Summary: Rin is forced to stay behind when her Lord is summoned to war oversea. How long would she have to wait for her Lord's return to be happy again?
Author's Note: It's necessary for me to write this note because of some issues with this story. My site has been down for a while and many of you want to reread the original while waiting for the new version to come out. This original story is here in one chapter and will stay until I complete the 2nd version. Sorry and enjoy the original until then.
Rin's Waiting (Original1-14 chapters)
Chapter 1: Summoning
The great demon lord of the Western Land looked over his shoulder to the two short followers. His face showed no emotions yet concerns and thoughts were stirring within.
He turned back to the inuyoukai before him. The inuyoukai was a warrior friend of his father. Hiarkri was of the Black Dog clan. He had told him about the Red Dragons, the youkai from the far west, pushing it's way toward east to where they are, trying to take the lands.
It was Era of the Warlord, the Sengoku Jidai. Now, with the Red Dragons coming toward them, claming the lands that they passed though for powers. Their next goal was the large island of Japan.
It was his land that is in danger. He had to go and defend it.
"Give me few days. I will join you afterward. I have to do something first." SesshoMaru's amber eyes turned back to the two short followers, ready to leave.
The dog demon started to leap off. "Thank you. We really need your help. You'd be involved in this one way or another. Sometime later, they will take your land."
SesshoMaru didn't reply back. Looking down at the two companions. "Jaken, we're going back to the Palace. Come Rin."
"Awk, SesshoMaru-Sama, is what he said true?" The ugly green little youkai squawked.
"Yes. Red Dragons are closer."
"Aiii! What are we going to do?"
"For now. We are going to the large village where Lady Hikariko came from."
The green toad youkai, Jaken gulped audibly. He knew Lady Hikariko, who was InuYasha's mother in the past.
Why did his lord wishes to go to the village?
The second follower giggled as she paused to pluck some flowers they had passed by, being native about everything around her. "Look SesshoMaru!" She held up the flowers high. SesshoMaru didn't turn his head but he glanced to see. "Smell pretty! Rin like!"
The girl started to weave the flowers together and turned it into a crown. She placed it upon her black hair. The scent of the flower was forever woven into her hair and skin.
Rin was the reason he had to go to the human village of his stepmother. With the upcoming warring with the Red Dragons, he could not allow Rin to follow him to death.
She had grown older since she started to follow him everywhere. It had been few years and she is coming to the age where innocent would leave her.
There would be things she needed to learn. Things she needed to hear from women, not from him. Even if Jaken was his choice to teach her during their travel around the Western Land as she grow older. Now it was time he must leave her behind with someone else who is more appropriate for her.
Rin needed humans to grow up around. She is human and it is time for her to go and be on her way. He knew someone in the village who would take her in and teach her things she needed to know.
By late afternoon, they had reached near the village. He stopped and turned to the two followers. "Jaken, go to the palace and wait for me."
"Yes, SesshoMaru-Sama." Jaken squawked and took off. Knowing better to not defy his lord.
Rin tilted her head as she watched Jaken take off then looked up at SesshoMaru with her big sweet brown eyes. The crown of flower toppled on her head.
SesshoMaru reached to fix it. "Come here, Rin." He reached down slightly to pick up her. She may have grown taller but she was still slender as ever and she was still easy to carry.
He mainly avoided the village, going around it, not wanting to bring troubles among the frightful humans. He got to the place where he wanted to go; a large mansion loomed before them on one end of the village. This was once the home of Lady Hikariko. Now someone in her family's descendant lived there.
He graced the mansion and entered the front door. The servant came around and gasped, frozen in his spot as he saw the taiyoukai.
"SesshoMaru wishes to speak with Lady Karei." He knew who lived here. He had passed though the area before, inspecting his land, also to his dislike, he had to go though the village to speak with some of the human. This village was the largest one in the area, acting as a capital among the smaller ones near his land.
The servant nodded and hurriedly to inform his mistress of the unexpected, perhaps an unwelcome guest.
Rin fiddled around with her crown of flowers as she sat in SesshoMaru's arm. A flower came loose and floated down to the floor, and hand picked it up. She looked up to find a handsome woman in deep green kimono and long gray black hair greeting them.
"SesshoMaru-sama. Never thought you would grace this house." She handed the flower to Rin.
Rin smiled as she took the flower back and quickly fixed her crown of flower as SesshoMaru followed the woman into a room that looked like an office in ancient Japan standard.
The woman sat down on the mat before a small table with brushes and parchment. "I sense that you needed something from me."
SesshoMaru glared at her icily, not liking the woman very much. This woman act like she is his equal, he never liked this very much for human to think equal as Lord SesshoMaru. "Lady Karei, I, SesshoMaru have come here for one reason only."
"And?" She picked up a brush and started to work on the parchment.
SesshoMaru nearly growled. Rin felt it and knew that he didn't like the woman somehow.
"Rin need to be cared for."
The lady looked up. "And this Rin is this child?" She asked, looking at Rin.
Rin's delicate brows furrowed slightly. She didn't like what she heard and didn't understand completely. Had this had to do with what her lord was talking with the youkai earlier?
SesshoMaru sensed confusion and dilemma from Rin. He tightened his hold around Rin slightly, trying to assure her that everything will be all right. "Yes."
"Why? From what I heard, you were doing all right with raising her yourself."
SesshoMaru kept a cool face. "Something important came up. This SesshoMaru do not wish for Rin to be involved."
The lady stood up. "I will take her in. She looked like she will need to be raised the right way, the woman way."
SesshoMaru turned his nose up. "SesshoMaru and Rin will return." He turned and left.
Lady Karei shook her head. "That youkai puzzles Lady Karei." She muttered, mocking SesshoMaru.
Rin remained quiet the whole time she was in SesshoMaru's arm. She knew something was wrong. She nuzzled into his furry tail that was draped over his shoulder, waiting for her lord to stop at his desired place.
SesshoMaru put a distance between the village and himself. He found a creek and decided it was the place. He landed from his cloud and set Rin down.
"Go drink." He commanded her and sat down at the base of a large tree. He watched Rin take drink from the cool creek and washed her face. The crown of flower still sat upon her head.
"Come here." Rin left the creek and settled herself on SesshoMaru's lap. It was something she was allowed to do. She had always loved sitting or curling up in her lord's lap, listening to whatever he had to say, even if he almost never say anything.
"Rin understand?" He asked, gazing into her chocolate eyes.
She looked up at his amber eyes and nodded. "SesshoMaru want Rin stay with the Lady?"
Rin's face started to fall into sadness. "Why?"
"This SesshoMaru has to go away. To a place where Rin should not go."
Rin frowned. "Rin don't want to stay with the lady. Rin want to stay with SesshoMaru."
He nearly winced as he saw tears coming out of the pretty chocolate eyes. "Rin must stay." He simply commanded.
Rin, of all the time, usually obeyed her lord, did something unexpected. She cried and defied. "No! Rin stay with SesshoMaru! Rin go with SesshoMaru!" She finally broke down and sobbed into his kimono.
SesshoMaru's silver brow creased together as he held the crying child in his arm. A strange pain panged in his chest. Was this truly that he became attached to the child?
He then whispered, almost against his wishes. "SesshoMaru wishes this not true."
Rin looked up, wiping her eyes with the sleeve of her kimono. "SesshoMaru promises to come back for Rin?"
He gazed into her shining eyes and felt himself nod against his wish. Finally letting emotion defeats him. "Yes. SesshoMaru promises to come back for Rin."
Rin smiled. This time, her smile only made his heart heavy. She then snuggled up in his arm, letting the tail drape over her as he held her close. She closed her eyes, letting herself lost into dreams.
SesshoMaru sat there for a long time, just holding Rin. He then realized he didn't want to leave her behind and knew he would miss her terribly. He looked down to see a contended look on the child's face as he caressed her cheek delicately with his claws.
He brought Rin up closer, nuzzling his nose into the junction of her neck, inhaling the wild flower scent about her. Rin stirred in his arms and then settled again.
He got up, careful to not wake Rin up.
SesshoMaru settled Rin down in her new futon, in her new room as they got back. He pulled up the blanket and brushed her hair away from her face.
Lady Karei watched from the doorway, showing no emotion toward the taiyoukai. "Rin will be safe in my care."
SesshoMaru turned and walked past the woman, leaving.
"Not that I needed your thanks." She murmured under her breath as she closed the door behind her.
SesshoMaru stopped and turned back. "SesshoMaru care deeply for Rin. Anything happens…" His claws lengthen as green mist started to glow around his fingers.
Lady Karei raised an eyebrow at him. "You don't trust me. If anything happen to Rin, you may have my life."
She watched the youkai leave her domain. Surprised that the great lord cared deeply for the child he had left in her care. It was very rare, almost never that SesshoMaru told the truth from his heart. And proved that he had a heart.
She sighed, knowing she had just signed contract for her life with the devil to make sure Rin remain unharmed.
Chapter 2: Rejection
The next morning, Rin woke up and looked around, she was in the strange room. Realizing what had happened, she cried. Then she felt stinging pain on her neck and moved to feel it and found she had some wound there and cried more.
Lady Karei came in the room, hearing her cry. "Rin-Chan, are you okay?"
Rin looked up and sniffled, she shook her head no.
"Oh, child." The woman knelt beside Rin's futon.
Rin scooted further away from the woman. The woman was a stranger; she remembered that she met her yesterday when SesshoMaru-Sama brought her here. No! SesshoMaru didn't leave her!
She got out of the futon and ran down the hall, trying to find the way out. She ran around, searching frantically, the place was strange and she couldn't find her way out. She finally gave up and slid down one of the wall, fist thumping against it she cried into the other hand. Could had her life with SesshoMaru-Sama been a dream? The wound on her neck was like the one she had when the wolves bit her and killed her.
Lady Karei found her huddled up in the corner. "Rin-Chan, come on. This is your home now. You belong here with us."
Rin stared up, her eyes were rimmed red and tears caked on her face. She shook her head, saying no.
Lady Karei knelt and picked up Rin. Rin didn't struggle but let Lady Karei take her wherever. They came to a room with long table filled with food.
Rin sat, stared at the food, not picking at them.
"Lady Karei. Since she had been here, she had not said a word." A handmaiden leaned over, whispering.
"I know. Give her time."
Rin got up and made her way back to the bedroom where she first found herself in and crawled under the blanket, staring out of the window. The forest swayed in the soft breeze outside her window.
"SesshoMaru-Sama…comes back." She whispered as tears started to flow.
The woman of the house looked up. She had followed Rin from the dining room. After Rin closed the door, she stood there.
She heard the words from Rin's lips, pleading for her lord to come back. Her lord will not come back for a long time that she knew. Yet it broke her heart that the child lost someone she cared deeply for. As she guessed, life in youkai world is different and tougher than the world she lives in.
It took a long time to coax Rin out of her silence. She slowly begun to eat again, hunger finally getting her. She didn't smile or talk for a long time.
Rin was an unexceptionally strange child, she didn't object or fight anything but did everything she was told to do.
"Rin-Chan likes to go outside today?" Lady Karei asked, hoping Rin would finally bring herself out of the bedroom where she hid herself most of the time.
The girl looked up and nodded.
"Come on then." Lady Karei felt hope surge as she got up.
Rin treaded behind Lady Karei, looking around her as they walked though the village to the shops.
Children stopped playing around to look at her. Few of them whispered, wanting to know who she is. Some parents took their younger children away, as if they were afraid of Rin.
Rin's face scrunched up a bit. They were afraid of her. She soon brought herself closer to Lady Karei.
A boy stood from a crowd of other boys. He was taller and a bit older. He had black hair held in short ponytail.
Rin gulped as she caught his mean glare and looked away. She didn't like the way the boy glared at her.
"Rin, why don't you go and play with some of the children?" Lady Karei stopped as she turned to Rin.
Rin looked up, fear was almost hidden in her eyes. She shook her head.
"Come on, I will introduce you to someone." The woman took Rin's hand and started to drag her toward the boy she saw earlier. "Ramaru! Come here!"
The tall boy smiled sweetly at the woman and bowed. "Lady Karei."
"Ramaru, this is Rin. She just came here few days ago and now is living with me. It would do greatly if you show her around and be friend with her."
Rin hid behind the woman's kimono, peeking out.
The boy nodded. "Will do, milady. Hey there." The boy seemed nice enough.
Lady Karei stepped away from Rin and pushed her toward the boy. "Now, you kids have fun. I will be shopping."
Rin's eyes widened slightly as the woman slipped away from her, leaving her with the boy.
The boy's face changed into a menacing look. "Now, what do we got here?" He grinned, mischievous glinted in his eyes.
One of the boys on his side grinned as well. "Mom said she had been left by a youkai."
"Ah, so we got ourselves a 'Demon's Daughter'. Aren't you?"
Rin stared at the boys, showing no expression on her face.
Ramaru laughed. "We're going to have fun with you…" He reached out to grab Rin's arm but Rin was faster. She turned and sprinted off toward the forest.
"Hey! Come back here!" Ramaru shouted. "Guess we'll wait for her to come around to have fun."
The other boys laughed.
Chapter 3: Intelligent
Lady Karei worried for Rin, the kids weren't getting along with her at all. She had heard everything every time they both walked into the village. Only Rin would talk to the adults a bit, mostly asking questions about anything in general.
She looked down and found Rin nearly attached to her kimono. Ever since she finally opened up a bit, she became attached to her, looking around with look on her face that told the world that she trusted no one.
"Rin, we're here."
Rin let go of her kimono and followed her into the store, still close behind.
"Look at that! Such a drab girl in wealthy clothes, it's not right." One of the girls from the village whispered behind a fan to the other girls. The others giggled.
"You're right. She should go back where she came from. Heard she lived with dogs."
"Yeah, she's a dog girl."
Lady Karei heard it and shot a look at the older girl. "Shame on you! Saying those things about Rin, not even getting to know her!"
The older girl gasped and hurriedly retreated the store with the others.
"Come on Rin. Let's get what we needed."
The girl gathered the things and placed them in the basket that Lady Karei carried. They paid for their things and left the stores.
Rin saw someone, a blacksmith man of the village. She ran from Lady Karei. "Hello!"
She smiled shyly, watching him pound at the metal.
"Hello yourself. What piped your curiosity today?" The blacksmith asked, smiling though his thick-sooted moustache.
"What are you making? What is it for? Have you ever made something like an strong armors?"
The man laughed. "All just a horseshoe today. Business's slow. And, yes, I had made strong armors."
Lady Karei smiled and called to the child. "Rin, I will be in this store for a few minutes."
Rin turned and waved back to her foster mother. She turned back to the blacksmith. "Why don't you make something different, something like weapons, you never know if the bad youkai would come around? I've seen some."
The man peered down at the girl over the anvil. "You think so. It had been rather quiet around here."
"Won't be soon." Rin rocked on the back of her heels, watching the blacksmith pound more on the red horseshoe. "Since SesshoMaru-Sama's gone. They will come around."
"Hm, maybe. Even I had nothing much else to do today, I think I might make a few good arrowheads. Been wanting to make some with the design I created."
Rin grinned. "Really? What do they look like?"
The blacksmith turned away, putting the horseshoe into the bucket of water, it sizzled. He wiped his hands on his apron and searched around for a piece of paper.
"Ah, here it is. The design I came up. Mighty vicious."
The child took the paper and looked at the picture of several design of the arrowheads, some had barbs on it and other were long and narrow.
"That's good!" She exclaimed.
"Rin! Time to go!" The child handed back the paper and bowed. She turned and ran to Lady Karei.
"One more stops before we go home."
The girl looked up at her foster mother, wondering something else. Something that had plagued her mind for a long time, she decided it was time to ask. "Why SesshoMaru don't like you?"
The woman stopped, looking down at Rin. "What made you say that?"
Rin shrugged. "SesshoMaru didn't like you. I can tell."
Lady Karei shifted her eyes up, staring forward. SesshoMaru didn't like any human; maybe some expectations for some, however, there are none she knew but Rin. But this was direct, why did SesshoMaru dislike her. She was one of the fewest human that he was willing to talk to directly, almost on an equal level.
Then it hit her. "He didn't like me because he didn't like people to talk or act equal as he is. He must be superior above all."
Rin grinned. "That is SesshoMaru-Sama."
They stopped at the village council house and entered. Several men were already in the council house, talking about various issues.
"Haken, what is it you had called me here?" Lady Karei walked up to a man that looked important. He was the head of the village, next wealthy to Lady Karei's family. Their family had strong allies for many generations.
"Aa, Lady Karei." He bowed as she did. "No troubles yet, just need to check on inventory around the village, you are last."
Lady Karei stood back up, adjusting her basket around her arm. "Everything is stable in my inventory for the next two months."
"Two months? I thought it would may be a bit longer than that."
The woman smiled and patted Rin on her back as she stood by the woman's side. "Had an addition to the family, didn't you forget?"
Haken looked down and grinned. "Ah, that child. I heard from my son about her."
Lady Karei's face darkened slightly. "Your son."
The man sighed. "I know. He had said cruel things. But, let's not worry about that now. Reason why I am checking the inventory around the village because we are going to have a little problem for the next supply feed from the farm. Smaller youkai had been seen invading the farm, eating the crop and stealing them lately."
Little they knew that Rin was listening to the whole thing and thoughts were churning in her mind. They went into descript details of what kind of youkai they had seen, rats, crows and other critters of the youkai world. She knew of them and remembered that Lord SesshoMaru disliked them eating their way in his massive home and somehow did something to rid of them all. She remembered it was some sort of youkai barrier.
"So, our next crop would be smaller?"
"Yes, we are trying to protect the crops. I don't know what else we can do to get rid of them."
Rin looked up at Haken and smiled. She had idea what to do and she would have to do it herself, maybe if she succeeded, they would accept her.
