Whew! I think I still posted this new chapter on the date that I said I will—it still is the 20th of March 2010 in several time zones around the world. XD But I must admit, the sheer length of the chapters of this fanfic is taking its toll on me. These chapters are really long!
And yes, I know—I packed on the Physics in Chapter 7. Please, let me explain why.
Remember that Kurama spotted Amanuma at the end of the chapter? By that, I was hinting at an imminent confrontation between the two former foes. But you know, that encounter was supposed to have happened in Chapter 7—not this chapter.
But the unraveling of the Mori Hibino mystery consumed so many pages of Chapter 7 that I eventually decided against writing the Kurama-Amanuma faceoff in the same chapter. So all those Physics that you read… Yes, they were filler.
What you are now about to read was not the actual Chapter 8 that I originally intended, but the somewhat "lost" second half of Chapter 7. But with new material, of course. ^-^
Chapter 8 is dedicated to the following reader-reviewers:
Kaori Minamino-san: Thank you for reviewing Chapter 6 even when I had already posted 7! I just love receiving reviews for chapters that aren't the most recently posted. \^o^/ And you noticed the déjà vu I attempted at the end. ^^ Yes, I really do tend to make "even the most innocent scenes" mysterious—to keep curiosities roused and tensions running. XD Thank you! (Still waiting for your Chapter 7 review, though, but that's okay—take your time. ^^)
DiesIrae773-san: You noticed the juxtaposition of Chapters 6 and 7! Yay! ^-^ I really was going for that, and I was kind of afraid I failed. ^^; As for your Sniper-related question… Your timing was perfect. Please read this chapter to find out why! XD
(P.S. At this point in the fanfic, Sniper's last appearance was in Chapter 5, in which he was… err, Setsu's "means of transportation" XD… to rummage around Yukimi and Mushiyori Cities. Right? So when we consider the timeline of the events in this fic, it has actually been only one (nightmarish) night and one morning since Sniper and Setsu were last together. He hasn't really been gone for that long. ^-^ But of course, the time did seem to draw out much longer because of all the stuff that had involved Kurama and Setsu—but not Sniper—in just one nightmarish night and one sweat-drop-drenched morning. ^^)
(P.P.S. If you find that particular pairing interesting... Look out for the next two chapters. *wink*)
animegirl2961-san: Hi! Nice to hear from you again! ^-^ I'm so glad you found Chapter 7 "cute" in spite of the Physics overload in there. ^^; Thank you for waiting! Here's the next chapter!
And GlassTier-san, to whom this chapter is dedicated seven times: Wow. You actually reviewed all of the chapters of this fanfic so far. And you even checked out Stop Obsessing over Kurama!. Thank you for that! \^o^/
(I remember that I sent you a PM for your review of Chapter 1. But your more recent reviews have rendered that reply of mine outdated now, so I didn't copy it here anymore. Instead, this is an entirely new response—to all of your reviews.)
I truly appreciate your review of Chapter 3. It was the best-rounded review you had posted. ^^
As for your questions from Chapter 4… Although I know of a particular scene that might have given you the idea that she could be a he, Setsu is really a she. (Although that nickname of hers could also be assigned to a he. XD) She was born to human parents by being human in race in the first place. Now whether she truly is "back to take revenge on Kurama" or has "had a crush on him for years upon years"—which are glaringly diametrically opposed character possibilities, aren't they? ^^;—has yet to be revealed. ^-^ But your way of answering your own questions as you read further both amused and amazed me. I have to admit, you're very close to the truth! XD And yes, your "amazing powers of deduction" serve you well. Even against them plot twists. ^^
Ah, yes—my alliteration attacks. XD I don't even know why or how they happen. They just do.
And I believe I need to remind you that this fanfic is, for all intents and purposes, a Kurama x OC—in spite of the OC being in a romantic relationship with someone else at this point in the fic. So I think it should be quite understandable for the plot to inevitably veer towards the romance that you found objectionable.
But I know—I may have pushed the fluff envelope too far in Chapter 6. (Even I balked at the songfic scenes.) That was why I tried "neutralizing" all those with the fighting scenes. (A challenging chapter to write. Phew!) But that song is Kurama's theme—hence the puke-provoking lyrics, which I am glad I did not compose myself—and is to play a significant role in this fanfic. If we pay close attention to its English translation, Kurama practically offered us Setsu's true identity on a silver (or fluffily pink XD) platter!
Oh. Do you think Kurama was OOC in Chapter 7, then? But when we think long and hard about it… Albeit Kurama was portrayed as the most "family-oriented"—the most "mama's boy"-ish, anyway—among the four Spirit Detectives… He was never shown in a familial scenario in which all he had to do was sit back, relax, and NOT worry about some demon possessing his stepbrother or using his parents as blackmail against him. In every YYH scene involving his family, they were always in some form of danger. So the Kurama-when-his-family-is-NOT-in-danger was… well, really never depicted for us. So I'm actually groping in the dark here, portraying Kurama-with-a-safe-family as (what I hope comes across as) a healthy balance between strict yet lenient/indulging.
In any case, if you have suggestions as to what I could possibly do to improve this particular portrayal of mine, just tell me so in a review. ^^ I just wish you will continue to review until the very end of this fic.
And without further ado…
8: The Guilty
Alternative Chapter Title: Rematch with the Master
A familiar freckled boy in a hooded light blue shirt and dark blue shorts confidently strutted into the local game center.
Kurama bit back a gasp.
An excited, impishly grinning Amanuma Tsukihito fished into the side pocket of his short pants. He tossed several coins up into the air and caught them all with one sweeping grab as he eyed the rows and rows of videogame machines lining the arcade. "Yoshi! None of my favorites are malfunctioning today!"
As the Gamemaster took his pick from the fully operational and vacant game machines, distant, detached green eyes looked away.
"'Dachi'… 'Eye to Eye'… 'Hohoemi no Bakudan'… 'Kuchibue ga Kikoeru'… 'Moonlight Party'…" An entirely absorbed Setsu skimmed through the song titles from the long playlist of the drum simulation game. "Oh. Here it is."
A fist gripping a pair of drumsticks pushed on the "Start" button.
"Level one!" announced a cheery, energetic computerized female voice. "Song start!"
A deafening blare boomed out of the sound system of the drumming game. A musical scale with notes suddenly appeared at the top half of the blindingly multicolored LCD screen. Directly below the scale were animated pictures of the different parts of the drum set. The bass drum on the screen turned green.
Setsu stepped on the pedal of the bass drum in time with the color change on the screen. When the snare drum on the game screen turned green, she thumped on the real snare drum before her with the stick on her right hand.
