(Prologue) CHAPTER 1:
The young hanyou's voice, his face pale and his expression taught with fear, was choked with tears as he cradled the lifeless body of his mother in his arms. The stranger… That strange man who loomed like a devil above him, he had done this to his mother… And to his father, too. The boy cowered as the man, a sneer on his lips, drew closer to him.
"I told you to stay away!" the hanyou cried.
He tried to look a tiny bit menacing, baring his fangs, but his small ten-year-old hands were hardly even adorned with claws yet.
"My brother… My big brother will come, and then you'll be sorry!" he shouted.
The man smirked down at him.
"Sessho-Maru, you mean?" he asked.
His voice was quiet, dripping sickly sweet.
"I'm afraid that your dear brother won't be showing up any time soon."
The little boy jolted fearfully. Had this man… this monster… murdered his big brother as well?
"Sessh…" he whimpered, "Sessh, no…"
The boy didn't want it to be possible. But his father had been the most powerful man he had ever known, and even hehad been killed. Did his brother really stand a chance? The man's smirk grew as the hanyou's tears began to dribble down his cheeks.
"I'll… I'll kill you," he snarled weakly, "For… For my family, I swear I will!"
The man laughed.
"Tell me," he said, "How will you be able to kill me… if you don't remember what I look like? Or remember this incident at all?"
The hanyou looked horrified as the man raised his index finger and pointed at him, a powerful and imposing aura sprouting and billowing around him in black, thick tendrils.
"And how, may I ask, will you be able to get someone to help you if you can't speak?"
The little boy whimpered in fear and tried to edge himself away from the man, but he backed himself into the grimy brick wall of the alleyway. The man's smirk became the grin of a monster out of a nightmare as the dark aura spread over the small hanyou boy. He screamed in pain, the aura tearing his baggy blue and red clothes and his flesh, but it was changing him as well.
When the aura dissipated, the hanyou boy was no longer there. Instead, there was a small, silver-furred dog, drenched in his own blood, cowering and whining against the wall. The man smirked again and raised his hand, the nails, now claws, shooting out to what seemed to be an impossible length and with a quick and fluid motion, he stabbed.
9-year-old Kagome Higurashi, a human girl, stretched in the dimming sunlight and lay back in the grass. She was positioned on a grassy hill outside Higurashi Shrine, a large and beautiful Shinto shrine on a hilltop, and her family's home. The girl was garbed in baggy cargo pants and a green t-shirt, and she wore her dark hair long. Sighing, she turned her head to look at the math workbook beside her, her bright, hazel eyes narrowing with contempt.
"Ugh… Grade 5 math is too hard," she whined, "I hate it…"
She conjured up a small amount of her inherited miko energy to her finger and poked her math notebook, sending a blue spark flickering across its surface.
"Dang it, I should be able to purify you," she joked, sitting upright and picking it up disdainfully, "Because you, dear enemy, are pure evil."
She threw it over her shoulder and yawned widely.
"Yelling at your math again, Kagome?" a voice asked from behind her.
Kagome turned, a smile plastered across her face. The speaker was Koga, a youkai. He had long black hair, which he had just recently begun tying back, and sapphire coloured eyes. The ten-year-old okami youkai had been her friend for almost as long as she could remember. He was her cousin (not directly related of course; he had been adopted by her mother's sister.) Koga grinned and flicked his tail. He was carrying a plate of chocolate-chip cookies.
"Not yelling," Kagome corrected him, "Trying to purify…"
"It never works," she whined.
Koga smiled at her sympathetically, though he looked a little worried as he sat beside her.
"You should be careful, doing that," he said, "You know, people talk... or, at least that's what my mom says."
"You're right, I'm sorry," Kagome admitted shyly, "I just..."
