It was late afternoon. The clearing that led into the village at the foot of the mountain was empty except for a small woman dress in red and white. She stood on the far side, away from the rice fields and houses, and stood there, arrow nocked and ready.
The air was filled with the eerie presence of youki, and birds flew loudly out of the way as a tree came crashing down. The miko didn’t blink.
Even though she held her ground, Kagome’s heart was pounding in her ears as she took aim at the oni crashing through the trees. It had been a long time since a youkai like that had dared come near the village of Inumura and tried the patience of the Inu Youkai who claimed it as their home. She and InuYasha had been at the shrine at the base of the mountain with a small group of villagers who had gathered to make an offering to the kami there when the first men ran up with the report of the monster at the edge of the village. She apologized to the kami, jumped on InuYasha’s back, and quickly followed the trail of destruction to find the monster stupid enough to threaten her home.
Another tree came crashing down, and she got a good glimpse of it. It was one of the tallest oni she had ever seen, big and red and angry, swinging a massive club to break through the forest. InuYasha taunted it as she watched, a flash of silver and red bouncing off of rock and tree branches, trying to lead it to a place he could safely use his Kaze no Kizu and not damage any of the farmland near at hand.
The hanyou and the ogre moved towards her, close to where a large rock mass jutted out of the earth. Suddenly, the hanyou fell as the rock ledge he handed on gave way and dumped him near the ogre’s feet. Quicker than InuYasha could roll out of the way, the ogre pulled back to crush him with his club when a bright flash of pink light hit his left arm, vaporizing it in a shower of dust. He roared, turning towards the red and white garbed miko, and, forgetting about the hanyou he had been about to pulverize, began rushing into the clearing where she stood, nocking another arrow.
This was a mistake. By the time the oni had cleared half the distance to Kagome, InuYasha, rolling to his feet, crashed his sword blade into the ground, and five fingers of youki magic raced from it to engulf the oni. With a final roar of pain, the oni exploded, scattering bits and pieces of flesh and bone all over the clearing.
The hanyou raced across the clearing back to where his wife stood. “Now that was entertaining,” he said, sheathing his sword. “More fun than eating cakes and drinking tea and listening to old men recall their ancestors.”
“Speak for yourself,” Kagome replied, lifting a piece of something red and indescribable from her hair. She looked up at him; she had a smear of blood and droplets of red and black scattered across the front of her white jacket.
“You’re not hurt are you?” he said, running his thumb over the smear of blood. His other hand ran gently over her body, checking for wounds.
“No, not at all, but I don’t know if I can say the same for my robes,” she replied. “You could have aimed better. Or let me take him out.”
“What?” InuYasha replied with a wicked smile. “And miss all the fun?”
“Wasn’t much of a fight,” Kagome replied.
“Don’t mean taking out the oni,” he said, wrapping his arm around her. “I mean getting to clean you up afterwards.” He nuzzled her head with his chin, and pulled her close to him. Suddenly, his nose wrinkled as he bumped another red bit of something. Flicking it out of the way, he muttered, “Damn, but that was one smelly oni,” he said.
“Tell me about it,” she replied. “Even I can smell it. Don’t you just love cleanup duty?”
“Only if it’s you,” he said, turning around to let her get on his back. “The villagers can take care of the rest.”
The first men they passed coming to see the outcome of the battle wondered why the little miko looked so bloody yet so pleased, but finding the mess the monster and the hanyou left for them, they were soon too busy to ask why.