Sorry for the delay! Had a mixture of different things going on with Yashahime finally coming out, my fave Youtuber (who gave me a shoutout) coming out with more of The 100 Baby Challenge. Making houses in the Sims and baby daddies takes a bit of time and with my catching up of one of my all time fave animes, Case Closed I've been a busy woman and to add to that I had a bit of writer's block on how I wanted my new villain to play out with her using of Naraku and what that could mean for the team! I made this chapter a little longer to make up for the lack of updates these past few days. :)
Talawolfgirl : Ah, you are reading me like a book with all your almost spot on questions, though I am sorry that I have confused you so much. I hope that with this chapter some of that will be answered! Thank you for continuing to review! It means a lot to me to hear from you!
windbreaking : You're getting close to the answer to your thoughts! Most of it will be revealed in this chapter, but that just means that if Naraku is being used then the person who is doing it must be waaaaay worse! And thank you for all your reviews!
Thanks to all of you who have been reading my fic! I love to know that so many are enjoying themselves with this story! Thank you all!
Inuyasha grumbled angrily under his breath. They were at another stalemate in trying to locate and save Kagome since they had come to the place that Sango had been sure she had seen the castle of Naraku. It was gone, as if it had never been there, only leaving the trace of death on the landscape the only proof that it had once resided there. It was clear that it had been there for only a day if less since the grass that was mostly dry and dead was already healing with the introducement of the sunlight. This was getting them nowhere though since it appeared, with the use of his powerful sense of smell, that it had moved while they had been running toward it if not before that when they had been sleeping. Maybe Naraku had wanted them to know how easily he could move without them finding him or maybe he had seen the slayer and had moved knowing how much time he had before they came, either way it was a bust.
"We should probably go back to Kaede's until we have a lead to follow," Miroku stated with a thoughtful look. He was upset too. The longer they took to catch the person that cursed his family the closer he got to his death and he wanted so much more now that he had Sango and their marriage to look forward to. Before he had been looking for the vile demon that had brought about his father's and grandfather's early demise due to their curse, but he hadn't anything but that death to look forward to and the possibility of having a child to continue on in his stead should he fail before killing Naraku. Now he had more and he wasn't going to die before that bastard did, but they had to wait at this point since he was again gone and with their friend this time.
"No," Inuyasha snapped. He didn't want to go back until Kagome was back at his side. "We continue searching!" His brother looked at him, a look of incredibly at his words. "You all can go back if you want, but every second we waste in waiting the closer it gets that she's made into his little puppet or worse, dead."
"You can be so stupid, brother of mine," the older dog demon snapped. "I thought maybe there was some bit of brain in that thick skull of yours, but the lack of thought in this matter proves otherwise." The Hanyou bristled under his words, ticked off that even his brother wouldn't stand by him in this choice that was the best action considering who they were up against. Even the monk and slayer seemed ready to call in the towel. "The monk is right. It is best to regroup, after all my spies and my mother's are all working to keep a close eye on that bastard so it's not like we're not doing anything." Inuyasha scoffed. It was true, that's how they were led to the castle that had been down south, but now that it had disappeared as had this one they were back to square one and while he was still upset about the new plan even he had to admit that it was all they could do at this time.
"We want to find her just as much as you want to, Inuyasha," Sango stated, looking at him with exasperation. She was worried about the Miko and the babies that were in danger should Naraku got his way. After all the dark Hanyou was one to use something like this for his own benefit. He would use those babies just like he would use Kagome and with her pregnant she would be more mailable to his demands to protect her babies.
"Fine! Fine, we'll go back to the old lady's hut and wait for news on the bastard."
"I shall leave Rin with you while I go back to my mother's for more information." Sesshomaru didn't even wait for a response before he turned into a ball of light and was off. The others just stood there in shock and confusion. The older demon wasn't usually so trusting with just anyone when it came to his ward and while they were okay with taking care of the young girl, they were unsure of why he would leave her with them. Jaken looked rather upset with the abandonment of him with ones he had no love for much less with the child again. Always left to take care of her when his master left them to their own devices, he was used to that, but now he was left with the other humans and he hated humans. Not only that, he was left with the bastard brother of his master on top of that!
