Rin was sitting at the edge of the river in the forest that was near the village. She had been in deep thought. The time for her to make her decision grew near, whether she wanted to stay in the village or leave with Lord Sesshomaru. She thought she had known all along what choice she would make. She thought it was obvious.
She was a foolish child then. She had thought she had it all figured out, but she did not realize how different her and her Lord were until she began to grow into a woman and noticed that her Lord had not changed at all. She began to question herself, and in time began to question her previous decision as well. As she looked towards the midnight sky she went into deeper thought, looking back at every moment someone had warned her of this very thing.
Jakens words rang in her ears. "By the time Lord Sesshomaru's empire is established, you will be gone and burried."
As Lord Sesshomaru turned to leave Rin had tried to follow behind him, but the old monk grabbed her hand.
"Don't go," he pleased, "he is an evil spirit, he is a demon! Not someone a human child should follow."
Rin snatched her arm out of the monks hand. "Let me go!" She demanded.
"Come back girl, humans and demons belong in different worlds."
She ran towards Sesshomaru happily saying "wait for me!"
That day she had decided to follow Lord Sesshomaru, even though she understood what the monk had said was true.
Lady Kaede had asked her what she had wished for.
"To be by Sesshomaru-sama's side of course." She said happily.
Kaede frowned. "And after that?"
Rin cocked her head to the side in confusion. "Nothing more. I wish to be by his side forever."
"I am sorry to say this child, but that is an impossible dream. Youkai and humans live in different worlds. While he continues to keep his youth and strength ye will grow weak and old, and eventually ye will die." Rin had not replied to her, she simply looked at her tea cup contemplating what Kaede was saying.
She never thought she would ever doubt wanting to be by his side but now she wasn't so sure. She looked down at her fingers, putting them up to her lips and whistled lightly. After several minutes of waiting Lord Sesshomaru appeared as a bright ball of light. Rin instantly got up and turned to look at him. He set himself down lightly, taking a few steps towards her.
Rin did not say anything, instead greeting him by touching the side of his face, tracing the red marking on the side of his face with her finger tips. Sesshomaru put his fingers through her hair, combing through it in one stroke. They stood there looking at each other for a moment while he waited for her to speak first.
Rin sighed softly adverting her gaze from her Lord.
"Sesshomaru-sama, may I ask you a question?"
"What is it Rin?"
"When I die," she looked up at him hesitantly. "When I die, will you remember me?"
Sesshomaru's eyes widen slightly in surprise. "...what makes you ask such a thing?"
Rin turned around and sat at the foot of the river again, taking in her knees and resting her chin on top of them sadly. "I do not know. I guess now that I have grown into a woman I have to face the cruel realties of this world."
Sesshomaru sat down under the tree leaning against it beside Rin. "Is that what worries you? You death?"
"Sesshomaru-sama, it is not death that worries me. Death is unavoidable, even to a great daiyokai such as yourself. Everyone who is born is destined to die." She said. "What worries me is that I won't get to spend an eternity with you, all because I was born a weak human."
Sesshomaru was taken aback. He had never thought that she had felt that way about herself. To think that in a moment like this, he would run out of clever and witty things to say.
"That is truly sad milord. One blink is all it will take and before you know it I will be dead and burried." Rin turned her head to look at her Lord, with tears forming at the corners of her eyes. "I felt your pain and your anguish, when you realized that I had died that day. I would never want you to go through that again. Sesshomaru-sama, I think it would be best if you just leave and never come back."
Anger and sadness was evident on his face when he heard the words flow out of her mouth as if they were nothing. He had been prepared for the possibility of her refusing to come with him. But he never thought that it would mean never seeing her again.
"Rin..." Sesshomaru reached for her, cupping her cheek in the palm of his hand. He felt the warmth of her tears falling down his hand. He then lifted her chin, and lightly pressed his lips against hers tenderly. "Even with knowing that someday we will have to part ways, isn't that more of a reason to spend the bit of time we have together?"
Rin cried even harder, covering her mouth as the muffles of her cries escaped in between her finger.
"Sesshomaru-sama I do want to spend my life with you but, that is not the way I want it to be."
"Even if it is not for an eternity, when you die I will remember you, and when you return to this world we will be together again."
Chapter 2: Official First Chapter: Rins Rival, Sakura!
I'm sorry but I'm really bad with summaries. I do however try my best.
Rin had been sitting at the edge of the river gently washing her Silk kimonos. She had changed a lot since she had started living in the village. Her small round face had become more refined. The fat on her cheeks had decreased, making her dimples more noticeable. Her lips had become full, painted with the lip paint that Sesshomaru had gifted her. Her cheeks were also painted with a pink blush. Her eyes were painted a deep red, giving them a gentle sharpness to her otherwise wide eyes. She no longer walked bare footed, as it was not lady like. Her nails were groomed and painted a beautiful purple and her hair was no longer held up on the side with a pony tail.
Indeed she was no longer a child, but Instead a young lady. She still did the things that she enjoyed doing as a child, such as pick flowers and herbs, spend her time in the wilderness, and although she loved to sing, she no longer sang the childish songs she had as a child. Not only did she sing, but she also played the erhu to accompany her beautiful voice, as she enjoyed to write her own songs.
She spent most of her time helping Kaede, by doing the laundry, gathering herbs and sometimes she even fished or hunted for meat, skills that she had learned during her journey with her beloved Lord. She tried her best to get along with the people in the village, but unless she was helping kaede heal them, they rarely got anywhere near her. Despite her beauty and talents the men were afraid of approaching her. She never understood why that was, she couldn't help but wonder why they did not like her. She thought she had been kind to everyone, still no one wanted to be near her.
Finishing her chores, she placed her now clean kimonos into the basket and made her way back to the village. She hummed to herself quietly, putting her head down as she walked, as she preferred not to draw too much attention to herself, though she knew it did not help much. The expensive kimonos that she wore, the way her silky black hair flowed into the wind as she walked, the way her shoes cracked onto the ground with every step she took always alarmed the villagers of her presense. At that point she stopped humming, grumbling to herself as she felt the eyes of the people following her every move.
She walked faster, wanting to get back to kaedes hut as fast as she could, she she bumped into someone. She fell onto the ground, dropping the basket and the kimonos in them speeding across the dirt ground. Sakura had turned around, annoyed th at someone had bumped into her. When she saw that it was Rin, her nose wrinkled in disgust as if she had had just smelled something foul. "Idiot! Why don't you ever watch where you're going?!" She said angrily.
"I did not mean to run into you." Rin said, dusting her kimono off. She picked up her basket quickly, gathering her kimonos and throwing them in. She wanted to get out of there as fast as she could.
"So what are you not going to bow and apologize after you bumped into me? Or do you think too highly of yourself to do that?" Rin avoided her gaze as she reached for the last kimono. Sakura grabbed the kimono off the ground and held up to examine it. "To think that someone like you would get such fine kimono. Is that why you think yourself so much better than me?"
"I believe no such thing. Now I would greatly appreciate it if you were to return my kimono "
"If you wish for it back, then get on your hands and knees and bow, apologize for your insolence!" Sakura demanded.
Rin stood up straight and held her head up high. "It seems that you are the one who thinks awfully high of herself. You are no monarch therefore I refuse to bow down to the likes of you." Rin held out her hand with her basket on her side. " i ask once again that you give me the kimono."
Sakura had lost her patience with Rin. She took out a dagger and plunged it into the fine silk, leaving a big gaping hole in it. Rin ran up to her, trying to take it back from her. But she threw the kimono back onto the ground and grabbed Rin by her wrist, slapping her across the face. Rin fell onto the ground, her hand rubbing her cheek where she had just been slapped, disdain and hatred evident on her face.
"You think you're so great, with your silk kimonos, fine combs, fine stones, and fine shoes. but you're nothing but a white and disgusting dog, just like that demon you whore yourself with. Maybe next time you will know your place! "
When Rin heard what she had said about her Lord, she got up instantly pushing Sakura onto the ground, and began to slap her repeatedly across her face. Hearing the commotion, the other villagers gathered around them as she continued to beat her. Kaedes had also joined the crowd. Mortified at the violence that she saw her protege commit against a fellow villager, she called Rins name angrily.
She had instantly stopped and got off of Sakura quickly. Kaede approached her looking at her disappointedly. "Just look at her, she's a violent monster!" A villager called out from the crowd.
"She's a demon! "
"That is enough! " kaede yelled angrily.
"Lady Kaede, this girl-"
"Gather your things and head back to the hut."
Rin gave Sakura one last glare as she gathered her kimonos back into the basket, including the one that was ruined and ran off into the woods. Kaede bowed and apologized to the villagers before following behind her, shaking her head as she mumbled about how disappointed she was.
Kaede and Rin sat across from each other on the low table in their small kitchen. Rin stared at her hand, silently twidling her fingers nervously. Kaede simply stared at her. She couldn't understand why Rin would act so violently against another villager. Kaede's face strained trying to pin point at what time she had gone wrong.
Kaede is a healer, and although Rin had no interest in healing the villagers like she used to, she still made sure to instill in her the meaning of being one. Being kind and compassionate has always been the foundation of her teachings and that she she's sure she has taught her well. Being a kind and helping others is part of what being a human meant to Kaede, so what was it?
Did she ignore her? Did she forget something a long the way? Did she fail to understand her? Did she neglecting her? Kaede was sure she gave her all the love and care that she deserved, so what had gone wrong. Kaede's expression was that of strain, as if her head was about to explode, yet no matter how hard she went from one memory to the other another, scanning ever inch of her mind that she could, she couldn't remember or even see what it was that she had done wrong.
What did it matter anyway? She was old and wrinkled and her days were numbered. It could be that no matter how much time she spent trying to find the memory, it was probably long gone in the recesses of her mind and it would be futile to try and recover what she could have possibly forgotten. The more time that passed the more she's reminded that each day she's closer to her death. Kaede stood up from where she stood whilst she shook her head, being determined she refused to go out without first doing the best that she could so that Rin could finally be happy amongst her own kind.
She looked towards the kettle where for the past 5 minutes she had been brewing Rins favorite tea. Wait, that was right, the tea. She had been so deep in thought probing through her mind that she had also forgotten she was brewing tea. Kaede took a piece of cloth that was next to the kettle, grabbing the handle of the pot gently being careful not to burn herself. She pored the tea into both their cups and pushed on to to Rins nervous hands.
Rin looked up from her hands and into the lightly colored liquid, inhaling deeply. She smiled, it was her favorite. She took it in her hands carefully, blowing onto the surface of the hot tea gently before taking a sip. She felt the warmth spread through her mouth and throat, feeling the liquid calm her nerve wrecked stomach. She sighed contently, finally feeling calm enough to look at Kaede with strength and courage.
"Now that we have both calmed down, let us discuss what happened." Rin nodded wearily. "Ye have acted violently towards a member of our village."
"Lady Kaede, I-"
Kaede raised her hand up to stop her. "I have always instilled on ye the importance of kindness and compassion. Ye healed people by my side, tending to the sick and assisting the old. Ye know that acts of violence are unacceptable. So why?"
"Before I can answer that question, I have some things to say about your statement." Rin took a deep breath trying to find the correct way to express her thoughts. "I have always respected your teachings. I was always willing to even risk my life to help others. I loved everyone no matter how bad that I was treated. But that to me is a sign of weakness. I will always be kind and compassionate towards others but I will never tolerate and accept other people's mistreatment of me. There is only so much one could indure."
Kaede was taken aback. Mistreatment? But she has never seen anyone mistreating her before. Is that what she had failed to see? "That girl? When has she mistreated ye?"
Rin gripped the opening of her kimono tightly, trying not to feel insulted. "You mean, you have never noticed?" Rin shook her head when Kaede failed to reply. "That stupid girl finds every chance that she gets to make my life miserable!" Rin yelled. "She insulted me, demanding that I bow down to her, she ripped my kimono and slapped me. She insulted Lord Sesshomaru and called me a demons whore."
Kaede was shocked. It was the first she's ever heard of that girl mistreating Rin. But even so..."even so, violence is never the answer child. Ye cannot solve problems of violence with more-"
"Then what is there to do? Just sit there while she continued to berate me and put her hands on me? I have done nothing but be kind and tolerant to that girl and she has done nothing but repay me with hatred and jealousy." Rin got up and began to Pace back and forth, something she did when she was extremely angry.
"Do not even get me started with the other villagers. You heard what they said. I am nothing but an itch they cannot reach. I am an eyesore to them. A pest they cannot get rid of. They never mistreated me like Sakura has, but they have never been kind to me either. They want nothing more than to just pretend I do not even exist. I am not worth anything to them."
Kaede was at a loss for words. She never realized how alone Rin had truly felt. Kaede was already losing her vision, but she could now clearly see that Rin no longer felt happy in the village. She prayed to the spirits day and night hoping that when the time came Rin would decide that she wanted to stay in the village. It seems now that every prayer that she prayed was in vain. Rin suffered silently while she was here thinking Rin was happy.
She dreaded the day Rin was faced with the decision that would change her life forever. "What will ye do now that ye has decided yer no longer happy in the village?"
Rin stopped looking at Kaede with disappointment. Rin also dreaded this day. As much as she loved her Lord, Rin did not want to leave Kaede's side. She wasn't happy in the village but that didn't mean she didn't love her time spent with her beloved guardian. Rin shook her head. I just can't bring myself to leave Kaede's side, but I can no longer tolerate the villagers. What should I do? She made her way towards the entrance of the hit before replying "I need time to think." Kaede was left there to cry by herself. She had failed Rin.
This chapter almost no dialogue but I hope you like it nonetheless. Thank you for everyone that's been reading so far. I said I would update it more often, I'm going to keep my word.
Rin had been sitting near the river near the village, in the middle of the night. She was deep in thought, and disappointed with herself for the past few days. She had hurt Kaede with her words. Rin was always kind to everyone, or she used to be. She remembered the first time she had helped Kaede deliver children.
