The Mysterious Springs

The Medallions of Memory

The group set off early at morning, and it was nearing noon when they began walking through a rocky plain while they had a lively conversation about the events that took place the previous day.

- "That was a great performance!" – said Miroku with an ample smile.

- "Yeah, we never heard you singing, and you're both actually pretty good at it!" – said Sango, making both Miko and Inuyasha blush.

- "Hehe, thank you! I never thought I'd do it well!" – said Miko smiling.

- "And you can't guess how scared I was about it!" – said Inuyasha as he began laughing.

- "So you were scared…" – said Shippo in a mocking tone, but he immediately shut up when he saw the furious glare Miko was giving him. It was obvious she was still angry about what he did to Inuyasha.

- "Shippou… I think you owe Inuyasha an apology" – she reproached him. Shippou initially wanted to refuse doing it, but upon seeing how Miko was glaring at him, he ended up swallowing his pride and decided to apologize.

- "Fine" – he said in an irritated tone and turned to face Inuyasha – "I'msorryaboutwhatIsaidyesterday!" –

Inuyasha didn't understand anything he said.

- "What was all that?" – he asked confused.

- "Urgh... I said sorry about what I said yesterday!" – screamed Shippou.

At first it seemed that Inuyasha was going to hit him due to the face of surprise and rage he put on, but he simply went up to Shippou, put one hand on his head softly and he said as he smiled with closed eyes:

- "Okay, I forgive you!" –

- '*sigh* That was close...' – thought Shippou relieved as he fell bottom first to the ground.

- "Well, stop playing now. We have to focus on finding these medallions" – Sango scolded them upon seeing how they were falling behind.

After aanother while walking, during which the children had begun talking among themselves cheerfully...

- "Look, there's a village over there!" – said Shippou suddenly cutting the conversation about the games they had played up to that moment.

- "It's true!" – said Miko jumping in excitement, as she didn't remember ever seeing other village aside of Kaede's.

- "Do you think we should stop and rest for a while?" – asked Miroku as he sized up their current conditions. Miko, Shippou, and Inuyasha seemed a bit tired, yet they also were excited to continue traveling. But at that instant, the sound of several stomachs growling began being heard.

- "Yeah. I don't think we should go on without replenishing our energies" – replied Sango as she laughed upon hearing this.

And thus they continued their walking.

But when they finally reached the village, the welcome they were given was anything but warm...

- "Hey, look at these travelers there. They're so weird" –

- "Yeah... A monk, a woman, a kid, some kind of fox and a monster kid" –

Even though they continued walking without paying any mind to what the people said, this last comment in particular enraged Inuyasha:

- "Who're you calling a monster!?" – he screamed enraged. As he had gotten used to his friends and the inhabitants of Kaede's village treating him as part of them, this ended up becoming a nasty reminder of his life before waking up in the hut, or rather, of the horrors he went through during his true childhood.

- "Now now, calm down Inuyasha. You don't want us to get driven away from the village when we've just arrived, do you?" – said Miroku in a stern tone.

- "Yes, I'm sorry, Houshi-sama" – answered Inuyasha as he looked at the ground with regret.

- 'I'm going to miss this kind of behavior from him when he finally returns to normality' – thought Miroku with grief. He then stopped for a moment and pointed them to a hut that had a window that looked more like a foldable table, over which a young woman was serving several kinds of food: onigiri, manju, fish and other – "Well, there is a place where we can stop and eat" -

As they were hungry, they decided to stop and have a meal. Miroku used the money he had gained from his fake exorcisms to pay for the food he bought for everyone, and thus everyone began eating at their own pace, which made the children ecstatic, and this in turn made Sango smile. However, as they were eating, a group of children came up to see them, all which were dressed in kosode and a few in hakama, all which were of dim colors and even some had stitches and patches…

- "Hi, I didn't think that girls as pretty as you came to dangerous places like this!" – said one of the children in a mocking tone to Miko.

- 'How nasty...' – thought Miko irritated. He gave him a glare of repugnance and then turned to the other side to continue eating her onigiri in calm. Inuyasha felt that something wasn't right and decided to do something about it:

- "Hey! Leave Miko alone!" – he said enraged. The boy only began laughing in his face.

- "Oh, scary! A monster! What'cha gonna do? Scare us dead?" – said another boy trying to provoke Inuyasha.

