Talawolfgirl and Ruddcatha, thanks for the follows! I hope you are enjoying the story!
Talawolfgirl, thank you! I will do the best I can, though the next chapter is slow at first with a battle at the end (that I hope I did well enough)
The next morning found the Miko in better spirits, her mind was clear and her morning sickness seemed to be at an end, finally, but something was still off and she couldn't name it. Everyone was feeling better, the effects of the fruit finally worn off and the cause of the illusions being the trees that bore that same fruit had assisted in the strange happenings of yesterday. Rin was more comfortable around Koga again, Miroku was no longer looking at his hand as if it were the curse it really was and Sango was no longer plagued with the images of her dead father or her brother. They still had to yet find the young slayer, but she was sure he was alive because if Naraku really wanted to torment the woman he would have had the real body of Kohaku. Kagome was sure of it, but even with everything seeming normal she still felt something was in the air, something was waiting for them. Naraku was of course waiting for them, but his castle hadn't been spotted yet, no one in this village knew what they were talking about and had seemed to be under some sort of control as well. Minako was okay now too, their control was gone and she seemed to be apologetic when they approached her, but she, like the others, didn't remember any of it, not the monster that had been one of their own and not of the two demons whom had been living in their small homestead.
No, no one even knew where the orchard had come from as there hadn't been one before, just their fields. While she had noted their seemingly skittish looks she also noted the looks of disgust when they looked at her group, as if they weren't just strange, but it was taboo. Still, they had given them a place to rest and food for them to eat. She was sad that there was no way for her to go home, not only to see her family, but to stock up for their group. They would need more food to take with them and when they finally did get ready to head back on the road she had been surprised when Minako approached them with a few of the villagers in tow. "I just wanted to thank you, for taking care of the demons," the small girl said, turning to the two men behind her, both of them looking wary when all three males shot them withering looks. Inuyasha and Koga didn't like the looks that Kagome was receiving as he had informed them the day before of the Miko's condition, but the Hanyou had wanted her to be taken care of so she wouldn't get sick. The pups weren't his, but he still felt affection for them because they were hers and Kagome meant the world to him. He would have to find time to talk to her, but that could wait as the men before them handed them two large bags of rice, keeping as far as they could from the group itself as they placed them before them and backed up. Minako shook her head, refusing to act like them ad she said, "I'm sorry for their behavior. I know that none of us can remember what happened yesterday, but one of our men is missing which leads me to believe that he was the monster you spoke of and the fact that we found a few body parts also lends truth to your words so I felt that we should thank you in the only way we can."
This girl was so young and yet she was much more open than the others in her village and for that the group was thankful, well, some of them as Kagome thanked her again and Miroku with Inuyasha grabbed the medium sized bags of rice. Miroku thanked them, though he too was displeased with their attitudes before they headed off, Sesshomaru walked out last with Ah-Un, Rin, Shippo, and Jaken with him. Koga, Sango and Miroku walked in the front and Kagome with Inuyasha walked in the middle, Kagome walking alongside him as he kept his eyes on her and around them. He wasn't taking any chances with her, her condition was not too far along to give her any trouble, but he was worried that anything could change that, a battle or even a stumbled could do her ill will. He wouldn't allow it, but after about thirty minutes of his sidelong glances she said to him, "Okay, I am getting tired of this." Sango shot her a look to find that she wasn't just addressing him, but the others as well. "I am not going to break and while I appreciate all the slick ways that you all try to protect me, I am able to take care of myself." The slayer managed to look ashamed as she had also been in this as well, all except for Sesshomaru had been very protective, though he had been watching her closely. He knew no more than any of them when it came to human pregnancies and even demon ones weren't on his radar so for him this was a learning experience. After all, he too planned to have pups of his own with a human, the one that followed behind him was more than just a human. She was the closest to someone he loved, though he wouldn't admit it to any of the others much less say it to the girl herself. While she wasn't old enough at the age of 10 to be his mate, it was only a matter of time before she became mature enough for him to claim.
