Chapter 11: The Greatest Kantra

Rin sighed as she leant on Zen's chest, her eyes closed in the bliss he brought to her body. "Zen?"

"What is it Angel?"

"I… I was wondering…"

"What? You know I would give you anything you wish for. Anything in the world."

She opened her eyes and sat up, holding the bed sheet over her chest. "When was the last time I danced for you?"

He gave her a soft smile. "Last night of course." His hand reached up to her chest, pulling the fabric down a little.

Angel refused him and held it tight. "No, I mean really danced. I'm a Kantra… I live to dance."

Over the last three years, Zen had given her the world. He had sworn his love to her over and over again. He practically named her his Mistress a few weeks ago. He'd dismissed the other Kantra as he had no need for them. Angel was all he wanted. He had poems and songs composed about her, erected statues in her honour and dresses made especially for her. He gave her everything but the one thing her heart craved. A chance to dance.

With a sigh, he reached up and held her face. "You wish to dance?"

"Yes. Please. I… I don't ask things of you…"

"You never ask anything of me Angel. If you want to dance, then I will hold a dinner in your name. I will invite the greatest names and the most powerful people there are just to see you dance. It will be a dinner to remember. Never to be forgotten. Would that make you happy?"

She smiled and nodded. "Yes. Yes it would."

"Then I will begin preparing it today." He held her shoulder and pulled her back to his chest. "Oh my Angel. Ask of me and I will give it to you."

"Thank you… Zen, but I have everything I could ask for."

He smiled and rubbed a hand slowly down her back. "I love you Angel."

Angel remained silent.

"Oh Angel…" The empress hissed as she came over to her as she spoke with some important dignitaries, Zen by her side. "I hope you don't mind Zen but I invited a special guest to this party of yours."

"Naoko." Zen snapped back. "You are not invited to this."

"I know. But I thought your little star would like to see someone special."

"It's an honour to be here your highness."

Angel opened her eyes to the floor and looked up. A woman in a light blue kimono with a fur over her shoulders and silver hair tied up in two ponytails met her eyes with a smile. Out of control of her actions, Rin ran forward and wrapped her arms around her. "Mother!"

"It's so good to see you again."

"Oh mother…" Rin rubbed her head into her shoulder, hugging her as the demoness hugged her back.

"I'm proud of you, daughter." She leant a little closer to her ear. "I can smell him on you… he's obviously pleased with you. No wonder his payments have been so great."

Rin bit her lip and stepped back, looking at her golden eyes but then stepped back. "I… I…" she bit her lip and narrowed her eyes. Of course… I'm just a source of income to her.

A cough behind the woman drew Rin's attention and she looked to see a man behind his mother. Her eyes narrowed and lowered just before he stepped over. What's Sesshomaru doing here? It's been over three years!

"It… it's an honour to see you again Lord Sesshomaru."

"Rin."

Zen shook his head as he put his arm around the woman. "Actually, that's not her name anymore. It's Angel." He smiled and leant over, kissing her cheek gently.

Sesshomaru narrowed his eyes in annoyance but his mother elbowed him and he stopped. "What a lovely name your highness."

"Yes, it is, isn't it Lady? Now, come Angel, there is someone I want you to meet."

As Zen lead her away, Rin looked back at her mother and brother, her eyes catching Sesshomaru's just before he looked away and closed his eyes.

I've missed you too Sesshomaru.

As Rin had said, dancing made her feel alive and a true Kantra again. She performed beautifully and shocked everyone able to watch. At the final performance, the emperor walked over to her on stage, pulling her close and planting a kiss on her lips. "Angel you were amazing. I am the luckiest man there is. You really are the Greatest Kantra in the world."

"Thank you… Zen." She whispered to him, holding tight and well aware Sesshomaru was sat watching them. I don't know why I'm bothered. There's nothing between us. He was just…

The rest of the dinner passed steadily with Angel at Zen's side, talking and serving him.

God, Sesshomaru, stop looking at me! I don't have to look up to know he's staring at me.

The dinner went on until long into the night when everyone grew tired and were escorted to their rooms. Angel retreated to her building and sighed as she changed and prepared for bed. But then the door opened and shut behind her. She stood still until her visitor walked over to her and put his arms around her, head resting on her shoulder.

The smell gave him away.

"Zen."

"Angel."

