber’s ears perked up at suddenly. ‘Huh?’ In hopes of listening in, Amber leaned over the railing.

One of the pirates in charge coughed before nodding. “They escaped over the wall!” She attempted to stand, but she fell to the ground clutching her ankle. The pirate cursed under her breath. “How did this happen?”

Stepping away, Amber nearly jumped with glee. This was almost too good to be true. Someone had actually gotten over the walls, and better yet, they were able to cause so much damage. “This is great!” With renewed enthusiasm, she dashed away from the scene in hopes of being the first to spot the invader.

OOO

Not too far off, a figure shrouded by darkness chuckled. He thoroughly enjoyed watching the group of strangers who had arrived in this world a short time ago. He raised his hand and moved it in a fashion to rid himself of the mist in front of him.

“Master?” A male voice called from behind.

Still wearing his dark cloak, the figure turned and stared at the frail pathetic Terminan with a smirk. “You have done as asked?”

The male nodded, while clasping his hands. “Yes!”

“Good…very good.” Soon he would destroy the group of travelers. He wasn’t a fool; he knew well enough that they were on a quest in search of the pendants. As if those trinkets would be of any harm to his person. Scarlet eyes wondered through the darkness surrounding him before settling back onto the human. “You’ve done well, but I’m afraid you’re still of use to me.”

Sakon gulped. “What is it you ask of me?”

“Hmm? What was that?” The cloaked male asked with a tilt of his head. A dagger was grasped loosely in his hand, which he brought up as if to inspect it for any scratches.

Almost forgetting his loyalty, the young man threw himself to the ground. “I mean master!”

A chuckle escaped the man suddenly, sending chills down the thief’s back. “That’s better,” he replied, his sharp teeth glistening from under his hood. Scarlet eyes fell upon the blade, and he ran a single finger over the edge. “If you do that last favor for me, I will grant you what you most desire. What do you say?”

Lifting his head, Sakon’s eyes widened with disbelief. All he ever dreamed of was to be the richest man in the world. Although he was a wanted man, he knew he could still get around to stealing, but this was a chance in a lifetime. “Yes master…but what about…”

“Hmm? Ah that’s right…you’re still feeling those emotions of love and lust, aren’t you?”

The man in question nodded with embarrassment. He bit his lip, wondering if he had just overstepped his boundaries.

“Do not worry, my pet,” he turned his back. “Just do this one favor and you shall have your precious delights.”

Chapter Text

Upon entering through the ornate door, Link and Shippo found themselves surrounded by high stone walls with torches lighting the path toward the inner room. Ahead of them, they heard the subtle sounds of laughter, as it bounced off the walls. Of course, the reason for having stopped was not necessarily due to the fact that there were people straight ahead but because the path was impassable, at least in a sense.

“Halt! Intruders aren’t welcome!”

Having already anticipated this, Link held his hands up in surrender.

Acting his part, Shippo pushed Link forward. “The boy wishes to speak with our leader,” his girlish voice explained. His countenance was calm, yet on the inside he was shaking with distress. He had to keep it together for everyone’s sake.

Upon hearing the ludicrous come from the other female, one of the guards, much older in appearance, pointed her spear at Shippo while the other two held Link down, their own weapons at the ready. “See our leader?!” The loud one asked flabbergasted. “You should have thrown him over the wall!” She interrogated with much venom.

Almost shuddering from her bitterness, Shippo didn’t’ back down. “H-he was insistent!” He replied, trying his best to sound strong, but it proved difficult, what with the shouting.

Feeling her eye twitch, the older female turned and grasped the boy by his tunic and threw him to the floor. “You are to throw him out! That is an order! You should have more sense than to let the likes of this filth inside our home! Why, Aveil should have you executed for such an act!”

Picking himself off the stone flooring, Link glowered at the woman. “I only ask for an audience with her, afterwards, I’d be more than happy to leave.”

Surprised by his insistence and arrogance, she retorted, “There will be no such thing!” Furiously, she snatched his arm and pushed him towards the exit, though he resisted, breaking free from her grip. “Why yo—“

“Let him inside!” A melodic voice demanded suddenly.

Stunned, the guard turned with baffled eyes. Had she heard correctly? Did her lady order her most trusted of female lookouts to allow a total stranger and yet a male in to her presence? “But my lady!”

“Do you question me?” the voice asked with a bored tone, easily startling the women. “Bring him forward!”

Gulping, she glared at the youth. “This way.” While she led them towards the throne room, the remaining watchers shrunk back and returned to their duty. The fact that a trespasser had gained passage through their home left them speechless and all the more wary.

Arriving moments later, they found themselves in a luxurious room. The floor was decorated with ornate red carpet inlaid with golden designs. An assortment of weapons hung on either wall, fashioned with various styles of scimitars, glaives and spears. There were swords that were either curved with expensive jewels imbedded near the hilt, or there were blades much straighter yet smaller without much appeal. Along the walls, several red curtains draped, and along the farthest, an enormous stack of treasure sat. Chests filled with jewels and coins littered the small area, its wealth sparkled with much intensity.

Approaching, Link found himself yet again pushed to the floor quite harshly, but that was to be expected considering their cruel nature. Directly before him were a few stone steps leading up to a magnificent throne, carved mahogany wood and delicate satin red pillows along the seating and back. Above the chair was an elaborate golden banner with skulls decorated in to the rough stitching; it was the same as what was placed outside the fortification; it was a symbol of their power.

Link’s eyes lingered upon the figure seated on the throne in a lazily manner. A ravishing woman relaxed in to the cushions, her legs dangling off one side of the armrest. As the fisherman claimed years before, the woman seated before him was of immense beauty. Bronze skin flushed under the many candles aligning the walls as well as the few torches standing nearby. Soft scarlet hair done in a high ponytail fell nicely over her perfectly rounded breasts in soft curls at the ends. A small ruby, accentuated by golden chains fell in the middle of her forehead, adding a certain charm to her features. Covering her slender legs, she wore deep red blooming pants, a sort of Arabic style added to it. And while her perfectly flat stomach was bared to all eyes, she wore a short but revealing sleeveless shirt, small enough to cover her small breasts; the silk fabric was also dyed in the rich color. As if her beauty wasn’t enough, golden bracelets covered her upper arms, and golden earrings graced her small round ears.

Link blushed under her gaze. Admittedly, she was gorgeous, but such women did nothing to perk his interest. From what he remembered these Gerudo were tribes that often went out in search of boyfriends, and as soon as they got what they wanted, they disposed of them. The women were only interested in having baby girls that would add to their tribe. Males were rarely born, in fact every century a male would breathe life and rule the clan as a favorite that they would revere. While the need for more females did spark an important issue among them, so did wealth and power. Their sudden rush for supremacy over Great Bay was quite baffling and also startling.

As the guard before him kneeled to the seated woman, Shippo did the same. Of course he observed the female for a quick moment before his eyes landed upon two female servants tending to their mistress quite devotedly. They wore all white, including white veils over their mouths, and their hair was pulled up in a high bun. Unlike the seated female, they did not possess any fine jewelry that would highlight their beauty. On one side, the servant offered Aveil a goblet of wine while the other diligently used a long golden staff with many feathers decorating the ends to fan the woman. He noticed something about these women; each girl had the same exact hair color, bronze skin and golden eyes. How was that possible?

Taking a sip of her drink, she glanced at Link with a calm expression. “An intruder?” she asked her personal guard.

As if fearing great punishment, the aggressive and also protective sentry woman brought herself forward in a slight bow. “Forgive me. This boy required an audience and was quite insistent. We know not how he snuck inside, but I assure you I shall properly dispel of his presence.”

Aveil regarded the youth. Among all of the Terminans she’d seen during her 20 years of existence, she never once saw anyone with golden hair and deep blue eyes. Dirt covered his somewhat soaked tunic from his many adventures outside her humble home. Perplexed, she noted the determined look in his eyes, and immediately she knew right away that he wanted something, but she would not hand it over so easily.

Annoyed with the constant fanning, she ushered her servants away, and pulled herself up from her seat. With each step she took, her hips gracefully swayed from side to side, her golden eyes watching Link closely. “What reason do you have for barging in to my home unwelcomed boy?” She had heard the ruckus a short moment ago, and she knew that someone had snuck in, most likely a man. They couldn’t seem to resist sneaking inside for one glance at the women without getting thrown out. Of course she could have ordered for her guards to remove him from the fortress, but she was feeling quite bored as of late. A little entertainment once in a while couldn’t hurt.

Not caring if it was rude or not, Link pushed himself off the carpet and stood before the woman. “I’m sure you’re well aware of the reason, Aveil.”
Disturbed by his impolite response, the guard pushed him to the floor with her spear at his neck. “Show some respect!” she barked.
She blinked before chuckling slightly. “Oh I do, do I?” She asked, quite amused with his choice of words. “Let him go, Allyse,” she ordered. Ever so slightly, she leaned in towards him, admiring his unblemished face and the anger in his blue eyes.

Link flinched under her cold seductive stare, especially when her slender fingers caressed his face gently, following the scar on his cheek with the tip of her index finger. Of course he didn’t move, but allowed her to do as she pleased, for now.

“Ah, but a boy you are not…you’ve grown up, haven’t you?” she exclaimed with small smile before circling him slowly. “Not long ago, I recall a certain blond youth who snuck inside my walls and stole my treasure. It was you, wasn’t it…Link?”

Link’s eyes widened. She knew his name? How was that possible? “You know me?” Out of his few years spent in Termina, he did not allow himself to mingle with the pirates, as they were a forbidding and sinful tribe. The fact that she knew his name was questioning.

She laughed at his reaction. Leaning down closer, to where Link could smell her sweet perfume, her red stained lips brushed across his ear. “Someone told me,” she whispered, sending chills through him. Pulling away, she crossed her arms. “In fact, I’ve been waiting for you. I knew you’d come sneaking in, and after this no less,” she pulled from her blouse a very familiar pendant, which was wrapped around her neck loosely. “Yes, I was told you would stop at nothing to get your hands on it.” She fingered the blue stone lightly before returning it back to her chest.

“Who?”

Aveil arched a brow. “Oh well aren’t we quite demanding?” Her eyes fell on her personal guard. “You may leave.” Looking over to Shippo, she pointed back to the exit. “Return to your post,” she said waving him away.

Somewhat hesitant, Shippo stood up and with one last look at Link he sauntered away towards the hall that led to the entrance. There was no way he would just abandon his friend. Instead of following orders from the enemy, he glanced both ways. When all eyes were on Link, he concealed himself behind a few barrels against the farthest wall. There, he listened in.

Lifting his chin, Link regarded the woman before him. Someone had notified Aveil that he was on his way here. Who? Was it the same person responsible for the calamity placed upon Termina? Someone was aware of their quest and of his existence, but who? If only he knew.

She smirked. “Much is weighing on your mind, I can see,” she muttered.

“Who ordered you to hurt the Zoras, and what did this person promise you?” He questioned. Of course he knew it wasn’t simple to get like this, but if all else failed, he had no choice.

She mused. “So many questions…who said it was a person?’” She suddenly snapped her finger, easily summoning her personal servants. “Bound his hands and remove his weapons,” she ordered.

OOO

After managing to escape, Inuyasha and Kirara descended onto the ground. The area around them was strangely vacant. There was not a sign of anyone in the vicinity and that alone was aggravating. An ominous fog settled itself around them, and it was difficult to make anything out.

Discerning what was there and what wasn’t, Kirara spotted movement just beyond the many wooden crates ahead. Something was creeping there and whatever or whoever it was, Kirara leapt in to action with a fierce growl, determined in her quick flight.

Upon hearing this, Inuyasha turned to the feline. “What is it?” he called.

As if to answer his reply, a feminine scream rang out, much to Inuyasha’s surprise. It seemed Kirara had found one of those pirates. She was probably hiding, waiting to ambush him. “Great job Kirara!” Inuyasha smirked before stepping forward.

Out of the misty fog, Kirara emerged with a small child. Kirara teeth bit in to the back of her shirt, lifting her in the air as the saber tooth sauntered toward her companion. The sight was not what he was expecting.

“Hey! Let me go!” Amber cried while struggling in the feline’s grasp. Who knew such a large cat existed. The girl kicked in hopes of freeing herself, but the grip was strong. “You’ll be sorry!”

Inuyasha glared and pointed his blade straight to her face, mere inches from her nose. “Be quiet! Tell me where your leader is!” He ordered.

Amber’s eye twitched at his arrogance. “Like I’d tell you!” The pirate realized suddenly that the person standing before her was in fact a man, and she knew she was in trouble. She didn’t know what kind of person he was. In fact, basic understanding of men baffled her, considering that this was the first time ever encountering one. Were men really as brutal as the tribe said? Would he kill her if she didn’t fess up? God only knew she didn’t want to die, but it was a matter of pride and also loyalty to her tribe that she kept her mouth shut. Spilling too much information was foolish and could lead to certain devastation.

“Is that so?” he questioned before taking her from Kirara and holding her by the back of her neck. His brown eyes scrutinized the small child in his grasp before they narrowed with impatience. “Who’s in charge around here?” Inuyasha didn’t have all day to wait around. Either she was going to talk, or he would have to take matters in to his own hands.

Amber stuck her tongue out at him, and kicked him straight in the chest. “I’m not telling you anything!”
Outright aggravated by her refusal to speak, Inuyasha growled menacingly. “I haven’t got all day! Just tell me!” Sheesh, the kid was almost as annoying as Shippo! It wasn’t like he was going to hurt her. He might have his moments, but he’d never hurt a kid.

“Never!”

A chorus of shouts drew Inuyasha’s attention away from the defiant girl and towards the fortress surrounding him from all sides. The fog had yet to lift, and the voices of several distressed and outraged women appeared at the scene. While the haze partially hid their forms, Inuyasha saw the outlines of their body and their weapons gripped tightly. The tribe blocked the path in front of him, approaching with intentions of harming him for his sudden and unwelcomed intrusion, but he didn’t back down, in fact, he smirked.

Stepping out of the fog, several amazons stood before him, their blades ready and waiting to take charge and strike him down. Their golden eyes, rare in most Terminans, blazed with abhorrence. Although their mouths were covered by silken cloths, Inuyasha knew very well that there weren’t smiles hidden beneath the soft fabric.

Inuyasha readied his own sword in his free hand, while the other made sure to hold the child still. “You just don’t give up, do you? Where is your leader?” He called out to them with annoyance.

