Side Story 6 - Sacrifices of the Heart
Sesshomaru has a royal event to present or introduce his son Heroshya as the first born prince and his daughter Nephra as the first born princess of his empire to all the other empires of Japan. Rulers send their demon role of counsel and other servants to the event to gain useful information about the Western lands, Lord Sesshomaru's heirs and the Empire's status. Later that night the castle is full of demons from all over Japan, there is barely enough room to move around it is so crowded as there is a flood of chatter coming from the large area of Sesshomaru's throne. Sesshomaru sits at his throne and Rin stands next to him as the time is quickly approaching for the prince and princess to make their entrance. Nephra is in her quarters and Zephra is helping her with her gorgeous gown that is shimmery and flowing. Zephra also fixed Nephra's hair very attractively, afterwards placing the beautiful diamond lace on Nephra's head as it lays perfectly and looks stunning. Heroshya enters the room as he compliments, "Nephra, wow...you look amazing. It's almost time are you ready?" She nods that she is ready as he extends his forearm to escort her and she wraps her hand around him. They stand patiently nearby waiting to be announced and presented by Jaken while Zephra slips out to join her mother and father near the throne, she stands near her father on the opposite side of her mother. Once they are announced as the Prince and Princess of Lord Sesshomaru's empire, Heroshya and Nephra walk down the long stair leading to the main room together arm in arm as the demons all gasp, oooh and ahhh at both of their regal and superior dog demon appearance. Heroshya leans over to Nephra and says quietly, "Just shake a few hands and smile nicely, that's all it is to it." That is exactly what she does but Nephra has such a warm friendly attitude that she is enjoying every minute of mingling and meeting all the demons of other empires. The event turned out to be long but enjoyable and now demons from all over are aware that Heroshya is heir to rule the Western lands and the beautiful silver haired princess will be second to inherit should it be passed down futher. This information is passed along to rulers of the other regions, Zeref of the Eastern region is more concerned with trying to conquer the West and he asks questions of his servants who attended the royal event. Zeref inquires, " How hefty is Sesshomaru's empire? How well aquinted is he with the other empires and Does he still carry his sword Buksaiga?" His demon servants answer all the questions and armed with this knowledge, Zeref feels that he would like to take a chance and take seige of Sesshomaru's empire but first he will call upon the Southern region whom he has once already conquered and now they fight on his side when requested. Zeref sends a demon messenger to inform Sesshomaru that he has declared war on his empire and the battle will happen in 5 days. Word spreads throughout the lands that Zeref and Sesshomaru will battle empires for more power, if Zeref's empire wins, he will overthow Sesshomaru and take his crown, castle, servants and land. If Sesshomaru wins, he will double his empire by taking over Zerefs and he will become the new ruler of the East and West. At the same time the Northern ruler 'Horotoshi' has also been informed of the royal presenting and was told about the two heirs to the Western throne, they explain that the first heir is a powerful, full demon male who looks as if he will be a true ruler. The second heir, the half demon princess, is beautiful with silver/white hair, golden eyes and fine regal appearance. They also inform him that there is a younger princess. A dark haired, brown eyed beauty whom is third heir to the throne and a true half demon warrior who loves battle. The Northern ruler is intrigued by this information and also finds it very useful for what he needs. Sesshomaru receives the message stating that Zeref is declaring war on the Western empire, he gathers his family to inform them of this. Rin and Nephra are worried for the empire where as Heroshya and Zephra are excited and enthusiastic about fighting in a good battle. Zephra replies, "5 days is enough time for me to get some good practice. Jaken, I will need you to sharpen my sword well before." Jaken replies, "Yes Zephra." Sesshomaru overrides her request, "No, you will not be anywhere near here on the day of the battle." Zephra is devastated as she inquires, "But father, this is a war. The swords of your fangs should be utilized to defeat our enemies. Many demons can be destroyed, we can win this!" Sesshomaru replies, "My son will not be fighting in this battle, what makes you think I will allow my daughters to take part in a war full of demons intent on destroying us, the answer is No."
Heroshya speaks up, " Father, Surely you are not keeping me out of the battle...I can understand the girls but I'm ...." Sesshomaru Interrupts, "The Eastern Ruler Zeref is my problem and this is my battle...I will handle things my way. " Heroshya feels some anger as he responds to the comment his father just made, " Your Battle ??! I thought we were a family that fights together?!" Zephra chimes in again, "He's right Father, that's ridiculous!!" Sesshomaru scolds, "Enough !! Zephra, You will be sent with your sister, mother and Jaken to our family forest for safety. Heroshya,... you will remain here to assist me with planning and directing only." Zephra and Heroshya are both disappointed with their roles in this fight however they both obey, defeated.
