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The Shoot

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A/N: Super long chapter, lots of action and dialogue, with only a little overt sexuality near the end.  Much more of that comes in Chapter 4!

 

            Leaving Reiki Films’ studio dressing area, Sesshomaru, Kagome, Sango, and Kikyo took their places upon the warehouse studio set to being filming their movie.  Sesshomaru, Kagome, and Sango were fully costumed at last and ready to perform in front of the camera, while as director, Kikyo’s place would be behind it.  Altogether, the studio set was built as a replica of a 14th century Shinto shrine.  Since Kagome and Sango’s characters would be introduced within the shrine and Sesshomaru’s would be introduced outside, Kagome and Sango remained inside the warehouse on the set of the shrine interior, while Sesshomaru and Kikyo exited the warehouse for its enclosed backlot.

            The backlot was an open-air, rectangular space behind the studio warehouse.  It was covered overhead by a retractable tarp to control the lighting during daylight hours, in order to simulate darkness regardless of the actual time of day.  The lot’s brick walls had been covered up with ‘green screen’ material.  Stretched taut and supported by frames of aluminum tubing, the screens rose to a height of around fifteen feet, surrounding the entire lot.  Silhouetted against the green screens, several large, realistic artificial pine trees had been arranged together in a tight group in one of the lot’s corners.

            Generally, the artificial trees represented their real counterparts’ upper halves, where their branches were thickest and most numerous.  They omitted the branchless trunks below for the sake of not requiring Kikyo to use a mechanical apparatus to raise her camera to a great height.  Internally, the trees’ branches were heavily reinforced to allow a grown man, such as Sesshomaru, to stand upon one of them safely.  Altogether, when combined with the green screen, the trees would simulate dense Japanese forest.

            Completing the outdoor set were the artificial turf laid down over the concrete foundation and the façade grafted onto the exterior of the studio warehouse.  With a wooden deck and awning, the facade would approximate the ground-level shoji exterior of the film’s fictional Shinto shrine.  Divided into two halves by a false cobblestone path, the turf would serve as the grassy ground just in front of the shrine.  Less than a foot thick, the façade used permanent, painted-on shadow and tricks of lighting to create the illusion of depth.  Dim electric lights had been rigged inside it to simulate internal lantern light.  From certain angles, the facade would allow Kikyo to film Sesshomaru and create the illusion of him standing in front of the shrine just before he entered its front hall, which was represented by part of the set inside the warehouse.

            A section of the façade had been specially cut and fastened to the door of the warehouse beneath, allowing cast and crew to pass through at will without causing damage.  Sesshomaru and Kikyo used the door to enter the backlot and once there, they found three people: a friendly-looking, freckle-faced young man checking the wiring for the set’s various lights and microphones, and two young women sitting on the edge of the façade’s deck, reviewing copies of the film script Kikyo had given them.  The man wore his messy, dark brown hair in a high, short tail and dressed in sneakers, a pair of jeans, and a black Reiki Films t-shirt.  Presumably actresses, the young women wore glossy black bodysuits much like Sango’s, their silky black hair styled into high tails, also like Sango’s.  Kikyo smiled at them in turn, then looked to Sesshomaru.  “Sesshomaru, that’s Kohaku, my set assistant and armorer,” she said, nodding toward Kohaku, then to the two women on the façade deck.  “And those two are Eri and Ayumi, another two of my actresses.”

            Kohaku redirected his attention from the microphone apparatus in front of him and turned to greet Sesshomaru and Kikyo.  Eri and Ayumi closed their scripts and stood from their sitting positions to do the same.  Sesshomaru looked down at them to regard them all politely.  The daiyoukai stood around seven feet tall while the human assistant/armorer and actresses stood at less than six, a difference of a full foot or more.  Graciously, he exchanged bows and handshakes with them.

            In Kohaku’s case, the gentle breeze flowing through the open-air lot, underneath the overhead tarp and above the walls, carried his scent to Sesshomaru.  A quick sniff by his sensitive dog demon nose told the daiyoukai that the young man was related to Sango.  “You’re Sango’s brother,” he noted with some surprise in his voice.

            Kohaku gave a fascinated smile at Sesshomaru’s revelation.  “Why, yes, I am, Takahashi-san,” he confirmed.  Polite by nature, he decided to address Sesshomaru by his surname, rather than his porn industry performing name.  As a member of Kikyo’s crew, he was privy to the daily schedule and he knew full well that today, he would be working with the great Takahashi Kenshiro.  “How did you know that?”

            “Please, just ‘Sesshomaru’ is fine,” Sesshomaru encouraged to Kohaku.  “I am daiyoukai.  I can smell the blood flowing in you.  You smell very much like Sango.”

            “I see, and you’re right,” Kohaku said.  “Is my relation to Sango a problem for you?”

            “Not for me, but I worry that it might be for you,” Sesshomaru explained.  Bluntly, he added: “I am about to have sex with your sister.  Kikyo has taken protective measures against pregnancy, but a condom will not be used.  The act will be recorded on film and distributed for sale.  Does this bother you?”

            “No, not at all,” Kohaku answered with utmost honesty.  “I know what business Sango is in.  She, uh, enjoys it, and she tells me she’s good at it, so I accept it.  Actually, she was the one that got me my job here.”

            “We do a lot of ‘period pieces’ here,” Kikyo explained to Sesshomaru.  “For that, we often need realistic, period-accurate weapons for filming, so in addition to working on the set and helping me shoot scenes, Kohaku makes and maintains them.”

            Kohaku nodded, then gestured to a wooden weapons rack standing along one of the lot’s screen-covered walls.  “That’s right.  I have your weapons over here.”

            Sesshomaru and Kikyo followed Kohaku over to the weapons rack, leaving Eri and Ayumi to return to studying their scripts.  Two sheathed katana lay upon the rack in horizontal position and Kohaku removed both.  One was sheathed in polished, black-lacquered bamboo, hilted in diagonal braids of blue silk, while the other was sheathed and hilted in imitation ivory, with strange hieroglyphs carved into the ivory up and down its length.  Kohaku turned to Sesshomaru to present the swords to the daiyoukai.  “These are the swords you’ll be using today.  I call them Tenseiga and Bakusaiga.”

            Tenseiga – Heavenly Rebirth Fang, and Bakusaiga – Explosive Crushing Fang: a pair of especially dramatic names for a pair of swords.  Sesshomaru took Bakusaiga from Kohaku and unsheathed it by a few inches to examine it.  Well-oiled and polished to the point that Sesshomaru could see his own face reflected in it, Bakusaiga’s blade was real, hand-forged steel, definitely not a plastic imitation or even the sort of cheap display blade sold in novelty stores.  However, its cutting edge had been left deliberately dull for safety; after all, it was intended to work as a prop, not a real weapon.  Tenseiga was of similarly authentic construction, also lacking a cutting edge.

            “You made these?” Sesshomaru asked to Kohaku regarding his swords, his voice carrying impressed awe as he slid Bakusaiga back into its sheath.

            Kohaku smiled uncontrollably at Sesshomaru’s appreciation for his work.  “I learned from the swordsmith Totosai.”

            Sesshomaru slipped Bakusaiga and Tenseiga underneath the golden sash around his armored waist, wearing them both at his left hip.  He wore the swords proudly and graciously, much to Kohaku’s satisfaction.  Kikyo then moved to her camera as it stood nearby, a tall, wheeled, electrically-driven unit that shot in 35mm film, as opposed to storing the captured images digitally.  It had a seat integrated into it and the miko director took her place upon it, manipulating the appropriate switches and levers to turn the camera on.

            “Alright, Sesshomaru,” Kikyo began, peering through her camera’s eyepiece while slewing and elevating it to aim up at the replica pine trees standing in the lot corner.  “Go ahead and hop onto one of those tree branches.”  The miko director then turned to call out over a shoulder.  “Eri, Ayumi, get ready for the scene.”

            Sesshomaru left Kohaku’s side with a respectful nod.  He approached one of the artificial trees and with his demonic agility, he leapt atop the thickest branch he could find.  The branch flexed visibly under his added weight, but remained stable, in no danger of giving way.  At the same time, Eri and Ayumi handed their scripts off to Kikyo, then covered the lower halves of their faces with polished metal facemasks they had been carrying on the sashes around their waists.  They got into position on the shrine façade’s deck and Kikyo adjusted her camera’s focus and centered Sesshomaru’s booted feet in her viewfinder.  “Now, give me a look,” she said to him.  “Look intimidating, but calm.”

