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50 Years Too Early

Chapter 6: First Strike

Kagome stomped her way through the forest, her nostrils flaring like a provoked bull. Inuyasha's crass voice echoed in her ears. She gripped the hem of her crimson pants, imagining that her hands were around Inuyasha's throat. As she stomped, her foot knocked against a midsized rock, buckling her trudge of fury. The schoolgirl's temper flared to a boil. A single kick sent the rock sailing over the trees and crashed to the ground several yards away. But that still was not enough to wane her fire. That perverted, arrogant, immature, short-tempered asshole! The word, though rarely thought of by Kagome, was perfectly warranted when describing that dog-eared idiot. Kagome could think of no other word that better described his flippant attitude. Decency and respect were two things her mother made sure to teach her growing up but she just couldn't do it when Inuyasha was involved. He didn't even call her by her name, not once!

"Kikyo is a saint if she can find anything gentle about that guy," she growled.

She wasn't sure how long or how far she had been stomping but eventually the fire at the core of her stomach simmered, leaving her only mildly annoyed. She emerged in the clearing where the Bone Eater's well lay. On its face the rectangular structure was a simple design. Wood and stone made up its base and mouth with moss and some weeds as the only indicator of its age. But somehow this simple well had brought her here. Kagome approached slowly as if she were walking towards a predator. She passed a finger on the mouth of the well and quickly jumped back. When nothing popped out, she repeated the action with her entire palm. Nothing, it was only wood. At least for now.

"This where I came out, so by that logic it should send me back, right?" she asked the air around her. She peered into the mouth of the well. "I wish there was a way to test it at least."

The mid-afternoon sun peaked out from the clouds and its rays followed Kagome's gaze down the well, illuminating the dark bottom. Kagome's stomach dropped when she saw the height of the fall. It had to be at least several feet, or even a yard or two. Save for the vines and damp moss, there were no footholds or anything to hold on to that could slow her fall. At the bottom of the well was a bed of abnormal skeletons piled together in a disorganized manor. Kagome's stomach churned and bit down on her lips to prevent bile from escaping her mouth. She slid down to her knees unable to look at the sight any further.

"No way…." She muttered. "No way. I can't go in there now."

She leaned against the well staring at the afternoon sky as she weighed her options. Go back? Kikyo and Kaede were nice and they certainly did their best to make her feel welcome but Kagome just wasn't sure how much more of this place she could take. A summer wind blew through the trees, pushing out several leaves from their branches. Kagome watched in a lost gaze as the leaves floated to the ground without a care. But as one came towards her, it sliced in half as if it had passed through some blade. Kagome followed the other leaves descent only to see them get sliced as well.

"What the-?" she rose to her feet only to get nicked by something against her cheek. It felt as if she had just brushed by a knife. Warm blood trickled down her cheek as Kagome looked over the forest around her. Thin strands of wire covered the clearing from the top branches all the way to the grass. They crisscrossed at random points in their lines, covering not only the path she had taken to get here, but all the paths out of the clearing as well. Kagome could feel a strange pulse in the air. It wasn't quite a heartbeat but something of equal rhythm approaching her. She felt herself tense up and her hairs stand on end. Something wasn't right. She looked at the wires harder only to see that they weren't wires at all.

"That looks like…hair!"

"Oh my, oh me," a high pitched voice said from above her. "You can see them then. My net of hairs I mean."

Standing on top of the wires, or rather hair was a young man who appeared to be a few years older than Kagome. Other than a skin tight leather outfit with gauntlets on her hands, she wore nothing else. A medium sized sword was attached her belt. The newcomer looked down at Kagome with her strange magenta eyes and a sly smile.

"Pity, because seeing is not enough."

"Who are you?" Kagome asked, hoping she didn't sound too frightened.

"How do you do," she said, her fingers twitching. "I'm Yura of the Hair."

"Um…nice to meet you….?"

"You must be one of Kikyo's sisters," Yura said. "The resemblance is uncanny."

