The Legendary Youkai
But before that…
They decided to stop at Kaede’s Village, as Kagome needed to return to her era to gather provisions for their next travels, and she also needed to take a couple of exams. This caused a large discussion between her and Inuyasha…
- "For the last time, Inuyasha, I’ve got to go back to my era to take these exams or I’m going to fail the year!" – Kagome said, and she was already from a very bad mood from this. She was a 15 year-old girl with long black hair, brown eyes, slightly pale skin, who always wore her school uniform: a long-sleeved sailor fuku that had the collar and sleeves colored green, brown school shoes and white socks. At that moment, she also had an enormous yellow backpack on her shoulders. She and Inuyasha were standing near their friends in a large plain surrounded by forests that also had a dried wooden well at its center: this place was also called the Bone Eater’s Well, which served as the point of contact between present-time Japan and the Warring States era Japan - "And surely, you’d like to have more of that food I always bring with me, right?" -
- "Keh, I don’t care, and I’m already sick of you always having to return to your time for stupid things like these, especially because Naraku could go after you to take the shard away!" – the half-demon answered with a terrible face filled with anger. He had the appearance of a 16-year old boy, and had long silver hair, golden eyes, and wore a variation of the clothes worn by the Shinto priests that was completely red, with a white kosode underneath the outer layer. He went barefoot, and his more distinctive characteristics were the dog ears he had on his head and the claws he had in both hands and feet, which were the proof of his demonic lineage, as he was the son of a princess and a powerful youkai. He also had a shabby-looking sword sheathed on a scabbard he had tied to his hip and a necklace made of black stones with a few white magatama (comma-shaped jewels) scattered between them around his neck.
- 'Can someone be so stubborn!?' – an irritated Kagome thought, and then she uttered - "Inuyasha..." -
Inuyasha felt some shivers going down his spine, as these words signaled what was coming to him…
- "SIT DOWN!" – Kagome finished.
The necklace Inuyasha had around his neck suddenly shone, and it made Inuyasha fall face-first and strongly against the ground at once.
- "Well, Kagome, come back soon! Good luck!" - Sango cheerfully said to her friend. She was a 16-year old tall girl that had long, dark brown hair, brown eyes, and was dressed in a white and pink kosode with a green apron and a couple of zori on her feet. She also wore black guards on her arms and had a massive boomerang strapped to her back: it was larger than she was tall.
- "Yes, we’ll be awaiting your return" - added Miroku as he made a gesture to bid her farewell. He was a 17-year old Buddhist monk dressed in a black and purple garment typical of his profession. He had short black hair, black eyes, wore sandals and carried a golden shakujou: a staff used by the Buddhist monks, in his right hands.
- “And don’t forget about these sweets I like so much!" – Shippou told her enthusiastically. He was a fox demon, or kitsune, that had joined the group after his father was killed by a couple of stronger demons. He was like a little boy with fox legs instead of feet and a fox tail that had short orange hair tied up in a bun above his head, green eyes, and was dressed in an aquamarine kosode decorated with light green leaves, a dark blue hakama, and had a vest made of orange fur above them. He was so small that he wasn’t tall enough to even reach the knee level of the others.
- "Don’t worry, I won’t forget! See you later!" - Kagome said joyfully to then jump into the well.
- "Damn that Kagome," – Inuyasha uttered angrily while he stood up again - "I’ll make her pay someday!” -
After saying goodbye to Kagome, the group arrived at Kaede’s village to rest for a while. It was no more than a small agricultural village as any other in Japan’s Warring States era, where the villagers lived in very small huts and could only worry about having enough food to feed themselves, and about the constant wars and bandit attacks.
Shortly after their arrival, the village elder and miko, Kaede went to greet them...
- "Ah, hello, everyone. It has been a long time since I last saw any of you" – she told them as soon as she was near them. She was a hunched old woman wearing a miko outfit, while she had her hair tied up as it was typical of the women at the time. Her right eye was covered by a black patch, as she had lost it during a youkai attack when she was just a child.
- "Good afternoon, Kaede-sama" – Sango greeted her - "How have you been?" -
- "Very well, thank you" – Kaede replied - "And I came because I need to talk about something important with you all"
- "What is it, Kaede-sama?" - Miroku asked in a serious tone.
- "Well, Houshi-sama, I’ve heard that there is a youkai inhabiting the valley at the west of the village, and it devours anyone that tries getting close to that place" – Kaede explained, showing how worried she was about a youkai being so close to the village.
- "I know, I know. So you want us to go and kill that thing, baabaa?" - Inuyasha asked in a very rude manner - "That’d only be a waste of time" -
- "Well, I actually intended to ask you this" - Kaede answered without allowing herself to get flustered by Inuyasha - "but I’ve also heard that this youkai has such a great resistance that I don’t think that even the arrows my sister used could harm it, and your sword even less" -
- "Damn it! You’re saying my powers are useless against that freak!?" - Inuyasha replied extremely angry.
Kaede’s words also worried the others quite a bit: her sister was Kikyou, one of the most powerful miko ever known, so if the youkai was powerful enough to be immune to both her arrows and the great powers of Inuyasha’s sword, Tessaiga, they wouldn’t stand a chance against it.
- "No if you join your powers with Kagome" – Kaede replied, completely indifferent to Inuyasha’s utter lack of manners, but she then noticed that Kagome was nowhere to be found - "And now I think about it, where she has gone now?" -
- "Kagome went back to her time. She said that there were some pending things she had to do, but that she’d come back in a few days" – Sango replied.
