To Give Into Temptation

BY : MindlessMina
Category: InuYasha > Het - Male/Female > Naraku/Kagome
Dragon prints: 19479
Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha or any of it's characters. I own the plot however and the only payment received is those great reviews!

Chapter 18: A Fool’s Errand

 

She sighed again for what seemed like the thousandth time. It was rather quiet now that she was alone again. Kikyo wondered how she even put up with the silence to begin with. She remembered being a very silent person, but things were never quiet with Inuyasha around. Inuyasha…just his very name made her heart twist in pain.

‘I’m so sorry my love, but it was a lie…’

And it was. Everything that she told him about her self-imposed mission was a lie, and he should have realized that. However, he didn’t. No, he never questioned her, or her motives. Perhaps he should have, and he would have realized that there is no such simple solution to their problem. All is not simply saved by a magical scroll, but because she said it he believed her with no questions asked. She wondered if that was a good thing or not. Then again had he realized that she was truly on a fools errand, he would not have allowed her to go at all. That would have been a problem.

She needed to do everything in her power to make this work. The timing was convenient in an unfortunate way, Kagome turning up as she did. It would be unseemly to show herself at this time anyway. Kikyo knew that it would take time to work her way up to even being in the young woman’s presence let alone good graces. It was partially her own fault for even believing that Inuyasha had told the girl anything about them in the first place. As brave and courageous as her soul mate was, he hated confrontation with Kagome. He needed this time to atone for his misdeeds towards her, so that Kikyo could try to make amends later.

So here she was, making her way steadily towards the high peaks of an unknown mountain searching for a way to make her mating with Inuyasha real. They acknowledged each other as mates in the spiritual sense already, but due to her undead nature she was unable to remain marked by him for long periods of time. It was painful for them both, and what made matters worse was the fact that she could never bare him any children. Since she was a young woman, she’d always wanted a child. Her life as a priestess made that impossible, and she accepted her role with grace. Then she met Inuyasha, and suddenly those desires were spurned into life once more.

Of course their history ran its course, and it wasn’t until recently that she felt that primal urge to bare him children. To raise a family of their own. It was something that he gave up in order to keep her at his side. That’s when she knew that he did without any doubts love her if he would so willingly give up a fruitful future to be stuck in limbo with her. It was that exact reason why she sought an answer to how she could be restored.

There were stunningly few ways to bring one back from the dead for all of the magic’s that existed in the world. She knew of only one way that applied to her situation, but she shuttered just thinking about enacting it. What she did to sustain her current form was already bad enough; to even think about doing that…no, not even in her darkest days would have agreed to such an evil thing. There had to be another way and she would find it.

So far in her travels she had came across many a soul who possibly had an answer, but none of them were at all forthcoming. She had all but given up asking any monks or priestesses because they would simply stare at her in pity and tell her to just give up the life she now had so that her reincarnations would not suffer her transgressions. Then she went off the beaten path and found dark miko’s and demon sorceresses to give her a response. All of which decided to fight her as opposed to answer her question. Even as they gave up their final breaths they refused to answer with what they knew. Growing weary, Kikyo was wandering near the base of a large mountain when she felt the pull of very old and strong magic.

Now she found herself closing in on its location, the arctic temperature not affecting her in the least due to her terra cotta skin. The closer she got, the more she began to hope that this time her question would be met with an answer. If only she knew the price she’d pay for it.

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Nestled further up the mountain summit was a dank cave. It was lit lightly with candles and a large fire towards the back. A slim figure sat seiza in a light meditative state, her focus never waning on the task at hand. Too important were these messages she was receiving from the dead for her attention to be anywhere else. The woman gave off an eerie green aura, power laced thought every sleek muscle in her body. She wore a hooded cloak that covered the black kimono with enchanted rubies that were laced through it.

There was a time when she had no name. She was just the bastard child of a raped priestess who was left to die in the forest shortly after she had been weaned. It was then that in an act of profound compassion that she was taken in by none other than a demonic sorceress who had once lost her own child. Soon she showed signs of inheriting her birth mothers miko powers, and from then on the sorceress taught her all in the art of darkness. She taught her ancient spells, tricks, and languages, even how to defend herself physically if necessary. She taught her until there was nothing left to teach, and learn she did. She even became an unbelievably strong kuro miko in her own right and earned a name from her mother and master: Kinikuwanai.

It meant bitterness, and that is what she felt in her darkened soul for her birth mother and all others who were blessed with unearned happiness. One day her master was wounded to the point of death by a group of priestesses, and on her deathbed gave her the key to immortality. It was then that Kinikuwanai sought revenge for the only mother she’d ever known, and piece-by-piece tore apart every last one of those responsible for her death.

