Chapter notes:

"I always knew looking back on the tears would make me laugh,

But I never knew looking back on the laughs would make me cry."

Author notes:

Hello readers! *hiding behind the monitor* I know I know ... It has been 4months 5 days since my last update on 22nd of August. I am so sorry guys, life has been tough for my beta and I.

First of all congratulation for Mr beta who has completed his graduation for his masters degree. *applause*

Secondly, on the 12th of November, there was a poll for Best Rin/Sesshomaru Fiction running a : / / bornforeachother. blogspot. Com. 'Lily of the Valley' was one of the stories nominated and won the award with 31 votes. Thank you so much to everyone who has voted me (^_^) this is such a wonderful Christmas gift for me. You can visit the site for more polls that are available weekly.

Last but not least, thank you for staying with me, Beta and I will do our best to complete this as soon as we can. Without further delay, here I present you chapter 23- Mystery lady

The Lily of the Valley signifies "The Return of Happiness"

Disclaimer: The depictions of the characters in this story are completely fictitious. In no way does this represent the views or the story arcs as envisaged by the original copyright owners of this franchise and its characters. The ownership if the characters and the original concept are sole properties of Rumiko Takahashi.

Chapter 22 – Mystery Lady

Aito jerks up from a light kick he feels to his left face. He tries to sit up but feels something heavy lying on his stomach. Lowering his golden half awake gaze, he finds Sato; one of the village boys has his right leg resting comfortably on Aito.

Slowly without waking the boy, Aito lifts Sato's leg up and shifts it aside. Once successful, he quickly moves a little backward, allowing a small space to form between them before he takes an opportunity to stand up.

Stretching his arms high up Aito inhales the fresh breeze of the morning before turning on his back to scan the surroundings.

The head man of the village Shinobu, lies at the side of the main door with his daughter wrapped warmly underneath him while the rest of the village kids sleep in a rather unorganized position.

Seeing that everyone has their legs on each other, Aito chuckles softly recalling how everyone crashed on the floor mat after the long story telling session with the cat demon. It was a good thrilling story and he truly enjoyed it. The boy giggles contently; joy fills his heart as this is the first time he was asleep without his mother. And not to mention he has never spent time over night with other kids before.

Noticing that Ryuuki is not present, the boy steps carefully and makes his way to the entrance quietly. Slowly pushing the shoji door apart, he skips on the grass and closes the door behind him carefully. Once done, he runs happily in the direction of the scent that his nostrils are picking up.

On the other side of the village a strong mating scent lingers around this small hut that belongs to Tsuyu. A weak ray of sunlight hits through the small closed window that is located at the center of the room and shines on the two love birds.

Sesshoumaru parts his golden eyes, morning has replaced dawn and the room is brightened up slowly by the rising sun. The chirping from the birds and the roosters' crowing can be heard. Soon the humans will be awake, starting their daily routine. But his Rin is never going to work on those daily routines anymore. She will be the lady of the west, served by maids with all her necessities being taken care off.

The dog demon lowers his face to the side where his precious girl slumbers peacefully. Watching his mate's serene sleeping face, his left arm still wraps securely around her bare waist under the blanket.

Rin hasn't been stirred much after the exhaustion from last night's mating sending her into a deep sleep. She looks beautiful, innocent but rather tired. Sesshoumaru can feel that the girl has grown weaker and no doubt he strongly believes that this has to be related to her first labor.

Considering her poor life style, the shortage of food supply has significantly drained her health. He has to ensure the girl's condition improves gradually before they even plan to have their next children for she might not be able to cope with the next pregnancy.

The Taiyouaki inches closer and presses his lips on the girl's forehead before burying his nose on top of her head. He inhales with a satisfying smirk, taking the sweet scent of her that has now blended well with his own scent.

Mine he whispers proudly, his lips inch towards a small victorious content smile. The high and low journey of searching Rin in the past four years is finally paying off. Nothing can be worth the girl's life. His once foolish hesitation to mark the girl has dissolved, doubt no longer exists.

Sesshoumaru reaches out with his right hand and brushes the girl's cheek. He then brushes all the way down from the girl's shoulder to her stomach that is covered by the thin blanket. Rubbing her belly tenderly and lovingly, the Taiyoukai rests his large pale hand on his mate's stomach and imagines how the girl would look like with a swollen belly. With Aito having turned four now, the idea of extending his family size is deeply encouraging.

For a moment he finds himself remembering a small girl he met yesterday. Her generosity of offering him a bowl of rice reminds him of young Rin who showed no fear of this great dog demon. Both are innocent and adorable but the only difference between them is Rin was in much poorer conditions compared to the little girl.

One corner of the western lord's lips curves upwards at the thought of having his own baby girl, a daughter that inherits her mother's braveness, beauty and kind heartedness.

The smirk broadens into an unusual smile; Sesshoumaru has never had a reason to smile. He always knew that looking at the defeated enemies crying would make him laugh, but he never knew looking at this innocent girl's face would make him smile.

He moves one stripped hand brushing over the girl's chin all the way down until it reaches her collar bone. His long clawed fingers crawling over her soft creamy skin, reaches out at the fresh mark he bit on her bared neck last night, a mark that will seal their fate forever.

Forever? Sesshoumaru ponders bitterly, as his breathing gets harder he can feel his heart getting heavier. What is the significance behind this mark other than to ensure she is his?

This reminds the western lord gravely that his Rin doesn't have eternity. A mating mark should have the power of connecting a demon and its demon mate but does this power apply to a human mate? Will this mark that seals their fate be able to have the power of sharing Sesshoumaru's life span with Rin?

While not even his father could prove this piece of information, he has no reference or any source that he can inquire about this matter. Perhaps only time will tell, but for how long he has to wait? Can he afford to let time answer this riddle while time is everything for the fragile girl? He can't afford to but what more can this great dog demon do instead of waiting?