When she washed and cleaned the newborn twin girls sango had just given birth too, she smiled happily. She washed them genlty, making sure to hold their heads firmly, gently, lovingly. It was not everyday that she got to see such a miracle occur right before her eyes. She saw the innocence in their eyes, which filled her with hope, warmth and happiness. The cries of a newborn baby hitting her eears for the first time sounded like music to her ears.
She wondered if that is what it felt like to be a sister, as Rin grew up alone with no one to care for her. She was deprived of love, reassurance, attention and kindness, which is why whenever someone was in pain, was saddned or feeling lonely, she wanted to take it all away from them. She would never want to treat another being be it demon or human, the way that she was treated.
She was determined, she wanted to help people. From then on she helped Kaede with making medicines, and potions. She worked hard everyday to memorize all of the herbs and what they were used for, how to mix them, and how much was needed. She never gave up even when she failed. She felt that it was her calling.
As she spent more and more time with Kaede, she began to grow more accustomed to living in the village. Even though she liked her Lord very much, whenever she trimphed in curing an illness no matter how minor it was, she swelled with pride and honor. She felt joy at seeing her patients feel better with the medicines and potions that she mixed or brewed herself. She felt like she could do this as a living.
She did not see her Lord very often, but when he did visit, he began to bring her special gifts. He brought her the finest silk kimonos, the finest Combs, the finest shoes, the finest jewelry and when she was old enough the finest lip pigments and eye shadows. She refused to waer the shoes as first, but for the first time Lord Sesshomaru critisized her.
"Rin, you are my ward, you are no longer a commoner, and you are no longer a child. As my ward you must dress yourself accordingly." The words had shocked Rin, but it also opened her eyes. She looked at her flection in the flowing clear waters of the river and realized that it was true. She no longer was a commoner nor a child, she could not behave as if she was forever as she was now a woman.
She had went home that day, and for the first time put on everything her Lord had gifted her. When she looked at her reflection on her mirror, she was amazed at how beautiful she appeared. From onwards Rin began to wear her fancy kimonos, her tall shoes, her fine combs, her fine eyeshadows, and her fine lip pigments.
The men in the village paid her no mind before, but when she walked through the village that day and aftwards, the men and young how's began to beg for her attention. They began to give her gifts. They gave her wild rare flowers, ornaments, fine dolls and other things of courtship. But whenever they did this she shooed them away, telling them that she was not interested in them.
Some of these men and young boys were out trying to get the attention of some of the other beautiful women and young girls. When they were in the middle of conversating the men would break their necks when they saw the elegant Rin pass by them, and that engraged the girls, filling them with jealousy hate and making them go into fits of rage whenever they saw her.
They would go home to their mothers, father's, brothers and uncle's spreading false information and rummors about Rin. Soon these family members began to speak ill of Rin to the other villagers as well, and before Rin could even blink everyone in the village began to look at Rin with disdain and disgust.
They stopped asking her for her help, going to Lady Kaede instead. The same people that were fond of Rin the day prior suddenly disliked her. They avoided her, ignored her, and some even dared to insult her behind her backs, making sure that she could hear her. But would they ever say those things to her face? Of course not. Everyone knew she was the ward of the Lord of the West, no one would dare lay a finger on her, until a few days ago that is.
Soon enough, she began to feel loneliness and soon enough began to hate being in the village. Everyone hated her, disregard her, ignore her, mistreat her, no one would even go near her anymore. From then on she stopped mixing and brewing medicines and potions. She stopped delivering the children, she stopped treating their illneses, and eventually hated and disliked them right back.
She would not have that, she would not let them walk over her, no more. Before she used to walk with her head down, avoiding the hateful glares of the villagers, but now she walked looking straight ahead. She used to look away whenever they gave her nasty stares but now she stopped to give them her attention. Yes she would. She would glare at them right back, with her nose up in the air, and with the flip of her hair she would turn and walk away.
The village girls would try to block her path just to take their time to insult her, but Rins face would just crunch up with an annoyed expression on her face, she would then push the girl that was in her way aside saying "you are blocking my path," and continued to stride pridefully.
Rin was no longer the same sweet girl that loved everyone unconditionally. She was now nearly the spitting image of her Lord. Proud, cold, quiet, and arrogant. Yes, she thought herself better than them. It was not because she was beautiful, it was not because she was Sesshomarus ward, it was because she thought they were idiots.
Anything that was said by one person, was believed by everyone. The girls that grew with jealousy were jealous because they thought of themselves as lesser than her. The men that grew angry with her were bitter with themselves because they could never get her to pay them any mind. The mother, fathers, brothers and uncle's, they were angry because they felt as long as she was around, their girls would never be able to marry.
They were all idiots, a product of their own lack of intelligence and confidence. To her they were the kind people that if they were told to jump off a cliff, they would surely do so. They could not think for themselves, they needed others to do the thinking in their stead. That is why Rin was proud, that is why Rin was arrogant. They put themselves below her themselves. She did not put them there. She did not have to.
All she had to do was breath the same air as them, and instantly, they became brain dead. Rin scoffed at this. She thought of how ridiculous they were, how stupid and ugly these humans were compared to her, because on the inside she was more beautiful than them. She thought for herself.
Rin shook her head, getting up from the ground and heading towards Kaede's hut. Rin saw her bowl of food waiting for her at the table, but instead she ignored it, going straight to her small room in the bigger than normal hut Lord Sesshomaru had built for them. Sensing that something was amiss, Kaede had followed her there, standing in front of the doorway watching sadly as Rin began to take all of the things that her Lord had gifted her and folding them and stacking them neatly on the ground.
When Rin had finished taking all of her things and setting them up neatly, she approached Kaede looking at her blankly. Not a single tear fell from her face, even though she felt a tremendous sadness in her very being. She took Kaede's hand in hers and with her other one squeezed gently to at least give her some comfort so that she would know she still loved her.
"I am sorry Lady Kaede, but I can no longer stay here. I am leaving." No emotion was evident in her voice. She wanted to show nothing. She no longer wanted to let her walls down. But Kaede understood her. She did not reply, only returning to her room, where she layed down and cried herself to sleep.
As I always say I can't write summaries at all, but the story should speak for itself don't ya think?
I haven't worked on this story in a while, but I made sure I put enough thought into it while I was away. Hope you guys like it.
As Rin made her way to the edge of the village, she heard a familiar voice calling her from afar. Rin stood under a nearby tree, to protect herself from the spring shade, as she waited for Kagome who was waddling towards her.
"Kagome, you have returned from your trip." Rin said a matter of factly.
Kagome was out of breath, despite not having run toward Rin. She grabbed on to the tree, heaving heavily as she held on to her belly, in an attempt to catch her breath. Kagome nodded in reply to Rin's statement.
"Yeah," she said in between her breaths. "I just got back along with sango. Miroku and Inuyasha stood behind in the village to make sure there were no demons lingering."
Rin shook her head disapprovingly. "Kagome, you look as though you are ready to give birth any day. It is not wise to wander about with Inuyasha." Rin said sternly.
Kagome laughed lightly. "I just don't like being alone." Rin nodded understandingly. Kagome raked her brain for the right words. She hadnt seen Rin in a month, and wasn't there to see what really happened, but Rin was a different girl from the one that she met so many years ago.
Kagome did not understand Rin's new behavior. She was not the kind of person to hold grudges or retaliate. Despite all of the things she had to do in the past, she despised violence. It was ironic considering who she was married to. Kagome sighed, when she noticed the bags she assumed to be Rin's clothing.
"Um...I heard about what happened from the villagers."
Rin remained Stern and emotionless on the outside, but on the inside, it angered Rin that Kagome would even bother listening to the villagers.
"Kagome, you still listen to their lies?"
"Rin it isn't that. It's just that, well, with a personality like yours, it's hard for the villagers to understand you. Maybe if you were a bit nicer...things could go back to the way they were."
"Humans are not as simple as you would like them to be, Kagome. You are too naive. You believe that there is good in everyone, and one day, that will come back to bite you."
Kagome looked away from Rin, in an attempt to hide the sadness in her face. Kagome could not comprehend why Rin had changed so much over the years. Before Rin always smiled, laughed and played. She always loved to help others around the village.
She was warm and inviting, and was social, always singing and skipping in the fields. Always dancing and making flower crowns. But now she is cold and distant, and rarely smiles genuinely. She's always going off by herself to practice her singing alone, and if not she trains or does chores. Kagome could not see how things changed so much.
Kagome eyed the bags at Rin's feet once again, and sighed sadly. "Rin, where are you going?"
"Everywhere, I suppose. I just cannot stay here."
Kagome shook her head in disagreement. "Rin, you can't leave, this is your home."
"This is YOUR home, not mine. I never had a home, a place where I was accepted and cherrished by others."
"Common' that's not true, what about me and sango and-"
"Sango tried to kill me." Rin replied harshly.
"Well...it wasn't on purpose, it was Naraku, he forced Sango to-"
"Everyone in this life has a choice. No one forced her. Either way, I have better things to do than to waste the rest of my life here." Rin said bitterly. She always hated the fact that she would die one day, that she would be unable to stay with her Lord forever like she said she would.
"There really is nothing for me here in the village. I think I know what I want to-" Rin was interrupted when she heard a commotion going on the the village. Rin told Kagome to stay where she was, as she went towards the center of the village where to commotion seemed to be coming from.
When she arrived the village was being attacked, and not by what she expected. They were soldiers, whom seemed to be from a city. The soldiers were samurai, and judging from the colors that they wore, they were that of the emperor.
They were grabbing the woman and children and threatening to kill the men. Kagome appeared behind Rin not that long after her. Kagome grabbed an arrow from her quiver without a second thought and pointed it at what seemed to be the general.
"Who are you? And what do you think you're doing with the villagers?"
"We are the emperor's soldiers. We've come to claim the lands of your Lord." The young samurai said.
Rin firmly grabbed Kagomes arm and snatched the bow from her.
Kagome was startled by Rin's sudden actions. "You are with child, you are not allowed to engage in combat! Have you lost your senses?"
"But the village!"
"And what can we do? Without Miroku or Inuyasha, we can do nothing, as we are out numbered by 100 samurai, while we have none!" Rin said angrily.
Kaede came out afterward. She looked furious, especially with the sun setting and the moon threatening to rise. "State yer business." Kaede said calmly. "What doth ye seek?"
"This land is fertile and healthy, and plentiful. Enough for our Lord to grow provisions for the military and to build a mine."
Kaede eyed the man, as if contemplating what should be done. "And what of the villagers? Will they be left with no food or shelter?"
"You will be left with your lives." The man said agressively, whilst drawing his sword. "Burn down their houses and take the women and children! Leave no man alive!" The men began to shoot enflamed arrows at the huts and houses, burning them down, and forcing the villagers out of their houses.
Rin grabbed Kaede and Kagome and ran towards her former hut. She passed them both inside with urgency before going into her room. She grabbed the naginata that and the bows and arrows that she hid inside her closet, and armed herself, before going back towards Kaede.
Kaede gasped, and held onto Rin as if pleading with Rin not to leave them. She could see the horror in her gardians eyes as she held onto her silk kimono agressively. Rin kneeled down, and hugged Kaede, who still refused to let go of her sleeve.
"Lady Kaede, I will go and hold them off, for Sango cannot protect the village alone." Rin gently removed Kaede's fingers off her silk sleeves, which were now torn from the old woman's nails gliding across the delicate fabric.
Rin ran out of the door, and into the chaos. She saw many men being slaughtered trying to protect their daughters from being captured. Rin saw an old man that she recognized, who were one of the only people who were ever nice to her. She rushed to his side, running as quickly as she could.
She tried to pick up the pace as she saw a samurai threaten the old man with his sword, and the young girl hidden behind her grand father. Rin thought quickly as she aimed and shot the arrow.
Before the man could bring his sword down, the arrow came in from one side and out the other, piercing right through his neck. He struggled for air as the man attempted to pull the arrow out, before he fell off his horse, dropping dead onto the ground.
The little girl never seeing a man being killed screamed, horrified at the sight. Rin appeared at their side. She helped the old man up and grabbed the little girl and attempted to guide them to safety, when more samurai stopped and surrounded them.
The same samurai that commanded the rest eyed Rin angrily. He pointed his sword at her and yelled "you filthy whore! You killed my brother, and for that you shall die!"
"You have come here to kill men and rape women, and yet you dare to be upset when someone you care about is killed." Rin laughed at the man. "Hypocrisy at its finest!" Rin put away her bow and replaced it with her naginata.
"Haku, take the child and run far away from the village, as fast as you are able. I will hold them off."
"Lady Rin, you cannot-"
"Just go!" The old man hesitated only for a moment, before he whispered yes and took the child and ran from the surrounding men.
Three of the men came down at her with their Spears, Rin quickly evaded the attack and as hard as she could she ramed her naginata into the horses, cutting two of the horses front legs off and injuring the third.
She then spun and thrust her spear in a stabbing motion and ramed her blade into the man behind her, killing him instantly. The leading samurai, realizing how skilled she was didn't want to risk being killed. So he got off his horse.
The other three men got up from under their horses. She readied her weapon once more when she heard a familiar voice screaming not too far from her. Then she saw the hiraikotsu slashing the men in half violently. The blood splattered all over Rin's face and clothing.
Sango landed by Rin's side catching her hiraikotsu as it flew back into Sango's hand. Rin wiped the specks of blood off her face angrily with the sleeve of her kimono. They both faced oposite of each other, ready to take on the men that surrounded them, and covering each others back.
Rin was about to ready herself once more when she heard screams coming from the direction of her hut. She froze in her place, looking around frantically and realizing that the commanding samurai has disappeared while she was distracted by the others. Rin put away her naginata and retrieved her bow and arrow while Sango fended of the men.
