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THE MIRROR OF SOULS by Silver Moon Inuyoukai

THE LORD AND THE CAPTAIN

THE MIRROR OF SOULS

Silver Moon Inuyoukai

~}O{~

Note: Inuyasha isn't mine but I can't help wish that Sesshoumaru is for real. :)

Warning: This is not a fast paced story. I like cliffhangers, story details, a little mystery, a little romance and all that jazz  because a story is best appreciated that way.  Blame Tom Clancy, he's my fave author.

THE LORD AND THE CAPTAIN

 

 

Sesshoumaru, Lord of the Western Lands, stood impassive upon the battlefield as his golden gaze sweep the vista around him.  His sensitive nose twitched  at the scent swirling in the wind; the smell of ozone, blood, gore and death. The ozone comes from the fading power released by his sword, Bakusaiga. The Lord of the West slashed at the air to get rid of any blood and gore clinging to his weapon and replaced the powerful sword to his left side along with Tenseiga.

He was about to pulse his youki when he felt the distinctive aura of his taisa (captain) as she broke through the clearing at a run. When she spotted her lord near the other edge of the field she made a beeline to where he was standing.

"Chichiue! (Father)" She gasped for breath when she stopped in front of him, bowing her head.

"Rin, report." He commanded his taisa.

"Father, our soldiers decimated the youkai attack at this village. The rest of the youkai that survived were retreating. Shall we follow and hunt them down?" Rin stood at attention as she waited his decision.

"It is not necessary. However, post some soldiers at the village to calm the people." Sesshoumaru began to walk towards the village.

Rin followed beside him. "It has been done, father, I have given the orders."

Sesshoumaru nodded, pleased that his taisa had the presence of mind to anticipate his decisions correctly. "Hn. Well done, Rin." He acknowledged her appellation of "chichiue" or father to him, as they were the only ones in the vicinity. Rin would call him "My Lord" or "Sire" in front of his men reinforcing the formality for appearances sake. The captain is never one to break convention even though his men and vassals know who she is - the daughter and right hand commander of the Lord of the Western Lands.

Rin felt warm at her father-guardian's praise. His words of praise, though reserved, hold a lot of value to the young warrior. Sesshoumaru is not one to lavish praise when he feels it was not warranted. The sixteen year old is mature for her age and had an uncanny ability to seemingly read her father's mind. Sesshoumaru had oftentimes been taken by surprise at this skill of hers, but later he felt proud of his daughter and rationalized that she had been with him in battle long enough and perhaps had observed and learned how her father's tactical mind worked.

He had replaced numerous commanders due to their incompetence with slow painful death until he discovered the sharp mind of his ward. Rin had just finished her five-year martial arts training with the head of the taiji-ya (demon killers), Sango. And upon her return she immediately asked for his approval on various proposals that would benefit both the youkai and ningen (human) community.

The Western Lord was taken aback at some of her radical proposals since he knows it would raise the ire of the youkai society, but saw the benefit of such action.

The incumbent taisa, Hoyo, met the proposal negatively. It wasn't a secret that Hoyo disliked the Lord of the West's human ward. He disliked humans, period. Hoyo was stunned when he learned that Sesshoumaru allowed his eight-year-old ward to train in a demon exterminator village. It was unthinkable! It was preposterous!

Sesshoumaru leveled a cold gaze toward his general. "Do you dare question the action of this Sesshoumaru?" His voice is deceptively silky smooth but edged with steel.

Hoyo's hair at the back of his neck stood in fear. Lord Sesshoumaru's legendary wrath is known throughout the land. Everyone knows how the great lord is extremely protective of the young girl, Rin. Hoyo doesn't want to lose his head for a mere human by angering his master.

 

The people of the Western Lands assumed that their lord had become weak since he had lowered himself into becoming a guardian of a mere human girl. Tongues started wagging and speculating: perhaps the lord had taken a human mistress and Rin is his hanyou (half-youkai) offspring. But they couldn’t see any hanyou qualities on Rin.  Some postulated on even bizarre possibilities and some bordering on the ridiculous: Rin's a pet and a form of entertainment for the daiyoukai. She's just a curiosity for the master and soon he will discard her when he tires with her.

The Great Lord dismissed all of these with a shrug…apart from one incidence.....

Memory

A wealthy youkai merchant was visiting the palace.  Sesshoumaru and his family had been trading with this merchant for centuries and he was welcomed whenever he was around the Western Lands. But Sesshoumaru doesn't care for the man since he had never stopped foisting his daughters on him.

