Hiya guys! Okay, I know that I'm not done with Thief!, and I'm neglecting to write the next chapter to write this…But I just had this idea and wanted to write it out before it escaped me! So, please don't be angry with me, loyal fans ::coughFRITHcough::, I hope you enjoy it. Once again, it's an AU (I seem to be fond of those, ne? Yes, indeed.), and it is unlikely that any of the others (like Yuusuke or Hiei) will show up. But you never know. They might! Okay, well, enjoy!
"Koenma sama! Koenma sama!"
Botan ran merrily through the camp toward the prince of Reikai. Koenma, who sat in his adult form, looked up from his papers with a worried expression on his face as Botan stopped before him and rested her hands on her knees, panting heavily.
"Koenma sama! I just - what's wrong?" Koenma sighed and put his papers down on the crate he'd been temporarily using as a desk.
"Nothing, Botan. I just don't like having to stop in the middle the Maikai jungle like this. Especially with Youko Kurama still at large." He looked furtively over each shoulder and shuddered before turning back to Botan. She grinned at him.
"Don't be silly Koenma sama! Youko's band doesn't come around these parts, remember? That's why you decided to travel by foot in the first place!" Koenma scowled and picked up his pen.
"Are you kidding? I chose to travel by foot because getting any kind of vehicle through this dense foliage would be impossible." Botan just laughed at him.
"Don't be in such a foul mood, Koenma sama! We're almost to Lord Hijimoto's estate by now, aren't we?"
Koenma looked down at his papers sheepishly.
Botan looked curiously at him.
Koenma looked up at her hopelessly.
"Actually, Botan… I think we're lost." Botan paled and sat down suddenly.
"…What?" Koenma smiled weekly at her.
"But, Koenma sama… How could we be lost? Haven't we been following the map exactly?" Koenma nodded vigorously.
"Yes, yes! But, then, heh, I was just checking the map to make sure that we were on the right track, and I noticed something was amiss…" He handed her the map. Botan looked at it carefully, and saw the thick black line that marked the progress the group had made so far. At first, everything looked fine, but then she noticed the legend on the bottom. She paled further and looked up at Koenma.
"You mean, you've been reading it-"
"Upside down. Yes, apparently."
"… So we've been going in the wrong direction for three days?" Koenma nodded, abashed.
"So, we have no idea where we are?" Koenma shook his head. Botan's head drooped and she sighed.
"Koenma sama, and I mean no disrespect sir, but…"
"I'm an idiot." Botan gazed back up at him.
"You said it." Koenma sighed and rested his head on the palm of his hand. Botan glanced at the map again. She then looked around at the oni's who were busy unpacking for the night. She turned back to Koenma.
"I'd hate to be you when you have to explain to George and the others that we've been going the wrong way. I guess we'll have to back track then… The oni's are going to hate your guts. Not to mention that our envoy is going to be late."
Koenma smiled wryly at her.
"I know. And the relations between Reikai and Maikai are already strained. Lord Hijimoto's going to think that we didn't show up on purpose." Koenma groaned. "Oh, I can just see it now! Hijimoto won't put up with it. He'll do something to retaliate. My father is going to kill me!" He moaned and put his head in his hands.
"Oh, don't be such a baby! I have idea." Koenma looked up at her, sucking on his pacifier in agitation.
"Really? Let's hear it." Botan gazed steadily at Koenma and then looked back at the map.
"Okay, how about this: I'll fly to Lord Hijimoto and tell him what happened. While I do, you and the group back track." Botan pointed to a spot on the map. "Do you think that you could make it to this point in two days? I believe it will take me a day to get to Lord Hijimoto's, then I'll have to explain to him the situation. Then I'll fly back to the camp and we'll continue our journey. That way there will be no hostility when we get there."
Koenma gazed adoringly at Botan through glazed over amber eyes. He grabbed her hands and smiled widely around his pacifier.
