He clenched his fist as he watched
her from the foggy mirror-like wall of his murky palace. He couldn't wait
anymore. He himself was hungry. If Ayane's hunger came to be unfulfilled,
so shall be his. For they were one, united by vows and promises along with
the scarlet past. The only way to appease his thirst was if Ayane will
drink. And if she didn't, then they'll both die. He needed to do something
quick, or if not, then his dreams shall expire. He drummed his fingers
on his metallic throne. Fogs surrounded him, and after a while, the scene
from his wall transported before him. Ayane, still on her school uniform,
was delivered from the grove to the dusky antechamber of Kentaro's palace.
She sat on the ground, gasping, her hair flowing down messily.
She looked up, surprised.
"What do you think you're doing?" he demanded dryly. His venomous stare gnawed at Ayane. "Why aren't you doing your job?"
She turned herself at his direction, crawling , then settled down with her legs politely tucked under her. She lowered her head to the ground, until her forehead almost kissed the floor. "Begging your pardon, shujin. Please forgive me for my failure."
Kentaro gritted his teeth in rage. The last creature he had anticipated to let him down was Ayane. But why? He fought back his temper and decided to pardon her. After all, she hadn't disappointed him a once since he had known her. Except this time. It was only now that she had failed him. Why be so harsh on her? She had been loyal to him ever since, never served anybody but him, offered her out most service to him, dedicated her life for him. He stood up from his chair and walked . He halted his steps before her who was bowed to the ground. He sat down and lifted her exquisite face , holding it gently. He met her eyes which was as dark as his. He had loved that face the first time he laid his eyes on it. He had died for that dark eyes that enchanted him long time ago and still did. He had worshipped those lips that endured to be as red as blood. He hated it when Enma's son had touched her cheek. No one had the right to do that but him, Kentaro. He had abhorred it when Enma's son had looked at her eyes the way that made her glow . Only he, Kentaro, her lord, should be able to do that. That Koenma was stealing away his precious slave slowly.
"What is the problem, Ayane?" He drew her face closer to his, looking at her eyes.
"I am so sorry, shujin," she whispered at him. She lowered her eyes , but Kentaro lifted up her chin even more.
"Look at me, Ayane."
She obeyed him amenably.
"I am sorry too."
Her eyes reflected much surprise that she was unable to express. She was going to bow her head once more, but he held it , refraining her form doing so. He pulled her close to him and filled her soft lips with his kiss, to which she hesitated to answer.
"You like it not, my Ayane?"
She finally agreed to close her eyes
and respond to his ardent lips that explored hers. Fogs enclosed both of
them as he undraped her slender body hastily from that piece of garbage
that tarnish her figure. He was finally assured that Ayane shall stay his,
as she surrendered herself to his kisses. And it shall be that way, no
matter what. Koenma shall not prevail.
Yukina sat at the steps of Genkai's temple and sighed. She had finished doing what she had to do and had attended to everyone who needed her help. But she needed a time for herself, with no one, not even Kazuma to interfere. She had always waited for the time that she could be alone. Alone with her brother. She had searched for him, everywhere. Dreamed about him. Until he but lingered in her mind, alive. That was what she did. She knew, deep inside, her dearest oniisan was not far away. She could feel his presence nearby that sent a warmth of hope in her disturbed soul. She will not stop. He couldn't be far, for he dwelled in her heart.
But her oniisan didn't seem to care. He might have seen her suffering, but he cared not a bit to at least approach her and tell her he missed her too. But she was an understanding person. Her brother must have his reasons not to reveal himself. If he happen to know she existed.
Love was patient. She will wait for him, even for many centuries that will come. Time was not a hinder at all. It will be a bridge that shall join their paths. Someday.
Love was suffering. There were consequences for the truth. Some harsh consequences that she must pay . And he didn't like that, for he didn't want her to suffer.
Love was absurdity. She waiting for someone who seemed not to exist at all. But her determination wasn't put to an end. For she now saw what life is all about :
To believe is to see.
Love was not only patient, not only sufferings, not only absurdity, but believing. And she believed in him.
"Hi there," a kind voice came to her merrily.
She looked up, and smiled when she saw the brown-haired lad . "Hello, Koenma," she greeted back, trying to sound as cheerful.
He sat down beside her looking far away. In fact, they were both looking away.