            Narrowing his golden eyes and giving his eyebrows a slight, contemplative crease, Sesshomaru looked down at Kikyo from his pine tree vantage point and the miko director smiled happily.  To her, he was already beautiful, but in full costume, he was positively regal.  “Yes, just like that,” she approved to him.  “Keep that look, but now look at the shrine façade behind me.  Gaze out at it, like a king surveying his realm.”

            Sesshomaru gazed out at the Shinto shrine façade, imagining the elaborate religious structure that would have accompanied it.  Kikyo began filming him; she started at his feet and slowly tracked her camera upward, capturing progressively more of him from a low angle.  She did this to emphasize his towering height.  She had her own copy of the film script with her and she flipped it open to the first page.  The first page laid out the setting and premise of the film through a bit of narration. 

            Kikyo’s camera had a microphone integrated into it, one that faced backward rather than forward.  She turned it on and began to read from the script’s first page, giving her voice an extra-sexy purr to foreshadow the film’s extreme sexual content.  She also spoke through the ‘fourth wall,’ to address the film’s audience directly, for exposition’s sake. 

            “Summer, 1357.  Before you stands the Dai-Youkai Sesshomaru, the ‘Perfect Killer.’  He has been dispatched by his father, the Inu no Taisho, the great and terrible Lord of the West, to locate and assassinate Higurashi Kagome, keeper and guardian of the Shikon no Tama.  Using her great miko powers, Kagome has thwarted the Taisho’s attempts to forcibly annex her lands for the last time.  Tonight is her end, for Sesshomaru has arrived at her shrine.”  In the film’s final cut, Kikyo’s exposition would be prefaced by an aerial view of the entire shrine complex, an establishing shot achieved through the use of a scale model Kohaku had built and a little bit of lens blurring.  Filming the model from a high angle, Kikyo would zoom into a particular group of miniature pine trees near the shrine, one that corresponded to the full-size, artificial ones Sesshomaru stood in, and splice that footage together with the footage she was getting at that moment.

            At Kikyo’s command, Sesshomaru leapt down from his vantage point in the artificial pine tree, landing on crouched feet with a heavy, booted thud to the turf-covered cement.  Kikyo interrupted her filming, then repositioned her camera to face the shrine façade, keeping Sesshomaru’s landing point in frame.  Sesshomaru then jumped back up into the tree he had just left, and once Kikyo gave him the signal, he leapt down again.  He repeated the action so that Kikyo could edit the two leaps together for cinematic effect.

            With Kikyo training her camera on him, Sesshomaru strode forward over the cobblestone path in front of the shrine façade, taking bold, purposeful steps.  His character was that of a demon prince on a mission.  That demon prince’s personality was one of lethal directness, so Kikyo had written him as entering the shrine through its front entrance with no subterfuge, as opposed to sneaking in to avoid whatever guards patrolled the shrine grounds.

            Eri and Ayumi played two of those guards, junior members of Kagome’s elite, sexy, all-female ‘Taijiya Guard,’ of which Sango played the leader.  They wore costumes similar to Sango’s: glossy black bodysuits with soft shin, knee, groin, and shoulder pads.  Sheathed katana hung at their hips.  Polished, ventilated metal masks covered the lower halves of their faces, leaving only their alluring, pink-shaded eyes exposed.  At Kikyo’s signal, they strode forward down the shrine façade’s wooden front steps, placing themselves directly in Sesshomaru’s path.

            Kikyo had a second camera unit waiting in the backlot, for Kohaku to operate.  As the miko director filmed Sesshomaru, Kohaku used the second camera to film Eri and Ayumi.  Under this arrangement, Kikyo wouldn’t need to constantly redirect her own camera in between lines of dialogue and filming could proceed more quickly and smoothly.  Later on, she could splice her footage together seamlessly with Kohaku’s.

            “Halt!” Eri or Ayumi called out, in accordance with her brief part in the script.  From their perspective of Sesshomaru, Kikyo, and the movie’s future audience, the two women, dressed in identical taijiya suits and wearing masks, were indistinguishable from each other.  Their facemasks muffled their voices a bit, requiring their dialogue to be dubbed or electronically manipulated later on.  “This is the shrine of the Shikon Miko.  If she invited you here, youkai as you are, no one told us.”

            Filming Sesshomaru from his front, Kikyo wheeled her camera backward as the daiyoukai moved forward, moving along a section of the artificial turf that had been cut away to allow her camera’s wheels to roll on the smooth concrete beneath.  Sesshomaru stopped as the taijiya ordered and Kikyo stopped, as well.  His character’s rationale was to not simply to obey her order, but to assess her and her companion as a threat.  Recalling his lines, he spoke coolly, with vapid fascination: “You are taijiya.”

            “That’s right,” the first demon slayer affirmed.  “And you are Lord Sesshomaru, of the House of the Moon.”

            “If you know who I am, then you must know why I’m here,” Sesshomaru said, moving forward again to approach the taijiya slowly and with implicit threat.  “Take me to the miko.”

            “So sorry, Sesshomaru-sama, but we can’t do that.”  Eri and Ayumi unsheathed their katana (edgeless, like Sesshomaru’s) to defend both themselves, the shrine behind them, and everyone inside, their beloved Shikon Miko, most of all.  Ayumi braced herself to fend Sesshomaru off while Eri retreated back up the shrine façade’s front steps, reaching overhead to an alarm bell that hung from the façade’s wooden ceiling, ringing it vigorously.

            Here, Kikyo carefully choreographed Sesshomaru’s movements, directing him to move at a very slow, yet even speed.  She had him use a small amount of his youki to levitate himself above the stone path leading to the shrine façade, then propel himself at Ayumi as she stood at the foot of the façade’s wooden steps.  Simultaneously, the daiyoukai projected his youki as a long, thin, glowing green whip that coalesced from the fingertips of one of his hands.  For Kikyo, this was one of the advantages of working with real youkai; they could perform supernatural feats on camera, all without the need for special effects!

            Sesshomaru’s whip undulated ponderously through the air.  It responded to his control with seemingly prehensile agility and reached forward to wrap around the blade of Ayumi’s katana.  Sesshomaru pulled gently and the actress taijiya intentionally released her hands from her sword’s hilt, allowing him to carry it away from her.  He cast the sword aside at low speed and in such a direction that no one in the studio backlot was in any danger of being injured by it.

            Kikyo had Sesshomaru move at such a slow speed for the sake of safety.  The swords he, Ayumi, and Eri were using were edgeless, but they still had relatively sharp points and could be dangerous if used or thrown carelessly.  For that reason, the miko director had trained film industry medics standing by in another part of the studio, reachable at a moment’s notice through her radio. 

            By speeding up the film’s framerate and adding some dramatic sound effects during post-production, Kikyo could make Sesshomaru look and sound as if he was moving much faster than in reality.  With Ayumi abruptly disarmed, Sesshomaru coiled his whip around Eri’s midsection before she could draw her own sword, restraining both of her arms at once.  He pulled the whip taut and gave a good tug, which she augmented with a forward stumble.  With him continuing to move forward, this resulted in both actresses coming into arms reach of him at the same time, and he dissolved his whip to reach out with both hands, wrapping them around their throats.

            Eri and Ayumi grabbed onto Sesshomaru’s wrists to safely support their weight and his demonic strength allowed him to lift them off their feet with ridiculous ease.  Kikyo moved her camera to film them from one side, zooming in a bit to focus on Eri’s and Ayumi’s long, powerful legs as they began to kick at Sesshomaru’s armored midsection.  Though a daiyoukai, Sesshomaru was hardly invulnerable and even in his armor, Eri and Ayumi could probably legitimately hurt him if they kicked hard enough.  Therefore, they restrained themselves, leaving it to post-production sound effects to give their kicks more aural impact.  Similarly, Sesshomaru made sure his fingertips didn’t dig into their skin, instead grasping their necks very loosely, as if he was reaching for something, not gripping it.

            Ignoring the taijiyas’ kicks, Sesshomaru continued to hold them at arms’ length and marched up the façade’s steps, storming toward the false shoji doors in the façade’s center.  At this point, Kikyo directed him to stop and he set Eri and Ayumi down onto their feet, releasing their throats.  The miko director ceased filming and all together, she, Kohaku, Sesshomaru, Eri, and Ayumi moved themselves and the two camera units inside the studio warehouse, as this was the moment filming transitioned from the exterior to the interior of the fictional shrine.

            Inside the studio warehouse, the other side of the wall onto which the shrine façade had been attached was covered with green screen.  For several feet in front of it, Kikyo’s film crew had covered the warehouse’s cement floor with the same type of hardwood flooring as the shrine façade’s deck, then raised a shoji wall with a set of sliding doors built into the middle.  The doors did not actually move; they were not intended to open and in just a few moments, the wall would be destroyed.

