Hello my friends. It has been a long, long time in coming, but as I promised, here it is. The finale of "One Life". I hope you have enjoyed the adventure as much as I enjoyed writing it. This story and all of its readers will always hold a special place in my heart.

I am on to a new fanfiction now. A modern day romantic comedy featuring our icy demon lord and spirited young Rin. Perhaps I will see you all there!

Thank you again for all of the support. All the comments and encouragement.



Chapter 20: One Life

"Lord Sesshoumaru, you weren't leaving without me, were you? Wa! Rin!! Where have you been? We've been looking everywhere for…"

"Jaken!" Sesshoumaru cut the toad off abruptly and he went still instantly, swallowing his dribble.

The kappi's eyes bugged out even further, straining to understand what they were beholding, and he gaped openly as Lord Sesshoumaru's electrifying gaze was turned fully upon…him.

The forest went still around them as Lord Sesshoumaru stared down at his loyal servant, and Rin's oldest living male "relative". Through the stillness, a summer breeze rustled the surrounding leaves.

And then Lord Sesshoumaru's voice pierced the silence, strong and deadly; a tone that brooked no refusal.

"Jaken, general of the Kappi armies, vassal to the Lord of the combined North and West, and, oldest adoptive male relation to the Lady Rin, I, Lord Sesshoumaru…" He pushed his breath outward slowly and deliberately, Jaken guessing in alarm that his lord was reigning in his temper.

"…request your Seal of Approval to take the Lady Rin as my life mate."

Jaken continued to gawk at Lord Sesshoumaru and blinked in shock several times before he regained what could only be referred to as his version of composure. Proudly, and with as much dignity as Jaken could ever hold himself, he purposefully cleared his throat…and then promptly threw himself into the dirt at Lord Sesshoumaru's feet.

"I, Jaken, humble vassal to Lord Sesshoumaru," he tried to sink further into the ground, "give my Seal of Approval." The kappi garbled, his face buried in the dirt.

Jaken trembled for a moment waiting for some response, some reaction, but when only silence met his approval he chanced a wary look up.

Lord Sesshoumaru nodded once and then turned to the obviously shocked Rin. But before he could perform the next part of the ritual by asking her for her acceptance of him her fury ripped from her.

"Absolutely not!!" She shouted.

Sesshoumaru's brow furrowed ever so slightly. "You will not have me as your mate." It was delivered as a sharp statement rather than a question.

"I came for answers." She said firmly as she got to her feet trying to gain some semblance of dignity while still wrapped in nothing more than a crimson sheet from Lord Sesshoumaru's bed.

"I already asked you my questions. Now I want to know…."

He cut off her demand with short, clipped answers. "I performed the sparring dance to determine if you were marked. I tried to mate you to Kazuo to get rid of you. And I kissed you because I was weak." He said stiffly.

Every monotone syllable cut into her, stinging her as though he were drawing a whip across her skin.

"And, that night…by the hot spring?" She demanded, unsure that she even really wanted to know what motive he had for making love to her that night.

"No. Now you will answer my question." He countered.

For a moment, Rin was ready to argue. There was still the question as to where his wife was and how he could make love to her when he was mated to another, but she knew it would do no good.

"I will not be part of some…some…" But before she could finish, his eyes flashed harsh and angry, and he was gone.

…harem!!" She finished shouting at the empty space before her.

Rin shot an exasperated glance at the appalled kappi.

"Rin!! What have you done?! You foolish, foolish child!"

"He is mated!!" She stamped a bare foot in anger.

"What nonsense are you babbling about?" Jaken squawked, and when Rin's angry gaze turned to confusion he sighed.

"You have been gone for a long time girl. Lord Sesshoumaru has no mate."

Rin's confusion only grew at this. "But he acknowledged his title. He is the combined lord of the North and West. How can he be so if he has broken the treaty agreement?"

"He did not break the agreement!" Jaken said exasperated. "There was a marriage, just as the treaty demanded. Lord Sesshoumaru would never break an agreement!!"

At her blank stare, Jaken gave an annoyed groan into the air. "Sit down girl and let me explain it to you." The kappi folded into a sitting position before her and growled up at her, pointing at the ground in front of him.

Rin couldn't even blink.

He is not mated?

Her heart hammered beneath her breast as she sank down onto the ground and she lost herself in the images that formed in her mind as she listened to Jaken's high pitched voice.

