Then, they all left. Yukina, as politely as possible, while the other guy as impolite as usual. She brushed her arms. Goose bumps were appearing. She shivered, remembering she was drenched. She had to go home, where Shiori will give her another dress to warm her up. But before she could leave, fogs appeared and surrounded her.
The next thing she saw was her lord on a dark cloak, his feet enveloped by fog. He drew near her, and all of a sudden, her chill vanished. The fog seemed to warm her comfortingly. But Kentaro's head hung, looking solemn. Yumiko swallowed, not making a move.
"Ayane," he called her. The fogs formed a protective shield between them and Ningenkai. "Favor, please?"
"Yes, shujin?" Ayane shuddered, this time, more in fear, than in her chill. She dropped to her feet. her forehead almost touching the ground. Her master sounded calm, as usual, but unusually calm.
"I want you to recite your vows, the vows you recited long ago. "
"Why?" Yumiko raised her head a little to steal a glance at her master.
"Just do it," he snapped rigidly. Their gazes locked. Yumiko looked down immediately, caught in the act of stealing a glance at him, the normal color of her cheeks evolving to a dark shade of rouge. She did not know how to react to him after what had happened the previous time they met.
"Yes, shujin." She shut her eyes, trying to remember her vows. Almost unconsciously, she began to speak. The wind began to blow harder and harder "I, Ayane , being your slave, am vowing to submit my self unto you, my master Kentaro, to do your every will ,to fulfill your every desire and to be what you want me to be. This vow is all upon my honor, dignity, principles and my blood for I am nothing no one without you. I am entirely yours --"
"As I am yours ," Kentaro cut in. Walking to Yumiko, he knelt to her and scooped up her chin, staring at her face until she opened her eyes in surprise.
"As you are mine," Yumiko went on, her gaze locking at Kentaro's as he caressed her cheeks.
"And this vow is binding us as one with nothing to prevail and nothing has the endowment to separate us from each other, in wherever world or whatever time we may be, for this vow is for eternity," they chorused.
Kentaro looked Yumiko at deep in her eyes for a long time. He planted a soft kiss on her cheek and whispered, "Please live with your vows, Ayane. Don't fail me."
Yumiko remained immobile, shocked.
It was only now that she understood the real meaning of the vow she had
sworn and she could neither believe it nor accept it. But she just had
to. She could not risk it, knowing Kentaro's personality. She had said
those vows in order to save herself. Because they were not one, who could
have known what Kentaro would have done to her?? Too early said unknown
but known too late. Nodding, she tried concentrating on her master's eyes
hopelessly. But before she could say anything, he disappeared.
He saw Michiko walked to him, her head bowed, her hands neatly crossed before her. Her hair was a mess and so was her uniform , but she still managed to look lovely. Sayuri's always lovely, Sasaki fumed admiringly to himself. Even though she had shifted to another body, she was able to retain her charm, the one which had attracted Sasaki, the trademark of Sayuri which captured his heart. He jumped from the tree where he sat after Yomi had left him to welcome the girl coming his way. She did not look surprised nor irritated by his sudden appearing.
She knew I'm coming. Her reiki is back! The old Sayuri is back!
He grinned as he welcomed her, but she just raised her brow in acknowledgment. She gave a little astonished face in seeing him without his helmet. He retained his grin. The last glint of the sun's light finally rested under the ground, paving the way for the half moon that shed Ningenkai its consoling light. Despite all the darkness, he could see clearly her cerulean eyes which looked calm but distant. Sasaki leaned back to the tree, as she stood restlessly in front of him, looking down. He knew she was having a hard time starting a conversation, unable to speak the words out. Then, she began to look up, her gaze leaping from one branch of tree to another.
"What is it, Sayuri?" he asked her. He knew , just by looking at her sapphire eyes that something was up ,something she could not bring herself to say. He took her chin and gyrated her face to his.
She gulped for sometime, clearing her throat. She was obviously tensed. Sasaki cramped his hands.
What could have happened when Yomi came?? "Hi- hi-hiro, I -"
He put a hand on her shoulder. "What is it, Sayuri?"