- "Very well. Then, you should get ready for when she comes back, if you decide to accept this task" – Kaede told them as she began going away.
- “Of course we’re accepting it, baabaa!" – Inuyasha screamed.
Three days later...
Kagome had yet to return from her time, so Inuyasha had already grown impatient from waiting for her. The group was gathered in the plain near the well, with Inuyasha sitting cross-legged and tapping his arms with his fingers in impatience.
- "Arghh... Kagome is taking too long!" – he said while he stood up - "I’ll go after her!" -
- "Wait, Inuyasha," – Sango told him in a warning tone - "if you go now, you might make her mad at you!" -
- "If you want to make Kagome-sama angry, feel free to go ahead" – Miroku added with a great calm.
- "Dammit..." – he said with a rage-filled face. He then walked up to the well and jumped inside.
- "He’s a fool" - Shippou sighed after Inuyasha left.
Meanwhile, in Kagome’s time…
She was having a nice chat with her friends at school after their classes had ended, although the topic they were touching was a rather depressing one to her. Her friends were three girls about her same age, called Yuka, Eri and Ayumi. Ayumi had long black curly hair and black eyes, Yuka had short brown hair with a yellow hairband and brown eyes, and Eri had short black hair. They all were wearing their school uniforms.
- "Well, how do you think you did at the exams?" – Kagome asked.
- "I think I did pretty well, as I studied a lot before them!" – Yuka answered clapping with enthusiasm.
- "And you, Ayumi?" -
- "I’m sure I got some nice marks, too!" – her friend answered with a smile.
- "The same goes for me," – Eri said nodding happy - "And you, Kagome?" -
- "I’d say that at least I passed the year…" – she said as she put a somewhat embarrassed face.
- "Well, at least that’s something" – Eri told her as she patted her shoulder.
- "Yeah. It’s not weird, as you spent most of this year sick at home" – Yuka added.
- "Well, yeah..." – Kagome replied, but she felt quite embarrassed. The truth was that she was forced to skip school during entire weeks due to her trips with Inuyasha and the others in search of the Shikon Pearl, so her grandfather continuously made up weird sicknesses to cover her absences, much to her chagrin. She couldn’t even bring herself to tell her friends anything about her journeys for fear of causing a great uproar.
- "You’re gonna celebrate the end of term over at home, right?" - Yuka asked, trying to cheer her up.
- "That’s right" – she replied slightly happier - "and what about you?" -
- "We’re doing the same," – Eri replied - "Hey, what do you all say about meeting up next week, before the end of term party at school?" -
- “That sounds great!” – the others replied in unison.
- "Well, I’ll see you later... It’s because Inuyasha wants to see me" – Kagome uttered as she blushed.
- "Are you talking about your boyfriend?" – Ayumi asked, and after Kagome nodded, she said with an understanding:
- "Well, I hope you have good luck handling him" -
- "Thanks" - replied Kagome with a sad smile.
And after Kagome went away, Ayumi looked sternly at the other two girls, and told them:
- "And this time, don’t dare to spy on them, okay?" -
- "All right" – Yuka replied in disappointment.
- "No problem" – Eri replied with the same expression as Yuka. Ayumi had to do this because these two girls were very interested in seeing how Inuyasha and Kagome behaved when they were alone, while Ayumi just wanted to support her friend and didn’t want to intrude on their relationship.
As for Kagome, she went to the house in the middle of the Higurashi Shrine, where her, her little brother Souta, her mother and her grandfather lived ever since her father had died in a traffic accident. Upon opening the traditional-styled sliding door, she noticed that something weird was happening because all lights were off.
- "I’m home!" – she announced, while thinking to herself how strange it was that everything was so dark.
- "Onee-san..." – Souta suddenly appeared and talked fearfully, as if something wrong had happened. He was a boy of about eight years dressed in a long-sleeved blue shirt and dark blue pants, who also had short black hair and brown eyes.
- "Souta, what’s happening…?" – Kagome asked a bit scared, but then...
- "Surprise!" – Souta said as he jumped and the lights came on. Then the entirety of the Higurashi family went out of the living room and into the entrance...
- "Happy end of term!" – they wished Kagome as they led her to the dining room. It was a relatively small room with yellow walls that had in its center a large Japanese-styled table where everyone sat down to eat.
- "How were the exams?" – her mother, Mrs. Higurashi asked once they sat at the table.
- "Fine! I think I did pretty well!" – Kagome replied with a large smile. She felt much more confident about it in company of her family.
- "Whoa! Well done, sis!" – Souta told her cheerfully.
- "Congratulations, dear! I see you’ve done your best to continue your studies, even in the middle of your travels” – Mrs. Higurashi told her as she rose from the table - "I’ve prepared this as a reward for your great efforts!" –
She went to the kitchen, and when she returned, Mrs. Higurashi had a large cake in her arms. It was a two-story strawberry cake with some cream on its borders.
- "Whoa, thanks!" - Kagome said, impressed at the size of the cake - "I’m sure my friends will love it!" -
- "It looks pretty good" – Kagome’s grandfather said as he examined the cake.
Then they cut a piece of it for each and began eating it. When they were about to finish their pieces, Inuyasha entered the dining room.
- "Hiya" - he greeted nonchalantly.
