His question softly faded into the wind as Kagome desperately tried to calm her racing heart down. She had almost tripled backwards by the surprise. After the initial shock, she wasn’t sure if she was supposed to be afraid or glad to see a familiar face. Even though the person wouldn’t have been her first pick.
“Sesshoumaru,” she gasped, “what is going on in here?”
The man frowned. Kagome missed his subtle gesture and twirled around to study her surroundings further. There was definitely something off with the scenery. And what were all those strange birds on the trees? She had never seen such avian creatures before.
As the girl marvelled the skies, the dog demon behind her was grinding his teeth. He found her behaviour atrociously insulting. A human had the impudence of turning her back at him! His eyes flashed with the crimson that usually foreshadowed an act of violence.
“I am not this Sesshoumaru you speak of.” A deep voice grumbled.
Kagome pried her attention away from the landscape and turned to face him. His claws twitched. The girl was about to protest at his ridiculous statement, but then she gave his features a closer look. She took a step closer and stared at his face. There wasn’t a crescent moon symbol on his forehead. In fact, there was no symbol at all.
Otherwise his looks were agreeable enough and with a quick glance he really did look a lot like the killing perfection, Sesshoumaru. The man had similar long, silver hair and forelocks that framed his chiselled features. He was about as tall as Sesshoumaru, but his golden eyes reminded Kagome of someone else.
“Oh, you’re right” she smiled apologetically.
The demons nostrils flared. Had she any tact at all! To gawk at him at such a close proximity and brush off her mistake so casually.
“I’ve rarely seen your kind. I thought that not that many of you existed anymore. Are you a relative of Sesshoumaru’s?”
In addition to her indiscretion and impudence, she had no decency to show any sign of concern over her well-being at his presence. He could rip her throat open just as easily as taking a breath. What was this creature?
“In which sort of delusion you assume you can address me so informally!”
“Well, excuse me.” Kagome breathed in. She didn’t have any patience for that kind of rotten attitude right now. She had to find out what was going on and something told her that this pompous oaf would not be of any help in that matter. “Hajimemashite yoroshiku. I am Higurashi Kagome. And I am taking my leave as of this instance. Goodbye, mr. Stuck-up-on-formal-introductions.”
Why were all dog demons so rude? She had no time to waste arguing with him. With that decided, she began trudging away. As elegantly as one could in a miniskirt and a backpack the half of her bodyweight which constantly made her gravitate towards the ground.
The baffled demon, which was left standing in her dust, scarcely remembered when his pride had suffered such an insult. He could only ogle after the peculiar human girl as she descended the way to the field below them. Why hadn’t she been scared of him like all other humans? Who was the dog demon she spoke of? Did she have some kind of relations to his pack? And why did she dress like a harlot?
He followed her.
Kagome was making her way to Kaede’s village. Or where she estimated it should have been. It was hard to tell since everywhere she looked, there was just more forest, more trees, trees, trees. She could hardly see the forest for the trees.
Once in a while she peered over her shoulder. That self-appointed expert on manners was following her. Not even trying to shadow her, but just bluntly walked after her in plain sight. She was as amused as she was irritated. Dog demons were curious to a fault.
After an hour of trekking which included her falling flat on her behind, getting tangled on tree roots, getting a nasty rash on her right leg and suffering from numerous insect bites, there were no signs of civilisation what so ever. She came to an abrupt halt. Her back was aching from the weight of her pack of which’s straps had buried themselves to her shoulders. She was cold from sweating in the wintery weather. This was pointless. She could just as well walk to the end of the world and find nothing. As long as that stupid dog was stalking her, she might as well make him be of some use to her.
“Hey, excuse me!” She called him.
The dog demon that had stopped some distance behind roused his attention at her.
“Umm, do you know if there’s a village somewhere around here?”
The demon merely scoffed and curtly ignored her.
‘Oh, definitely a relative.’
Kagome placed her hands over her hips and took a deep breath. “Aaaree theerree aanyyy peeoopleee aaanyywheeereee neeaaar?” She exaggeratingly articulated. Maybe that would get through his thick skull.
The demon’s ears twitched, but besides that, he didn’t react.
“PEEEEEOOOOOOOOOPLEEEEEEEEEE?” Kagome raised her voice.
In a swift motion the man pressed his hands over his ears and hissed at her. “Silence that insufferable noise, human!”
“Fine. Just answer a simple question. Is there?”
“Is there a village anywhere near here?”
The demon lowered his hands and carefully sniffed the air.
“There are no humans in the proximity of 40 ri.” He concluded.
“Ri?” Kagome mused aloud. “How much is that in kilometers?”
“That is a foreign unit of length to me.” The demon replied somewhat irritated. Why was he obliging this woman with answers? This was getting bothersome.
“Okay… How long it would take me to walk to the nearest village?”
The dog demon’s lip tightened. “I would estimate that it is a three days walk there. By a human.” Before Kagome could ask anything else the demon raised his hand “I am not obligated to advice you any further. You are getting quite tiresome with your queries.”
The human woman made a peculiar gesture of rolling her eyes which went by him. She sighed and shaded her eyes while looking at the sky. There was about few hours of sunlight left. Enough time for her to return to the well… If only she had any idea in which direction it was.
“Damn” she murmured under her breath. She had never been that good of a navigator, but at this completely unfamiliar environment it was impossible even with a compass. Presuming she had had one. If she got lost she could bump into much more unpleasant demons than her current company. She glanced at the solemn silverhead.
