Disclaimer: Shaman King does not belong to me, and will never belong to me. They didn't want to sell it to me, boo hoo. 

Together, But Not Forever
written by: da*mouse

Chapter 5: Progression Amidst Confusion

Gripping his sword in his hands, the weapon already bright with the strength of the Spirit of the Sword, Yoh advanced steadily towards Faust. The doctor grinned at him, as he waved a hand. The skeleton rattled, and then steadied itself. A green light began emitting from it.

"You could have chosen the easy way and help me, Asakura Yoh. I do not need to take your lady friend's life. If only you would help me."

Yoh gritted his teeth. "Haven't you been listening to me? I would like to help you, but I can't! I can't revive the dead, for god's sake!"

Faust's face darkened considerably and a menacing frown appeared. "Then you shall entertain Eliza while I find a way to bring her back to life."

He's insane. Yoh thought frantically as he looked at Anna, held in Faust's death grip. She was still kicking and scratching but she could be lying still for all the German necromancer cared. Anna's lashes were of no use.

"Eliza!" The doctor said confidently. The skeleton jerked to life, and a deadly scythe began glowing in the bony hands.

"Amidamaru, prepare for battle." Yoh said, his voice low.

"Hai, Yoh-dono!"

With surprising speed, the skeleton – Eliza – charged at Yoh. The young shaman raised his sword to block the attack, and the scythe connected with his sword with a loud clang, and with force that he was not anticipating, Eliza twisted his sword to free her weapon, and lunged again to attack.

Yoh easily evaded again, but the two moves had already told him that Faust would not be an easy opponent, and Eliza undoubtedly was a strong spirit.  Within moments, they were engaged in an intense battle, and Yoh found himself jumping and leaping to avoid the necromancer's surprisingly swift attacks. At one point, the scythe came dangerously near to his ear, and only his speed saved him from being slashed by the dangerous weapon.

"Amidamaru, Daigohoujin!" Yoh commanded, as the spirit obeyed, the sword coming down at Eliza. The attack was fully powered, as Yoh used his full power, and it connected with her ribcage, and sending her flying, hitting a tree. The skeleton slumped, her weapon clattering onto the floor. She twitched for a second, and then stopped moving. Yoh straightened himself, but victory was not his…at least, not yet.

"Eliza, beloved. Revive yourself…" Faust extended a hand towards his dead wife, green light emitting from his palm. Slowly, the skeleton picked itself up, stumbling a few times, but nevertheless was soon standing solidly, staring at Yoh with hollow eyes.

"Soon, dearest. Soon…" His tone was fervent, as he turned to the furious Anna, who, if was scared, showed no trace of it. Beneath blonde bangs, his eyes glittered madly with a crazy light, and for the first time she could remember, a small shiver of fear came over her. He placed her on a cross, and strapped her wrists and ankles. "Don't worry, young lady. It would not hurt…least it would, you would not suffer, not like Eliza…"

"ARGH! Get your hands off me, you moron!" Anna yelled on top her lungs, her voice piercing into the night.

At the sound of her voice, worry immediately began coursing through Yoh. Anna!

"Anna!" He turned to her, which proved to be a mistake as Eliza leapt at him. His guard down, Eliza's attack finally made its mark as the blade swung down, hitting Yoh's sword. With a powerful push, the weapon made a series of complicated turns, and Yoh felt his grip on his sword slipping.

"Yoh-dono! Hold on!" Amidamaru urged, and the blue light surrounding the haru-same intensified.

"Daigohoujin!" Yoh cried, as the blade swerved, fending off the deadly move performed by Eliza. A sudden pain shot up his body, Yoh reflexively dropped to his knees, one hand on his stomach.

His hand came away bloody. Eliza had managed to injure him with her attack. Cursing himself, Yoh stood up again.

"Ahahahha!" Faust laughed maniacally, as his hand inched towards Anna's heart.

"NO!" Yoh yelled, as he dashed towards Faust, only to be stopped mid-way by Eliza. The skeleton's vacant eyes glowed an unearthly green. Raising her weapon, she was poised to attack.