One woman in particular stepped forward from the rest, her garments more distinct than her female friends. She was dressed in loose fitting green pants and a revealing top that exposed her slim body. Fiery red hair hung high in a bun, held together by gems. “Though I do not know why you have intruded upon our home, a man no less,” She began and gritted her teeth as she eyed him some feet away. “This is as far as you go!” She glowered and held herself in a rigid stance, though she made no move as to attack. “You’re not welcomed here!”

Inuyasha snorted and gripped his sword tightly. “Yeah well it’s not like I want to be here,” he replied. “Listen, I just want to talk to whoever is in charge!” After that, he’d be happy to leave.

“Talk? With our leader?” The woman scoffed at his ignorance. As if she would allow such a disgusting ‘man’ inside their home and in the presence of Aveil no less. Why the idea was laughable, and he would only dirty their home with his filth. “Our leader has no time to deal with pathetic dogs!” She replied. She eyed the child held firmly in his grasp, struggling to free herself. “You’d do wise to release her before we disassemble your limbs piece by piece.”

Taken aback by their cruelty, Inuyasha was quick to react. “I have business here and whether you like it or not, I’m not leaving until everything is settled!” He scrutinized the woman who remained standing, though she did not make a move to attack, her expression however was laced with many emotions, but fear was not one. In fact, anger was more dominant than any other. Of course he supposed they did have a reason to want to strike him down, after all he did step on their property, but they were the ones responsible for all that was happening in Great Bay. Who else? It was obvious those creatures were nesting in their home.

The tribe drew forward, their steps alerting both Inuyasha and the feline that they weren’t going to make this easy on them. They were bound and determined to dispel their presence.

“That’s just like a man! Demanding everything for himself!”

“Let’s kill him and end this charade!”

“Men are better left for dead than they are alive!”

The shouts sent waves of adrenalin through his veins. Link was right when he said that the place was swarming with guards, and the fact that they were issuing threats at him was enough to almost drive him over the edge. On the downside, they were humans, not demons or monsters; he couldn’t just kill them.

Annoyed, the female in charge raised her hand, signaling the others to prepare themselves. “You were warned!”

Realizing that they were not going to halt on the child’s account, Inuyasha prepared himself. “Damn!” If only he had he hadn’t turned mortal, then he’d have a chance of getting pass them without the worry of causing harm. He had no problem dealing with the mutants, but humans were another matter.

Without a second to spare, the woman in charge signaled the attack, and battle cries filled the area.

Raising the blade in self-defense, Inuyasha found himself at odds with the overpowering humans. While he blocked many of the attacks, Kirara watched his back, her fangs startling very few of the women who dared approached.

The child, felt dizzy from the constant movement in her captor’s grasp. She found herself held firmly at his waist, while he clashed blades with the others. Amber hadn’t expected any of this, but she found herself watching the man that held her closely. Why hadn’t he thrown her aside?

Thrown back suddenly by their nimble movements and flexibilities, Inuyasha knew he couldn’t keep up much longer. While his sword had the power to push them back, he found that he needed more distance in order to pull off one of his moves. Before, he had intended to cooperate with them, and had done his best to push aside the threats, but they just weren’t willing to listen. Wanting him dead was one thing, but possibly hurting one of their own in the process was not what he had seen coming.

In an effort to protect the girl, he held her closer, his hold on his sword tightening. A sudden attack from above caught his attention, when one of the tribeswoman leapt in to the air for what appeared to be an ending blow, Inuyasha fell back by the barrage of twin blades, and he hit the ground hard. Unfortunately, his sword fell from his hand and landed some distance out of reach. Before he could manage to move out of harm’s way, he felt the tip of the blade at his throat.

“Any last words?” She asked.

Inuyasha glowered at her. What could he do now? He was surrounded with weapons pointed straight at him. But aside from this, no harm came to the child next to him, but he didn’t remove his hold on her either. “Damn it! Just hear me out!”

“Why should we listen to scum like y—“

The woman before him raised her hand in silence. “Enough.” Her eyes wandered the man from head to toe before returning to gaze in to his dark eyes. “And what is so important that needs discussed with our leader? Hm?” From her reckoning, the wall near the entrance of the gate had collapsed, and it was all because of his strange sword. “I’ll hear what you have to say before I kill you and throw your corpse over the wall.”

Inuyasha surveyed the surrounding tribe before his gaze settled on his feline companion. Somehow, Kirara was netted down by some strange rope that sparked from the slightest of movements. “Tell me why you’re all hurting the Zoras!”

A smirk formed on her cherry lips suddenly and she found herself chuckling. “And why would you care about that? Surely it has nothing to do with you, man.”

“It has everything to do with us!” Inuyasha mentally cursed himself for letting the last word slip.

The smile left her face and her mood soured. “Us?” So there were more of them then? ‘That would explain the disturbance not long ago…’ “Unfortunately I cannot answer your question. In fact, our own leader, as of late, ordered the attack,” she explained. “By law, we are to follow orders, nothing else.”

Not sure whether they were honest or not, Inuyasha couldn’t help but wonder about this leader. Seeing as how they disliked men in general, the leader was no doubt a female. But that did not answer his next question. “What about those disgusting sea creatures that attacked the Zoras? Where did they come from?”

“Ever persistent are we?” She frowned and tilted her head in a fashion before shrugging. “I cannot answer because I do not know. I’m sure Aveil would be willing to answer you...but unfortunately, she doesn’t appreciate being bothered.” Noticing his distress and determination to find some means of escape, she lifted her chin. “I’m afraid your visit was short lived.” Raising her spear, she prepared to finish off the worthless male, but before she could strike him through the heart, he grabbed the shaft and pushed her back with surprising strength. “Give up! You can’t win!”

“I’m not taking no for an answer!” He pushed the woman away. “Either you do as I say or I snap her neck, which is it?” He brought the child closer to him, and watched their reactions. Surely they had to have some compassion in their hearts if only for one of their own, no older than themselves. Even Inuyasha didn’t have it in him to hurt her, and he wasn’t going to either. He only hoped they would allow him access inside, if not, he was in trouble.

Before she or any of the others could retort back, hurried footsteps drew their attention away from the intruder. Almost immediately, a group of women emerged from the haze, some injured, others soaked.

With annoyance flaring the Gerudo who appeared, along with all the others, glared at Inuyasha. He had destroyed their boats and injured few of her companions, and she wanted him to suffer. “Why have you not killed him?! That man should be locked up!”

Surprised by her choice of words, the leader in charge frowned. “Locked up? Naomi, you know Aveil would not tolerate that!” She eyed the small group, noticing that they were soaked from head to foot. “Was anyone hurt?”

Looking back, Naomi shook her head. “We’re fine, but a number of our pets were annihilated,” she replied before glaring at the male draped in red just a few steps from her. Noticing one of their own caught in his grasp, her agitation heightened.

OOO

The tournament ended with a round of cheers as the winner ascended the platform where he was congratulated with his reward. While the event proved challenging, Kauji had decided to lose on purpose, if only to let his companion win. After all, winning wasn’t everything, and besides, he’d won plenty of times in the past and many of his male friends were irritated with their repeated losses. The Zora that did win was a good friend of his, Zaruth. He had a reason to win; after all, a certain female waited earnestly for his victory.

After receiving his prize, a blue pearl, the joyous Zora grinned triumphantly. Almost instantly, all of his fellow Zoras bombarded him with congratulations; they couldn’t have been more proud.

Kauji smirked from his place in the background. “A great match.”

Looking over his shoulder, Zaruth smiled. “I still can’t believe I won!” A laugh escaped him.

Kauji couldn’t help but stare at the pearl grasped loosely in his friend’s hand. The pearl itself was a basic gift for a tournament. The ocean produced ample amounts year round. They were always regarded for their rich color and quality; they were a favorite among the females. A while back, it ended up as a ritual custom among the tribe and tournaments were often held each year. Whoever was claimed victor would present his prize to his beloved. Pearls also functioned in marriage proposals.

While Zaruth was carried away by the other contestants, Kauji sighed and massaged his shoulder which ached somewhat.

“Kauji!”

Looking over his shoulder, he turned and greeted the young woman warmly. “I hope you found the event to your liking.”

Kagome smiled. “You came in second. Great job!”

He grinned. “Yeah well it was interesting.” Raising his arms above his head, his elbows and shoulders popped, and a pleasurable sigh left him. Looking back at the woman, he smiled politely. “Well, I think I’ll go rest for a while,” he replied. “You and your friends are free to go anywhere. Later we will feast.”

Kagome nodded and waved the exhausted male goodbye before turning to her female companion who stood ever so silently beside her. “Sango?”

“Kagome…can we talk?”

“Huh? Sure, what about?” She asked curiously.

Settling themselves at the ledge of the spring, Kagome turned to the older woman. Apparently something was bothering her; otherwise, it wouldn’t seem so important. From the look in her eyes, realization dawned on the school girl. Of course she’d been avoiding the subject for some time, but she knew sooner or later it would catch up to her.

The woman’s eyes settled on the spring in deep thought. “However long it takes us here in this world, we’ll definitely return home,” she began. Truth be told, she didn’t know how long that would take, but the sooner this task was accomplished, the sooner they acquired the remaining three pendants, the sooner they could leave this foreign land and back home. “Then, we’ll put an end to Naraku.” She glanced back at Kagome. “You’ll be able to return to your family,” she explained.

The priestess nodded.

Sango sighed. “Kagome, you know it’s not good to keep everything locked up inside…”Her eyes watched for any change in her countenance, but Kagome’s eyes were elsewhere. When she saw her passive expression, she continued on. “What you went through wasn’t easy…and acting like everything is ok will only hurt more.” Kagome had yet to actually shed tears in her teammate’s presence, and that frightened her. The girl she had come to know was hiding her pain was replacing it with false cheerfulness.

Kagome’s melancholy expression reflected off the surface of the water. Sango was right. “I know…I mean…what’s done is done…what’s the use in delving deeper in to the past?” she asked, but mostly to herself. Her virginity was taken from her by a cruel man who had also taken from her another important gem…the Sacred Jewel. If only she had stayed with the others instead of wandering off that night.

“These things happen...sometimes we can’t avoid it,” the slayer solemnly explained. Though Sango had seen Kagome’s jovial countenance over the past couple days, she knew that deep down her companion was hurting. She saw the lament in her eyes. Sometimes she just wished Kagome would open up just a little more. “There was a time…I was almost assaulted…I was 12 summers old…”

Kagome’s thoughts snapped back to reality and she looked upon Sango with curiosity. “What?”

Sango remembered that day vividly. The night was like any other, calm and peaceful, but unfortunately the night also brought great terror. A horde of demons had demolished several important shrines near her home. On that day, she and her people were summoned by a young lord to exterminate the creatures wreaking havoc at the castle. The battle was strenuous and fierce, and it took all of Sango’s training to push through.

After dispatching all the demons from the vicinity, the lord was kind enough to offer them a place of sanctuary until morning. During that night, she and her brother slept in separate rooms, while her father was tended to by some royal physicians.

She remembered how restless she felt after the battle, and she recalled how her father praised her when she fought. The lord of the castle had been so thankful for their help, that he offered payment to her father if he handed over a few of their clan members to work at the palace and keep it protected, but that offer was declined. The lord gave up, and did not mention another word.

While the events from earlier still played in her head, she heard soft footsteps stalking towards her, and she sat up in bed thinking it was her brother wanting to spend the night like he usually did. How wrong she was to assume such a thought. The person standing in her room was not her brother, but it was in fact the young lord of the castle.

She remembered questioning why he was there, and when he said nothing but reached out to grab her, she leapt out of bed and reached for her weapon. Everything happened so fast, that she hadn’t had much time to discern his movements in the dark. At one point he was straddling her small form and ripping at her kimono and the next he was lying across the room unconscious.

Having heard her story, Kagome remained silent. She never knew much of Sango’s past, and having heard of her assault, Kagome’s frown deepened. “…”

Sango continued on. “I was thankful my father was still awake. If he hadn’t arrived when he did…” She fought the urge to growl when she recalled how his rough hands had touched her in various places that night. Her father was lucky the lord hadn’t executed him for his attack.

The priestess understood the terror her friend must have faced. In fact, when Sakon had ripped her clothes and forced a strange liquid down her throat, it took all of her will power to resist, but in the end she was at his mercy. Though she wasn’t alone in the world; there were many women with their own problems, and Kagome was no different. Sango was fortunate that day.

Sango eyed her companion. If only there was something she could do to ease the burden placed on the young school girl. But she knew no matter what she said, nothing could heal the pain she suffered. Thankfully the guys were quiet about this, and were not persistent on the matter. A sudden awkwardness fell upon the two, and Sango felt she might have saddened her friend further.

A moment later, Kagome sighed. Her hand combed through her long tangled ebony tresses and she groaned in protest. “I really need a bath…my hair feels awful,” she pouted.

Noticing the change of topic, Sango decided to drop the subject. “I don’t believe bathing in the spring is an option.”

Kagome blinked. “No. I don’t think so…” She groaned and leaned on her hands with her head hanging.

“Why not look around some more?” Sango offered. After all, there were countless rooms surrounding them. Since the guys were away fetching the next pendant, she and Kagome could possibly make themselves useful in some way or other.

Noticing her friend stand up, Kagome shook her head. “That’s ok…I think I’ll just stay here for a bit longer,” she explained. A small smile graced her saddened expression. “You go ahead. I’ll catch up later.”

Hesitant, Sango nodded and left Kagome to her musings. Although she hated to leave, she knew it was probably for the best. ‘I’m sorry Kagome…’

OOO

Kauji sighed as he returned to the sanctuary of his room. Parchments littered the floor, which was covered with white sand; they remained there for some time, most crumpled up and tossed elsewhere. Sheer ivory curtains draped around the farthest side of the room, encompassing his bed. Along the walls were several ornaments of many shells, and on the opposite side of the room, a small pool of water.

The young male fell against his bed lazily and stared at the ceiling with lingering thoughts of the event and also of the travelers. For a moment, he briefly wondered if it was possible that they could free their clan, but then again, humans were known to be weak and corrupt. Yet, Kauji didn’t see those characteristics in most of them. In fact, few had attributes of strong warriors, yet they were gentle and youthful; the qualities he found in the females, mostly the youngest in the revealing garb.

The older woman, who claimed to be a slayer, kept her guard up continuously. Not long ago, he had noticed her examining his people with uncertainty, and although his kinfolk claimed innocence, she held doubt in her eyes. Unlike her other companion, Kagome, she was an interesting girl, and although danger lurked around the corner, her smile remained nonetheless. Sweet and somewhat naïve, he found her most appealing. A smile graced his lips at the memory of her cheering him on in the tournament.

