knittingknots (knittingknots) wrote,
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Evil In Men's Hearts Chapter 18

Something in the Air

Teijo reveals something. Jomei experiences kitsune kindness. Shippou sees something interesting

Disclaimer:  I do not own InuYasha or any of the characters created by Rumiko Takahashi


The Evil in Men's Hearts

Chapter 18: Something in the Air



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All men tremble at punishment.
All men fear death.
Remember that you too are like them,
and do not kill,
nor cause the death of others.

All men tremble at punishment.
all men love life.
Remember that you too are like them,
and do not kill,
nor cause the death of others.

Those who dig the wells control water.
Carpenters shape the wood.
Good people shape themselves.

---Dhammapada, 10
---------------------------------------------------------



"A war fan?" Sesshoumaru said.

Matsuo nodded, standing up. He brushed the dust from kneeling off of his black robes.  "A gussen."

The Daiyoukai had taken the fan from the monk's hand.  Sesshoumaru's beautiful face, impossible to read as usual, stared at the blue and silver fan, touched the iron ribs. It was clearly a weapon. A slight breeze blew up, stirring the silver hair of his bangs. Sesshoumaru opened the fan,  looked at the poem written on it.

"Mistake false for true," he read outloud. "Miss the truth of life."

Teijo, InuYasha and Hakuzo had gathered around the two inuyoukai, walking around the camp site for a little while, looking for other signs.  There was little else to see.  A wide spot between two narrow trails, a clearing around a broad tree, the remnants of a campfire, long cold.

"He headed east," InuYasha said, looking down one of the trails.  His ears flicked, on alert, although the only sounds were the breeze and distant bird calls.

"There's something in the air here that doesn't make sense,"  Hakuzo whispered, sitting down near the cold fire ring. "I can't quite put my finger on it.  It's not shouki..."

"Keh," said InuYasha, leaning back against the tree, close to the kitsune.  "There's a lot about this whole journey that doesn't make sense."

Hakuzo snorted at the hanyou, gave half a smile.

Sesshoumaru suddenly closed the fan.  "Tell me, Monk, why does this fan smell like you, even more than Jomei?"

Matsuo looked at him calmly.  "Because I gave it to him."

All eyes looked at the black-robed youkai.  Suddenly, Matsuo felt the tip of the fan under his chin.  Sesshoumaru stared at him with narrowed eyes, his youki rising, but poised, controlled.  "Explain yourself."

"I asked him to," said Teijo.

-----------------------------------------------------

Jomei came to with a start.

He was in a small room, lying on a futon.  Light dimly trickled through the paper glazed window of a shouji door.  This room was nearly bare except for the bed he slept on, a low table nearby, and an alcove with a small arrangement of flowers.  In one corner he noticed his bag, his outer robes, his staff and hat were neatly resting.  It felt very peaceful.  

He shifted to his side as he woke up, and realized that his foot hurt badly.  He remembered tripping and injuring his foot, and how someone, a woman, came and brought him here, but the memory was fuzzy, almost like a dream, but then he had slept deeply and dreamlessly.   Trying to sit up, he threw off the quilt and saw his foot, neatly bandaged  Jomei gingerly tried putting weight on his foot, and winced.  There was no way he would be walking far today.

From the front of the house, he could hear a dull beating  rhythm, like the movement of a loom.  A woman's voice sang, softly and sweet:

"Pass through, yes, pass through
And where will this path lead you?
Take this winding road,
Hand in hand carry your load
This road to the shrine.

"Pass through, yes, pass through,
And will you know what to do?
The foxes stand guard,
The winter wind is very hard
There around the shrine.

"Pass through, yes, pass through.
Going they will let you through
The foxes in red,
Returning might see you dead
Leaving from the shrine."

"A strange song," he thought.  It had a strong rhythm like a children's song  that went well with the beating of the loom.   The tune felt familar, reminding him of something he had lost from his childhood, perhaps something his mother used to sing.   From the good days...before.   He lay back down on the futon, feeling lightheaded, letting the clicking rhythm and the words dance around him.