She sighed as his hands went up her body. "Not tonight Zen. I'm tired."

"Angel… I'm tired too. But seeing you dance… so beautifully… but for all those men? I just want to remember that you are mine." His hand slipped under her clothes and began caressing her. "I won't take long. I promise."

With a sigh, Angel turned and kissed him, allowing him to complete his desire. We're not even on the bed? She sighed into his neck. This is beginning to get irritating.

It didn't even take an hour before he kissed her and sighed. "I have to go back. I'm sorry Angel. I have things to do."

"It's fine." She sighed again and held his hand. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Of course." He shifted away from her and pulled on his clothes again and left her.

Exhausted, Rin stayed where she was, not able to move. She drifted off where she was, thinking over the emperor's words. The Greatest Kantra? Then why do I feel… worthless? She sighed and let her sleep take over.

"Rin… Rin wake up."

Rin twisted her face and opening her eyes, looking over in the dim candle light to see the outline of a figure knelt beside her.

He was instantly familiar. "Sesshomaru? What are you doing here?"

He gave a sigh, running his hand over her cheek. "I had to see you."

She shook her head, sitting up and holding some fabric close to her naked chest. "You should go. Now. Don't let anyone see you."

"No, Rin I need to see you. I need to speak to you." He looked at her body, observing the way she was trying to cover herself. "Are you hurt?"

"No… no I'm not. I'm fine."

The sight of her undressed and the smell of sex in the air was almost over powering but the inuyoukai held his composure. Barely. "Rin… I thought I had control over my feelings for you. That I had locked them away where they could no longer hurt me. But to see you again…" he reached out slowly and stroked her hair back in his claws. "Has brought them back. And to see you dance… it just reminded me of how much I love you."

Pulling herself away from him, Rin lowered her eyes until she couldn't see him. "Sesshomaru, please, don't talk like that. I belong to the emperor."

"No." He whispered softly, leaning over and kissing her shoulder, tasting her skin briefly. "You belong to me."

The warmth of his lips sent tingles down Rin's spine. She rolled her head down and tried to forget the feeling. "Please…"

"I can't live without you Rin."

Her hand closed into fists on her discarded clothes. "Stop it. Just stop it. I'm the emperor's Kantra."

"I don't care. To me, you will always be that… little girl that my mother brought home one day. The girl never afraid to look at me."

With a sigh, Rin relaxed her tense body and felt his hands running over her shoulders, his claws grazing slightly. "Sesshomaru…"

"I love you Rin." He whispered into her ear before turning her around and kissing her, forcing her to open her mouth and let their tongues dance together. Rin let out a soft moan as he held her tight, forcing her to keep still and in contact with his lips and body. He kissed her until she ran out of breath but by then she was kissing him back, not caring if she suffocated. After a while, he leant back and kissed her nose. His words escaped in a deep, longing sigh as his head rolled back. "Run away with me."

"What?"

"Run away with me." He looked into her eyes and stroked her cheek gently. "We'll leave the country, leave the empire, find somewhere the two of us can be together."

Rin shook her head, tears filling her eyes. "We'd be running from the emperor. We could never out run his power."

He dug his claws into her cheek and stared at her, cold and calm but with a passion she had never seen. "My love for you is stronger than anything he could ever do. Let him send his army, let him turn the whole world on me, I don't care." He loosened his grip and wiped a falling tear away. "I will stand to my last breath… if it means keeping you."

His words sent Rin's heart blazing. Her mind just memorised the demon before her. His face, his eyes, his marks, his beauty. His love for her was written across his face and she couldn't deny it. Slowly, she let her hands open and the fabric slip over her body, revealing it to him. Her hands went to his face and stroked his hair back. "Oh Sesshomaru." She couldn't say another word. She just kissed him and pushed him back onto the bed, undressing him quickly and proceeding to caress and tend to his aching, perfect body.

She felt him under her hands, in her mouth, over her body and deep inside her. He filled her whole body with himself and she gasped and moaned, losing herself over and over again. His claws tore into her skin and drew blood but she didn't care. She wanted this. She wanted him to be himself in her arms. To do as he pleased and be his true self.

It was clearly difficult for him to keep quiet, to stop from howling or growling too loudly but he managed to keep himself under some control.