Lady Karei bowed and bade farewell, leaving the council house with Rin.
That night, Rin rose from her futon. She had dressed secretively before going to bed. She crept to the hallway and looked around, the entire house was silent. She had very little time to do what she had to do. Going back in her room, she went to the window and climbed out, trying to be silent as she slipped out. The moon was nearly full and she was glad that it was bright enough to light her path.
The forest behind the Mansion was vast but beyond two miles, the Youkai Forest begun from there. If she had walked for several days, she would be deep and close to her Lord's home. But that wasn't necessary. She knew her way around and had to be quick to get to some place not very far. It would be a half-day walk.
Thankfully she knew the area very well. She dodged every obstacle easily as she could. It was very quiet this night. Not afraid for any youkai to attack her anymore. Lately, they had been quiet and left the human alone most of the time.
The moon started to dip lower in the sky, indicating that morning was approaching.
Stopping before a foothill close to the mountain. This was where she could find something. No smaller youkai treaded around here because of the rocks. Those rocks proved to be some kind of barrier. She looked up and smiled, she had found them.
Walking around and searching and remembering at few time, she was sent here with Jaken to gather the rocks to set up the barrier around SesshoMaru's domain to ward off the small critters that caused damage.
Smiling as she picked up some rocks and turned them over to see if they were strong or weak. The stronger one emitted very low buzzing sound, it was unheard for human ears, but somehow she could hear them. She placed several in her bag that she brought. Filling it up. Morning was already approaching fast. She had to get back.
Running along the way back home, she ran hard, ignoring the heavy pack on her back. She had gotten home in time just before Lady Karei woke up. Slipping in though the window, she froze as the servant passed by her door. She didn't want to make too much noise. Finally, when it was safe, she slipped back in and shrugged off the outer kimono and placed it with the other that was to be washed soon. She crept toward her bed and slipped in, waiting for a servant to come and rouse her in few minutes.
She had hid the bag of rocks behind the house in the bushes near her window. She had no worry that anyone would find it. If someone did, they would only find bag full of plain looking rocks.
To youkai eyes and ears, they were different. The rocks glowed yellowish and buzzed. The smaller critter hated the rocks, the buzzes hurt their ears at a level and the glow stings their eyes and noses.
Rin was smiling, happy to be able to help.
After she was roused, washed and dressed. She ate her breakfast fast as she could.
"Rin, Rin-Chan, what is in the world wrong with you today?" Lady Karei asked as she sipped her tea, watching the child eat at a breakneck speed, so unlady-like.
"Gomen ne, I want to go outside today. May I?" She slowed her pace.
Lady Karei gave a small chuckle. "Very well, if you are so eager to go outside. At least be lady like at the table. I don't want to see that again."
Rin bowed. "Gomen, gomen ne. May I go out now?"
"Yes, you may, but come back, you have calligraphy lesson this afternoon."
"Thank you!" She sprinted out of the door and made a beeline toward the bushes where she hid her possessions.
Making her way around the village in the forest to avoid the children and the adults. She didn't want anyone to question her or stop her from doing her mission. She finally got to the large farm that supplied for the village. It spread several miles out, divided in different sections for different kind of crops. The nearest section to the village was smaller vegetations. She would begin there.
Hiding in some bushes nearby, she watched the farmers go about, waiting for the right time to plant the rocks. She would only plant them near the section, but not near, knowing they would dig it up and throw it away.
She started to plant the rock slightly underground, but only leaving it sticking out, just enough to set up the barrier. It took her most of the morning to set up the barrier around one section. It would take her time to complete the entire farm. The rocks had to be laid out around the area, enough to radiate the barrier around the area. She knew it would work because a critter ventured out, not seeing her nearby and retreated back as it hit the barrier.
She smiled as she walked back home, stopping by the Youkai Forest to gather some flowers that grew there.
Haken stood before the farm near the village with several other farmers near the end of the season. "You telling me this now? That the crops is thriving, not a single bite from those critters?"
One of the farmers was baffled. "Yes, Haken-san. It started sometime early in the season, they just stopped coming around. We have not seen hide nor hair of those critters anymore. Look like we will have plentiful of supply this year."
Haken rubbed his chin, thinking. "Good. Something must have warded off the critters. At least, the gods is on our side."
Rin looked up from gathering the flowers. It had taken her long time to plant the rocks around the farm and she had finished. Smiling proud of her own work. She stood up and walked away.
Haken turned his head, surprised to see Rin around. She was smiling, walking away. He frowned; he had been told that Rin was seen around the farm in the past season. Maybe she had something to do with the farm but shrugged it off, at least they were getting good crop this year.
Haken decided to keep close eyes on Rin. His son had called her 'Demon's Daughter' out of cruelty. It was partly true; Rin was left with Lady Karei by the taiyoukai several years ago. But, he didn't know how long Rin was with the taiyoukai before that.
Rin was mysterious; she kept mostly to herself from the children. He didn't blame her so for being unsocial with the other children. Yet, she was very curious about everything, asking questions about everything that a child shouldn't worry about. Sometime, she would offer some suggestion and idea. Most of time it were ignored and turned away until nothing else worked.
He had a suspicious that Rin had to do most with the farm and the other youkai in the area. It had never been so peaceful like this before, less youkai came around. Their farm was thriving better. They had more than enough food to last them though winter.
Rin often hung around with the blacksmith. The blacksmith, Auren didn't complain about her company but welcomed it.
Haken soon found that the blacksmith Auren created new kind of weapons, spears and arrowhead that were better. He went to investigate and found that Rin had inspired Auren to create such things from her wild tales of stories of her traveling in the past.
The weapon made the village a big profit with the other traveler that passed though.
One day, Haken went up to Lady Karei after couple of years.
"Lady Karei, have you noticed that in the last couple of years, the village fiancé had improved and the crops had been thriving?"
"Yes." She poured tea for her old friend. "Why do you ask that?"
The man leaned against the table, sipping the tea. "I think Rin had to do something about it."
Rin gulped as she passed by the dining area. She had overheard her name and listened a bit.
Haken looked up at the woman whom he knew since childhood. "I don't know. Ever since she came here, things improved from better to best. The weapons, Auren-san said it was Rin who inspired him. As for other supplies, I checked, every time, somewhere, Rin is always mentioned."
Lady Karei smiled. "I don't know much. Rin go out as she please as long she does not cause trouble, has she?"
Haken shook his head. "No. In fact, I appreciate it. But I do want to know how and why she does it."
"Rin kept things to herself most of the time. She is very smart girl, very special. I enjoy having her around so much that…" She looked down to her tea, her voice becoming almost a whisper. "That SesshoMaru would never come back to get her."
Rin gasped, she had heard it and ran off, off to the place where she enjoyed her time alone the most. The Youkai Forest.
Chapter 4: Friendship
Rin sat behind some bushes after she ran away from the village children. They were cruel to her again today. This time, Ramaru decided to pelt her with small stones and the other kids joined him.
She never liked the kids, she had yelled her profanity words she knew and ran to the place where she felt safe. The place was several miles outside the village, in the middle of the forest where no one truly treaded because the youkai aura was strong in the area. But she didn't care; she was fearless for any youkai.
There were one kind of youkai that lived in the area and she loved to watch them. The most beautiful creature she had ever seen in the youkai world, next to her lord.
She plucked the flowers from the bushes around her and started to weave them, watching the youkai that ran across the field before her.
They were similar to horses in the village, but much bigger and stronger. Much more like the Chinese horse in body stock with shell like bone ridge that started from the middle of the nose toward up the head and down it's back, ending as a tail. The hair grew on the side, surrounding the massive neck, few treaded over the long pointy ears down the face.
In the middle of the ridge on the forehead, there was a long sharp horn stuck out in the middle.
The legs were also different. Bands grew out of the shanks, knees, they were similar to the bony ridge but smoother and you could count the rings, as if they were of the age, like the rings of tree. Some of the creatures had many and some had few.
On the bottom, near the back of the heels, there are horns as well, the front were shorter than the rears. The color of the horns was lighter than the bands.
There was one that fascinated her, a beautiful golden white creature with transcendent white hair. The bands and the ridge were deep blue. It had red marking running down from the tip of the ears to the cheek, like a stripe.
This very creature reminded her of her lord. She felt contended to watch the creatures from the distance, enjoyed to watch them run around the field in pack. Sometime some would wander away and eat the grass and the flowers alone.
One time recently, there was a birth of a creature, looking very frail and small. But she was surprised to find the baby creature powerful. Another creature came venturing in the area and attacked the baby creature. But before the other youkai could actually attack the foal creature, the skin gave off a kind of poisonous aura, killing the attacker immediately. Rin giggled as she watched the creatures roam around, forgetting her problems back in the village. She had heard one time those creatures were rare and almost never seen, close to becoming a myth and legends to the human. She heard the name of the creatures; they were the T'ang Steed, or else, the Dragon Horse.
She wondered if those creatures could be like the Ah-Un, a kind of two headed, four-legged youkai that SesshoMaru had with him during the traveling. She had often ridden on top of the Ah-Un.
Taking the flowers she had woven, she settled them on top of her head, like a crown as usual. She lay down on her belly, watching the one T'ang Steed.
The golden white T'ang Steed looked up from grazing and turned its head toward the area where Rin hid. It snorted and stared, knowing someone was watching. But it didn't mind, knowing it was the same child that watched them with no fear, as long the child did not bring the others to them. It shook its head, shaking the hair and returned to grazing the grass.
Rin got up, it was time to go home and help with dinner soon. Sighing, she took the crown of flower, placing it down where she once laid and left.
The golden white T'ang Steed trotted toward the place and sniffed the crown of flower, looking up to see Rin retreating back to the village.
"Look! It's the Demon's Daughter!" Ramaru shouted, pointing to Rin who came out of the front of the Mansion.
Rin shot the older boy a mean look. "Just leave me alone!"
Ramaru laughed and walked up to the girl, his friends following behind him. "I don't think so. I am bored. Maybe you could help me with something."
Rin turned her head and held her nose high as she walked away.
The black-haired boy's face became dark. "I said, you're going to help me with something."
Rin ignored him as she walked toward the forest.
The boy walked to her and grabbed her arm roughly, turning her to face him. Rin gasped and furrowed her brows together, glaring at the older boy.
"I have an idea. Why don't you go into the youkai forest and bring us back something?" Ramaru smirked.
"Come on. I know there is some T'ang Steed there. Bring me back the horn of one of them."
Rin shook her head. "No. There is no T'ang Steed anywhere. They don't exist anymore." She had lied easily. She knew that the horn of the T'ang Steed could make the person stronger if it were grounded and sprinkled in the food.
Ramaru's face became dark with mischief. "Yes, you will get me that horn or else."
Rin kept a straight face, not showing the pain that Ramaru had applied to her arm. He was stronger and bigger than she was but she would not give in. It was something she learned long ago.
Soon, she was being dragged against her will toward the Youkai Forest. She pounded and trashed in Ramaru's grips.
The boy was getting tired of the wild girl and shook her then slapped her. "Shut up! You stupid girl!"
Rin gasped and held her stinging cheek. He had slapped her hard. She looked back up from the ground where she fell and snarled as she could. She leap up and flew at Ramaru, attacking him with all she got.
The two rolled around, trashed against each other, hitting, starching and pulling at each other. Rin was strong for her age, she wouldn't let anyone put her down or make her do something she wouldn't do. She was weak before, died in the teeth of the wolves. She wouldn't let that happen again. If she must fight for her life, for her self, she would.
The three friends of Ramaru gasped as they watched Rin and Ramaru fight.
"Come on! Ramaru, the adults will hear us, let's go!" One pleaded. The others agreed.
Ramaru flipped over and drew back his arm, releasing one final blow to Rin's eye, giving her a serious black eye, causing it to bleed along with her bloody nose and lips.
Rin didn't yell or cry. But when the last blow came, she blacked out.
Ramaru stood up, wiping his nose with his arm, looking down at Rin. "Stupid girl. Don't deserve to live." He brushed his clothes and walked back to the village with his friends following behind.
One asked another, whispering behind the older boy's back. "You think he killed her?"
"I hope not."
The golden white T'ang Steed lifted its head up from a hiding place, swiveling its ears to hear something in the distance. It sounded like some kids fighting. It stood up and winced, the front leg were wounded and there were broken horns and marred scars across its gold white body. Ignoring the pain, it trotted silently in the forest, curious.
Familiar smell hit its nose. It was the child, but there were something else. Blood. Its midnight blue eyes narrowed into slits as it trotted further, determined to find the child.
It found her lying near the field where it was banished. Not daring to go near but circled the girl on the ground, beaten up. The other kids had gone long before.
The girl was bleeding a lot from different place of her body. The T'ang Steed inched closer until its nose nuzzled Rin's shoulder, to see if she is alive.
Rin stirred and moaned slightly. Her good eye cracked open a bit, seeing blurs.
The T'ang Steed stayed, nuzzling more, wanting to arouse the girl from unconsciousness.
Rin rubbed her good eye and winced at the other one being swollen shut, blood caked her face and arms. Surely, few ribs were broken also.
The vision became clear and she was staring into the midnight blue eyes of the golden white T'ang Steed. She wanted to gasp but kept still and quiet.
You are wounded as I am.
Rin stared, her good eye widened. Didn't she hear that?
Are you rejected by your own? It asked.
Rin nodded. "They don't like me."
You understand me. You understand the youkai language?
The girl stood up, still staring at the T'ang Steed. "Youkai language? I don't know but I think I understand you. You are hurt too."
The T'ang Steed bobbed its head up and down, shaking the wild white hair. I know you. You watched us for a long time.
Rin smiled. "Yeah, I think you're beautiful."
The T'ang Steed came closer and rubbed its nose on Rin's arm. You are strong, come with me so we can heal together. Then it turned to walk away as Rin followed.
"What are you called?" Rin asked, then realizing it was a stupid question, she then shut her mouth.
The T'ang Steed stopped and turned. I am called Hoshino. Of the Stars. What are you called?
Rin smiled her toothy grin. "Rin."
Little Rin. We are one of kinds, rejected by our own. We shall heal together and stand strong together. Hoshino knelt down and lay on her side. Rin then joined her and lay back on the massive body, curled up near the bended legs. Hoshino started to lick Rin's wound, healing it instantly. I will help you if you help me.
"I will help you. I know some flowers that will help you. I helped a youkai once before."
Tell me about it. I do smell youkai on you. An InuYoukai.
Rin giggled and started to tell the beautiful creature her story.
"Rin had been missing for several days!" Lady Karei cried. She had called several men over to conduct a search for the little Rin.
Few of the men were wary to search for Rin. They didn't really want to find the child since she was the 'Demon's Daughter'.
"We searched the area in the forest around the village." One of them reported.
The other leaned on his staff. "Yeah. There is no way she would go into the Youkai Forest. No one would dare to venture in there."
Haken remained quiet, listening. The others were not so willing to search for Rin. He wanted to find her as much his old friend does.
Lady Karei snapped her head up. "What? Youkai Forest, why didn't you think of it! Rin would go in! You forget; she does not fear youkai!"
The other men looked at each other.
Haken finally spoke up. "If she did. She would be dead."
"Find her! I don't care! You must find her!"
"But Milady, we can't tread though the Youkai Forest, it is unsaid." Another man said, Haken scowled inwardly at the other men, cowards, he thought of them.
"I don't care!" She nearly snarled and cried more. She was afraid for Rin's life as much she was for her own life.
"We will search the Youkai Forest." Haken announced, glaring at the other, daring them to defy him.
Lady Karei waved her hand and sobbed as her handmaiden tried to sooth her.
The men spilled out of the front Mansion and gathered with few more men.
"Youkai Forest now. One more day, we have to be careful. I don't know why this Rin is so important to Lady Karei."
One man stepped forward. "She's the child of Lord SesshoMaru. You know how vicious he is."
Haken tuned his head to the man. "SesshoMaru-Sama. I know that."
"SesshoMaru-Sama came two years ago one night, bringing Rin to Lady Karei, asking her to care for the child. One thing I overheard that night. Lady Karei swore on her life to keep the child safe. This is not to be told to anyone, but I think all of you should know."
That surprised Haken. Why had not she told him of that? "Thank you. Let's go."
The men set out, scattered to spread though the forest, and the Youkai Forest to find the missing girl.
The search went on all day and nearly though the night.
"Damn it. She's no where to be seen!" The man from one of the group reported as they gathered together. Haken was already angry. It was very late in the night and all of the men were weary.
"Should we look more?" One asked.
"I think we should go back to the village and start again early in the morning. The chores and the farm will have to wait another day."
"Some of us should stay behind and tend to the chores, switch places, taking turns to look for Rin." The other offered.
"All right. Let's go." Haken feigned defeat, started to head back then stopped as he heard some rustling. He turned and held the torch and the spear in his hands, squinting to see in the darkness. "Who's there?" He shouted, ready to attack whatever would come out of the bushes. They were near the Youkai Forest.
The bushes rustled a bit more and some giggling sound floated from it. The men looked at each other in confusion and stared ahead.
Small hands pushed the bushes aside and Rin came out. "Oh, hi!"
"Rin!" Haken cried in relief, dropped the spear and knelt before the child, checking her over to see if she were all right. Her clothes were a bit torn and bloody, but she looked fine otherwise.
"What happened?" He asked, checking her arms and face, trying to find any evidence of damage.
Rin shrugged. "Didn't think you all wanted me. Got in fight with Ramaru."
The leader stood up, red in the face, angry with his son for driving her away. "Ramaru? What did he do to you?"
Rin looked up at Haken. But being a girl and she had to be proper, told the truth.
