Time Traveler Katsumi

The Oni Sword

Katsumi wrinkled her nose slightly. The noxious fumes were making her nose itch. She was really glad they left Rin behind now. She could see the skeletons of birds and other animals that had been unfortunate enough to wander into the area. The trees were dead and the area looked like a swamp… one where the water had been replaced with acid. Katsumi stayed as close to Sesshoumaru as she could without annoying him. The place gave her the creeps…there was something evil about it. As Sesshoumaru, Jaken, and Katsumi entered the shop, a mysterious gust of wind blew the cloth hanging over the door out of their way.

'Well that was convenient.' Katsumi thought. Sometimes she suspected Sesshoumaru had psychic powers, the way things like that just seemed to happen for him… or maybe he was just too cool to be constrained by the laws of physics.

"Hnn? Who are you bastards?" A balding youkai who was lounging on the floor asked lazily. He had two small horns on his head, a mustache, and skulls hanging around his neck. The youkai reminded Katsumi of a fake voodoo priest she'd met one time, only the youkai was wearing a kimono… and he looked and smelled slightly drunk.

"So, you're Kaijinbo, huh? Because you forged too many evil swords, you were expelled by your swordsmith teacher, Totosai, right?" Sesshoumaru said stoically. Kaijinbo narrowed his eyes.

'Eh? Totosai's apprentice?' Katsumi thought, surprised. Her hand subconsciously brushed against her sword, the Taifu_Kocho. Sesshoumaru noticed, but didn't say anything.

"Totosai, huh… It's been a long time, but the name still sickens me. The large youkai head hit the floor with a loud thud when Sesshoumaru dropped it in front of Kaijinbo.

"How about it, Kaijinbo. Can you forge a sword from this oni's fangs?" Sesshoumaru asked.

"Hnn?" Kaijinbo said. He leaned over and inspected the fangs. "Bah, don't play around. A worthy sword cannot be forged from such… dead fangs…" Sesshoumaru drew Tenseiga.

'Sesshoumaru-sama…?' Jaken thought in confusion.

'Is he going to use Tenseiga on it…?' Katsumi wondered, taking a step back to give him room to swing the sword. Sesshoumaru gazed at the oni's head and watched as the same strange creatures that had surrounded Rin before appeared around the head.

'I see them… the pall-bearers of the next world…' Sesshoumaru thought. He narrowed his eyes slightly and struck, cutting the strange creatures down in one stroke.

"Huh?" Kaijinbo said, not getting what was going on at all since he was out of the loop. "!?" Kaijinbo gasped in surprise. He could feel the energy pulsing though the oni's head. "This looks… quite different from earlier…"

"Kaijinbo… I'll tell you this…" Sesshoumaru said. "The sword Tessaiga, forged by Totosai… The hated teacher who expelled you, was bitten apart… by this oni's fangs."

"Th-This is something else! They'll make an amazing sword!" Kaijinbo said in awe.

Rin sat beside Ah-Un, patiently waiting for Katsumi-nee and Sesshoumaru-sama to return, like she had promised.

"How much longer do you think it'll take, Ah-Un?" Rin asked the two-headed dragon.

It glanced at her and snorted, shaking its heads. The motion reminded Rin of an impatient horse.

"That long, huh?" Rin said, sighing.

"You have something to say to me." Sesshoumaru stated. He could tell Katsumi wanted to speak to him. Her aura was slightly agitated and nervous.

"I have something that's bothering me, but I don't know if I should say it…" Katsumi replied.

"Then don't." Jaken said arrogantly. Katsumi narrowed her eyes at the toad, but resisted the impulse to whack him over the head.

"… Are you sure having Kaijinbo make that sword was a good idea…?" Katsumi asked hesitantly. "If Totosai expelled him—"

"—Totosai will not forge a sword for me. Unlike you, I am not in his good graces." Sesshoumaru said. "If the master will not comply, the apprentice shall have to do."

'Well, I guess that makes sense… and if he has his own sword, maybe he'll stop going after Inuyasha and Tessaiga…' Katsumi thought.

"Fair enough." Katsumi conceded, though she still had a bad feeling about Kaijinbo.

...

They finally reached the edge of the toxic swamp, and Katsumi could see Rin waiting for them.

"We're back, Rin!" Katsumi called, waving at the girl, who suddenly lit up like a 1000watt lightbulb.

"Yaaay! You're all back!" Rin cheered, running to greet them.

"What's with that tone of surprise? Geez, don't you have any faith in me?" Katsumi teased, playfully poking Rin in the forehead. Rin giggled happily.

{Three days later, the night of the new moon}

Jaken hobbled up to Kaijinbo's hut. It was the promised day when the sword would be complete, and Sesshoumaru had sent Jaken to fetch the sword. "Kaijinbo, you promised it would be ready by the third day." Jaken said, entering the hut. "What's up? How good is the oni's fang sword?" There was a flash of silver, Jaken was suddenly feeling a burning pain throughout his body. He had been sliced in half. "Eh…?" The new sword pulsed with power, charging the air around it, as Jaken's corpse hit the ground. Kaijinbo was its wielder.

