Note: All chapters have been revised since the last update – and the story has changed most significantly in Chapters 3 and 4. Dragondancer1014 gave me an idea too precious not to use!
I think in Japan the weekend consists only of Sunday – there's school on Saturdays as well – so that's how I wrote it here.
Chapter 5: The Day Off
Spirit World Agent #1: Yes, the computer system looks pretty good.
Man: So we 'ave a deal, then?
Spirit World Agent #2: We saw a very similar system at Computermart for several thousand yen less.
Man: (wrings pudgy hands nervously) Well, I'll tell you wot, mister, I'll t'row in dis 'ere ki detector, no extry charge.
Agent #2: Ki detector? That looks like a magic eight ball.
Man: It's the latest technology, see? Top secret 'n' all. Sends readin's t'ru 'wireless networks to a computer database o' your choice, with lots o' extry doodaddles. 'Tis like somethin' out o' a James Bond movie, yes sir! You like American films? I like 'em lots. Ya ever see that 'un whur the guy just points a pen at somethin' 'n' it melts down...
Agent #1 (in low voice as Man continues rambling): It all sounds pretty good.
Agent #2: Let's see the specs on the products before we decide anything.
Man:...So, jes' like that...KAPLOW! But yeh, the detector's innocen' appear'nce'll jes' fool any would-be thieves, see? Jes' like that tiny little key chain in 'nother movie I saw...
Agent #1 (in low voice as Man continues): Come on, James Bond-type gadgetry? You know Lord Koenma would like that. We can print the specs and details from online later. We can even make up some spreadsheets comparing companies and prices.
Agent #2 (frowning):...
Agent #1: Besides, we have that soccer game to watch this evening! Let's wrap it up!
Agent #2: (clears throat hastily) It sounds useful...yes, I suppose we'll take one of those eight ba– I mean, detectors, too. Print up the invoice please.
Man: ...so then the whole thing went...KABLAM! Oh yes, sir? Oh, invoice sir? Yes sir! Right away, sir!
- o - o - o -
"Basically, our agents did a very thorough review of the specs and compared models, companies, prices – the works. They had spreadsheets, charts, graphs..." Botan sighed. "They already thought he'd be the best to buy the new electronics from because he was the only one who knew a bit about reiki and youki, and he had things like ki detectors in addition to regular computers. But his company was near bankruptcy, so the products were a little faulty – as you all saw last night."
"Except the magic eight ball, which was just a magic eight ball," Yusuke added after swallowing a mouthful of ramen. Then he smacked his knee. "HAHAHA!" (Now that he was eating ramen with his buddies after a typical day of skipping classes and loafing, instead of stuck in a meeting, his mood had greatly improved.)
"At least we didn't buy the furniture for Koenma from him, thank goodness."
"Yeah, I can just imagine all those new wall-mounted shelves of his crashing down," Kuwabara chortled, likewise cheered up from last night. "And maybe at the exact same moment, his chair's electronic control'll go haywire, and it'll collapse!"
"Then you really won't be able to see him behind that huge desk!" Yusuke howled with laughter.
A small sweatdrop appeared on Botan's forehead, but she said, "The good news is, you guys aren't being stalked or anything. The youki readings..."
"Wait, you're saying those were messed up too?" Kuwabara exclaimed incredulously mid-bite. "I thought they were from other detectors that the Spirit World's used before with no problem."
"Yeah..." Botan sighed again. "The bugs in Koenma's new computer somehow got in the database, so when the other energy detectors were programmed to send data, a few unidentifiable youki readings showed up."
"So how come they were centered on our schools and the temple?" Kurama asked. "Or did that just happen randomly, too?"
"When youkai activity is suspected somewhere, more ogre patrols are sent there, and more readings are taken. And you guys...well, you're somewhat like magnets for youkai trouble – especially after defeating the Saint Beasts."
"Why's that?" Kuwabara asked, slurping up the last of his noodles.
"Hn. Fame, of course," Hiei answered disdainfully.
"I see. Lopping off the heads of the guys who beat the Saint Beasts would really give the youkai that did it a boost in reputation," Yusuke smirked, obviously not really worried about the increased...attention from the world of youkai. He gulped down the soup and set the bowl on the table with a mighty sigh of satisfaction. "Well, that takes care of that. Now, off to enjoy the day off from school!"
"Ya got that right!" Kuwabara agreed, standing up with Yusuke.
"Hold on a sec."
"You guys still have a mission."
"What?" Yusuke sounded just the slightest bit desperate. "I thought the readings were phony! No readings, no mission!" (Although he hardly went to class on schooldays, Yusuke still highly prized the official freedom of Sundays.)
"No, it doesn't have anything to do with the readings," Botan said quickly, trying to make the mission sound more appealing – correction, less tiresome. "In fact, it probably won't even be dangerous, and won't take more than a day, since we know exactly where the guy is."
To any normal group of individuals whose occupation required them to risk life and limb with practically every assignment, this would have made the mission a rare treat.
The Urameshi Team, however, was no normal group of individuals.
The most positive – correction, least negative – response Botan got was Kurama's. He only raised an eyebrow. Hiei frowned. Botan had thought it impossible, but he looked even less interested than before. Kuwabara and Yusuke both groaned, "Aw, but that's no fun!"
Another sweatdrop appeared on Botan's head.
