Fight Like Cats and Dogs
"Stay out of they way." Sesshoumaru told Katsumi as he stepped forward and blocked the flames with Tokijin. The flames couldn't compete with the sword's kenatsu.
'Am I even needed here at all…?' Katsumi wondered. Karan wasn't discouraged, and she at ran at them, enveloped in her own flames for protection.
"Now take my fire!" Karan yelled. She shot a larger burst of flames at them, but Sesshoumaru countered it by sending a burst of energy from Tokijin to blow it away. The blue energy obliterated the flames and continued on, hitting Karan. Karan screamed as she was thrown back. She hit the huge stonewall behind her, and burst into flames, but then fell into the moat that surrounded the castle.
"Damn!" Karan said, wincing as she stood up in the water.
"I should've brought a book with me to read or something… You really don't need me at all." Katsumi said. Toran's ice spear flew through the air. Sesshoumaru leapt back, and the spear embedded itself in the ground where Sesshoumaru's feet had been.
"Whoa!" Katsumi said, as she leapt into the air too. Ice was rapidly spreading over the ground, and freezing everything it touched, including the trees behind them. Katsumi and Sesshoumaru landed back on the now slippery, ice-covered ground.
'Well this doesn't put me at a disadvantage at all…' Katsumi thought, chagrined. She had never had to walk on ice before—she was from the south for crying out loud!
"Nee-san!" Karan said.
"I'm surprised." Toran said, tendrils of frosty air swirling around her. "I thought you'd be weaker than before."
'Oh no, she didn't!' Katsumi thought.
"What do you mean?" Sesshoumaru asked.
"That arm." Toran said. "After all, who was it that cut it off?" She laughed.
"Why don't you have a nice cup of shut the fuck up?" Katsumi said coolly, frowning at Toran. She had a feeling they were going to see Inuyasha again soon, and things would only get worse if she brought up something like that. Besides, Sesshoumaru could probably defeat her with just his pinky finger if he had to. Sesshoumaru leapt into the air, swinging Tokijin at Toran. Toran fired a stream of ice to counter his blow they stared each other down as their attacks clashed. Katsumi ducked as a fireball flew at her. She glanced down at Karan, who seemed to have gotten a second wind.
"You shouldn't underestimate your opponent!" Karan yelled, shooting another fireball at Katsumi
"You should take your own advice!" Katsumi retorted. "Hyo_kogamo!" She swung Taifu_Kocho, and sent a shower of teal crystallized youki at her. Karan managed to dodge most of it, but she was hit in the arm by one of the small crystals. "Aah!" Karan cried. The crystal was lodged in her arm like a bullet, and it burned. It wasn't that serious though, the crystal would be pushed out when she healed. Karan tried to shoot another fireball at Katsumi, but to her shock, she couldn't. Katsumi didn't look the least bit surprised. Karan looked at her arm. She didn't understand. Her arm was healed, so why couldn't she use her powers? Katsumi seemed to be waiting for her to make the next move, so Karan did. She escaped while she still could, since Nee-san had come to help her do just that in the first place.
'What did she do to me!?' Karan wondered. Meanwhile, Sesshoumaru and Toran's attacks finally fizzled out, and the two leapt back to regain their footing. Sesshoumaru landed on the iced-over bridge, and Toran landed on the roof over the gate.
"The party will start very soon. Come at your leisure." Toran said and disappeared in a whirl of wind and ice.
"These cats sure are good at running away… I think they're just trying to buy time to revive their Oyakata-sama." Katsumi said.
"Why didn't you finish her? She will only attack you again later." Sesshoumaru said. He knew she had Karan cornered, but she had let the panther-demon escape.