Sesshoumaru, the fearless great dog demon finds himself battling with the life and death issue of his mate. The thought of Rin leaving his side either by sickness or through aging, makes him tighten the hold around the girl's waist.

Gaining compassion might make him stronger but to see this precious girl walk away from his life could be the greatest downfall for the demon lord.

The tight grip on the girl's waist results in a small stir in her. Rin's eyes twitch and slowly she tries to part her heavy eyelids. After few attempts, her hazelnut eyes reveal a silver white haired demon who seems to be in deep thought. Her gaze fixes on her lord, once again she has caught him off guard.

For some reason the girl just loves to see the demon lord's mind occupied. Admiring the magenta stripes standing out proudly on his pale cheeks a timid smile curls on her lips. Wondering what could be occupying her husband's mind; Rin feels the heat from her blush.

Husband? The blush deepens; she would never have imagined calling her savior as 'husband'. She then lowers her gaze down with her face heated even more at the sight of her naked form but the heat turns unbearable as soon as her sight sets on the demon lord, he's too in the same form.

The mating... Rin bites her lower lip with a bashful smile at the memory of what happened last night. Slowly tilting her head up to the Taiyoukai, the girl moves her left arm up and reaches out with her fingers to brush on her mate's cheek.

Sesshoumaru is back to the present by the soft touches on his face. He moves his right hand to catch the girl's and looks down to see her smiling blissfully. That beautiful smile instantly shatters everything that has been troubling him awhile ago.

"Good morning my lord." She greets with her cheeks still tinted with redness. The demon lord lowers his head to catch the girl's lips for a passionate kiss. As they finally break away, Rin cups her mate's face with both of her hands.

"What ails you my lord?" Her soft concerned voice startles the Taiyoukai. Looking into her warm hazelnut orbs, he wonders how long the girl has been observing him.

"It's nothing Rin." He lies while combing the girl's long dark tresses. The answer saddens the girl, but she knows the best to not press further.

She removes her hand away from the dog demon's cheek and nods without a word. Somehow she knows that there has to be something plaguing her lord but knowing the Taiyoukai, he would tell if he wishes to share.

Rin turns away with her back now laying flat on the mattress. She is quite upset, even though Sesshoumaru used to keep everything to himself, being his mate and not be able to read his troubled mind is truly disappointing. This is certainly not a good beginning as the official mate of the Taiyoukai.

The girl sighs, pulling the blanket up to her shoulder line. She stills feel a little awkward at this moment, waking up with her lord at her side and staying naked. Even though this is not their first mating, it still feels rather gawky for she has no experience with after mating.

When she feels a finger caressing on her right cheek, the girl cocks her head to the side to face the dog demon.

"Did I wake you up?" He inquires softly. Rin shakes her head lightly as 'no' with a small smile.

"It's still early Rin, go back to sleep." He orders but the girl declines it with another small shake of her head.

"I am not sleepy my lord besides I wish to check on Aito. He has never left my side since birth so I am worried about him." The Taiyoukai sits up upon hearing his mate's concern.

"Very well then let's go and to get the pup." He sits up, grabs his hakama and rises to put it on.

With one of her elbows pressing on the mattress for support, Rin gets up to a sitting position with her other free hand holding the edge of the blanket up to her chest. She then reaches out for her undergarment to wrap around her body and finish it with a simple obi tied around her waist.

Once done Rin turns to her back to see that Sesshoumaru already has his undergarment on. At this moment an idea crosses her mind, she quickly walks to the side of the demon lord and picks up his kimono.

Feeling a presence on his back the Taiyoukai glances over his shoulder to see the girl widen her arms with his kimono on her hands. Rin smiles while the western lord is eyeing her in bewilderment.

"Errrm my lord you need to stretch your arms one at a time so I can put this on." She instructs softly, almost turning out like a whisper. The demon lord lifts an eyebrow but follows as she said.

Rin almost chuckles at her lord's expression. She gently taps on one of his arms signaling him to stretch his arm out. Sesshoumaru follows as the girl pulls the kimono sleeve all the way up to her lord's shoulder neatly.

As both sleeves are finally on, the girl walks to the front and wraps the kimono neatly before tying the yellow indigo obi around the demon lord's waist. Sesshoumaru attentively observes Rin tying a knot while humming a song happily.

"Done." The girl claps her hands with joy. The dog demon lowers his head to check on his attire, no one has ever helped to dress him up before and it feels a little gawky at this moment. He then looks up, noticing his wife seems to be satisfied as the content smiles haven't faded away from her glowing face. He is quite pleased with her current mood and as much as he doesn't want to break her happiness, something has to be cleared up.

"This is not necessary Rin." The human girl drops her smile at the sudden statement. Sesshoumaru hates to see that while Rin thinks that she has just failed the second task of being a wife of the western lord.

"Lord Sesshoumaru, this..." She bits her lower lips nervously before continuing, "That's all I can do for you." She forces a small smile to hide her disappointment.

Those words strike at the Taiyoukai's heart. It feels like a sharp knife slicing his heart into pieces. What does she mean by "that's all"?

The demon lord sighs uncharacteristically; his hand strays onto the girl's lower back pushing her towards him and their foreheads touch.

"Oh Rin, there are no particular tasks that you need to fulfill as my mate." His voice is firm yet comforting.

"But I..." Sesshoumaru's head rises as he growls softly, dismissing her statement.

"But you do have to promise me three things." He says seriously, emphasizing his words while tightening his arms around the girl's waist.

Rin gulps nervously, nods and signals her lord to continue.

"To stay safe, stay healthy and stay happy." He states with a smirk. The girl's brow furrows, analyzing the seriousness behind the demon lord's statement.

