Miroku and Sango barely had anytime to react. Huge swirling tornadoes of wind came flying towards them. Diving to the side Miroku grabbed Sango, barley dodging the deadly vortexes.
"You humans are pretty fast, maybe this will be more fun then I thought." Kagura sneered. Raising her fan up to her perfect red lips.
Quickly getting to their feet Miroku and Sango waited for the demoness’s next move.
"Miroku how the hell are going to get out of this?" she asked, her eyes trained on Kagura.
"We need to get that fan away from her, then we'll just have to make a run for it." Miroku whispered. Taking defensive stances they both glared at Kagura as she silently mocked them.
"So cute, you guys actually think you stand a chance don’t you? Dance of blades!" With a small flick of her wrist blades of wind came flying at them. Ducking, bobbing, and weaving they tried their best to avoid the sickle shaped wind.
"Keep dancing!" The sorceress taunted, positioning her fan she sent out more of her wind blades.
"Dammit! We can’t even get close!" Sango yelled narrowly missing getting her arm chopped off.
"We're going to have run straight up the middle. I want you stay behind me okay?" Miroku glanced over at the woman by his side.
Why had he not noticed how beautiful she was?
Smiling at him Sango gave him a confident nod.
"So you have a plan now? Good, it’s always less satisfying when they don’t struggle. Dance of blades!"
As soon as her attack was released Sango and Miroku raced forward.
Lord Hiroshi stood on the battlefield and watched as his men gave their lives for their kingdom. The ground was littered with blood and bodies.
Many of his soldiers had already fallen, but their deaths would not be in vain. They would defeat the Takahashi Clan.
They would avenge his daughter's wrongful death.
And they would have Prince Inuyasha's head.
"Fire!" He heard his men scream as the canons blasted and more of the Takahashi men were slain The smell of gun powder and burned flesh filled the air.
How did everything come to this?
The more he thought of his beautiful daughter the angrier he became. To think he had blessed a union between his precious one and Izayoi’s treacherous whelp.
Lord Hiroshi ran into the battle with renewed vigor.
This was for Kikyou.
So many bodies. So much blood. The Aomori castle had been turned into a killing field.
"Inuyasha what's going on? What is all this?" Her was voice shaky. She hadn't seen this much destruction since she was a young girl, but even that didn't compare to this.
"I have no idea but I'd bet my ass Naraku has something to do with it. We should head back to your room, maybe Sango and Miroku are there." Inuyasha suggested.
Traveling as fast as Inuyasha’s injuries would allow, they finally reached the Kagome’s shared bedroom.
"Sango?" Bursting into the room with her haste, Kagome was initially disappointed when the sight of her best friend didn’t greet her. But soon her despondence was replaced with confusion as took in flowing midnight hair and elegant robes.
"Mother?" Inuyasha said, voicing his confusion. "What are you doing here?" The lady of the Takahashi Clan stood stagnant in the middle of the room, taking in the vision of her son. One step quickly turned into a run as she experienced a relief so strong it took her breath away.
Izayoi enveloped her child in a bone crushing embrace, fearing he’d fade away if she let him go. "Oh Inuyasha I'm so thankful you're alright! When Miroku said you’d gone missing I didn’t know what to think. Then that girl came in spouting some nonsense that you killed the princess-"
"I WHAT?" Inuyasha cried, stepping out her arms in indignation. There was no way he’d heard his mother right.
"A young girl came to inform Sango of princess Kikyou’s death, and that a witness saw you leave the orchard where her body was found. Lord Hiroshi vetoed the marriage, the Aomori's and Takahashi's have gone to war, and you've been placed under arrest for murder."
"Marriage?" He asked still slightly confused.
Lady Izyaoi swallowed the lump suddenly lodged in her throat.
"I came here today to ensure a marriage between you and Princess Kikyou."
"Why would you do that? You know I had no such feelings toward her." The thought that his mother had gone against her word to let him chose his own fiancée had him biting his tongue to keep from snapping at her.
