AN: Sorry for the long wait. I've been incredibly busy these past weeks. I've been wanting to update, but my muse has been slacking. Another chapter in two days? I am spoiling you all. I was on a role with this chapter and wanted to post it. Hope it is worth the wait.
To answer Blu3b3rryT3a's question: the owl is just an owl sent by Athena. It has mystical powers, but not a god. It's a messenger of sorts sent by Athena herself. It's her link to communicate with Artemis since the Olympian gods have not touched mortal ground in centuries. There's a reason for that, but you readers will find out soon. Artemis and Apollo are the exception to the rule.
Also, good guess on Anubis. I wanted to incorporate other gods from different lands into this story. We all know throughout human history, that men believed in all sort of gods. I thought, maybe it would be a good idea to showcase them. Now, I won't put them all in this story, I just wanted the reader to get the idea that the other gods still live, but are not worshipped anymore.
The huntress calmed the beast.
The owl could see the giant hound stand still. His anger and rage showing itself through a veil of a purple haze. His red eyes watching the flying predator land just a few meters in front of him. The huntress was lowered to the ground safely. The owl screeched loudly to warn the hound to not move any further. Though, Sesshomaru did not listen to those he seemed unworthy, the owl had this vicious sense and godly aura.
His giant wings spread wide to showcase his mystical power. Sesshomaru was not intimidated by this act, but could sense that the owl wanted the huntress to be safe and out of harm's way. His demon side had calmed a bit in the presence of such an ancient display. These beings were far older than he had first imagined.
"Great huntress. Awaken from your wounds. Your time here in mortal land has only begun. Apollo threatens this world by awakening an ancient evil. One you must stop with the aide of these hounds. Sired by the great dog general." Her voice. Her voice was mighty. Athena spoke through the owl to awaken Artemis.
Her silver eyes opened wide to the world around her. All her senses returning to her body. She could see how dark the clouds have become. The charred remains of the buildings and the smell of the dead wafting into her nostrils. The huntress felt her muscles ache with pain as she tried to move. She clenched her fists to the ground to try to move herself up. After a few tries, she succeeded in sitting up with a whirl of vertigo making her nauseous.
The owl moved his one wing to her back to coax her into standing. With Athena using his eyes to see, she granted her strength from the first touch. It was rare for a god to lend another strength. But Athena wanted Artemis to continue her journey.
Artemis looked up to find that the giant hound had stood still. Eyes locked onto each other. Observing and trying to communicate through a link no other could fathom. The owl watched wearily as the hound laid before the huntress. His snout close enough that his breath made the air around them hot. Artemis was amazed that the hound was obedient of who his master was.
I side of his demon form, Sesshomaru was not so pleased. To be reduced to an obedient pup. A shameful act to display. The huntress stood tall before the great dog demon. Her hair blowing gets fly against the wind. Her silver eyes full of determination. Sesshomaru could see why the hound wanted to follow her. The huntress placed her hand upon his snout and the static between them became stronger. It jolted through their skin to their bones. Artemis found the source of his rage.
"He took her." She said through gritted teeth.
The owl looked to the ground in sorrow. Athena had no idea how much the mortal girl meant to the great hound. It was enough to make him enraged into this monster.
Artemis looked over her shoulder. "The mortal girl is his spawn. A deep connection between them like that of father and daughter. Apollo took her. Why?"
Athena spoke thought the owl. "A grave sacrifice to awaken Moloch."
She felt her blood run cold. That name that has not been spoken in many centuries. Sesshomaru caught wind of this strange conversation and heard a name that his father once spoke of. A name so old and from a different land, that even the great dog general seemed to fear.
He felt his bones pop in places and the fur around him disappeared. The chains that dug into his skin now became loose. His human form taking over once more. But what was before the great huntress was a calm and angry dog demon. He was tattered and weary. Sesshomaru never shows this weakness, but for the huntress's sake, he was willing to continue to drag on.
The large chains dissipated into ash and floated in the wind. Sesshomaru lashed out violently towards Artemis. His clawed hand around her throat. The owl screeched loudly in her defense, but Artemis commanded him to not interfere.
"Where has he taken Rin?" His voice was low. His fangs were sharp and eyes cold and calculated. Artemis could feel a slight pressure on her throat. She was still as a statue. Her silver eyes knowing that the next answer would only further anger him.
"I do not know. But we must hurry before Moloch claims her. Apollo knows the ritual of the sacrifice and we have a month to stop him." This did not calm the hound. Holding on tightly to her skin, he threw the huntress to the ground.
Artemis seethed in pain at the contact. Her body already weak from her fight with her twin. Her wound had bleed again. It should have healed by now, but Apollo had gotten hold of the weapon to kill a god. It will heal , eventually. The huntress looked to the hound as he turned his back to her. His wounds slowly coming to a heal. His clothes torn due to the chains. His face weary, yet he continued on. Ignoring Artemis as he tried to catch the scent of his mortal child.
"You will not find him so easily." She stated.
"You dare speak to me in such a way. A huntress who thinks she can control me." Sesshomaru was done playing by the fates. The rules of the gods did not apply to demons.
