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Le Chat Blanc by Kayka

Into the Woods

Disclaimer: The amount of 'nothing' I own is painful sometimes. Inuyasha is one of those things. This also applies to subsequent chapters and any other literary allusions herein.

A/N: So, I started to write this, oh, a year ago, but I never made it past the first few paragraphs. Anyway, this is intended to be the back story to my own fairytale twist fan art, "The White Cat," which can be found on either here on Dokuga or Deviantart. It and this story are based on the fairytale "La Chatte Blanche" by Madame d'Aulnoy.

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Chapter 1

Into the Woods

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Once upon a time, there was a king who had three sons. Old, senile, and a strong believer in poetic imagery, he often forgot that his youngest son was not a son at all. Said youngest not-son was currently embroiled in well-mannered dissention with her siblings.

Unluckily for the king, his unruly brood soon turned to him to settle the matter. Unluckily for them, he simply stared at them blankly.

Always one to take charge when the situation demanded it, Kagome, for that was the name of the fair, youngest Prince…ess, decreed, "Papa Totosai, you have to have an heir."

Leaning forward and peering intently at his youngest, King Totosai queried, "Who are you, again?"

Kagome was interrupted before she could impatiently remind the king that she was his one and only darling daughter.

"The old man's senile as hell. I don't even know what we're doing here; we all know that the eldest is next in the line of succession. Just as it's always been," Bankotsu forged.

"Puh-lease! You'd have us at war with the demon kingdom within a fortnight!"

As the most level headed of the three, Miroku stepped between his siblings to mediate before the situation could come to blows.

"Dear brother and darling sister, surely you must acknowledge that our noble kingdom should be ruled by one fair and just with a knack for reading a situation and responding appropriately."

At their dubious nods of acknowledgement, Miroku continued; hand over his heart and looking every bit the earnest statesman ready to negotiate, "All qualities that I believe would make me an excellent candidate."

At this point, it should be clarified that Miroku was typically the most level headed and impartial, except when it came to something he and his siblings likewise desired.

Before degenerate squabbling could break out in earnest, the king finally intervened.

"I want a puppy!"

While such an exclamation was not entirely unusual, it was not a truly effective way to broker an argument. In fact the three looked at him as if he were quite mad.

Gathering himself in his most kingly manner, he clarified.

"Whomsoever brings me back the prettiest, smallest dog shall have my throne."

"A dog?" Miroku inquired.

"Yup," King Totosai said, with a pop to the 'p' that seemed to linger as his children mulled over this development.

"Why?" Bankotsu demanded, "You can get any dog you damned well please without having us run all over the kingdom looking for it."

"Consider think of it as a test of your fortitude. Besides, something has to keep me company after you whippersnappers rob me of my throne, cart me off to one of the summer palaces, and never visit or write."

The three young royals had the grace to look abashed by his comment. Perhaps the king was not as far gone as Bankotsu had previously intimated.

"Papa Totosai, we would never!" Kagome ardently declared while her siblings murmured similarly.

Waving away their comments, he spurred them into action.

"You've got exactly a year from today. Get crackin'!"

And with that, the Princes and Princess were dismissed.

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For a time, the three nobles traveled together, until they reached a path that forked three ways.

"Ah, an intervention by fate!"

Kagome snorted.

"Miroku, we've been this way a thousand times before. We all knew the road splits here. In fact, that was the whole reason we set out this way. It's also the point where we should meet up after our journey."

They dismounted their steeds and bade both their horses and entourage goodbye. They had been informed, as they set out on their quest, of an additional stipulation: each must undertake the trials and tribulations of the road alone and without the comforts normally afforded to those in their position.

Despite circumstances which by default pitted their interests against each other, both Bankotsu and Miroku had been concerned for Kagome's safety on her own. She felt this was truly touching in an overbearing elder-brother kind of way.

"I'll be perfectly fine," Kagome assured with all the confidence of one naïve to the dangers of the world. "I have my sword, and you both know that I'm pretty handy with it. Anyway, I can get a big dog to keep me company on the road or something."

Having both been at the pointy end of said sword more times than masculine pride allowed them to admit, her brothers reluctantly agreed and they began to sort out which direction each would travel.

For some reason, Kagome felt an inclination toward the right hand path, thus she announced, "Okay, guys I'm going left. See you next year!"

True to his competitive nature, Bankotsu shot in front of her. "Yeah, right. Oldest gets to pick first. I've got dibs on left!" And with that, he was off down the path before either of his siblings could contradict his choice.

"You know that path terminates in the Endless Swamps of Madness and Unimaginable Horror, right?"

Kagome could not successfully stifle her giggle.

"Oh, he'll be fine. It's not our fault that he's never paid attention before on our travels. He might even learn something about strategy."

Miroku momentarily shared in her amusement, for Bankotsu was indeed the teensiest bit brash. Soon enough, the moment passed and it was time to part company.

"If you do not mind too terribly, dear sister, I shall take the road ahead."

The center path was the logical choice of course, as it wound through a number of larger villages where finding the perfect pup should be an easy feat. Kagome did not want to appear to give in so easily, however, since it would make Miroku suspicious of her ready agreement to take the road which led to notably fewer of their kingdom's villages.

"All right," Kagome nodded, "There's nothing saying that I can't double back later. At least with the right path I'll find a village before nightfall."

They parted ways amiably, and Kagome set forth on the path that would one way or another carry her to destiny. It was the easiest thing she had done all day.

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Kagome had reached the end of her set course, and dejectedly came to the conclusion that she would have to turn around. It would seem that her inclination toward the right path that very first day had been for naught.

She had been searching for months, and while she did have her small pack of lovely little dogs plodding after her, none seemed quite the perfect fit. Kagome could not help but think that her brothers would find even more beautiful, smaller dogs and quash any hopes she may have of becoming heir to their father's throne. This thought spurred her on.

Kagome's thoughts wandered as she backtracked down the road she had been following for the two months previous. She did not like to think of herself as dainty, but this quest granted her a new appreciation for the creature comforts her life typically afforded. Horses and carriages were at the top of this list, followed closely by the frilly, frivolous gowns she had given up for the sake of ease in traveling. After all, trudging along the muddy roads in late spring was difficult enough without the added hassle of ten pounds of satin and lace.

It was not a bad journey, however. Kagome was able to meet new people and listen to concerns regarding the kingdom, as well as monetarily aid those in need. Though it did not pertain to the task at hand, it was deeply gratifying to make a difference in people's lives.

The princess was pulled from her musings as the luxurious heat of the midday sun gave way to inky clouds. She futilely increased her speed, well aware that the closest village was still a day's walk at best.

It was as the first clap of thunder rumbled through the forest that Kagome came upon a road she had never noticed before on her travels. The trail was not overgrown as such, but the shadowy overhang of the canopy carried an air of mystery that made her spine tingle in anticipation.

There was no way that she could make it to the village she knew before the coming storm, but it was not inconceivable that this new path might lead her to a small outpost in which she could take shelter for the night. After all, she was not overly familiar with this part of her father's territory. Decision made, Kagome nodded to her canine retinue.

"All right, boys and girls! Let's find that outpost and avoid the smell of wet dog!"

With a deep breath to steel sudden nerves, Kagome stepped off the well-trodden path and into the dark.

 

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