Rei Hino held up a keychain with a small gold ring dangling on the end of it. Her raven Deimos reached for it playfully, pecking it with his beak.
“The One Ring? Grampa,” she began, “you don’t actually think people are gonna buy these keychains, do you?” Grampa held another keychain up.
“But hear its legend, my dear,” said he. “In the beginning, the One Ring–“
“C’mon, Gramps,” Rei interrupted. “You’ve told this story to me, like, a thousand times. And there’s a movie to go along with these keychains. Can’t you do something like the Shikon no Tama or something? But anyways, I hope you haven’t forgotten what tomorrow is!” Grampa sighed.
“How could I forget,” he said, whipping a brightly wrapped box out from behind his back. “I know it’s a day early, but happy birthday, Rei!” Rei excitedly tore open the box. Her joy melted when she pulled out a smelly hairy hand. Grampa saw the disgust on her face. “Rei, it’s the mummified hand of an Uruk-hai. Legend holds that whoever possesses it will–“
“Here, Bill,” said Rei, tossing the hand to her fat striped cat. “Eat up.” Grampa’s jaw dropped in shock.
“Do you know how much one of those costs?!” he shouted. Rei rolled her eyes.
“Later Gramps,” she said, grabbing her backpack. “I gotta get to school.”
*My Grampa always seems to find a legend for something. My house is actually this ancient shrine that has a long legend. Honestly, I won’t tell it because it’ll bore you to tears. Plus, I can’t remember it. Anyway, I live in the shrine/house with my Grampa. My mom died a long time ago and my dad doesn’t care about me as much as he cares about his politics. But I swear, almost everything in my `house’ has a legend. The mallorn tree that’s over 500 years old has a legend, the well inside the mini-shrine has a legend, blah blah blah. I never tried to remember any of the stories Grampa told me; I thought they were useless. Well, at least until today…when I turned 15.*
Rei ran out the door of the ancient shrine. She hopped on her bike and began to pedal away. As she rode past the mini-shrine, she saw her friends Serena, Rini, Lita, Mina, and Ami standing in the entrance to the shrine. Serena was holding a bowl of cat food while Ami and Lita called, “Bill!” into the small building. Rei stopped her bike and got off.
“What are you two doing?” she asked. “You know we’re not allowed in there.”
“But, Diana’s down there,” whimpered Rini. Rei rolled her eyes.
“C’mon, guys. Can’t you two get him?” she asked Lita and Mina. “After all, you’re Sailor Scouts. You can’t be scared of little things like that.”
“Yeah, but-” began Serena. Rei sighed impatiently.
“Fine. I’ll get the stinking cat.” Rei descended the steps to the well. “Diana!” she called. “Diana, where are you?” Something furry brushed against her leg. “AAAAAAA!” she squealed. Diana meowed, and Rei calmed down.
Serena wrapped her arms around Lita in fear.
“Don’t scare us like that!” she scolded while Rini rolled her eyes. Rei shooed the cat toward her friends and began to follow. Suddenly, the wooden boards covering the well began to creak eerily. Then, the boards broke and a hideous creature dragged Rei into the well with it.
“Rei!” cried Mina. Serena and Rini ran screaming from the well house, “Ojii-san! Ojii-san! Rei got kidnapped by a nazgul!” Lita caught them by their arms.
“Quiet, you two. As Sailor Scouts, we stick together, so we have to follow her and save her. Who’s with me?” The other Scouts cheered, except for Rini.
“Do I have to go?” she asked.
Rei struggled to free herself of the nazgul’s grasp. Its raspy voice began to laugh maniacally.
“The One Ring…the Jewel of Four Souls…you have them…yes…I feel it!” it laughed.
*The Ring?! Jewel of Four Souls?! Huh? What is he talking about?* Rei tore away from the creature, taking its arm with her. The nazgul fell to the bottom of the well, buried by the dirt and debris that rose when it hit the ground.
Rei closed her eyes, ready to meet an end like the nazgul’s. Instead, her foot ticked the ground, jarring Rei from her thoughts about her family and how much she would miss them. Rei squealed a bit as she slid down a hill of dirt and landed on the bottom of the well.
“I…I made it?!” she asked happily. “But then, it was all my imagination?” The nazgul’s arm fell on her head. “I guess not,” she said, rubbing her sore temple. Rei got up and looked up the well. “Sailor Scouts! Go get Gramps now!” She spotted a vine of ivy and began to scale the wall of the well. “C’mon, guys! Don’t be such chickens!”
Rei pulled herself up until she could see over the edge of the well. “Huh? Serena! Rini! Ami! Mina! Lita! Where’d you guys go?”
*More like, where did the mini-shrine go?* Rei climbed out of the well, staring at everything around her. “Where the heck am I?” she asked herself. Rei spotted the old mallorn tree and ran to it.
*Yes! The mallorn tree! I could always get home from there!* Rei froze when she reached the tree. A boy with long silver hair wearing a red kimono was pinned to a tree with an arrow and vines grew over his body like chains.
*Who…what is he?* Rei climbed onto the tree roots.
“Hey, you,” she called to him. “Whatcha doing? Hello?” Using the tree roots like a path, Rei made her way to him. His face was very peaceful, like he was dreaming. His ears caught her attention.
*Are those…dog ears?* Rei reached to touch them. *I know it’s not the right time, but…* Rei rubbed his ears and moved them back and forth to see if they were real.
All of a sudden, arrows soared through the air, nearly missing Rei and the boy as they hit the tree. Archers leaped out of the bushes, their bows fitted with arrows. The two at the head were Elrohir and Elladan.
“Who are you?” asked Elladan.
“This is the forest of InuYasha,” his brother added. “Not a soul is bidden to come here.” Rei stared fearfully at the soldiers.
*What have I gotten myself into now?!*
1. Hanyou: half-demon
2. Shikon no tama: Jewel of Four souls; makes any ambition a reality if absorbed