Kagome flinched. Kikyo had only come up with that cover story only a few days ago. How did this girl know about it already? She took a step back only for her heel to hit the stone base of the well.

"What do you want?" she managed.

Yura scoffed. "Please spare me the brave act. Your spiritual power is pathetic. But I suppose that makes things easier for me."

A flick of her wrist sent the hairs whipping against Kagome's body. The girl's arms flew over her chest and cried out in pain as the whips cut against her skin. Kagome dropped to a knee while tears formed at the corners of her eyes. Yura gestured again and the hairs flew up around her neck, hoisting Kagome into the air and pulling her towards the demon.

Yura grabbed Kagome by the cheek. "What I want is you little priestess. Once Kikyo hears her precious sister has been abducted, the Jewel of the Four Souls will be mine."

Kagome gasped as the hairs tightened around her throat. Her legs kicked in a vain effort to escape while her fingers blindly grasped at the hairs trying to find some loose end she could pull against.

"P-p-please let go…" she wheezed. "This…hurts…"

"Aw…poor baby," Yura mocked as she tightened the hairs. "Then again, I suppose I don't need you alive to draw Kikyo out. Would you like me to take the pain away?"

Kagome could only stare as the sword on Yura's hip floated out of its sheath and slowly pointed itself at her throat. Kagome's lungs burned, crying out for air. She could feel her body going limp and could see a haze beginning to form over her eyes. The blade seemed to move in slow motion as it inched closer to her throat. Kagome gritted her teeth, the last ounce of her strength coming to her. A strange warmth awakened her stomach, refilling her lungs and giving enough air for one last cry.

"Let…GO!" she bellowed. As if on cue, a purple blast exploded from her body. The blast hurled Yura back into the trees and snapped off the hairs around her neck. Kagome took a sharp breath filling her lungs with much needed air. But her relief was short lived once she realized one thing, she was falling. A shriek of terror escaped her lips. The mouth of the well got closer and closer with each second.

"No fair!" Yura said as she swung out from the trees. Her sword shot out from her hip, following Kagome on the way down.

All Kagome saw as she fell into the well was a bright light.


Inuyasha sprinted through the forest, his mind replaying the incident at the river. He could already feel his annoyance returning. The nerve of that stupid girl to call him a peeping….whatever that word was. He wasn't lecherous! And Kikyo….making him a demon or half-demon apologize to that human girl. Demons never apologized to anyone. He'd never seen his brother apologize to any of his victims. None of the demons that attacked him on a regular basis ever apologized. Why should he? The Halfling leaped into the trees, really not sure where he was going exactly. He needed to work off this mood. He needed a fight or something to gut open with his claws. He landed on one of the taller trees and took a long sniff in the air. A growl vibrated against his throat when he didn't smell any demons in the immediate area.

"Figures," he barked, punching the tree trunk. "Just when I need a bastard to fight me, they're all too chicken-shit to show up."

He sat on the branch in a huff. His fingers twitched against his sleeves, his knee bobbed up and down. He needed something to do, just sitting around was never a habit of his. He took another sniff of the air hoping he had missed some cowardly demon hiding in the bushes. But instead of a demon, he took the scent of something else.

"Blood," he whispered to himself. "Kikyo's blood…!"

Without a second thought Inuyasha leaped off the branch and bounded towards the village. In a matter of minutes the familiar brown huts and open fields came into view but when the half-demon slid to a stop the only people there to intercept him were eight young girls. They floated four inches above the ground, their heads hung low and their arms spread out wide with their wrists pointed downwards. In each hand was a knife, pick, or cleaver. Inuyasha glanced from one girl to another.

"Well…I guess I don't need to ask what you're up to." Something wasn't right, there was a faint smell of demon in the air but it was hidden among all the human scents.

The girls' arms jerked upwards presenting their weapons. Inuyasha scoffed and jumped back, raising his claws as well. This was exactly what he needed.

