Prologue

Sesshomaru walked along the forest path, listening very carefully. He knew something or someone was here, and he knew that it was looking for him, but what or who it was or how close was almost possible to determine.

He stopped, feeling some misgivings for leaving Rin with Jaken. He knew that his little henchman wasn't overly fond of the girl, but he sometimes worried that these periods of enforced togetherness would leave a more negative mark on Rin that they would Jaken. Could he trust Jaken to properly care for Rin while he was away?

Sesshomaru pushed his thoughts away; trying to focus on the matter at hand. Of course Jaken would take care of Rin, he was completely loyal and trustworthy. He would do as he was bid.

Sesshomaru froze as the forest around him went absolutely still. Something was definitely here, all right. Slowly he pivoted on one foot, turning about and looking around. Where was it? Where was it?

The attack happened so quickly that he was actually taken by surprise. Some thing leapt out at him, jaws opened wide to grab him. He dodged, but only barely in time. It came at him again, snarling, and this time the jaws connected. Instead of feeling fangs sink into his flesh, however, he felt teeth take hold of the back of his clothing.

"You do not know who it is you have attacked," Sesshomaru told the strange beast angrily. "Release me."

"Quiet, little man," he heard a deep rumbling voice say. It seemed to come from the beast. "You are invited by my lady to join her at her castle."

Sesshomaru was too perplexed by the beast to pay much attention to what it said. It looked like a demon, acted like a demon, had powers like a demon, and spoke with a voice like a demon's, but it lacked a demon's scent. It did, however, reek of some form of magic.

Just then the sense of what the beast was saying struck home. "What do you mean?" he demanded, trying to pull away.

"Simply what I've already told you," the beast rumbled. "Stay quiet now, it's a long trip back, and I need to save my breath for running."

Sesshomaru was given no chance to say anything else for the beast took a mighty spring and began running, taking him toward its mistress. Sesshomaru felt anger building in his chest. How dare they kidnap him like this! He willed himself to transform to his dog form so that he could battle with this creature, but he felt something heavy and suffocating close around him, making it difficult to see or breathe. Blackness closed around him, holding him immobile.

He came to when he felt water dripping on his face. His eyes opened and for the first time he got a good look at this creature. It looked like a large white wolf with several tails, and water was dripping from its paw.

"Don't try that again," it told him. "The next time you might really suffocate, and then there will be no help for you. You'll be dead, and not even my mistress will be able to bring you back then."

"What happened?" he asked, sitting up. He, Sesshomaru, actually felt weak! What had been done to him?

"A spell of my mistress's," the beast explained. "It makes a guest's journey to her less difficult for me to manage. Will you be carried as before, or will you ride on my shoulders?"

Rather than suffer the indignity of being carried like a pup, Sesshomaru chose to ride. As the beast carried him away, he hoped that Jaken was watching after Rin properly, and that he would find some way to exact revenge on this "mistress."