He grew faster and stronger, pushing her harder and rougher, his claws even sharper than before. He tore into the flesh of her legs and almost shattered her hips. He let out a deep growl as Rin nearly screamed under him as she burnt from inside. Then he slowed and stopped, pulling himself away from her and rolling onto his back, panting from exertion and fatigue.

Rin curled herself up next to him, her hand on his warm, sweating chest. He looked at her then looked away, a growl trembling thought his skin. She narrowed her eyes in confusion. "What's the matter?"

"You. You're… impressive." He kept his eyes turned away and the word was hissed. "The emperor must be treating you well."

The woman realised that he was jealous and put her head on his chest, listening to his heart and breathing as they began to steady back down. "He… he says he loves me. That he would do anything for me. He even sent his other Kantra away because he has no need of them anymore."

"Do you…"

Rin looked up quickly. "No! No I don't." She put her head back on his chest, her fingers softly running over his skin. "I hardly ever dance now. Today was the first time in months. I… I feel less and less like a Kantra with each day that passes and more like a harem. He only wants my body now. And… and that… that isn't what I want. I want to dance."

His arm tightened around her. "Leave him then."

"I have no real reason. He is kind to me, he never demands of me and if I say no, he respects it. I have no real reason to leave him."

"Other than your love for me."

Rin smiled and looked up at him. "Yes… other than my love for you."

He grinned ear to ear, his fangs glowing in the candlelight as he took hold of her again and began to caress and sooth her body once more. He hated the emperor for taking her first but he was almost glad at the same time. She was so skilled that she was beyond perfect. Every movement sent ripples of bliss into them both and she wasn't afraid to change and experiment.

He held her tight and squeezed, listening and living for those pants and groans she gave. But it was those very moans and sounds that brought a silent skilled woman to their door. She peered inside and watched the two in their most intimate of moments. But the sight made her smile with a wickedness and hatred.

Empress Naoko slid silently away as the lovers continued, unaware of her presence and knowledge.

The night after the great dinner, with many of his guests down in the great hall for breakfast, Zen yawned in his private chamber, breakfast before him. He ate silently when he felt the cold and horrid feeling of his wife as she approached and sat down beside him, leaning over with her scaled hands and picking off his plate.

He took a deep breath and steadied himself. "I thought we agreed to stay away from each other."

"I know. We only speak when it's important." She popped the food in her mouth and began chewing. "And what I have to say… is important."

"Then say it and get out of my site." Snakes, such fowl creatures. Why couldn't I have married a… a rabbit or fox?

Naoko licked her fingers for a moment then shrugged. "I thought you might like to know about your Kantra."

Zen instantly brought his full attention to the woman. "Angel? Why? What's happened to her?" If anything happened to my Angel… I don't know what I would do.

"Well… I saw her. Last night." She licked her finger a little more. "In bed with a man."

Relief filled him. The stupid woman had made a mistake. "Hhm, shows what you know. I was the one to bed her last night."

"Oh?" Her eyes widened a little but she was in complete control of her face. "Is that so?"

"Yes." He felt smug, showing he had bed another instead of her. The only time he laid with the snake was his wedding night and even then he'd gone straight to his Kantras for comfort.

The snake blinked her slit eyes and licked her lips. "So… when did you have long silver hair and change into a demon?"

"What!"

"That is who I saw her with. And she looked very happy in his arms. He was growling and caressing her and…"

Zen raised his hand, ready to strike her. "Enough! Angel would never do that!" His face fell soft at the thought of his loved one. "She would never betray me."

Naoko stood and brushed down her dress. "Well then, you must show me how you change into a demon because that is what I saw with my own eyes. I'm not lying to you. I saw her."

Zen stood and thought for a moment. Silver hair… demon… knows my Angel… male… "Sesshomaru. It must have been Sesshomaru." He shook his head quickly, removing the thought. "No, no she wouldn't have. She wouldn't have done this to me." His eyes hit the snake's. "You're lying."

With a smug grin, Naoko waved her hand at him, turning and walking outside. "Send for her then, see what she has to say for herself."

Zen thought for a moment. I do not need to test Angel's love for me. She is as faithful as the air in my lungs. She is mine and mine alone. He took a moment then walked over to the door. "Bring Angel to me." He asked a servant outside his door. Then he thought a little more. "And find Sesshomaru."