"All right, now this is what I'm talking about!" He cracked his claws and lowered himself, ready to leap at any moment. "Just don't expect me to go easy on any of you."

"Inuyasha wait…"

At the sound of her voice, Inuyasha turned on his heels to see Kikyo emerge from one of the huts. Her left hand clutched a wound on her right shoulder, the blood already staining her white uniform. Inuyasha could smell the sweat and fear on her. Her bow and arrow hung off to the side of the hut, most likely left there when she entered. She made her way towards him, her steps slower than usual but she still managed to close the distance between them rather quickly.

"Kikyo, what happened? Are you okay?"

"A minor slash wound," she replied, her eyes examining the girls. "Nothing you need to be concerned about."

The girls began to close in, their weapons ready to make their cuts.

"What's going on with these girls?" Inuyasha asked, positioning himself between Kikyo and their attackers..

"I can't say for certain, but something is controlling them. Some type of wire or string. If you cut them, perhaps they'll return to their previous selves."

A girl in a red kimono floated dangerously close to them. Inuyasha put his weight on his right foot, ready to leap. "I don't see any string,"

The girl shot forward her knife coming down towards Inuyasha skull. In the middle of its arc, the half demon released the weight on his foot and soared over his attacker, his claws instinctively going for her neck.

"Inuyasha!" Kikyo exclaimed. "Do not hurt them; they are not in control of themselves!"

Inuyasha gritted his teeth and slid to a halt. A twitch in his ears told him more were coming in from behind. He whirled around in time to see a cleaver swing towards his torso. He jumped back only to be caught in the path of an axe coming for his legs. Another leap and a flip brought him back to Kikyo's side, who had managed to retrieve her bow and arrows.

"I can't keep dodging them forever, I'm going to have to attack sooner or later," Inuyasha growled.

"Calm yourself Inuyasha," Kikyo said, notching her bow. "Whomever is behind this, I believe desires you to attack the girls."

Inuyasha cracked his claws again. "Well if you have a better plan I'd be happy to hear it."

"Stay where you are and observe."

Inuyasha huffed, more waiting around.


Kikyo's shoulder burned. She could feel her blood ooze out from her wound and begin to roll down her arm. If it reached her fingers her grip on her bow would weaken, making her shots inaccurate. Leaving the wound untended to also ran the risk of infection setting in later. She would need to settle this quickly. Her eyes ran across the controlled girls. A complex web of string had wrapped itself around their limbs which were what allowed them to float in the air. Cutting them with a dispelling arrow was the easiest way to free them.

She filled the arrow with her energy and loosed it. The projectile hurled towards its target, cutting every string in its path before coming to rest in a nearby tree. The girls, free of the control, dropped to the ground like stones. Their breaths were slow and steady but they were alive.

"Keh…well that was easy," Inuyasha scoffed.

"Yes…" Kikyo said looking over the still girls before her. A demon's presence was still knocking against her senses. "Perhaps too easy."

Something was wrong. Many of the strings controlling the girls had been cut, yet they were not awakening. The demon's presence she was sensing was not dissipating, in fact, it seemed to be growing stronger. And it was getting closer. Pain shot up her arm and shoulder as Kikyo went for another arrow in her quiver but she pushed through it. It wasn't over yet.

"Inuyasha, be on your guard. Whoever is behind this is not through with us yet."

Inuyasha turned to face her, no doubt with a question his lips, but a scream caught both their attentions.

"Kikyo, help!" Kaede's voice shrilled over the still village. From over the hill, came Kaede, running as fast as he short legs could from a group of ten armed and controlled village men. An axe swung at her neck, making Kaede dive to the ground to avoid it. But another controlled man thrust his spear at her exposed back.

"Kaede!" Kikyo instantly aimed her arrow at the man, but Inuyasha bounded into the fray.

