Landlord of the West

Chapter 17

It took a while for Rin to realize the reality behind Bankotsu’s mischievous look in the night before the engagement. On that night, when she was reading Sesshomaru’s message (i.e. the message delivered by Jaken, as Sesshomaru’s) standing alone in the corridor, she was so startled by her father’s call, that she had accidentally flung the letter outside through the window, unbeknownst to herself. The letter must have landed where Bankotsu had happened to wander. He must have read the letter. Having seen Rin smiling brightly at him, through the window from which the letter had fallen, he must have been convinced that Rin had called him for the midnight meet. He DID come at midnight punctually. But he happened to find the intimate couple who were already there.

Rin felt partly embarrassed and mostly relieved, for it was not for the ‘accident’, she would have been engaged to an unworthy suitor.She would have become someone else’s and not Sesshomaru’s…!

Bankotsu had not mentioned the reason for calling off the engagement because, he knew he would not have survived the wrath of the demon lord Sesshomaru… not because he cared for Rin’s reputation….

Rin and Sesshomaru had spent short but intimate moments together, the night before the engagement and it was Sesshomaru who had made the initiative there…. Rin became mad at Sesshomaru ‘cause he chose to leave her without a word… as if it never happened between them. Upon hearing Kohaku’s justification to Sesshomaru’s indifferent behavior, Rin’s anger dissipated and hope blossomed.

It has been weeks after his return. Sesshomaru got himself occupied in some activity or the other to keep Rin off his mind. He was struggling to live a normal, ‘Rin’-less life. No matter what he did, she trespassed in his mind and invaded his heart when he settled down for sleep, every night. The midnight meeting plagued his dreams in almost all nights. On other nights, dreams of himself making love to Rin bullied him.

NO! I shall NEVER be like my father! I will prove his accusations wrong! Sesshomaru pressurized himself every time to keep control on his mind which was restless as the waves in the sea. `

As far as the mission was concerned, he had his trusted servant Jaken or another one to look after the implementation and development. At regular intervals he’d send fresh action plans to Master Kenji, get his agreement through his sub-ordinate and then execute the same. Occasionally, he visited village Edo to monitor, but only when necessitated. Even then he stayed at Kagura’s manor. Couple of times his legs carried him to the doorsteps of Rin’s mansion, he was so close to entering it but, eventually changed his mind, every time.

Inu father had been observing Sesshomaru the whole time, and even he began to lose his patience over his son. Sesshomaru was super-fast in everything. But in the realm of emotions, a snail can beat him in the race.

Also, inu father had his own fear the girl’s friend Kohaku will take his son’s place in her heart. He could guess that Rin would be dejected over Sesshomaru’s departure and disappearance. Kohaku was by her side, when Sesshomaru departed. Surely he must be with her all the time or at least most of the time. He can easily misuse the girl’s state of emotional weakness to his advantage, being a close childhood friend that he is. Something must be done to secure the girl…. but what? Inu father pondered.

Rin was tying up her mother’s hair, while Kohaku fed the elderly woman with her medicine. The mother eyed the boy, now a grown-up man, with admiration and gratitude. Kohaku smiled warmly in return. Misao had known Kohaku and his family even before she got physically impaired. She had always loved the boy. He was very kind and sweet. He had always been Rin’s best friend.

Rin was not with her usual bright smile, but with a fake one. Kohaku knew she has been faking happy face for a while now. When asked by her father or mother (mother asked her by her facial gestures), she said that the work of implementing the tasks of the Sesshomaru’s mission were getting her exhausted that she was not in her normal energetic state. The mother believed wholly while father did only partially. Kenji presumed that her inner sadness could be due to the called off engagement. But he didn’t worry about her as much as he should have as Kohaku has been with Rin more often than usual. Once in a while, he returned to his village or leave on another important assignment elsewhere. But he revisited Rin as soon as he can. Or it was more like he ‘revisits’ his village occasionally and ‘returned’ to Rin’s side sooner; as if he’s permanently settled in Edo….

Rin was indeed disheartened at Sesshomaru’s desertion. Earlier, he used to visit her for some political reason or the other; but after his departed last time, he had literally evaporated from her life without trace. She couldn’t bear the fact as how a male who acted so intimately at one time (i.e their night together) could actually act so indifferent at another time.

Kohaku and Rin were strolling across the corridors after putting Misao to sleep.

“It’s been almost two months” Kohaku breathed out, his mind was also with Sesshomaru.

“Nope. Two months, one week and three days” Rin replied in a bitter tone; eyes half-closed.

Kohaku looked at Rin in amazement, “Geez! You’re really into him aren’t you?!”

“………..” Rin was silent. She had no reason to respond to a question, answer of which Kohaku is already too aware of.

Kohaku could feel her pain, having been with her for so many years. He bit his lips as he searched for words of comfort. Oh, what’s the use anyway? He’s not coming back! He wrapped his hand on her shoulder and Rin unconsciously leaned on his arm as they walked.

Kohaku was such a great friend. Her BEST FRIEND! He was always there for her. Ten years ago, even when she came to know of her mother’s physical state after the stray demons’ attacks, Kohaku provided her of the comforts and consolations the girl of such a tender age needed. The thoughts made Rin smile a sincerely, after so many days. Kohaku didn’t fail to notice the rare sight.