- "You bas…" – began Inuyasha, but Sango interrupted them before things got uglier.

- "Don't pay any mind to them, they are just fools" – she whispered to him as she grabbed one of his shoulders with a very serious look on her face.

- "Okay, Sango-nee" – said Inuyasha a bit embarrased.

- "She's right, Inuyasha" – said Miko closing her eyes in a calmed expression as she continued eating. She had finished her onigiri and was now grabbing a bit of fish with the ohashi in front of her, - "We don't have to listen to a group of idiots like them" –

- "You're calling us idiots!?" – said the two kids enraged upon hearing what Miko thought of them – "We'll show you!"

But before they could do anything, Sango stood up and put herself between Inuyasha, Miko and the two kids:

- "Hold it! If you want to fight with them, you'll have to get over me first!" -

- "A woman?" – said the first in an incredulous tone, enraging Sango: no one came out unharmed if they ever dared to suggest that Sango was weak or incapable for being a woman.

- "Oh, yeah? We'll see about that..." – she said as she cracked her knuckles. She then hit them both in the head.

- "Want more?" – she asked as she prepared to repeat what she had just done, but the two kids just got scared and ran away screaming.

- "Thank you, Sango-nee" – said Inuyasha with a smile, but his face then showed a surprised expression because Sango's behavior seemed a bit weird to him – "But… why did you protect us like that?" -

- "It's because I have a little brother called Kohaku" – she explained as she went to sit beside them again and smiled in a melancholic way. Miroku was sitting a bit farther and was talking with the owner of the hut about something, while Shippou had gotten up to look around the village – "He's a bit older than you both, and I always had to watch over him so nothing bad happened to him" -

- "And where's he?" – asked Miko in a curiosity-filled tone – "If you care so much about him, why isn't he with you?" -

- "I'll tell you when the time comes, okay?" – said Sango in a sharp tone, which made her smile change to a serious glare for a moment. Miko understood it was a delicate topic and decided to not insist on it.

- "Alright" – she nodded. She then turned around: there she saw what Shippou was doing, which made her laugh – "Wow, looks like Shippou's having a lot of fun!" -

She said that because Shippou was surrounded by a group of little girls, all dressed in kosode of light colors and decorated with all kinds of patterns, which said he was the cutest thing in the world and wanted to cuddle and touch him as if he was some sort of stuffed toy. He was enjoying it a lot.

- "Ah... I don't wanna go away from here..." – he muttered as he sighed of happiness.

Miroku rose up from his seat, which surprised all the others.

- "Understood, thank you" – he bowed before the owner of the hut and then turned towards the rest of the group – "Well, time to get going" -

- "Can't we stay here a little longer?" – said Shippou in a disappointed voice.

- "No" – said Miroku in a sharp tone. He then proceeded to explain to the others about the things he heard from the owner – "Well, according to the information I could gather, the cave is located in a nearby mountain, but it's guarded by a monster" -

- "No problem! I'll rip it to shreds with my sword!" – exclaimed an excited Inuyasha, which made everyone look at him.

- 'He's beginning to seem more and more like himself' – thought Miroku with an ironic smile.

They left the hut and continued their journey. They first stopped for a moment so Sango could change her clothes and put on her battle suit, and once they were ready, they began walking the trail that took them to the mountain outside the village. But as soon as they arrived, Inuyasha stood immobile and began sniffing the surrounding areas.

- "Huh? What's it, Inuyasha?" – asked Miko a bit weirded out about what he was doing.

- "I smell a monster, and it's getting close to us!" – exclaimed Inuyasha, which put everyone on alert.

- "It's true! I can perceive its demonic aura too!" – exclaimed Miroku, who was already looking around for signs of the creature.

- "We better get ready to fight then!" – said Sango as she placed one hand over her Hiraikotsu.

Shortly later, an enormous monster shaped like a gigantic mantis with a mask on its forehead came out from the mountain.

- "Looks like I'm gonna have a lovely dinner!" – exclaimed the horrendous creature when it saw the group.

- "In your dreams, ugly! Kaze no Kizu!" – screamed Inuyasha as he threw it an energy wave, but even though it caused it great damage, the monster regenerated itself almost instantly.

- "I can't believe that an idiotic kid like you thinks he can beat me!" – exclaimed the monster to mock him.

