DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fanfiction produced for entertainment purposes only. Inu-Yasha - A Feudal Fairytale and all related characters are the creations of Rumiko Takahashi.

The Youkai Strength Competition
Chapter 1: Meet the Competitors
By Shadow's Mirror

It was the third day of the first annual Youkai Strength Competition. So far, youkai from all over the world had competed in various events, testing their strength and just generally showing off their skills, or lack thereof, to the watching crowds. But today was special. The massive stadium was packed full to bursting with tens of thousands of cheering spectators of all shapes, sizes and varying degrees of humanity. All of them waiting in eager anticipation for the Competition's main event.

All of the competitors had been brought through time from over 500 years in the past, especially to compete in the event, which would test them in two areas. Determination to survive and sheer strength. To keep things perfectly fair, all of the competitors were allowed to use only the items that they normally used in their day-to-day battles in their own time.

The announcer for the event looked like a young boy of around 12. He was small and slight with black hair that fell down past his shoulders in tousled waves, unusual eyes of black that gradually shifted to a deep midnight-blue at the outermost edge, and pointed ears like those of a full-blood youkai. He was dressed completely in black. Black ankle-height boots, black breeches, black tunic, black cape… even his sword sheath and the hilt of the blade it held were black!

As he peered at the microphone in front of him, the announcer's eyes narrowed. "Is this thing on?" He winced as his voice filled the stadium, accompanied by a loud screech of static.

"Ladies, Gentlemen, Time-travelling Schoolgirls, Exterminators, Perverted Monks, Cute Little Girls, Priestesses, Undead Priestesses and Youkai of all ages, descriptions and degrees of good and evil! Welcome to the event you have all been waiting for! Yes, it's time for the Feudal Era Youkai Strength Challenge!"

The announcer waited for the cheers and applause to die down before he continued. "Now to meet today's competitors! Remember, these youkai are all vying for the honour of being known as the Strongest Youkai in the Feudal Era." He waved his hand and a small burst of dark energy shot from his fingertips to the contest field, where the competitors were waiting. As the announcer introduced each of them, the dark energy hovered above their heads and spelled out their names.

"First off, from the hidden mansion of miasma, we have the completely corrupted, the eternally evil, the bemusingly baboon-pelted, the one and, thankfully, only… Naraku!"

The crowd booed and hissed as the figure in the shapeless white baboon pelt stepped forward. He suddenly pulled at his pelt, tugging it off and throwing it aside to reveal a tall, handsome man garbed in a midnight blue kimono. He flicked his long black hair back over his shoulder and looked in mocking amusement at the suddenly silent crowd. He smirked and several fangirls in the front row fainted in delight.

"Next, originally also from the hidden mansion of miasma, but most recently from a very well hidden cave somewhere… Yes folks, you've seen her suspiciously soulless stare many a time, now please make her feel welcome… Naraku's dutiful daughter, Kanna!"

There was a polite round of applause as the small white-haired girl in the white kimono slowly stepped forward. She stared straight ahead, her wide eyes as blank and pupil-less as those of the human boy who's mind Naraku controlled. From the calm way she stood staring straight ahead, it was debatable if she even knew what was going on around her.

"Now, from the caves of the Wolf Tribe, behind the waterfall, how about a round of applause for that whirling dervish, that irrepressible Romeo, the wily, the oblivious… Kouga!"

The young wolf-youkai stepped forward with a smug smile on his handsome face. He raised one hand in a casual wave and the stands erupted with screams from the hoards of fangirls who had come to the competition especially for that moment. Quite a few of the watching youkai either jumped in alarm or clapped their hands over their sensitive ears in pain at the shrill sounds. Other youkai glared at the screamers and started planning menus containing recipes like Fangirl Flambé. The youkai disguised as fangirls, so they could scream at their idols without suffering the embarrassment of being recognised as being youkai, noticed the glares and made mental notes to keep their swords and other weapons close at hand for the rest of the day.

"Fresh from Kaede's Village… he's small, he's cute, he's smart and he's an expert at riding on shoulders and in bicycle baskets. Give it up for the clever kitsune, the fiery fox-youkai… Shippo!"

The little kitsune smiled happily as he bounced forward and waved at the crowd. The air instantly filled with cries of 'Awww, he's so cute!', 'Kawaii!!!', 'Isn't he adorable?', 'Don't you just want to hug him?' and 'His tail! His tail!'. Shippo's smile became smug. He turned to glance at the next contestant, his eyes gleaming with mischief. "They like me."

"Also from Kaede's Village… he's tough, he's rough, he's the bad boy with the heart of gold, the puppy with the power and the ears you can't resist rubbing… yes folks, it's time for Inu-Yasha!"