With a loud yell he smashed his fist into the man's face, even from her distance away, Kikyo could hear the man's nose break from the blow. The injured villager flew back crashing into the three behind him. Four more attacked with their spear heads aimed straight for Inuyasha's throat. The half-demon's claw swung out in a golden arc, reducing the spears to splinters. Before the men could realize what had happened, Inuyasha placed four strong punches into their bellies, making them collapse. The remaining three attacked with their axes. Inuyasha dodged two of their swipes before grabbing the third man by the wrist and hurled him into the remaining two.

A small smile crept onto Kikyo's lips as she watched Inuyasha check if Kaede was all right. She could feel the same lightness she felt when Inuyasha had given her his mother's rouge. The warmth began to spread in her chest once more, overriding the tenseness that came from her senses and training. Kaede bowed to Inuyasha in thanks, only Inuyasha to huff and look away as he always did. A laugh bubbled in her stomach at the sight. Inuyasha was certainly in his own category.

But her moment of lightness was short lived. At that moment, the demon energy flared to life, slamming against her senses. The hair around the men Inuyasha had knocked out snaked off their victims and slithered around Inuyasha's body, slowly but surely overtaking his torso.

"Inuyasha, the hair!" she exclaimed, but she was a second too late.

The hair tightened around his body, trapping his hands against his chest and squeezing his legs to he couldn't leap away. The knocked out men were pulled out of their stupor by the hair and floated towards the entrapped half-demon with their weapons ready to cut.

"Kaede!" Kikyo said as she went for another arrow. "Run into our hut and remain there until it's safe!"


"Go, now!"

Kaede glanced at Inuyasha one more time before running towards the huts. The moment she was out of range, Kikyo took aim. Inuyasha struggled against his strange bonds while the men closed in ready to finish him. She narrowed her eyes, her blood beginning to drip to her wrist. The wires were so tight against Inuyasha's body that any attempt to free him risked killing him. But if she could find the main string that controlled it, perhaps it would break the other wires.

Kikyo felt her body tense when the demon's energy flared again. The wires around the girls began to grow at their cut ends until they were back to their original length. Something tugged on the newly grown wires, brining the girls into their floated position where they formed a wall in front of Kikyo's sight, blocking Inuyasha from her view.

Satsuki swung at her with a knife, making Kikyo jump back. She fired her charged arrow, but Satsuki was pulled into the air by the wires, opening the path for an axe to swing towards her head. Kikyo caught the blow with her bow but quickly realized her mistake. A spear thrust through her right leg. Pain ran up her body like a river flowing upstream. Her grip loosened on her bow, allowing the possessed girl to overpower her. The girl followed through with her axe and knocked Kikyo's bow out her hands. Overcome by pain, Kikyo dropped to a knee, her vision becoming blurred.

"Kikyo!" she heard Inuyasha cry out.

The village girls circled around her, but Kikyo had one last technique. It would take much out of her energy reserves but at this point she had little choice. Her spiritual energy answered her desperate call by filling her body with power. The girls floated closer, their weapons ready to cut her down. Kikyo's eyes snapped open and she unleashed the power she had gathered.

A blue sphere exploded out from her body pushing back her assailants and engulfing much of the village. When the light faded, Kikyo fell against the wall of a hut. Her body felt heavy and her could barely find the strength to even breathe properly. The girls lay before her, unconscious but alive. The technique was meant for demons and other impure creatures. The wires controlling them were once again cut short. Kikyo attempted to rise but her body screamed against it. Her bow was only a few steps away. If she could break the strings controlling the men, Inuyasha could escape.

Kikyo pushed herself to her feet and found that her speared leg would not support her weight. She was back on the ground after only two steps. The blood from her shoulder wound now seeped out from her sleeves and dripped from her finger tips. She wouldn't be able to properly hold her bow now.

"Kikyo, hold on!" he heard Inuyasha cry out.

"It looks like she's a little busy at the moment, little dog," a sultry voice said from above.