The ceremony chamber of the Northern palace was filled with the guests from the neighboring tribes, clans, villages, and territories. They sat whispering amongst themselves as they looked around the chamber which was now awash with the warm glow of blazing torches that hung along the walls.

Tapestries hung along the walls between each fiery illumination, each rich with deep passionate reds, cheerfully bright yellows, earthy browns, and luminescent golds. They depicted various battle scenes, each with a fierce TaiYokai Tiger demon fully transformed into his or her giant feline form, green eyes blazing, claws flashing, and teeth barred. Each represented a generation of the great Northern Tiger Pride.

Behind the great dais of the Northern Lord hung an icy silver tapestry weaved with blues and greens the color of the sea, and browns and greens that held all of the mystery of the deepest forests. This tapestry showed two forms. In the background was a great silvery white TiaYokai Dog Demon in full gigantic form, eyes blazing red, teeth and claws dripping with poison. The figure that took the front of the tapestry was of Lord Sesshoumaru in his human-like form, moonlit hair cascading down his back to his knees, golden eyes blazing dangerously at the beholder. The still-life was garbed in full armor, his hands gripping the sword at his side tensely, ready to draw. The tapestry spoke of strength, protection, and of a truly powerful and deadly being; a glorious tribute to the future ruler.

On the dais sat Lord Masahiro in full formal armor, his burnt orange hair loose and wild around him, his orange and black striped fur pelts wrapped around both shoulders. The elder's shoulders slumped slightly though he held his head high and proud making his weariness less obvious.

To the left stood the Lady Kasumi, her head held high with pride and her stance regal. She was dressed in layers of brilliantly colored robes, her outer most kimono an emerald green silk that brought the blaze of green in her eyes to life. Her hair too was free and flowed down her back to her rear in elegant waves of red fire.

To the right of Lord Masahiro stood an equally regal Lord Sesshoumaru, dressed in all his pale glory with his usual white formal robes and heavy spiked armor, the living, breathing version of the tapestry that hung behind them.

Behind, and to the right of Lord Sesshoumaru stood the Panther Demon leader, Lord Kazuo. He stood in complete contrast to the dark panther demons he represented, with his sleek white fur pelt around his waist, pale skin, and snowy white hair. His metallic breast plate was a steel glint that matched both Lord Masahiro's and Lord Sesshoumaru's in the firelight, his stance proud, and his hand resting on the hilt of a dagger at his side. His snowy hair was pulled back in a high ponytail at the top of his head, the hair falling down around him in intricate braids. The hint of a shine glittered where a thin headband of silver circled from around his head and came to a point in the middle of his forehead. Sky blue eyes looked out from a face marred by deep scars and yet all beheld him would agree that he was startlingly handsome.

Lord Masahiro stood from his throne in a sweeping motion and raised his hand. The crowd grew quite instantly, their attention on the elderly ruler. He reached into his robes and pulled out a scroll and unrolling it, began to read the terms of the treaty between the North and the West in a deep booming voice.

"I, Masahiro, TaiYokai, head of the Northern Tiger Demon Pride, Lord of the Northern territories, do hereby request a treaty between the lands of the North and the lands of the West and offer my daughter, the Lady Kasumi, in good faith, to be Life Mated to a member of the honorable Dog Demon pack of Inutashio, now pack of Sesshoumaru, TaiYokai, head of the Western Dog Demon pack, and Lord of the Western Territories."

"This union combined with ink to parchment will serve as a binding contract combining all of the lands and water rights of the North with those of the West. This treaty will serve as a formal declaration of peace between the two lands and will serve as a formal declaration of protection to all lands. Furthermore, upon completion of this treaty, rule of the new combined lands will be given over to the Lord of the West."

Lord Masahiro finished reading the contract and placed it on the small round table in front of them which held a large flashy feather quill and ink bottle. His eyes rose to the crowd as he lifted his hand out to his daughter. She took it and gracefully stepped up to stand in front of her father.

"We are here today to witness the completion of this historic treaty between the North and the West and upon completion…" He turned his head to the right and nodded once. Lord Sesshoumaru stepped forward to stand before the Lady Kasumi.

Lord Masahiro continued. "The rule of the newly combined lands will be upon the shoulders of Lord Sesshoumaru, TaiYokai, head of the western Dog Demon pack, Lord of the Western lands, and eldest son of Lord Inutashio."