He retreated into his room, head in hands, appetite gone. He thought for a long time until he heard the familiar voice of the woman he loved. He looked up and smiled at her. She was as beautiful today as any other. Her eyes glowed with faith. She hadn't betrayed him. She couldn't. He could see it in her eyes. He stood and walked over to her, holding her by the shoulders. "Angel… Angel… tell me… are you… happy with me?"

Her eyes narrowed a little. "Zen?"

"You know I would do anything to keep you happy. I would do anything for you." He grabbed her neck and kissed her quickly and roughly. "All you have to do is ask."

"I know, Zen. I know."

"Then… in return… I… I need to know…" He closed his eyes, leaning on her as her hands held him up. "Are you… loyal… to me?"

"What… why do you ask such of me?"

"Because… the empress told me… that she saw you last night… in bed with a demon." His eyes lifted to hers and sighed. "Just put my fears at rest… just tell me it's not true." What? Angel… Angel look at me. Meet my eye and tell me. Please… please just say it. "No." He gasped as he shook her quickly. "No… tell me it's not…. Tell me it's not true. Even if it's a lie, just tell me it's not true!"

"I won't lie to you Zen."

He let go and stepped away. He felt weak. He felt as if his heart had stopped. "You… you slept with him?" Angel nodded, her head turned away from him. "You gave him your body?" She nodded again. "Sesshomaru?" She took a moment then sighed and nodded. "How long has this been going on?"

"I have loved Sesshomaru since I was a student. We knew it could never be and put our feelings aside. But… it's not that easy."

He looked up at the ceiling, pain and sadness washing over him like a storm. "So I wasn't the first to have your body? I wasn't the first… to feel the delight of your soul in my hands."

She looked up and hurried to him, grabbing his shirt and holding it tight. "No, you were. Last night was the first time I was with Sesshomaru."

He stared at her, shocked and unable to think clearly. "So… was I second to look in your eyes?" Her face told him so. "Second to kiss you?" Her hands tightened as she held onto him. He felt hollow. The woman he loved… "So you were just an empty shell when you came here!"

"No." She pressed herself into him, holding him tight. "No Zen, I was your Kantra. Sesshomaru…"

As hard as he could manage, he pushed her away and grabbed her by the wrists. "STOP SAYING HIS NAME!" He shook her, gritting his teeth. "You are making me feel sick."

She stood under his grip and her face softened. "You say you want me to be happy. That you would do anything for me."

"I would."

"Then let me be with him."

"What?"

"Let… let me go. Give me your blessing to be free with the man I love."

"You… you love him?"

"With all my heart."

He let go of her and staggered backwards before and falls to his knees at her feet. "Angel… my… my Angel… the one I love more than the crown and the empire. Who I would give my whole world to." He bowed his head. "I can't. I can't let you go. That is the one thing… I can never do."

"Zen…"

He held up his hand, unable to look at her. "Please. Leave me." He found his way to his feet, shaking as he did but refusing to let her help him. "Everything… everything will be alright. I promise. I will clear everything and things will be fine. You'll see."

Rin narrowed her eyes in worry and confusion. "What do you mean? What are you going to do?"

"I told you; I'll make everything alright. Now… go to your room and wait for me. I'll come see you after this is finished."

Slowly, Angel took her leave and walked out but she stood silently by the door, listening as he went to another door and spoke with a guard. He gave an order that shocked her. "Find Sesshomaru… and kill him."

Covering her mouth, she hurried as fast as her feet and dress would allow her to the garden and found the inu as he prepared for their flight that afternoon. She ran, panting and exhausted. "Sesshomaru. Sesshomaru you have to get out of here."

He looked up and grabbed hold, stopping her from tripping over. "Why? What's happened?"

"Zen." She gasped, grabbing his shirt tighter. "Zen. He knows. He knows about us. He knows about you. He's given the order to have you killed."

"Then we must leave now."

"No." Rin shook her head several times. "No they will follow us. We can't escape them yet. You can, if you run as a demon, you can escape now."

He held her tighter, his eyes burning with devotion. "I won't leave you."

"I'll be fine, he won't hurt me. But you have to leave." She pushed him away but his arms kept her tight. "At once."

"Never."

