The 27th Shard

Laughter

Izayoi's laughter filled the meadow they lay in. As always the Inu no Taishou was captivated by the sound of joy. He had heard other ningen laugh through out the centuries many ningen women had attempted to become his concubine. Many attempted to capture his attention with their wiles, but their laughter was feigned, Izayoi's burst from her filled with her zest for life. Shutting his eyes, he let his thoughts drift back to the first time he had heard the joyful sound.

ooo

The Inu no Taishou walked through the halls of yet another Daimyo's castle, his gaze forward and as always his nose slightly crinkled at the foul scents of the ningen inhabitants. Why he had allowed the flea to convince him to accept this meeting was not a question he was willing to ask himself at that moment. He was not interested in the ningens or their pitiful problems that inhabited his territory. Protecting them was his duty he was their lord; in return, they provided for him, his heir and the boys mother. The arraignment had worked for centuries and he saw no reason to change it. Lately though they had begun offering him their daughters for concubines or wives, he could only assume this would end with yet another daughter offered to him to guarantee his continued protection.

His ears ached with the cacophony of sound assaulting them, the clanging of armor being dropped, the screech of shoji sliding open or closed, and worst to his ears the whispered conversations they thought he could not hear. Above the den noise, a single sound rose clear and filled with joy it drew closer and as he passed a corridor, its source collided with his legs.

Golden eyes looked down to see the girl child, her hair still settling from her sudden stop gazing up at him. Her violet eyes sparkling and a gapped tooth grin on her face, pudgy hands reached up, and the child giggled, "Pretty!"

"Izayoi!" hissed the nurse reaching for her.

"Leave her," he commanded, not knowing or caring why. His eyes never left the child's as the nurse bowed and backed away. A claw hand grasped the child by the front of her Kimono and raised her to his level. No fear entered the child's eyes as she was raised of the ground only joy to have his attention.

"Pretty!" Izayoi giggled again, before her laughter enshrouded him again as she reached for him around the hand that held her.

Despite himself the Inu no Taisho smiled and gathered her to him and sitting her on his hip before continuing to the audience hall.

True to his prediction, the Daimyo offered his eldest daughter as a concubine. The woman was plain and lacking humor. He looked at the child on his hip and demanded her.

ooo

"What fills your thoughts My Lord?" Asked the woman the child had become.

The Inu no Taisho, smiled down at the woman. Never had fear of him entered her eyes only concern and joy at his company. Unlike some of the ningen concubines over the years, she had never attempted to force a choice between his Youkai bride and herself. He took in her appearance, a hand resting gently on her swelling womb and a bright smile on her lips.

"Of the first time I saw you." He answered. He held back a chuckle at her blush.