Teijo talks to a monk. Two foxes talk. Something's strange about Sango
The Evil In Men's Hearts
Chapter 21: Fox Talk
(author's note: crazy life last week. Hopefully things will get back on schedule)
When I regard the true nature of the many dharmas,
I find them all to be sacred forms
of the Tathagata's never-failing essence.
Each particle of matter, each moment,
is no other than the Tathagata's inexpressible radiance.
With this realization,
our virtuous ancestors gave tender care
to beasts and birds with compassionate minds and hearts.
Among us, in our own daily lives,
who is not reverently grateful for the protections of life:
food, drink, and clothing!
Though they are inanimate things,
they are nonetheless the warm flesh and blood,
the merciful incarnations of Buddha.
All the more, we can be especially
sympathetic and affectionate with foolish people,
particularly with someone who becomes a sworn enemy
and persecutes us with abusive language.
That very abuse conveys the Buddha's boundless loving-kindness.
There was a flash of red in front of them as Saicho and Teijo headed back to the campsite. InuYasha stopped, stepped to the side as Teijo walked holding onto the sohei.
"Ah, I see you found what I came looking for, Uncle" InuYasha said, crossing his arms across his chest. "He threw a rice bowl at Matsuo, then knocked him with his own staff. Kagome is taking care of Matsuo."
The youkai nodded as he guided the monk past his nephew. "We are returning. I'll check on Matsuo once I get this person secured."
As the two were nearly past the hanyou, who was looking at them with a badly concealed irritation, Sachio turned and faced InuYasha.
"Hanyou filth," he whispered.
InuYasha's eyes flared and his ear twitched, but he said nothing. Teijo stopped, swerved the human to face him.
"You will not find your martyrdom that way, Monk," Teijo said, taking him by the throat. "My nephew will not kill you. But I will remember this when the time comes. Nothing my brother or his honorable wife produced was filth."
InuYasha turned, still saying nothing, and went back to the camp.
Teijo released Sachio's neck. "Have you heard of Naraku?" he asked.
The monk nodded.
"InuYasha fought long and hard against that evil. He has stood up to monsters that would give you nightmares for a lifetime so you and other ningen would even have a chance to live. If it had been up to Naraku there would be nothing for all you Sohei to bicker about,." Teijo said. "Do not use him as a tool in your frustration. I need him even more than I need you."
Jomei watched the fox come into the house, and sit next to him.
"You..." he said.
The fox nodded.
"You have met Yuki, I see," said Tama. "Or perhaps her sister, Tsukikage."
"There are two of them?" he said.
"Oh yes," said Tama, sitting down by her loom. "They stop by here from time to time and tell me their news." She began weaving. Jomei found the rhythmic clicking of the beater to be relaxing.
**You have seen us both,** said a voice in his head.
Jomei shook his head, trying to clear it. "Did you say something, Tama-san?"
"No, that wasn't me, Houshi-sama."
**No, it was me,** the voice said again.
The fox crossed her arms in front of her, and looked up at the monk.
**Would you sing something, Tama-chan? I love when you sing. It reminds me of my lady's songs.**
"You are too sweet, Yuki. I could never sing as well as she does."
Jomei shook his head again. It dawned on him finally whose voice he was hearing. "How can this be?" he whispered. He fingered his rosary.
Tama continued weaving, working her loom, and began singing to the rhythm.
"The foxes dance beneath the moon,
an August moon, a harvest moon,
Winter will be coming soon,
snow and wind and sleet.
"The foxes dance the long, long night,
A shining night, a magic night,
Courtship blooms by pale moonlight
by nose and nip and sigh.
"Inari smiles while foxes dance,
laughing dance, happy dance,
Kami blessing while foxes prance,
tail and ear and paw."
** I like that one,** said Yuki.
Silence reigned for several minutes. Jomei began to silently whisper the nembutsu.
The fox sighed. **Now, I will tell a story,** she began. **Once there was a man who was particularly devoted to the Boddhisatva Kannon...**
Kagome looked up to watch a stern faced InuYasha walk into the clearing.
Matsuo, sitting on the ground with a wet cloth over his bruised head, looked up. His previously well organized corner of the clearing was now a jumble of spilled rice, scattered dishes, bandages and medical supplies. Kagome was packing her medical supplies back in their bag. Rice was scattered over the ground, Matsuo's bedroll, and a few grains still stuck to his clothes. One small bird flittered on the edge of the spill, dodging in to pick at the rice, dodging off when someone moved. Rin squatted down, unmoving, watching the bird.
"That was quick," Kagome muttered. She was amazed how much InuYasha looked like his brother with his face frozen into a look of controlled anger Brushing away some rice, he sat down beside her and sighed, his mask slipping, yet still withdrawn and scowling. He crossed his arms in front of him, hiding his hands in his sleeves.
"You are back sooner than I expected," she said. "What happened to the --"
"Teijo found him. He'll be back here in a little bit."
Kagome sighed. Something had happened. She took the cloth from Matsuo' s head, and dipped it back in the water, replaced it. "You need to keep refreshing the cool water. It will help with the bruising and the headache," she told him. "And be sure to drink the tea I made you."
Matsuo picked up the cup, took a sip, made a face, shook.
"Tastes good, eh?" she said. "Yeah, I know. It's very bitter. But it will help with the bruising and the pain." Kagome looked back at InuYasha, who was still staring angrily into space. "
Teijo stepped into the clearing, shoving Saicho slightly in front of him. InuYasha turned, looked hard at them, then stood up.
"Kagome, come on," he said.
She looked up from where she was sitting next to Matsuo. "What is it, InuYasha?"
"Just come on." He tugged on her arm, and pulled her up. "Let's go."
"Where?" she said, grabbing her bag.
He kneeled down, and she got on his back. "What's wrong, Anata?" She could feel the agitation in his youki, had felt it ever since he returned from looking for the monk. He stood up, not saying anything, but began running..
Tsukikage stared up into Mirkoku's eyes. The fox's eyes were warm, calm, and very deep.
**You have heard me whisper to you in the dark of the night, Monk.** a voice whispered into his head. **Have you decided to help me?**
Miroku looked around him, glancing at the others. "Did you hear that?" he asked.
"Hear what?" said Sango, showing her unease as she gripped the leather straps of her weapon tighter. Kirara, sitting on Sango's shoulder seemed unbothered.
Shippou grinned. "She's been talking to you at night, Miroku. I don't think she knows what a hentai you are." The little kitsune rested his hand on the white fox's head.
Miroku looked over his shoulder. "You can hear her too, Kohaku?"
The teenager nodded, unbothered by the situation.
"What are all you talking about," Sango said. "Who's talking?"
"Tsukikage," said Shippou.
"You can hear her?" Sango asked, looking at Miroku, then Kohaku.
"I knew you could understand foxes, Shippou, but I didn't realize she was speaking things that humans would understand," said Miroku. "But why doesn't Sango hear her?"
The fox walked up, touched Sango with a paw, then yelped as she pulled it back. A sudden blue light shimmered, and gave off sparks as the fox withdrew. She sat down on her haunches and licked a paw.
**Someone doesn't want me talking to Sango,** Tsukikage said. **They've put a barrier up against me.**
"What?" said Sango.
"Someone's blocked you from hearing her," Shippou said. "There's a barrier around you."
**Someone's coming,** said the fox, still licking her paw.
Miroku stood up, looked around, holding his staff carefully. Shippou looked up, sniffing.
"Well," said a familiar voice. "What brings you here? You're a long way from the Slayer's village."
They turned around.
"Kagome! " Shippou shouted.