"That's all I have to do?" Her hazelnut eyes blink curiously, seeking for an answer.

"Yes mate all that and only that." He softly whispers it and rewards a kiss on the girl's forehead.

Receiving the kiss with a delightful smile gracing on her lips, the girl sighs with relief. Never has she thought that being a wife would be that easy.

As the girl looks back to face her lord, she can swear that she had caught a smirk on the Taiyoukai's face.

"While helping me to dress up may not be necessary, I find that the idea of helping you instead is kind of interesting." Sesshoumaru raises a single eyebrow causing him to strike his famous look.

Rin's brows lift in surprise and can't help but chuckle at the statement. She didn't know that the Taiyoukai is capable of teasing and on top of that be still able to maintain his aloof character.

"I don't think that is necessary." Pulling her mate's arms away the girl sticks her tongue out before walking past the dog demon to collect her kimono.

As the scent of a young pup approaches the hut, the western lord announces, "He is here."

Rin turns to Sesshoumaru and before she can ask whom he is talking about the shoji door pushes open hard enough that it hits the wall to cause a loud noise of contact between the wooden door and the wall.

"Father! Mother!" Yells the boy as he kicks off his slippers impatiently causing them to be thrown about at different angles across the room. He then dashes straight to his mother who is bending lower with open arms awaiting her little prince.

"Good morning mother!" Aito brushes his face on Rin's belly with his short arms tightly around his mother's waist. He just loves the scent that is lingering around the room especially around his mother. The scent of mating somehow makes the pup feel extremely comfortable and safe.

"Good morning my baby, tell me how was your story telling session with master Ryuuki last night." The girl brushes the boy's head tenderly.

The silver haired boy tilts his head up to look at his mother with excitement. "It was awesome! Master Ryuuki told us about the demons he had encountered and how he fought them."

"That's cool and how was your sleep then?" Rin cradles her son into her laps but sure catches an irritated look on the demon lord face.

"It was good but everyone had literally fallen asleep in an unorganized way so we were on each other. A boy had his legs lying on my stomach and I tried hard to push them away" Aito snuggles close to his mother and lies his head on one of her shoulders. The pup feels extremely pampered this morning.

"I would beat them all up for laying their filthy legs on my son." Sesshoumaru hisses. The furious statement stuns the young pup and a concerned human girl. Both mother and son turn to face the Taiyoukai, a pair of golden eyes blink confusedly while another pair of hazelnut eyes glances at the dog demon's reaction frightened.

"My lord this usually happens when all kids gather and sleep in a small space. There is nothing you should be angry about." The girl explains carefully.

"Besides Aito did have fun, right baby?" Rin looks down at the boy that nods in agreement.

"Father, we did bathe before we went to sleep. Their legs are not dirty at all." The boy answers confidently but unknown to him the western lord did not mean it in that way.

Rin laughs whole heartedly at her son's innocent replies while Sesshoumaru is left completely speechless. As much as he hates the village boys who had once despised his son, he can't afford to spoil whatever excitement that he fails to see in Aito.

As long as his pup is happy he will spare these human lives.

"Hn." The Taiyoukai turns away, it is at this moment his nostrils pick up an unwanted scent.

"We have an intruder." The demon lord alerts. The cat demon who looked like he was about to leave the room, turns back to face the family of the dog.

"I didn't intend to interfere, I apologize." Ryuuki lowers his head expressing his remorse. Walking close to the girl and slightly towering the girl, Sesshoumaru glares at the leopard demon.

"My mate is dressed inappropriately, leave now or you will face the consequences." Taken back a little by the dog demon's tempestuous growl, Ryuuki's gaze falls on the figure beside the Taiyoukai but looks away instantly.

Rin lowers her gaze to examine her current outfit and blushes; she then quickly pulls Aito closer to shield her body.

Th-the boys wish for Aito to join them at the river to freshen up. I am here to deliver this message. See you there boy." With his back facing the dog's family, the cat demon raises his right hand and waves at them before disappearing at the entrance.

"Hn." Hisses the western lord. Aito on the other hand releases himself from his mother's hold to jump excitedly.

"Yay! Yay!" The boy twirls joyfully before his mother grabs on one of his wrists and pulls him closer. She then brushes the boy's outfit to adjust it neatly.

"See you later for breakfast my son." The boy nods and runs past his father to the door but stops when his mother calls out.

"Aito pick up the sandals." The girl warns with a smile. Aito sticks his tongue out at his mother before picking up the sandals and putting them on his feet. He then waves at his parents with a huge grin worn on his face and leaves them behind to catch the cat demon.

As the boy's shadow disappears Rin stands up and pushes the shoji door close.

"Unnecessary interference." Sesshoumaru states coolly. The girl can't help but chuckle at what she has just witnessed. So the quote that dogs will never get along well with cats was not just merely a children's tale, it is true.

Sesshoumaru would always find a fault in whatever Ryuuki does. But then again Rin thought, it is so adorable to see the demon lord reacting in such a way. She continues to chuckle unaware of the Taiyoukai staring at her.

"What are you smiling about?" Rin snaps up at Sesshoumaru's serious voice. She covers her mouth with both hands, trying to hide the smile while shaking her head.

The western lord makes his way to where his wife is standing and reaches out his right hand to encircle around her waist. Pushing the girl closer to his chest, he whispers into her ears in a monotone like a purr.

"Like I said earlier, I am still keen on to dress you up." Sesshoumaru smirks, Rin with her hands still covering her mouth is completely unprepared for what is about to happen next. Her smile drops and the next she thing can feel is the western lord scooping her up abruptly. She yelps as the demon lord leads her back further into the bedroom to carry out his punishment.