The gentle sounds of tapping drew his attention away from his thoughts. Sitting up, he reached over and grasped the lidded jar next to the bed and held it up before his face, leering at the small ball of light inside. “Sorry, but right now, I can’t afford distractions,” he explained, watching as the pink light darkened to a scarlet. “I’ll let you go soon, I promise.” He smirked before setting her aside. Laying back down, he closed his eyes.

OOO

Aveil chuckled as she circled Link. After sending her servants away, she allowed all of her attention to focus solely on the boy before her. He was quite the looker, compared to all the males in Termina, and although he was without facial hair made him all the more attractive. Don’t get her wrong, she found him quite nice, but she preferred older men, ones that were forceful and also submissive.

Sighing, she stood before the boy and shook her head sadly. “Such a shame…it really is,” she admitted. If only Link were a few years older. She knew he would grow to be quite handsome. Besides that, they were from two different worlds, with two different ages. Aveil was a leader of pirates, and he was a boy reaching his peak among the adults in a far lesser society. Obviously they had nothing in common, so why would she bother taking the situation any further?

Of course she felt some disdain for men in general. Why was that? In her eyes, as well as the other women of her tribe, men were barbaric. Conquering and abusing women were in their nature. In fact, they took great pleasure in harming a girl, no matter what her age and violated her in cruel and immoral ways. They took satisfaction, long ago, and burned her homeland, and she experienced first-hand what it was like to be raped and beaten. She felt the torture, the humility from those vile beings, and yet, there was something about them that drove her over the edge. After all her years of pirating, she yearned for the sensual touch from such a creature, if only for a short moment. Afterwards, she’d satisfy herself in his suffering.

While her eyes sparkled in mischief, Link found her gaze quite unsettling. The woman appeared distracted by her own thoughts, and although her eyes never left his form, he looked away. Observing the large room, he noted that the fishing tank sat off the side with fewer fish inside its glass walls.

Aside from all the weapons placed against or hung from the walls, Link noticed a bow and a familiar case of golden arrows sitting neatly against the wall. ‘Those are Kagome’s….’

“Tell me, are your friends at the domain right now?” She questioned.

Link glared, but he did not answer, nor did he intend to. The fact that she knew where the others were was not surprising. Link was sure those water imps were working under her orders and had been spying on them. Because his hands were bound, his plans were somewhat hindered, and he knew that if he were to obtain the pendant, he’d have be wary, because unlike all of the guards, Aveil was the most powerful. How did he know that? It was a simple fact that only the strongest could rise to power in the tribe. And seeing how her people feared her, that was another clear sign that Aveil was not a woman to reckon with.

The door to the room suddenly opened, earning both occupants attention. Several irate women sauntered inside, bringing with them a large cat which they dragged by strong chains; strange magic held the feline down, shocking her each time she tried to free herself, and in the process zapped her energy.

“The hell! Let me go!”

There was a disturbance behind the door, followed by many familiar curses and shouts. Pushed inside, Inuyasha fell on one knee, glaring at the individuals responsible. Besides his hakama slightly ruffled and dirtied, Inuyasha was unhurt and ready to kill, regrettably, his arms were seized, therefore hindering his means of attack.

Realizing he was not alone in the large, decorative room, Inuyasha’s gaze landed on Link, who stood with nonchalance, staring at him as if he wasn’t expecting his arrival. “Well, look who got caught!” His voice dripped with sarcasm. Of course he should have figured this would happen. “You got a lot of nerve kid!” He scolded. “Acting all high and mighty!”

Scrutinizing the loud male, Aveil felt her displeasure heighten. Just who was this loud mouthed male? She most certainly didn’t approve of his presence, and the fact that her guards brought him straight to her angered her greatly. “Why have you brought this man here?”

At the sound of her voice, each sentry fell to their knees in deep respect, with their foreheads touching the ground. Some shuddered, dreading that they would be disciplined severely for allowing a male inside the fortress without her permission. In fact, they knew the exact punishment granted to them for such a crime.

Curiously, his eyes landed upon the petite and curvaceous woman standing before a large throne in front of them. Inuyasha knew instantly that she was the person in charge. The way she held herself high above the other women, and the fact that she was dressed in upper class garments, told him otherwise.

When they failed to give her an explanation, she felt her blood boil. “Explain!” she demanded with crossed arms.

One of the commanders in charge spoke up. “This man destroyed the perimeter, harming some of our companions. We found him with one of our own caught within his grasp. He demanded to speak with you, my lady,” the one in charge of the lower class guards replied quite hurriedly.

“Oh?” Aveil eyed Inuyasha. “And pray tell how such a man destroyed the wall? Not only that, but how did he get past the gate?”

Breaking free from one of the offender’s grasp, he held his fist high in front of him. “Hey! Why don’t you ask me yourself!?” Just as he was about to say another word, Inuyasha’s face met the ground roughly with a blade to the back of his neck. What in the world was wrong with these women and their brutal conduct?

Gulping, one of the sentries stepped forward, pulling the chain that wrapped around Kirara quite delicately. “This feline is capable of flight. He flew over the walls that way,” she explained.

“Flight?” Aveil eyed the saber tooth. How was a cat capable of flight? Slightly interested, she sauntered up to the large beast and gently caressed her white, silky fur, much to Kirara’s disapproval. Never in her life had she seen such a beast.

While she observed the feline, she shifted her gaze to another of her guards, this time holding a large weapon in her hands. Taking the offered blade, Aveil marveled at the craftsmanship. Admiring the soft glow emanating off the blade, she suddenly found herself distracted by the odd letterings engraved in the steel. Something about this sword disturbed her, and with great dissatisfaction, she returned it to her servant. “Place it with all the rest,” She ordered. While the other woman walked off to complete her order, Aveil sauntered over to the male with long ebony hair. The moment she stood before him, she placed her hands on either of her hips. “Look at me.”

Looking up in to her strange golden eyes, Inuyasha glared.

“So…you are a half demon, are you?” she asked, surprising Inuyasha completely. She laughed at his reaction. “Strange, you look human enough. Here I thought you’d be stronger…how disappointing…”

Distrustfully, Inuyasha clenched his fists, “Who told you?!” Immediately, he allowed his eyes to fall on a certain boy. Did Link foolishly tell these strangers about his secret? He noticed the annoyance on the youth’s face, and the sudden shake of his head as if to answer his question. Obviously he didn’t.

Again Aveil cackled, before turning her back on him. Sitting in her chair, she crossed her legs, resting both her arms on both supports, however, her smirk did not falter. “I have my sources,” she replied. “So I hear you’re trying to save the Zoras?” She chuckled at the thought. “Such pathetic creatures. Do you really think you can save them so easily?” She questioned. “What were you thinking of doing, just breaking inside our home and asking us politely to stop?” she asked, her malicious smile ever-present.

“Damn you!” Inuyasha cursed. “Just because they might seem lower to you does not give you the right to torture them and kidnap their people!” he criticized. “If it’s a fight you want, fight me!” He struggled in the guard’s grasp. “I can make it worth your while.”

Aveil arched a delicate brow. A man was willing to fight on behalf of a useless tribe of humanoid fish? A stranger from a far off land was willing to sacrifice himself for another? Why the very idea was unthinkable. However, it did spark her interest. “A fight? With me?” she questioned. “And you say you’ll make it worth my while?” She shook her head.

OOO

Due to the loud commotion, several young palace retainers gathered around, their curiosity sparked on account of two strangers within their settlement. On closer inspection of these outsiders, they realized that they were both males. Fearful of the dreadful rumors that circled about their people, regarding the savageness such men expressed, they fell in to hushed negative whispers. While some were quite upset about this disturbance, others were quite interested, considering it was a first in their life time to actually look upon the opposite sex.

Entering from the servants’ quarters, Amber trudged down the hall, her thoughts straining to understand what had happened moments ago. That man had threatened to hurt her if the others hadn’t agreed to allow him access inside. Apparently he had something important to discuss with Aveil and she wondered what it could be. Since he did release her, thankfully, Amber had been surprised that the royal sentries were willing to let her off the hook, but she fretted what might happen later on. It was unavoidable, and she knew that Aveil would discipline her. Although the thought bothered her, she didn’t care. What was more important to her was understanding this guy’s presence and what he could want with her leader.

Silently, she quickened her pace down the long passageway, careful of capturing some of the tenants on duty’s attention. As soon as she neared the room, the entry way covered by silken drapes, Amber heard various noises on the other side. Pushing back the cloth, Amber peaked at the occupants nearby.

Directly in front of her, she found several maidens blocking her view of Aveil and the perpetrator. Providing that she entered from the side door, she crossed over to the gathering of servants, and attempted to push past them, but when that failed, she stood on her tiptoes, and tried to capture some of the conversation between Aveil and the stranger. If only she wasn’t five foot tall.

Instantly, she spotted the dark haired male with the attitude, and the fact that he was held down, she smirked. Just as soon as she found a great spot to observe the scene, and possibly a punishment for the intruder, a hand suddenly pulled Amber from view and towards the back.

One girl in particular, quite tall in appearance, regarded the two males. “What do you think they want?”

“Nothing but trouble, if you ask me.”

Another girl, quite hopelessly overjoyed by this event, simply smiled. “Oh look at his hair! And his clothes!”

Groaning, the older girl standing beside the eager teen merely slapped her shoulder. “Snap out of it! He’s a man!” She argued. “He’d sooner rape than strike up a conversation!”

Somewhat aggravated that they had pushed her aside, Amber tried once more. “Them?” Squeezing her way through the throng, she managed to duck under a few arms in order to observe who this other person was. On closer inspection, she found this male quite…young? No…there was something different about him. Blond hair stood out among everyone in the room. The color was indeed foreign and also unusual. Unlike his companion, he was strangely quiet during the whole ordeal, not once expressing any sign of cowardice or resentment. A green tunic with brown sleeves adorned his slim appearance. Baffled, she wondered when he had snuck in. ‘Who is he?’

Chapter Text

Aveil, who had been quietly musing, noticed a stirring several feet away. Apparently her retainers were slacking on their duties in order to catch a glimpse of the males. Bothered by the bickering females, Aveil stood up and silently crossed her arms. The sudden motion easily alerted them that she was very much displeased. “There is nothing to see here!” she said suddenly. “Get back to work!” she ordered.

Startled by her sudden demand, many of the servants hustled out of the room, and in the process, shoved one another. After Amber finally found a good spot to observe quietly, the sudden shift propelled her forward, and with great alarm, she saw the floor close in on her. “Ah!” Groaning, she pushed herself up on her knees. Feeling an awkward quietness settle around her, she hesitantly raised her head. To her dismay, everyone was staring at her, and she was alone.

Gulping slightly, she found herself gazing in to deep sapphire eyes. A sudden shock swept through her, and she felt her heart jump loudly in her chest. On closer scrutiny, Amber beheld the boy standing before her. Golden locks fell partially over his mysterious eyes, though slightly wet since he was somewhat drenched, he held himself strong. What was this feeling that abruptly overwhelmed her? Who was he? Flushing under his attentive gaze, she shifted her attention.

At the sight of the pitiful child, Aveil felt the urge to roll her eyes. “Amber,” she called, easily earning the child’s attention, and upon the fright in her stare, she continued. “Am I to believe that you fell victim to this man?” she indicated to Inuyasha, who remained silent as if to observe the scene.

Gulping, Amber held back from growling at her. In a manner of deep respect, she lowered herself to the floor. “Forgive me,” She pleaded.

Arching a brow, Aveil relaxed in to her throne, though her attention did not leave Amber. Silently, she grasped the scepter near her throne and fingered the crystalized orb. “It seems as though no matter what punishment you receive, you only continue with your antics…” She replied and raised her eyes. “If I’m informed of another mistake on your part, I will not hesitate to give you a far greater punishment. Do you understand?” She asked.

Amber nodded. “Yes.”

“Good. Leave my presence.”

Obediently, she picked herself off the floor and left the room not once turning back. If only she were older, then Aveil wouldn’t boss her around. The only reason she acquired rule over their lives was because of her popularity among the women, and also due to her unrivaled beauty. One day, she wouldn’t be so tough, because Amber planned to do something about it.

Sighing dramatically, Aveil shifted her gaze on a far more important matter. The question was what would she do with them? As of the moment, they were beneath her. Pondering for what seemed like the fifth time, she decided on what she would do with the intruders. “Place them in the dungeons,” she waved her guards away dismissively, as if the situation were quite boring.

“But, my lady…”

She looked upon the guard. “Do not fret. By sunrise tomorrow, I want their corpses burned.”

Pleased by her mistress’s demand, the guards didn’t hesitate as they forcibly seized the boy garbed in green and the not so pleased older man.

However, a certain dark haired male did not abide by such cruelty and persisted in struggling, all the while his complaints everlasting. “Get your hands off me!” He barked.
Twisting and turning in two of the guards grasp, he managed to kick the one behind him hard in the stomach, and although her grip lessened, the others were quick to react. Not a second later, Inuyasha found himself subdued and carried off by four amazons.

Link, who had also resisted, glanced at Aveil, and while he could escape any time he wished, he decided that it would be in his best interest to allow things to run its course. In the end, he was the most cooperative of the captives.

Clearly upset by these turn of events, Shippo, who had remained in hiding for some time, felt the urgency to seek help from the others. Besides what could he do to help them? The boy watched helplessly as his friends were taken away, and the moment the door closed, he decided to take action. Gulping, he carefully raised himself from his hiding place, cautious of raising suspicion. As he moved to turn the corner, a vociferous feminine voice sent him running for the exit. Not a moment later, he heard the rushed footsteps chasing after him.

OOO

Meanwhile, Sango strolled alone, searching for the missing monk, who had vanished a short time ago after the event. On her way past a small section near a watery space, she noticed that the size of the Zoras on guard had doubled. They were standing near a small body of black sea, watching it carefully as if expecting something sinister to occur, while the others merely took turns pacing to and fro in a repetitive fashion.

Rounding the corner, she took to the long incline next to her. Not until after managing the steep walk, Sango rejoined the monk, who sat upon the cliff, gazing down at the spring as if concerned. “Miroku?” She called, earning his attention instantly. “I’ve been looking for you. What are you doing?” she asked kneeling beside him.

“Sango…” he voiced. “How is she?” he asked. By her expression, he knew something must have happened, or that is to say already did. A moment ago, he had just been thinking quietly about the Feudal Era and what kind of mischief Naraku was up to, until he saw Sango and Kagome sitting near the spring below him.

