A Twist in the Myth

BY : Dunkelgelb
Category: InuYasha Crossovers > General
Dragon prints: 12979
Disclaimer: See full disclaimer in Chapter 1

Full disclaimer:

  1. InuYasha (the anime and manga series, as well as the character himself and all other characters/parts of the series) belongs to Rumiko Takahashi; I own no part of it.  I write this story for recreational purposes only and make no financial profit from it.
  2. The Avengers (Marvel) belongs to Marvel Studios; I own no part of it.  I write this story for recreational purposes only and make no financial profit from it.
  3. “A Twist in the Myth” is the title of the 2006 studio album by German band Blind Guardian, labeled by Nuclear Blast; I do not own the album.  I write this story for recreational purposes only and make no financial profit from it.  I selected “A Twist in the Myth” as the story title because it will serve as an alternative ending to InuYasha, a “twist” in InuYasha’s “myth.”  Some lyrics from the song “Fly” on the album reminded me of Kagura’s fate and some lyrics from the song “Another Stranger Me” reminded me of InuYasha’s relationship with his full demon self.
  4. Kuno, an OC oni featured in Chapter 14: Another Day, Another Oni and referred to at various times afterward, is named after the character Kuno from Rumiko Takahashi’s Ranma ½.
  5. Hentai is built into this story’s DNA, so I named my OC Sayaka after a playable character in the hentai fighting game Super Strip Fighter IV.  In Chapter 31: The Dark Bargain – pt. 2, I give the names of Sayaka’s junior priestesses, which I named after various characters in the hentai anime series Bible Black.
  6. All songs referenced are not my property, but are the property of their respective performing groups and recording labels, listed below.


List of songs referenced, by chapter:

  • Chapter 1: Year Thirteen
  1. Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Other Side (1995) – Imaginations from the Other Side.  Label: Virgin/Century Media.
  2. Judas Priest – Hell Bent for Leather (1979) – Delivering the Goods.  Label: Columbia.
  • Chapter 2: Within an Inn (Sex Happens)
  1. Black Sabbath – Mob Rules (1981) – Turn Up the Night.  Label: Vertigo/Warner Bros.
  2. Edguy – Kingdom of Madness (1997) – Paradise.  Label: AFM.
  • Chapter 3: Make Love, Not War
  1. Uriah Heep – Demons and Wizards (1972) – The Wizard.  Label: Bronze/Island/Mercury.
  • Chapter 4: Desecration of a Shrine, Destruction of a Village - pt. 1
  1. Dark Tranquillity – The Gallery (1995) – Mine is the Grandeur…/…of Melancholy Burning.  Label: Osmose.
  2. Iron Maiden – s/t (1980) – Prowler.  Label: EMI/Harvest/Capitol.
  • Chapter 5: Desecration of a Shrine, Destruction of a Village - pt. 2
  1. Arch Enemy – Stigmata (1998) – Sinister Mephisto.  Label: Century Media.
  2. Darkane – Rusted Angel (1998) – Bound.  Label: Relapse.
  • Chapter 6: Desecration of a Shrine, Destruction of a Village - pt. 3
  1. Darkane – Expanding Senses (2002) – Imaginary Entity.  Label: Nuclear Blast America.
  2. Darkane – The Sinister Supremacy (2013) – The Sinister Supremacy.  Label: Prosthetic Records.
  • Chapter 7: Damage Control - pt. 1
  1. Riot – Narita (1979) – Hot for Love.  Label: Victor/Capitol.
  2. Savatage – Power of the Night (1985) – Hard for Love.  Label: Atlantic.
  • Chapter 8: Damage Control - pt. 2
  1. Nevermore – Dead Heart in a Dead World (2000) – Narcosynthesis.  Label: Century Media.
  2. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony (2010) – The Wicked Symphony.  Label: Nuclear Blast.
  • Chapter 9: Reconciliation with a Priestess
  1. Savatage – Hall of the Mountain King (1987) – Hall of the Mountain King.  Label: Atlantic.
  2. Motörhead – Inferno (2004) – In the Black.  Label: SPV GmbH/Sanctuary.
  • Chapter 10: Resurrection of the Wind - pt. 1
  1. Opeth – Ghost Reveries (2005) – Ghost of Perdition.  Label: Roadrunner.
  • Chapter 11: Resurrection of the Wind - pt. 2
  1. Angel Witch – s/t (1980) – Angel Witch.  Label: Bronze.
  • Chapter 12: Resurrection of the Wind - pt. 3
  1. Blind Guardian – A Twist in the Myth (2006) – Fly.  Label: Nuclear Blast.
  • Chapter 13: Resurrection of the Wind - pt. 4
  1. Dark Tranquillity – The Mind’s I (1997) – Dreamlore Degenerate.  Label: Osmose.
  2. Dark Tranquillity – The Mind’s I (1997) – Hedon.  Label: Osmose.
  • Chapter 14: Another Day, Another Oni
  1. Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Other Side (1995) – Bright Eyes.  Label: Virgin/Century Media.
  2. Overkill – From the Underground and Below (1997) – Little Bit O’ Murder.  Label: CMC.
  3. Overkill – From the Underground and Below (1997) – F.U.C.T.  Label: CMC.
  • Chapter 15: Hanyou Ascension – pt. 1
  1. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony (2010) – Dying for an Angel.  Label: Nuclear Blast.
  2. Edguy – The Savage Poetry (2000) – Key to My Fate.  Label: AFM.
  • Chapter 16: Hanyou Ascension – pt. 2
  1. Darkane – Demonic Art (2008) – Wrath Connection.  Label: Nuclear Blast/Massacre.
  2. Edguy – Hellfire Club (2004) – Under the Moon.  Label: Nuclear Blast.
  • Chapter 17: Relapse – pt. 1
  1. Dark Tranquillity – The Mind’s I (1997) – Constant.  Label: Osmose.
  • Chapter 18: Relapse – pt. 2
  1. Demons & Wizards – Touched by the Crimson King (2005) – Dorian.  Label: Steamhammer.
  2. Dark Tranquillity – Skydancer (1993) – Through Ebony Archways.  Label: Spinefarm.
  • Chapter 19: Of a Miko and a Taijiya
  1. Opeth – Pale Communion (2014) – Eternal Rains Will Come.  Label: Roadrunner.
  2. Cauldron – Chained to the Nite (2009) – The Leaven/Fermenting Enchantress.  Label: Earache.
  • Chapter 20: Of a Miko, a Taijiya, and their Voyeurs - pt. 1
  1. Dark Tranquillity - Atoma (2016) - Clearing Skies.  Label: Century Media.
  2. Rainbow - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978) - Lady of the Lake.  Label: Polydor.
  • Chapter 21: Of a Miko, a Taijiya, and their Voyeurs - pt. 2
  1. Opeth - Still Life (1999) - Face of Melinda.  Label: Peaceville.
  2. Cauldron - Burning Fortune (2011) - Serpent Sorceress.  Label: Earache.
  3. Dark Tranquillity - Fiction (2007) - The Mundane and the Magic.  Label: Century Media.
  • Chapter 22: Yura Reborn, Kind Of
  1. Pentagram - Pentagram/Relentless (1985/1993) - Sinister.  Label: Pentagram/Peaceville.
  2. Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth (1997) - Freak.  Label: CMC International/Duelist Enterprises Ltd/Abril Music.
  • Chapter 23: Abduction
  1. Kamelot - Silverthorn (2012) - Torn.  Label: SPV/Steamhammer.
  2. Nightwish - Once (2004) - Wish I Had an Angel.  Label: Spinefarm/Nuclear Blast/Roadrunner.
  3. Nightwish - Wishmaster (2000) - Bare Grace Misery.  Label: Spinefarm/Drakkar/Toy's Factory/Century Media.
  4. Nightwish - Once (2004) - Live to Tell the Tale.  Label: Spinefarm/Nuclear Blast/Roadrunner.
  • Chapter 24: Prelude to the Union
  1. Dark Tranquillity - Haven (2000) - Ego Drama.  Label: Century Media.
  2. Dark Tranquillity - Construct (2013) - The Silence in Between.  Label: Century Media.
  3. Avantasia - The Metal Opera Pt. II (2002) - Memory.  Label: AFM.
  • Chapter 25: Union of the Packs - pt. 1
  1. Avantasia – The Metal Opera Pt. I (2001) – Avantasia.  Label: AFM/Century Media.
  2. Edguy – Space Police: Defenders of the Crown (2014) – Do Me Like a Caveman.  Label: Nuclear Blast.
  3. Symphony X – Paradise Lost (2007) – Eve of Seduction.  Label: Inside Out.
  4. Avantasia – Angel of Babylon (2010) – Symphony of Life.  Label: Nuclear Blast/ Fearless/Bodog.
  • Chapter 26: Union of the Packs - pt. 2
  1. Allen/Lande – The Battle (2005) – Truth About Our Time.  Label: Frontiers/Locomotive/Avalon/Hellion/Over the Rainbow.
  2. Allen/Lande – The Battle (2005) – Come Alive.  Label: Frontiers/Locomotive/Avalon/Hellion/Over the Rainbow.
  3. Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008) – Another Angel Down.  Label: Nuclear Blast.
  • Chapter 27: Union of the Packs - pt. 3
  1. Edguy - Kingdom of Madness (1997) - Heart of Twilight.  Label: AFM.
  • Chapter 28: Union of the Packs - pt. 4
  1. Ayreon - The Source (2017) - The Source Will Flow.  Label: Mascot Label Group.
  2. Dio - Dream Evil (1987) - Overlove.  Label: Warner Bros/Vertigo.
  • Chapter 29: Union of the Packs - pt. 5
  1. Avantasia - Ghostlights (2016) - Draconian Love.  Label: Nuclear Blast.
  2. Edguy - Mandrake (2001) - Painting on the Wall.  Label: AFM.
  3. Avantasia - The Wicked Symphony (2010) - States of Matter.  Label: Nuclear Blast.
  • Chapter 30: The Dark Bargain - pt. 1
  1. Bruce Dickinson - Accident of Birth (1997) - Taking the Queen.  Label: CMC International/Duelist Enterprises Ltd/Abril Music.
  2. Dark Tranquillity - The Mind's I (1997) - Dissolution Factor Red.  Label: Osmose.
  • Chapter 31: The Dark Bargain - pt. 2
  1. Candlemass - Nightfall (1987) - Gothic Stone / The Well of Souls.  Label: Axis.
  2. Darkane - Expanding Senses (2002) - Submission.  Label: Nuclear Blast America.
  • Chapter 32: The Dark Bargain - pt. 3
  1. Arch Enemy - Stigmata (1998) - Tears of the Dead.  Label: Century Media.
  2. Nonexist - Deus Deceptor (2002) - Idols & Fiends.  Label: Century Media/Toy's Factory.
  • Chapter 33: The Dark Bargain - pt. 4
  1. Nonexist – Deus Deceptor (2002) – Delirious Tongues.  Label: Century Media/Toy’s Factory.
  2. Pentagram – Pentagram/Relentless (1985/1993) – Run My Course.  Label: Pentagram/Peaceville.
  3. Pentagram – First Daze Here (The Vintage Collection) (Released 2001, recorded 1973) – Review Your Choices.  Label: Relapse.
  • Chapter 34: The Dark Bargain - pt. 5
  1. Candlemass - Nightfall (1987) - Black Candles.  Label: Axis.
  2. Overkill - Ironbound (2010) - The Goal is Your Soul.  Label: eOne Music/Nuclear Blast
  3. Nile - Annihilation of the Wicked (2005) - Lashed to the Slave Stick.  Label: Relapse.
  4. Danzig - Danzig III: How the Gods Kill (1992) - Do You Wear the Mark.  Label: Def American Recordings.
  • Chapter 35: Between the Brothers - pt. 1
  1. Rainbow – Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975) – Catch the Rainbow.  Label: Oyster/Polydor.
  2. Armored Saint – March of the Saint (1984) – Take a Turn.  Label: Chrysalis.
  3. Symphony X – Paradise Lost (2007) – Paradise Lost.  Label: Inside Out.