As for Miko, she was very scared when she saw the monster. However, she was determined to help the others during the battle, and thus she wasn't going to start off by yielding herself to fear.

- "If he doesn't, I'll do it!" – she screamed at the monster determinedly as she fired a Purifying Arrow to it, but the monster regenerated itself again.

- "Fools, don't you see I'm immortal? There's no youkai or miko that can even scratch me, and much less if they're kids like you two!" – screamed the monster, mocking the attempts Miko and Inuyasha were making to damage it.

- "We'll see about that! Hiraikotsu!" – screamed Sango as she threw her boomerang to it, cutting off one of its pincers. However, the monster regenerated it shortly later. It then slammed its body over them, so Sango had to step in front of Miko and Inuyasha to protect them and repel the attack using her Hiraikotsu. Miko and Inuyasha tried to attack it using arrows and Tessaiga, but it didn't mean much because the monster regenerated any damage they caused to it.

- "Enough playing around, I'll end this now!" – said Miroku, who had already gotten fed up with all this. He waited until all the others had put some distance between themselves and the monster, and as soon as they did, he removed the rosary he had around his right hand and fully opened his palm – "Kazaana!" -

- "What is this monk trying to do!? Aaaagh!" – screamed the monster as it was absorbed into the hole. Miroku closed it immediately afterwards by closing his cursed hand and tying the rosary around it again.

- "I guess it wasn't too hard" – said Miroku as he made a stupid-looking smile.

- "It wasn't too hard!?" – screamed all the others in rage. They didn't get injured at all thanks to Sango's blocking, but they still had gotten very exhausted because of the many attacks they had to avoid.

- "Sorry guys, but if you had allowed me to use the Kazaana from the beginning, you wouldn't have needed to go through all these problems" – he said waving his hand as if he were trying to scare away flies, which made the others sigh in exasperation.

They continued their walking through the mountain, and during their trek up nothing worthy of mention took place, until...

- "You are travelers, correct?" – asked an old man that wore a gray hakama and kosode. The kosode was decorated with green squares, and the old man himself had a scarce gray hair tied up in a topknot. He got close to them as soon as he spotted them.

- "Yes, that is correct, sir" – replied Miroku – "Our business is the hunting of youkai and the purification of evil presences" -

- "What is Houshi-sama talking about?" – asked a confused Miko to Sango.

- "Yeah, we don't really do that kinda stuff" – said Inuyasha crossing his arms as a neutral expression appeared in his face – "We're supposed to be searching for a way to restore Miko's memories, right?" -

- "Don't mind it" – whispered Sango – "Just play along with him" -

- "In that case, I need to ask you a favor. Do you know about the cave located near this place?" – asked the old man in a pleading tone.

- "Yes. In fact, we're headed for it right now" – replied Sango while having a hunch about what the favor would entail.

- "Well, beside that cave there is a temple, but some monsters have defiled it" – said the old man with a very distressed voice. This confirmed Sango's suspicions.

- "And you need us to exterminate them, correct?" – asked Miroku gently.

- "Yes, as there is a very important relic for our village enshrined there: a crystal that attracts fortune, and we leave it purifying in the temple every year" – explained the old man.

Sango, Miroku, and Shippou huddled together and began whispering about how suspicious this entire situation was sounding. Miko and Inuyasha also heard what they were saying, but couldn't really understand it.

- "I don't know about you, but that sounds to me like a shard of the Shikon Pearl" – whispered Sango to the others.

- "Yes, but that's impossible. Kouga has two shards, Kohaku has one, we have another and Naraku has the rest of the Pearl" – said Miroku to remind her of the current situation.

- "Could you help me with this?" – asked the old man, which put a stop their chit-chat.

- "Ehh… yes sir, of course" – said Miroku with a nervous laughter.

- "I'm really grateful to you" – said the old man. He bowed before them, and he continued his way back to the village.

- 'These names sound familiar to me... Have I ever heard them?' – thought Miko confused as they continued walking.

A little later, they reached the entrance of a cave, and right to the side, there was a temple built out of gray rocks, excepting for the roof, which was made of green tiles according to the style employed back in that era. Despite being so deteriorated, it still retained vestiges of having gone through better times. However, a terrible presence could be felt from the inside…

- "Hmm, it does have a very strong evil presence" – said Miroku as he wielded his shakujou with both hands – "There must be a large number of monsters inside" -

- "Yeah, but we'll take an eternity to clean it out if we kill one monster at a time" – said Sango thoughtfully upon making herself an idea of what awaited them inside.