Centuries had passed since then, and she never lost her youthful appearance thanks to her mothers dying gift. Her powers were still bountiful and now a new priestess was roaming about killing off her kin. The spirits of her dead brothers and sisters in darkness warned her of who was coming her way. They told her of a priestess, a very strong undead priestess, who was seeking a cure to her unnatural life and destroyed all those who declined to give her a solution. Emerald eyes snapped open when that very same priestess aura became closer to her location.

‘Hm, it’s true then. This one is strong but so am I. She thinks that she can just do as she pleases for an answer does she? Well, bitch, lets just see if you can get anything out of me…’

Igniting her aura, Kinikuwanai knew that the undead one would sense it and head in her direction.  What that wench didn’t know was the hell that would be awaiting her once she arrived. The dead souls encompassing Kinikuwanai screeched for retribution and revenge, and by Sosa no wo no Mikoto she would be their reaper.

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Kikyo finally reached her destination, or at least she thought that she did. On a small ridge was the entrance to what appeared to be a kind of cave. Climbing up the stony wall she managed to pull herself upon the ledge and into the small opening. Half way through the outer tunnel she was able to stand up strait and saw what appeared to be lights at the other end. The closer she got, the more she could feel the taint of evil in the air and the power of the creature that inhabited this cave. It was tremendous, and she felt for the first time uncertainty of how this confrontation would end.

Finally reaching what seemed like a entryway of sorts, Kikyo slowly passed through and lightly flared her aura so that her presence was known. The crackling of a fire could be heard further back so she made her way there hoping to find its maker. When she did, she was taken aback by striking features that she possessed. There stood a tall and beautiful woman. Fair skinned, emerald eyes outlined in coal, thick and curly auburn hair fell like a curtain around her face, and ruby red lips that formed a malicious smirk. It was a stark contrast to her dark clothing.

“Priestess, what brings you here to my home.” Kinikuwanai asked, already knowing the answer.

“I come seeking answers, in hopes that you have them.” Kikyo said in an even tone although she felt as if she were being sized up by the dark miko ahead of her.

Sneering at her, the dark priestess spit out her reply. “You think that I don’t already know about your pathetic little plight? The spirits of those whom you slain encompass me, and have told why you are here Kikyo, former priestess of the Shikon Jewel. You’ve been searching all over, not unlike a lost kitten, for a way to walk amongst the living, as the living. Interesting how you, of all creatures- yes a creature is truly what you are – thinks that you deserve a full life.”

Her own temper flaring at the implications of the others words, Kikyo decided that she did not like this woman at all and that aggressive persuasion would be necessary. “It is hardly fair that you seem to know of me, but I have never heard so much as a whisper of yours. Could it be that your power is a rouse, and that is why no reputation proceeds you?”

“Quite the contrary, priestess.” Kinikuwanai hissed. “My power is only known to those who are my allies, and those whom I’ve killed. Care to guess which group you fall into?” tilting her head she regarded Kikyo shrewdly. “I can’t seem to fathom why you think that you deserve a second chance at life, doing what you do to remain on this plane.”

Seeing the twitch in Kikyo’s eyes at her statement, the dark miko kept going with her tirade.

“Ah, you thought that no one would really question your methods because they knew what you did. But did you ever tell anyone the truth of why…”

“That’s enough, I do not answer to the likes of you vile…” the undead priestess began but was unable to finish because she was cut off by the harsh laughter of Kinikuwanai.

“You haven’t, have you? Not even your half demon lover knows the real reason why you consume those souls. Did he never stop to realize that it is only the souls of pure, untouched, and innocent dead that you thrive on? Did he never stop to ponder that perhaps that is the only reason your own powers of purity are sustained? That for you to ever consume the life of…let’s say, a murderous and contemptuous soul, would dampen those holy power of yours?”

Pulling her bow taught with a holy arrow poised at the other person in the cave, Kikyo shouted. “Enough! I will hear no more of your taint!” but her eyes betrayed her shock at hearing the darkest secret in her soul.

“You speak as if this taint is not truth! Those poor souls whom you’ve snatched from finding nirvana due to your selfish wish to remain a priestess are being housed by you right now! Do they endlessly sustain you? No, they don’t and you know why. You alone know that it is because those souls are already dead. Now you search for the answer to a question that you already know the answer to. You’ve always known how it’s done, girl, and you’ll find no mercy from me.”

Kikyo’s hands were shaking. It was the first time that her deeds were truly known for what they were. The dark magic that kept her from death and kept her purity intact. It was so barbaric what she did to maintain her life as it is now, let alone how to make it whole.