“Umm, Mr. Dog Demon--“ she began, but the demon cut her short, loudly remarking: “Human, I do not answer to such title. This person has a name. ”
Kagome crossed her arms and waited for the demon to continue.
Briefly he pondered would it be worth the trouble to allow her to know his name if he’d simply end up eating her. What a waste of courtesy. But let it not be said that the dog demon clan was without class.
“Toga.” He rumbled.
The girl nodded. “Okay, Mr. Toga…” She paused for a while. If he was proving to be anything like the other stubborn dogs she knew, it would be a job to convince him to help her.
“I have a proposition.”
There was an oddly familiar smirk of arrogance on his face when he replied “Demons of class do not negotiate with lowly humans.”
“But you don’t strike me as stupid.” Kagome smiled back at him. It was always a safe bet to appeal to the pride of demons. “Man of your intellect would surely appreciate a good bargain.”
Toga’s left eyebrow lifted ever so slightly to indicate that he was listening.
“I need you to guide me back to where I came from.”
She knew he was about to object. “Ah, your troubles won’t go unrewarded!” She exclaimed.
Kagome swung her pack on the ground and began to dig for something. A while later her hand came in contact with coarse paper. She pulled out a brown paper bag.
Intriguing odour offended Toga’s sense of smell. Much the like woman, the scent was nothing he had encountered before.
The girl pulled out a brown lump of… presumably foodstuff from the paper wrapping. Toga took a few unconscious steps closer to her and that fascinating lump. At that moment Kagome was grateful for the dog chocolate she had brought along for Inuyasha. The silverhead was visibly interested.
Kagome handed out the piece of chocolate for Toga. “Here, try it.”
Toga eyed the lump suspiciously and Kagome shook her head. “Seriously, why would I try to poison you when I need your help?”
She did have a point there. Toga quickly snatched the lump, trying to make as little as possible contact with her filthy skin. He carefully sniffed the brown, sweet lump. His salivary glands immediately set off. It smelled delightful and he had to swallow down the impatient pool of liquid in his mouth. He took a last, careful glance at the girl before tossing the lump in his mouth.
Kagome could actually see his pupils grow wide. She knew she had him.
After Toga got over his first ever sugar rush, he wanted more at once.
“No!” Kagome scolded when the demon had tried to reach for her goody bag. “Only after when you get me back to where I came from.”
He snorted. “Why do you assume I’ll let you live that long.”
“Because…” Kagome began and focused all her priestess energy around her. Deep fuchsia pulsed from within her and Toga was knocked back by a hot throb of energy. “… you wouldn’t stand a chance against me.”
Toga was murmuring under his breath as the odd pair made their way back to the well. Why in the name of gods he had to take a stroll on that day. Or rather, why did she had to be wondering on his lands. Oh, god, why did he have to stick his nose into this one. He could have just left and leave her be, but goddamn that sho-co-lat was the best thing he had ever tasted.
As they made their way through the forests and meadows, once in a while he delicately sniffed the air to confirm their route. The only thing they had to go on was the trail of her scent. Toga inhaled deeper and languorously mused her scent. It was sweet, a mixture of foreign flowers and cherries. It wasn’t at all unpleasant considering how bad humans usually reeked.
“Human,” he suddenly remarked and made Kagome almost lose her balance on the hill they were climbing.
“What is this peculiar fragrance of yours? It’s unlike the usual reek of a human.”
Her big brown eyes widened momentarily. Was he actually paying her some kind of backhanded compliment?
“It’s probably L'Oréal.” She replied and heaved herself up the rest of the steeper part of the hill.
Toga was already standing at the top and watching her struggles. He gave her a confused look and Kagome explained that is was a chemical substance to wash her hair with. The demon man scratched his chin and pondered aloud. “So, you are of a wealthy heritage as you have the means to purchase costly perfumed bathing oils. What confuses me is why you dress like a trollop.”
“A trollop?” Kagome panted while trying to correct the position of her pack.
“That would be a common woman.” Toga answered politely.
“Com--?” She was about to ask, but realized his meaning in the middle of her own sentence. She let out a frustrated shout. He had the nerve to call her a whore.
A screaming flock of scared birds made their escape from the abrupt noise, but other than that, the forest was uncomfortably silent. Had she seriously just tried to sit a full-fledged dog demon?
Toga was giving her a slow stare which spoke of his suspicion that he had given too much credit to her intelligence. The young woman was blushing fiercely and trying to explain something about a reflex around dog demons.
After a while of awkward hiking they stopped and stood in a small clearing in the middle of the forest. The embarrassed woman tried to get over her previous blunder and observed the milieu. They had to be close to the well by now.
“Umm, why did we stop? I think we’re not far.”
Toga was lazily scanning the bushes and he replied without turning to look at her. “Your trail ends here” he said and pointed at a bald spot on the ground.
Kagome blinked in dull disbelief. It wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be possible that her trace ended here, because there was nothing here. “You’re mistaken” she laughed nervously.
He gave her an annoyed glare. “The trail ends here. If you are not in trust of my words, be welcome to sniff your own way back to where you came from.” He took a deep breath. “I kept my word. I brought you as far as I could. Now, hand me those sho-co-lats.”
Kagome wasn’t listening. She was merely staring at that bald spot of no return.