            Kikyo guided Sesshomaru, Eri, and Ayumi to stand a few feet in front of the shoji wall, in the same relative positions they had been in front of the outdoor shrine façade.  She trained her camera on them from one side and slightly behind to get the three of them and the shoji wall into one shot.  Meanwhile, Kohaku moved his own camera unit to film the wall’s other side.  Sesshomaru extended his arms and the two actress taijiya clung onto his wrists in the same way as before.  He lifted them off their feet and once Kikyo gave the signal, he stormed forward, thrusting himself and both actresses through the thin shoji with spectacular, Kool-Aid Man effect.

            Filming Sesshomaru as he burst through the shoji wall with Eri and Ayumi in his hands, Kohaku smiled and could not help but think: ‘Oh, yeaaaah!’  Having captured his shot, he moved his camera out of the way so that Kikyo could continue filming from her position behind Sesshomaru.

            Having come through the shoji wall that represented the shrine’s front, Sesshomaru, Eri, and Ayumi found themselves in a large, square room of more shoji, floored with the same hardwood planking as the areas behind them.  The room was the shrine’s front hall, lit by several lanterns that hung from the ceiling rafters.  Continuing to film, Kikyo signaled for the rest of the shrine’s taijiya guard, portrayed by two dozen or so female extras she had hired, to come flooding in from side hallways offscreen.  Eri had sounded her alarm bell and now, Kagome’s taijiya bodyguard was responding in force.

            The two dozen taijiya women surrounded Sesshomaru rapidly with highly-trained precision, reminiscent of the ‘Crazy 88’ scene in the Tokyo ‘House of Blue Leaves’ from the 2003 American film Kill Bill: Volume 1.  They drew their swords in a single, synchronized scrape of oiled steel sliding past bamboo.  Confronted by their superior numbers, Sesshomaru set Eri and Ayumi down onto their feet and pushed them away gently.  The two women melted into the ring formed by their peers and became as indistinguishable from them as they were from each other.

            Sesshomaru stood up straight to address the assembled Taijiya Guard.  Positioning herself outside the glossy-black, steely-eyed ring the women formed, Kikyo lowered her camera’s lens to roughly the level of their knees and angled it upward to bring Sesshomaru into focus in it.  She moved her camera in a wide circle centering on Sesshomaru, his handsome face disappearing and reappearing between the taijiyas’ crouched legs in dramatic fashion.

            Sesshomaru pointed at Eri and Ayumi.  “Those two know who I am,” he said, speaking sternly to all taijiya at once.  “Do any of you?

            The taijiya remained silent, gripping their swords and adjusting their footing, ready to spring into action against the daiyoukai they surrounded.  Then, a soft, sultry female voice called out to Sesshomaru from behind them.  “Of course they know.  I trained them.”

            That voice belonged to Sango.  Kikyo turned her camera to capture the lead taijiya as she stepped out from one of the halls her junior taijiya had exited a minute or so before, clad in the same glossy black bodysuit they wore.  She moved as an apex predator stalking its prey, with a provocative sway in her hips.  The most noticeable difference between her and the other taijiya was the color of her suit’s shoulder, knee, elbow, and groin pads: rich, vibrant pink with attractive floral patterns dyed in, whereas the pads of the others were a light shade of green.  The color of her suit’s pads distinguished her from them and made a visual suggestion that she was their leader.

            Kikyo kept her camera trained on Sango as she joined the circle that her junior taijiya had made around Sesshomaru.  They spaced out a bit to give her room, making her the center of attention for both Sesshomaru and the camera’s frame.  She unclasped her metal facemask and clipped it to the sash around her waist, baring the lower half of her face to speak and be recorded by Kikyo’s microphones unimpeded.  Her character was aware of the tension in the other women and she raised a semi-gloved hand, her hand empty and open for them to see.  It was her signal for them to refrain from attacking, at least for the moment. “Welcome, Sesshomaru-sama,” she said coolly, lowering her hand.  “I am Sango, captain of these warriors.  Kagome-sama has been expecting you.”

            For his own part, Sesshomaru was struck by how beautiful Sango was when in character, that of a strong, sexy, deadly-serious taijiya warrior.  The blush he’d seen on her face earlier, the result of Kagome telepathically relaying to her the sensations Kikyo felt when he fucked the miko director in his dressing room, had subsided completely.  Her chocolate brown eyes, given alluring shade by pink eyeliner, bore penetrating intensity and he summoned similar intensity into his own golden ones as he squared off with her.  “You’ve been expecting me?” he asked.  “Clearly, your miko has a spy in my father’s court.”

            “We needn’t resort to violence just yet,” Sango suggested to Sesshomaru.  She planted a hand on a cocked hip to stand in bold defiance of him.  “You may be daiyoukai, but there are over two dozen of us, and we are taijiya, not mere human women.  Several of us, including myself, may fall to you, but we may still take your head.”  She paused to let her warning sink in, then continued: “Kagome-sama knows you have come to kill her, but she is still willing to speak with you.  Perhaps the two of you may come to some arrangement.”

            In accordance with the script, Sesshomaru let his eyes roam and his expression soften with consideration, as if tempted by Sango’s words.  Kikyo wrote his character to be somewhat sympathetic, given his situation.  As his father’s best assassin, he was constrained by duty, but he was not so cold-blooded as to dismiss a diplomatic solution out of hand.  However, his wariness of his father’s wrath outweighed his desire to avoid bloodshed.  “My father’s order was clear,” Sesshomaru said.  “I am to take Kagome’s head, then bring it to him.”

            Sango’s face contorted bitterly, as if in grief.  Sesshomaru was a creature of ethereal beauty and her character felt remorse over ordering harm done to him. “Then you leave me no choice.  Attack!

            Kikyo choreographed the following action much more carefully than the short segment in the studio’s backlot.  Now, there were far more swords involved and the risks were greater.  The miko director had her medics standing by, of course, but the idea was to not need them.  Of the two dozen taijiya actresses surrounding Sesshomaru, only two attacked him upon each of Kikyo’s signals, each striking at him very slowly for the sake of safety and with no more than 90 degrees separation from each other.  This ensured that they would not be striking directly at each other, as would be the case if they approached Sesshomaru from either side with 180 degrees separation in their circle.

            Sesshomaru responded to the taijiya’s swords with unarmed combat.  In slow motion, he dodged and weaved around their slashes and thrusts, burying one of his fists into the stomach of one taijiya before turning to drive his fingertips into a vital pressure point in the neck of the other.  In the finished film, moving at full speed, he would appear to fight as the Kenshiro, Savior of the Century’s End and his anime/manga Hokuto no Ken namesake.

            Following Sesshomaru’s strikes, both taijiya women collapsed to appear unconscious, their swords clattering to the floor beside them.  Another two taijiya attacked, followed by another two, then another two, and so on until all two dozen of them lay strewn across the floor around Sesshomaru’s feet, neutralized but alive.  This was another deliberate choice of Kikyo’s; having Sesshomaru use non-lethal tactics at first would avoid painting him as a bloodthirsty killer, the implications of his name notwithstanding.  In addition to the footage Kikyo got from her position at ground level, Kohaku remotely operated a camera that had been mounted in the ceiling rafters and pointed straight down, filming Sesshomaru’s fight against Sango’s taijiya from directly above.

            Moving his feet carefully to avoid stepping on any of the taijiya as they lay around him, Sesshomaru turned to face Sango.  The taijiya commander looked at him, then over her defeated warrior women in disbelief.  None of them were bleeding and they all continued to breathe, some of them giving up weak groans.  “You didn’t kill them,” she noted with a semi-grateful hush.

            “I am Sesshomaru.  My father gave me my name; it means Perfect Killer, and he trained me as such,” Sesshomaru explained, stepping over unconscious taijiya to approach Sango, causing her to back away cautiously.  “But I kill only as much as is necessary.”

            “You’re not a monster, Sesshomaru-sama.  Kagome-sama, my mistress, has felt it in your youki and I have seen it in your actions here,” Sango said, trying to appeal to Sesshomaru’s ‘humanity,’ or at least to its demonic analogue.  “Please, don’t do this!  You’re the son of the Inu no Taisho.  You’re the heir to the whole of the West!  Aren’t you allowed to exercise some kind of discretion?