His eyebrows raised, “It’s going to shower today”* he said, as he examined the sky.

Rin followed his gaze to the sky only to find it clear and bright, “and what makes you say that?”

“You smiled a sincere smile. The ‘Rin’ smile! The rarest occurrence!” Kohaku joked. However the hilarity contained the reserved compliment that Rin’s smiles are sincere ones. It did not take Rin too long to read between his lines.

*(A/N: There is an old saying that, if something really rare happens, then it will rain on that day. That is what Kohaku is joking about Rin’s smile which has become rare)

Rin hit his arm, in such a way it didn’t hurt him. Yet Kohaku made an “OW!” as if it did.

Both started laughing.

“Kohaku…. You know what…..” Rin dragged in a dreamy tone; her face was slightly flushed.

“Yeah, I know what. That you love me. That I’m the best friend you’ve ever had. That I should always be with you.” Kohaku said matter-of-factly.

Rin pouted at him as he guessed it all right. “You meanie! You secretly read my mind!”

Kohaku had a good laugh at that which only angered the girl more.

“Aw! C’mon Rin! you can’t be serious! You’ve already told me this a million times! This is probably the million and one’th time!”

Rin’s pout became even bigger as her hands held her hips; her face red; her eyes shooting flames at him.

Kohaku was in a killer mood, he didn’t stop when he should have. “O’course, you love me! ‘cause I’m always lovable! Obviously, I AM your best friend, ‘cause I’m the ONLY friend you have!... And yeah! I should always be with you, ‘cause nobody else is there for you anyway” he spurted smugly.

“HEY YOU!....” Rin roared as she charged at him.

Kohaku knew when to show the strength of his legs, so he ran off. Both were running, laughing together, knocking down things and servants on the way. Even the servants were smiling and laughing at the friends’ childish games. Kenji saw the adorable sight and chuckled. His admiring eyes were more upon Kohaku than on Rin! Thank you, Kohaku…. For always being there for my Rin….

One fine day, Sesshomaru and Jaken entered Inu father’s study to seek certain historical manuscripts. Inu father was laying idly on his diwan* (A/N:-*a furniture- sorry, I do not know any other name to describe it… if you do not know it, ask google), his eyes fast shut.

“Jaken”, the laying lord called, without opening his eyes.

*GULP* “Y-Yes, Lord Inu No Taisho?” Jaken was startled for a moment at his sudden call. His intuition told him that this was no good sign.

“Bring Rin and Sesshomaru together” uttered Inu father very casually, in his cold, uncaring tone.

I knew it! I’m doomed…!!! Jaken beak fell open; green face paled; body shivered.

Sesshomaru stiffened; he shot a fiery glare at his father.

“A couple should not be kept apart for long. It will do them no good. They will suffer from the pangs of separation….. They may even die if delayed furthermore….”

“B-B-B-But, milord……” Jaken stuttered noting Sesshomaru’s flaring glare at both Inu father and Jaken. HE’S SO DEAD!

The Inu father finally opened his eyes. He stared at Jaken from the corner of his eyes. “What are you fumbling about? Are you not aware that the servants taking care of demon pets are away on an errand?.... That those pets are kept apart for days, for special fitness treatment?..... And that it is about time that they are to be brought together as before?”

Jaken blinked; he stared blankly for a long moment.

Inu father knitted his eyebrows together. “Why are you staring at me like that?... as if I spoke to you in some foreign language” asked Inu father innocently, with all the more nonchalance.

“*WHEW!* You were speaking of the demon pets, peacock and peahen, is it, sire?” Jaken let out the breathe he was holding for so long.

Inu father finally turned his head to fully face Jaken. “What else did you assume I was speaking of?” he asked with all the more innocence. Not only that, he glanced at Sesshomaru with suspicion, as if it was only Sesshomaru who was liable for suspicion in that study hall at the moment.

Oooo! This Lord is a spectacular actor! He has turned the platter on Lord Sesshomaru, that even the latter got deceived by the performance! Jaken began panicking and perspiring as he felt Sesshomaru shooting poisonous daggers (i.e. venomous glare) at him.

“R-R-Right away, Milord! I will carry out your orders in an instant” Jaken rushed to avoid answering his question; before letting the Inu father respond he scampered away.

The eyes of father and son met. The former was staring while the latter was glaring.

What was he thinking?.... What is he having in mind?.... Is he intending to assault me?..... But he doesn’t seem so. He sounded and acted so causally…. I wonder if something is going on between Jaken and him?..... Sesshomaru deliberated.

“A couple should not be kept apart for long. It will do them no good. They will suffer from pangs of separation….. They may even die if delayed furthermore….”

Must I…... must I visit Rin?......

The son scoffed for whatever reason that bothered him and left the study immediately.

The father smirked in victory.

Rin was alone in the night on a shrine on their village. Her servants were waiting for her at a distance, beyond view and earshot. When she was about to depart she saw the silhouette of a familiar figure standing majestically in the darkness.

Tall frame; Silver hair swaying elegantly in the night’s breeze; strong physique; wearing his white kimono, with a colour which seemed blue at the edges; no armour this time; standing with his back to her.

Her mouth fell open and uttered, “Lord Sesshomaru!”

Rin rushed towards him to get a better view of him.

The figure turned and faced her.

*GASP!* Rin was alarmed.
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