She shook her head, recalling Kagome’s expression when she had brought it up. “Kagome is still bothered. I’m not sure what to do. I thought if I sat down and talked to her…that maybe…” Sango fell short and sighed. “I might have upset her only further.”

With reassurance, Miroku placed a hand upon her shoulder. “I’m sure she’ll be alright.” Looking off towards the spring, he saw her sitting there with her knees raised up to her chest, her head hidden from view. “What she needs right now is some time alone,” he explained.

Sango nodded. “You’re right.”

OOO

Sitting alone by the spring, staring blankly ahead, Kagome reflected on all that had happened since their coming to Termina. Her thoughts lingered on her friends and family, as well as her previous situation. With her head in her arms, she closed her eyes, trying to shut out everything around her. How long was it since she had time to think alone? She wasn’t sure. At the moment, she wished for nothing more than for time to start over, but that wasn’t possible. Why was that? She could already time travel, was that not enough?

A sigh escaped her. Briefly she wondered how her family was. Were they well? How was her little brother doing in school? Was her grandfather still up to his old tricks? Was her mother still smiling? What about her friends? An image of Yuka, Eri and Ayame suddenly appeared in her thoughts. Most likely they were wondering why she was absent from school for so long, and there was no doubt her grandfather was making up more excuses about her strange ailments.

Of course, it wasn’t only about missing those that she loved, but also about her relationship with a certain half demon. What were they right now? Obviously he still loved Kikyou, and Kagome knew there was no possible way to separate them, not that she would. Not long ago, they both shared a kiss; this was during the time when they were fighting against Kaguya. Vividly, she remembered the way Inuyasha had held her and the adoration in his eyes as he stared in to her eyes. Was he seeing Kagome then…or was he merely thinking of Kikyou? Did he not feel anything from the kiss? Perhaps her feelings had been unrequited and she had wasted pouring her heart and tears onto to something she could never have.

Sighing yet again, Kagome held her knees tightly against her and closed her eyes. In his eyes, he probably saw her as only a friend. Of course there had been a time that he only thought of her as a jewel detector, but after all the problems and challenges they faced, they managed to become good friends. Perhaps she would talk with Inuyasha the first chance she got and sort out everything and then just move on with her life. Kagome just couldn’t ignore this.

Another thought swept across her mind, and the image she thought of was a certain boy garbed in green. Throughout their quest, Link proved himself as a capable fighter, risking his own life in order to save hers. While he did possess an ample amount of courage to brave dangerous tasks, Kagome also wondered if he were maybe trying too much. Although he was a year younger than herself, she did marvel at his speed and expertise with his sword and arrows. Although he was quite good in battle, there was something about him that seemed…odd. Never once had she seen him smile or open up to them. Right now, it seemed as though they were still strangers. Did he not trust them entirely? Link baffled her. Next time for sure, she would also talk with him, and she intended to figure out why he kept his distance.

While most of her thoughts tended to settle on the negatives, and from them they only went downhill. Not only had she managed to get captured and raped, but she also lost the Jewel of Four Souls. After setting foot in to Termina, she’d only been a burden to everyone. Right now she was stuck sitting again because she lost her Light Arrows that the Great Fairy had given to her. What use was she without her weapons?

“You seem troubled,” A husky voice startled Kagome.

Looking up, she gazed in to emerald green eyes of a certain Zora, and she frowned. “I was just thinking…” she replied somberly.

Arching a brow, Kauji rubbed the back of his neck. This was a first actually seeing the young maiden so distressed. Clearing his throat, he decided to get right to the point. “I see. There is some troubling news I need to present to you and your friends.”

Perplexed, Kagome blinked. “What kind of news?” The priestess noted the seriousness in his voice and his narrowed eyes.

“It seems the storm has picked up again and from that is an ominous sign.” He took a few steps behind her and stopped, indicating to the noise around them. “Our men are preparing for the worst and we believe it would be beneficial if you and your friends were to stay with the other females.”

Kagome picked herself off the floor and looked around the room. Several young Zoras were running around with panicked alarms, trying to gather their weapons. “I have to find Serena,” she suddenly said, baffling Kauji.

“Serena?”

She nodded. “Yes. She’s a little pink fairy. She was with us a while ago, but she disappeared.”

Kauji mused. He knew exactly where the fairy was, but he wasn’t so sure about telling Kagome where. Why? Well the girl would practically grow irate, and that was something he wasn’t willing to do. “Well, if you like, I shall search for her,” he offered.

OOO

Thunder echoed and lightning lit the darkened sky, and a downpour fell upon Great Bay yet again. The waves tossed and turned and a harsh wind blew ominously. The eclipse that lingered over the land was concealed behind the massive dark sky.

Miroku frowned at the scene before him and Sango. The tribe was terribly unsettled, and they had been ushered to move in to a secured room, though he and the Sango remained where they were, looking for Kagome in the sudden chaos. From outside, they heard the fierce storm and the might of the wind. Moments ago they overheard a conversation that discussed that something disastrous was about to happen, and Miroku pondered if this threat was more terrible than those strange mutants they faced a while ago.

“Miroku?” Sango clenched her boomerang tightly, noting that the monk also felt it. “Can you sense that?”

He nodded. “Yes…something is headed this way,” he explained worriedly, also clenching his staff.

“MIROKU!” A strangled cry echoed throughout the cave, startling nearly all of the occupants in the room.

Sango turned her eyes away from Miroku and toward the exit where a few Zoras surrounded a small figure, their weapons ready for use. “That sounded like Shippo!”

Upon his sudden arrival back to the domain, he fell back when armored humanoid fish pointed their spears at him. Thankfully he managed to fly back, despite the sudden shift of weather. Sitting there exhausted and drenched, he looked up at familiar approaching figures. Still trying to catch his breath, he turned his troubled eyes to his companions.

Before the child could say a word, Miroku interrupted. “Shippo, what happened? Are you hurt?” he questioned.

Eying the child, Sango had a feeling something must have happened. “Shippo, where are the others?”

With sudden tears springing to his eyes, he stood up. “They’ve been captured!

Upon hearing this startling news, several of the Zoras in the vicinity grew upset. Many should have known that something like this would happen. The sudden hope they had was suddenly diminished.

“Did you hear that?” One of the males asked to his friend nearby.

The man in question nodded. “I wonder what happened?”

“Figures! I told you we shouldn’t have trusted those land walkers!”

Ignoring the voices behind him, Miroku focused on the child. “What do you mean they’ve been captured?” He asked sternly.

Whimpering, Shippo rubbed at his eyes. “Everything was going just fine, but our cover was blown and then they were captured and if we don’t do something they’ll be killed!”

Realizing he should have stayed with the others, Miroku took towards the exit, with Shippo and Sango following behind. However, before he reached the opening, Sango grasped his arms, and he stopped mid-run and stared at her questionably. “Sango?”

“Without Kirara, if will be difficult to cross over the ocean,” she explained. “And Shippo is too exhausted to fly back out there.”

Upon hearing this, Shippo grew upset. “Hey! I can fly back no problem!” He pulled himself together, in the best way that he knew how, although he was still shaking and out of breath. “Let’s go!” Just as he was about to march off, Sango took him in to her arms.

The slayer placed a hand to his forehead. “You’re feverish. I don’t know if it would be safe for you to use up any more energy than what you already have.”

Despite her words, Shippo pushed away from her, surprising both of his friends. “I’m ok! We have to save them no matter what!”

Miroku frowned as did Sango. They never saw Shippo so determined before, and while he would normally just run at the scariest moment, he stood his ground, prepared for the worst. In their eyes, Shippo was growing up and taking risks.

Sango looked to the monk. “What do you think Miroku?”

He shook his head. “There’s no use in staying. We’ll head out.”

“Miroku! Sango!” A feminine voice called, and they turned spotting a certain priestess running towards them. Not a second later, she was staring at the two with peculiarly. “Where are you two going?” she asked. As if not noticing right away, Kagome’s eyes fell onto a familiar fox child in Sango’s arms. “Shippo? What are you doing here?”

“Link and Inuyasha are in trouble! We have to save them!”

Kagome blinked. “Trouble? What happened?”

“They were captured. Miroku, Shippo and I are heading out to get them,” Sango explained.

Miroku nodded. “We’ll return soon.”

Frowning, she watched as they turned their back, but before they could depart, Kagome stopped them, feeling anxious. “I’m going with you!”

Prepared for Kagome’s stubbornness, Sango shook her head. “Kagome it would be better if you stayed here. Besides you don’t have your bow and arrows with you,” she explained.

Kagome’s shoulder’s dropped. Once again she was left to stay behind. Was she that useless? “But what if something happens?”

“Then we’ll manage it like always,” Miroku replied with a smile. There was no need for her to worry. They would bring the guys safely back and free those that were imprisoned.
Sighing, Kagome nodded. What was the use in arguing? “Alright. Just be careful.”

For a second time, Sango and Miroku turned toward the exit; however their path was blocked by several Zoras, who were silently irritated.

“Excuse us, but we are in a hurry!” Miroku explained, though it was no use; they would not listen.

“I’m afraid that the woman must stay,” A masculine voice explained next to Kagome, who turned with surprise. “But you monk and boy may proceed.”

Annoyed by their prejudice of women, Kagome turned to Kauji. What right did they seriously have against the opposite sex? “What’s wrong with girls not being allowed to fight?”
Kauji arched a brow at the priestess. “It is not my command but rather our temporary leader’s. You may try to persuade him, but he will remain firm on his decision. If it were me, I’d have allowed you to leave. Considering the circumstances outside though, are you sure it’s safe to be traveling out now?” he asked, carefully regarding their expressions.

“Whether you like it or not, we’re leaving,” Sango exclaimed before turning toward the guards, only to wound up in their clutches. “Let go!”

The monk felt the need to sigh. If this was how it was going to turn out, then he and Shippo would be better off on their own, though he was unsure if now was the appropriate time. Link and Inuyasha were imprisoned, and a sinister threat was heading right for the domain. He turned to Kauji. “Do I have your word that nothing will happen to Kagome and Sango?”

The Zoras smirked. “Rest assured. They are in safe hands. We shall protect them as one of our own,” he replied, earning a nod from Miroku.

As Sango was released, she took hold of the monk’s hands. “Miroku, are you certain about this?”

Miroku nodded before resting his forehead against her own, much to her embarrassment, yet she said nothing. “Yes. I will return soon with Link and Inuyasha. For now, stay safe, you and Kagome.” Pulling away, he gazed in to her brown orbs before releasing her hands and disappearing through the exit with Shippo.

Saddened by his departure, Sango clenched her boomerang. Oh how she wanted badly to go with the monk, but apparently that wasn’t going to happen. Then again, she supposed it would be wise to stay, just in case something was to happen.

OOO

Upon leaving the sanctuary of the cavern, Shippo and Miroku were subdued to the torrents of the ocean and the high winds facing them. They saw the lightening in the distances and the loud booms of thunder. At the moment, it was nearly impossible to tell which direction the fortress was in.

“Miroku!” Shippo shouted over the storm. “Get on!”

Noticing that Shippo had already transformed in to a large bird, Miroku seated himself and Shippo took to the skies, wary of the dangers lurking below the murky water and the threatening lightening above. ‘We’re coming!’

OOO

Leading the girls down a long hall, Kauji noted their expressions. Honestly he didn’t understand why they fought in the first place. Women were to stay by their mate’s side, while they did the fighting. A battle was no place for a woman.

“Where could Serena be?” Kagome thought aloud. “SERENA!” She called, but there was no answer.

“She was with us during the event, wasn’t she?” Sango asked.

Kagome shrugged. “I can’t remember. She was very quiet.” Had the fairy gone off to help Link and Inuyasha? If that were the case, wouldn’t she have told them before flying off? “SERENA!”

Kauji felt his ears ring from her loud shouts, and he felt the urge to clamp a hand over her mouth, but he refrained from doing so. “I’m sure she’s fine. Maybe she’s taking a nap somewhere.”

Refusing to accept that, Kagome turned away and ran down the opposite path, baffling both Kauji and Sango. “I’m going to find her!” After all, she felt it was their responsibility to look out for her while Link was away. Serena had to be somewhere in the domain, and she was going to find her.

Deciding to also look for the fairy, Sango turned in the opposite direction, but not before telling Kauji first. She decided that she would walk up the long incline and if she was lucky, maybe she’d be able to spot the pink winged ball of light.

Before Kauji could chase after either of the determined females, he was stopped by a fellow Zora equipped with armor and ready for battle. The young male appeared out of breath, looking at him as if something had happened. “What’s wrong?”

Taking another breath, the male pointed off towards the hall where many of the others were. “We’ve got trouble! They’re trying to get in!”

Stunned by this, Kauji clenched his teeth and took the armor from the boy’s hand and quickly dressed himself. He hadn’t expected the enemy to arrive so fast. Obviously they were after the remainder of the females, but he and the others weren’t going to make that easy. “Where’s my sword?”

“Here!”

Taking the blade, Kauji rushed in to the battle, wary of the unexpected at any moment.

OOO

Aveil smirked as she waved her hand over the scepter. The crystal upon the staff darkened, and if one looked closely, they could make out the dark storm clouds hovering over Great Bay and the clash of lightening overhead the domain.

A sinister cackle escaped the woman and she threw her head back with delight. She had those Zoras trapped, not only by the acid sea but also by the mutants she had sent out to kill them. Once those creatures were out of the way, she would take the treasure lying at the bottom of their spring and add it to their own collection.

OOO

Drip

Drip

Connected tunnels and a large body of water surrounded the dungeon in which both Link and Inuyasha were imprisoned. An air of dampness pervaded their senses, and it was enough to annoy a certain black haired male. As if things couldn’t have gotten worst, now there was that constant dripping which thoroughly irritated him.

Inuyasha scowled and continued glaring through the bars of the opposite cell where a certain blond youth stood leaning against the barred wall, his eyes closed in a nonchalant manner. It was enough to further his aggravation. Clenching the bars, Inuyasha’s frown deepened. “I just don’t get you…”

Upon hearing this, Link opened his eyes, staring at the male with obvious indifference. Of course he didn’t even bother answering him, not that he cared to anyways. Instead he searched through his satchel, rummaging through it calmly. Unlike Inuyasha, he wasn’t the least bit annoyed or upset. Link knew exactly where he was, but he understood that these surroundings were new to Inuyasha.

Noticing that Link was disregarding him, Inuyasha pulled away. “So what happened to that big plan of yours?” he asked, his voice filled with mockery. “Figures you get caught.” His brown orbs searched his surroundings yet again, and he cursed. If only he still had his father’s fang, then breaking out of this hell hole would be easy. The quietness unsettled him, so much that he turned back to look at the boy next to him questionably. “Hey! Where’s the runt?”