Further outside of the hut, Ryuuki stops and side glances at his back with a rather disheartened sigh. The strong mating scent that lingers around the hut is driving the cat demon insane. Tilting his head high up to the blue sky, he breathes harder and exhales with a heavy heart.

Why the scent would trouble him so much? Is he upset? But why would he have to be disturbed? Rin never belonged to him so why would the mating scent bother him so much?

Dolefully Ryuuki sighs with his eyes shut tightly. Jealousy? Yes it has to be it, but there's nothing he can do about it. Stretching his right arm high out, he clenches his fingers into a loose fist. She is unreachable...

Moving his right fist onto his lips, the leopard demon squeezes his eyes shut in pain. All those memories between him and the girl will be buried inside his heart, forever.

A tuck on his hakama brings him back to the present. He looks down to see a silver haired boy staring at him with a pair of golden bewildered eyes.

"Master Ryuuki, you look to be in great pain. Are you alright?" Even the small kid can read the pain on his face. Has it been so obvious?

He kneels on the ground, leveling his position as the same with the boy's and smiles. "No pain, it is a bit stuffy over here. I guess I need to get away for some fresh air."

Aito frowns, head docks up slightly to sniff the air. Pleasant scent and the young pup just love it.

"But the air is quite fresh here." The boy murmurs almost like doubtfully whispering to himself.

Ryuuki chuckles at the boy's innocent comment. At a young age, Aito sure has higher curiosity than any other demon kids that he has ever encountered. Inherited from that dog I presume. He concludes.

Brushing the boy's hair Ryuuki rises "See you later." With that the leopard demon leaps into the sky and disappears leaving the pup behind scratching his head confusedly.

"I will ask father later about this." Answering his own doubts, the boy walks away in the direction that heads to the river.

As he passes the village entrance, a small thought crosses his mind. "Jaken!" He alters his path and runs in another direction.

"Jaken does look like he needs to be cleaned, I have to make sure he bathes today!" A large evil grin appears on his face as the boy observes around the village area to seek the green toad out.

Aito reaches upon an empty field and stops in his tracks as his sensitive ears pick up some noises. He investigates the source of the noise as it brings him to a large tree where he spots a little girl laughing happily with something in her hands.

When he steps closer, it reveals that the girl is pulling the green kappa's cheeks while chanting some words.

"Green green grass, green green leafs!" The little girl chuckles at the end of her words.

"Human! Put me down, I am not a grass or some nonsense leaf. Just leave me alone!" The poor green kappa yells. The girl then stops, she seems to be in deep thought for while before a huge grin wears on her face.

"Green toad! Small little toad, with small brain!" She continues chanting happily.

Jaken's patience wears thin, not only having to stay in this human village but also being insulted by this little kid is definitely pushing his patience to the limits. His sight lands on the staff of two heads, wishing he can reach it.

"What the hell do you mean by small head? You fool! I am the most loyal follower of th..." He is dropped on the grass before being able to complete the sentence.

Out of the corner of the little girl's eyes, she spots something that catches her interest. Her large brownish black eyes sparkle at the new target that is located nearby. She stands up and moves closer to the item. It sends a chills all over the green kappa's body knowing what will happen next. He too jumps up as fast as he can, trying to reach for his staff.

He fails; the girl is faster than him. She lifts her arms high up to the sky, preventing the toad demon from reaching it. Stepping backwards in an attempt to prevent the little kappa from snatching his staff and the girl collides with something. She tilts her head up at a boy who smiles at her.

"Boy help me to get my staff." Jaken instructs confidently but his jaw pops in astonishment upon hearing the pup's reply.

"Come on Jaken, no harm to let her play for awhile." Ignoring the green toad rambling Aito turns and grins at the little girl who is totally fascinated by the statement.

"Yay! Yue wins!" She twirls playfully, exhilaratingly bragging as she twists and dances around the poor green toad who has his head hangs low.

Yue? Aito glances at the girl who skips joyously. She was the girl with father yesterday and her name is Yue.

"Enough!" Jaken screams at the top of his lungs. Both Aito and Yue stare at the little kappa with their eyes blinking blank. The green toad glares at the kids furiously, getting ready to charge at the girl.

"Green green toad is angry! Cute!" Yue laughs whole heartedly followed by Aito and that causes another loud scream from the poor kappa.

With that scream Yue tosses the staff of two heads up into the sky and sticks her tongue out at Jaken before speeding into the bushes. Unfortunately it lands exactly on the top of the green toad's head, sending him onto the dirty grass with a small bulge appearing on his head.

"Wait! Yue! Where are you going?" Aito follows the little girl right away leaving an extremely infuriated green kappa with his face buried in the grass, behind.

After about ten minutes of running, Yue stops and looks around. She has reached into this unfamiliar forest surrounded by trees and it frets the girl.

"Yue lost." The little girl whispers to herself, widens her eyes to inspect the environment. She bits her lower lips nervously, undecided on to continue pacing or to turn back. Unaware she is already being exposed to danger, two pairs of eyes are watching the girl hungrily and ready to attack as soon as the girl steps forward into the thick bushes.

Aito reaches at the spot where the girl is standing, the light wind blowing in the afternoon carries a strange scent to the nostrils of the young pup, he trembles a little. Looking at the unusual quietness in the forest it reminds him of the day in the deep forest where the three demons attacked him.

This scent... Aito ponders with an uneasy mind. Like the demon lord once said, the boy has yet to master his sensing skills as he fails to locate the scent's whereabouts. Not wanting to waste time, he knows that he has to get the girl out of here as soon as he can.

"Yue!" The boy yells as he steps out from a small bush approaching at the girl's side. The demons who are hiding at the back of the thick bushes widen their eyes in disbelief.