She fixed her eyes again on the ground, and when she looked up, she brushed his hand off and stomped, turning her back at him. "I can't do it, Hiro." She spun to him, and dropped to the ground , frustrated.. She began to cry, he knew, even when he failed to see through the brown mane that flowed as a curtain to shield her face. "I can't do it, Hiro. Just kill me. I -- " Her voice trailed off. She was crying.
He did not react to her words. He knew something like that would follow. He had been expecting for her to say that. Before, she was too in love and made a promise. Now, she was too in love to keep a promise. He punched the tree behind him angrily. He was getting sick of that Urameshi winning everything, taking everything form him. I'll kill him , I swear! Nevertheless, he decided to be patient and just see the good side of everything bad and let his mind, not his anger, rule him.
"I love him, Hiro. I don't love you anymore!" she confessed.
That triggered Sasaki's fury. His eyes widened with rage. Oh, no. I have not been expecting that! He knelt to her and took her chin. "Nani??"
She opened her mouth to explain. "I'm sorry I can't keep my promise, Hiro, I- I'm -"
He clutched her chin harder. "You - you -" was all he could say. He was dying to lay hands on that Urameshi kido. His hand shook with rage.
Michiko trembled with fear. She had scarcely seen that great ire that came to her ex-lover's face. And when she did saw, it never failed to scare her. Hiro had a bad temper, like a volcano which erupts without warning. She handed him back the dagger which she kept inside the pocket of her skirt. "Just kill me, Hiro. I know I hurt you, but you could never teach a heart with a dagger."
He stared at the dagger she was handing him. "I hate you, Sayuri --"
"I know ---"
"HOW COULD YOU?!"
She shook her head. "I don't know!!!!"
He snatched the dagger from her without releasing her chin. He smashed the ground angrily with his other hand, then released her. She kept her gaze on the ground, still trembling. He was not the same Hiro she had known. She tried to look for answers that swarmed in her head. It was very hard to believe it was really him, Hiro, her lover, her only happiness. Now, he was not her happiness at all, but her grief and sorrow. Is he just some shape shifter sent by the underworld to make my life miserable? Who is this Hiro I'm talking to?
He stood up, dusting his hands on his thighs without a word. Winding his head to different directions, he seemed to be sensing something which he was unwilling to share. She stood up too, wiping her tears. He turned his back on her. Silently, she touched his shoulder. "Hiro, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to --"
Her apology was cut off as he pushed her hand off as he turn, withdrawing a boomerang that caught Michiko on her wrist, sending her to slam against a tree just behind her. She looked at him, shocked. Her wrist was not bleeding at all . The tips of the steel boomerang was loosely planted on the bark of the tree , giving a cautious distance for her wrist and the blade. "Hir -" He crossed his arms over his chest, every bit of his emotion disappearing. His anger was replaced by a smirk and his eyes showed nothing but wicked mirth Michiko feared. She tried to reach for him with her other free hand, but he threw another boomerang that confined her arm to the tree.
"Hiro, please --" She looked from boomerang in clasping her to him helplessly, then she gasped in realization. "Gosh, Hiro! You could not be the one who was attacking Miyuki!!"
A sneer came to his face. "Yes, Sayuri, I was the one. I am the one."
He drew nearer her in a few sinister strides. Michiko held her breath. He was not Hiro at all. He had changed, not the Hiro she had loved. How could I have been so blind? He came so near her that she felt his breath on her face. He held her waist, staring at her eyes. He kissed her lips, but she tried to shake him off. "Hiro please, no!!"
Laughing, he held her chin once more. "You don't want me? Fine! But I want you." He took her head and pulled it to his, feeding her lips with his kisses. She refused him, trying to get her hands free . The blade sliced on her skin that drove her to stop. She kicked him with her foot. "Stop it, Hiro!" she managed to say.
He lifted his lips from hers and met her eyes. "You don't really want me, or do you? Fine, fine, really." He squeezed her cheeks with his hand.
She glared at him angrily. "No, I don't. "
He made a face. "It's fine , Sayuri. I don't care how you feel. Not anymore that you don't feel anything for me." He laughed loudly and menacingly.
"Why do you keep making my life miserable ? And why get Miyuki in all of these?" she screamed at him.
