Author's Note: Hello, again. I said I'd post the second chapter with or without reviews so here you go! No reviews yet, so I can't really comment on anything. Hope you enjoy chapter! I also changed the title and story summary. I didn't like them, so I came up with new ones.

Disclaimer: PG-rated due to a fight scene and mild prejudice (I consider it mild because it's just name calling and people being stupid). Again, I do own the story and all original characters, so please ask before using them.

"quotes" denote speech

italics denote inside thought

Chapter 2: Prejudice

The bandit stood there, shocked beyond all belief. Never in his entire lifetime had he ever planned on meeting a fabled ice wolf, and to make matters worse, his disguise had been compromised. He could not believe a mere wolf had been able to see through his guise, but this was more than a mere wolf that stood before him.

He had heard stories of how the ice wolves supposedly became extinct centuries ago during a battle with the shadow demon clan, but here before him, in flesh and blood, stood an ice wolf. He had also heard that besides their uncanny senses of sight, smell, and hearing, the ice wolves were able to see past any demonic illusion and were also able to manipulate snow and ice into formidable weapons. The bandit leader became very worried at the prospect of not living very long, that is, till he remembered that ice wolves were supposed to be extinct.

Kizoku could sense the fear in his opponent and he craved it. His demon urges had begun to rise with the smell of blood in the area and he needed some way to sedate those violent urges. He had been itching for a fight for a long time, and he was glad he had found an opponent to fight. He was just waiting for a sign to engage the demon that stood before him and rip his throat out.

The bandit leader could see his opponent meant business, but if this really was an ice wolf, he had no chance against the young wolf demon unless he could find proof that this was no ice wolf. The bandit leader let loose a haughty laugh to try and confuse Kizoku.

"Haha! Kizoku was it? Did you just call yourself an ice wolf? Haha, get your head out of the clouds, kid! Ice wolves have been extinct for centuries! Unless you've proof, go back to your pack, you mangy wolf!" the bandit leader bellowed, trying to hide his nervousness.

"I saw through your pathetic illusion, didn't I?" Kizoku chuckled. "Though I found it wasn't necessary since I could smell you're bear scent the moment I entered this village. Anyways, I'd like to know the name of the demon I plan on putting into the ground!" Kizoku said as his hand wrapped around his sword.

The bandit leader growled. No one has EVER disgraced his bear blood and lived to tell about it. He was so angry that he didn't care if his crew was watching. At that moment he began to transform into his true form as his clothes ripped to shreds, unable to contain the growing mass that they once held. With a load roar, he swung a massive paw at Kizoku.

Seeing the attack coming from a mile away, Kizoku easily dodged the lumbering attack. Another attack came from overhead, and with a quick side step, Kizoku evaded the bear demon's clubbing strike. Kizoku hopped backwards to put some distance as he began to laugh at the bear demon.

"What's so funny?!" the bear demon growled as he dangerously eyed Kizoku.

"Bear demon, I can see you're attacks coming from a mile away, I can predict your every move! You cannot best an ice wolf, no demon in existence can! Now share your name before you are forgotten in time's ebbing waves!" Kizoku shouted as he jumped high over the charging demon.

"You will be the one to die here, wolf! You're dream of being an ice wolf ends now!" the bear demon yelled as he charged at Kizoku once again.

Kizoku spun out of the way, but this time, his hand was not empty. During his spin, his sword left it's sheathe as it sliced its way through the bear demon's side. The demon howled in pain as it swung one of its paws. Kizoku ducked the incoming blow as his sword went up and cut into the demon's forearm. Kizoku quickly followed through with a stab to the demon's thigh before he jumped out of melee range.

The demon didn't need to look at his three wounds to know that he was clearly outmatched, ice wolf or not. If he didn't find some way to leave this area, he would be defeated and possibly killed. He then remembered his bandit crew. He turned towards his men as he let out a growl.

"Fools! If you do not help me, I will kill you all!" the demon shouted.

The bandits were afraid. Before them stood two demons engaged in full battle: one was the boss they once knew; the other who came to aid the villagers. They saw that their boss would have a hard time winning the fight, but if he did win and they ran, he would track them down and kill them for sure. Hesitantly, the bandits charged at Kizoku.