- "Inuyasha!?" – Kagome said, about to fall to the floor surprised from his sudden appearance - "What are you doing here?" -
- "I came to see what you were doing," - he replied to then fix his eyes on the cake and how everyone were eating it – What’s that weird looking thing? It’s edible?" -
- "It’s a cake, and it’s a very delicious kind of sweet" – Kagome answered. She then cut and gave him a piece - "Don’t you want to try it?"
- "Lessee then…" - Inuyasha said accepting it in a distrustful manner. He then sniffed the piece and took a very small bite from it. He began trembling - "It’s... It’s... tasty!" -
He then gulped down the rest of the piece in a single bite.
- "Gimme another piece!" – Inuyasha said excitedly - "Just one more piece!" -
- "Wait!" – Kagome said alarmed, trying to calm him down - "We have to save some for the others!" -
Inuyasha then began trying to jump to what remained of the cake to gulp it down too, when…
- "Sit down!" – Kagome said, making Inuyasha crash into the floor as he began his jump.
- "Ugh!" – Inuyasha growled as he stood up - "Why didja do that!?" -
- "Sorry!" – Kagome apologized - "But if I didn’t calm down you down, you wouldn’t have left anything for the others. Besides, you’d have smeared the entire room with the cake" -
- "Damn!" - Inuyasha grunted making a face of displeasure, but he then remembered why he had come, and greatly opening his eyes… - "Ah! I almost forgot about this: Kaede wants us to go and slay a youkai". -
- "Uh, well..." – Kagome began – “Now you mention it, I had to go back around this time… Sorry! I forgot about it!” –
She said it while waving her hand in a carefree way, which was something that Inuyasha greatly despised.
- "You don’t know how much I hate that way of apologizing you have" – Inuyasha scoffed crossing his arms and narrowing his eyes in anger - "Well, are ya coming or what?" -
- "But, I..." – Kagome began, to then turn towards her mother - "Mom..." -
- "Don’t worry about us, and just go" – her mother said in a tranquilizing tone – “I think you have everything ready to get going, right?" -
- "Yeah, and I’ll come back as soon as I can" - she said while she took her big yellow backpack, which was beside the dining room’s door, and put it over her shoulders. She then left the room with Inuyasha at her side - "Thanks for the cake!" -
They went to the well, returned to the Warring States era, and met back with the others in Kaede’s village. A little later, they decided to sit down for lunch in a nearby prairie between two forests, and Kagome served them the remaining pieces of the cake as a dessert.
After they finished eating, Kagome asked:
- “And how did you like the cake?" -
- "It’s the tastiest thing I’ve ever eaten!” – Shippou said as he jumped in joy– “Thanks!" -
- "Yeah, it tastes pretty good" – Sango added.
- "It’s the sweetest delicacy I’ve ever had the privilege of tasting" – Miroku said as he put an ecstatic face.
- "And on the other hand, I’ve also brought a couple of things that I thought could be useful to us” - Kagome said as she went to her backpack and pulled from it a couple of binoculars and an antenna connected to earphones.
- "What are these things?" – Sango asked as she and the others looked at the items with great interest.
- "These are binoculars, which are used to see faraway things, and this other item is an artifact that allows you to listen from great distances" – Kagome explained to then teach them how to use them. Once they ended their lessons, Kaede came out to greet them.
- "And well, are you all ready? – she asked everyone.
- "Yes, where’s that valley located?" – Kagome asked.
- "In that place at the west of the village" – she said as she pointed in the direction of a small valley that was quite a distance away from the village - "I wish you the best of luck, and hope to see you all here again soon" -
They then began their trip to the valley, though nothing worthy of mention happened in the road to it. After a few hours, they reached the valley, which was filled with water puddles and had a large cave at the end…
- "So this is the place that this infamous youkai inhabits" - Miroku said as he surveyed the place with great interest.
- " Hah, looks like that so-called powerful youkai is no more than a piece of trash" – Inuyasha growled with his arms crossed.
- "Wait, I think I know what kind of youkai this is” – Sango suddenly said, who had already changed into her battle clothes. These were a black jumpsuit with a few pink straps, pink shoulder pads and had a small wakizashi tied to her hip. She also changed her hairstyle from the typical way of the woman of the era to a ponytail, which served her to be able to do more agile movements during combat.
- "Are you serious?" – an impressed Kagome asked.
- "Yes, my father once told me that this legendary youkai, Goukira protected the entrance to a cave where a great secret was hidden" – Sango explained in a mysterious voice.
- “What kind of secret could that be?" – Miroku asked himself as he put his hand to his chin.
- "I don’t know. What I know it’s that Goukira can’t be defeated by a human, hanyou, youkai or Miko by themselves" – Sango answered with a voice filled with tension.
- "Then, what we’re supposed to do!? – Inuyasha said as he took out Tessaiga from its scabbard: it was a large silver, fang-shaped sword with some fur covering the hilt. He did so because a gigantic tortoise covered in a dark aura, with a shell made from crystal, skin covered in dark dragon scales and red eyes had come out from the cave and was approaching them. This was Goukira.
- "Impudents!" – the gigantic monster screamed - "Did you come to try to steal my secret!?" -
- "We’re here to finish you off!" – Inuyasha screamed while the others prepared for the coming battle.
- "This will be fun. Just try to harm me, if you can!" – Goukira taunted them.
Right away, Inuyasha began testing his attacks: he launched a large golden energy wave at it with Tessaiga: his trademark Kaze no Kizu technique, which was capable of eliminating a hundred youkai in a single swipe. However, this didn’t even manage to scratch Goukira’s thick skin.