Rin heard the sound of a sword coming from behind her, she ducked in the nick of time and elbowed the man with brute Force before she grabbed an arrow and stabbed him in the back of his neck. With her quick hands she drew another one and shot an arrow at one of the horsemen to her right. It went throw his chest and the man fell off of the horse.
"Sango, hold them off! Kagome and Lady Kaede are in trouble!" Rin hurriedly climbed onto the horse and rode off as fast as she could. Rin arrived at the hut moments later. She jumped off the horse, stumbling as she hit the ground. Rin quickly gotta off the ground, ignoring the pain she felt in her left ankle and made her way into the hut.
Along with the commanding samurai, there were two other men in there with them. Kaede and Kagome both had their arrows pointing at them, but Kaede was old, and Kagome was with child, they were at a huge disadvantage.
The man noticed Rin's presence and turned around to greet Rin. He smiled at her, seemingly pleased with himself with what he's done to the village, and what he was about to do to them.
"Whatever you do, do not lay a finger on them. Or else you will regret your actions." Rin threatened.
The man boomed with laughter, holding on to the wall to stop himself from falling onto the ground. "A pregnant woman, and old hag, and wench dares to threaten me, Haguromo?"
"I have many valuables, silk, gold, Jade, silver, even clothing and shoes from the mainland, I will give these all to you, myself included, if you swear to leave them be."
The man stopped laughing, and his face twisted into that of anger. "Silk, gold, silver? Do you think that would return my brothers life?" He snarled. "Kill the old woman and take the woman!"
The men ran towards Kaede, and stabbed her simultaneously with their sword into her stomach and chest.
"Lady Kaede!" The girls yelled. The men then directed their attention towards Kagome, who was traumatized by Kaedes death. Rin cried out in anger and stabbed one of the men with her naginata, pinning his body against the strong walls of the hut.
The commander took the opportunity and tried to kill Kagome as well, but Rin quickly used her body as a shield and was wounded instead. The sword cut across her back, and Rin began to bleed heavily. "Rin!"
"Hurry and run! I will deal with him!"
"No you can't! You're wounded!"
"Just go, for the sake of your child, stop being selfish and just go! If you die, you won't be the only life that would be lost!"
Kagome nodded, grabbing her bow before she ran out of the hut as one of the other men ran after her. Rin grabbed her naginata and pulled it out of the corpse that was pinned up against the wall. She brought it up and slashed the man down the middle. His blood splattered on Rin's clothing as he fell to the ground.
She was beginning to feel tired from the wounds that she sustained. Rin felt as though she could not keep fighting for much longer.
"I admit, you are one of the most gifted spear fighters I have seen in a long time. A woman who is able to kill so many of my men so easily. I must say I am impressed." He examined Rin, looking at her up and down. "Even the heavy layers of your kimono cannot hide your beauty. You are a true beauty indeed."
He grabbed Rin and slammed her against the wall. Haguromo burried his nose into her neck, and took in her scent deeply. "Such a marvelous beauty. I suppose, I could make you my woman before I kill you."
The man kissed Rin violently, forcing his tongue into her mouth. She then bit his tongue hard enough to make him bleed and ran to grab Kaedes bow, she quickly shot an arrow through the mans shoulder, grabbed her naginata and ran out of the hut.
As Rin ran past the soldiers and into the forest, she passed by and leaped over many corpses. The very sight of the dead people that she used to know made her sick to her stomach. Many of them were people that despised and belittled her, but even so, no one deserved to die that way.
The enraged Haguromo stamered out of the hut in a dazed and enraged. He ordered his men to search for Rin. With the men chasing after in their horses and the commander leading them, the odds were against her.
Rin tried to run as fast as she could, but her ankle was still sprained, it was a miracle that she could even get away from the village in the first place. As Rin tried to run she heard the hooves of the horses approaching. Arrows began to fly past Rin.
Suddenly Inuyasha appeared from above, using his iron claws to subdue several of the men. While Inuyasha was busy holding off the men, Haguromo went after Rin. Rin was growing tired, she gripped at her chest trying to make the burning in her exterted lungs cease. But she could not stop running, because if she gave up Kaede's sacrifice would have been in vain.
Rin heard the running water grow louder with each step she took. When she saw the cliff appear in front of her, she realized she had no where else to run.
Haguromo stopped a few feet away from her. He then began to laugh angrily. As he approached her, she took several steps back. Each time he moved forward, she stepped back. It continued until she felt her right foot hang off the edge slightly.
"I was considering letting you live, if only you would have allowed me to have you. It is such a shame. You are an immense beauty and yet, now, you will lose your life."
Rin smiled at him. "Whether you allow me to live or die makes no difference. Once you attacked me, your life was forfeit."
It began to rain heavily, by the time Inuyasha finished dealing with the samurai, so he tried to follow Rin's scent. Unfortunately, the rain had washed Rin's scent away. He decided to instead try to listen for foot steps or voices. When he heard a strange voice speaking from afar, Inuyasha followed it.
Inuyasha was making his way towards Rin, when he saw Haguromo ready his arrows and shoot them at Rin. Rin was struck with the arrows and fell down the cliff. Inuyasha was too late. Haguromo ran off into the forest and away from Inuyasha.
He leaped towards Rin as fast as he could. He attempted to grab Rin's hand, but he was only a centimeter too far, and Rin fell to her death.
Inuyasha and the others had to spend the rest of the night burring their dead. The corpses that had littered the village were mostly men, and the women were taken by the samurai of the emperor.
The houses were burned down, and the men, women and children were mostly gone. Now the village was nothing but a grave yard, a distant memory.
The only hut that survived the tragedies was Rin and Kaede's hut. All of Rin's valuables were gone, stolen by the samurai who destroyed the village.
They could not even rebuild the village Rin risked her life to protect in honor of her memory. They could do nothing, but burry their dead and mourn Kaede's death. Despite the sadness that they felt they had to leave the village and settle somewhere else.
That was not even the worst part. The worst part was sesshoumaru finding out about Rin. Inuyasha shivered. He feared what his brother might do to the men that killed Rin.
Sesshoumaru was never fond of humans. Even though he gained an understanding of the value of Rin's life, and gained a bit of compassion, that still did not change him.
The life that he valued, cherished and protected was that of Rin's. He cared about no one else. If he even bothered to protect the village, it was because if he did not, Rin would be killed along with the rest of those, "fleeting humans" as Sesshoumaru often referred to them.
The thought of Rin dying or even getting a single scratch on her was taboo to him. Something that was forbidden to even be spoken about. If they did not find Rin, ALIVE, then, they could consider their lives forfeit.
Inuyasha may have been able to beat Sesshoumaru in the distant past, but even he had to admit to himself, that he as a half demon could not compare to his older brother, who did not need his father's power to lean on.
Sesshoumaru was now in a league of his own. Matter of fact, he always was. If it was not for the power of his father's fang, he would have suffered defeat at his brothers hand. And now that his brother had a fang of his own, equipped with a power that surpassed that of their fathers, Inuyasha did not even want to imagine what would become of him.
Since Sango and Miroku had children of their own, and Kagome was pregnant, Inuyasha encouraged them to move along without him, while he went out on his own to find Rin.
Since it was still raining the next day, Rin's scent was completely washed away, and so he had no way of tracking her. He searched high and low, back forth but still there was no trace of her.
It was nearly sun set, and Inuyasha was far away from the village. He doubted he would find her at that point. Judging from what Kagome said, Rin had a sprained ankle, and was fatally wounded before she ran out into the forest.
Combined with the arrows that were shot at her and the height that she fell from, Inuyasha could not help but doubt that Rin still even had a life at all anymore.
If Inuyasha remembered correctly, there was the sound of water coming from the very bottom of the cliff, and it happened to be raining last night, so what was likely was that she fell into the river and was washed away by the current.
With any luck, if her wounds were not too severe, she could have survived the ordeal, and simply floated somewhere else, instead of drowning. If he could find a suitable path of that river, he could find Rin. That is, of course if she did not succumb to blood loss.
Inuyasha growled in frustration. Every time he thought of a reason there would be a good chance that Rin survived he ended up contradicting himself. He could not even sleep with all the thoughts running through his mind.
Many of the samurai's men survived their encounter with the famous half demon. They all gathered not too far off from the village, but far away enough where they would not be located so easily.
The tent where the emperor stayed was large and extravagant. He had a lot of the luxuries from the palace in his tent. His bed and furniture was that of the finest qualities, fit for an emperor such as himself.
The men were gathered outside in the camp with the emperor, and his right hand man, Haguromo sat at his side. The military celebrated their victory in claiming the village that the famous half demon Inuyasha protected.
With the genius of the emperor they were able to conquer many seemingly impossible obstacles. Including conquering the village of the half demon.
They danced and sung their folk songs, and celebrated in name of the emperor. They raised their cups above their head offering a toast to him. "Long live the emperor! Blessings of a thousand years to the emperor, may you conquer many lands!"
While the emperor drank his wine and ate his food, one of his most trusted eunuchs scurried towards Haguromo and whispered something in his ear. The eunuch bowed and scurried away in a hurry.
The emperor eyed Haguromo, who made an angry face and glared in the direction of the river that was nearby.
"Why do you make such a horrid face? You are ruining my lunch."
Haguromo snapped out of his thoughts and quickly bowed to the emperor. "Please pardon me your majesty. It is that woman that I told you about."
"The one that killed your brother?" The emperor asked. Haguromo nodded nervously. "What about her?"
"The eunuch told me that he found her floating about down the river. I would like to finish her off and avenge my brothers death." Haguromo said, trying to stop the anger from escaping into his voice.
"Please excuse me sire." Haguromo bowed once more before turning to leave.
"Wait." The emperor ordered. He got up from his small table and walked up to Haguromo. "I have heard that this women was skilled, so much so that she killed several of my men. They even said she is more beautiful than Noble Consort Himiko. I want to see it for myself."
Haguromo faced the emperor and shook his head. "Your majesty, that is nothing short of blasphemy. How could a human woman be more beautiful than Noble Consort Himiko?"
Upon hearing what Haguromo said, the emperor shot him a death glare, and Haguromo instantly coward in fear. He threw himself onto the ground and bowed several times.
"If you dare question me again, I will end you."
The emperor went to the river and Haguromo followed behind him. When they arrived, they saw the men were gathered around a single person. When they noticed the emperor they bowed and greeted him, and stepped aside to allow the emperor to see the women everyone spoke of.
The emperor bent down and examined the woman. The woman had big brown eyes, dark hair and full small lips and mouth. They were painted red, and her eyes had purple eye shadow.
Her face was indeed beautiful. It was hard to believe at first, but she was even more beautiful than the imperial noble consort, Himiko.
The emperor was captivated by the woman and further examined her. He noticed that the kimono that she was wearing was of the finest silk with originating from the western lands.
It was stained with blood, and the women was injured with one arrow in the the leg and the other one in her shoulder. She also had an empty quiver tied at her back and a bow clinging tightly to her shaking hand.
He thought the woman was strange as the bow was held in her right hand, which meant that she shot the arrows with her left. The woman shook violently, as she laid upon the grass.
His train of thought was interrupted by Haguromo. "Your majesty, now that you have had a look at the woman, allow me to take care of her."
The emperor glared at Haguromo, feeling annoyed with his desperation to end the woman's life. "No need. Just send for the imperial physician."
"But your majesty-"
"Have you forgotten my warning?"
"I- I would not dare."
The eunuch from earlier scurried away and returned with the imperial physician who took the woman away.
It was night fall by the time Inuyasha found the river. He spotted Rin's naginata floating by and quickly went to retrieve it. He searched for any sign of Rin but to no avail, he could not even catch her scent, despite the fact that the rain had already subsided.
He had sighed in defeat. Inuyasha headed back to the village. Maybe if he investigated there thoroughly he could find some clues about the man that had killed Rin.
This story has been ignored for a while on and off. But whenever I ignore it but then go back to it, I end up writing something that was ten times better than the partially done chapter I had in my drafts. And at times I end up writing chapters back to back in a short period of time. I'm not very consistent with how I update my stories, but I know that when I take a break the moment I come back that's when I do my best work. Does that happen whenever you write, or are there other ways that you guys get inspired?
Jaken ran through the palace frantically. He dodged, ran passed and under servants. They yelped, screamed and fell as Jaken ran passed them as if he were a mouse running from a cat. The palace soldiers simply dodged him or stepped aside, not wanting to listen to Jaken's lectures or outbursts.
Jaken yelled for Sesshoumaru as he neared the door in the back of the south corridors, and burst right through them.
“Lord Sesshoumaru! It’s an emergency!”
“Sesshoumaru, it looks as though you have failed to educate your servants.” The Eastern Lord said angrily.
Sesshoumaru glared at the Eastern Lord. “Yes, and your father had failed to find a suitable heir.”
The southern Lord laughed behind her fan. Jaken scrambled to get to his knees, and bowed several times. “Please spare my life! I would not interrupt if it wasn’t important! Oh have mercy Lord Sesshoumaru!”
Sesshoumaru shot Jaken another glare. “That depends on what you tell me.”
Jaken sighed in relief. At least he had a chance to keep his life. “There’s an old man outside the palace who’s insisting on speaking with you. He’s from Rin’s village milord! The village is a long ways from here after all. If it wasn’t important, he wouldn’t come all the way here! I suspect it has to do with Rin!”
The Northern Lord scoffed. “All this ruckus over some human village. They probably got attacked by demons. That happens everyday, nothing to make a fuss over.”
The southern Lord huffed. “That is why you are just mere lords and not emperor’s.”
Sesshoumaru eyed the woman dangerously. “So what are you trying to say?” the Eastern Lord intersected. “Sesshoumaru is a Lord as well. Are you saying that he is incompetent.”
“As the westerners say, if the shoe fits, wear it.”