He grimaced. "Mind your own business!"
"Miyuki is my business!" she snapped.
"Oh, really? Are you her lover too?" he snapped back.
"What if I say yes?? Does it bother you?" Michiko shot again.
"No not all! I've never been so happy !!" he retorted heatedly. Michiko shut up, flaring at him. He began looking up again on the trees as though he was seeing something briskly moving. "What the --"
"Shut up!" Then he watched her, a
glint growing in his eyes. He laughed wickedly as a plan formed in his
"You were right, Genkai," Yukina said to the older woman, her brows furrowed. "But why do you think are they going to fight?" She leaned down and threw the fire woods she had gathered in her arms to the center where three medium size stones where sitting .
Genkai shrugged silently as she picked up a wood. "I don't know. It's only Hiei who can tell us what and why."
"Well, what do you think?"
Genkai focused her attention to the woods she was collecting, but she stopped in hearing her question. "I think, judging from the way they look, they're going to butcher each other." She dropped down again, picking up more woods.
Yukina stood still, thinking. "Uh, Genkai, do you think one of them - er -one of the two is my brother?" She had explained to Genkai how she saw that Hagire Nishimoto hanging out with Michiko and had invited the two of them to the gathering. She knew Genkai's words always make sense and had trusted it.
Genkai went on with her work, feeling Yukina glancing at her back questioningly, waiting for her answer.
If only I could tell you, Yukina.....
But she kept her mouth shut. "Maybe,"
she answered casually ignoring the younger girl's doubting red eyes. There
were reasons, some of which Genkai knew and understood, few she knew of
but failed to understand and most of which she did not know at all. Hiei
is mysterious as a dark night. She heard Yukina walk on again , her feet
crunching on some dried leaves and fallen branches.
They were both silent. The insects chirped noisily and the breeze was cold against their skin. After some time, Genkai noticed they had gathered enough firewood to keep them lit until the gathering ended. They piled up the wood to the center and more stack of the fire woods to one side just adjacent to a tree. Yukina had picked up a good location within the grove -- just neighboring the riverbanks.
Yukina sat down first with a sigh. She drifted her gaze from one tree to another with that familiar hopeful spark visible in her big ruby eyes, like a child who was wishing on a well with her hands neatly folded in a prayer-like manner. Only the rays of the moon and the bright stars that jewel the sky like beads of sweat on Kazuma's face welcomed her sight. Her spirits were beginning to sink to the tips of her toes. Will not my brother ever come? Her mind was muddled with perplexity as she had tried to give possible explanations as to why her brother had not shown himself to her. But all seemed senseless enough when she stares out at the open sky, her eyes lowering like her being every second. She had always been wishing upon the biggest star she spotted every time she had the chance to admire the night's magnificence, yet her wish remained a wish. Understanding became harder and harder every time she saw the stars glittering splendidly, making her wish she was witnessing it with her beloved brother.
Genkai brushed her hands together, scrutinizing the place. Of all the times Yukina sat like that, she had that impulse to speak up and just spill the beans with out regards to the consequences. She could clearly perceive what was written on her head. Even Kazuma was anxious to know his expected brother-in-law. That brother Yukina had in mind was every inch the opposite of Hiei in one way, and so similar to him in another. Genkai raised a brow to herself. But for one thing, he is mysterious, mysterious as Hiei.
He was the fire that had such a brilliant light as the night.
How ironic. He remains unseen despite his great light. Or, maybe it was for good. Hiei never ran out of reasons. He shows himself only to those who were worthy enough to be shown to. But Yukina......?
"Let's go back to the temple, Yukina,"
Genkai suggested." They'll be here in no time."
"Kazuma! Minamino is here!" Shizuru
yelled after seeing Kurama standing politely by the door. He was in street
clothes under a dark blue leather coat that contrasted his bright emerald
eyes. Beside him stood another girl who appeared to be fidgety, shifting
from one foot to another uncomfortably, not letting a minute pass without
looking down to check her watch . She had golden eyes and cherry hair that
was darker than Kurama's by some hue. Hmmm. Familiar...... Shizuru heard
a dim answer from Kazuma's room. She beamed at both of them sympathetically,
rolling her eyes cracking her brain. Ahh, yes. The girl in the pagoda.
some days ago. The celebrity girl. "Ne, Shuichi, I didn't know Miyuki is
The other girl did not say a word of protest or maybe was too hooked up in her watch to hear what Shizuru had said. Kurama reddened a bit, shaking his head in denial. "No, no Shizuru. Just a friend."