"Ramaru is going to be punished for this. Rin, never venture too far in the forest, there are youkai out there that would eat you up without second thought. Do you want that?" Then the man knelt again, whispering. "SesshoMaru-Sama wouldn't like that."
Rin nodded, innocent shining in her eyes. "But I was fine. Someone took care of me and helped me."
Haken drew back, knowing better to not question the child any further to the evidence on her; she was healed completely compared to the amount of blood on her kimono. "Let get you back to Lady Karei." He picked up Rin and carried her back with the rest of the men following behind, murmuring to each other about what had just happened.
Ramaru kept his head down, standing in the front of the Mansion with his father beside him. He had been scolded and punished. Now he had to apologize to Rin.
Lady Karei came though the door with Rin in tow, hiding behind her kimono.
"Ramaru, apologize to the girl." Haken pushed him forward.
Lady Karei tugged to pull Rin from behind. They both stood facing each other with heads bowed down to the ground. Rin was scowling while Ramaru was ashamed.
"I'm sorry. Glad you came back all right." He still sported bruises and cuts from the fight they had few days ago.
Rin looked up, the scowl on her face faded a bit but was still there. "S'oky." She murmured. Then felt a sharp pat on the back and spoke properly. "Thank you. You are forgiven."
Ramaru looked up at Rin and grinned. "You're tough. Wanna be friends?" He held out a hand.
Rin raised an eyebrow. "I still don't like you but I will hang out with you. Do anything, I'll…"
"Rin!" Her foster mother gasped.
"S'okay! You can punch me anytime you want." Ramaru grinned wider.
Rin shyly smiled and took his hand to shake.
Chapter 5: Education
"Gak!" The green little toad youkai squawked as he tripped over some rocks and stumbled, using his staff of heads to regain his balance. "Why did SesshoMaru-Sama ever send me to do this?" He muttered as he continued his journey.
He went with SesshoMaru to join the other taiyoukai across sea far west where the Red Dragons were. Now he had returned on his lord's command to check on Rin and see how she bode, also to see what she needed.
He looked up and grumbled. He had found the village where Rin had been left. He hobbled toward the village, avoiding the farms and the area, going the long way around until he got to the Mansion of the village.
"Anyone home?" He hollered, rapping the staff of heads onto the main gate.
The gate opened and a woman screamed. Jaken sighed and ignored the woman that retreated back into the house. He made his way into the house and looked around.
Lady Karei appeared in the front of him. "Toad youkai, what is your business here? Or I will kick you out!" The toad youkai had come around once before and she didn't like him.
Jaken looked up, surely, the woman was ready to kick him out literally, her hands were on her kimono skirt, and ready to raise them up so she could kick him. "I brought news of SesshoMaru-Sama for Rin." He squawked.
Lady Karei loosened her grip on her kimono and smoothed it. "Come with me." She turned and walked away.
Jaken followed her though the house to an office and was motioned to sit before a table.
"I will get Rin. She is outside with the others."
Jaken only glared at the woman and waited. Rin must have gotten along with the other kids since the last time he came. He reported everything to his lord and was sent back to see if Rin was holding up. He was also told to find some youkai in the area to come and teach Rin some things SesshoMaru wished for her to learn.
Muttering, as this was the waste of time then realized that his lord had high thought of Rin. He never really liked the child but tolerated with her.
Rin came in the room and shouted with glee. "Jaken-sama!" She bounded toward him and grabbed him in a gripping hug. The green toad's bulbous eyes bugged as he squawked loudly, objecting to Rin's hug.
Rin giggled and let him go, sitting on the next edge of the table, eager to hear what her lord had to say.
Jaken grumbled a bit before he started. "SesshoMaru-Sama heard of your life here so far. He didn't like it very much, so he told me to come back and give you some education he wished for you."
Lady Karei frowned at the toad youkai. "What does this mean?"
Jaken turned to the human woman. "That means he want Rin to learn some things that you people cannot teach her. In the next few weeks, there will be some youkai coming around for her. She will remain here."
Lady Karei slapped her hand on the table. "I do not accept this! I had Rin for nearly three years and now he want someone else, youkai, to teach her things. What are those things?"
Jaken grumbled. "SesshoMaru-Sama wants Rin to learn the proper way of youkai, the way his mother and other inuyoukai women knew."
"And what are those?" Lady Karei didn't like this one bit. Why would a taiyoukai want a human to learn the youkai ways?
"Self defense, swordplay, youkai legends and few other things."
Rin was already grinning. She knew very little of those things and loved it. Now she had chance to learn more.
Lady Karei glared at the toad youkai. "I do not accept this. But as SesshoMaru wishes, I will allow this. Only if I would teach Rin the proper lady way, like I had been teaching her in the last three years."
Jaken shrugged as he waved his hand. "Whatever. As long Rin receive what SesshoMaru-Sama wishes for her."
Lady Karei stood up and left the room, leaving the two alone.
Rin was grinning enough to split her head in half. "I am happy! Tell SesshoMaru-Sama thank you! How he doing?" Her smile dimmed a bit as she tilted her head with concern eyes.
"Bah. SesshoMaru-Sama is well and you know that!"
Rin frowned and bopped the toad on the head. "I want to know what's going on!"
"Ow ow! Stupid girl! He is fine! The Red Dragons are otherwise! You're the only human that know what's going on in the youkai world and you better keep your mouth shut!"
Rin made face at Jaken and dodged the staff of heads coming down to her head. "When will he come back?"
Jaken mumbled. "Don't know when." He got up and stalked off.
Rin sighed and looked down to her intertwined hands, missing her lord already terribly. "Rin want SesshoMaru-Sama. Misses him." She told to no one but herself. She looked up and smiled a bit. "Rin will wait for SesshoMaru-Sama."
She got up and skipped out of the room, down the hall and to the courtyard to play some more with the other kids. They were less cruel to her now.
Jaken remained close to the village for several days, watching, keeping notes how Rin was doing. He also waited for three of the youkai he had contacted recently to show up soon.
"Toad! I can smell you here. Get out of the hiding!" A youkai shouted, looking around the area where he was supposed to meet the toad.
Jaken made his way though the tall grass and weed greeting the tall youkai before him. "Ah, Ryu-san, you made it."
Ryu was an inuyoukai of the Black Dog Clan. He has medium black hair that fell around his shoulder unruly and was streaked with gray, showing his aging. He wore dark blue shirt kimono with black long pants and binds around his calves. Upon his hip were three swords, two katana and samurai swords.
He grinned down to the toad. "There you are. Hiding as usual. I'm here and ready."
Jaken bobbed his head. "Hai, hai. The other two are coming soon."
"I know, I can smell them. Reiko and Shinji. They will be here shortly."
True to his words. The two came though the clearing, arguing.
"No! I do not like this!" A female nekoyoukai with long orange hair and yellow eyes shot at the other youkai. She wore dark orange and white kimono with bag strapped to her shoulder, scrolls peeking out of it.
"Aw, Reiko, loosen up!" The other inuyoukai grinned. He wore similar clothing as Ryu but in redder shade. He was also from one of the Dog Clan, the Brown Clan. His hair was wild and brown with golden streak though them. He had a laughing personality around him while Reiko was the opposite.
Jaken interrupted them. "Awwk! Now you are all here. I'm leaving."
Reiko was quick; she grabbed the toad by the collar of his shirt and lifted him up. "Whoa, before you go. Confirm us what we are to do."
The toad blinked its large yellow eyes at the woman. "I told you already. You are to teach Rin what SesshoMaru-Sama wishes."
"Right, right. I am to teach this Rin scroll of the youkai and legends."
"Yeah, and I am to teach her Swordplay and combat skill?" Ryu asked.
Jaken twisted in Reiko's grip to face the other inuyoukai. "Yes. And you, Shinji, academic."
Shinji snorted at the toad that fell from Reiko's grasp to the ground. "So, who is this Rin and why are we near the human's village."
Jaken stopped in his track before leaving. "Rin is in the village. You will find her."
The three looked at each other, puzzled. Why would SesshoMaru leave a youkai child in the village?
As if Jaken read their thoughts. "She's human." Then he disappeared though the weeds.
"Human child? What? I refuse!" Reiko shouted, ready to leave.
However, Ryu stopped her. "Now I remember. SesshoMaru traveled with a human child. Perhaps this is the one. We cannot ignore his order or you know what he would do."
Reiko paled. She knew SesshoMaru personally long ago and he wasn't the kind to be messed around with. "Okay. Let's get going."
The three approached the village, getting surprised looks from the villagers. They didn't scream or run away but stared at the three as they passed though. Lady Karei had told them few days ago that they were to expect some youkai coming though.
The eldest brother of Ramaru got up and ran toward the Mansion to announce that the youkai had arrived.
Lady Karei stepped out and saw the three coming toward her. She greeted them, bowing. "Welcome, you are expected here."
Ryu smiled and bowed back. "Thank you. I am Ryu."
Reiko didn't smile or bow but stood there. "Reiko."
Shinji grinned his toothy grin. "And I am Shinji. We would like to meet Rin."
Lady Karei turned to the boy. "Kimaru, go get Rin. She should be about the Youkai Forest." Turning back to the three youkai. "Please come in. You are welcome to stay here if you wish."
Kimaru ran toward the forest, calling Rin's name out. He refused to go into the Youkai Forest but remained on the edge, calling for her.
Rin looked up. "That's Kimaru. He's calling me."
Go. I enjoyed our time together. I will see you again later.
Rin hugged the T'ang Steed and ran toward Kimaru.
"Kimaru! Kimaru!" She shouted and found him. "What is it?" In her arms were bundles of wild flowers. She was grinning.
Kimaru shook his head as he ruffled her hair. "Come on. Lady Karei asked for you. The youkai are here for you."
Rin only smiled more and ran ahead back home.
Chapter 6: Love
The sword clashed loudly against each other, the sound of metals reverberating though the courtyard of the Mansion. Rin pushed her weight against trying to push away Ryu-san. They kept on clashing against each other.
At first, Lady Karei was uncertain about Rin learning such things until Rin started to learn, she had became better and was holding on her own.
Now, she enjoyed watching them spar in the courtyard, away from the prying eyes of the curious villagers. She smiled and applauded as Rin defeated Ryu-san. They started again, clashing the sword.
Lady Karei watched the two go against each other, remembering the last few years since the three youkai appeared.
Rin was growing, starting to become a woman. Her body was changing, developing all around. She became stronger as she grew, physically and mentally. Occasionally, she would get into fights with Ramaru often. She had to scold Rin to not fight with Ramaru; it was very unlady-like for her to do so. She was growing and she had to forget the innocent time. She sat down with her one day, to talk about the 'fact of life'. Rin became mortified when she learned.
"Rin, we need to talk." Lady Karei stood in the doorway facing the courtyard where Rin and Shinji were playing game of go in the warm sun and cool breeze. It was springtime.
The girl looked up at her youkai mentor. He grinned a toothy grin, exposing one fang as he nodded.
Rin got up and followed her foster mother into the house and into the office. They sat down facing each other at the desk while the servant placed down the tray with tea and cups.
"Rin, it is time for me to tell you about things."
The girl tilted her head sideway, confused. "What things?"
Lady Karei took a long breath as she poured the tea for both of them. "Things about what you would be facing soon. You are growing up; your body is changing. I am sure you noticed that."
Rin took the teacup and sipped it. "I know girls grow up into women. They get taller and they grow bumps on their chest."
Lady Karei nearly choked on her tea, realizing that Rin was so native. "Oh dear. This will be long one. Let's start with that. Yes, you will grow taller and grow, uhm, bumps on the chest. Honey, they are called breasts."
"Breasts is important for women because we can feed babies…" The talk went from there to babies and then to making babies.
"You mean… does it hurt?" Rin asked her face went from innocent to disgusted look and to horror.
Lady Karei found it very fascinating to watch Rin's face changes though the talk. "At first it does, but then it can become real pleasing then."
Rin's mouth gaped open at all of the information she had just received. "Ew. I won't do that! That's so gross!"
The woman laughed. "Honey dear, it's part of life." Then they started to talk more about Rin's body changing and why she shouldn't fight with Ramaru so often. They also talked on the subject about boys growing up and their bodies changing as well.
"Oh… does it hurt when it bleed?" Rin asked. Her face was pure horror now.
"Sometime it does, but you will learn to deal with it. There are herbs that will reduce the pain."
Rin stood up, tears started to flow from her eyes and she sprinted out of the room.
Lady Karei sighed. It had to be done, the child need to know these things before it happened to her. Rin needed time alone to think it over, accept the fact. She was very shocked to find out that Rin was very native to those things and started to wonder how SesshoMaru would had told her if Rin was still with him.
She looked up to find Shinji-san at the door with concern on his face. "Yes?"
"I just saw Rin, she ran across the courtyard crying."
"Oh, come in. I was telling Rin about the fact of life."
Shinji started to chuckle as he sat down where Rin sat. "So, you told her and it scared her?"
"Yes. She will be all right sooner or later. She needed to know these things."
The dog demon twirled the cup on the table, smirking. "True, true."
The woman looked up, curiosity piped her. "Tell me, do your people do the same thing?"
Shinji shrugged. "Don't really know. Most of the time, we just let them learn on their own. Fathers would tell the sons about mating and things like that. But, women, they're different; they are vicious. It is usually up to the midwives of the clans to tell daughters about the 'facts of life' as you call it."
He shrugged and placed the cup down. "That's the way of youkai. We are different from you humans." He bowed as he stood up and left.
"Rin? Rin?" Shinji took up searching for the girl. His nose had found her trail, leading him toward the Youkai Forest.
He soon found her in a small clearing, crying softly. "Rin?"
She gasped and looked up. "Oh." She wiped her nose on her sleeves.
"Can I sit here?" He asked and saw her nod. He sat next to her, gazing out of the clearing, watching the T'ang Steeds. Sometime ago, Rin had showed him the area and was told it was her favorite place to go to. He was the only one that knew.
"You okay?" He asked, turning to her.
Rin nodded as she hiccupped. "I am scared."
"I know. It's all right. You will be okay."
She looked up at him. "You're sure?"
He laughed. "Yeah. All women go though the same thing, eventually you will."
"Oh. I don't want to get married or anything like that."
He smiled as he ruffled her hair. "You don't have to. But, why?"
"I belong to no one. Only SesshoMaru-Sama." She whispered as she rested her chin on her knees.
He looked away, watching the two Steeds clashing against each other over a female one. It was true. Rin does belong to SesshoMaru. He had marked her his, but why? He didn't know. He wouldn't tell Rin about that until the time is right or when she asked about the scar on her neck.
He had come to love the child very much. Rin was different from any children he had met, even from the youkai children. He often wondered what had SesshoMaru seen in her that he let her follow him around.
Rin was very devoted to SesshoMaru, always waiting for him to come get her.
He sniffed and got up. "Come on. We better go before Reiko or Ryu-san find this place and it wouldn't be a secret place for you anymore."
Rin grasped his hand. "Yeah." She followed him back to the village.
"You going to be okay about this."
Now Rin was at the age where she should be married. Young girls in the time married when they were thirteen to sixteen, it was the proper things to do.
Learning from Shinji-san, Rin desired to not get married. Lady Karei had talked to her about that one time and accepted even she knew she wouldn't change the girl's mind about it.
Suitors came from all around, seeking Rin's hand in marriage. She had became into a striking beauty with deep chocolate eyes and long raven brown hair that fell down to her waist with tendril of curls around on the bottom.
Lady Karei frowned slightly at the thought. Rin had refused to marry. She had remembered the child telling her at one time.
"I will never marry!"
She had thought Rin forgotten about SesshoMaru after several years. But then, with the words, she discovered that Rin waited for one and only, her lord to return so she can serve him. Over the time after that, she kept a close watch on the girl, trying to figure her out. Rin never forgot who she is to her lord and only found true happiness in serving him.
Her thought reeled backward to the time when she learned how Rin came to be with SesshoMaru. The youkai had redeemed her from death. Her family was lost to the wolves that killed her.
It was an unbreakable code, a code that was ancient. When someone saves one's life, one shall serve that someone. Rin had taken up the code to heart.
"I will never take a husband. I belong to no one but my Lord." She had declared.
"Rin, he left you. You belong to no one but yourself." Hoping this would encourage Rin to move on. It had been years since Rin had first came to her home. She knew Rin held special place for her Lord SesshoMaru.
"I am sorry, Mother Karei." Rin sighed as she held her foster mother's hand.
"Rin, you are mortal, you should move on with your life, live as you should. With a husband and children. Your Lord is gone, he had moved on. You haven't heard from him in many years."
Rin stared at the old woman, fighting the tears back, not wanting the words to be true. "No, he will return for me. He promised."
Her thought were broken from the loud clash of the metal against metal and looked up to find Rin in victory again.
"Wonderful, Rin-Chan. You had gotten better!" Lady Karei clapped her hands, getting up from the mat where she watched from the side with Reiko and her handmaiden.
The now tall woman wiped her sweaty brow and sheathed the katana. Ryu-san had brought the katana with him and told Rin in the beginning that he would give it to her if she improved and defeated him at number of times. She did and received the katana as a gift for accomplishment. The katana was made of strong metal that youkai could forge together. The blade was sleek and strong as it could slice though almost anything, even weak armor. The sheath that came with it was deep blue with matching hilt. Rin had wrapped golden yellow youkai silk stash around it and tied it to her waist.
"That was unexpected move you made back there. Where did you learn that move?" Ryu-san asked as he took drink of water, slumping down next to Shinji and Reiko.
Rin shrugged. "I can't remember."
Reiko smirked. "SesshoMaru uses that move. Perhaps she learned it from him during her travel with him. Isn't that right?"
Rin looked down to her mentor as a flashback came to her mind. She was very young, traveling with SesshoMaru-Sama. Remembering few time that her lord would get into fight with some youkai that attacked them. His move was graceful and difficult. She was always fascinated with him handling the sword, thinking he was creating beautiful and dangerous dance.
