Shikyomi appeared first, cleaning the blood from her claws as she hummed. Tsuyoi came a few moments later a lot more subtly, all traces of their killing spree gone from her.She came and bowed before Sesshomaru.“My lord, there were twenty men in black robes. Your lady mother discovered that the enemy waits in the deep south. When this group was last with them, the held forty dark priests, a yokai mage, and a few hundred snakekin followers. Hisuhebi leads this faction himself. His is waiting in an ambush position for your arrival.”
Sesshomaru nodded.“This one expected as much.Did the filth give an exact location?”
“They did, good little lambs to the slaughter.” It was Shi that answered, “So obvious a setup is pitiful, really. We can expect at least double those numbers.” Her grin was sharp and piercing as her mind filled with gleeful images of the ensuing carnage. Though she moved not an inch, it seemed as if her whole form was vibrating with the desire to rend and tear into the flesh of Hisuhebi and all who would join with him.
They all looked toward Sesshomaru, but it was Inuyasha who voiced their thoughts, looking somewhat smug, “So, what the hell are we standing here for?”
It did not take long for them to find their way. Barely a full day had passed before they found the markings that the snake meant for them to follow. Continuing forward with confidence and perhaps a touch of arrogance, they willingly took the bait offered to them.
They were surrounded, feeling the enemy’s presence close the gap behind them. The stage was soundly done, having them on low ground with high trees and cliffs on either side. It was only when the trap was well and set that Hisuhebi revealed himself to them. Winding his way down into the valley, he rose before them in full yokai form. The silence was deafening.
Shikyomi smirked, letting amused chuckles spill from her lips and bounce off the natural walls around them.“Now this one sees,” poorly guarded hilarity still in her tone, “My son, we should have been hunting a vain mouse, crouching in his hole, instead of a snake. This would have been over far more quickly.” The great jade scales were now crisscrossed with scars and large bite marks inflicted upon him by Katsumi.Kagome’s arrow had not allowed him to heal properly. Shi could almost feel her den mother’s laughter and see the sharp edge of her smile in those marks.
“Should an inuyokai really use a jab at vanity?” Sango wondered out loud as she leisurely pulled her weapon from her back, Kirara flaming, ready to take her skyward at the slightest movement.
“I think they may be entitled to their vanity, my love,” Miroku commented while looking over the inu’s present.“even the males are ridiculously gorgeous.”
“Better keep an eye on him, Sango,” Inuyasha said, unsheathing his sword, “he’ll be after the boys now too.”
Even Kagome had to smother a smile at their banter and Miroku’s sputtering denial. It was a way of teasing each other, of course, but also proved to anger the enemy at their indifference to his presence. From the sight of Hisuhebi’s glowing eyes, it was working quite well.
“You will die today, worthless bitch!” Hisuhebi hissed out, his tail slamming in fury.“Your blood is mine.”
“Mother,” Sesshomaru said before she could attack, “Do go amuse yourself among the fodder, this challenge belongs to this one.”
“As you will, my son, as you will…” Shi replied with obvious reluctance. He was right, this was now his war and destiny to destroy her life-long enemy. She would not have given her pray up for anyone else. In an explosion of brilliant green flames, the great inuyokai bounded into the trees. Capturing several of the mask covered snake kin and black robed priests up in her massive jaws, she made a game of catch until the toys fell to pieces at her feet.
Like the lifting of a veil, the peaceful day shattered as they all moved at once. Kagome took a step back, allowing her mates to stand before her. She would need distance for her part of this battle. Miroku stood by her as well, both trying to keep track of the dark priests that scattered across the land like black beetles revealed to light. Sango and Tsuyoi covered them from the back, catching any stray that somehow managed to slip passed Shi.
Sesshomaru and Inuyasha focused their attention on Hisuhebi. Though he was angry at the taunts that had been tossed his way, the snake seemed reluctant to engage them.Inuyasha’s Tetsusaiga brightened, ghost white flames crawling up the blade in anticipation. “Come on creepy bastard, let’s get this over with.”
The massive snake hissed at him, the sound like steam venting, but his attention still seemed to be focused elsewhere. It did not take them long to realize that he was watching Kagome, waiting for some unknown reason.