The Lord of the West had been a bachelor for centuries and since he had assumed the title it was required of him to find a mate. Being a wealthy and powerful ruler and one of the handsomest eligible bachelors to boot made Sesshoumaru the prime target of acquisition for many high-ranking youkai families. Sesshoumaru had repeatedly turned down numerous proposals from families to marry their daughters. And this man is no exception.

Sesshoumaru had prepared himself for another tiresome matrimonial pitch: the man has two daughters - the oldest was a beauty and Sesshoumaru had met this daughter on numerous occasions due to the machinations of her father but Sesshoumaru does not feel any stirring of interest or desire for the female.  Since Sesshoumaru had no parents to decide on an arranged marriage it has fallen on Sesshoumaru's discretion to approve or disapprove marriage proposals, hence his current unmated status.

The dinner was going somewhat smoothly and Sesshoumaru had once more fielded another subtle proposal for the oldest daughter when Jaken tapped the shoji screen.

"Yes, Jaken, what is it?" The toad youkai bowed politely to his master.

"My Lord, Rin would like to see you before she goes to bed." Jaken was trembling; his lord didn’t want to be interrupted when he's entertaining but the foolish child insisted that she won’t sleep until she says her customary goodnight and kiss to her "Sesshoumaru-sama."  The child in question is actually just right behind the shoji screen impatiently squirming.

"Send her in, Jaken," and as soon as the youkai lord said those words the screen was moved aside and a small bundle of unruly hair and boundless energy barged into the dining hall and straight to the Western Lord.

"Sesshoumaru-sama!" squealed the six-year-old girl in a white sleeping yukata. The girl stopped in front of the Western Lord and the astonished merchant. "Sesshoumaru-sama, Rin wants to see you before Rin sleeps." Rin held out her arms to the pale lord.

Sesshoumaru nodded his consent and the little girl slammed into him with her arms around his neck almost strangling him then she let go and planted a wet kiss (as kids were wont to do) on his cheek. Sesshoumaru felt a warm glow on his chest whenever he looked at his ward and he laid his hand on her head. His eyes momentarily lost their guarded expression and softened.

"Ah, this must be the girl you picked up from the ningen (human) village Sesshoumaru?"  The merchant chose that moment to interrupt, slurring his words.

"Rin is my ward." The reckless merchant didn’t notice the inflection on the word "ward" and the coldness that seeped into the voice of his host.

"Well, she's very pretty but unfortunately ningen's don't make good mates. Well, as concubines maybe. You need to wait a few more years to make that happen." The merchant slurred and chuckled due to too much sake.

Jaken's squawk of indignation stopped at Sesshoumaru's glare. "Jaken."

"Y-yes, Sesshoumaru-sama?" Jaken turned to the deathly still taiyoukai.

"Take Rin to her room." Sesshoumaru gently steered the girl to Jaken's direction. "Rin, I will tuck you in later. Go with Jaken."

"Hai, Sesshoumaru-sama." And with a gigle the girl grabbed Jaken's hand and dragged the toad youkai out of the room.

Sesshoumaru waited until he heard his retainer and his ward had turn around the corner of the dining area before moving in a blur, slamming the inebriated merchant on the wall.  "She is my ward." Sesshoumaru snarled. "I protect her.  No, she's not my pet.  No, she's not 'entertainment'." He slams the man's head on the wall punctuating each sentence while choking the youkai merchant.  "And no, she will not become my concubine!"  He spat the last word in disgust. In his anger some of his poison seeped out, the tips of his fingers glowing greenish yellow.

"Acckkk! It's just a…ackkk…joke! Sesshoumaru….ack! Can't you take a joke?" The merchant tried to remove the chokehold on him but he was being held in grips of steel. When he smelled the acrid smell of poison from the taiyoukai's hands he started to panic.

"GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" Sesshoumaru roared in his face. The merchant was then thrown clear out of the dining room door.  Servants and some palace guards rushed to see what the commotion about.

"Remove this trash from this house! NOW!" His voice reverberated in the room. The guards picked up the dazed merchant and dragged him away.

Jaken skidded to a halt outside the dining room door. He heard the roar and the sound of a body slamming on the floor. He stood there with his mouth hanging open at the red-eyed image of Lord Sesshoumaru who was visibly controlling himself from following and killing the merchant with his claws.