Sesshoumaru got up from his chair, and Jaken got up from his kneeling position in a panic, scurrying to follow behind his Lord. With every few steps he took, he quickened his pace, while Jaken struggled to keep up with his lord. His small legs and feet struggled and he began to trip over his own feet.
“Lord Sesshoumaru, wait for me!” Jaken cried. The doors to the palace opened, and Sesshoumaru spotted the old man with a young child hiding behind him. He knew it could not have been Rin, since it had been several years, and humans aged much faster than demons did.
Sesshoumaru instantly became annoyed at the fact, that Rin’s life was just as fleeting as the next man’s. He approached the old man, who bowed in respect to the western Lord. The child also mimicked him, and the old man stepped a little closer to get a good look at the demon.
“It is as Lady Rin described you.” The old man said bowing once more. “Greetings Lord Sesshoumaru, I am Haku, one of Lady Rin’s close friend.”
Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow at the old man. He was taken by surprise by the fact, that the old man referred to Rin with a title. “Why have you come here old man?”
“The village was attacked and conquered by the empires soldiers. They took many women and children, and killed mostly all the males as well as Lady Kaede.”
“Lady Rin is a skilled warrior who aided in protecting the village. In order to protect me she killed the commanders brother, and that caused him to exact revenge against Lady Rin.”
“Exact revenge?” Sesshoumaru repeated aloud.
The old man nodded. “We were surrounded by the men, when Lady Rin told me to run into the forest. I had hid behind the trees when I spotted Lady Rin running away from the commander. They exchanged some words before the man shot her with several arrows, and…” the old man’s voice began to tremble. “The most honourable lady Rin fell down the mountain to her death!”
Sesshoumaru's fist clenched, and his jaw tensed as his face changed from indifference to pure rage. Jaken ran from him and hid behind a bush near the gates, cowering in fear. “That useless half breed failed to protect Rin! Milord we should.-“ Jaken was then hit by a seemingly stray pebble, making him fall on his back and out of the bush.
“Jaken, escort the man and his child into the palace. Give them clothing and shelter.”
Sesshoumaru turned away from the old man and exited through the palace gates. “Lord Sesshoumaru! What of the other Lords?”
“Tell them to leave.”
“Why do I always get stuck with the worst jobs.” Jaken grumbled under his breath. Jaken got hit with a larger rock and fell onto the ground and the old man and young child followed a servant into the palace.
Inuyasha had been sniffing around all over the village, crawling around on all fours, and searching for any signs of a lingering scent of that man that he could follow. But all he could detect was the stench of a rotten demon, closing in on him at an alarming speed.
Inuyasha scratched his nose violently in an attempt to get the scent out of his nose. The ball of light shot high up through and past the tall trees and crashed 5 feet away from Inuyasha, leaving a small crater upon the earth where it landed.
The ball changed into that of a tall figure, whose long hair went into the direction of the small current of the wind. The figure stepped out of the cloud of dust and there, Sesshoumaru appeared before Inuyasha.
He glared at his brother, showing his anger through his golden eyes, with his Moko-Moko floating in sync with his hair in the wind. Inuyasha growled. “Sesshoumaru.”
“Inuyasha.” Sesshoumaru hissed. “I have heard that you have failed to protect Rin.”
Inuyashas breath caught in his throat. He scratched the back of his ear nervously. “Huh? I don’t know what you’re talkin about. Maybe you heard wrong.”
Sesshoumaru walked past Inuyasha angrily, not liking the way that he was being patronized. He made his way towards Rin and Kaede’s old hut, where Rin’s scent and the scent of death still lingered. Inuyasha quickly blocked his path, “Rin ain’t in her hut.”
“Inuyasha! Do not test my patience. Step ASIDE.” He growled, baring his teeth.
Inuyasha moved away from Sesshoumaru, not wanting to pick a fight with his brother at a time like this. Sesshoumaru continued on the path to Rin’s hut. There were many freshly buried bodies beneath the patches of soften soil. Sesshoumaru wrinkled his nose as he drew closer to the hut.
Sesshoumaru breathed in the smell of blood and death in the air. He opened the door to the hut and stepped inside. The first thing that he noticed, was the large hole in the wall, that was stained with blood. Upon closer inspection, he could tell that someone had been pinned and ramed through with a heavy weapon.
Due to the size and shape of the hole, he came to the conclusion that it was made by Rin’s naginata. He recognized the shape and size, as he was the one had totosai craft it for her. He followed the splatter of the blood on the wall with his eyes, and found the pool of dried blood that stained the floor.
It seemed that Rin had ripped the naginata out of the victim and he fell and bled out there. Next to the pool of blood he detected a familiar scent.
Despite the slight difference in scent, he was absolutely certain that it belonged to that wench Kagome. There he found blood that belonged to Rin. It only proved the old man right. Rin had been heavily wounded.
Sesshoumaru turned and saw another pool of blood near the floor on the corner, and scratches that was made in the ground. The blood had definitely belonged to the old priestess. Sesshoumaru huffed.
He turned around to face the door, where blood belonging to two different people lingered there. That of Rin’s and the other of an unfamiliar person. He concluded that Rin had run out of the hut after injuring said person in self defense, and the other person went after her.
Sesshoumaru entered Rin’s room. Her scent was the strongest there, but there were three other scents of people that had been there periodically. The closet was empty. Not a single piece of jewelry or clothing remained there. The only thing that he found was Rin’s naginata that was covered in the half breeds stench.
Sesshoumaru took the naginata and left the hut, not feeling it was necessary to investigate any further. He found Inuyasha waiting outside the hut. Inuyasha eyed the weapon that Sesshoumaru balanced over his shoulder.
“It is obvious that Rin had used this weapon to defend the old woman and that wench of yours, so why is it covered in your scent?”
Inuyasha did not dare reply without thinking first. He could tell that Sesshoumaru was itching to kill something, anything to take his anger out on. At that point what was the use now? He knows that someone did something to Rin. All he could do was give his brother some information that could help find her.
“I found it floating down a river.” Inuyasha said. “But there was no sign of Rin.”
“Where is the priestess?”
“Kagome left with Sango to the demon slaying village.” Inuyasha knew that his brother had no intention of hurting Kagome, and strangely enough he trusted his brother to remain civil. He gave Sesshoumaru the direction of the village, and Sesshoumaru took off, not wasting anymore of his precious time there.
Rin had woken up in a daze. She felt a lingering pain on her back, leg and shoulder. She touched the bandaged shoulder lightly. She detected the scent of medicine. She has never smelled anything like it before, but she could tell it was the high quality stuff that Kaede kept in her hut, but only used for infected wounds.
Infection? She put her hand up to her forehead and wiped the sweat that seeped from under the bandage. Her head was pounding violently, so she rubbed it in an attempt to sooth her pain.
Rin looked around, trying to make sense of how she ended up there. The last thing she remembered was falling off the cliff and into the river, before she fainted from hitting her head on a rock under the water. She was certain she would not survive it. It seemed she just had amazing luck, as she evaded death a third time.
She scoffed to herself. Her thoughts were interrupted when a young man wearing clothing of a rich physician came in with a fine dressed man following behind him. The physician appeared to be in his thirties, but the other man appeared to be around Rin’s age maybe a little older.
The younger man was the one that caught her attention the most. His hair was as black as the bottom of an abyss, and as blue as the midnight sky. His eyes were a beautiful blue, which glowed like a gem reflecting off the sun.
He wore the most beautiful kimono she had ever seen. It was black with the border of the sleeves and the bottom of the kimono being gold in color. It seemed as though the gold thread was weaved into the fabric. The kimono had a red shivering dragon sewn into it.
The emperor chuckled lightly, giving Rin an amusing look. “It is rude to stare.” He pointed out.
Rin got up and walked passed the imperial physician, and stood face to face with the emperor. She looked him up and down and flipped her hair. “I was not staring, I was simply observing.” Rin looked away from him, and eyed the imperial physician. “Who are you?” she asked.
“I am imperial physician, Akihito.” He bowed respectfully.
“it was you who tended to me?”
“As his majesty ordered.”
Rin eyed the emperor suspiciously. “So you are a monarch?” The emperor nodded. “Where are my weapons?” she demanded.
“Milady, you mustn’t anger his majesty.”
Rin scoffed, and gave the emperor an arrogant grin. “Anyone who angers me is digging his own grave. Just like that piece of filth Haguromo!” Rin said angrily. “When I find him, I will end him.” She said shaking her finger angrily.
“A woman with a temper like yours, that is not very lady like.”
Rin chuckled. “Are you mocking me, emperor? That man killed my grandmother, right before my eyes. Do I not have a right to kill him?”
The emperors smile was replaced by anger. Rin was used to dealing with demons like him. He would not intimidate her, no matter how powerful his aura was. “Are you not afraid to die? Threatening a court official is a capital offense punishable by death.”
“I imagine I already killed one. His brother was a court official too, and yet, here I am, still breathing the same air as you.”
The emperor's smile returned to his face. He grabbed Rin by her face and lifted it to force her to look him in the eye. “How could I bare to kill such an exquisite beauty? I have a better way to punish you.” The emperor threw his arm aside and tucked behind his back.
He turned to look at the imperial physician who had an astonished look on his face. He stared at Rin, visibly shocked that the woman did not fear this powerful demon. What was more, she spoke to him however she felt like, disrespected him in front of his subjects, and still, the woman drew oxygen from the air that they shared.
“Take her to Imperial Noble Consort, tell her I want this woman dressed and prepared properly.”
Rin was taken to the noble consorts lady in waiting, who then took her to a private bath room. She filled the bath with flower pedals and added essential oils, making it smell heavenly. The woman ripped Rin’s kosode off and helped her into the bath.
Rin breathed in the lovely scents coming from the water. She never enjoyed such luxuries despite looking the part. The water was steamy and warm, and it helped Rin’s still sore muscles relax. Rin’s wounds have almost completely healed, which made her wonder how long she was out.
She recalled bits and pieces of what had happened to her after she fell into the river. She remembered being pulled out by some men, being carried away by the physician, women removing her clothes and applying ointments to her wounds, and then being dressed once again.
She remembered fading in and out of consciousness and at times saw the physician and the emperor talking about her condition, but she never once was able to stay awake for more than a minute. What was more strange was why the emperor even concerned himself so much with a mere commoner.
Rin laughed at herself. Commoner. It was true that Rin was born a commoner, but at the end of the day she was trained by the most skilled swordsman chosen by Sesshoumaru himself, had the best writer of their time the protégé of the very Murasaki Shikibu teach her to read and write in both Chinese and Japanese and was the ward of a Lord.
How could she believe herself to still be a commoner? Rin was still a woman a prestige, and was educated, she was had not been a commoner for a long time. Rin laughed at the fact the fact that she dared to forget her own place. She spoke, walked, dressed and behaved like a woman of nobility.
She snapped out of it when she felt a stinging sensation in her shoulder. The servant gasped and bowed apologizing and asking for her life to be spared. “Did you just ask me to not kill you?”
The girl nodded not daring to look at Rin. “How foolish. As if I would kill someone over something so petty. Maybe a quick little glare, but to kill someone over this…that is beneath me.” The servant stared at Rin, shocked.
The soldiers in the army spoke about the beautiful woman who slayed many of their men and even challenged the emperor himself in front of one of his subjects. How could a dangerous and arrogant woman like her spare a measly servants life?
“Where are my clothes? I think I am done bathing.” The servant gave Rin no reply, she could only stare at in. Rin gently waved her hand in the servants face. The servant was startled out of her thoughts and retrieved a kimono. One Rin had never expected to see ever again.
In her opinion the emperor was being a bit too kind. The servant put the kimono aside and grabbed a towel from the bench and moved to dry Rin’s body, but Rin attempted to take the towel from the servant, to which she held onto tightly.
“Milady, the emperor has given me to you as a servant. If you do not allow me to complete my tasks, then he will punish me.” The servant gently pulled the towel out of Rin’s hands. “Please do not be difficult and allow me to dry you.”
Rin spread out her arms and allowed the servant to dry her body. On the outside Rin was composed, but on the inside, she felt troubled. Why would the emperor give her a servant? Why did he spare her life? Why was she brought back to his palace? Why? Rin could not help but to fear for the worst.
It was midday when Sesshoumaru made it to the demon slayers village. Sesshoumaru waited patiently outside. Kagome waddled out of the village gates and greeted him. “Ni-san.”
Sesshoumaru’s eyebrow twitched slightly. Even after all these years, his brothers woman continued to refer to him as her brother and he could never get used to it. “Kagome.” Sesshoumaru greeted back. “I believe you know why I am here.”
Kagome gave Sesshoumaru a pitiful look. She took in a deep breath. “Yeah, Rin.”
“Give me a description of the man who attacked you.”
“Hmm.” Kagome rubbed her chin, trying to search her mind for anything she remembered of the man. Anything that could properly identify him. Kagome then snapped her fingers. “Yes! I remember some things! The man said that his name was Haguromo.”
“And what of the armor that they wore. Anything distinctive about it?”
“Actually, I think the Armor that this Haguromo guy wore was different from all the others. But the left side of the armor had a dragon symbol sewn into it.”
“And what of his subjects, what colors did they wear?”
“They wore blue clothing, under their armor. There wasn’t anything special about the armor they wore though.”
Sesshoumaru turned to leave without another word, leaving Kagome talking to herself. Kagome was already used to Sesshoumaru being, well, Sesshoumaru, so she took care not to feel offended.
Sesshoumaru walked through the forest as he always had. He always used the opportunity to think, and now that Jaken was not there to disturb him with his constant mindless chatter, he could do it in peace.
He remembered that the demons of the serpent clan wore blue clothing under their armor. He only knew one demon who was from the serpent clan. That damn Kinosuke. It was one thing to go and conquer lands, but why did he have to go and take his ward?