Sex scenes:

  • Chapter 2: Within an Inn (Sex Happens)

Setting: Kotobukiya inn.  Night.

  1. InuYasha/Kagome/Shizu (Kagome & Shizu oral on InuYasha)
  2. Miroku/Sango (Sango cowgirl on Miroku)
  3. Adult Shippo/adult Shiori (Shippo missionary on Shiori)
  4. InuYasha/Shizu (InuYasha missionary on Shizu)
  5. Miroku/Sango (69)
  6. Adult Shippo/adult Shiori/adult Shippo (Shippo and magic copy of Shippo DP Shiori)
  7. InuYasha/Kagome/Shizu (InuYasha in Kagome from behind, Kagome kiss/grope with Shizu)
  8. InuYasha/Shizu (InuYasha oral on Shizu)
  9. InuYasha/Kagome (InuYasha oral on Kagome)
  • Chapter 3: Make Love, Not War

Setting: Hilltop near Kotobukiya.  Night.

  1. Sesshomaru/adult Rin/InuYasha (Sesshomaru and InuYasha grind on Rin through clothes.  Mild yaoi.)
  • Chapter 4: Desecration of a Shrine, Destruction of a Village, pt. 1

Setting: Shinto shrine worship hall.  Night.

  1. Sayaka/4-5 unnamed men (Sayaka oral and hand on men)
  2. Unnamed miko/4-5 unnamed men (x9) (9 unnamed miko oral and hand on 4-5 men each)
  3. Byakuya solo
  • Chapter 5: Desecration of a Shrine, Destruction of a Village, pt. 2

Setting: Bath house in back of Shinto shrine.  Night.

  1. Naraku/Sayaka (Sayaka suspended from bath house ceiling by Naraku’s tentacles, Naraku in Sayaka from front.  Non-consensual!
  2. Byakuya/unnamed miko (x9) (Byakuya and eight magic copies of Byakuya in 9 unnamed miko from front while miko are restrained to bath house wall.  Unnamed miko impregnated by Byakuya.  Non-consensual!)
  • Chapter 6: Desecration of a Shrine, Destruction of a Village, pt. 3

Setting: Bath house in back of Shinto shrine.  Night.

  1. Naraku/Sayaka/Byakuya (Naraku and Byakuya DP Sayaka, Sayaka impregnated by Byakuya.  Non-consensual!)
  2. Naraku/unnamed miko (x9) (Naraku uses tentacles on unnamed miko during Sayaka DP.  Naraku then uses tentacles to murder them by injecting semen into their lungs and allowing them to drown.  Non-consensual and extremely sadistic!)
  • Chapter 7: Damage Control, pt. 1

Setting: Mountain cave near Kotobukiya.  Night.

  1. Sesshomaru/Rin (Rin oral on Sesshomaru, Sesshomaru oral on Rin, Sesshomaru in Rin missionary & from behind.  Sesshomaru anal play on Rin.)