"Sesshoumaru-sama?" A small timid voice broke the red haze from the angry daiyoukai.

Amazingly, his eyes lost its red haze, the poison banished from his hands.  "Rin, you should be asleep." Sesshoumaru said in a voice so cool and controlled. 

"Rin heard a noise and Jaken-sama ran here. Rin was alone." The girl inched her way inside the door.

"Come Rin. It is time for bed. I will tuck you in." Sesshoumaru held out his hand to the girl. The little girl promptly held his strong hand in hers not knowing that the same hand she holds almost ripped a youkai's neck apart.

"Sesshoumaru-sama? Why were you angry at the man?"

Sesshoumaru held his breath. How much did she hear? "He was rude." Sesshoumaru said simply. He looked down to the tiny girl walking beside him and for the second time that night his breath caught in his throat. Rin was looking up at him with wonder in her eyes. 

"Hn," was all Rin said and gave him a smile that lit up the night.

"Hn," Sesshoumaru nodded and felt another tug in his heart when his ward squeezed his hand.

 *****

"My ward has expressed her desire to learn martial arts and I agreed." The regal taiyoukai replied.

"But my Lord, why does she have to train in a taiji-ya village? We can train her here." the captain frowned his displeasure.

"Hoyo, are you afraid that her lethal battle skills would surpass yours when Rin comes back?" he asked with a smirk.

"Certainly not, my lord!" Hoyo blustered in indignation.

"Then this conversation is moot." The daiyoukai lord folded his arms inside his sleeve indicating the discussion is finished.

When the irritating captain had taken his leave Sesshoumaru stood up and opened the shoji door on the balcony. He stepped out to the enclosed garden inhaling the scent of the night. The light breeze stirred his long silver hair as the tall Inuyoukai walked to the cherry blossom tree near the koi pond.  This is his favorite place to sit when he takes a break from the paperwork in his study.

His thoughts went back to the just concluded conversation with the captain. Rin would be leaving to train at the taiji-ya village in a fortnight. He sighed. He was happy that his ward told him she wanted to learn martial arts. But when she asked if he could teach her he declined.

"But why can’t you teach me, Sesshoumaru-sama?"  Sesshoumaru heard a tiny whine from his ward's voice.

"I am stronger than you and I might hurt you."  He leaned back to the cherry tree and watched as fireflies flitted at the floating lotus flowers on the pond.

"It's okay, I am strong." The little girl smiled at him.

"No Rin. It would be better if humans teach you. You will study at the taiji-ya village."

"Oh, is that Kohaku's village, Sesshoumaru-sama?"  Rin turned to face him fully from her spot beside him.

"Hn." Besides Sesshoumaru wanted his ward to be with other humans so she could grow up normally. Life in the fortress is safe but there aren’t human children there for her to play or interact with.

"I will miss you Sesshoumaru-sama" He smelled her unshed tears.

"Rin, you will not miss me. I will visit you often. When you are finished there then I will continue to teach you."

 He saw his ward gasp. " Do you promise, Sesshoumaru-sama?"

"Do you doubt the word of your father?" He turned his golden gaze at her when he heard her gasp the second time. Rin was looking at him with eyes as big as saucers and he felt her joy at his words.

"No chichiue…" Sesshoumaru felt equal joy when she called him that name. Rin had always called him 'Sesshoumaru-sama' and though their bond is obviously filial in nature he had not alluded to the use of father ever in their conversations. He admitted that he had been taking care of Rin as a father would and he felt fatherly affection for the little girl. That incident with the idiotic merchant opened his eyes to the fact that indeed Rin is his daughter, blood relation or no.

Rin put her arms around him and gave him a kiss (this time dry) on his cheek. Sesshoumaru laid his hand on his daughter's head and gave her a hug. Hn, he said to himself. Perhaps the life of a single parent isn't so bad after all.

~O~O~O~ 

 

"Sesshoumaru-sama! Rin-sama!" A youkai lieutenant wearing the distinct color of the Western Lands stopped and bowed to the father and daughter.

"Yes lieutenant, what is it?" Rin asked the agitated looking soldier.

"My Lord. Captain," The man addressed his superiors respectively bowing first to Sesshoumaru and then to Rin. "Our platoon finished rounding up the troublemakers to the South and we were about to return to report to you when we encountered something on our way back."

"Explain." Sesshoumaru snapped.

