ME: Ok, guys I'm having fun and I have a new challenge from all of you. I have to make a chapter that's better than Chapter 44. I accept that challenge and hope to blow your socks off in the near future. So you all better be ready!
Ghost: It would seem that Rin has gotten better and your own skills as a storyteller have gotten better as well.
ME: Honestly, I don't think I would've gotten this far without everyone whose read and whose reviewed. I've grown as a writer because of this story and its challenges. Trying to turn something that people usually hate into good. Trying to keep every character as much in character as can be with changes that seem to match them. Trying to keep up interest and trying to surprise people if I get the chance. Everyone who has read has had a hand in helping this story grown and I thank you for it. Now I plan on going strong and keep updating. No more disappearing.
Hiei: Lest someone make good on finding you and forcing you to finish.
ME: Yeah…eh-heh…(coughs) Anyway, once we get past this fight, things go up in intensity and so do the stakes. That means things are going to get a lot more fun (and difficult for me) BUT I ACCEPT THAT CHALLENGE! NOW HERE WE GO!
Hiei: The baka onna only owns her characters and nothing else.
Chapter 46: Yusuke's Return
Just how long was this fight going to last until the gallant return of our very own dimwit?
"Alright. You guys have had your try. It's my turn now," Kuwabara said stubbornly as he stood up beside me. I turned to look at him and felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me. I could see sweat dripping down the sides of his face and complexion had lost quite a lot of color. Despite the fact that I knew he hadn't been injured so far, it looked like he was having trouble standing on his own two feet. I knew that he was sure that we couldn't win this fight. He knew it from watching how effortlessly Sensui dispatched Kurama, Hiei and me, but Kuwabara wouldn't just stand on the sidelines anymore. He wanted to make his friend's death count for something even if it meant dying as well. It didn't matter how tough the enemy was or how assured defeat for us seemed to be. Kuwabara was a man of pride and honor. That same pride and honor kept him from cowardly hiding away on the sidelines. Kazuma Kuwabara would stand beside his friends in battle and take on hell itself if it was asked of him. He locked his gaze on Sensui and called his Dimensional Sword back into his hand. I watched in amazement at how powerful it looked now compared to before. It was dazzling and the power radiated all around him in his aura. As Kuwabara walked right in front of us, I saw not a teenager who liked to fight. I saw a man who was doing everything he could to protect the ones he cared about. Like a knight in armor walking to his end just to keep someone else from having to do it.
"Allow me to join you, Kuwabara. These two have had their fun. Now shall we," Kurama said as he wiped some of his own blood from his hands. Despite his own injuries, the kitsune's movements were strong and firm as he stepped up to his friend's side. The cold stare Yoko Kurama often had was filled with fire and it was obvious that he would do whatever it took to keep his fellow comrade able to fight. Kuwabara didn't say a word and they stood side by side with their powers slowly climbing to prepare for the fight; although I was almost sure that they were conferring with each other the next steps they would be taking. It wasn't so much of a hunch as I could see them glancing at each other from the corner of their eyes. Sensui in the meantime calmly stood waiting for them to make their move and was quite content to keep himself restrained. It wasn't much longer until Kurama and Kuwabara's power levels shot straight through the figurative roof. It was a little surprising despite the fact that I had been expecting it and I watched carefully as the two of them lunged into the fight.
Everything happened all at once. The ground between us and Sensui came alive as dozens upon dozens upon dozens of plants that shot up through the dirt. I could see how the plants weaved in and out of the air, making a web of plants that could rival the detail of any spider's web. The power radiating from them was almost more dangerous than the Humble Plant that Kurama used against Karasu…in fact it may have been a powered up version of the Humble Plant, but unless Kurama had gained some major control over the damned thing, he was putting Kuwabara in a hell of a lot of trouble. I bit down on my lip again and watched in awe as Kuwabara stepped forward fearlessly into the fray. I swallowed the anticipation and wondered what was going to happen next. The truth was this particular fight was unwritten as far as I knew. This fight until Yusuke joined us was one of the very first things that I didn't know and that made this all the more raw…and all the more exciting. My heart fluttered at the figures of Kurama and Kuwabara moving into battle. This was what their true world was all about. Walking into a fight not knowing how it was going to end, whether they would win or lose, live or die, but still stood strong against it like none of that mattered. It made my entire soul shudder.