Kikyo tensed. The source of the demon aura now stood on a series of wires that crossed over the village. Her hands had knots tied onto to each finger and each knot connected to a wire. Her pink eyes stared down at Kikyo with a smug triumph that made Kikyo's blood boil.

"So this is the infamous Kikyo," the demon said with a chuckle. "We've only just met and already I've brought you to your knees."

Kikyo managed to sit up but standing was out of the question. "And just who might you be?"

The demon smiled at her. "I am Yura of the Hair, it's a pleasure to finally meet you."


Inuyasha struggled against the strange wires. His arms were pinned to his chest and his legs were being squeezed together, making leaping nearly impossible. The village men all took their swings at him, but their movements were slow and telegraphed. It didn't take much to avoid them, even tied up, but he could only keep this up for so long. When he saw Kikyo go down, Inuyasha struggled even more, but there seemed to be no loose end to this weird string.

A strong pull made Inuyasha go flying backwards and slam against a tree. Stars danced in front of his vision but the half-demon shook it off. The wires only tightened more, especially the one around his neck.

"Damn…it…." He growled. If he didn't act fast he was a goner.

A flash of blue light caught his eye. Kikyo was in trouble! The Halfling tried to jump but that only made things worse. It was as if someone was strangling him from behind the tree. If that was the case, then there was only one option.

Inuyasha turned his right palm so it faced outwards. His right arm pulled against his bonds, looking for the slightest loose end, all he needed was enough room for one swipe.

"Kikyo!" he cried out. "Hold on!"

"It looks like she's a little busy at the moment, little dog," the demon's voice said from above.

Inuyasha gritted his teeth and with a savage yell swung out his right arm tipped with golden energy.

"Iron Reaver Soul Stealer!" his golden claws swept downwards slashing through the bark of his bound tree. The unsteady tree rocked back and forth, loosening the wires. Seeing his chance, Inuyasha leapt as far as his legs could push him. He soared over the possessed village men and rocketed towards the female demon.

"Your pet is quite the spirited one," the demon quipped.

"I'll show you pet, bitch!" Inuyasha yelled, his claws drawn back. "Iron Reaver Soul-…"

The demon wagged her finger at him like a mischievous child. "Now, now, you wouldn't want to harm her would you?"

With that Kaede floated in front of Inuyasha's path, making the half-demon redirect his claws down to force a landing. Inuyasha shot out his left arm to absorb his fall. He pushed against the ground into a flip that brought him to Kikyo's injured side.

"Kikyo, are you all right?"

Kikyo's eyes never left the demon or Kaede. "Forget about me."

"And just who the hell are you supposed to be?" Inuyasha growled at the demon girl.

"She calls herself, Yura of the Hair," Kikyo answered.

"I'm flattered that you remember, Kikyo," Yura said.

"Release Kaede immediately," Kikyo said her voice a razor edge.

Yura chuckled. "It's rather difficult to threaten someone when you can't even stand priestess."

Inuyasha growled. Kaede by Yura's side, unconscious like the other girls. If he could just get her out of the way, he could attack this bitch and show he was no one's pet.

"What is it you want?" Kikyo asked.

"Isn't obvious? Bring the Sacred Jewel to me by midnight or…." The demon's sword floated out from her hip and its edge stopped inches in front of Kaede's throat. "Well, you know the rest." Inuyasha made a fist, his claws almost cutting into his skin. Just like that stupid centipede demon. Too weak to fight head-on so they resorted to these cowardly tricks. A real demon always fought his opponent face to face.

"Why don't you come down here and try to take it yourself!" Inuyasha yelled.

"Come now, Kikyo, surely the fate of your youngest sister means more than a fancy jewel. She is rather adorable. She almost reminds of your twin."

"What have you done with Kagome?" Kikyo said.

Yura just shrugged. "Does it matter? The jewel tonight or receive your sister's head. I'll be waiting."

Inuyasha launched himself towards her. He'd just have to mind where he swung.

