Chapter Two Ways of Compassion
Sentient beings are numberless - I vow to save them all.
--First Great Bodhisattva Vow
An angry and ready to fight InuYasha ran over to Kagome, grabbed her, checking her scent. "Are you hurt?"
Kagome heard shouts and perhaps the sound of running from outside.
"No, not really. How about you?" she said.
"Nothing that will slow us down. Good thing, too cause it sounds like we have some company"
She could hear the sound of Sango's and Miroku's voices. InuYasha sliced the rope binding her hands with one sharp claw, threw her on his back, and ran. Outside the door were two unconscious men, maybe monks. InuYasha didn't slow down to make sure.
"Good work, you two. But we better run now." InuYasha said to the monk and the slayer.
"Don't let him get away, or we'll lose the bounty!" someone yelled,. "Jomei won't pay for lost youkai!"
Some local men armed with farming tools started to give chase to the hanyou. InuYasha started leaping and they lost track. Miroku and Sango, somewhat ignored in the frenzy over lost monies, followed at a more leisurly pace on Kirara's back. By the time the foursome got into the deep forest beyond the village's land, the last of the villagers had given up and headed back. Reaching a defensible clearing well past the last of the village's fields, InuYasha stopped and let Kagome off his shoulders.
"Damned bastards, " said InuYasha, pulling her close to him. "I'm so sorry, Kagome. I never wanted you to go through anything like that."
"I know" she replied. "But we're here now. It's alright" She looked up at him, tired, relieved, but still frightened.
"But it's not alright! They were going to hurt you because you were with me! And I couldn't do anything about it."
He was very angry. Some of that, she thought, was fear at what might have been. She reached up, touched his cheek with her fingers.
"That's why we have friends," she said.
Just then, Kirara flew down, and let the others off and transformed.
"I am ready for a break, friends. I don't think we've had a morning anywhere this exciting since Naraku died," said Miroku. "I thought this was supposed to be a quiet trip before our wedding, one last journey to enjoy ourselves. Evidently some people didn't get the news."
He plopped down, laid his staff across his lap. "O lovely Sango, will you join me?" He patted the ground next to him.
Sango still dressed in her armour and not her travelling kimono did. "I'm glad we left Shippou at home with Kaede this time. I have no idea what those monsters would have wanted to do with him. So what happened before we got there, Kagome-chan?"
"We were walking through the village, about to see about getting some tea, and someone used a stink pellet to knock Inuyasha out" Kagome said. She took a water bottle out of her bag and took a long drink, the passed it to InuYasha who drank the rest of it down. "They separated us, and I was in that hut until you came and got me. They were some sort of monks, I think."
"That's who were guarding you and InuYasha." Miroku said.
"I heard one of them say they were waiting for Master Jomei to arrive before doing anything with us." Kagome said.
"That name rings a bell," said Miroku. "But I don't remember why. I have to think about it."
After their break, they continued to travel as quickly as possible until they were too tired to continue, going cross country and avoiding the roads. Their passage wasn't totally unnoticed though, as a single itinerant monk looked up as he saw Kirara speed across the sky. He looked up thoughtfully, then continued towards the village.
Eventually, they made camp for the the night.
Sango was polished her Hiraikotsu, and looking at her friends. InuYasha had pulled Kagome close, with an arm wrapped around her. Her head leaned on his shoulder, thoughts turned inward. Miroku was staring at an ofuda he had in his lap.
"Who would have thought that us leaving you to chase down a small rat Youkai for that farmer would have caused so much trouble?" Sango asked, just to break the silence.
"Hmmp," said InuYasha.
"Kagome - You are sure you heard those men mention Master Jomei?" asked Miroku, looking up from the paper.
"I finally remembered where I heard that name. Mushin told me about a sohei, a warrior monk and abbot who was named Teiji. This monk taught that it was a high act of compassion to take the lives of youkai, because it allowed them to proceed on their way towards enlightenment, and if it were done by a monk with the right intention, the youkai would be reborn into the Pure Land immediately. Thus being a youkai destroyer was an act of true compassion. I heard his chief disciple was named Jomei.
"Jomei and Teiji?" Sango said. "We had a sohei come and visit my village a couple of years before...." She looked down for a moment. "Well, before I joined you. He was teaching just that thing. About how our work was helping Amida-sama carry out his work of saving souls by liberating youkai to be reborn. I don't know what my father thought about him, but I know he gave him some stuff...some stink pellets and some food and a naganita, and the sohei gave us his blessing."
She looked down at her weapon, looked up at Miroku. "Oh. I wonder...."
"It's possible, I suppose, if the Jomei I heard about and the Jomei the monks were talking about are the same person." Miroku said. "The pellet that took InuYasha down seems to worked very well."
"Perhaps they've set up a new temple nearby. We've been around here before and never had anybody actually try to hurt us for being with you, InuYasha." said Sango. "This is something new."
Throwing another piece of wood on the fire, InuYasha thought for a moment about the words he had heard people say around here. He knew the monks' message was falling on firtile ground, even if the locals hadn't actuallly tried to harm him or his little pack before.
"Sesshoumaru will not be happy that Youkai hunting monks have moved into the Western Lands," he said. "Perhaps we should go find him."