"Fools, do not interfere a battle you cannot hope to win!" Kizoku shouted as he reached into one of his pouches and brought out a piece of ice. Easily crushing it in his free hand, he blew the powdered ice at the charging humans who were immediately incased in blocks of ice. "Now where were we?" he asked as he returned his attention to the bear demon.

The bear demon no longer stood in front of him, but was running eastward trying to put as much distance as he could between himself and the-now-provable ice wolf. He knew that ice manipulation was a very rare ability that few demon species could perform, and that was all the proof he needed to retreat. The demon vowed revenge the next time they met as he looked back at the ice wolf.

"Well, that was a disappointment," Kizoku sighed as he sheathed his sword. "I was hoping that the fight would've been longer."

Kizoku proceeded to dust himself off, oblivious to the eyes that bore into his back. The villagers were scared out of their minds. As if the bandit attack on their village wasn't enough, two demons had a short skirmish in front of them, and one still remained. They wanted the demon to leave there village and they wanted him to leave now.

Kizoku realized that the villagers were rudely staring at him, but he only laughed. Although the last two weeks were the first outside his family's fortress, he knew that the villagers wanted him to leave. Anger and fear were emotions that were easy to recognize.

"Kitao!" shouted a little boy.

Kizoku turned in the direction of the voice and realized the voice belonged to Kohan. The child came running around a corner of a building with his mother right behind him. Kohan didn't see his silver hair and ears, only caring that his new friend was okay as he wrapped his arms around Kizoku's waist. Kiyoshi on the other hand, got a full view of Kizoku.

She didn't need to see his ears to know he was demon: humans don't have silver hair. She didn't know what to do. She knew he was the nice young man that her child introduced, but a demon was still a demon. She looked over at the village elder who wore an angered expression on his face and knew that Kizoku was not wanted in the village.

"Kitao, are you alright?" Kohan asked as he looked up at Kizoku.

"Yes, I'm alright, Kohan," Kizoku replied with a smile.

Kitao was about to smile back when he finally realized the color of Kizoku's hair as it whipped about in the wind. "Wow! Why is your hair like that?"

Kizoku laughed at the child's question. He figured the child would have realized he was a demon, but children were just as inquisitive regardless of what was shown to them. He was about to answer Kohan when a villager began making rude comments.

"It's because he's a filthy demon!" the villager shouted as he stood up.

Kohan's eyes grew wide as he looked up at his friend. Kizoku did return the look as he turned his face away. Kohan looked to his mother to see if what the villager said was true, and she nodded in agreement. Kohan released his hold on Kizoku's waist as he took a step back to fully look at his friend.

He didn't look much different in Kohan's eyes. The hair was just a different color, and the ears were pointed. He didn't see anything that warranted any anger. "If he's a demon, why hasn't he killed us yet?" Kohan asked as he looked at the villager who stood up.

"He's probably going to wait and kill us in our sleep!" a woman shouted.

"Yeah, the rotten bastard! Demon's have no place here!" yelled an elderly man.

"It was probably him who brought the bandits here in the first place! Did you see how easy he went on the bear demon? That might be working together!" a young man reasoned.

"See how doesn't speak! It must be true!" added an elderly woman.

Kizoku continued to look away as he let the villagers speak. His father had told him that he would meet such hatred and anger from humans. It had always been that way. He wasn't expecting this much hatred, though, from a village he just saved.

"So he has pointy ears and white hair. So does Old Man Hiko, but no one calls him a demon," Kohan stated in defiance.

The village elder stood up and walked towards Kohan. He took Kohan by the shoulder and turned him to face the bandits that were encased in blocks of ice. "No human can encase people in ice, Kohan. He is a demon."

Kohan's eyes widened again as he stared at the poor men trapped in their icy prisons. Kohan slowly walked over to the ice cages. He had to get a closer look at the people trapped in the ice. He tapped on the casing and saw that the bandit inside had flinched. "Will they die?" Kohan asked as he turned back towards his friends.

"Only if they stay in there for two hours," Kizoku returned as he looked at Kohan.

"Can you free them?" Kohan asked softly.

"Yes, but I do not guarantee that they will leave peacefully," Kizoku stated.

"If you're my friend, you'll let them live. I don't think you're a monster, so please let them go," Kohan asked as tears began to form in his eyes.