"You've just got to apprehend the man who sold the electronics to the Spirit World."
"Great!" Yusuke scowled. "So now we're being sent to settle Koenma's private grudges. What does he take us for, his personal lackeys? Well, Pacifier Boy has another think comin'...!"
"Come on, Yusuke, don't think of it that way. It's a serious crime against the Spirit World! And, well, it's either this, or some other case..."
"The other cases must really be small potatoes if Koenma would rather we get this guy," Kuwabara grumbled.
"Exactly. Even less interesting. Your escaped convict here, soul-eating monster there, or at best a youkai thief or two. Only, for the other missions, you'd have to meet up with Koenma again." She saw funny expressions on Hiei and Kurama's faces. "What?"
"No way!" Yusuke declared, looking as if Botan had just proposed being on time to class and sucking up to teachers for the rest of his school career.
"I am not going back to that whacko place!" Kuwabara avowed, with fully half the fervor that he normally reserved only for when friends were in danger, or when Yukina was around.
"I suppose you guys'll take the case of the Swindling Electronics Salesman, then?" Botan smiled apologetically.
"Man, I can't believe this!"
"That's another Sunday gone kaput!"
"Some day off this is turning out to be!"
- o - o - o -
Meanwhile, back in the office, Koenma was once again stamping giant stacks of papers. Stamp with the right hand. Move paper to the "finished" stack with the left hand. Stamp with right. Move with left. Stamp with right. Move with left. Stamp with right...
Stamp, swish, stamp, swish, stamp, swish...
Yes, it was the usual business.
However, Koenma was bringing the stamp down a bit harder than usual. The more he stamped, the more he looked forward to getting that electronic salesman in and giving him a bit of a...lesson. And the more he imagined stamping the paper that would send that man's soul to its final destiny. As the man was not dead, Koenma could only imagine the latter for now...but he could imagine very well. He wracked his brain for unpleasant roads onto which he could send the soul. Since the man had not committed a serious crime such as, say, killing a fellow human – and moreover, was human, not youkai – there was only so much nastiness Koenma could legally inflict. He finally narrowed the choices down to two paths, each of which merely had several mile-long upward staircases, as well as the occasional monster to scare the living daylights out, and some morals back in. Trouble was, he was agonizing over which one was more...deserved. More deserved, more just...yeah, these sounded like good terms to write on the paperwork.
Koenma did not notice how his arm came down harder with each stamp...until it was too late.
Stamp, swish, stamp, swish, stamp – CREAK!
Koenma's head snapped up.
A newly-mounted wall shelf, stacked with at least thirty pounds of books (the heavy reference type), trembled.
Koenma's eyes widened in horror.
The shelf tipped, beginning its descent – and dumping all its books forward.
Koenma sprang out of his chair.
The shelf collided into the one below it, knocking stationery right and left, and the second shelf started falling too.
Koenma sailed over his desk.
The second shelf crashed into the third, bringing down cases upon cases of CDs and DVDs which scattered and banged spectacularly with the reference books on their way down to the floor – or across the room.
Koenma's leap did not carry him quite far enough to salvage much of anything. It did, however, carry him far enough to share the fate of all his disks, books, and stationery. (On the other hand, even if he had the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound – to say nothing of mere desks – Koenma would not have been able to salvage anything, as a body in the air really has no leverage. The laws of physics, unfortunately, do not bend to any call for convenience, even the call of a god.)
Several CD cases smashed into the marble desktop, the clatter raking across Koenma's awareness like nails on new chalkboard. One disconnected shelf somehow managed to bounce off a plush leather chair, only to shoot across the room at the other wall of new shelves. After a (second) terrible racket, books, CDs, DVDs, videotapes, and extra stationery had entirely buried the sides of the office – and Koenma.
The dust settled for a few moments as Koenma lay there under the wreckage, not hurt beyond many bumps that promised lots of bruises, but stunned into blank-minded inaction.
Koenma heard a snap! The refrigerator had blown its fuse.
But it was not over yet.
Koenma heard a boing! A spring came loose somewhere in the room.
One part of Koenma sighed. Springs – that can only be my chair.
The other part of Koenma did nothing, as it was beyond caring by this point.
Koenma flung an arm sideways, heaving off a shelf so he could see his chair, his Super Ultra Comfort 5000.
Or rather, what used to be his chair.
The springs had...well, sprung. The chair swiveled eerily for several seconds from the momentum of popping springs. Then it imploded, collapsing in a heap behind Koenma's desk.
That's it. Everything in my office is new. Everything in my office cost a lot of money.
And absolutely nothing in my office works.
Well, on the bright side, no more agonizing over which way to send the electronic salesman. Whichever path I don't choose for him – it is now the miserable destiny of the furniture salesman.
end of chapter 5 (and fic)
Well! (pops a bottle of pineapple orange banana 100 percent juice, not from any dispenser) There it is, my first published fic. I ask again: Can you tell who my favorite YYH character(s) are from this fic? If you can't, that's one goal I've reached. I have a penchant for giving my favorites the best parts, but the last thing I want to do is mutate my favorites into Mary Sue/Gary Stu-types. (AUUUGH!)
Whew! Thank you to all the wonderful readers! Another round of thanks to the fantastic reviewers! And special thanks again to Dragondancer1014 for her wonderful suggestions!