He paused for a moment before continuing again. "It is a nearly forgotten truth of the Mating Marks that the Seal of Approval is given for a purpose other than merely for showing approval of a match." He looked out over the crowd as he spoke of the age old ritual. "Once two have become Life Mates, nothing save death ends those marks. But, the first two marks may be dissolved so long as the third mark has not been given, and so long as the pair has given their consent. This is only possible with the power of the male who gave his Seal in the beginning of the rituals."

He held his hands above the pair before him and toned words of an ancient magic; words that were never meant to be spoken during a mating ritual such as this.

"I, Lord Masahiro, revoke my Seal of Approval from this pairing who have both equally given consent. What is done, let be undone." Lord Sesshoumaru gathered his power as he had done the last two times he had given his marks and as Lord Masahiro's power rippled through the pair, he bent forward and placed a soft kiss on the forehead of the teary eyed Lady Kasumi.

The power swirled around the two and was gone with a blinding flash of white light. When Sesshoumaru opened his eyes his gaze met the clear confident emerald gaze of his friend, no trace of the hazy longing that had clouded them from the moment the first Mark had been given. She smiled up at him, her tears forgotten.

The crowd was in stunned silence. Not a whisper was heard throughout the chamber.

Lord Masahiro nodded once more to Lord Sesshoumaru and the younger demon lord stepped away to place a hand on Lord Kazuo's shoulder before turning to take a stance before the crowd. Lord Kazuo moved to take the place where Sesshoumaru once stood before Lord Masahiro, facing a trembling Lady Kasumi. As soon as he took the Lady's hands in his and looked down into her eyes they both broke into radiant smiles.

"I, Masahiro, Lord of the Northern lands, father of the Lady Kasumi, give my Seal of Approval for her match to Kazuo, acknowledged member of the honorable Dog Demon pack of the West, and leader of the Central Panther Demon tribe."

Kazuo leaned forward to chastely brush the lady's lips with his, but at the light contact, the panther demon's lips pressed more firmly and possessively to the lady's. They were suddenly molded together in a passionate embrace.

Masahiro cleared his throat subtly and the two broke apart and stepped away from each other, their gazes lock on each other.

Sesshoumaru stepped forward once more as Masahiro leaned forward picking up the quill and signed the parchment. He then handed the quill to Lord Sesshoumaru who did the same and then turned and handed the quill to Lord Kazuo who also signed the parchment, before handing it to the Lady Kasumi who was last to sign before replacing the quill in the ink bottle and then taking Lord Kazuo's hand, allowing him to lead her down the middle walkway that parted the crowd and out of the chamber.

Lord Masahiro addressed the crowd once more in a joyous voice, raising his hand to Lord Sesshoumaru once more as he stepped back. "The treaty is signed, and the Branding and Binding will be completed as one this evening. Please join me in hailing the new leader of our now united lands, Lord Sesshoumaru!"

"Hail! Lord Sesshoumaru!" The crowd erupted into thunderous cheers and applauds.

Rin sat frozen, transfixed by the story Lord Jaken had just revealed to her. And then she raised her eyes slowly to her long time friend.

He quirked an eyebrow-less brow at her in an "I told you so" kind of gesture.

Before he could say anything more she was on her feet and running.

She ran as though she were carried on the wind, frightened now that she had lost her one and only chance.

The woods were a blur and she raced up the path towards the house, but she didn't see any of it. In her mind's eye, all she saw was the look in Lord Sesshoumaru's eyes just before he had disappeared.

The anger had been born out of hurt. She had rejected him.

Her feet carried her beyond the wooded path, down the slopes of the grassy hillside, past the house, and around onto the beach where she threw herself into the sand, gasping. The morning sunlight was bright and cheerful against the blue of the ocean waves that crashed against the white sand.

Her wildly searching eyes found him in a mere moment as she panted in the dirt.

He sat on a large boulder that overlooked the beautiful sea, but rather than looking up into the sky as he normally did, his head was bowed, his silver hair tucked behind pointed ears. He sat with one knee bent up close to his body, an arm draped over his knee. The other leg hanging off his rock perch and his other arm at his side, palm flat against the rock. He looked…lost.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" Rin called out as she got to her feet again and began running towards him.

She did not have time to react when he suddenly leapt from his spot on the rocks and in a heartbeat's worth of time he had her on her back in the sand, pinned by the throat.

"Sessh…ou...maru…sama!" She rasped, gripping his forearms desperately trying to draw breath.

His eyes bled to red and he bared his fangs, growling at her, and she could feel the tips of sharp, poison claws against the life pulse at her throat.

