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The Dread Servant by Walter205

Chapter 1

 Dirt was scuffled from the floor as the quiet procession entered into the hut. The ladies busied themselves with preparing the feast while the children and young adults gathered a few things before heading back out to play in the general area of the village. The men settled themselves around the growing fire and glanced at each other uncomfortably for a moment before staring at either the women or the fire, depending on their level of perversion.


 "Not much has changed in the past five years. Demons continue to repopulate and threaten the human villages, but they still aren't anywhere near in number compared to five years ago," stated Inuyasha softly while looking into the dancing flames.


 "Hmnnn. So tell me brother, how has your relationship with the priestess gone as of late?" asked Sesshomaru in a dead serious voice.


 Inuyasha sputtered before blushing.


 "What the hell do you care asshole?" he rhetorically growled out in response.


 Sesshomaru merely smiled in response, the one corner of his lip lifting upwards in a rare show of amusement. It'd been years since he had been involved in a decent battle and his rare forms of amusement these days came from badgering his younger half-brother. Not even abuse of his loyal and too loud retainer brought him much excitement, the novelty from years ago having long worn off.


 His gaze turned upwards from the fire to the roof of the hut as his thoughts turned inwards. His brother had a willing companion that traveled with him all the time and would probably one day be his mate. Although female demons would occasionally fawn over him, they always did so for all the wrong reasons which more often than not led to their demise from his clawed hands. He would never admit it anyone but he yearned for the days that Kagura would spend with him; not-so subtlety trying to use him to free herself from Naraku, wondering what life would be like if he was courting or even mated to her now. Perhaps they would even have strong pups and she would be living in his mother's castle of the skies now raising them while he patrolled the lands to keep them clear of troublesome demons.


 He would have to admit though; he did enjoy seeing Rin every year at these little reunions. She was quickly blossoming into a fine young woman and was already the age of the miko back when she was transported into this ancient time. Already she attracted the stares of other men in the village but those stares were often adverted with the time she spent with Kohaku. Often when he returns to the village for one reason or another she is there to cook him a meal, offer him comfort, and even spend time in seclusion with him inside her hut. He would shut out most of her gossip nowadays when he came to visit and drop off the occasional gift but when she first mentioned Kohaku he had leaned forward in interest.


 Rin caught her lord staring at the ceiling and sighed softly to herself. It seemed like everyone had a prospective partner to spend their lives with. Kouga had Ayami, Inuyasha had Kagome, Miroku had Sango, and even she had Kohaku if she could get him to open up a little more. A thick curtain of guilt was still wrapped around his heart and probably always would be but with each demon he slayed that had shared with him the bond of killing humans another silken thread from that curtain would become unraveled and allowed the raw emotion beneath to heal just a little more and a little faster. One day soon she promised to herself that if he didn't become more involved with her then she would become more involved with him, even if it meant striking him over the head with a large and heavy rock. Her lord though, these days the only one to share with his travels was Jaken. She pitied her lord Sesshomaru indeed. Perhaps sensing her gaze and definitely her thoughts, she saw Sesshomaru glance down and narrow his eyes at her. Startled, Rin nicked the corner of a finger with the knife she was using to fillet the river trout.


 Kohaku's ears perked up when he heard her muttered exclamation of "Ow!". He knew that voice very well and sure enough when he looked up he saw Rin sucking gently on one of her fingers, apparently having nicked it with a knife. He saw Kagome drop what she was doing and scurry over to assist. Sensing an opportunity to approach the young maiden that he'd been smitten with as of late, he got up from his place by the fire and went over by their side.


 "If you don't mind Kagome, I'll help with Rin's cut," said Kohaku softly while working to cover a slight blush rising up from the bottom of his cheeks. Kagome looked at him for a moment, and then nodded before lowering her head and returning to her work. Kohaku gently pulled Rin's finger from her mouth and inspected it for a moment.


 "Just a minor cut. I'll wrap it up," he said to Rin while avoiding the surprised gaze that she was sending in his direction. He worked quickly and diligently to wrap her finger up while both of them increasingly turned red considering the company they were keeping; both would've preferred to do this sort of thing in private. Although both hoped that no one was paying any attention, all of the males and a couple of the females were keeping one or both eyes on the couple while they worked to hide smiles that threatened to expand from the corners of their mouths. Some had only heart of their growing relationship from others and were experiencing their interactions for the first time. You could tell that no was displeased by the current events save perhaps for Jaken, but then again what didn't displease the little Imp?


 Kagome had hid her face from the two to hide her full blown smile. She was very pleased at Kohaku's intervention. It was about time that he'd taken some initiative instead of letting Rin do most of the work in their growing relationship. After all, it reminded her a little too much of her own ongoing predicament with a certain half-demon sitting in the cramped room right now. How long was it going to take to get Inuyasha to commit to her? Kikyo had been gone for years now but it seems like the pain of losing her was still causing him hesitation, particularly when it came to trusting her fully. She was starting to believe that perhaps he would never fully trust anyone ever again and she knew that it would cause problems, but perhaps it was time to work past those problems instead of giving them more and more time.


 She and Sango combined their ingredients with Rin's to form the stew that was now being put on to boil. With their work mostly done, the women settled down next to their respective men to keep them company. Normally Kagome would've sat next to Inuyasha right side, but instead she sat to his left, directly in between him and Sesshomaru. She sent him a smile briefly when he glanced up at her and gave a typical brief "Hmnnn" in response before their interaction ended. Kagome placed her hand upon Inuyasha's own and they wrapped them together, holding on tightly. Sighing softly, she rested her head upon his shoulders as they all waited for the dinner to finish cooking.


 *            *             *


 Lord Aiya had listened with intent to everything the old man had to say. The tale was incredible if the legend was true and with the amount of power the young demon possessed would make Aiya incredibly powerful if he were able to control it, enough so that he could dispose of the other lords and unite the lands of Nippon under his rule as Shogun.


 "Akiboshi, I command you to rise at once. You are not to speak of this to anyone else but I will now dispatch you to carry out the quest. If you succeed you will be richly rewarded, enough so that you will be able to live and carry out all those research ambitions you've told me about as a noble," commanded Lord Aiya in a booming voice.


 "Yes milord, I shall depart at once," Akiboshi responded with a quivering voice. His body was shaking in excitement. Very soon he would be free of this blubbering but powerful fool and would be on his own to carry out his desires. All he had to do was find the cursed Kappa and break the curse. He couldn't wait to see what would happen then, for he would enjoy the fallout for as long as he lived, even if that was for a very short time.


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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