Setting: Kotobukiya inn bath.  Early morning.

  1. Sango solo w/sex toy
  2. InuYasha/Sango (InuYasha in Sango missionary, InuYasha oral on Sango)
  • Chapter 9: Reconciliation with a Priestess

Setting: Bath in Naraku’s castle.  Early morning.

  1. Byakuya solo
  2. Byakuya/Sayaka (Sayaka oral on Byakuya, Byakuya oral on Sayaka, Byakuya in Sayaka from front in standing position, Sayaka on Byakuya cowgirl)
  • Chapter 13: Resurrection of the Wind, pt. 4

Setting: Naraku’s castle, incarnation birthing chamber beneath castle.  Early morning.

  1. Naraku/Kagura/Byakuya (Naraku oral on Kagura, Naraku in Kagura missionary, Kagura oral on Byakuya.  Dubious consent.)
  2. Naraku/Byakuya/Kagura (Naraku in Byakuya from behind, Byakuya in Kagura missionary.  Dubious consent.  Yaoi!)
  • Chapter 17: Relapse - pt. 1

Setting: Naraku’s castle, incarnation birthing chamber beneath castle.  Late morning/early noon.

  1. Naraku/Kagura/Byakuya (Naraku and Byakuya DP on Kagura.)
  • Chapter 20: Of a Miko, a Taijiya, and their Voyeurs - pt. 1

Setting: Forest hot spring somewhere near Honshu's east coast.  Late morning/early noon.

  1. Kohaku/Kikyo.  (Kohaku missionary on Kikyo.  Scene continued in pt. 2.)
  • Chapter 21: Of a Miko, a Taijiya, and their Voyeurs - pt. 2

Setting: Byakuya's bedroom in Naraku's castle.  Early noon.

  1. Byakuya/Sayaka.  (Byakuya missionary & oral on Sayaka.)

Setting: Forest hot spring somewhere near Honshu's east coast.  Early noon.

  1. Kohaku/Kikyo.  (Kohaku missionary on Kikyo.  Continued from pt. 1.)

Setting: Forest many miles away from Kohaku and Kikyo.  Early noon.

  1. Byakuya/Kagura.  (Byakuya in Kagura from front against tree, Byakuya oral on Kagura before & after.)
  • Chapter 22: Yura Reborn, Kind of

Setting: Naraku's castle, incarnation birthing chamber beneath castle.  Noon.

  1. Naraku/Magatsuhi (Magatsuhi possessing clone of Yura) (Magatsuhi on Naraku cowgirl, Naraku in Magatsuhi missionary, Naraku in Magatsuhi kneeling.  Naraku oral on Magatsuhi after.)
  • Chapter 25: Union of the Packs - pt. 1

Setting: Kuno's mountain cave den near Hideki Saito's village.  Night.

  1. InuYasha/Kagome/Shizu (Kagome and Shizu oral on InuYasha)
  2. Miroku/Sango (Miroku oral on Sango)
  3. Shippo/Shiori (Shippo oral on Shiori)
  4. Sesshomaru/Rin (Rin oral on Sesshomaru)
  5. InuYasha/Kagome (Kagome cowgirl on InuYasha)
  6. Shizu solo
  7. Miroku/Sango (Miroku in Sango missionary)
  8. Shippo/Shiori (Shippo in Shiori from behind, laying on side)
  9. Sesshomaru/Rin (Sesshomaru in Rin missionary)
  10. InuYasha/Shizu (InuYasha in Shizu missionary)
  11. Miroku/Sango (Miroku in Sango from front in kneeling position)
  12. Shippo/Shiori (Shiori on Shippo cowgirl)
  13. Sesshomaru/Rin (Sesshomaru in Rin from behind)
  • Chapter 26: Union of the Packs - pt. 2

Setting: Kuno's mountain cave den near Hideki Saito's village.  Night.

  1. InuYasha/Shizu (InuYasha in Shizu missionary.  Continued from pt. 1)
  2. Sesshomaru/Rin (Sesshomaru in Rin from behind.  Continued from pt. 1)
  3. Shippo/Shiori (Shiori on Shippo cowgirl.  Continued from pt. 1)
  4. Miroku/Sango (Miroku in Sango from front in kneeling position.  Continued from pt. 1)
  5. Miroku/Sango (Miroku in Sango missionary.)
  6. Shizu/InuYasha/Kagome (Shizu and Kagome lay at InuYasha’s sides and stimulate him with their hands.  In return, he gropes both of them at once.)
  7. Brief Sesshomaru solo.
  8. Sesshomaru/Miroku (Near yaoi.  Sesshomaru ‘lends’ some of his demonic power to Miroku to enable him to take Sango again.)
  9. InuYasha/Kagome (Kagome on InuYasha reverse cowgirl.)
  10. Sesshomaru/Rin (Sesshomaru in Rin from behind in kneeling position, supporting her full weight in his hands to move her on him as Kagome watches.)
  11. Shippo/Shiori/Shippo (2 Shippos DP Shiori.)
  12. Brief Shizu solo.
  13. Shippo/Shippo/Shippo/Shizu. (3 Shippos create 4-way between themselves and Shizu)
  14. InuYasha/Kagome/Rin/Sesshomaru (InuYasha and Sesshomaru press Kagome and Rin together, then finish in that position)
  • Chapter 29: Union of the Packs - pt. 5

Setting: Kuno's mountain cave den near Hideki Saito's village.  Night.

  1. Sesshomaru/Kagome (Kagome oral on Sesshomaru).
  2. Jaken/Rin (Jaken missionary, then oral on Rin).
  3. Sesshomaru/Shiori (Shiori cowgirl on Sesshomaru).
  4. Sesshomaru/Shizu (Shizu reverse cowgirl on Sesshomaru).
  5. Shippo/Rin (Shippo missionary on Rin).
  6. Jaken/Shiori (Jaken oral, missionary, then oral again on Shiori).
  7. Miroku/Rin (Miroku in Rin from behind, laying on sides).
  8. Sesshomaru/Sango (Sesshomaru in Sango from behind).
  9. InuYasha/Rin (InuYasha oral on Rin).
  10. Jaken/Shizu (Jaken in Shizu from behind).
  11. Sesshomaru/Kagome (Sesshomaru missionary on Kagome).
  12. InuYasha/Rin (InuYasha in Rin from front in kneeling position).
  13. Jaken/Sango (Jaken in Sango from front as she stands).
  14. Jaken/Kagome (Jaken missionary on Kagome).
  • Chapter 30: The Dark Bargain - pt. 1

Setting: Byakuya's bedroom and bathroom in Naraku's castle.  Noon.

  1. Byakuya/Sayaka (Byakuya in Sayaka from behind on bed in bedroom, laying on sides)
  2. Byakuya/Sayaka (Byakuya in Sayaka from behind, Byakuya standing in bath water, Sayaka kneeling on edge of bath in bathroom.  Byakuya anal play on Sayaka.)
  • Chapter 31: The Dark Bargain - pt. 2

Setting: Naraku's castle, incarnation birthing chamber beneath castle.  Noon.

  1. Naraku/Sayaka (Sayaka oral on Naraku.)
  • Chapter 32: The Dark Bargain - pt. 3

Setting: Naraku's castle, incarnation birthing chamber beneath castle.  Noon.

  1. Naraku/Sayaka (Sayaka 'paizuri' on Naraku, Naraku missionary on Sayaka.)
  • Chapter 33: The Dark Bargain - pt. 4

Setting: Naraku's castle, incarnation birthing chamber beneath castle.  Noon.