            “Not here,” Sesshomaru replied with audible regret.  “If I fail to complete this mission Father has charged me with, his punishment will be swift.  And then he will send someone else.”  Grasping Bakusaiga’s sheath with his left hand, he drew Bakusaiga itself with his right and held it out to one side of him, perpendicular with his body.  “I can let you live, I can let your taijiya live, and I can make your mistress’ death quick and painless.  That is the extent of the discretion my father has allowed me.  Now, step aside.”

            Baring her teeth in a darkly beautiful sneer, Sango drew her katana and lunged at Sesshomaru.  They slashed, thrust, and parried back and forth, clashing swords slowly so that Kikyo could film them and speed the footage up later.  Sesshomaru took special pleasure from their slow-motion sword dance.  Being so close to Sango, he could really smell her now.  They were making an elaborate, hardcore adult film and he could smell her anticipation for the highly-explicit sex scenes to come.  He could also smell a recent orgasm on her, the one she’d had in her dressing room earlier, and the smell of Kagome’s pleasure came intertwined with it.  The thought of two such gorgeous women embracing each other, touching lips and making love as they telepathically feast on the pleasure he gave Kikyo, had his heart pumping great amounts of burning hot demon blood straight into his cock.

            Sesshomaru and Sango crossed swords and held them there, grinding their blades together in a test of strength and footing.  He balanced his strength with hers for drama’s sake, as his daiyoukai power enabled him to easily throw her clear across the studio warehouse, if he wanted.  Gradually, he forced her backward on her feet, out of the shrine’s front hall and into a long, narrow corridor that connected the front hall to the larger one where Kagome waited.  The corridor was formed with dozens of wooden columns, several feet of open space between each, and covered with a triangular wooden awning.  All the load-bearing wooden surfaces, columns included, were painted bright red, in accordance with Shinto design philosophy.  Green screens stood on either side of the corridor; nighttime forest would be projected onto them later. 

            Looking into Sango’s eyes, Sesshomaru could hear her heart pumping briskly in her chest and his own heart raced to match.  Here, he decided to deviate from the script a bit and channel his own, growing arousal into his ad-libbed dialogue.  “You are beautiful, taijiya,” he praised to Sango with total, serious honesty.  He gripped Bakusaiga tightly and used it to nudge Sango’s katana out from between his body and hers.  He loomed over her to ease his face a little closer to hers, almost close enough for a kiss, relishing in her warmth washing against his skin.  His cock pulsed against the inside of his silk-lined armor, growing longer, thicker, harder by the second.  “Beautiful…and strong.  I wish…I wish we’d met under different circumstances.  Then, I might have taken you, and presented you to my father…as my mate.”

            Sango looked over to Kikyo and she filmed her and Sesshomaru, and the miko director smiled at her, making a spooling gesture with a hand.  It was a signal for her to play along with Sesshomaru’s sexualized ad-lib.  Then, Kikyo silently gestured for Kohaku to leave for the day, as the interaction between Sesshomaru and Sango was taking a sexual turn and would remain that way for the rest of the shoot.  When Kohaku signed on with Kikyo’s company, he’d expressed a desire to not be present during filming whenever his sister’s parts in a given script involved her acting in a sexual manner.  This was a desire Kikyo was completely willing to accommodate.

            Looking back into Sesshomaru’s gorgeous golden eyes, Sango licked her lips with a quick bat of her tongue, swallowing thickly and breathing deep and slow to keep her arousal under control.  The daiyoukai’s intense sexual presence made it difficult to keep herself from stealing a kiss from him.  “You dare paw me?” she asked with a half-angry, half-aroused quiver in her voice.  “You think…you think I would allow you between my legs?”

            “There are no men at this shrine, only women,” Sesshomaru pointed out, forming his words with the sexiest baritone growl he could manage.  Sango’s scent really spiked with desire and the effect it had on him was narcotic.  “No human male from the nearby villages could possibly be worthy of you.  Who else could claim and satisfy such a powerful demon slayer as yourself, but one of the greatest demons of them all?”

            “You’re in heat,” Sango realized with a gasp, her hands trembling on the hilt of her katana.  This was not necessarily a line delivered ‘in-character.’  As an experienced player in the Japanese porn industry, she’d performed with male youkai enough times to recognize when their natural pheromones were affecting her.  They emitted those pheromones in the largest amounts during demonic ‘mating season’ and being a daiyoukai, Sesshomaru’s were especially potent.  Sango could feel herself getting dizzy, her cheeks flushing as the depthless ocean that was Sesshomaru’s male sexual aura lashed against her receptive female shore.

            “And you can feel it,” Sesshomaru whispered to Sango, implicitly confirming her realization.  “I know you can.  I can smell it between your thighs, and I can hear it in your pulse.  This is a shrewd tactic on Father’s part, sending me here in my current state.  He anticipated you would respond in this way, and now, I hardly need to fight you.”

            The movie in which Kikyo was directing Sesshomaru, Sango, Kagome, and all the others was set in spring, but the actual time of year was summer, the time when demonic mating season was at its peak.  As an inu daiyoukai, Sesshomaru’s sex drive was therefore also at its peak, and he channeled the full force of it into his performance, leaving Sango to bear the brunt of it.  The taijiya actress’ heartbeat was music to his tapered ears and he anticipated getting it really pounding with endless orgasms.

            Slowly, Sesshomaru released a hand from Bakusaiga’s hilt and reached over to grasp one of Sango’s suit-covered wrists, squeezing gently as if to reassure her.  He slid his hand up to cover hers as she held her own sword.  “Let go,” he ordered firmly.  Her grip on her sword weakened until it slipped out of her hands completely, clattering uselessly to the floor.  Victorious, Sesshomaru kicked the sword away, then moved Sango aside and thrust her up against one of the corridor’s wooden columns standing nearby.  Holding Bakusaiga safely to one side, he towered over her, gazing down into her eyes and seeing the shaken confidence there as he contemplated what to do next with her.  Reining in his inu sex drive with iron discipline, he left her with a warning: “Do not interfere further.”

            Trembling visibly and panting softly as a rich, creamy, thoroughly female liquid heat pulsed between her thighs, undoubtedly soaking her fundoshi beneath her bodysuit, Sango reached out just as Sesshomaru turned from her and began to pull away.  She fisted her hand in the fine, white silk of his haori, just above the upper, spiked edge of his steel armor, and yanked forcefully to drag his heavy body back to her.  “Wait,” she gasped to him, a plea.  Kikyo got into position to film the two of them in profile, and Sango hiked one of her thighs up Sesshomaru’s side, hooking her calf behind him.  Then, pulling on his haori, she drew him in to take his lips in a hard, hungry kiss.

            Sesshomaru’s golden eyes widened a tiny bit in surprise as Sango took the initiative, then slid closed as he indulged himself in her lips.  She opened her mouth to him and he did the same for her, their tongues extending and entwining in a gentle, fiercely erotic dance.  She used the calf she had hooked behind him to urge his hips closer to hers and grind against him, gyrating her hips with slow, skillful coital thrusts.  Their bodies were ultimately separated by his costume’s silk and steel, as well as the silk and fibrous padding of hers, but the sensation was delicious enough to cause him to moan into her mouth.

            Kikyo felt a rush of arousal flow through her as she filmed Sango conquering Sesshomaru in her own way.  She greatly anticipated watching the taijiya actress and Kagome fuck and get fucked by the daiyoukai sex machine, taken hard and all but bred by him.  She rubbed her thighs together as she sat on her camera unit’s seat, feeling her own juices building up between them and seeping into her underwear.

            Sesshomaru broke the kiss he shared with Sango with a greedy intake of breath, a thread of their mixed saliva linking their tongues.  He ground his hips against hers firmly enough to shove her pad-covered rear to the wooden column behind her, maximizing the pressure against his cock underneath his armor.  Licking away saliva from her lips as well as his own, he reached up to clamp his free hand over her lower jaw in possessive fashion and gaze into her eyes again.  “What do want to happen here, Sango-san?” he asked.

            Sango subverted her own desires for the moment and threw herself back into character.  “I want you spare Kagome-sama’s life!” she answered with the combined heat of arousal and desperation.  “My bedroom is nearby.  There, you can have me.  You can do whatever you want with me, as long as you want, all if you let Kagome-sama live.”

            Sesshomaru’s lips curled back over his gleaming white teeth, exposing his sharp upper and lower incisors.  His ‘beast,’ the demonic part of his psyche that guided all of his actions in some way, roared in his blood, speaking to him in silent mantras.  In his beast’s view, there was only one thing for him to do with a hot taijiya bitch like Sango as she offered herself to him – CLAIM!  “You have no idea how you tempt me,” he rasped, the clean-lined magenta stripes on his faces becoming slightly jagged for a moment.  “But for my own sake, I must decline.”  Abruptly, he released Sango’s jaw and stepped back away from her.  Her knees had gone weak by the effect Sesshomaru had on her, and she slumped down the wooden column to land on her rear, her lower legs splayed out from each other.