"It's done. It's a magnificent oni sword." Kaijinbo said darkly. His were glowing red, vacant, and glazed over. He was possessed.

"Jaken-sama sure is taking a long time." Rin said as she braided Katsumi's hair. Katsumi had agreed to let Rin play with her hair and style it however the girl wanted while they waited. Katsumi usually didn't pull her hair back because it pulled on her sensitive dog-ears, and Rin had been wanting to play with her hair for a while now. So, Katsumi figured she might as well let Rin get it out of her system while that wasn't an issue.

"Yes, he is…" Katsumi said. That bad feeling in the pit of her stomach, her intuition, had been getting worse ever since Jaken left. She didn't really get along with the imp, but she didn't hate him enough to wish him dead. Sesshoumaru stood from where he had been sitting, and began walking away in the direction of Kaijinbo's hut.

"Katsumi, Rin. Stay." Sesshoumaru told them. Katsumi's eyebrow twitched.

'What? Does he think I'm a dog or something?' Katsumi thought indignantly. Sesshoumaru paused and looked back at her, raising an eyebrow at her. '… Oh yeah… I kinda am…' Katsumi realized. 'Wait… Did he just hear my thoughts!?" Sesshoumaru continued on his way. She sighed in defeat. She already knew from the other day that humans couldn't get any closer to Kaijinbo's hut without dying from the fumes, so she and Rin were stuck there, waiting.

When Sesshoumaru entered the hut, he was greeted with the sight of Jaken's bloody corpse.

"…" Sesshoumaru said as he assessed the situation. "Kaijinbo's doing… huh." He drew Tenseiga and cut down the creatures from the netherworld. Power stirred within Jaken, and Sesshoumaru heard the imp's heartbeat again. Jaken opened his eyes and blinked.

"Huh…? I'm sure I was cut down by Kaijinbo…" Jaken said, looking around. The imp's eyes landed on his severed lower half. "Hey, I was…!" Jaken cried.

"Let's go, Jaken. Hurry up and attached your body back together." Sesshoumaru said.

"… Sesshoumaru-sama…?" Jaken said, finally noticing the daiyoukai who was standing, facing away from him. "Ummm, could it be… that you saved my life with Tenseiga…?" Jaken asked.

"Apart from me, is there anyone else who is capable such a thing?" Sesshoumaru asked stoically.

"… Sesshoumaru-sama…" Jaken said in awe, deeply moved. The imp was tearing up from happiness, and you could practically see sparkles in the air around him. 'I'm deeply moved…' Jaken thought.

"Did kaijinbo finish the sword?" Sesshoumaru asked, furrowing his brow slightly. He was already irritated that Kaijinbo had dared to defy him, and Jaken's sudden case of the warm-fuzzies made Sesshoumaru feel slightly nauseated.

"Th-That's right." Jaken said, snapping out of it. "Kaijinbo forged a sword from the oni's fang… Also, for some reason, he looked strange, and… it's as if… It's as if he was being controlled by the sword."

'Dammit…' A black-haired Inuyasha thought as he stared up at the starry, but moonless sky. 'The night is long…' Inuyasha hated how weak he felt when he turned human. The others were already asleep, but Inuyasha was still wide-awake.

"Inuyasha, how about sleeping a bit." Miroku said. Okay, so maybe Miroku wasn't asleep…

"Miroku…" Inuyasha said. "Keh. Leave me alone, would you. When I have a human appearance, I don't sleep."

"Too scared to sleep, huh?" Miroku said.

"Wha—! … Hmph… So I'm scared, well excuse me." Inuyasha said defiantly.

"At least you're honest." Miroku said.

"After all, there's all sorts who hate me. At a time like this, if I was attacked, I'd be helpless, wouldn't I?" Inuyasha said.

"Well… Maybe your concern is not completely unfounded." Miroku said, turning from facing Inuyasha and looking off into the distance.

"Hm…?" Inuyasha said, not understanding what had Miroku on edge suddenly.

"Houshi-sama… you noticed it too?" Sango said. Apparently, she wasn't quite as asleep as Inuyasha had thought either.

"Sango…" Miroku said.

"What a terrible evil aura." Sango said.

"It's close." Miroku said. The air seemed to grow thicker and heavier as whatever the aura belonged to approached them. A figure appeared on the horizon. It was a youkai wielding a sword.

"Gu gu gu… Inuyasha… where are you…" The youkai sneered.

"!?" They all said when they heard the youkai.

"Who the hell are you!?" Inuyasha shouted. Kagome stirred, she and Shippo had been awakened by Inuyasha's yell.

"Ah…?" Kagome said, confused and worried when she saw the clearly dangerous youkai.

"Gu gu gu… I am Kaijinbo, the swordsmith…" the youkai, Kaijinbo, said. "The sacred sword that I forged, "Tokijin"… It's crying that it wants to taste Inuyasha's blood.

