Introduction of a new character, to Lord Sesshomaru and Rin's group.
Kohaku heard a faint whisper, "help me…" He thought he had imagined it and then it came again.
"Rin over here!"
They went over to a pile of bodies, not yet reached by the fire. Rin heard it too. She began moving bodies aside. At the bottom of three, was a young warrior, about 20 years old. His neck had been mauled, wolf bite marks all over his arms told the tale. Yet he was alive. Rin quickly picked him up as he passed out. She flew all the way back to Kaede's. She left the others behind. When they removed the warrior's clothing, Kaede and Rin were surprised to find not a man, but a woman. When the wounds were wrapped and she was covered, Rin got Hork to cover the neck wound. She paid him as promised, then went fishing for Kaede's meal. When she returned, the woman was awake.
"Thank you for helping me, my name is Akari."
Kaede said, "Ye are welcome child."
Rin asked, "Why have you disguised yourself as a man and dress as a warrior?"
Akari answered, "As you know, women are not allowed in the army. I needed to protect my village and this was the only way how." She took a sip of tea and continued. "I cut off my hair and bound my chest. I could use a sword, so they took me. This was my first battle. I tripped in a hole, twisted my ankle and hit my head on a rock. When I came conscious again, wolves and other beasts were feeding on the dead or wounded. Someone had died on top of me, but the wolves still attacked. One guy with a missing arm, he tried to kill them, but lost and his body ended up on top of me too. I couldn't move them. I waited until there was no sound. Hours later, when I heard you, I called out. The rest you know."
Rin asked if she could bring her home and Akari said no. During the fight she had learned that the other clan had been to her village and had burned it to the ground with no survivors. She was alone, no place to go. Kaede told her Akari could stay there as long as she wished to.
From outside Kaede's hut, Kohaku called out, "Rin is the warrior okay?"
Rin went outside and confirmed so. Then briefly told Akari's story.
"Kohaku said, "she could join us."
Jaken said, "that's for Lord Sesshomaru to decide, not you."
"And anyway, she may not want to travel with four demons and a demon slayer. Remember Kohaku only you are human. And we are heading into a fierce battle against an evil Goddess and Ghost King," Rin said.
Akari heard all this and looked at priestess Kaede. Kaede smiled, said it was a long story and told her to go to sleep. Akari asked her to have Rin stay until she could talk to her again. Kaede agreed. So Rin stayed with Kaede and Akari. Kohaku stayed also, so Ah-Un and Jaken did too. They did chores and things to help Kaede. She was quite old and some things drained her energy quickly. The villagers often helped her, but sometimes they too had no time. Akari healed quickly. When she was stronger she asked Rin to tell her story. Rin obliged one evening. It took a few hours, ending with what they were soon to face.
Akari asked, "why would Lord Sesshoomaru care?"
Jaken scolded her, "he cannot allow anyone to attack him."
Akari understood all too well about honour, power and respect. Then she asked, "So Rin you're now a vampire demon?"
"Yes. Only Kohaku is fully human." Kohaku nodded that was true.
"And you all follow Lord Sesshomaru?"
"Yes," Rin confirmed.
"Then may I come and ask him to allow me to join your family."
Rin hugged Akari and replied that as soon as Kaede said she could travel they would go. Jaken said something snide and Kohaku tossed him outside. Rin was pulled aside by Kaede and they went to feed some vegetables and fruit to Ah-Un.
Kaede said, "Ye know she was attacked by demon wolves. She may turn into a wolf after the next moon. Ye have to tell her."
Rin disagreed, "and maybe she wont. I don't want to stress her for nothing. I will keep an eye on her. I will tell Lord Sesshomaru too."
Kaede shook her head, then relented, "Ye may then tell her she is well enough to travel."
The next morning they said goodbye and flew back into the eastern territory. Kohaku and Akari on Ah-Un and Jaken with Rin.
"Wow, I like this way of travelling. You cover vast areas of land so much quicker than marching!" Akari said in awe.
