The old gods smelled blood.
"Do you think mortals will remember us?" Apollo looked up to the blue sky. His silver eyes full of wonder and sparkling with childlike innocence.
Artemis had grinned and placed her hands behind her back. Her hair was braided and the warmth of the sun shines upon the twins. Apollo looked to his sister with question. He always asked her questions and she in return would answer as best she could. Not that Artemis knew everything and would be scolded if she were to lie to her brother.
"Mother said that mortals always pray to the gods for many things. If they forget us, who will they worship? Who will they pray too when times become frail? Why do you doubt Zeus, brother?" Artemis could see the look upon her brothers face. She wanted to enjoy the wilderness and hunt boar. She had no time for watching clouds. They were on a important hunt!
Apollo was troubled, she knew. He was always troubled and had much to say. Artemis was always there to hear him speak of his worries or of what their life would be like once they are trained and become gods. How the mortals will come to them and sacrifice a goat or something grand.
"I do not doubt, sister. I only want to know." He shrugged and sat himself up.
Apollo gathered his things that were beside him. His bow. His arrows. A pack in which had food and water. Artemis felt sympathy for her twin. All their life, they have been told that they will be loved by mortals. That Zeus had favored their mother and how his wife tried to kill her. They heard the stories and survived through the toughest of storms. Whether they sought approval from Zeus was another matter. He was their father.
A god whom fathered many children. Born to be demi-gods.
"You know mother says to never question the fates. You know how nasty those three hags can be." Artemis did not like talking of the fates. It is said even the gods fear them because the three fates can control a life and the will of mortals and gods alike.
Even Zeus had his fare share of fear towards the three sisters. Mighty powerful Zeus. Artemis thoughts with a snide comment.
"You never were one to fancy the fates." Apollo chuckled.
"No mortal or god fancy them." She countered.
She placed the arrow on the notch. Pulling the string back and keeping steady, her sharp eyes found the boar she has been hunting all morning. As big as a hound and fat. It's tusks were long and sharp. Brown fur covered in mud and dark eyes were foraging for berries. It seemed that the boar was safe at the moment. No scent coming from it. It's eyes we're focused on the berries. The boar has been smart and trying to keep its scent from the huntress.
Artemis took in a silent breath. Her heart was steady and counting down before she released the bow.
Fast. Hitting the boar hard into its side. It squealed loudly as it hit the ground with a thud. Artemis breathed out as she placed her bow over her shoulder. Walking out of the foliage over to her fresh kill, she noticed that she was not alone in the forest. For some time, the huntress ignored his gaze. She might have guessed he was curious, but his nature would never allow for his presence to be seen. He was a silent deadly killer who was light on his feet.
She went to one knee as she inspected her kill. Pretending to look over the clean shot, she could feel his energy in the surrounding forest. Canis major was mystified and yet, could not come to terms with his master. Unlike his loud-mouthed brother, the hound was capable of intelligence. Artemis was certain Canis wanted to kill her. But the hound that lies deep inside within his mortal form wanted to speak.
She closed her eyes as the wind blew gently against her skin. She could smell the flowers and dirt. If she wanted this hound to be by her side, she had to prove herself to him. Hounds can be rather finicky about their masters. Inuyasha would be a wild tame and a challenge. Sesshomaru was different.
She was reminded of Sirius. His nature was calm, just like the black hound. Orion favored Sirius as his most prized hound. A beautiful creature of a fine breed. Artemis was fascinated by this demon. Orion may have been her first love. But, by the eyes of Zeus, Sesshomaru was something far beyond a poets words.
The huntress shook her head. If Athena herself were to hear her thoughts, the goddess would have her punished. No one dare anger the goddess. It was best to keep her thoughts in the dark. Demons were of a different kind to a god. Artemis was on a hunt. But, she could humor the dog-demon in a story. Maybe he would come to an understanding of her.
"I have heard stories from mortals all of my long existence. I was born before my brother, Apollo. It was because of my fathers wife, who was a jealous goddess. She did not favor Zeus fathering children of mortals. My mother was a Titan whom caught his eye." Artemis spoke as she picked the boar up and slung the dead animal over her shoulder. As she told her tale, Sesshomaru kept his distance.
He was studying her. Watching as she hunted the boar. He would not admit that he was impressed by her skill with the bow. The huntress was had sharp eyes and could control her breathing. There was much power underneath her calm demeanor. God's were powerful beings. Sesshomaru wanted to test her power, but the hound inside of him was not so prudent on fighting its master.
She is not my master. He scolded.
Artemis turned around. Her silver eyes watching the trees while the wind swayed the leaves. She knew he was close. Camouflaged, but her sight could see the outlines of his shadow. The dead boar felt weightless to her. She looked to her kill and broke off one of its tusks. Dropping the tusk to the ground, she began to walk towards the village.
"In my land, when a god impregnates a mortal, their children become demi-gods. I am not like those whom you do not fancy, Canis. In my time, being favored by a god was considered a sign of fortune."
Sesshomaru stepped out of the shadows and grabbed the boat's tusk. It was long, white, and its point sharp. Was this her way of trying to make peace or bribe the proud dog-demon? She is trying to win you over, and its working. Sesshomaru sneered at his inner demon knowing that offering something of value was far below him. The huntress was not doing him any favors.
She won you over, you unvalued hound. I am still in control over you until I see fit. Do not make a mockery of my lineage. The hound inside grinned at being scolded and lied down on his paws. His sharp canines showing as if in a mocking smile.
Then, something in the wind caught his nose. It was strong. Metallic. He knew this smell all to well and something else. That scent of the god: Apollo.