"That's a great idea, Botan!" But suddenly Koenma sobered up. " Wait. That's very dangerous, you flying off all by yourself over Maikai… No, I change my mind, that's not a good idea! What if something happened to you? Not only would my father kill me, but so would Ayame and George! No, no. We'll all just have to go together."
"But, Koenma sama! If I don't go, then how will you know that Lord Hijimoto will even let us in once we finally do get there? You said it yourself; he won't put up with us being late! My idea will work, trust me. And don't worry, I know how to use spirit energy enough to protect myself should something come up. Face it, sir. You don't have any other choice!"
Koenma pouted around his pacifier and crossed his arms. He looked sidelong at Botan, who crossed her arms and glared back. Koenma sighed and relented.
"Okay. Okay, but you have to promise to be careful!" Botan shot him a hundred-watt grin.
"Of course I will, sir! Thanks!" She sat there for a moment. "Um… Should I go, um, now?" Koenma sighed and rummaged through his papers. He handed her another map. She thanked him and stood up.
"Wait a moment, Botan!" Koenma opened the crate he'd been using as a desk and rummaged around once more. After a moment he came up with a compass and handed it to her as well. As she thanked him once more and headed off, Koenma shouted after her,
"Be careful, Botan, really! OH! One more thing!" Botan sighed and turned around. What now? Koenma caught up to her and handed her something. His signet ring. Botan looked at curiously.
"You might need that to get passed Lord Hijimoto's guards. Okay, off you go then." Botan pocketed the ring.
"You be careful too, Koenma sama. Lord knows what your father will do to me if something happens to you while I'm gone!" Koenma laughed as Botan summoned her oar. He watched her go until she was only a speck in the distance.
Koenma sighed and faced the camp. He cringed. Time to face the oni's…
The golden gaze of Youko Kurama bore through the thick leaves of the trees at the band of Reikai representatives, and he smirked. He'd been following them for a day now, ever since they'd entered his territory unawares. At first, he'd been tempted to just jump into the camp and start raiding, but then he'd realized something. That boy who was leading the group… He was Enma's son, the prince of Reikai! Kurama leaned back against a tree and closed his eyes in thought.
It would be foolish to simply raid the camp. He was alone, his crew and Kuronue were gone on another heist that he had arranged for them. He'd decided to stay at the base himself and do some inventory. Kurama preferred himself or Kuronue to be the ones to dish out the treasure to members of his band. That way he could be sure that it was done equally, and there was no threat of embezzlement. Kurama chuckled. Not that he was one to be suspicious of others. He was, after all, the greatest thief in the three realms.
But back to the matter at hand. Kurama twitched an ear in agitation. He was on his own, for at least another three days. And this particular camp was teeming with oni's. Kurama knew he could handle an oni, he could probably handle up to five at once. But there were about fifteen running around in this group, and he didn't like those odds.
So, let them keep the stuff they were hauling around. None of it looked as though it would fetch a good price anyway. What he was interested in was Koenma. Yes. If he managed to kidnap Koenma, the prince of the dead, then no price that Kurama asked for could be refused. And if there was one thing that Kurama loved, it was gold, and lots of it.
Kurama opened his eyes and leaned forward to stare through the leaves of the tree again. He watched closely as the blue haired girl who traveled with Koenma ran up to him. They began to speak.
Kurama pricked up his ears and moved as close as he could to the two without being seen. He grinned to himself at what he heard.
So, they were lost? Lost? And in his territory to boot. Well, well. But they were going to turn around after tonight and make their way back to Lord Hijimoto's estate. He'd see about that. Maybe they'd get back to Lord Hijimoto's lands, but they would do so minus one Reikai prince. Kurama smirked.
A flash of blue caught his attention. He looked back over in time to see the attractive blue haired girl summon an oar – she must be one of Koenma's ferry girls to have that talent – and soar up over the treetops. Kurama watched her as she flew away. He then turned back to the camp. Kurama settled himself against a tree and prepared himself to wait for the opportune moment to kidnap Koenma.
AN: Okay that's it for the first chapter! I hope you guy enjoyed it. Let me know what you think when you review, like I know you all are going to do!