Page 7

Panel 1

View of the four, now kneeling on the deck. Inuyasha has gotten the point and is now snarling, rather than smiling. The Nurse’s husband has drawn his katana.

Nurse: Have a care, Inuyasha! These men are pirates! You must pretend to belong to me, not to your mother, or they’ll steal you for ransom!

Nurse’s husband: Inuyasha, if they should try to grab you, you must tear them apart with your fangs and claws!

Panel 2

Close-up of Koinu.

Koinu: We sailed with them only a little time—through that night and the next day, into the evening. We all sat together on the deck guarding my mother. Nurse’s husband had his katana drawn.

Panel 3

Close-up of Koinu; he is smiling.

Koinu: It seemed like a great adventure to me. I kept hoping they’d try to grab me so I could tear them apart with my fangs and claws, but it never happened.

Panel 4

View of Kagome, leaning on her elbow, listening, and smiling; the teacup and instant ramen are on the table in front of her.

Koinu (offscreen): I even thought of trying to look more helpless so they’d be fooled into trying to grab me, but I decided not to.

Kagome: You sound like you were such a sweet little boy!

Panel 5

Close-up profile of Koinu; he seems rather surprised by this notion.

Koinu: . . . Yeah, I guess I was. It’s hard to remember sometimes that I wasn’t always…what I turned into.

Panel 6

View of a ship at anchor on the sea, with the full moon low in the sky. Inuyasha’s mother and the nurse, carrying Inuyasha, walk away from the shore; at the shoreline are four other figures with a small boat.

Koinu (offscreen): After nightfall we went to shore in a little boat with three of the men. That must have been the coast of Honshu. Nurse’s husband stayed behind with the men while the other three of us ran into the woods. I should say, Mother and Nurse ran. I was a young lord. I rarely walked any distance.

Panel 7

The two women huddle apprehensively inside a cave; Inuyasha is asleep in the Nurse’s lap.

Koinu (offscreen): Nurse knew of a cave. We hid there for awhile. We lit no fire. I fell asleep in the dark.

Panel 8

Inuyasha sits up watching the three adults. Inuyasha’s mother is now dressed in the peasant clothing, the Nurse wears the mother’s kimono.

Koinu (offscreen): When I awoke, Nurse’s husband was with us and there was a small fire. Then I saw a strange thing. The packs were open. Nurse was wearing my mother’s many layers of kimono, and looked like a highborn lady of the youkai court. My mother was now dressed as a peasant.

Page 8

Panel 1

Full-length view of Inuyasha’s mother, in peasant clothing.

Koinu (offscreen): My beautiful mother wore only a short kimono and overskirt—her ankles showed. Her hair was tied back—it was very long, almost to her ankles. I was outraged! My mother was a lady, not a kitchen servant! As for my mother, Kagome, that was probably the only time in her entire life she was able to walk freely, without her own weight in clothing on her back. It never occurred to me until years later, when I saw your long legs under your little sailor fuku, what an effort it must have been for her to walk even a few steps in her elegant clothes.

Panel 2

Full-length view of the Nurse and her husband..

Koinu (offscreen): My mother and I were to walk to her father’s household, in the Musashi domain. Nurse and her husband would travel north toward Hokkaido, a youkai lady and her escort. As they traveled, they would sell the beautiful kimono, one by one, and so they’d have money to start life far from the wrath of Sesshoumaru.

Panel 3

A sad-faced Inuyasha hugs the nurse.

Koinu (offscreen): I understood then that my beloved Nurse was leaving us, and I cried. She promised she would try to find us someday. I never saw her again.

Panel 4

Close-up of Koinu, with a faraway expression.

Koinu: I hope they got away. I hope they sold my mother’s dresses and built a house and had all the children they wanted and were never found by Sesshoumaru. Of all the people in Inutaisho’s court, only they were ever kind to us. The others . . . shunned us. There were other children, but they never played with me. Sometimes they teased me, but they never hurt me. I was a . . . freak, but I was still the son of the Inutaisho. But none were ever our friends.

Page 9

Panel 1

View of Inuyasha, in travel clothing and wooden geta sandals, walking next to his mother, in peasant clothing. She carries a couple of bundles.

Koinu (offscreen): After that . . . well . . . we walked. We who had never walked anywhere walked mile after mile, day after day, from the Sea of Japan to the household of my grandfather, looking like a young lord in the care of a housekeeper or kitchen maid.

Panel 2

View of Inuyasha and his mother. She has unbound her hair and is wearing a lady’s kimono; his head is uncovered.

