Transit Umbra, Lux Permanet by ChaoticReverie
It's been too long since I wrote anything for Inuyasha. I hope you guys can forgive me for my lapse. I've been caught up with my other stories and work, and I was looking through all of my ideas for stories to write and I couldn't really decide for a long time. Finally settled on this one. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Inuyasha, and I am writing this purely for enjoyment; there is no profit in this.
The witch nodded, peering at the sinister being who'd enlisted her services. While her vision may have been poor, she could still see the darkness that emanated from him in waves. Gesturing to the cave with one gnarled hand, she assured him, "Yes, their resting place lies within."
"Good. Take me there."
His tone may have been gentle, and his face deceptively calm, but she could sense the threat he left unspoken. Her hesitation was obvious, for she knew the dangers that were hidden away, deep in the earth, and could sense that his intentions were impure. Yet refusing would surely mean her death, along with the deaths of her family members, so she was left with little choice. She would simply have to hope that he'd be satisfied with a mere confirmation, and trust that the power dwelling here was strong enough to repel him if he was not.
Nodding, she turned and began to descend into the cave, moving gingerly as she went. She could not hear the demon, but she could feel him following, feel the anticipation leeching from him. Akaito frowned, her wrinkled mouth pulled taut as considered the dark male who shadowed her. He was dangerous, this one.
The air grew hot and humid, and she swiped a hand across her weathered brow, nearly stumbling as it became difficult to breath. It had been some time since she'd made this walk, and her old bones ached with every step. Eventually the narrow crevice fanned out into a sizeable cavern, at the center of which was an altar. Upon it four urns were arranged, three in the front, and the largest behind them. A sutra was placed on each one.
A deep hum filled the silence, and the demon male stepped up alongside her.
"How is it that you came to know of this place?" she wondered aloud. In all her days guarding this cave no one had ever found their way to it, the magic used to conceal it a potent thing that had never wavered.
"My eyes and ears are everywhere," he informed her casually. "There is little I do not know."
"Regardless, we mustn't linger," Akaito instructed, watching him closely. "You have seen the truth of it. Let us be off."
His smile was disconcerting, and he took a step toward the alter. "I didn't come for merely a glance."
Akaito watched as he reached for it, her old heart stuttering, but then the barrier flared, repelling his hand. She took a steadying breath. "You cannot touch them; the power that holds these spirits at bay is ancient. But you must have known this…"
He chuckled, staring down at his singed flesh as it repaired itself. "Indeed, but I wished to test its limits for myself."
The old witch frowned, uncertainty gripping her. The flickering light from the lanterns cast eerie shadows throughout the cavern, and for a moment the inky sheet of his hair looked alive, like writhing serpents. He turned, and his blood-hued eyes were menacing.
"My nature prevents me from touching them… but you are not hindered by such things."
Akaito took a defiant step backward. She had cared for this place for most of her life, and her mother before her, and her mother before her. Their souls were linked to the magic that held the seal in place, their power granted to them by the one who'd erected it many lifetimes ago. She was indeed permitted to touch them, but what he was suggesting… she would never do. It was her duty, her family's duty, to ensure the barrier placed upon these relics stayed intact.
"Nothing you do or say could persuade me to do such a thing. Should you choose to kill me the barrier will remain unbroken regardless."
His responding laughter was a deep and terrifying thing, filling the cavern with its sonorous presence. "No matter. I do not require your permission; all I need is your hands."
The dark mass of his hair shifted, and she realised with a horrified start that it was indeed moving. Before she had a chance to react several thick tendrils shot toward her, twisting around her brittle limbs and pulling her forward. She fought them, oh, how she fought them, but her body was aged, and her power was no match for his. "You mustn't! These creatures will destroy all in their path!"
He smiled at her, his face misleadingly serene. "Which is precisely why I came to this place. By adding their power to my own, my desire to cloak this world in chaos will finally be realised."
She felt something pierce her skin, felt herself becoming helpless to resist as a foreign presence invaded her mind. The warning she wanted desperately to utter died in her throat. He didn't know, couldn't possibly know the evil he was about to unleash wasn't something that could be tamed. It would consume everything… even him.
Naraku's smile only grew as he watched the jewel's influence take hold of her, her mind now firmly in his grasp.
"Remove the seal," he ordered, releasing her from his grip.
Without a word she approached the alter and passed through the barrier, reaching for the largest urn. She took hold of it, and with all the force her mortal body was able to muster she lifted it over her head and smashed it against the carved stone.
There was a second of complete silence, and for a brief moment Naraku wondered if she had deceived him. But his doubt was quickly dissipated when a torrent of dark power exploded outward, throwing the old witch to the ground like a doll. The sutras placed upon the other three urns dissolved beneath the onslaught of malevolent energy, and then they too shattered. A dark mist seeped from the broken shards and onto the floor, snuffing out the light from the lanterns.
Anticipation mounting, the spider hanyou stepped forward, preparing his flesh to accept these newly freed spirits. He'd heard stories of what these beings were capable of, and with their might infused into his nearly invincible form, he would crush all of his enemies and claim their shards for himself.
He reached out, trying to find something, anything to grasp onto, but there was only the mist. When it touched his skin it burned him and he withdrew, hissing at the pain. It was shockingly cold, so cold that it stripped the flesh from his fingers, boring into his bones and filling him with something he was not used to feeling. Fear.
A laughter came from within the fog, long and mocking. Realising he'd miscalculated and knowing his life would be forfeit if he remained any longer, the hanyou glanced at the unconscious body of the witch, spearing into her with a slithering tendril of hair to retrieve the shard. Her eyes flew open, her mouth stretching wide in a garbled cry as he extracted the jewel fragment. His barrier flared to life around him, and without hesitation he fled, leaving the witch to be devoured by the fog.
Akaito screamed again as a burning cold encompassed her body, slithering into her lungs. She felt herself slipping, and silently she prayed.
I have failed in my task, oh gods, and in doing so I have allowed a terrible evil to be reborn into this world. I ask not for forgiveness, for I do not deserve it. I pray that there is a being in existence who can undo the wrong I have done; someone who can seal this darkness away once more. Give them strength, whoever they are, for the battle ahead will surely be trying.
The cold filled her completely, and then she was numb, and the last vestiges of her life slipped away.
If anyone is curious, the title translates to 'Shadow Passes, Light Remains'.