  1. Magatsuhi/Sayaka/Naraku (Magatsuhi oral on Sayaka after Naraku missionary on Sayaka from pt. 3, Sayaka oral on Naraku at same time.  Yuri!)
  2. Naraku/Sayaka (Naraku missionary on Sayaka (I), Naraku in Sayaka from behind (I), Naraku missionary on Sayaka (II), Naraku missionary on Sayaka (III), Naraku in Sayaka from behind (II).
  3. Magatsuhi/Sayaka (Magatsuhi oral on Sayaka after Naraku missionary on Sayaka (I).  Yuri!)
  4. Sayaka’s 9 girls brief solo.
  • Chapter 34: The Dark Bargain - pt. 5

Setting: Naraku's castle, incarnation birthing chamber beneath castle.  Noon.

  1. Naraku/Magatsuhi (Naraku missionary on Magatsuhi)
  2. Naraku/Sayaka (Sayaka cowgirl on Naraku + extremely bloody, sadistic heart removal/corruption scene)
  3. Magatsuhi/Naraku/Sayaka (Sayaka cowgirl on Naraku, continued after heart removal/corruption, Magatsuhi riding Naraku’s face)
  4. Sayaka/her 9 junior priestesses (Sayaka’s tongue becomes as a long, prehensile sex organ which she uses to penetrate the priestesses’ mouths and throats)
  5. Naraku/Magatsuhi (Naraku in Magatsuhi from behind)
  • Chapter 35: Between the Brothers - pt. 1

Setting: Hot spring chamber in Kuno's mountain cave.  Early morning.

  1. Sesshomaru/Kagome (Kagome ‘paizuri’ on Sesshomaru, Kagome cowgirl on Sesshomaru, Sesshomaru missionary on Kagome.)



A Twist in the Myth

Chapter 1 - Year Thirteen


Chapter summary: Twelve years have passed since InuYasha and his 'pack' began their journey across Japan to find and destroy Naraku and his Shikon no Tama.  To support themselves along the way, they accept demon-slaying work.  InuYasha and pack save a small village in the Japanese countryside from a brood of mantis demons.


April 1556


(Soundtrack: Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Other Side)


            The Musashi plain of Japan in its Sengoku Jidai, feudal Warring States Era, reverberated with life as winter had given way to spring.  The trees of vast deciduous forests undamaged by human industrialization still centuries away were flush with leaves and fields of wildflowers had begun to bloom, filling the country air with a clean, lively scent.  At the edge of one such forest, very near to a small farming village specializing in rice production and the raising of some cattle, a slender figure dressed in red garments tailored from the fireproof hide of a ‘Fire Rat’ stood atop one of the uppermost branches of a tall, old oak.  His waist-length mane of thick, silky-soft ivory hair tumbled slightly in a breeze that filtered through the leaves on the tree branches around him.  Two triangular, dog-like ears, like those of a Siberian husky and covered in fine, white fur, sat atop his head, positioned behind the parting in his hair that marked where his tussled, flowing bangs began.  His ears twitched and rotated searchingly while his golden eyes scanned the forest canopy and sunset horizon before him.

            Turning his attention away from the panoramic view before him, InuYasha, half-demon second son of a very powerful daiyoukai, or great demon named Toga, known as the Inu no Taisho, Commander of the Dogs, looked down to see his friends gathered on the mossy forest floor below him, checking their weapons and equipment before the coming battle.  His ‘pack,’ as the dog-minded part of him liked to think of them, numbered seven.

            First was Higurashi Kagome, formidable Shinto miko, or shrine maiden and InuYasha’s intended wife.  She would be born in the year 1982 and at the age of fifteen, she would travel more than 400 years into the past via a magic well known as the ‘Bone Eater’ to meet InuYasha and begin a bizarre, wild adventure with him and the rest of their pack.  Fair-skinned, raven-haired, and blessed with ethereal blue eyes, she wore a Shinto miko’s traditional outfit, a red hakama and white haori.

            Second was Hasegawa Miroku, a Buddhist houshi, or monk, though his title belied his lecherous behavior.  His main bad habit was to ask every single young, attractive woman he met to bear his child and if given half a chance, grope their behinds when they weren’t looking.  Character defects aside, he was InuYasha’s best friend.  Slightly tan-skinned and violet-eyed, he wore his black hair in a short, low ponytail.  He wore the blue and black robes common to Japanese monks of his era.

            Third was Aozaki Sango, a female youkai taijiya, professional demon hunter and longtime friend of InuYasha and Kagome, as well as Miroku's intended wife.  Miroku’s lecherous habits often earned her ire, at least when they weren’t directed at her.  Since her relationship with him had progressed to the physical level as well as the romantic, privately she welcomed his advances happily.  Fair-skinned like Kagome, Sango’s powerful, athletic figure bore many scars from a long career of demon hunting, most of them concealed beneath her form-fitting, lightly-armored glossy black taijiya bodysuit.  Her eyes were a rich, dark brown as was her hair, which she wore in a high ponytail that reached down to the center of her back.

            Fourth was Shippo, a kitsune, humanoid fox demon without surname whom InuYasha and Kagome had befriended when he was a child.  He had since grown into a late teenager, retaining his characteristic “fox feet” into maturity.  Paler in tone than even the fair Kagome or Sango, he wore his auburn hair up in a short bun tied with a blue bow, and his emerald eyes usually shone with some degree of foxlike mischief.  Maturity had made him devilishly handsome, making him enormously popular among similarly-aged human girls wherever he and the pack traveled, though he politely excused himself from their attentions, never taking advantage as Miroku once might have.  He wore a blue hakama tailored for his foxlike lower legs and a fur vest over a haori with white leaf patterns sewn in.

            Fifth was Kirara, a neko, a quadripedal, twin-tailed fire cat demon and loyal companion to Sango since Sango was born.  She had two forms; in the first, her size and demeanor was that of an ordinary housecat.  In the other, her size and demeanor were akin to that of an Ice Age Smilodon Fatalis, sabre-toothed tiger.  This was the form in which she and Sango went into battle.  She could transform between the two states at will in very little time, so she was hardly vulnerable even in her housecat state.  Her demonic nature allowed her to fly, giving herself and Sango great mobility at all times.

            Sixth and seventh, respectively were Shizu, human widow of a bat daiyoukai similar to InuYasha's father named Tsukuyomaru, and Shiori, Shizu’s half-demon daughter by Tsukuyomaru.  Shizu and Shiori were not present with the pack; they remained temporarily behind inside the nearby village at InuYasha's instruction.  Shizu had fair skin and black hair like Kagome and eyes like Sango’s whereas Shiori had inherited ghostly white hair and a naturally darker complexion from her demon father, her eyes a strange, alluring magenta.  Shizu and Shiori had experienced daily abuse and discrimination from their neighbors in their home village and decided together to leave, traveling with InuYasha and his friends.  Shiori had grown close to Shippo and with Shizu’s blessing, as well as InuYasha and Kagome’s, the two young demons had begun an energetic physical relationship.

            Together, InuYasha and his pack had entered the thirteenth year of their quest to destroy a vile demon named Naraku and to reassemble a magic jewel known as the Shikon no Tama, Sacred Jewel of Four Souls which, during the course of removing it from the custody of a demonic bird, Kagome had accidentally shattered into dozens of tiny shards.  The jewel had been the reason Naraku entered their lives.  Naraku, an amalgamation of many demons coalesced around the body of a human bandit, sought the jewel for himself to increase his demonic power and to make a wish upon it, a goal shared by virtually every other demon in Japan.  Unlike them, however, he had the intelligence and psychotic ambition to do absolutely anything needed to get it.