Two days later, after receiving the declaration of war upon his land, Lord Sesshomaru is at his throne speaking with Heroshya and Rin discussing the plans for this war, when one of Sesshomaru's demon servant walks up and bows, "Lord Sesshomaru, please excuse my intrusion. The demon ruler of the North, 'Horotoshi' is present and wishes to speak with you." Sesshomaru orders the servant to allow the ruler of the North in. Horotoshi is tall, regal and appears in true demon form, he approaches Lord Sesshomaru and greets everyone, "Good day Lord Sesshomaru, Milady and young prince." Sesshomaru replies for his family, "Good day. How may we be of assistance to you." Horotoshi replies, "I understand that your empire is to battle with the East whom have joined forces with the South." Sesshomaru replies, "It would seem so but what does this have to do with you?" Horotoshi continues, "Though you show no distress or concern, I am here to offer my assistance. I have a proposition that will benefit both of us however, before I go on Lord Sesshomaru, I ask that you summon your lovely daughters to join this meeting. It is essential that your entire family be present to hear what I am proposing." Rin and Heroshya both look a bit bewildered and curious of what this demon ruler has to say but Sesshomaru as always shows no expression.
Meanwhile, Nephra and Zephra are outside the back of the castle near the hotspring as they talk about the royal presenting. Zephra replies, "You are so lucky Nephra, all those handsome male demons that were approaching you at the empire presenting. I bet now you will have suitors coming from all over asking for your hand." Nephra replies, "There were a lot of handsome males there, I saw a few talking to you as well. The one male with the gorgeous dark hair seemed to be falling all over himself just to talk to you." Zephra thinks, "Oh yes, he's from the Southern region. I wouldn't even consider seeing him again unless he leaves the Southern ruler and joins our father's empire." Nephra giggles, "Zephra, the way he was following you around all night, I'm sure he would leave the South and join the West in an instant." Nephra and Zephra's conversation is interrupted by a servant, "Excuse me but your father requests the both of you at his throne immediately." Nephra and Zephra look at each other as they both think the same thing: What is father going to scold us about? The girls approach the throne from behind as they are coming from the back of the castle and they join their mother, brother and father near the throne chair. Sesshomaru introduces them to the ruler, "My daughters Nephra and Zephra." Horotoshi nods, " I have been well informed of these two beauties, I know all I need to about them." Sesshomaru replies, "What is it that you want to say? Your proposition?" Horotoshi explains, " I will get right to the point. Lord Sesshomaru, It is obvious you will be needing additional forces for this battle with Zeref. He has joined his army with the South's army and they will out number yours by at least 500 demons. Allow my empire to join yours and I assure you we will defeat him." Heroshya is excited about this plan as he says, "Father, this is what we need." Sesshomaru tells his son, "Heroshya, a proposition usually benefits BOTH parties involved." Sesshomaru directs his question to the Northern ruler, "What assest of mine do you require as payment?" The ruler smirks a bit and continues, "One of your daughters." Nephra and Zephra who have stood by quietly now gasp and raise their eyes in shock. The ruler continues, " I need one of your daughters as wife for one of my two sons. I would prefer the first born princess but if you do not want to lose your 2nd heir to your throne then I will gladly take the younger princess, she is as equally beautiful." Nephra and Zephra look at each other wondering if their father will have one of them promised to a prince of the North to keep the empire from falling. They are aware that many rulers do arrange marriages for their princess daughters and orders must be obeyed. Rin waits for her husbands response as she thinks to herself: Lord Sesshomaru would never trade our daughters to save the empire, his family means more to him than a crown does. Sesshomaru responds simply, "I decline your offer." Horotoshi replies, "I implore you, take a day to think this over. You have much to lose, this beautiful castle, your empire and your heirs will have nothing to inherit. Where will your family go if you are overthrown? If you are worried about the daughter I take, you should not be for she will be well cared for and a soon to be queen of the North." Sesshomaru responds again, "I have given my answer, there is nothing more to discuss. My servants will see you out." Horotoshi responds as he turns to leave, "As you wish, Good day." Rin is relieved that, this meeting is over but she had no doubt as to her husband's answer to the Northern rulers request. Heroshya standing near by says, "Too bad.... We could have strengthened our empire and gotten rid of Zephra at the same time, then all our troubles would melt away." Zephra gives him two hard hits on his arm as Heroshya chuckles she yells, "Father, did you hear what Heroshya just said ?!" Sesshomaru glances at Heroshya from the corner of his eye and scolds him, "Heroshya, stop your foolish joking and see what demons we can gather from the Midwest as I've instructed!!" Heroshya responds as he rushes off, "Yes father." Nephra asks, "Father may Zephra and I be dismissed?" He responds, "Yes you may." Rin stands near Sesshomaru as she says, "Perhaps we can call upon the Panther demon tribe, that will get us at least 50 more demons on our side." Sesshomaru takes Rin's hand as he tells her, "You are not to concern yourself with such things. I will take well care of the battle, this empire and our family."
