Come Into My Parlor
"!" Katsumi grunted and winced in pain when she hit the ground, but her hand shot out in front of her reflexively. "Dokugeshi…!" Katsumi gasped out as she released her knock out gas. Instead of knocking him out, a slight smirk formed on his face. Sesshoumaru was amused. He loosened his grip on her neck and stood up.
"Congratulations, you have finally managed to make this Sesshoumaru feel slightly light headed with that last dose." Sesshoumaru said. Katsumi stood up and brushed herself off.
"Oh, sure, rub it in." Katsumi said. "You're ridiculously strong, you know that." After the battle with the Panther-Demon Tribe, Sesshoumaru had been curious about Katsumi's abilities, so he had been repeatedly testing her off and on. It was like a game of cat and mouse, and poor Katsumi was the mouse. Katsumi glanced around looking for her sword. It had been knocked out of her hand. "Where's my…?"
Katsumi noticed that Sesshoumaru was staring at something. She followed his gaze. Jaken was sitting on the ground, blue with shock. He had just narrowly avoided being scalped by her sword. Taifu_Kocho was stuck in a tree, pining Jaken's hat to it.
"Oh… So, that's where it went…" Katsumi said, sweat dropping. 'I have to be more careful… it could've hit Rin…' Katsumi thought. 'Speaking of Rin…' They heard a tiny tummy growl.
"Oh, I guess I'm hungrier than I thought!" Rin said. It was nighttime now, and time for her dinner.
"I'm sorry, Rin. I didn't realize it was getting so late. If you're hungry, you should've just said so. I'll go with you to get food." Katsumi said, but Sesshoumaru grabbed the back of her collar.
"Rin, go find food for yourself, by yourself." Sesshoumaru said. Katsumi sweat dropped. she was grateful Sesshoumaru was training her... in a way, but she needed a break!
"Okaaay!" Rin said, oblivious to Katsumi's suffering.
"Jaken-sama, you're standing guard properly, aren't you?" Rin asked as she munched on a melon. She was currently crouching down in a melon field, getting her dinner. "I guess I should bring two or three with me. Do you think Katsumi-nee would like one?" Jaken sighed wearily.
'Although Sesshoumaru-sama told Rin to go by herself… Why must I be the one to accompany her?' Jaken thought miserably.
Sesshoumaru and Katsumi had agreed to start teaching Rin to be more independent, so Katsumi would simply keep an eye on Rin to make sure the girl was safe while she gathered food for herself, but lately Sesshoumaru had taken an interest in training Katsumi.
'Thanks to that, I've had to stand guard over the field plundering many times…' Jaken thought. A sudden, strong gust of wind knocked the imp over. "Geh!?" Jaken squeaked in surprise. He looked up to see what had caused it. It was Kagura. "Y-You're…" Jaken stuttered.
"Hmph… how careless of that Sesshoumaru… to take his eyes off his companions." Kagura said disapprovingly.
Katsumi sighed as she plopped down onto the soft grass. She was worn out from sparring with Sesshoumaru. The man was a beast. Despite how much and how hard they fought, he never seemed to get tired.
"I'm beat..." Katsumi said wearily.
"Your endurance is sorely lacking." Sesshoumaru said.
"Yeah, well you—What is that?" Katsumi asked. She could just barely pick up on a faint new smell. It was familiar, but it wasn't strong enough for her to be able to tell what it was.
"The scent of the wind has changed." Sesshoumaru said.
"Se…Sesshoumaru-samaaaa!" Jaken yelled, staggering as he ran towards them. "Rin has… been taken away!"
"What!?" Katsumi yelled, fearing for Rin's life.
"That woman called Kagura, who's an offspring of Naraku, suddenly appeared and…" Jaken said, trailing off under Katsumi's withering glare. She sighed wearily. She never should have left Rin alone.
"…" Sesshoumaru said. He had been too careless.
"What direction did she go in? Maybe we can pick up her scent?" Katsumi asked, glancing hopefully at Sesshoumaru.
"Do not worry, Sesshoumaru-sama." They heard Naraku say.
"!" Jaken said in surprise.
'When did he…!?' Katsumi thought. Naraku faded into view, wearing his baboon hide.
"Oh? I see you have another new companion, Sesshoumaru-sama. Did you betray Inuyasha, Katsumi?" Naraku said mockingly. Katsumi glared at Naraku.