            As Sesshomaru began to move down the corridor again, approaching the shoji door to Kagome’s chambers, Sango silently extricated herself from the debased position he had left her in on the corridor floor.  Kikyo filmed her as she transitioned effortlessly into a low crouch, reaching to a cloth hip pouch that hung from the pink sash around her waist.  She removed two glass spheres from it, each sphere filled with a viscous red liquid.  At the same time, she placed her other hand on a coiled, weighted chain that hung from her sash on her opposite hip, preparing herself for the right time to use it.

            “Sesshomaru-sama?” Sango called with feigned pleasantness, to which Sesshomaru stopped and turned to glance at her over a shoulder.  In that moment, the taijiya actress cast the two glass spheres she held at the floor directly beneath him.  The spheres broke open on contact, their unidentified contents reacting violently with the air to erupt into two billowing clouds of red smoke that merged into one and enveloped Sesshomaru’s body completely.  The smoke was harmless, but it was intended to represent one of Sango’s special, anti-demon weapons.

            Sango detached her coiled chain from her sash and spun its weighted end up to an incredible speed, casting it forward at Sesshomaru’s feet.  As the daiyoukai choked and blundered through the red smoke, the chain wrapped around his ankles a few times, then locked back around itself with an audible ka-chink.  Sesshomaru held Bakusaiga out away from his body for his own safety and Sango yanked hard on her chain, pulling his feet right out from under him and sending him right down to the corridor floor, flat on his face.

            Kikyo shifted her camera’s focus from Sesshomaru to Sango.  Swiftly, the taijiya actress dropped her chain and the miko director followed her as she reclaimed her sword, then dashed past the daiyoukai struggling on the corridor floor.  She headed for the shoji double doors to Kagome’s chambers and threw them open. 

            Through the doors, the Shinto-themed corridor opened up into a space much larger than the shrine’s front hall – the honden, the shrine’s worship hall.  Thick, steel-banded wooden columns, seemingly repurposed tree trunks, jut from the hardwood floor and rose to a height of dozens of feet to support an unseen ceiling.  No walls were visible, as the overall lighting mood of the honden was one of meditative darkness, creating the illusion of an apparently boundless void within the finite structure of the shrine.  In the center of the darkness stood a raised, stepped wooden platform that shone with a radiant light, formed of many dozens of candles arranged in a semi-circle around it.

            Clad in the red hakama and white haori of a Shinto miko, Kagome sat cross-legged upon a tatami mat lain out on the platform, her back to Kikyo’s camera.  Her head was bowed and her hands interlaced into an inverted cup in her lap as she meditated deeply.  She heard Sango throw open the shoji doors behind her and she turned her head to glance over a shoulder, allowing Kikyo to capture one side of her lovely, candlelit face on film.

            Sango rushed to the platform Kagome meditated on and stopped just before it, kneeling respectfully.  Kikyo moved to film both women in one shot from the side.  “Kagome-sama!” Sango addressed with hasty breath, not forgetting the honorific ‘sama’ in her alarm.  “Sesshomaru is right behind me.  He’s overcome all my taijiya and I’ve stalled him as long as I can.”

            Kagome stood up from her cross-legged position and turned around to face Sango and Kikyo’s camera.  A large, vibrant pink spherical jewel, the enchanted Shikon no Tama that marked her as the Shikon Miko, hung low on her chest from the necklace she wore, adorned on either side by square, white beads.  “Don’t worry,” she reassured to Sango with a confident smile, stepping down her platform to stand beside the kneeling taijiya and face the door through which she’d come.  “Everything is ready.”

            Kikyo moved her camera back to Sesshomaru, filming him as he regained his bearings, untangled his feet from Sango’s chain and stood up, then moved himself out of the taijiya’s dissipating red smoke.  Seeing Kagome and Sango waiting for him through the open shoji doors at the end of the corridor, he moved forward again, leaving the corridor and entering the dimly-lit worship hall with great caution.

            Kagome bowed to Sesshomaru as he approached, while Sango remained on guard, standing up from her kneel and keeping her sword drawn.  “Good evening, Sesshomaru-sama,” the miko greeted warmly to the daiyoukai actor, as if completely oblivious of the threat his character posed to hers.  “You’ve traveled a long way from the House of the Moon to be here, tonight.  Can I get you something to eat or drink?”

            Sesshomaru regarded Kagome with escalating hostility.  His golden eyes connected with her ethereal blue ones to convey it.  In his character’s mind, he’d undertaken significant personal risk to avoid killing Sango or any of her women, and now, Kagome was essentially mocking him and his purpose at her shrine.  “The only thing you may offer me…is your life,” he replied, brandishing Bakusaiga’s gleaming blade.  “I will take it…and present your head to my father.”

            Kagome sighed, her smile fading into wistful knowingness.  “May I defend myself, at least?” she asked.

            Sesshomaru nodded.  “You may.”

            The still air of the worship hall set, separated from the outside air by the walls, floor, and ceiling of the warehouse studio surrounding it all, abruptly began to move.  The white silk of Sesshomaru’s hakama and haori began to billow and his long, silver hair began to flutter in it as its speed picked up.  To him and Kikyo’s camera, Kagome’s beautiful blue eyes became actively luminescent in the overall darkness of the set, radiating with untold spiritual power.  She narrowed her eyes, furrowed her elegant female brows with concentration, and her power manifested in the corporeal realm, crystallizing into existence as a spherical, shimmering, transparent blue shell that surrounded both her and Sango.

            Being so close to Kagome, Sango felt the miko’s manifested reiki washing over her as harmless vibration.  Fortunately, neither it nor Sesshomaru’s youki appeared to interfere with the various electrical systems in operation around the set!  After a few seconds, the air settled but Kagome’s energy barrier remained.  Kagome extended a hand to Sesshomaru, her palm turned upward, and curled her fingers back toward herself once, then twice, an invitation for him to attack.

            Experimentally, Sesshomaru tapped Kagome’s barrier in different places with Bakusaiga’s sharp tip.  There was no give to the energy shield; it was as a sphere of solid, yet massless steel.  Wisely, he returned Bakusaiga to its sheath, predicting that if he used even a fraction of his demonic strength, driving the sword against such a resilient surface would cause it to snap in two, which would probably upset Kohaku greatly and possibly injure himself or Kikyo as she operated her camera.  Instead, he summoned his glowing green youki into a bare hand, clenching it into a hard fist and winding up for a devastating punch.

            Kagome and Sango braced themselves as Sesshomaru delivered his blow to Kagome’s barrier.  The daiyoukai’s glowing fist slammed into it with a resounding thoom and it shuddered under the impact, warping visibly for a moment as its supernatural energy redistributed over its curved surface.  He hit it again and again, and Kagome’s lovely face contorted slightly, her teeth clenching with determination as she continually fed her reiki into her barrier to keep it in place.

            Frustrated by Kagome’s invulnerability to his fist, Sesshomaru gave the miko’s barrier one last good, hard hit before turning and stalking away, glaring at the miko actress first over one shoulder, then the other as he paced around.  “Your reiki is formidable,” he complimented to her begrudgingly.  “My fists can shatter bone and reshape armor plate as paper, and they are as nothing to your barrier.  I can see why Father fears you so.”

            Kagome smiled, exhaling with a puff from the minor exertion of resisting Sesshomaru’s attacks with her reiki barrier.  She dialed her energy back a bit to conserve it, and the glow in her eyes faded while her barrier remained in place.  She and Sango were safe, for the moment.  “Your father fears me?”

            “Perhaps ‘fear’ is the wrong word,” Sesshomaru reconsidered.  “He recognizes you for the threat you pose to his plans.”

            “And how do you feel about those plans?” Kagome asked, gazing intently at Sesshomaru through the shimmering light of her barrier.  Her character seized the opportunity to speak directly with a high-ranking member of the youkai court whose leader would seek her death.  “Your father wages war against the youkai kingdom to my east, that of the dragon lord Ryukotsusei.  My lands, the lands upon which I and many other humans live, lay between him and his enemy.  He would seize it all and annex it into his own territory simply as a means to launch attacks against Ryukotsusei more directly.” 