Kuwabara continued walking right into the thick of Kurama's plants and actually disappeared from my sight amongst the vicious living thing. I dug my nails into the ground, halfway expecting to hear the pained cries of Kuwabara being attacked by the plant monstrosity Kurama had called into existence, but it never came. In fact, I was ashamed to have thought otherwise. Kurama was a master and no matter what happened, he would not endanger the lives of those he had fought with and those he cared for above his own life. In fact, Kurama had even taken a shine to Kuwabara during their interactions and I knew that he would not so blatantly sacrifice his life. It was when I saw a light flash through all of the plants that I knew for sure that they had devised some sort of plan before jumping into the fight. Kuwabara's dimensional sword was zipping through the web of Kurama's plants and honestly, I couldn't sense where the source was. Kurama also disappeared into the thick of his plants and I smirked, "Those devious bastards. They're using the plants to hide their auras and trying to come at Sensui from where he can't see them."
"Indeed. We'll see how that foresight works with him now," Hiei stated as he slowly moved to stand on his feet. I could see that he was still fairly shaky from his own exertion and I sighed letting my head fall to the left side. It was frustrating. Even with this damned power boost…it didn't matter. The small surge of electricity I sent coursing through his body probably amounted the slight shock given off from one of those stupid joke toys kids could use back home. The most popular one I could think of was those stupid clicking pens that when you tried to click the top shocked you; hurts for a second and then it's gone. Now, Kurama and Kuwabara were pouncing back into the game. I pushed myself up on my wobbly legs and crossed my arms as I watched the plants still swiftly sprouting up from the dirt and heading straight toward Sensui. Yet, just as I thought that they might envelop him too, the plants split their path completely around him and then joined together once they were behind him; thus creating the perfect untouched center of a circle in which Sensui stood in the middle. Kurama and Kuwabara remained hidden within the mass of foliage and soon they made their move.
It was lightning fast. Suddenly a beam of Kuwabara's sword shot out from off to Sensui's right and attempted to stab him straight through the side of his head. Sensui of course moved just a fraction of an inch in order for it to pass right by his face harmlessly. It was as he stepped back though that four different vines from the plants Kurama had called forth darted across the ground and snaked their ways up his legs. Sensui looked down at the small plants in disdain and merely flexed his Holy Chi to cause them to shrivel up and die. While he was so focused on those meager attacks, Kuwabara's sword once again appeared through the vines and was aimed to stab him straight through the small of his back and seven more vicious looking plant vines attacked from all different directions. The speed of these combined attacks and the ferocity in which they beset Sensui continued to increase in magnitude and the high and mighty bastard actually had to start trying to keep the attacks at bay. Though he seemed to do this effortlessly, I noticed the edges of the plant circle moving slowly, but surely tighter and tighter around him. No doubt Hiei noticed this as well.
"They work as quite a team…perhaps if we all jump forward with such determination, we may just be able to land a few good hits on him before the end of this," I said calmly.
"As it stands, we all know too well this is a fight we cannot win. However, that will not stop us from giving it our all. That fool of a detective assured that with his final act. He knew us well enough to do something that would get all of us…including you," Hiei replied with a dark tone lacing each word he spoke. I tensed somewhat and looked at him seriously. Reflected in his eyes, I saw that same strange emotion I had seen before and recognized it as something akin to frustration. There were plenty of things to be frustrated about in our current situation, but there was something else that I didn't quite understand. Yet, I wasn't going to focus on it though considering, the fight before us was starting to spill out of hand.
Kuwabara's sword attacks were becoming more wild and dangerous as they darted toward Sensui from various angles. Meanwhile Kurama's plants were lashing out from all directions and then in one fell swoop the walls that made up the circle raised into the air before descending on the enemy. Sensui was engulfed by the plants as though a wave had crashed down on him and I grit my teeth slightly as I muttered, "This is either a really good plan or a really bad one. Perhaps we should be ready to jump back in?"
"Indeed," the Jagan master agreed as his power level fluctuated once more. We both returned our gaze to the mass of plants that now surrounded a decent area in which our friends and Sensui had disappeared under. There was quite a bit of movement beneath the plants and I could still sense Kuwabara's sword wildly attacking this way and that. Every once in a while I would get faint traces of Kurama and Kuwabara's auras but it wasn't enough for me to locate where they were. On the other hand, I couldn't get anything from Sensui. Not even the smallest shred of aura seemed to be emitted from him and I knew that was by his own volition. With the sheer amount of aura he had stored in that body of his, keeping it from being sensed was a deliberate action on his part. As strong as my friends were now, there was no way that I believed that Sensui had been taken down. He was just biding his time.
"He's gonna make his move soon," I muttered quietly.
"When he does, Kurama and Kuwabara will be right in the thick of it," Hiei agreed as he tensed his arms and started calling on the rest of the power that remained after his last exertions. I decided that I should do the same and as I was focusing on recomposing my own power, I watched Sensui finally make his move.
