Chapter Eight: Rays of Death

Yusuke grinned, giving a thumbs-up to Hiei, who leapt down from the stone arena and back onto the sideline where the rest of Team Urameshi was.

"Nice work, Hiei," The black-haired Spirit Detective declared, grinning. "Now just one more insect bastard to deal with and then we're out of here!"

Hiei rolled his eyes, turning to face the arena once more, watching the flames flicker and roar.

"Don't get cocky," he said seriously, raising an eyebrow at the arena, Juri talking to some janitor demon who was holding a slimy mop in his hands a few feet away.

Kurama nodded, facing Yusuke and Genkai.

"Yes, these insects aren't anything to take lightly, especially now that their leader will most likely take this last match," he murmured, unable to see past the roaring flames that coated the arena as the acid from Wasp's attacks continued to burn and crackle. "You must be very careful with this one, Yusuke."

Yusuke narrowed his eyes as a large hose was brought in and began to spray down the field. There was a crackle of the loudspeaker and Koto's voice rang out over the stadium once more.

"And an astonishing finish by Hiei, although I'm happy to say our stadium is still in tact," she declared, her cat ears twitching with excitement. "And if you will be patient while we hose down the arena, we can get started with the next matches in just a few moments."

Juri smiled at the audience, who immediately began booing and tossing things down at the referee and the janitor.

"The sooner you cooperate, the sooner we get the next delightful battle going!" Juri cried, sweat dripping down her face as her tail stood straight up behind her like a pitchfork.

Botan crept toward the edge the cavern, where bits of dust and rock were falling down from the ceiling, showering upon her and the ground like hailstones in the midst of a thunderstorm.

Slowly, she peeped into a more brightly lit room, where a purple-skinned demon was steadily working away at the wall with what looked like several brightly lit daggers, electric green in color, that were eroding the wall. A loud noise erupted whenever the green, glowing knives came into contact with the rock, and the collision had the whole room shaking.

"Well, this looks like one of our demons," Botan thought to herself, her purple eyes wide as she watched him work. "But where are his accomplices?"

She scanned the room, which was quickly filling with bits of pebble and stone from the ceilings. Irritated, she cringed, holding a hand to her head.

"I can't think with all this racket!" she thought to herself, feeling her whole body shake. "But it's obvious that his partners aren't nearby. I'll just got back to Koenma and let him know we've found them..."

Stepping backward, Botan's foot fell down into a crack caused by the shaking of the caves, and stumbled backwards, falling into the wall with a thump.

"Aack!" she cried, wincing as she hit the wall with her back, and then gulping, clamping both hands tightly over her mouth.

Eyes wide, she watched the demon, who stopped drilling at the wall, the green knives that had been in his hands disappearing. Botan trembled slightly, not knowing whether to run, or to stay still and hope he didn't hear her.

"How could he have heard me over all that noise he was making?" she thought to herself hopefully, although it was a vain thought as he turned around, his red eyes locking onto her, his mouth twisting up into a smirk.

"Well, well, well," he grinned, stepping toward her. "One of Spirit World's lackeys no doubt. Didn't know they even had women doing their dirty work."

Botan narrowed her eyes, turning on her heel and sprinting away from the room, only to stop short as several green, glowing daggers soared by her face, causing her to freeze.

Several more shot by her side, one grazing her arm. Crying out in pain, she sank to her knees, clutching her arm, which was trickling blood onto her blue shirt.

"Ow..." she muttered, biting her lip as she turned around, looking up at the demon, who was now standing over her. "Why couldn't Koenma have been the one to go fishing around down here...?" she thought to herself, her eyes watering a bit from the cut.

"Looks like your demon-slaying days are over," The purple-skinned demon said evilly with a smirk, reaching his clawed hands down at Botan.

There was a loud buzz that rang out over the stadium as smoke rose from the now charcoaled, but still standing, arena. Juri put one foot on the arena first to make sure it wasn't still boiling, and then leapt back into the middle of the burnt and rather brittle stone floor.

"All right!" she called out in her forced-cheerful voice, smiling nervously, fearing Team Urameshi and their destructive powers once again. "Thank you for your patience!"

There was another round of booing and shouting from the audience, during which time Juri sighed, moving out of the way of a bag of popcorn that had been chucked down at her.

Koenma sighed, his brown eyes starting to look slightly bloodshot.

"I can't take this kind of suspense," he muttered edgily, shifting around in his seat. "And where's Botan? Why hasn't she reported back in yet?"

Shizuru narrowed her eyes, cringing slightly. Keiko tilted her head to the side, glancing up at the older girl.

"Is...something wrong, Shizuru?" she asked curiously, wondering if she'd just gotten another bad premonition.

Shizuru narrowed her eyes further, clutching her cigarette.

"I don't know," she muttered softly, looking down at the arena below. "I just got this feeling that the enemy is making himself known somehow. I can't explain how, but I've got a nasty feeling that it isn't good."

Koenma swallowed, feeling even more anxious.

"That means that Botan is in trouble," he muttered, looking down at the floor angrily.

Yukina's eyes widened, looking nervously over at the other two girls.

"Should we go see where she is, in case she needs our help?" she asked, looking over at the three.

Shizuru sighed, closing her eyes and not replying. Koenma stood up, looking rather edgy.

"I'll go see if I can find her," he said, looking down at the other three. "You stay here and cheer on the guys, and Genkai. Besides, Hiei'd kill us if something happened to you."

