Fools and Foes
Lady Shikyomi reached the forbidden tomb well before the idiotic spider. She sat on top of an enormous greyish blue stone arch that marked its entrance, the warnings that had been etched into it nearly erased by time and the dark ivy that wound its way around its ruff surface. It had taken her two days running to reach the caverns and had had a day of rest, now she was quite looking forward to Naraku’s arrival.
During her rest, the jewel had revealed many things to her. The mixed- blood’s progress and the torcher and death of her mate’s servant Myoga. The flea, for all his fearfulness, had never once betrayed his vows of silence, but his blood had revealed all to the voids mirror. His was a death she would gladly avenge, he had long been a friend and faithful retainer. Myoga was also one of the few who visited her who knew of the old times when her loves had still lived. His company had been a comfort.
She had also taken the opportunity to check on her wayward son. This cheered her considerably. Lady Shi was glad to see her prideful son doing as he should and caring for his younger brother. Just before she began to let the vision fade, a young woman stepped into her sight. The western lady nearly gasped, something she had not done in nearly two thousand years. An image covered her, just a ghost of a memory in Shi’s mind, but when the image faded, the girl’s aura remained the same. She was a priestess, a strong one. The inu could not stop the grin that spread across her burgundy tinted mouth. It seems her son had already gathered the pieces without even knowing of the responsibility he had gained. He truly was a most perfect son, she nearly bounced in glee. It would not be long before he caught her scent, the group not far behind Naraku.
“Were you awaiting me?” a low voice asked from below her.
She glanced down briefly to the man in a ridiculous baboon pelt, hood thrown back reveling blood red eyes that met with hers. She examined her claws. “It is always amusing to see a fool being foolish.” She replied calmly, taking note of Kaugra in the air while Kanna walked alongside him, the white of his pelt blending with her hair.
“Fool, am I?” He sneered up at her. He cast four wooden figures around him, quickly mirror images of him sprung up, leaving her facing five Narakus, Kaugura, and Kanna. “Stop me then, if you can.” He moved steadily forward.
Kagome took advantage of a short break to catch her breath, collapsing against the closest tree. Sango joined her, taking a quick drink from the water bottle Kagome had given her. “Keeping up with them is still hard.” The priestess sighed, looking at the two inuyokai staring off in the distance. They caught wind of Naraku earlier in the day and had been relentlessly following him. She was a bit worried. Naraku usually showed himself by now, but he seemed to be moving toward a goal of his own, unconcerned with how close they were.
“Yes” the slayer agreed, stretching. She shook her head as the monks gaze jerked in her direction instantly. “We better get ready soon. I don’t see those two letting us rest long.”
Inuyasha turned toward Kagome. She still appeared a little winded, trying to keep up with them on her own where she used to let him carry her. Even knowing she would refuse, he started forward when a new scent made him pause.
Kagome placed her bow over her shoulder when Sesshomaru and Inuyasha stilled, both turning in the same direction. “What is it?” she asked, coming between the two.
“Naraku.” Inuyasha told her, his brother already moving forward. “Kagome?” He asked, holding out his hand. “We need to hurry.” His voice was solemn.
Knowing that he was correct, she nodded and placed her hand in his. He tossed her onto his back, taking off. Kirara carried Miroku and Sango, the sound of her flames following behind them. Kagome tried her best to ignore the feelings that always came when they were close. The warmth was still there, but the hope had turned into something bittersweet. She shook her head slightly, pushing it away. Now was not the time for her emotions to run rampant, she had to prepare for battle. Fighting Naraku was always tricky.
Sesshomaru did not wait for them. There was a scent that should not have been anywhere in the vicinity. ‘Why is she here?’ he thought to himself. He increased his speed when the smell of blood filled the air.
“Shit.” Inuyasha picked up his pace. Thought he had never met the great lady death, there could only be one with blood so close to his brothers. Even with all the bad between them, he shared his anger in this instance, no one should have to smell their mother’s blood being spilt. He followed closely behind Sesshomaru, holding his precious cargo tightly to him, not even bothering to lie to himself as to why.
Shikyomi dropped to the ground. Standing tall, she blocked the path. Kanna stepped away from her master, her mirror shinning, the image of a snake still clear upon its surface. The very sight of the childlike figure angered her. With a crack of her poison whip, she shattered the mirror the girl carried. Kanna began to break apart, a small smile playing at her mouth, followed by a relieved sigh. She fell to pieces, turning to dust, until no trace of her remained. Lady Shi caught a glimpse of the spirit, white and ethereal, as it faded back to its proper place.
“How could you?” Kaugra demanded from her perch on her floating feather, fan raised.
“How could you not, wind child. Do you not burn, longing for the freedom that you once had? A true spirit, not this perversion wrought unnaturally. The mixed blood ripped her away from her true purpose, do you not think that she longed to return to it?” With a fangy grin, she continued, “Have no fear, Kaugra of the wind, I shall free you as well.” Two of the puppets lunged at her. In the process of dodging them and breaking one with her claws, the true Naraku struck out, pricing her left side with a bone tipped tentacle. Laughing, she plunged her claws into the limb, sending large amounts of burning poison back towards him. Hissing, he cut the piece off from himself and backed away, his remaining puppets guarding him while he awaited his chance to get to the tomb.