It happened so quickly that it seemed like no one had a chance to react. All at once, Kuwabara's sword attacks stopped and Kurama's plants ceased moving. While the mound of plants had frozen motionless, Sensui's aura shot straight to the sky, sending dozens of singed branches flying through the air. The beam of power continued to grow in size and quickly went to completely dispersing all of the plants that had surrounded him. While I immediately could see Sensui once again, it was a little difficult to see my friends. I searched through the flying debris of charred plants and barely caught sight of Kuwabara quickly readjusting his position off to Sensui's left. Without giving him anymore time to react, Kuwabara lunged forward and tried to stab his enemy in the left shoulder. Meanwhile, Kurama emerged from the plants and I could see that he had strange thorn-vines wrapped around each of his hands. They looked similar to blades and as he advanced on Sensui's right, I could see he had his arms positioned to deliver what would be potentially devastating attacks had they been on an ordinary opponent. The two of them closed the distance between them and their enemy and I watched as Sensui went to send another Tornado Fist right at them. Hiei and I both leapt into the fray at that point.
Using the plant debris still flying wildly around the air as a light cover, I ran up straight in front of Sensui flaring lightning around me boldly to draw his attention. As I did this, Hiei quickly darted off so he would attack Sensui from behind. We covered the main four directions of attack and as it stood at that moment, Sensui's gazed was focused on me. Perhaps this was just because of the minute damage I had managed to land on him with my lightning or maybe it was because he knew as well as I that I didn't belong. It didn't much matter what the reason was…all that mattered was that I keep pushing forward. The image of Yusuke's dead body and the memory of him crashing into me were still like a fresh wound and just looking at Sensui was like salt was being rubbed into it. I wanted to do everything I possibly could to make myself a thorn in his damned side until Yusuke came back to the group. So I pushed my legs to their limits; running as fast as I could until I was reasonably close to Sensui. Then I crouched down low and skid across the ground much like a runner in baseball would slide into home plate to avoid being tagged out. As I slid across the ground, I made a half circle arc of electricity between my hands and extended it out right toward both of his knees. Hiei pounced from behind with his blazing sword held high over his head and the other two advanced with their own weapons held up as well. Sensui now had all of us to worry about and before he could finish his Tornado Fist, I sent the electricity bursting out toward his legs.
"Tedious female," Sensui stated flatly as he directed his hands at me and released what he had stored for the Tornado Fist. It wasn't nearly as powerful as it had been when he used it against Kurama before, but there was enough power that it slammed me into the ground and reversed my slide like it was easy as changing the direction of an ice cube that had been sliding across the ground. I brought both of my arms up in time to defend my face and head as the slicing gusts of wind hit me and started tearing into my flesh. The smell of blood thickened the air and I growled as the dirt and stones dug into my back and lower body as I was pushed further and further away from the fight. There was a small trench created by my body skidding and I wondered how long this would keep up as my skin started to protest from the continued cuts and gashes being dealt into the skin. To my luck, it ended quickly enough and I sat up shaking away the dirt and dust that had fallen all over myself. When I looked back to my comrades, my jaw dropped in surprise. They had watched my prior attack that had managed to actually connect with Sensui and they had learned from it. Instead of attacking in their usual manner, the three of them had directly pinpointed parts where his Steel Chi Cloth didn't cover his body and attacked those instead of trying to penetrate his armor. There they all stood frozen in the moment where each of them hand landed a small hit where before they had been sure such a feat could not be possible. Kuwabara's sword had left a thin cut across Sensui's left cheekbone. Kurama's attack had left a similar cut at the bottom of Sensui's chin on the right side. Meanwhile, Hiei had adjusted his trajectory as he descended in his attack and swung his blade just enough at an angle that it squeezed between the parts of the cloth that protected him and let a long, thin cut to the side of his neck. In the second it took for all of them to register that they had managed to land a hit on their enemy, I could already sense Sensui's power bubbling in response to it. I punched the side of my fist into the ground in frustration at being so far away from the action and shouted, "Get the hell out of there! He's starting to retaliate!"
I watched as my voice reached each of them and it was a fraction of a second that managed to spare them from a highly dangerous situation. Each of them pulled their bodies just enough out of his way so that when Sensui's power exploded around them violently, they only took half of the impact instead of all of it. All three of them were sent flying back in different directions through the air and Sensui's boost caused the ground around him to shift and move with instabilities. It seemed that we had annoyed him and that caused me to grin; wolfishly revealing my sharpened canine teeth. Stubborn determination was fueling me by this point and I jumped back to my feet. I vigorously shook all the dirt from my body and swiftly unhooked the chakram from my hips. I spun them in both of my hands before tightly gripping them and running straight ahead at Sensui once again. He had turned his back on me and was returning his attention to the spots where my friends had fallen. Though they had missed most of the force from his attack, they had taken just enough to temporarily stun them and if I could distract Sensui long enough, they would be able to retaliate in turn. So I let out a wolfish howl in an attempt to regain his attention and charged straight toward his back. This caused him to look over his shoulder at me in disdain and mutter, "You don't know when to stay down do you?"