            Sesshomaru was apparently unmoved, and after a brief pause, Kagome continued with a more somber tone of voice.  “On his orders, your father’s troops seize food and garrison people’s homes against their will, and anyone who resists is slaughtered.  Men, women, and children alike.  Tell me, Sesshomaru-sama – is this a ruler who deserves your service?”

            “My father is…a blunt instrument,” Sesshomaru replied.  “He prefers the most direct approach in all his battles, and he has little patience for accommodating those that do not immediately accommodate him, myself included.  This, combined with his raw strength, has propelled his rise to power.  I serve him, and in exchange, I continue to live.  I exist entirely at his pleasure, as do most others in this world.”

            “Maybe he’s not so blunt,” Kagome pointed out.  “After all, he sent you here as you struggle with your heat.  I see the effect you have on Sango, here.  Maybe he was expecting you to do the same to me, make me easier to kill if I was too hot and bothered to defend myself properly.  How long has breeding season been going on, now?”

            Sesshomaru didn’t answer, becoming acutely aware of some external energy pressing in on him from all sides.  It did not seem to originate from Kagome herself, but the very walls of the shrine set.  Looking away from Kagome and peering into the darkness around her with his golden demonic eyes, he saw hundreds, perhaps thousands of masses of light beginning to glow upon the walls and ceiling, carefully arranged into a neat grid.  They would have looked like stars glowing in a clear night sky, if not for their rectangular shape and even, geometric pattern.  Alternatively, Sesshomaru compared the sight to the bare walls of the ‘holodeck’ from an episode of one of the later Star Trek series, or the ‘Grid’ from the 1982 American film Tron. They were enchanted sutras like the ones Kikyo had made into contraceptives, and the massive reiki field they projected surrounded Sesshomaru’s relatively-smaller youki field, compressing it until the daiyoukai felt positively bottled up.

            Of course, Sesshomaru fully expected this to happen, as it was laid out clearly in the script he was following.  He felt no real alarm, only some disconcertion that one, single miko like Kagome, given enough time, could wield such power against a daiyoukai like him.  If the situation had been for real and not a movie scene, he predicted that she could really zap him if she wanted to.

            “This is a trap,” Sesshomaru realized aloud.  He glared at Kagome, then Sango.  “You’ve been stalling me.  Both of you have!”  Summoning his youki whip into a hand, he lashed viciously at Kagome’s barrier.  For safety’s sake, he manifested his whip with much less youki than he would have if he was fighting to kill.  At the same time, Kagome controlled her sutra trap such that the reiki it generated posed no real threat to Sesshomaru.  Except for Sesshomaru’s whip and her own barrier, his youki and her reiki were interacting invisibly, so it would be up to post production to add sound and visual effects to give the scene more punch.

            With impressive, electric snaps, Sesshomaru’s deliberately-weakened whip glanced uselessly off Kagome’s barrier as intended and the miko actress took the initiative, stepping forward to advance on him as he wound up for another strike.  Her barrier moved with her while Sango stood back at a safe distance behind her, the barrier’s energy permeating the taijiya actress’ body harmlessly.  Kagome then manipulated her barrier so that it closed in around her and contoured to her body as a suit, instead of a spherical shell.  Now, it was as her armor for battle.

            As with the swordfights earlier, Kikyo directed Sesshomaru and Kagome to move slowly and with careful measure so that they didn’t actually hurt each other.  With the camera on them, Sesshomaru snapped his whip at Kagome again and this time, she reached out and caught it, her reiki suit safely insulating her hand from it.  With reiki-boosted strength, she pulled on the whip and Sesshomaru intentionally stumbled forward, allowing her to softly drive a reiki-shielded elbow into his face.  Once her elbow met one of his cheekbones, he paused for a moment, then flung his entire body backward away from her, creating the illusion that she had delivered a very powerful blow.

            Feigning anger, Sesshomaru picked himself up and tried to use his whip again.  Kagome increased the energy output from her sutra trap and to Sesshomaru’s great concern, his whip fizzled out as her reiki overwhelmed the small amount of youki that constituted it.  With Kagome’s reiki washing over him from all sides, painlessly beating him down, Sesshomaru didn’t have to feign clumsiness; he felt weak and sluggish and Kagome easily outmaneuvered him as their mock battle entered the hand-to-hand realm.  He swung at her wide with uncharacteristic sloppiness as she worked herself around his fists and drove her own into his face, then his armored midsection over and over.  Sesshomaru jerked his body backward in time with Kagome’s mock attacks, grunting hard to emphasize their impact.

            Finally, Kagome gave a precise, reiki-charged ‘savate’ kick to one of Sesshomaru’s knees, sending him down to the worship hall’s polished hardwood floor.  Looming over him as he knelt helplessly before her, she reached down and grasped the section of his haori that lay above the upper edge of his cuirass.  She looked into his golden eyes and he nodded to indicate his readiness.  Then, she channeled her reiki into her arm, briefly converting it into incredible strength as she used Sesshomaru’s haori as a grip to heft his entire, seven-foot body, weighing perhaps more than 300 pounds including his armor, directly over her head.  She then turned in place to slam him down onto his back behind her.

            Stunned, Sesshomaru felt the wood flooring beneath him crunch as Kagome drove him into itThe entire world flipped upside down and spun around inside his head as brief dizziness overcame him.  After a few moments of laying in his wooden crater and once Kikyo repositioned her camera to film him from close up, he pushed himself up onto his elbows to try and get back onto his feet.  Kagome moved to stand over him, extending a hand toward his face and aiming her open palm at it.  Her entire body still shielded by her reiki suit, she focused some of her available energy into her palm, causing it to glow distinctly from the rest of her for Kikyo’s camera.  At this close range, she could purify Sesshomaru’s head clean off in one shot.  “Stay down,” she warned.

            Sesshomaru continued to recline on his elbows, but made no further attempt to stand.  He felt the reiki pressure of Kagome’s sutra trap increase upon him, rendering him immobile and totally helpless.  He gazed at the miko’s glowing hand as one might look down the muzzle of a loaded cannon.  “You’ve beaten me, miko.  Soundly so,” he admitted, bracing himself for death.  “Finish me.”

            “I think not,” Kagome declined, allowing the reiki charge in her hand to recede back into her body.  “You’re far too pretty to kill.”

            Kagome gestured for Sango to approach.  Pointing at Sesshomaru’s swords, she ordered to her taijiya bodyguard: “Sango, relieve Sesshomaru-sama of his weapons.”

            Cautiously, Sango knelt beside Sesshomaru and glanced into his golden eyes to gauge his aggression toward her.  She saw little, as even though he was acting as angry as possible, Kagome’s functional sutra trap suppressed him in both physical and emotional terms.  The taijiya warrior forced him to roll slightly onto his right hip and give her access to his left, upon which he carried Tenseiga and Bakusaiga.  She slipped the swords out from under his golden sash and removed them from his reach, placing them upon the platform Kagome had been meditating on.

            With Sesshomaru disarmed and prevented from even moving by her reiki, Kagome sat down beside him, folding her legs neatly beneath her.  “Now,” she began to him, dispelling her reiki suit and letting herself relax a bit.  “Let me be completely honest with you.  This is a trap.  As you can probably tell, I’ve had considerable time to prepare this place for your arrival.”

            Kagome waved to Sango and pointed at the golden sash around Sesshomaru’s waist, the one that had held his swords.  The gesture was a silent command to remove the sash, for removing it was the first step to removing the armor cuirass beneath.  Looking back down to Sesshomaru as Sango untied and stripped the sash away, Kagome reached over him and began undoing the various clasps and ties of his armor, lifting the spiked breastplate away from his chest and abdomen, handing it to Sango.  No longer attached to the breastplate, the backplate settled to the floor beneath Sesshomaru and Sango pulled it out from under him, setting it and the breastplate next to his swords on Kagome’s platform.

            Sesshomaru felt especially vulnerable now, being unarmed and unarmored.  With a gentle, almost reverent touch, Kagome opened his white haori to expose his chest and abdomen, her eyes lighting up with excitement at all the spectacularly chiseled muscle she found there.  “God, you’re not just pretty.  You’re beautiful, Sesshomaru-sama,” she praised with a breathless hush.  Sango was similarly ensconced by the daiyoukai’s perfect demonic physique as she returned to her place beside him, opposite Kagome.  Kagome reached down to touch his bare, pale and totally hairless flesh, relishing in the smooth texture of his skin and the intense heat he generated.  She slid her hand upward over his chest to cover his heart, feeling it pumping briskly just below her palm.  “Don’t be afraid.”

