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            Gobodo-sama sat in her high backed golden chair with her arms crossed over her ample breast. Her silver hair was tied back into two, tight pony tails, decorated with sea shells. She couldn’t remember which potential suitor had given them to her as a young female. She toyed with the skin on her cheek, flicking the purple lightening stripe with the tip of index claw, annoyed as she listened to Kensaku speak to her about his daughter Natsuki. She rolled her eyes and snorted, “fine bring her to me,” she snarled in agreement. Kensaku had been extolling the many virtues of his fine daughter to her for hours now. That was the life of one who would live forever, conversations didn’t have to be clipped or cut short, they could take hours or years if needed.

            “Natsuki,” Kensaku called to the young girl that waited at the bottom of the stops.

            Natsuki boldly approached the dais. The gait of her stride caught Gobodo-sama’s attention. She didn’t cower as Gobodo-sama regarded her. In human terms she didn’t look more than fourteen or fifteen years of age. In yokai years the girl was over three hundred not quite old enough for what Kensaku was proposing but it wasn’t unheard of for someone her age to find their soulmate. The girl was by no means dressed plainly. She wore her own mokomoko draped over her shoulders and several layers of fine silk with the outer one being a deep maroon with dragons lining the edges. Gobodo-sama stood up, she walked over to the girl and grabbed her by the chin. She regarded the girls golden eyes. All Inu-yokai had golden eyes, there were few variations. Natsuki had the same magenta stripes under her eyes and on her wrists. Natsuki’s hair was silver similar to her own. Gobodo-sama turned Natsuki’s head one way then the other. She slapped Natsuki’s hand away when she tried to push Gobodo-sama away, “stop that,” Gobodo-sama hissed. “She’ll do.”

            “So you agree?” Kensaku stood up proud and gloating.

            “I agree to nothing. It is up to instinct to decide. She is still young and he is already bound to one.” She left out that the one he was bonded to was a human and that he had already fathered two hanyou children. That would come on its own, something the two of them would have to sort out and if Gobodo-sama had her way this pairing would not happen for another century. By then Yuki and Harutoga would be adults capable of caring for themselves and more powerful than their misfit uncle.

            “But you agree the connection is there?” Kensaku pushed.

            Natsuki smiled. For centuries she had heard about Sesshomaru. His glory, his power and that she was meant to be his mate. From what she had gleaned, he was one of the most powerful inu-yokai of the age and with their combined lineage she would become the mother to the greatest Dai yokai of the next age.

            “It’s there, but she will not approach him this century. There’s no rush. Natsuki is still young,” Gobodo-sama gave them a warning glare.

            “It’s not unheard of to be bound to more than one, surely you know that,” Kensaku pressed.

            Gobodo-sama stood up, extending her full height. She allowed the slightest tinge of red to overtake the whites of her eyes, “you will not disturb my son’s family in this way, not now. The earliest this pairing will take place is in fifty years, perhaps sixty. I will send for Natsuki then. Now leave my home.” The air filled with her yoki, choking both Natsuki and her father, causing them to cower in fear. Natsuki would learn quickly once she was bound to Sesshomaru the seriousness of the bond. It would make her pine for him, yearn to be in his presence, to crave his touch and his closeness and knowing Sesshomaru as long as Rin lived he would be unable to reciprocate.

Kensaku she knew saw it as an opening to power. Gobodo-sama was sure he believed that meant that Natsuki’s children would inherit the territory that Sesshomaru had made for himself. Kensaku would be in for a surprise. This was a conversation that Sesshomaru and Gobodo-sama had already had. The territory would go either to Yuki or Harutoga. But little did her son know, she was already planning his next mate. In another half century, Rin would age and wither away. Then she would call Natsuki and whether Sesshomaru liked it or not, his instinct would force him to bond to Natsuki and he would then become the father of the next strongest Dai-yokai.

            As Natsuki walked out of Gobodo-sama’s castle she heard a soft whisper. “Hey,” then a hand reached out and grabbed her own. She ripped hers from his grasp and hissed at the offending party who had dared to touch her pure skin. “How do you really feel about not seeing your intended now?” This man was tall, with silver hair that was tied into a high pony tail. He had a moon on his forehead and halberd tied to his back. He wore armor down both his arms and let his mokomoko wrap around his shoulder then curl around his feet. A canyon of a scar ran the length of his forehead through one eye down to his mouth. The orb inside was white with blindness. His clothes were plain and white.

            “I can wait. Fifty or sixty years isn’t long. Although, I’m not sure why there must be a wait,” she replied coolly. She attempted to stride past him.

            “Because your intended is bound to a human and has already fathered two hanyou children and plans to have another,” the man was antagonistic. He pranced forward flipping his pony tail over his shoulder, “what a disgrace it is, to see one of such stature lower himself over and over with a human.”

            Natsuki folded her arms over her breasts turning on him, “and what would you suggest? I’m not yet 400 and Gobodo-sama is not one to be crossed.” Natsuki detested humans. Her mind was now racing. Her father had promised that her children would inherit the territory in the middle of Japan that Sesshomaru claimed as his own, but if he already had children, would he choose his hanyous over a pure-blooded child?

            “At the rate at which his human wants children, he’ll father a whole litter of Hanyous and by the time he meets you, your children will have nothing left of his territory,” he picked at his claws.

            “That won’t do at all,” Natsuki’s eyes flamed red.

            “Would you like to know where to find him? He travels often but in five months’ time I know where he will be,” the man laughed and walked forward. “Just think if you happen to be in the same place? His instinct won’t allow him to resist you. You merely need to touch his heart with your hand, and his soul will be yours.” He touched his own heart and closed his eyes in imagined ecstasy.

            “And how does that deal with his human mate?” Natsuki’s voice was as cold as the man speaking to her.

            “You don’t know humans very well do you? If he bonds you and she finds out, she will leave him. Humans are fickle like that, wanting to keep their men to themselves and not share them. She won’t accept you into their home and she won’t accept his actions with you,” the grin that spread across the Inu-yokai’s face accentuated the fangs in his mouth.

            “Who are you?” Natsuki asked.

            “Touma. Sesshomaru’s younger brother,” he spun around to leave. This will be even better than killing his mate and their unborn child. When she is done with them, his family will be destroyed. “Believe me when I say that I love my brother and I want what is best for him. Consider it Natsuki. Come to me in five months and I will tell you where he will be.”

            Natsuki lifted the hem of her kimono to catch up to her father. Touma’s words played in her head. Something had to be done. She wouldn’t wait another sixty years. Not when Sesshomaru was already fathering children with a human. Her father promised that her child would be the one to inherit the land and gain the title. She would take Touma up on his offer, in a matter of months Sesshomaru would be hers.