It came to her naturally then, even as the memories flitted through her mind.

"I yield." She chocked.

Red turned to gold in a blink at her words and his grip loosened. But he did not let her up.

"I yield to you Sesshoumaru-sama." She said more clearly as she sucked in a breath.

"Ask me." She pleaded to him almost desperately. "Ask me!"

He let her up then, and turned away from her. He didn't ask her what she was pleading so desperately for.

"Where have you been?" He asked instead, his voice cold and emotionless as it always was. Under control once more.

She sat up slowly and rubbed her throat before looking up at his turned form once more.

Will he turn me away now? I will do anything….to stay with you. She thought silently as she watched him, her heart calling to him.

"I have been living in a human village these several months." She began, her voice trembling with the force of the energy still surging through her body from her sprint.

"I almost died in the days that followed my fleeing the Northern Palace."

Surprised, she saw him visibly stiffen at this and hurriedly continued.

"But a human Lord found me. Saved me. He brought me to his village and cared for me."

"At first, I hated every moment there. I was so miserable. But, I wanted…" she choked on the words. "I wanted you to be happy, but I couldn't stay and watch you marry another. I couldn't go back to you, and I had no where to go." Her voice became neutral as she continued.

"I came to accept the humans there, and eventually, I actually came to accept that I was one of them. That…I…belonged with them." Strange how this sounded so wrong to her.

I know now that I belong with you. She wanted to tell him she was sorry and that she would do anything to have him make the offer once more, but he was waiting for her to finish her explanation.

"I became the village healer, and I even made a few friends." She allowed a brief smile at the thought of Haru and the village lord. "Lord Takaeda even wanted me to marry him." She mused almost as an afterthought to thinking of him.

If possible, Lord Sesshoumaru became even more still at this. Even the salty sea breeze seemed to die away around him. She instantly regretted the familiar way she had said such a statement.

"But, I couldn't. Not without knowing…" Her voice trembled as her answer trailed off.

"Did he become your lover?" He asked so softly, she almost wasn't sure she heard him right. The question made her start.

"No M'lord." She whispered. She recalled the twinge of pain between her legs and realized something she hadn't before.

"M'lord, I believe that when you dragged Lord Kane back from the underworld with the healing sword, I was pulled back as well, breaking the Marks that tied me to him. But it also healed me."

"Healed all of me, M'lord." She emphasized.

There was silence between them as she waited for some response from him. Hoping that he would not turn her away now.

Not now.

What if he doesn't believe me!

"Last night, I truly believed I was dreaming." His deep tones sent a shiver through her and she closed her eyes, concentrating on the sound of it as he spoke. "I would not have taken your virginity so harshly." He stated calmly, still facing away from her.

She squeezed her eyes shut tighter, trying not to sob as she soaked in his voice. He had accepted her theory and had figured out what she had been trying to tell him. She had not taken any lover since she had left him and there had been the surest sign of her restored virginity in their passion the night before.

Silence hung between them, thick like a fog for several moments and Rin wanted to swipe at it. Claw at it until it was gone and she could breathe once more. But she was certain she would never breathe again if he did not say something, anything else, and when he finally did, she wanted to cry out in relief.

"That night in the woods, near the spring." He whispered, his voice seeming far off as he remembered. "I wanted you more than I have ever wanted anything in my existence, and yet I could not have you. I could not keep you. All I could have was…that…night."

He tilted his face to the sun then.

"A treaty was entered into decades ago and I was obligated to see it through, regardless of my regard for my human ward."

The lump that had formed thick in Rin's throat choked her as she tried to swallow tears that she knew would come.

"M'Lord…" she began, but she didn't know what to say. Her heart pounded against her ribs as she tried to make sense of this incredible situation. She wanted to tell him that she already knew. That Jaken had explained everything and that she had been so horribly wrong. That he did not have to say anything more. But she couldn't get the words out.

He had wanted me. Her heart clung to this admission as though nothing else could keep it beating.

"I do not have a mate…yet." Sesshoumaru stated softly, breaking the thick silence.

Rin's sharp gasp brought him around to face her for the first time since standing. He caught her startled hazel gaze as he began to move towards her, and she could feel the static charge in the air, the tell-tale sign of him gathering his demon power as he approached.

"And neither do you." He stated more firmly and she watched, transfixed, as his eyes transformed into hot molten gold.

She was vaguely aware that she had begun to tremble again. And then the words she so longed to hear came. Finally they came.

