"Nn!!" Katsumi had to bite her lip so she wouldn't scream when Naraku broke her arm. Once again, she struggled to break free or at least wiggle her way out the vice-like grip the sadistic hanyou's tentacles had her in. It was no use. The saimyōshō's poison had weakened her too much. She hadn't even been able to properly control her wings while trying to out fly him.
Katsumi was as helpless as a butterfly caught in a spider's web. The more she struggled, the more tentacles Naraku created to hold her down so she couldn't resist while he tortured and interrogated her.
"My, we are a stubborn one, aren't we?" Naraku whispered in her ear, smirking deviously. "I'm almost impressed, Katsumi. However, may patience is running thin. This is your last chance. Tell me. What did you see when you crossed the border between worlds?"
"Koff! I saw…" Katsumi said weakly, coughing up blood.
"Yes…?" Naraku urged her to continue.
"… I saw… your mamma, and she told me to tell you… that she's very disappointed in you." Katsumi told him as the corners of her mouth twitched up into the ghost of a smirk. Naraku was not amused. That was the last straw. Her defiance had been amusing at first, but it now it had lost its charm and become downright infuriating. If she refused to yield to him and refused to be broken, then she was of no use to him. If she was of no use to him, then there was no point in letting her live… but first… Naraku smirked. With a wicked gleam in his eye, he grabbed hold of the delicate wings on Katsumi's back. He didn't quite understand how they worked, since they seemed to be created using temporarily solidified Youki, yet for some reason, she had been unable to dissolve them again after he had dragged her from the sky and pinned her down with his tentacles.
"Wh-What're you doing…?" Katsumi asked, extremely uncomfortable with the way he was stroking her wings. "Hey, don't mess with the wings! They're dry-clean only!" The pain must be messing with her head more than she realized, because even she was starting think she sounded silly.
"I have no idea what you mean by that, but I can understand the fuss. After all, they are quite beautiful to behold… mesmerizing, in fact." Naraku mused as he watched the gentle ebb and flow of the shimmering teal and green energy running, more like dancing, just below the smooth surface of her glistening wings. "In fact…" Naraku said, tightening his grip on them, making Katsumi wince. "I think I'll keep them and mount them on my wall!!" Naraku declared viciously, laughing cruelly, as Katsumi's eyes finally widened in horror.
"Sto—UURGHAAAAAAAAAHHHAAAAAAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!" Katsumi screamed her lungs out in pure agony as Naraku mercilessly tore her wings from her with one great, big pull, taking some of the skin on her back with them.
The pain was unbearable, it was as if a part of her very soul had ripped out. The pain was so immense, that it blocked out all her other senses until that white-hot intensity of immeasurable pain was the only thing that she could feel. Katsumi didn't even realize she was screaming. She couldn't feel the tears streaming down her face either. All she knew was that she was in complete and utter agony, and she desperately needed it to stop before it destroyed her.
"Ku-ku-ku…" Naraku laughed. His eyes sparkled with cruel amusement now that he had finally succeeded in forcing her to break down. His moment of triumph was short-lived, however. Naraku's laughter died in his throat when the shimmering wings in his hands suddenly exploded in an immense burst of raw energy that was so powerful, it actually managed to break through his barrier. "—!?" Naraku gasped, beyond shocked. 'What is this!? Since when did Katsumi have so much power!?' Naraku wondered as he tried to shield himself. It was no use—he had to make a run for it, or he would be blown away and possibly even destroyed! "Curse you, Katsumi…!"
"Whoa! Slow down, Inuyasha!" Kagome cried, holding on for dear life, as Inuyasha tore after Sesshoumaru at a speed that could almost rival Koga. "What do you mean you heard Katsumi scream? Did Naraku do something to her!?"
"I don't know! I don't know what's going on, but I wouldn't put anything past that bastard! All I know, is I heard Katsumi scream, and it was bad enough to make even a guy like Sesshoumaru concerned!" Inuyasha explained gruffly, furrowing his brow in confusion and frustration. He had no idea what was going on or why Naraku would suddenly target Katsumi, but he did know one thing. However this turned out… that agonizing scream was probably going to haunt him for the rest of his life.
"Eh? Katsumi-nee's screaming!?" Rin gasped, horrified. No wonder Sesshoumaru-sama had flown off so swiftly! "Let's go, Ah-Un!" She commanded, urging the dragon to fly faster, afraid for her Katsumi-nee.
Ah-Un snorted in agreement and increased his speed, pulling ahead of Kilala and Inuyasha.
"Ah! Not so fast, Rin! I'm going to fall off!" Jaken cried, tightening his grip on the dragon's tail in order to avoid plunging to his doom. This was like Mt. Hakurei all over again!
"Ah, wait!" Kagome called after them, but they were already too far away to hear, and too worried about Katsumi to stop. That two-headed dragon was a lot faster than it looked…
Sesshoumaru stared stoically at the sight before him as he surveyed the surroundings of the awesome scene of destruction. Though no longer visible to the naked eye, he could feel it. He could smell it. The air was still thick and humming with energy from the blast, the same wild, fresh, green energy he had come to associate with Katsumi. Within a perfect circle of a radius of about twenty-five yards, every tree, every bush, every blade of grass, had been bent backwards until they lay flat against the ground. And, there, at the center of it all, was where her unconscious body lay, unbearably still. Sesshoumaru took a step forward, and began cautiously approaching Katsumi, afraid of what he might find.
Sesshoumaru paused, surprised at himself.
… Afraid…? Him, the great Sesshoumaru? He never would have thought it possible… and yet, he couldn't deny it. He was afraid. Afraid of what he might find upon examining Katsumi's body more closely. Despite himself, Sesshoumaru had been growing steadily more protective and… attached… to his strange, golden-haired traveling companion. He wouldn't go so far as to call it 'love'… but in this moment, as all of his suppressed emotions and feelings for Katsumi came bubbling to the surface of his psyche, he could no longer deny how important her existence had become to him.
He wouldn't allow her to die, he refused. She was his.
Sesshoumaru took another step forward, marching steadily towards her once again. He knelt down beside her, and to his relief, he could still hear heart beating. It was weak, but at least she was alive and breathing. However, there seemed to be a large burn mark on her upper back, where the mark for her wings should have been. The red and angry wound had already begun to close and form fresh scar tissue, but something didn't seem right…
It was obvious that Naraku had been torturing her just from looking at the patterns of dried blood still clinging to her porcelain skin… but unlike the burn on her back, these wounds had already completely healed. If not for the blood, one would never know they had even happened. So, why was the burn on her back healing so slowly…? And why wasn't the mark of her wings returning?
Sesshoumaru's eyes widened slightly in realization before narrowing again as they gained a slight red tinge in anger.
Suddenly, the cause for the explosion of energy he had sensed while rushing to Katsumi's side was all too clear—Naraku must have done something to her wings—and whatever it was, it had been enough to make even someone as strong and stubborn as Katsumi scream with such agony that it had made even his blood run cold…
Naraku was going to pay dearly for this.