"Were you dropped on the head as a child? I mean a baboon, really?" Katsumi retorted. Naraku chuckled darkly.
"If you would satisfy my request… the girl, Rin, will be safely returned." Naraku said.
"Y-You, Naraku…!" Jaken said indignantly. 'How dare he…!' Jaken thought.
"Naraku… huh." Sesshoumaru said. "What are you planning this time?"
"It's nothing special." Naraku said. "Just killing Inuyasha would be fine."
"You—!" Katsumi yelled.
"Hmph, just for that, you went to all that trouble…" Sesshoumaru said, smirking. Katsumi glanced at Sesshoumaru. Anyone who knew him well could tell he was pissed. Sesshoumaru struck Naraku, slicing his head off with his claws. The baboon head turned into dirt when it hit the ground, and the rest of 'Naraku's' body crumbled and turned to dirt as well. A small wooden figurine, that had a piece of hair wrapped around it, was sticking out of the pile of dirt.
"What is that?" Katsumi asked. "It almost looks like a voodoo doll…"
"Th-This is… kutsugu…" Jaken said. "I don't know what a 'voodoo doll' is, but this is a type of demon puppet."
"Hn. He thought that I, Sesshoumaru, for the sake of only a single human girl, would do exactly as he said, huh." Sesshoumaru said.
"Then, Sesshoumaru-sama, you're abandoning Rin…?" Jaken asked. Though he would never admit it, the child had grown on him… like a cancer.
"Eh! No, way…!?" Katsumi cried in disbelief. She knew Sesshoumaru wouldn't let Naraku get away with insulting his honor as a daiyoukai like that, but she had hoped Rin would be somewhere on his list of priorities. Sesshoumaru just turned and started walking in the direction he smelled Naraku's scent coming from.
"Er, Sesshoumaru-samaa! Where are you going!?" Jaken asked nervously. Katsumi decided to follow Sesshoumaru. Even if he wasn't going for Rin's sake, she knew he was still going to Naraku. She wanted to know where Rin was, so who better to ask than the creep that had her abducted in the first place? The saimyosho watched from a distance as the three of them left.
Naraku watched through Kanna's mirror as Sesshoumaru, Katsumi, and Jaken made their way to his castle.
'Heh… You're falling right into my plan, Sesshoumaru...' Naraku thought smugly. To be honest, he hadn't expected the female youkai that Kagura had described to him to be Katsumi, since the last time he saw her, she looked like a hanyou, but it was interesting to see that she had somehow managed to gain the appearance of a full-blooded youkai. She had seemed a little stronger too. It could be something worth looking into.
"Naraku's scent!?" Kagome asked as the Inu-tachi sped towards where Inuyasha smelled Naraku's scent coming from.
"Yeah, I'm certain of it!" Inuyasha said. "That jerk Naraku, this time for sure, I'll find him… and rip him apart!"
"Wait, Inuyasha! There's a kehai, a presence, of a Shikon fragment." Kagome said. "It's faint, but… it's from those mountains…" Kagome said as she glanced off in the distance at a small mountain range.
Little Rin was lying on the wooden floor of a house, unconscious, still clutching her melon. A whooshing sound from outside the hut awoke her.
"Ugh…" Rin groaned as she opened her eyes. "This is…!" Rin yelled in surprise at finding herself in a strange, new environment. She looked around and saw that she wasn't alone. There was a boy, who looked like he was only a few years older than her, sitting against the wall by the door. "Who're you?" Rin asked nervously. It had been a while since she talked to a stranger.
"Ah, you're awake." The boy said. He didn't seem like a bad person.
'That's right, I… was kidnapped by that Kagura person.' Rin remembered. She jogged over to the door.
"Ah. It's no good, going outside." The boy warned her.
"I gotta go back." Rin said as she slid open the doors. "!" Rin gasped when she saw all the different youkai prowling around, surrounding the house they were in. Rin quickly slammed the door shut. She sat down and shuffled closer to the boy. Rin was feeling a little scared after being separated from her Katsumi-nee and Sesshoumaru-sama, and now she was being surrounded by such scary looking youkai.
"You understand, right. If you go outside, you'll be torn apart." The boy told her.
"Umm… Could it be that you were kidnapped too?" Rin asked. "In that case, let's escape together…"
"I'm your guard." The boy told her.