Faust's hand began to slide inside Anna's body, and a cry of pain escaped her. Biting her lips, she forced herself to remain calm and bear the pain, for Kyouyama Anna would never succumbed herself to this sort of situation. But it was too great, and she found herself involuntarily crying out, as the mad doctor administered his deranged operation.

"ANNA! HOLD ON!" Yoh was frantic with worry as he heard her cries. Anna, he knew, must be going through extreme torture. She was not the type to defeat herself to a little pain. She was an extremely strong and stubborn character…and the pain she was feeling right now must be immense.

He had to save her. No matter what, he had to…

All that stood between him and stopping the blonde doctor was Eliza. The spirit seemed bent on keeping her husband and Yoh apart, and charged at Yoh incessantly, never tiring of attacks.

The fact that Anna was under Faust's control was increasingly upsetting Yoh, and it was apparent as he began to lose his focus in the battle. Moves that should easily be evaded found their target much too often.

Through a haze of pain, Anna saw Yoh slumping to the ground after failing again to block another of Eliza's attacks. She saw his eyes continuously flickering towards her. She read the worry on his face.

And she knew the reason for his lost concentration.

Her. It was because of her. He kept looking at her, he kept making sure that she was still alive, still all right, and that made him a victim to Eliza.

Breathing heavily, bearing her torment, she gritted her teeth and shouted, her voice ringing loud and clear. "ASAKURA YOH! CONCENTRATE! Are you the Shaman King, or not?! If you lose, I would NEVER forgive you, damnit!"

Yoh turned to her again, and was surprised by what he saw in her. Determination, fury…and trust.

She trusted him…to win.

She trusted me to win. A grin spreading over his tired face, he called to her. "Don't worry! I wouldn't dare to lose!" He was the Shaman King, leaders of all shamans. He would not admit defeat, not in this manner.

The doctor frowned. "You talk too much, Asakura Yoh. Eliza, finish him off!"

"Amidamaru, are you ready?"


"Let's give it our one-hundred percent." Yoh's eyes were focused on the skeleton, who was advancing towards him speedily. 

Yoh pulled out his other sword, and raised it together with his haru-same. He channeled all of his concentration on Eliza, and powered up his furyoku to its maximum. This move would determine the victor of the battle.

He was not about to let Anna go through another minute of agony. Ready, now. Come on…As the skeleton leapt at him, Yoh follow her suit, unleashing his attack.  "Amidaryuu Kokoushin!"

A blinding flash of light emitting from the swords, it sliced through Eliza. She suspended in mid-air for a moment, and then crashed down onto the ground. Yoh landed as well, steadying himself with the haru-same, panting. The attack had taken a lot out of him.

Eliza laid motionless on the ground. "Eliza!" Faust cried. He turned to Yoh, his eyes murderous, but only to be stopped by the cool feeling of a blade against his neck.  "Release her. Now. Your little game is over." Yoh's voice was tight with anger.

Faust did not even hesitate. Waving his hand, the cross holding Anna clattered onto the ground. He did not care anymore, not for Yoh nor Anna. All he cared was the skeleton lying in his arms.

"Anna!" Yoh ran over to her and undid the straps. She sat up, coughing, one hand pressing the area over her heart. As her coughs subsided, she turned to Yoh, with narrowed eyes. "That certainly took you long enough!"

Yoh laughed with relief.  "You're okay!"

"Idiot. As if I would be anything else but that." Anna sniffed, checking her arms and legs for bruises. She jerked her head towards Faust. "What are you going to do about him?"

"Huh?" Yoh turned. Faust was hugging the skeleton close, muttering to himself. Nearing him, Yoh felt himself softened just a little. The doctor might be mad, but there was no mistaking the love and loss on his face.

"I told you I could not help you." He said quietly.

Faust looked up, his eyes dark with anger. "You've ruined her! And you've ruined me! You will never understand…how much she means to me! I would have given my LIFE to her if I could…but I can't…" He slumped into a sitting position, still holding Eliza. "I tried…but I can't…"

His coat falling open, Yoh saw a huge, gaping wound one side of his chest. He almost recoiled. Faust had performed an operation on himself…so he really did try.