The little girl turns to her back at the familiar voice, and feels so relieved to see the boy she met earlier. Without thinking, she stretches out her short arms to wrap around the boy's waist for a tight hug.

"Yue lost, scared." Her voice is unclear, she trembles out of fear. Stroking the girl's back for comfort, Aito keeps his alert towards the surroundings.

"Don't worry let's go back now." The girl trails off and nods with a toothy smile.

Aito holds Yue's right hand as both of them step away from the frustrated demons.

Behind the thick bushes, the tiger hisses at the losing prey as the Hyena shares the same resentment.

"Isn't that hanyou the son of Sesshoumaru?" The tiger snarls.

"Yes brother, how unfortunate to see the boy again." Hyena slams his fist into the grass angrily.

"Hey, why should we have to fear of that weak half demon? There is no scent of the Taiyoukai around. We could get the girl easily won't we?" The tiger demon snaps his fingertips at the brilliant suggestion as both of them rise to get out of the bushes, narrowing their hungry eyes in the direction of where their prey has gone.

"That's true; we might be able to exact a little revenge on the kid for our brother. It's time to teach the boy a lesson." An evil smirk curls on the tiger's lips as the hyena laughs victoriously at their plan.

At another side of the forest, the two lost kids continue searching their way out. They move at a pace that their short legs are capable of. Both of them are completely lost.

"Yue tired." The little girl complains, she swats the boy's hand away and sits on the dirty grass.

Aito turns to the girl, still keeping his alert level high. He knows that they are still being watched. Kneeling at the girl's side he can see the girl's exhausted face. He can't afford to allow the girl to rest now knowing they are probably in danger.

"Come." Aito turns with his back facing Yue, both of his hands stay at the sides to offer the girl a ride.

Yue is clueless, her eyes blink perplexed. Instead of getting on his back the little girl crawls to the boy's side and lowers herself to catch a look of his face.

"Play play?" She inquires excitedly.

Aito can't help but to laugh out loud at the girl. She is so adorable.

"Yes we will play but not now. Climb on my back I will carry you so you don't have to walk." He shifts the position with his back now again facing the little girl.

"No walk! Yue rest!" She hops onto the boy's back and wraps her arms around his neck. Securing the girl's legs on both his sides, Aito stands up slowly and repositions the girl before they move on.

"Awww what a sweet scene to watch." Aito snaps at the voice from his back. Turning back he spots the same demon he met before, his jaw drops for a silent scream. The tiger!

The boy immediately paces away from the tiger but stops short as his path is being blocked by another demon. The hyena is here too!

"Why run little pup? Feel helpless with your father absences?" The hyena demon laughs sarcastically.

"What do you want?" Aito growls irately trying to keep his composure.

"Isn't that obvious? You have our prey on your back. Drop it now and we might spare your life." The tiger closes the distance between them, so does the hyena. Aito steps backward, tightens the grip on Yue's legs. What am I going to do?

Looking at the helpless hanyou the tiger smirks and lungs at the boy. Aito manages to dodge the strike but the hyena attacks from a different direction. He avoids the claws from the hyena but falls onto the grass. The little girl slips from his hold and falls at his side.

"Yue!" Aito instantly crawls to the girl to check her condition. A little bruise is visible on her elbow but thank god it is nothing worse. He sends a deadly glare at the demons only to earn loud laughter from them.

"Look at his face brother, feeling helpless? Want to shout for your great father?" the Hyena adds with another insolent comment. The young pup looks away, focusing on the girl.

"Yue, I know you are tired but you have to run as fast as you can to go back to the village. Please." The little girl nods as her heart pounds with dread.

"Good, you have to get help, deal?" He whispers into the girl's ear. She nods again and earns a pat on her head. Aito forces himself to stand up before helping the girl up. Turning back to face the demons with hatred laden golden eyes, the boy growls keeping the little girl behind him.

Taking the pup's growls as a cue for a fight, both tiger and the hyena demon leap into the air, positioning their claws landing at lightning speeds. Aito pushes Yue as hard as he can and yells "Run!"

Unfortunately, the young pup has miscalculated his enemy's strategy. Instead of both attacking him, it is only the tiger demon who lands on his side. His claws dig into the boy's left shoulder and scratches his flesh. A small amount of blood drips and soaks the sleeve.

On the other side, the hyena demon pins Yue down, aiming his sharp claws close to her neck.

"No!" With a hand pressing on the wound, Aito struggles to gets up. A blow coming from the tiger hits directly on the boy sending him gliding all the way to the nearby tree.

"Don't worry Yue," Aito coughs slightly. "I will save you. Do not fear." He smiles at the frightened girl who is still under the hold of the hyena demon's claw.

Yue watches Aito rise but only to fall when another blow comes from the tiger demon. Numerous attacks take place as the young pup is now being pushed by a glowing blow and has his back hit on a giant tree.

The horrible scene before Yue brings tears at the corner of her eyes. She is generally a strong girl, hardly even wails when wounded. Remembering the Taiyoukai's words yesterday, praising her bravery, the girl feels proud to be strong but what is happening to Aito now is so painful to watch.

Looking intensely at the young pup, Yue finds similarities in him and the demon lord she met yesterday. His beautiful silver hair, the pale skin and his attire, all of those reminds her greatly of the great dog demon Sesshoumaru.

"Moon" Another bead of tear drops. "No, stop it Yue sad." Upon hearing these words, the hyena demon looks down with a snicker.

"Worry not little girl, this will end soon." He continues to burst into another laugh.

Aito is being pushed to the tree for fourth time, but has not given up. He rises on his knees, head tilts up with his fangs bared in anger.

"Oh boy, do you realize how weak you are?" The tiger steps closer in front of the young pup who hisses fiercely.

"I am not weak! My father said I am a lot stronger than any other kid." Yells Aito crossly.