With a snap of his fingers, the ice cages disintegrated. Freed from their prisons, the bandits fled as quickly as they could as to not incur the wrath of the wolf demon. Kizoku looked at the sky as he proceeded to head north. He had the feeling that he was not welcomed in the village and he wanted to leave the thankless villagers far behind him. He wondered how long it would take him to reach Taijo when a hand grabbed onto his sleeve.

"Kitao, wait," came Kiyoshi's voice, "You saved our village from being destroyed, and you've to be a good friend to my son. The village may not want you here, but please, as a way to thank you, I'd be honored if you would stay at our place for dinner tonight."

Kizoku looked back onto to the face of the human who held onto his sleeve. It bore a mixed expression of guilt and gratitude: guilt from not defending her friend sooner and gratitude for saving the village. He only smiled as he placed a hand over Kiyoshi's.

"So what's for dinner, mom?" Kizoku said with a laugh.

"I'll make something special tonight. Kohan, take Kitao home and prepare some carrots," Kiyoshi instructed her son as he wiped away his tears and happily guided Kizoku back to their place.

When they were far out of hearing range, Kiyoshi turned a hateful gaze at her fellow villagers. Many returned an angry glare of their own back at the woman who asked the demon to stay. "How do you treat him like that!? Especially after he saved our village!"
"How dare you to invite him like some honored guest!? Did you forget that the bandit's killed some of our people and that a demon led them here?!" another woman screamed back.

"A demon's a demon, Kiyoshi! We can't treat him like one of us!" shouted another man.

"You were not here, Kiyoshi! An evil was in his eyes as he battled the bear demon! He only didn't kill the scum because he tried to mimic a human's code of honor when every one knows that demon's have no such thing!" shouted an elderly man.

"He didn't kill those bandits, did he?" Kiyoshi retorted.

"Only because he was your son asked him to release them from their deaths!" yelled a young woman.

"Face it, Kiyoshi! If you don't get rid of him soon, you and your son will be next!" an elderly woman stated.

"Enough!" came a loud voice from the back of the crowd. It was the father of the little girl that Kizoku had saved. He and his family made their way to the front of the crowd where they stood next to Kiyoshi. "I tried to keep quiet but I can no longer do so! Kiyoshi is right! You all should be ashamed! If it wasn't for the wolf demon, we'd all be dead. Even my daughter! But you all saw that he had saved her life, and didn't you see Kohan's face when he greeted him? Kohan, a mere child, saw through his outer shell and right into the honorable, young man that had saved my daughter and our village! And I would be ashamed if I didn't personally thank the wolf prince for his aid!"

Kiyoshi was left speechless. She was surprised that someone besides her had stepped up in Kizoku's defense. She was equally surprised when two other couples approached her in agreement. They had all asked if the could bring some of their own dishes and have a small feast at her house. She happily agreed as the couples went home to prepare their dishes. She glared one final time at the crowd as she went home to prepare for the company she would be receiving.

The villagers, though still angry, decided to put the matter to rest as they went to aid the wounded. Thankfully the bandits were a sloppy bunch as only one person was killed and the others that aided in the defense of the village were only wounded. The villagers still bore anger in their minds as the sun began to set.

Kiyoshi marveled at how Kizoku moved about the kitchen. She had never seen anyone so at home in a kitchen. Kizoku only laughed when he saw the expression on his friend's face.

"I used to cook a lot back home," Kizoku said with a smile. "When I wasn't training or studying, I was in the kitchen helping our cooks prepare meals."

"I've never heard of or seen a man, let alone a demon, so accustomed to a kitchen! I must say, I'm impressed, Kitao!" Kiyoshi praised as she prepared the fire.

"Kiyoshi, I just remembered that I haven't introduced myself!" Kizoku said with a smile.

"Hmm? I thought you already introduced yourself, Kitao?" Kiyoshi asked with a puzzled look on her face.

"Kitao is not my name. That is a nickname my mother gave me that I use when I'm just getting to know someone," Kizoku said as he wiped his hands on his apron. He stood up straight as he faced Kiyoshi. "I am the ice wolf prince, Kizoku, heir to the Northern Lands," Kizoku said with a deep bow.

"Nice to meet you, Prince Kizoku," Kiyoshi replied with a curtsey.

"Please, Kiyoshi! No titles! I hate it when people stuck titles on my name when they speak to me," Kizoku said with a laugh.

"If you don't mind, I'd like to call you by Kitao," Kiyoshi asked with a soft smile.