As Nephra and Zephra leave to go back outside, they talk quietly to each other about what just happened. Zephra says, "That was a close one Nephra, I thought one of us would be packing to leave for the North tonight." Nephra responds, "Did you really think father would trade us in to keep the empire safe." Zephra replies, "No, Not really but father did work very hard to gain this empire. He would never say so but we really do need help, there's a real good chance that we could lose everything. " Nephra agrees, "I know, Heroshya could lose the crown, we'd have no where to go and father will be overthrown as ruler here. I can't let that happen Zephra." Zephra asks, "What are you planning?" Nephra responds, "I'm going to make that deal with the Northern ruler, I'll send a messenger to him and tell him I will give myself as bride to one of his sons if he will send his empire to combine with ours." Zephra responds, "No, Nephra perhaps I should be the one to do it, besides you are 2nd heir to father's throne and you do so much to help with the demon villages and the human villages. Father really needs you here." Nephra disagrees, "Absolutely not, I am the oldest and I will do it. I won't see my younger sister in an arrangement such as this. We've got to keep this secret though, Father will be very angry if he finds out." Zephra replies, "He'll be furious, what do you think he's gonna say or do when it's time for you to get married and leave for the North?" Nephra replies, " I'll figure that out when the time comes, at any rate it will be too late for him to stop me. C'mon let's get a demon messenger to inform the Northern ruler."
Meanwhile the day of the battle approaches and Sesshomaru is preparing to go in to combat utilizing the demons of his empire as well as any other demons that are residing in the Western lands. Sesshomaru's empire will fight in this battle until the very end, if they lose and when that time comes, he will battle Lord Zeref one on one as a last attempt to hold on to his land. Though Heroshya is an excellent fighter, Sesshomaru does not want his son to fight in this battle of power in fear for his son's life, instead he has Heroshya strategize and organize the entire battle in which he does a very good job in this area. Heroshya will be there guiding and directing the movements of the demons who will be fighting. Rin, Zephra, Nephra and Jaken are sent with Au Un to the family forest, they will remain there until the battle is done as instructed by Lord Sesshomaru.
The very morning of the battle Zeref is in Lion form as he flies overhead, he also will watch his empire during their combat, also not fighting until the very end in case his empire loses, as his last attempt to conquer Lord Sesshomaru's land. Heroshya and Sesshomaru feel ready and prepared. Rin has gathered and appointed human warriors and men from the Western villages to help fight in the battle. She reminded the warriors and villagers that Lord Sesshomaru does not allow any of his demons to attack or bother the human villages, If Zeref takes over the West, the human villages can no longer be protected and will likely be terrorized by demons. With that, the village men agreed to help as they are well hidden within the high towers near several windows and openings of the castle as well as hidden high in the trees or camoflauged around the grounds, not only for their safety but also to shoot purified arrows unbeknownst to the enemy as they approach. Zeref's empire of demons approach, storming onto Sessomaru's grounds outside the castle, when Heroshya gives the signal the humans begin shooting the purified arrows one after the other quickly shooting many demons causing them to scream and weaken. The enemies are not sure where the arrows are coming from as the humans are strategically hidden throughout and kept out of sight. Next, Heroshya has also gathered all the flying demons of the empire, on his second signal, they are carrying hand made bombs that they drop and decend on the enemy. Some of the bombs are filled with poison, some filled with extremely hot tar while, other flying demons drop dynamite as they fly over the crowd of enemy demons, catching them by surprise with the many bombs that are coming at them. After that, Heroshya has the demons with power capabilities to emit any form of weapons from their hands, eyes or mouth. He has them gathered together and on his third signal they combine their abilities and emit many different forms of emmense power and force. Zeref is watching above and though his demons are fighting thier best he realizes things are not working out so well for him, as he thinks to himself frustrated: Urrr...Sesshomaru's demons are fighting so organized as though every move was well thought out and planned, while my demons charge randomly at any enemy in sight with no direction or