Disclaimer: I don't own a thing.  I just own the story and the poor, distorted mind that came up with this idea.

If any of you are fans of my Silent Whisper of Roses, then I thank you for reading this too!  Don't worry.  I'll keep Silent Whisper of Roses updated.  I was going to write this story when I finished that one, but I had to get this idea down first. I'll add more chapters to this either whenever I finish Silent Whisper of Roses or whenever the demand for this is high. So pretty please review this and I'll give you all cookies & plushies!

=^.^= ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ PROLOGUE ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ =^.^=

"You want to escape?!  But Botan, why?  You have everything you could possibly want.  You have food, shelter, and clothes.  You're well protected here.  Your parents would want it," Touya exclaimed, blinking at the absurd request.

Botan sighed and buried her face into her folded arms.  "You think my parents wanted me to be a slave to some . . .stupid Yakuza just because I'm an orphan?" Her voice was muffled.

"You're not a slave.  You get to live in a well-furnished room compared to the slaves' quarters.  You need to respect what Risho and the rest of us are sacrificing to allow you to be happy."

"Humph.  But I'm not happy. You say that that's all you want me to be.  I want to be able to see what the outside world looks like.  You get to."

"It isn't as glorious as the wonderland image your imagination has created.  After the Hell Rains, the only thing out there is death.  That's what your fate is sure to be.  You aren't allowed to leave with your limited knowledge of Reiki techniques."

"I wonder why . . ." Botan remarked sarcastically.  Her slender shoulders slumped further.  "I don't care if I'll die out there.  I just want to be able to go wherever I want, do what I want to do, even if it kills me."  She sighed inclined her head to be able to look out the window.  All she could see was the charred ground outside.

"I'm sorry, but I won't let you go.  I don't want you to have your hopes dashed by the reality of it all."  Touya moved to stroke her hair absentmindedly.  "I'll ask Risho if I can let you outside for an hour or so each day.  Will that do?"

Botan shrugged.  "Sure."

~*~ LATER ~*~

"No!  She cannot be allowed in the open!" Risho said, beating a fist down on the tatami.

"She's unhappy," Touya protested.

"I don't give a damn about that.  I gave her the essentials, it's her problem that she wants too much."

"Why can't you let her go out, even for a few minutes?"

"Once anyone leaves the boundary line, it's Youko's territory.  I can't stop him.  I have to give him monthly bribes just to let any one that crosses his territory into the city.  If I didn't, you would die when you went out to train."

"Youko . . .?" Touya breathed in amazement.  "Then, if you bribe him to allow us to live, why don't you allow her to go out for even a minute?"

Risho smirked.  "If we gave her that, eventually she'd become unhappy because she can't go far enough.  It'll go on in an unending chain. Eventually she'll want to escape. And, if you keep asking me, I'll require something of you to give you forgiveness."  He waved his index finger.  "You understand our ways, don't you?"  He mimed chopping off the finger.

Touya bowed low.  "H-hai.  I'll tell her of it, then."  He got off of the silk pillow before Risho. 

"Oh, and Touya, the slaves need to be fed.  Give them their bread and water."

He nodded at the leader and went to do his duties.  A few minutes later, he climbed the stairs to the second story room.

"Botan, I have some bad news.  Botan?"  Touya gaped at the fluttering curtains.  He saw a piece of parchment tacked to the wall.  He ripped it off.  On it was a note written in Botan's handwriting.


I overheard everything.  You're probably wondering where I am now.  Please don't try and find me.  After I figure everything out, I'll come back and see you.  Don't worry about me I'll be fine.


I don't want her dead, but I must tell Risho about it.  If I want to be alive to see her, I need to tell him. He sighed and crumpled the parchment in his fist.  I should've just stayed away from everything.

"What now?" Risho replied, marking figures on a scroll, keeping track of business done with the Black Market.  "You know not to bother me when I'm doing stocks."

Touya bowed low on the silk pillow, his forehead grazing the tatami.  "Forgive me, but it's of great importance."

"More important than stocks and money?"  He raised an eyebrow.

"Yes.  She . . .I mean, Botan escaped."

"WHAT?!" Risho stood up, towering over the ice demon's bowing form. 

"It seems that she overheard our discussion of her freedom and she ran away."

"Feh.  She's in Youko's territory now.  Youko!"

A silent, deadly aura filled the room.  Touya dared to raise his head enough to see Youko Kurama. The silver color of both the fox demon's hair and his robe set off his amber eyes, making them glitter brightly.

"This my last favor to you.  What is it?" Youko replied in his chillingly gentle voice.

"Our slave girl has escaped into your territory."

"What difference does that make?  You refrain me from killing any members of your pitiful team here."

"I want you to kill her.  Hunt her down and kill her.  I don't care how you do it.  Torture her, slit her throat, just kill her.  She's gotten on my nerves for the last time, the ungrateful brat."

A smile touched Youko's lips.  "That's it.  What a wasted favor.  You could've demanded to own the Black Market, or asked me to steal some dark artifacts, but this?" 

"I don't want to own the Black Market or have any dark artifacts.  It would just have Reikai breathing down my neck.  It'll have our happy place be endangered, which makes my point."  Risho sat back down and unrolled the scrolls.

He glanced casually at Youko.  "If she lives to make a decent life in Ningenkai or Reikai, she may just open her big mouth about this place.  Either way, killing her will be needed.  With you and your hunting skills, we'll be fine, won't we?"

"You're having me assassinate her, in another words?"

"Give it any fancy name you want.  Go already! I'm busy."

Touya sat up.  "You can't kill her!"

"Of course I can't.  Woman blood can't tarnish my hands or the ground of our home.  It's bad luck.  But with Youko—wait, where did he go?"

Youko was already out the door.  His senses already picked up Botan's scent.  He smiled as the breeze toyed with his silver hair.  An assassination . . . pity that it'll be far too easy.  I'll give her a week head start so that it will be more fun for me.


Pretty please review and tell me what you think!  Don't worry, the YoukoxBotan part will come soon.  Just wait for it.