The Nulling Stone
Volume 34 - Scroll 9
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Story and Art by Rumiko Takahashi
The Nulling Stone is the 337th chapter of the InuYasha manga.
- Kohaku has his first encounter with Kikyō.
- Naraku attacks Kikyō by surprise: the priestess didn't sense his demonic aura approaching her due to the nulling stone. Naraku makes his escape when Inuyasha arrives on the scene.
- Naraku gives the nulling stone to The Infant.
- Kikyō confronts Kohaku, deducing that he's only alive due to the Shikon shard in his neck, with his life being held hostage by Naraku. Kikyō also thinks to herself that she senses something odd in the boy: while his sacred jewel shard is tainted with Naraku's evil, his soul is still pure somehow. Kikyō asks Kohaku why he follows Naraku's orders. He's silent, wondering why she's asking that. Suddenly, Naraku himself appears behind Kikyō.
- Inuyasha and group are heading toward Kohaku's shard, and the crystals of demonic energy that Gakusanjin gave them are reacting, so the nulling stone must be up ahead. Inuyasha tells them to hurry because he smells Kikyō's scent up ahead.
- Naraku entraps Kikyō in a web of branchy flesh, but not before the priestess can draw an arrow and aim it at him. Naraku laughs, proceeding to nonchalantly talk to Kikyō, saying it's been a long time since they last crossed paths, not since Mount Hakurei. Kikyō is silently frightened, because she didn't sense Naraku's aura in the slightest. "Even now as he's standing right in front of me, I can't sense any demon-energy emanating from him!" Cocky as always, Naraku asks Kikyō why she doesn't seem happier to see him. Kikyō fires the arrow she had set and Naraku splits into rags of flesh, but his body starts to reform and he doesn't seem very worried. Kikyō discovers that while she's trapped in this web of flesh, she can't reach her quiver, and is now left without a weapon to defend herself. Impatiently, Naraku barks out "Why do you just stand there, Kohaku? Behead her." But Kohaku only stands still, unsure of what he should do. Naraku fears Kikyō more than any other person on earth; she'd make a powerful ally, but if he doesn't follow orders and Naraku learns he's regained his memories, he'll never be able to get close to the infant. Naraku inquisitively asks the boy if he's having a crisis of conscience, noticing that he isn't following orders as blindly as he should be.
- The Hiraikotsu suddenly appears and strikes Naraku's flesh, setting Kikyō free. Inuyasha tells Naraku he'll pay, using the windscar, but Naraku only smirks, disappearing into a cloud of miasma. Kagome uses her arrow to purify the poison, but Naraku has already escaped. They also discover Kohaku ran away with him, much to Sango's dismay. Inuyasha asks Kikyō if she's alright, but she says she was just being careless, somehow not sensing Naraku's demonic presence. The group then explains the nulling stone and how Naraku probably used it to sneak up on her. Sango asks Kikyō if Kohaku did anything to hurt her, and she says no. But she also says she's troubled, because his eyes did not look like the eyes of a controlled puppet.
- Later, Kagura is flying on her plume with Kohaku. They discuss the infant, and how they were both certain that when Naraku summoned the boy earlier, that the infant would have been nearby. During their conversation, Kagura begins to suspect that Kohaku has gained his memory, because usually their conversations are one sided, with Kagura telling Kohaku that they have to find a way to kill Naraku, but the boy is being very talkative all of the sudden. The two agree to start a partnership and try to kill Naraku together, but Kagura thinks to herself that she'll use him well, and betray him if she has to.
- Inuyasha and Kikyō say their goodbyes in private, because as Miroku points out, the priestess isn't the type to travel with them. Still, Kagome wonders what the two of them are talking about. Kikyō tells Inuyasha that Naraku must have been acting as a decoy for something else. Because just before they were killed, Kochō and Asuka were about to discover something. Kikyō also finds it odd that her arrow struck Naraku, but he didn't die. Inuyasha explains that's been true ever since Mount Hakurei. She deduces (as has already been established) that Naraku's heart must be somewhere outside of his body then. Inuyasha wonders if that's what Naraku is trying to accomplish with the nulling stone: to hide his heart.
- Naraku gives the nulling stone to the infant.
Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit
- This is the first time Kohaku and Kikyō meet in the story.
- This chapter is one of the few in the manga that has a title page which takes up two pages. It also features all of the main characters, even though some of them don't appear in this chapter.