This song! Kurama gasped. It's the one in my—!
Wide, bewildered green eyes observed the drum player closely. When Setsu played the violin the night before—whether it was only in a dream or not, mused Kurama—she closed her eyes. This time, she played with her eyes open, staring straight at the song-playing guide on the screen.
His gaze settled on her arms. She crossed them. She struck the tom-toms on her right with the drumstick in her left hand and the ones on her left with her right. So she really is left-handed!
"For a song with such a slow drum beat, its violin score is disturbingly fast," mumbled Setsu to herself as she hit the rack-mounted toms and the floor tom alternately, faithfully following the drum parts that lighted up on the playing guide on the screen.
Kurama clenched a fist. Now or never! I have to know! "Mayonaka-san, what song is that?"
"Hn?" Curious blue eyes darted away from the game screen for a split second. "Its title is Nightmare." His question came to her as a surprise. "Why?"
Don't you remember playing it just last night? "I have heard it before."
"Oh." She leaned forward from the stool to strike the cymbals in time with the refrain. "I can believe that."
Kurama's eyes narrowed. Why? Is it because last night was not…?
"It is a rather popular song."
Its drumbeat was simple, its tempo moderately slow. She needed only step on the bass drum pedal once, rap on the snare drum after a half-count, then step on the bass drum again—twice this time—then hit the snare drum once again. This comfortable beat changed only during the refrain of the song, in which she had to infuse cymbal chimes before repeating the same musical pattern all over again.
"Did you choose it for any particular reason?" Are you trying to tell me something about last night?
"It has a slow beat," shrugged Setsu, her eyes on the videogame screen. "And I have heard it before too, of course. It isn't all that special a song, really."
We'll see about that. "Could you also play that song with the violin?"
"I already told you, sempai, I broke a violin once," Setsu lightly chuckled at her own confession. "I don't want that to happen again."
But your violin did break last night! It got smashed to pieces! "Did it break while you were playing it, or—"
Oh, for the love of sanity! Thank you, Shuuichi!
Setsu shot a distracted eye at the hurriedly approaching teenage boy. "Louder, itoko," she spat sarcastically. "I don't think they heard you in Antarctica."
Shuuichi skidded to a halt before his elders and scowled at the one playing the drumming game. "Oh, yeah? The entire population of Antarctica has been writing in complaints about your drum-playing! They said you suck!"
"Really? I didn't know that penguins could write."
The outwitted boy's lips jutted out in a cross, cranky pout. "Hmph!" He turned to his stepbrother instead. "'Nii-san, the guys said my summer school classmates got together and formed a study group." With his thumb, he pointed to the group of boys crowding the basketball shooting booths. "The group's preparing for our Physics diagnostic tomorrow. Can I go, can I go?"
Kurama sighed to himself. His otouto was all hyper again. He must be particularly fond of someone in that study group. "On one condition—show me your notes afterwards."
Shuuichi slapped his palm on his forehead and groaned. "You mean I'll have to take down notes?"
"But of course." A stern yet smiling Kurama said matter-of-factly. "You must also convince me that you took them down yourself. They must be written in your own penmanship."
Shuuichi groaned again, this time even more loudly.
While the two Shuuichis paid no attention to her, Setsu forced a gulp down her throat.
That was a close one. Blue eyes strayed from the game screen and lost themselves in a rippling sea of red. Minamino-sempai, don't make me lie to you, onegai.
Isn't it better that we pretend your "nightmare" never happened? This way, you need not explain your plant-controlling powers to me. And I need not explain…
She sat on the drum stool quietly, motionless. The sound system still playing the frenetically fast violin score of the song, the word MISS scandalously flashed in red on the videogame screen every time that the drum player failed to play a note.
Just as well. Kurama watched his stepbrother exit the videogame arcade with three other boys playfully punching each other on the arm. It would be best for him to be out of the way.
Now… He whirled to face—to confront—Setsu, who suddenly bolted from the stool and clutched both sides of the drum simulation game monitor.
"That's it?" Bewildered blue eyes stared disbelievingly at the screen. "That was some cliffhanger of an ending."
Green eyes turned to the multicolored screen, wherein the words GAME OVER blinked in big, bold red letters.
"Level one! Song failed!" proclaimed the computerized female voice, even cheerier and more energetic than before. "Game over!"
"But I just spaced out for two seconds or something…" Crimson from ear to ear, an utterly humiliated Setsu hid her eyes beneath her hair and knocked on one of her temples. "And did it have to rub the 'failed level one' part in, too?"
Kurama found himself chuckling in spite of himself. "You can always play again."
And while you're distracted, I could—
Both Kurama and Setsu whirled to find a raven-haired boy in his pre-teens in their midst.
"I was just wondering," the boy clapped a hand behind his neck and ogled at his feet, self-conscious in the presence of adults—or older teenagers, at least. "Are you two available?"
"HN?" Blue eyes widened. "Are you actually asking both a male and a female out at the same time?"
"Mayonaka-san, you must have misunderstood." Green eyes darted from his companion to the newcomer. "Available for what?"
"We need two extra players over there," the schoolboy motioned to a group of junior high students surrounding another boy busily playing a game in one of the machines lined in a row.
Kurama winced inwardly. Amanuma. I should have known.
Holding an unrequited grudge against the drum simulation game, Setsu jammed the drumsticks into their holder at the side of the machine. "But you guys don't seem to be lacking in number. What game are you guys playing, anyway?"
Green eyes narrowed. A jaw and a fist clenched at the same time.
"We need seven players to play against the Goblin King, but our chicken friends backed out 'cause the King was too much for them. But I don't want to lose!" The kid suddenly balled his hands into fists, his fervent desire to defeat the "Goblin King" showing on his face. "I don't want to give him our tickets! We've been saving them for a really, really long time so we can exchange them for that go-cart!"
Setsu eyed the top prize of the arcade redemption booth. "Oh. I see," she turned her attention back to the group of boys. "And who among them is that 'Goblin King'?"
Kurama hung his head low and closed his eyes, knowing the answer to her question all too well.
"Amanuma-kun." The determined, desperate boy pointed at the kid with short, crew-cut brown hair and big blue eyes. "He's the Gamemaster."
"You mean the guy with freckles?" Setsu shielded her eyes from the blinding arcade lights overhead. "He looks familiar to me…"
He is more than familiar to me.
"I've seen him some time ago…"
I've seen him die some time ago.
"I know him."
I know him well.
"All right. I'll play that Goblin City game against him," she smiled at the boy. "Whatever game that may be."