"Boy, your determinations amazes me. What about I give you a last chance to prove to your father that you are a worthy son of the Taiyoukai?" The hyena demon suggests as he brings the little girl up, with an arm wrapped across her chest.

"I will count to 3 and if you make it to save this girl, you can bring her home safely. But if you don't," Aiming his sharp claws on the girl's neck, he continues. "She will die."

"No..." Aito crawls forward.

"One," The tiger starts the counting. Aito gets up, ignoring all the pain that shoots through his veins and speeds as fast as he can. I have to save Yue!

There is no way a small pup like Aito can be able to beat the short counting. When the number rises to three the boy is only a few inches away from the hyena. He stretches out one of his arms to get a hold of Yue but unfortunately, it is too late.

"Yue!" Aito screams, his golden orbs widen at the horrific sight of sharp claws piercing through the little girl's neck. His jaw drops at the blood that is oozing out from her mouth.

The boy's heart sinks with greatest pain at the appalling expression worn on the girl's face. Dropping on his knees with his hands digging into the soil, he growls desperately.

'NO!" It is followed by the evil victorious laughter from the demons.

Back to the village

Rin pushes the shoji doors close and makes her way to the table to set the worn kimono on top of it. Sitting in front of the table, the girl folds the cloth neatly with a blissful smile. Taking the obi closer to her face, she inhales in taking the scent that coats the fabric with her face flushing red.

Being loved is such a wonderful feeling especially being loved by the Taiyoukai. The girl reaches out her right hand to pinch her cheek just to make sure that she is not dreaming. The feeling is just too wonderful to be true.

Does happiness truly belong to me? Rin doubts. She remembers the very first time when the great dog demon made her a woman under the beautiful moonlight night. The happiness of him returning her crush and sealing their fate was truly sweetly blissful. But what happened after being loved so contently? She ended up in a miserable path.

Can this time be any different? How long will this heavenly and joyous feeling last?

Rin sets the obi down on top of the kimono, if fate has once again decided to play around she would be gladly to accept it. Sesshoumaru has given her everything, the safe protection, the strong support and the undeniable love. What more can a mere human girl like her ask for?

But then again... moving her hands to adjust the collar line of her current kimono, she slips her fingers to the nape of her neck and gently rubs on the mating mark, a precious gift from her Lord Sesshoumaru.

Despite the fact that the western lord hated humans since the birth of Inuyasha, he accepted Rin as his mate. An ordinary helpless girl who would only burden the demon lord.

If Lord Sesshoumaru can dissolve such a great hatred towards humans by taking me as his official wife, how can I do anything less? The girl ponders, No matter what happens in the future I will always stay at my lord's side, forever and ever.

A soft tap on one of Rin's shoulders brings her back to the present. She looks to her right to see fingers, she follows those fingers that are attach to a hand, which is in-turn attached to an arm, which is attached to a shoulder and then a neck, followed by Tsuyu's face.

The lady smiles as she releases her hand away. "You seem to be in deep thoughts. What ails you dear?" Tsuyu takes up the seat next to the girl.

Rin returns the smile as she shakes her head mildly. "It's nothing."

Tsuyu takes the young girl's hands and squeezes her knuckles.

"Rin, I am so happy that you have finally reunited with your loved one." Patting the girl's hands gently, Tsuyu wipes away a small bead of tears that formed at the corner of her eyes.

"Thank you Tsuyu san, this is so unbelievable and it feels like a dream." The girl states gratefully.

"Rin, listen to me, from now on don't shoulder all the burdens. Allow the young lord to share it and overcome whatever obstacles lie in the near future." Resting her hands on the young girl's shoulders she squeezes it.

"Give Aito a complete family. That poor kid needs his father's guidance." Tsuyu leans forward for a loose hug. Rin slips her hands under the lady's arms for a tight hold.

She feels so protected, if it wasn't for this lady who has been helping her constantly for the past four years, her life could have been more difficult. Tsuyu reminds her so much of Kaede, a very caring old lady who had always been there to listen her problems, like a mother.

Breaking away from the embrace the young girl tilts her head to left and right remembering the memories she had in this village and the best times she had in the kitchen. At the thought of the Geisha house the curiosity about the place being destroyed kicks in.

"Tsuyu san, I was wondering if you know what had happened to the Geisha house. I was there yesterday but can only see an empty field." The lady stares at Rin with a rather puzzled expression. Somehow the lady's reaction tells her that she is supposed to know about it.

"Is it related to Lord Sesshoumaru?" Rin adds, impatiently waiting for an answer.

Tsuyu ponders why the demon lord has not told the girl about the incident. She takes a deep breath and exhales; thinking probably the young lord doesn't wish tell his mate. But looking at Rin's innocent face, she can't resist and hide the truth.

"Yes, Lord Sesshoumaru destroyed the house with a solid reason." Rin nods without surprise; she mouths a silent 'oh' and looks away. She knows that her lord would seek vengeance for her.

"I was surprised that the young lord spared Orna's life especially after she admitted to selling information on you to the evil brothers. Though she said it was an act out of depression for her life was in danger but she shouldn't have sacrificed you." The old lay sighs with disappointment.

"I wouldn't blame Orna san though, those brothers were wicked, and they would no doubt slaughter her." Rin says support of Orna as her hazelnut eyes softens with sympathy, feeling guilty to put someone else in danger for her sake.

"Even then, she has no right to sacrifice you. She should have come to me after that and I would have got Ryuuki to deal with them." Tsuyu adds with frustration. Rin remains silent; a part of her feels sorry for the owner but what the lady has pointed out is valid too.

"Don't feel bad my dear, Lord Sesshoumaru was right, majority of humans tend to be selfish when their life is in danger. I would still deny it though if I didn't hear it myself." Rin nods, knitting her brows in concern.

