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Chapter Three: Goki, Kurama and Hiei

Keiko sat on a swing in the playground, meditating. Botan had informed her of the treasures stolen and the demons who stole them. She was now trying to locate the three demons with her new powers.

It was surprisingly easy. Two of the youki were muted, but the third one was flaring out like a beacon. The demons entered a patch of woods not far from where Keiko was. Silently, masking her aura, Keiko followed them into a clearing. She took in the situation.

The youki Keiko had followed belonged to a big hunk of a guy, her trained eyes identified him as an oni. It must be Goki, 12 previous convictions, demon soul-eater with stupendous strength. In his hand he held the Rapacious Orb, a soul collecting device.

Next was a short guy with hair that stood straight up. Keiko couldn't identify what sort demon he was, but there was a crackle of fire in his youki that made her wary. Hiei, no previous convictions. He held the Conjuring Blade, a sword that can turn its victims into demons.

The last demon was the most mysterious one of all, in fact, Keiko wasn't quite sure that he was demon at all. He appeared to be a red headed boy about Keiko's age, wearing the purple gakuran of a rather prestigious school, Meiou. While the boy's aura was definitely youkai, he had the body of a full human. What puzzled Keiko most though was his expression. While Hiei seemed power hungry and Goki just plain hungry, this boy looked wistful, almost sad. Kurama, no previous convictions, elusive. He held the Mirror of Darkness, an object of great power that could grant any wish under the light of a full moon.

Kurama seemed to be trying to leave with the mirror, Goki charged at him. Thinking it best to have them finish each other off, Keiko continued to observe behind the bushes. Kurama reached into his hair at the nape of his neck and brought out a blood red rose. At the twitch of his hand, the rose became a long thorny whip, and Goki's head was sliced clean off. Keiko, who wasn't used to seeing such butchery, whimpered slightly.

"Are you still going to stop me, Hiei?" asked Kurama calmly.

"Che." Hiei belted the sword and stuffed both hands into his coat pockets. "You don't interfere with my business and I won't interfere with yours. But first, why don't we get rid of the eavesdropper who's been tailing us all this time?"

Keiko gasped as both demons turned in her direction. Not wanting to be caught out, she walked out from behind the bushes herself.

"I'm the new Reikai tantei," she announced, hoping to scare them into surrender (though it was highly improbable they would). "I'm here to retrieve the stolen treasures. Before I do, there's something I want to ask you two."

Kurama, who was on the verge of leaving and Hiei who had been about to strike, paused.

"Do you know anything about a boy named Urameshi Yusuke? He's about my age, black hair, brown eyes"

Hiei's eyes widened minutely, Kurama didn't react at all.

Hope filled Keiko. "Hiei-san, do you know Yusuke?"

He ignored her question. "Tell me your name." he commanded.

Desperate for information, Keiko told him. A strange emotion entered Hiei's eyes, making them a fraction softer. "Yusuke is alive, I last saw him a year ago."

Keiko noted Hiei's use of Yusuke's first name. "Are you friends with him?"

"No." Hiei avoided her gaze. "Merely acquaintances."

Kurama shifted.

"Please don't leave, Kurama-san." Said Keiko politely. "I still need to retrieve the treasures."

Kurama regarded her with unreadable chlorophyll eyes. "I just need to borrow the mirror until the full moon next week, then I'll return it and receive any punishment from Reikai without complaint."

The boy sounded so pleasant and agreeable that Keiko couldn't help but trust him. "Alright. You go to Meiou, right? I'll come for the mirror on the day of the full moon."

Kurama smiled gratefully and disappeared into the shadows. Hiei threw the Conjuring Blade at Keiko's feet the moment Kurama was gone.

"You can have that, but only if you help me find my sister."

"Your sister?"

Hiei was gone before the last word left her mouth. Shrugging, Keiko called Botan using the compact. Capricious Orb and Conjuring Blade: recovered. Keiko recounted to Botan what had happened. In addition she requested for Hiei and Kurama not to be apprehended; Kurama because he's just so nice, Hiei because he knew Yusuke, and well by the sound of it. She was curious about the sister part too, Keiko felt a strange connection with the black haired midget; both of them were searching for people that were important to them.

Next week, on the day of the full moon, Kurama took Keiko to see his 'mother', Minamino Shiori. The gentle woman was dying of cancer.

"I am Yoko Kurama," said the redhead quietly on the rooftop, "a renowned fox demon thief in Makai. A few years ago, I ran afoul of a bounty hunter. Weak and close to death, I turned into my spirit form and escaped to the Human World, where I took over the fetus in that woman's womb before it acquired a proper soul."

Kurama drew in a long, shuddering breath. "Though this body was born fully human, it was changed by my spirit, by the time I was ten, this body had become fully demon. I had planned to leave by then, but that happened … … Do you remember the scars on her arms?"

"Yes," Keiko could remember. The beautiful elder woman's forearms marred by grotesque scars. "They looked old."

An art class. A slip. The tinkling of broken plates. A scream. And red, red blood.

A smile.

"I tried to leave her many times after that, but she wouldn't have been able to live without my support. My 'father' had already died a long time ago. Why did I feel this way? I was a demon with no heart.

"Then, she became ill, terribly ill. All doubts vanished; I was a child who loved my mother." Kurama smiled at Keiko. "I think you know why I want the mirror now."

"To save your mother." Keiko nodded. Kurama was a loyal son (unlike that other bastard who left without a goodbye), she could respect that. "I heard that there's a price you have to pay for the wish. What is it?"

"My life."

"Shuichi-kun! It's your mother, she's gone into a critical state!" a middle aged man wearing round glasses came rushing onto the roof. Kurama was gone in an instant. Keiko arrived at the ward just in time to hear the doctor say "… may not survive the night."

Kurama ran back to the roof top, this time with Keiko close behind him. The yoko placed the Mirror of darkness in the moonlight. Immediately, dark energy pulsed from the glass. An image of Shiori-san being happily embraced by the man Keiko saw earlier appeared in the mirror.

"This woman's health and happiness, is that what you want?" a hair raising voice vibrated from the mirror.

"Yes."

"No!" Keiko cried. She couldn't let Kurama die, not like this!

The energy from the mirror wrapped around Kurama, sucking away his life force. Keiko's body moved faster than she could think, thrusting her hand into the energy and forcing it to take from her as well. Something small burst out of her book bag and entered the energy as well.

"What are you doing?" demanded Kurama.

"If it takes some of my life force, it won't have to take all of yours, right?" Keiko's eyes blurred, all she could see was Atsuko-san's face the day Yusuke disappeared. "Do you know what it feels to lose your son? No woman should have to go through that!"

The breath rushed out of Keiko in one go and she fainted dead away.