“Damn, Sesshomaru, your mother’s crazy.” Inuyasha said, halting beside him, Kagome immediately climbing from his back.
“hn.” He agreed calmly. His mother was quite notorious among yokai, not only for her calm control in battle, but also her joy in it. Sometimes, she was even known to turn dangerously playful. She had often claimed that he got his stuffiness from his father.
“My son!” Shi said, calmly strolling towards them, deftly avoiding the dance of blades. Inuyasha was shocked to see her hug Sesshomaru, kissing the moon mark on his forehead as Naraku's puppets beat away at the barrier she had apparently raised. He was even more astounded when she came to him. “Son of my mate.” She kissed him in the same manner, leaving the poor inu stupefied, making her chuckle before moving on. She took Kagome’s hands. “I am grateful once again to see the fates bring one such as you, priestess. I have been waiting a long time to see your face.” She hugged her as well, Sesshomaru and Inuyasha wondering at her words while Kagome blushed.
Deciding that she was suitably distracted, Naraku tried once more for the tomb. The puppets renewed their efforts to break through. Sesshomaru dispatched one with his whip absently while he watched his mother fawn over Kagome. Something was going on. Secrets, his mother had many, he had a feeling that this one would be life altering for the priestess he began to think of as his. Inuyasha’s claws destroyed another, his mind too on the women just feet away from them. Sango and Miroku battled the last puppet, Kirara carrying the slayer into the sky while the monk fought on the ground.
“Allow me heal you, my lady.” Kagome said softly. When Shi nodded, she gently touched her side, allowing her natural healing ability to seal the wound, leaving smooth skin behind.
“You can heal yokai,” she said coolly, “how interesting. This one thanks you. Not even Midoriko could heal thusly.” ‘Powerful indeed,’ she mentally grinned, ‘perfect.’
Sesshomaru and Inuyasha attacked Naraku, working together for once. Avoiding attacks from above and several on the ground they drove him back from the archway. His body revealed its true form, the mangled mass of many yokais, striking out at them with claws and weapons of bone. Their swords cut through him, never letting up until one final swing of the Tetsusaiga nearly cut him in half. In a frantic attempt to reach his target, he pulled Kaugra from the sky, dragging her back into his body.
“No!” she screamed, uselessly trying to cut herself away as the ugly mound of flesh rolled up her legs. In desperation, Kaugra cried out. “Lady Shikyomi, kill me! Free me, please!”
It was Kagome that answered her pleas. Mercy shone brightly in her eyes as she let lose her sacred arrow, the bright purple light finding the wind sorceresses chest. Her body quickly disappeared in a haze of light, taking most of Naraku’s with it. The release of wind swirled around the priestess in thanks as it returned to the freedom that had been stolen from it. Unfortunately, it also blew the remains of Naraku, his head a partial upper torso, close to the arch they had been trying to keep him away from. With a blast of miasma, he launched himself into the tomb.
“Damn!” Shi said, racing after it.
Sesshomaru’s eyes widened. He had never heard his mother speak so. Even when she faced down the dragons armies while her mate died in another’s arms, she was calm, some would say cold. He rushed after her, the others close behind him.
The low light revealed little of their surroundings, dust particles seeming to glow as they drifted in the air the group stirred up as they passed. Only the inuyokai could see clearly and the others diligently kept up with them until the narrow passage opened up into a large cave. They could all see Naraku, perched upon what appeared to be a enormous statue.
It was the only thing that could be clearly made out by the humans in the room. Down in the sunken floor, its tail stretched out upon the steps, a large snake yokai lay cased in stone. Its many coils piled upon one another, wrapped around what appeared to be an altar where its gigantic head lay. Kagome had not seen any yokai this large since Inuyasha defeated Reokotsu. Naraku chuckled gleefully as he began to try and absorb the snake’s body.
Kagome drew another arrow, but Shi stopped her. “Save them, it is too late for them to be any help now.” Her voice held a sense of old sadness and maybe a hint of rage. Without knowing why, she laid a hand on the inu’s arm, offering comfort. The lady’s eyes soften for just a moment. “Stay close to me, priestess. It is more important that you stay hidden here.”
“Why?” Inuyasha asked, standing on the other side of Kagome.
Sesshomaru listened in, but was more concentrating on the scents in the room. He was not worried for her, his mother was ample protection for anyone. Old blood caught his attention. There was a mix of it, on the walls and floors of this room, inuyokai blood. He knew for certain that he caught his father and mothers, along with and older inu, blood related to his mother. If he was not mistaken, it belonged to his grandfather. It that were so then the blood of his parents would have to have been shed here when she was near sixteen in human years, his father in his twenties. Very young for inuyokai. “What is this place?” he asked, his golden gaze meeting her amber one. She had no time to reply.
The sound of rubble falling made them search the room for the sound with the exception of the lady of the west, her eyes remained on the scene below. Vivid green eyes snapped open, skin like liquid jade was revealed as the stone fell away. Kagome had an overwhelming sense of foreboding. Then snake struck fast, devouring the remnants of Naraku in a flash of its jaws. A large piece of the jewel floated unnoticed to the mossy ground. Years of fighting and searching ending with in one instant, what dangers now would the future hold?