I do not own Inuyasha. I've decided to continue this fic I originally took down. It keeps bothering me in my head, haha. I wanted to take it down and edit it a little more. This fic is not for the faint of heart. In essence, this is a tragedy and has many dark and disturbing themes. Do not read or review if you have any triggers for any kind of violence or depression. If you like the story, please go ahead and review and make my day!
As he read the reports of his agent that oversaw his territory, the Daimyo's stern war-ravaged face frowned. He continued to peruse until he slammed the rolled parchment on the table before him, cursing the blasted object. Relaxing his face into an emotionless mask, he gestured a slight nod to his agent standing on the other side of the dim candle-lit chamber.
"Bring the traitor, Higurashi!!!" The voice of a samurai screamed into the chilly night air. A group of thirty men, dressed in strong-plated armor padded inside with warm cotton, surrounded the Higurashi estate on horseback prepared to attack and bring Lord Higurashi back to their daimyo. Shouting and raising their war flags, they charged the estate. Any servant or warrior that stood in their way died a painful death.
A skilled archer shot a flaming arrow that pierced the shouted, shuffling outside to create a human barricade to protect their lord and his family. Some screamed and cried for mercy before the warriors slaughtered their pleas. It did not occur to Kagome that the estate was under attack until her shoji screens opened and revealed Kagome's attendant. The gravity of the situation hit her full force as she jumped out of her soft bedding. The attendant quickly entered, barely dressed, wearing a simple night kimono. She grabbed her mistress's cloak and covered her in a panicked state.
“Hurry, Lady Kagome!” She cried, fear evident in her eyes.
"Protect our lord!!!" New sounds of clashing swords echoed in the courtyard, sending Kagome's attendant, Hana, into more of a panicked frenzy.
Understanding Hana's sheer terror, Kagome did her best to ease Hana's fear of death. Kagome took her shaking hands within her own, forgetting her own worries. She soothingly rubbed them from their chilly night air.
"Hana, calm yourself!" Kagome calmly whispered to her. "Our men will protect us, no matter what! Let us find Souta or Haha-ue. We must make sure they are safe!"
Kagome acted quickly and blew out all the lanterns in the room, making sure any movement remained undetected. Facing away from Hana, she lifted a large plainly decorated tapestry of the Anointed Miko, Midoriko, near a small little shrine decorated with offerings to the Gods and the Protectors of the Higurashi household.
Lifting the tapestry, she revealed a hidden entrance to a secret passageway, which led to a staircase heading underground. The staircase connected to a network of tunnels and was the safest way to travel between Kagome’s and Souta's chambers. When they found Souta, they would also find her mother and father. After lowering the tapestry carefully back in place, Kagome locked the doors as quietly as possible. Thankfully, no sound indicated someone was ever in her room as they made their daring escape. However, her fears were far from over.
"Since the traitors won't show themselves. Burn the manor to the ground!" shouted an enemy commander from above them. His horse whined into the night air.
Hana began to hyperventilate as irrational fear clogging her lungs.
Back facing forward, Kagome lifted a lantern that she lit as the samurai made his threats.
"Keep Focus, Hana.” Kagome reminded. “Let us move quickly."
Kagome took Hana’s hands as they both began to run through the tunnels, coughing at the smoke from the fire upstairs. Running toward any exit, they knew not to stop at any time, carefully watching for any obstacles on the rocky floors. Otherwise, they would condemn themselves to death. Fortunately, Kagome spotted another route away from Souta's chamber. Knowing that they would suffocate if they headed toward Souta's chambers, Kagome grabbed Hana’s hand and, begrudgingly, led Hana towards the exit that connected their family shrine to the outside world in the opposite direction of her brother’s room.
Outside, to the relief of both Kagome and Hana, were Lord and Lady Higurashi and Souta. Lady Higurashi busted out in tears at the sight of Kagome exiting the family shrine. "Oh, thank Goodness!" Lady Higurashi cried out, clutching Kagome to her chest. "The Gods surely have taken pity on us."
Glad to see her family alive, she ran toward her little brother. Thank the Gods! She had not failed him as an older sister. Souta remained in a state of shock, undetected by his family.
Kagome gathered herself and let herself feel everything congested in her heart. Tears flowed down her face. "Chichi-ue," she sobbed. "Why are those men calling you a traitor?"
Kagome's father looked down at his distraught daughter with sadness in his eyes. Unable to explain to her the gravity of such news, he sighed in defeat.
''You should know…..no…you all should know that an informant of mine, a close comrade in arms, came to me shortly before our house came under attack. He informed me that I am accused of treason. A report from our Lord spies heavily accused the Higurashi clan of collusion with some local monks in our territory to overthrow our Lord. None of this is true. However, this does not change the fact that someone is after my head."
Lord Higurashi's eyes grew very grim.
"I am not ready to surrender myself until I can find evidence of my innocence. I understand it is cowardly to flee from those who would wish us harm. However, I can not freely enter the underworld, knowing that I could not bring the Higurashi name to justice."
"My Lord," Lady Higurashi said, her voice wavering. "I understand the honor of the Higurashi clan is on the line. However, I must think of the safety of my children and myself. How can you guarantee our safety?"
After holding his breath, Lord Higurashi sadly claimed. "I can not." Lady Higurashi whimpered in terror.
"But if we are to survive,” Lord Higurashi scowled inwardly as he continued. “We must head west and board a ship to the Continent. Lady Higurashi's father will meet us at his manor where we will stay as we make plans to clear the Higurashi name," he explained.
"My lord," Hana interrupted as she silently listened to the conversation of the family she served. "Heading toward the West is a dangerous journey. Fierce Mononoke and spirits inhabit it. Rumor has it that a demon sits on a throne. To voyage to those lands is nothing but a suicide mission."
Lord Higurashi's lips straightened into a line. Knowing that his loyal servant was right, he regrettably made a decision. "Hana, you have served this family for many years. But we can not continue to sponsor you. We are refugees. Not far from here is a quaint village. No one would know your face nor suspect that you served the Higurashi family. I hereby release you from servitude.
"My Lord," she cried in disbelief. She had always served the Higurashi family ever since childhood. How could the Lord dismiss her in such perilous times?
Kagome placed her hands on Hana's shoulders. "Hana, while this may look like an act of cruelty, Chichi-ue wishes to preserve your life. You would be in danger and accused of aiding fugitives."
Sobbing in defeat, Hana acknowledged her Lord's mercy. She cried, "I shall never forget how the Higurashi family preserved my life. I shall aid you with your innocence." She then did a final bow as she disappeared into the forest to the small village.
Souta, petrified from all the chaos and disorder, finally spoke, "What do we do next, Chichi-u…."
But before he could finish speaking, a noise rattled from the forest bushes. Sending all the Higurashi family into a state of panic. Lord Higurashi, preparing to defend his family, grabbed one of the two swords from his left hip and unsheathed it in haste. Lady Higurashi withdrew a concealed dagger from the inside of her outer kimono, ready to protect her children. Kagome embraced Souta protectively.
Emerging from the bushes was a sight of sore eyes. One of their most trusted warriors, Kenta, found them.
"My Lord,” Kenta sighed in relief. “I had a feeling that I could find you here. Some of the men are gathered in a discreet location after fleeing from the attack. We must make haste!"
Before following Kenta, the Higurashi family gazed amongst each other, understanding that their lives would forever be altered.