"Apollo hides and does not want to be found. In order to find a god, one must seek the fates. In this land, the three sisters do not live. One must sail the sea and seek them." The owl was not pleased by the way he was standing protectively over her. His wings made a shield to cast a shadow over her face. Sesshomaru knew that he could easily win a battle against a creature this pathetic. But he could see something else in the owl. As if, it could read his thoughts. An invasion of privacy.
"Then you will guide me to the fates. If you do not comply, I will kill you where you lay." He would not ask the huntress for help. It was not in his nature. If what she said was true, than finding these fates would be a toll on him. In order to bring back Rin safely, he had to force the huntress. It angered him that he had to be accompanied by her.
"I will not refuse. Rin means much to you, even if you do not show it. But your act of rage tells me she is what is most important in your life. I will give you the satisfaction of killing the one whom chained you, if that is what you want accomplished." Sesshomaru turned his gaze to the trees.
"Do not think you know what pleases me." He spoke.
He had much pride for a demon. Being reduced to having to rely on some foreign god for guidance. But, the thought of getting his revenge on the woman who chained him like an animal sounded pleasing to his thoughts. Maybe he could shed the blood of a god. No, he will shed the blood of a god.
"I think only highly of you. A hound knows its master and fully trusts them with their life. Cannot speak for the younger hound, but you know what it means to hunt." This did not settle too well with him. She was acting as if he was some pet. A demon who would bow to her every whim at the drop of a word.
This, Sesshomaru, did not fancy this. The huntress was crossing a very thin line.
"You know nothing of me. If you believe me to listen to your command, you have the wrong demon. You are but a means to an end. A guide that knows the land I do not. Once we reach the fates, only then would you be relieved of you duty, huntress. Cross a line and I will kill you." Artemis could not be afraid of this powerful hound. All the reason to take him. To make him understand whom he walks beside. If only he understood that she only wanted him by her side.
A-Un had come to a complete stop the moment he sensed his master. Not so far behind him, Jaken was on his back and crying in pain from being dragged for so long. He had stopped struggling against the reins and let the motion drag him to where A-Un was going. He prayed that the dumb demon would stop anytime soon and thankfully, his pathetic prayers were answered by a pitiful deity.
Moving would bring on the aches and pains. Surely, he would feel every ache tomorrow. Oh, why did Lord Sesshomaru make him stay behind? He was useful in his own way. But, his master had a reason. He would never put his trusty ward in danger. Unless it benefited him.
Jaken sat up with his back sore and probably blistered. Untangling his foot and standing fully, he could see Lord Sesshomaru in the distance. And a large giant owl before him. Feeling as if the owl was a threat, Jaken ran over to his master yelling.
"Lord Sesshomaru!" His screech yell caught the attention of the occupants. Standing before his master with his staff pointing at the owl, the large creature would have laughed.
"What is the likes of you standing before the great… oof!" Jaken was buried in the dirt. Sesshomaru had no use of Jaken if he was going to be an annoyance. Like a flea, Sesshomaru placed his foot upon his ward, which Artemis looked on in puzzlement.
She knew the relationship between both demons was rather strange, but to see it happen so suddenly was out of place. Artemis stood up wearily as he body still ached. The giant owl watched over her to make sure she would not fall. The huntress waved off the owls wings. Jaken coughed loudly and begged for forgiveness for speaking out of turn.
Sesshomaru paid no mind to his ramblings and began to walk off.
"Before we leave, I have to gather my weapons and fix my armor. This journey will be long and grueling. As strong as a hound you are, you do not know the way or can navigate the sea." Jaken had his jaw open for how casually the huntress spoke to his Lord. How dare she! No one speaks ill of him! Who does she claim herself to be? The wench.
"Do what you will, huntress. You have three days before I find the fates myself." Sesshomaru continued to walk further into the trees. A-Un following some distance and Jaken screaming to catch up. Artemis had no doubt that he meant those words. In three days he will seek her and go from there.
Such a strange hound.
When the demons were out of sight, she sat back down to rest her legs. The sun was out and the ruins of the land around her was clear. Bodies were rotting horribly, with the stench getting foul. The owl had returned to it's normal size and was perched upon her shoulder. Her wound no longer hurt and the bleeding had stopped.
Though her body was still weak, Artemis was grateful for the rest.
She had much time to contemplate on Apollo's actions towards her. The way he stared at her and almost ended her existence. She felt angry. She felt a sense of hopelessness. There was no way she was going to convince Apollo to return to Olympus. He was in deep and he knew he would not find redemption with Zeus.
"It has been sometime since we met, great huntress." She turned her focus towards the voice. A language she has not heard in many long centuries. Her time in Egypt was one of wonder. Artemis had learned the dead language from an ancient god: Thoth. There were some gods who could speak other languages, Artemis being a hand full.
A large black jackal sat at the tree line. His golden eyes watching her with much amusement. Though, before she could speak, he moved out of the way from an incoming attack. Inuyasha popped out of the forest quickly. His sharp claws swiping at empty air.