"Please don't be upset, I did it only to protect you! It was for your own good and the safety of our kingdom!" the lady pleaded, "The letter didn't give me a choice!"
"Lady Izayoi, what letter?" came a shy voice. Inuyasha and his mother's heads snapped in Kagome's direction, her presence momentarily forgotten in the mist of their argument.
" I received it yesterday evening. There was no signature, but the author wrote as if they knew me." Lady Izyaoi replied courtly.
"What did the letter say?" Inuyasha cut in.
"Inuyasha, you must know that there are things in my past that I'm not proud of, but everything I've ever done was to protect you and our land." she started.
Inuyasha didn’t even grace her with a response, only looking at her expectantly until she’d gathered enough courage to finally speak.
Lady Izyaoi took a deep breath. It was time to reveal the truth from all those years ago.
“Sit with me.” With the grace that only a queen could posses, Izayoi gently sat on the unmade futon in the corner of the room. She made herself comfortable as her son and his companion took residence in front of her.
"I was born a farmer's daughter." She began, "We had no money, the crops weren't coming in properly, and it was a struggle just to survive."
"My whole life my father told me that he wanted better for me. After my mother’s death my father did the best he could, not once have I ever held resentment or hatred in my heart for the decision he made. He always told me he wanted me to have what he didn't. He wanted me to be happy."
"I was working in the rice fields one day when an extravagant caravan rolled by our village. There was a rumor going around that The Great Takahashi Clan was searching the countryside for new workers and housemaids. That night when they stopped to rest and water their horses, my father put me on the back of their caravan and I never saw him again...I was fourteen."
"When I arrived at the castle I was put work in the kitchens, and one fateful day your father waltzed into the kitchen asking for ramen." A small giggle escaped the Lady as she remembered her deceased husband.
"I thought he was beautiful. He was probably around the same age as you are now Inuyasha, if I remember correctly."
"It was love at first sight...for me at least. I doubt he even saw me standing there. But from that day forward I promised myself that I would see him at least once day. I wanted him to notice me."
"I would make sure I was the one to serve his meals, clean his quarters, and do his laundry, anything to get a glimpse of him. We'd never really spoken until one day when I was cleaning his room and he randomly asked me about my past and where I'd come from. I didn’t have much to say and though I wanted his attention I was a shy little thing, but your father was a very persistent man. Eventually he requested I be his personal handmaid and we were around each other all the time. We became close friends and over time that friendship grew to be much more. We fell in love."
"Both of us knew it was wrong to be together. He was next in line for the Takahashi throne and I was a mere servant of humble beginnings. He would be ridiculed and I would be seen as an overdressed concubine. With us spending so much time together that's what everyone thought anyway."
"That's so horrible." Kagome Interjected.
"It was the way of the land. Everyone had their place and I was among those at the bottom. Commoners and royalty were not to associate in any type of social or romantic manner, the two worlds are just too different."
"So we kept our relationship a secret. It was decreed that on his twenty first birthday Toga would take his place as the Lord of the Takahashi Clan. The night before, he asked for my hand and I said yes. It was the best night of my life."
Lady Izyaoi's eye's glazed over at the memory, a faint blush staining her cheeks.
Kagome cooed and Inuyasha grimaced.
"I found out I was pregnant with you soon after." she continued, "Your father was so happy. He went to his parents to propose our marriage, and they refused. When he explained my pregnancy they dismissed it, already thinking that I was lying about Toga being the father, but as I've said your father is a persistent man. A few months later we were finally wed. When you were born there was no denying you, you’re his spitting image."
"Then an awful man named Naraku ruined it all."
Inuyasha and Kagome stilled as an unwanted chill crawled up their spines, making the hairs on their arms and necks stand at attention.
"He was an unwanted suitor of mine, and the head knight of the Takahashi Clan. He was also one of Toga’s closest friends. The night you were born Inuyasha, is the night that he led the revolt to attack the castle. He convinced his following that your father was disgracing the Takahashi name by marrying me and allowing you claim to the throne, but I believe his actions were more motivated by jealousy and anger."