"awwww." Rin sighed. Just when she thought she had a friend… That sat there in silence for a moment. "Say, what's your name? I'm called Rin. How old are you? Why are you doing this? Are you friends with youkai?" Rin asked, her questions were spilling out like they'd been rapid-fired out of a machine gun.
"You talk a lot, don't you." The boy observed. Rin gasped in surprise, realizing how rude she must've sounded, but she couldn't help it…
"But… I get scared of being quiet." Rin said as she hugged her knees and sighed.
"…" The boy said. He felt a little bad for stopping her now.
'Sesshoumaru-sama… I wonder if he'll come to rescue me…' Rin wondered. She had come to think of Sesshoumaru and Katsumi as her adopted parents. Rin didn't have any doubt that her Katsumi-nee would come for her, but she thought it would be nice if her Sesshoumaru-sama came too.
"Sesshoumaru-sama, what on earth are you intending…" Jaken asked. "… And why are you still following us, brat? Shouldn't you be saving Rin?" Jaken asked Katsumi.
"Isn't it obvious, Jaken? I would've thought even you could smell it by now." Katsumi said.
"Here is Naraku's castle…" Sesshoumaru said, giving the space before them a penetrating stare.
"…Huh?" Jaken said in confusion. There wasn't anything, but more wilderness before them. "Well… I can't see anything like a castle, but…" Katsumi sighed.
'Didn't Jaken learn anything from their encounter with the panther-demon's kekkai?' Katsumi wondered.
"Should I try to go through ahead, again?" Katsumi asked, but just then, the barrier rippled and opened partially on its own. "!?" Katsumi said in surprise.
"Geh!?" Jaken squeaked. "The barrier opened…?" Jaken asked, glancing at Katsumi.
"I didn't even touch it yet" Katsumi said. Katsumi remembered a poem her mother had read to her once. 'Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly…' Katsumi thought. "…Is it just me, or does anyone else think that this just screams 'trap'?" Katsumi asked.
"…" Sesshoumaru said. He walked right through the suspiciously convenient opening. Katsumi sweat dropped.
'I guess this means we're springing the trap anyway… Well, we can't just abandon Rin, and I'm not letting him go into this alone.' Katsumi thought as she followed him.
'These two are going to get me killed…' Jaken thought as he followed Katsumi and Sesshoumaru. The castle grounds were eerily quiet. Katsumi could smell the fading scent of stale human blood in the air, but it was very old, so it couldn't have been from Rin. That gave her a small feeling of comfort to know that he hadn't hurt Rin yet… but then again, she couldn't pick up on even the slightest hint of Rin's scent. They came to the main building in the heart of the castle grounds. Naraku was kneeling on the porch in his baboon hide.
"Deliberately leaking out your scent to show the way to the castle… is an invitation to I, Sesshoumaru." Sesshoumaru told Naraku.
"Just sending out a simple invitation, wouldn't be enough to bring you here…" Naraku said.
"!" Jaken said.
'Did he do all this just to lure Sesshoumaru here…?' Katsumi wondered. "Where is Rin?" Katsumi demanded.
"Naturally, the girl you are looking for is not here… At any rate, in the miasma of this castle, she would not be able to breath for even an instant." Naraku said.
'Miasma…!?' Katsumi thought in surprise. She hadn't even noticed. '…I must be getting immune to strong poisons, from being exposed to Sesshoumaru's so often when we fought…' Katsumi realized.
"The girl is in custody outside of the castle. Don't worry about her. She is safe, for the moment…" Naraku said. Katsumi glared at Naraku. If anything happened to Rin, she would kill him so dead, he could kiss any chance of reincarnation goodbye.
"Naraku, You at least realize that I have not come to save Rin, don't you." Sesshoumaru said.
"Yes… I know you're the type that hates to be instructed by other people, Sesshoumaru-sama… That you won't kill Inuyasha as asked, and you won't search for the girl either… And that first and foremost, that you have come to kill me, Naraku… is clear to me." Naraku said.
"Hmph… you sure wanted to lure me out, didn't you…" Sesshoumaru said, flexing his claws. "We shall discuss your intentions later. If you're still alive that is." Katsumi sweat dropped.
"Sesshoumaru-sama, please remember to beat Rin's location out of him before you kill the bastard…" Katsumi requested.
'Kukuku, Sesshoumaru… I, Naraku, shall borrow your power, even if you refuse.' Naraku thought as he smirked darkly.