She smiled. "Yes. I remember now. SesshoMaru-Sama did it perfectly. I would never be as good as he is."
Reiko stared at the girl, noticing how she used the words carefully. When Rin was supposed to use the past tense when speaking of SesshoMaru, she used the present tense, refusing to believe her lord is 'was'. They had just heard rumors that some taiyoukai had died oversea against the Red Dragon Clan. It was possible that SesshoMaru was one of them.
The nekoyoukai stood up, rolling up the scrolls she were writing in. "Yes, Rin. It was his move, his special move that no one could ever master. He made it specially for himself, that he was the master at kendo." She watched Rin cringe slightly at her choice of words and smirked. Soon, soon, the girl will come around and accept the fact.
All of the courtyard's heads turned to someone at the entrance.
It was Ramaru. He grinned at Rin, hopefully that his appearance would melt Rin's cold heart. He grew into a handsome young man with strong body and handsome feature.
Rin only smiled coldly in return.
Lady Karei shook her head. "I am going back inside. That was a good sparring match there, Rin. See you later."
Rin bowed to her foster mother before turning back to Ramaru. The only reason Ramaru kept coming around was to see Rin. Sometime ago, Ramaru had realized he wanted Rin for himself, as a wife. He waited around for a long time for Rin to accept him and accept his proposal.
"Rin-Chan, would you accompany me for a walk?" He asked, bowing to her.
Rin nearly snorted but remembered how her foster mother scolded her so often on her behavior. "Yes, Ramaru-san, I will accompany you."
The three youkai watched the two disappear out of the entrance before turning to look at each other.
"I feel sorry for that boy." Shinji laughed.
Ryu grinned. "When will he learn that she will not give in?"
Reiko frowned. She felt like she was the only one that thinks Rin should accept the fact she is human and should live like one. It was bad enough that Rin was spoiled and being taught like a youkai child. "Humph." She muttered before retreating into the house.
When she first came to the village. She refused Lady Karei's invitation to live in the Mansion, making herself home in the forest, only coming around to teach Rin as she was told to. Later, she warmed up to Rin and Lady Karei, deciding to move in after feeling lonely by herself in the forest.
Her opinion about Rin had not changed. She didn't like the idea that SesshoMaru wanted her to learn the things the three taught her. She thinks Rin should be raised the way humans were raised.
She had to keep her mouth shut on her opinion and does what she was to do. Until Rin come around to realize she is human, she would remain.
Shinji and Ryu loved Rin as if she were their child and ignored the fact she is human. They were happy to teach her things she wanted to learn, happy to be there for her. They didn't mind the human so much. They thought less of Reiko, knowing how she felt toward human and how her opinions were so low of them.
Ramaru led Rin away from the village though the forest, hoping to have some quiet time with her and talk to her on some certain things.
Rin noticed what Ramaru was trying to do and allowed him to. She knew he wanted her as a wife and would refuse every time he asks.
He stopped, looking around, deciding it's a good place. "Rin-Chan, let's be straightforward. You know I want you."
Rin glared at him emotionlessly. "Yes."
"Rin, please, I waited for long time for you. Ever since you gave me that nasty black eye, I knew I want you. You're different, strong, beautiful and smart. Nothing like any other women in the village."
Rin looked away as she fiddled with the hem on her kimono. "I am sorry. I cannot give you what you want."
He frowned slightly. "Rin, you would be happy with me. I will let you do whatever you want, if you want to practice kendo, write, speak your mind, I will let you. Please, just be with me. I love you."
Her chocolate eyes met his indigo black eyes. "Do you really? I cannot love you, or will ever."
His eyes became sad. "Why? Tell me why?"
Rin sighed and turned her back to him. "You wouldn't understand."
He reached out and turned her back. She didn't resist. "Try me. Is there someone you love?"
Her eyes closed. "Please, don't make me."
He tilted her chin up. "I want to know. If it is a good reason, I will leave you alone. Rin, I am your friend, I wouldn't force you anything you don't want."
She kept quiet, staring at him. It was true; he had been her friend for a long time after they got over their difference. He came around accepting for who she is. "Yes. My heart belongs to someone else. I love him dearly very much."
He let go of holding her face. "Is it that demon?"
Her eyes flared. "Taiyoukai. Yes, it is he."
"Rin, he's gone. He never came back."
She shook her head. "No. He will, he promised. I know he never break his promise. Look," She turned her head and lifted her hair away and pulled down her kimono slightly to expose the scar on her neck. "This is a mark."
"You wouldn't understand."
"So what? If it's a mark, what does it mean?"
She sighed. "This is a mark of possession. I belong to him; he marked me long ago. I cannot be anyone else but his."
"So, he would come back for you and take you to be his wife?"
She nodded. "I am sorry. I like you very much, but I cannot give my heart to you. Let us be friend, please."
He took her hands and held it in his gently. "I understand. But one thing, if he is truly dead as they said, will you be mine?"
"Ramaru. I will only accept the fact that he is dead if I see his body, or his Tensagia is in my hands."
"Friend, until the proof is there. I will be your friend as you, my friend."
They hugged in silence and returned to the village.
Shinji's green eyes watched them leave the forest. "Love is a crazy thing. It will be a long time before SesshoMaru croaks or ever let go of the Tensagia." He leaped down from the tree and sniffed, finding a prey to stalk after. "Hold on, momma. I'm bringing home good dinner." He grinned and started hot on the trail.
Chapter 7: Immortality
Reiko sat before the two other inuyoukai around a fire deep in the forest. The three once in a while come together to talk and discuss in privacy. She had called the other two after a discovery she had recently found.
"Reiko, what is it about now?" Shinji asked as he poked the fire with a stick. Ryu sat between the two, gazing at the fire.
The yellow-eyed youkai huffed. "I was with Rin today."
Shinji looked up. "So, we know that. Going over the scrolls of legends."
"Yes. It had been nearly five years since we came here. According to Lady Karei, Rin is around seventeen summers old."
Ryu didn't like being clueless. "We know that. What does this mean?"
Reiko shifted her gaze to the black inuyoukai. "Rin is marked. She had been given youkai blood long ago."
Shinji calculated what she had meant. "And, she's showing signs of youkai?"
The female youkai nodded. "Yes. I could smell it on her. We all know she was marked, but given the blood? That was unexpected. Why did SesshoMaru do this?"
Ryu frowned. "SesshoMaru did begun the mating ritual with her, but he left her and went off. He had not yet to return."
Shinji shrugged, being the youngest of the three. "Don't know, never knew what SesshoMaru had in mind."
"It will be less than two years that she would become full youkai, the way her blood is changing. She will look human, but it's her blood that's changed." Reiko concluded.
Ryu smirked. "No wonder. Rin was different. Remember how she had always surprised us to no end. Learning everything, doing everything in short time, just like any youkai children, perhaps even better. She mastered kendo skills in three short years and defeated me countless of times now."
The nekoyoukai laughed. "Yes, she even almost mastered SesshoMaru's kendo dance. No youkai could ever get close to even doing a single thing in the kendo dance of his."
"Yes. She is very smart, unusually for a human. Now the answer is staring at us in the face." Shinji smiled with his two friends. "She is no longer human, youkai blood is running in her."
Reiko rested her chin on a fist that was propped up by her knee. "I wonder…" She stared into the fire. "Why SesshoMaru did this."
"We might never know." Ryu replied.
SesshoMaru sat with his back against a tree, gazing toward the ocean. The Red Dragons had retreated for now. He left the group for a quiet time to think by himself.
His mind was focus on somebody.
He had counted the years and concluded that Rin had already become a woman now. He tried to imagine what she would look like.
Golden pale skin, flawless feature, long ebony locks that fell around her waist and deep pool of chocolate eyes that shone with innocent. She would wear long kimono of blue robe with golden yellow obi, wrapped around her slim delicate feature.
He would remember her laughs, flowery scents about her and tried to apply that to the older dream vision of her.
Oh, how his heart aches so. He had cursed himself so many times over in the last few years for missing her so much.
He watched, contended, as the vision of her dancing among the clouds, her long hair swirling about her as the deep blue kimono full of shimmering stars flowed. He almost smiled.
His face became dark with scowl as he turned his head to glare. Hiarkri hopped down from another tree nearby.
"Everyone was asking about you. What are you doing out here?" He landed before the scowling youkai and realized his mistake. "Oh, you wanted to be alone?"
SesshoMaru got up and walked off toward the general direction where everyone else was.
Hiarkri wouldn't give up. "Come on. What got you thinking about?"
"Was it someone?"
"Ooh, a girl?"
Deep growl saying 'Leave me alone'.
"Oh you know. I wouldn't leave you alone until you tell me."
SesshoMaru turned around, his amber eyes ablaze. "Yes. That child I left behind."
"Really? Do tell!"
SesshoMaru snorted, his arms crossing. "Why do you wish to know?"
"I'm your friend, you don't say much, I gotta know you better."
The dog demon glared. "I was thinking about Rin. She would be eighteen summers old now."
"Wow, a lady now!"
The lord growled in anger and stomped off in the opposite direction. Hiarkri twirled around and went after him. "Whoa, whoa. What's going on?"
"If you must know…" SesshoMaru growled deeply, his eyes were in danger of turning red. "I marked her long ago."
That confused the other dog demon. "So?"
"I just remembered now that I gave her my blood."
The other dog demon's lapis eyes widened. "Oh."
"That's right. She's feeling the blood of youkai running in her. Especially mine."
"And she would feel the urge to mate." Hiarkri concluded.
SesshoMaru whuffed an affirmation sound.
"But, she can't mate with anyone but you. So, she'll drive herself to the brink of insanity, or die."
SesshoMaru only growled again. "Or find someone else to mate."
"And you don't want that, as long you live."
"Right. Jaken left to check up on her. He told me that she would only believe that I am dead when she see my body or hold the Tensagia in her hands." He held up the sword.
"Whoo, talk about a deep loyalty you got there."
SesshoMaru sighed and slumped down against the tree, his eyes downcast on the sword. "I am here until we defeat the Red Dragon. It will be a long time."
"And you don't know how long she will live, depending if the youkai blood run strong or weak in her."
They both fell silent, watching the ocean lap over peacefully.
Hoshino trotted though the forest with Rin upon her back, enjoying their peaceful time together. They were far away from the village and the field of the T'ang Steeds. They both did not wish to return to either but enjoy the summer's coolest day.
Rin leaned forward, resting upon Hoshino's neck smiling as the warm sun gazed down upon them.
The golden white T'ang Steed had been an outcast ever since the day she met Rin, beaten by another female steed for the mating right with the buck of the pack. She was once the strongest and the most beautiful, the queen of the pack. Now the new one came in and trashed her around, casting her out.
She survived and found friendship and loyalty with the child that grew up into a woman.
You know I will always be there for you. Rin-Chan.
Rin smiled and sat back up straight, combing her fingers though the white hair. "Of course. You are my friend too. I feel comfortable sharing this time with you."
Hoshino bobbed her head slightly. Yet, there is sorrow in your heart. Always been there since the day I knew you.
"Yes, I miss someone and long for someone."
Lord SesshoMaru, perhaps?
Rin blushed. Lately, she had been having dreams, intimate dreams about him. She was afraid of the dreams, feeling that they were wrong.
I sense you feel afraid about something. May you tell about it?
Rin slid off the steed's back and walked alongside with her. "I guess. I trust you. I dream of him often lately."
Dreams? What kind? The steed knelt on the grassy spot as Rin settled down by her side.
"I don't know. They were so good, making me feel so good, wanting him more and more, it's never enough."
Hoshino nuzzled Rin, laughing. Ah, intimate dreams. Then, why are you afraid of it if it makes you feel good?
Rin blushed deep crimson. It wasn't something that she should ever talk about, yet Hoshino wanted her to speak about it openly. It was known to be shameful if she does.
It's okay. No one is around but you and me. I will speak no words of this to anyone, not that anybody could understand my language as you do.
Rin felt the blush fading away from her cheek, cooling her down. "I am afraid that it is wrong for me to think of him like that. I was but a child when I traveled with him, I never felt like this, or even know of this. Yet, now, I want him badly and he is nowhere."
You loved him. It's not wrong. You grew up, waiting for him and thinking of him. Your love for him grew as well, now it had run deep.
Rin started to cry softly. "What if he never comes back? What am I to do?"
That, I cannot do anything about. Have you heard from him lately? Hoshino knew that Rin received visit from Jaken every once in a while, hearing news of her missed lord. The last visit was over several years ago, around four years. That was when the three youkai came. She nuzzled the woman-child, trying to sooth her from crying. She could tell Rin's heart ached so much.
Hoshino wanted to do something to take the pain away. She had thought about searching for this SesshoMaru-Sama, but realized she had no idea where to start. From what she heard, SesshoMaru had gone over sea to far west with other taiyoukai long ago to battle the Red Dragons. It wasn't her kind's concern about the Red Dragons. They were at peace in the Youkai Forest.
"Rin-Chan?" They both looked up, hearing Shinji coming closer.
I will take you to him.
Rin blinked at Hoshino. "But, you never show yourself to anyone but me."
I hear so often of this youkai. I wish to meet him; I feel the time that I will be out in the open with you coming soon.
The woman-child climbed onto Hoshino's back and held onto the nape of her long white hair as she stood up. She was tall, nearly half taller than Rin's full height.
"Rin? I can smell you, and another youkai. Where are you?" Shinji called though the forest. Rin had been doing this lately, masking her scents somehow. It was something that a full-blooded youkai could do, and it was only taught by another youkai. Rin wouldn't know how, but she did it.
He mumbled few strings of curses in his language and looked around. Rin's scents were there and there. Some old, some new and then the trail would be cut off. His head snapped up to hear some rustling to his left and looked. His jaw dropped as a tall T'ang Steed walked though with Rin on it's back.
"Rin?" He asked, shocked.
"Hello!" She giggled, looking down at Shinji.
"What are you doing with a T'ang Steed, and how in the seven hells you tamed it?"
T'ang Steed were known to be the most wildest creature. Very few youkai could be able to catch them, let alone tame them. They were best for riding though battles.
Rin shook her head. "I didn't tame her. She's my friend." Then she slid off Hoshino and stood by her side, holding her hand to Hoshino's neck, caressing it.
"Wow…" Shinji looked up at Hoshino and noticed her eyes were like midnight skies.
"She wanted to meet you. We met long ago when I went missing."
He nodded, remembering the story about her missing for several days, even knew that she would often watch the T'ang Steed in the field. But never thought she would have one so close.
"This is Hoshino. Hoshino, this is Shinji."
Hoshino bobbed her head and whinnied.
"She said hello. I can understand her."
"You understand her language?" Shinji asked. He could hear her language but could not decipher it. It was one of the youkai languages.
Rin smiled. "Yeah, I don't know how I could."
Shinji shook his head as he whistled. "Whew. That mean you have special bond with Hoshino." He then looked up and smiled. "You are rather beautiful one. It is very nice to meet you and I am honored that you wanted to meet me."
Hoshino lowered her head, as if she were bowing. Shinji smirked and bowed back. "Rin, I was sent to look for you. Everyone want you in the village."
Go on Rin. They are waiting for you. I will be around. Hoshino nuzzled Rin's cheek and turned to trot off, disappearing in the forest.
Rin turned back to Shinji after watching Hoshino go off. "Why?"
The dog demon smirked. "Come on, you will see."
Reiko stood by Lady Karei, holding a large package in her hand. They were waiting for Shinji to return with Rin. Ryu and Haken stood to the side, talking among themselves. Ramaru lounged under the tree in the courtyard, also waiting. She gazed down on the package, smoothing the surface as her mind wandered.
After finding out that youkai blood run in Rin, she turned her opinion around, accepting the truth about Rin. She now smiles and felt proud for being Rin's mentor and felt guilty for her past behavior and thoughts toward the woman-child.
Her gaze moved and fell upon Ramaru. She felt sorry for the man, losing the love he wanted, yet appreciate that he accepted Rin's decision.
Rin was already betrothed to another.
Lady Karei was told about this and she was saddened. Reiko had assured her that Rin would be very happy with SesshoMaru when he returned. There is no way to change the fact that she truly belonged to him, and is turning into full-blooded youkai.
She looked up as her ears pricked at the sound of the gate opening.
Lady Karei rushed to greet Rin and made sure she was presentable.
"Rin, come! We had been waiting for you." Her foster mother smiled.
Shinji joined with Haken and Ryu. Ramaru stood away from the tree but kept his distance. Reiko and Lady Karei stood facing Rin.
"Rin," Lady Karei started. "Today is the mark of the anniversary that you came to me nine years ago. You are obviously now grown as a young lady. We wanted to show you our appreciation and joy that you had accomplished many things in your childhood."
Rin smiled, feeling pride swelling inside her.
"We will proclaim you now as Lady Rin. That is your title right. You are now a woman of the village, no longer a child."
The men applauded and cheered.
The nekoyoukai stepped forward. "You may notice that I left for several days. That was because I went to get this for you, it's from all of us." She handed the package to Rin.
Rin took it and unwrapped the package, revealing a set of kimono, a beautiful kimono of silk with different shades of blue as the cloth moved. Golden yellow obi went with it.
"Wear this kimono with pride, for that you are Lady Rin." Reiko grinned.
"That's right. Made out of finest youkai silk thread." Shinji grinned, looping his arm around Reiko friendly.
Rin felt the cloth under her fingertip. It was beautiful and it would suit her well. There were no prints or pictures on it, yet it showed it's finest. The cloth was soft and strong, just like SesshoMaru's kimono. She suspected it was made of the same thing.
She smiled, hugging the present to her chest. "Thank you all. I love this. I, I am really speechless." She giggled.
