Kurama walked down the path from the hospital to the beach. He really needed to clear his head. Back there was Shiori, sick and dying for no good reason. She was stuck in the hospital because of all the trouble he caused her, and now she was going to die because of him.

When the path gave way to the sand, Kurama took off his shoes and socks. The sun was down, but the sand was still warm, which counteracted the slight chill in the air. He walked over to a dune that gave him a spectacular view of the ocean. The breeze ruffled his hair.

Just in front of him was a little girl. She and her mother were building a sandcastle. It was nothing special, just an upturned bucket of sand with little stick flags in the middle. Kurama looked around. There were many castles on the beach in various states of disarray. The girl and her mother were building the castles on the water line. They built one, a wave destroyed it. They rebuilt a foot away; another wave.

That was the true nature of humanity. They were resilient, they kept going even when they were being crushed by the waves of life. Youkai weren't like that. They were tough, but not resilient.

He was very grateful for Shiori's resilience. Despite his having torn down her best efforts at loving him, she had kept going. All those years… It took her serious injuries to let him know he was loved unconditionally. Still, human resilience only extended to their personalities. Their bodies were so fragile, like sand castles built too close to the waves. Shiori was dying.

If only she had a chance…

But she would- if he went along with Hiei's crazy plan and broke into Reikai with Gouki, of all the idiots in the worlds…

and got the mirror

and got away undetected with less than half his old strength.

But still, Kurama was determined: he would save Shiori.