"All I wanted was to be with her. Forever." Faust said bitterly. "Was it too much to ask? Was it?" Cradling Eliza to him, he began sobbing. "I'm sorry…Eliza. I've failed you…I'm so sorry…"

Yoh could only looked on helplessly. He had no idea what to do or what to say. Anna limped towards Faust, stopping next to Yoh. "Oh, shut your whining." She said irritably, and then slapped Faust nice and hard across the face. "This is for pinning me to that damn block of wood."

"Anna!" Yoh shot out to stop her, but Anna shook him off, glaring at Faust. Faust's face was white with anger, the imprint of her palm prominent on his cheek. Anna folded her arms. "You moron. If you just wanted the spirit of your wife, you could have just talked to me, instead of going through all that nonsense, and wasting my time."

Both Yoh's and Faust's eyes widened at her words, the latter's with undisguised hope. "You could help me?"

"I am an itako." Anna said offhandedly. She turned to Yoh and glared. "I supposed you conveniently forgot that fact."

Yoh smacked his head against his forehead. Of course! His Obaa-san…and Anna was her disciple. How could he forget that?

"I can bring your wife's spirit to you." Anna said coolly, looking at Faust with steely eyes. "However, I would never do that on my own accord."

"Anything!" Faust exclaimed. "I would do anything."

"I have your word on that?" Anna demanded.

"Yes. You have my word, and even my soul on that promise." Faust declared.

Yoh cringed as Anna smirked. One could imagine all the evil thoughts going through Anna's head now…poor Faust. It would be even worse than selling your soul to the devil…perhaps.

Taking off the beads around her neck, Anna closed her eyes, and began the summoning of Eliza's spirit.


There was an incessant throbbing at the back of his head, as well as the wound on his stomach, as he began to come around. Opening his eyes slowly, he looked around the familiar surroundings, and then sat up. The action proved to be a painful one, as Tao Ren winced, the pounding at his head growing. He looked down on the comfortable sheets, and then at the neat bandage around his abdomen.

He turned to the figure sitting beside his bed, his golden eyes narrowed into little slits. One hand crumpled the sheets. "Nee-san."

Tao Jun smoothed back a lock of green hair, steadily regarding her younger brother. "You're awake."

He looked around him, and recognised the place. The Tao residence in Tokyo, and he was in his sister's room. "I can't believe this." Ren growled angrily. "If you weren't my sister, I would've…"

"You would have what? Killed me?" Jun's voice was calm.

There was a short silence as Ren looked down, frustration glittering in his eyes. Jun leaned towards him, one hand reaching out to him imploringly. "I had to do it."

"Do this? Kidnap your own brother? Banish him into eternal shame?" Ren snarled. "You know that the old man would never…"

"Does it matter so much to you what he thinks?"

"It doesn't." Ren bit out. "It was I. I want to show him. That I could do it. That I am a better shaman then that old man will ever be." He gritted his teeth. "I will be the Shaman King. The throne should be mine in the first place. Not to that lousy bum." His anger grew at the thought of the easy-going young man.

"You cannot spill more blood. It will drive you insane!" Jun cried frantically.

The desperation in her tone made Ren stiffened. "What do you mean?"

"You are the only son in our family. The Tao family, the only one family who controls kyonshis. There are too many things, Ren. Too many things about our family that you do not know, nor understand. The hatred you bore in you…against Otou-san…" Jun bit her lip. She took a deep breath, and continued. "…There is…blood in you, Ren. Blood that does not belong to…normal beings."

"What do you mean…?" Ren repeated, his voice low.

"The blood of…a kyonshi." Jun buried her face in her hands. "I…I was told by Kaa-san…that Tou-san had this terrible curse placed upon you…he wanted you to become the strongest Tao in our family, the strongest…but the way he chose…"

Shock flittered across his face. The blood of a kyonshi? He shook his head vehemently. "I don't believe you."