            Sesshomaru swallowed thickly, visibly struggling with his own vulnerability and the demonic sexual urges rising in his blood.  Kagome’s sutra trap seemed to only suppress aggressive or hostile intent, leaving amorous intent unaffected.  Kagome and Sango were both incredibly appealing to his beast, each woman strikingly beautiful and each an embodiment of strength in her own way.  Sango’s strength was physical and martial, while Kagome’s was spiritual, and the daiyoukai porn star wanted both women more and more with each passing moment.  The sensation of being completely at their mercy, combined with the knowledge that he would soon have them, or be had by them, all for Kikyo to film, was driving him wild.  Still, he summoned some defiance into his throat for the sake of the scene.  “This Sesshomaru does not fear,” he boasted to Kagome.

            Smiling in approval, Kagome reached into her white haori and retrieved an enchanted seal from a breast pocket, showing the printed side of it to Sesshomaru.  It was similar to Kikyo’s contraceptive sutras, but the ideogram it bore was different, translating roughly to ‘soul connection.’  “I’m going to bind you to me,” Kagome warned with an intensely sexual gleam in her gorgeous blue eyes.

            Sesshomaru’s eyes widened and his mouth fell slightly agape, his stoic version of shock.  Immediately, he regretted his ‘no fear’ statement and broke character as he looked over to Kikyo with a questioning expression.  Poking her head out from behind her camera’s viewfinder, the miko director nodded to him.  “It’s okay,” she said.  “It won’t hurt you, and it can be undone once we’re finished shooting.”

            Trusting in Kikyo’s judgement, reciprocating the trust she’d given him when she let him fuck both her and Rin, Sesshomaru looked back to Kagome as she held her binding seal.  “Do it,” he rasped.

            Kagome pressed on Sesshomaru’s chest, urging him to settle back down to the crushed-in floor.  As he did so, his powerful daiyoukai heart began pounding for her to feel and she moved her hand to place her binding seal directly over it.  The youki in the blood pumping through the chambers of his heart reacted to the reiki infused into the seal, tiny arcs of spiritual electricity arcing painlessly between his skin and the seal’s paper surface.  Then, Kagome slammed the seal down onto Sesshomaru’s hard, male pectoral and the subdued daiyoukai arched off the broken floor beneath him, tossing his head back and snarling out as the seal’s power reached into his body and took firm, yet caring hold of something precious, perhaps his very soul.

            Sesshomaru thrashed and gave up throaty male cries of nearly painful pleasure as Kagome’s life force entwined with his, joined through her seal.  To comfort him in his moment of sensory upheaval, Kagome and Sango clasped his hands in theirs and squeezed tight, as if to anchor him to the earth.  By their combined strength, he calmed down, his thrashing easing back to involuntary trembling and his cries becoming quiet groans. 

            Closing her eyes and tilting her head back, Kagome bit her lip and coped with her own rush of sensation, feeling Sesshomaru’s youkai soul flooding into her through the seal’s connection.  Brimming with passion and emotion, she leaned over him and kissed the crescent moon mark on his forehead, their hearts beating as one.  As she pulled away, Sesshomaru breathed deep and husky, opening his golden eyes to look up at her.  “I feel you,” he whispered in quiet amazement, his entire body quivering by the sheer fullness of energy he felt.  Then, he looked over to Sango as she held his other hand.  “And I feel you, taijiya.”

            Sango gave Sesshomaru a sultry smile, then kissed his fingers before releasing his hand.  She unclasped the front of her taijiya bodysuit and spread it open to reveal her generous cleavage, her full breasts contained within a tight linen chest wrap.  There, just above her left breast and her heart, lay another of Kagome’s binding seals.  She was bound to Kagome, and indirectly, to Sesshomaru.

            “We three are joined, now,” Kagome said to Sesshomaru and Sango with a smile and a shaky exhalation of breath.  She gestured for Sango to lean closer to her, right over Sesshomaru’s chest, and she took the taijiya’s full lips in a soft, sweet, girl-on-girl kiss for the daiyoukai to see.  Sesshomaru moaned helplessly at the sight and the sensation of their kiss, the warmth, taste, and texture of each woman’s lips transmitted to him by the binding seal with perfect clarity.

            Kagome broke her kiss with Sango before it became too hot and heavy, looking back down to Sesshomaru.  “Now that we’re linked, you can’t hurt either of us, and we can’t hurt you,” she said.  “No one of us three will be able to even conceive of violence against the other two.”

            Sesshomaru felt the reiki field of Kagome’s sutra trap evaporate, relieving the pressure it held on his youki.  Reforming his mask of stoicism in light of his deadly mission, the daiyoukai assassin sat up between Kagome and Sango, glancing at one woman, then the other.  Kagome nodded at Sango as she sat on the opposite side of Sesshomaru, and the taijiya bodyguard pulled at the daiyoukai’s hand, bringing it up to her throat.

            Sango grasped Sesshomaru’s wrist and pulled his fingers around her neck, placing his thumb against her pulsing carotid artery.  Sesshomaru gazed at her with uncertainty as she put her very life in his hand.  “Squeeze,” Kagome ordered hotly to Sesshomaru.  “Tear her throat out.”

            The blood vessels in Sesshomaru’s neck and temples strained as he summoned his killer instinct against the benevolent impulse of Kagome’s binding seal.  Feeling his hand beginning to shake against her throat, Sango held it steady and gazed at him with total conviction, absolutely no fear.  In the face of such steely will, even the great Sesshomaru could do nothing but yield.  “I…I can’t,” he gasped, discovering that he could move his hand only as he pulled it away from Sango’s throat.

            Satisfied that Sesshomaru was no longer a threat to them, Kagome and Sango stood, pulling on the big, tall daiyoukai’s hands to drag him onto his feet.  Sesshomaru steadied himself on the two women as he felt his youki-based strength return to him gradually, and they helped him over to a tatami mat that lay in front of Kagome’s meditation platform.  They guided him to kneel, then sit upon it in Japanese, folded-leg fashion, releasing him only when they were certain he wasn’t going to fall over.  Kagome sat down on the lowest level of her meditation platform to face Sesshomaru directly, while Sango chose a spot behind her miko mistress on the next highest level up.

            Kikyo placed her camera to film Sesshomaru, Kagome, and Sango in profile, backing up far enough to get all three of them into the same shot.  Now, the scene they presented together was one of civility instead of physical confrontation.  The Shikon Miko had thwarted the Perfect Killer and, assured of her safety and Sango’s, she would speak with him more comfortably.

            Sesshomaru was silent as he glanced between Kagome and Sango, then over to his swords and armor as they lay just a few feet away.  Kagome had deactivated her sutra trap and he felt strong and fast enough to make a grab for them.  The only problem: he didn’t want to.  The binding seal over his heart censored any aggressive intention on his part, so his character resigned himself to being Kagome’s guest, not her assassin.

            Kagome commanded the many sutras on the walls of her worship hall to glow and become visible without projecting a reiki field that would discomfort Sesshomaru again.  “Do you see all those, Sesshomaru-sama?” she asked to him, pointing to the sutras.  “The walls of this worship hall have an area of 50 feet by 30 feet, so 1500 square feet per wall.  Four walls – 6000 square feet.”  The miko then pointed upward to the ceiling.  “And the ceiling!  The roof of this hall is like a pyramid; its sides are all triangles, and they deviate from the vertical by 45 degrees, with 50-foot bases on all sides.  Each side has an interior area of 625 square feet.  Four sides – 2,500 square feet altogether.  Add that to the area of the walls, and we get a grand total of 8,500 square feet.”

            “Why are you telling me this?” Sesshomaru asked.

            Kagome smiled at Sesshomaru impatience.  “Sango, her two-dozen taijiya, and I placed the sutras on the walls.  We spaced them out so that each one was at the center of a 1-foot square.  Since the interior of this hall has a wall and ceiling area of 8,500 square feet, we needed 8,500 sutras to cover it all.  We didn’t have that many on hand, so we had to make more.  Do you know how long it took us to do all that?”

            “How long did it take?” Sesshomaru humored Kagome with a stoic smile.

            “It took us four days,” Kagome replied, much to Sesshomaru’s suspicion.  “And do you know how we knew you were coming here, four days in advance?”

            “Your spy,” Sesshomaru concluded with mounting venom.  “The one you have in my father’s court.”

            “No,” Kagome denied.  Sesshomaru was visibly confused.  “I have no spy in your father’s court.”

            “You lie,” Sesshomaru growled, to Kagome’s and Sango’s offense.

            Mildly angry that Sesshomaru wouldn’t take her word at face value, Kagome stood up and approached the daiyoukai, kneeling with him and poking the binding seal over his heart.  “You lie to yourself,” she shot back to him.  “Look into my mind.  The link that my seal creates between us allows you to do that.  You know I’m telling the truth.”