"Won't you play too, sempai?"
A lump caught in Kurama's throat. I would rather not relive that time… "I'll pass."
"But we—!" cried the boy who invited them to play. "We need two extra players! Please, mister! I don't want to lose against Amanuma-kun!"
But I don't want to win against him. He bit back a most sorrowful memory. Not again.
Setsu eyed Kurama closely. Every fiber in his being was visibly against playing a game with that Goblin King.
Suddenly Kurama felt a calloused hand casually clutch his shirt sleeve.
"What's your score now?"
"Huh?" the young boy blinked at the older girl. "We've won three games out of five, but that was only because he was giving us a fighting chance! Now that our last two players chickened out, we can't take him on by ourselves! We can't defeat him!"
"How many games does Goblin City have in all?"
"Seven. But why—"
"Tell you what," proposed a Setsu still eyeing Kurama carefully. "I'll play for your side. If I win, then you'll already have four out of seven wins, so Minamino-sempai won't have to play anymore."
Nani? Kurama whirled to face her. What are you—
"Let's face it," she whispered into the boy's ear. "It's more awkward for grown men to play—not to mention lose—against kids than it is for, well, me for instance. That's what male pride does to them. Let's try to understand him, then. Ne?"
What did you tell him?
"Un!" The boy nodded in understanding. "Oooiii!" He raced and called out to his companions. "They said okay! We won't forfeit!"
"YATTA!" The other four boys surrounding Amanuma cheered in unison, pumping their fists into the air.
No. No, I refuse. I refuse to face him! An already clenched fist tightened even more. "Mayonaka-san, you shouldn't have—"
"I didn't." The hand released the shirt sleeve. "I don't make your decisions for you. But I hope you don't mind watching me play, at least."
Kurama's shoulders sank slightly, easing his tension and discomfort—physically, at the very least. He sighed to himself.
"It's just a game, sempai. Winning or losing it is not a matter of life or death. Let's just play for the fun of it. Ne?"
It was, once. Kurama's gaze fell. "Aa."
With heavy feet and an even heavier heart, Kurama stuffed his hands into his pants pockets and strode to the Goblin City game machine.
Amanuma Tsukihito. The only child of workaholic parents. Blood type B. Born on the seventh of November. He was only twelve years of age when…
A calloused hand rolled into a tight fist.
The monster that toyed with Ame-kun's mind.
She cast a sidelong glance at the self-possessed yet somber redhead behind her.
And yours as well.
But I cannot take that darkness away.
Two broad-shouldered, heavily built Reikai royal palace guards heaved the metal bar off the door with all their might. Then an elderly diviner in a purified white robe stepped forward, clapped her hands together and chanted one spell after another, attempting to lift the ancient curse from the aged wooden door.
The old woman parted her hands to reveal an orb of white light filled with concentrated reiryoku between them. With all her reiki, she hurtled the ball towards the door, violently battering it open.
Koenma unshielded his eyes from the beam and nodded to his loyal servants. "Well done. You may go." The prince in dashing teenage form flipped his long red scarf behind his shoulder. "Jorge, come with me."
"D-d-demo, Koenma-sama!" stammered the ogre in the leopard-spotted loincloth. "I-I-I'm s-s-s-s-s-scared!"
"And you think I'm not?" yelled the grownup royal to his cowardly assistant. "That's precisely why you're coming with me! Let's go!"
The beautiful brunette pitilessly yanked the bigger, brawnier, burlier beast by the ear, and they entered the forbidden chamber together.
In every direction they looked was a mirror.
On each visible surface was a mirror. No. Each visible surface was a mirror.
"Wow," Koenma breathed dreamily, starry-eyed and in awe of the secret spectacle behind the forbidden room. He eyed the floor beneath his feet and staggered back when he found himself stepping on himself. "Gya! Everything in here is made of mirrors!"
The prince paced before one particular sheet of glass, his pointer and thumb pinching his chin as he admired the precision of his mirror image. "Hn." His eyes narrowed upon noticing that the "Jr" tattoo on his forehead was missing from his imitation. "Something's wrong with this one…"
"But you are much more handsome without your royal birthmark, Ouji-sama." His flawed reflection smirked back at him.
The hairs on the backs of their necks standing up, bloodcurdling screams escaped both the prince and the ogre's throats. Koenma and Jorge collapsed onto the glass floor, cowering away from the speaking, moving reflection while hugging each other tightly.
"A ghost!" hollered the blue ogre, scared out of his wits.
"No, you fool! That's who we came to see!"
Koenma let go of his bumbling aide and scrambled to his feet, clearing his throat. An indignant Jorge chose to lay crumpled on the cold ground.
"Ouji-sama is certainly right, ogre," grinned the fake prince crookedly, his blue pacifier distorting his mouth even more than it already was. "Let me just step out of my office, and I shall attend to you shortly."
The impossible image stabbed one foot out of the mirror. An unintelligible "Ngh!" broke from Jorge's chattering teeth as the ogre turned his back to the emerging unknown and covered the back of his head with his violently shivering hands. Koenma watched the phenomenon in silence, his teeth clenching the pacifier in between them. The foot that surfaced from the glass was familiar to him.
It was neither a child's nor a man's. It wore a white sock and a slipper stringed with twine.
Soon enough, the leg attached to the foot thrust out of the glass, exposing a carnation pink kimono. The anonymous creature's other foot and leg followed closely. A white obi was wrapped around its slender waist.
Koenma and Jorge held their breaths as they waited for the entity's head.
A soft, delicate chin appeared above its slim neck, gradually followed by luscious lips, a pert nose, light lilac eyes, and a wave of rippling blue hair ponytailed at the back.
"Amanuma-kun! Don't take our prize tickets just yet!" cried the boy who approached the two young adults now following behind him. "We haven't run out of players yet! We still a have a chance against you!"
Amanuma Tsukihito crossed his arms before his chest and scoffed. "You may have won three games out of five, but I'm stepping up my game now! I'll win the last two games and get that go-cart for myself!" He turned to face his new challenger. "So," he tilted his chin up to level eyes with the girl. "You wanna play Goblin City against the Goblin King himself, huh?"
"Well, neither am I a goblin nor do I live in Goblin City, so why should playing against you be all that bad? You're not my king."
The self-assured lad half-smiled. "You're pretty cocky for a girl! But you still can't beat me! I'm unbeatable at Goblin City!"
"Really? I'd like to know his opinion on that."
She stepped aside, revealing a taller adult standing behind her. Amanuma gasped. "You!"
A pair of merciless green eyes emerged from behind a curtain of blood red hair.
