- Text Size +

50 Years Too Early

Chapter 12: Turbulence at the Tea House

Moriko paced the cramped chamber, her long kimono dragging at her heels as she went. The growl building her throat echoed through the cave. The wound in her hand had already closed but the trail of blood that remained flowed down to her wrist. It was the only physical indicator of her pact with the priestess. A nagging voice in her head questioned if she had made the right decision, willfully allying herself and her horde with a smug priestess. Most deals with humans were for shallow promises of power, prestige, and other concepts that humans were always so willing to forgo their souls in exchange. It never took much effort to distort these desires to suit a demon's needs. Humans were never the ones who benefitted from these deals, yet there never was a shortage of fools believing themselves to be the sole exception.

But this Tsubaki was different. She was neither a desperate peasant longing for power nor a lord seeking some meager advantage over his rivals. The dark priestess seemed to know exactly how poorly these deals fared for humans and positioned herself to have the primary advantage, the promise of power and revenge. Moriko would be a fool if she turned down the Shikon Jewel. With it fueling her horde, taking back their territory in the west would a simple matter. Not even that dog demon upstart would be a match for her! But she was also a fool if she blindly accepted this deal and did not expect Tsubaki to betray her at some point.

Moriko turned on her heels to begin another lap of her pacing, her mind racing with potential outcomes. Even if the priestess betrayed them, what could this Tsubaki possibly do to them? Dark priestess or not, she was still another weak human they could easily overpower. More importantly, revenge could not be ignored. She could still remember when that dog-demon had strolled into their lands, his irritating toad servant at his flank, claiming their territory for his own.

Naturally their leader had attacked to protect them but that dog-bastard didn't seem to flinch. In one blow from his light-whip, the master was decapitated and his body vaporized by the dog's poison claws. The upstart had then tossed their leader's head to her as a warning.

"Stay out of my territory," the usurper had said.

Moriko slashed at the wall of the chamber. HIS territory!? The nerve of that arrogant bastard! She shut her eyes and could clearly see the bastard dog as clearly she had seen Tsubaki. At the mental image of her nemesis, Moriko's growls soon overtook her throat and exploded out of her mouth in the form of a savage roar that echoed through the entire cave. The deep wave of sound shook walls of their small enclosure, forcing the pebbles to trickle down like a small storm. Her chest heaved as the tantrum began to fade while her body was still hot with her rage. Despite that, Moriko could see that the path forward was clear. She would hunt down this, Inuyasha, and bring his head to his usurper brother!

But the only question was how. The oni mistress took a breath as she returned to her damaged stone throne. Already, one of her oni brandished a replacement sake dish, while another was in the process of refilling it. Moriko held out her expecting hand and within seconds her lips tasted the primitive but effective wine. It took six mouthfuls of the beverage for the alcohol to serve its purpose. She could feel her temper wane, allowing her mind to shift through her options without interference from her more basic instincts.

Killing this, Inuyasha, would be a simple matter. A half-demon stood no chance against her horde once they were fully committed to a task. Moriko downed another full dish of sake as her memories began to catch up to her racing mind. The half-demon had already killed three of her ogres. Weaklings of course, but all the same, in this instance perhaps overwhelming force was not the proper method. Her ogres, while formidable, were all rather simple-minded and unable to ignore their instincts. Dispatching them all to this Inuyasha would result in one of her ogres becoming either frustrated or impatient. No doubt they would kill the half-breed before it could be brought to her.

The Halfling creature's fate ultimately would be death, but Moriko wanted her claws to be the ones to cut him open. She wanted her claws to tear away his flesh and bone while he helplessly begged forgiveness for his elder brother's conquest. More importantly however, the half-demon could know information about his brother's movements and where he was most likely to strike next or even where he laid his head for the night. The ogre mistress swallowed another full gulp of sake as she nodded to herself. The half-demon had far more uses alive than dead, at least in this stage of the game.