"Why didn't you? I don't like killing people. I was just defending myself, and if I have to, I'll just defeat her again. I didn't come into this battle half-heartedly. I'm fully prepared to put my life on the line." Katsumi said. Sesshoumaru stared at her for a moment. He could see the strength and resolve in her eyes. "Besides, they might try to use a barrier again, and that particular attack has more than one function. Although the sword is made from my mother's fang, it's designed to channel and use my youki for the attacks. Hyo_kogamo is an attack that lets me shoot my crystallized youki at an opponent. On the surface, it looks like it's just an attack using projectiles, but it's also a way for me to track an enemy. The crystals hit the target and pierce their flesh, like a bullet, and the enemy youkai don't worry about removing it because they think their body will push it out when the wound heals, but my youki can heal, so the wound closes around it. Since part of my youki is still inside them, I can use it to sense where they are and track them for up to an hour before it's completely absorbed. It also has a bonus side-affect of nullifying their own youki in the part of their body they were hit in, so they can't attack me as effectively, though results will vary depending on the youkai."
"Hnn." Sesshoumaru said. He turned and started toward the castle. "Just try not to die."
"Yes, Sesshoumaru-sama!" Katsumi said, playfully saluting him, even though he couldn't see. Katsumi was surprised when she saw how empty the castle grounds were. They were in the heart of the enemy territory… shouldn't there have been… enemies?
"… I just realized something…" Katsumi said, thinking out loud.
Sesshoumaru gave her a look that said, 'well?'
"How do you think they're going to resurrect their Oyakata-sama without something like Tenseiga?" Katsumi said. "They're probably going to try something with the jewel shards. We know they have them because they have Kagome, and she's the Shikon Miko, but their Oyakata-sama has been dead for a long time."
"… Your point?" Sesshoumaru asked.
"Well, I've met someone who was resurrected by something other than Tenseiga before, and that person did come back to life, in a way, but they just weren't the same. Also, now they have to collect souls to sustain their own life… My intuition is telling me that their Oyakata-sama won't be any different… I was just wondering if they knew that…" Katsumi said.
"You fear for your soul…" Sesshoumaru said. "If you are afraid you should turn back now."
"It's not my soul I fear for. I have no intention of dying." Katsumi said. "But Kagome is my friend, and if they need a sacrifice, they'll probably use her… it might also explain where all of the villagers went. I originally thought they all ran away, but it's possible they're being held."
'Her reasoning skills aren't bad…' Sesshoumaru thought. He had come to a similar conclusion already, but unlike Katsumi he didn't know about Kikyo's resurrection, so he didn't have that little tidbit of information about needing souls. A chill went up Katsumi's spine. She shivered. Sesshoumaru sent her a questioning glance.
"I feel like someone just walked over my grave… like something incredibly wrong is about to happen… I think it's starting." Katsumi said.
The entire Panther-Demon Tribe had withdrawn, and was now seated before the altar and their mummified Oyakata-sama.
"The time is upon us, Oyakata-sama! It will be very soon." Toran said. "The moon is almost directly overhead. Soon, the dogs we despise so much will be slaughtered, and the Panther-Demon Tribe will rule victorious over this land." The moon reached its zenith, and a red kekkai barrier materialized over the panther-demons and their Oyakata-sama. It glowed, and then settled down and became transparent again. Sesshoumaru and Katsumi had just come around the corner. Sesshoumaru immediately drew Tokijin and attacked, but he was stopped by the kekkai. He landed back on the ground and Katsumi ran to catch up to him, drawing her sword as well.
'A barrier…' Sesshoumaru thought in annoyance.
"Geh! He's huge!" Katsumi said in surprise. Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow at her. "I just thought he'd be a little… shorter or something…" Toran laughed.
"Soon, our Oyakata-sama will be resurrected." Toran said from where she was seated in front of the altar. "Sesshoumaru, you and your companion should prepare to die." The Shikon shards glowed and the moon came out from behind the clouds. The giant samurai-cat mummy breathed.
"!" Katsumi said when the mummy reached down and grabbed the altar with its own hand. The mummy shoved the altar and its contents into its mouth and swallowed. The panther-demons all gasped in excitement.
"Our… Oyakata-sama…!" Shuran said in awe. The mummy glowed, illuminated by power borrowed from the Shikon shards.