"No, no," the Botan lookalike shook her head. "I am not who you think I am. I am never who anyone thinks I am."
"Huh?" Jorge scratched his horned head. "What's that supposed to mean?"
The unnamed creature twirled in her spot gracefully, flaunting her imitation of the bubbly, bouncy ferry-girl. "But I certainly look like sweet little Botan-chan, don't I, Ouji-sama?" She tugged on one of the locks of hair stylishly curled right below her ear and watched the curls bounce. "I think I got every inch of her just right."
A bead of sweat trickled from Koenma's brow. The pacifier in his mouth jerked as he nervously gritted his teeth. "Enough fooling around. Change into someone else. Now."
The apparition floated over to the prince. "She is quite a thing of beauty, Ouji-sama. Is her beauty not enough for your royal taste?" She ghosted a petite hand onto Koenma's chin and cupped it between her pointer and thumb. "My, how you have grown, Ouji-sama. Time has been very good to you. I only wish he took away your tattoo."
Koenma winced to himself. "We both know I like my other form."
"Just as I love this one," laughed the Botan impersonator. "And I intend to stay like this until I see a more…" She paused for dramatic effect. "… inspiring beauty."
"I should have brought Botan along," mumbled the prince. "You two would have a lot to talk about."
"But Koenma-sama, there's something I don't understand," Jorge piped up from the rear. He had been kneeling, cringing behind the prince since the unnamed being first spoke. "I thought we came here to see a horrible monster—"
"Would you care to run that by me again?"
Jorge's entire body froze in fear. He ducked his head behind his hands again and spluttered quickly, nervously. "N-N-No offense, Ma'am!"
The woman batted her long, honey-laced lashes at him. "Just tell me one thing, ogre," she spoke with chilling command. "Were you disappointed to see me like this? Would you have preferred to see me as how your future wife would look?"
"Ehhhhh?" The ogre lurched out of Koenma's shadow. "I'm gonna get a future wife?"
"But of course, ogre. I see it." The woman smiled mysteriously. "I see all."
A blush purpling his face, Jorge drifted off into space, imagining himself in a world of floating, throbbing red and pink hearts and a young, beautiful ogress. He murmured to himself dreamily. "Wow… I'm gonna get married someday…!"
Spider veins popped out of an imperial forehead. "Jorge! Get a hold of yourself! That's not what we came here for!"
But it was no use. No one could reach out to the dazed ogre now.
The impersonator laughed and hid her lips behind a long, wide pink sleeve—just as how the real Botan would appear and behave. "I won't waste more of your time, Ouji-sama. After all, I certainly know why you wanted to see me."
"You even know what I am about to say to you, don't you?"
"Quite right." The woman twirled again, this time to face the full-length mirror from where she came. "I did not erase that ningen's Life Report. Why don't you check with my imouto? She might have something to do with it."
Koenma's brows knitted. "Didn't you see what had happened to that ningen before it—"
"Ask me the future. Not the past." The entity pulled her ponytail off her hair. Long, rippling ocean waves cascaded down her shoulders and across her back. Koenma held his breath, suddenly realizing that he had never seen the real reaper herself with her hair down—literally.
"But you could have seen what had happened to him before it happened—"
"But now that it has happened, I see it no more."
Koenma clenched his fist. "Have you no memories at all?"
Violet eyes widened. A perversely pleased expression crossed the phony Botan's face. "My memories are just as murky as my imouto's future."
The Reikai prince sighed deeply to himself. He tossed his regal scarf over his shoulder and turned on his heels. "Let's go, Jorge!"
He yanked the ogre still consumed in a trance-like state and dragged him out the cursed door.
"It's certainly nice of you to stop by." The replica of a hand prettily waved towards the retreating visitors. "I love having guests over."
The mystical wooden door swung closed on its own. A massive metal bar slammed against it and sealed it shut.
Amanuma strode to the Goblin City slot machine, a wicked smirk on his face. "I didn't expect to see you here. You don't strike me as a game center guy."
"I came here with company." Kurama stared straight at the slot machine, refusing to meet anyone's eyes.
"Just like last time." The Gamemaster pulled the slot machine lever. "I gotta admit, this game just got a lot more interesting!"
In the blink of an eye, the three slots of the machine flashed random combinations of pictures: a bag of money, a yellow star, a lemon, a bunch of grapes, an orange, plus other fruits, as well as chibi versions of lead characters from a well-known shounen manga-turned-anime entitled Yu Yu Hakusho, among countless others.
While Amanuma's oblivious peers were burbling amongst themselves—"Have they played each other before?", "What did they play?", "Who won?", "You think he stands a chance?"—Kurama watched the panel images flicker and flash in silence. Setsu leaned her back and one foot against a nearby wall and crossed her arms.
The slot machine loudly rang three times in succession—once for every time a panel stopped and revealed its final result: "Puzzle," "Minesweeper," and "Level C."
No. This wasn't the game. Taking her eyes off an eerily motionless Kurama, Setsu drew her back away from the wall, uncrossed her arms, and headed off to the game controller station.
"Don't strain yourself too much, lady," beamed Amanuma smugly as he extended a hand towards her. "Let's just get this over with. I still want a rematch with that guy."
Setsu did not even look at his outstretched hand. "Underestimate me. Fine. But don't expect me to shake hands with you after you just insulted me. I don't appreciate a foul mouth."
An affronted Amanuma withdrew his hand and retreated to his station. "Hmph! It takes one to know one!"
A computerized generic male voice crackled from the Goblin City sound system. "Game start!"
They forced another enchanted door open.
Koenma nodded in acknowledgment to his security guards and spell-caster, and threw a dirty look at the ogre still dreamily in love with the idea of being dreamily in love. "Stay right there, Jorge," ordered the prince of Reikai. "This time, I'll go in alone."
An inconvenient darkness played with his senses. He blinked several times, adjusting his eyes to the dark of the chamber.
He found a long, sweeping canopy of scarlet majestically draped over all sides of a four-poster bed. But no chairs, tables, drawers, closets, or other such furniture. At all. The rest of the room was debris. Ruins. Cinders. Vestiges of war. Of past theft and crime.
The bedroom most resembled a penitentiary, an asylum, with its only window of crisscrossed wrought-iron bars offering no means of physical escape. Nothing else but the blurred, clouded glow of the sun penetrated through the unbreakable window and shed a thin, dusty sliver of light upon the dismal room.
"I know you've been locked in here for a very long time," Koenma spoke to the wind. "But you really should consider hiring an interior decorator! They could help you fix this place up in a snap!"
The crisp Reikai wind only growled in response.