- "Okay, leave them to me! With the Kaze no Kizu, I can destroy 'em all in a second!" – said Inuyasha excitedly as he unsheathed his sword.

- "Or me! We can defeat them easily with my arrows!" – said Miko as excited as him.

- "I can too! My techniques can finish these weak monsters off!" – said Shippou making a determined expression very similar to Inuyasha's.

Sango stood still for a couple of minutes to think, and she came up with an idea:

- "Hmmm… I know!" – she said as she clapped her hands and turned to the children with a smile – "What about if we all do this together!? That way we'll finish this faster!"

- "Though if I use my Kazaana…" – began Miroku, but Miko interrupted him

- "No fair, Houshi-sama! You already eliminated a big monster doing that!" – said Miko annoyed.

- "She's partly right. And besides, it's possible that there are poisonous monsters inside that place" – said Sango in a calm tone. She then had another idea and told it to Miroku – "You'd do better to go into the cave and search for the medallions there" -

- "Very well..." – said Miroku as he sighed in resignation.

So they ended splitting up: Sango, Miko, Inuyasha, and Shippou went into the temple while Miroku entered the cave.

- "Okay, listen up: this is no game or training anymore" – said Sango severely after they entered the temple – "You'll have to fight with all your strength if you want to continue living" –

- "Understood" – said Inuyasha to then turn and face the countless monsters inside the temple. He unsheathed his sword and transformed it as the others began getting ready to fight – "Okay monsters, time to disappear! Kaze no Kizu!" -

As soon as he screamed the name of the attack, he launched the energy waves and disintegrated several monsters in a single blow, while Miko fired an arrow against several monsters that were gathered in a single point.

- "There it goes!" – as soon as she let it fly, the arrow covered itself in a blue aura and annihilated several of the monsters she was aiming at.

- "Hiraikotsu!" – screamed Sango as she threw her boomeran, which diced all of the monsters that got on its way.

- "Kitsune-bi!" – said Shippou as he jumped and fired blue flames around himself, burning the monsters that they came in contact with.

- "Here goes another!" – said Miko, but this time, the arrow covered itself in a purple aura and was shot off with more force, eliminating more monsters than in the previous occasion.

- "Wow, what was that?" – asked her impressed.

- "Looks like you pulled off a Sacred Arrow! It's a stronger form of the ones you shot before!" – said Sango proudly while she fought against a monster using her boomerang.

- "Amazing!" – exclaimed Miko overjoyed.

- "This isn't time to get impressed!" – said Inuyasha in a bad mood, and he was right, as the more monsters they killed, the more seemed to come out.

- "Yeah, okay!" – said Miko as she fired another arrow.

After a while, they began getting exhausted. Inuyasha still had lots of energy to spend, but upon seeing the state of his friends…

- 'Shit, isn't there a better attack I can use?' – he thought furious at himself, but as if it were responding to his thoughts, Tessaiga coated itself on crystal. He looked at it fearfully – "Wh… what's happening to my sword…?" -

Sango's eyes became the size of saucers when she saw what was happening to Tessaiga...

- "It's the Kongousouha technique!" – she explained to Inuyasha – "Swing your sword to use it!" -

- "Great! Kongousouha!" – screamed Inuyasha as he swung his sword, making a barrage of diamonds fly off from it and pierce through the monsters. He was overjoyed upon seeing his "new" attack, and faced again the monsters he had before him.

- "This is amazing! Kongousouha!" – screamed Inuyasha again, launching another stream of diamonds and mincing the monsters that were in the way of the spears.

This encouraged the others, making them regain their vitality as they continued task of exterminating the monsters, and Shippou decided to not fall behind Inuyasha when it came to attacks:

- "Giant Top!" – he said as he rolled up and threw a small top, which suddenly enlarged and began trampling the monsters in front of him.

They continued like this for a while, with Inuyasha alternating between the Kongousouha, the Kaze no Kizu, Shippou alternating betwen his Kitsune-bi and Giant Top, Miko shooting off both kinds of arrows, and Sango fighting with Hiraikotsu and her wakizashi, until…

- "Looks like we're about to finish!" – said Inuyasha after another Kaze no Kizu. There weren't many monsters left at this point.