As the stands again erupted with screams and cries from the fangirls, the boy in the red outfit moved to stand beside Shippo. He glared down at the kitsune, who's smug smile suddenly turned to worry. "You wouldn't… not in front of… Ow!" As Shippo clutched the bump on his head, Inu-Yasha turned his attention to the crowd. He frowned for a moment as his ears twitched, then he smirked at the now-scowling Kouga. The fangirls were screaming much more loudly for him than they had for the wolf-youkai! But Inu-Yasha's moment of smugness was interrupted as Shippo's cry suddenly rose over the screams from the crowd.

"Kagome!!!! He hit me!!!!"

"Inu-Yasha! Sit!"

A ripple of laughter ran through the crowd as Inu-Yasha hit the ground face-first. He quickly jumped back to his feet and glared at the girl sitting in the front row nearby. Crossing his arms, he turned his glare onto the smug kitsune, who started edging warily away from him.

The announcer blinked at the sheet of paper in his hand, unable to believe his eyes at the next name on his list. But… it seemed to be true since he was standing on the field with the other competitors. "Next up is… Jaken." The announcer shrugged. "Hey, I don't pick them, I just announce them!"

Jaken, the small, green servant of Sesshoumaru, who looked like a toad wearing a brown kimono and hat, glared at the announcer as he moved forward. Snickers ran through the crowd and he turned his outraged glare towards the stands. Distracted, he failed to notice the rock lying in the otherwise perfectly smooth grass of the well-tended field. As he tripped over the rock, the snickers turned to peals of laughter. Jaken sighed as he lay on the ground. "Why me?" he muttered.

"From the dungeons of the hidden mansion of miasma… She's beautiful, she's delightful, she's dangerous and she's completely heartless. Literally. She is the wind… Kagura!"

As the tall and slender female youkai stepped gracefully forward, it was the turn of all of the male fans in the crowd to get excited. They started whistling and shouting in adoration of the beautiful woman. A slight smile crossed her face as she held out her fan. Expertly flipping it open, she moved the fan up in front of her face and looked coyly at the cheering crowd over the top of it. She then ignored her father's amused chuckle and the irritated snort from the small creature beside her.

"He is every hairdresser's dream, every cat's nightmare and he's won the Best Dressed Youkai award for 100 years running… Let's hear it for that beautiful bishounen, that most manly of men, the fabulously fluffy and fashionable… Sesshoumaru!"

His long silvery-white hair flowed out behind him as he moved to stand beside Kagura. His face remained as coolly emotionless as always as the crowd went wild. The evil youkai cheered because they knew how dangerous he was and had no wish to offend him. The good youkai cheered because they remembered how he had fought off the Cat youkai, twice, and how much they owed him for that. They were also scared stiff of him and definitely did not want to offend him. The fangirls (and fan-youkai disguised as fangirls) cheered because he was fluffy.

Kagura glanced at him and allowed her ruby eyes to wander over his perfection for a moment before she spoke quietly. "You're popular." Sesshoumaru glanced at her but did not reply.

An indignant snort came from Kagura's other side. "Of course he is! He's Sesshoumaru-sama! There is no youkai… or pathetic half-youkai… more popular than he!"

Kagura looked down at Jaken in amusement. The little toad-youkai was so busy gazing in adoration at his master and idol that he completely failed to notice the fact that Inu-Yasha was standing right behind him, glaring at him furiously and rolling up his sleeve in preparation for a bit of revenge. Kagura's eyes gleamed in wicked amusement when she noticed that Naraku wasn't too pleased by the minion's 'pathetic half-youkai' comment either.

"You know, you really should choose your comments more carefully. You tend to live longer that way," she remarked softly, but Jaken was too busy lying on the grass and groaning to respond.

Inu-Yasha smirked as he rolled his sleeve back down, although the look didn't quite reach his amber eyes. His ears kept flicking as the crowd continued their applause for Sesshoumaru. Although he'd taken out some of his annoyance on Jaken, one light tap on the head wasn't enough to completely ease his irritation that his older brother was receiving more applause than he had.

On the bright side though, Kouga was even more annoyed by it. Inu-Yasha's own annoyance faded into a snicker as he glanced at the wolf-youkai and saw how furiously he was glaring at the crowd.

The announcer waited until the crowd began to calm down, then he spoke again. "The first elimination round will begin in a few minutes. Will the competitors please take their places."

As he spoke, a glowing ball of bluish-white light zipped across the field until it stopped, hovering a few feet above the ground in front of the competitors. The ball of light became a shining figure, then the light faded to reveal a small form. The figure was about the same height as the announcer but nothing more could be seen because the figure was covered from head to toe in a hooded grey cape.

The Challenge's official Judge, and the one who would be testing the strength of the competitors, had arrived.

To be continued…