            The jewel had once been in the care of the miko Kikyo, InuYasha's lover at one time and the woman from which Kagome had been reincarnated.  Kikyo's duty as a miko was to protect the Shikon no Tama from those who would use it for evil.  By its legendary reputation, InuYasha had heard of the jewel and its alleged ability to grant wishes.  He sought it to make himself a full demon, a desire which stemmed from his experiences growing up as a half-demon, shunned and hunted by humans and demons alike.  Upon encountering Kikyo, InuYasha fell in love with her and his desire changed.  No longer did he want to be a full demon; he wanted to be human so that he could marry Kikyo, live happily and start a family with her.

            Using his dark magic to pose as Kikyo, then as InuYasha, Naraku employed a terrible deception to turn InuYasha and Kikyo against each other.  Having fallen in love, InuYasha and Kikyo had agreed to meet and make a wish upon the magic jewel to transform InuYasha into a full human, devoid of demonic blood, so that they could marry and live together.  While posing as InuYasha, Naraku inflicted mortal wounds on Kikyo as she made her way to the place she had agreed to meet InuYasha at and stole the jewel from her, returning it to her home village of Edo, where it was usually kept.  Rather than keep it for himself right away, he returned it to its customary storage location in the hopes that InuYasha and Kikyo might fight to the death over it, preferring that the jewel's beauty be 'tainted by malice.'  Immediately afterward, he posed as Kikyo and attacked InuYasha.  Concluding that Kikyo had betrayed him and that the jewel had not left Edo, InuYasha entered Edo and took the jewel from its residents by force, causing the real, gravely wounded Kikyo to shoot him with an arrow loaded with her purifying magic, an arrow that would pin and seal him to a tree known as Goshinboku, the God Tree.

            The injuries Kikyo sustained from Naraku would prove fatal.  Just before she died, Kikyo ordered her sister Kaede to cremate the jewel with her body so that it could not fall into the wrong hands, unknowingly thwarting Naraku's ploy to acquire it.  Nearly 500 years later, Kagome would be born and the Shikon jewel would re-manifest itself within her body, as she was Kikyo's reincarnation.  She would be born into the Higurashi family that oversaw a Shinto shrine in Tokyo, the megalopolis that the simple Edo would become.  The shrine was co-located with the Goshinboku tree and a supposedly empty but heavily sealed well known as the Bone Eater.  Shortly after her fifteenth birthday, Kagome would be pulled down the Bone Eater well by a demon that lurked within it and be transported back through time to encounter InuYasha while he hung from the Goshinboku, hanging from the arrow Kikyo had shot into him fifty years before.  Events would see the Shikon jewel removed from her body and before an opportunistic crow demon could escape with it, she shattered it with an inadvertently well-placed arrow.  The shards rained down to the ground in an evenly-distributed, spherical pattern, following ballistic trajectories that placed them all over the Japanese main island of Honshu.

            Thus, InuYasha became Kagome's retainer, of sorts.  Still believing that Kikyo had betrayed him and harboring distrust toward humanity in general, he acted with hostility toward Kagome, even going as far as to threaten her life in order to acquire the few shards of the Sacred Jewel that she had collected immediately after it exploded.  Kikyo's younger sister Kaede, having become a miko herself during the fifty years after Kikyo's death, devised a magical necklace that would ‘subdue’ InuYasha with unintentionally hilarious effect.  Kagome could activate it with a single word: Sit!  While InuYasha chased Kagome to take her jewel shards from her by force, Kaede used her Shinto magic to guide the necklace around InuYasha's neck.  Kagome shouted the activation word, and to the ground InuYasha plummeted, suddenly held immobile and completely helpless.  Being under Kagome's control, InuYasha joined her begrudgingly on her journey to collect the shards of the shattered Shikon jewel and reassemble it, leading to their encounters with their future friends and with Naraku.

            Twelve years later, after many battles against Naraku and his various ‘incarnations,’ InuYasha found himself in his current situation.  He and his pack were preparing for battle.  However, on this day it was not against Naraku, the various copies of himself he had made over the years, or the assorted other monsters he enjoyed deploying against them.  The residents of the nearby farming village of Kotobukiya had hired them to repel a brood of vicious mantis demons that harassed them regularly, seeking food in the form of their cattle and pigs and sometimes, the residents themselves.  InuYasha and company had come across Kotobukiya during their travels up and down Honshu in search of Naraku.  They found that having fought against demons of the very sort that plagued Kotobukiya, they had acquired unique experience and skills that, given the era, were marketable and in high demand.  Therefore, they supported themselves on long expeditions by offering their services to villages, townships, and even individuals in situations similar to that of the beleaguered farming village, usually requesting food and shelter as payment.  Their latest search for Naraku or at least Byakuya, his sole surviving incarnation, had entered its second week.

            Scanning the horizon in a cursory manner, InuYasha looked down to the forest floor below and called out to his pack.  According to Kotobukiya's populace, the mantids usually came around dusk, which, given the ever-lowering position of the sun in the sky, lay less than half an hour away.  "Hey!  These mantis demons should be here soon.  Everybody ready?"

            To answer InuYasha, Kagome first looked between herself, Miroku, Sango, Shippo, and Kirara.  Miroku sat on a fallen tree trunk, his enchanted monk staff leaning up against it next to him as he counted and arranged the similarly-enchanted demon purifying ofuda, or seals he carried in a series of hinged wooden boxes affixed to the sash he wore around his waist, outside of his dark blue robes.  He had bonded each seal to thin, specially-balanced metal plates, which allowed him to throw them with good distance and accuracy.  They exploded on contact with demonic flesh. 

            Miroku possessed a third weapon, the Kazaana, or Wind Tunnel, a demonic curse he had inherited from his late father.  The curse had been placed on his father’s father, his paternal grandfather by Naraku decades before; Naraku designed it to affect not only Miroku’s grandfather, but all of his male descendants.  It manifested as a void in the center of his right palm.  He kept it sealed with a cloth gauntlet and when he unsealed it, it acted as a portal to a tremendous vacuum, possibly another dimension of space entirely, able to suck in virtually everything in a wide arc out to a distance of around a hundred yards.  He was the third to carry it; his grandfather and father had carried it and were eventually consumed by it.  The same would someday happen to him, unless he found a way to lift the curse.

            Sango sat beside Miroku on the log, servicing her own weaponry, as well.  She poured a corrosion-preventative oil from a small flask onto the blade of her katana, using a cloth to spread the oil up and down the blade's length.  Her katana was her secondary weapon; her primary was the mighty Hiraikotsu, a very large and heavy boomerang carved from the bones of a powerful demon that she had assisted her late taijiya father in slaying, back when she was a pre-teen demon exterminator in training.  Like Miroku's seals, Hiraikotsu was enchanted and while flying and spinning at full speed, it could move through demonic flesh as a white-hot blade through butter.

            Shippo, for his part, carried only a single, mid-length katana.  At Sango's example and personal recommendation, he worked to oil it as well.  However, his primary weapon came from the demonic energy he carried inside him: kitsune-bi, or Fox Fire.  Twelve years of travelling with InuYasha and the others had transformed him from a mere 'runt,' as InuYasha once liked to call him, into a competent, young adult fox demon warrior.  His control over his Fox Fire had improved to the point that he could cast it from his palms in great, scorching gouts of green flame or concentrate it into javelin-like bolts of what he called 'hard fire,' with which he could penetrate even the thickest demonic hide or exoskeleton to deadly effect.