"Miko," he said, all of them still walking slowly, his golden gaze narrowed. "As you have pointed out, you are not weak, but no one in this circle has ever had to experience that condition you have found yourself in, nor do you even know what your own limitations are in said conditions." She flushed at this, anger welling up again. It was like this all the time, her emotions were fleeting and annoying. Before she could fire off a retort his eyes narrowed further and while she did not fear him, she submitted to his words, waiting and listening. "And there are limitations that shall happen before you birth the pups. Know this and just be glad that you aren't dealing with this alone." Inuyasha was shocked to say the least at his brothers, strangely, kind words. She wasn't fragile, but she would be soon. Those pups would make her more clumsy than she had been before and fighting wouldn't be as easy as she thought. He hadn't seen too many pregnant women, but in his village, the one that he had grown up with his mother until she had died, he had witnessed one woman before she was to give birth. She had been bulky, her small form rounded with her unborn child that had caused her to have little movement and freedom because of her state. He knew that until she reached that stage that she should be fine, after all in his time women continued to work in the fields or continued to keep their home up, but Kagome, she was a fighter and she wouldn't want to stop just because of her pups... still, she wasn't going to be fighting when she filled out more. Not if he could stop it and he would with the aid of Sango and Miroku. He knew they had his back as they had also seemed wary of her condition.
They didn't doubt her, but his demon demanded he protect her and he wasn't one to ignore her needs, even when he hated that she had to go to her side at times. He had hurt her more times than he cared to even count, but he would make it up to her. It had never been his intent to hurt her, but then again he had been in his own Hell, wanting her, but still hurt from all his own life of taunts and jeers. "Okay," she said. "You are right, but so am I. I am not a weakling and while later in my pregnancy I will concede that I am not going to be able to fight I am not at that point yet, so stop acting like I'm going to break." And that was that. Kagome had said her piece and Sesshomaru had backed the others in their unspoken worries. "No, let's get him before I reach that point." Hurrying along, the rest of them following her pace.
Naraku stood outside his castle looking pleased as he watched the land around him as it died. They all did when he was around, his evil taking out all the sunshine from the sides above him and the land dying and wilting with every second that passed. He enjoyed the death of all that happiness and life that tried to bleaken his mood. He hated life and the happiness of those around him. He wasn't happy unless others were miserable which is why the pair of demons had been something he had looked for. He had wanted to witness the misery that they had up their sleeves, to watch as his enemies fought each other because of that emotion, but they had failed... or so it seemed since he still could feel the aura of the pair, could scent them out on the wind as another scent twisted his lips in enjoyment. She was coming to him, her scent stronger than it had been days ago when she had been at the village that the pair had used to bring them pain. He wondered what those two had planed now that they didn't have their bodies. Would it be beautiful like the distress he had witnessed just days ago? Would they writher and fall to their knees in anguish? Would he get to kill them while they were fighting against that pain?
Licking his lips he envisioned it, the suffering of his growing threat. They would no longer be a threat when he was done with them. Now he just needed to send another demon to their path, to weaken them further. He knew just the ones to do that. Yes, even when the other demons had been tormenting them with their fears he had found a back up plan since he still didn't trust whatever he took from his own body. He had a plan for his heart, but that plan would have to wait until he had his treasure, his prize. He would place his heart in her body, attach it to her pup, one of them would bear his evil, would taint her and the others as it pulsed in her belly. Ah, the day would soon be upon them when he would violate her, further tainting her. He could see that the darkness he had tried to instill in her had weakened, but he wouldn't let it disappear. No, he would have to push it further, get her to forget all the sickeningly sweet emotions of her soul, of her friends. He would have to put her in a submissive position that could only be accomplished with her fear or her hate. She would come to fear her friends' pain or hate them enough to leave their side and the fear would be easier in the long run.
"Ah, you girls are right on time," he said, turning to look behind him before returning his attention back to the barren wasteland before him. Five woman, each of a different color of the rainbow stepped out of the shadows. They had eyes that were black, no white in their eyes, almost like black eyed children that haunted the nations of the world in appearance. They weren't children though. No, they were full bodied women that wore clothing that barely covered their slender forms, but he didn't care about their appearance. No, he cared about what they could do, the damage they could inflict on his opponents.
"You have summoned us," the green skinned one stated, looking bored as she and her sisters stared at him, as if they were trying to figure out who he was to call them forth. "You, a half breed wishes for us to do your bidding and yet the only thing you promise is a part of the jewel, nothing that can be shared among us." It wasn't a query, no, she was pointing out his promise to them and their distaste for what he was was just as evident in her words.