"Not a chance!" I howled happily as I jumped into the air and launched both of my chakram at him with as much strength as I could throw into them. I continued to flip through the air over him and directed my chakram to fly straight toward his head. I called forth a raging fire to each of my hands and sent the inferno down on him as I moved directly over him. It wasn't until I landed in front of him that my chakram were about to make contact and of course, he effortlessly swatted them away like it was nothing. The fire I had thrown at him fizzled out as soon as it touched his aura, but the ground managed to keep a few of the embers lit at his feet. My weapons flew wildly through the air after him hitting them aside, but instead of letting them fall off to the ground, I focused my mind and used the control I had learned from Hiei and Kurama to redirect them in midair. It was surprisingly easy and I had them spiral straight up in the air over me before splitting and descending viciously on Sensui once again. This time they attacked from different angles and I planted my feet firmly in the ground where I stood between Sensui and my friends. Once again, Sensui dispatched my chakram effortlessly and turned his gaze back on me. He raised one hand so that three of his fingers were flexed out in my direction and his thumb pressed over the nail of his pointer finger.
"Why don't you take a seat?"
When the last syllable left his lips, he flicked his pointer finger right at me. I didn't even have time to process what he said before this new burst of unimaginable aura slammed into the middle of my chest and took me clean of my feet. I was sent flying back through the air and slammed into the ground quite a few yards away from the rest of my friends. My head cracked against the dirt with enough to stun me and I was barely aware of the fact that both of my chakram buried themselves into the dirt by my head. It was a challenge just to figure out how to breathe. I couldn't be sure how long I was dazed. My head was throbbing and that made it difficult for me to regain my thoughts, but when I finally had, I sat up and looked over to see that Kurama, Kuwabara, and Hiei had already jumped back into the fight. As always, Sensui was effortlessly swatting all of their attacks harmlessly to the side and even spun on his heel to roundhouse kick Kuwabara straight in the gut. This sent the frizzy haired swordsmen reeling back to smack into the ground and lay there for a minute trying to figure out how to breathe again; much like I was at that moment. Hiei and Kurama picked up the pace in an attempt to keep Sensui from landing another attack on the downed member of our group. I slowly staggered to my feet, feeling the beatings I had taken already setting in on my weary body and I slowly shook my head. After pulling my weapons out of the ground and replacing them on my hips, I sighed heavily and wiped the sweat from my brow. I was starting to feel like I had bitten off a little more than I could chew.
Then something snapped through my mind. I felt something coming from the portal back to the Ningenkai and I detached from the fight that was happening right before my eyes. Instead, I looked back up to the sky and honed in on the portal we had fallen through. In my mind's eye it was like I could see through the clouds, through the hyperspace between the two worlds, past the sliced net Kuwabara had cut to let the others through, and straight into the cave where we had watched our friend die. Now, Yusuke's aura was pouring throughout the cave like it was a fountain and I could half imagine and half see him standing there, in all his glory with Puu in his phoenix looking form newly revived and ready to fight. It was almost like I was standing there beside him and his newfound demonic aura was so potent that it caused me to take a sharp breath. I could sense his power from where I was standing and I closed my eyes while taking in a deep breath. It was astounding. He had so much power now…so much that it put him right on par with Sensui easily. In fact, I could tell that he had even more than Sensui but because it was unrefined, he couldn't get a handle on it just yet. It was a stark difference from when I held his dead body in my arms…he was so close at that point but there was nothing I could sense from him. Not even the slightest hint of aura…now it was so overbearing that I could feel it between the two worlds. This was the Yusuke I had come to know and this was the Yusuke that was going to put Sensui in his place. He was back…he was soon going to be on his way to help us out…and I was going to give him such a punch for what he did. Not a pinch. A full out punch!
"Rin!" Kurama's voice brought me out of my stupor. My eyes shot open and I looked to see Sensui had disappeared and reappeared running straight toward me. Apparently, he had already thrown the other three off once again and saw that I was back on my feet. He probably figured putting me down now would be less of a headache for him later since I had an annoying habit of causing my friends to rally back into the fight. Considering that I had been far too focused on Yusuke's revival, I quickly found there was no time for me to get out of dodge. All I really could do was bring up my arms in defense and wait for the inevitable strike to come. However, it would seem that fate had something else in store for me.