"So," he continued, grinning as if contented with the wordless reply. "You can hear me, can't you?"
Suddenly a cold drop of liquid trickled onto his face. "Eh? Nani o sore?" He clapped a hand onto his moistened cheek, wiped the droplet away, and eyed his hand curiously. "AAAAAH! BLOOD!"
Wide hazelnut eyes darted to the ceiling—where Koenma assumed the blood had come from—and found an actual readable word spilled onto the stone. "'Hai'," he read the mysterious message aloud. His gaze fell to his hand again. "Daijoubu ka? Are you hurt?"
He tilted his head to the ceiling again and gasped. "'Hoarse, but otherwise well'," he read. "'Arigatou, Koenma Daiou-sama'."
He clenched his bloodstained fist. "That sentence," he closed his eyes, blinding himself from a flickering memory of centuries long gone. "It's been so long, but you still haven't…"
The letters on the granite wall vanished in time to bare a new splotch of blood. "'No. Not yet'."
"Show yourself." Koenma demanded from someone yet no one. "Just so I know you're still alive."
But the message on the stone did not change at all.
Setsu stretched out her neck to near herself to the game screen and pointed the cursor at the uppermost right square of the Minesweeper board.
"Don't these squares open to show us where the bombs are before the round begins?" she groaned to herself. "I would have liked this so much better if this had been a test of memory instead."
She clicked on the square. The bomb hidden beneath that very square detonated.
"Game over!" blared the Goblin City announcer. "You lose!"
Nani? Kurama blinked. So did the group of boys watching them from up close.
An embarrassed, enraged eyelid twitching on its own, she knocked herself on the head. "I can't believe that just happened."
"Hey! What gives?" Amanuma peeped at her from his screen. "I won already? That was even faster than I thought!"
"Apparently, this is not my day."
A bead of sweat trickled down Kurama's brow. Fate wants our rematch just as much as Amanuma-kun does. Perhaps even more. He clapped a reassuring hand on Setsu's shoulder. "Daijoubu." He turned to the boys who seemed as though their most wanted go-cart was just pilfered and pulverized before their very eyes. "I have no intention of losing the last game."
Setsu rose from the playing stool and stepped aside. "May it be your day, Minamino-sempai." She bowed her head before the distressed young boys, broken strands of sandy brown hair falling across her face. "I let you down. Mengo, minna. I mean gomen. Gomen nasai."
She felt disappointed frowns and scowls burning her alive. "You just gave Amanuma-kun an easy win! He didn't even have to break into a sweat!"
"It's not as if I intended to lose," she retorted in her defense, her head still hung low. "Luck just wasn't on my side."
"Maa, maa. Mou, ii yo," Kurama dismissed the matter with a wave of the hand. "All is not lost. We have yet to settle the score."
"Three all!" announced a cheeky Amanuma, once again going to the slot machine and pulling its lever. "Which finally brings us to the round I've been waiting for—the tiebreaker!"
Amanuma. Sensui's sacrificial lamb. In Kurama's mind's eye, an imaginary Sensui Shinobu materialized beside the Gamemaster, a manipulative arm draped onto the boy's shoulder. He gritted his teeth. Sensui, what a cruel man you truly were!
The machine chimed three times as its slots revealed the words: "Puzzle," "Three-Seven," and "Level G."
Both Kurama and Amanuma gasped.
"Well, whaddya know!" chuckled Amanuma.
History repeats itself. His eyes buried beneath his hair, a distressed yet determined Kurama looked up and strode to the game controller, containing himself in spite of himself.
Behind them, Setsu leaned her back against the wall and crossed her arms before her chest again. She watched on in strange silence, blue eyes especially glassy… blank… lost… absent…
"I command you to show yourself!" Koenma's reedy adult voice bounced to and from the stone walls of the palace jail cell. "I summon you!"
The wind in the chamber suddenly roared and hoisted Koenma off his feet. He gritted his teeth and hung on to one of the posts of the four-poster bed with both hands. "And this is the weaker one?" he pointed out to himself, constantly brushing his wildly flailing red scarf away from his face.
And just as suddenly as it rushed in, the air in the forbidden room died down. The Prince of the Spirit World landed on his feet and detected a slight, nearly impossible movement on the quilt. He gasped. "A-Are you there?"
An illusion tossed the blanket aside with one grand, sweeping motion.
"Hai," breathed an airy, ethereal voice that neither ningen nor youkai had ever heard before. "Koenma Daiou-sama."
A pair of frail, anemic feet suddenly appeared before the imperial's eyes. The stitched hems of a long red kimono clothed the ankles of the still-invisible being. Soon, more of the kimono emerged—and a breathless Koenma marveled at the many intricate stitches of lotus flowers, buds, and leaves lining the robe. The obi binding the creature's torso was a murky midnight blue, almost black.
Koenma could not patiently wait for the faceless figure to reveal itself in full.
"Did you erase the Life Report of—"
"The ningen Mori Hibino?" A pair of pale, cracked lips emerged from above a thin, bony collarbone. But they remained still and silent even when Koenma perceived audible sound from them. "Shouldn't you be asking me if I killed him in the first place, Koenma Daiou-sama?"
Both the prince's eyes and mouth opened wide. "He's dead?"
"He has not been storing any more new memories since three mortal nights ago."
"Even so, he could just be unconscious! In a coma! He could be suffering from amnesia!"
He heard a heavy sigh. The lips and chin visible to him swayed from side to side—the partially perceptible entity was shaking its head. "His orb has been with me since last night. It must have died with him three mortal nights ago, but taken two more mortal nights to finally separate from his body."
"Do you see his memories of his killer?"
"He has none." An incomplete head hung low, peacefully mourning the loss of an innocent ningen. "I could rewrite his entire Life Report for you, Koenma Daiou-sama. Unfortunately, that still won't bring him back to life."
"Iiya," Koenma closed his eyes. "That won't be necessary. I'll just have his Death Report prepared right away."
"If only he knew just what or who had taken his life…" A small nose now appeared above pallid, broken lips. "… I would remember every last detail without question or delay."
"Mou, ii yo."
A pensive, unsmiling Koenma strode out of the dark dungeon.
Just as the cursed door swung closed behind him, staring sorrowfully at his retreating figure from the four-poster bed was a pair of colorless yet human-looking eyes.
Setsu blinked once, twice. But she still saw it.
It was dark in that cave.
Minamino-sempai wore a green tunic with hems lined in pink and a yellow cloth wrapped around his waist. Urameshi stood to his immediate left. He was in sports sneakers, jeans, and a plain white shirt—which he soaked and tore apart later during his duel with that darned monster.