"Ren…you could choose not to possess this. Please. Can't you feel it? Each and every time you killed…you're being taken over. That is why. You mustn't go after Asakura Yoh…you mustn't. The hatred, it will destroy you…" Jun said desperately, willing for her brother to understand.

"NO! I don't believe you!" Ren yelled. Jumping up from the bed, he pushed past his sister and disappeared out of the door.

"Ren! REN!" Jun called, but to no avail. Her shoulders sagged as tears began gathering at the corners of her eyes. "What have I done? What have I done, BaiLong?"

Her kyonshi moved closer to her. "Jun-sama…he needs to know."

"But would he heed me?" she whispered desolately.

BaiLong had no answer for his young mistress.


Slamming his kwan-dao on the ground, Ren gazed up at the luxurious condominium with narrowed eyes. Asakura Yoh certainly knew how to make use of his title to reward himself. Bason hovered near him, in the form of a spirit ball. "Bochamma?"

"I don't believe her. I will prove to her that what she said was WRONG!" Ren declared fiercely. "That old man wouldn't go as far as to…" his own voice trailed off. He alone knew what terrible things that his father was capable of. But still…that particular bit…was too absurd to be believed, even for Tao En.  He took one step forward, and then winced as the wound on the side of his stomach sent a spasm of pain vibrating throughout his body.

"Bochamma, you're still injured…" The warrior-spirit said worriedly. "You should take a rest…"

Ren merely glared. "Who's the master here? You, or I?" He took another step forward, but the pain was too great, as he crumpled onto the ground. Pressing one hand to his stomach, he gritted his teeth, and attempted to stand up, only to fall again.

"Bochamma!" Bason cried.

The pain grew, until to the point that even he, Tao Ren, could no longer bear it. The last thing he was aware of as he collapsed was one burning, fiery thought that he must defeat Asakura Yoh, no matter at what cost.


Anna sat alone in her room at the small, but cozy inn. Being that she was slightly injured, and Yoh was exhausted, they decided not to make the trip back to the city, but to settle at the nearest lodgings to take a rest from what certainly was an exciting night, to say the least.

She smiled with satisfaction, thinking that she need not pay Yoh for her room. She didn't want to owe anything to the young shaman. Of course, it was lucky that the owner of the inn, a young lady called Jeanne, was friend of Yoh's, and gave them the best rooms at low rates. It didn't hurt either that one extremely grateful doctor offered to pay for all of them – lodgings, food, everything.

Yoh had protested but she had merely smacked him and told him to shut up. If Faust wanted to wait on her hand and foot, she wasn't about to complain about it.

Raising to get herself some tea, she felt nagging pain on her ankle. Looking down, she saw an ugly bruise at her left ankle. Leaning down and rubbing the spot, she pursed her lips and thought of ways to make Faust pay for that green-blue mark.

As she rubbed, her thoughts drifted to that battle…and one same nagging, persistent thought came back to her.

Why was he so worried about her? And so determined to save her? He had lost focus when seeing her in danger, and very nearly lost the battle because of that. She couldn't think of a reason why would he put himself on the line for her.

After all, she had been nothing but mean to him since the moment they met.

Shaking her head, Anna stopped rubbing at her bruised ankle raised her right arm to examine the shiner on her right wrist. Since when did Kyouyama Anna waste time thinking about such matters, whens, hows and whys?

So he saved her. Well, he should. She was after all his 'fiancée'.

In name only. Her inner voice piped up, reminding her of the fact.

Still…one very small part of her couldn't help feeling…albeit touched. No one had ever risked his or her life for hers before. Her eyes shadowed. Because no one had ever deemed her important enough to consider.

And today, Yoh showed her that she was, at least, important enough to him. A small, brief smile crossed her lips. Whatever the reason was, perhaps she should thank him.

As if her thoughts had summoned the said King, a soft tap was heard on her door.

"Come in." She called.

Yoh shoved opened the door, and poked his head in. "Can I come in?"

Anna just gave him a look. "Didn't you hear me just now?"

"Hehe. Just want to make sure." Yoh entered her room, and slid the door close. "I got some rubbing alcohol from Faust. I…erm…noticed you had a bruise on your wrist. This might come into use."