"Now, how do I capture a half-demon alive?" she muttered to no one. Live captures were rare for her and the horde. Very few of their targets held anything of value to them, other than the meat that came from their flesh. Her followers could not be trusted with this task. They only knew how to maim, kill, and devour. Anything other than that was beyond them.

Moriko tapped her club against her throne as she ran through her options. She could always make the attempt herself, but fighting blind was what caused the master to lose his head and their lands. She dare not repeat that mistake. If she fell to that half-demon, however unlikely that outcome was, the horde would be mindless and their lands forever out of their reach.

The demon felt another growl building. This was becoming far too complicated. No horde, no direct involvement, so what she left with? Outside help? There were already too many claws in this pot. But what other options were there? Moriko held in a groan at the thought of finding a demon strong enough yet intelligent enough to capture the Halfling alive rather than slaughter him outright. According to the priestess, the half-demon was travelling northwest. Moriko scoffed. The northern regions did not have much to offer in terms of formidable demons. It was mainly bloodthirsty wolves, centipedes, and the occasional bird demon clan. None of which had the mindset or the restraint to capture their prey alive. Then again it had been sometime since she had dwelled in the north. Perhaps someone more suitable to her goals had muscled their way in by now.

She turned to her oni who had waited patiently for her orders. "Any one of you knows who's up north nowadays?"

Her oni glanced at each other, searching their brethren's faces for the answer. Moriko often sent them out to scout the area for prey and information, surely at least one of them heard rumors of new demons in the north. The ogres growled amongst themselves for a time, sounding less like a discussion and more like an approaching thunder cloud. Finally a red oni stepped forward and bowed at her feet before speaking. His words slow and deep but Moriko picked up on the ogre's meaning.

"A member of Taigokumaru's clan dwells to the north mistress…"

Moriko felt another growl coming on and quickly downed the rest of the wine from the bottle to prevent her temper from overcoming her. But even with the sour taste of the wine smeared inside of her mouth, the ogre mistress could still feel the heat of her rage broil inside her stomach.

First a devious priestess and now this!

This deal was getting worse all the time.


"We're here!" Kaede announced gleefully as she jogged passed Inuyasha.

"Hey, slow down will ya!" the half-demon called after her.

Kaede paused when she was only a few feet ahead and turned on her heels to address their straggler. "Hurry up Lady Kagome! We made it!"

Kagome let out a huff as she climbed the relatively moderate hill before her. It had barely been half a day and already her feet were swollen. She could feel the blood from the various cuts on her toes and heels tickle her skin through the tobi socks she wore. The added weight of her backpack didn't help matters either. She had told her mother and grandfather she needed 'just the basics'. This to them seemed to translate in packing an entire month of supplies for her to lug around the feudal era. Some food like the instant ramen noodles and rice balls she could understand. But did gramps really need to shove an entire bottle of "holy sake" in there too? Plus there were her textbooks sitting at the bottom, silently remaindering her of the classes she'd be missing for this trip. Then again, slowly going insane due to visions of the future was no excuse to fall behind on her class work. At least that's what her instructors would tell her anyway….

"Coming….coming…." Kagome muttered, even her voice straining itself.

"Would you speed it up?" Inuyasha yelled. "We ain't got all day you know!"

"Let's see you drag this stupid thing around!" Kagome shot back.

"Fine," the half-demon said. In a single leap, he cleared the distance between them. At the sight of his red robes overtaking her vision, the school girl stumbled back, but his hands latched onto her shoulders keeping her firmly in place. He slid off the straps from her body and hoisted the backpack to his shoulders with one arm.

"There," he said as he continued on without any problems. "Better?"

Kagome stretched out her arms and rotated her shoulders to alleviate the stiffness she had built up. Her muscles and joints all but screamed in relief at the absence of the weight. "Um…yeah actually. Thanks…"

"Keh… weakling."

Kagome's face scrunched up at the remark. "Well forgive me, not all of us have the privilege of being born a half-demon!"