She closed her eyes slowly, straining to hear faraway voices.
"Kurama, is there any chance of you winning the game?"
"There is. Shikashi, if things go the way I imagine they will, my heart will be heavy over beating Amanuma-kun."
His hand closing around the joystick used in the Three-Seven game of Goblin City, Kurama blinked the sudden memory away. Things did go the way I imagined they will.
"Game start!" The artificial male announcer declared. "The player who clears the most blocks without filling them to the top wins the game!"
Did I really do it? Did I really kill Amanuma-kun? Was it the best option I had at the time? Was it the only option I had at the time?
But he was just Sensui's sacrificial lamb. He did not deserve to die.
I should not have been able to kill him. He was no youkai. He was a ningen. A child, at that!
Kurama stared straight at his game screen, piloting his joystick to drop the incoming two-four brick next to the brick with the number one.
Her eyes still closed, Setsu pressed her back against the wall harder, unaware that she was biting her lip.
He clenched his left fist—the one away from the boy's range of vision. The more tightly he clenched it, the more violently it trembled at his side. Green eyes hid from everyone's view. "If you lose this game…"
"Huh?" Suddenly, the expression on the boy's face changed from conceit to confusion. The prospect of defeat had not dawned upon him until just then.
He hung his head low. He did not meet the boy's eyes. "… You will die."
I could not look at him. I did not have to. His dead body was all too clear in my mind.
Kurama maneuvered the joystick to the right, steering a brick with two sevens towards the lone seven on the rightmost corner of his game board.
"Sensui didn't want the boy thinking of the possibility of death. However, he counts on us to figure it out and think of nothing else." The distinguished martial artist Genkai-shihan pointed out to an unwitting Urameshi. "It fits into Sensui's pattern: testing our moral limits, seeing if we will justify the kill."
A silent Setsu pounded a fist on the wall behind her. Sensui…!
"Well, we won't!" Urameshi assumed hastily… recklessly. "Will we?"
Her eyelids flew open. Blue eyes waded amidst a torrent of red hair.
"That's why he told the boy the truth," explained the elderly fighter. "To make him weak."
You could have looked at it from another perspective. He told Amanuma-kun the truth to make the boy realize the monstrosity of Sensui Shinobu as well as the error of his own folly.
Amanuma-kun deserved to know the truth! He deserved to know it much sooner than he did!
"It's a dirty trick, but Kurama knows what he must do."
Genkai-shihan was right. I knew what I had to do.
None of us had the choice to let Amanuma-kun live. We were all trapped in his Territory. Amanuma-kun himself was no exception. As long as we remained within its confines, either he or the seven of us had to die.
Either us—or him. It was a predetermined dichotomy. Sensui planned it all along. It had no gray areas in between. No loopholes. No undefined alternatives of action. No leaps of faith.
He had to die in order for us to save Ningenkai in time. One of us had to defeat him. One of us had to kill him.
One of us had to murder a ningen child.
Saving Ningenkai… Did it completely justify taking the life of one of its own?
Hiei could have done it, but he did not know how.
So why did I?
Did I think I could? Was that why I did?
Carrying her book bag in front of her with both hands, a Yukimura Keiko in private women's college uniform strode right through the noren lining the top of the now fully repaired ramen stand. She set her bag on the tabletop and sat on a stool.
"Irasshai!" exclaimed Urameshi Yusuke, busily tossing a knot of noodles into the air using his trusty strainer. He spotted her from the corner of his eye. "Oh, it's just you."
"Why are you always so disappointed to see me?" snapped a scowling Keiko. She leaned an elbow on the table and propped her chin on her palm, harrumphing to herself.
"I thought you were a customer!" cried Yusuke in self-defense, ducking behind his heaping strainer as if it could ever serve as a shield.
Keiko pouted and looked away. "Oh, Yusuke—you make me so mad sometimes." Her gaze dropped to the left-hand underside of his ramen cart. It was noticeably scorched and covered up with scrap material. Her chin suddenly left her hand. "What happened to your cart?"
Yusuke dropped his strainer onto a bucket filled with clean water and scrambled to a lid threatening to jump off a violently boiling soup pot. "Some bastard burned it and took my money."
Keiko gasped, instinctively covering her widened mouth with her hand in a manner reminiscent of prim-and-proper ladies of nobility and stature. "Yusuke, that's terrible!"
"Y' can say that again," nodded the ramen chef, lukewarm pot lid still in hand. "But everything's a-okay now! Kurama caught the guy an' I beat the crap outta him good!"
"Kurama-san?" repeated Keiko, blinking in curiosity. "He was here when it happened?"
"Aa, he was investigatin' somethin'. Asked me to look out for anythin' fishy."
"I haven't seen him since he started working," she looked up at the summer afternoon sky thoughtfully and shielded her eyes from the sun. "How is he?"
"Y' know, still a nice guy." He plopped freshly cooked rice noodles onto a deep bowl. "He came back 'ere after his day shift several times jus' to help me patch up this ol' beaut."
"That was very nice of him."
"Yeah," Yusuke scratched the tip of his nose, uncomfortable with their feel-good topic of conversation. "But I can't help thinkin' there's somethin' goin' on with 'im these days."
"And what is that?"
Yusuke leaned closer to Keiko, about to cup one of her ears with his hand when she pulled away from him. "Yusuke, is that even necessary? We're the only two people in here!"
"But this is top secret!"
Keiko closed her eyes and sighed at her fiancé's silliness. "If you say so."
She brought a listening ear closer to his mouth and gasped.
But that was out of the question. Whether I could or could not, I had to.
I had to! If I did not take his life, swarms of the lowest forms of youkai would have taken the lives of all ningen!
But he was just a child! He did not know what he got himself into! Sensui identified with his hopes and dreams, his fears and insecurities, and twisted the boy's worldview of reality to meet his own sick needs!
"Amanuma-kun." From the corner of his eye, Kurama shot a glance at the boy on the game controller opposite his. "There's something I wanted to ask you."
"What?" The boy blinked innocently.
"A man like Sensui—" A drop of blood dripped from his clenched, trembling left fist. "—has no other loyalty except to himself and his cause." He paused and hung his head low. "And he cares nothing for how much blood is shed to reach that goal."
He unclenched his left fist and stared at his now open hand. His nails had dug deeply into it, piercing four small but heavily bleeding wounds lining his palm. He clenched his fist again.
"Not even the blood of an ignorant young boy who foolishly chose wrong over right."
Setsu eyed Kurama's left hand from afar.
"Do you remember how our last game ended?"