Lady Karei hugged Rin. "It is understandable. Now, let's all go inside and have dinner."
As everyone else went inside the house, Ramaru touched Rin's arm lightly.
She smiled and stayed with Ramaru outside.
"Ramaru, what is it?"
"I wanted to tell you something. Remember when I left to help the other villages."
She nodded, waiting for something. "Yes, you were gone for a long time."
"That's right. I found someone." He grinned.
She gasped. "Oh, that's wonderful! Who is she?"
He ran his hand though his hair. "She may not be anything like you but she is beautiful and smart."
"I am going back sometime within one moon to gather her as my wife. I would very much like for you two be friends. I told her about you and she wanted to meet you as well."
"I'd like that." Rin smiled and led him in the house. "I am happy that you found someone."
"Yes I am. I hope you will be happy soon."
Rin's smile faded little bit. "I do too."
Ramaru watched Rin as she weaved though the halls of the house, getting to the dining room. He was glad that he had found someone else, but his first love would always be Rin. He had just recently learned that Rin was on the way of becoming a youkai and realized that she would remain young for a long time while he would grow old. Then, they wouldn't be truly happy. He wanted Rin to be happy, as he is happy.
He prayed shortly to the gods above that Rin would be truly happy someday soon.
Chapter 8: Death
As Ramaru promised, he brought his wife to the village to live with him. The woman was beautiful and slender, not of a farmer's daughter but a simple storeowner's daughter. Her name was Keiko. She had short black hair framing her heart shaped face. Her eyes were slanted upward, not much like any other typical Japanese. She came from another place, north, where it was colder and of different culture.
Rin became fast friend with her. They both met together almost every day to have tea and talk about everything in general. Keiko was also different from any normal women, she could read and write, also was very excellent with number too. It was her intelligent that caught Ramaru's heart. Ramaru loved listening to her talk about anything and even found that she enjoyed his company as well. They were almost perfect match for each other.
It had been two years since she first came to the village, the season was already changing, becoming cooler as the leaves of the tree turned golden and red in color.
"Ramaru writes that he would return next week." Keiko announced as she sipped her tea, sitting across from Rin. They were in the courtyard of the mansion, also playing game of go.
Rin hmm-ed as she moved her piece, "Good. I wish to hear news from the other village."
"True, troubles are brewing. He also included in his letter that oni are coming around, more in number than before. I assume that was the part he wanted you to know too."
"Oni. They're nothing but troubles. It had been real peaceful around here for the last several years. Why would they come?" Rin looked up to see Shinji on top of the courtyard wall, grinning like crazy at her. "Shinji-kun. What in the world are you grinning about?"
The dog demon shrugged as he leapt down. He bowed to both and knelt at the low table. "Just coming around to visit. Can't stay away from you, you know that." He then scanned the go board, frowning. "Whose turn is it?"
"Keiko." Rin answered as she poured another cup of tea for Shinji. "What brings you here?"
The dog demon took the cup. "Heard you two talking about oni attacks. They're attacking the other village in the area. Would say this village's next."
Keiko gulped. She wasn't one to become paranoid but she was concern. "When do you think they will get here?"
Shinji looked over the teacup. "Soon, if they want to attack this village. I saw Ramaru on the way."
The foreign woman turned her attention to the dog demon. She was wary of Rin's demonic friends but then became used to them. "Ramaru, how is he?"
He grinned. "He's fine. He's on his way home. Missed you a lot. When he comes back, he will assemble the village council. He had also mentioned to tell you two to show up then."
"We will." Rin moved her piece of go. "Look like you will beat me again." She smiled at her friend.
Kekio bowed and then stood up. "I best be going home now. Haken's ill lately." She smiled and left the courtyard.
Ramaru took Haken's place after proving his ability. His older brother Kimaru was more like his mother, a farmer. Ramaru, like his father, a warrior, strong and able with mind of a leader became the village's headman. Haken, his father fell ill, becoming old with age.
Shinji bowed as he stood up. "I have done delivered my news. Lady Rin, do you have enough meat for the house?"
Rin accepted Shinji's hand as she got up. "We are running low. Why?"
He looped her arm around his and led her into the house. "I did some hunt on the way and you have more than enough."
"Thank you, my loyal hunter. Tell me how Reiko and Ryu are?"
"Oh, they are fine. Ryu will be meeting up with Ramaru before they get here. We all want to help with the oni attacks."
As Shinji talked, Rin stared ahead as the forbearing feeling started to rise. "Sh, let me go and check on Mother Karei." She left the stunned dog demon behind in the hallway watching Rin sprint off.
"Mother Karei?" Her eyes scanned the room of Lady Karei. The room was clean and perfect as usual, but save the bed where the older woman laid, ill with age.
Walking up to the bed, she knelt down staring at the futon. Her eyes closed.
Shinji found her in Lady Karei's room and wondered if he could come in or not, standing at the doorway. He sniffed the air. It was cold and there were death, new death by old age. His eyes narrowed to the futon where Rin knelt by, clasping her hands in silent prayer. "She's dead. Had been dead since morning."
Rin's eyes opened as she looked up to find Shinji next to her. "I know. She told me last night and everyone else to leave her alone in the morning. I guess she knew it was her time." She rose and left the room.
Shinji's face was masked with concern. Rin didn't cry or mourn but prayed for this soul who raised her. He looked down and sighed as he pulled the blanket over the ever-peaceful face of Lady Karei.
Ramaru came home within the next two days with the other dog demon as his companion. His lovely wife greeted him immediately. He was smiling as he saw his wife bound toward him and grabbed him in a tight hug. He didn't care for his unlady-like behavior; he wanted her to be free, as she wanted. When he heard the news from Keiko about Lady Karei, his face changed into concern and sadness.
His brother also greeted him soon, being the village leader in his stead. Announcing that his father still lives but is very weak didn't recognize anyone anymore.
He announced to most of the men that gathered to greet him that he wanted a village council soon as possible.
The village's main house filled up quickly with nearly every man from the village. Few women of higher status were also there. Rin had arrived last and took her seat among the council in the front.
Rin, as Lady Rin of the village, she had won her positions to sit among the council, be involved with the village's matter because she was the next heir to Lady Karei's fortunes and in Ramaru's eyes, she was also smart as any men. Often, her words were heard and done a lot for the village, saving them from the farming disasters few times, saving them from the worse winters and from lack of funding. The village thrived because of her.
Ramaru stood in the center. He nodded once as Rin sat down, letting her know his condolence about Lady Karei.
"I have heard the news for this village. We all will have ceremony for Lady Karei's passing tomorrow evening. And as of my father's conditions, he will be soon next to go. There are deaths in air around us now and they are hungry for more. The villages I have gone to was either destroyed or nearly wiped out. There were few survivors and many of us had to help to move them to the next village. But that village is the next target and we might be the last."
The house was filled with gasps and murmurs.
"Why is the oni doing this?" Someone asked from the crowd.
Ramaru looked down at the table before him. "I don't know. No one knows why. It would be helpful if someone knew."
Rin sat there, in her seat on the far end of the table, near in the corner. She liked the seating because she could be out of sight until she is ready to speak up. The questions stirred in her mind as she listened.
"Most men were either wounded or killed. The women and children are either taken or killed. Those oni are after something." Ryu stood up. Everyone fell silent.
The entire village had grown used with the three youkai being around for several years and almost didn't mind them anymore. Yet, they still hold the power in their eyes.
A man stood up, he was known as one of the elders. "You are a youkai. You should be able to know what's going on with those oni."
Ryu's lip smirked a small smile. "No. Youkai and oni are different. Like human to dog. They are not intelligent as we are, but they could be. The way they are acting, they are trying to get us out of the way to get to something."
Shinji rested his head on his fist as he sat next to Rin. "What do you think?" He whispered.
Rin shrugged. "Ryu's right. They wanted something." She then turned her head to him, her face solemn. "We are in the way of the Western Land."
Shinji suddenly turned his head to Rin, forgetting about the rest of the council. "You're right. SesshoMaru is not here. They want his land."
Rin stood up. "Ryu-san's right." Every heads in the house turned to her. "We are in the way of the oni to what they want. They want…" She swallowed hard, not wanting her lord to be truly dead. "They want the Western Land."
The house filled up with all kinds of noises after they heard Rin.
Ramaru and Ryu went to her side. Shinji also stood up.
"Western Land. Is SesshoMaru the lord?" Ramaru asked, only knowing little about the taiyoukai. Rin nodded, her face masked emotionless.
"That's the reason." Ryu started, trying to ignore the men behind him bickering and talking loud. His ears were sensitive. "What do you think we should do?" The question was directed to Rin. He knew the answer but wanted to see if the woman-child would know.
Rin caught the meaning behind the question and knew what she had to do. "Ramaru, get everyone's attention."
Ramaru went back to his place and started to pound the rock on the table. "Silence! Silence!" It took him two more full minutes to get the house quiet again. "Lady Rin wishes to say something."
Rin took her place by Ramaru, eyes watching the men before her. "There is only one thing we can do. Defend the Western Land."
"What about the village if we defend the Western Land?" One shouted.
Another joined. "Yeah! Why worry when we have the village to protect?"
Rin raised both of her hands to silence the crowd before they started up again. "The Western Land is beyond here. If we protect it, we can protect our life, our purpose. The village is damned as the others. We have ourselves to defend. They want the Western Land, meaning they want the world. Do you want the world that is ruled by oni?"
The question had kept everyone silent, making everyone think.
Rin went back to her seat and sat down.
"Thank you Lady Rin." Ramaru gave her a short bow and turned back to the crowd. "Now, what do we propose to do?"
The same elderly man stood up, his arm rose as his finger pointed to the woman-child. "Have her lead us. Her words ring true."
Ryu smirked as he crossed his arms, leaning back against the wall. He knew Rin had the right answer. Shinji glowered at Ryu. "Damn you. You put Rin in a difficult situation."
Ryu shook his head. "No. She is SesshoMaru's mate. SesshoMaru is not here, it's her duty to rule the Western Land, protect it in his place."
Her chocolate eyes weren't soft anymore; they were steels, hardened by the situation going on. She had heard Ryu across the room with her highly sensitive ears. His words had shocked her to the core but she quickly overcame it. It was true, if SesshoMaru didn't take her as a mate yet, but she still was because she was marked. It was her job now. Her life in the village is over at the moment she knew the truth.
The meeting ended quickly as everyone agreed to have Lady Rin lead them to protect the Western Land.
Shinji left the house quickly, retreating into the forest scowling. He didn't like this; it will be difficult for Rin. Yet, Ryu and he would help her though this. When will SesshoMaru come back, he wondered. There was no way to get to him or deliver news to him. He was lost a long time ago with many other taiyoukai over sea. None of them had send news or anything back in a long time. Many were believed to be dead. Few were actually dead.
Jaken was the only connection between SesshoMaru and them and he had disappeared years ago with no traces.
Gazing down at the small creek, the water surface rippled slightly. Her face reflection shone clearly on the surface. There were weary and stress shown on her face. She splashed the water before drawing back.
They had given Lady Karei a funeral and gone into planning and preparing for the Oni attack. Rin was dumped a huge burden on her shoulder and was struggling to keep everyone up and prepared.
She had retreated after all the events and found her way to the small creek outside the village for a quiet time.
"This is just too much." She whispered.
Large burdens on your shoulder?
Rin smiled, recognizing the voice and turned around. "Hoshino. It had been a while. Where did you go?"
The golden white steed seemed to smirk. The T'ang Clan had to move. I followed them to see where they went. Even if I am an outcast, I still need to know where they go. They moved far away from here to a safer place.
"The oni are driving your clan out?" Rin asked, standing up to reach Hoshino's head and rub against the ridge on the bridge of her nose.
Hoshino bobbed her head slightly and nuzzled against her hand. Yes. They are also driving out your people.
"They are. My people…" She frowned, feeling the words did not ring true. "They had appointed me to lead them against the oni. They are afraid, they don't know what they are going against, but they want me to take them against them."
They see strength and wisdom in you. You are the best choice. Queen of Western Land, you are.
Rin laughed hollowly. "How funny that is. I do not feel like one, or even know if I am one."
Lord of Western Land is not here. You are. You are his, his blood run in you.
Rin's eyes widened. "What?"
Don't you know that?
The woman-child turned away, gazing down in the black creek. "I knew that. But why did he give me his blood, making me a youkai? Doesn't he know it had been so hard on me, feeling the change? My senses go crazy sometime; it is so hard to not show it. Sometime, I feel this… I don't know what it is. Ryu and Shinji call it bloodlust. It scared me." Her face masked fear for moment and changed back to the usual mask of seriousness.
Consider it a gift. He wanted something for you and he see the potential in you.
"How can you make everything into goodness?"
Hoshino tugged on Rin's blue sleeves to draw her away from the creek. I am here for you and I will be from now on. Into battle or war, I am your servant, Lady of Western Land. Then the giant golden white steed knelt its front legs and lowered her massive head, bowing.
Rin's lips cracked into a small smile. "Thank you." Her nose wrinkled. "Someone else is here." She turned and looked around.
Something tiny bounced across the field of flower, going high and then disappearing into the grass and then appeared over in arch.
Rin narrowed her eyes, trying to see what it was. Small voice seemed to be saying something. Finally, the tiny spot landed onto Rin's hand, nearly startling her.
"Lady Rin! Long time for this old flea to see you!"
Rin stared down at her hand, seeing a small youkai flea. "Do I know you?"
The small flea gasped. "Lady Rin! Don't you remember Myoga? Servant to Lord InuYasha?"
Rin giggled, finally remembering the flea from her childhood when she stayed with InuYasha after getting lost. "Myoga-San! I do remember you! What bring you here?"
The flea hopped to her shoulder and sat there. "I am weary from long travel. I came to see how the Western Land fares. I heard some time ago that Lord SesshoMaru left. Now I see Oni attacking everywhere. It is bad."
"Yes. That's the problem around here."
"Oh, forgive me, I am rather hungry."
Rin frowned and then yelped. "Ow!" She slapped her neck and found Myoga flattened on her hand. "Don't do that!"
"Mm… your blood is not human anymore. You have Lord SesshoMaru blood in you. May you be Western Land's ruler now?"
Rin sighed. "Yes, it seemed so. Everyone says that now."
The flea puffed up back to normal size. "Then, this Myoga your servant as well." He did a little flea bow.
Rin rolled her eyes and slumped back down to the grass. This was way too much for her.
Chapter 9: Red Dragons
SesshoMaru growled as he battled against the dragon demon in his true form. The dragon came from the far west and was pushing toward east, wanting to claim the east where the Western Land laid, his own domain, in Japan. The other taiyoukai were right. The Dragon wanted to claim the other lands, trying to dominate the world.
The dragon screamed as he slew several with his lash claw. Even in his true form, his fighting technique was extreme. He was one of the few strongest taiyoukai and they need all they could get.
"We must retreat to rest." The other inutaiyoukai growled, stepping backward. The dragon loomed back toward where they came from, knowing they need to retreat for now too. The battle had been going on for years now.
SesshoMaru growled his warning as he moved back. The dragons left. He finally joined the other taiyoukais.
The Dog Clans had gathered together with the Bird Clans and the Sea Serpent Clan to fight against the Red Dragon Clan.
There were several clans that made up the greater Dog Clan. They all were sorted in different colors, ranking from the lowest to the higher ones; Brown, Red, Golden, Grey, Black and then finally the White, who dominated and ruled all the clans together as one. SesshoMaru, in the case is the Lord of all the Dog Clan.
The Bird Clans also made up of several pretty much like the Dog Clans, but with several of bird races. The Owl Clan, Hawk and Falcon Clan. Their number was small but they are also powerful and massive.
Finally, the other stronger youkai races were similar to the Dragon Clans but they are the Sea Serpents, the blue dragons otherwise. They are powerful on land as they were in the sea.
The three large Clans of various of youkai had gathered as they soon learned about the Red Dragons coming toward them in Japan and decided to team up and fight against them. However, over the years of fighting against them off their homeland had put a high toll on them. Many of them had been killed, became powerless or captured, usually killed later after having their powers drained.
The Red Dragons were strong and cruel. They stopped at nothing for power. Now they thirsted for the lands to increase their powers. They were very ruthless and stronger than any Clans could combine.
It was truly a losing battle, SesshoMaru knew this.
"Too long. This must end." One of the taiyoukai from the black dog clan sighed as he slumped down on a beach.
They had crossed the ocean westward to the land where their ancestor was banished from eons ago. The massive and ordinate land in the future would be called China.
SesshoMaru still stood in his true form, pacing back and forth, agreeing with the other taiyoukai.
The demons reverted to their humanoid form, licking at their wounds, huddling together, plotting their next move. The numbers had grown smaller over the years. Many had died or fled. There were some rumors among them that the Red Dragons had found way to take their power, turning them weak and powerless. This was what SesshoMaru agitated over now.
In the last battle, one of the Red Dragons, a large crimson black one had gotten hold of him and wrapped his body around him, absorbing his power.
He was lucky to get away before anything serious happened, but he felt his power draining every time he used them. Even worse when he turned from his true form to humanoid or back. Which is why he was pacing back and forth, the only one in his true form while the rest in the humanoid form.
"SesshoMaru, come join us. You will scare the humans." Hiarkri looked up at him. SesshoMaru was a large white silvery dog, massive and fearful in appearance.
SesshoMaru only growled his disagreement. I cannot. I must leave. He told his comrade.
"Why? They got to you?"
SesshoMaru snarled. My power is fading. I must go and finish what I must before it is final. I do not wish this. Do not tell the other. If I do not return, say I am dead.
"Nani…?" The inuyoukai sighed and shook his head. "You fought bravely and stronger than all of us. May the spirit of your father be with you."