"Toga gave up his life to protect us that night. Even though he was betrayed and ridiculed by the people close to him he gave his life to save them as well. He told me that night the we were his something to protect."
"Me and a few other of your father's loyal friends fled the castle grounds. We found new, untouched land and we started a new kingdom. People from far and wide came to be apart our great nation, many of them not knowing of my common blood. If they did the balance of our kingdom would crumble and chaos would ensue. Why would a peasant take orders from another peasant right?"
"I still don't understand why you were going to have me marry Kikyou?" Inuyasha asked.
"The letter stated that if you married the princess then my secret would be safe and so would our kingdom. It also said you were following in you father's footsteps, that you fell in love with a common girl."
"Is it true? Do you love this girl Inuyasha? Do return those feelings to my son?" The words went unspoken but by the way they looked at each other and blushed there was no denying it. When Inuyasha grabbed Kagome's hand and gave it a gentle squeeze no further confirmation was needed.
It was truly strange how history tended to repeat itself.
She just hoped that this time around, they got a happy ending.
"Inuyasha I think I understand now." Kagome panted. After hearing the story of Lady Izyaoi's past it seemed as the missing puzzle pieces were now fitting into place.
"Understand what?" Inuyasha asked. Running through the halls searching for Sango and Miroku.
"This is more than we thought it was. We thought Naraku was only after me but it's so much more than that. He's reliving what happened all those years ago with your mother and father through us" Kagome explained.
"I don't get it." Inuyasha said sheepishly.
"Its the same. Naraku felt like he laid a claim on your mother and your father went behind his back to take Lady Izyaoi away from him. When Naraku killed my family he told me that I was his, but when he came for me there was someone in the way... the son of the man who stole his first love from him."
"Are you saying that Naraku is in love with you?" he said in a disgusted tone.
"I don’t know, maybe, but he felt betrayed by your father right? So what better way to get back at him then to destroy his entire kingdom. Now he's doing the same to you. To him we might as well be Lady Izyaoi and Lord Toga."
"That bastard is sick," Inuyasha muttered, "I'm not my father and when I see him I will kill him." Seeing the new found determination in his eyes Kagome felt it was either now or never.
"Inuyasha wait." Slowing to a stop Inuyasha turned to give her a confused glance. Her gaze glued to her feet as she shuffled her weight from side to side.
It was the first time since he was conscious that he got a good look at her. Her yukata was torn and covered in blood, his blood, and dirt. Her hair was a mess and when she looked up at him the dark circles under her eyes were a stark contrast against her pale skin.
"What's wrong?" he asked. Taking a deep breath she stepped forward and grabbed his hand.
"Inuyasha we've been through so much already. The final battle with Naraku is approaching and I don't know if we're going to make it." Inuyasha reached up and cupped her cheek wiping away a stray tear.
"Don't talk like that. We're gonna come out of this alive and everything is going to be fine." He said more for his reassurance than hers.
"I hope so Inuyasha, but I can't go into battle without saying telling you, I...I love you. Since the first time I saw you in my dreams. I wouldn't be able to rest in peace without you hearing me say it."
"I love you too Kagome."
The two lovers jumped when they heard someone begin clapping. Turning their heads they saw Naraku step forward from the shadows. Right away they noticed that something was not quite right with him, the gleam in his eyes, setting their minds on high alert.
"That was beautiful." he mocked, "It's a shame you both have to die now."
"The only one dying today is you bastard!" Inuyasha screamed at him.
"You really think you can defeat me? Look around you little prince I've already won!"
"Why? Why are you doing this?" Kagome questioned gently.
"Because I always get what I want! No one takes what is mine!"
"Give it up Naraku the past is over and done with." Inuyasha sneered.
"Ha! I haven't thought about Izyaoi since I killed your father. Kagome is the one I want now. It's only a constellation prize that you happen to be the son of that traitorous bastard Toga, it simply makes your blood on my hands more satisfying."
Pushing Kagome behind him, Inuyasha took a defensive stance.
It was time.