"Sesshomaru." She thought for a moment then lifted her eyes to his. "Listen, there was a girl here, she had nightmares so the doctor gave her something to help her sleep. I still have some. I'll slip it into his tea. That way, he can't give the order to follow you. Come back when you've found somewhere we can live and be together." Her hand cupped his cheek as she reached up and kissed him, holding him as tight as she could. She parted from him slowly, her eyes closed. "I'll wait until you return."

"Rin… I can't leave you." He whispered in desperation before leaning down and kissing her, holding her tight.

They broke apart at the sound of men approaching the gardens, shouting orders to find the demon. Rin shook her head and pushed him a little harder. "You have no choice. I don't want to risk losing you. Please, Sesshomaru, for me, run."

Sesshomaru stared at the trees that hid them then at Rin. He could fight… but she was right, there was always a risk. Quickly, he pulled her in and kissed her as hard and as roughly as he could manage before hugged her and inhaling the scent. "I love you."

"I love you too. Now please, go!"

He looked once more into her eyes then turned and fled as fast as the wind. There were shouts as people tried to follow him but they soon faded away.

Rin took a deep sigh and looked up at the spring sky then closed her eyes. I'm a master of the snow. I called the snow and the snow came. Please… give me that power once more.

She took a deep breath and remembered the beat for the snow dance and began to swing her arms and lift her legs in time with the non-existent music. After about five minutes of the painful dance, the sky began to cloud over as the unseen forces answered her wish, moved by her devotion and dancing.

She danced, ignoring the pain as it consumed her. Somehow she slid herself out of her long thick dress until she was just in her under dress, making it much easier to move.

The air grew cold.

The hairs on her arms began to stand up.

She felt her breath hang around her.

And it snowed.

Gradually at first, but as she span on the spot, it grew faster and quicker. The gentle snowfall turned into a horrid blizzard in a matter of movements. The water of the pongs began to freeze, the ground covered with the white frozen water. She could hear the guards hunting Sesshomaru turn back, shocked by the change in weather. They turned and ran for cover while Rin danced in the storms heart, protected by a funnel of calm snow from the raging storm around her. The blizzard covered the whole of the palace and the city, growing deeper with each minute that passed.

It was beautiful to see the spring world turn back to winter but terrifying at the same time.

The woman danced and held out her hands, changing the dance in her mind so she was with her lover. She danced with him. He held her hand gently as she stood on one foot, balancing her out. He span her on the spot, holding her waist to keep her steady.

She held tight to his neck and felt his kiss. Her eyes fluttered open and she saw him before her, his golden eyes and snow white hair… he looked at her sadly and she felt tears in her eyes.

The ground at her feet was hard while the snow around her came to her knees. The blizzard was terrible and never giving.

She danced and danced for hours, eyes drifting from open to closed as the world grew colder and harsher.

Please, protect Sesshomaru. She begged in her dance, asking the snow she had summoned to hide him, to keep him safe, to cover his tracks and allow him to escape.

Her feet began to bleed from the effort of dancing and after hours of movement, she couldn't take it anymore. With the blizzard still sweeping around her, she fell to her knees and stopped, panting for breath. The snow continued to fall as she knelt on the blood covered ground, the only patch of clear earth in the garden.

She opened her eyes and looked up in the cold as the funnel of falling snow fell apart and the blizzard came to consume her. She shook, unable to control the snow anymore. Her arms weren't able to hold her weight and her heart broke. The storm fell silent as she collapsed into the snow, her eyes drifting shut and she fell still as a soft wind wrapped over her, blowing some of the loose snow over the body and lifting her soul up to the heavens.

Sesshomaru stopped. A snowflake drifted down in his eyes and landed on his skin before fading away. Others followed it, landing to his body with such softness and so gently… they almost felt like a fleeting kiss.

He turned on the road and looked behind him. The capital was far behind by now but he could see that it was coated in a thick layer of snow, preventing anyone from leaving or following him.

In the middle of spring… snow had fallen, coating the world in white and purity.

He looked at the snow as it passed over him, a soft glitter of kisses on his skin. He felt water run down his cheek and his knees gave way, realising what had happened.

To protect him… Rin had given her life to the snow she danced for.

Now, she was saying her goodbye. His eyes closed as he felt the snow fall and heard the wind in his ear. Sesshomaru, my love. Remember our dance and that I am and always will be yours. The snow is for you.

The tears continued until the snow stopped and Rin passed on away from him. I will always remember… the greatest Kantra. Rin… my love.

The End