Inuyasha froze in his tracks. Kagome saw his usually lively ears, flatten onto his skull, to the point where they were nearly invisible underneath his mane of silver hair. His free hand curled into a tight fist. He turned on his heels and faced her with a glare that immediately made Kagome feel as if she were his prey in the wilderness.

"You have no idea what you're talking about! There ain't no 'privilege' in being a half-demon!"

"S-sorry….." Kagome whispered, taking a step back. She was suddenly reminded of the first day they met, when Inuyasha was about to attack her for looking like Kikyo. She watched his claws as he constantly clenched and unclenched them. A small quake of fear ran up her spine. She had left the bow and arrow Kikyo had given her in her backpack, it had been way too much to carry at once. If Inuyasha really did attack…..

No! He wouldn't do something like that. Not with Kaede with them. And especially not when Kikyo asked him to escort her. But there was something in his eyes, an anger that could possibly overcome all of that. A small bead of sweat began to form at the base of her neck. Kagome couldn't bring herself to move.

She blinked and when she opened her eyes, she found herself back in the treacherous fields. The sole cherry blossom fell into her hand and from behind her she could hear her attacker dashing towards her.

"No…." she whispered. "Not again!"

But rather being slashed, a small but strong pair of hands grabbed her wrist and began to guide her past Inuyasha and up the hill. Kagome snapped out of whatever fear-induced trance took hold of her and saw Kaede leading her away.

"Come on Lady Kagome, we don't have time to stand around," she said with a smile. "Inuyasha, I think I sensed a demon a few yards to the west. It could be following us."

Inuyasha shook his head, as if snapping himself out of a trance as well. "What kind of demon? How big is it?"

"It looked like an oni. Maybe even a tengu," Kaede replied. "Could you check it out for us please? We'll be right here."

The Halfling scoffed, but nodded regardless. He set down Kagome's bag before leaping off into the bushes.

It was only when his red-clad figure left completely, did Kagome allow herself to breathe. "Thanks Kaede. It was getting kinda of tense for a second or two back there," she said as she gathered up her backpack.

"Don't worry about it," the little girl said. "I'm sure killing a demon will help Inuyasha cool off."

"Oh, there really was a demon out there?"

Kaede could only shrug. "There are demons everywhere, Lady Kagome."

"I guess that much is true," Kagome said, returning the shrug. She really hadn't seen any evidence to suggest otherwise. She wouldn't be surprised if there were tree and mountain demons out there at this point.

The pair reached the top of the hill to their destination. It was a modestly built tea house just off the main road. Four benches were placed near the entrance of the small house, two of which were already occupied by two farmers. Kagome noted the small dishes near the occupants and the cups of green tea they were nursing. She raised an eyebrow at Kaede as a slender middle aged woman emerged from the tea house to greet them.

"So what is this place exactly?"

"It's Ms. Nami's tea house," Kaede said.

"And why are we here?"

Kaede smiled at her. "It has the best Mitarashi Dango* you can find in the province."

"Oh Kaede-chan, you exaggerate," the woman known as Nami said. "All the same, I always do enjoy your visits." She turned to Kagome and bowed. "I hope things are well with you, Lady Kikyo."

"Oh! Um…I'm not…!"

"Actually, this is my other sister, Kagome," Kaede jumped in.

"Truly?" Nami said as she scanned Kagome head to toe. "The resemblance to Lady Kikyo is uncanny. You must be her twin sister."

"Uh…yeah," Kagome said meekly. "Something like that. So…about those dumplings…."

"Oh, of course! Listen to me babbler about. Take a seat. How many would you like?"

"Just six is fine," Kaede answered.

"Coming right up."

When the woman disappeared back into the tea house, Kagome managed to take a seat at one of the vacant benches, dragging her backpack all the while. Kagome let out a relived sigh, her body rejoicing at the prospect of just sitting down for a while. She removed her sore feet from the sandals and removed the socks to examine just how bad the scrapes were. She could only groan when she saw the results.

"Next long distance trip, I'm wearing my regular shoes," Kagome muttered. "Or hiking boots."