She just nodded, and took the bottle from him. Yoh settled himself down beside her on the futon. "Faust is over the moon." He chuckled, thinking of the lovey-dovey scene he saw just now as he was getting the medication from Faust. He shot a look at Anna, who was tipping the contents onto some cotton wool, her face stoic. "It was sure…nice of you, Anna."

"Nice?" She snorted. "One thing you should know about me is that I never do anything that doesn't benefit me. I helped him, true, but he was going to come to very good use as my sworn servant." She smiled wickedly. "With Eliza, that makes two."

Yoh just grinned. "I know a part of you helped out of the goodness of your heart."

She stopped rubbing, feeling a bit stung, and it was not because of the alcohol. Goodness? Heart? She was never deemed to possess any of those two things. The few who knew her would simply describe her as cold and unfeeling, if she had a heart, it would probably be a block of ice.

Even Kino-sensei.

And now here was Yoh telling her that she had goodness in her heart. How great was his trust in the human heart. Anna scoffed, and resumed her rubbing. "Whatever."

With a sudden movement, Yoh took the bottle and the cotton wool from her. "You're doing it wrong."

She raised an eyebrow at him. He just smiled. "Trust me, I've nursed enough bruises of my own in eighteen years of life. You simply aren't applying enough pressure." Pouring some alcohol onto a new ball of wool, he reached for her hand, and then hesitated. "Err…may I?"

She shrugged, and held out her arm to him. Gently, he gripped the upper part of her arm, near her elbow, and pressed the cotton down onto the mark. Looking at her, he chewed his bottom lip. "This may hurt a little."

Anna just rolled her eyes at him, and tilted her chin, indicating that he should just go ahead.

He massaged it firmly, and involuntarily, she winced as pain shot up her arm. She then fought to keep her infamous bored expression on her face as he tended to her. And she hated the fact that her heart was beating just a little bit faster than usual.

She didn't even want to think about the reason why.

"That should do it." Yoh stopped rubbing, and she immediately pulled her arm away. She didn't want him touching her any longer than he absolutely had to. "Are there any other bruises?" He asked.

"No." Her answer came much too quick, and much too sharp.

"I think I see one at your ankle." His eyes glanced towards the said ankle.

She sighed. "There's just one more, and it's a small one. Just leave it alone, if you please."

"Why? The rubbing alcohol's here." Yoh said indifferently as he grabbed her ankle without second thoughts.

"Hey!" Anna snapped, raising her hand to slap him for touching her, and then stopped, reminding herself that he was trying to help her. She huffed. "Oh, all right."

"Knew you'd see it my way."

A silence settled over the two as he helped her with her ankle. "By the way…why did you save me just now?" Anna asked bluntly.

He stopped rubbing for a moment, and then resumed, without looking at her. "Well…I should."

"Why?" She repeated.

"Just because." He said evasively, and then dropped her ankle. "That should be fine now."

She continued regarding him steadily, still expecting an answer. He rubbed the back of his head, a sheepish expression coming over his features. "I couldn't very well leave you to Faust, then, could I? After all…I do…I mean…we're friends. And…friends help each other." There was a faint flush on his face. And she didn't want to think about the reason.

She just nodded. "I'm tired."

He took his cue to leave. "Good night, Anna." Picking up the bottle and the used wool, Yoh pushed himself up and headed for the door. "Sleep well."

"By the way…" she said, just as he was about to exit her room. He turned back and looked at her questioningly.

A small smile crossed her face. "Thank you."

His jaw dropped opened, and he managed to shut it in time. A huge smile on his face, he gave her a little wave. "No problem."

As they both went to bed that night, they knew that something between them had changed. They had been through a dangerous situation together, and the incident had brought together, the Shaman King and his 'fiancée', just a little bit closer. And both of them knew it, felt it, even though Anna would love to deny it.

But it was there, the little difference, slight, maybe, but nonetheless, left their relationship changed.


Bason hovered anxiously near Ren's almost-still body. He had no idea what to do about his young master. The only way he could think of was to get Mistress Jun and BaiLong, but that would mean leaving Ren by himself. And he wasn't sure that he wanted to do that.