"Get out of the way you damned baka onna!" Hiei snapped viciously as he swiftly appeared at my side. His eyes met mine as he reached out and grabbed the collar of my shirt. With one hell of a jerk, Hiei unbalanced me and then literally threw me over his shoulder like I was nothing more than a child. I unceremoniously landed on the ground with a thud and rolled to my hands and knees; flipping the hair out of my face in time to look back at him as he said, "If you're just going to space out in the middle of a fight like this then get out of the way! We don't have time to babysit!"
Seconds later, Sensui descended on him and slammed a devastating right hook right into the side of Hiei's face. The sound of his fist meeting Hiei's face churned my stomach and Hiei was sent flipping and sprawling back across the ground; bouncing along as he went. I covered my mouth in horror, but before I had a chance to do anything else, Kurama and Kuwabara ran up on either side of me and continued on to put themselves between Sensui and me. As I sat there in shock at what Hiei had done, I couldn't get the look in his eyes out of my mind…the same look he's had during this entire fight whenever I would jump into the fray against Sensui…and I couldn't believe that I didn't understand what it had been about before. Hiei was doing everything in his power to keep me from being hurt or killed by Sensui. When Sensui had turned his attention on me in the cave, I had sensed frustration seeping from Hiei even though he was physically kept at bay by the Inverse Man. During the time I had been taking that beating, there was nothing Hiei could do but watch and hope that I would make it out of it just fine. Now, there was something he could do and he was willing to put himself in harm's way to make sure that he did so…Kurama and Kuwabara were doing the same, but not to the exact extent that Hiei was. I was so caught up in the revelation that I didn't realize tears were burning my eyes until they were already falling down the sides of my face. I couldn't stop it. The tears just wouldn't stop and I shook my head. I closed my eyes as Sensui quickly knocked Kurama and Kuwabara on their asses as well.
The image of Yusuke's dead body waited in the darkness for me. The feeling of his cold body and the fact that I couldn't sense any of his life force haunted me. Now, similar images raced through my mind but instead I saw Kuwabara… and then I saw Kurama… and finally… Hiei. Dead and not breathing; power gone and cold seeping through each of their bodies as death took hold of each of them. My dearest friends…and perhaps the one person who understood me better than anyone else had. I couldn't sit back and let them get hurt protecting me. Not anymore. I had grown too strong and if they died for me…it would be nothing more than pathetic for me. That was enough to shatter what calm I had left inside of me. The sight of their bodies lingered on the forefront of my mind and haunted me whether my eyes were open or closed. No matter how I tried, I couldn't get the images of their blood covering my hands and clothes. I dug both sets of nails into the ground and opened my eyes despite the fact that tears were still falling freely down the sides of face. My gaze focused on the scene before me and I immediately recognized it. Hiei was resting on his knees and leaning over on his fists trying to find the strength to get back in the fight. Kuwabara was lying flat on his back with his arms extended out at his sides and his chest heaving from the exertion it had been to attack Sensui. Kurama was lying on the ground in between the two of them with blood dripping down the side of his face and he was resting on his subtly shaking arms. This was the scene were Sensui was supposed to be talking about how he felt satisfaction and emptiness at their defeat, but instead he was raising both of his hands out in front of him to deliver what would easily be the final attack. Once again he was deviating from the storyline and I was NOT just going to let that happen!
"SENSUI!" I howled as I pushed out whatever last bit of power I had. The last bit of his name was completely incomprehensible as it turned into one loud, piercing wolf howl. Instead of creating another wolf creature to attack him, I focused all of my remaining power on transforming myself instead. There had been two times before I had turned into my wolf form; back at Tarukane's mansion and in the Dark Tournament, but this was on a different scale. Instead of just focusing on becoming a wolf of normal size, I was trying to turn myself into a similar size wolf I had created to attack Sensui in the confrontation before. I dug my nails deeper into the ground letting out a second howl, this time allowing the power to completely transform my body into that of a wolf. Lightning sparked all around me and flames surrounded me as my body changed. When it was over, I stomped all four of my paws into the ground stubbornly and flexed my claws. My ears went flat across the top of my head and I snarled, curling my lip over my teeth threateningly as I did so. It was definitely a different feeling, but at the same time almost seemed natural. It was like this form was a second home. My ears twitched at my slightest inclination and my tail reacted in a similar manner. My sense of smell and hearing heightened allowing me a better sense of the world around me. My forelegs and hind-legs were strong and the muscles in this new form were strong as well. When I had transformed before, it was almost like I was a small fluff-ball or a dog. This form however, was a full-fledged wolf and that meant all the things that made wolves dangerous came with it. I wasn't able to make myself the size of the creature I had called into existence before, but I had managed to make myself a bit larger than the average sized wolf. I could feel Sensui's interest pique and my friends concerns grow. At this point, I knew I was just biding time until Yusuke finally got moving and entered the Makai as well to finish what he started. However, the rest of them didn't have any idea what was going on and they weren't thrilled about what I was about to do, but frankly I didn't give a damn. Better to fail like a badass than sit on the side like a coward.