Kagome felt strange. There was a presence that she just could not find the source of, but it felt oily, thick and dark like tar pulling at one’s feet. “Miroku?” she turned toward him slightly, “do you feel that?”
“It’s a mage,” he said with certainty, “probably yokai. Be careful.” The monk watched the high walls, trying to find the auras source. Whatever was coming, it was going to be bad.
Kagome gasped, drawing the attention of her mates. To the west of them, a large ebony wave rose, covering the land like storm surge from the ocean. It hovered over the ground, leaving the snakes followers untouched before falling over them, seeming to strike the priestess full on and dazing her protectors in the process. Then as swiftly as it came, the mass was gone along with Hisuhebi and Kagome, her mates left sense blinded by magic.
Miroku laid low, tracking the mage. Inuyasha and Sesshomaru stood back to back, trying to throw off the spells effects while guarding against any attack. He had to find the magic user and release them. A sharp movement to the right drew his attention as a small robed figure walked toward to two inu, his movements silent and purposeful. The monk stood between it and them, his staff slightly gleaming as his spiritual power rose.
Orange eyes glowed from beneath the brown hood as the creature rose a wand of his own, a black orb hovering at its tip. Fire shot from it, bouncing off Miroku’s hastily raised barrier. Gathering a handful of sutras, he whispered across them, tossing them in the mages direction. Brilliant flashes of bright green sparked around it, the light fanning out, forming a shimmering cage.
A chattering, bird like sound came from the hooded figure as he struck the binding with his staff causing shrill noises like that of blades glancing off each other to fill the small battleground. Miroku waited, staff at the ready, for the yokai to free himself.
The wall of light fell. Both he and his opponent were surprised when a large boomerang cut between them, knocking the rod from the creature’s hand. Swiftly, Miroku stomped on it, disgusted to see that it was fashioned of bone, the loud cracking sound sent shivers down his spine. Glancing at the inu, he was glad to see them free, already racing off toward the south.
A slight rustling was his only warning as the mage rose, a dagger naked in its gloved hand. Miroku turned, but could not avoid the blow, the blade sinking into his unguarded side all the way to the hilt. As he fell, he could hear Sango screaming for him and see the flash of Tsuyoi’s sword as she severed the mage’s head from his body.
Kagome found herself thrust to the floor, the black wave having caught her up in it somehow.She was aware, but disconnected, her body having been transported by the dark magic that had engulfed her.Unwilling to remain on the cold stone, she pushed herself up on her knees.
Like striking cobra’s, she felt the heaviness of metal cuffs snap around her wrists, though she felt no presence near her. The massive weight of them nearly pulled her back down onto the grounds hard surface. One by one, candles burst into life, revealing the dismal chamber. It made her aware that her eyes were opened, searching the endless shadows even when she had not been conscious of it.
A low rustle drew her attention to the rooms other occupant. Slowly, row by row of massive scales collapsed into themselves, revealing Hisuhebi’s more human form.She glared at his performance, knowing he could have simply appeared that way as he had done before. No, this was to show her that he had no fear, not of her nor of being discovered by her mates.
The greenish yellow irises held a flame of their own, the sickening colors rolling as his eyes raked over her form.“how do you like them?” he asked casually, stretching easily, the marks of Katsumi still well visible on his skin.“You should feel honored.The last to wear those shackles was the great lotus herself.She must be having fond memories of them even now as she lurks there in the back of your mind.”
Kagome let him ramble on, ignoring the jabs he was taking. She carefully tried to lift her bound hands, the links and large cuffs a constant strain on her muscles.
“Coinsidentally, my pet, my aunts also wore them for a time. From the moment of their capture until the moment of their deaths.”Standing just out of the range of the chains, he added, “I can only imagine that it will be the same with you.”
Keeping steady pressure on her wrists, Kagome looked up at him, defiantly rolling her eyes.“Why is that?” she asked as though bored with him.
“Because you are weak. You did not ask for this, to be drawn into the inuyokai’s world.”His voice became condescending in a mockery of soothing tones.“Why should you have to suffer continually for them? I would give you peace, if you allowed me to.” He held out his hand beseechingly, “All you have to do is come to me.”