"So what's in your bag Lady Kagome?" Kaede asked, leaning over.

"Good question, let's find out."

Kagome heaved the bag onto the bench and saw that a small flea market awaited her inside. "I've got….hairspray, a giant bottle of 'sacred' sake, ten packs of instant ramen noodles, some rice balls, sleeping bag, soap, some herbs, Kikyo's bow and arrows, flares, a holy bell for some reason, and my textbooks. Geometry, Biology, Pre-Calculus, History of Japan from the Tokugawa era to the Meiji era….."

"Meiji?" Kaede repeated. "I've never heard of that warlord."

"And you won't for a while," Kagome replied. "But let's not get into spoilers ok?"

"Um…Ok….But how did all that fit in there?"

Kagome only shrugged. Her mom had packed most of it, and Kagome couldn't figure out how she did it either. The teenager eased back onto her seat and watched Kaede swing her short legs over the edge of the bench as they waited for their dumplings.

"So how did you know about this place?" Kagome asked the idle child.

"Sister Kikyo saved Nami's mother from being possessed by a demon. Nami was so grateful she promised to give us free dumplings whenever we were in the area. I actually have been longing to happen by here for a while now, but ever since Sister Kikyo received the jewel…."

"It must be tough…" Kagome said. "For both of you."

"It can be at times," Kaede muttered. "I do miss travelling the country-side. But Sister Kikyo is doing important work. And when my time comes….I'll be doing the same…."

"You don't sound too enthusiastic about it," Kagome noted.

Kaede sighed, her shoulders sinking due to some invisible weight. Kagome saw the child's swinging feet halt and her fingers drag across the wood of the bench. Kagome mentally scolded herself for hitting another nerve. She opened her mouth to apologize, but Kaede spoke first.

"Sometimes….I think that I don't want to be a priestess…." The child whispered, though loud enough for Kagome to hear. "Please don't tell Sister Kikyo I said that."

Kagome wrapped her arms around Kaede's small shoulders. "No, of course I won't."

"Thank you."

"But if you really feel that way, you should tell Kikyo, I'm sure she would understand."

"No…I….it…just wouldn't feel right…."

Kagome patted her hair and offered her a bright smile. "Well if you ever need someone to talk to, you can always talk to me, all right?"

Kaede returned the smile. "Right!"

The two sat in silence for a while, Kaede's chipper behavior soon returned and she began to ask questions about Kagome's world. Moments later Nami emerged with their dumplings and tea.

"Inuyasha has been gone for a while," Kagome said as she took a dumpling. "You think we should go look for him?"

"If you talking about your companion, I'm afraid he's lost," one of the farmers said over his shoulder. "He has entered the forest of Royakan, the mad guardian."

"Royakan?" Kagome repeated. This wasn't sounding good.

Kaede shook her head. "You must be mistaken. Royakan is a gentle guardian of the forest. He guides and protects travelers who provide him offerings. And only punishes those who harm the forest."

"Aye," the farmer agreed. "A month ago you would have been correct girl. But lately the guardian has become a butcher."

"Now he attacks anyone who enters his forest," the second farmer added. "His hounds of the underworld are relentless. Just a week ago they slaughtered an entire unit of samurai. No one dares enters that forest now."

The first farmer turned to Kagome, making the schoolgirl return to her dumpling to avert his gaze. "But now that you're here priestess, you can slay Royakan for us!"

Kagome lurched forward, the dumpling nearly going down her windpipe. She pounded her chest to force the bit of food down and gulped her green tea for good measure. "Umm….I'm sorry what was that?" she asked when she regained control of herself.

"You are the twin sister of the famed priestess Kikyo are you not?" the farmer pressed. "I heard you admit it to Ms. Nami."

"Yeah but….we're in the middle of our own journey," Kagome attempted though even to her the excuse sounded flimsy.

"Nonsense!" the second farmer said. "What could be more important than coming to the aid of the common man? Is that not what priestesses do?"