- "Don't get overconfident! It looks like there's a larger monster here!" – said Sango because she had bad feeling about this situation, which ended coming true: a monster with human-like appearance, but with green and scaly skin and with the hair of a green darker than its skin, appeared out from nowhere.

- "Humans, a kitsune and a hanyou kid! You really think you can defeat me, the great Rizaryu-sama, in my territory!?" – roared the monster when he saw them.

- "What a weird name..." – said Shippou as he eyed it.

- "This place isn't yours!" – screamed Sango – "Leave this temple at once!" -

- "I don't think so, and you won't be able to defeat me!" – said Rizaryu in a mocking tone – "I'll have some fun with you, and you'll be a tasty dinner too!"

- "We'll see about that! Kaze no Kizu!" – screamed Inuyasha as he shot off a wave of energy, but the attack was repelled by a black transparent barrier that surrounded the monster.

- "What the heck!?" – said Inuyasha upon seeing this unpleasant surprise.

- "It has a barrier!" – exclaimed Sango upon seeing this – "We won't be able to defeat it like this!" -

- "What can we do then?" – asked Miko shocked.

- "Give up and I'll finish you up swiftly..." – hissed the monster as if it wanted to eat them up already.

- "Never!" – screamed Sango at the monster, and then she turned to Inuyasha – "Inuyasha, you can defeat it, but you need to use another technique with your sword" -

- "But how?" – asked Inuyasha anxiously – "Totosai-sensei didn't teach me more attacks!" -

- "Have more confidence in yourself! Tessaiga has other powers; you just need to wake them up!" – said Sango to cheer him up.

Inuyasha decided to trust Sango and focused his thoughts in Tessaiga:

- "Okay... Tessaiga, please... show me what other abilities I can use with your help..." – thanks to Inuyasha's focus, Tessaiga changed to its red form, leaving him dumbfounded – "Whoa! And what's this for?" -

- "That lets you shoot a beam that destroys barriers!" – said Sango hurriedly – "Now use it!" -

- "Ok... here it goes!" – said Inuyasha as he swung his sword.

- "What are you doing!?" – said Rizaryu when it saw what Inuyasha was doing.

The next instant, Tessaiga shot off a blue and yellow beam, which upon making contact with the barrier made it break like a piece of glass struck by a stone.

- "This can't be! My energy barrier was destroyed! You'll pay for this!" – screamed an enraged Rizaryu.

- "And what are you going to do, ugly spawn of hell?" – asked Inuyasha to mock it.

- "This!" – said as it shot a purple energy beam from its mouth. As the attack was so sudden, they didn't have time to avoid it, causing them to get caught by the beam and getting injured to the point of losing consciousness. The only one that could escape this was Inuyasha, as upon seeing what it was doing, he jumped over it and ended up behind it.

- "Sango-nee! Shippou! MIKO!" – screamed Inuyasha as he ran to his friends and tried to wake them up. Upon seeing how they weren't responding, tears began slipping out from his eyes, and he turned toward the monster – "Damn you.. YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS!" -

- "Oh, now the baby has begun crying?"- said Rizaryu in a mocking tone, and he then looked at Inuyasha with an evil smile – "Don't worry, as you'll be joining them now!" -

And having said this, it began charging energy and shot off a beam even stronger than the previous one.

- "Damn, what I'm gonna do now?" – asked Inuyasha with fury – 'Wait a sec…' -

That instant, the memories of his training sessions with Totosai from two days prior began coming back to him...

- "Remember this: the Kaze no Kizu isn't useful for attacking only. You can also use it for a more powerful technique called the Bakuryuuha. For that, you have to wait until the enemy uses an energy attack and strike the spot that seems the weirdest to you in that energy with the Kaze no Kizu, which'll let you defeat them with their own power" – explained Totosai with a severe gaze.

- "Okay, that's what I'll do!" – nodded Inuyasha as he smiled.

- "I hope so. That attack can even end up saving your life" – said Totosai.

He suddenly came back to the present, and upon fixing his gaze on the beam, he noticed something strange, just like Totosai told him:

- 'That's it! I see a part of the beam darker than the rest! I know what I've gotta do!' – thought Inuyasha as he put himself in an attack stance.

- "This is your end, trash! Kaze no Kizu!" – screamed Inuyasha as he launched an energy wave. This made the Kaze no Kizu fuse with the energy from Rizaryu's beam, forming a large whirlwind.