guidance. If he can do that perhaps I can as well. Zeref catches on quickly and attempts to mimick this idea as he notices that Sesshomaru's small demons with little or no powers (such as Jaken) are in the front lines holding spears, Zeref's weak demons are also in the front lines. Sesshomaru's giant, brawny demons are stationed in the middle as a barrier before getting to the most powerful demons of the empire. Zeref shouts out to his demons, "Flyers....make your way to the back, get Sesshomaru back line forces!!" Heroshya hears this and commands his flying demons, "Don't let Zeref's flying demons through, Attack Now!!!" The flying demons on both sides collide with each other and proceed in an intense combat of demon powers and flying attacks. Zeref looks and realizes that the fight is not going in his favor, Sesshomaru's small demons are defeating Zeref's small demons because they are trained well and armed with spears, Zeref did not care enough about his weaker demon's lives to ensure that they would be able to fight effeciently. Sesshomaru's big, brawny demons are putting up a huge barrier and use sheilds to protect themselves and stop any enemies from passing them. Sesshomaru sees that his empire is defeating Zeref's so far. Zeref looks at Sesshomaru and thinks to himself: You think you're winning do you? Well, This is just beginning. Zeref yells out, "Additional Forces Commence!!!" Suddenly hundreds more demons flood the grounds of Sesshomaru's empire. Sesshomaru thinks to himself: So, Zeref DID combine with the Southern lands just as suspected. Pathetic coward. Heroshya is continuing to watch on his own and though he was aware of possible additional forces, he still had no plan for defeating twice the amount of demons, so he looks on as he sees the demons of his father's empire being slaughtered. Double the flying demons approach and Sesshomaru's demons are no match. The barrier that the big brawny demons create is easily broken when double the amount of large, strong demons bust through it. Zeref laughs sinisterly as he thinks he will be gaining a second empire, soon to rule over half of Japan. Heroshya thinks: They are going to reach our most powerful demons and we will be out numbered, there's no way we can win this. Heroshya flies up to where his father is watching and says, "Father, we both have to get into this fight, we are simply out numbered, we're losing." Sesshomaru agrees, "It is clear that I will need to battle Zeref, however, You will not be apart of it." Heroshya argues, "Father, what are you talking about?! I've been training long enough and I can fight as well as you can, I'm suppose to inherit this empire and I'm getting in this!!" Sesshomaru argues back, "This is not up for discussion!!" Heroshya speaks, "Father, I don't like to disobey you but..." Heroshya's sentence is interrupted when hundreds more demons enter Sesshomaru's grounds but they are not fighting on Zeref's side, they are fighting against him. Heroshya and Sesshomaru stop debating and watch as the battle is slowly coming back in Sesshomaru's favor. Highly skilled and powerful demons attack the Southern and Eastern demons that are fighting on Zeref's side and destroy them unmercifully. Heroshya asks, "Father, what is this?" Sesshomaru replies, "I was going to ask you. These are obviously the Northern demons coming to assist us however, I can not figure why they would when I rejected their offer." Heroshya responds, "Well, I did not summon them father. Perhaps the Northern ruler wanted to see Zeref defeated and decided to assist us anyway." Sesshomaru finds that hard to believe but watches on as the Northern demons help fight Zeref's demons, though he is not sure what to make of this situation. Meanwhile Zeref is furious as he watches his empire become completely overwhelmed by the extra forces of demons now fighting on Sesshomaru's side, he watches from above as he witnesses his demons one after the other being slaughtered. Zeref decides he does not want to lose his empire of demons, so he calls the whole thing off and retreats from the battle, leaving Sesshomaru's land and going back towards his own. The demons of Sesshomaru's empire cheer loudly as the sounds of triumph and victory fill the entire outside of the castle. Heroshya tells his father, "We did it!! Father,... Zeref knows he cannot beat you that's why he retreated, you should go after him, defeat him and gain his empire." Sesshomaru replies, "I have no need for such, I am content with what I already have. If he ever declares war on me again, he will be destroyed by my hand." Sesshomaru quickly goes to collect his girls whom are worried and waiting at the family forest. He informs them that the battle has been won and the empire is safe. They are all so happy that Sesshomaru did not have to fight Zeref and that all will go back to normal.