"I'd be honored, Kiyoshi. Not to many people use my nickname anymore and I'd be happy that a friend such as you asked to use it," Kizoku replied as he began removing the scales of a fish.

Kiyoshi smiled as she returned her attention to the fire. Kohan had returned home with more firewood so she had to make sure the fire didn't weaken so the food wouldn't be undercooked.

As she went to grab some pots, a thought had crossed her mind about Kizoku coming to the village. "Kizoku, you said you were a prince where you came from?"

"Yes," Kizoku replied as began on another fish.

"I'm not sure if you heard of one of the stories about our village, but one states that one of royal blood would break the string of bad luck on our village. The story, however, doesn't state whether the person would be male or female, demon or human. For all I know, you coming to this village was a good sign," Kiyoshi stated with another smile as she took the prepared fish from Kizoku and began cooking them in the pot.

"Really? I've never heard of that one," Kizoku said as he moved onto to a slab of meat. "That sounds interesting."

Kiyoshi nodded in agreement. Him showing up must be a good sign, she thought to herself.

Her thoughts were broken when knocks were heard at the door. Kizoku moved to answer the door for the purpose of protecting his guests. He was unaware of the three families coming to join them, and he thought the people at the door were angry villagers. With his hand on his sword, he opened the door only to find the family of the little girl he had saved.

Before he knew it, the father had him in a large bear hug. "Ah, there's our hero!" the large man said.

"Can't… breathe," Kizoku managed to say as his chest and waist were being crushed by the large man.

The large man realized he was crushing the young wolf demon and proceeded to let Kizoku go. "Sorry, my lord. I sometimes forget my own strength."

"That's alright, I have the same problem as I sometimes forget how fast I can move," Kizoku said with a laugh. "And please, no formalities. Kizoku or Kitao is fine."

"Haha, as you wish, Kizoku," the large man laughed as he offered to shake Kizoku's hand.

"Now, you don't seem as angered by my presence as the other villagers, might I ask why you have come here?" Kizoku asked although he already knew that this family had showed up to thank him.

"I came here to apologize for the way my fellow villagers acted. If it wasn't for your help, more of us would have died, including my little girl, and village would have been destroyed," the large man said as he kneeled before Kizoku.

"Please, stand up," Kizoku said as he helped up the man. "There is no need to apologize for the acts that your village shows. I am a demon after all so I was half-expecting something like this would happen if I shoved what I was. Now, tell me your name, friend."

The large man was surprised at how friendly Kizoku was that he was at a loss of words for a second. After regaining his composure, he proceeded to introduce himself and the three other members of his family. "I am called Ryoku. This is my wife, Yuki, my daughter, Akina, and my son, Kisho."

"It is nice to meet you all," Kizoku said with a bow.

"Kitao! Who's at the door?" Kiyoshi yelled from inside the hut.

"It's Ryoku, and his family," Kizoku shouted back.

"Well, let them in! They're here to join us," Kiyoshi replied.

Kizoku moved away from the door with a smile as he letRyoku and his family inside. Soon enough, the two other families showed up at the door, and before long, the feast was underway. Kizoku and the four families had such a great time, that other villagers started to show up.

Kiyoshi was furious that the villagers had some nerve to ask to join in the dinner, but Kizoku said he didn't mind and that it was her choice if she wanted them there or not. She finally decided that they could stay, but if they caused any trouble, she'd have Kizoku freeze them in ice till they had only seconds left before they died. Some villagers understood why Kiyoshi was mad, but they were grateful that the wolf prince didn't harbor any hateful feelings despite what they had said.

During the course of the feast, Kizoku had made many new friends. He found a common ground in combat and training with Ryoku, Kisho, and most of the males that arrived; he found common ground in studies with a few men and woman; and after Kiyoshi had heavily praised Kizoku's skill in the kitchen, almost all of the women never left him alone and asked him if he would prepare food in their house some time.

All in all, the night had been very eventful, and Kizoku was pleased that despite he was a demon, he had come to call Kishu a second home and he knew that the many friends he made that night, he vowed to protect Kishu even if it wasn't in his family's land. He would never let anything happen to this village, even if it meant giving his life.

Dictionary Fun:

Kiyoshi - Quiet

Kishu - Direction

Ryoku - Strength

Yuki - Snow

Akina- Spring flower

Kisho - One who knows his mind

Note: Found out the meanings for Kiyoshi and Kishu