"You ain't going nowhere!"

But he was moments too late. A single stroke of a red comb and Yura vanished in a wall of flame.

"Damn bitch!" he growled. He smelled the air trying to find her scent, but all he could get was the fresh smell of fire, blood and sweat. He looked over to Kikyo, who was using her bow as a crutch to bring herself to her feet. The spearhead was still imbedded in her knee and her shoulder wound had turned her pristine white robe, red. Her eyes seemed like they could close at any moment from exhaustion but still she pushed herself to walk towards him.

"Inuyasha," she said, her voice sounding as if talking took all her strength. "We need to move quickly to save Kaede."

Refusing crossed his mind. He had no obligation to the kid or Kikyo. Rescuing her would just lessen his standing even more among the demons. Yura already called him Kikyo's pet. No, a true demon wouldn't stop to help a human, especially one that had defeated him so many times in the past. He should just take his leave now and go after that Yura-bitch himself.

"What do you need me to do?" he said instead.

"Find Kagome," Kikyo said simply.

At the sound of her name, their encounter at the river earlier flashed before him. His temper sparked. "What do we need her for? She's just a stupid whiny girl. She'd be no help in a fight!"

Kikyo sighed. "She also has all my spiritual power. As I am now, injured and depleted of energy, I would no benefit to the fight either. Kagome will be fresh and at full power. We will need that to save Kaede and defeat this Yura demon."

Inuyasha growled. The feel of those rocks hitting against his head still fresh. But that was all forgotten when Kikyo took his hand and her warmth filled his hand.

"Inuyasha…for Kaede's sake, I beg you to please put aside whatever objections you have with Kagome. Without her, I fear that this fight will be in vain."

"Fine!" he barked. "Fine, fine, fine. But if she screws this up, it's on you."

"I appreciate it. I need to tend to these wounds and find a proper horse. I will meet you at the Bone Eater's Well, I believe that is where you'll find Kagome."

Inuyasha raised an eyebrow. "What makes you so sure she'll be there?"

"It is only speculation but I can think of no other place she'd be."

Inuyasha sighed. He could already hear that dumb girl's whining. "All right, fine, I'll go grab her. You just be ready by the time I get back."

With that he leaped into the forest with a huff.

He was positive his brother didn't have to put up with this crap.


Kagome awoke in darkness on a damp stone floor. She sat up slowly trying to recall what happened. There was some hair and a girl looking to kidnap her, and then she fell in the well. She rubbed her head but didn't feel any bumps or sores, so she must not have fallen as hard as she thought. But what now? If she went back up, would Yura still be up where waiting for her? What would she do if Yura was still there?

"But we've already been in here a dozen times."

"Grandpa, I told you, this is where she fell!"

"Are you sure you weren't dreaming?"

A cone of light shined into the well blinding Kagome for a second, but she knew those two voices straight away.

"G-Grandpa? Sota?"

She was out of the well in a matter of minutes and standing at the top of the stairs of the shrine. It was all here, here house, the shrine, the wall of buildings that made up Tokyo. She looked up to see the never-ending web of power lines stretch across the horizon and the undeniable smell of fuel and smog from cars. Her lips quivered as the realization became clear. She was back, she was really back home.

"You've been missing for the past three days," Grandpa said. "You could have at least called."

"And why are you wearing those weird old clothes?" Sota piped in.

She was really back. Tears welled up in her eyes and she fell into Grandpa's arms.

"Grandpa!" she sobbed. "I was so scared!"

"Kagome…what in the world happened?"


It didn't take long for Inuyasha to find the girl's scent. It was one of the few scents that was vastly different than the other smells in the area. He arrived at the well as Kikyo had said and like she had guessed, Kagome scent was all over the well. Along with Yura's. He didn't see her around but her scent indicated that she was here. Maybe she was in the well hiding. Inuyasha scoffed at the thought, that was probably where was.

The demon leaped into the well.

"This better not be a waste of time!"

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