            Kagome herself carried a traditional wooden longbow; she had bought it in her own time and brought it back for use in the Sengoku Jidai in order to benefit from her time’s superior material engineering and construction techniques.  Already, she had ensured that its string was taut and securely fastened, ready to go.  Over the years, she had developed the upper-body strength to use the bow effectively and with it she enjoyed great range in combat.  When she charged them up with her demon purifying energy, or reiki, the arrows she launched from the bow could fell the even largest demon with single shots.

            Satisfied that everyone had completed the necessary preparations, Kagome called back up to her hanyou love.  "We're ready, InuYasha!"

            InuYasha nodded and returned his attention to the horizon before him.  After just a few minutes, his triangular dog ears perked up, hearing a sound in the distance that grew gradually louder.  It was a low, droning hum, the sound of untold dozens of insectoid wings beating through the air.  He narrowed his golden eyes, able to see several miles by his superior half-demon eyesight, and spotted the first mantids coming into his view.

            The first ones were the small ones, the front line of the brood.  On the ground, they would stand at 'only' twice the height of a man, their chitinous exoskeletons leaf green in color and their fluttering wings translucent amber.  With their serrated raptorial forelegs folded close to their upper bodies, they chirped between each other and rotated their grotesque triangular heads from side to side constantly to keep their formation together and avoid mid-air collisions.  Each chirp they made was a sharp, piercing screech that could make even the hardiest samurai’s blood run cold.  And then the big one came into InuYasha's view...

            The giant mantis demon dwarfed any one of its smaller kin by at least five fold.  By the light of sunset, it cast a huge, skewed, totally opaque shadow on the forest canopy passing below it.  Whereas its minions were green in color, its own body was shining, glossy black, its wings bright red, an ominous color scheme that indicated great lethality.  The sound of its wings pushing through the air, propelling it forward and keeping it aloft, was louder, lower-pitched, much more menacing than that of the others.

            InuYasha called down to his friends again.  "They're coming.  Let's move!"

(Soundtrack: Judas Priest – Delivering the Goods)


            Kirara leapt from her seat on the fallen log she shared with Miroku and Sango, transforming into her giant 'battle cat' form.  She gave a strong, feline yowl as a maelstrom of magic demonic flame enveloped her cream-furred body, obscuring her as her body increased in size and weight from ‘housecat’ to ‘sabretooth tiger’ in mere seconds.  The flame dissipated to leave her standing before her friends at almost seven feet tall, fifteen feet long and weighing more than a thousand pounds.

            Sango and Miroku leapt atop Kirara and by her neko magic, Kirara rose off the ground toward the forest canopy above, harmless neko flames burning around her giant paws.  Shippo used his own kitsune magic to transform, as well.  Once, Shippo transformed into a cartoonish, googly-eyed balloon-like 'thing' to provide his friends with aerial transport.  Now, he transformed into a long, sleek, quadripedal and far more intimidating 'fire fox from hell,' analogous to Kirara's battle cat form.  Unlike Kirara, he could use his magic to materialize a saddle over his back to provide his rider with greater stability and comfort.  Kagome mounted Shippo's saddle and they followed after Sango and Miroku as they rode Kirara.

            InuYasha leapt down from his perch and fell more than thirty feet to land in a neat crouch on the forest floor without pain or injury.  He broke out into a run of blinding speed, his ivory mane streaming behind him like a silver river as he darted between the oncoming trees.  To a stationary observer, he would have appeared as a streaking, red-and-white blur as he negotiated the various obstacles the forest presented to him.  After a few moments of dodging and vaulting, he emerged from the forest to enter an open, grassy field with his friends flying directly overhead.  Together, they had placed themselves strategically so that they lay directly between Kotobukiya and the mantids in the insectoid demons' most likely vector of approach, and they would soon meet them head-on.

            Shippo and Kirara slowed down and backed away to give InuYasha some room to initiate battle.  Below them, the hanyou warrior gripped the sheath of Tetsuseiga, Iron Crushing Fang, the sword he carried at his hip in one hand and the hilt of it in the other.  With the sky clear above him, he leapt high and as he ascended, he extracted Tetsuseiga from its sheath, demonic magic transforming it from an old, pitted blade of rusty steel into a gleaming, ten-foot long fang made of an alloy of demonic origin: it was a fang from his own father.

            “Kaze no Kizu!” InuYasha roared mid-air, raising Tetsuseiga high and swinging it down at the mantis demons to unleash the Kaze no Kizu, the Wound of the Wind.  Four talons of demonic energy shot forth from the giant sword and seared through the air to rake over the mantis demon flight with devastating effect.  The smaller mantids moved to cover their leader, maneuvering to throw themselves directly into the Wound’s path, utterly disregarding of their own safety as if their individual survival instincts were suddenly overridden.  Pummeled by the Wound, their bodies disintegrated messily, insectoid limbs and innards flying off in every direction, but the rest of the flight pressed on.

            By this time, InuYasha had hit the ground, giving his friends an opening of their own.  Kirara accelerated, broke away from Shippo, and swooped in from one side so that Sango could launch Hiraikotsu.  Behind Sango, Miroku ducked his head down low next to the taijiya’s shapely hips so that he wouldn’t get smacked by her undeservingly.  Sometimes, he did deserve it.  Sango cocked Hiraikotsu backward, winding up and casting it forward with a tough, feminine grunt.  The mighty bone wing left her hand at incredible velocity, spinning end for end to plow into the mantis flight and inflict damage just as hideous as InuYasha’s Wound of the Wind could.  As with the Wound, the smaller mantids used their own bodies to shield the big one; this caused Hiraikotsu to veer away from the giant mantis and exit the opposite side of the flight without hitting it.

            Now Kagome took aim.  Shippo maneuvered so that he and the miko from the future flew parallel to the mantis flight, then held at constant heading, altitude and speed.  Kagome drew an arrow from the quiver slung over her back and loaded it into her bow, drawing it back against the bowstring and at the same time, feeding her reiki into it.  Kirara, Sango, and Miroku steered clear of her line of fire in the air, as did InuYasha on the ground, and once they were out of the way, Kagome added the appropriate lead on the ‘king mantis,’ held her breath to finalize her aim, and let her arrow fly.

            By her miko magic, Kagome’s arrow left her bow as more than the sum of its parts.  It shot forth as a small, metallic meteor might make planetfall, glowing bright, white blue and leaving a glittering trail behind it as it seared through the air toward its target.  The king mantis seemed able to sense its power and dove while commanding its remaining brood members to throw themselves into the arrow’s path.  The arrow blasted through the lesser mantids with ease, vaporizing them with purifying light, and over-penetrated all of them to glance across the king mantis’ body, severing one of its red wings at the root.

            The monstrous insect gave up a horrible roar of pain as its body careened out of control by the loss of a wing and the asymmetric thrust that resulted.  By this time, it had begun to pass over forest again and it careened into the trees below in a terrible splintering racket, its massive, heavy body shearing off whole tree limbs at their roots and causing all manners of wildlife to flee from the scene.  Upon the forest floor, it writhed on its back and began a grotesque, noisy effort to right itself, barely fitting between the trunks of the surrounding trees.