Suddenly, a shadow fell over both Ren and Bason, and the latter immediately changed into his warrior-spirit form. He then looked up to the face of a familiar looking brunette standing upon the palm of a huge spirit.

The brunette hopped off, and approached Ren, clucking under his breath. "What do we have here?"

Now that he was near, Bason recognised the face. It was the Shaman King that his master had been fighting with a few days ago. The Chinese warrior's red eyes narrowed as he stood protectively over Ren.

"Don't touch him." He said warningly, willing to give everything he had to defend his master.

The Shaman King looked at him, not saying anything.

"I won't let you hurt him again, not while he's down." Bason said fiercely.

The shaman's eyebrow lifted a fraction of an inch. "Again?" He laughed. "Another of my beloved brother's conquests? Well well."

"Your brother?" The spirit was astonished. "You mean…?"

He yawned, feigning boredom. "Yes, there are two of us, as much as I hate to admit it. I am not Asakura Yoh, god forbid." He looked at Bason, his eyes flashing. "I am Hao."

Bason started to reply, and then shot by Ren protectively as Hao crouched down to look at his pale face. "I think…I could help your master." Hao smiled at the spirit.

"How can I trust you?" Bason countered.

Hao merely yawned as he stood up. "If you leave him here, he will die. If you come with me, I might betray you, and kill him. But then again, there, perhaps, is a chance that he might live. I'll leave the choice up to you. He is after all, your master."

"What is it to you?"

"Nothing. I just felt like doing a good deed for the day." Hao grinned. One of my dear bother's nemesis. I daresay that I might put him into very, very good use.

Bason stepped aside, knowing that he had little choice. "You won't harm him?" He asked quietly.

"That's just a chance you'll have to take, isn't it?" Hao said lightly, and snapped his fingers, summoning his Spirit of Fire.

As they disappeared into the night, neither of them noticed a young girl crouched near the gate of the condominium, watching the whole exchange with wide-eyed disbelief. With a small shriek, she made a run for the elevators.


HoroHoro paced the room. Up and down he went, several times. Behind him, Ryu sighed. "Can you please stop that? You're giving me a headache!"

"I don't know what's with Yoh." HoroHoro muttered. "I told him to get himself a cellphone, but would he listen to me? No! And now look, I don't know how the hell am I to reach him. It's almost midnight, where could he be?"

"Out having fun with Anna-san?" the manager pointed out the obvious.

"Fun with the Dragon-lady? Are you kidding?" HoroHoro snorted. "I hoped she hasn't killed him or something. Or tortured him to death with sit-ups, push-ups after dinner. Maybe he had already died of appendicitis!"

"Come on, HoroHoro." Ryu chided, but there was an unconvinced tone in his voice. "Anna-san wouldn't…"

"I wouldn't put it past her!" HoroHoro cut in. Grabbing his snowboard, he threw on his jacket and headed for the door. "I hope I am still in time to save him…waaa!" He collided with a very panicky Pilica, who was bursting through the door.

"Onii-chan!" She gasped, obviously out of breath.

"What? What is it?" HoroHoro was instantly worried, seeing his sister in such a state.

"I…I saw Yoh-sama…but it wasn't Yoh-sama…it was another him, and a Chinese boy, and a huge spirit, and another spirit…" Pilica babbled, disorientated.

"Wait. Calm down, Pilica!" HoroHoro grabbed the glass of water Ryu offered. "Take a sip. Calm down. Deep breaths."

Pilica did as she was told, gulping down the water, and fought for self-control. "Now, what did you see?" HoroHoro asked patiently.

"I was just entering the apartment with these documents you asked me to get, when I saw this shaman lying on the ground. Well, he was obviously hurt, so I thought about approaching him…but before I could, there was this huge, pink spirit…" She shivered, recalling. "…and it was scary. You wouldn't believe this…Onii-chan and Ryu-san, but the shaman with the spirit…he looked exactly like Yoh-sama!"

Both HoroHoro and Ryu exchanged glances. "You're right, I don't believe it." Ryu said.