"Oh, you could shatter it again," he said, sounding bored with their dislike of his status, but he was powerful and could crush them instead of using them. "The Miko herself did it so long ago, but I can also promise you their blood or their skin." The pink one at the end scoffed.
"And what would we do with that blood or skin? Nothing. It has no use for us," she stated arrogantly. "No, we will destroy them for that half of the Shikon no Tama, but we will come for your half unless you are willing to part with it more willingly. That might keep you alive." He snarled at her words. No, he would not be willing to give up his half, not that he was going to be giving them the other half either, but he had to make it appear so.
"I will not be relinquishing my half, but know this, bitches, I am more than powerful enough to tear you into food for my demons that await my orders or I could just allow that other half breed to slice you up with his fang. And he will come for you even if you didn't threaten his woman." Another snort from the pink one. He had yet to learn their names, though they were called the Zetsubō no shōjo or otherwise known as the Girls of Despair. They didn't care who you were or what you had. They killed you if you were a human and being a half breed was just as bad. They hated what they strongly saw as taboo or even pure since most demons were darkness personified. He wasn't pure enough for them to want his blood, but his human half was enough to anger them. He wasn't sure what they were, their bodies while more human in profile, their body was covered in short hair and they had markings just below their hips on their upper legs and there were also markings on their foreheads. They were strange, but like the other two demons that had taken on the group their torture was mental. They also could attack physically, their powers giving them an edge that the other two didn't have.
"What do you mean?" the blue one inquired. "Why would we be bothered by such a disgusting creature?"
"Well, seeing as he follows a rather powerful Miko around like the lost mutt he is, they are travelling with what you might like to destroy before they come across you later as I know how much you would despise their kind. It is only a matter of time." Now their eyes narrowed at his words, wondering about this group that should draw them to their deaths should they cross paths. "They have a demon slayer, a monk, and more humans that travel with them on top of the Miko and the Hanyou." All these were targets for these demons, their need to rid the world of humans keeping them on task until all the humans in their area were gone, but these people were not on their land, not yet. But they would be when they grew closer to this castle. They didn't want this castle here either, but for now they would go after the group and destroy those that dare come onto their lands. They would do it as it was what they did and not for the male sneering at them. He would be next, after they had the piece of the jewel that the Miko was carrying.
Turning around they disappeared into the darkness, Naraku chuckling at their anger, their distaste for him and the darkness he was bringing to their land. He would destroy them though, once they came back for his head. "It is so hard to find good help these days."
Kagome felt them before they appeared, the ground shaking beneath her before opening up to swallow her, but Inuyasha was quicker, his swift removal of her body from the now gaping hole where a woman stood staring up at them with a smirk. Before he could react though her hand changed to vines, twisting up and into his gut as he thrust the Miko further from him, Sango rushing to her side as another one appeared before them. This one rushed at the two headed dragon that held Rin and Shippo, Sesshomaru attacking her with his sword before she could reach them, but she didn't allow him to strike her as she pushed back, her body twisting to evade him at every thrust of his blade. While he was distracted another one, the orange one, appeared behind him, her arms changing like her sisters as she wrapped herself around him, the one that he had been after smirking as she joined her sister in wrapping him with her vines that shimmered with electricity.
Kagome cried out as the blood from Inuyasha's wound dripped down the green one's vines, she wanted to help, her fingers gripping at the arrows in the quiver on her back as the mayhem ensued. While Sesshomaru was being detained and shocked by two of them another one appeared before Miroku, her eyes narrowing at him when he pulled out a sutra in preparation for her attack. She merely smirked when he too found himself bound to another one, a blue one that clutched her to his chest before pulling him into the solid ground below them. Sango now screamed out, watching her fiancé disappear from her sight with a cry of pain, the earth tearing at his skin. All of them stood there as the women laughed in joy of the impending destruction of the Hanyou, the demon lord and the monk. Both women looked at Rin still holding onto Ah-Un as Shippo tried to be brave, his green eyes watching as Sesshomaru tried to rid himself of the two females still shocking him, but finding that they were not just shocking him, they were pulling his aura into them. Taking his energy so that he wouldn't be able to fight them. Rin wanted to cry out, but believed that he could remove himself from the two creatures.