Koinu (offscreen): My mother had reserved for herself one fine undergarment and a single silk overdress. At the gate of her family home she unbound her hair and dressed in her meager finery.

Panel 3

Close-up of Inuyasha’s mother.

Koinu (offscreen): She was a disgrace—tan and fit and muscled from weeks of walking. Sometimes I think if we’d stayed on the road she would have lived for years and years.

Panel 4

View of the two, both bowing low—Inuyasha is stretched out, prone.

Koinu (offscreen): Instead, she returned to her home an outcast, turned away by her husband’s family and saddled with a freak of a brat.

Panel 5

Close-up of Koinu, still with that faraway look.

Koinu: All my life I’d been called human, Kagome, and rejected by my brother’s court. But in my grandfather’s house I learned I was not human.

Panel 6

View of Kagome and Koinu at the table, both looking a bit angry.

Koinu: … You haven’t even eaten half of this!

Kagome: I was listening!

Koinu: You can listen and eat. You will eat.

Kagome: I’ll drink my tea.

Koinu: You’ll eat.

Panel 7

Closeup of Koinu, looking apprehensive.

Koinu: Sigh. I’m sorry that this story is so long, Kagome. I just . . . want you to understand…

Page 10

Panel 1

Wide view of a room with painted panels and scattered small furnishings. Inuyasha’s mother kneels before a gaunt, ill-looking man in a simple white kimono, his thinning hair in mage style. He is being supported by a very young girl—pre-pubescent—who carries a chrysanthemum. Another young girl sits near Inuyasha’s mother, glaring at Inuyasha, who is still stretched out on the floor but has his head up, watching the action.

Koinu (offscreen): When we arrived at the household of the Houjou, my poor grandfather was dying. He was very thin—thinner than you, Kagome, but not much. Eat! Now! It was a very large house, but not a castle, and I thought it not beautiful as the Stronghold on Kyushu. The humans were not as elegant as the taiyoukai with their long fingers and ears. Grandfather was attended by two pretty young ladies, not really much older than I was. Mother said they were concubines. She wouldn’t explain what they were doing there. They didn’t like the look of me. I wasn’t sure how I felt about grandfather—he was so bony and pale, and he smelled…bad. Like the heads on the poles at the gate of Sesshoumaru’s Stronghold. He wore only a simple white kimono. He told my mother that it was to be his shroud, and she began to cry.

Panel 2

Inuyasha’s mother kneels, weeping, before her wizened father, who is supported by one of the concubines. In the background, Inuyasha sticks out his tongue at the other girl, who hides her nose in a flower.

Koinu (offscreen): I felt bad for my mother. The two concubines kept saying, "No, no, milord, you grow stronger every day, you will live for a hundred years," and I thought they must be the stupidest girls in the world. It was obvious the old man was dying….I call him an old man, Kagome, but I think maybe he wasn’t even as old as my parents are now…but he was rotting away from inside, anybody could tell that.

Panel 3

View of the concubine with the flower over her nose.

Koinu (offscreen): Those silly girls in all their layers of rich clothing carried little flowers to sniff, to block out the stink of my grandfather.

Panel 4

View of Inuyasha stretched out on the floor, his index fingers pinching his nose shut.

Koinu (offscreen): Actually, the longer we sat there the more I could see their point.

Page 11

Panel 1

Inuyasha and his mother are led down a corridor by the woman we saw in Book 7.

Koinu (offscreen): A lady showed us to some rooms at the end of a long gallery. She barely looked at my mother and would not look at me. She looked very strange to me. Her face was very white and her eyebrows were drawn on.

Panel 2

View of Inuyasha and his mother sitting in the room where he was keeping vigil in Book 7. He is looking over his shoulder at the doorway.

Koinu (offscreen): We were tired . . . my mother more than I. I stayed close to the door and I could hear the lady who had brought us to our rooms gossiping with someone. "I saw it," she said. "It’s just as they say—a monster! Poor master!" But I didn’t guess what they were talking about . . . not then . . .

Panel 3

View of Inuyasha’s mother, dressed in many layers of kimono, holding a fan, and looking bored, sitting with a group of similarly dressed women.

Koinu (offscreen): What else can I say about those times, Kagome? We kept to ourselves, mostly, my mother and I. There was an elaborate lacquer box in our rooms and soon it was filled with beautiful silk kimono. Once again my mother wore the twelve-layer costume of a noblewoman. A couple of ladies were assigned to attend her. Mostly that seems to involve sitting for hours, waving little fans and talking about nothing.

 

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