Suddenly, a faceless figure in a green robe with the letter G on it took over Amanuma's game screen. A mysterious gray smoke engulfed the Goblin King, leaving the two-horned, gloved animated character sprawled atop the screen, dead. Below his fallen form appeared the words, "Game over! Hark and rejoice, for the evil Goblin King is dead, and peace has been restored to the town!"
A most dreaded word relentlessly echoed in his mind. "'Dead'… 'Dead'…"
The boy froze in fear.
The weight of the world was on both our shoulders, Amanuma-kun. It was as hard for me to accept as it was for you.
Panic took full tyrannical control of Amanuma. He accidentally dropped a four in between two sevens on the left and one seven on the right.
Setsu closed her eyes once more. Urameshi.
"Hey, he just missed a pretty easy three-seven!" One of Amanuma's playmates pointed out to his companions.
"Three plus two plus what equals seven? Three plus two plus what equals seven?" A bead of sweat trickling between his eyes, Amanuma prompted a logical answer from his mental calculator, only to receive a technical glitch in response. "Plus what? Plus what? What?"
But there was simply no end to those bricks, falling faster and faster with each missed turn. Amanuma gasped in horror.
"Uh, I'm not up on this game's strategy," shrugged one of Amanuma's spectators. "But that's the opposite of it, right?"
"Yeah, that's bad," agreed another boy from Amanuma's school.
"The Goblin King's distracted himself!" cried the very boy who had invited Kurama and Setsu to play.
But I still cannot take the darkness away.
Amanuma grabbed onto his joystick with both hands in an attempt to gain control of himself and his game, but even he could see that it was too late. The bricks on his game board had already stacked much higher than Kurama's. He looked over at Kurama pleadingly. "Please, is there anything I can do to get out of this?" He missed another combination and gasped. "Anything?"
Kurama could hear the boy's silent screams: "I don't wanna die—I don't wanna die—I don't wanna die!"
He bit back his own. I don't want to defeat you—I don't want to kill you—I don't want you to die!
"Is there not a way to shut down this territory and void your power?"
"No, I've tried that!" Amanuma choked on his own sobs. "It's impossible to shut it down while the game's still in progress! Unless you choke at this game—"
What you are asking from me…
"—There's no way out!"
… I can't allow it.
"I'm sorry, but that's not going to happen."
If only there was some other way… to save both Ningenkai and you…
But I have made my choice.
"This isn't about choosing one life over another."
Don't think that I didn't choose yours. Don't even think that I had a choice in the first place!
"You knew what Sensui's going to do. You can't say you weren't responsible for your own fate."
Learn to face the dire consequences of your decisions, Amanuma-kun.
Just as I will face mine.
"But I didn't mean for this stuff to really happen!" The boy's voice cried along with his eyes. He gripped the joystick with both hands, holding on to it for dear life. "I don't wanna die! I don't wanna die!"
A brick with two sevens grazed the very top of Amanuma's game board.
It was over.
The Goblin City sound system blasted its final buzzer. "Game over! Hark and rejoice, for the evil Goblin King is dead, and peace has been restored to the town!"
Amanuma lay curled on the cold, hard ground, a tear forming at the corner of his eye.
Amanuma Tsukihito. As long as I am alive, your death will not be in vain.
He is clenching his fist again, Setsu sighed to herself. Even more tightly than before.
She thrust herself forward and away from the wall, uncrossed her arms, and strode towards a silently seething Kurama. He was just waiting for the phenomenal collapse of the boy's Territory now. He hid his eyes beneath his hair and dug his nails into his fisted palm.
But neither colossal explosion nor cataclysmic earthquake came.
"Minamino-sempai. You won."
Go give him a piece of your mind, Urameshi.
"Kurama, don't blame yourself."
Kurama looked up, still refusing to meet the eyes of the ningen next to him: Yusuke or Mayonaka-san—whoever it was. Every emotion and every expression known and unknown framed his emotionless, expressionless face. Cold. Hard. Nonhuman. Inhuman.
"I have no regrets."
He walked away and closed his eyes, never once looking back.
I cannot take your darkness away! I can only do so much!
Only you can dispel your own darkness! Let go of your guilt! Open your eyes!
Kurama opened his eyes, finally waking from his ghastly, realistic spell of déjà vu.
A living, breathing Amanuma Tsukihito trudged up to him, a tear forming at the corner of his eye. "I can't believe I lost to you again!" He groaned while holding out a congratulatory hand. "But you're really good at this game, mister! You're way better than Sensui-san ever was, and he creamed me into soup!"
It was all…!
The boy grinned at him impishly. "One good thing about losing is, you have something to look forward to for next time—winning!"
For the first time in what he felt was an excruciatingly long while, Kurama smiled. Genuinely. Nothing could compare to the wonder of human insight. "Aa. Victory is worthless to the man who knows no defeat."
He shook the boy's hand as Setsu and their other spectators applauded for the most scintillating, electrifying game ever played in their local videogame center.
Dare I ask…? "Amanuma-kun?"
"Yes?" All right. I will.
"Would you like us to play again sometime?"
"Would I?" The boy asked rhetorically, thrilled at the prospect of finally beating Kurama at the very game that he himself plays best. "I'm always up for a game! Especially against you!"
"So," Setsu folded her arms behind her back and clasped her hands together. "No hard feelings between you two?"
"No hard feelings!" cheered a widely grinning Amanuma. "I forgive you for beating me! Twice! 'Cause I'm gonna beat you twice as hard next time!"
How long have I wanted—waited—to hear that…
… You forgive me.
Kurama's shoulders sank. He sighed deeply, finally letting go of a guilt unforgotten. "No hard feelings," repeated Kurama. No more.
"But you better watch your back, mister! I'll kill you next time!"
Kurama's eyes widened. A gasp nearly escaped his throat. Then he closed his eyes, smiled to himself, and walked away, never once looking back.
I'll be on my guard, then.
Kurama shielded his eyes from the blinding glare of the summer afternoon sun.
"This angle of the sun is particularly bright, ne?" Her hand over her eyes as well, Setsu strode alongside him on the city sidewalk.
See? You banished your darkness on your own…!
She cast a sidelong glance at the hand away from her view—his left one. A drop of fresh blood dripped from his fist. She sighed to herself. Not again.
"Sempai, stay on my right, onegai." With one big step, she suddenly swerved to his left. "You're walking too close to incoming traffic."
Green eyes widened. "Mayonaka-san, do you always do that?"
"How about you, Minamino-sempai? Do you always do that?"