"That bastard," Inuyasha growled, looking at the girl in question who was busy playing with Shippo as the pair ran around Ah-Un seeming unaware of any danger. Sango and Miroku were glad that even in this most dire of circumstances that the kitsune had someone to keep him occupied and happy while Kagome wasn't there. He needed this. "Always just using others for his damned tasks! First monsters to do me in and now I have to watch his ward and that toady shit!"
"Now you listen here, half breed, I never wanted to be dumped with you of all people! Bad enough that I always get left to watch the human, but now to be left wit-" With a resounding thunk Jaken was silenced, the lump forming on his head from Mikoru's staff as he glared at the small male.
"The feeling is mutual," the monk stated before turning to the others. "The sooner we get on the road the faster we can find more information on Kagome and where Naraku is keeping her captive."
Days later found the castle full of darkness, with just a single figure haunting the halls, his form changed from what he had been just days ago. His clothing was that of a king, his hair was tied back, the tresses moving with every step he took down the dark and silent halls as he continued to stare ahead. His red eyes looked lost and yet they were narrowed as he found the room he was looking for. In that large room a single chair, a throne made from the darkened rocks of the castle. He approached it, touching the armrest and feeling the chill from the cool material. It held no color, save for the same darkness of the rock walls around him. Everything was so dark in the castle, even with a few flickering candles that adorned the wall behind the throne and a few spaces on the walls around him. He felt the loneliness that clung in the air, knowing that he was just one of two occupants. The Miko was still in the ground chamber, fighting against the evil that was being pumped into her form that writhered around on the stone bed that was only illuminated by more darkness, the waves of evil attempting to corrupt her small form. It was all going well, he was stronger now, his human half gone as promised, but he felt that even though he were more powerful than he had been before that he was weaker now without his heart.
His heart had been easily removed, kept safe somewhere he could hide it, but now it was apart of him, and while it no longer held the human soul of Onigumo it was too easily destroyed since he required it to live in his new body. Looking down at his hands he marveled at them. His skin was blue, like he had frozen to death and in a way he felt that way. His feelings were still there and yet he felt numb, like he held no true feelings. Isn't that what he had wanted so long ago when he had allowed those demons to take his form, to make him Naraku? Yes, he had wanted to be one with no feelings, no fears, no joy, no nothing and yet it felt so different than he had ever imagined it would feel. But, how did one imagine such a form? Turning around he took in the large room, most of it shrouded in darkness, no light on those far walls to show him what lurked in that darkness. She had spoken of a time when this place had been filled with those that would do her will without hesitation, a queen that had stood by her side that had also bent to that will so she could get the man she yearned for, lusted after. What had happened to all that?
"They await the moment to fight for me again," came that same hate filled voice that he had come to hate himself. He didn't like her even with all the power she had bestowed upon him just at his request, not that he would have had a choice should he have said no. He needed her power to decimate his foes, to rule the world as he had longed for to be his and his alone, but now it wasn't just his. No, he had to share it with her as well. He wouldn't have minded having power over it and to have the Miko rule beside him because he would have control over her so she would never speak against him. This woman, the Queen of the Void, wasn't one to control. No, she had the control and the power to do with him however she yearned for. Turning to where the voice came from his mouth dropped open. There stood a beautiful woman, her skin like his, blue tinted like the sea on a beautiful beach, but her hair was as black as the place they stood, her eyes flashing for a second to show that they were black like her hair. "She failed me and found herself destroyed by those that she was supposed to kill, to keep the light out, but she failed and now she, along with all my minions are dead."
"If they are dead then how do they await to fight for you again? That makes no sense," Naraku stated as he turned from her to look at the dark space again, wondering what this woman had up her sleeves. Where had she gotten that body from? She approached him, a smile on her face as she sat down in the throne, one of her hands stroking the armrest with a joy. She hadn't had a physical form in so long, only using the queen from before for a body with the hopes that she could soon create one when she had the power of the crystal that had been lost in the last battle that had taken both her and her lackey.