She sighed. There was a certain stigma about humans who did have spiritual energy cropping up these days. Hundreds of years ago, humans and youkai had been at war for reasons that very few could remember. Once they had begun to integrate and pass into modern times, it had become unacceptable to use spiritual purification processes on youkai unless in extreme situation, or visa versa with the sort of mind-tricks youkai were often able to preform on humans. This had caused very little issues for decades, but most recently, small groups of radical humans who did possess spiritual energy were using it to murder youkai. It was all over the news, and even children like Kagome and Koga were well aware of it. As Kagome's mother had put it, some of the other parents saw children like Kagome as "ticking time-bombs".
As Kagome muddled over the issue in her 9-year-old mind, Koga tried to shake it off and smiled at her, shoving the plate of cookies he had brought at her.
"Anyway... I thought you'd get hungry with your "intensive studying"," he said brightly.
"Oh yes, very intensive," she agreed as she took a cookie and gnawed on it, "Koga?"
"Hai?" he replied as he placed the plate down in the grass.
"Ano… What does intensive mean again?" she asked.
"Intensive? You know… um… very concentrated and… stuff," Koga tried to explain.
"Oh," Kagome replied, "'Kay, that works."
"I'm glad I've got you around," she said, flopping back into the grass and putting her arms behind her head.
Koga smiled and wagged his tail appreciatively.
"Know what?" Kagome asked.
"What?" he replied.
"Mom told me something scary," she said, "She said… that only… fifty years ago youkai and hanyous and humans couldn't live together. She said they used to fight and kill each other all the time… Scary, ne?"
"It is," Koga said, his eyes becoming a little wide, "I'm glad I wasn't born then."
"Hai, then I never would've had you as my cousin," Kagome said, carefully grabbing Koga's tail and waving it around in the air, "But wanna know something else scary?"
"What?" Koga asked again.
"Some people… mostly humans… don't like humans and youkai and hanyous living together, even now," Kagome said, lowering her voice a little, "And… that they… kill each other…"
Kagome shivered fearfully.
Koga nodded his agreement.
"Who told you that?" he asked.
"A hanyou student-teacher," she said, "In my history class. I forget her name."
"Is she nice?" Koga asked.
"Uh-huh," Kagome responded, "She's great."
She looked to Koga.
"Are you staying over again this week?" she asked.
"I think so," Koga said, "Mom needs to go out of town I think."
"It's great hanging out," Kagome said, smiling, "I like your friends too. Ginta and Hakkaku, right?"
Koga nodded and sighed.
"They keep calling me Prince Koga…" he muttered, "It's annoying."
"But you are the okami youkai prince," Kagome pointed out.
"I don't really care," Koga said, shrugging.
"Of course you don't Prince Koga," Kagome giggled.
"Ugh," Koga groaned, "Not you too."
"I wouldn't do that to you," Kagome said, sitting up and hugging him, "Dummy."
Koga grinned and gave his younger cousin a rib-crushing hug. Kagome returned it, almost squeezing the breath out of him. Koga found it funny how strong Kagome was for a nine-year-old human girl. Ever since she was born, she had been playing with youkai primarily, mostly Koga and his friends. She was used to roughhousing and playing youkai games and sports.
"You're getting stronger," he commented.
Kagome beamed at him, looking very proud of herself.
"I wish I was an okami youkai like you," she said, "Then I'd get a tail too. And cool pointy ears."
"You'd look nice with pointy ears," he commented, "But I like you like as human."
Kagome smiled proudly again, and then sniffed.
"Mom thinks you're the reason I have a pretty good nose for a human," Kagome said, poking her own nose, "She thinks if you hang out with youkai a lot, their traits rub off on you a little."
"I wish I could smell scents like you can though," she said.
Koga grinned and sniffed the air. To his surprise, a pungent, salty, metallic scent hit his nose. His eyes widened.
"B… Blood?" he whispered, shocked.
Kagome's eyes widened.
"Blood?" she asked, "What? Do you smell blood?"
Koga, looking a little frightened, nodded and stood, his eyes wide. Kagome stood along with him, trying to follow his gaze. The plate of cookies lay forgotten in the grass.
