Disclaimer: Nope, don't own anything here besides the plot….

Getting To Know You

Chapter Twenty-Two

By Miztikal-Dragon

Tonight it was his packs turn to go patrolling around their borrowed land and it made him a little on edge. He kept his pack on high alert since the day the red smoke lingered off towards the western land's castle. It had smelled like death and decay, not to mention the scouts that had been sent out to investigate had yet to return. He hadn't liked it, not one bit and if he had been available at the time, he would have gone himself like any leader would.

He had been detained however, and he kept the guilt of sending his men needlessly to their deaths tucked in a corner of his heart. There had been an ominous cloud hovering over the western lands castle for as long as he could remember and now, now it seemed to be the calm before the storm and traveling more than a few miles away from it made the beast inside of him howl in warning. Whatever was going on there, he knew well enough to stay as far away as possible. He knew when to follow his animal instincts.

As far as night patrols when though, tonight was a beautiful night. The moon was high in the sky, thousands of glittering stars kept away the malicious shadows and he inhaled the crisp fresh air deeply into his lungs. They were never out too late, not in their borrowed home and he hoped that all went well. He loved patrol nights, loved it like he loved beautiful things and he would go on every patrol if he could, but being a leader meant he also had other more important obligations to deal with.

Over population was a big one for example. His tribe had been steadily growing over the years and even though some had left to form more packs, the small space they had been allowed to live in was too concentrated. He wanted his own land, a place he could declare his own, yet that wasn't possible for rogues. The title made him scoff as his legs carried him faster down the path, howls of his pack mates filtering in from the distance from time to time.

They were only labeled as rogues because they didn't belong to a set kingdom, their loyalty to their pack only like the days of old. "Uncivilized and unintelligent", he'd heard some noble spit during one of his visits to town. They weren't either; in fact, he thought his tribe was better than others because they worked hard for a good life. There was no money to harbor evil, no magic, no famine or poverty. He couldn't say there was no power; however, he could say no one person controlled it. Sure he was the 'official' leader, but he followed the advice of the counsel of elders since that's how they stayed peaceful. They worked as they lived, like a collective family and what was the point of using a new system if the old one worked so well?

The sweet smell of perfume and grass tickling had his sensitive nose itching and he suppressed a sneeze as he listened carefully to his surroundings. The eight of them were spread out, easily a mile or two, maybe less, but no longer did he hear the innocent chatter of a few of the younger scouts. His ears strained and he crouched lower into the tall grass, this beautiful night was a perfect night for a patrol; although, it could just as easily be a breeding ground for evil.

His eyes narrowed as a gust of wind brought the stench of death and decay blowing passed him and if he had been in his normal form a frown would have graced his features. He was going to turn around and leave, go back to his tribe and take the necessary precautions, it's what he needed to do and yet when his swiveling ears caught movement too lumbering to be a member of his patrol pack and the distasteful smell of fear, blood and tears he was drawn to it like a moth to the flames.

How come he hadn't noticed it earlier, he questioned creeping slowly closer. Now he could hear the rumbling of a definitely male voice and though normally he would have ignored it and kept going, it was the faint perfume that tugged at his memory. He had smelled it before. Silently watching, he wracked his brain trying to remember the scent and mentally cursing himself when he couldn't place it right away. It was important, he knew that much and when he remembered he would kick himself in the ass for not noticing it sooner.

An enormous ball of flames and a shrieking howl brought him out of his thoughts and lifting his muzzle out of the tall grass glancing at the scene a few yards a head of him. He had never seen a cat demon in animal form up close and personal, but he was astonished by what he did see. Yellow gold hair and bright orange flames and a pair of blood thirsty eyes. The howl was the beast's battle cry as it attacked the long haired warrior, it's massive canines ripping into the flesh of his shoulder and throwing it off of whatever he had been on before.

He immediately knew the male was another demon and he crept slowly closer to the scene, his pack mates voices creeping closer with the thick scent of blood in the air. It was thicker than he had originally thought and as he came out into the open he instantly wished he had investigated sooner. The male demon was a big being, not bulky, but lean and after a moment he registered what it reminded him of. The dark skin, the body language, it was as of a horse and though he knew the cat was decidedly bigger, he knew it was a losing battle.

The wind whipped around him again, the smell of death and decay growing stronger and he edged closer only to be swatted away by a large feather darting from the night sky. So many different demons in one place, he thought suspiciously, it always meant trouble and as a woman stepped off the feather, her fan snapping shut he knew he was being drawn into a fight he had no bearing in.

"Quit playing with that cat and finish her off Kenichi," the fan wielding woman spat, her ruby eyes glaring hatefully at a lump on the ground.

The cat demon howled again as it lunged at the horse, it's claws tearing into the dark skin and spilling more blood onto the grass around them. It wasn't hard to see the demon was trying to protect something, but he wasn't given a chance to inspect it as those disturbing ruby eyes latched onto him.

"This isn't a spectator event," she hissed drawing her fan to her face, wind swirling around her as though she were a witch and not a demon. "Name yourself and be gone or I will dispose of you."

Seven other large wolves appeared from behind the shadows of the trees and tall grass and he growled deep in his chest as he shifted, his eyes not leaving the wind witches as his fur receded into his flesh and he stood up tall.

"Koga of the rogues," he said proudly inching closer, his comrades growling as they flanked his sides. This was not the place to trust another demon, especially one that smelled as fowl as the witch in front of him. "You do not belong in this land and should leave before it's too late."

"Ha, you dare threaten me, Kagura of the wind," She scoffed snapping open her fan almost violently. "You don't stand a chance."

Now it was Koga who wanted to scoff as the howls of his pack mates grew in volume. They were calling for back up and it would be merely minutes until the entire meadow was crawling with wolves and though it was a deliciously wonderful thought of seeing her ripped to pieces, the scent suddenly clicked in his brain and he smirked.

"I doubt Sesshomaru will give you a chance once he finds out that you've stolen something that belongs to his." he was guessing, but the flinch of her eyes told him that he was on the right path and it could still go his way without too much bloodshed. "I've heard them you know, they are not too far off from here and with the way the wind is blowing I bet he is on his way here now and then you'll be sorry."

That made the witch rethink her position in a heart beat as the cat demon growled and tackled the horse demon, fangs dripping with blood and intent on ripping the man to shreds. With the wave of her fan, Kagura had pushed the enormous cat off her companion and in an instant the two of them were on the feather and riding off into the darkness. His quick thinking had saved all of them, he mused watching the cat demon pace around the lump of flesh and with caution Koga stepped closer.

He was certain he smelled a human and blood and he had been right. What was the real shocker was that it was a tiny human girl, long black hair spilling out everywhere, blood staining the once elegant white nightgown. Koga wondered for a moment if she was even still alive, but the almost unnoticeable fall of her chest told him differently. None of them would be able to get close enough to help her with the way the cat demon growled, its large body standing over the woman like a powerful shield, and he didn't doubt it for a moment.

"Come," he spoke matching the red eyes of the beast before turning and forcing his back to it. "We offer aide to her, but you must hurry."

There were no growls of refusal and Koga nodded to his pack before closing his eyes and allowing the beast within him to take over once again. Their patrol was concluded, the borders would now be silent with the night's display and there would be no point in lingering now. The cat would follow them back to his camp and the women there would take care of the human girl. If she had been a normal human she would have been left to die, but the lingering scent of the western land's king meant that the would have to be hospitable until she was reclaimed by her lord. It was the least he could do since he owed everything he had to the previous king and this would wipe his debt free.