"Foxes, foxes," he muttered. Closing his eyes, he could see them, white as snow and red, dancing around him, dragging scarves of red silk that fluttered in their dance, jumping over him, weaving around him.  With a struggle, he opened his eyes, saw nothing but the bright daylight, and a simple room. A small, strangled part of him felt the rising danger, set his spine tingling as a swell of youki washed over him, as soft as the silk scarves, brushing across his mind, his will, his body.  As he lay there, though, the gentle touch relaxed him, and  he forgot why he should be feeling panicked, and closed his eyes.  

"Pass through, yes, pass through," said the soft voice.  He felt a softness touch his cheek.  The world turned dark.


--------------------------------------------

Shippou noticed the flash of white ahead of him.

They were walking around the campsite, looking for some sign of Koku, not knowing why he had disappeared during the night.

Sango had taken Kirara up and flew over the area in long lazy circles on the neko's back, but had come back to rejoin them after a time.

"I didn't see anything from the air," she said as she got off of the firecat's back, and Kirara transformed back into her kitten form.

The little kitsune walked towards the flash he thought he saw in some tall grass near the edge of their campsite.

Miroku and Kohaku stood up, picked up their packs.  "So what do we do now?" Miroku said.

Shippou ignored the adults behind him. could feel something...an aura?  It wasn't like Miroku or Kagome's aura, like human ki.  It wasn't youki, either...but it was powerful.  The scent of it, whatever it was, teased him with a familiarity he couldn't quite place, but felt like he should know.  It reminded him of...well, home.  He wasn't sure if it was the smell from his parents' den or something else, but it made him long to find it, discover why it smelled like that.  He ducked through the brush.

"I don't know  Did Kuko wander off and get hurt?  I'd hate to leave him if he's gotten injured."  Sango said, biting her bottom lip.  

Miroku sighed.  "I suspect that means we don't go home yet."

"Could it be a trap? But why?"  Sango asked.  "Maybe Shippou could help us find....Shippou?"  she said, looking around.  The kitsune was nowhere to be seen.

"He was walking over towards those weeds, " Kohaku said

Calling his name, they began to follow.

---------------------------------------------------------

"Ah, Houshi-sama! " said a soft and cheery voice.

Jomei opened his eyes, startled,  to see a pair of bright green eyes looking down into his.  

The eyes belonged to a pleasant looking woman, dressed in a simple blue kimono and white headscarf.  She smiled at him. He shook the sleep out of his head, sat up.

"Who are you?  Where am I?"

"Oh, you can call me Tama," she said.  "You should get up if you can.  It's late afternoon.  Would you like something to eat?  Let me help you move into the other room so you can sit near the fire pit."

She knelt down beside him, helped him stand up. Standing up shakily, he was lightheaded and winced when putting weight on his foot and had to lean on her for support. He looked at her, small, petite, dressed in the indigo blue kimono of a farmwife, chattering away.  Red hair peaked out from her kerchief. He knew this was significant, but could not remember why.  Instead, he focused on her animated face, one that looked kindly.  

"Did you rest well?" she asked, as she helped him into the front room. "I have some miso soup and rice for you.  How's your foot?  It looked like you twisted it badly. I hope the wrappings are helping  I can make you some tea for the pain if it's hurting too badly."

Finally, the world settled down, and stopped spinning.  He found his tongue. "Peace, woman.  One thing at a time."

She blushed, bringing her hand to her mouth in embarassment.  "Sorry, sorry, sorry.  Forgive me, Houshi-sama.  It's so seldom I have anyone to speak to that I'm afraid I have far too much talk saved up."

They moved together into the other room.  There was a loom and a spinning wheel, a small shelf with yarns and tools against one wall, which had a large, shuttered window.  The window was wide open, letting in the light. There was a built-in cabinet, and a fire pit, a table.  The shoji doors were open to add in more light.  She settled him down near the firepit, drew up a low table, and quietly served him soup and rice.

He ate in silence for a time.  She tended the fire, replenished his bowl.

Suddenly, there was a scratching and he looked up.  A white fox stood at the door and yipped.

"Well hello there, Tsukikage!  Did you come to meet Houshi-sama?" Tama asked the fox.
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