The last time he saw Kinosuke, he was just a feudal lord, like the rest of them. So how did this man gain so much military power in so little time? How was he suddenly…
This time I've come back earlier than I had the last time. It feels good to post a chapter. As you're reading this chapter, people who aren't familiar with the ranking system of the harem might get a bit confused. Although I suspect most of you watch Chinese dramas and know a bit about the history of the Chinese dynasty's I put the information for the ranks at the end of the chapter.
Thank you all who have been patient and have continued to read this story.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
She was led to a different palace shortly after noon. There were guards that accompanied her as well as her newly hired lady in waiting. Rin was not a fool. She knew why she was being heavily protected and why a servant was given to her. But she still had hope that emperor would decide to just let her go. She would not leave, without punishing the bastard for his crimes. As they say, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
They finally arrived at their destination. The guards stood outside while her lady in waiting lead her inside and towards the other women that were lined up. The servant pushed Rin in the center of the line, and quickly went away.
She looked around and there were other women from the village that she recognized lined up next her, one of which had included Sakura, whom was yet to be dressed finely. But her and the other women were at least cleaned and tidied up.
The room was finely decorated with fine curtains and lamps that would lighten the room at night. They were not something Rin was used to seeing, so she concluded that they came from some Western country.
The room floors were made of marble rather than hard wood floor boards, and with it came a platform where the Emperor sat upon a luxurious chair and next to him sat who she assumed to be the highest ranking concubine of the emperor. Rin knew the beauty could not have been an empress judging by what she wore.
Rin eyed the emperor smiling as she did so. She took three steps toward him and then moving her silk skirt, as she did so she got onto her knees and bowed her head. She spoke so fluently as she wished the emperor eternal life and and blessings in Chinese.
The emperor was stunned at first, not expecting a Japanese women to speak any Chinese. Then the emperor laughed, quite impressed that a woman from a common village was so educated and was gifted with many talents.
Rin stood on her feet and walked back to her position without turning away from the emperor. The other women stared at Rin, and Rin gave them an aggressive glare. "What are you staring at?" She said annoyed. "Am I so important that you have forgotten his presence or do I have two heads?"
At this the girls quickly looked away from her, not daring to reply, as they knew Rin's temperament and knew that if they dared talk back she was more than capable of embarrassing them further and lose the emperors favor as soon as they arrived.
Sakura grumbled. They had just arrived and already she had gained the emperors favor without even trying. Rin was dressed finely and was naturally beautiful and talented. Now that Rin was there would she even have a chance?
The woman that sat next to the emperor was the one that everyone spoke of. Noble consort Himiko fanned herself gracefully and hid her smile behind her fan. "It seems as though Lady Rin has quite a temper milord. Shall we decide her title in the harem first?"
The emperor chuckled. "She has just arrived, and already you have decided to accept her in the harem?"
Rin hid her displeasure behind her warm smile. She curtsied in respect to Noble consort and said, "I am honored to have won Noble Consort Himikos favor."
"To have such a beauty become a member of the harem is only fitting, Lady Rin." She said as she smiled behind her fan.
"Very well, let us decide her title." The emperor observed Rin from afar. He rubbed his chin as he thought about what position to give to the honorable lady Rin. "Lady Rin shall be granted the title fei."
Rin was shocked. She had just arrived at the palace only spending a week or two there and had only met the emperor twice. How could the emperor break the rules and make her a consort so quickly.
Himiko could not keep her displeasure to herself as it clearly showed on her face. No matter how beautiful or talented this Rin was, she was just a human! How could he give her such a title?
Noble consort slapped her fan shut and turned to speak to the emperor. She smiled and eyed him cautiously. "Milord," she began sweetly. "This woman is but a human of lowly status. Perhaps a lower title would be more appropriate." She said softly.
The emperor turned to look at Himiko. His face showed no emotion, but he eyes shot daggers at her with such fury. She was startled by his glare and quickly scrambled to her feet bowing to the emperor.
"Himiko gui fei, how dare you question me?"
"Please forgive me milord!"
"If anyone here is deserving of the title of fei, it is Rin. She is skilled in martial arts, is literate in both Chinese and Japanese, and has beauty that cannot be matched by anyone within the harem. Who else but her can be a consort?!"
Himiko glared at Rin. If looks could kill she would have been struck dead. The one person that she did not want to make an enemy out of is a demones like her. She got back up on her feet and returned to her seat angrily.
The emperor gave a signal to one of the eunuchs. The eunuch understanding guided Rin to a seat on the left side of the room where four other chairs other than her own were located. She sat down, smoothing the wrinkles on her kimono gently. The eunuch stood behind Rin's chair and nodded at the emperor.
The eunuch was a human. He was ordinary looking, with small eyes that were slightly too close together and arched high at the outer corners. His hair was brown, an uncommon color among the Asians. Rin figured perhaps he was from Korea. His nose was upturned and pointed and his ears were on the small side.
The emperor resumed ranking the rest of the woman. When it was Sakura's turn Rin smiled with pleasure and anticipation, wondering what would become of her. He observed Sakura closely, trying to decide what title she should have. She was fair skinned and had brown hair and light brown eyes. She was a beauty even though she still could not compare with Rin. He liked her enough.
"Hmm, I shall give you the title of Chang Zai." (Meaning first class attendant)
That was quite a low title, but it was not satisfactory for her. Sakura had bullied her while she spent time in the village, and now she wanted to return the favor. "Your highness," Rin called from her seat. He turned his attention to her, and nodded, giving her permission to continue.
She got up from her seat and approached her new Lord, then she got on her knees and sat on them, tucking them under her. She lifted her arms in front of her and put hands on in front of the other as a show of respect to him.
"Your highness, me and Sakura know each other quite well. She was admired for her beauty in the village along side me. But how do we know for certain she even has what it takes to be a member of the harem?"
The emperor squinted his eyes as he examined Sakura once more and rubbed his chin as he thought about Rin's words. He smiled feeling highly amused because he knew by the way that Rin looked at her that she hated Sakura. He chuckled as he saw Rin glare at Sakura, but then his smile faltered when he saw Sakura dared to glare back. It was an obvious disrespect to a person such as Rin who was now a high ranking consort.
He knew Rin was probably trying to manipulate him. But perhaps he should still listen to her. "Uh huh...I like your reasoning so far. What do you suggest Rin Fei?"
Rin smiled obviously pleased with herself. "Your highness is handsome, powerful and intelligent. An emperor of your caliber should have women at his side who can match that." The emperor chuckled. Rin's mouth was quick witty and slick. So much so that even he believed her every word. "I suggest we test her intelligence or skills."
Himikos eyes nearly bulged past the edges of her fan. How was she doing it? Kinosuke hated when people tried to change his decisions. But this Rin was presenting her case to his highness and she was succeeding without her head being cut off. Even the eunuch who still stood behind Rin's seat could not believe that she dared to oppose his decision.
"Haru-san." He called. The eunuch came out from behind Rin's chair. The emperor signaled for him to come closer. Haru rushed by his Majesty's side and he leaned in to lend the emperor his ear. The emperor whispered something in Harus ears.
He found it hard not to gasp as he listened to what his majesty had said. "Milord, are you certain? What if the results causes you to dislike the women?"
"That is the whole point of the event haru. Whether they impress me and win my favor or not depends on their abilities." He said as he smiled at Sakura. She cast her eyes down as she knew what he said was directed at her specifically.
"What of Rin Fei milord?"
"She is included in the event as well." Rin smiled. If this was an event to showcase ones skills and intelligence surely she would not fail. "As for Sakura, allow her to keep her rank."
For reader who aren't familiar with the Chinese harem ranking system, I've taken the time to post this information here so that you don't have to search for it and be confused.
Empress (Chinese: 皇后; pinyin: Huánghòu), only one in the imperial harem.
Imperial Noble Consort (simplified Chinese: 皇贵妃; traditional Chinese: 皇貴妃; pinyin: Huáng Guìfēi), only one in the imperial harem.
Noble Consorts (simplified Chinese: 贵妃; traditional Chinese: 貴妃; pinyin: Guìfēi), only two in the imperial harem.
Consorts (Chinese: 妃; pinyin: Fēi), only four in the imperial harem.
Imperial Concubines (simplified Chinese: 嫔; traditional Chinese: 嬪; pinyin: Pín), only six in the imperial harem.
Noble Ladies (simplified Chinese: 贵人; traditional Chinese: 貴人; pinyin: Guìrén), unlimited number in the imperial harem.
First Class Female Attendant (Chinese: 常在; pinyin: Chángzài), unlimited number in the imperial harem.
Choice Lady or Second Class Female Attendant (simplified Chinese: 答应; traditional Chinese: 答應; pinyin: Dāyìng), unlimited number in the imperial harem.
Female Attendant(官女子), unlimited number in the imperial harem, typically granted to female servants who were chosen to be minor concubines.
Shortly after being named a consort, Rin was escorted to her palace, Moonrise Palace. It was filled with servants and she was granted another maid to serve her.
Rin was relieved to see that the kimono's, jewelry, fans and shoes that had been stolen by the soldiers were returned to her, and in addition the emperor provided her with gifts. "Milday, it seems the emperor greatly favors you." The Eunuch said happily. "As long as you continue to be in favor we will be treated kindly by the emperors servants.
Rin scoffed. "It is just a moment's obsession. How childish."
The maid gasped. "Rin Fei, if the emperor heard you,"
"Here is the prescription physician akihito wrote me. Go and have this filled out."
Another servant rushed in and bowed to Rin. "Rin Fei, Huanbi Fei and Xiao Fei have come to greet you."
Rin sighed and nodded. Despite being asleep for what seemed like an eternity, she still felt tired, but it would have been bad manners to send them away after they traveled all this way to see her.
Two well dressed women came in, one with a small wound face. If not for her lean and tall body Rin would have believed her to be younger. She had thin pink lips and big blue eyes.
She wore a blue outfit and her ears were pierced with three earrings dangling on each earlobe. The jewelry that she wore was subtle, as to not bring too much attention to herself. Rin guessed that this was Consort Xiao.
Consort Huanbi was much more bold. She wore a dark pink outfit with white and blue butterflies sewn into it. Her headdress matched her hair with flowers and beads dangling from it. She also had a white scarf tied around her neck to complete the outfit. This consort was older than Xiao by a few years, and her mature beauty radiated off her.
Rin was impressed and relieved that she would no longer be the target of bullying due to her beauty. It seems beauty was no longer a rarity in her case. Rin smiled at them both as she fanned herself. "Greetings Xiao Fei, Huanbi Fei. Please have a seat." Rin said as she pointed at the chairs that was across from her.
"What brings you to my palace?"
Consort Huanbi's servant handed a basket to Rin's servant Xiang. "I have heard that you were hurt, so I brought over some fresh herbs from my garden. There is also some incense so that you could offer it to your loved one."
Xiang leaned over to Rin and opened the basket for Rin to see the herbs. Rin held the incense up to her nose and sniffed it. It was the same one kaede used to offer to her sister kikyo. Rin smiled warmly. "Thank you for your thoughtfulness."
Consort Xiao also gave Rin a basket, but instead it was filled with food. "There is birds nest soup freshly made by me by hand. I also heard of your injury Rin Fei. This soup should help you heal faster. It can also provide you with longitivity to your lifespan and can enhance your beauty."
Rin chuckled, while she quickly retrieved the soup from the basket. She impatiently began to slurp the soup nearly burning her lips. She didn't realize how hungry she was. Rin hummed as the subtle flavor hit her tongue. "I have heard that bird's nest soup was tasteless but this is a bit salty."
Consort Xiao smilled delighted that Rin was enjoying the food she had made. "The nest was collected near the ocean so it gave it a salty flavor."
"Will you also be performing for the emperor this upcoming event?" Rin asked.
"We could just for fun, but Huang Gui Fei isn't too pleased with you joining the harem." Xiao said in a low voice.
Huanbi scoffed. "On my way to see you, I heard Yuki Fei angrily accuse Rin Fei of bewitching the emperor."
"The emperors second consort. Recently it was her who was in favor and she hopes to take Huang gui fei's place when she becomes empress."
"Be very careful Rin Fei," Consort Xiao warned. "Huang gui Fei is not please with your arrival. And neither are many of the other consorts or concubines. So stay alert."
Rin rolled her eyes. "I needn't a warning, if they can be bad, I can be worse." She said as his her smile behind her soup spoon.
Sakura paced back and forth in a panicked fit. She rubbed her hands anxiously as she did so. Her servant Kiara stood a few feet away from her. She watching Sakura made her anxious as well.
"Sakura Changzai, please calm down."
"Calm down?" She said as her voice trembled. "How can I calm down?" She screamed. Her voice cracked as she tried to hold back the tears that threatened to fall down her cheeks. Her face was red with anger and pale in fear.
"I don't have any special talents. If I go there unprepared I'll embarass myself. Everyone will laugh and mock me and the emperor will be disgusted with me. He might demote me and make me a simple servant!"
Kiara couldn't care less about Sakura. She had only just met the girl. Sakura might have a title, but she hasn't won the emperors favor. So as far as she was concerned Sakura was just as much a peasant as she was.
Kiara had lived in the palace long enough to know what happened when a concubine lost favor. If Sakura were to humiliate herself, the consequences would rub off on her servants.
She quickly scanned her mind for anything that might help her mistress. That's when an idea clicked in her head. "Milady, if you don't have a talent I can teach you something that will get the emperors attention. After he sees your performance there is no way you can fail."
Sesshoumaru didn't allow it to show on his face, but he was incredibly anxious. He searched vigorously for her but he couldn't find Rin anywhere. Searching for her scent was helpless because the rain and water had washed it away. He tried searching from above and even had A-Un assist him, but that didn't help either.
In the end it was all in vain. As if it weren't enough the court was pestering him with human problems. A flood in one area, a demon running around killing young women, a village of starving people. Such mundane issues that he, Sesshoumaru, shouldn't have to waste his time solving.