Shizuru swung the door impatiently , dusting her pink blouse lightly. She was clad with blue jeans, a blue and red bonnet adored her brown hair and a white jacket that hung some inches below her waist. Her brown hair was on its usual stroke , waving neatly to one side of her head. Making a face, she sent Kurama one meaningful glance after inspecting the other girl with her big dubious eyes.
"Really, Shuichi." She raised and lowered her brows repeatedly with a knowing smile. Turning her face from Kurama, she peeped out to the direction of Kazuma's room. "What the hell is taking you long, Kazuma?" she barked irritably.
Kurama spun to Miyuki and was about to ask her to help him explain to Shizuru, but to his surprise, she was not listening. She glanced from her watch to everything about her uneasily, like a boy waiting for his date. "What's bugging you, Miyuki?"
An assuring grin came to her lips. "Nothing. I'm fine. Don't worry about me."
Kurama nodded, but was not persuaded. He knew something happened before he reached the pagoda, but Miyuki would not tell. She just cried and cried on his chest, not saying a word. Finally, he was able to lead her to his house by making her stop her tears, expecting Miyuki would tell him everything that was disturbing her. But as he bandaged her finger, she remained silent. He was getting worried. Miyuki was almost bandaged all over , but nothing would make her speak up. The only thing he could do was to be shoulder to lean on.
"Wow! Miyuki Sakuwa!!" Kazuma boomed gleefully as he came to the door catching everybody's attention. He rarely fail to attract everybody's attention when he opens his mouth. "I just saw your face in the paper today. Again."
"You did?" Shizuru's nagging was cut off by her brother's comment. She gave a questioning look. "Oh, yeah. Why, Kurama, your girlfriend is beating you in the popularity contest, huh?" She grabbed Miyuki's hand and shook it, saying polite greetings and introducing herself cordially once again.
Kurama opened his mouth to protest,
but seeing nobody was interested to listen, he shut it in defeat.
Kazuma's lips formed to a mischievous beam. "Ah, why didn't you tell me your involved with a celebrity, Shuichi? How long have you two been involved? You guy didn't mention a thing to me when we wer last together!" Entwining two of his fingers, he held it out to Kurama at the same time , slapping him on the back for encouragement, saying, " That's the way, Shu-chan!! Go for it!!!! I know you can do it!!"
Kurama sighed, but managed to steal
a glance at Miyuki who was unable to hide her puzzlement. He observed his
surrounding. The evening came so briskly that stars already inhabited the
vast sky which was already dark. "C'mon, guys. We'll be late." He shrugged
Kazuma's hand lightly.
Shizuru slapped her forehead. "Omigod!! I forgot! I invited Keiko to the party !! She's expecting me to come over!!"
Kurama gave Shizuru a dry look. The
Kuwabara siblings was driving him nuts. Yusuke should be preparing himself
for explanations. He couldn't imagine Keiko attending a sorrowful farewell
gathering for her rival. But he decided to leave everything to Shizuru.
After all, she invited Keiko and she was all to blame if anything happens.
But a voice in his mind was yelling, 'You invited Shizuru!'. He glowered.
Look on the brighter side -- Keiko might be the same caring and kind-hearted
person to accept Michiko!! He watched Kazuma's sister head back inside
to phone Keiko and warn her of their arrival. Then, the four of them headed
for the Yukimura ramen shop in one row.
Yumiko stood up, seeing everything dark.
Are my eyes deceiving me?
She couldn't believe the sun had set to give way for the night. Things happened so fast she barely noticed the sun setting. So bad. That was her favorite part of the day, when the sun sinks down to the earth, illuminating so many different colors ,of different hue, different tint, different shade, but all working harmoniously producing such a beauty to behold. She glanced up, and balled her hands into a fist. The moon was full, as round as full. It implies that............
