Chapter 7

A blood curdling scream pierced the dimness of the early morning. Toboe jolted up from the bed roll on the floor next to Hige. His eyes took a moment to adjust to the dark, but soon saw the screams were coming from Hige. Toboe scrambled out of his covers. He looked at Hige's bed, and didn't see him, until he looked in the corner. Hige was curled into a little ball, whimpering like a pup. Toboe wasn't sure what to do, he didn't know what was going on.

"Rei! Wake up, quick!" Toboe called as he crawled over to Hige, trying to calm him. "Hige it's me, Toboe, it's all right," Toboe reached out and tried to grab his shoulder. Hige shrunk away from him, as if he had never seen Toboe before.

"Oh no," Rei said as she entered the main room from her back room. "He's hallucinating," Rei finished as she saw Hige curl into a smaller ball.

"Well, what do you we do?" Toboe asked in an urgent voice. The look in Rei's eyes made Toboe feel worse.

"We need to find a way to calm him down," was all Rei could say.

Keno led Kiba and Tsume deeper into the forest, which happened to be much deeper than they thought. The search was stopped for a while, since night had fallen, but now the morning light was shining and they were on the way again. Of course, Tsume wasn't the happiest, he still didn't trust Keno too much. But Kiba didn't have much more than Tsume. The only thing that kept them from leaving was finding a cure for Hige. Kiba said they would all make it to paradise together, and he was going to make sure of that.

"So what does this flower look like that we need to find?" Kiba asked. Keno stopped and turned around.

"Well, it's white, of course. It doesn't have a fragrance, and the center of it is a light blue. It has two leaves, and five petals, that's it," Keno explained. Kiba nodded. Tsume showed no sign of even hearing Keno, but he did.

"How hard is it to find?" Tsume spoke up suddenly. Keno thought for a moment.

"Well if I can find the spot I went to last time I needed Yuki flowers, then it should be easy. I just hope nothing has happened to that spot in the last few years," Keno said. He turned around again and continued leading.

"You needed Yuki flowers before?" Kiba asked. Keno hesitated, obviously not wanting to answer.

"Yes I have."

Cheza placed her pale hand on Hige's forehead. It was difficult to reach him, but she did. Slowly his panicked and terrified expression faded, and he fell asleep again. Lines of fright still traced his face, but at least he was calm. Toboe was glad that they had Cheza. Rei sighed in relief, she was at a loss on what to do for Hige.

"Good thinking Cheza," Toboe smiled. Cheza smiled back at him. "Will he have more hallucinations?" he asked, turning to face Rei.

"Well since Cheza is here to help, it might not be so bad, I mean, look how much she's helped out so far, just with that little bit."

Toboe looked back Hige, who had curled into a slight ball buried in blankets. Cheza continued to sit next to him and ran her fingers through his hair. Toboe's attention was taken from Hige and Cheza to Rei walking quickly to the kitchen. He followed her quietly. Rei sat down heavily in a chair and hid her face with her hands. Toboe titled his head in confusion and walked up next to her.

"Are you all right?" he asked. Rei peeked her head up quickly.

"Yes, I was just thinking of something…" her voice stopped and she looked down.

"What was it?" Toboe asked, he was curious. Rei looked as if it would kill her to say what she was thinking. Finally, she took a deep breath and let it out.

"There's a reason why I know so much about what's wrong with him," the light in her eyes faded some as she brought painful memories back. Toboe didn't say anything he wanted her to continue. "When the poisoning first started to occur, many people became sick," she pause for a moment. "I was one of them. Keno is the one who saved me."

"You were poisoned too?" Toboe asked. That explains why she looked so sad, he thought. "But that means you can live through it!" he added, with a touch of excitement.

"True he can live…but it also depends on how fast the poison is spreading…"

"But, they should be back any time, right?" Toboe panicked some. Rei didn't answer. She didn't want to build any false hope. True, they could be back any time, but they could return without the flower, or not return soon enough. Toboe gave up on getting a response, Rei had been silent for a few minutes now. He clinched his fist tightly and walked back to his bed roll. Rei opened her mouth to say something, but no words came from her. She felt guilt growing for not saying something. So she walked in and placed her hand on Toboe's shoulder.

"They'll come back soon enough. As long as they're back before…" she stopped again. She wasn't sure how to word it.

"Before what?"

"Before he starts to cough…blood," she almost choked out her last word, recalling all the pain. Toboe's eyes widened. Blood? His mind yelled. He couldn't believe there was even more to this poisoning. Every time a flicker of hope began to shine, something else came and destroyed it. Rei saw his expression. "Don't think about it, that only makes it worse," she smiled gently.

"This can't be," Keno murmured as he went down on one knee and dug through the leaves.

"What?" Kiba asked.

"This is where the flowers where last time, I'm sure of it," Keno dug more. "I don't know why there wouldn't be anymore…"

"Are you sure you have the right place?" Tsume asked scanning the ground for any kind of flower at all. There was only dead leaves.

"I'm positive," Keno sighed.

"Just keep looking," Kiba commanded. He wasn't about to give up.

Soon Tsume and Kiba were digging with their front paws, not caring about staying in their human forms anymore. Keno searched everywhere. None of them would stop, but still they were very careful not to dig too hard, for fear of passing over or destroying a flower.

"Shit! This is getting us no where!" Tsume yelled, shaking some of the dirt of his fur.

"Don't stop looking Tsume," Kiba growled.

"There clearly aren't anymore of these flowers! There's nothing here Kiba," Tsume snapped. Kiba ignored everything he said and kept looking. Tsume had to hold back his urge to attack Kiba from time to time, in order to keep looking.

Toboe found himself jumping every time the slightest cough came from Hige. He was worried to look over and see blood trickling from his mouth, but much to his relief, he never saw any blood. Rei would pour some water in Hige's mouth from time to time to keep his throat from drying out, and Cheza stayed by his side.

"What do you think is taking them so long?" Toboe broke a long silence that had infected the room.

"I'm not sure, but all we can do is wait…"

Toboe sighed heavily and laid down. He was a little tired from being woken up so early. He hadn't slept very well the night due to the fact that he was worried. Toboe looked at the ceiling for a moment, then closed his eyes. He hated waiting for them, he hated just sitting there not being able to do anything.

WEEEE! I FINALLY POSTED AGAIN! YES! GO ME! I've had the most horrible case of writer's block ever and now I really do have it all planned out and decided to make it 8 chapters, but I swear it will be done soon! I REALLY DO!

Youkai girl