Isn't that what he pays his soldiers to deal with? What annoys him the most is Jakens inability to be competent. After so many years of service he still fails to fulfill his duties. Till this day he still wonders why he allows the imp to keep his life.
His face nearly twisted in anger when he heard Jaken's tiny feet running down the hallway towards him and his voice calling him in a panic. Jaken burst through the door and bumped into his leg. "Sesshoumaru-sama!"
Sesshoumaru nearly growled when he saw another scroll in the imps hands. His jaw clenched slightly, as jaken bowed in apology several times.
"What is it Jaken." He hissed through his teeth.
"Milord...it's just-" jaken began to tremble in fear as he held the scroll above his head to use it as a shield. He really couldn't bring himself to report it, because if he did he would surely die. But if he didn't say anything and Sesshoumaru loses his patience he would also die. Oh what a dilemma it was.
"Speak." He ordered.
"Milord, it's just that, kinosuke has invited you to a gathering in his newly built city!" Jaken held the scroll closer to his skull for added protection. He could feel Sesshoumaru's glare burn past the rolled up paper and through his very soul. He felt for sure he was going to die.
But instead of doing that, Sesshoumaru simply took the scroll from Jaken's hands and returned to his desk as if nothing had occured. At that moment he thought that perhaps he was going crazy.
"Jaken, prepare for travel, we're leaving."
Sesshoumaru made his way into the palace of tranquility with jaken following closely behind him. Sesshoumaru wrinkled his nose as the wind blew past him. He was becoming anxious, as he knew who was there.
He hadn't seen her in two years. He was confident that his brother would protect her while he was gone and yet, in the end she was nearly killed and sent here to this idiot Kinosuke.
Sesshoumaru arrived a day early. He standing outside the palace with the guards praying the Lord didn't lose his temper, as he was waiting for two hours and Kinosuke still wasn't done with morning court.
He became even more impatient when the wind blew past him, and with the other thousands of scents he recognized the one that was impossible for him to ever forget.
Finally the court officials began to clear out of the palace of tranquility and Sesshoumaru was called inside. Kinosuke quickly got up from his chair to greet his childhood friend excitedly as it had been many years since he's last seen him.
"Sesshoumaru! I never thought you'd actually show up! And a day early no less! I apologize for the wait but I had to attend court."
"Enough games!" Sesshoumaru said annoyed. "I've come on business." He said angrily. "I want the life of the fool Hagoromo who attacked the village of the priestess."
Kinosuke started blankly, before he began to laugh. "You want me to hand over the life of my general over a priestess?"
Jaken could feel his Lord's anger and impatience growing by the second. The clock was ticking, and for all he knew if Sesshoumaru lost his temper the palace could be destroyed and his life along with it.
Sesshoumaru held up his claws and cracked his knuckles, pointing them toward Kinosuke. "Your impudence might get us both killed. You dare to laugh when your soldier made an attempt on my wards life."
Kinosuke face hardened instantly. He huffed before he turned around to sit in the throne chair. "Be clear. What exactly is this about?" He asked.
"You heard me. Your general tried to kill my ward. Attempting to take the life of another Lord's ward is a high offense. For that he must pay with his life."
Kinosuke chuckled. "It was an eye for an eye. He was within his right to punish her."
"How ridiculous. My ward is of higher status than your pathetic general. Both he and his brother committed crimes against a woman of nobility. How will he then make up for his stupidity?!" Sesshoumaru yelled.
Kinosuke's mouth gaped open slightly when he realized who Sesshoumaru's ward was. The Eunuch stood beside Kinosuke, awaiting his emperors orders as he too knew who the Western Lord was speaking of.
"Bojing, my decree. Summon Haguromo and Rin Fei to the Palace of Tranquility."
Sesshoumaru ground his teeth as he heard Fei follow after Rin's name. Kinosuke was beginning to feel nervous. It was never acceptable to take another Lord's daughter, ward, or woman without their permission. Sesshoumaru may not be an emperor yet, but he's well on his way to becoming one. He needed Sesshoumaru as an ally not as an enemy.
Twenty minutes later both Haguromo and Rin walked into the palace of tranquility, with Eunuch Bojing leading them along. "As you have asked Kinosuke-sama."
"Emperor, why have you summoned me with Rin Fei?" Haguromo asked.
"The Lord of the West demands your life as compensation for your crimes against him, so I have summoned you here to plead your case."
Haguromo was confused. He would never be so stupid as to purposely anger Sesshoumaru. "How could I have possibly offended a demon I have never even met before?" He defended. "He is slandering me!"
As soon as Rin saw her beloved Lord she felt such weight lift off her shoulders. But not all of it. Rin glared at Haguromo as he attempted to defend himself. There is no way she would allow the general to escape punishment. He will pay for Kaede's death not matter the cost.
Rin ran to Sesshoumaru's feet and got on both knees, she extended her arms forward and put one hand in front of the other. "Lord Sesshoumaru!" She cried. "This fool Haguromo and his brother conquered the village in which you left me."
In which he left her? Western Lord is her Lord? As realization hit him his blood ran cold in his very veins.
"I only did what was right and defended my home milord. His brother wanted to kill children and so I killed him. Haguromo was angry and killed my grandmother. As if it wasn't enough he tried to force himself on me! I suffered such humiliation at his hand, yet he dare deny it!"
Rin hid her face behind her fan as she cried vigorously.
"You forced yourself on Rin Fei?" Kinosuke asked through his clenched teeth.
Haguromo shook his head vigorously. He instantly brought himself to his knees and bowed. "Milord! She is lying! I never even touched her. The girl still has her innocence!" He pleaded.
Kinosuke cursed under his breath. "Rin Fei, those are serious accusations. Do you have any proof?"
"Isn't the state that she was found in by your men proof enough?!" Jaken yelled. "We have witnesses that reported the attempted murder of Lady Rin! The old man and his granddaughter went to Lord Sesshoumaru's palace and reported the crime! The crime scenes were also examined thoroughly!"
Jaken feared for his life more than anything. But if it meant getting Justice for Rin he was willing to be bold this once. Jaken removed the small heavy bag that he carried at his back and handed the scrolls that he had to the emperor for him to examine.
"If you examine the scrolls thoroughly you'll see detailed portraits of the men that killed Rin's grandmother! They even tried to kill Lord Sesshoumaru's sister in law as well."
"That is a lie milord!" Haguromo cried. "I have never met Sesshoumaru's sister in law. I have never seen her!"
"Silence!" Sesshoumaru growled through his teeth. "You dare call this Sesshoumaru a liar?"
"I don't dare!" He pleaded. Katowing to Sesshoumaru. "I don't dare Lord Sesshoumaru!"
Kinosuke quickly examined the scrolls that jaken had handed him. Indeed there were detailed portraits of people he recognized to be under Haguromo. There was even one of him. There was another scroll under it that had details of what had occured that night.
"The portraits were drawn with the discription of the witnesses. The old man and the child." Jaken said adding to Rin's case.
Rin hid her smile behind her fan. "The report still doesn't prove what Rin had accused him of."
"Haguromo's tongue wound should still be healing. There should still be obvious bite marks from when he forced his tongue down my mouth." Rin countered.
"She's using my accident against me! I bit my tongue when I was riding my horse!" He defended desperately.
"Shut your mouth!" Kinosuke yelled as he slammed his fist on the arm of the throne chair. He glared at Haguromo furiously. "Summon imperial physician Akihito!" He ordered.
A few minutes later Akihito walked in. Sesshoumaru noticed that Rin's scent was still lingering around him. Of course this physician would know the details.
"Milord, you've summoned me." Akihito greeted.
"Haguromo said that he bit his own tongue, but Rin Fei says that she bit him. Open his mouth and examine the tooth marks."
Akihito went to go and take a look at Haguromo's tongue wound, but Haguromo refused to open his mouth. "Open your mouth." The emperor ordered.
Haguromo shook with blinding terror. He could barely balance on his knees anymore. "M-Milord! Please, she-"
"Open your mouth!" He ordered more furiously.
Haguromo flinched at the anger Kinosuke exhibited. Slowly he began to open his mouth. Akihito wrapped a cloth around his fingers using it as gloves to protect his "patient" against his potential germs.
Haguromo stuck his tongue out lightly. Annoyed, Akihito gripped his tongue firmly and tugged on it firmly. Akihito bent his tongue down so the wounds could be seen more clearly.
"Reporting to his majesty. Haguromo's bite wounds are not comparable to his teeth. The marks arch are far too shallow and the individual holes too small for it to have been made by a man's mouth. Since I've already examined Rin-sama I can confidently say that it was indeed she who inflicted the wounds on Haguromo."
Just when Haguromo was going to reply, Yuki Fei ran past the guards that were guarding the door to the throne room.
"Huangdi! Please, forgive my brother for his crime!" Yuki Fei kowtowed several times as she pleaded with the emperor.
"Yuki Fei, you dare interfere in court affairs?!"
Yuki Fei shook her head violently. "Huangdi, if I don't come to help my brother then what kind of sister would I be? I have no choice. My mother would not be able to withstand another one of her children dying!" The gaurds quickly went after Yuki Fei and began to drag her out of the throne room. "My father died fighting for you so that you may become emperor milord. In memory and respect to him don't kill Haguromo!"
"The man has already been proven guilty." Sesshoumaru said calmly.
"Sesshoumaru, I understand the situation, but I cannot just kill the man. He is the son of a former court official and general of my army. If I kill him it would bring uproar in the court. How then will I appease them?"
"Do you mean to start a war?" Sesshoumaru threatened.
"He will not be without punishment." Kinosuke promised. "Rin Fei, I apologize for the pain Haguromo has caused you." The emperor called on the guards and Haguromo was dragged out of the palace and thrown in jail.
Rin should have been satisfied with the way Haguromo was dragged out and punished. To her it wasn't enough to have him imprisoned. Not to mention the fact that because of court laws Rin was stuck being the emperors consort.
"Sesshoumaru now that you have been appeased-"
"My ward shall be returned to me. After that my anger shall be appeased." Sesshoumaru demanded.
Kinosuke shook his head. "I have already made her my consort. When I found her she had no husband even though she is well past the age of marriage." He pointed out.
"I never consented to her marriage with you. She is by law still under my care." Sesshoumaru just wanted to take Rin and be done with it, but Kinosuke was determined to keep Rin as his consort. And there was nothing he wasn't willing to do.
"I am currently an Emperor and you a Lord. It would be beneficial for the both of us if I am allowed to keep Rin as my consort. It could be part of a truce between the both of us. An agreement between our two lands."
"Allow me and Lord Sesshoumaru to discuss this further. Rin said. "I am tired and would like to return to my palace." With that Rin got up and left Sesshoumaru, Jaken and the emperor in the palace of tranquility.
With her head maid, Kuro by her side, Yuki was practically jogging down the street of the city on her way to the punishment office where her brother Haguromo was being held. Her father had warned her brothers multiple times not to do anything to anger the emperor as their families reputation needed to be upheld, but neither listened.
It had only been a few hours, but the news had already spread all over the city and even the concubines were talking about Haguromo being a rapist and tyrant.
She went passed the guards quickly and made her way past the heavy Gates of the prison. At the last cell of the prison she spotted Haguromo, who was sulking in his cell laying on the hey bed that they provided to criminals.
"Haguromo!" She cried as her fingers gripped around the bars of the iron door.
Haguromo got shot up from his bed and quickly went to the door. "Ne-chan? What are you doing here?" He asked with worry in his voice. "If the emperor finds you here you may anger him."
Yuki shook her head. "After I was thrown out, I knelt outside of the palace of Tranquility to plead on your behalf, but he ignored me. It is painfully clear that he won't ever come here."
"But I am his most trusted general!" He cried angrily. "If it was not for my fathers and my efforts then how could he have conquered so many territories?"
Yuki began to cry. She angrily wiped the tears off of her face. "That witch, it's all her fault! It took me years to become a consort, but she comes in and does it in a single night, ruining our reputation in the process!" She screamed.
"Stop crying!" Haguromo ordered. "Now that I am imprisoned you are the only one who mother has to rely on. If you want to keep your place at the emperors side then you need to get Rin Fei out of the way."
Yuki shook her head. "No...I can't do that!"
"Now that the emperor favors Rin Fei she might just be able to become a Huang Gui Fei. Find a way to get rid of her. Kill her if you have to, just don't fail. Do whatever you have to do to get that position so you can get me out of here."
Yuki nodded with determination. She was the only one her mother had left. If she failed it would be over for her family.
After twenty minutes of walking, Yuki had finally gotten back to her palace when she saw a maid being punished by the new concubine that had just moved in with her. The maids hand was being struck with a tree branch.
The maid cried in pain as her knuckles and fingers bled from the impact. The new concubine Sakura Changzai was sitting outside her door fanning herself as if nothing had occured.
"What's going on here?" Yuki asked.
Sakura and Kiara quickly bowed to her and gave her the greeting she had been taught. Yuki gave her permission to rise and sat down on the chair that Sakura had been sitting on.
"Why is that maid being punished?"
"Replying to Yuki Fei, the maid spilled newly cooked meat all over Sakura Changzai's clothing. It burned her skin and stained her clothing so she is being punished." Kuro said.
Yuki glared at Sakura, not liking how she had been accepted into the harem just a few days ago and she is already abusing her servants. "Look at that maids hands. The skin is being ripped off. Do you intend to cripple her?"
Kuro took that as an order to stop the abuse. She went up to the eunuch who was punishing the maid and snatched the tree branch out of his hands.
"It's fairly obvious that you were raised a peasant. You haven't even risen through the ranks, yet you've already begun to act unruly." Yuki said as she fanned herself.
"I was simply disciplining my maid. I don't believe I've done wrong." Sakura replied.
Kuro approached Sakura and without warning slapped her across the face. Shock was registered on her face as she rubbed the stinging area.