- "Hehehe, that’s everything you can do? Good-for-nothing hanyou? – the youkai laughed at him - "Take this!" -
It threw from its mouth a ball of black energy to Inuyasha. Inuyasha just smirked as the attack got closer and closer to him.
- "You’re an idiot!" – he screamed as he raised his sword - "Bakuryuuha!" -
Inuyasha swung his sword against the attack, launching a Kaze no Kizu wave that mixed up with the energy ball to create a light-blue whirlwind that trampled Goukira. However, this didn’t do any damage to it either.
- "Dammit, the Bakuryuuha didn’t even scratch it. I only have one more technique left..." – Inuyasha muttered under his breath while he made his sword cover in crystal - "Kongousouha!" -
He then swung his sword strongly, launching a swarm of diamonds that were sent flying towards Goukira, but this didn’t manage to harm it at all either.
- "He..he...he...," – the youkai began laughing loudly - "that’s everything you’ve got?" -
- "Take this!" - Kagome screamed as she raised her bow.
She then shot an arrow covered with a purple aura, followed by another one covered in a blue aura, but neither managed to harm Goukira.
- "A miko!" – Goukira screamed - "You’ll be a nice snack once I’ve finished with everyone here!" -
Meanwhile, Miroku looked powerlessly at the battle in which his friends were taking part: Sango launching her boomerang and trying to slash it with her wakizashi to then ride off into the air on the back of her pet cat youkai, Kirara; while Inuyasha repeated his techniques and Kagome fired her arrows, none of which were doing anything to their opponent.
- “I can’t do anything," – he lamented as he looked at his cursed hand, which contained a black hole called the Kazaana that allowed him to suck enemies into other dimension, although in time this would end up absorbing him himself- "it’s too large for me to absorb it with my Kazaana…" -
- "Hiraikotsu!" - Sango screamed as she threw her boomerang to Goukira from the air, but this didn’t manage to do any damage to the monster. And to make matters worse, Shippou began screaming as if he had lost his mind.
- "Aaah! We’re gonna die!" -
- "Stop saying stupid things!" – Inuyasha growled at him before turning to face the youkai again - "Don’t give up! We’ll defeat it, no matter what!" -
Then the youkai faced them as he put a very unpleasant expression on its reptilian visage.
- "I’ve gotten bored from this child’s game!" – he said as he began charging energy into his mouth - "Die!" -
The energy took the shape of a large sphere and Goukira launched it. Inuyasha was very worried; as he didn’t know what he could do to counter such a powerful attack, but then an idea came to his mind.
- "That’s it!” – he said as he turned to Kagome, - “Kagome, remember how we defeated the Shitoushin?” -
He was talking about the powerful enemies they had to face in Hourai Island. Kagome initially didn’t catch what he meant, but she then realized what Inuyasha’s point was.
- "Ah, you want us to use that technique combination?" – an understanding expression appeared on her face.
- "Yeah, that!" – Inuyasha replied to then get ready - "Let’s do it!" -
- "All right," – she said as she readied an arrow - "here it goes!" -
She shot the arrow, which covered itself in a purple aura.
- "Now!" – Inuyasha roared as he crystallized his sword and swung it.
Upon doing so, a Bakuryuuha made of crystal was created by using the large energy ball as its source, and in the air, both the crystal whirlwind and the arrow mixed with each other, forming a powerful wave of light that trampled the youkai. This was what finally did the trick.
- "Nooo!" - Goukira screamed in horrible pain as the powerful attack began destroying it piece by piece - "How could I be defeated by a useless hanyou and some humans?" -
- "Because you’re the useless here!" – Inuyasha scorned him.
- "Aaaaggghhhh!" – the youkai screamed as it disintegrated within the whirlwind. A few instants later, nothing remained of it.
- "Heh, we did it!" – Inuyasha said as he and the others began celebrating their victory in their own way: he put his sword over his shoulder, Shippou began jumping up and down, Kagome put her hands together and smiled in relief and Sango looked cheerfully at Kirara and her Hiraikotsu… However, Miroku wasn’t celebrating, and instead looked at the cave with a worried expression.
- "Is anything wrong, Houshi-sama?" – Sango asked upon noticing his attitude.
- "I feel something suspicious coming from that cave" – he replied in a mysterious voice.
- "Something suspicious?" – Kagome asked.
- "Like what, exactly?" – Shippou asked Miroku, but he just limited himself to closing his eyes before sighing and saying in defeat:
- "I’m not sure" -
- "It can’t be another youkai," – Inuyasha said as he sniffed the air - "I don’t perceive any odors aside of moist and water coming from that place" -
- "Should we go and investigate, then?" – Sango asked, and after everyone nodded in agreement with her suggestion, they entered the cave...
The cave was pretty weird, as the rock in which it was carved was of a crystalline blue, and inside there were two springs, each of which had what seemed to be a stone bowl to catch the water that came from them. Above each spring there was an engraving in a language that none of the group members could read, as it wasn’t in Japanese or other languages they had ever seen: it looked like a group of weird symbols. The water from the left spring gave off a light pink shine, while the right spring shone in dark blue.
- “There’s something I don’t like at all about this place…” – Sango said as she looked around in all directions.
- “I agree, my dear Sango” – Miroku said behind her – “Although I must say that this is a very appropriate situation for me to give you a massage, so you can relax…” -
He then began groping her butt, as he always did whenever he had the chance, and immediately later, a loud slap echoed throughout the cave.