She was actually thinking of going home to Shiori to change clothes, but the moon discouraged her. Kentaro's ancestors had regarded the full moon as a good omen with much regard to their meals. It was said that the moon sets their beings free, so that it caused her ancestors to rejoice at the sight of full moon grinning after them. To her, however, the moon was not. It was the time she could feel herself losing her self control, being eaten by her hunger and thirst. Because of that, she depended greatly on Kentaro , the only sole creature who could wipe her hunger away with his kisses. She shivered, remembering what happened not so long ago. She was not that hungry, but she distrusted herself. She decided to go back to the pagoda in her moist garments, trying to rub her chills off by brushing hands on her arms.
The paths was shadowy, and she was not even certain which of those paths would lead her to the temple. Nonetheless, she went on, headed to one path without much regard for her safety. She was too tired to care for that. As much as she hated to admit it, she knew the only one who could help her was Kurama. So she headed for him, lacking any concern for his reaction. If he strikes to kill her, she would not refuse him at all. She hated the order her master just commanded for her to do, and dying was her only way out and remain faithful to both sides : Kentaro and Koenma.
The path had some thorny vines ending it, but she did not halt in her steps. She was seeing some light just few meters away, and no doubt it was Genkai's temple. She sliced her way through, bruising her arms. All she wanted right then, that very minute, was to die.
Botan and Koenma reached Genkai's temple at quarter to seven. No one was there yet to accompany Genkai and Yukina and they were the first.
"Kombanwa ," Botan greeted in her usual merry voice as they entered. Yukina grinned in seeing them. They were both in their usual Reikai clothing : Botan on her pink kimono and Koenma on his red-blue-white outfit.
"Good evening to you too!!!" she hailed back cheerfully. She stood up and walked over, to welcome them.
Anxiously, Koenma looked around. "Can we be of any help?" he inquired courtly at Genkai and Yukina as they walked in.
Genkai shook her head. "No, thank you. Everything is fine."
Botan sat next to Koenma on the floor, flying her eyes around her. Everything inside Genkai's temple stayed the same. There was no trace of change or a bit warning to inform there will be a gathering. "I thought there's a gathering," she whispered to Koenma, leaning closer to him.
"There is, but not here," pointed out Genkai who sat herself across the vast chamber beside Yukina.
"Oh," Botan mumbled in comprehension.
They had a little talk on where Yukina had planned to have the gathering
-- right in the middle of the woods where the wind was cold and the moon
was shining. Botan felt herself pitying the green haired girl. She could
clearly recognize some other reasons as to why Yukina picked that place,
but kept quiet. She knew if she did not, a katana will be pointing to her
throat in split second. There were times that Botan had to speak, and there
were times she had to shut up. Just then came Kurama, Kazuma, Shizuru,
Miyuki and Keiko (much to the four's surprise!). They fell silent as the
five came in. Botan exchanged querying looks with Yukina across the room,
but the latter did not fail to greet them as courteous as possible. Gradually,
the silence decreased as each found someone to talk to. Kurama introduced
Keiko to Yukina.
Kazuma was busily annoying Kurama, but in remembering Yukina, he quickly transferred his attention to her. His obnoxious eyes were suddenly shimmering with hearts as he noticed her. He sat down immediately next to her, much to Kurama's relief. Only, Shizuru was still bugging Miyuki and had not told Keiko what the gathering was all about. Keiko sat down beside him and nudged him silently. "Shuichi, what is the gathering for?" she asked. She was evidently innocent and Shizuru had not fed her with any information. Then, he almost punched himself. He had not told anything to Shizuru or to her brother. They , more likely, did not know anything. He crept a glance at the two. Well, looks like they're not interested either!!
Shizuru, who was talking to Miyuki some feet from them, turned, one brow raised. "Yeah, Shuichi. I forgot to ask you. What the bloody heck's gathering for?" she asked loudly. Everybody became silent, except for Kazuma who held Yukina's soft small hands in his, looking in her eyes like a hungry wolf.
Kurama turned from Shizuru to the
imploring eyes of Keiko, his throat very dry. He could feel many eyes boring
to him. Botan shifted in her seat uneasily. Koenma concentrated his attention
in massaging his thighs. Yukina clasped at Kazuma's hands without a word.