"Rin. Will you give this Sesshoumaru the honor of your hand in marriage? Will you consent to become my Life Mate?" He asked as he gracefully lowered to his knees before her.

She swallowed, captured by his golden eyes.

He grabbed her by the waist then and pulled her up firmly to his chest.

"You will answer this Sesshoumaru." He growled, his breath warm against the sensitive skin of her lips.

Only one word made any sense in the haze of her mind.


"Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama." She whispered just as his lips met hers and she melted into him, finally in his arms once more. The scent of sandalwood and pine enveloped her and she gasped at it, desperately drawing his scent in. Energy washed over them as though the waves of the sea were washing over them and as he kissed her she knew that it was the "Kiss".

The first mark.

They broke apart breathing heavily as they looked into each others eyes. Rin expected to feel differently, but all at once she knew that it wasn't possible for her to feel any more adoring and dedicated to him. She had always loved him; would always love him. She loved him with all of her soul and the mark of the Kiss was nothing but a formality for her.

At that moment, his eyes held so many things that she had longed to see in them for so long now. Trust. Understanding. Love…

In a mere blink of an eye, she was scooped up into his arms, and she felt the pull of his power for only a moment before they materialized in his rooms.


Slowly, Sesshoumaru lowered her to her feet and pulled the sheet she had folded around her bare form. His heart beat heavily in his chest and he felt dizzy, shaken by how strongly he felt at that moment. He watched her shiver as his eyes raked over her in the morning light.

So beautiful. He mused, taking in every detail of her.

Kami, how I have missed this woman.

"Rin." He whispered her name softly, unable to contain it. It felt so right against his lips.

His hands went to his haori, and as he untied his robes her delicate hands went to the edges to push them off his broad shoulders. Her touch felt like the rush of ice against hot skin, wrenching a gasp from him and causing him to shudder in pleasure.

Slowly she dragged her hands down his muscular chest and over his stomach and he felt the ache within him beginning to grow.


By the gods he is beautiful! Rin sighed to herself, running her hands up and down his flawless body and relishing the nearness of him. The sounds he made, the feel of his muscle moving under perfect pale skin, his masculine scent that was so distinctly him. All of him.

I adore you. Her mind gushed, but she couldn't form the words.

Her fingers found the ties of his pants and as his hands began a slow exploration of her own skin she pulled the ties loose to let the clothing drop to the floor.

The blood in her veins surged as she took in the sight of his nude form. He was exquisite, firm and rough, and yet so smooth and perfect. His maleness was thick and stiff, and she eagerly gripped him and was rewarded with a guttural moan.

She felt her own aching need growing and pulsing between her legs as she slowly pulled on him, enjoying the feel of the silken skin in contrast to the firmness of his impassioned manhood, and she found herself longing for the moment when he would be above her and inside of her, filling her to the brim.


Sesshoumaru was near the edge in mere moments. His body reacted to her as though it had been starved for her, and he knew that such a comparison was quite close to the truth. No one else but Rin could bring him to such a state.

No one but Rin.

And as she let out a soft moan his control wavered and he grabbed her.

Within seconds he had her down into the crimson pillows of his sleeping pad.

He could feel her trembling as he stretched out next to her; Sense her pulse humming through her body. He could smell her now too and his chest tightened at the recognition. Cherry blossoms and something utterly feminine; Something undeniably Rin.

And then there was the spice of her eagerness, thick like a heady perfume and it drove him further into his madness. He wanted her now. But first, he would explore her.

Leaning over the shivering young woman to continue smoothing his hand down the length of her body, he smirked in pleasure when her breath caught as his fingers brushed a sensitive nipple, and then moved across to the other. She arched her back as he touched her and moaned softly. Dark hair splayed across the pillows framing her beautiful features and he knew this would be forever one of his favorite ways to look upon her.

Slowly, with deliberate movements he took a tight pink bead between his lips and sucked it into his mouth. She shuddered and arched higher, her fingers lacing into his hair as he tasted her and then released the pert offering to tease the other.

She let out a groan that sounded mildly of loss when he released her, but the sound caught in her throat as he leaned down and kissed her.


Rin sighed as his lips found hers. They were warm and soft, and his tongue sent rivulets of lightning through to her toes as he tasted her. She had thought that nothing could be as passionate as the night they had spent together so long ago, but where that cherished experience had been frightening and thrilling, stirring and yet so devastating all at once, she felt only heat, desire, joy, and eagerness with him now.