The other youkai from the Grey Dog Clan looked up at SesshoMaru. "What about your servant, Jaken, or that child you sometime spoke of, Rin?"
SesshoMaru narrowed his blood-red eyes at the taiyoukai of Grey Clan. Jaken is lost to me now. He had not returned. I suspect he had not even reached Rin at all. As much I regret this very much, it had to be done. There is nothing much left I can do.
The shaggy gray haired inuyoukai sighed and nodded as he dressed his leg wound. "Very well. If you wish when some of us survives after all of this, we will find her and give her your news."
The white dog whuffed. Thank you. Then he turned and romped off.
Hiarkri watched his friend disappear in the darkness alone. You will live and you will return to Rin, no matter what. He thought sternly after his friend and returned to the small fire where all the other remaining taiyoukai and youkai huddled together, using the precious time to heal before the next battle.
SesshoMaru groaned, struggling to not let his legs collapse under him. He looked around him, the land were damaged, scorched barren with burning and rotting dragon bodies. A dragon found him earlier and called for the rest of the dragons, almost the entire clan. Thinking one taiyoukai would be easy to take down. But they were wrong.
All of the seven hells broke loose. SesshoMaru had found a new source of power, greater than anyone was ever known to have.
He had done something incredulously, without a thought; he went into one of his deadly dance in his true form, a dance that was similar to his kendo dance.
The dragons had come from all around him, cornering him. He had lashed out with all he had left and it was brilliant even he didn't believe himself. Then, all was left was the scorched land and charred dragons remains. Then he lost his true form, reverting back to his humanoid youkai form.
He winced as his arm throbbed. The arm which InuYasha had cut off long ago had re-grown was turning black, forcing his body to cut the arm off because it was wounded so badly. He grasped the arm and ripped it off, wondering as he gazes at the large crimson black dragon before him, the very one who had drained him of his power.
The black crimson dragon was the mate of the leader. He knew he had gotten most of them and hit the spot where the Leader would be angry. Now it was up to the other taiyoukai to get him. Time matters now.
His eyes widened as he realized where the source of vast power came from when he was in the mist of battle. His father had told him about it long ago.
"When you love someone so dearly and desired deeply to protect, the power will increase a hundred fold."
He had gone berserk as the thought of someone came to his mind when he was thrown into a fight against the first dragon that found him. Something snapped in his mind and he remembered a promise to someone long ago and vowed to never break it, which brought something inside him, filling him up with rage and unleashed it when the solitary red dragon had called almost the rest of the clan upon him.
He growled at himself, walking away from the scorched battleground. It had never happened before.
He had slain them all, the battle was short but he won in the end.
With a price.
He sat down at the base of the willow tree that was not touched by the battle. The pond rippled under the tree. Looking at his remaining arm and winced, it was throbbing with pain. Why didn't it heal?
Then something hit him. His powers were gone. He looked into the pond and saw himself in the reflection. He had turned back into humanoid, or more, a human. His white silver hair turned midnight black and the stripes of his title faded away. His claws and ears rounded up. His eyes turned midnight blue, fading from golden amber they once was.
He closed his eyes, not wishing this were true. Then he opened it, his reflection didn't change, and he was human.
No longer a taiyoukai.
A group of fishermen came up to a field vast with white army tents set up in perfect rows. Few of them smiled wearily to each other, murmuring that they had arrived.
"Halt. What's your purpose here?" The samurai stopped the men near the entrance. He was guarding the outskirt of the campground with few other samurais.
One of the men stepped forward. "We had come from the village on the other side, fishing village. The news of Lady Rin spread that far, we seek to join."
The samurai shook his head as he smiled. "Welcome. We need all the help we could get." He stepped aside, letting the men though. "Go to the center tent and sign up. New recruits will start training tomorrow morning."
"Thank you." The man bowed and led his group of men though the rows of tents.
The men reached to the center tent to find line of other newcomers from all around Japan to sign up. The army was growing.
Ever since the beginning of Lady Rin's twentieth summer, she had been appointed to lead the village against the Oni when they attacked them. She did and suppressed a victory, however, the news somehow spread. The other village that were destroyed or left to ruins, the survivors came to her and asked her to join.
It had started there. More and more people came from all around as the news spread; everyone soon wanted to join them. The remaining children and women also came and seek shelters from the infamous Lady Rin. She provided them a safe haven deep in the Western Land where the Oni wouldn't reach them yet.
Many strong able women also joined with Lady Rin, taking up to help the growing army, feeding them and tending to them.
It had gone for several years since then. Lady Rin soon forgotten peaceful life and was so focused into the defense against the Oni. The demons were growing stronger and pushing her back, wanting to get to the Western Land. But, she stood her ground with her men and fought back as hard they could.
After the news had reached the Emperor of Japan, he offered and sends his best army to help and train her armature warriors. Rin gladly accepted and oversee the improvement of her army.
Ryu and Shinji stood by her side always, helping her out and giving her advices along with Myoga. To Lady Rin's surprise, they knew very much about warfare and demons.
After the first battle earlier, Myoga disappeared, disappointing Rin very much, thinking he had gone off cowardly.
He did eventually returned. He came back with a demon bearing some package and gave it to Rin. Rin nearly cried when she saw what she had gotten. Shinji and Ryu were completely dumbstruck as well when they saw the package was.
Myoga had gone off to the Hi Mountain, the mountain that had fire in its bowel and a youkai lived there, forging demon metals. He went there to have Rin's armors made.
The little flea told Rin that he went there long time ago with SesshoMaru's father to get SesshoMaru's armors.
As Rin donned the armors, they could see that she was truly SesshoMaru's mate. Her armor was closely fashioned after SesshoMaru's own but deep blue in coloring of the breastplate. She even had the spiked band that crossed over one of her shoulder. She laughed and mentioned she does not have furry tail like Lord SesshoMaru to cross over her other shoulder.
The armor she wore proved her great protection and it suited her very well, becoming into a true youkai warriortess.
Her army grew into armies. She had sent them all around where other Oni attacked in other areas. Soon, with Ryu and Shinji's help, the good youkai came out and offered their help. They eventually joined and Rin's armies were mixture of youkai and human fighting against the Oni.
As the years dragged on, the battles turned into war. The lifestyle changed for the entire Japan. They were no longer farmers or simple people living their normal lives. They had become into warriors, fighting for their very lives, and the war against the Oni had become their life.
Rin often asked why, "Why are the Oni fighting so hard to get to the Western Land?"
Her three advisors couldn't answer.
"Lady Rin, we don't know. Every Oni we had captured never said. I don't think they know why either." Ryu answered the best he could.
Shinji scratched his chin. "The Oni seems to be driven by some other force to get the Western Land for someone else."
Rin nodded and rested her chin on her hands at the desk in her tent. "I am beginning to suspect that the Red Dragons had to do something about this."
The three youkai gaped at her. "Red Dragons?" Myoga hopped onto her desk.
Rin nodded again. "Yes. Didn't you guys know anything about that?"
Shinji shook his head no.
Ryu slowly nodded. "Yes. That was nearly twenty years ago. Lots of our inuyoukai left Japan to fight against the Red Dragons. That was as much we know about the Red Dragons."
Rin sighed. "I know more than that. Jaken delivered me news from Lord SesshoMaru long time ago. The Red Dragons are coming toward Japan, claming lands as they cross. The taiyoukai and the strong youkai went over to fight against them, to hold them back."
Myoga rubbed his chin while his second set of arms were crossed. "Hai, my lady. Perhaps the Red Dragon had sent the Oni to claim lands for them up ahead."
Shinji and Ryu gave each other a look.
Rin looked away, staring into the small fire in her tent. Her mind went back twenty years ago, remembering her Lord talking to a youkai and being left behind in a village. Nearly nine years passed peacefully for her growing up in the village with some trails and adolescence hardships. Then, eleven years headfirst into the war against the Oni. She felt much older, way older than her age. She didn't look a day older than eighteen but her heart was heavy and the war had tolled a large burden on her, making her fell so old.
Chapter 10: Old Friends
Far away in the village near the InuYasha's forest where everything was quiet and calm. A miko walked out of the hut, frowning as she searched for someone.
"InuYasha!" she called. Suddenly a red and white blur stopped before her, muttering.
"What is it, Kagome?" He asked as he stood next to his mate. They had completed the jewel together years ago. Kagome had given the jewel to InuYasha, preparing to go home, to end the entire quest. But to her surprise and joy, InuYasha didn't wish for neither human or youkai, he wished for Kagome to be bound to him forever until he die. So, Kagome became bound, only to live as long InuYasha lived and age slower.
She decided to remain in the feudal Japan, to be by InuYasha's side. Shippo had grown but remained around to be near them, after all, they were his only family. Miroku and Sango finally came around and married after several years, they had several children running around now.
"Did you hear what's going on in the Western Land?" Kagome asked, just came from a house where the women gathered to gossip.
InuYasha nodded. "Yes. The Oni are trying to invade the land."
Kagome frowned. "It's your brother's land. As well, your land too."
InuYasha shook his head. "No, SesshoMaru and I came to agreement long ago. I keep the Tesusagia and he, the land. That was what our father wished, actually, we're supposed to rule the land together, but I don't want it. I have enough."
Kagome smiled and leaned her head onto his shoulder. "Hai, but, you have not heard from your brother in years. He disappeared after a year we finished our quest."
InuYasha stared at the forest, his arm around Kagome's waist. "I know. I sent Shippo to check out what's going on over in the Western Land. He was hopping around, wanting something to do."
Kagome drew herself away from InuYasha. "Good. I have a feeling that something's big going on. Something evil behind the whole thing."
InuYasha nodded, trusting his mate's instincts. "Yes. When we know more when Shippo return. We will see then."
Shippo crouched in his hiding spot high in the tree nearby the army camp. He had turned into his true form, a little red fox, sprinting from InuYasha's Forest toward the Western Land after InuYasha had asked him to. He was excited to do something useful at last. Hanging around InuYasha after twenty-five years, things can be a bit boring at time lately.
"Whew! That's a huge army…" He muttered to himself. He grew over the year, becoming into a young adult kistune, his wild long red hair tied back in blue tie and he looked handsome, tall and slender.
His reddish brows furrowed as he noticed something and moved quickly and stealthy to other tree to get closer look. "Hm…" He caught scent of something familiar.
A tall beautiful woman in stain blue kimono and youkai armor strode on top a brilliant white gold youkai creature he knew of, a T'ang Steed. His blue eyes widened as he watched her strode past his hiding space, how could anyone ride a ferocious beautiful beast of the T'ang Steed.
He observed closer as he moved along quietly, she was talking to someone but she was alone.
He stained his ear to listen for that he was very high in the tree, hiding. The woman looked very familiar and her scent was very familiar too. The armor she wore looked like a female version of someone's armor, though he had seen it before but couldn't get the name off the top of his mind. He frowned as he listened to the conversation between the woman and someone he could faintly hear.
"The Oni are pushing harder. But we got stronger defense. Thank to the Edo Emperor for sending two platoon of his army."
"True, true, my lady. But reason for Oni are pushing harder to the Western Land is more…"
The woman nodded. "Yes, they wanted something else. We need to find out the real reason behind this."
Shippo's blue eyes widened as he recognized the second voice and leap down from the tree, startling the T'ang Steed, nearly throwing the lady back. But the lady held on with strength.
"Myoga! You old flea!" Shippo shouted as he spied the little flea onto the lady's shoulder.
"Who are you? How dare you to startle us!" The lady bellowed as she jumped off the steed and holding back to not attack. Her brown eyes glared fiercely at Shippo.
Shippo narrowed his eyes at the woman; she looked very, very familiar. The hair, the eyes and the scents, then it hit him. "RIN?" He finally boggled in surprise.
Rin drew back, looking at the kistune before her. "Do I know you?"
Shippo grinned his toothy grin. "Yeah! It had been long ago! Don't you remember me?"
Rin took in the sight of Shippo, long red hair, blue eyes, and bushy tail. Surely, he is a kistune but she couldn't recall.
"Shippo, I'm Shippo." The kistune grinned.
Then it clicked in her mind. She remembered in her childhood when she got lost and stayed with InuYasha and the other until her lord came looking for her. "Oh my! Kami… Shippo, you grew up!" She giggled and hugged the kistune.
Shippo returned the hug. "Whoa…" he then looked down at her armor, realizing someone else's armor that looked familiar. "What are you doing with SesshoMaru's armor?"
Rin looked down to her armor and shrugged. "Myoga had this made for me. It's a youkai armor, to protect me in the battle. Though it does look like SesshoMaru-Sama's armor." Sadness lingered in her voice as she mentioned her lord's name.
Shippo cocked his head at Rin. "You're the one leading the army?"
Rin nodded as they walked though the forest. "Yes. I have to protect his land. He disappeared years ago. The bad Oni are pushing to get his land. The people came all around, helping us because the Oni was raiding their land and villages as well."
Shippo huffed a wisp of his hair out of his eyes. "Whew… at least the InuYasha's forest is not being raided or attacked yet. InuYasha is fighting off anything that came into his territory."
Rin shot her head up at Shippo. "InuYasha still around?" Hope sparked.
"I thought he disappeared with that 'human wrench' of his." She giggled at the name that SesshoMaru had named for Kagome.
Shippo laughed. "Kagome's still here too. Kagome's real powerful now."
Rin smiled as an idea came to her mind. "Do you think they will come and help me? Fight off the Oni; it would be great if I have someone powerful as Kagome and InuYasha. I know InuYasha is strong as any taiyoukai. It is his brother's land that is being invaded."
Shippo stared off in the forest. They had stopped at a small grassy patch where wild flowers grew. He picked at a flower while Rin knelt to gather some. "Maybe, InuYasha sent me to see what was going on. Now I have the news straight from the head of the army. I am really amazed that you're leading it. A little girl, who would have thought grew up into a general." He paused, studying Rin with careful eyes. "Say, you aren't human?"
Rin shook her head. "Turned youkai years ago. SesshoMaru's final gift to me."
"Wow…" Shippo looked down to the flowers he had plucked with Rin, like the old time.
Rin heaved a long sigh. "It was unexpected. All I was just waiting for my lord to come back. The people appointed me to lead the army because they though that I knew more about the Oni and more about my lord's land. But then, it grew, into a largest army. It's really tough. I got most of the youkai from all around to help us. They also had same problem as me. There is no more taiyoukai in Japan. They all were gone over sea to battle the Red Dragons."
Shippo looked up. "Red Dragons? Seriously?"
Rin nodded. "Years ago. Around after four years traveling with SesshoMaru-Sama, a youkai came to him telling him that he was needed to help to battle against the Red Dragons. I didn't know much then. He left me in a village to be raised by Lady Karei. After 10 years, I was put into this. It had been…" She stopped, thinking. "Long… I know it's nearly twenty years, but it felt longer to me."
Shippo nodded. "How did you know about the Red Dragons?"
Rin shook her head. "Jaken, for four years came back to check on me, told me of news. After that, he disappeared. I searched and asked many youkai I could find. I gathered the news and they are bits of information, not enough. But I got most of it. The Red Dragons was pushing in from far west, trying to dominate the lands, to get more powers. All of the taiyoukai from all around went. None returned. I think they are all still over sea, battling against the Red Dragons. The last thing I heard about SesshoMaru-Sama. They said he had died." Tears were spilling from her brown eyes.
Shippo gathered the woman into his arms, comforting her. "Man, this must be hard on you."
Rin only nodded as she cried silently into his reddish fur vest.
They remained like that for a while, sitting in the patch of grassy area, talking about past news and gathering flowers.
Shippo's head snapped as he heard something coming toward them. He stood up, his claws tensed and he stood in a ready stance, ready to protect Lady Rin.
Rin stood up, her hand ready on the sword that rested by her side.
"Who's there?" Shippo growled, he sniffed and realized it was an inuyoukai that was coming toward them, but he didn't falter from his stance.
An inuyoukai with long black hair and midnight eyes stumbled though the forest. He looked worse to wear. Ragged, his armor was broken and he had bandage around him.
Rin frowned as she faintly recognized the man. It looked like the man that SesshoMaru talked to years ago.
"Wait, Shippo. I think he is on the good side." She walked to help the inuyoukai and set him down on the grass. "Hand me the water." She turned to Shippo who took the gourd from the T'ang Steed, surprised again that the beast didn't give any trouble.
"Thank you, kind lady." The inuyoukai rasped and coughed. Taking the gourd of water and drank it eagerly.
Rin looked over the bandage and found it was old and dried with blood on it. "Oh, this needed to be changed."
"No need, my lady. I think I am mostly healed now. But I am weak." The inuyoukai sighed as he unwrapped the bandage off his arm and found his wounds were almost healed, only there were red welt of scars.
"Sir, what happened to you?" Shippo knelt before the inuyoukai, taking the empty gourd.
"The Red Dragon is almost defeated. Most of them are wiped out. Only few were left."
Rin narrowed her eyes. "Red Dragons, then you must have news of SesshoMaru!"
The inuyoukai looked up to Rin and smiled. "Yes, you are that little girl he spoke of often! Must that be you? Little Rin, of wild flower? Even you do smell of wild flower, sweetest of all."
Rin's eyes shined with new tears and she laughed. "Yes! It is I! Tell me! Tell me about my lord!"
The man's eyes became downcast. "Ah, He was lost to us years ago. Man, he left a hell of a mess. We couldn't find him after he took off alone. We followed his scent and found massive decayed land and dragons. It spread for miles around. Something inside him must have been unleashed. He told me personally that if he were not found or returned, that he is dead to us all. But I did not believe that. There was no death scent of him anywhere. It's like he just simply vanished, but he did greatly helped us do the massive damage, himself alone slew nearly all of the Red Dragons."
"You're that Hiarkri, of his father's warrior?"