Three days later, Sesshomaru, Rin and Heroshya are at the throne again awaiting a second meeting due to a demon messenger sending a notice from the Northern ruler saying he will be there to conduct business with them once again. Sesshomaru is growing tired of Horotoshi, he does not know what more he could want as he has already informed that his daughters will not be promised to his sons. The demon servant announces the Northern ruler, he approaches and greets everyone, "Good day." Sesshomaru instantly replies, " What do you come for this time?" The Northern ruler closes his eyes and shakes his head slightly as he explains, "I had hoped she would have informed you by now but it would seem you are still unaware. I am here to retrieve your eldest daughter, Princess Nephra." Heroshya, Rin and Sesshomaru are all confused by his response as Heroshya asks him, "What do you mean retrieve her?" Just then Nephra comes down the stairs, she has a huge napsack with her as she explains to her family, "I've made an agreement with the ruler of the North. I agreed to marry one of his son's if he would send his empire to fight with ours." Everyone gasps in shock as Sesshomaru stands up abruptly asking his daughter in a raised voice, "Nephra, why have you done this!?" Nephra responds, "Father, I did what I had to. I could not allow the empire to be defeated, you would have lost your throne, the castle, all your demon servants and Heroshya would have lost the crown. It was a small sacrafice to ensure that all remains the way it is." Nephra walks towards the Northern ruler as he holds out his hand to her and she accepts it. Rin cries out, "Please don't do this, do not take our daughter!!" Heroshya angrily shouts out, "I dont' care what agreement was made, You are not taking her !!" He unsheaths his sword and begins to walk toward the Northern ruler as Sesshomaru holds his son back, stopping him as he says, "Heroshya, the agreement is binding." Heroshya inquires with despair, "Father Please, can you not stop this!?" Sesshomaru desperately informs the ruler of the North, "I have demon women within my empire, take any two that you choose in place of my daughter, take one for each of your sons." The ruler says, "I'm afraid they must be of princess status. I understand this must be difficult for you but the agreement has been made." Horotoshi reminds Sesshomaru, " If you do not want me to take your eldest daughter, then I will be happy to take your youngest instead." Zephra listens secretly from the stairs knowing that she and Nephra planned this. Nephra answers him, "No, I am the one that made the agreement so I shall be the one to go." Rin tells the ruler, "We have jewels, coins....what else can we give you in trade besides one of our precious daughters. " The ruler exclaims, "Nothing." Nephra motions for Horotoshi to wait while she hugs and kisses each of her family members. Rin cries as she holds her daughter and says, "Nephra, my sweet girl. I can't bear to see you go." Heroshya hugs Nephra as he looks angrily at the Northern ruler. She goes to hug her father as she says, "Good bye father." he tells her, "The empire was not worth our losing you, Nephra." Nephra replies, "I am no longer a little girl, this was my decision." She kisses him on the face and hugs him, he holds her and finds it hard to release her as she leaves with the ruler of the North. The Northern ruler comments before leaving, "Be content with this, she will be well cared for, waited on and treated as a queen should be." He turns and walks off with Nephra. Sesshomaru's anger and sadness is strong, Rin goes to her husband and embraces him. He wraps his arms around her and assures her, "Rin, I will get her back."
After a very long trip via the North with Horotoshi, Nephra is finally at the huge castle and is shown to her room. Horotoshi invites Nephra to have dinner with him when she is rested and refreshed a bit. Nephra does have dinner with the Northern ruler in the large dining quarters and he begins to explain some things to her, "The time is nearing for me to pass my empire down to one of my two sons. I have promised my crown to whom ever of my sons is to marry a princess first, that was the agreement from the time they were little, however,over the years it has come to my attention that they both have.... let's say personal issues that make it difficult for either of them to achieve this goal." Nephra is a bit curious about this as she thinks: Issues?? What kind of issues? I suppose I will soon find out. Horotoshi continues, " I will allow you one week to spend time with each of my sons, you will get to know them and at the end of that time, you will make your choice of which one you will take as your husband; he shall become ruler and you shall become queen once I pass the empire down." Nephra understands the arrangement and agrees to fulfill her end of the bargin.