"They are indeed dead, but with my new body," she stated, smirking up at him. "That you yourself gave me, I shall be able to rule my masses again." He was confused. How had he given her a body? "And before you ask, Abyss, it is not the Miko that I inhabit, but a form made by taking some of your power to create this body." At his shocked look she chuckled. "Yes, your power made this body, though I only needed a bit of the demons that you use for your own body and so, there is nothing to be upset about since you will surely go out and gather more so you can dispose of any weak ones that still are apart of you."
"You took some of my demons to make your body? How is that possible?"
"You do make incarnations of yourself, so how hard is it to comprehend that I could make a body using your own parts," she stated, looking down at her own blue tinted skin. "It was so easy to take what you were offering, though this body isn't the one that I myself had when I was human." Turning her hand as she seemed to grow lost in thought. "All those eons ago when I was a human, abet a powerful one with the dark magic that I held thanks to the sacrifice of my soul." Waving her hand a small ball of energy began to form, illuminating the space they were in, a sound of voices echoing around them. "I still possessed those powers when I was thrust out of her body, even the light was unable to kill me, just to weaken me while killing her." Flicking her hand to her right another throne appeared before his eyes. "She was weak, a mere human that lusted for another human to love her when he was clearly in love with the light that came to be his bride. She wanted to kill that woman, a princess that was so naïve even with all the darkness that lay beyond her lands. But now I have you," she said motioning for him to sit as the shadows before him shifted into several beings that were only visible from the neck down.
He did as she bid, though he was in so much shock at the people that were before him and the power that she was exhibiting with little effort. This was a source of concern since it showed that she was more powerful than even she had boasted about. "What do you want me to do?"
"You will defeat your enemies and once they are gone we will crush any who dare to try and dethrone us from our rightful place," the Queen stated. "Another bright side of this is that you will no longer have to create those that would surely turn against you as your new minions would never turn on you since they are just pawns, not parts of any human flesh or even demons, just pawns that I have created to fight my battles." Smirking broader at his obvious confusion of her knowledge of him. How did she know all this about him? "Not only have I been waiting for you, strong creature that you are, but while I was removing the human side of you I was enlightened by your memories and thoughts. I know that every incarnation you have ever made has turned on you and for that reason you wanted the Miko and the babies that are in her womb. To burn into them the knowledge that they are yours and not the half breed who actually sired them. With them turned into your own children they wouldn't dare turn against you."
"I don't know if I like you or hate you at this point," he stated angrily. "I can say that I like the power you have given me, though I know it is nowhere near what you yourself possess, but at the same time I hate that you have used me for not only to create a body for yourself, but the fact that you have invaded my privacy." She just laughed at him, finding his anger quite enjoyable and the fact that he knew that he couldn't stand against her.
"I don't care about how you feel, no, I rather care about how well you will fit me in this endeavor, Abyss. That is all that matters and if you cannot aid me in this then you are better off with my minions, rushing to their death if it will assist me in getting what I want." Looking out at her masses, their voices dim in the large room even as they continued to echo in their joined voices. "And what I want is power, more of it. Just don't forget what you have said. I have more power than you possess or have ever possess in your life and what I do with it depends on you."
While the Queen of the Void was making her point with Naraku Inuyasha was fuming in Kaede's hut while the others just went about their business. Shippo was out with Rin and the village children while Sango and Miroku were assisting the villagers with their work. Inuyasha was the only one that seemed upset about the lack of information regarding Kagome and the location of Naraku's newest hiding place. It was pissing him off to no end and with every second that passed he seemed to grow more and more restless.
"Inuyasha," Kaede said while entering the small hut, more herbs from her trek into the forest in the small basket in her hands. "If ye are going to be like this it will do her nor ye any good. Pouting like a child does no good for the betterment of your situation." The Hanyou grumbled, turning toward the older woman with a glare.
"I am not pouting, old woman," he stated with an obvious pout on his face. "I am thinking." She chuckled at him with a knowing smile. "It's just irritating that we haven't heard one word from that bastard that calls himself my brother and no one in this area has seen hide nor hair of that spider bastard!" It was unlucky for them to say the least that while on the way back to her village that all the people they had questioned knew nothing if very little of the male they were after. It made no sense since according to those closer to the village knew about him and they hadn't even had to deal with him as often as the other places had. No, most places outside of their village had had dealings with the bastard known as Naraku, but they were the ones that now claimed to know nothing of him. Were they all that dense or were they just referring to the fact that they hadn't seen him in such a long time that he no longer existed to them? It's not like he went and brainwashed them all, was it? Sure, he had the power to do such a thing, but it made no sense since Naraku wanted to be the most powerful demon around, he would want them to know him and his power.
