"You again!" Botan gasped.

"Yes, and you need to go through me to get this." Nimshaygo was holding up a small leather pouch which apparently held the pendent.

"Well at least we know how to hold it" Yusuke observed. As Kuwabara started to attack and went flying instantly. He landed practically on top of Hiei.

"Shorty, what's wrong" The flame koorime had gone pale.


Hiei watched though a hole in the wall. Nimshaygo was grinning down at Paulita. The girl was obviously scared, and she kept whimpering.

"Coward" another demon told her. "You haven't been hurt yet."

Not hurt! Hiei thought in disbelief, I saw you kick her and punch her and even use a few daggers on her. How can she not be hurt?

Neither demon moved, and Paulita scared as she was, struck out against her captors. She ran to Nimshaygo and kicked him as hard as only a little girl can. The demon didn't even flinch but sent the girl flying.

She hit the wall hard. Hiei could see that she had been tortured. Her right arm looked like it had been broken several times, and then someone had unsuccessfully tried to pull it off. He could tell that they had broken at least a few of his friend's ribs and open wounds trickled blood all over her body.

"Hello Hiei." she whispered with a smile, and then died. He couldn't believe that she was smiling at him. It was his fault that Paulita had been killed. If he hadn't been playing with her, she would still be alive and caring for her garden. Now Paulita was a bloody broken corpse.

"I am the forbidden child after all." The flame koorime told himself.

About an hour later messengers came and told him, "Your friend is dead"

"I know she's dead" Hiei hissed. I saw it"

He lost control and killed the messengers, then killed the rest of the bandits. Or rather he tried to; it took all he had to escape Nimshaygo in one piece.

The battle was going badly. Kurama was unable to touch Nimshaygo with his standard weapons and the death plants would destroy the pendant as well. Yusuke at least could get in a few hit s with the spirit gun but their foe seemed to be wounded to the point of maybe needing a band aid. The boys were bruised all over form his attacks.

Botan reached Hiei as soon as Kuwabara got back into the battle.

"He killed her because of me"

"Like Lily was trapped"

"No, look you failed to protect your sister and she went after you. Paulita was killed just because she was my friend. There is a difference."

"I killed my sister, literally"

"I don't want anyone else to die on my account" Hiei admitted.

"I know" Botan slipped her hand into his." So keep us alive"

That brought him to his senses. Hiei released the dragon of the darkness flame. Nimshaygo banished so did the leather case around the pendant.

Botan ran toward it. Then she grabbed peony weaving Lily had given her, and scooped the pendant up into it.

Why did you give that up? Yusuke asked her. I just didn't want to stay here any longer and hat was the only way we could avoid contact with it." Not to mention that Hiei shouldn't have to stay here to torture himself more, she added silently.

Really Onna why do you care about me so much

The ferry girl walked back to Hiei and kissed him.

Does that answer your question; I realized I loved you when Nimshaygo attacked us last night

He nodded, and then he smiled at her.

It was good to smile without restraint