Looking up from his search, Link looked the male in the eye. “His name is Shippo.” Inuyasha had a lot of nerve, and it wasn’t just Link that was captured. However he managed it, Inuyasha was also in the cell beside him.

Inuyasha crossed his arms. “I already knew that! Where the hell is he?” Come to think of it, he didn’t see the kit when he was brought before that woman. Link had already been there, tied up and useless, but there was no sign of Shippo, at least, not that he remembered. “Don’t tell me he’s hiding…figures.”

Shaking his blond tresses, Link returned to his satchel. “He’s safe.” After several times sorting through his satchel, Link noted that his rupee bag was still missing. Without that, he would have difficulty purchasing items needed for the quest. “Strange…my bag is gone…” he muttered.

Upon hearing his words, Inuyasha felt a light bulb function above his head. Immediately he took from his sleeve a small pouch full of many colorful rupees. “Oh you mean this?” He asked innocently. “Yeah, I took it when you weren’t looking…” he eyed the strange gems, still unsure how they could be used as currency. However, he was sure one could sell them for a descent amount of REAL money.

For a moment, Link stared at him. How had he taken his bag without his noticing? So, Inuyasha’s had it all this time? With annoyance, his frown deepened. Not only was Inuyasha rude and arrogant with a bad temper, but he was also a thief.

Noticing his disturbed expression, Inuyasha blatantly remarked, “No need to get all upset! I don’t know why you’re carrying so much on—“Words failed to form upon his lips as he found the cell before him empty. The door was open, yet there was no sign of the brat. Instantly, his eyes found the boy, standing just outside the bars trapping Inuyasha. “What the?! How’d you get out there?”

Looking up from his bag, Link arched a brow. Escaping from the cell was not a problem to him. Besides, he’s managed to escape a few times in the past, and this was no different. Extending his arm, he showed the male a small piece of iron, narrow enough to fit in to the locks.

Realizing that the kid had some smarts, he smirked. “Great going! Now get me out and so we can—“Before he could finish, Link’s back was already turned to him, and he was calmly walking away, deliberately upsetting Inuyasha. “Hey! Where the hell are you going!?”

Link felt his ears ring at the loud shriek. Turning around, he crossed his arms. “Yes?”

Inuyasha felt his blood boil at his reply. “Don’t give me that! Get me out of here!” The nerve of the kid. Who did he think he was?

Holding the small iron in his hand, Link mused. Before Inuyasha informed him of his stolen rupee bag, he was willing to let him out if he cooperated, but seeing as how Link knew the truth, he would rather carry on just as before. Of course Link was somewhat acting unreasonable, he was still upset and annoyed by his teammate. “If I were to let you out, do you promise not to hurt Shippo?”

Surprised by the sudden mention of the runt, Inuyasha growled, though he didn’t understand what Shippo had to do with him being locked up. “It’s not Shippo I’m angry with! You led him in to danger in the first place, taking off in to that wasteland, and you did the same thing here!”

Accepting this somewhat, Link stepped forward, and when Inuyasha reached out to grab the piece in Link’s hand, the youth placed it upon the cold, wet floor, a little out of reach of Inuyasha. Before continuing on his way, he glanced over his shoulder to stare at the surprised male. “You may leave only when you have reached it. I’m sure something so small shouldn’t pose as a challenge to you, Inuyasha.” After that was said, he sped up the stairs, ignoring Inuyasha’s loud yells.

“Hey! Hey! Get your ass back here! Don’t leave me here!” With several failed attempts, Inuyasha found that he could not reach the iron lying a few inches away from his outstretched hand. “Damn it! When I get my hands on him, I’ll personally put him in his place!”

OOO

After successfully infiltrating the pirate’s cove, both Miroku and Shippo managed to step inside without setting off any alarms. Shippo had taken the time to simply fly over just as Link had intended before their cover was blown dramatically by Tingle. Come to think of it, where did that little guy disappear to?

Glancing around the open area, Miroku grew puzzled. The storm was still brewing, and he found it difficult to see through the thick haze as well as the darkness. “Shippo, which direction did you say Link and Inuyasha were in?”

Squinting, Shippo couldn’t see anything. The watchtower should have stood some distance away but he couldn’t locate the structure. “Straight ahead, but it’s too dark to see.”

Voices nearby startled the two, and at the sound of approaching footsteps, Miroku and Shippo darted in the opposite direction in hopes of losing the imminent danger closing in on them. Upon noticing a large staircase before them, they immediately rushed up steps, distancing themselves from the guards below who had yet to notice anything out of the ordinary. After finally ascending the stairs, both males caught sight of a flickering light straight ahead, and considering it was the only light, they followed it.

Once inside, they found themselves in a small empty room. Two torches, on either side of a door, burned straight in front of them. Taking this as a reprieve, Miroku turned to the child standing next to him. “What sort of pirates are they?”

Taking a breath, Shippo looked in to his blue eyes. “They’re girls,” he stated, ignoring as the monk’s eyes light up at the very mentioning of a female. “But they’re really strong. Even Inuyasha and Link were no match to them.”

Miroku scratched his chin. ‘So this fortress is operated by a tribe of fierce women?’ Did that mean that males were unwelcomed? “Interesting.” Looking up, he saw Shippo cross the room, before calling out to him.

Stopping halfway, he turned to the static monk. “Come on! We have to hurry!”

Snapping out of his deluded thoughts, Miroku followed after the child, and just as they reached the door, he turned the handle. “It’s locked…”

“Of course it’s locked,” A feminine voice replied.

Shippo jumped at the voice, and both he and Miroku turned. “Where did she come from?!”

“It takes courage to come thieving in the pirate’s fortress!” A bronze woman with long cascading hair stood before them. Her attire was green, and in each hand she held curved swords, each decorated with the finest of jewels. Without so much as a warning, she charged at Miroku, and in defense, he held up his staff. She smirked. “Are you ready to die?” she asked, raising her other sword.

Dodging her swing, Miroku darted past her, careful of this new threat. But as he dodged, he could not help himself as his eyes roamed her curvaceous body and the outline of her breasts. He had to admit that she was gorgeous, but she was also their enemy. Swinging his staff at the woman, she suddenly did a back flip, and once again, she charged at him. “What have you done with the others?!”

Attack after attack and swing after swing, neither side gave up. The woman whom he fought was very skilled and quick on her feet, but so was he. After separating, he and the woman circled the room, watching the other carefully, not knowing when the other would attack.

She cackled at the monk before her. “It’ been a while since I’ve fought a man…I have to admit, you’re not half bad…”

Miroku glared. “Same to you…”

Grinning, she once again charged at him, but this time Miroku was ready. The moment she came within arm’s reach, Miroku circled behind her, and with his staff, tripped her. Just as she fell to the ground, Miroku aimed his staff. Unfortunately, she was quick to react. Instantly, she rolled out of harm’s way, back flipping from his constant swinging.

From the sidelines, Shippo watched, fearful that the woman would hurt the monk. Gulping, he decided he would help the monk out. Shippo took from his shirt a spinning top and quickly leaped in to the air, throwing the toy at the woman.

While she busily dodged and swung her twin swords, she took notice of the fast approaching, spinning top and she jumped away. Miroku who had also taken notice and leaped out of its path, just as it made contact with the ground between them.

Growing from size, the top spun and spun, and on account of the strange magic, the guard was suddenly distracted. She found that she could not look away as it somehow put her in to quite a spell.

Noticing his chance, Miroku darted for the oblivious woman and with his staff, he slammed it in her stomach. The attack wasn’t enough to cause her great injury, but it knocked the breath out of her.
Grimacing, she fell on one knee, her swords still in her grip. After a moment of coughing, she glared. “How did I lose?”

Offering her a polite hand, Miroku kept his stern expression in place. “What have you done with our friends?”

Irritated, she slapped his hand away. “Hmpt! You’re friends are most likely dead!” She held her stomach achingly. “Ugh…Don’t think it ends here!” Suddenly, she took from her pocket a familiar looking seed and luckily, Shippo and Miroku managed to cover their eyes from the blinding light. This was the same trick Link pulled on him and the others when they first met.

After shielding their eyes, they found that the woman was gone, and Miroku sighed. Spotting a bronze key lying where the woman had been standing recently, he picked it up. “Let’s hurry!”

Picking up his top, Shippo scampered after. He only hoped that it was not too late.

OOO

Kauji cringed at the sight of the disgusting beings. One after another, he defeated them, but no matter how many times he and his men attack, more appeared from the water. Without sustaining any injuries, he brought his sword down on another mutant, and he watched in disgust as its juices soaked his blade. Pulling the steel out of the punctured wound, he examined the rest of his tribe. Fortunately, many had only acquired minimal damage, and they were holding their own just fine.

“Kauji, they just keep coming!” One of the Zoras cried with disbelief.

He frowned. “Are you able to hold your own?” he asked, and when he received a nod, he took off. “Take charge. I’ll be back soon!”

OOO

Kagome sighed. She checked nearly every room, but to her dismay, she could not locate the small fairy. Discouraged, she stopped near the spring, and after glancing in several directions, she decided to take the path to the right. There were two other rooms in which she hadn’t searched in.

Opening the door, she was just about to shout Serena’s name when she suddenly heard a high pitched cry, and alarmed, she stepped into the dark room, fumbling for a light switch or something to guide her inside. There was someone else inside, and from the sound of it, they were in pain.

“Stop! Please!” The voice panicked, and after groping through the darkness, Kagome spotted a light ahead before readying her arrows. “Ah!”

Kagome paused. Right before her, sprawled out in a shallow pool with candle’s lit around its rim, were two male Zoras, their aquatic blue skin glistening with fresh sweat. One in particular towered over the other, his fingers caressing the Zora intimately; it was a sight the priestess had not intended to witness.

“Oh…Dalith…I don’t think…we shouldn’t…” The male voiced weakly. His body trembled from the rough touches of his male lover.

In response, a chuckle resonated in the room. The Zora, known as Dalith, slid his partner up against the wall from the shallow pool and climbed over his body. “How does it feel?” Slowly, he placed light kisses upon his neck, and his rough hands roamed the body of the male beneath him, touching him in places that elicited several moans.

Embarrassed at the show of intimacy between the two lovers, she ducked behind one of the furnished tables, with her hand placed over her mouth to stifle a small squeak, less she accidentally called attention to herself.

‘Oh my gosh! They’re…doing it…’ And at a time when the entire tribe was in disorder! Kagome couldn’t very well just call out for them to save themselves, knowing she’d been there the entire time watching like some creep…well she hadn’t meant to stumble in upon them.

Hearing another moan, Kagome took another peek. If her friends, Eddie, Yuka and Ayumi had seen this, they would have jumped and squealed at the sight…What could she do? Kagome couldn’t just get up and leave; they’d no doubt see her and then she’d be left standing and explaining herself.

Their position had changed, and this time the priestess got a rather nice view of their bodies. The dominate Zora had raised its significant other’s legs and wrapped them around his waist before lowering his lips upon his bare abdomen before licking the flesh, causing the male beneath him to shudder. Chuckling, his hand gripped his submissive partner, fondling him as he performed upon him with his dexterous fingers. “Does this feel good?” He asked, whispering into his ear, and he was rewarded by kiss to his neck.

Kagome found herself unable to move from her spot. This had been the first time in her 15 years that she had stumbled upon such a scene and between two males at that.
“Harder…faster Dalith…ah…”

“You’re so cute when you call out to me,” The Zora replied before accepting, thrusting deeper and faster into the male he loved.

He arched his back, his mouth opening with as his instinctively drew him closer. “It…feels…great…”

“Does it?” He smirked.

Things had gotten intense, and from the look of the up and down hand motion, now between the two of them, Kagome found her heart racing and her breathing hitched as she clung to the table’s leg. The sight of their hips pushing against the other in sync immediately caused her to grasp her nose, feeling a familiar warmth drip onto her fingers.

Pulling herself away, she didn’t have the strength to walk, so instead, she crawled toward the door, where a small crack of light shined through, guiding her away from the stifled moans and heavy breathing in the room. What had she just seen? For some reason, she felt a little bothered and ashamed of herself for watching such a scene, and with the images still playing out in her head and hearing the stifled moans in the background, she felt a strange warmth flood through her stomach, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that she had been turned on by the sight…What was wrong with her?

Finally, after groping around, she managed to push open the door wide enough for her to slip out before closing it as quietly and as slowly as she could. After that, she sat against the door and held a hand to her chest; it felt as if her heart was pounding through her ears. What she had just viewed left her feeling slightly disgusted and yet at the same time quite bewildered. How long exactly was it since they were in the company of females? Feeling quite disturbed and awkward, Kagome, who was still at a lack of words, turned in a random direction, walking quite stiffly and still flustered. In truth, she felt a little dazed at the scene.

After shaking her head from the recent happening, Kagome found herself near the nursery, and a feeling of de ja vu swept over her. Peering inside the small room, she instantly noticed the familiar faces of the children whose innocence put a smile on her face. She remembered their names; the youngest was Meplin, the timid little girl, then there was Mikau, a polite youth, Eizel, the mystery one, and Ralif, the rough one.

After stepping inside, she walked up to the youngsters, realizing that they were completely alone in the room. “Where’s Lulu?”

All at once, as if not expecting to see her, the children circled her, their eyes big with much to say. Meplin, as shy as ever, stood behind both Ralif and Eizel, whereas Mikau latched himself onto Kagome’s skirt, tugging on it excitedly.

“Hey! What’s going on?” Mikau asked. “The grownups are all acting weird.”

Kagome patted their heads. “Don’t worry. You’re all going to be ok. Where did Lulu go?”

Eizel was the one who answered that. “She ran out of the room a short while ago and hasn’t returned yet.”

Ralif made a scary face at Meplin. “I bet she was Eaten by the monsters!”

In response to his ignorance, Meplin cowered, covering her face with tears falling from her eyes.

“Shut up Ralif!” Mikau said, patting the sobbing Zora girl on the back comfortably.

Ralif stuck his tongue out at him. “Well I’m just saying!”

Finding herself in the middle of a beginning dispute, Kagome sighed. Right now she didn’t have time to mess around, and she decided to get straight to the point. “Have any of you seen a fairy?” she asked, but all she received was curious stares.

“What’s a fairy?” Ralif asked, eyeing Kagome.

Kagome went on to explain. “Well, the one I’m looking for is shaped like an orb. She has a pink light and small wings. Have you seen her?”

The children shook their heads. “No.”