The scent of human blood was fresh. Traveling with the wind into the village Artemis was staying in. Her time with the mortals was all but a peculiar adventure for the huntress. The villagers were in such awe and scared of her presence. Her tall demeanor and vibrant auburn hair was a culture shock to them. Some were not all to happy for a gajin meant trouble. They were superstitious of her as she walked down the dirt road. Their eyes looking to her with distaste and low whispers of ill fortune were heard.
Artemis had some understanding of these people's distrust of her. She was different. Very different. The huntress was much used to the mortals worshipping her. Though, being here, in this Japan, Artemis had to tread waters. All she was trying to do was find Apollo and leave. She wanted nothing to do with these mortals and their livelihood.
She was rested and had much food in her belly. She stocked up on arrows and had her bow crafted from a master bowsman. She found it odd that Lady Kaede had blessed the bow and her arrows. Artemis has had blessing from Zeus and needed no prayers from mortals to have a successful hunt. She was trained and had a natural talent since birth.
As she reached the edge of the village, she was being followed by those whom she met. Strange folk, but very interesting. It was a shame she could not properly tame her two found hounds. They would have made the hunt adventurous. Their tale would be remembered for generations. She sighed heavily as for this journey, she would not be accompanied by hounds.
Such a shame. She thought with a twitching eye.
Her boar was gutted and it's meat smoked with its hide ready to be used for clothing. Artemis had given Lady Kaede its hide as an offering and thanks for her kindness. The old priestess was generous for the action while those around them smiled… all but Inuyasha who had a sneer in his look.
"You smell that?" She paused her steps as she heard the sound of Inuyasha behind her.
She looked over her shoulder and saw the half breed and Kagome standing still. His ears twitched and his nose was scrunched. The huntress lifted her nose to the air and smelled. All her life of existence, she used her nose for the hunt. It determined the animals sense and they knew when a predator was close.
"Blood." Another voice spoke.
Sesshomaru appeared behind Artemis. This was the first time since they met, that Canis Major was a hair length away from the huntress. Earlier in the day in the forest, he kept his distance. Watching her with those sharp eyes. Curious of her being.
So, he accepted the boar's tusk. She thought as she noticed something hidden within his armor. She grinned inside knowing that the hound had accepted her offer. Maybe, he was not a total loss to her hunting party.
"What are you doing here? It is not like you to stay within the village, Sesshomaru." Kagome asked. Inuyasha kept his eyes on his elder brother all the while the scent of blood grew stronger.
Sesshomaru had ignored Kagome's words.
He was here on his own accord. His hound never wanting to venture far from its master. Though, he wanted to collect Jaken and A-Un for they were to leave with much urgency. He wanted to track this god and fight him. He wanted to see how powerful a god could be. The challenge was a thrill like a hunt for the boar.
"He smells it as well. I hate to admit it, but our sense of smell are much stronger than yours." Inuyasha spoke.
This is unnerving. Sesshomaru thought. He could smell it. Mixed in the scent of human blood. He could smell this Apollo. This supposed god that ran from him. Cowards run from the mighty Sesshomaru.
"Your right, Inuyasha. But, Artemis is a goddess and has stronger senses. She knows too." Artemis could hear the young girl talk. But, she was more focused on the tense feeling.
Sesshomaru was as still as a statue. His eyes staring into the distance. Jaken was nowhere to be found, maybe off watching Rin play or put flowers upon A-Un's head. Artemis was told that Jaken was always close in proximity to his Lord. And he was usually playing babysitter to Rin when Sesshomaru wandered off to places she did not know.
"It smells miles away." Inuyasha said. There was a sense of warning in his voice. "It does not smell of demon work, but this smell. I've smelled it before."
The hounds scent of smell was far stronger than the huntress's. This was strange and disturbing.
"Smell?" Artemis spoke. "I've smelled the scent of mortal blood in wars. Dreadful scene to come upon."
"Maybe a demon is trying to lure us." Kagome's voice was low and worrying. She was standing next to Inuyasha with her hand close to her mouth. Her eyes showing much emotion of both fear and worry. Artemis found it rather curious to see such in a mortal.
"Master Inuyasha!" A cry called.
Artemis felt something sting the side of her neck and she smacked hard at whatever caused the irritation. Placing her hand in front of her face, her silver eyes glared at the nuisance of this being. So small and like an old man, she had flatten this thing as it groaned. This could not possibly be a demon. For the love of the gods, a flea demon?!
"If it isn't my trusty vassal, Myoga the flea." Inuyasha said as he grabbed the tiny demon between his thumb and forefinger.
"Come quickly, master Inuyasha. It is urgent you see this. A human village has been massacred and the one responsible for this killing is no mere demon. He is something far beyond this land." The tiny demon spoke quickly. He was shaking uncontrollably while remembering the dead bodies and the blood that spilled and soaked the ground.
"He was powerful. He killed without regret. He had silver eyes just like this woman! And red hair just like her. There was a bird with him. Oh, it was horrible!"
Sesshomaru wasted no time and was gone be for Artemis could summon words to the hound. She clenched her fists tightly as Inuyasha, Kagame, and this Myoga were talking. There words falling on deaf ears to the huntress. A mortal village. Bodies. Not a demon. This could have been Apollo's doing. He would not do such a thing. He was a gentle god. Mortals spoke of him in nice gestures. This was not Apollo. This was not her brother. Her twin!
Go! A voice shouted in her mind. Her silver eyes looked above and saw an owl flying over head. Athena's owl. Show me where Apollo is.