Laughing, Rin said, "that's true, but we mostly walk too. Sometimes things are missed when travelling by so quickly."
Akari nodded understanding. Then she said, "the one bad thing about this way, is when a bug hits you." She smiled at Rin as she wiped bug splat off her forehead. Rin grinned and winked at her.
When Rin saw Lord Sesshomaru, she went ahead of the others to talk to him. She explained all and asked him if Akari could join them. He gave a short nod and began walking again. Rin waited until they caught up. Then everyone trailed after Lord Sesshomaru. Akari mostly stayed by Kohaku's side. They spoke little, but there was a connection there they both felt.
Akari carried a sword, the one she had been given as a warrior. It wasn't long before she was able to show her skill with it. A hoard of demons attacked them all. There were so many that they all had to fight. Ah-Un even added their lightning strikes. It happened just after Lord Sesshomaru suddenly left without them. Shortly after the attack began. Rin had to change into full vampire demon form. Akari held her own as Kohaku and her stood back to back fighting. They were all breathless by the time the last demon was destroyed.
"You are terrific!" Rin complimented Akari.
Kohaku also admired her skill, "you handle a sword as if it is a part of you."
Akari blushed and thanked them. Then she spoke up, "I hate to be a bother, but I'm hungry and sore. Can we stop a while? Maybe near a mountain stream?"
Flying ahead, Rin found a fresh water spring and went back to lead everyone there. They took a break. Rin caught a few small animals that they quickly roasted.
"Thank you, I needed that."
"It's my fault. Now that I only have to eat once a month or so, I forget to stop for others." Rin smiled.
"I usually carry a snack on me," Kohaku said.
"I will have to start doing that too," Akari replied.
They put out the fire, refilled their canteens and continued on. No sign of Lord Sesshomaru, but that didn't matter. Rin picked up the scent of wolves. The same smell that had been all over the dead warriors. She told the others to be ready in case of attack. It never came, but Rin felt they were being watched. That night Rin took notice of the moon phase. In a day or so would be the new moon and Akari's day of change-over. Unlike Rin's vampire demon, the werewolf form was not constant. But she wasn't sure if Akari would even change. Rin stayed up guarding the others in case of attack. She kept the fire going too. The wolves howled on and off throughout the night. She watched Akari sleep. When the wolves howled, Akari's sleep became disturbed. Suddenly Akari was up and walking away from the fire. From the way she moved, Rin knew it was a sleep walk. Akari went on all fours, no changes happened, but she howled. Rin decided to wake her and have a talk.
"Akari. Akari! Wake up!"
"You were sleep walking. Come to the fire and I will make you a tea."
Once she had been explained what to expect over the next couple of days, Akari went through the same stages as Rin had. First she wept at how unjust it was, then she was angry and finally acceptance. Rin made her a tea that helped her go back to sleep. She knew Akari had many questions about being a werewolf, but Rin didn't know the answers. They all had to wait and see.
In the morning Akari felt better. She discussed her situation with everyone as they travelled. "Do you think my sword will become part of me or will I loose it each time I change?"
Kohaku answered. "Most likely it will become part of you, as Lord Sesshomaru's does when he transforms."
Jaken disagreed. "If it's a demon sword it may, but human swords are different. That you will have to wait and see."
"Master Jaken is right on that one,"Rin agreed.
Akari sighed, "so my clothing will be gone too? How embarrassing!"
"Well if that happens around us, we will cover that when it occurs," Rin smiled.
Laughing, Akari said, "that seems to be the answer for everything!"
Jaken added. "Tomorrow night is the new moon, that's not long to wait. Mostly you should be in human form. Some werewolves just change on full moons. Others change whenever they get angry or choose to change. It depends on what level of demon wolf bit you. The higher classed ones can change on will."
"What about aging Master Jaken?"
"Akari will age slightly slower than a normal human, but she will still grow old and eventually die."
"Thanks. I am eighteen now, so lots of time before I get super old!"