The soldier visibly flinched at the cold-voiced command but continued nonetheless. "My Lord, I fear that it will be hard to explain. It would be better if you and the captain see it for yourselves."

The Lord and the captain briefly exchanged looks of consternation at his words.

"Take us to the place." Sesshoumaru formed his youkai cloud and Rin immediately took her place at her father's side. They ascended quickly. The kitsune lieutenant took at a blazing run towards the far South side of the village. Sesshoumaru and Rin following above the trees on his cloud.

"What could it be, chichiue?" Rin turned towards the tall taiyoukai holding her protectively by the waist.

Even at sixteen Rin still needed to lean back when talking to her father. He was just so tall! When she was six years old her father had been a giant in her eyes. She would grab his legs when she greets him and Sesshoumaru would have to lean down to place a gentle claw-tipped hand on her head. How fondly she recalls those times. His golden eyes would always soften whenever he looks at her. The same golden eyes turned their attention to her but curiousity tinged their depths.

"Hn." Was all he said as he turned his eyes back to the kitsune running through the trees below. Jiro's enigmatic words piqued his mind. But before the Western Lord could ponder more about those mysterious words his youkai senses spiked in alarm. Rin didn’t see any visible emotion pass though her father's calm countenance but she knew that he was disturbed by something from the subtle pulse of her father's youkai energy; being near to him allowed her to feel the cascade of power. Sesshoumaru is never one to be disturbed about anything, even in a fierce battle but this is different.

"What is it, father?" Rin is now scanning the area below them. She noticed a battalion of soldiers on alert and facing at a point near the curve of the river. She also spotted Jiro giving orders to hold their position.

Sesshoumaru descended quickly behind the soldiers to further assess the situation. Rin jumped ahead even before her father's cloud dispersed and Sesshoumaru landed without a sound. Rin quickly left her father's side and was about to head towards the front when she felt his hand on her shoulder.

"Do not move." Rin was about to protest thinking that her father must have forgotten that she's not a six year old kid when she felt the strange aura in the air. She looked at Sesshoumaru as he pulsed his youki toward the light to assess the strange aura. Since she isn't youkai or miko she could only feel the action through a slight vibration on her skin. She knows that Sesshoumaru could use his pulse to challenge or subdue other youkai or use it like a sensing tool to know friend or foe.  "Hn."

"What is that?" Rin felt goose bumps on her arms. She strained her eyes towards where her father and the soldiers were facing. The thick copse of trees leading to the curve of the river is glowing and pulsing with a rainbow of colors.

Her father began to walk towards that light,  the soldiers parting the way for him.  "Rin, come, but stay behind me." The inu taiyoukai said, not breaking his stride.

"Yes, my lord." Rin readied her katana on her side. She nodded a non-verbal command at Jiro as she followed her father. Jiro nodded back and as soon as their lord and his commander in chief passed the soldiers held their former position of encircling the copse of trees.

Jiro did not remove his eyes from where his silver-haired master and his daughter entered.

Sesshoumaru's youkai senses are being bombarded with bewildering energy signatures as he and his ward further moved where the light leads  them. The daiyoukai couldn’t fathom what is causing this confusing power. It is like positive and negative energy/reiki and youkai power has merged and is now giving off that strange throb. It scrapes at his senses like two sharp-edged swords grating at each other.

There was a gap between the trees where the focus of their objective lay. A few of the young trees were reduced to kindling as if a great force slammed into them creating a fairly deep crater. The smell of burning wood was also apparent but no evidence of fire. The strength of the power became stronger as he and Rin approached. He could see a barrier pulsing with pink and violet glow, the colors appear to be trying to merge and diverge and the rainbow of color would vibrate.

Rin was following closely behind her father but trying to sneak a peek from his left side. But she immediately fell back and covered her eyes from the harsh light emitting from somewhere on the forest floor.  And then she almost collided with Sesshoumaru's back when he suddenly stopped in surprise; inhaling with a hiss.

"My Lord, what is it?"  Rin edged around her father, her katana at a ready in her right hand and her left hand trying to shield her eyes from the glare. Her vision improved a little and now she can make out a little bit of what her father was looking at barely ten feet away from them.

As her visibility improved she too couldn't help but make the same hissing breath as her daiyoukai parent for the sight that beheld the daiyoukai and captain truly astounded them both. "What in seven hells…?"  Rin whispered.

~}O{~

 

 

 

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