Authors Notes: Thanks for the reviews everyone! Enjoy the next chapter!
The spread of the night was still too thick but the nearer to the castle the girls had gone, the better they could see because of the fire. Shizuru knew that if they were to get close enough but not too close to the fumes, they could be seen by anyone searching for them. The idea paid off because "Shizuru" sounded into the darkness, prompting the three girls to immediately jump up.
"Red?" Shizuru shouted back.
"How did you recognize his voice so fast?" Keiko asked a little amazed.
"Oh, um…" Shizuru gave a little cough but thankfully spotted Kurama prompting an inviting change of subject. "Red, couldn't get here any faster?"
Kurama gave the girls a look about, "I'm glad to see everyone's alright." His eyes immediately locked onto Shizuru who gave him an assuring smile. "Come on, we've got to meet back up." He said.
"I think you might have to carry Yukina," Keiko spoke out. "She's not doing to well."
Kurama and Shizuru tore their glances away from each other to see the little ice maiden on her knees as she coughed up rasps of air.
"I can do it," another voice rang out.
Hiei emerged from the darkness as Kurama did, locked on to the young girl before speaking, "I'd seen you from the sky," he motioned to the sky with his eyes. He then bent to pick up Yukina who clasped her weak arms around his neck for support.
"Thank you," Yukina whispered before coughing. "I really am okay. It's just hard to walk and breathe at the same time."
Hiei didn't say anything, nothing still as he walked in an odd careful way. Shizuru was keeping an eye on her young friend, not that she was worried Hiei would hurt her, but how cold Hiei looked as he held her. And that coldness wasn't awful but oddly comfortable? She wasn't sure what to make of it. Hiei had always been indifferent to the ice maiden but the look he had now was emotionless… but comfortable?
Was that even the word she was looking for? This Hiei seemed… protective?
As their group made their way towards their other companions, Shizuru watched Hiei carefully from the side. Seemed Yukina looked fairly comfortable in Hiei's arms as she coughed into the folds of his black jacket. Hiei didn't seem to mind and had begun walking ever so… lightly… gently… carefully? Nevertheless, Hiei's face was a mere stone that peered into the dark ahead of them.
Maa yoi Kami, Hiei was so hard to read!
Kurama disrupted Shizuru's thoughts, "I'm glad to see you girls are okay." Kurama had walked up from behind Shizuru.
Shizuru refocused, "Oh, yes. We got out right before the flames took to the roof."
Keiko, who stood on the other side of Shizuru, spoke "I can't believe we were attacked again. How are we to win if the enemy is a step ahead of us?"
"It's because," Shizuru pointed to faint glint of the Earth in the dark sky, "We need to fight from where it started."
"Right… you're right," Kurama replied slowly but gained momentum and volume, "I see now. Our best defense is the Earth itself. We are doing this all wrong!"
Shizuru nodded, "This is the outer world; this is Kinda's territory. We have to go back in order to get a chance. We are stronger there than here, our resources can double and the light might actually appear there."
"We could have the upper hand there," Kurama nodded profusely.
I mean, the blue light has to respond to the Earth once we find it so if we can get Keiko back there –"
"I agree with you, Shizuru. But," Keiko bit her lip, "I'm not the blue light."
Shizuru stopped in her own tracks and reared her head towards Keiko, "What?"
Koenma was sitting on a knoll overlooking the different paths outstretching from the burning castle. He had been trying to focus on making a plan to overcome their situation; more than that, Koenma had been secretly mulling over the information that Marie had told him.
She was his sister, physically; there was no doubt about that. Koenma was born into the world of spirits and demons and he knew the rules. No spiritual being can be born mortal without possessing a mortal body. The best case scenario is if that mortal body is merely an embryo and the host of that egg is sacrificed for its sake.
Marie is the demon within his real sister… and he had to kill her.
Those were the rules, the rules he'd studied all his life. Never once did his father mention this not that the King ever said more than a sentence about his mother. As he stood watching the horizon, Koenma could clearly see his mother's face beaming down from the portrait he secretly snuck up to at night as a child; the same portrait Keiko saw in that room just hours ago.
That same angelic face was undeniable in his own as it was in Marie's and he was just now realizing it.
The only difference was the demon Marie must have altered his sister's appearance by her pure evil energy, twisting the human body into something that probably suited more to Kinda. As the prince of the spirit world he should have seen the mortal body and the possessor separately, something he'd learn so long ago from his father.
Yes, his father who ordered all portraits of his mother to be removed from the castle. He must have known that her death was caused by Marie. Had he failed to save her and the guilt of that action caused him angst, in turn never speaking about her in Koenma's presence?
Koenma knew that he needed his father.
"We must find my father," He said aloud to Kuwabara behind him.
"Haven't your people been on that track with no luck?" Kuwabara had stood up from where he was sitting on the ground. "If they couldn't find him, how are we going to find him?"
"I have an idea," someone spoke up.
Kuwabara and Koenma turned abruptly to the voice and watched Touya walking up the mound helping Jin who was being supported by his friend.
"Where the hell have you two been?"
"We were caught by those friggin tree stumpers, fucking gimps!" Jin shouted out, stumbling over his feet.
Touya managed to get his friend up onto the flat of the hill to lie down before collapsing himself. "We were fighting the last bit of them that came out of the castle; we almost didn't make it out."
"Them tree shite's are gonna get it from me the next time," Jin strained to cough before throwing his gaze upward towards Kuwabara and Koenma. "You idiots could've looked for us."
"You two can take care of yourselves," Kuwabara replied dismissively.
"You theeek fockeeng eeee-jit," Jin growled before echoing his gritty coughing.
"I'm not Urameshi so stop talking crazy cause I don't understand you," Kuwabara rumbled back.
