Wow, sorry it took such a long time to update! This chapter goes out to Siry Pop. Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

I do NOT own Inuyasha or any of the characters, but I DO own my story and my words.


Chapter Four

Rin's room had clearly been cleaned, all traces of the minuscule demon battle gone. She slept fitfully, and upon waking remembered few fragments from her dreams; mostly of Lord Sesshoumaru and the night he brought her home. She hadn't spoken for months, not until Priestess Kagome showed her the magic of her own power.

At dawn she lingered in bed, her thoughts centered on the events of the day before and the demon that so resembled her lord. With a sigh, she forced herself from her bed, bathed, and made her way to the Queen's chambers to plead her case. What she came upon was the woman she admired speaking heatedly to High Priestess Kaede and the former priestess, Queen Kikyo. Trying to interrupt them seemed a mistake, but when she heard mention of the demon from the night before, she felt compelled to speak in his defense.

"What are you saying? You want to rebind him?"

"Rin…" Kagome began but was cut off by Kikyo.

"Child! How dare you enter my quarters without presenting yourself!"

Chided, Rin dropped to her knees and lowered her forehead to the ground. "Forgive me, my queen."

"Now, now, Kikyo. The child is a priestess as we all are." Kaede voice dragged out.

"A priestess-in-training," Kagome corrected.

"Have you broken your fast, Rin?" Kikyo's voice sounded haughty as ever. Rin answered and was permitted to join the three women. She sat at the breakfast square across from the queen. A servant immediately placed a platter before her and decorated it with fruit and honeyed bread. Rin looked at it. "Are you not going to eat?"

"My Queen, you cannot bind the demon. I believe he was sent to…"

"Sent to what, dear child?" Kaede asked her.

"I think he was sent to help me in my lord's absence."

Kikyo laughed outright, but its sound was as dainty and regal as the woman herself. "How in the world could you come to such a conclusion, Princess?"

Rin had kept Sesshoumaru's scroll secret but wondered what the high priestess would think of it. She pulled it from the lining at her hip and passed it to the much older woman. Kaede scrunched the brow of her already wrinkled face and turned so the morning light could strike the parchment.

"What does it say, Lady Kaede?" The queen asked in all seriousness.

"It looks to be a poem of some sort. Too short for a true incantation.

"Rin, perhaps you have not fully recovered from your fainting spell, last night. I will have a healer sent to you."

Rin was ready to speak out at the queen when Kaede spoke, again. "However, the first two lines are typical for all prayers regarding Lord Inu Taisho's family. Where did you get this, child?"

Rin pondered how much to reveal. "It was given to me by Lord Sesshoumaru."

Kaede nodded. "Her story is not entirely improbable, my Queen Kikyo."

The queen turned now to Rin, her face not completely a scowl, but certainly not content. Rin tried to make herself smaller in the goose down seat.

"May I see it, Rin?" Kagome asked, her hand outstretched toward Kaede. The priestess seemed to have forgiven her transgressions. She smiled at her mentor and nodded. Kagome took the small scroll and read from it, Kikyo leaning over her shoulder. "Does this mean the creature is kin to Lord Sesshoumaru?"

"I highly doubt it," said the queen as she watched Rin. "All of Inu Taisho's family were powerful demons who commanded respect. Not only that, but why would they have locked up a member of their own family inside a temple column? It makes no sense." She brought her hands together making a steeple with her fingers. "If they wanted him bound then he should be returned to his prison."

"High Priestess Kaede!" Rin pleaded. "If His Serenity Sesshoumaru gave me this scroll and it awakened the demon, then perhaps he is a guardian. We will need him in my lord's absence. And when His Serenity returns, he can decide what to do with him."

Kagome sat, thoughtful, trying to remember all the conversations she'd had with Lord Sesshoumaru, but there were far too many. She was sure he would have mentioned a demon in the temple, especially since she was now its caretaker. Of course he would have, she reasoned. He would never put me in harm's way, or Rin, if this was truly his memento to the girl. "Power of the Inu bound," she said aloud. "I'm not sure what that means but it sounds like the line of Inuyoukai may have given him guardianship as Rin has said." Kagome saw the young woman relax in her chair. "But he is too strong for any one of us to control."

"Speak for yourself, Lady Kagome. I believe it was I who subdued him."

"Only after Rin had him contained," Kagome affirmed with a nod to her student.

Rin smiled and began to eat her breakfast, the smell of the bread getting to her. Kaede smiled at her and patted her wrist. She heard Kikyo sigh.

"If the beast can be contained and controlled then I will allow him to remain unbound. For the time being," she amended when Rin's hopeful gaze met hers. "My conditions are that Kagome work with Lady Kaede to find the rest of that incantation and its true meaning. There must be something about it in the temple. And we must find a binding spell, just in case." The two older priestesses nodded. "I will take Rin to the Meido House myself to see how useful he may be."

Rin beamed. She couldn't have hoped for a better outcome. She was at peace with Lady Kagome and was allowed to keep her promise to the demon.


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