“As appealing as that does not sound, I have no desire for death, gracious thanks,” came her sarcastic replay as she forced her body up another inch. She would make it to her feet, be damned if she would remain on her knees in from of this monster. Kagome could feel her aura settling, having been momentarily disrupted by her slight trip.It eased her discomfort and allowed assurance to grow within her.
Hisuhebi clicked his tongue.“I suppose you think you can get free.To beat me, kill me as if some inu prophecy made it possible.” He chuckled, “Then call your bow, little priestess.Let us put it to the test.”
She thought on it. Kagome could call for Danketsu, the power might had been able to break her bindings, but she was uneasy. He wanted her to draw the bow. There was more going on than what her eyes could see, what her hands could touch, and what her ears could hear. Allowing those senses to fade, she felt them. Dark lights were above them, each holding a point of power. If she called the bow, he would attempt to unmake it.
“you poor little girl. Do you fear me too much to even protect yourself?” he opened his arms, the dark green robes he wore ruffling with the action.“I will even give you an opening to prove just how helpless you are.”
Kagome laughed, the sound echoing around them. Her power swirled beneath her skin, flowing in a vibrant purple throughout her body, seeming to bite at the chains that held her. “You are an arrogant fool.” She stood, her back tall and strong, ignoring the weight that tried to drag her back down again. “I am so much more than you will ever comprehend. I am a bride, the Shikon maiden. I am a priestess, bringing the light to the darkness. I am a keeper of time, the past, present and future all meet within me.” Her words grew stronger as she talked, taking a step closer to him. “I am a purifier, slayer of all that would be evil. You cannot begin to understand what there is in me. Your words are meaningless.”
“ridiculous woman,” he bit out, “you think that the fate of one simple human is more than I? That your wretched destiny will save you?”
The sound of two steady hearts, beating as one, raced toward them. she could feel them above as their bond surge in place, whatever spell the snake had set unable to overcome it.Kagome smiled. “It is not my destiny alone.”
An eruption of rending earth, the rock and debris raining down upon them, revealed the great white inu, glaring down with blood raged eyes. The figure in red leapt from his back, slaying those in pitch robes as he went. She could feel their darkness snuff out as the beautiful beast landed behind her, focused intently on the enemy before them. Soon after, Inuyasha joined them at her side, severing the thick chains. They rang dully as the fell to her feet, instantly freeing her from the burden of their weight.
Glaring hatefully, Hisuhebi began his transformation, quickly resuming his true body. He struck at them suddenly, only to be blocked by Sesshomaru. He tossed the serpent back into the wall, teeth gleaming in a menacing grin.
Kagome reached behind her, pulling the Danketsu from where it rested between plains. Drawing it back, she could feel its power flow through her, the touch of Hasumi and her mates clear in its resonance. The arrow that formed was near blinding in the dark cavern, the luminous purple dancing like a wildfire in the night.
Hisuhebi moved swiftly, attempting to flee while trying to kill one of them in the process. Kagome held her ground, even when he appeared before her, determined to end her life and the threat she represented. He met with Inuyasha’s blade, tearing a crimson line down his belly. Taking the opportunity, the priestess released, watching as the light arced, striking the snake in the jade diamond that marked his forehead.
As the blood poured from his wound, Hisuhebi attempted to flee, dark thoughts of future revenge already filling his mind. Inuyasha jumped, rising high above his twisting body, plunging the Tetsusaiga into the scaled flesh, pinning him to the unforgiving stone.
Sesshomaru’s massive paw came down upon his thrashing neck, teeth dripping in acid as he tore his triangular head away from his body. His dying shrieks faded as the once vibrant scales greyed, crumbling to fine powder as it moved up his form until it reached the severed head, those eyes filled with animosity even in death. They watched silently as it disintegrated, making sure that he would not revive any longer.
The Danketsu began to fade as well, its purpose fulfilled. A surge of warmth covered Kagome. Hasumi was free, her and her mate’s burden finally lifted, allowing them to rest at long last. It was proof to her that he was well and truly dead, never to return to the world again.
It was only when Tsuyoi called down to them that she finally turned away.Inuyasha pulled her to him, leaping back through the large hole Sesshomaru had torn through the ground. They rushed to their friend’s side, passing Shikyomi on their way, the white inu having full intention of keeping the many promises she made to Hisuhebi in regards to his final resting place.