Sesshoumaru and Jaken returned to where they had left Katsumi and Rin. They were sitting beside Ah-Un, who was curled up and taking a nap. It looked like they were drawing something in the dirt with sticks.

"Like this, Katsumi-nee?" Rin asked as she used the stick to copy the new kanji characters Katsumi was teaching her. Today's words were 'chicken, 'rooster,' 'pig,' cow,' and 'horse.' Katsumi liked to teach Rin how to write with groups of words that were connected by a single theme to help her remember better.

"That's right, Rin. Very good." Katsumi said, smiling. "Now, can you try using them in a sentence?"

"Okay!" Rin said. She sat there for a moment, thinking. "I've got it! The… pig… has… a…round… nose. The rooster... has… feathers. The chicken… lays… eggs." Rin said out loud as she scratched the sentences into the dirt with the stick. "The cow… makes… milk. And… the horse… runs… fast." Katsumi watched Rin as she wrote, checking to make sure the kanji was right and the sentences were grammatically correct. Rin was a bright kid, and as usual, she got them all right.

"Excellent, Rin! It's all correct. Just keep practicing them." Katsumi said, smiling proudly as she patted Rin on the head.

"Hmph. It's just a few simple words." Jaken said cynically. Katsumi sent him a sharp warning look. Jaken didn't say anything more on the matter… but it wasn't like he was scared or anything… actually, yes, he was scared. He had learned not to cross Katsumi. Though she had never laid a hand on the imp, Katsumi could be really scary when she was angry… not as scary as Sesshoumaru, but then again, no one was…

"Jaken." Sesshoumaru said sternly. Jaken froze. He was in trouble now…

"S-Sesshoumaru-sama…?" Jaken said warily.

"You will stay behind and watch Rin." Sesshoumaru ordered. Jaken choked.

"B-but Sesshoumaru-sama… I thought I was to accompany you on your search for Kaijinbo…" Jaken said, stammering.

Sesshoumaru walked over to Ah-Un. The dragon stirred, awakening from his nap. Both heads looked at Sesshoumaru, and the dragon stood, so that his master could ride him. Katsumi climbed onto Ah-Un's back and waited for Sesshoumaru to do the same, since he had obviously intended on taking the dragon with him. Sesshoumaru just stared at her.

"… What…?" Katsumi asked, wondering why he wasn't getting on.

"… What do you think you're doing?" Sesshoumaru asked coolly. Katsumi tilted her head to the side.

"Well, I thought I'd go with you. I don't know why, but I just know I have to… My intuition is telling me to go, and that if I don't, I'll regret it. Bad things tend to happen when I don't listen to my gut." Katsumi said.

"And good things happen when you do…" Sesshoumaru said.

"Well, that depends on how you look at it… I'm still alive and healthy, aren't I?" Katsumi said. "Life's not always a bed of roses, even when I do follow my intuition, but I had five near death experiences before I realized my intuition was more than just a case of nerves."

'Interesting…' Sesshoumaru thought as he stared at her, weighing the pros and cons of acquiescing to her request. 'Her eyes are full of such strong conviction… Her mother has been known to have visions… I wonder if she is capable of that as well? Still, she is only human right now, and she should know her own limits.' "You are currently only a weak human. There is a possibility Kaijinbo was possessed by the sword. He used it to cut down Jaken, and I doubt he would hesitate to use it on you as well." Sesshoumaru said.

'So, that's why Jaken took so long… That must've sucked.' Katsumi thought sympathetically. "So, you're going to see Inuyasha then?" Katsumi asked. She figured if the sword made with the oni's fangs possessed Kaijinbo, and it was evil like his other swords, it would probably want revenge on the one who killed it. Sesshoumaru didn't answer her, and she took that as a 'maybe'.

"I want to go. I'm fully aware that I'm not at my full strength, but I'm not totally defenseless, and I won't interfere… I'll stay neutral." Katsumi said, determined.

"… Don't blame me if you're recklessness gets you killed." Sesshoumaru said, deciding to allow it. The longer he stood here debating this with her, the further away Kaijinbo was going to get.

'Wha-Wha-What!?" Why does she get to go!?" Jaken screamed internally.

"You're leaving, Sesshoumaru-sama, Katsumi-nee?" Rin asked in dismay. It wasn't as fun waiting with just Jaken-sama.

"Don't worry Rin, we'll be back soon. Why don't you go ahead and practice the kanji a few more times, and then play with Jaken?" Katsumi suggested.

"Okay, I guess…" Rin said, pouting slightly. She was always getting left behind.

"When we get back, I'll let you braid my hair again." Katsumi promised. Rin's face lit up with excitement.

"Really? And then, can you braid mine too, Katsumi-nee?" Rin asked.

Deal." Katsumi said, smiling as she made a pinky promise with Rin. Sesshoumaru mounted Ah-Un, and he and Katsumi took to the sky in search of Kaijinbo.

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