The White Child
"It's been three days, huh…?" Kagura said aloud, feeling
incredibly bored. After Naraku's white infant accidentally got split in
half by that old monk, Kanna had showed up to take one of halves away
somewhere safe. For some reason, Kanna had then given her instructions
to take care of the remaining half of it… Kagura glanced back at her
half of the infant's corpse. It was still lying on the ground further
inside the cave, just where she had left it. "… So, what should I do
with this part? It's not like it's breathing…"
"Nngh…" A small sound came from the bundled up remains as it started to roll around, catching Kagura a bit off guard.
"Hey. Did you come back to life?" She asked it as she walked over to kneel down beside it and take a closer look at the squirming bundle. She should have known something freaky like this would happen, seeing as this thing was Naraku's infant, after all…
"…" Kagura said, narrowing her eyes slightly, when she heard the faint beat of its heart restarting. 'He's frickin' alive…' She thought, frowning a little with disappointment. She had been half hoping that if this infant died, then maybe it would weaken Naraku somehow… Although, come to think of it she hadn't seen nor heard from him for a few days since even before the infant had been split… She had actually been half expecting him to show up in person to scold her for letting his precious infant be damaged like that. Could it be something really had happened to him? She hoped so. Kagura continued to watch as the infant's white hair grew longer, until it was peaking out of the cloth she had wrapped it in.
Its heartbeat was getting stronger, steadier...
"!" Kagura gasped in surprise when a larger, more mature hand and arm suddenly rose up into the air from within the bundled cloth. 'This guy…'
The Inu-tachi were in hot pursuit of a rampaging horse youkai that had been set free when its seal broke after the death of the monk responsible for splitting Naraku's infant in half.
"The Youba's scent is…!?" Miroku asked, a bit taken aback by what Inuyasha had just said. Since when had their luck ever been this good…?
"Yeah. It's nearby, all right!" Inuyasha confirmed, furrowing his brow slightly. They had managed to catch up to its trail of destruction a lot fast than they had anticipated.
"A village!?" Kagome gasped as they came over the hill and saw the all of the destruction awaiting them below. You could barely even tell what used to be what anymore amongst the trampled rice paddies and the scattered debris from ruined buildings. "!" Inuyasha gasped too once they got closer. There were fresh corpses everywhere… This village had been reduced to complete wasteland in minutes.
"The houses and the villagers… have all been trampled down…" Kagome said, shocked. A bead of cold sweat slid down her face. How horrible…
"Th… This is…" Shippo said, gulping nervously, as gripped Inuyasha's hakama and stared at the giant hoof print embedded in the soil before them.
"A hoof print, huh…?" Inuyasha said thoughtfully. As he thought, it was that damned horse did all of this…
"It's huge." Sango remarked, a little surprised. They hadn't actually seen the youba up close, and had mostly been following its scent from the shrine it escaped from... If this was the size of it's hoof, then she'd hate to see how monstrous the rest of it was in proportion.
"It can't be that far away from here! Let's follow it!" Miroku said urgently. There wasn't a moment to lose—they needed to find this thing before it could lay waste to yet another village!
'Geez, that brat…' Kagura grumbled mentally as she flew through the sky on one of her feathers, on her way back to the cave. ''Go get me some new clothes', huh? The moment he awakens, he starts bossing me around…' He was practically Naraku's albino mini-me…
"!?" Kagura gasped, startled when an absurdly huge and powerful demonic horse with a mane of flames pulled up beside her. She furrowed her brow. 'What the hell, this thing… is it following me!?' She wondered, trying to figure out what the youba was playing at.
"Hm!?" Inuyasha exclaimed, twitching his sensitive nose, when he caught a new scent on the wind.
"Inuyasha…?" Kagome asked, wondering why he had suddenly tensed up.
"It's Kagura's scent!" Inuyasha shouted.
"!" Miroku exclaimed when he too sensed a change in the air. "Everyone, be careful! Evil energy is… An evil energy is closing in!"
Miroku barley had any time to finish his warning before bright beams of light pierced through the dark clouds above them.
"!" The Inu-tachi gasped as the fiery youba descended through the parting clouds shot a jet of intense flames from its at mouth, trying to roast them where they stood.
"Ah!" Kagome gasped in alarm, clinging tightly to Inuyasha, as he and the others quickly dodged the deadly attack, just in the nick of time.
"Is that Entei!?" Miroku asked, almost sounding a bit incredulous, after seeing the sheer size and power of the attacking youba.
Entei simply snorted and stomped his hooves challengingly while he whinnied at them from his perch in the sky above.