Another sigh left her. Where had Serena disappeared to? Seeing as how the children were all alone, Kagome decided to take responsibility. First off, she had to get these kids so
someplace safe.

Before she could lead the children out of the nursery, Lulu rushed in, out of breath, her face flushed. Immediately after entering, she slammed the door shut, her back pressed against it as if to keep whatever trying to get in out. “We’re not safe here!”

Kagome worried. “Lulu, what happened?”

“They’ve gotten in! Those beasts!” She explained, startling the priestess, as well as the children.

From beyond the door, a loud pound made impact, and Lulu panicked. The door shook with great force, and the poundings grew louder. All of a sudden, a blade cut through the door, directly next to Lulu’s face.

Frightened, Lulu fled from the door and joined Kagome and the children. They were huddled together, watching for the evident crash of the door and the monstrous creature attack. It happened all too soon, and the door did indeed fall. Standing in the door way was the very mutant, its scaly body and sinister eyes locked onto its prey.

“Run!” Kagome shouted, taking the kids with her.

Lulu fled in the opposite direction. “Take the kids!” The young woman decided she would act as bait for the creature, if only to save the young ones.

Fearful, Kagome watched as the creature charged in Lulu’s direction, and with great leadership, Kagome pushed the children towards the exit. “Quickly! Run to safety!” After pushing the children out of the nursery, Kagome searched the room, hoping to find some sort of weapon. When none sufficed, she picked up the nearest jar seated against the wall next to her.

Claws reached out for the huddled Zora, who looked on with fearful eyes. Satisfied with its easy prey, the beast licked its lips. Just before it could jump at the woman and feast upon her, something rather hard collided with its head.

“Run!” Kagome shouted, now that she had caught its attention. When the feral beast turned in her direction, she stepped away. “Come and get me!”

With indignation, the monster charged for the priestess, taking note of her exposed flesh and how she would taste moments from now.

After gaining its attention, Kagome ran out of the room, pleased that she had turned its attention away from Lulu. The only problem now was that she was unarmed. What could she use to hold back the monster? Hearing the fast approaching footsteps, Kagome quickened her pace, and rounded the corner, but when she did, she was grabbed and pulled back in to a dark room with a hand clamped firmly over her mouth. Immediately after falling in to the room, the door was kicked closed, and Kagome struggled.

From behind, she felt that whoever was holding her was holding her rather tightly. She felt the soft breathing behind her ear and nearly shuddered. A hand had wrapped itself around her middle and slowly landed upon her abdomen and a blush darkened her face. The hand that had covered her mouth fell away, but the hold on her remained. Kagome was just about to scream when she heard a voice near her ear.

“We meet in the strangest ways, don’t we?” A husky voice asked, his lips touching Kagome’s ear ever so slightly.

Instantly, Kagome realized that she was all alone in a room with a male Zora. This voice, however, sounded very familiar, and there was only one person or that is to say, Zora, that she could think of. “K-Kauji?”

“Yes?”

Trying to remove his arm, kagome turns her head so as to stare at him. “Thank you for saving me. We have to do something.”

With a sigh, Kauji released the maiden and helped her to her feet. “You took off so suddenly, I had no choice but to search for you. It would be best if you were to stay here out of harm’s way.”

Kagome huffed. “I’m not going to just sit back while those monsters are on the loose! Besides, you all agreed to our help, and we’re going to do just that!” With that, she turned her back to the male and attempted to open the door, however, she was stopped by a hand on her arm. Before she knew what to expect, her back was pressed against the door, and Kauji cornered her, his eyes quite strange to the priestess. “What are you doing?”

OOO

A deep frown found its way on the slayer’s lips. She had searched high and low for the missing fairy, but there were no signs of her. The other rooms were completely emptied, save for those that stayed hidden out of fear for their lives.

“Strange, where did she disappear to?” She muttered to herself while distancing herself from the Zoras. She walked down a vacant corridor, but she stopped midway and frowned. “I’ve already searched this place…” Ready to turn around and try again, Sango didn’t get very far when she found herself abruptly pushed against the wall quite forcibly. A male figure stood before her with menacing eyes. Startled, her weapon was flung to the side, out of reach, and she desperately tried to free herself of this Zora’s clutches. “Let me go!”

Chapter Text

Sango’s struggling persisted, and as she attempted to remove his person from her, she felt his naked body pressed up against her, certain features assaulted her body quite intimately.

“Well well…look what I’ve caught lurking about all alone…” He chuckled. “I kept my word that I would see you again…” With evil intentions, he grabbed her hands with one of his own and held them above her head against the wall, while his free one slid down her form. “You are indeed gorgeous…”

“Stop it! What are you doing?” she kicked at him, but that only seemed to arouse him further. She felt something quite hard against her stomach, and she didn’t have to think twice to know what that was. She inwardly barfed.

He chuckled. Annoyed by her constant kicking, he seized her leg, pulling her thigh just over his right hip; his fingers bruised her skin underneath her tight slayer outfit. The sudden shift of position was enough to bring vivid thoughts of ravishing her soft, small body. Ever so slightly, he leaned in so as to take in a long inhale of her sweet scent, and at this he saw her shudder. Sango’s constant resistance did not let up; in fact it only boosted his male ego because he had the upper hand. “You may not be aware, but when our people choose a mate, the female has to submit no matter what. Of course she would have to be unclaimed…Why not just give in?” He asked and pressed his lips against her neck. “I can bring you great pleasure…that I can assure you.”

“I’m not a prize to be won! Now get off me!”

But hearing her protests, Minarv chuckled. “Oh but my dear you are. You lost to me in the tournament, and therefore that means you belong to me.”

Annoyed, Sango gritted her teeth. “It was a sport for fun. Nothing more!”

“My but you are wild,” he commented on her relentless struggling. Bending forward, he whispered in to her ear. “Fighting is pointless…Why don’t we create our own little fun, right here?” He hand reached down and his fingers rubbed against her intimately and rough. The tight uniform that she wore made the friction more intense and she gasped.

“Don’t you dare try anything!” Before she knew what to expect, she found his hand roaming the rest of her virgin body, and at the sudden contact, she thrashed in his hold. She felt very warm suddenly and couldn’t take his intimate touches. She almost had the nerve to tighten her legs around his waist, but she couldn’t submit to a lecher, especially this creature. When he freed her leg, she then slid it in between his own and without a second to spare, she brought her knee up high.

The sudden painful attack forced a cry from his mouth and he nearly fell over holding himself. What he didn’t expect was to find himself on his back with the slayer standing before him quite upset. She was stronger than he first thought.

Not knowing what to say to such a lecher, who was as bad as the monk, Sango turned around and continued on her way, this time her aggravation flared. However she didn’t get very far when she felt rough hands grab her ankle and in one forceful jerk, she found herself on the floor, trying to pull herself up. Regrettably weight held her down and it wasn’t long before Sango felt the touch of the male upon her yet again. “No! Stop it! I have no interest in becoming your mate!”

Irritated, he grasped her shoulder and roughly turned her around so as to have her look up at him. Minarv straddled her hips, and from her reddened face, he instantly pressed his lips against her own. All the while he ignored her moans of protests and the way her knees kicked at his ribs. He felt the heat emanating from her mouth as his tongue explored her cavern. Her breasts tempted him as they pressed against his chest, and he didn’t waste a moment fondling them. Minarv enjoyed the way her body seemed to tremble from his actions.

Sango wanted so badly to barf right now. Her body was currently being ravaged by this Zora…no beast! Why he was as worse as the monk! No matter how much she tried to push him off her, he did not let go. On instant, she bit his tongue, if only to cause small harm so he would release her, and it did, but not the way she expected it to.

He sat up slightly, but he did not allow her to move. With one hand still clutching her own hands, he placed his fingers against his mouth. “That was not nice…why must you fight me? If you just submit it will not be as bad…”

She spit in his face. “I’d rather die than have your filthy hands touching me you lecture!”

Used to her resistance, he leaned towards her face, which in turn caused her to move her head to the side so as to escape his sudden advancement. “I want you to have my eggs.”

Thoroughly disgusted by his sudden remark, Sango grimaced at the very thought of having his ‘eggs’ Just who did he think he was asking such a question to? From what she saw, they were two different species, and for one, there was no way that she would ever bear him any children, not if he was the last male on earth. Repulsed by his commanding words, she felt her eye twitch. “Sorry to disappoint you, but we’re from two different worlds. There no way we could possibly be together.”

Despite her refusal, he smirked. “Oh but I think you’ll change your mind.”

“Not likely!” Immediately she flicked her wrists, and her two hidden daggers ripped from her sleeves, and from the surprise of it all, Minarv loosened his grip on her; that was the chance Sango wanted all along. Without a moment to spare, she slashed at him, and in turn, he released her, and with her momentary freedom, she took advantage of it and kicked him so hard he fell back. “I’m not some toy that you can just play with!” She shouted at his stilled form. Still seething with anger, she turned her back and calmly walked away, knowing full well that from his surprised and taken aback expression, he wasn’t going to do her any more harm. “Remember that next time you want to harass a girl!”

With his mouth still agape, Minarv smirked, watching her retreating figure round the corner, her hips swaying defiantly and tauntingly at him. She was indeed something interesting. Raising himself up in to a seated position, he shook his head. “What a woman.” Indeed he couldn’t just let a moment like this pass him up.

OOO

Cornered in the darkened room, the young priestess could do nothing more but stare in to the Zora’s eyes, baffled by his sudden shift in behavior. Moments ago he was telling her that it would be best to stay put rather than go out and fight and the next thing she knew, he had her pressed against the wall, staring at her with a strange look in his eyes.

“K-Kauji?”

With thoughts filled with ravishing the maiden before him, Kauji hesitated. Were his actions too forward? From his observing, he regarded her facial features, discerning through the darkness that she was indeed confused by his actions. A hint of fear fell from her countenance. Was it wrong to think romantically of such a creature? Kauji wanted so badly to reach out and caress her soft, delicate, skin, yet at the same time, he held himself back. It was not out of dread that she might reject him, but that she differed from his tribe. Kagome was a land walker, a human being who was meant to live on solid ground, not in the ocean, yet it wasn’t entirely impossible for them. As he stood before her, his thoughts conjured up vivid scenarios of their possible future. Like all humans, she would have a right to live on land, maybe even by the beach; that would be beneficial to him, seeing as how he could visit her whenever the need should arise or that he just might want to see her. In his mind, he did not find the idea dissatisfactory, in fact, he found it quite nice.

Thrilled, he decided not to delay any further. Inching towards her petite frame, he lowered his head, his lips nearing her own, yet unfortunately, he abruptly pulled away, practically startled when a familiar voice echoed in the back of his mind.

“Oh? Surely you weren’t because of that human woman, were you?” he scoffed at the younger male before him. “You’d be wise not to get way ahead of your thoughts, Kauji. Humans girls are not as subtle as our own,”

“What are you implying, Merek, that I would have some infatuation?” He turned his back to the older male. “What I do is none of your business.”

Gulping from his recollection, he managed to place some distance between himself and the girl he supposedly loved. Why had his words flashed in his mind? Was it not enough that he knew his actions were wrong, but wanted to go through with it? Then again, he knew the consequences of his actions, yet he wished it weren’t so. If he had attempted to woo her, just like that, Merek, his friends and family would question him and from that only trouble would arise. Also, Kagome most likely didn’t feel the same, yet it hoped he was wrong.

“You could do so much better…but I’m afraid you’ll only lose your heart along the way…”

Kauji nearly flinched at the words Merek had said afterwards, but he knew that what he was saying was not out of animosity but out of concern. Exhaling a deep sigh, Kauji stepped away from the girl and proceeded to conjure up a reasonable explanation for his sudden actions, yet he was speechless when none formed on his lips. Surely he had invaded her personal boundaries, and she awaited some response.

Baffled, Kagome remained against the wall, staring up at the male who struggled with his own thoughts. When he had cornered her, she did feel some sort of fright. In a way, it reminded her of how Sakon forced her to the wall, yet not as terrible. Kauji didn’t have the same hungry look in his eyes; instead, he stared at her with a different look; a look that confused her. Whatever the case, he immediately pulled away, his eyes elsewhere and for that, she was thankful. Kauji didn’t seem like the forceful type, and besides, he was a decent guy.

Smiling despite the oddity of what had happened, Kagome waited for Kauji to say something.

Looking back, he sighed again. Automatically, he grabbed her hand, and to her surprise, he pulled her out of the room and in to the main room of the domain.

“What are you doing?”

“What do you think? You’re so insistent on fighting, that I have no choice but to keep an eye out for you.”

Hearing this, she was taken aback, but she was also ecstatic. He was, however, breaking the rules of his people or that is to say their temporary leader. Of course it wasn’t as if he was breaking the law or something. It was a matter of duty, and her friends just so happened to be in the area.

Upon arriving at the scene, Kagome gasped. This was worse than she expected. Multiple mutants were scattered around the vicinity, and innocent Zoras were trying to escape their wrath. Luckily she had yet to see any bodies of the tribe.

Stopping before a couple young Zoras, Kouji stepped ahead of Kagome. “Hand me your bow and arrows.”

“What? What for? You already have a sword.” The smaller youth scrutinized the older male.

Despite his hesitation, he went on to explain, and as he did, Kagome caught sight of bewildered stares from those young Zoras nearby, watching her as if not certain what she was doing out in the danger zone.

“I don’t know…”

Fed up with the waiting, Kagome pushed past Kauji, startling him and she pointed her finger at both of them, her other hand planted on her hip. “You know now’s not the time to be picky about who should fight and who shouldn’t!” She interrogated. “Hand me one of your bows and arrows.”

Not sure what to do, the two merely stared at one another before picking up a fallen bow and a case of arrows. “Alright…but don’t let Larith know about this…”

Musing for a moment, Kauji glanced around the room. “Speaking of which, where is the devil?”

“Locked in his room like usual,” the younger one replied with a shake of his head. Hearing a fierce growl, he turned and saw one of the foul beasts charging for them. “Watch out!”
Kauji unsheathed his sword and readied for the offending creature, but just as the mutant got within twelve feet of them, an arrow soared by, wrapped by an immense blue light. When it made impact between its eyes, the light was so intense that it completely engulfed the creature and within moments, it fell to the ground before it collapsed in to a heap of ash.

With his mouth opened in wonder, Kauji, as well as the other Zoras in the vicinity, all turned their eyes towards the young maiden, who stood her ground with her bow outstretched and her eyes burning with determination. A land walker had easily destroyed one of the enemies with one blow and a woman at that.