"It seems to me that he will come out soon enough, he is that way ye know," she said as she placed all the different herbs in their proper places, her back to him as she worked. "And we know that Kagome would never submit to him unless she had no other choice, but she is a strong one and would never allow him to use her in such a way to hurt ye or the others." That part bothered him. He believed in her strength, but at the same time she was only human and humans were easily swayed by their emotions, whether they wanted to do what they were told or not. Even Kagome could fall to those same emotions, to the need to protect them and her babies. That was the other thing. He knew she would do whatever she needed to do to protect her unborn pups even, if that meant that they too would have to die with her. She wasn't one to kill herself unless she felt it was the last option, seriously that girl would do anything for others that it made him a little upset with her love for all others above herself. He would never change that about her because that was the reason she had become his friend, even after he had tried to kill her, but at the same time he would let her know as her soon-to-be mate (and he would be that) that she needed to think about herself sometimes and not those around her. Not everyone deserved the joy of her love.
"If anything, she would do something too drastic," he stated with a tone that told the older woman that he was worried about her wellbeing and not just because of Naraku, but because of her own worse enemy, her heart. Kaede nodded as she sat down next to her fire, a pot in hand to start cooking their dinner that would be ready in a few hours time.
"Yes, she does go all out for her loved ones, but ye knew about that and you still stood by her," she stated as she went about gathering all her ingredients for the mean. "In fact, Inuyasha, I feel that is part of the reason that ye love her." The Hanyou tensed, narrowing his eyes at the woman with all the indignance that he could muster. "Do not give me that look. We all know your feelings for the Miko and hers for ye as well. Ye and she are the only ones who are in the dark." The Hanyou was left sputtering while trying to remain angry at the woman for her words, but it struck him that she wouldn't lie about something like that. Kaede was one that spoke what she felt even if the person she was giving that bit of truth didn't want to believe it. If that were true than why would Kagome allow another male to mark her, to have her body when she was love with him? Was it because of him that she had given up on him returning such feelings? "Of course, with ye chasing my dead sister it is a wonder that she hasn't just given up, but love can make fools out of anyone." Before he could answer the flap to the hut moved and Sango with Miroku in tow entered, both looking worn out and dirty.
"Seems that one of the villagers heard from a relative out east from here that there was a place where people have been dying randomly," the monk stated as he took a seat before the pot that was now boiling softly with their meal. "It started happening just about a day ago, late in the nighttime that the first death occurred." Sango nodded as she took a seat next to him.
"There had been death visited upon them before, but that was many decades ago, when a woman ravished the land with her hoard of minions, all of them in the search of a fabled jewel that would grant them power." Inuyasha turned to listen to them, wondering if it were the Shikon jewel they were talking about when Sango answered his unspoken question. "It was long before the Shikon no Tama, a crystal that was about the same size, maybe a few centimeters bigger and clear with a rainbow glow about it."
"I don't believe I have ever heard such a tale," Kaede said as she stirred the pot before placing a lid on it. "Though I doubt many in this area would know of such a thing that hasn't been around in such a long period of time." Miroku nodded.
"I haven't heard of it either, but it's not to say that it doesn't travel the same path as the Shikon in the fact that it was something to gain power from and that an evil being was after it. The only question is whether or not it holds a connection with Naraku? Would this jewel still be around in this day and age or was it destroyed?" Inuyasha pondered on this as the others continued to talk. A jewel similar to the Shikon? He had never heard of it either and while a good part of his life was being sealed to the God Tree, he would have heard of it since his mother's village was in the east, but he couldn't recall ever hearing about such a stone. The flap opened again and Shippo with Rin appeared, Jaken trailing behind them looking a little worse for wear. Holding back a laugh at the obvious fact that the little toad demon had probably been tormented by the children while out playing came to mind. Shippo himself would probably torment his new prey since Jaken had harassed them in the past and his obvious dislike for being here would only make it all the more fun for the kitsune.