- "How do you dare to do that in a moment like this!?" – Sango screamed in rage - "And who told you that massages were done in that area!?" –
- “I apologize, I couldn’t control myself” – Miroku said as he laughed nervously, now with a red shining print left by Sango’s hand on his right cheek. But then, he noticed that Kagome looked a little weird.
- "Hm, Kagome-sama, what are you doing?" – he asked doubtfully.
Sango and Shippou turned to look at both her and Inuyasha, and noticed something weird… that their eyes had lost their shine, as if they were under hypnosis or something. They then began walking to the pink water spring.
- "Kagome, Inuyasha, what are you two doing!?" – Sango asked worriedly - "We mustn’t get close to these springs without knowing what they are!" -
- "I’m... thirsty..." – Kagome replied with a distant and faint voice.
- "I want... water..." – Inuyasha said with a similar voice tone.
- "Hey, stop!" – Shippou screamed.
However, both Kagome and Inuyasha acted as if they didn’t hear anything of what their friends said and began getting closer to the left spring, as if they were in a trance. The others struggled against them in an attempt to stop them, but it was in vain, as Kagome and Inuyasha repelled them as if they had a barrier surrounding them… and once they got close enough to the spring, they took a little water from the bowl between their hands and drank it up.
- "What you think you’re doing!?" – Shippou asked in anguish.
- "They look like someone or something was controlling them!" – Sango said worried.
The next instant, both Kagome and Inuyasha closed their eyes and fell unconscious to the rocky ground of the cave.
- "We should carry them back to the village. They don’t seem to be in good condition" – Miroku suggested after they had examined their unconscious bodies. They seemed to have fallen in a deep sleep, but their breathing was agitated and loud.
- "Agreed. They’ll be able to recover better over there" – Sango added.
- "Well then, I’ll take care of carrying Kagome-sama” – Miroku said with an enthusiastic face.
- "No, I’ll better take care of Kagome" – Sango snorted as she gave him a killer glare - "You take care of Inuyasha, Houshi-sama"
Miroku couldn’t do anything beyond accepting while he laughed nervously. However, while they made their way back to the village, something unexpected happened: something no one among them could even have imagined happening and that would change the course of their adventures...
During their walk back to the village, Sango felt something odd about Kagome...
- "Houshi-sama... Don’t you feel anything strange?" - she asked Miroku.
- "What do you mean, Sango?" – the monk asked dumbfounded.
- "I’m not sure why, but I’m feeling Kagome getting lighter and lighter..." – Sango answered.
- "Well, something similar is happening to me with Inuyasha, he feels less heavy now..." - Miroku said, but then Shippou interrupted him with a scream while he stood still, looking in horror at the backs of Miroku and Sango.
- "Shippou, what happened!? Are any youkai around?" – Sango said as she looked alarmed in all directions.
- "No, it’s that... It’s..." - Shippou tried saying something, but it seemed that his voice didn’t want to cooperate with him.
- "Speak up already, Shippou!" – Miroku told him impatiently.
- "It’s that... they’re shrinking!" – he finally screamed as he pointed to Inuyasha and Kagome.
- "What!? But this is impossible!" – Sango said while she lowered Kagome from her back to check on her, and she got a great and unpleasant surprise...
- "This can’t be! I don’t know how, but Kagome did shrink down... She looks like a kid now!" – Sango said while she tried to understand what had happened.
- "What!?" – Miroku said while he put Inuyasha down too, and he noticed that the same thing had happened to him, with a small difference...
- "Looks like they both returned to being children, but why did something like this happen?" - said Miroku, as he then noticed something - "And that isn’t all: Kagome-sama’s clothes now are too large for her, but Inuyasha’s still fit him perfectly!" -
He said this because Kagome’s face, which was now rounder and with a more childlike appearance, barely could be seen in the middle of the lump of fabrics that used to be her clothes. Her hands and arms were now covered by the sleeves of her uniform’s shirt, and her legs and feet were covered by her skirt. At that moment, they noticed that her shoes and socks were in the ground behind them, and the same was true for her backpack, bow and quiver.
- "It must be because they drank the water from that strange spring," – Sango said, beginning to understand what had just happened - "as for the clothes, Inuyasha’s still fit him because his outfit magically adjusts to the body of its owner. After all, his clothes are made from Fire-Rat wool and have gotten stained with his blood several times “-
- "Do you think we should wake them up?" – Miroku asked as he looked at them.
- "No, let’s take them to the village first, and we’ll see how they are once they have regained consciousness" – Sango decided. They then picked up Kagome’s belongings and continued their road to the village.
Once they arrived at the village, they attracted some curious glances from the villagers, but they ignored them and went directly to the hut where Kaede lived, which was a single room place as all the peasant homes at the time, where there was only enough space for cooking and sleeping in the wooden floor that surrounded a small hearth. As Kaede was home, they explained what had happened after they put Kagome and Inuyasha into two separate futon and allowed them to sleep. When they finished explaining…
- "But, how did this happen to them?" – Kaede asked them, amazed at these happenings.
- "We think that this happened because of the water in that strange spring" – Sango answered.
- "What spring are you talking about?" – Kaede asked her again. She seemed fearful of something.
- "Of the spring in the cave that was guarded by that youkai" – Miroku answered.