"It's true!" Pilica cried. "He looked like Yoh-sama, he could be Yoh-sama's twin! Except for the long hair! And then he talked to the other spirit – the boy's spirit, I supposed – and then they disappeared together."

"Does Yoh have a twin brother…?" Ryu looked at HoroHoro. The publicist shrugged. "Not that I know of."

"Onii-chan, you've GOT to believe me! And…and…about what Ryu-san said…? I think it's true, too."

"WHAT?!?!" Both of them exclaimed at once.

"I heard…snippets of conversation. I couldn't be one-hundred percent sure, but I think I heard that shaman – the one that looked like Yoh-sama – said that…he was Yoh-sama's twin brother…and his name is Hao."


It was long night of futile searching as Lyserg dragged himself back to the inn. Even though he had Jeanne's promise of bringing him to Asakura Yoh, he had thought that maybe he would search around, and find his parents' murderer much sooner. But it was fruitless, there wasn't a single trace of the Shaman King anywhere.

As he passed the reception counter, he gave the young lady a tired grin and a small wave. Jeanne's face lit up and she waved. "Lyserg-san!" She called out.

He wasn't really in the mood for any small talk, but the green-haired young man supposed that he should not be rude, especially not to a lady. "Good evening, Jeanne-san." He said politely.

"I've some good news for you," she said pleasantly. "I know you are looking for Yoh-kun…well, you'd be surprised, but he's here!"

Lyserg's eyebrows shot up. "Here…now?"

"Yup." She nodded. "He just came in with another young lady and a couple, looking worse for the wear." Jeanne laughed. "Probably another one of his battles. Anyway, I told him you were looking for him, and he said he'd be pleased to meet you next morning."

"Next morning?" Lyserg repeated. Not soon enough. Not when he knew that his parents' murderer was so close by, his revenge only a breath away. No, tomorrow was certainly too late. "What about now?" He asked, an urgent tone in his voice. "I need to see him, NOW."

A strange expression came over Jeanne's face as she looked at him. "It's almost midnight, Lyserg-san. I'm sorry, but I could not, and would not, let you disturb Yoh-kun, my friend, guest AND my Shaman King at this hour. And not when he needs his rest. I do not know what is your business with Yoh-kun, neither do I care to know, but please, show some respect. It will have to wait." She said affirmatively.

Turning her back on him with a curt air, she said, "Good evening, Lyserg-san." The chilly, dismissive tone in her voice was evident.

"Good evening, Jeanne-san." He said softly. Sighing, Lyserg reluctantly headed for his room. He had upset the pretty innkeeper, he thought regretfully.

Heading up the stairs, his mouth was set in a grim line. So it would have to be tomorrow. But he knew that he would not get any sleep that night.


HoroHoro hung up the phone, his face pale.

"You are right, Pilica." He croaked, his mind still taking in the information that Kino had just given him, in a few words. "You are right. There was…a twin brother."

At the other phone, Ryu thanked the person on that end and hung up. "I've located Yoh. He went through some battle and would be staying at Jeanne's inn for the night, with Anna-san."

"Ryu…it's true."

Ryu's eyes widened with disbelief. "What the…?!? Good lord, the press is going to have a field day with all sorts of stories…" He massaged his temples, feeling a huge headache coming on.

"We have to get Yoh now, and Anna-san." HoroHoro spoke, ignoring all that Ryu said about the press. For once, the press was the last thing on his mind, after what he had known, and he knew what he was told was merely the surface of the whole matter. "We have to get them…Kino needed them to go home."

"Yoh needed to know, and he must know…about Hao."


It was early next morning, when Anna strode across the hall and let herself into Yoh's room. Marching in, she immediately swept the curtains to one side. Bright light streamed into the room, shining upon the sleeping figure on the floor. The figure remained unmoved.

Unceremoniously, she dropped a bag onto his feet, resulting in him popping up like a jack-in-the-box, eyes sleepy and brown hair standing up on all corners. "What? Who?" As his eyes registered on the impatient figure of his 'fiancée', who was tapping her foot, he flopped back onto the bed. "Anna…few more minutes, please?"