"Where is Orna san now?" Tsuyu catches the girl's uncertainty behind her question.

"She has left the village under the young lord's instruction." Rin's lips part for a silent 'o' feeling relief to know that.

Tsuyu pats on Rin's laps, "Come we should meet up with the boy for breakfast." The girl inclines her head as she rises to help the old lady to stand up. They then walk towards the entrance but are startled when someone pushes the shoji doors open hard enough to hit the wall. The wide open door reveals Akemi standing at the door frame.

"What are you doing Akemi? You scared us dear!" Tsuyu presses her right hand over her chest, calming herself down.

"I am sorry Tsuyu san, but something has happened and I have to inform you two." Akemi looks panicky and it worries the duo.

"Akemi, what happened?" Rin asks nervously.

"Yue is nowhere to be found and everyone said they haven't see her since morning. I tried to get Aito instead but they said he too is missing since morning." Both Tsuyu and Rin are distressed at the news.


The old lady turns to Rin and explains. "She was the little girl with the young lord yesterday."

Rin nods but immediately presses further. "But Aito left with master Ryuuki this morning, I believe he said they will be heading to the river."

Akemi frowns, "But the village men said they saw neither Ryuuki nor Aito at the river.

Rin's jaw drops in disbelief, she exists the entrance and as fast as she can.

"Rin! Where are you going?" Tsuyu shouts with Akemi clutching at her shoulder.

"I am going to find Lord Sesshoumaru." With that reply she paces as fast as she can to get to the demon lord.

At the main entrance of the village, Jaken enters with Ah-Un tagging along; he sees Rin running clumsily, she looks to be lost.

"Rin!" Yells the little kappa as the girl stops her in tracks and turns to the green toad's side.

"Master Jaken, did you see Aito anywhere?" The girl asks worriedly while still panting.

Jaken cocks his head to one side, with his eyes closed raising his head up as a sign in annoyance.

"Of course I did, he teamed up with the human girl and try to snatch my staff of two heads. I showed my wrath with my power and they know I am not someone who can be easily messed with." His chest puffs up with pride as he tells a fake story.

"Where are they now?" Her voice rises in nervousness.

"The girl ran into the forest and Aito followed suit." With his chest still puffed up he answers coolly.

"What? And you did not follow them? How can you let the two of them wander into the forest? What if something happened?" Anger flushes in as her voice turns out as a low yell.

"Worry not about them, once they are hungry they will be back." The toad parts his large eyes and notices Rin's jaw popped wide open in disbelief.

"What girl?" Annoyance kicking in as the little kappa is not happy being questioned.

"They are missing! No one has seen them since morning. How can you be so heartless master Jaken? Aito is only four years old and the little girl is barely three." With that statement, Rin turns away from the green toad. She runs as fast as she can to find the Taiyoukai leaving Jaken behind trembling with fear and guilt.

Meanwhile Sesshoumaru reaches a small river and sees no one around. He thinks that Aito probably has returned to the village for his morning meal. Something is disturbing the Taiyoukai's peace of mind.

He scans the surrounding intently; it is too peaceful as if something terrible has happened that it scared away all the creatures nearby. Not even birds present are at this moment.

But what is more confusing is the Tenseiga that is strapped faithfully at his side was pulsating awhile ago and now it vibrates uncontrollably. It hints something and the demon lord is sure that it will be something bad. He steps further to investigate, but nothing extraordinary has been spotted.

He would like to check further into the forest but it will be best now to ensure that Rin and Aito are safe in the village before taking his leave.

Walking back to the village, he sees Ryuuki has his back leaning against a tree nearby. Ignoring the cat demon Sesshoumaru walks past him but stops by the leopard's statement.

"Be sure Rin will not run away again or I swear you will not be able to find her again." Sesshoumaru glares at Ryuuki at the corner of his eyes. He doesn't need or care to answer for he will never let the girl walk away from his side anymore.

"Your concern is not necessary." The western lord resumes his walk but at this moment Rin's image appears from afar, panic worn all over her face.

She forces a small smile as soon as she sees the demon lord. Ryuuki straightens his back as Rin dashes to Sesshoumaru and clutches his left arm tightly. Trying to catch her breath, the demon lord encircles his right arm around the girl's waist with the left hand stroking her back.

"Lord Sess-houmaru, Aito... he is missing." A bead of tear is visible at the corner of her eyes but she inhales deeply, forcing the tear back into her eyes.

By hearing the shocking news Ryuuki walks closer to the duo. "How is that possible? I saw him heading to the lake before I went off." The leopard demon adds immediately. Rin glances at Ryuuki as she moves to lean on the Taiyoukai's chest for support.

"He did not make it to the river and no one has seen him since morning." With her hands now resting on the demon lord's armored chest, the girl looks up at her lord.

"Lord Sesshoumaru, master Jaken told me both Aito and Yue had gone into the forest. But they have not returned yet." Tightening the hold around his concerned wife's waist; the Taiyoukai pushes few strands of the girl's hair at the back of the girl's left ear.

"Who's Yue?" He is puzzled.

"She was the little girl with you yesterday." She explains with a rather shaky voice.

"How did Jaken know about them?" Sesshoumaru frowns finding it bizarre.

"I am not sure but master Jaken said they were snatching his staff and he did something to defend that's when they ran into the forest. My lord, we have to find Aito and Yue now, they are too young to be alone. I am very worried." Rin stutters before gulping in fear.

"Rin, return to the village and wait for me." The girl protests clutching at her lord's right arm in dissatisfaction.

"I will go with you." She pouts. Sesshoumaru strokes at her back for comfort.

"No, you will wait here in case they return. I will be back soon with the kids." Pressing his lips on the girl's forehead, he trails off and leaps into the blue sky.

