A/N: Yeah, yeah. The name 'Toga' isn't cannon, but at least it's a given name. 'Inutaisho' as a name bothers me too much to use it in my writing, y'naw?


He heard them in the distance, their pawed feet crunching the hard ground and the wisps of their breath adding to the misty morning. The overpowering aroma of catthrew itself at his nose and his eyes narrowed at his enemy, though they could not see him. Behind him, almost soundlessly, his son drew closer to him.

"Father, they're here," said his son simply, his voice finally deep and matured, a hard edge that completed him.

"Yes, my son. They are." Toga sighed and slowly raised himself from the frosted grass. The red disk had raised itself higher during his reverie, and time attempted to mock his ageless face. He then slowly turned around fully, his back to the oncoming slaughter making its way steadily across the plane to gaze curiously at his son. "Sesshomaru," he said quietly, after a moment, "why did you decide to participate in this battle? The West has been in many a war before, but this is the first time you have pried yourself away from your books and writing to stand by me."

Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow ever so slightly, opting for the emotionless, mature reaction as opposed to the angered reaction of a youth. "Well, father. My thirst for knowledge has been essentially quenched. I have read all the texts that could possibly be available to me, and have written so much the pages fill the entire end of my quarters at home… I grew"-here Sesshomaru paused, as though calculating whether it was worth it to divulge a personal response—"tired of my books and writing. Now I walk the path of supreme conquest." Sesshomaru looked away from his fathers' war-marked face and into the sun, the idea of conquering and killing the same to him as the river flowing and the mountains tall. Toga sighed deeply to know that his son could not, would not ever understand.

"Tell me, do you have someone to protect?", he asked suddenly, after a moment's pause. His son turned calmly towards him and again raised an eyebrow slightly at his father's question.

"I do not, father. My protecting someone would certainly hinder me while on the path of supreme conquest. If I were always concerned about the well-being of another, I would not be able to concentrate on the purpose of my quest. Don't you agree?". His son was purely logical. Young and naive and filled with questions… But logical. There was no emotional process to his thoughts. Hearing him say this, a dagger that had been planted long ago twisted further into his stomach. Closer now, the giant mass of demonic aura filled the field below them, and their conversation was cut short.

"Lord Toga, Inu no Taisho! Great Dog General of the Western lands" called a panther from below, who seemed to be in charge, "are you prepared to wage war with the great panther tribe and loseall of your lands and riches?". The other panthers jeered and called. Beside him, Sesshomaru lifted his nose and narrowed his eyes in distaste.

Toga, being prone of late to deep thought and serious consideration, turned almost meekly around to gaze down from the hilltop at the six panther devas who scowled or smirked up at him. He looked them each over once and smiled fondly, remembering the boundless confidence of a younger being. He ran a response over on his tongue for a moment before replying, his voice ringing loud and clear across the small valley.

"I do not think that I would care much if my castle was plundered and my lands lost to me... As long as", a smirk turned on his lips, "I got to wage war with the panther tribe."

This seemed to put the young warriors at a loss, unused to the underlying polite ways of lords. They, taken aback, were quiet for a few moments before another deep voice called across the battlefield to Toga on his red-sun pedestal.

"I would not be so vengeful to lose my lands and riches as long as I was defeated by a strong hand and died honourably", the voice boomed. The panthers parted and down their middle came their leader, thick set and strutting with easy elegance. Ironically, his face mirrored that of a sly cat who has eaten its master's birds and is cheekily swallowing the last of the feathers. Whose canary have you eaten this time, Panther King? Instead of voicing his true opinion, he politely replied to his enemy; "And that provider of an honourable death would certainly be you, Lord Kuran."

Out of the corner of his eye he noticed his son watching the exchange with rapt, unyielding attention. So! He thought, my son has his eye on being a Lord, does he? 'Supreme conquest'… I wonder about him sometimes.He blinked slowly and set off at a brisk pace down to the base of the hill where the Eastern cat lord awaited him. When they were face to face, they bowed deep, low, and equal to each other before removing their swords as a gesture of temporary peace treaty and kneeled neatly in the grass opposite to one another. Behind him, Toga felt his army coming close and kneeling as the panther army kneeled. Just behind the panther king where his many sons and daughters kneeled, his own son sat alone behind him. The armies were dead silent, as were the lords.

Finally, the smirk vanished from the panther king's face and twisted into an ugly scowl of hate and dislike. His polite demeanour was ruined; he hissed like a common cat. "Lord Toga", he spat, "you have thwarted me for the last time. I have tried to be fair with you, and tried to send neutral messengers to talk without anger, but every time I do that messenger tends to mysteriouslydisappear and never return…", he trailed off, his hands clenching into fists that begged to hold his sword in his hand. Just behind Toga, Sesshomaru barely concealed the knowing, dark smirk that erupted on his proud face at the mention of the mysteriously disappearing messengers. The sly cat did not miss this expression, fleeting though it was.

"And your boy! Of all the arrogant creatures on earth", the panther lord all but jumped up in anger, brandishing his clawed finger and his sworn enemy, "he has no value for life, be it mortal, demon or spirit!". His slit-eyes bulged out of their sockets, a red flush creeping unattractively over his neck and cheeks. Behind him, the panther army shrieked and screamed in agreement and bloodlust. Some at the back started a chant that rang eerily over the cold field. "Skin the dog! Spill his blood! Bash him in!". "I WOULD EVEN SUGGEST", screamed Lord Kuran over the crowd, "THAT HE WOULD CHALLENGE AND KILL THE KAMIS NO MATTER WHAT COST TO ANYONE ELSE!".

The dagger twisted even further in Toga's belly. He glanced quickly sideways at his son, whose eyes were alight with the lusty chant rising from the army before him. Toga knew the panther lord was attempting rile him up and cause him to be the one to attack first. Fortunately, the battle-wise old dog knew how cats tended to work. He rose his voice to speak, and it tolled over the crowd like a giant brass bell, quelling their shouts in their throats.

"However," he said, "your sons and daughters are skilled, honourable warriors." Toga allowed something false to flash in his eyes, betraying his feelings. No one else would see it but the panther lord opposite him, and the subtle look of hatred was reserved solely for him. He knew how to play the cat's game; if Lord Kuran reacted, he would look like a fool.

Along the edges of the horde, a tiny cat with blue eyes made its way stealthily across the plane until, beneath a long black hood, it crept silently just behind the dog lord that it hated so much. Every other demon was far too concerned with battle of wit going on between the two lords that not a soul noticed it or the small, potent blade it pulled from beneath the folds of its cloak. With loathing covering its face, it held the weapon firmly in a pawed hand before-

A great shriek travelled across the plane.


A/N: So yeah, decided to continue this story a little bit. Don't know where it's going, but I like it's direction. It'll probably be a short story, not a whole lot of chapters. Just different events as they happen in my brain. Enjoy!