The next morning Nephra is dressed very pretty as she leaves her resting quarters and goes into the main corridor of the castle, she is on her way out to the garden when she sees Horotoshi's first born son there. He approaches looking as a tall, slender but muscular male with brown hair. He wears armor and looks like a warrior with a very handsome face. Nephra instantly greets him, "Good morning, I'm Nephra." He circles Nephra, examining her from head to toe as he comments, "So you're the one my father sent for from the West, hmmm he said you were beautiful but he forgot to mention that you're only a half demon. " He eventually shrugs and says, "Well at least you are a princess so I suppose you will serve my purpose." Nephra is instantly irritated by his comment, "What do you mean I will serve your purpose, You may not be the one I choose and so far I'm not sure I like your attitude, hmf." He laughs, "Haha, you will choose me, that I can say with confidence." Nephra inquires, " What makes you so sure?" He replies, " You will see why soon enough. Let me introduce myself, I am Yoichi my father's first born and your future husband." Nephra frowns her face becoming annoyed at his self assured attitude. He continues on, "I want to lay down the rules, first and foremost, as my wife you will be the one to serve my meals each day, I don't want servants preparing my dinner, that is your task. Also it is your duty to provide me with a son, I will need an heir to pass on my crown and..... " Nephra interrupts, "Hey wait a minute, What are you talking about? how can I determine if a child will be born male or female?" he replies, "I've heard it said that if you eat the right foods and pray each day, you can control the childs gender." Nephra replies, "Uhgg....That's ridiculous and so are you!" Nephra begins to walk away and he stops her, "That's another rule, I will not tolerate back talk from you, you will do as ordered. I am king and you are queen, I am full pure demon, you are only half demon, remember your station." Nephra has only been talking to this male for five minutes but already she is fed up with his rude behavior as she says, "Yoichi... right?" he says , "Yes that's correct." Nephra replies, " Go nose dive off a high cliff !" Neprha storms outside to the garden and she is still fired up as she thinks: What an awful demon, I can barely stand him for five minutes there's no way I could live with him. Nephra sits angrily on a log stump nearby and at that moment she can hear a deep but gentle male voice behind her, "Excuse me Milady, is something troubling you?" Nephra turns around and there is another male demon standing behind her. He is a beastly looking demon, huge in stature, brown fur and he has the face of true demon beast form however Nephra is not startled by him because she is used to seeing all manners of demon shapes and forms in her father's empire. Nephra wonders who this demon is so she asks, " Who are you?" He responds, "My name is Katsuro, I am the younger son of ruler Horotoshi" Nephra finds this strange as she thinks to herself: but the other brother was handsome, I don't get it...why do they look so different? Nephra ignores his appearance as she stands to greet him, "Hello, I'm Nephra...Your father sent me to meet you and your brother." He responds, "Oh yes, I am aware. I am sorry that you had to leave your family. My father has gone this far just to find one of us a bride. I am not sure why it's so important for his heir to be married before he will pass down the crown and empire." Nephra explains, "I understand. It's because he knows the importance of having a queen by the side of a king to help provide guidance and support. I really believe that If my mother was not there beside my father, I think he would not be so successful as a ruler." Katsuro responds, "That is very wise, I never looked at it that way, our father never explains himself." Nephra asks, "So, Yoichi is your older brother is he?" Katsuro nods as he replies, "Yes, I'm sure you are wondering why we do not resemble each other at all. In true form he and I look very similar only he has the power of transformation and he remains in humaniod form often because he likes the look. I on the other hand, I have no such powers and must remain in true form always." Nephra smiles and replies, "That is good for you Katsuro, It is best to remain true to oneself." Katsuro immediately admires Nephra as he compliments, "You are beautiful as well as wise and enlightening." Katsuro and Nephra remain sitting in the garden for most of the day and enjoy each others company.
At the end of the night....Nephra, the Northern ruler and his two sons all sit together for dinner. Katsuro is a gentleman as he pulls Nephra's chair out for her and asks if the meal is to her liking, showing concern for her comfort while Yoichi is busy complaining and treating the servants disgracefully, yelling at them and ordering them around rudely. Nephra hates being around Yoichi and she has only been in his company for one day.
A few days go by and Nephra finds herself spending a lot of her time with Katsuro, she shows him where to pick berries and explains the different types of berries since he knows nothing about human food. She bakes a pie and he thinks it is the best thing he has ever tasted. He shows her how to horse back ride, it is one of his favorite hobbies and Nephra learns fast as they both spend each morning enjoying a leisurely ride on horseback. When they are not doing that they walk in the garden, enjoy talking and the atmosphere of beautiful flowers around them. Yoichi does not concern himself with trying to get to know Nephra better because he is so certain she would never choose Katsuro over him due to his beastly appearance. He is sure that Nephar will want to have a handsome husband however he does notice that she and Katsuro are spending way too much time together and he decides to take action.