"It would seem that you are more interesting than I originally thought," Sensui stated as he turned to face me, leaving my friends free from his final attack. I crouched closer to the ground and narrowed my eyes on Sensui. It was difficult to focus my hearing on just what stood before me, when I was hearing everything around including the whistling of the wind and the crumbling of the dirt beneath my paws. I could hear Kuwabara's ragged breathing and I could hear Kurama's soft grunts of pain from even the slightest movement. I could even hear Hiei digging his fingers into the dirt as he watched what I was doing and I knew that he was trying to desperately guess at how Sensui would respond to it all. Even I hadn't thought of that…
But by that point, I really couldn't possibly have cared any less.
I charged forward, my paws pressing deeply against the dirt as my strong hind legs drove me forward. Each time my legs connected with the ground I could feel the power surging through my strides and when I got close enough, I forced my hind legs to push off the ground with all the power I could manage. I flew through the air, heading straight toward Sensui and I snarled viciously. He didn't even give me the light of day. Just as I reached his perimeter, Sensui brought up his hand and fired yet another aura burst right in my face. I focused on my demonic shield appearing before me and with only a fraction of a second to spare, it did; only to have his attack to slam straight into it. The force of the blow sent me back and I was nimble enough to right myself in midair and land on all four feet…er paws…that was going to take some getting used to. As soon as I touched the ground again, I was off like a bullet; charging forward with more determination than before. Sensui seemed surprised as I approached him from the side and when I jumped into the air and targeted his left arm with my teeth, it was almost like he didn't have time to react. My jaws clamped down on his arm, just above the elbow and immediately pain shot through my teeth like I had bitten into a rock. His Steel Chi Cloth wasn't something to be snickered at and then he reached up with his other hand to slam his fist into the middle of my ribcage. This caused me to release his arm and before I could even process what happened, Sensui delivered one swift kick straight into the middle of my chest, further stunning me. Of course, this onslaught wouldn't have been complete without Sensui sealing it with one final strike that would send me reeling. He didn't disappoint and threw me into the air before disappearing. As I struggled to right myself in midair as I had done before, I heard Hiei growl faintly, "Damn it!"
It was then Sensui appeared directly above me. He was already swinging his leg down and when the heel of his foot connected with my side, I heard the rib that had been cracked earlier before I healed it once again suffer the same damage. This time, it may very well have broken and if it hadn't from the initial blow, my smashing into the ground as hard as I did certainly did it. My entire body went numb from the shock and all I could do was whine slightly from the inability to breathe. My power was definitely not holding up after that impact and I slowly reverted back to my normal form. I pressed my cheek against the rock that rested beneath my head and dragged my nails across the ground. My lungs felt as though they were seizing and had forgotten how to take in air. With agonizing slowness, I pushed my violently trembling body up on my hands and knees. I shook my head and looked up to see Sensui standing a mere foot in front of me, looking down blankly as he said, "To comment on what you said earlier, I do believe that you are bowing."
"Ah…right…Let me fix that," I choked through wheezing breaths. I pushed myself back to be sitting on my knees and slowly brought up my right hand. Then with all the charm and elegance I had left as a woman, I promptly extended my middle finger and flipped Sensui the bird with a sickly sweet smile as I said, "There we go…That's more appropriate."
This received a swift kick in the chest as response.
I skid back across the ground on my ass and stopped a few feet in front of the rest of my friends. I hunched over and pressed my forehead to the ground. It was like I couldn't even get my body to take in air. The prior hits had shocked my lungs and knocked the wind out of me. This last attack however, made it feel like they would never work again and I would die slowly of suffocation. What a shitty way to go. After holding my own and doing my damnedest to leave some sort of mark on this world, how fair would it be to just roll over dead from lack of breathing? That was heroic…not. It took a few minutes, and quite a lot of choking but I was able to breathe and slowly sat up straight once again. Sensui stood there in front of all of us and didn't make another move. Instead he started to talk.
Bingo. We had gotten back to the storyline after all.