            At that moment, less than a mile of open rice paddy lay between the giant mantis and the village of Kotobukiya.  InuYasha recognized this and maneuvered himself so that he stood directly between the mantis and the village, ready to fight the thing off if it continued its advance.  As a precaution, he looked over a shoulder toward Kotobukiya and called out with all the breath in his lungs: “Shiori!  Raise your barrier!”

            In Kotobukiya’s central square, a lovely young woman gifted with exotic caramel skin, a mane of ghostly white hair like InuYasha’s, and clad in an elegant white kimono sat kneeling with calves folded neatly in traditional Japanese fashion, her eyes closed and her face impassive with focus as she listened to the environment around her.  As the half-demon daughter of the great bat demon Tsukuyomaru, Shiori had inherited a bat’s typically incredible sense of hearing and with it, given enough concentration, she could hear the smallest of sounds at distances of up to two miles.  Thus, she was well aware of the state of the battle her friends waged against the mantis demons and she definitely heard InuYasha’s call.

            Shiori opened her eyes, each one a vibrant shade of magenta by her demonic lineage and she turned to her mother Shizu, who sat near her.  “Mother, please stay close.  The demon is near.”

            “Right,” Shizu nodded, gripping the scabbard of the katana she carried at her hip a bit tighter, though she had every confidence that InuYasha and the others would prevent the last, most powerful mantis from setting one insectoid foot in the village.  As Shiori’s mother, other than hair and skin color, she and Shiori looked stunningly alike.  The bat-girl bore much the same facial structure as her, smooth, youthful and refined.  Their bodies were also very similar in shape, except that Shizu, at age 35, was significantly more mature and slightly heavier in her chest and hips.  She wore her black hair long, gathered in a low tail at the center of her back and she wore a modest, though well-made cotton kimono, the upper half dyed dark green, the lower half dyed simple blue.  She carried her sword for defense, having learned some harsh lessons by the un-neighborly behavior of the people in her village and the dangers InuYasha and the pack encountered on a regular basis.  Though she went armed, InuYasha usually placed her and Shiori well away from areas where demon hunting combat might take place.

            In this case, InuYasha directed Shiori and Shizu to remain in Kotobukiya by Shiori’s ability to raise an incredibly durable spiritual barrier around herself.  When the time came for it, she could use it to seal the mantis demons out and the villagers in.  The lovely bat-girl stood and gathered her demonic energy about her.  She extended her palms up and outward, feeding her power out of her hands so that it coalesced into a shimmering, perfectly spherical barrier of glimmering fuchsia light.  The barrier enveloped herself and her mother; she gave a slight, feminine grunt and the barrier expanded in size rapidly to envelop the entire village, spanning nearly a half mile across.

            Seeing that Shiori had erected her barrier around Kotobukiya and better assured of its residents’ safety, InuYasha began advancing boldly through rice paddy toward the point in the treeline where the mantis had made its hard landing.  The great insectoid demon managed to flip itself onto its spined, stalky legs and used its raptorial forelegs to slash its way out of the trees and into open paddy.  Its huge, inverted triangular head rotated searchingly to sweep the field of view of its bulbous compound eyes across it surroundings, its long, whip-like antennae twitching menacingly.  It spotted InuYasha closing in on the ground, as well as Sango and Miroku atop Kirara, Kagome atop Shippo orbiting overhead.

            Kagome let off another arrow and the mantis dodged horizontally, propelling itself with its six legs and a boost from its wings to land dozens of yards away.  Kagome’s arrow sunk into watery paddy where the mantis had stood and exploded as a cannon shell, casting a messy plume of water and dirt high into the air.  InuYasha followed with another volley of the Wound of the Wind from Tetsuseiga and this time, the demon insect dodged in the vertical plane, leaping and flying high above the Wound’s arc as it raked over the ground and impacted the forest behind it. 

            The demon anticipated Sango launching her Hiraikotsu next and pre-empted her by aiming its beak-like mouth at her, Miroku, and Kirara as they flew above it, drawing in a huge intake of air and tensing visibly, and beginning to screech.  Its screech was charged with its demonic power and resonated with energy equal to hundreds of decibels; the very air in front of its beak seemed to vibrate, air molecules bouncing off of each other wildly and the effect propagated as a sonic fist to knock the demon slayer, warrior monk, and fire cat right out of the sky.

            Kirara veered down into the ground with a snarl, with Sango and Miroku crying out along with her.  The great fire-cat remained mindful of her passengers and kept enough control to crash-land such that they were merely tossed off her back, not thrown.  The mantis kept its screech up, pummeling all three of them into and across the ground as the frequency of its attack escalated into thousands of cycles per second.

            “Shit!” InuYasha cursed as the mantis shot his friends down with its hideous voice, of all things.  The demon was alone and minus a wing, but hardly helpless.  Before it could kill Sango, Miroku, and Kirara and possibly change targets to Kagome and Shippo, InuYasha broke out into a full sprint and leapt at the mantis to swing Tetsuseiga down upon its head.  The giant demon swung around to face him and used a massive raptorial foreleg to block and deflect his sword.  At the same time, it used its other foreleg to snatch the hanyou warrior by one of his ankles and toss him away, immediately beginning to screech at him, too.

            Kagome wanted desperately to intervene, but at that moment, InuYasha and the others were too close to the mantis demon for her to use her supercharged arrows safely.  Shippo’s fire attacks, however, were less dangerous.  “Shippo!” Kagome called out to the fire-fox she rode.  “Use your Hard Fire!”

            “Got it!” Shippo affirmed, his voice a distorted growl by his transformation into a giant flying fox.  Kagome hung onto his saddle tightly as he rolled and banked to dive at the mantis from a steep angle.  He opened his vulpine maw and bright, almost neon green light emanated from his throat as he produced a large, swirling ball of his demonic fox fire and spit it out directly at the mantis, followed by three more.

            InuYasha found himself completely unable to move while the mantis blasted him with its voice.  His ears had pinned back in a useless attempt to block out the sound and he could feel his eyes, bones and even his teeth rattling inside him as each wave slammed over him.  The color drained from his vision and he could feel blood pouring out of his nose as blood vessels in his sinuses broke open.  Before he could pass out and possibly die, though, Shippo’s fireballs raked over the insect’s slender abdomen and thorax, knocking it onto one of its sides with their concussive force.

            Miroku recovered enough to force himself to stand up and he shook his head to clear his vision.  This mantis demon was more dangerous then he or anyone else in the pack had anticipated.  They had to finish this quickly.  Below him, Sango sat up on the grassy earth, still dazed from the mantis’ sonic attack and though she was seeing double, her head positively spinning, she could still make out the distinctive motions of Miroku unfastening the gauntlet that he used to muzzle his Kazaana.

            “Wait…” Sango slurred, trying to reach out and grab at her beloved monk.  The Wind Tunnel was as dangerous to Miroku himself as it was to any of their enemies.  “Miroku, wait!

            “Kazaana!” Miroku bellowed, ripping his gauntlet away from his cursed hand and aiming his Wind Tunnel’s maw directly at the mantis and unavoidably, InuYasha as well.  Instantly, the calm air of the paddy in front of him became as that of a typhoon, flowing parallel to the ground and converging to be sucked into the voracious singularity of demonic magic at the center of Miroku’s palm.

            Miroku’s intent was not to suck the mantis into his Wind Tunnel, however.  Judging by the thing’s color scheme, it was most likely poisonous and on a few occasions in the past, he’d sucked up things that ‘disagreed’ with him.  The houshi kept Kazaana open just long enough to pull the mantis off balance so as not to consume it or more importantly, InuYasha.  The giant insect’s body had evolved for sustained flight and so it was very light for its size, making Kazaana’s suction extremely effective on it.  It screamed out as the whipping winds flowing around it toward Miroku toppled it over and began dragging it along the ground.