One morning while Nephra is out in the garden waiting for Katsuro, Yoichi appears. As he approaches Nephra he says, "I must go to the Northeastern land to handle some affairs, I'd like you to accompany me. There are some sights I think will be delightful to you." Nephra explains, "I'm waiting for Katsuro, we are to go horseback riding as we do every morning." Yoichi scoffs, "Hmf, you wish to spend your day with him instead of me, how can you stand to look at him?" Nephra feels anger developing again as she says, "Yes, I'd much rather spend my day with him thank you." Just then Katsuro approaches with lovely orchids for Nephra in his hand. He says, "Good Morning Yoichi." as he continues to walk toward Nephra handing her the bundle of orchids and says, "Good Morning Nephra, I had to stop and pick these for you, I know your love for flowers these were so catching to the eye, they made me think of you." Nephra giggles a bit as she replies, "How sweet Katsuro, are you ready to go riding this morning?" Yoichi is feeling angry that Nephra is showing Katsuro so much of her attention and time. He is hating Katsuro for making this difficult for him as he begins to initiate a fight with him, "Katsuro, Why are you wasting her time? Do you really think she could ever be with you?" Yoichi pushes Katsuro hard causing him to stumble back a bit, he continues to speak, "Show her here and now how worthless you are, you don't even like to fight or kill, how will you protect her? " He shoves Katsuro again very hard, causing him to push back. Yoichi begins to attack his brother by punching him hard blow after blow but Katsuro does not want to fight with his sibling and tries to fend off Yoichi's strikes. Nephra shouts out , "Katsuro defend yourself don't let him treat you that way just because he is your older brother!!" Katsuro is a skilled fighter but hates to fight his very own brother. Yoichi continues to hit as he instructs his brother, "Sure, C'mon Katsuro...fight me, defend yourself you coward!!" The two brothers fight and struggle. Yoichi transforms into full beast demon as they attack, charge and use demonic powers at each other. They are both huge causing the fight to be destructive as they are nearly destroying each other. At the end of the fight, Yoichi defeats Katsuro with one strong and final blow of demonic swirl that fiercely knocks Katsuro to the ground. Yoichi is proud of himself for beating Katsuro up in front of Nephra and he returns to his humaniod form as he walks over to Nephra grabbing her by the arms he says, "Now do you see why I said you will choose me for your husband?" he forces a kiss on her as she struggles and uses her demonic blast to push him away from her, the blast is so strong that Yoichi is slammed against a tree, Nephra's blast is a bit surprising to him and he is furious that she used demonic power on him as he rushes towards her and shouts, "You foolish wench!!" as he raises his hand to slap her but it is stopped in mid strike by Katsuro who tightly grabs hold of Yoichi's arm, flipping him over and body slamming him to the ground. Katsuro says angrily and loud, " How DARE you attempt to harm her or any woman?!!" Yoichi is in much pain as the body slam to the ground combined with the slam against the tree causes his back to throb. He stands with difficulty and says, "To hell with you and that pathetic woman!!" he leaves heading back into the castle. Nephra thanks Katsuro, "Thank you for defending me. I can't believe how different the two of you are." Katsuro explains, "It pains me to fight my brother I can never use my best abilities in fear that I may wound him badly but when I saw him attempt to hurt you, I suddenly didn't care anymore." Katsuro thinks he is falling in love with Nephra but he does not express those feelings to her.
One week passes and the day has come for Nephra to make her choice. She is excited that the Northern ruler has sent a message to her family in the West informing them to come out for the wedding, she knows they will be there shortly to see her. When they arrive Nephra is so happy to see everyone, the Northern ruler has a huge feast prepared and servants wait on Nephra's family hand and foot. Nephra takes Zephra up to her quarters and shows her all the lovely things that the Northern ruler has given her so far, lovely dresses and jewels. Zephra looks at all this and says, "Wow...maybe I should have taken this deal." Nephra laughs as she say, "I guess it's not so bad." They suddenly hear a knock causing Nephra and Zephra to both look and Yoichi is standing there in the door of her resting quarters he exclaims, "Good day ladies, Nephra...this must be your lovely sister." He takes Zephra's hand and kisses it softly as he continues, "How beautiful." Nephra introduces them, "Zephra this is Yoichi, The Northern rulers oldest son." He continues to speak with Nephra, " I am sorry about the way things were left between us the other day. It's just that you are so lovely and perfect I feared that you would not have me. I only wanted to impress you Nephra. I hope you will choose me for your husband and I will do my best to make you happy." He leaves the quarters and Zephra comments, "He is gorgeous, I can hardly wait to see the younger brother." Nephra explains, "Don't be fooled by his shine Zephra, Inside he is dull and dark, trust me...this is the nicest I've seen him be and that's only because today is the day I choose." Zephra helps Nephra put on a beautiful wedding gown and assists her in fixing her hair in a lovely style as they both make their way down to the throne of the Northern ruler where the family and many other guests of the North are awaiting the wedding ceremony. As she approaches the throne, Zephra goes and stands near her brother Heroshya while Nephra goes