Looking back at the guys, the priestess gave them a reprimanding look. “Don’t just stand there staring. Hurry up and fight!”

Obliging, the other Zoras quickly returned to the battle, frightened that she might take her anger out on them.

OOO

Inuyasha groaned. He gave up long ago trying to reach for the piece of iron, and now he simply leaned his head against the bars, his eyes narrowed in frustration. He needed something that would latch onto the offending scrap, but he wasn’t sure what to use. For the longest moment, he mused. ‘There has to be something I can use…but what?’ Immediately, his thoughts were interrupted by something small and green. Blinking from the stupidity of it all, Inuyasha called out. “Hey! Hey!”

Looking over to his left, Tingle let out a delightful gasp. When he had tried to offer his assistance to the gang, an arrow had shot his balloon down and he fell in to the water. Luckily he knew how to swim and after he lost tract of the fairy boy and the kit, he was swept away by the strong currents and in to a strange tunnel. After ambling around for the longest time, he finally came across his good friend Inuyasha.

Joyously, Tingle ran up to his imprisoned friend, staring up at him curiously. “Inuyasha?”

“Good thing you’re here! Hurry!” He pointed to the piece of iron lying on the ground in front of the cell. “Get that. I can’t reach it.”

Looking down below his feet, Tingle handed the iron to his friend, puzzled as to why he was locked up in the cell. “Were you captured?” he asked.

While fumbling with the small iron, Inuyasha snorted. “What does it look like?” Placing it inside the lock and turning it each and every way possible, it clicked and Inuyasha pushed opened the bars that trapped him. “Finally!” Looking at the small paunchy man, Inuyasha gave his first genuine smile. “Good work! It’s a good thing you were nearby.” Without any hesitation, he dashed up the stairs, leaving the small man behind.

Blushing from his words, Tingle bounced in one place, his hands on either side of his face. A giggle escaped him and he was about to turn and thank Inuyasha, but what he found was an empty room. Noticing that his friend was missing, Tingle chased after. “Wait for me Inuyasha!”

OOO

Miroku sighed as he climbed yet another wooden ladder which would once again lead to another door that would lead them in to another room filled with traps as well as danger. How much longer would it take for them to reach the room Shippo spoke of earlier?

Shippo, who decided to sit on his shoulder, ushered him to hurry up. “Come on Miroku! We’re almost there!” He said, although he knew he was probably wrong. It couldn’t be that difficult to find the main room, could it? The youth’s thoughts wondered to Inuyasha and Link; were they unharmed? Or were they still imprisoned?

After reaching the final step, Miroku heaved himself upon solid ground and regained his footing. Looking around, he found a door right before him, and he resumed to opening it. Once inside, he and Shippo found themselves in a large room filled with many barrels and weaponry.

Cautiously, the monk ambled forward, looking each way for any sign of a threat. Up ahead, he heard the faintest sounds of women conversing, and peeking behind the nearest barrel, he observed them. “Looks like getting past them won’t be easy…” he whispered to the child next to his ear.

A chuckle resounded in the room, and Miroku listened with interest. They both crawled forward, their breath’s hitched.

“I have to admit I do find it strange that this is happening. First the sky reddens and then there’s that eclipse. Do you think the rumors are true?”

“You mean the old legend?”

She nodded. “Yes! Not long back we had that nearing moon. Gosh I thought we were goners!” she said.

“Don’t be foolish, there’s no way the world could end. Think about it, whenever it seems as if total annihilation is headed straight for us, it ends up going away, as if nothing ever happened.”

“Yeah…but…come on, think about it. Nothing like this has ever happened. I remember, before Aveil was appointed leader over us, that there was a raging war; it was brutal. Many of our sisters died. But then, just as you said, something always happens!” She responded. “Like, when that person appeared out of nowhere many years back. Why, we even thought he was our enemy at first, but then he made everything go away!”

“Oh yeah! I remember! My, that wasn’t very long ago. I thought he was very charming, yet mysterious in a strange way. I wonder what happened to him?”

The other pirate shrugged. “Who knows? It seems that after he disappeared, our sister, Aveil was elected leader of our tribe, and after that, strange things have been happening…for example, those strange fish that somewhat, yet not entirely, resembles those Zoras.”

She nodded. “You got that right. Man are they ugly!”

The youngest pirate sighed and leaned herself against a barrel exhaustedly. “So what about our recent capture?”

“What about them?” The older woman asked. Spotting movement to the side, she turned her eyes away from her friend.

“Well they were awfully young,” she replied. For a moment she mused. “Gosh that old perverted man doesn’t know when to stop, does he? How many times has he sneaked in?”

Looking back to the girl, she shrugged. After she had scanned the area, she found nothing out of the ordinary and only believed that her eyes were playing tricks on her. “I’m not sure. Too many for me to count.”

Moving away from the talkative pirate, the older woman dressed in bright green stepped away and searched her surroundings yet again.

“Why don’t you sit down?”

Annoyed, she snapped at the girl who was still lazily sitting. “Our job is not to sit around all day. We’re still on duty.”

She placed her arms behind her head. “It’s not like anyone is going to sneak in.”

“You don’t know that.”

As if to answer her response, four spears, which had stood erected in a fashion, fell over, clanging to the stone floor, easily alerting both women on guard. It had come as such a surprise that the oldest turned around, ready to attack, but what she hadn’t expected to see what a man dressed in purpled fabric and a child with a tail? “What the?”

Peeking from behind her, the youngest woman’s mouth fell open. “I guess I was wrong?” Her golden eyes glanced at her. “So…what do we do with them? Want to just drop them in the prison?”

She hardly gave her a look. “Are saying that we shouldn’t tell Aveil? Think of what she’d do if she found out.

In response to that, she waved her hand dismissively. “She doesn’t scare me. Besides they’re executing the remaining prisoners later today, if this storm clears.” She eyed the now standing man and the trembling child. “Don’t look like much a threat to me.”

“Alright then.”

Miroku glared. “Excuse me! What have you done with our friends?!” He readied his staff.

Shippo cowered behind his leg, his legs trembling. With shaking hands, he lifted his finger and pointed at them. “You let our friends go!”

The younger one canted her head. “Hm?”

At their glares, Shippo clung to Miroku’s robes. “O-or else!”

Unable to help herself, the much younger one squealed, her smile brightening up her face. “Awe how cute!”

Sighing at the somewhat childish response, the adult in this situation took a step to the right and reached for the lever sitting innocently next to them. “Sorry to disappoint you, but we’re in no mood for a fight. Hope you guys understand.” With that, she pulled hard on it, watching as the trap door below Miroku and Shippo suddenly opened. “Who knows, maybe you’ll find your friends down there.”

Miroku nearly cursed. “Oh no!” Gravity got the best of them, and it was so fast that he and Shippo were unable to move in time. The darkness suddenly engulfed them, and their screams were just loud enough to send shivers up their spines.

“Bye!” she called in to the large space.

OOO

I sing sweet…despair—
I’m waiting for you—
The shackles are tight—
We have lost this fight—

Are we still alone, here in this dark place?
Where is that smile, I long for on your face?

When you are afraid of the past, no worries are gone, just like our past,
But there is that hope that lives in your eyes—

Our saviors today, are you a lie?
I’m drowning right now—
I do not know how,

When you are so near—
My troubles are found,

What is this fear that suffocates us?
Worry and dread, helplessness and lust,

When you are afraid of the past, no worries are gone, just like our past,
But there is that hope that lives in your eyes—

Our saviors today, are you a lie?

The fingers that played the harmonious music fell short, and the player’s eyes, including several others, glanced above, hearing male shouts echo throughout the cavern. On impact, something quite pink shielded whoever was falling from acquiring any damage. Perplexed, he and the others merely stepped forward, curious of this new spectacle.

Transforming back in to his regular form, Shippo took a breath. He had not expected to fall down in a trapdoor. In fact, he was prepared to fight against those pirates. “Where are we?” he asked, glancing at the dirtied floor and the barren walls of what appeared to be a cave.

Miroku, who was peering in the opposite direction as the kit, found quite a sight before him. Dozens of female Zoras accumulated the room; they stood a few distances away, as if unsure of whether he and Shippo were a threat or not. Clearing his throat, he stepped forward. “Excuse me, but we have come to rescue you.” Off to the side, he noticed an elderly man dressed in a blue overcoat, haggard and frail as he watched the two curiously; from what Tingle had mentioned, an old man, the scientist that had been taken hostage by the pirates must have been the old man there; well, it seemed they found everyone, thank goodness.

Shippo gasped. “I can’t believe that trapdoor led us here!”

A male stepped out of the swarm of girls, and stood before Miroku, a pleasant smile graced his face. “Thank the heavens! We’ve been waiting for some time!” In one hand he held his skeletal guitar, which was baffling to the monk and the kit, and with his free hand, he shook Miroku’s hand. “My name is Japas. We were all captured trying to escape those fiends, and we’d almost given up hope.”

“Do not worry. We shall return you to your people,” The monk explained. Feeling a tug on his robes, he glanced down.

The crowed suddenly separated and allowed an aged old Zora, who walked towards them slowly. Tired eyes were half closed, and dull, but his voice was strong, despite his features. “Are you the heroes who have come to save us?”

Miroku nodded and lowered his head respectfully. “Yes, but the others are watching over your people, and I do believe that a couple of our friends are within this fortress somewhere.”

“My people thank you for your kindness…”

On sudden realization, the child beside Miroku’s feet pulled at his robes. “How are we going to save them when we’re also trapped?”

Miroku sweat dropped. “Do not fear. I’m sure there’s a way to escape.” He eyed their surroundings. What encircled them were cavern walls, and a small body of still water. “Hm…” Stepping forward, he crossed through the throng of women as they cleared a way for him. Once on the other side of the room, he placed his palm on the stone wall. “Shippo, I’m going to need your help on this one.”

OOO

“I take back what I said!” Inuyasha cursed. No matter which direction he turned, he could not find his way back to the main room. And if that wasn’t bad enough, now he had that little guy following him. Could his day get any worse? Well, he did get him out of the cell, and for that he was thankful, but still, he didn’t have all day to chat about fairies.

“I’m not sure why a fairy hasn’t come to me…even though I’ve waited and waited…”

After managing to creep through hall after hall, Inuyasha found each and every one empty. ‘Damn it! Where did that brat run off too?’

“Inuyasha? Hey…Inuyasha…Inu—“

“What?!” he asked quite loudly before cursing. He hadn’t meant to raise his voice, but fortunately no one was around to hear that. “Will you stop bothering me! Listen, I don’t care about some dumb fairies, ok? If you’re going to follow me, then keep quiet, or better yet make yourself useful.” With that he walked away, opening doors and searching through other rooms.

OOO

A loud explosion suddenly filled the underwater cavern, and large debris fell away as well as part of the wall. Shippo had used his explosives, just as Miroku had wanted, and to their relief, it was a success.

“It worked!” The child awed. He looked at the opened path leading to a number of stairs in to the next room. Inside, there was also two other cells, only they were empty.
Japas looked upon the ceiling warily. “It’s a wonder the whole cavern didn’t cave in...” he looked to the smiling monk. “How did you know just where to make the explosion?”
A weak laughed left Miroku, as he scratched his head in a strange manner. “Uh well…monk’s intuition, I suppose.”

Shippo narrowed his eyes. “In other words, you guessed!”

“Now Shippo, why would you say that?” He shushed the child. “Well, let’s hurry along!”

A few Zoras ran up to Miroku and threw their arms around him lovingly. “You have our thanks!” At the same time, they both kissed him on each of his cheek. Miroku had the urge to return the favor, but from Shippo’s glare, he held back, his hands fell to his side.

Japas hurried the females out of the cavern in an orderly fashion, and Miroku and Shippo led the way. It wouldn’t be long until they got out of this place for good.

OOO

After finally sneaking past several guards, Link managed to reach the throne room by entering through the servant’s hall. There were two entrances in to the main room; one entry way was through the main door or you could bypass through the back rooms, and sneak inside without alerting anyone; that was the best course of stealth Link chose. Only a fool would try to go through the huge door.

Because no one was in the vicinity of the hall, he held his back against the wall and looked inside the giant furnished room. Inside, the leader of the tribe, Aveil, sat alone, distracted by her septor. What puzzled Link was the strange aura emanating off the staff, and it left him with an odd feeling.

“How long does it take those beasts to slaughter that pathetic tribe?” She muttered to herself quite annoyed. With delight, she ran her hands over the darkened orb, laughing as if something had happened. “With this, those Zoras are as good as dead.”

Link glared. So that was how she managed to control those mutants. That staff was controlled by strange magic. Stealthily, he ducked in to the room, positioning himself behind a large chest. That staff was too dangerous and he intended to take it from her. Although the pendant was also important, so was the staff. If he could manage to take it when she wasn’t looking, then he might have a chance of also taking the pendant.

Suddenly, Aveil placed the septor down and removed herself from her chair. Afterwards, she stretched her arms above her head, with her back to him. Taking this opportunity, Link darted towards the chair and just as she was about to turn around, he concealed his self behind the throne. With a quiet sigh, Link sneaked a glance at the woman, whose back was still turned away from him.

Seeing the rod leaning against the chair itself, Link reached his hands out to grasp it. Just as his fingers brushed against the cool surface, the door slammed open, and Link pulled away out of shock.

The sudden noise shifted Aveil’s attention and she grasped her septor before turning towards the intruder. “What?! How did you escape?!”

Inuyasha eyed the woman threateningly. “You got a lot of nerve locking me up!” He stomped towards her menacingly. “Now I’m pissed!”

From his hiding place, Link sweat dropped. Did Inuyasha really have to interrupt just when he was about to grab the staff, the root of Great Bay’s problems? ‘Fool!’

Stepping back from the irate male, Aveil pointed her septor at him. “Guards! We have an intruder!” she shouted.

Cursing, Inuyasha was just about to jump the woman, but she sidestepped him and with her staff, and fired a strange energy ball at him, knocking him off his feet. “Men are such foolish creatures.”

Inuyasha was immediately detained by two senates, and he struggled again in their grasp. Of course he wasn’t going to make it easy for them as he did put up a fight. “Get your damned hands off me!”

Because the threat was taken care of, Aveil took a seat, relaxing in to the soft cushions, all the while laughing at him. “My but you are feisty! How on earth did you manage to escape?”

Inuyasha’s struggling persisted. “What does it matter? I’m here aren’t I? The hell do you think you’re up to?! Why are you so intent on bothering the tribe?”

Aveil arched a brow. “Haven’t you figured it out yet?”

“What?”