            Miroku sealed Kazaana before it could take the mantis in.  He then turned and stooped down to pull the still-dizzied Sango up onto her feet, slinging her over his shoulders and grabbing Kirara, now unconscious and back in her “housecat” form, under a free arm.  He began to run from the mantis as fast as he could as it tumbled toward him, yelling back behind him: “InuYasha!  Hit it now!”

            The mantis’s screeching had stopped, allowing InuYasha to get back onto his feet.  Miroku, Sango, and Kirara were clear of the demonic insect and so he did not hesitate to use Tetsuseiga.  “Die, motherfucker!” he roared.  The mantis righted itself just in time to feel the white-hot plasma of the Kaze no Kizu ripping over it, and it wailed in agony as the demonic energy blasted away all three of its remaining wings and four of its legs.

            InuYasha leapt away from the crippled mantis to allow Kagome to finish it.  Above him, Shippo banked to put the mantis at the center of his turn, simplifying Kagome’s aiming process.  The miko from the future planted a purifying arrow straight through the demon’s thorax, followed by another in its abdomen, each one punching through hard, armor-like exoskeleton with ease to vaporize the critical internal structures and tissues beneath.  She then finished it off by delivering a third arrow to its head.  With only a smoking, oozing stump where its head had once been, the demon’s body twitched involuntarily for a few moments longer, then stilled.  It was dead.

            Moments later, Kagome and Shippo landed near InuYasha.  Kagome hopped off of her kitsune friend’s back and ran to her hanyou love, immediately noticing the blood running from his nose.  “InuYasha!  Are you all right?”

            InuYasha scoffed and sheathed Tetsuseiga, wiping a thumb under his nose to look disdainfully at the dark red fluid he removed from it.  His demonic healing factor would soon repair any and all damage the mantis caused.  “Feh.  I’m fine,” he assured with some irritation, irritation not directed at Kagome.  The villagers hadn’t said anything about the big mantis demon’s ability to yell someone to death.  “We should worry about the others first.”

            Fortunately, when InuYasha and Kagome came upon Miroku, Sango, and Kirara as they sat in the grass recuperating, he and she found them to be only a little disoriented from the mantis’ weaponized screech, owing to the short time they were exposed to it by InuYasha’s rapid intervention.  “Everyone okay?” InuYasha asked, studying his friends’ dispositions and searching for any indication of injury.

            Miroku shook Sango by the shoulders and she cooed in response, her voice not tinged with pain, then he gave Kirara a rub and a pet, receiving an unbearably cute mew for a reply.  Smiling in relief, he looked up at InuYasha.  “We’re all right, thank God.  Thank you.”

            Shippo transformed from his fire-fox form to his humanoid one in a puff of magic kitsune smoke.  He moved to join his friends, glancing at the village they’d all just saved in the distance, noticing that the residents were beginning to peek outside their homes and step into the dirt streets.  “Guys, the villagers,” Shippo pointed at Kotobukiya.

            “Okay, good, they’re coming out,” InuYasha approved.  “Let’s get Shiori to drop the barrier and then let’s find the village elder so we can get paid.  Shiori!  All clear!”

            Immediately, Shiori lowered her barrier so that InuYasha and the others could enter the village along the main street.  Before they left the corpse of the last, biggest mantis behind, though, Shippo incinerated what remained with his Fox Fire.  Shiori and Shizu joined their friends just as they met with the village elder and some men who acted as his guards.  One of the guards carried two bushels of rice, one under each arm; these were part of the payment they had agreed to give to InuYasha and pack once their contract to slay the mantis demons was complete.  The elder was a grey-haired man who appeared to be in his late 50s, early 60s, clad in the simple robes of a peasant.  “InuYasha-sama!” he greeted, bowing courteously.  “You’ve done excellent work today.  Thank you.  Those demons had been threatening us for weeks.”

            InuYasha though, felt hardly courteous in return, forgoing a return of the elder’s bow.  He was visibly angry.  “Tell me this: did you or anyone else in this village of yours have any idea that the thing we just killed could scream us to death?” he fumed, causing the elder to recoil slightly and his guards to tense up.

            Kagome grasped at one of InuYasha’s arms in concern.  The hanyou warrior was always a little hot-headed, she knew, but the spring season affected his temperament more than others.  Breeding season for animals and youkai based on animals was in full swing, and the scent of hot, heavy reproductive activities on the wind gave InuYasha a great deal of…energy, both on the battlefield and in bed with her.  Sometimes, in the latter case, she needed…assistance from her ‘girlfriends’ – Sango, Shiori, and Shizu, the other female members of the pack.  This came with Miroku and Shippo’s blessing, of course, and Kagome knew that even with access to four healthy, willing women, InuYasha could take all of them repeatedly in one, blisteringly hot night.  Sometimes even that wasn’t enough, and whatever energy he had left didn’t always escape him in the best way.  “InuYasha, please, it’s okay,” she consoled.

            InuYasha looked back to Kagome and the pleading expression in her big, beautiful blue eyes worked the proper effect on him.  He took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down; he knew he was still high on the adrenaline rush he got from battle and as an inu hanyou affected by breeding season, an inu hanyou fathered by one of the single most powerful and virile demons to have ever existed in Japan, he had four ripe females around him at that very moment.  Guilt overcame him and he finally returned the elder’s bow.

            “Please forgive me, sir,” InuYasha apologized, bowing low.  “I didn’t mean to accuse you or your villagers of anything.”

            The elder and his guards relaxed and the elder’s brows furrowed thoughtfully.  “I understand and I accept your apology.  Truthfully, we had no idea the largest mantis had such a power.  To date, we had usually only seen the small ones,” he said, adding: “You are half-demon, are you not?  In my time, I have seen how this season affects the living things in this land, demonic life in particular, and the ladies of your group are so very comely.  Please be assured that I take no offense.”

            Kagome, Sango, Shiori and Shizu blushed simultaneously as the elder commented on their beauty, while Miroku and Shippo could only smirk at each other.  InuYasha rose from his bow and the elder turned to the guard holding the rice bushels, taking one into his arms and presenting it to InuYasha.  “You have done an excellent service for Kotobukiya today.  As agreed, here is your payment, two bushels of rice.”

            The elder passed the first fifty-pound bushel to InuYasha and the hanyou warrior received it thankfully.  He handed it to Miroku in order to take the second from the elder.  Once the transaction was complete, InuYasha looked at the sun setting below the horizon and asked of the elder: “It’s getting late.  May we stay the night your inn?”

            The elder nodded enthusiastically.  “Of course!  With these mantis demons having driven off all of our customers, you’ll have it all to yourself.  And please, accept your stay with no cost.”

            InuYasha smiled in appreciation, and he and his pack bid the elder good night as they made their way to Kotobukiya’s inn, a simple, one-story building of wood and shoji construction typical to the era and region.  The pack filed into the inn before InuYasha, and just before the hanyou entered the inn himself, he felt a twinge of sensation brushing over his awareness in such a way that only he and not the other pack members could feel it.  It was that of a very powerful demon, a daiyoukai, though it did not emanate malevolent intent.  At InuYasha’s hip, Tetsuseiga gave a single vibration within its scabbard to confirm to the hanyou what he already knew. 

            So, you’re near, aren’t you, Sesshomaru?


-To be continued-


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