Phyrric Victory

-Weird title, huh?

For those who don't know, a Phyrric victory is to lose all in winning.

Kind of related to irony. Which is the stated (or believed in) lie which is immediately disproved. Usually in some awful manner.

And as a disclaimer I will state: I am the queen of Denmark.

Inuyasha sat alone on a rocky escarpment enduring the harsh light of a summer's dawn for the first time in several days. From his vantage point he could see branches and brown leaved trees that should, by rights, have been lushly green at this season.

He shielded his face with one hand and turned his eyes away from the painful glare and depressing sight.

The ledge he crouched upon was sandstone and barren and it didn't smell too good. The persistent buzz of flies that surrounded the rotting carcass near him only contributed to the prevailing stink as if sound could underscore smell as it were.

He rotated the sliced-off riblet in his hand. The meat hanging from it had an unhealthy greenish pallor but he was hungry and this food was the only thing that mattered now.

'To die trying to get Naraku.' He took a large bite, chewed and swallowed. That was the youkai way; to take sustenance to feed vengeance. But his humanity forbade it and he retched helplessly yet again. He had been trying to partake for days now but he could not.

Stomach knotted in burning twists…heart breaking…he would not be able to find that strength. It was not for him. He reached out to another portion of the carcass and pulled, obtaining what he wanted. He tucked it in the tattered remains of his suikan and set off, stumbling a bit but still swift.

By the side of a stream he bathed it. He was whimpering as the smell of decay did not leave.

That other had smelled of cremation, old bones and grave soil. This flat out smelled like something rotting: the sickly sweet corruption of death. Finally he smashed violets over it and carefully dried it in the hot noonday sun spread out over a rock. When it was finally dry it was a little better. So, he patiently twisted it into an elaborate knot and tied it with a narrow red scarf that he had carried surreptitiously near his heart for some time.

He carried the finished knot in his hand. The sun was westering now and it would not be long. All he had to do was wait and his opponent would come to him.


He was right about that and, unexpectedly, won on all points. He not only destroyed Naraku alone as he was and half starved and without his sword but won through to the death he sought.

His body was found a day later by some intrepid solders belonging to the local daimyo. He was surrounded by the evidence of the fury of that final battle and the destroyed remains of Naraku. Gaunt and dulled by death but still beautiful he was clutching a lock of blue-black hair twisted around an unknown fabric and tied in an elaborate knot in one fist. They gave it to their leader, considering it curious.

The leader of the squad ordered the body burned separately from the other remains as it seemed that this had been the one to destroy the horrible monster that had been plaguing the land. But, before they could do it, he stopped his men for a moment and walked over himself to survey the daemon's body. He considered the knot of hair in his hand and then knelt, following some impulse he couldn't explain, and cut a thick tress of the daemons pale silver hair.

Late that night, in another location, the young lieutenant sat in his camp tent and drew out both tresses of hair. He spent the rest of the night gently unpicking the knot and then twisting and weaving the tresses together into a new knot of ebony and silver bound by red. He resolved to have it set in crystal to keep in his shrine as a sacred relic always.

After all; the daemon had been found holding the hair against his lips and the dead face had been smiling.

It must have meant something.


A/N Sigh, for the nit-pickers out there: Of course Phyrric Victory refers to king Pyrrhus, but it is so common as to be a part of speech and the word, while being Latin, has a Greek root. Is is pronunced slightly differently in both languages. In actual use the spelling phyrric is neither right nor wrong and considered fairly acceptable if not exact. I just happen to like the spelling better as it represents how I pronounce the word (i.e. with a soft "pous" sound as is in the Greek as opposed to the hard "pi" sound given by the Romans to this Greek story). To each his own, I say.

Besides, nit-picking is for monkeys.