- "Hmmm... It’s very possible that it’s the cause, as there were many rumors about springs that have the power of controlling the age of the people, one being able to rejuvenate and the other one having effects that I’m not aware of. However, no one had ever sought these waters between the youkai that guarded them and the fact that they supposedly have very unpleasant side-effects" – Kaede explained thoughtfully. Apparently, Miroku’s reply had confirmed her suspicions.
- "And what effects are we talking about?" – Shippou asked worriedly.
- "I’m not sure," – she replied in defeat, and sighed before continuing - "I believe we’ll know once they awaken" -
- "And they seemed to be under someone’s control when they drank that water..." – Miroku began, but Kaede raised a hand to make him stop.
- "Yes, it seems like the rejuvenating water exerts some kind of mind control over those that have a great level of spiritual power, or have the mixed blood of humans and youkai in their veins" – Kaede said.
- "And shouldn’t we change Kagome’s clothes?" – Sango suggested while she looked at her friend, who now had a neutral expression and breathed slowly - "If she awakens while wearing clothes that are so large for her, she’s sure to have a heart attack" -
- "Hmm, well... I think I have something here that will fit her well enough" – Kaede said as she went to the rear of the hut to search. After a while, she returned with a couple of items folded in her arms: a red and orange checkered kosode in her arms, which was adorned with white circles, and a dark blue obi; and she gave them to Sango.
- "The guys should wait outside while we change her, especially you, Houshi-sama" – Sango said while she threw an enraged glare at Miroku.
Shippou and Miroku went outside of the house and began waiting until both women had finished. Inuyasha, of course, didn’t factor in this because he was unconscious.
- "Now this is a strange and annoying situation, as we don’t only have to continue searching for Naraku, but we also have to act as babysitters..." – Miroku complained as he leaned on one of the hut’s walls.
- "Cough, cough" - Shippou coughed angry.
- "Ah, no offense intended, Shippou." – Miroku said as he showed him a nervous smile.
- 'This is great! Now that we’re all kids, Inuyasha won’t be able to continue hitting me and Kagome will be able to play with me anytime! This is gonna be interesting!' – Shippou thought as he looked at the sky with a joy-filled face. He then began fantasizing about himself playing with Kagome calmly on a grass field, and about him bullying Inuyasha while the other cried.
Upon having that mental image, Shippou began dancing as he shouted: "Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah!”, which made Miroku look at him in the same way he would look at a madman.
- "Houshi-sama, Shippou!" – Sango’s voice called them after a while - "We’ve finished! Come in!" -
- "Finally!" – Miroku said as he entered the hut.
- "Let’s see how Kagome looks now…" – Shippou said as he giggled.
When they entered, they noticed that Inuyasha was still the same as when they had gone out. On the other hand, Kagome still was unconscious but was now wearing the kosode that Kaede had shown them, whose sleeves extended to her wrists and the hem extended to her ankles.
Her uniform was folded over her backpack, excepting for the red kerchief of her shirt. The only odd thing was that now Kagome had her hair styled in a way similar to Kikyou and Kaede, excepting for the fact she had it tied up with a red bow.
- "We came up with the idea of changing up her hairstyle, and decided to use the kerchief from her clothes to tie it up” – Sango said when she noticed the surprised expression that Miroku and Shippou put upon seeing Kagome’s change in appearance.
- "What do you think?" – Kaede asked gently.
- "She looks pretty" - Shippou said as he looked at Kagome, who was now beginning to move.
- “Looks like she’s awakening!" – Sango said, and the others came closer to see her. However, they continued gazing at her a little too much, as they noticed that now Kagome looked almost identical to another child they knew called Rin, excepting for her hairdo and the shape of her eyes.
After a few instants, Kagome opened her eyes and sat up on the futon. However, she didn’t look relieved or gave any signs of recognizing where she was, and instead kept on looking at everyone with an expression of utter confusion.
- "Are you all right?" – Kaede asked worriedly when she noticed the way in which Kagome was looking at them.
- "Excuse me, lady... who are you and where I am?" – a confused Kagome asked.
- "What?" – Sango said, as she couldn’t believe what she had just heard.
- "I asked who she was. I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know who I’m either" – Kagome said while looking at Sango, very weirded out.
- "You mean that you don’t remember anything?" – Miroku asked in shock.
- "No, I don’t remember anything at all" – Kagome answered with a confused expression.
- "Wait, your name is..." – Sango began telling her, but Kaede seemed to have understood something: she interrupted her, and made gestures to Sango, Shippou and Miroku to come closer to her, so she could whisper something to them.
- "Wait! I think this is one of the water’s effects: the one who drank it will lose his or her memory, and if you try to make that person remember these memories, you’ll only drive them to madness! You can’t make them remember their true name either if they have forgotten it!" – Kaede hastily explained.
- "Eh, well..." – Sango had to think fast so this didn’t seem suspicious - "Your name is… Miko; and this is Kaede-sama. You live in this village and Kaede-sama is your guardian. We’re right now in her house" -
- "Well...” – Kaede took a deep breath before continuing – “Miko, are you okay?" -
- "Yeah, I think I’m fine" - Miko (Kagome) answered with a smile after having heard that explanation. However, she then pointed to her things and her old clothes - "What are these things?" -
- "They were at your side when we found you" – Miroku gently told her.
- "And where did this shard of the Shikon Pearl come from?" – Miko asked while she took in her hands and flashed the small pink crystal shard she had in a flask tied to her neck. It was the very same final shard they were so focused in protecting from Naraku.