Please be safe my son. Rin clasps her hands in silent prayer. Ryuuki closes in to put his hands on both of the girl's shoulders. Turning her head to the leopard demon, she smiles.

"They will be fine, come let's wait for them in the village." Rin nods, allowing the cat demon to lead her back inside the village.

At the open field in the center of the forest, a dead body of a little girl lays on the dirt with her eyes wide open, seeking for help. Aito drops on his knees, dugs his fingers into the soil feeling deeply helpless and useless.

Mischievous laughter enters the pup's poor ears; he hates it but what more can he do? He wants to fight back but feels weak. At this point, the boy indeed feels he is weak and feels ashamed to be the son of Sesshouamru.

He punches his small fist on the dirt beneath him, he loves his father but it pains him so much to knows how worthless he is next to his powerful father.

"See how weak you are child? She was just right in front of you and you failed to save her. Blame no one but yourself for having a human mother." Those insulting words from the tiger demon get absorbed into the young pup's ears, clear and loud. His head hangs low, his eyes shut tightly until his forehead reaches the ground. No, he has never ever felt ashamed to have a human mother. She is lovely and caring. Like his father once said, his mother is the strongest woman ever.

Wrath fills his veins but no immediate response from the pup. He feels immune, his mind all of a sudden feels so light. Slowly he has lost his senses, he heeds nothing, feels no pain and it is almost like he is floating in the air. Have they gone? They must be, Aito thinks. Perhaps, father is here... With that thought the last thing that his nostrils pick up is a familiar scent.


"Let's go brother; the boy is no fun to play with anymore." The hyena demon nods, as he scoops Yue's body up with an arm and turns to leave. A figure of a woman stands a few meters away from the demons. Both tiger and hyena demons stop.

"Ah, so that's how we earn the name 'monster' huh? It is because you people, low class demons, attacked a poor human child." The lady moves forward and reveals her appearance.

She has silver-ish long white hair, a blue crescent moon on her forehead with a single magenta stripe at the top of each cheek. She wears a light purple kimono with a dark blue coat hanging at her lover arms. A fur wrapped around her chest as well as at the bottom of the outer blue coat.

"Why you! Mind your own business woman!" Warns the tiger demon. The demoness presses her finger on her forehead as she shakes her head lightly.

"You sure are rude child." Adjusting the pearl necklace that drapes around her neck, the lady turns and disappears in the blink of an eye.

"Such a weird demoness." Adds the hyena demon as he approaches the side of the tiger.

"Yea she sure is but she looks kind of familiar don't you think so?" Hyena waves his hand in the air to discard the tiger's question.

"Forget it, let's move on, can't wait to eat that delicious girl." Licking his tongue around his lips, both demons step forward again but this time they are interrupted again by some strange chuckles at their side.

"Oh I kind of forgot to tell you that I love justice. The fact that you two killed the little girl in such a horrible way kind of disturbs me." Both demons growl furiously at the remarks but it doesn't intimidate the lady at all. Instead, she steps closer to them, golden eyes glowing with some kind of joy.

"Ah, my poor hell hound has been hibernating way too long. It is time to let it out to have some fun." The lady smirks with her hands holding a round amulet that is attached to her pearl necklace. In a few seconds some light forms at the center of the amulet as a giant hell hound appears before the demons.

As the hell hound charges but the two demons are able to dock the first attack and now split into two different directions. Yue's body is now placed on the ground. Transforming into their true form, they growl at the hell hound.

"Not bad for warming up but more to come." The lady's purple painted lips curl upward into a smirk. As the battle continues the demoness pays no interest to the fight that she knows the victory will be hers. Instead her golden orbs shifts focus to the left onto the strange boy.

In a leisurely manner, the lady steps closer, observing the poor kid carefully. It is at this moment, she can smell a demonic aura emanating from the boy's body, a scent that is very familiar to her nostrils.

The lady frowns, lowering her gaze to get a better view of the boy. She can hear him murmuring some words. Her curiosity level increases when the demonic aura strengthens as the boy slowly tilts his head up.

Her golden eyes widen flabbergasted, disbelief with what has revealed in front of her. As the boy heads up slowly it reveals a proud blue crescent moon at the center of his forehead followed by the beautiful double magenta stripes on his cheeks. As a gusty wind blowing carries his silver hair away, it reveals a pair of pointed ears which resemble someone so dear to the lady.


Chapter end notes:

That's the wrap up for chapter 23. Next chapter, Rin will be face to face with the woman that changed her life. I promise not to take another 4 months to update my next chapter. (^_^)

Big applause to darkrosetears for being my 300th reviewer! Thank you for reading my first fanfiction dear, I hope you are still with me after a long break. (^_^)

Coming up next update: Chapter two for Twist of Fate and follow by The Red String of Fate.

Anonymous review reply:

Jolie – Thanks for your faithful reviews my dear. Haha I would love to have Aito change Jaken's attire if my Beta allows me to XD Yes Ryuuki is a great man, unfortunately Rin's heart always belongs to Sesshoumaru hehe ... I was nervous to write the intimate scenes and happy to know that it turned out good. You will get to know more about the lady soon Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year dear *huggles*

Kate – Welcome on board, I am sorry for taken 4 months to update, hopefully you are still with me. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year dear *huggles*

rinxsessh4everpluskid- Welcome on board dear, thanks for the review. Hope you like this chapter. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year dear *huggles*

Registered members review reply:

As I don't remember whether I have reply to my registered readers I shall recorded million thanks to the following members below. Thank you for staying with me guys.

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Thank you to everyone who has favorite/ alert this story especially those who's doing this for the past 4 months where I have not even update my story.

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Merry belated Christmas and A Happy New Year my friends!