Ryuuichi was sitting on the floor of his clan's castle next to his sisters. They were in a row, organized from tallest to shortest, him being the tallest and his eldest sister being the shortest. None of them knew why they had been called and none dared speak, because they were in a dark room.

Footsteps alerted them that their head had finally decided to address them. At the same time, they bowed, just in time for the room to light up. They lifted their head and stared up at their elder brother. For once, Takuma actually looked the part of a family head. He looked just as royal as all of them.

Ane-ue was dressed in a stunning moon and cloud designed kimono than complemented her delicate yet beautiful features. Her hair ornaments were shaped like crescent moons and layered with real dragon scales. With her deceitful nature, Ryuuichi didn't really have to guess at how she got those. Most likely, straight from a dragons hide. He almost felt bad for the beast. It was most likely dead.

Ane-chan was dressed in what he supposed royal men wore to war. It wasn't like there was a female version out there in their male oriented land and he supposed his tomboy sister would kill herself before wearing them anyway. The only difference was that her armor wasn't bulky and was adorned with spikes. She looked like a porcupine to Ryuuichi. He thought she had been hoping to stab him at least once with those things. He knew he was right when she kept leaning close to him.

Being the bold one of the family, Ryuuichi decided to speak up. "Ani-ue, we have gathered here under your orders. What do you need of us?" He asked, staring up at his brother. Takuma just stared back and snapped his fingers. With that, the rest of the room was illuminated.

In the far back, a dark mass some would say resembled a tree, called the Onitsuri grew. In the center of the Onitsuri laid a glowing piece of amber. As it pulsated, it slowly grew, seeming to hold something within. At the foot of the Onitsuri, roots were wrapped around various humans and demons, draining their energy. One of the roots held a small child, a little girl with long brown hair.

Ryuuichi's hand clenched as he stared at her unconscious body. It wasn't that he felt sorry for her. He didn't. She was needed for their plan. But he knew how much his darling Sesshomaru cared for her. He had watched how the usually stoic man would soften somewhat when she was near. It pained him that by doing as he had always done, he was hurting someone he loved.

"Ryuuichi!" Ryuuichi jumped when he heard his brother shout. That wasn't a good sign. Ani-ue didn't yell. "Are you going to answer my question or not?!" He demanded. Ryuuichi bowed to him. Damn, he hadn't been paying attention. He was lucky he was related to Takuma or else he'd be dead by now.

"I am sorry. My mind was on other matters." He said, honestly. He hoped this was the right choice. Otherwise, he wouldn't live to regret it. Beside him, he heard Tsukiko snickering to herself. Ryuuichi wished his life wasn't in danger just then. Just so he could smack her. Rei, however, seemed to take than into her own hand, if the sounding smack he heard meant anything. He almost smiled.

"Oh, I know you weren't paying attention, Ryuuichi." Takuma said after a long time. The fact he wasn't dead yet made Ryuuichi hopeful. He heard his brother come closer. "I know you were thinking of that demon prince, Sesshomaru. Am I wrong?"

Ryuuichi shook his head. Something about this seemed too weird about this conversation. For one thing, Takuma was smiling. When someone who's supposed to be mad is smiling, everyone involved should be scared. Especially when it was his very unpredictable brother.

The smile grew as Ryuuichi paled. "Then my dear baby brother, I assume he lives even though I told you to kill him." Ryuuichi looked down at his hands but still, his brother spoke on. "You know he will cause trouble for us now that we have his pet human. What's worse, he is followed by that pesky group of demon slayers. If that priestess get too close, all our work will be for naught. Do you understand that!?" He ended, his smile scaring Ryuuichi more than the murderous aura emanating from Takuma.

"They won't get even close to us, Ani-ue-" He tried to speak but was stopped by a raised hand. It was enough.

"No no, I understand, Ryuuichi." Takuma assured. "You care for this man and you'd hate to hurt him. I understand your reluctance. What kind of brother would I be to make you kill your loved one?" Takuma grabbed Ryuuichi's chin and turned his face to his. "So, as a compromise, bring this man you fancy here and feed him to the Onitsuri." He ordered. Ryuuichi's head snapped up in disbelief. He wanted to argue but Takuma continued. "Once it's done draining him of his energy, you can have his body. This way, you have him to yourself and he will be out of our hair. You won't even have to kill him yourself. Everyone wins, right?" With that, the room was pitch black. Ryuuichi knew he was alone without even looking.

In the dark. Ryuuichi trembled. There was no way he could do as his brother had instructed. To be drained by the Onitsuri was worst than if he'd killed Sesshomaru himself. The pain was everlasting and slow. It was why all the creatures being drained were knocked out. It was the smallest bit of mercy they could manage. Otherwise, the castle would be filled with their pain filled screams.

Ryuuichi let out a breath. No matter what was said. He had only two choices. To give Sesshomaru to the Onitsuri or kill him himself. Ryuuichi's fist clenched. He had to do what he had to do. From behind him, he heard the door open and cover him with light. Briefly, he noted that his palms were bloody from his nails.

"Oi, you made your decision yet, runt?" Tsukiko said from the door, illuminating him. He looked back at her and noted her smirk. Just like her to rub a win in his face, even when the win wasn't hers. Slowly, he stood and turned to walk to her. When they were side by side, he turned his head to her and gave her a toothy grin back.

"You should know better than to poke at me when I'm this pissed." He warned, loving the momentary fear he saw in her eyes. He continued to say. "You're liable to get hurt in the process of my mission." He started walking, only to hear his sister laugh.

"Damn, I miss that." She said. "I forgot how scary you can be when mad. Be sure to paint the battle field red for me, baby bro." She requested, walking down another hall.

Ryuuichi snorted. "Like it's actually going to be a fight." He muttered, walking away.

End of chapter 10

Authors note:

Sorry about the long wait. the truth is that i had no plan for this chapter. This is what i came up with. i hope you like it.