Yukina blinked, her amber eyes full of confusion.

"Why would...Hiei be angry if something happened to me?" she asked, tilting her head to the side.

Koenma sweatdropped, immediately realizing his slip up.

"I...I...mean that Kuwabara and the team would be angry if we let the girls go off and get hurt!" he corrected himself, waving his hands in front of him in a defensive manner. "You know how they all feel about you guys. You're kind of like...sisters...and...ACK!"

Koenma gritted his teeth, realizing he'd just slipped up yet again.

"I'll just shut up now and go see if Botan needs my help!" he finished boldly, sprinting off up the stairs, his blue cape flapping behind him.

Shizuru sighed, looking down at the arena, where Juri was waving her arms, trying to call out the next two fighters. Yusuke and Ray, the leader of Team Insect, had both climbed onto the stone arena and were now walking toward each other.

"What was that all about?" Yukina muttered to herself, blinking after Koenma before turning to look down at the arena below again. "Kazuma still seems to be having trouble with that bite," she observed, Keiko turning slightly to see the orange-haired boy trying to stop scratching his raw arm.

Shizuru shrugged.

"Better not risk going down there right now, sweetheart," she muttered, putting out her cigarette. "The crowd looks pretty anxious."

Down below, Yusuke cracked his knuckles, grinning at Ray, who seemed to not be bothered by the human Spirit Detective's high reputation, or his team's success to far.

"And the fourth match, Yusuke versus Ray will now begin!" Juri declared, swinging her arm down in front of her, signaling the match to begin.

"Well now, human," Ray murmured, smiling as he stretched his pale green fingers out. "It seems you're team has been rather successful, haven't they?"

Yusuke smirked, waving his hand casually in front of him.

"Enough chatter already," he said cockily, making a fist. "I don't have time to waste on demons like you."

Ray's eye twitched as he lunged forward, his eyes glowing as his fingers suddenly transformed into dangerous-looking knives, similar to Wasp's stinger.

"So be it!" he snapped, slashing forward at Yusuke. "Your death will be quicker than expected, human scum!"

Yusuke ducked, rolling out of the way and popping back up on his feet behind the insect.

"Yo, over here," he smirked, his fist glowing as he punched forward. "Lights out, boys!"

There was a sickening thud as Yusuke's fist collided with Ray's head, sending the flimsy insect stumbling backward, still on his feet. The crowd muttered their reactions on this latest move, Koto grinning from her box seat as she gripped the microphone in excitement.

"And things start of quickly as Ray attempts to cut Yusuke down with his dagger-like fingers, but the human easily dodges and delivers a head-splitting punch at Ray!" she declared over the noisy crowd, her ears twitching. "That's GOTTA be a major headache in the works!"

Keiko let out a deep breath as Yusuke shook out his fist slightly, Ray stumbling back to his feet.

"I guess I don't have much to worry about after all," she murmured, smiling slightly.

"What, that's all you got?" Yusuke asked, still acting sure of himself as Ray, narrowed his eyes, the knives in his fingers growing longer.

"As if!" he declared, dashing forward again, this time more quickly, cutting Yusuke lightly across the chest as the black-haired boy attempted to dodge.

Genkai narrowed her eyes as she watched from the sidelines.

"If that boy would just concentrate and get the work done rather than trying to have a good time, that insect would already be dead," she snapped, folding her arms across her chest. "Stop messing around, dimwit!"

Yusuke glared over at her, shaking a fist.

"Just leave me alone, grandma!" he yelled back, ducking another attack from Ray.

"And it's all-out attacks from Ray as the Spirit Detective turns to the defensive!" Koto declared, now standing up in her seat, too into the fights to sit still.

Juri ducked down on the ground, narrowly avoiding being stung herself as Yusuke continued to dodge the assaults.

"You heard Genkai, just finish this loser off, Urameshi!" Kuwabara yelled, scratching at his left arm now.

Hiei merely stared forward, watching the battle with no commentary, Kurama biting his lip beside him.

"Perhaps Ray is another one not to be underestimated," he murmured wisely as Yusuke flipped in midair and only barely managed to land on his feet a few inches away from Ray.

Yusuke gritted his teeth in anger, putting his hands together, a blue light emitting from his index finger.

"I know what to do, already!!" he yelled, a beam of bright blue energy exploding from his fingertip, aimed right at Ray, who, being so close, couldn't avoid direct contact with the attack. "SPIRIT GUN!"

The whole stadium filled briefly with the blue light and then suddenly, all was quiet as all that was left of Ray was a sizzling, browned heap on the arena floor. Yusuke lowered his finger, panting.

"See?" he muttered as the crowd began to boo their disgust at the Team Insect's loss, Koto dropping her microphone up in the box.

"And that was the most anti-climactic ending I've ever seen!" she declared, looking utterly disappointed. "Yusuke aimed a sudden Spirit Gun at Ray, who was unable to dodge, and as a result, was burnt to a crisp, giving Team Urameshi the point they need to move on to the next round!"

Juri raised her hand at Yusuke, forcing another smile.

"The winner of the match and of this round, Team Urameshi!" she declared, Yusuke giving a thumbs-up to the rest of his team.

"See? I told you I wouldn't screw things up," he declared, walking over to the edge and hopping off.

Genkai rolled her eyes.

"Whatever you say, dimwit," she muttered, her eyes wandering up to where the girls and Koenma had been sitting in the stands.
End of Chapter Eight

REVIEW. And next chapter up soon!