RUROUNI

By: Lady Jaye

Chapter 11: The Hidden Enemy

"What did you find out on Earth?" Piccolo asked the other two Dei-sho. He felt Lo-Pei become alert at his side. The Namek watched as Risha gave a low growl and Kando tightened his furry fist.

"Well?" Piccolo continued to eye the suddenly withdrawn Dei-sho. Everyone turned his or her attention on Kando, including Thain.

"What we found…." Kando said, "….was nothing."

"WHAT?!" Vegeta, Trunks, Tien, and Gohan yelled. They had spent nearly three hours there and they had found nothing? Kando held up a hand for silence.

"I was not finished. Risha and I studied it, but there was no evidence of it having broken. There was a breach in the Dei there, true. But I don't believe it was forcibly made. There was also no evidence that the Dei itself was failing, it is as healthy as ever."

"That makes sense," Lo-Pei said. "I found it to be the same on Gaea. The Dei seems to have willfully opened and it…" The Dei-sho suddenly stopped in mid-sentence before finishing her thought. Kaoru thought it was her imagination, but the female Dei-sho seemed to cast a glare at Piccolo.

"And, Lo-Pei?" Risha asked, slightly irritated.

"And it…attracted the attention of a group of low-life scum. I killed about half of their number and we took the survivors to Yahto to face questioning."

"I see," Kando said. "That's not surprising. We felt a demonic aura from the other side of the breach we were investigating."

"Demons?! And you left no guard?!" Lo-Pei yelled. Kando gave her a cool look before answering.

"The hole was small enough that Risha and I were able to put a temporary barrier in place."

Kenshin felt his hand involuntary move to his sword. The Saiyan checked his movement and tried to hide it by scratching a pretend itch. The swordsman didn't like what he had just seen in Kando's eyes. The male Dei-sho had the eyes of a Manslayer. Eyes that he knew all too well. His nephew's voice interrupted his thoughts.

"Master Kando, Lady Risha…why would the Dei open on it's own?"

The two Dei-sho turned to Gohan. Seijuro took the opportunity to study his apprentice. While the others might not have noticed the change, his adopted son had suddenly become on his guard. The master swordsman managed to catch Kenshin's eyes. They had suddenly become cold and Seijuro could only wonder why. What ever was going on, he trusted the Saiyan's instincts. Kenshin wouldn't suddenly be wary for nothing.

"Something troubles Hiko Kenshin, Nerushi," Thain said quietly in his friend's mind. The ancient Dwarf wished that he knew what was wrong. His gift of foresight had temporarily abandoned him and he did not know what would happen next. The guardian did sense however that the source of Hiko Kenshin's discomfort came from Kando.

"The Dei would only open on it's own if someone from Yahto asked it to do so," Risha said. Those who had not been in Lo-Pei's group gave the red Dei-sho surprised looks.

"You mean to tell me," Vegeta said angrily, "that there is a traitor among you?!"

"It would appear so," Risha answered. She suddenly turned her gaze on Kenshin. "But I can assure all of you that we are not traitors. So I advise you to take your hand away from your sword, Battousai."

Kenshin gave a start, not having realized that his hand had strayed to his sword again. He pulled his hand away from the hilt. The Saiyan felt uncomfortable with the surprised looks that Goku and his friends gave to him.

"Please forgive this one, Lady Risha, this one meant no offense," he said. Kaoru, Megumi, and Yahiko gave him concerned looks as they caught the slight edge to his voice. Sanosuke took a step toward his friend.

"Kenshin's not accusing you guys," the half-elf said. At least I don't think he is. "But something has him on edge."

Vegeta eyed Radditz curiously. He was no longer his cheerful, gentle self. There seemed to be slight coldness that had taken over his personality. What's gotten into him? The Saiyan prince felt intrigued. They called him Battousai. What does that mean? Vegeta intended to find out.

Kando eyed the tall Saiyan intently before giving a wry chuckle.

"You don't like my eyes, do you Battousai?" he asked. Kenshin forced his muscles to relax. The Dei-sho eyed him again before continuing. "You are right not to. But if I may say so, you had the same look in your eyes just moments ago." He watched as a muscle twitched on the Saiyan's face. "You are not the only one with a bloody past."

"This one is no longer Battousai. This one is a wanderer, that he is."

"Just as I am no longer who I once was. I am a Dei-sho. But like you, I can not fully escape my past. Being a Dei-sho is my act of redemption, just as that reverse-blade sword is to you."

Goku watched as the intense aura around his brother abruptly disappeared. In just moments, he had reverted to his usual self. He watched as Radditz's eyes grew softer.

"Ye are right, that ye are Lord Kando. Please forgive this one."

"There is not much to forgive Hiko Kenshin. For men like us, some habits are hard to bury," Kando said. Goku watched as his brother's face broke into his now characteristic smile. As much as this relieved him, the youngest Saiyan still felt unsettled. He would have to ask Radditz later what was going on.

"I hate to interrupt, but what will all of you do now?" Thain asked. The others turned to the Dwarf. He had stood up from his seat and was now leaning heavily on his gnarled staff. Nerushi hovered protectively near him.

"I do not know Master Thain," Kando admitted. "However, either Lo-Pei, Risha, or myself should return to Earth. The barrier we put in place will dissolve soon." The Dei-sho turned to the mortals in his company.

"All of you should take this opportunity to rest and refresh yourselves. I am sure that we will be needing your strength in the days to come." He watched as the others nodded in agreement. Nerushi motioned for the group to follow him before leading them toward the main building. Lo-Pei caught Piccolo before he could join his friends.

"Why did you stop me?" She asked telepathically. Piccolo looked down at the pale Dei-sho.

"Anyone could be the traitor. I wanted to see what Kando and Risha's theory was before we shared our conclusions."

"I can't believe that those two would betray us. I refuse to believe it!"

"Lo-Pei…"

"I must speak with the other two while you mortals rest yourselves." Piccolo watched as she turned from him and walked toward the other two. Stubborn woman, he thought.

"Hey Piccolo! Hurry up!" Gohan yelled. Piccolo cast his gaze at Lo-Pei one last time before turning to join the others.

Risha and Kando watched the silent exchange between the pale skinned Dei-sho and the Namek.

"What do you think they are speaking about Kando?"

"I don't know, but I don't like it." The watched as an angry expression grew on Lo-Pei's face before she marched away from Piccolo.

"She's heading here."

"Yes."

"Do you think she suspects anything?" Risha asked. The woman watched the small, wolfish grin form on her companion's face.

"Lo-Pei will not believe otherwise unless she is given reason to. However, the Battousai concerns me. Mortal or not, as a Saiyan he may prove to be a problem."

"Do you want me to make arrangements?"

"Yes. But make sure that your arrangements can't be traced."

They ended the telepathic link as Lo-Pei joined them. As they began discussing their plans, Kando smiled inwardly.

Soon, Battousai, your suspicions will come to an end.