Before Jin could respond, Touya sat up, "I have an idea where your father could be, Koenma." Touya added, "There were rumors before the tournament began that your father had gone to the Graveyard."
"Is this an actual graveyard?" Kuwabara asked.
"No," Koenma sighed before collapsing onto the ground. His leg had been gnawing in pain and rest was all he could do to ease as much as he could. "The Graveyard is where the souls are collected who has not yet been judged. Some call it limbo. Others have said Purgatory.
"Once Hiei and Kurama find the girls, we'll head there," Koenma nodded.
Touya stood shakily but managed to get up nonetheless. "We would have stayed with the girls but were separated by the fires. Jin and I had to go through the gardens to find you. I was worried the girls had not made it."
"We were separated when the fight broke loose," Koenma stated, "But I'm sure they'll be fine."
"My sister's with them so nothing to worry about," Kuwabara assured his companions. He then shot a glare at Koenma, "My hope is they still remember their own names after what prince dumb-ass did."
"What are you talking about?" Jin propped up by his arms to look at Kuwabara.
"Koenma almost threw us into some kind of time-erasing-warp with a dangerous incantation," Kuwabara sneered.
Koenma ignored this, "We need to get this scroll," he pulled it out of his right sleeve, "to my father. We need more information about this Orior Obscurum on how we can use this to stop Kinda once again."
"Wait! What incantation did you use, Koenma?" Jin shouted, this time a lot more serious. "I want to know what happened from the time Touya and I got through the garden but ended up on the opposite end of the castle walls? I'm missing memories and I don't like not knowing where I've been!"
"Koenma…" Touya merely gave the prince a look to which Koenma shook his head.
"An partial incantation from the Librum Oritur Tenebris," Koenma said this as firmly as he could. He could tell from Touya's face how wrong Koenma would have felt before Marie but the anger he felt now made his actions even more right.
The Librum Oritur Tenebris is a book of sorts that contain all sacrificial, aggressive and deathly magic. It's just one book from thousands of others but it is the most ancient of texts.
"That's dark magic, your highness." Touya slowly replied. "Isn't that against your rules?"
"I had my reasons," Koenma calmly stated. He could see the judgment beneath Touya's otherwise unaffected expression but again, Koenma chose to ignore this. What mattered was getting a job done – especially now that he knew the truth. In all honesty, Koenma really had always wanted to find his father but with more urgency now.
He may have learned the truth but not all the details and his father was the man with the answers.
Keiko could see everyone's astonishment as the light from the dawn started to peek over the earth's shape in the sky. So she turned, turned away from the looks because it was all too much to bear. All she could think was: how can I get them to understand?
"What do you mean? Don't you remember the prophecy? Through the Guardian, which is Urameshi," Shizuru explained, "The Blue Light will be found through love. You've got to be the light!"
"But I don't feel like this…" Keiko spurted spastically, "like this, like this… light!"
Hiei and Yukina, who were ahead of them, had stopped and turned to watch them. Yukina moved around in Hiei's arms to speak, "Keiko? Are you alright?"
Keiko looked like she was shaking with her mouth gapping with words that made no sound. She looked like she was searching because her face looked frustrated and her hands were flying around a little.
"Maybe you don't feel it because you're not physically on the Earth?" Kurama tried.
Keiko calmed to stop walking before looking up at the sky. She spoke really softly but not too much that she was unheard, "Think about it, will you… I don't know how preoccupied all of you are about find this Blue Light but I've been obsessing." Tears poured heavily now from her brown eyes steadily fixed on the shadowed Earth.
This was the first time Shizuru had even heard Keiko mention the Blue Light – or even how she felt about this whole ordeal – outside of their group meetings. She had always assumed Keiko's quietness on the subject was her way of just trying to be strong, that maybe Keiko had been trying to prepare herself for being the actual Blue Light. It was task so heavy for one person to carry to be the said savior of a prophecy that determined your fate.
"Just think about the purple rain and the strange things that keep happening here in Rekai? And think about the earthquakes during the tournament; and the weird coloring to the sky?" The trembling in Keiko's voice suddenly became gasps of sobbing but she seemed determined to stand straight, fists at each side and chin held high.
Keiko had known that everyone was certain she was the Blue Light because Keiko loved Yusuke as Yusuke loved her. So she stepped closed to Keiko but dared not to touch her, "What do you mean, Keiko? Of course we've all been thinking about this Blue Light."
"No," Keiko's short brown locks bounced as she shook her head. "Haven't you been listening? Don't you understand?"
"Keiko, please help us understand," Yukina said a little fearfully.
Keiko pressed her hands to her chest tenderly in an aching way. "All these strange things are happening because I can't respond back…"
"But –" Kurama started to speak but his voice instantly dropped.
Keiko saw Kurama exchange glances with Hiei, who was the only one that seemed to understand what Keiko was saying. Or not – Hiei was hard to read a lot of the time.
"What?" Shizuru asked Kurama but from the look on his face, he was still taking Keiko's word in. So she looked to Yukina who was just as confused and Hiei was as he was before, quiet and cold.
"Keiko," Shizuru wound back round to Keiko and took her hands in her own causing the younger girl to look at the older one. "Please, I don't understand."
Keiko looked into Shizuru's eyes, replying in the softest of voices, "All that, all of the shaking and raining was the Earth calling her, the Blue Light, back… "
Shizuru eyes softened, "You can't hear her, can you?"
Keiko shook her head tearfully, "I can't even feel her."
"Then…" Yukina spoke up, causing everyone to look her way, "If you aren't the Blue Light then who is?"
Before silence could have settle, a bright light flashed over them and wrapped them in its warmth.
Thanks for reading!