Genkai stayed the same. But what caught his eyes was Miyuki, looking down
at her hands, as though she was not hearing or seeing anything. She was
there physically, but not mentally. It seemed like she had bigger problems
to face, a lot bigger than the lump in Kurama's throat. It pained Kurama
to see the usual happy Miyuki replaced by a sad one.
It was always hard to have to hurt a lady. But why did it always have to be him to spill everything?? Aaaaahhhh! I'll kill you, Shizuru!!! "Uh, um, well, um, Keiko --"
"I'm leaving, Keiko," Miyuki cut in suddenly through the piercing silence.
"What?" Kurama asked in bewilderment. Miyuki scarcely flunk to astonish him.
"I'll explain everything," a voice
joined. Everybody spun to the owner of the voice. Yusuke Urameshi was standing
by the door, his head hung, his fingers on the belt loop of his faded jeans.
He offered his hand to the still confused Keiko and led her outside where
he explained everything.
Michiko hid herself behind a tree, holding once again, the silver dagger in her hand. She had made a deal with Hiro : she kills this one last person Hiro wanted very badly, and he stops his aggression of Miyuki and Yusuke.
She heard a crunching of leaves, knowing
it was her victim coming. But she had no idea what or who or was her prey.
That was part of the deal. Hiro declined to tell her anything but she had
to do her work as efficiently as possible.
Pressing her body against the hard log, she held her breath. She could sense a strong ki dispelling from her target. Few viable presumptions came to her head as to what kind of creature Hiro wanted so badly but was too dastard to murder it himself. A line of sweat embedded on her brows and to her neck in defiance of the verity that the night wind was cold. The grove seemed so quiet suddenly, like all was holding their breath in tautly waiting for what was to be seen. Well, he must be somebody creepy enough to go out to the middle of the forest on a night like this! She assured herself over and over again that what she was doing was for a good cause. Through bad means, that is.
But some part of her was disagreeing, but she did not move from her position, knowing the Hiro was watching her. Although she could not feel his presence, she could feel his eyes investigating her every move, waiting for her to flunk at least one word in their deal. A thought of Hiro , the machiavellian Hiro, came to her mind that made her grip the dagger. She could not believe she had fallen madly in love with him some years ago. He's nothing but a jerk!! Not at all like the old Hiro I once knew, she reflected sadly. He's not worthy of any promises!!! She stabbed the tree with her dagger furiously. She had to do this for Miyuki and for Yusuke. Hiro had stated that he was going to forget the two if she murders this creature that was coming to her in slow strides.
Miyuki. The thought made her smile, lighting up few little stokes of hope in her heart. She knew that girl only for a few days or even just hours, but the damsel's personality had attracted her in no time. She wished, all her heart, for her happiness, remembering Miyuki holding her hand safely in hers. The last time they saw each other was when Hiro attacked her with his boomerang. Why, Hiro?! Why and how could he do something like that??? The more she thought about it, the more she was convinced it was not Hiro at all, but some shape shifters from the underworld.
Yusuke. His face widened her smile.
He loved her so much and had opened her eyes to what love really was. It
was the universal language of Ningen and demons. The sole language, and
she herself was the living proof. He was hesitating to leave her alone
to Hiro, but trusted her after she had assured him she could handle everything.
But she knew he will be there for her, no matter what, even if went a million
miles away. His heart will always be with her, hopefully, even after her
The coming noise interrupted her mind. It's about time. She prepared herself and the dagger. Sensing her victim -to-be was close to the tree, she lunged at it, dagger first.
The creature did not appear surprised. He had a long dark hair that cover shielded his face as it hung. He was on a cloak, a dark cloak which was drenched. Michiko had managed a good wound of his slender arms which bled almost immediately. But she stopped, seeing the creature not doing anything to save himself from her attacks. He just stood, his head bowed. Could I be mistaken?? Is this the creature Hiro ordered me to kill??
"Go- go-gomen nasai," Michiko stammered uncertainly.
He looked up without a word. Michiko
stepped back, but her eyes widened. It was no he but a she. The wind blew
her hair and it flowed, revealing her face . She let out a feeble smile,
her eyes sympathetic. "Yeah, it's fine."