"Since you didn't realize your mistake stay here and kneel for three hours, to reflect on them. Get that maid inside and dress her wounds." Yuki continued to fan herself as she got up to leave. "Be grateful his majesty did not see this. It would have been far worse."
Rin was eating dinner when Sesshoumaru and Jaken came to visit her. She nearly jumped out of her seat when she saw them. She ran up to jakem, picked him up and squeezed him. Jaken swore he was going to pop with the was his eyes bulged out of their socked. Tears were even produced as he struggled to breath.
When her arms loosened he gasped for air. Jaken pushed himself off of her and landed on his bottom. "Stupid girl!" He said half happily. "You nearly killed me!"
"I am just so happy to see you Jaken." Rin said tearfully. Seeing Rin being so emotionally must have rubbed off on him. He nearly couldn't contain the happiness he felt from seeing Rin again.
Rin went to greet her Lord next. Now that his anger had subsided he could finally relax and feel relieved that Rin was still alive. The week of her disappearance had him nearly panicking with worry. He couldn't shake the fear that he felt thinking he could have lost her for the last time.
He inwardly cringed at the memory. He couldn't go through that again. Sensing his thoughts Rin hugged him lightly. He stiffened slightly before relaxing and returning the hug. Jaken's skull nearly exploded with what he witnessed. Rin had never been so bold and Sesshoumaru never gave anyone physical affection.
Am I going crazy? He pinched himself to check if he was still alive. Fortunately he still was. Unfortunately his head felt like scrambled eggs.
"Jaken." Rin called for the second time. He hadn't realized he had spaced out. "Sit down and eat some food. I need to speak with Sesshoumaru-sama."
Forgetting all of his worries jaken jumped into the chair and began to stuff his face with food.
"Have you prepared to leave?"
Rin turned her head away when she heard the question. She was sure that for the past week he was probably searching for her without rest and was afraid he had lost her. For her to say not to him now, she wasn't sure how that would make him feel.
Her silence worried him, her refusal to meet his gaze worried him even more. Just from her reaction he already knew it was a no. "If you wish to stay the just say so."
"I want Haguromo to pay for what he's done. He humiliated me and killed Lady Kaede. How can I let this be?"
Sesshoumaru sighed. "Haguromo has already been punished. His reputation tarnished and his family nearly destroyed."
"That is not good enough." She said angrily. "He needs to die."
"And what of what we spoke of? Did you not want a life with me at your side?" He asked. "Will you give that up just for a moment's satisfaction?"
"What if I had died then?" She argued. "Would you be satisfied with him still breathing?"
"If that was the case I would have killed him myself. But you are alive now, and your days are short compared to mine. Will you waste it for something so petty?" Sesshoumaru said angrily.
Rin grabbed Sesshoumaru's hand. She rubbed it gently as she spoke, trying to comfort him. "Milord, once I am done I can leave."
Sesshoumaru removed his hand from Rin's grip angrily. "You will be an emperors consort. You would never be able to leave even in death." He snapped. "You will be bound to him in marriage."
Rin was shocked by his reaction. He pushed her away as if he was disgusted. "Sesshoumaru-sama, you're powerful and have always been there to defend me."
"As an emperors wife you have to fulfill your duties to him. I cannot save you from that. I will never be able to have you at my side, you will be his to do with as he sees fit."
Hearing those words she realized what Sesshoumaru meant to say. "Is that what this is about?" Rin whispered. "What exactly do you want from me?"
Sesshoumaru was done talking. He turned to leave but Rin grabbed onto the sleeve of his kimono. "Let go." He ordered.
"Not until you answer me."
Sesshoumaru yanked his kimono sleeve out of Rin's fingers and grabbed Rin's arm. He pulled her towards him roughly, startling her. She flinched as she saw Sesshoumaru's bared teeth.
"Sesshoumaru-sama I don't understand why you're so angry." Rin cried.
"You wish to break your promise to me." He said bitterly.
Rin bit her lip as she fought back tears. "No," she said as she shook her head. "It is not so milord. I wish to be at your side."
"I have spent years looking for a way for you to stay at my side, and yet you choose to be his wife instead. Perhaps when you said you wished to be at my side for an eternity you thought innocently. But I did not."
Rin wiped her tears with the sleeve of her kimono. "You were never fond of humans. I never thought it would be more than that. It is just the way I accepted it. I thought that since I was a human I would just be an old woman you would have to see die. What would have been the point in that?"
Rin sat down on the cushioned bench. She gripped at the clothing of her chest as if she couldn't breath. "I bet you wasted your time." She said in between her sobs. "Had you found what you were looking for we would not be having this conversation."
His hands balled into fists. Her words burned him as if she were rubbing salt into his wounds. His efforts were not even worth it. She had given up while he had held onto the possibility of giving her eternal life. Every thing that he had done for her was all for nothing.
"So that is the real reason you wish to stay." He whispered. After that Sesshoumaru left with jaken following behind him frantically.
Rin was left alone, pondering if she had made the right choice. She had that question on her mind for several years, but after her last conversations with Kaede it really pushed her to want to make a choice that she thought was best for everyone.
Xiang walked in from the kitchen where she had heard the entire argument. She supposed Sesshoumaru knew she was there but just didn't care. "Milady," she called softly as she approached Rin cautiously.
When Rin locked eyes with her Xiang could see the sadness and uncertainty in her eyes. She genuinely was heartbroken, but couldn't bring herself to go after her Lord and change her choice. Xiang wanted to console her lady so she sat at Rin's feet and squeezed her hand to comfort her.
"Milady, I understand your dilemma. He is a demon that lives forever, and you are a human who can live only a few decades. A century if you are lucky. To you that may not be enough."
"And it is not." Rin said bitterly. "Why would he want to put himself through something like that? Those years are like minutes to him. If he gets attached in such a way, when I die, he will be heartbroken beyond repair."
"You may see it as just a few meager years, but to him your years are limited, only a short time in which he can have you by his side, so every moment is precious and valuable to him. Have you considered this?"
"Yes, which is why I feel this may be the best choice."
Xiang sighed and simply rubbed her mistress's back.
The night came and went like a leaf riding the wind and yet Rin could not forget what transpired between her and her Lord. Rin was snapped out of her thoughts when her maid came in with the anti scarring scream she was prescribed by the imperial physician.
Due to its short life span Rin had to replace the medicine ever two days. Ever since using the medicine to treat her wounds, they have shrunk significantly. Rin undressed herself partially so that Xiang could apply the medicine to her wounds.
Rin smelled something strange when Xiang applied it. She sniffed it a few times more. She wrinkled her nose at the undertones of the medicine. "Rin Fei? Is something the matter?" Xiang asked.
"I feel the medicine smells different. Perhaps I am confused from lack of sleep." Rin said. Something told her that something was a miss but she truly felt bewildered. Shrugging it off, she closed her kimono and turned to leave for the afternoon events.
Rin wore a black three layered kimono with white flowers embroidered on the long sleeves and bottom of her skirt. Her hair was done in a large bun with her hime bangs still hanging on either side of her face. She also wore pink cherry blossom hair pins in her hair.
All the women that were to perform lined up outside of the palace, with Sakura included. Rin had to admire, for an attendant she didn't look too bad. She wondered if the emperor had gifted her the pink kimono she was wearing.
Rin walked up to Sakura, swaying her hips and fanning herself, making her look like the embodiment of femininity. "Sakura Changzai," she called, getting her attention.
"Rin Fei. Even after being embarassed by Haguromo you still decided to come?"
"I have heard Yuki Fei punished you for your insolence. After being made to kneel for so long I thought you would not have been able to perform." Rin said smiling behind her fan.
"And after all," a voice coming from behind said. "Sakura Changzai still did not learn her lesson." Xiao Fei finished.
Rin smiled and gave a small bow to Xiao and Xiao gave her one in return. "Sakura Changzai, can you still perform with bloodied knees?" Xiang and Rin laughed at Sakura, tag teaming her effectively. Seeing Sakura seething in anger satisfied her and this thought it was enough and left her be.
"Xiao Fei, since you are present, have you decided to perform for his majesty?" Rin asked.
Xiao hid her blush behind her fan. "I thought since his majesty has not seen me in quite some time perhaps I can get his attention."
She smiled excited to see what talents the consort possessed. "How lovely. I will be rooting for you."
The Eunuch Bojing began to call in the new palace girls one by one. When it came time that Sakura was called in Xiao took Rin by her sleeve and led her to the entrance of the door so they could watch Sakura's performance.
Sakura went in confidently with her maid watching her on the sidelines and her instrument in hand. She bowed to Kinosuke and then began her performance. Sakura began to dance to the music her maid played. Rin hated to admit, Sakura was actually flowing with a grace she did not know her for. Even the emperor was impressed.
She waved her hands in graceful movements and in the process she discreetly bared her wrist to his Majesty. Kinosuke was taken aback and looked away from her and glanced at the crowd, but none noticed what she had done.
Xiao huffed as she watched Sakura's performance. "She is daring performing as if she were a geisha."
Kinosuke chuckled to himself as he heard Xiao's comment. Yes, she is performing as she were one, but she was being clever about it, and he was enjoying it. When Sakura was done performing the emperor began to praise her.
"To think a girl in a remote village could move with such grace. You have done well." He said happily. "It seems I have misjudged you. For your performance you shall be rewarded generously."
Huang Gui Fei Himiko smiled behind her fan. She never imagined that Rin's scheme would work against her. In the end Sakura ended up persevering. "A good show indeed." She chuckled. "Be sure to continue to please his majesty." She said with emphasis.
"Thank you your majesty, thank you Huang Gui Fei. I will do my best." She said excitedly. She bowed to him, and went to sit at the table she was assigned.
"Your maid is also talented, do not forget to reward her." He reminded her.
As the emperor was praising Sakura, Xiao and Rin returned to their position just in time before Xiao was called in.
Her maid handed her what seemed to be a moon guitar. Rin smiled at Xiao and hurried her to the stage. Xiao's confidence was boosted by Rin's encouragement, and so she choose one of the most difficult songs to play on the guitar.
When she was done playing the concubines were seething, but seeing as his majesty was very impressed to they had to give themselves face and praise Xiao as well.
"Your performance was very much like a man." Himiko said with laughter.
"She was as a man," Kinosuke agreed. "But also as a delicate flower. Such grace cannot be matched by anyone. I apologize for not giving you the attention you rightfully deserved."
Xiao giggled becoming flustered by his praise and bowed her head to hide her red face.
"My decree, due to her wonderful performance allow her to be promoted. Xiao Fei is now Xiao Gui Fei."
Xiao gasped and quickly gave his majesty a single kowtow. "You grace me your majesty! Thank you!"
Rin smiled pleased behind her fan. Huanbi Fei who was sitting on the table next to Xiao was also pleased. Her friend had not been favored in a while, and now she was getting the attention that was long past due to her.
"Milady, perhaps you should have performed too." Her maid said with disappointment in her voice.
"It is quite alright." Huanbi said. "Allow Xiao Gui Fei to have her happiness and present her with the same. She has earned her new title."
Rin rubbed at her itchy and slightly burning wound, suddenly not being able to resist the urge to stretch it. Xiang quickly grabbed Rin's wrist and pulled it off the fabric of her kimono.
"Rin Fei!" She said urgently. "You mustn't scratch your wound or it will cause scarring!"
"It burns!" Rin hissed.
"You must ignore it! Now hurry and begin your performance for his majesty!"
Rin was so absorbed by the burning wounds that she hadn't even noticed her name being called. She quickly entered the palace and slowly made her way the middle of the room.
When arrived she spotted Sesshoumaru sitting in the middle table of the left side of the room. Many other concubines and consorts were also sitting in their own tables, wearing the most beautiful kimono's and Manchu dresses with platformed shoes.
There was an empty one next to Xiao Gui Fei, where Xiang hurried to take her seat. It was right across from Sesshoumaru's. The Lord of the South's table was next to his. She observed the girl carefully as she could smell the girls scent faintly lingering on him.
"Sesshoumaru-sama, is that your ward?" The Lord of the South said. "She is quite the beauty. I never thought you would give her to Kinosuke." She laughed.
"He did no such thing!" Jaken said angrily.
"Jaken." He warned. Jaken quickly shut his mouth. Till this day he still did not know to keep his outbursts to himself. It was like he wanted to embarrass his Lord purposely. Sesshoumaru glared at the Southern Lord and quickly poured himself a cup of sake.
Rin bowed to Kinosuke and greeted him. "Greetings your majesty." As she got back up she felt herself getting slightly dizzy. She quickly balanced herself and shook her head slightly to get the fuzzy feeling out of her head.
Rin got into position and waved her fan in intercate patterns. She began to sing a solo Chinese opera about a woman who lost her husband to war. She danced beautifully as she sang that even Sesshoumaru was at the edge of his seat watching.
He inwardly cursed, as he was the one who sent her master's to teach her the arts and yet she was using her skills for the emperor instead of him. Jaken was in awe at Rin's performance. He remembered how Rin used to sing the strangest rhymes always about him or Sesshoumaru and it was always so childlike and horribly sung. But now Rin was woman of nobility and talent. Her song and dance brought tears to his eyes.
The emperor completely lost himself in Rin's performance feeling lucky to have treasures such as her and Xiao. He promised himself that he will never spite them if he could help it. He wanted to stop the performance and promote her as he did Xiao, but Rin was just recently promoted and even skipped being a simple attendant. He could not bend the rules even if he wanted to.
Yuki and Himiko were both displeased, having hoped that Rin was not as talented as the others. Yuki huffed as even her head maid praise the girl.
As Rin was singing the last words when her vision blurred and the room began to spin. The feeling took over her completely. Before she could finish the song, she fainted and fell to the ground. Sesshoumaru was shocked instantly getting up from his seat as fast as the consorts and emperor did.