"Of course sir," Kaede said, finishing off her dumplings. "We'll be sure to look into this."

Kagome could only nod in agreement, allowing the two farmers to breathe a sigh of relief.

The school girl on the other could only groan under her breath.

What had she just gotten herself into this time?


"Not all of us have the privilege of being born a half-demon!"

Inuyasha could feel his temper grip his chest as he soared over the forest canopy. It didn't take him long to realize there was no demon in the area, but time away from that stupid girl was best for everyone right now. The Halfling came to halt on a rather tall tree, with thick enough branches to support his weight.

"A privilege she says," he growled as he plopped down on the branch. Keh, he should have told her to go rely that message to his brother and his grandfather. The only "privilege" he had as a half-demon was the privilege of running and hiding for most of his life. He had the "privilege" of spending a good portion of his formative years scared and alone.

And he had the "privilege" of seeing mother shed tears over his fate.

"Mother," he had said to her. "What's a….half-breed?"

Inuyasha jolted to his feet and slashed at the trunk of the tree to keep those memories at bay. He wouldn't have to worry about that crap once he got the Sacred Jewel and became a full-fledged demon. Then he'd show everyone the privilege of his claws! They would all keep their distance out fear of him, just like his brother!

Even Kikyo? A small voice in his head whispered to him. Even Kagome? When he had snapped at Kagome for what she said, she had a look on her face no human or demon had given him before.

For those few seconds, she was afraid of him.

Keh, she should be! He was a demon after all. Human women like her should be fleeing at the sight of his presence or offering him gifts in exchange for letting them be! The fact that Kagome was afraid of him meant that she was one the few smart humans he had encountered!

But it didn't feel right, the small voice said again.

Inuyasha let out an aggravated growl and leaped off the branch. His claws twitched as he surveyed the forest for some demon, any demon, to fight. Maybe the rush from a fight would shut up that stupid voice in his head.

At the apex of his next jump the smell of human blood caught his noise, mixed together with a strong smell of a demon. Inuyasha smirked and immediately followed the scent. Eventually he came upon a small moss filled cave, settled between two great trees. Human remains were scattered near the entrance. As some crude warning, he guessed. Inuyasha cracked his claws. It didn't matter to him, as long as this demon was big and tough.

"Hey!" he shouted. "Anyone actually live in this pathetic shit hole!"

Silence was his only answer until a loud powerful voice echoed from the depths of the cave.


Keh, a dramatic one, even better. "Why don't you come out here and find out!"

The ground quaked causing smaller rodents to scurry away for cover. A massive furred hand emerged from the darkness, griping the sides of the cave in order to support the body attached to it.

A large demon in the shape of an armored wolf towered over the red clad half demon. The creature's round head seemed to overtake a good portion of his body. His oversized crimson irises glared down at Inuyasha with the usual scorn most demons gave him at first glance. Drool oozed down the corners of the demon's mouth. Its wide tongue flicked out to catch the liquid only making the problem worse. Its fur stood on end, signaling that he was already for a fight. Inuyasha smirked, he shared the sentiment.


Inuyasha dashed forward, his claws ready to slice. "That's funny I was about to say the same to you! Iron Reaver Soul Stealer!"

Blood colored the air around him, and the fight was on.

The small voice was silent.


Deep in the forest a young demon hung upside down on a branch. Her leather wings were wrapped around her slender body, blocking the details of her figure. Her long white hair hung below her while her lips stayed focused on the flute she was playing.

Her eyes snapped open when a new scent reached her lips. She ceased the sound of her flute for a moment to allow herself a smile.

"New prey," she whispered.

This would be fun.

AN: Sorry for any typos you might see, didn't have time to really edit. Hope to see you next chapter!

Mitarashi Dango: is a type of dango skewered onto sticks in groups of 3–5 (traditionally 5) and covered with a sweet soy sauce glaze. It is characterized by its glassy glaze and burnt fragrance.

You must login (register) to review.