Once again, she laughed, especially at his stupidity. “Fool! That was merely a ploy to lure you all here…unfortunately not all of you are present…” She rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “No matter, that is already being dealt with.”

Inuyasha feared for his friends’ safety. ‘They’re in trouble! Kagome…’ With all his might, Inuyasha managed to push one of the women off him and with his free hand, he punched the other quite hard. The second he was free, he charged at Aveil. “You’re going to pay!”

Despite his attack, Aveil laughed, and once again aimed her septor at the loud-mouthed male. “Oh, you think so? Why don’t you just die?!”

A blast of fire was thrown in his direction, yet he managed to jump out of the impact. After he landed on his feet, he yet again charged at her, but with her staff filled with magic, she threw more attacks at him. “Damn!” This time, he was sent sprawled on the ground, a pained expression gracing his features.

“Mistress, let us handle this male!” One of the senates declared. She sauntered up to Inuyasha and lowered her spear at his throat, while the other one stood beside her ready to strike him if he made a move to attack.

“You may relax, my lady! He can’t do anything to harm you!” The other explained.

Seeing this, Aveil sat down in her chair, amused by her sentries and placed the septor down against the chair. She then leaned in to the comfort of her soft cushions, smiling at the scene before her.

As he sat up, with the weapon still aimed for his throat, Inuyasha noticed movement behind the chair in which Aveil was seated. Looking closely, he noticed familiar blond hair and blue eyes of a certain youth. ‘What is he doing?’ He watched as Link slowly reached out to grab the septor, which sat against the chair innocently. Immediately, Inuyasha understood. ‘So that’s what you’re up to...’

“Die!”

As the spear closed in on Inuyasha, he rolled out of harm’s way, and thankfully the attack missed. Regrettably, he was yet again seized and this time there was no way for him to escape. They yelled at his ignorance and Inuyasha could do nothing but watch as both spears plummeted towards him.

The attack never came, and the girls’ were suddenly overcome with great shock. Inuyasha, who had awaited his death, suddenly looked upon the reason for their strange behavior. What he saw made him grin.

“Ladies, ladies, can’t we settle this like civilized people?” A familiar voice asked while simultaneously groping them from behind. On his face he wore a pleasant smile. How he showed up like he did, Inuyasha and everyone else did not know. Even Link, who had reached for his boomerang to help the male had faltered in his attack and sweat dropped at the scene. Link face palmed. Now was seriously not the time for this.

One minute Miroku was smiling innocently behind them and the next he was at their feet, their spears pointed and ready to kill. He weakly laughed at his situation, while Inuyasha breathed a sigh of relief.

“Why you disgusting pervert!”

“How did he get in?!”

Attempting to back away, Miroku’s smile remained. “I mean you no harm…”

Embarrassed by what this man had just done to them, they both, in unison, raised their sharp blades and at that life threatening moment, Miroku suddenly crawled away with a panicked expression.

After he escaped their attack, he settled beside Inuyasha out of breath. “Shippo wasn’t kidding about them…Are you okay, Inuyasha?” he asked, noticing the bruises on his face.

Inuyasha nodded. “So far…took you long enough!”

“My apologies…” He leaned down to whisper in to his companion’s ear. “We have found the prisoners. Shippo is leading them outside as speak,” he explained, and at this, Inuyasha smirked.

“There’s one problem solved…now we have to deal with that…”

Miroku looked in Inuyasha’s general direction and nearly stepped back in shock. What he saw was a gorgeous woman of great beauty that he had ever seen before. Why she certainly almost rivaled the Great Fairy. He looked upon her slender form, eyeing the cloth that covered her breasts and the ruby hanging by a golden chain upon her forehead. Her eyes, though they threateningly glared at him, were amber. What really caught his eye was her flaming scarlet hair.

While he seemed unable to look away from her, he was overcome by something quite sinister. His eyes fell on the golden staff, and emanating from it was an ominous power, the same power he sensed a while back. “Inuyasha…do you sense that?”

He nodded. “Yeah…I’m guessing that’s the cause of everything here…” he whispered back.

Aveil chuckled, earning their attention. “I was waiting for you to show up monk…I see you have found the prisoners?”

Miroku narrowed his gaze. “What would make you think that?”

In response, she laughed. “You’re little friend is not present…Did you honestly believe it would be so easy to get in and out of my home?” She questioned. “Men are such simple creatures…”

Perspiration fell from Inuyasha’s brow. This was not good. Somehow she knew about their coming and rescuing the remaining tribe. He had a feeling that there was more to that staff then just blasting energy balls at its targets. “What are you after?”

Again she laughed. “Now why would I waste my breath explaining?” Upon noticing their glares, she mused. “If you can defeat me…then…I’ll consider letting you freely escape.”

Unconvinced, Miroku stepped forward. “You expect us to believe that?”

Inuyasha nodded. “The minute we turn our back, you’ll kill us! You’re not getting rid of us that easily!”

“Oh…so you’re smarter than I gave you credit…Have you come for this?” She reached in to her chest and pulled out a small pendant with a sapphire jewel imbedded in the center.

Because Aveil had yet to release the staff, Link was still unable to reach for it. Looking behind the chair, he watched the scene unravel. Several guards crowded the room, and surrounded both Miroku and Inuyasha who stood back to back. There was nothing Link could do without blowing his cover. For now, he would wait until Aveil released the staff. For now, the guys were on their own.

Puzzled, Miroku whispered in to Inuyasha’s ear. “Where is Link?”

Inuyasha nodded his head in to Aveil’s direction, and it took Miroku a minute or two to figure it out. When he spotted a couple fingers somewhat hidden behind the legs of the chair, he understood.

“We need to create a diversion…” Inuyasha whispered but Miroku already had an idea.

“Leave it to me, Inuyasha.”

Due to his reply, he scrutinized the monk warily. “What are you planning?” If he knew Miroku, he knew the distraction would prove excellent, after all, he was able to con several headmen in the past about a ‘supposed’ demon that had taken over their home, or he had used Shippo a few times as a decoy while he and everyone made their escape. What did the monk have up his sleeve now? What would be his part in the diversion

OOO

Meanwhile, Shippo did his best to lead all of the Zoras to safety. At the moment, they ran through a long corridor with the exit just ahead. Having already gone through the layout of this fortress, he knew the correct way out, but unfortunately he could not run fast enough. Several times, Japas had volunteered to carry Shippo, but the child refused, and had explained that he was just fine; that was not the case. Out of breath and quite feverish, Shippo’s eyesight suddenly darkened. Numbness swept over his form and his wobbly legs gave out.

Immediately, the women stopped and huddled around the fallen kit worriedly. On close inspection, they noticed his ragged breathing and his feverish face. The child was sick, and they blamed themselves for believing that he would lead them out, even though the task was quite a challenge.

Japas swept the tyke in to his arms and grasped a long piece of white fabric from the nearest table and wrapped it around Shippo’s shaken form. “Poor thing…We have to get you some medicine…”

“I-I’m…O-okay…” He weakly voiced. He attempted to ease his way out of Japas’s arms, but he failed miserably. Instead of putting up a fight, he rested his head against the Zora.

Japas shook his head. “I don’t think so. Just rest.” With that said, he rushed off in the general direction they had followed. After braving the hallway without any confrontations, they found themselves overwhelmed by the strong winds and thunder. If that wasn’t enough to startle them, then it must have been the massive whirlpool right below them, spinning out of control in the center of the lake.

Japas mused. ‘Wait…did I go the wrong way?’ he wondered. Their surroundings certainly looked familiar. On closer scrutiny, he realized that they were in the right place. Glancing around, Japas understood. By accident, they had taken what might have seemed like the wrong path, but in fact, it led them outside next to a railing overlooking the Lake.

Shippo sneezed, and automatically, Japas pulled the fabric over him to shield him from the rain. It seemed there was no way for them to continue on since there was no way of getting past that vortex below them, and it wouldn’t be good if Shippo were out in this weather for much longer.

“Everyone!” Japas caught the ears of all the females around him. “Back inside!” he ordered. After everyone gathered back in to the warm hall, they found that danger lurked right before them.

“You there! How did you escape?!”

Frightened, the Zoras found themselves trapped yet again, only this time they were trapped between a raging vortex and several upset pirates bearing sharp weapons.

OOO

Without the slightest bit of fear, the monk sauntered forward; his ever present smile graced his expression. Sure he was slightly fearful of these amazons, but he would muster up his courage to distract them.

On instinct, the women bared their teeth and readied their weapons. This male had the audacity to calmly walk towards them without any hint of fear present on his countenance. Just what was he up to? The smile caught them off guard, and his intentions were baffling to them.

“Ladies, ladies, I have a request. I, Miroku, a humble man, offer you the chance of bearing my children! Who will be the first?”

A twitch developed under Inuyasha’s right eye, and he had the urge to sigh loudly. Instead of calling the monk out, he shook his head. Even though it was a distraction, Inuyasha knew he should have seen it coming. If it worked, then that was good. Just as long as the ‘holy’ monk didn’t get himself in to any ‘trouble,’ then they would be alright.

In response to his sudden bold declaration, they each took a step back, baffled and clearly taken back from his words. Had they heard him correctly? Did this male actually ask to father their children?

Positively annoyed, one woman in particular darted towards the monk and latched onto his robes. “Just who do you take us for?!” Did he believe they were that easy? Well he had another thing coming.

Charmingly, Miroku grasped her hand and stared deeply in to her eyes. He took notice of her bright red hair that cascaded own her lower back and the sensual curl that rested just over her ear. “Would I lie to such a beauty?”

Aveil arched her brow at this man’s strange behavior, and she nearly rolled her eyes when the women in the room were blushing profusely. Given that they hadn’t been with a man in ages, she should have expected something of the sort to happen. Absentmindedly, she watched the scene unfold.

Breaking from her sudden trance, she instantly smacked the monk across the face. “D-don’t touch me!”

Oh how that smack brought back memories. Rather than recoil from her, he kneeled before her and gazed upon the standing woman. Slowly, he reached for her hand, and though she hesitated, she stepped away.

“If you touch me…” she warned, but before she could hit him, her hand was already in his grasp. A blush spread across her face when the male placed his lips upon the back of her hand. Just as that had happened he pulled away and regained his standing.

Briefly, he pondered. Looking from girl to girl, he couldn’t tell which was the most beautiful. “ You’re all so very beautiful that I just can’t make up my mind…so then…I would be honored if you would all bear my children, so that I might die a happy man!” he suddenly exclaimed joyously.

Link frowned deeply. Was that the best the monk could come up with?

“Hey! The hell do you think you’re doing Miroku?!” Inuyasha suddenly yelled, startling the monk and everyone else from their own thoughts. “Now’s not the time to flirt!”

Miroku smiled. “Now Inuyasha, we can’t just pass an opportunity like this. I mean, look at them. Aren’t they gorgeous?”

Inuyasha growled. “God damn it Miroku! You can’t go one day without being a lecher, can you? We got more important things to worry about! Now get your ass over here!”

As if he hadn’t heard his demand, Miroku went about staring lovingly in to another woman’s eyes. “Are those real rubies?” he asked. “They flatter you well.”

“Hey!” That was it. Inuyasha marched himself right over to the distracted monk and grabbed him by the collar of his robes and turned him around so that he looked right in to his angry eyes.

“Ah…Inuyasha…there’s no need to get upset…” Miroku leaned in to Inuyasha and whispered so that no one else would hear. “Good job. They seem to be buying it.”

“Oh really?!” Inuyasha shook the monk harshly. “You know, Sango would have you in your grave if she saw you talking to those girls!” He blurted. He too leaned in to Miroku, and from afar, it seemed like he was threatening the monk. “So far…”

For a moment, Link mused to himself, and it didn’t take him long enough to get the big picture. So it was all a distraction, Miroku’s perversion and Inuyasha calling the monk out and threatening him. They were helping him? Wow, he hadn’t seen that coming.

Aveil laughed as Inuyasha swung at Miroku, and it was enough that she released her hold on her magic staff and leaned further in to the cushions. How long had it been since she had some decent entertainment? The incessant screaming from the monk pleased her, and the fury in the other male’s eyes brought a smile to her lips.

Seeing his chance, Link reached out and this time, he succeeded. Swiftly, he latched onto the cold surface of the rod and backed away while her attention was focused on the fight. Now that he held this, he sensed the evil seeping from the crystalized orb.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a hand reach for her staff, and although it completely shocked her, she was unable to take it back in time. With indignation, she leapt out of her throne and glared at the blonde youth responsible. “You! How dare you take what belongs to me!” Her voice was so loud that it shifted everyone’s attention onto her, and Miroku and Inuyasha had to stop mid-fight to watch the scene unravel.

Inuyasha smirked. “He got it!” Seeing his chance, Inuyasha and Miroku, took action and ran towards the woman in charge, but she barely gave them a glance. Before either could get within feet of her, their path was blocked.

OOO

“There’s nowhere for you to run!” One female in particular voiced as she and her other counterparts marched towards them.

Japas gulped and many of his people cowered away in fear. This was not good. What could they do to escape from them? Surely he couldn’t fight back; besides, he didn’t own a weapon, and there was nothing in the room to counter back with.

As the distance between them and the pirates lessened, Japas drew his people back and prepared for the worst. It would be better if his people just sacrificed themselves to the raging waters just outside, but then again, they were already in the process of being rescued…sort of…

Shippo, who had noticed the delay in their departure, pushed away from Japas and removed the blanket wrapped around him. Feebly, he jumped out of the close embrace and stood on wobbly feet before the pirates, although he was still quite dizzy. Trying his best to act tough, Shippo puffed out his chest and sent them his best glare.

Japas was beyond baffled, yet he said nothing as he watched the child take a leaf from his shirt. “What are you doing?”

“Transform!”

Perplexed by the sudden burst of smoke, no one had intended to see in the place of Shippo, a large beast with massive claws and horns upon its head. From the sight, everyone backed away, and that included the Zoras as they were unsure of what happened.

Frightened by the beast, the guards gulped. However, one pirate stepped from the crowd.

“I am the powerful Shippo! I won’t forgive those that hurt my friends!” He roared, and the growl from his throat was enough to send a couple fleeing for their lives. “You’ve caused enough trouble! Leave now or suffer my w—wra—ath—ah---” Over taken by a sudden irritation under his nose, Shippo suddenly threw his head back, baring his sharp teeth to the women, who trembled thinking he was going to attack. As to be expected, a sneeze overtook him and a gust of wind blew from his mouth, followed by bursts of green slime…

Moments after the sneeze, the amazons found themselves coated with disgusting ooze and just as most girls