- "What've you done to my demonic energy!?" – the monster asked in horror.

- "Now it's one of my attacks, and it's called the Bakuryuuha!" – screamed Inuyasha in rage.

- "Nooo!" – screamed the monster as it was torn apart by the whirlwind. Its remains were scattered throughout the room and turned into dust after a few seconds.

- "I did it! But... the others..." – muttered Inuyasha as he fell to his knees again and the tears began appearing in his eyes – "It was like with mom… I couldn't do anything to protect or save them…" -

However, he heard they were still breathing, and hoping that they were still alive, he went to their side. When he got close to them, they began stirring and regaining consciousness.

- "Are you… okay…?" – asked Inuyasha scared.

- "Yeah! We have some bruises, but it's nothing serious!" – smiled Miko. She had some scratches and bruises in her face, arms and feet, but she didn't have even light wounds, and while her kosode had gotten a bit dirty, it didn't have any torn or broken parts anywhere. The same thing could be said about Sango and Shippou: they had several scratches and bruises, and their clothes suffered a bit of damage, but as for the rest, they were fine.

- "You don't know how worried I was… I thought you'd died… because of me…" – he told Miko as he embraced her and began crying on her shoulder.

- "Don't worry. Everything'll be okay now..." – said Miko gently as she stroked his back. When Inuyasha finally calmed down, they separated from each other and he stood up as he looked at her with a smile of relief and joy.

- "And what about the monster?" – asked Sango as she looked around.

- "I defeated it using the Bakuryuuha!" – said Inuyasha as he puffed his chest with pride.

- "You used the Bakuryuuha!?" – Sango was so surprised she couldn't believe what she had just heard – "It's amazing that you could use that attack!" –

- "Thanks!" – said Inuyasha to Sango. However, at that moment, he saw an insect… A Saimyoushou to be more precise… - "Sango-nee, what's that bug?" -

- "What bug!?" – asked Sango alarmed as she turned around to see, hoping it wasn't what she thought. However, when she noticed her suspicious proved true, her face went pale – "No!" -

She tried to kill it throwing her Hiraikotsu to it, but the insect escaped before the boomerang could have reached it. She caught Hiraikotsu in its way back.

- "Damn, it ran away!" – she said enraged as she fell to her knees and punched the floor of the temple.

- "What was that, Sango-nee?" – asked Miko very alarmed upon seeing Sango's reaction.

- "Don't mind it for now" – said Sango in a sharp tone. However, she was beyond terrified – 'Shit; now Naraku knows about this. We'll have to be more careful from now on...' -

At that moment, Miroku ran inside the temple carrying something shining in his right hand.

- "I got them! I got the medallions!" – said he joyfully as he showed them a silver and a golden medallion, both adorned with several glyphs and each sustained by a piece of string of the same color as their respective medallion. The center of the golden medallion had a ruby embedded on it, while the silver medallion had a sapphire in that place.

- "Thanks, Houshi-sama..." – said Sango with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm, and before Miroku had the chance to ask why, she explained it to him in whispers – "Naraku is aware about what happened to Inuyasha and Kagome. We'll have to protect them even more now" -

- "What!?" – asked Miroku very flustered – "But how…!?" -

- "One of his Saimyoushou appeared here a moment ago and it escaped before I could kill it..." – admitted Sango very mad at herself.

- "I see… but don't beat yourself up over it… this was bound to happen at some point" – said Miroku to cheer her up. Sango didn't seem to be very convinced by this, but still smiled at him in gratitude.

- "Ah!" – exclaimed Inuyasha and Miko upon seeing what Miroku had in his hands.

- "Are these the medallions we were looking for?" – asked Miko excitedly.

- "Yes, that's right" – said Miroku as he smiled gently, but he then turned to look at Sango with a mysterious expression – "However, there's something odd about this: there wasn't anything guarding the cave."

- "Maybe the monster we just defeated was the guardian of that cave?" – asked Sango.

- "It's possible. And that isn't all: I noticed there were some glyphs engraved near the place where I found the medallions, and they were very similar to the ones that were carved in the rocks in the cave of the springs. Perhaps they are related in some way, or…" – Miroku said something, but no one could hear him because Shippou began screaming at that moment: a strange piece of glass that seemed to have come from a mirror had fallen from the roof in front of Miko and Inuyasha, and it was reflecting their true forms.