"Ah, yes. That's me, my lady. From what I see now, you are leading a large army of human and youkai alike, you are the true Lord of the Western Land now. I serve you now." Hiarkri stood up; he craned his neck, snapping the bones into places and shook his arms. "Ahh, back in the land where I was born, my powers return to me." He bowed to Rin. "Lady Rin, I serve you."
Rin stood up and bowed slightly. "Thank you. Your news had been the best news I had ever heard in the longest time. You would be greatly useful to me. Tell me, what of the other taiyoukai?"
Hiarkri followed Rin and Shippo back to the camp. "We had scattered after we found the remain of SesshoMaru's last battle. The remaining few Red Dragons attacked us, but they were weak. So were we. They had already absorbed most of our powers, leaving us weak. We scattered to heal and find our way back home. It was hard. Took me several years to get back here. I was wounded badly, alone but I knew if I returned to where I was born, I would get my power back. It is the land, the place where we came from that heals and restores us. That area beyond from here is the border of my home."
Rin listened silently as she led them into the camp. Soldiers snapped to attention and saluted her as she walked by.
Shippo turned his head to the inuyoukai. "Did SesshoMaru mention he had marked Rin?"
Hiarkri stopped before they entered the large tent that belonged to Rin. "Lady Rin… SesshoMaru is my closet friend though the time oversea, he did mentioned that he marked you. He was fearful of the phase you would have gone though. Did you take any other mate?"
Rin shook her head. "No. There were times that I wanted…" She blushed. "I have experienced the heat of mating but never took any. I only waited for my lord of his return."
The raven-haired youkai grinned his toothy smile. "I am impressed. You have the powerful will of love. I have heard so much about you during my travel. Now I see and it is all true. You are the true Lord of the Western Land in place of SesshoMaru. Do you as well fight like a demoness?"
"Many of my samurais told me I fought like a demoness." Rin laughed. It was true. Every time she was in the battle with the Oni, she fought like there were no tomorrow, strong and ferocious. A true demoness defending what was her's.
Hiarkri smiled. "Yes. Now we have to worry about the Oni trying to take your Land. The Red Dragons may still be fighting, but they have lost."
They all sat down around the table inside Rin's tent.
"Hiarkri-San, about the Red Dragons, I had a suspicions a while ago. Are they into this, with the Oni?"
The raven-haired inuyoukai nodded solemnly. "Yes. They ordered many Oni they could get to do their bidding. But I am deeply surprised that the Red Dragon had gathered so many Oni and is actually doing some damage to Japan. I don't know what Lord SesshoMaru would react to this."
Rin sighed. "I am tired of this."
Shippo gazed at the young woman before him with sadness. He could see how tired she is in her eyes. The Rin he knew was not like this, she was a jovial innocent girl that loved flowers and adored SesshoMaru. But in the short time he had been around this Rin, he saw that she had grown up into a different person, a woman who fought with all her heart for the one and only, her Lord, whom her adoration grew into something so unfathomable, a kind of deep love he had seen between InuYasha and Kagome. A soul-mate kind of love, the rare kind.
"We will get though this." He patted her arm and got a small smile from her. Myoga hopped from her to him and buried himself into his bushy tail.
Chapter 11: Tetsusagia
Hiarkri stood before a huge serpent youkai, his claws ready and bloodied. The serpent youkai loomed, and withering from the wounds it had gotten from the battle with the little inuyoukai.
The raven-haired inuyoukai growled, knowing his purpose in the battle, to protect the one he served.
"Give it all you got!" His sharp ears picked her shout across the battlefield. The field was bloodied with human and youkai's bloods. He snarled and jumped, eager to obey his mistress, he gave it all he got and slew the serpent youkai with no haste.
The serpent splattered and fell around him in pieces.
"Mistress Rin!" He yelled as he ran across the battlefield, ignoring the bodies that lay around. The Oni were becoming less and lesser, however, stronger. Rin's army was winning but barely.
"Now!" Rin yelled on top of Hoshino, steering her around, ordering and slaying the youkai that came around, trying to get to her. Hoshino clashed with them and fought against them, even with care because Rin was on her back.
Series of fire arrows shot from the line of archers. The arrows flew across the field to the other side where more Oni scattered toward them. The arrows hit most of them, causing them to fall and join the other bodies.
"Hiarkri, if more come, we will have to fall back." Rin greeted the inuyoukai who approached her.
"Yes. We do need more help, especially from the good youkai."
Rin nodded. The battle was slowing down but she could see and sense more Oni coming. Shippo had gone some time ago, back to deliver the news to InuYasha. She had hoped that InuYasha would come and help them, but the time had passed and she lost the hope.
"I smell Shippo…" Hiarkri sniffed again, struggling to smell the familiar smell that mingled with the blood of the war around them. Ryu and Shinji joined them at last, also bloodied as well.
"It is he and others…" Shinji noted as he patted Hoshino. The five of them stood on the top of the hill, overseeing the battleground that was still raging on. Ryu slashed an oncoming oni and turned back to Rin.
Ryu frowned as he squinted his eyes though the dirt cloud that rose on the other side of the hill. His eyes widened as he saw something, "DUCK!"
Rin scrambled off Hoshino and knelt low as Hoshino shielded all of them. The wind of sharp blast flew over them and down into the battlefield, slewing many Oni, leaving the good side untouched.
She gasped as she recognized the blast; it was the cutting wind from the Tetsusagia.
"Rin, we're here." She smiled as the dirt cloud fades away as she looked over Hoshino, showing the three figures over the hill. In the middle was InuYasha in his usual red kimono, holding the Fang to his shoulder; he was smiling cockily at her. Shippo was on his right and Kagome was on his left, in the miko outfit, but her hakama wasn't red like Kikyou wore at one time, it was green, green as her skimpy kimono she wore long ago. In her hands were bow and arrow, ready to fly. They all smiled at her.
She got off her horse and ran to them. "InuYasha! Kagome! I am so glad you came. We're having hard time."
Shippo's grin grew wider as he recognized the little girl within the woman. Rin had glomped InuYasha rather roughly and hugged Kagome as well. He received the grateful hug from her finally.
InuYasha frowned as he looked over Rin's shoulder. "Man, this is bad than we thought."
"We got the news from Shippo, we came as soon we could. It was a bit difficult to get here. There are other youkai coming this way. Red Dragons Youkai." Kagome noted.
Rin gasped. "Red Dragon?" She turned and called to Hiarkri. "It can't be!"
"It is the same youkai that all the other taiyoukai was fighting for?" Shippo asked. The three did look a bit battle worn.
The three inuyoukai joined them and greeted InuYasha. The four walked off to the side to catch up with the news. The battle behind them had died due to InuYasha's Cutting Wind for now.
InuYasha peered at Ryu's hair and smirked as he reached to pluck something. "Oi! Old man! Thought you'd be hiding."
Ryu and Shinji chuckled as Myoga was squeezed between InuYasha's fingers.
"My Lord InuYasha, forgive me. Lady Rin requested me to stay close by. I feel safe staying close to those three inuyoukai that served her."
InuYasha looked up at the three. "You all are serving her?"
Ryu nodded for the other two. "Yes, she is the appointed Lord of the Western Land now."
The white-haired hanyou gaped at the three. "What? How did this happen?"
Shinji bowed his head. "SesshoMaru left her with mating mark. She carries his blood now."
Kagome came up to InuYasha with Rin and Shippo behind her. "What is it?"
InuYasha turned to Shippo. "Kistune! You didn't tell me that Rin is a youkai now."
Shippo smirked and shrugged. "I think I forgot that part."
"You git!" And Shippo rubbed his poor head.
"Ow, you didn't have to hit me!"
Rin laughed at the two, feeling slightly better.
Kagome sighed. "I told Rin about the Red Dragons we had encountered."
"Yes, it seemed so. They must have come from over sea. We are going to be fighting two battles. One against the bad youkai and another with the Red Dragons." Hiarkri murmured as he thought deeply.
Rin looked up at the sky, it was gray and clouded. "No. This had gone too long. I am tired."
Shippo placed his hand onto Rin's shoulder. "We are here for you, we all are fighting with you."
Rin nodded as she turned to see remain of the recent battle. The land stunk with blood and decayed corpse. It had gone on for years, spreading all around every corner of Japan. She went from one area to another over the year, leading and helping them all. Her army had grown and divided, now it seemed that the entire Japan was fighting. The entire country turned into a battleground, stained red with blood of both human and youkai.
Kagome felt for the girl she knew once long ago. When she and InuYasha arrived to the area, she was shocked to see the battle in action. It was bad and nothing she had seen before. Everyone was dying, the land filled with corpse. But what had shocked her more was Rin. On top of the beautiful beast like a true samurai, fighting off the youkai. Rin had grew up from a young girl she once knew into a different person, almost as if SesshoMaru became one with her. She watched and shook her head.
"Rin, let's go to your tent." Kagome offered. They needed to get the rest they could get before the next battle.
InuYasha stood by Hiarkri, Ryu and Shinji as they watched Kagome and Rin walk off the battlefield. "Rin grew up, didn't she?" InuYasha asked, sheathing his sword.
Hiarkri looked at the white haired, golden-eyed hanyou next to him. "Yes. In my time with SesshoMaru, he spoke of her often, even if he spoke less than anyone."
InuYasha turned to the inuyoukai. "Shippo told us everything. Is it true that SesshoMaru is not dead?"
Hiarkri shrugged his shoulders. "He told me to say he is dead if he was not found. I don't know. I only came here recently just to find all this. I had expected to come home to peace, but…"
"Funny…" the hanyou murmured. "I can see my brother in her eyes."
Ryu rubbed the back of his neck. "Yes. She had to grow up fast. Shinji here and I had been ordered by SesshoMaru to be her mentor. We stayed to help her after that."
InuYasha's golden eyes shone with pain. "She shouldn't be put though this. This is not her destiny. She is supposed to be the little girl we knew once long ago."
"I agree." Shinji whispered.
"And it is here." He frowned as he sniffed. "Hm, familiar old stock smell… Jaken!" He leaped toward the tree line nearby.
The three inuyoukai followed, knowing who Jaken was and though he was once dead.
InuYasha stopped and sniffed. "He's around here. I can't believe he's alive!" He pushed the bushes aside and came to a small clearing.
Jaken was there. Holding the staff of heads, sitting on the ground, back to a tree. He looked much older, also wheezing.
InuYasha suddenly felt slight pang of pity. "Jaken?"
Jaken opened his yellow eyes and gasped. "InuYasha, is that you?"
Hiarkri noticed that Jaken was near blind. "Jaken! When did you come around here?"
The old toad turned his head to Hiarkri. "I know you… but never mind that. I came around here recently. I am too old."
Ryu and Shinji shook their heads as the knelt by the old toad youkai.
InuYasha took the staff of heads as Hiarkri picked up the old toad. "We'll take you to the camp. Rin will be happy to see you."
Jaken coughed. "Rin's still alive?"
Ryu growled. "That's Lady Rin to you now!"
Jaken's yellow bulbous eyes widened. "Lady?"
Rin looked up from the mat she sat on as InuYasha came in the tent. She gasped as she saw the staff in his hand and stood up.
Hiarkri followed in with Jaken in his arm with Ryu and Shinji behind him.
"Jaken!" Rin ran to the old toad. "You're alive!"
Jaken coughed as he was set down on the mat by the low table. Kagome poured him a drink, also surprised.
"Alive, indeed I am." Jaken's voice wasn't squawky anymore it became hoarse. "Came looking for you."
Rin knelt by him. "Why?"
"No one to serve anymore. Came to serve you. SesshoMaru-Sama told me long ago, if we parted, I must come to you and stay by your side."
Rin gulped at the news, tears brimmed her eyes. "SesshoMaru, when was the last time you heard of him?"
Jaken closed his wide yellow eyes. "Lost count of time. Four years I remember coming back and forth between you and SesshoMaru-Sama. After that, it was…" he opened his eyes slightly, gazing blankly at his hands, trying to count the years off his fingers. "Hm…" He had eight fingers, as he flicked one by one, leaving only three down. "That many years."
"Five years?" Kagome asked. "You were with SesshoMaru for five years?"
Jaken nodded as he took the cup to drink the tea.
Shippo slumped himself at the table. "Whoo. If it had been around twenty years since SesshoMaru left Rin here…"
Rin sighed. "Yes. He had been missing for around seven years, after the last time Hiarkri-san last seen him." She got up and left the tent.
Kagome shook her head as she poured the tea for everyone else. "This is harsh on her. InuYasha. Had my coming changed the future?"
InuYasha looked down at this mate, not understanding what she asked. "What?"
"This war, it was not stated in the future. Even there was nothing in the history book about this war."
"Kagome, remember, it is warring era now. There is so many war going on around."
Kagome nodded. "You're right. I hope Rin see though this and be reunited with SesshoMaru. Sorrow is in her soul, darkening her heart."
The other inuyoukai and kistune looked on the miko, silently agreeing with her sadly.
Chapter 12: Parting
Jaken, the old green toad, once the servant of Lord SesshoMaru, served Lady Rin for short time before he croaked and died. Rin gave him a proper burial with a stone head near the palace of the Western Land.
She knelt before two stone head. The two stone head was similar, both had pictures etched in the stone, one had a picture that resembled Jaken's head and the other had flower on it.
She had her hands clasped in prayer. Several years had passed since Jaken had come back. InuYasha, Kagome and Shippo stayed, helping her with the war that begun.
The Red Dragons finally came to them, though they were small in numbers but too much for the human and the youkai. The Red Dragons took over and most of the Oni left, few remained.
The battle turned into a heavy and long war, pushing hard onto them. However, Rin was able to hold her place, not letting them run her over.
The time now was peaceful when both sides had retreated, only to tend to the wounds and change tactics.
Rin recently found the hidden Western Palace and buried Jaken there. She felt it was proper. The grave next to Jaken was nameless and old. She didn't know who's grave it was until InuYasha mentioned it was SesshoMaru's mother's grave, though she wasn't buried there but the tombstone was a memento of her.
The taiyoukai, one by one came back from over sea, finding the Red Dragons had came to their land. They joined with Rin, helping her. Yet, none was SesshoMaru.
Rin was close to losing hope for her Lord.
"Jaken, you had been annoying and irritating little toad. But I do miss you, I am glad we came to term and glad you lived your life out as you wanted to." Rin stood up and placed down the flowers she had in her hands on his grave.
"Time to kick the Red Dragons ass. I will get one down for you." Rin turned and walked away. She could hear in the distance that the war had started again. She reached down and drew out her sword, which she had deftly named it 'Kouryou', the blade thirsty for the dragon's blood.
Her eyes went from sweet chocolate brown to cold golden color, just like SesshoMaru's eyes when he was in the rage of battle.
The raven-haired man stood on the shore of the strange land he had been stranded. He glanced toward east, where the sun was rising. He had lost count of years since he became human. He reached up and rubbed his upper arm where it had been cut off.
He knew he was one of the last taiyoukai left on the strange land. After becoming human, he traveled around, trying to find way to get home. Most of the taiyoukai he fought with had scattered and gone home.
"Does Lord Sessho ponder of his past?" A beautiful lady holding an umbrella walked toward him. She was the princess of the land he stood on. He had stayed with her for short time after she found him.
SesshoMaru didn't reply the woman.
"Ever since I took you in to care for you, I tried to love you and you never in return. I accepted that. Yet, I wonder why you have such sorrow in your eyes?"
SesshoMaru, if he could, he would snort. But he didn't, "I think of only one."
"Hm, this Rin you speak of from your dreams?"
He turned to glare at the woman for invading his privacy.
"You forget. I hear you, you cry out in your dream." She replied smartly with a playful grin on her lips.
"Yes. It is of Rin. Years had passed, she must had died." He turned back to watch the sunrise.
The princess frowned. "Bie Laio." She walked off.
"Sayonara, my love." The good bye wasn't for the princess. A lonesome tear glistened in the morning sun, rolling down his cheek. He had discovered that he remained immortal as youkai should, but is powerless as human.
As he had lost count of years, he knew he had been gone too long.
Rin grew up, he knew. But, what had her life been? Had she married, had children? He knew she was mortal and would have died of old age. But, there were question that played in the back of his mind, mocking and teasing him, would had she become youkai with the blood he had given her? He had no idea, had no contact with anyone oversea to Japan. He was all alone and stranded.
In his time of being powerless, he had learned to live among human, learned to be one of them to survive. Compassion came to him. He finally realized that he loved Rin and didn't deny his heart of its truth.
The Red Dragons had gone from this land. Where they had gone, he didn't know, but he had destroyed most of them, leaving them weak.
All he wanted was to go home, restore whom he was and continue with his life.
"Lord Sessho? Milady say there is a boat leaving in several hours for Japan."
A boat? He had searched for every dock and ships that would go over to Japan in the last several years and found none. He frowned and turned to the servant. "How is it so that there is a boat over to Japan now?"
The servant quivered under his angry gaze. "My lady… she ordered for them all to be unavailable. She desired your love but it is not possible."
SesshoMaru growled softly. He wouldn't kill the princess. Home was the first thing on his mind and it was not worth it to kill the princess for the insolent thing she had done to keep him stranded on the strange land for years.
SesshoMaru turned to the servant and nodded his thank. Now he could go home. But, with heavy heart, he will never return to the life he had, with someone who smelled of flowers and had smile that shone brighter than the sun.
Maybe he will search for his younger brother and come to a good term, if he lived. He had harbored a deep desire to be close to his brother. Last he heard that his brother had completed his search for the Shikon No Tama with the human wrench of his. They had made their wishes and they are together, for as long they live.
Chapter 13: The Journey Back
"Hoo, now they are recruiting samurais and many able bodies men from over sea?" One seaman asked another as they worked on the mast.