Koenma sighed. His vacation was going to be over. He didn't know if his break was put to waste or not. But he was exhausted, even without the paper works to bug him. The day seemed long, except for the part he spent his time with Yumiko. Time flew so past when he was with her. Then came the two idiots, Kurama and Botan. He had scolded the two for their misbehaviors. Botan, flying down from her oar in front of a school girl?! Kurama, using his whip as a tool for their 'game' they were playing !? Weird. And he lost Yumiko. Damn those two! Where is she going, anyway? Now he's alone again, with only the silence shrieking piercingly in his ears. Well, Yukina was there, beside him. So, he ain't alone. But she was quiet too, too quiet that she didn't seem to be there. All he ever heard was himself sighing. Am I being punished?? He hated to admit it, but he was missing the paper works in Reikai. Well, at least, it was much better to be busy with papers than to be busy sighing. And busy thinking of a girl who will surely not pass his otousama's standards. Her being a Ningen was already one thumb down. Things won't definitely work. He should quit dreaming, because he won't be staying in Ningenkai for long. And she didn't appear to like him, making excuses, acting like a bubble - now you see her, now you don't. He heard himself sigh once more. But, no, it wasn't him. He gyrated to the person beside him. It was Yukina . He had almost forgotten she was there. He sighed again, and caught Yukina's attention.
"What is the problem, Koenma-sama?" she asked gently, watching Koenma carefully in her red eyes.
He grinned. "Nothing. Just tired, I guess. What about you? Where's Kazuma?"
Her cheeks reddened. "I asked him ,Kurama and Miyuki to attend school. They're missing too much now."
"Miyuki is fine now?"
She nodded uncertainly. "Well, she insisted to go with Kazuma and Kurama. She must be fine. Besides, I think she's now getting along well with Kurama."
"What about Yusuke and Hiei? "Koenma asked again. He bit his lower lip. Maybe he shouldn't have asked where Hiei was. He knew the answer he was going to get. Hiei was just like Yumiko : Now you se him, now you don't.
"I don't know."
"Oh," was all he said.
There was an intermission of long silence again, both busy with their own thoughts.
"Koenma, please answer me," started Yukina again.
Koenma turned to her. "Yes?"
"Do you know who my brother is?" Hope surged in her crimson eyes. "Well, don't you? After all, you live in Reikai ….." Her voice trailed off.
A line of sweat formed in Koenma's brows. He immediately drew his eyes off her, who was looking as sweet and innocent as always. He debated with himself whether to say something or not. What she only wants is the truth, nothing more. Why can't I give it to her? But he didn't possess the truth Yukina longed for and he had no right to give it away to whoever who wanted it. But in contrast, Yukina isn't 'whoever'. Oh, man, but Hiei will kill me. But he thought again. If I want to know something about Yumiko and no one would give it to me -
But we all have our reasons. If no one would like to tell me, fine. I should respect Hiei's privacy. He'll kill me. He didn't answer for a long time, but he felt himself easing again. "I'm sorry Yukina-"
"Oh, "she mumbled in, disappointed. "It's fine."
Phew! She didn't let him finish, thank you thank you thank you thank you!!! He was going to tell her frankly he did know something but he couldn't tell her.
"Where's Yumiko?" she asked suddenly.
He shrugged. "I don't know."
She felt herself smiling. She wasn't
the only one in that same steps. Koenma was there too, like her. Waiting
for him. Waiting for her.
A silver katana sliced smoothly in the air, sending more than two trees down. The figure who held the katana in his hands stopped, breathing hard, but kept his hands firmly on the hilt of his sword. Sweat jeweled his forehead ,down to his neck and to his bare back. Without a warning, he charged himself again at one tree. The tree split into two equal halves and fell to the ground with a soft thud. Silently, he watched it, then disgustedly threw his katana at the ground.
What the hell is happening to me?
He sat down, still out of breath.
How could have he beaten me?
Some time ago, he had a fierce battle with a seemingly weak demon who wore a helmet from head to toe. They led on a tough duel that tired him. The demon had a good training. He appeared to have anticipated his next move and shielded himself quickly from his attack. He was able to level the koorime's exceptional speed. The fight had went on and went on, until finally, the assailant disappeared briskly, only to appear behind him, the tips of his sword pointing at the neck of the red-eyed lad. But he didn't strike and left quickly, so quick that he left no trace for Hiei to know which direction he had fled.
Why am I so angry anyway?
He swallowed the lump that formed in his dry throat, clenching his fists hard.
Because of Sakuwa.
It was all because of her. She had brought nothing but pain and danger for him and for whoever she goes near to. She was putting many lives in danger, including Yukina who was always taking care of her.
Those women. What do they have in common? Nothing.
But that was who, not what.
He couldn't understand it himself.
That was why he refused to tell anybody. Nobody would understand it either.