- "Who is... that girl?" – asked Miko weirded out as she looked at her reflection: an older girl with her same face, hair and eye color; but she had her hair loose and wore a strange outfit she didn't remember ever seeing before.

- "Is that... me?" – asked Inuyasha with the same voice tone as Miko upon seeing his reflection: it was himself but older-looking. The next instant, the mirror shard shattered by itself, and Miko and Inuyasha began trembling uncontrollably.

- "What... what's happening to me?" – asked Miko as she fell to her knees and began grabbing her head, as if she was suffering from a strong headache.

- "Ahahaha..." - said Inuyasha as he grabbed his head and began laughing uncontrollably.

Sango and Miroku were at the border of a nervous breakdown upon seeing the state in which their friends were, unable to understand what was happening to them, until Miroku finally noticed what it was…

- "No! As they have seen their true forms, they have started to fall into insanity!" – screamed her alarmed as he turned to look at Sango. Sango immediately took the silver medallion from Miroku's hands and ran to Miko, while Shippou had gotten paralyzed with fear.

- "Quick! Put that medallion around Inuyasha's neck! I'll take care of Kagome!" – she said in an authoritative tone as she did all she could to put the medallion around her friend's neck.

With some difficulty, they managed to put the medallions around the necks of both children, and once they already had them on, they stopped holding their heads, letting their arms to the mercy of gravity, their eyes appeared blurred out, and they began gazing at the distance for some instants, until…

- "Sa... san... Sango..." – muttered Miko with an empty and distant voice.

- "Miko, are you okay?" – asked Sango anxiously.

The shine returned to the eyes of Miko and Inuyasha, both stopped trembling, and a few seconds later, they stood up again to then look at their surroundings in confusion.

- "Sango-chan, why are you calling me that?" – she asked confused – "You know my name's Kagome!" -

- "You've recovered your memory!" – said Sango overjoyed as she embraced her.

- "Wait a sec..." – said Kagome when she noticed there was something weird here, and she pulled herself away from Sango's grasp – "Why happened to my voice? Why I'm feeling different? Why are you taller now? And where are we?"

- "How weird, I feel like I've been sleeping for a long while..." – said Inuyasha looking around himself weirded out – "Wait… what's up with my voice, and why I'm feeling so different?" -

He then looked at Kagome from top to down, and blushed violently...

- "Kagome with clothes from this era? She looks pretty like this, but she looks like a kid now… I better try to pretend I don't care about it…." – he thought in a rush, but due to the nerves, he screwed up the whole thing very badly – "Kagome, what's up with you? Why do you look so silly?" -

Kagome turned toward Inuyasha with an enraged face as soon as she heard these words...

- "You're the one to talk, as you look like you shrunk or something! And why are you saying I look silly?" – she asked very angrily. To check what Inuyasha was talking about, she went up to Sango, took out a small mirror from the backpack she was carrying and looked at herself on it. Sango couldn't do much to stop her due to how angry Kagome was.

- "Aaah! What happened to me? …And why I'm dressed like this!?" – asked Kagome as soon as she could speak again after the impression she received from her "little" change in appearance. Inuyasha looked at his reflection too.

- "Wha!? No way, I look exactly as when I was a kid!" – screamed Inuyasha, leaving Miroku and Sango dumbfounded: by the look of it, they didn't remember anything that happened after they drank the water from the spring.

- "Don't you remember anything of the things you've done the last five days?" – asked Miroku to sort this situation out.

- "What do you mean, Miroku-sama? The last thing I remember before this was that we entered that cave, and I saw a weird pink glow! Nothing... huh?" – replied Kagome angrily, but she then fell silent because the memories of these five days began coming back to her: she and Inuyasha playing together happily, her training with Kaede, the time she was sick, the singing practice, the festival, and the little romantic scene between both – "Wait… I think I remember something, but it feels more like it was a dream than anything… I see myself training at many things with Kaede-obaasan, being sick, and singing in a festival and… I can't say it!" -

She said this because she was about to say that she and Inuyasha had kissed, and she couldn't bear with the embarrassment of saying it aloud.

- "I'm the same, but I see myself doing other things like training with old man Totosai, searching for ingredients for a medicine, and..." – he shut up for the same reason as Kagome – "Other things…" -

Sango went up to Inuyasha: it was time to know if he had managed to come to a decision regarding "that" after the recent happenings.