“What’s so hard about that answer onna? Is it that you truly don’t know, or that you’re too much of a coward to do it yourself? How hard is it then to consume a still living innocent soul and kill its host? That’s all you must do to obtain the life you so desperately seek.”

“No, I would never do such an evil thing! There has to be another way!” Kikyo’s hands were sweating as her powers rose to the surface.

“There is no other way, bitch. And now that you truly understand your position I want you to know my name. It’s only polite that you know which name to curse as you die. Kinikuwanai. Now, back to the depths that spat you back out!” the dark priestess shouted as she sent a ball of black energy directly at Kikyo.

Jumping backwards and almost falling Kikyo managed to get a shot off, and although it hit its target, the dark priestess kept coming. For fifteen long minutes they flung attack after attack at each other neither one backing down or relenting. Finally Kinikuwanai made a fatal error in stepping on her own cloak tripping her up and Kikyo used that moment of surprise to take the upper hand. Taking the arrow in her right hand she charged it with every ounce of power she had and shoved it into the dark priestesses heart.  Stumbling backwards, Kinikuwanai looked down at the arrow protruding from her chest with shock.

‘Damn, I’ve been bested by a fucking priestess…’ she thought as she staggered to the floor near the fire. ‘Well, if you think that I will go quietly to the devil then you are dead wrong! No priestess bitch, I will rage!’

Before her dark light could be extinguished Kinikuwanai astral projected her soul out of her body and directly into Kikyo. The reaction was instantaneous. A pain so incredibly massive seized the undead priestess and dropped her to the ground writhing in agony. She couldn’t even scream it was so profound. Instead she lay thrashing upon the ground, feeling more pain then she could ever recount in this life or her first one.

She felt everything that was happening, the growth of bone, the attaching of tendons, and revitalizing of organs. Beneath the maddening torture, she heard the insane laughter or Kinikuwanai in the back of her consciousness. Whispering, taunting her.

‘How does it feel to house a living soul? Is it everything you’ve ever dreamed of dearest Kikyo? Go ahead, take it, take this vile soul and make it your own!’

She just wanted the pain to end; it hurt so much she couldn’t bear it. The voice kept on mocking her making the pain more intense.

…how dreadful to know that although you’ll have the flesh you crave, you will never be able to produce any fruit from it. That is my true gift to you priestess. To live out your days without that which you truly desire…’

Her skull was splitting in two. There was no other way to explain the devastating sensations in her head. If the pain goes on, she’s not sure she’ll make it.

‘…were it not for this small portion of pure soul that truly doesn’t belong to you, I would be your constant companion for all time, unfortunately my own corrupt nature can’t even begin to taint it. My consciousness will fade, but my revenge will be complete…’

She could feel the blood rushing through her veins and arteries to her heart and throughout her body, her pulse rushing with wild abandon as she fought to remember how to breathe through the agony she was trapped in.

‘…now you have the answer you sought, but I wonder if the price you’ve paid will be worth it in the end.’

Evil laughter reverberated throughout her mind as she finally succumbed to the tortuous pain and fell unconscious.

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Waking up was probably the worst experience that she had ever endured. A small whimper escaped Kikyo when she tried to sit up. Everything hurt, from each follicle of hair down to her toenails.

 

“Kami above, what’s happened to me…”

 

She was busy attempting to figure out how to sit up when it dawned on her...she could feel. That's not to say she couldn't before. She could still experience sensation, but it was all feather light. This was different, absolutely visceral in both literal and metaphorical aspects. The realization had her reeling.

 

“I’m…alive…alive…”

 

Braving the pain, she slowly sat up and realized that although she hurt it seemed to be ebbing with her wakefulness. Within the next hour she would likely be relieved of it, she approximated happily.

 

Taking in her surroundings she was at a bit of a loss. Where was she? Kikyo was never the forgetful type, so finding herself in this situation was baffling to say the least. It appeared to be a kind of cave if the rocky walls were any indication. There was a fire beside her that staved off the cold that she was sure to experience should she move from her position.

 

'How is this possible? What happened to me? I don’t remember how I got here. I remember seeking that powerful aura, climbing up the mountain...and then...oh dear kami...'

 

That was her last thought as the once undead priestess' mind exploded with memory and images of what she had just lived through. Flashes of Kinikuwanai, their conversation, the confrontation and finally the pain replayed in her minds eye. A spark passed through her eyes and she knew. It was like the last piece of a jigsaw came together. She knew then why she had true flesh.

 

She had consumed a living soul, unwillingly, but consumed it none-the-less. It was the soul of that despicable priestess. Once it forced itself into her, Urasue's design was truly complete. It's what Urasue had intended with Kagome's soul upon her clay body's creation, but it didn't happen because she called her soul back into her body before the boding could be completed. She, Kikyo, was now truly alive.