But now, he was starting to see. Sakuwa had hit him hard. In his heart.
But why her?
He gritted his teeth. He couldn't answer it himself. It was a riddle. But he knew one thing, for sure. He was willing to die for her. Because from the very start, he had loved her. Her mirth didn't disgust him at all, as he had pretended. He had hid himself, the real him, behind the dusk, for he scorned revealing his emotions. It was what he was : always hiding, always pretending. Moreover, he was also a thief. A selfish thief who stole everything for own his survival and all that his heart desires . Until his heart was stolen. He could steal no more, pretend no more, hide no more. For he was exhausted and consumed. He had fought in Mokuro's army, built her regime, slaughtered many, but inside, he himself was dying. He missed his sister so much, but the world forbid. He had his reasons and if she truly love him , she will understand. So he let her be, but still kept a protective eye on her. He knew Kazuma was there for her, but Kazuma had not the ability to fill the spaces he left in her heart. It will remain to be empty spaces that only he could fill. Then came Sakuwa, in her own jolly ways, she had annoyed him and angered him. But it was all pretenses. He had appreciated her , and later on, loved her. Their differences made them closer, although both side declined to speak. That was the way they communicate, only both of them could understand, no one else. It was another riddle. But he was tired of pretending and hiding.
How could have I failed in protecting her?
Surely, her attacker was going to come back to end her life. He couldn't stand that. He got to do something. He wished he could change the world fo her, anyhow. He was going to rebuild her world as he had built Mokuro's empire. For the better. But he had not given Mokuro his love as he was giving now to Sakuwa. He wondered why he was attracted to her. But maybe it had no reasons. It was just like that.
I can't give up.
He stood up and walked to his katana, remembering his defeat. He picked up his sword and observed it.
I am not going to lose again. I'm
going to kill him, once and for all.
"Can I be of disturbance?" interrupted Genkai at the two who was sitting calmly on the steps of her pagoda. They both looked up, mild surprise written in their eyes. The silence had provided them much concentration on their own thoughts to notice her. They both greeted her with a little smile.
"Where is Yusuke , Genkai? Had not seen him for a while," Koenma began at Genkai who was dropping to sit beside Yukina.
"He's with Michiko. She's leaving," answered Genkai impassively.
Yukina's brows wrinkled worriedly. "But where is she going?"
Genkai shook her head. "I don't know. She didn't say anything. She probably had told Yusuke by now."
Koenma drummed his fingers on his knees. "When is she coming back?"
Genkai shook her head once more. "I don't think she's coming back."
"Don't you think we should at least have a farewell gathering for her?" Yukina queried. Her voice was sad. She had just known Michiko for such a short time, but she could feel that girl was already close to her.
Just then, Yusuke's figure came into view. His head was bowed as he hiked his way to Genkai's temple. His thumb hanging from the belt loop of his jeans. His face mirrored a deeper melancholy. He just raised his brow to endorse the three's presence as he sat down beside Koenma.
Yusuke didn't speak for a long time. "She's leaving."
Yukina and Genkai exchanged looks
, but remained silent.
Koenma patted him in the back comfortingly. He had rarely seen that rueful look that inhabited Yusuke's face. He is lonely, he reflected to himself. "Would you like for us to prepare a gathering for her?"
Yusuke just shook his head lightly, his gaze concentrated on the ground. "No, you don't understand."
"We'll have a bonfire gathering tonight before she leaves," suggested Yukina, hoping to fan a flame of hope in Yusuke's morose being. But that didn't seem to help either. Yusuke was too gloomy to care.
"You don't understand," he muttered silently.
"Yeah, we don't. But we'd like to help," continued Yukina encouragingly.
Yusuke shook his head again. "Sure. Do what you want. but she won't come if I'm coming, I assure you."
The comment did not dishearten Yukina
who was already planning the gathering in her head.
"When will you do it, Sayuri?"
She just had to do it. I have to make her do it.
Her blue eyes lowered, reflecting such distress Sasaki's eyes ever laid on. He scorned seeing his beloved Sayuri look that lonely, but the concept of Raizen's son was too much for his principles. He had to fight the notion to put his arms around Sayuri to comfort her. He knew she was doing her best not to look forlorn, but he could see it in her amiable azure eyes that she was grieving inside.
The eyes of the women are the windows to their soul.