- "You know about the Pearl and about the fact that it was shattered?" – Kaede asked her in amazement.
- "Yeah, I know about that jewel that can grant wishes to the humans and give power to the youkai" – she answered slightly confused, thinking how strange it was that they asked her about it. And then...
- "By the way, who’s that boy over there? He looks very strange" – Miko asked; and when the others looked at the place where she was pointing to, they noticed she was talking about Inuyasha.
- "Eh, well… He’s..." – Sango said while trying to come up with something, and luckily for her, Inuyasha woke up that precise instant with the same reaction Miko had.
- "Where I’m, and who are you guys? The last thing I remember doing was running away from some youkai… “– he said in a scared voice shortly after he awakened.
- "Do you know who you are?" – Kaede asked him.
- "Yeah, I’m Inuyasha..." – he replied in a very faint voice to then ask anguished - "You aren’t gonna harm me or drive me away from your village?" -
- "So you know who you are, but you don’t know us” – Sango said thoughtfully, but upon realizing how scared the boy looked, she gave a gentle glance to him – “Don’t worry, we won’t harm you” -
- "That’s correct. We found you and that girl over there unconscious in the road to this village, and we decided to bring you both here” – Miroku said as gestured towards Miko.
- "Then, you don’t mind that I’m a hanyou?" – Inuyasha asked, still anguished.
- "No, of course not” – Sango replied as she smiled – “What’s important to us is that you’re fine and safe” -
- "Okay... sorry for asking… it’s just that no human had ever treated me like this..." – Inuyasha said a little more calmed, but then he noticed the rosary he had around his neck.
- "By the way... what’s this thing?" – he asked as he looked with suspicion at the rosary while he pulled it a little to show it to the others.
- "Don’t worry about it, it’s just an ornament" – Kaede said trying to make him forget about it. She didn’t have the heart to tell him it was a tool to control his behavior.
- "And what’s this sword I have here?" – he asked as he looked at the Tessaiga’s scabbard, which he had in the futon right beside him.
- "It’s a gift left to you by your father. It’s called Tessaiga, and eventually you’ll know how to use it correctly” – Kaede replied as she smiled.
These words seemed to have quite an effect on Inuyasha, as he suddenly got very enthusiastic.
- "My father!?" – he screamed while he took the sword out of its scabbard, but upon seeing how the sword was while not in use, he felt greatly disappointed: it was an old and worn piece of rusted iron with a weathered hilt - "Oh, come on! This is just a rusty old sword!" -
- "But use it when you need to protect someone and you will get a very pleasant surprise” – Kaede told him in a manner that suggested him to be patient.
- "Ah, ok then!" – Inuyasha replied while he stood up and left the sheathed sword beside Miko’s backpack. However, when he went back to his futon to sit down again, his gaze crossed with Miko’s, making them both blush.
- 'That girl feels familiar, but… what’s this sensation?' – Inuyasha thought nervously.
- 'I feel I know that boy, but he doesn’t seem to know me… why I’m feeling like this?' – Miko thought, confused and at the same time thrilled.
They stayed like this for a couple of seconds, until they both broke visual contact and were left looking at the wooden floor. After a few seconds, Miko raised her face with an embarrassed smile.
- "Ehm… Could you tell us your names, please?" – she asked the others in an attempt to get out a topic.
- "Well, I’m called Miroku, but you can call me Houshi-sama" – Miroku said while putting on an air of importance.
- "What do you think you’re doing, Houshi-sama!?" – an enraged Sango whispered to him.
- "I just want to receive a little more respect around here, Sango" – Miroku answered in whispers.
- "And I’m Shippou, the great kitsune" – Shippou said while puffing his chest out, displaying his eternal lack of modesty.
- "Aw, you’re so cute!" – Miko said as she ran over to hug him.
- 'Aaahh... I don’t want this to end...' – Shippou thought joyfully while Miko held him.
- 'I’m gonna kill that fox! Wait a sec, why I’m feeling jealous now?'- Inuyasha thought enraged, but at the same time, weirded out by these feelings.
- "Cough, cough!" – Sango loudly coughed, making everyone turn to see her - "And I’m Sango, last surviving member of the youkai slayer clan" -
That last part of her statement scared the wits out of Inuyasha, as he didn’t like in the slightest the idea of having a youkai slayer around him. He ran and got himself hidden behind Miko’s things in the rear of the hut.
- "A youkai slayer!?" -
- "Calm down, I’ve already said we wouldn’t harm you" – Sango gently told him trying to tranquilize him.
- "Hmmm... And what do you do?" – Miko asked, very interested in learning how such a colorful and eclectic group got and traveled together.
- "Well, we go around the land gathering the shards of the Shikon Pearl, and during our journeys, we found you two" – Miroku replied.
- "Ah, okay... And there’s nothing between you two?" – Miko asked giggling as she gestured to Sango and Miroku, making them blush violently.
- "No, of course not!" – an embarrassed Miroku said.
- "No, we’re just friends!" – Sango said every bit as embarrassed as the monk.
- "Cough! Cough!" - interrupted Kaede: she had just gotten an idea that moment - "I think that’s enough talking for now" –
She then looked at Miko and Inuyasha, and told them:
- "If you want, you can go out and play, as later you both will begin taking some lessons, understood?" -
- "Yeah!" – both children replied in unison.