"This reminds me of an RPG video game, where I max out my character before challenging the last boss. He can't hurt me, but as he has 10,000 HP and I can only manage to shave off 100 HP at a time, it takes a while to whittle that down and take him out. After that… I feel both a strange pleasure and an emptiness. It's the way I feel now. I'm sorry I made you suffer," Sensui said looking over each of us carefully. I quietly looked back in his eyes and was surprised to see that…he actually meant it. I couldn't stop myself from thinking over how strange he was. I knew he was insane. No one could deny that, but I wondered…whose fault that truly was. Yes, he had a choice to go down the path he did…but after going so long as the Underworld Detective and thinking he was protecting the world and all the good it stood for, how devastating was it for his unwavering sense of justice to see the very same people of his own species doing such despicable things to demons… I did see where he came from. Did I condone it? Oh hell no. Not in a million years, but I could understand where his descent into madness sprung from. He had been fighting for the good of humanity only to come face-to-face with the very darkest depths of humanity's depravity. Every day, there were people just like him…murders and the like whose minds just snapped and up until that point, could've been doing good for the world. It was a sobering thought to think that someone who was doing such upstanding good, could overnight turn into the very bane of that same existence…at least the people back home didn't have the sheer amount of power Sensui had. Until the day where humankind no longer did harm to one another and the other living things it shared the world with…people like Sensui would never stop being there and having to be dealt with.
"Never mind that. You were just lucky," Hiei stated simply as he sat back and propped himself against his left arm while his right arm rested on his bent right knee. Although I couldn't see him, I could faintly hear him crunching dirt in his hand as it rested on the ground.
"And stronger than we are at this moment. But that's all it takes to win," Kurama responded sounding like it was just a matter of fact. As always, Kurama was not one to waste words and it caused me to smirk somewhat.
Sensui raised his hand and prepared what would be the final attack and said, "I'll finish it, then."
Just then I could sense Yusuke's determination spike and I knew that he was on his way. Finally, might I add! My prior smirk only grew into a larger grin and I shook my head, feeling the sense of relief swelling in my heart. I couldn't contain it for long and threw my head back letting out a laugh. This immediately caused my friends to look at me in confusion and Sensui cocked his head somewhat to the side; all the while I was still laughing. I wiped away a tear that slipped from the corner of my eye and looked back at him with a Cheshire Cat smile as I said, "Before you do that though, riddle me this Sensui. What does it feel like to be the one enemy who thought they had our group on the ropes and it turns out what just making them strong enough to take you down?"
Before he had a chance to respond, Yusuke had entered the portal and was in the hyperspace between the worlds. Everyone could sense his overwhelming power by this point and they all immediately froze. Except for Kuwabara. He shot straight up into a sitting position from where was. When the surprise allowed, we all looked up to catch sight of him. Puu was heading straight toward us and by the gods, he looked so huge! It was astounding to believe that the small little blue fluffball I had cuddled in the Dark Tournament was the same magnificent creature flying toward us now. It similar to that of a phoenix and well…it seemed accurate with Yusuke's resurrection and all. Then I looked to see Koenma sitting there holding on as tight as he possibly could and looking around at everything he had just been dropped into. No doubt it was a shock to his system to find himself, Prince of the Underworld, smack dab in the middle of the Makai. Heh…poor bastard. Then, my gaze fell on Yusuke who was disembarking from Puu's back to land on the ground a little ways away from us. He landed gracefully on the ground and just stood there. I looked him over…from his one missing shoe, past his ripped pants, past his bare chest and finally settled on his face… Instead of the pale sight that had been haunting me there was color. His dark eyes were wide open and staring at each of us in a way that only Yusuke could. I could still see the mark on his chest where Sensui's attack had pierced him, but it was healed…just a little dried blood remained. Two subtle tears slipped from the corners of my eyes and I brought up one hand to cover my face. He was back…just like he was supposed to be…he was back…and I couldn't have been more relieved.
"Yu…suke?" Hiei muttered in awe. That was certainly a tone of voice that wasn't normal for the Jagan user.
"I don't…" Kurama blanched at the sight before him.
Kuwabara on the other hand couldn't say a word. He was still too lost in shock to find the words. Yusuke looked over us with a goofy grin and said, "Sorry I'm late, guys! But it looks like I'm just in time! Did you really think I'd leave you poor saps to finish what I started?!"
