"No! No! That's all wrong!" Jaken howled, "Stupid girl can't ye get anything right?! Baka!"
{trans note; baka=idiot}

I ignored him. He was a lot like the villagers, ignore them long enough and they'll eventually stop yelling or hitting you.

I put another stoke on the paper. It was a pretty, curving stroke. I liked the way it looked, the black on the white, so I added another one.

"No! No! No! Ye ain't even writing anything! Ye are just marking down lines!"

Now he was screeching right in my ear. I decided I didn't want to ignore him anymore. I didn't mind learning to read and write but why did Jaken have to be my dumb old teacher? Stupid toad. He didn't even speak right. Why should I listen to him?

"Rin doesn't want to do this anymore!" I yelled at him, throwing my paper and brush at him. Then, for good measure, I dumped the ink over his head.

Now he was all black. It was funny so I laughed. Jaken got real mad at me, his eyes bulged out and a little line of spit ran down his chin as he sputtered. He grabbed his strange-heads staff and raised it above my head.

I didn't flinch. I was used to being hit. Back before Sesshoumaru-sama, the villagers used to hit me all the time. I didn't want to be hit, but I was a big brave girl. I shut my mouth tight, determined not to cry out.

The staff stopped just before my head and I looked up to see what had stopped it. A clawed hand held the staff in place just below where the two heads where.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" I cried happily.

"Jaken," Sesshoumaru-sama spoke, and we both heard the warning in his voice.

I knew that Jaken went paler. I couldn't see it because he was still covered in ink, but I knew that he was paler. I grinned. Jaken was in trouble.

Sesshoumaru-sama let go of the staff and Jaken took it away from my head. Turning from Jaken he looked at me.

"Rin. You will be educated," he told me.

I looked down in shame. That was right, it was Sesshoumaru-sama who wanted me to learn to read and write.

"But Jaken-sama doesn't teach right!" I protested.

"What?" Jaken raged, "M'lord the girl's just daft. Unteachable!"

"Enough," Sesshoumaru-sama commanded. We both shut up right away. "Rin, you will learn."

"Hai!" I exclaimed. I picked up my papers and brush.
{trans note: hai = yes}

I looked at what Jaken had written for me to read and copy and still couldn't make any sense of it. It was useless so I dropped it.

Looking up I asked, "Sesshoumaru-sama, how would Rin write your name?"

He looked down at me for a few seconds, his expression never changing. In the background Jaken sputtered at my disrespect. I didn't think I was being disrespectful. Did Sesshoumaru-sama? I couldn't tell anything by his face. Was he disappointed that I couldn't read Jaken's scroll? I hoped not. I didn't want him to be disappointed in me. I wanted Sesshoumaru-sama to be proud of me.

He took the paper and brush from me. He knelt and dipped the brush in one of the still wet pools of ink on Jaken's wrinkled skin. He wrote three things down. I watched, fascinated as he made the brush strokes. Even his brush strokes were ten times more graceful than anyone else's.

Once finished writing he pointed to each word and told me what it was. "Sesshoumaru." Yay! "Jaken." Ick. "Rin." That was my name!

He handed me the paper and brush and gracefully got to his feet. Looking down at me he told me, "You will practice those until we return."

"You're leaving?!" I cried, dismayed, "Rin wants to come too!"

"You will stay here and practice Rin."

"Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama," I saluted, though inwardly I sighed. I was being left behind again.

Sesshoumaru-sama mounted the strange two head beast we sometimes use to get around. "Jaken, come."

"Aye, m'lord."

Jaken climbed up behind Sesshoumaru-sama and they were off.

"Bye, Sesshoumaru-sama! Come back soon!!" I waved at them until they were out of sight.

I picked up the ink tablet and looked at it. Not a drop left, it was all on Jaken. That meant that before I could write I'd have to go get some more water and mix up some more ink.

I spread my paper out on the rock we were using as a table and put some rocks on it to keep it from blowing away. I carefully set the brush beside it and then tore into the woods, heading for the stream.

I weaved in and out of the trees, barely avoiding crashing into them. There was a fallen tree in my way, but I just jumped over it. By the time I reached the stream I was gasping for breath. I collapsed by the side and took a few moments to catch my breath. A pulled out a slim silver box from my kimono I opened it to reveal a block of black ink.