The black jackal transformed into his normal form revealing a rather tall and slim figure with the head of his jackal self. Anubis watched with amusement and humor as the half breed tried to attack the god. Artemis stood up once Anubis stood next to her. Taller than her- as one would expect of an Egyptian god- Inuyasha growled. Ready to attack once more. But Artemis was not going to allow such a thing.
"A spit fire, that one." Anubis humored her.
"What ya say, ya bastard?" Inuyasha said. His hand twitching at his swords side.
Artemis sighed heavily.
"I like him." Anubis chuckled.
Inuyasha's ears twitched as the jackal was laughing at him. Out of spite, he threw a right hook towards Aunbis. Artemis caught the half breeds throw. Though her strength was renewed, she felt the strain. So she pushed Inuyasha back just a few feet.
"Might want to rethink your actions, hound." She threatened.
Before he could retort with a nasty side comment, Kagome's voice was heard. The young priestess was weary and out of breath. Her hands on her knees trying to catch her breath. Artemis looks to Anubis and the owl that was upon the jackals shoulder. There was much to explain.
Inuyasha sat crossed legged around the fire pit. Kagome sat next to him, keeping her eyes on him. Inuyasha was still mad and wanted answers immediately, but once the rest of his pack came into view, the monk said it be best to bury the dead. Of coarse, Anubis was rather thrilled to hold their last rights. He knew that their customs of burial was different. They buried their dead in cloth without embalming.
The mortals were scared of Anubis because of his demeanor. He spoke to them in Egyptian, though they could not understand. Artemis explained that he found their ways strange. Once the dead were buried and their souls readying for the afterlife, the night had taken over.
"Anubis?" Kagome started the conversation. The jackal looked to her once she called his name.
"It is rather strange that a god from Egypt is in Japan. That means something terrible is to take place." Artemis nodded her head at the young priestess. She had some knowledge on her stories and myths. Artemis was rather intrested in the young mortal. She had more knowledge then the rest.
"Egypt?" Sango said. To Artemis's amusement, Kagome was the only one to speak once more. The looks the small group had given her was that of question. There were much bigger and dangerous places that they have not heard of. Kagome was a voyager in this time. Unfortunately, she did not know everything.
"The nights grow dark. Unbalance has been felt throughout the lands. I know you feel it too, Artemis." Anubis said.
The huntress looked to the fire. Her silver eyes watching the flames dance.
"Apollo summoned Lilith to capture Rin. To be used as a sacrifice to an ancient god. One rather terrible god made of metal. They would throw a child into the fire and with their blood, would awaken it. Apollo is trying to revive ancient deities to run rampant among the mortals. To despise a God that has taken the love and worship of men." Artemis looked to Anubis who sat next to her. His arms crossed over his chest. Though he did not understand the strange language, he knew that Apollo was doing something forbidden.
"No wonder Sesshomaru was in his rage. Taking Rin had set something within his demon." Miroku commented. Sango and Shippo next to the monk. Kirara in between Sango's legs.
"The worst thing to do to the demon. Rin means so much to him. But, how did they know where to find her?" Sango asked. Artemis did not have the answer and only shrugged.
"Apollo is trying to cause destruction on the lands. Not only ours, but others with these long dead gods. It is such a wonder to see even you, great huntress." Miroku said.
"Apollo has but a month to groom the child into a sacrifice. This has caught other gods attention. I am surprised no deity from this land has appeared." They all looked to Anubis, then to Artemis to get an interpreter.
"Let us rest for the night. Once morning comes, I need to find a blacksmith to forge me armor and a new bow. I have but three days before I hunt for Apollo." Artemis spoke.
The group were apprehensive about speaking. They wanted to know what the strange jackal said. The huntress left it at that, though Inuyasha was annoyed at the matter. Too many strange gods were appearing out of nowhere. Before he knew it, maybe a unicorn would shoot down from a rainbow bow and grant them a wish.
"Maybe it is time I take my leave, master Inuyasha. Try to cover ground and see if there are any more disturbances." Myoga said as he jumped out of the owl that was perched on Anubis shoulder. The small flea demon was fat with blood and sleepy.
The owl had forgotten that he had a parasitic flea upon his body. The greedy thing was feasting at his blood and wanted revenge on the demon. Maybe he would eat it later when they crossed paths again. It made him wonder of what the flea was doing during all this time? Maybe gorging on his blood and listening to conversations not meant for tiny demons.
"Whatever, just make sure you actually come to me with news. And don't go being a coward in the face of danger you flea." Inuyahsa grabbed the flea demon and flicked the fat flea in a random direction. There have been too many things happening at once.
"Other demons might be aware of what has happened. I would not be surprised if Koga were to come." Sango said once all became quiet.
The group nodded, other than Inuyasha. Artemis and Anubis looked to one another. Questioning who this Koga was.
"I wouldn't want that smelly wolf to get in our business. He'd just get in the way. We have bigger problems dealing with the likes of 'gods' on our hands. We don't need that wolf in the middle of it." Kagome laughed nervously out of embarrassment. Artemis was rather amused by how calm and strange these mortals were. Anubis noticed this behavior and humored himself to this strange display.