Michiko watched her in disbelief. The other girl had said the words out so sincerely Michiko pitied her. It was as if Michiko had just walked on her shoes and it was no sweat to be walked over again. "I'm so sorry --"
Are you nuts? DO IT!! a voice boomed inside her mind. Hiro was talking to her in her mind.
She stared from the dagger to the girl , clearly befuddled. She scanned the trees for Hiro unsuccessfully. But I think I'm mistaken.......
"Do it," the girl said calmly, noticing
her murderer's confusion.
Michiko trembled, glancing at the girl. She couldn't bring herself to do harm to such innocent-looking damsel. I have to do it!!! She raised the dagger again, silently gathering her determination as she took a deep breath.
The girl walked near her, placing a hand on her shoulder, much to Michiko's profound surprise.
"Roses shall shed its petals for you."
Her words sent chills to her spine,
that left its sting for quite a while, numbing her whole body. She lost
her breath, extremely filled with shock. "Ayane," she gasped, unable to
contain her surprise. She had forgotten about that bond maid, but in hearing
the comforting words she had used to console Michiko, more of the past
came hurling back suddenly at her head and Michiko remembered the name.
How could she ever forget that girl??
The girl looked astonished. " How did you ............? "
Michiko, this time, looked even more
astonished, looking at the other girl's dark eyes. "Ayane?" It was not
coincidences at all. It was clear . No other girl, but the creature herself
. She dropped the dagger to the grasses, falling on her knees, crying.
"I'm so sorry, Ayane. I'm so very sorry. I --" She looked up, meeting Ayane's
The girl appeared to be in a state of confusion, but she narrowed her eyes as their gazes locked, and no sooner, recognition took place. "Sayuri ?"
Michiko nodded, tears falling on her cheeks, but happiness visible in her sapphire eyes. She tore her clothes, and , standing up, wrapped it around the Ayane's wounded arm which was gushing wildly with blood. Ayane remained still, shocked but gladdened. Michiko hugged her tightly after finishing tying a piece of her garments on Ayane's arm. Ayane hugged her back, but pulled away suddenly.
"So long, Sayuri. I have to go somewhere,"
she muttered silently, turning her face from her. Michiko noticed a glint
of sorrow in her eyes. She took Michiko's hands and squeezed it.
"Yes. So do I," she admitted, feeling Ayane's cold hands, hoping to warm it with hers. "But where are you going ? There's so much I have to tell you, Ayane. So many things happened."
"Me too. But I have to go to some
gathering by eight, " she narrated simply going on with her steps.
The other girl gave out a friendly grin, following Ayane. "You're going to my farewell gathering, Ayane. Let's go."
But the girl shook her head. She could sense a wave of ki nearby. "You go now, Sayuri. I'll be there."
"I understand, Yusuke," Keiko hushed at the guy whose back was turned to her. As she was listening, she felt her head falling gradually. But she finally managed to to look up and place an assuring hand on his shoulder, nodding in understanding.
She saw him hung his head, like he could not forgive himself for being infidel. "You do?" he asked meekly. A pang of guilt hit her in hearing his sincere voice, and she dropped her eyes to the ground. "Of course," she muttered .
He veered to her, and her hand fell from his shoulder. "No, you don't."
Keiko shook her head defensively, her brown hair waving around her face. "Yes, I do understand." Yusuke's eyes were deep brown in the night, yet, it was the same inquisitive Urameshi eyes that was hard to lie when you look right into it. She pursed her lips. She did understand. She offered her hand for a shake.
Yusuke stared at it. "What's that
for?" Even amidst darkness, his dumbfounded face looked so apparent.
"I'm so sorry she had to leave," she said, locking her eyes with his to show her sincerity.
He accepted her hand in his, and for some time, they just shook hands wordlessly, their shadows looming over the shrubs that isolated them from the world. "Thank you very much, Keiko." He had actually expected a slap in the face or some piercing shouts of anger with a stomp of a foot. But he probably underestimated Keiko's understanding, since she reacted completely otherwise of his expectations.
He released her hand, and headed her
back to the temple without another word.