She slid her arms up and around his broad shoulders as he leaned into her, his hot skin warming her and her heart beginning to pound.

She felt sure fingers gliding over her firm stomach and moving lower, to her most sensitive region, and her breath caught when the fingers parted the swollen folds of her feminine petals and slipped over the bud that ached for so much more.

"Please." She whispered as he moved away from her lips and trailed kisses down her throat and continued to press his fingers deeper into her folds. She griped his shoulders as she trembled and arched her body against him.

"Please, Sesshoumaru." She begged again, more desperately this time.

He moved over her then, parting her slim legs and positioning himself between them. She felt the tip of him rubbing against her opening, and she did not care that there was an ache from the night before. She loved him with such a fierce passion. She longed to be one with him. Felt she would die if he did not take her now.

Groaning, she pressed her hips up towards his trying to take him into her, and he growled in return, pressing into her at last.


Sesshoumaru burned for her. He felt himself smoldering from the inside out and knew that he would not last much longer.

He moved within her with sure strokes and she met him thrust for thrust, climbing towards the heavens. It took only a moment and she was crying out, his name upon her breathless lips. Instinctively he sank sharp fangs into the tender skin just above her heart as she shuddered beneath him.

Sesshoumaru's power swirled through them as they moved as one, the tangy taste of her blood coated his lips and his demon power surged as he climaxed, slipping to follow her over the edge of the precipice they had climbed as one.

They lay together for a long time, heartbeats calming and breath returning to calm. The scent of their lovemaking was strong in the air and Rin found that she rather liked the smell.

Her newly Branded skin glowed with perspiration and she thought the bite would be red and sore, but it had healed even as she writhed with her orgasm. She would bare his mark for the remainder of her days and she wanted to cry from joy at the thought of him claiming her out right.

And there was also the Binding.

She felt…different. Stronger. More alive than she had ever felt. She felt a tie to Lord Sesshoumaru like nothing she had ever felt. As though she could close her eyes and know where he was at any given moment.

As she drifted off to sleep, she knew she was his. Finally she was truly his. And he was hers. She would always be with him.

Where I belong.


"Rin." She heard his call and pulled herself from her slumber, blinking up at him.

He was dressed and standing over her, staring at her.

"We are going." He said, and then turned, heading for the door.

Swiftly she ran to her rooms and as she pulled on her traveling clothes, she smiled. She felt alive again! She felt…home.

And it was time to patrol the borders.


The sun was high in the sky as she followed her silent mate across the grass. Ah-Un lumbered along after them, and shortly after stepping onto the path in the woods, Jaken's shrill voice called after them.

"Lord Sesshoumaru! Lady Rin! Wait for meeeee!"

Rin grinned mischievously as she glanced around for the perfect stick to trip the kappi with when he came bursting through the trees like he always did.


That night, as the small traveling party settled in by the campfire to sleep for the night, Cradled in Lord Sesshoumaru's embrace, Rin was just on the edge of restful oblivion when she heard him whispering to her. She had not caught all of the words as she drifted off to sleep, but she would ask him about it in the morning. Something about two souls linked and their lives being one.

Yes, that had been what he had said. That "now they shared a life."

One Life…



Peace came slowly to the lands, at first those that would oppose Lord Sesshoumaru would stupidly stand up and challenge the Yokai Lord. Lord Sesshoumaru did not even bother to draw his sword with most of them. Poison claws dispatched his foes swiftly. And it was said that when you saw him smile, you were as good as dead. It was also said that Lady Rin, the demon lord's mate, was the most beautiful, the most kind, and the most loving creature and that if you showed her kindness, Lord Sesshoumaru would not kill you that day.

The Northern Palace burned down that summer. No one was lost, though many were injured. The buildings had collapsed into the dungeons burying them as the rubble burned.

And just as the tale of Sesshoumaru's smile was whispered on the wind, there was a new rumor spreading through the villages. A tale of a ghost that haunted the lands. The ghost of a burned figure, angry and searching. Sometimes this figure appeared in the shape of a tiger, and others, a flame haired demon. But always, the story was the same. The demon was searching for something, and waiting. Waiting for the perfect moment.

It was upon one of Rin's visits to the human village to see Lord Takaeda and his new bride, Lady Haru, that she had first heard the name of the phantom. Haru's sister had whispered it to her, scared to sleep one night.

"Master Kane is out there…" She had whispered.


~The End~