"Keh! For a horse you sure are brave, coming at me like that!" Inuyasha shouted back at it, chagrined. "Kaze no Kizu!!" Inuyasha roared as he swung Tessaiga, sending his signature mighty attack at Entei. The youba stood his ground, not even trying to dodge the powerful attack that was crashing towards him.
"Wha…!" Shippo gasped when the Kaze no Kizu simply rolled off the spherical barrier that had suddenly materialized around the youba to protect it, dealing zero damage.
"A kekkai!?" Miroku exclaimed, surprised. How could this youba have a barrier that was so disturbingly similar to Naraku's…?
"Heh heh heh… That's some greeting, Inuyasha…" A young, unfamiliar voice commented, laughing at them.
"…" Inuyasha said, a little taken aback. Whoever that voice belonged to smelled like Kagura, but it most definitely wasn't her, and wasn't Naraku either… Could it be yet another new incarnation of Naraku…?
"Who is… riding that horse…?" Kagome asked nervously as an unsettling feeling of familiarity began to creep over her. She couldn't remember having ever heard that voice before, but this person's presence was…
"Heh heh heh…" The small, white-haired rider seated on Entei's back laughed again, sounding like a child enjoying a game or an amusing toy. "This monster horse here… seems to have chosen me to ride it. A return favor for breaking the seal, I guess." The young boy smirked wickedly as he looked down on them.
"Some brat…?" Inuyasha said, furrowing his brow slightly in confusion.
'That child…!' Kagome thought, feeling increasingly uneasy as she looked up into those cold, pale violet eyes. There was something about them that disturbed her very heart…
"So, you were the one who broke the seal on that monster horse, you bastard!?" Inuyasha shouted dubiously.
"The ones who broke the seal were Kagura and the infant." Miroku reminded him.
"But the infant was destroyed when the monk's spiritual power cut it in half…" Sango added. If that was really the case, then who was this child?
"Hmph… A mere monk's spiritual power could never destroy me." The white child replied rather contemptuously, obviously insulted by what they had just said.
"Does that mean… you're that bastard baby!?" Inuyasha demanded.
"I am Hakudōshi… the discarded white child of Naraku." The pale child explained coolly.
"Hakudōshi!?" Inuyasha exclaimed.
"So you're Naraku's…!" Kagome said thoughtfully, now able to fully understand why this kid was creeping her out to such an extreme. He really was just like that unpleasant infant that had tried to molest her heart before!
"Hakudōshi! The reason you have been going around killing minks and priests… I heard it was to find out about the border between this world and the next! What is to be found there!?" Miroku shouted, furrowing his brow. Hakudōshi smirked.
"Heh heh heh… would you like to try searching for it, too? The Shikon fragment?" He asked cunningly.
"A Shikon shard, you say…!?" Inuyasha shouted, surprised.
"Hey, is this really okay?" Kagura asked as she flew up, joining Hakudōshi. "Saying stuff like that…"
"Is it something we need to hide? Either way, the more the merrier!" Hakudōshi replied rather carelessly before turning back to address Inuyasha and the others again. "Be grateful that I gave you that clue!" He shouted louder for them to hear.
"He seems to be telling the truth about the Shikon fragment." Miroku observed.
"Keh!" Inuyasha scoffed. "I don't give a damn about the next world or whatever, but if there's really a shard there… Then you should go there and check it out for yourself!!" He roared furiously, swinging Tessaiga.
"!" The other exclaimed, surprised, when Hakudōshi, Entei, and Kagura dodged the attack and zoomed away at an incredible speed.
"Wait, you bastard!!" Inuyasha yelled, but it was useless to try pursuing them any further. They had all disappeared in the blink of an eye.
"They got away, huh?" Miroku said, frowning. It was a shame that Tessaiga couldn't seem to break through Hakudōshi's barrier, either.
"Damn!" Inuyasha cursed, gritting his teeth. He wasn't going to let them get away with this! They still hadn't paid Naraku back for what he had done to Katsumi…!
"So, what are we going to do now?" Kagura asked as they flew off into the night. "Are we going to keep killing priests, or what?"
"No, that's over. Humans just can't provide it." Hakudōshi told her. 'The scenery I saw in his heart just before he cut me in half…' He thought, remembering his encounter with that last monk. 'Could that have been the borderline between this world and the next…? To me, it looked like a world shrouded in white fog…' Was this really what Naraku had been looking for? If that woman, Katsumi, had just cooperated and given them the information the seek… Then he wouldn't have had to bother with such a tedious task. Not only had she severely injured Naraku, but now she seemed to have somehow managed to drop off the face the of the earth, since even Naraku couldn't find her current location… 'Still… Now that I've gotten involved… I want to gain more knowledge about that scenery.' Hakudōshi decided, narrowing his eyes slightly. '… And in that case, I…'
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