He squeezed his hands into a fist, a disgusted smirk written on his face. He had stolen my Sayuri. How dare he, son of a fucking bastard! I'm going to make him pay! He was still in a case of confusion, nevertheless, he was assured of one thing : he wanted revenge. That boy stole my girl. His father stole my life. Curse them!!!! The illusion of Urameshi suddenly swam in his still blurred head and his soul was abruptly filled with hatred and rage. I have to succeed. Furthermore, he was guilty of putting his mission - supposed to be his priority - aside. I'll kill that Sakuwa and Ayane later on. Right now, she just have to do it. Urameshi trusts her, and the only easy way is her way.
"I don't know, Hiro," she murmured softly, almost to herself. She looked up at him helplessly. "When do you intend?"
Sasaki was leaning to the tree, as Michiko sat under its shade. He crossed a leg over his knee, his gaze focusing on a nearby tree. "Soon."
The wind fondled at them, waving their hair and clothes playfully. Michiko sat as still nonetheless, refusing to amuse with the frisky surroundings. "Yes," she answered dutifully. She wanted more than anything to make Hiro happy, but she had not expected that his happiness depended on how many lives will be lost. He's not the same Hiro I used to know. The Hiro before was compassionate and a lover of life. Now he came back, as opposite as the old Hiro, who rebuked life. She was disturbed, whether the Hiro that came to her was the real Hiro her heart yearned for or just some demons or shape shifters playing games with her. Yet, his eyes - they were still the same, except for the extinct sympathy that was no longer visible in it. She couldn't believe she was listening to him, doing everything he asked. There was no other option. She had to go against her will, all for her the single promise she made when he died. I was as stupid then. She had not considered the consequences of so few little words that pursued her even after so many years. Indeed, it was but few little words, but had so much power, just as the curse of words that almost fell from her lips when she was with Yusuke. She had overlooked that power. She should have realized what might follow next. She shouldn't have let her hatred lead her life, yet that instant, she was repeating the same mistake. However, it was not her own anger, but Hiro's. She was the only person who should and could appease his anger and hatred which seemed to know no bound. But now, it all seemed that not even she could soften his solid heart which appeared to be as hard as the metal he was wearing. He was metal all over . Now, she had no choice, but mourn for what was to come. For what she had to do.
A figure came at sight and immediately, Sasaki jumped to the branch to conceal himself. He didn't know yet of what danger the newcomer could create.
"Michiko!" a charming young lass came panting. She caught up her breath, at the same time, smiled at Michiko politely. She didn't sit down with her, and instead remained standing, as though to inform Michiko she will not be staying long. "Will you come tonight? I'm going to have a little gathering," she narrated in a friendly manner.
Michiko shook her head in spite of Yukina's cheerful invitation. She just hated to disappoint Yukina, but there's no much of a choice. She belonged to Hiro now. "I can't-"
"Why, sure," cut in Sasaki ,to Michiko's surprise, jumping down from the branch. He stared at Yukina's crimson eyes for a long time. Then he gave Michiko a pointed look which stopped Michiko from asking any questions. She was gawking at him, obviously astounded at his actions, then after a while, realizing what his stare meant, she remained speechless. She shifted her eyes at Yukina, expecting to be in any state of surprise. But instead, Yukina's friendly smile didn't desert her delightful face.
"Why don't you come too, uh, Mr.-- ?" Yukina encouraged gleefully.
"Hagire Nishimoto . Sure," he answered, smiling back at her. Sasaki's eyes bore to hers as he nodded to her invitation. Her eyes. It was the eyes of the guy I fought.
"Arigatou! Come to the temple by eight." Yukina bowed to both of them, and after saying courtly good-byes, left with her same sociable manner.
"You go to school now, Sayuri," he suggested suddenly. He had to do something and he couldn't do it with her around.
She nodded in agreement, notwithstanding the fact that she couldn't concentrate at all. School might put her headaches away even for just a little time and she knew she needed a break. "Yes. I guess so."
He knelt down to her holding her shoulder, looking her at the eyes eagerly. "Do you want me to walk you to school?"
Michiko smiled at him. A mixture of sadness and surprise as well as mild happiness in hearing his kind offer. Like the old Hiro. But she shook her head. "No, thanks. I can manage."
Sasaki leaned over and planted a soft kiss on her forehead. "I'll see you around. I have business to do."
Then she turned to Sasaki. " But wait. What do you have in mind, Hiro? Do you really want to attend the gathering?"
He stood up, veering his eyes off hers. "Your promise." He grinned at her, throwing his clothes on the air to reveal his metallic garments. "I'll go now." And with that, he strode off, his long hair flowing gracefully after him.
Michiko found herself shaking her
head impotently in refusal as she watched him leave. He just hated it.
Why did I have to ask?