"Smells," Koga said, sniffing again, "Like… a dog… Maybe… More like a hanyou… But his… aura's all weird…"
He shook his head and Kagome looked at him, worried.
"What do we do?" she asked in a hushed voice.
Suddenly, they both heard a voice from the street below.
"Please… Help… me… Someone… help…"
It was the voice of a young boy, one maybe Koga's age, but both Koga and Kagome could tell that they were the only ones who could've heard him. It was the dog… or hanyou… that Koga had been speaking about.
"He sounds like he's hurt," Kagome said worriedly.
"C'mon, let's go," he said.
He began to sprint down the hill to the street. Kagome followed, though was unable to keep up exactly with the okami youkai. Koga skidded to a halt at the edge of the sidewalk with Kagome following along with a worried expression on her face. Then, Kagome saw him.
A dog. A big, silver dog, with large, scared amber eyes and pointed ears at the top of his head. His fur was soaked with his own blood, and he was limping badly. He saw Kagome and Koga, and a spark of hope flashed in his eyes.
"H-Help… Please…" he pleaded, his tail drooping in between his legs.
With a shudder, he collapsed onto his side in the middle of the road, panting wearily.
"Oh my gosh!" Kagome exclaimed.
She ran to the collapsed canine, her heart pounding, and Koga followed.
"Hey," she said, lifting his head and stroking his ears, "Hey, what happened, are you all right?"
The dog opened his mouth and panted for breath.
"I don't know… I don't know…" he mumbled, "I can't… remember…"
"Can't remember?" Koga asked worriedly, "Are you really a dog?"
"I don't know…" he replied, "…Why?"
"Your scent isn't like a dog's," Koga explained, "You smell like a hanyou."
"I… I could be a hanyou…" he replied quietly, "I can't remember…"
He shook his head and his amber eyes looked up into Kagome's bright hazel ones.
"You… can understand me?" he asked her.
She nodded. He looked grateful for that fact and sighed.
"How'd you get so hurt?" Kagome asked, "Can you remember that?"
The dog shook his head.
"Nothing…" he whispered, "But… my name… I think…"
"Well, you can tell us that later," Koga said decisively.
Kagome nodded in agreement.
"You're coming with us," she said.
She gently lowered his head and slipped her arm under his front paws.
"C'mon you, lean on my shoulder," she said.
"I might be… too heavy for you," he mumbled.
"No, don't even worry about that," Kagome said hurriedly, her brow furrowing into a worried frown, "I'll carry you."
The dog nodded and forced himself upright to hook his paws over her shoulder.
"That's a good boy," Kagome said quietly.
She held her arm under his back legs and lifted him with a grunt.
"We'll go back to the house," Koga said, "Right?"
"Right," Kagome agreed.
She stood, nearly toppling with the dog's added weight, but then proceed back to the house. Koga was right by her side. He could see the dog's eyelids start to droop and saw him unwillingly start to lean into Kagome. He whimpered in pain.
"Gomen," Kagome said, "Did I hurt you?"
"No," the dog replied.
She put her other arm around his back to support him more and he clung to her shoulder.
"Gomen, I'm bleeding all over you," he said.
"It's gross, but don't worry," Kagome assured him.
"Do you know what happened to you?" Koga asked, "Did… someone do this, or did you get hit by a car, or what?"
"Don't know…" the dog replied again, "I'm sorry."
"It doesn't matter," Koga said with a shrug, "Maybe you'll remember after we fix you up, ne?"
"I hope so," the dog mumbled sadly.
He blinked heavily, feeling like he wanted to cry. He couldn't remember a thing… He knew something horrible had just happened to him, he knew he was bleeding badly, but he couldn't figure out what or why. The first thing he remembered was a man, a man with teeth like a monster and eyes red like fire. Other than that, even somehow escaping and making it all the way here was a blur. All he remembered from whatever life he had had before was his name: