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::Prologue::

"We offer him to you, as a gift."

They bowed low, their robes brushing the ground. How they had even managed to capture the thing, she didn't know. She struggled to keep a dipolomatic expression as she gazed up at it. Were they really offering such a...a...dangerous being to her kingdom in hopes of a truce? It was almost insulting. They expected her to actually take the thing?

"Queen Serenity," she turned her attentions back to the representative. He had stopped bowing and was staring at her with a hopeful expression. "Your majesty," he continued. "We sent our most skilled warriers and shamens into the black forests to find an animal worthy of the Moon and it's beauty. We were quite...pleased with the results.." However, he left much unsaid, and the unspoken words hung in the air between them. She was no fool. She could read into his heart, know what he had neglected to mention, but was obviously thinking. Many had died in their attempt to capture the creature, though she was still unsure as to how mere mortals were able to subdue such a powerful demon in the first place.

"..only hope that the moon will continue to shine down it's graces upon the earth." She tuned back into the conversation. Above them, as if protesting, the monster let out an unearthly howl, and she felt herself shiver. True, the demon was beautiful; even she had to admit. It's silver-white fur had a glow strangely similar to that of her home. But what unnerved her the most about this creature were it's eyes. They were a hazy red that seemed to glint even in the darkness of the night. They glared at her with a hatred that touched her soul.

"...How do you manage to..appease him so easily?," she tactfully put. Beside the representative, the King laughed. "We have a special paralysis developed from a certain flower that inhibits its movement." Upon hearing this, the creature began to growl, a low throaty sound that caused the earth around them to rumble. The people gazed up at it with obvious unease. They seemed rather eager to be rid of the thing. The Moon Queen frowned. Something about this......

"What is that on it's head?" she wondered absently. It was oddly shaped and looked infectious. Puss and dried blood caked around the wound, and even from the ground she could see that flies had already gotten into it. It didn't look like something it had aquired out in nature. She narrowed her eyes. The Earth King, seeing this, hurried to explain.

"As it is a gift to you, the Sovereign of the Moon, we thought it only....fitting to place the symbol of the Moon on it's forehead." Horror and sudden understanding filled her. They had branded the poor creature?! She cast furious eyes upon the King, about to let loose with her tongue when a voice gently rebuked her. No. It would not be wise offend these people when their relationship with each other was already so strained. She nodded curtly to the Senshi of Venus, her only companion on this trip, grateful for her intervention.

It was then that her decision was made. Yes, she would take it, this huge demon dog. If only to relieve it from it's horrid human captors. Though something still didn't ring right about the story, and she wasn't quite sure she believed that they had captured him alone....

~*~

A 15 year old Rin awoke slowly, yawning and rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She rolled lazily onto her back, staring up at the full moon in the still darkened sky. She was fascinated with the moon, that beautiful lunar body staring down on the earth. She sometimes dreamed of going there. Infact, she'd just had a dream about-

"Rin. Get up." She quickly shut her eyes, laying as still as possible. Not again!! They'd just stopped for rest a few hours ago..surly Sesshomaru wasn't ready to head out so soon...?! She decided to ignore him. Maybe if she were still enough, he'd think she was sound asleep and would grant her a few hours more rest.....

"Rin." She held her breath, trying not to move; trying to ignore the urge to scratch the itch on her left shoulder.

Suddenly her face exploded with pain, and she was up in a flash, rubbing her forehead and trying not to cry. Before her, Sesshomaru looked rather vaguely amused, but the shorter, green demon beside him was furious.

"Stupid girl! How dare you ignore Master Sesshomaru's calls?!" he stepped forward as if to hit her again with his staff. But Sesshomaru shook his head.

"Jaken." the one word was said quietly, in his gentle aristocratic way, but Jaken froze immediately, turning to bow low to the Demon Lord.

"Yes Master Sesshomaru." He turned sideways to glare at the girl, who stuck out her tongue at him. To him, the girl had been a thorn in their side since she'd first managed to weasel her way into joining them. It escaped him as to why his Lord would even waste his time bothering with the little human brat. He was sure they'd be better off without her.

Rin got up slowly, carefully avoiding Sesshomaru's eyes. She couldn't help it if she needed more rest than he did. She wasn't a demon afterall; she was human! She didn't have the same endurance as he obviously did. She pouted, moving slowly and putting out the embers in the once lively fire. Without the light of the fire, the moon seemed to shine even brighter, and she caught Sesshomaru staring up at it.

"Ah! Isn't it beautiful, Lord Sesshomaru?," she sighed happily. He didn't answer, and for a moment it seemed as though he were ignoring her. She didn't mind. The white haired Youko was often silent to her chatter, but she was still certain that he did indeed listen to her...he just didn't always show it. She began walking ahead, humming a tune and enjoying the sounds of the evening.

"If you watch for too long, it'll put you under it's spell." Puzzled, she stopped, turning to look back at the Demon, wondering what he meant.

"Lord Sesshomaru?" Suddenly he glanced down at her. Though she'd been traveling with him for what seemed like forever, he rarely looked directly at her, but when he did, she felt strange...odd. As if she were drowning; as if he were looking into her very soul; As if he'd known something but-

"The Moon. It creates illusions. It makes the rational irrational. Don't fall under it's spell, Rin." and he turned, breaking eye contact and striding away, Jaken racing after him. She took a deep breath, glad he'd released her from his spell. Like the moon above them, he seemed to hold some mysterious glow. A magnetism that drew her to him like a lantern drew moths...like the moon drew the sea and the tides. Sighing, she raced after him. They were leaving her!!

"Master Sesshomaru!!," she called. Ahead of her, Jaken mumbled something about bothersome humans. Sesshomaru didn't respond, but she continued anyway.

"Master Sesshomaru, I had a dream about the moon again tonight. Do you think it's already put me under it's spell? Am I becoming ir-irra" She struggled with the unfamiliar word and wrung her hands worriedly.

Jaken glared. "You were irrational from the very moment we set eyes on you! The 'moon' had nothing to do with that!" He turned away, satisfied that he'd gotten in atleast a minor insult. He never wasted a moment in scolding her for something. But this time, must to his disappointment, his comment went ignored. Before him, the silver haired Youko seemed to pause, and again he gazed up, the silvery luna body casting it's glow down, making him even more ethereal.

"You were born under this moon, Rin. Do not let it reclaim you."

Huh? What did that mean? Even Jaken seemed to pause, staring up at his Master and looking slightly confused. Rin frowned. But Sesshomaru was done, striding off, face turned decidedly away from the moon. Infact, he seemed to ignore the moon completely, though it was quite beautiful tonight. Rin sighed. She'd never known anyone to actually hate the moon, but Sesshomaru obviously disliked it, which puzzled her. When she looked at the tall demon, she was reminded of the moon. He had a mysterious air about him extremely similar to the pearly body in the sky. Even his hair, always so impeccably done, had a glow about it. Her own hair was bland; dark as the night, but average none-the-less. And it never layed flat the way Sesshomaur's did. He had hair a girl would for.

Once again her eyes strayed up to the moon. Was it her imagination, or was it larger tonight? The shadow's in it's face seemed more prominient as well. She frowned. And why-

"Rin." At the sound of her name she realized once again that they were leaving her. All thoughts of the moon on hold, she raced after them, with Jaken scolding her all the way.

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