SesshoMaru had perched himself at the edge of the ship, looking out to sea in mist. His ears may have dulled, but it was still sharp. He listened idly to the seamen swapping stories of his homeland. There were lots he had not known.
"Yeah." The other replied back. "Met some of them, they said the leader of the armies was ferocious, fought like a demon!"
"Really? Didn't this person fight among the demons, even have a miko to help too?"
The second one nodded. "Yeah! This miko was the most powerful ever! Said that she is a mate of a demon!"
SesshoMaru snorted. That sounded like his brother and the wrench. "What's really going on in Japan?" He turned around, glaring at the two seamen with icy gaze.
The two seamen stared back at him with surprise on their faces.
"Didn't you hear? You don't look like one of those chinamen, you must be of Japan."
SesshoMaru only nodded.
"Had you been gone too long?"
"There's a war going on in Japan, the biggest one of them all! One person is leading the good side, even had youkai on his side! Fight like one!"
SesshoMaru frowned. "What kind of war?"
"Good against the bad, against the Red Dragons or so, I think. Is that right?" The first one turned to the second.
The second nodded variously. "Yeah, it's the Red Dragons. They're tough."
SesshoMaru now found this interesting. "How long had it been going on?"
The first shrugged. "Heard of it when I was a kid."
"Yeah, my papa was one of the solider. Died in the battle in the beginning."
They both nodded and returned to whatever they were working on.
SesshoMaru turned back to the sea, furrowed brows. So, they got to Japan.
He cursed inwardly as he grabbed his shin. It was a true curse to be a human. The pain shot though his leg as he hobbled toward a fallen log and sat down. He had not seen the risen root of the last tree he passed. His leg had hit it rather hard.
He looked at his leg and sighed, it would bruise for days. But that does not matter. He had gotten used to being in the body for several years.
After he got off the ship when it docked at the very south of Japan. He traveled from there, going from village to village. There were troubles everywhere with the Oni. He would stay and fight against them. He would learn more about the war that was going on.
He then recently learned something, to his shock. The main war was where all of the remaining Red Dragons was at his domain, the Western Land. His home.
Also, he got a confirmation that the true rumored demon with a miko was the one he knew, InuYasha and Kagome. Though he tried to find out who the leader was, but never got the name. He did find correction in the rumors; the leader wasn't he, but a she. The one who fought like a demoness with sword that was similar to his katana with an ironic name, Kouryou.
"She fights for only her Lord." Someone had told him that, which confused him toughly. Now he really wished to meet this woman, the mysterious demoness.
He stood up after the pain had subdued. There is something he had to do before going home. He looked down, shifting the kimono across his chest. The cloth was harsh, making him look like a commoner. He had no choice, his armors got broken in the battle against the Red Dragons, the clothes he wore, usually kept clean and tidy for many years got torn and became ragged. It was a fine silk too, suited his taste. All he had left were the Tensusaiga and the Toukijin, reminders of who he once was.
Cursing the curse that was bestowed upon him, he had to travel and live like a wandering commoner, a poor rounin. He knew that once he gets back to his Western Land, he would be restored of his powers. First thing first, it doesn't matter how long it would take him, he had nothing left but his heritage from his father, the lands.
Jaken, his faithful and loyal servant disappeared years ago. Jaken once was a mentor and a trustable friend in his youth while his father lived. After the taiyoukai died, Jaken became his servant, his supporter. Now the toad had gone missing and he is left alone now.
As a traveling samurai, he must look the role. He took the bag from his belt and looked in it. It was enough to buy himself a fine strong horse, though he preferred a ride-able youkai, like Ah-Un or the mindless ogre he used to have before InuYasha had slain it. But, in his state, a horse would do until then.
Then, better clothing and armors. He sighed, knowing he would have to travel a great distance to get the armor he needed. Only one youkai he knew made the best armors, youkai armors and that youkai lived in the steepest mountain where all the metals were forged.
He has to earn his image before presenting to this mysterious demoness fighting for his land.
His black fine brows furrowed as something came to his mind. Would this demoness fight him for his land too? Had she claimed it her own already? It does seem so but then he remembered that she was fighting for her lord. Maybe he would have to meet this lord and find out more. Perhaps, fight him for his rightful land back.
Chapter 14: End of War
InuYasha sat before a tree, cleaning his sword. The battle had settled again for now. Kagome slept next to him, curled up on the soft grass. She was spent. Shippo went out sniffing, scouting the area.
"Rrrr?" InuYasha growled softly as he looked up to find Rin coming though the clearing.
"InuYasha how is she?"
He looked to Kagome who were stirring but went back to sleep. "Fine, spent, tired."
"We all are." She sighed and sat down next to the hanyou.
"The war seemed to be close to end. I don't know how you lived though the whole things. Nearly thirty years." InuYasha mumbled as he finished cleaning his sword.
Rin wrinkled her nose and shrugged a shoulder. "I don't either. I've lost counts of years. If it is thirty as you said, then it is. I don't care any more. The only way to end this war is to get that Red Dragon leader. He is hiding, but he is here."
InuYasha gruffly agreed. "He wouldn't show, not just yet, waiting for us to wear out."
Rin shook her head. "He is wrong. We will not weaken."
The hanyou looked at Rin, who became silent. He could see his half-brother within her. Serious face, strong will for something, even she spoke less now. The sweet Rin he once knew long ago disappeared from her eyes, as he feared, perhaps her soul.
Hiarkri came though the clearing. "I got some news from the others."
The two looked up.
"There is a lone samurai, a powerful one heading our way. He is going to help us out."
Rin stood up, brushing her armors. "Anyone we know?"
The inuyoukai shook his head. "No one knew who he is. He appeared few years ago, helping out on our side from place to places."
Rin tapped a finger to her chin, pondering. "Can this samurai be trusted?" In the past, several samurai, even youkai came to her, saying they would fight by her side, then turned against her. She didn't want the same thing to happen again.
"Don't know. The others said he was very strong, cannot be killed, but he does bleed red."
"A human one?"
"Seemed so. But this puzzled me, when he first appeared, he came from the Hi Mountain, even rumored to have a T'ang Steed, like your own."
Rin turned her head to her shoulder where Myoga always perched, sometime on InuYasha. "Myoga, is that where you got this armors from?"
Myoga hopped onto her hand. "Yes, yes. Steepest and most dangerous mountain to ever venture on."
"Hiarkri, when he get here, send him to me immediately. He may be stronger, strong enough to help us with the Red Dragons."
InuYasha shook Kagome awake as the inuyoukai left with Rin. "Kagome, wake up."
"Mmm…" She stirred. "Five more minutes, mom."
He smirked. "All right. Few more minutes wouldn't hurt."
The lone samurai sat upon his powerful black steed. His raven hair billowed though the gentle wind that blew by him. His golden eyes scanned the land below the hill where the border of the Western Land laid. The land was dyed deep black and red with blood from the years of war.
His lips were turned up in a snarl. His lands were destroyed, marred beyond recognition. Decayed bodies scattered all around, which seemed like for miles. The area had a forbearing aura, very powerful that warded off people and youkai alike, even scares the bravest samurai.
But this samurai is fearless. He had almost nothing to live for. They said he was suicidal and he is. He would throw himself headfirst into the mass of the most ferocious youkai and still come out alive.
His hand held the rein to the steed as the other one smoothed the kimono he wore. He had chosen a different color this time. At one time, he wore white and red kimono, but now, he felt black and blue was his color, it suited his soul's mood, melancholy. The color of his kimono combined with his deep raven hair had set his pale skin off with strong contract; even his eyes seemed to glow.
During the years since he had reached Japan, he went on building a strong and ferocious image for himself, becoming into one of the renowned nameless samurai that put fears deep in the heart of the good and the bad.
The people started to gossip and spread rumors about him, saying that he rivals the once and great legendary Lord SesshoMaru and his father. But the lone samurai laughed as he heard the rumors and left it is to spread further. Where he will go, he will be recognized and feared but he remains on the good side, fighting against them. Many said they had no idea why he was fighting, helping them but said he had his own reason in this.
"Haa." He kicked his steed to go on down the hill to the Western Land. The steed reared a bit, knowing that they would be venturing toward danger. He felt it. The aura of the land had been tainted. He didn't like it one bit as he passed though the corpses of both human and youkai. He could see how bad it was; also how long it had went.
He was close, close to restoring to his full power. Just right over the next hill, he would become a true youkai once again. He looked down to his missing arm and felt the tingling. It is trying to re-grow again.
The steed reared again and whinnied.
"What is it?" He asked. Then, he heard it, the sound of war and looked up as they crossed another hill.
His mouth gaped open slightly as he gazed around. Several Red Dragons loomed over the next hill, but they weren't looking at him. Their backs were at him.
The Red Dragons coiled though the air like crimson snakes against the gray blue sky, blowing flames out of their mouths, their claws slashing.
His mouth suddenly shut as his brows met. "Haa!" He kicked his steed to go on. The steed ran, ran to the hill. He could feel the power filling in him rapidly as his arm grew. He clenched his new hand and claws tightly, remembering the feeling again. He smiled slightly, feeling fulfilled as his raven hair turned ghost white.
At the top of the hill where his steed stopped again, so small compared to the Dragons that loomed above him, he could see below. It was horrendous sight. There were humans with youkai fighting against the bad youkai and the Red Dragons.
He slipped off his steed and stepped forward, feeling the change in his body. He felt full and powerful again. He felt like he could laugh as the power coursed though his vein hotly. However, the sight kept him serious.
Something caught his eyes as one of the largest dragons took dive toward. The large dragon was the leader of the Red Dragon Clan, Ryuujin. The one he had not killed, but wounded badly years ago. He snarled, feeling blood lust but something stopped him.
The large dragon loomed before several people. He recognized them. One was his brother, another the miko and three inuyoukai, Hiarkri, Ryu and Shinji. They all seemed to be surrounded with someone he didn't know.
A female, he assumed this was the demoness that he had heard so much about, fighting the large dragon with all of her strength. He could see her beauty and ferociousness. Something tugged at his heart as he watched her fought.
It was mesmerizing as he watched her, it was like a forbidden dance she was doing with the sword against the large dragon. He recognized the dance, it was his own, the dance of sword in kendo but the way she was doing, it seemed more pure and mythical, the power vibrated though the katana and her blue kimono billowed around her with her long raven hair.
His eyes broke away from the female to see the king dragon open his mouth. His heart tightened, as he knew what would happen next. By instinct, he transformed once again, feeling the fullest of his youkai power.
Rin's eyes were narrow as she struggled against the large dragon. The damn bastard finally showed. Now she had to kill the leader of the Red Dragons to end it all.
Her chocolate golden eyes widened as the dragon opened its mouth, intense heat blew from it. She knew she was doomed where she stood. Cursing inwardly as her legs wouldn't move. She could hear the others yelling at her behind her to move away but it sounded so distant. She was frozen, frozen with fears at last. In all of her years fighting with the Oni and the Red Dragons, she never, ever froze up. Of all the time, her mind distinctively cursed.
A loud booming bark caused the dragon to close its mouth and look away. She gasped, finally regaining control of her body. It was her chance to run, but she didn't. She looked to see who made the bark and her heart made a double flip and stopped altogether for a moment.
The great silver white dog stood on the top of the hill, growling as it glared with it's golden red eyes at the leader dragon. It snarled, challenging the dragon.
InuYasha looked up and nearly choked. It was his brother. "That damn bastard's alive after all!" Not to his despair, but to a near joy. Kagome on his side choked and finally yelped in cheers.
Hiarkri looked up as he heard the booming bark and nearly toppled backward. "Good gods!"
Ryu and Shinji looked up as well and gaped then cheered. Many others, including the Oni and few smaller Red Dragons stopped to look up, most retreating, knowing the danger of the two lords' war.
The large dragon moved away, coiling around in the air before the great dog.
Ryuujin, finally we meet again. The great dog growled.
The Red Dragon King coiled tightly and recoiled. You! You had been left for dead and powerless! You killed my clan!
I return and this is my land you are invading.
I once killed you, I will again. The dragon hissed.
Rin stared and gasped as the two leap at each other and clashed.
The white dog bit down on the dragon's neck and shook its head, trying to trash the black red dragon.
The dragon screamed and clawed at the white dog, trying to inflict the wound. He knew this dog; this very dog that destroyed most of his clan is much more powerful than the last encounter.
You! You killed my clan! Its thought screamed as the tail coiled around the white dog's body.
Not this time! You will not weaken me! SesshoMaru snarled back, biting deeper as his front paws grasped around the upper body of the dragon. Green mist started to glow around his paws, pouring into the dragon's wound.
No! I cannot be defeated! I made you weak before, and I can again!
SesshoMaru threw back his head as he let out a loud bellowing bark before he bit down again, ripping though the dragon's upper torso, killing it instantly.
InuYasha's eyes widened as Kagome clutched to his side. "He's real powerful now."
The hanyou nodded dumbly. "Yea…"
Rin watched the white dog let go of the dragon, letting it fall. The white dog landed gracefully away from the dead dragon.
It was all over.
The entire population stared in silence.
Lady Rin sheathed her katana and brushed her kimono. She looked up to see the dog transforming into familiar human form. Her heart gave a jump once again.
SesshoMaru turned as he landed, turning back into his smaller form, sensing someone coming toward him. It was the woman he saw earlier. The tug inside his heart became strong.
She had the most familiar beautiful chocolate eyes with golden tints. Her hair fell behind her in raven locks, untainted from the war. She wore armors that were similar to his armor. Must this be the woman he heard so much about, the one he wanted to meet?
He bowed slightly. "Lady, thank you for defending my land."
Rin's face darkened. Had he not recognized her? No, he wouldn't. He only remembered a small girl from years ago. "My lord." She bowed before him. "I serves only to you, always had."
He noticed her face had darkened. He could feel the true emotions within her; he felt anger, confusion, relief and love.
Her voice was sweet, as she smelled. Serves only to me? His golden youkai eyes gazed into her chocolate gold eyes and then looked up and down, taking in the very being of her.
Then, his eyes left her as he saw few people he recognized behind her standing in flank. He tilted his head toward his younger brother, recognizing him. Then over to the female miko and noticed that she had become regal and beautiful, a worthy mate of his brother.
Finally, he saw the three inuyoukai, Ryu, Shinji and Hiarkri and the kistune, he frowned slightly and remembered long ago, could this possibly the one, Shippo who traveled with InuYasha and his mate? It could be. The kistune looked as if he recognized him as well.
He returned to the beautiful demoness. She didn't look or had a mark of youkai. She was very much human but the aura and the smell of her was familiar.
Her serious face lit up in a soft smile. "Lord SesshoMaru."
His heart swelled as he felt love radiating from her strongly. He couldn't restrain but gathered her into his arms and held her close ferociously.
InuYasha shook his head and sheathed the Fang in its old scabbard. Kagome slipped the bow over her arm and held InuYasha. Everyone else smiled at the two.
"You're home, as you promised…" Rin whispered into his dark kimono.
He held her tightly. "Yes."
Her golden brown eyes looked into his golden one. "I am sorry you have to come home to this mess. It had been going on since ten years after you left. I almost lost hope."
SesshoMaru growled softly. "Still, you never did."
Rin nodded and pushed away from him. "It's over. You killed Ryuujin. He was real difficult."
The white haired lord looked around him. He noticed that most of the warriors had left. It seemed lonely and forbidding.
InuYasha stepped up, taller and older since the last time he saw him. "Brother. Thank you."
The hanyou shook his head. "No. Thank Lady Rin. She was the one who led the whole thing from the start. She is strong and a worthy fighter."
SesshoMaru nodded. "Worthy of my mate. Rin." He took Rin's hand and held it in his own. He smiled his rare smile to her. "If it is?"
Rin's eyes welled up with shining tears. "Yes, my lord. I am your mate."
SesshoMaru took her into his arms once again, nuzzling her hair as she buried her head into his chest.
InuYasha smiled and left the two alone, ushering the others to go as well.
Rin and SesshoMaru knelt before two graves near their home.
"Jaken returned and served me as he would serve you. He died after a while." Rin whispered as she placed the flowers on the two graves.
"Thank you for giving him a decent burial. He deserved it." He then looked over to the older tombstone and traced the flower etching on it.
"Your mother. InuYasha told me."
"Yes. When I saw back there, you did a dance." He looked up and took her chin in his hand. "You were strong and regal, like my mother once was."
Rin's cheeks tinted pink. "That dance, it was your own I have learned long ago."
SesshoMaru smiled, tilting his head down to capture her lips in sweet kiss, murmuring against them. "No one could learn the dance of the sword unless of those who shares my blood."
Rin only moaned in reply as she found her place in his arms.
Somewhere in the trees, three youkai and a kistune hid, smirking and passing each other some gold coins.
"Ah, when you think they'll have pup?" The first one whispered.
"Soon… Rin still have those heats she held in all those years. I wouldn't be surprised if she popped out more than one pups."
"Oi, Shinji! You're nasty minded!" The third slapped the second.
The second giggled. "It's true! I had to bear though her 'teenage time'!"
Ryu groaned. "Come on, when?" He jingled couple of gold coins.
Shippo looked down at his own and grinned. "Four gold that she is already carrying his pup!"
Shinji and Hiarkri nodded together and chimed together, "I'm in."
Ryu laughed. "Okay, I'm saying it's next season."
"How many pups?"
"Two. A girl and a boy."
The three older youkai groaned at the kistune and bopped him out of the tree.
"That's too many! It's unheard of!"
"But it happened!" Shippo shouted back.
"Shh!" Hiarkri hissed.
The four pairs of eyes looked to find a set of glaring golden eyes and then scrambled though the forest with glee and laughers.
~ The End ~
Rin's Waiting © Lady Yashodoa 2001-2008