I bit down on the corner of my lip and felt my power surge through my body. Everything was forgotten, from my shaking limbs all the way to my cracked rib. I shot to my feet in one fluid motion and I crossed the distance between us like it was a single stride. I soon stood a mere foot away from Yusuke and locked gazes with him. I took it all in…his overwhelming aura, his bright surprised eyes and even his usual scent…everything that I had imagined slipping away when he had been struck down. I tried to burn it into my mind…anything to get the previous images out of my head. I couldn't even bare to think if it had been Hiei. Meanwhile, Yusuke took in my new appearance and smiled before saying, "Well, Rin I have to say, as badass as you looked with short hair, this is way more your style. Maybe you should keep this look."
"Yusuke…Yusuke…you're…such an asshole!" I howled furiously as I drew my right fist back and flung it forward in my best attempt at one hell of a right hook. I wasn't quite sure where this burst of anger came from, but I was so beyond caring at that point it didn't matter. All I wanted was for him to understand that it was entirely his fault! My fist connected effortlessly with the side of his face, but due to his power up and my own lack of power, Yusuke merely took a single step back as his head turned from the hit. Then he looked at me carefully reading my expression. His cheek didn't even swell up from the hit as much as it should've. There was just the smallest scuff. Tears were spilling down the sides of my face once again and more than anything I just wanted them to stop. I didn't want to show any of them this sort of weakness. I balled both of my fists at my side and looked up at him seething. It was a struggle to keep the hysterics at bay. I was so happy and so very pissed all at once that I couldn't figure out what to feel first.
"Are you ok, Rin?" Yusuke asked in a cautious tone.
"Ok?! You stupid idiot! How would I be ok after that?!" I screeched finally stopping the tears. Now that I had accomplished that much, I decided that I was angry first and foremost. That's where I would stay until it fizzled out and I had nothing else to fall back on but the happiness that he had come back from the dead…but that wasn't likely to come easy unless he did something to knock it out of me…which was possible considering that it was Yusuke after all.
"Whoa! Calm down before you bust a fuse. I mean, c'mon! You knew I was going to come back. You knew everything was going to be ok. What's the big deal?" Yusuke laughed as he placed both of his hands on my shoulders. At first all I could do was open and close my mouth soundlessly. What that hell was he thinking?! I was officially dumbfounded. That moron didn't honestly believe that I could just take what happened and move on like it was perfectly normal…did he?
"Are you dense?! Is that supposed to make it any easier?! Is that supposed to make me care any less?! It doesn't matter if I knew one way or another that you were going to come back! What if things had changed?! What if you weren't going to come back like I thought?! What would we do then?! What about your mom?! What about Keiko?! And is that supposed to diminish the fact that you died protecting me?! That your dead body crashed into me and I…I held…" the words stopped in the back of my throat and it felt like I was choking. I stopped and brought my hand up to cover my face. I was shaking again…damn it. The multiple times Hiei had called me a burden were starting to ring through my mind. I closed my eyes and tried to compose myself once again. All the while I muttered quietly, "You're such an idiot."
"Hey," Yusuke said quietly in that same damn reassuring tone that he was known for using on Keiko, Botan, and everyone else who worried about his wellbeing. I slowly looked up and he gently tightened his grip on my shoulders before saying, "It's never been easy and there have been times when we haven't been on the same page but…I trusted you. Shouldn't you have the same trust in yourself? Shouldn't you trust me? Besides, when have I ever been one to stay down in a fight?"
I couldn't speak. Instead I just looked at him blankly and focused on breathing. How could anyone be so infuriatingly…understanding and calm as he could be…especially with as hot a temper as he had. I wiped away the rest of my tears and shook my head somewhat, feeling the previous rampaging emotions start to ebb. Yusuke's plan had worked like a charm. That rat bastard. Now I was just happy…and still slightly annoyed, but it was small enough that I could just let it fall to the side…for now anyway. I sighed and stepped away from him, disengaging his hands from my shoulders. I looked over at him with a very small, tired smile and said, "Welcome back, you asshat. The world would be boring without you around. Now, let's see your new powers in action shall we? Get back to kicking ass and taking names, in true Yusuke Urameshi fashion."
A huge grin broke over the fighter's face and he gave me a big thumbs up, "That's what I'm here to do!"
ME: *smirks deviously* Alrighty then…one more chapter down…and the fun soon begins.
Ghost: Rin is still ruled by her human sentiments despite all the fights she's had to face.
ME: Yep yep. She's a regular oddball, lemme tell ya. But that's what's gonna keep her going in time to come and let me just say that…Rin's gonna need all the help she can get.
Hiei: Something tells me, you're going to cause a bit more trouble in the chapters to come.
Ghost: Indeed, and she can barely contain her glee.
ME: Weee! Next chapter is gonna be fuuuuuun! HERE WE GO AND SEE YA NEXT TIME! Drop me a review and tell me what you thought!