I set it down carefully then filled my ink tablet with water. I ground some of the ink into the water. I used my finger to stir it in. I held up my finger and watched the ink run down my hand. It wasn't dark enough. Right now it just looked like dirty water. I ground some more ink into the water.

It took a few tries but at last I had some proper ink. I smiled and wiped my hands off on the grass. Picking up the ink tablet carefully, I began to walk back to my paper. I didn't dare run. I didn't want to end up like Jaken.

As I walked a creepy feeling came over me. It felt as though I was being watched. My mind conjured up all sorts of monsters. It might even be wolves. That thought made me pause. I didn't like wolves very much. Wolves had killed me. I didn't like dying either. I didn't want to die again.

I forced myself to start walking again. I had to be brave. Someday when I was big enough, and brave enough, and smart enough, Sesshoumaru-sama would take me with him.

I at last reached the rock and my paper. Even though I still felt like I was being watched nothing had happened, so it must have been nothing. I must have been imagining things.

I moved the rocks from my paper, picked up my brush and copied the three names. Once I was finished that I copied them again, and again until the whole page was filled. I picked it up and beamed at it with pride. My writing was a little smudged, but you could read it, and by the end I'd gotten almost perfect at copying out the names.

I placed the paper down and wondered what I should do next. Sesshoumaru-sama had said to practice until he got back, but I was out of paper. I was about to start writing on the rock when I heard a noise. It was like a soft hissing. I turned to look, but there was nothing there.

This was getting creepy. I hoped that Sesshoumaru-sama would return soon. I turned around and bumped into someone, or something.


With my heart pounding fast in my chest I looked up. It was a youkai, but not like Sesshoumaru-sama. He was ugly. At least I thought it was a he. He reminded me of a snake. He was covered in green scales and his eyes were all yellow except for black slits for pupils.
{trans note. youkai = demon}

"What are you doing out all alone little girl?" his voice was like a soft hissing.

"Waiting," I told him.

"Ku ku ku. It issss fortunate I found you."

What did he mean? "Why?"

"I wassss feeling quite hungry, and nothing tasssstessss better than sssscared mortal children."

He was going to eat me!

I turned to run, but he grabbed my arm. His claws ripped through my kimono and dug into my skin. I felt blood run down my arm.


"That's it, sssscream, little girl." His long, thin tongue slid out and stroked my cheek. "Ku ku ku."

His laughter stopped as a clawed hand imbedded itself in his throat. It was Sesshoumaru-sama! My arm was released and I ran behind Sesshoumaru-sama. I peeked out from behind his kimono at the snake youkai. Blood was running down his throat from where Sesshoumaru-sama had his claws.

"Ssssesssshoumaru, why? Why do you ssssave this human?" the snake youkai managed to rasp out.

"I need not explain myself to the likes of you," Sesshoumaru-sama replied, his expression unimpressed.

The snake youkai looked at me and then back to Sesshoumaru-sama. Then he did something I didn't expect. He laughed.

"Ku ku ku. How funny. Ssssesssshoumaru, hater of all that issss mortal... hassss taken a human girl, and ssssuch a young one too. Ku ku ku."

"Kisama... You dare to say such things to Sesshoumaru? You are not only in err but foolish as well." A small smiled came onto Sesshoumaru-sama's face, "Dokkasou."
{trans: kisama is a very derogatory way of saying you. Dokkasou = Toxic Flower Claw}

The snake youkai's head melted and the body fell to the ground.

"Ewwwwwwww!" I exclaimed as blood poured from the now headless body.

Sesshoumaru-sama didn't pick me up, or ask if I was all right. He merely turned and walked, stating, "Rin, come along."

"Hai!" I grabbed my papers and writing stuff and ran after him. Running a little ahead I showed him what I had written.

"This is Sesshoumaru, and this is Jaken, and this is Rin, and this is Sesshoumaru, and this is Sesshoumaru, and this is Rin, and this is Sesshoumaru...."

Haha! The final draft (I hope). This story has gone through a lot, what with being eaten by my computer and such. Anywho, this draft was finished very early in the morning, May 12, 2000. 2:00 am, to be specific. Written by Koneko.

Well that's the end of the story... the only thing left is my author's notes, so you can take them or leave them...