            Indeed, Sesshomaru saw no deceit in Kagome’s mind and heart, only the purity of honesty.  His apology was silent, yet Kagome received it anyway by the binding seal’s holy magic.  “How did you know, then?” he asked softly as he looked away from her in shame, humbled by his own prejudice.

            “It took four days to turn this place into a trap powerful enough to ensnare you,” Kagome said.  “Five days ago, I received this.”  She reached into her haori and withdrew a folded-up sheet of very fine paper, unfolding it and giving it to Sesshomaru to read.  It was a letter written by an anonymous author.

            “Sango found that wrapped around an arrow lodged in this shrine’s front deck,” Kagome revealed of the letter, turning around and sitting back down on her platform to let Sesshomaru read. 

            The letter read simply: “SESSHOMARU COMES TO KILL YOU IN FIVE DAYS.  BE READY.”   The letter was written in bold, black-inked kanji and Sesshomaru instantly recognized the writing style.  “This…is Father’s handwriting…” he said, his golden eyes growing wide with the realization dawning upon him.

            Kagome stilled, bristling visibly from the ‘oh shit’ expression plastered on Sesshomaru’s handsome face, as well as the emotional turmoil brewing in his mind.  She turned to look at Sango, seeing similar bewilderment in the taijiya’s eyes, then looked back to Sesshomaru.  “Your father?” she repeated, turning over the idea in her mind to try and make sense of it.  “So…your father sends you here to kill me, but warns me about it beforehand.  Then that means…you’re not here to kill me, but to be killed by me!”

            Sesshomaru stood up from his tatami mat and turned his back to Kagome, Sango, and Kikyo as the miko director filmed him from behind, stalking away from them with lumbering steps.  Through the binding seal he wore, Kagome could feel the rage building in his heart, but she hardly needed the seal to feel the swell in his demonic aura.  As an actor, he was clearly channeling some legitimate trauma from his past to make himself so believably angry.  He clenched the letter from his father in a hard fist and his youki manifested around it, incinerating it into flameless ash.

            Kagome rose from her platform and hurried to Sesshomaru’s side.  The last thing her character needed was a super-pissed inu daiyoukai, possibly in his full demon ‘giant dog’ form, rampaging around her shrine.  She reached out to grab one of his arms with both hands, summoning her reiki to tamp down his flaring youki.  “Sesshomaru!  Please, be calm!

            Sesshomaru turned his head to glance down at Kagome, the whites of eyes having turned completely blood red, his golden irises now as incandescent green jewels.  The purity of her soul entered his heart through the binding seal he wore and coursed through his blood, acting as a spiritual coolant that immediately abated his anger.  He was privately amazed at the effect she had on him.  Binding seal or no, his body and spirit had never responded to a woman in such a way.  His eyes reverted to their normal white-and-gold as he seemed to return to sanity.  “I…I’m sorry,” he apologized.

            “You’re right to be angry, after being manipulated like this,” Kagome comforted, squeezing Sesshomaru’s arm and inadvertently feeling the sheer muscle beneath the fine silk of his haori sleeve.  “Just don’t wreck my shrine, okay?  Now come on, sit back down.”

            Kagome brought Sesshomaru back to the tatami mat he’d been sitting on and he took his place upon it, struggling with the terrible knowledge he’d just come into possession of.  “My father has betrayed me,” he rued, clenching his hands into white-knuckled fists on his thighs.

            “Why would he do such a thing?” Kagome asked, sitting on her platform again.  “You’re his ‘Perfect Killer,’ aren’t you?  Why would the Inu no Taisho, the Commander of the Dogs, throw away the ultimate instrument of war?

            “He favors another,” Sesshomaru replied.  “Menomaru, his adopted son whom he took in as an infant after killing his father, the demon lord Hyoga in China.”

            Kagome blinked.  “He would favor an adopted son over his biological son, his own blood?

            “Menomaru has adopted Father’s philosophy on rule and warfare much more completely than I,” Sesshomaru said.  “Every aspect of it, to include uncompromising brutality.  For this, Father sees him as a worthier successor.  But the issue of lineage remains.  By my status as Father’s first-born, I am next in line for the throne of the West, not Menomaru, and the nobles of the court would not support him as long as I remain alive.”

            “But if the great Sesshomaru were to die in battle unexpectedly, such as against a certain, very powerful miko, Menomaru’s path to accession would be clear,” Kagome speculated.  “And your father sent you here all alone, to fight against me and Sango and all her taijiya without anyone to back you up.”

            “Yes,” Sesshomaru confirmed.  “I’ve known that Father preferred Menomaru to me for a long time, but I thought…that if he ever decided to kill me, he would have done it personally.”

            “He’s afraid of you.  He made you into his greatest weapon and now, he’s afraid to fight against what he’s created,” Kagome concluded.  Sesshomaru glared at her with a lethal gleam in his golden eyes; any other time someone accused his father of cowardice, he would have taken his or her head, but the binding seal over his heart prevented him from doing such a thing to Kagome.  Even if the seal wasn’t there, given the circumstances, his character probably would have spared her anyway.  Probably.

            “I…apologize for coming here, to do harm to you and those that protect you,” Sesshomaru spoke solemnly, bowing his silver-haired head to Kagome and Sango at once.

            Roused by Sesshomaru’s authenticity, Kagome stood up from her platform for the final time.  “This hurts you,” she said with a swell of soft, hushed empathy.  “I see the pain in your heart, and through my binding seal, it is real to me.  You love your father, and he has rejected you.”

            “He is all I have ever known,” Sesshomaru contemplated.  “My whole life, I have strived to serve him.  Not always in the ways he demanded, but in the ways that would have benefited him most.  Now, he seeks my deathand yours.”

            “Then we’re on the same side,” Kagome resolved.  She reached down and took one of Sesshomaru’s big, male hands to pull him onto his feet.  “We don’t have to fight each other, now.”

            Sesshomaru stood fixed in place, trembling with anticipation as Kagome stepped up to him, raising herself onto the very tips of her sock-covered toes to press her lips to his.  Chaste and loving, the kiss she blessed him with transcended mere physical sensation, the binding seal he wore allowing her soul to filter into his and soothe his deepest internal emotional wounds.  Their hearts beat as one and when she ended the kiss, she left his body pumping with desire for her, not sadness from his father’s betrayal.

            Behind Kagome, Sango gave up a throaty mewl of passion as she shared her miko mistress’ pleasure through her own binding seal.  Sesshomaru’s catharsis, though incomplete, was equally intoxicating.  Kagome reached out to her in invitation and eagerly, the sexy taijiya warrior left her spot on the meditation platform to join her miko friend in front of Sesshomaru.

            Sango cupped Sesshomaru’s face firmly with both hands, pulling him down to her and really seizing his mouth with hers, taking her kiss where Kagome would offer it.  Sesshomaru’s large hands found their way down to the taijiya’s supple rear and Kagome’s at once, squeezing their perfect asses through their clothes with hard possessiveness.  His armor was out of the way now and he pulled their soft, female bodies against his much larger, harder male frame, reveling in their warmth and the sensation of their breasts pressing against his muscular sides.  Now, his young, burning hot skin was separated from theirs only by thin layers of white, red, and black silk.

            Sango tore her lips from Sesshomaru’s to take a desperately needed breath.  Boldly, she worked a hand down between his body and hers to cup it to his most male area through his hakama, feeling the impressive organs pulsing between his thighs.  Deep inside her belly, her womb quivered as she felt his great size.  “He’s ready,” she whispered to Kagome.

            Kagome replaced Sango’s hand with her own over Sesshomaru’s big cock and well-proportioned balls, fondling him into a rutting, snarling frenzy.  She could feel him straining against the tiny fundoshi he wore underneath his hakama; the thing was about to snap.  “Your cruel father sent you here while your body burns with the breeding heat,” she whispered up to him.  “A miko is a kind of healer, and I know only one truly appropriate way of healing you of your pain.  Make love to us, Sesshomaru, Sango and me, and let us make love to you.”

            “Yes,” Sesshomaru growled in approval to Kagome and Sango at once.  “I will take you, and I will give myself to you in return.”

            Happily, Kagome and Sango each grasped one of Sesshomaru’s wrists, eagerly leading the highly-aroused daiyoukai to a set of shoji doors opposite the main entrance to the worship hall, with Kikyo following with her camera.  Beyond those doors lay Kagome’s master bedroom, and the ‘climax’ of the story!

 

-To be continued-