"Get up!" She barked. "We need to get back to Tokyo. You are so behind your training, Yoh."

Another loud groan. "Come on, Anna, I just battled yesterday…"

She grabbed the blanket covering his head, and placed her face near his, frowning menacingly. "Get. Up. Now."

Opening his eyes, he grinned blearily, and Anna, finding herself in very close proximity with the young Shaman King, jerked back reflexively. Horrified to feel a flush creeping up her neck, she turned away from him. "Just get ready, all right? I'll be waiting for you outside. You will run a few laps before heading back. And of course, sit-ups and push-ups, the usual 500 times. I'm sent to make sure that you trained properly everyday, and I am going to see to that."


"You heard me. Five minutes, pronto! Or I'll tripled it." Anna said warningly.

As Yoh hopped up from his futon and began searching for his shirt, bemoaning his routine as usual, Anna exited the room, and closed the door, a slight smile on her face.


Five minutes later, Anna descended from the stairs, Yoh behind her, still yawning. The innkeeper waved at them cheerfully. "Good morning, Yoh-kun, Anna-san!" Anna merely nodded, but Yoh grinned infectiously and waved back. "Good morning, Jeanne!"  

Trotting over to the counter, Yoh propped himself on his elbows. "You were saying something about someone wanting to see me?"

"Ah." Jeanne nodded. "It was a guest. He seemed a little strange, though." She shrugged. "I told him you're okay for this morning, like what you told me."

"Thanks, Jeanne." Yoh smiled.

"Yoh! I'm waiting…"

Yoh lifted his hand in a friendly wave and ran after Anna to the little garden behind the inn. "Just who was that girl, exactly?" Anna asked, a little almost too casually.

"One of my opponents in the Shaman Fight. She was a good one." Yoh answered. He stopped walking, and then lifted an eyebrow, scruntinizing the blonde girl. "Why…Anna…god forbid that you should be…jealous?" He asked mischievously, a huge grin on his handsome face.

A threatening frown appeared on Anna's face. "Just for that idiotic comment, you will do 600 sit-ups and push-ups today." She said offhandedly.

Yoh was about to answer when a figure appeared from behind a tree. A green-haired young man, with eyes glittering with an unsettling light, as he looked straight at Yoh, his lips twisting into a grin bordering on bitterness.

The brown-haired shaman smiled uneasily.  

Lyserg looked at the King, the person who so cold-heartedly killed his parents. Images from his childhood rose to haunt him again…his mother's dying screams, burnt body, his father, engulfing in a huge ball of fire…those murderous eyes, that face…

Asakura Yoh's face.

"So you're truly the one." He said, his voice low.

"The one?" Yoh frowned.

Lyserg raised his right arm as he walked towards Yoh. A shiny pendulum slipped out from the long sleeve of his jacket. "I will have my revenge today."

"Look, wait a minute, I don't understand…" Yoh began, but he never got to finish his sentence as a bright light emitted from Lyserg, and the pendulum headed straight for him, its razor-sharp point aiming for his face.

-To be continued-


da*mouse ®
posted January 25th, 2004
11.50 p.m.

Sorry if this chapter seemed a bit draggy. I had to work out on the Yoh/Anna relationship, sort of step-by-step. The next chapter would be a little more fast-paced. What to expect: Lyserg clearing up his mistake, Lyserg/Jeanne interaction [she no longer thinks he's weird, haha] what Hao wants with Ren, Yoh finding out about him and Hao, and more Yoh/Anna interaction. Yup.

Urm, do tell me if this chapter is a bit weird, all right? I'm thinking that maybe I didn't spread out the various parts well enough. Sorry if the part about Ren and kyonshi blood seemed stupid, but this is semi-AU. I have a reason for that. :P

Read and review/flame/comment/whatever…just so as I know what I need to improve and stuff. ;)

P.S. Thanks to reviewers! I am a bit overwhelmed by the lovely reviews for chapter 4 and I hope this one would not be a disappointment. Thank you, all of you, from the bottom of this author's heart.