They needed to help them, but Kagome was afraid that if she struck one of them while they were holding onto her friends, the demons at least, could end of doing more harm than good. Sango shoved her back as she moved with her boomerang to fight the one that held Miroku below the surface, the hole still open enough that she could see into it, the eyes that stared back at her gleaming with malice. Kagome readied her bow and arrow, keeping it in front of her with a point of power shimmering at the tip of the arrowhead. Inuyasha thrust back, his claws trying to tear at the woman holding him, to get back to Kagome when his body received a burst of fire. He howled in frustration and pain as his skin that wasn't covered by the fire-rat burned and smoked, his hair smoking as they also caught fire. Kagome released her arrow, hoping and knowing somewhere that she was wrong, that her power wouldn't hurt those that she loved. Koga swiped at the one holding Sesshomaru, tearing into her back and eliciting a cry of both anger and pain as blood trickled down her back before the final woman appeared, thrusting her hands into his back and thru it.
The arrow that she had released found a mark on the one behind the dog demon, rippling with power as it purified the woman, her screams tearing into the air, louder than the cries of those they held captive. Her body withered, her vines retracting as she tried to pull the arrow out. Kagome watched all of this, pulling another arrow out, but before she could release it a foul smell hit her nose, the hair on her neck raising in warning just moments before she found herself being yanked into the darkness of a portal something shoved into her back, tearing at her. Had there been another one? She thought that five was bad, but if there were more than all of them were in danger.
"Kaaaagome!" came a war cry, a cry of anger from the lips of Inuyasha as he finally managed to tear the vines of the one that held him, the one that had been struck by Kagome's arrow finally disappearing to the rage of her sisters who now growled in anger, but could do nothing as the one that had struck their sister down was gone. Inuyasha pulled out his blade, the fang appearing like a diamond as he thrust it at her, tearing into her skin like she were nothing but paper. Another one bit the dust leaving just three to fight them. The one that had been holding onto Miroku released him as her vines shot up to shatter the boomerang of Sango, shoving the woman back with the force of her blow, but that didn't stop the slayer as she pulled out her blade that she kept just incase she was unable to use her boomerang.
She sliced at those vines, trying to get close enough to see if the monk were okay while Inuyasha assisted his brother in removing the other woman clinging to him, but her body also seemed to erupt in fire, the flames searing the older male's skin. He still refused to cry out as he managed to free a hand to wrap it around the demon's throat. She smirked at him as his poison tore into her skin, causing it to discolor from the pink tint that it was to a more magenta like color. When she realized that he wasn't going to give her the pain she wanted to see on his face she tried to remove herself from him, but he wouldn't release her. His clothing was on fire, but he still clung to her, tighter and tighter as her screams stuck in her throat, the very part of her body that was melting and oozing.
"He didn't tell us just how powerful you were," the yellow one stated as she ripped her hands out of Koga's back, the blood on her fingers joining the gore on the grass below them. Before she could say more Koga had turned toward her, his body sagging from the injury, but he was able to reach out toward her even if he wasn't able to grasp her. Shippo jumped onto her though, his body lighting up in fire, the green flames of his fox fire burning her or at least appearing to as she screeched, trying to grasp at him. He was clinging to her head, his fingers wrapped in the golden strands as her claws dug into his small body, but he refused to let her pull him off as Inuyasha sliced her in half. He released her, running back to join the human child covering her eyes in fright. When the one in Sesshomaru's toxic hold finally died, her body fading from existence he knew there was one more, the one that Sango was trying to get at, but even if they killed her there was still the fact that the Miko was in danger and they needed to get to her. Inuyasha turned his attention to the fight between the slayer and the last one in his way, his blade sinking into the ground as the demonic aura of his sword tore into the ground, finding its target and rippling thru her flesh as Sango shoved her way into the hole to grab the still alive monk, his body limp and torn. In the end they all lay there, trying to catch their breath and knowing they had no time to wait, to heal with Kagome in Naraku's hands.
"When I get a hold of that fucking slimly bastard," was all Inuyasha said before turning to check on his pack, his friends in dire need of medical attention. He needed to get them better before he could go after his Miko. She would not allow him to forsake them even if he wanted to rush off after her. Clenching his fists, his eyes closing for a moment as he sent on thought to her, Please, wait for me, Kagome.
Ah, so another enemy destroyed and with little effort, though they managed to stall them from getting Kagome back... for now. What is Naraku doing to the Miko now that he has her? Will they make it in time? Stay safe!