"Give me blood… flesh… and a soul!" The mummy demanded. Something glowed on the other side of Oyakata-sama. Katsumi's eyes widened in realization. She had been so preoccupied watching Oyakata-sama, that she hadn't noticed there was a smaller kekkai within the first one. The barrier cracked and fell apart, revealing Kagome, Sango, Miroku and some of the missing villagers.
'Sometimes… I really hate it when I'm right…' Katsumi thought.
"The cats…!" Sango said.
"Where is this place?" Kagome said.
"Kagome! Miroku! Sango!" Katsumi called. She tried to run through the barrier like she had done before, but this time, she received a mild shock of energy and was pushed back.
"Katsumi-chan!?" They all said in surprise.
"Be careful! They want to sacrifice you!" Katsumi warned them.
"Eh…!?" Kagome said.
"… Was there a point to that?" Sesshoumaru asked her.
"Well, we can't get to them right now, and I thought they should know." Katsumi said.
"Kagome!" Kouga yelled as he came speeding onto the scene. He dropkicked the barrier, but it didn't do any good. Toran laughed.
"As if you can break our Oyakata-sama's barrier! You san stay there and watch the sacrificial lambs be slaughtered!" Toran boasted. Katsumi growled. She shed her haori and flew up to the kekkai, striking it again and again with her sword. Sesshoumaru watched Katsumi as she desperately tried to get to her friends, but like him, she couldn't even make a scratch on the barrier. Still, she kept trying, not willing to give up on them. Oyakata-sama paid her no mind. He turned to the group of humans, his sacrifices, and reached down to grab one.
"They're really feeding us to him!" Miroku said. He unwrapped the prayer beads from around his Kazaana and aimed it at Oyakata-sama, but when his eyes met the mummy's Miroku felt a pulse of energy, and he froze. Miroku fell to his knees, stunned and temporarily paralyzed.
"Hoshi-sama!" Sango cried as she knelt beside him.
"Give me blood!" Oyakata-sama said, reaching for Kagome.
"No!" Katsumi yelled. Kagome screamed.
"Kagome!" Inuyasha yelled as he came running up to them. Inuyasha jumped, raising Tessaiga. Sesshoumaru and Katsumi watched as the blade turned red.
'What's that!? The color of Tessaiga…!' Sesshoumaru thought. He had never seen Tessaiga do that before. Inuyasha struck, cutting the barrier. The kekkai collapsed in a huge gust of wind. Even the barrier keeping kagome and the others trapped had dissolved.
"Yes!" Katsumi cheered. Oyakata-sama turned to see who had interrupted his meal.
"Heh, sorry to keep you waiting." Inuyasha said cockily. The panther-demons stared at Inuyasha, shocked.
"That dog! He broke Oyakata-sama's kekkai!" Karan said.
"What is he?" Toran said.
"Sesshoumaru-sama!" Jaken yelled as she ran up to Sesshoumaru. Katsumi put her haori back on as she ran over to check on the Inu-tachi. "I searched for you, my lord! That Inuyasha… when did he learn to use the Tessaiga like that? I am shocked!"
"Are you alright, Kagome?" Inuyasha asked once he reached her.
"Yeah, I knew you'd come" Kagome said. Kouga grabbed Kagome's hand.
"Sorry, I kept you waiting. No need to worry anymore, Kagome." Kouga said. Katsumi couldn't help but laugh. The look on Inuyasha's face was priceless.
"Huh?" Kagome said.
"Kouga! Why you—!" Inuyasha yelled, a vein was popping on his forehead.
"Haha, just like old times…" Katsumi said.
"Give me blood!" Oyakata-sama growled, his hand crashing down towards them.
"Run!" Katsumi yelled, and everyone scattered. Kouga scooped up Kagome and jumped away. Inuyasha wasn't so lucky. He was right under Oyakata-sama's hand when it came down.
"Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark." Katsumi said as she watched Inuyasha struggle and force Oyakata-sama's hand back up before slicing it with Tessaiga. Oyakata-sama roared in pain.
I was told 'Hyo_kogamo' meant something close to 'Teal Hale.'