They all gathered around Rin as the emperor shouted to Bojing to summon the imperial physicians. Rin could hear the panic that she was surrounded by as her consciousness faded into black. The last thing that she saw was Sesshoumaru's panicked state.
The emperor Rin up in his arms and carried her to the back. He laid her on a bed that he had in a small room. Sesshoumaru, jaken, Xiao Gui Fei and Huanbi Fei followed behind them, as well as Himiko and all their maids. She didn't like the way the emperor cared for her.
Itseemed that every time Rin was in front him he would lose his senses. He was attentive of her, it made her think that Kinosuke was in love with her. She shook her head. No, not that fast. She has only been in the harem for a two weeks, she thought.
Kinosuke kneeled beside Rin's bed, as they all waited for the imperial physicians. Three of them came in. Akihito, Yun, and Zhou rushed in with their kits in hand.
Everyone moved out of the way so that they could treat Rin. Akihito approached Rin first. He loosened her kimono opening and took a look at her shoulder and chest wound. Akihito was shocked by what he saw. Her wound was beginning to turn black. It was oozing puss and was swollen and inflamed.
His attention automatically turned to Xiang, who was standing behind Rin. "Did you clean Rin Fei's wound and apply the medicine?" He questioned harshly.
"Yes!" She said panicked. "I washed Rin Fei's wound and applied the medicine every day as you instructed!"
"The wound seems to be infected." Akihito said to the Emperor.
"Xiang! You dare neglect Rin Fei?!" The emperor yelled.
Xiang fell to her knees and bowed with her forehead touching the floor. "I don't dare emperor! I don't dare!" Her hands and face began to sweat and her body trembled. She knew that if she didn't prove her innocence her head could roll.
"I treated Rin Fei's wounds as directed milord! It was just fine before we left the palace. But then...but then..." She paused for a second thinking of anything she could think of that could have gone wrong. "Milady commented earlier today that the medicine smelled strange! Before the performance she felt unbearably itchy. She said that her wounds were beginning to burn! I know nothing else!"
Zhou, another one of the physicians checked her wound again. He took a swab out of his kit and dabbed around the wound gently. He he held the swab close to his nose and smelled it. Zhou was surprised and turned to look at the third physician.
Yun realized that now everyone was staring at him. "It was not me!" Yun said. "I never went anywhere near Rin Fei!"
Sesshoumaru reached into Xiangs pockets and pulled out the medicine from her pouch. He sniffed the outside of it. "I detect your scent." He said angrily. "Who else but you could have harmed Rin?"
"Enough!" The emperor yelled. "Everyone who was involved with Rin Fei's medication is to be arrested and interrogated strictly." The emperor ordered. "Akihito, since you wrote the prescription examine it thoroughly. If anyone tampered with the medication, I wont let them off!"
"Yes, right away." Akihito said.
The imperial guards came in and took Rin's maid, and imperial physicians Yun and Zhou away.
Imperial guards Ling came forward and got down on knee ready to receive any orders. He was a handsome demon. With half of his scalp shaved bald and the other half braided into a long pony tail. He wore the black and blue uniform that all guards from kinosuke's empire wore.
"You are in charge of the investigation. See to it that you collect witnesses and testimonies. Investigate everything. Do not allow even a single detail slip by you."
Every one of the emperors concubines went home except for Xiao, who was given the task of looking after Rin. She didn't know Rin very well but in the week they got to know each other they had gotten a bit close and the emperor took notice. So he decided that she was the one to be assigned this task.
The other Lord's that attended were given places to stay and were not allowed to leave until Rin's aggressor was caught. They all knew that they were possible suspects. Since the Northern and Eastern Lords were jealous of Sesshoumaru's and Kinosuke's success they could have possibly done it to spite one or the other.
After leaving the palace, Ling went to work on the investigation immediately. The first person that was questioned was Akihito, since he was the one that prescribed the medicine to Rin in the first place.
He gave guard Ling valuable information about the medicines ingredients, their effects, and how they worked together to treat Rin's wounds. He was the least suspected since he had taken care of Rin the week she was not conscience with no mistakes. According to Akihito no problems were reported the week Rin applied the medicine to her wounds and all seemed well.
Akihito informed him Zhou was the most senior of the three, and that he was the most knowledgeable when it came to ingredients. So Ling went to go and question him. That was when things started getting interesting.
Zhou managed the growing of medicinal plants and herbs, but he said he never went near the medicine. There were so many different patients to treat in the palace and he said for that reason he didn't have time to prescribe or even make medicines so he left all of the work to Yun and his assistants.
Ling questioned the assistants first. They weighed the medicine and gave Yun the exact plants and amount needed to make it. Yun was the one who brewed it.
"I swear," he said frantically. "I did nothing to the medication!"
Ling was beginning to get frustrated with him so he ordered him to be torchered along with the assistants. He could not just assume that it was Yun who did it just because he brewed the medicine. Any one of them could have tampered with it. He knew this much, but he wanted to take no chances.
They were torchered without any leniency. Some were whipped with lashes and others were burned or cut. But none of them spoke as of yet.
"If no one speaks then I know another way to make you tell me what I need to know." Ling said as he paced slowly around the suspects. "You know it is a crime to commit acts of murder in the palace. I suppose I could simply blame everyone and execute their ancestors as well as their descendants."
"No!" They all cried. They begged to be let go and their families be spared, but still no one spoke. So Ling summoned some of the guards to get their records and investigate them so they can go and execute their families.
"No!" One finally spoke. "I beg you, don't! I will tell you what I know! Just please spare my family."
Ling was relieved and called off the order. "Now speak." He said calmly.
"There was a maid who came here two days ago. She paid me a few pieces of silver and told me to allow her to take a look at Rin Fei's medicine."
"Accepting bribes from anyone in the palace is a high offense." Ling reminded him.
"I needed the money for my sick daughter! Just please spare her life!"
Ling nodded. He wasn't fond of killing children. The emperor didn't have to know as long as the culprit is caught before the deadline he will be satisfied.
"Do you know who the maid was?"
"No," he began to whimper as he feared the inevitable. "But I remember that her hand was covered in fresh wounds."
Now that ling finally got a useful clue he could get to work. The problem was that there were so many maids in the city. Who could have done it?
Rin awoke the next morning, feeling dazed and confused. She was somewhere she had never been before. One minute she was in front of the emperor and the next she was in another palace. She could faintly hear a maid ordering the others to inform Xiao.
Xiao came into the room running. She quickly sat down next to Rin and felt her forehead. "She has a small fever. Get me the soup Akihito prepared."
It was all a blur, before she knew it her head was being lifted by two maids while Xiao fed Rin the warm soup. It was so bitter it made her recoil in disgust. "I know, but just bare it a bit more."
Rin nodded lightly and drank the medicine more quickly so she could get it over with. Within a few minutes Rin felt more awake and was able to sit up. She hissed as she felt the burning sensation of her chest.
"What happened?" Rin asked.
Xiao sighed in relief. "You were poisoned. You had a high fever the whole night."
"Where am I?"
"In my palace. The emperor tasked me with looking after you. They are currently investigating your case."
"And Xiang? Where is she?"
"With imperial guard Ling. He arrested her under the emperors order."
Rin gasped and tried to get up but Xiao stopped her. "I need to see the Emperor!"
"No! You must stay here. Besides I wouldn't worry." Xiao said confidently. Xiao leaned in and whispered into Rin's ear. "Guard Ling cares for Xiang deeply. He won't interrogate her harshly. I spoke to him the day before and he has taken good care of her."
Rin smiled. She sighed in relief. "That puts me more at ease. Has Sesshoumaru-sama been here?"
"Yes," Xiao answered. "He came to check on you this morning, but then he returned to his resting quarters. I hear the Lord's are suspects as well. But none have been questioned from what I know."
"Why is that?"
"Emperor has his enemies and so does your Lord. So it's best to be cautious."
Rin nodded at the response.
The guards of the city were sent to every concubines palace so that they could narrow down the search significantly. Only a few maids were examined. All three of the consorts maids were searched. First it was Huanbi's who was searched. Then it was Xiao, and last was Yuki.
Every maid had to line up in one straight line and be checked by the guards. They were body searched and their hands were checked for any sign of scabbing or scarring.
No one suspicious was found on Xiao's or Huanbi's palace. It was true for Yuki as well at first. None of the maids that were checked had any poison or scarred hands, but ling noticed something strange. All the consorts were allowed to keep six maids. With the addition of the three that Sakura Changzai had, it should have been a total of mine maids but yet when he counted he came short.
Guard Ling then ordered his guards to search the premises. Sakura objected to the search and had a temper tantrum, but that only gave him more reasons to search. There they found a maid in the back who was cleaning the storage room. Inside one of the closets, they found a small bottle with a strange smell to it.
That was when the maids were arrested including Sakura herself.
"Sakura Changzai?" The emperor repeated. Ling nodded. "And this maid?"
"I believe she is one of the three that serves her."
The emperor went back to Xiao's palace, and summoned Sesshoumaru there. By that time Rin was nearly fully recovered and was no longer in a daze so she was able to witness everything unfold.
Sakura, and her maids were brought in for questioning, along with the physician attendant who accused her maid. Rin sat with Xiao while Sesshoumaru stood on his feet. He decided to leave Jaken behind to avoid his noisy antics.
"Greetings to your majesty." They all said in unison.
"Physician attendant, state your name." Kinosuke ordered.
"Yes your majesty." The attendant got up to and stood before the emperor avoiding eye contact with him. "I am Shouta, attendant of imperial physician Zhou."
"Tell me what you told the office of punishment."
"The day before the event, a maid from the Palace of Peony came to the medical office. She paid me silver and asked to be allowed to take a look at the medicines in Sakura Changzai's name."
The emperor looked at her blankly, but his wrath was written plainly in his eyes. "Sakura Changzai, you dare go after Rin Fei's life." Kinosuke accused.
Shock over took Sakura as she heard what the emperor said. She stared at Rin who was looking at her with a blank expression on her face. "Milord, I have never had the thought of poisoning Rin Fei! This man must be lying!" She defended.
"Mistress, why do you lie? It was you who sent me to the medical office." The maid said calmly. "She gave me a small decorated bottle filled with the oil of the nightshade flower and told me to mix a small amount into the medicine."
Ling took the small bottle out from his sleeve and handed it to his majesty. "The evidence milord."
Kinosuke took it and looked at it closely. He opened the container and smelled it. "Rin Fei," he said passing the bottle to Rin. "Do you recognize this scent?"
Rin took the bottle and held it gently in her hand. She sniffed it a few times, then sighed. "Yes, it was this faint smell I detected that day. I have used it to hunt animals in the forest. I was careless and tired and did not realize it was poison." She said dejected.
"Sakura Changzai was angry because she was being favored by your majesty, so she schemes to get her out of the way." The maid said.
Sakura crawled on her knees towards the emperor, shaking violently with fear with the tears pooling in her eyes. Her voice trembled as she spoke in desperation. "Your majesty, this maid is lying! I never did this! I swear it on my own life it was not I who poisoned Rin Fei!"
She turned to the maid who shamelessly accused her. "You are doing this to spite me, because I punished you for your mistake, you seek vengeance against me." She spat.
"We have witnesses and proof of your crime, you dare to deny it." Kinosuke said firmly.
"Your majesty, I am Sakura Changzai's maid, I am at her side at all times. I can assure you that it was not her who poisoned Rin Fei." Kiara said. "Yuki Fei punished her to kneel for three hours! She could not have had the time to commit the crime milord."
The maid accusing Sakura pulled up her sleeves. The horrifying sight revealed for all to see. "Sakura Changzai was angry because I accidentally spilled meat on her clothing, so she ordered her eunuch to beat my hands!"
Her hands and wrists were filled with scabs and horrifying scars. Looking at it even made the emperor feel disgust. "If you are capable of torturing your maid, then you are capable of worse!"
Kinosuke had enough of listening to the filth that was staining his ears. He moved quickly. Before anyone can blink he moved across the room, grabbed Sakura by the collar of her kimono and dragged her out. Only Sesshoumaru was a witness.
Sesshoumaru followed Kinosuke out of the palace and into the courtyard where he threw the girl angrily on the dirt.
The screams that could be heard from outside startled them. Rin and Xiao exchanged fearful glances and hurried outside after them with their maids following behind them.
Kinosuke drew his claws out. Right before he was going to end Sakura's life, Rin got in between them. Seeing Rin protecting the one who caused her suffering filled him with rage. His brows furrowed and his nose flared. An animalistic growl escaped from within his chest.
"Step aside." His voice remained calm as he spoke. It took him everything to keep his composure.
She closed the gap between them and ran her fingers across the black and red silk of his sleeve. "Such luscious fabric. So clean and pure. Look at the filth that lays on the ground. So pitiful and pathetic. She is foul. She is not worthy of even defiling such a precious garment." Rin said with a smile.
She spoke so smoothly. Her words were filled with sweet poison. Even though he felt Sakura should die, Rin's words pleased him, so he withdrew his weapons and turned to leave. His eunuchs and guard Ling hurried after him.
"My decree. Sakura has attempted to take the life of a consort. Send her to the cold palace. Demote her to a commoner. As for the maid, flog her thirty times, then banish her. She shall never work within the city again."
Sakura and her maids were dragged out of the palace. They could all hear Sakura kicking and struggling with the guards as she detained, and her pleading with Kinosuke for mercy. The beating of the maid could be heard. The poor girl screamed in agony.
Sesshoumaru and Rin locked eyes, what he said after stole her breath. "She schemed against you. She will not be the only one. If you want to survive, you will have to do the same."
Rin sighed sadly. "Milord, I am not that kind of person."
Sesshoumaru didn't say anything else. It was up to her to take his wisdom of leave it. In the end Rin made her choice, and it will be something she would have to live with. Sesshoumaru turned into a ball of light and left the city, without so much as a goodbye, leaving Rin alone to defend herself.