 

A small smile began to form on her face. She was truly alive; she and Inuyasha could finally have a real future together. For a brief moment she allowed herself a moment of joy, pure undiluted joy, because she would return to her love and tell him that they could be together completely now with nothing in the way.

 

A cold chill drove itself through the cave at that moment that made the fire flicker and set her into a fit of shivers. Looking around she realized that it was the main source of light aside from the small candles placed around the small cavern. She didn’t even flinch at the chill as she ascended the mountain, but things were different now. She needed to leave as soon as possible but she had nothing aside from the clothing on her person for warmth, and though they were the traditional wool of priestess garments and therefore thick she was still cold.

 

Scooting closer to the fire she noticed absently that her pain had faded to a mild discomfort already. After a moment of warming her hands, her eyes caught sight of a pile of fabrics a short distance from her.

 

Frowning she realized that they must have belonged to Kinikuwanai, and that apparently she'd been alive so long by magic that not even bone remained of her. After a quick visual perusal of the cavern, she noted that there were not other linens or covers of any kind. If she were to brave the cold outside to return to Inuyasha, she needed some kind of covering. The only things that she saw that were available for usage was the black cloak and kimono Kinikuwanai wore and the thick carpet-like fur that it was sprawled a top of.

 

“As tasteless as it is, I suppose I have no choice but to use them. If I remember correctly, I came upon her cave just after nightfall. I wonder what hour it is now.”

 

Standing slowly she took a candle off of the wall and walked to the cave's entrance. The closer she got to the exit, the more unnerved she became. It wasn't because of the cold that she could now feel in her bones at the altitude, but something else seemed to be nagging at the back of her mind. The sky seemed to be brightening, and the sun was just cresting the horizon. If she left now, she would make it off of the mountain before nightfall. Nodding her head in acceptance of her departure, she headed back towards the inner cavern.

 

She sat the candle back on its mantle and collected her discarded bow and arrows. Dropping to her knees beside the cloak, she said a prayer for the departed dark miko.

 

As she shook the cloak and kimono apart, a piece of the kimono fell into the fire’s flames. She expected it to catch but curiously, nothing happened. Eyebrows knitting together she wondered at the magic’s of the clothing. That tingling, off putting sensation that she had been feeling came back when she realized that the fire was truly not even a fire at all either.

 

It was flames, true, but they had no source. There were no wooden logs that powered it, no rocks that kept it in place. Taking a look at the several candles that littered the area she noticed that although they were lit, there was no wick and the wax was hardened and not even melting.

 

A feeling of dread passed over her in that moment. She was surrounded in a den of magic, powerful magic if they survived even after their creator had passed, but that isn't what frightened her.

 

The most disconcerting part of this was that though she was surrounded by this dark power, she could not feel it. She could not feel the dark aura that was surely feeding those fires, she couldn't feel that black haunting feeling that dwells in all dark miko's fortresses. Fighting a wave of nauseating panic, she tried to call her own powers to the surface. And failed.

 

The dark tendrils of fear began to seize hold of her as she tried again and again to call upon her reiki, with no success whatsoever.

‘What’s the meaning of this…’

It was then that the haunting last words of the kuro miko reverberated throughout her head…

‘How does it feel to house a living soul? Is it everything you’ve ever dreamed of dearest Kikyo? Go ahead, take it, take this vile soul and make it your own! How dreadful to know that although you’ll have the flesh you crave, you will never be able to produce any fruit from it. That is my true gift to you priestess. To live out your days without that which you truly desire. Were it not for this small portion of pure soul that truly doesn’t belong to you, I would be your constant companion for all time, unfortunately my own corrupt nature can’t even begin to taint it. My consciousness will fade, but my revenge will be complete. Now you have the answer you sought, but I wonder if the price you’ve paid will be worth it in the end.’

Kikyo’s stomach wrenched in pure anguish because now she truly understood what happened to her. She consumed a living soul, true, but it was dark and tainted. It granted her life, but at the expense of her pure power of reiki. That’s not what seized her heart though, but the thought of being barren was almost too much to bear. Her hand flew to her womb, knowing that without her powers, she would never know if what that cursed witch said was true.

She was once a powerful priestess, battle ready and valuable. Now she was an average mortal woman who was barren, and in today’s culture, completely worthless. It was then that her fragile hope was shattered, and the once calm and controlled priestess…screamed.

 

 

A/N: Oh, I had so much fun writing this. I wish that my Mac wouldn’t of taken a dump on me like it had done. I had this chapter all ready to go when my computer up and died. None of my old notes or anything were left. So this is that same chapter, only reinvented. Hope you all liked it!

- MindlessMina 



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