and stands in front of the demon ruler of the North. Zephra and Heroshya notice the two brothers standing there, one handsome and the other as a beast. Heroshya leans in and quietly says to Zephra, "It's pretty obvious who she's going to choose. What was all the hold up anyway?" Zephra replies also quietly, "I guess he had to give each son a fair chance but still, it doesn't seem like much of a competition." Nephra stands in front of Horotoshi as he asks her, "Have you made your choice?" Nephra says, "I have and I am ready." Everyone waits in anticipation of her answer as Horotoshi asks her, "Which one of my sons do you take for husband? Who shall be heir to my throne?" Nephra replies, "I have spent time with both of your sons, I have gotten to know them very well and I've decided to choose Katsuro as my husband." There is a rush of gasps and whispers though out the crowd as they are shocked that she has chosen the demon of true form. Yoichi is extremely appalled as he yells out, "What!! She must be ill, This can't be right!!" The Northern ruler is a bit surprised himself as he double checks, " Milady, are you sure that Katsuro is your choice for husband? Once the choice is made final you will not be able to change your mind and take the other instead." Nephra replies, "I am very sure of my choice. Katsuro will make me a fine husband. He is kind, respectful, gentle and he holds an emmense inner beauty that I have never seen in anyone before. " Yoichi is disgusted and directs a mean comment to his brother, "You can have that pathetic half breed, she is beneath me." He turns to storm out and as he does Heroshya uses his finger whip snapping him in the back of the head swiftly and turning back around before he can figure out what hit him. Yoichi holds the back of his head and looks around angrily not knowing what just happend as he turns and storms out even more angry. Zephra and Heroshya both smirk and glance at each other. Horotoshi replies out loud, "Very Well...we will commence with the wedding ceremony for Nephra and Katsuro!!" Just then Sesshomaru walks up and requests, "Horotoshi, I wish to challenge you for my daughter's freedom." Horotoshi replies, "Lord Sesshomaru, That will not do, I already have your daughter how would battling you benefit me? ..... unless....." Sesshomaru listens on as Horotoshi continues, "If you lose, I still keep your daughter and you must be willing to submit your empire to fight for me whenever I call, I can always use the extra forces." Nephra shouts out, "No father!!" Sesshomaru ignores Nephra and replies to the Northern ruler, "There is no sacrafice too great for my family, I will agree to your terms....however if I WIN, Nephra goes free." Heroshya, Zephra and Rin are all in shock, they had no idea what Sesshomaru was planning. Just then Katsuro finally speaks up, "A battle will not be necessary, I will not marry Nephra." Horotoshi is angry as he yells out, "WHAT!!!" Everyone in the audience waiting for the wedding to begin cannot believe what is happening and they listen on as Katsuro repeats, "I will not marry her. Nephra has kept her part of the bargin and she has made her choice however I am refusing the marriage. I set her free." Horotoshi screams, "YOU FOOL!! WHO WILL I GET TO MARRY YOU NOW!!!" Nephra goes to Katsuro and takes his hand as she asks, "Are you sure about this Katsuro? You are giving up the throne." He explains, "I want you to be free, I want you to marry for love not because it was arranged for you. I care for you too much to have you living in such a way with me." Nephra reaches up and kisses Katsuro on the face as she say, "You are a wonderful friend and I will always remember you for this. Let's remain friends and visit each other." Katsuro agrees as he directs her toward her family, Nephra removes her vail and tosses it as a way of showing her freedom as she runs to her family and they all embrace her. Sesshomaru leaves with his family all together again and everything back to normal as they head home to the empire. Katsuro feels sadness that he still may not have the crown nor will he have a beautiful woman like Nephra as a wife. He thinks that she was one of a kind, there could be no other like her. Most females are turned off by his beastly look and will judge him before getting to know him. If only there were a way that he could have a woman see him from the inside first allowing her to ignore his outter appearance as Nephra had the ability to.
One afternoon, as he is walking back to the castle of his father, he sees a beautiful young woman but she seems deeply distressed as he asks her, "Excuse me, Is there something wrong? May I help you?" She replies, "I'm lost, I've been wandering here for some time now. I really must get back home." Katsuro informs, "I know my father's lands well, I will be happy to guide you." She is most appreciative as she faces him, "Oh thank you, You are very kind." Katsuro notices that the girl is a demon and she looks to be blind. She confirms his suspicion as she says, "Please, may I take your arm? I am void of sight." He offers his arm as they begin walking and talking. She tells him that she lives in the Northeastern region now but she used to live in the Southern lands where her father once ruled until he was overthrown by the demon who is currently ruler, she continues, "When I was princess, I had servants guide me everywhere but now I have to travel about on my own." Katsuro provides a solution, "I am sorry to hear of your troubles, I would be happy to escort you anytime you need assistance." She replies, "You are such a gentleman and so kind. You're probably very strong and handsome as well." Katsuro laughs and responds, "If real beauty comes from with in, then I suppose I am." They continue walking along arm in arm.