Hiya! My newest fic, and one about characters that are often left out. Hope you guys like it! Note, most of the facts in this have been verified.Standard disclaimers apply. I do not own InuYasha, and never will.
"Lady Kanade!" the village children called out. "Please tell us a story!"
"A story about a demon!" called one boy.
"No!" argued a girl. "Tell us a story about an animal!"
The priestess laughed at the hanyou children, her eyes sparkling in the firelight. "How about I tell you story about both?" she asked, not unkindly. "Then you must sleep."
"Yes!" the assembled children cried.
"Very well then. This is a story I heard long ago, when Horai-jima was still part of the outside world….
There once was a rich man who owned a horse. The horse was a swift beast, with a coat as white as snow, a mane of a pale roan, and eyes like highly polished grey stones. The rich man entered his horse in races, and won every time. At first, the man won races at the festivals in his hometown. After a few years, he started to take bets. His steed won every race, making the man very rich. Eventually, he arrived at the Emperor's palace.
Once there, the Emperor promised the man anything he wanted if he could out pace every horse in the palace. The man agreed. The Emperor set a track across mountains, plains, forests, rivers and coast. He gave the man three days to prepare himself and his horse.
When the man and his horse were ready, they were put up against men and beasts that lived and trained in the terrain they were going to race upon. Though they did not know the area, the man had faith in his steed. And, sure enough, they won all the races.
Around this time, a wandering merchant in need of money came to the Emperor with his horse and a proposition.
'Let us, the man who claims to have the fastest steed in Nihon and I, have a race,' the merchant told the Emperor. 'The winner will take all that the other has. But I have one request, I chose the track and he is not to follow it until the day of the race.'
The Emperor, who had become friends with the rich man, agreed, knowing that his friend's horse could out run every other, even against such impossible odds. The Emperor hastened to tell his friend of the challenge.
The rich man, now living quite comfortably in a large mansion just outside the capital, agreed to the stranger merchant's request.
Now, this merchant was no fool. He had been planning this race for a long time and sent the rich man and his horse to a death trap.
The day of the race, the merchant showed the map, which was lacking in detail, to the rich man. The rich man committed it to memory, and leaped onto his steed's back.
When the Emperor himself called the beginning of the race, both contestants raced off at a gallop.
Once in the forest, the merchant allowed his horse to fall behind the rich man's.
Seeing that he had passed the merchant and believing that he was winning, the rich man urged his mount faster. What he failed to see was the merchant's plan. Noticing a crevice in front of them, the proud stallion leapt across without a second thought. But his arrogance, which the merchant had anticipated, had made the snowy horse miscalculate.
The stallion's front hooves landed solidly on the cliff side in front of him and his rider, but his back legs dangled on the edge. Unable to hold on, both rider and steed fell towards the river of molten lava at the bottom of the canyon.
The merchant, hearing the screams of pain of his adversaries as they fell and burned, smirked and galloped to where the Emperor was waiting at the finish line.
The Emperor waited for his friend to return. After a day and a night, the Emperor gave up, knowing that his friend was dead. Grudgingly, the Emperor announced the merchant the winner.
At that very moment, the sky turned the deep red of blood and flames split the sky. The rich man's horse had been turned to a demon, coat as white as snow, mane as orange as flame, eyes as red as blood. It flew towards the Emperor, flames above its cool gray hooves keeping it aloft.
It stared at the Emperor, then turned its fiery crimson gaze at the merchant. In that moment, the merchant and his steed, a mare as black as the darkest night with eyes that shone like onyx, understood that this was the angry spirit of the horse they had beaten in the race and led to death.
The eye contact between merchant and angered soul was brief, and when it broke, the spirit stallion opened his mouth. A ball of flame-like youki appeared almost in the mouth of the fire horse hovering above the crowd of onlookers.
After a brief second which seemed like an eternity, the snowy youba released the blast.
Everything and anything beneath the hovering demon was incinerated. Looking at the desolate landscape beneath, it closed its eyes, lifted its head and unleashing a high, piercing, blood-curdling scream.
As if the scream was a farewell, the demonic stallion streamed off into the night sky, a trail of fire flaming out behind it.
The few who managed to survive the blast left as quickly as they could manage. In later years, they called the demon that been borne of flame and hate 'Entei'. They told all they met this tale, and never to trust strangers."
When Kanade finished the story, all the children save the two eldest were asleep.
"Thank you for the wonderful story, Kanade-sama," yawned the girl.
"Yeah… Thanks," the boy, half asleep already, told the guardian priestess.
"You're welcome. Now, go to sleep."
The children obeyed. Kanade stole one last glance at them to make sure that all the children were sleeping soundly and then left the village home without a noise.
I hope this is satisfactory. And in case you were wondering, horse racing began in Japan in the 6th century Common Era. …Can horses even have gray eyes?
Reviews are appreciated.