"If only we knew someone who had information about this jewel that could lead us in the right direction," Sango stated with a sigh. "I have a feeling that the person who was searching for this jewel might be have formed an alliance with Naraku. After all, another person in search of power thru a jewel would be the perfect ally for him." Shippo sat down next to Miroku and inquired as to what they were talking about. At first they didn't seem like they would answer his query, but in the end answered him.
"Ah, I've heard of that!" he cried to their surprise. "My grandmother spoke of such a thing that she had heard of from her mother! It was called the Chimera of Light, a beautiful diamond that held great power. The gem held many abilities, such as healing, revival of the dead and memories, just to name a few." Miroku leaned in, very interested in not only the story but the gem itself.
"So, it was a real thing then?" Sango inquired. The kitsune nodded, his eyes closing for a moment as he thought about what his grandmother had told him and his siblings all that time ago.
"It was around for longer than that, from what she told me and the queen who welded it was a great woman, strong and yet she was the most kindest person, like her mother before her. It was an heirloom and to my knowledge was around for a long time after that, only disappearing just before my great great grandmother was born. The holder of it finally vanquished the evil that had been hunting for it before also disappearing with it. Some say that she was the princess and that only the family members could wield the true power of it."
"Then the evil is gone?" Kaede asked as she stirred the soup again, mauling over the information. He shook his head.
"No, that evil was defeated, but grandmother said that someone had been backing that woman, she was a queen and her ally was also one, the main one a queen of the dark forces. She was a human at one point, but had sold her soul to become more powerful."
"Like Naraku?" Inuyasha asked, finally joining the conversation. "Except she doesn't sound like him as she isn't a half breed, is she?" Shippo shook his head.
"No, she was a witch in a demon's body, but it was never proved if she died with the queen or if she just went into hiding." This was indeed interesting. If she were just in hiding then she might have joined forces with the great evil of Naraku. After all, they would need each other, wouldn't they? Though it made no sense in the aspect that Naraku was a loner, preferring to use his own incarnations to do his deeds or even using others outside of that recently. Would he make a partner with another demon when he wanted all the power of the Shikon for himself.
"What was her name, Shippo?" Miroku asked.
"Hmmm, grandmother said her name, but I can't recall what it was...Muko?" Knocking himself in the head he stood up to think, pacing a bit for a second before saying, "No, not Muko..." Again, he paced some more, trying to wrack his brain for the information he was asked about. "Kokū no joō! That's what she was called!"
"The Queen of the Void?" Kaede asked in shock. She had heard of this name, though she had never heard of her rampage. This woman had been human, a young one that had almost been chosen to become a priestess several hundreds of years ago. In her own training she had been taught about the ones in the past that had failed and what they had done to be forced out of their training. She had been an evil young woman, wanting to become more powerful using the information from her training to aid in her evil deeds. She had been found out and thrust out from the school, but when she had been released from them she had gone on a killing spree, killing others to take their powers, other priestesses had fallen to her until she had been captured. "I do know of this woman, but she was rumored to have been killed after they caught her! She was a mighty evil young woman, her yearning for power a powerful incentive to kill other Mikos and priestesses so many years ago."
"Was she like Tsubaki?" Miroku inquired to which Kaede shook her head.
"No, she was far worse. She didn't care about such trivial things as age or beauty as she was a beautiful woman, but power, that was something that she hungered for and when killing others gave her that she went on a rampage. The people trapped her with the help of several of those she was hunting, the priestesses and Mikos came together to bring her down. After capturing her they killed her and sealed her body in a place that no one even remembers now, though she should be easy to find since evil seems to kill the land that it is buried on, like Naraku left that spot in the cave where he died." Now that they had an idea of whom they were looking for and where she could be buried based off the landscape they need only look for a place that matched that description.
So now the gang knows whom might be working with Naraku, but now they have to see if it is true and if so, what can they do against someone who seems to be far worse than their original enemy? And what of Kagome? Naraku got a bit more powerful with just a few days in the Queen's care what does that mean for our Miko? Stay safe!