- "What kind of training’ll it be?" – Inuyasha asked while he looked at Miko with a smile.
- "You’ll know soon" – a smiling Kaede replied.
- "What do you want to play?" – Miko asked Inuyasha.
- "Let’s play hide-and-seek!" – Inuyasha replied.
- "Yeah! Let’s go!" – Miko said; and both ran off out of the hut. Unfortunately, Kaede didn’t have any footwear that would fit Miko’s new size, so she would have to go barefoot for the time being.
- "We’ll have to leave them like this for now. Anyway, Kagome now looks like a normal girl of this time" – Sango said after a short while of silence.
- "Yes, I agree, but we can’t expect to leave them this way forever. We’ll have to find first a way to restore their memories… and about that” – Miroku said – “Why Kagome’s memories were completely wiped away while Inuyasha still retained part of them?” -
- "It must be because hanyou don’t suffer as badly as humans when it comes to the memory erasing effects of the water” - Kaede shrugged as she replied.
- "Still, I’m very surprised at how much Inuyasha’s personality changed… I couldn’t have imagined that he was like this as a child…” – Sango said thoughtfully.
- "Yes, it’s true..." – Kaede added, but she couldn’t add anything because Shippou cut her off.
- "Cough, cough!" -
- "Is anything the matter, Shippou?" – Miroku gently asked him.
- "No, it’s just that I wanted to tell you that I’ll go and play with them!" – Shippou replied as he stood up smiiling.
- "Okay. And remember that you have to call Kagome ‘Miko’ now!" – Sango told him as he got out of the hut.
- "I know, I know!" – and he ran off filled with joy.
- "As for me, I’ll have to teach Miko again how to use her powers, to wield the bow and arrow, and how to recognize and use the medicinal herbs. However, we’ll still need someone that can train Inuyasha" – Kaede pointed out when she noticed that there was no one around that could take care of that task.
- "Leave that to me!" – said a voice that apparently came from nowhere, which spooked everyone.
The voice’s owner was known right away, as a small flea jumped out from Kirara’s fur and landed in Miroku’s face to begin sucking his blood. Miroku then splatted him with his hand. The flea then comically turned into a flat and wavering creature to regain his natural form after a few seconds. It had six legs, was dressed in an olive green kosode with black marks and wore a black hakama. It also had humanlike features: two large black eyes, and while it was mostly bald, it still had a few bits of white hair near the ears. It also had a small white moustache right above the beak-like apex that served as its mouth. This was Myouga: Inuyasha’s “loyal” retainer and servant.
- "Myouga-jii, what are you doing here?" – Sango asked.
- "Well, I learned that you would continue your travels, and decided to hide in Kirara to watch how things were going" – Myouga calmly replied from Miroku’s hand - "As I was saying, I could bring here Totosai so he takes care of training Inuyasha-sama, as I’m already aware of what happened to him and Kagome” -
- "Are you sure you'll be able to do this?" – Miroku asked him with the distrust overflowing from his voice and face: Myouga was pretty known for not being trustworthy during dangerous situations, and these feelings of suspicion everyone had for the flea had only intensified given Inuyasha’s new condition as a defenseless child.
- "Of course I can, by tomorrow he’ll be here training the Inuyasha-sama!” – Myouga replied in fury upon seeing how no one trusted him.
He then jumped into Kirara.
- "I’ll be back tomorrow!" - Myouga said after Kirara transformed. They then left the hut and a few seconds later, they heard the sounds indicating that Kirara began flying off: a soft roar followed by the sounds of her paws stopping completely.
- “Very well, tomorrow I’ll begin teaching Miko then. However, we must be careful about which places they wander off to, especially the Bone Eater’s Well and the Goshinboku” – said Kaede in a tone of warning. The Goshinboku was a large and ancient tree that was found in the center of a forest near the village, and in which several important events to Kagome, Inuyasha and Kikyou had happened, so it was a place filled with memories for them – “If they got close to either place, it would be terrible, as the Well would send them to Miko’s time, making us lose them forever, and the Goshinboku most likely would drive them to madness due to the many important memories it holds for them. In fact, it would be safer if we don’t allow them to even leave the village without our supervision” -
- "Anyway, Miko only seems to be able to remember things from this era” – Miroku shrugged.
- "Yes, as otherwise she wouldn’t be aware of the Pearl’s existence or of the powers it holds" – Kaede sternly said.
- "And we should also watch Shippou, as with that bad habit he has of falling in love with the girls of every village we’ve visited, he could end up causing a disaster” – an annoyed Sango said. She then gave a killer glare to Miroku, as he was undoubtedly the cause of Shippou acquiring that habit. Everyone in the group thought the same because Miroku was always flirting with the girls and women in every village they came across while trying to grope them, much to Sango’s chagrin, and this only had made her angrier after they had agreed to marry a few weeks prior.
Miroku just closed his eyes, set his hand on his chin, and as if the matter didn’t actually concern him, he said:
- "Ah, so that’s why he was so happy when we went out while you changed Miko's clothes. Okay then, I’ll take care of Shippou" – he then turned to look at Sango - "Sango, could you go and watch Miko and Inuyasha?" -
- "Of course, Houshi-sama. I think it’d be a good idea that we used for this the contraptions for viewing and listening from afar that Kago... I mean, Miko, brought us" – Sango said. Miroku nodded, so they took the binoculars and the antenna, and left the hut.
After they left, Kaede just sighed and said:
- "This is going to be both tiring and strange..." -