- "Inuyasha, I need to ask you something" – she told him gently. Given the time she had treating them like children, she couldn't just put aside this behavior.

- "What's it?" – asked Inuyasha as he eyed her.

- "Who is the most important person to you now?" – asked Sango with the same voice tone.

- "Why you ask that, Sango?" – he asked as his face turned red slowly.

- "It's just that I'm curious about it..." – replied Sango as she laughed about how embarrassed he was getting.

Inuyasha just fixed his gaze on the floor...

- "I don't know... I can't say..." – was all that came out from his lips, but that only managed to enrage Kagome.

- "Are you saying that because you care more about Kikyou than me!? Despite the promise we made to each other under the stars!?" – she screamed, as she was losing her hold over herself due to anger.

- "It isn't like that! I mean, it's... Why you always gotta misunderstand things!?" – said Inuyasha, who was getting himself angry too due to Kagome's unexpected reaction.

- "I'm not misunderstanding anything!" – replied Kagome, and before Inuyasha had a chance to talk back – "And shut up! Sit down! Sit down! Sit down! Sit down! Sit down! SIT DOWN!"

Inuyasha ended buried in a large hole after the series of "Sit Down"s that Kagome gave him.

- "I think it wasn't a good idea to ask him that" – whispered Miroku to Sango after a brief sigh.

- "I couldn't help it. I wanted to ask him that when he regained his memory" – replied her in whispers with an embarrassed voice.

After a while panting in anger, Kagome had cooled down a bit, but that sensation was replaced quickly by a worse one: panic. She had the meeting with her friends in a few days, and if they saw her like she was at the moment, she only imagined a catastrophe as the final outcome.

- "And what I'm supposed to do now!?" – she asked scared as she looked at Sango – "I can't go back to my time like this!" -

- "But you should go see your family" – said Sango gently in an attempt to calm her down – "They must be very worried about you…" -

- "Maybe, but my mom will faint if she looks at how I'm right now, especially if she sees my feet!" – said Kagome scared as she pointed to them: she had them smeared of dirt and mud.

- "Even with that so-innocent appearance you're still as cruel as ever, Kagome" – said Inuyasha from the hole. He jumped out from it and landed right in front of Kagome, looking at her with irritation – "I was thinking about going along with you to your time to not make you go through this alone, but I'm thinking I better forget about it! I don't wanna help you after what you just did!" -

This really affected Kagome: she needed more than ever to have Inuyasha at her side. She bowed down in front of him and began hurriedly apologizing…

- "I'm sorry! I was stupid for doing that, even more after I defended you from Shippou when we lost our memories… Please, forgive me!" – this made everyone stare at her, as she was behaving exactly how she was when she still didn't have her memories: when she still was "Miko". Still, this seemed to have calmed Inuyasha down, as he smiled:

- "Okay, it's settled then. I'll go with you!" -

- "Inuyasha… thanks!" – she said as she stood up and ran to embrace him. However, they separated almost immediately as they blushed.

- "And so, if we have no further business here, we should go back to the village so you can get to the well" – said Miroku as they began walking to the temple's exit.

- "And you two don't even think about taking the medallions off!" – said Sango severely to Kagome and Inuyasha – "If you take them off or if you lose them, you'll lose your memories again!" -

- "Okay okay, we know" – said Kagome annoyed. She didn't like at all the idea of being treated like a child just because of her current appearance. As for Inuyasha, he only made a face of extreme annoyance after Sango said that.

They took the rest of the afternoon going down the mountain trail and going through the village, and by the time they were approaching Kaede's village, it was dusk already.

- "Kagome, this might sound stupid, but... I've got the feeling that we met before we met each other at the Goshinboku…" – said Inuyasha thoughtfully.

- "Inuyasha, I'm feeling the same. But maybe that's just an effect of what just happened to us" – said Kagome, thinking it was just another effect of the water they drank.

- "Well then, next stop, the village" – announced Miroku cheerfully, which took both away from their thoughts.

- "I just hope you won't go back to your old habits, Houshi-sama" – said Sango as she glared at Miroku angrily.

- "Ehhh... yes, Sango..." – said Miroku as he made a shameless face.

- "We'll see about that soon" – muttered Shippou as he looked at Miroku with annoyance, while Inuyasha and Kagome just sighed in response.

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