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Fractured Reflections by SHORTFRY


Chapter 1 – Fault

“Rin! Stay behind me!” Kagome turned back to face the serpentine demon, glaring daggers into the endless onyx of its circular beady eyes. The snake slithered and rattled, slick scales roving through the dirt aided by thousands of miniscule ripples. Its gleaming orbs trained on the two delectable preys, encircled from escape by its gargantuan frame. It would only need to tighten and shrink the space enclosed before they would succumb, becoming course to a succulent meal. An inky tongue darted out in a forking hiss as it savoured the thought of satisfying an immeasurable appetite.

Eyeing their current predicament, the elder of the two clenched fervently at her wooden bow, slanting a gaze at the dropped quiver beyond her reach. The surprise attack would have caused immense damage if it weren’t for battle-worn reflexivity; however, not all precautions were considered in such an unforeseen circumstance. Arrows out of reach, she must get creative.

What if the bow can be a conduit... Returning a steady look towards the enemy, she contemplated the hardened armour of thick impenetrable scales. Damn it, where is your weak spot?

The clutching of small dainty hands at her sleeves told of the little girl’s rising distress. Kagome shifted to block Rin from view of the towering serpent, never wavering from its voracious stare while studying for possible escape. Determination followed the endless lines of the enemy, its curling movements surrounding them like a walled column, high enough to interrupt her line of sight into the sun-splattered forest.

She hardened her stance, heels digging into the ground below. “Leave us or I’ll purify you!”  

Always watching, ever the observer in its constant hunt. The rapacity of its hunger glissaded through its thick coils. It took no heed of the disarmed opponent. In fact, the lilting threat only added more to its mounting excitement. Another darting of tongue hissed as it salivated with thoughts of the impending meal. Scales shifted upon scales. It was time.

The snake immediately launched with pointed fangs. Kagome swiftly pulled Rin away while pivoting out the path of danger, her other hand channelling as much reiki as she could muster into the clutched bow before stabbing a pointed end into slick green scales. An angry screech echoed from the youkai, muscled jaws snapping the air just inches away from its missed target.

That had been a close call, and she knew it was only a distraction before it would charge again. “Rin, are you okay?” Kagome asked fretfully from her crouched position to cover the child. Receiving a timid nod, she shot a hesitant glance at the looming head of the serpent as sinking dread roiled through each passing second. There was a noticeable scorched patch of scales from where the bow had connected; however, the damage was minimal, its armour leaving no point of penetration. Unfortunately, most previous training had bypassed close-range combat, but now was not the time for hindsight. She could sense growing lividness emanating from its atrocious aura, and options were running out.

The telltale rattle of scraping scales indicated another incoming attack, and suddenly the massive tail scourged forth. Panicked eyes widened as Kagome forcefully shoved the little girl away, wishing it was enough to get her out the path of the large appendage. A high-pitched scream ripped from Rin’s throat as she fell harshly against uneven gravel, letting out tears of pain from the rough impact.

Remorse mirrored on Kagome’s expression as she silently apologized for the rough treatment, but physical pain soon scrunched her features as a forceful blow caught her midsection in a flurry of movement.

“Ri-n,” Kagome struggled against the vice-like hold of the serpent’s tail, arms trapped as she winced helplessly towards the child’s tear-stained face. Concern for the girl’s safety snapped at all edges of her mind as painful breaths drew against the crushing grip around her chest. “-run!”

Rin snapped attention at Kagome’s warning from her fallen position, but her limbs remained unmoveable from shock. An urgent worry wracked her small body for the one who had pushed her from danger, crying out for her protector’s safety. “Kagome-sama!”

But it was too late for escape. Glistening black eyes had turned its focus in Rin’s direction. Perhaps it shall start with the appetizer before the main course, a sample to feed its increasing craving. Its upper body slithered closer with a lockless jaw agape, ready to swallow anything whole. The massive head leaned back before quickly diving forward.

Just then, a flash of white appeared before the petrified girl as she felt the ground suddenly fade away. Within moments, earth reappeared beneath her now seated position as clenched eyes reopened. Peering back at her was a familiar face. “Sesshomaru-sama!” she exclaimed with relief.

Strong arms positioned her comfortably on a safe patch of lush grass, golden eyes quickly scanning for injuries. Noticing the girl’s clutching of her right arm, his inner beast seethed while reining in control of the anger in his voice. “Rin, do not move. Your arm is broken.”

Once ensuring compliance to his instructions, crimson-tinged pupils turned in direction of the snake as the daiyoukai rose to his full height. This danger should not have come to his ward, and he was livid at the pitiful youkai’s attempt to harm his charge in his absence. It will dearly pay. The only thing it shall feast on is the sting of death upon the burn of his poison.

Acting upon baser instincts, the beast raged at the realization of its stolen meal as it now eyed the newcomer a close distance away. It once again coiled as another rattle sounded its intent to strike. 

Staring down the opposing serpent, toxins dripped from sharpened claws as Sesshomaru voiced his distaste. “Die, cretin.”

Before the snake had a chance to strike, white and silver launched forward, slashing silkily through the distended jaw of the giant snake. Its tortured screech continued ringing out its vile throat, the now gaping hole at the back of its head growing wider as the potency of sizzling acid ate away at melting flesh. Within moments, the snake slackened and fell, and Sesshomaru revelled in its demise until a deafening scream tore through the clearing.

In a rare panic, he instinctively looked behind him to his ward, relief washing over to see that Rin was as he had left her. If not her, then where…

A pulse of power drew his focus forward, and he was hit with a wave of sudden realization and the acrid scent of blood-mixed poison. Behind the molten chunks of the slain serpent, a lone figure crouched hunched over, surrounded by the coil of withering scales. As one arm kept the figure from falling completely to the ground, the other trembled over a down-cast face, features hidden behind a tumbling veil of raven locks.

A/N: New story! I’m still working through Rediscoveries, but wanted to get this one out before I procrastinate and drop the idea. Reviews, feedback, and constructive criticism welcomed! I’m always looking to improve my writing. Hope you enjoy. 


INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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