A calloused right hand pressed against tightened, bloodied left fingers, uncurling them… straightening them… sliding in between them.
"Inflicting harm on yourself won't free you of anything."
A piece of advice that I should heed, myself.
Kurama's gaze fell. An awkward silence further heated the already warm summer air between them.
"I… understand. We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to." She slipped her fingers away from his. "But if and when you finally feel like talking to someone, just remember—I clean my ears everyday."
Mayonaka-san, what random train of thought are you following this time? Kurama blinked. "Mayonaka-san, what—"
"I mean, any day at all is fine with me."
"Sou." I'll remember. I've been remembering a lot of things lately.
"Remember when that Amanuma-kun mentioned someone in passing?" Setsu suddenly piped up. "Some name that sounded like 'Sensui'?"
How could I forget? "Un. What about it?"
"Someone named Sensui Shinobu hired Ame-kun once."
Are you aware that Sensui hired him as his hit man?
"I hate that monster," she suddenly spat, gritting her teeth. "He toyed with the mind of someone very dear to me. Took advantage of him. Made him do things that he did not want to do. Exploited his morals, his principles..."
"Hagiri-kun is fortunate to have someone who cares for him so much."
Setsu bit back a gasp.
Don't you know that… that…
"I hate that monster," she suddenly spat, gritting her teeth. "He toyed with the mind of someone very dear to me. Took advantage of him. Made him do things that he did not want to do. Exploited his morals, his principles..."
A smile threatened to curl Kurama's lips. All that he did to your Hagiri-kun…
… He also did to me.
"Hagiri-kun is fortunate to have someone who cares for him so much."
Don't you know that?
From out of the blue, an especially loud two-stroke engine revved within their earshot. The source of the deafening noise was approaching—fast.
A slick blue Yamaha street cruiser turned the corner, its backseat passenger holding on to its driver tight.
Green eyes widened. "Mayonaka-san, isn't that—"
"It is." Blue eyes trailed the incoming motorcycle, particularly its rider at the rear. "But who…?"
Her voice trailed off. She refused to pose the question aloud—for fear that doing so would suddenly realize the unreal.
Kurama's brows furrowed. There's someone riding with him! He shot a look at Setsu. Does anyone else usually go on rides with your…?
The motorbike screeched to a halt right before the two of them. Its driver flicked the visor of his helmet up, exposing smoldering lavender eyes. "Tsuki! What are you doing here?"
The passenger riding behind Hagiri Kaname took her helmet off her head, a long, flowing wave of soft brown hair tumbling to her shoulders. "Minamino-kun!"
That voice! Widened green eyes darted to the female rider. Even wider brown eyes gazed upon him fondly.
You know, I almost typed this as the alternative title of this chapter: The Mindrape of Minamino Shuuichi. XD But when I reread this, I realized his mind wasn't forcibly fucked hard enough. XDD (Why am I such a potty mouth right now? ^^;)
Just in case you don't know who that Kitajima is… Well, I'd hate to be the one to introduce her to you. I really would. *sigh* You can just read the next chapter to find out anyway! ^-^
If you didn't quite catch the dilemma right by the end of this chapter, here it is:
Kaname and Setsu are together, right? But Kaname caught Setsu with Kurama. *holds breath* And Setsu caught Kaname with Maya. *gasp* And Kurama and Maya were—*double gasp* Damn, I can't breathe anymore. XD
Japanese to English translations and abridged YYH glossary
aa, sou, and un. Slang for yes and other such words of agreement or affirmation
anou, eh, hn, and maa. Disfluencies of speech (much like the English uh and um), not limited to the Japanese language
arigatou. Thank you, less formal than arigatou gozaimasu
Botan. Peony, used as a name in this fic
-chan. An honorific used to address girls, animals, or anything that the speaker considers to be cute
chibi. Literally meaning small / little (in size), refers to a Japanese animation style wherein characters are drawn or portrayed with oversized heads and undersized bodies to add a comic relief effect to the current scene
daijoubu. (That's) all right / okay
gomen. Sorry, less formal than gomen nasai
gya. An onomatopoetic word for a male shriek or scream
Hiei. Flying shadow, used as a name in this fic
iiya. An informal way of saying no
imouto. Little sister / younger sister
irasshai. Short for irasshaimase, a traditional Japanese expression of welcome customarily uttered as a guest or customer enters the establishment
ka. A be-verb of the Japanese language that makes any sentence a question (e.g. "Daijoubu ka?" means "Are [you] all right?")
Keiko. Inclination / tendency / trend, used as a name in this fic
Koenma. Little Enma / child of Enma, used as a name in this fic
-kun. An honorific used to address boys or boyish girls
manga. Japanese comics, such as YYH
mayonaka. Midnight, used as a name in this fic
mengo. Not an actual Japanese word; Mayonaka Setsuki's version of sorry in this fic
Minamino. Southern field, used as a name in this fic
minna. All / everyone
mou, ii yo. That's all right / that will do / that will be enough
nani o sore. What was that
ne. An expression for seeking confirmation (much like the English tag questions isn't it or okay)
'nii-san. A contraction of Onii-san, a respectful address for one's own older brother
ningen. Human / human being
noren. Japanese shop curtain
obi. Kimono sash
oi. An expression similar to the English hey, not limited to the Japanese language
onegai. Please, less formal than onegaishimasu
otouto. Little brother / younger brother
ouji. Prince, customarily followed by the honorific -sama to express a higher degree of respect
Reikai. Spirit World (as opposed to the Human World, Demon World, and Netherworld of YYH)
reiki. Spiritual power (as opposed to youki); the actual supernatural ability of a ningen or spirit (Please compare with reiryoku below)
reiryoku. Spiritual energy (as opposed to youryoku); only a manifestation of reiki, may be stored in orbs or other objects (For instance, Kurama stores reiryoku in an ordinary short-stemmed red rose so that he could eventually use his reiki to turn it into a whip. Oops! I meant youryoku and youki! XD But Kurama is both a demon and a human anyway, so he has reiryoku and reiki, too! ^^;)
-sama. An honorific used to address someone very respectfully, like lord or master
-san. An honorific used to address someone politely
-sempai. An honorific used to address an upperclassman
setsu. Opinion, used as a nickname in this fic
-shihan. An honorific used to address a female master of a skill or art (such as martial arts) in a formal, archaic manner
shounen. Literally meaning young boy, a genre of manga and anime aimed towards young male readers and viewers
Shuuichi. Excellence first, used as a name in this fic
tsuki. Moon, used as a nickname in this fic
Urameshi. Bay rice, used as a name in this fic
yatta. An interjection expressing success or great pleasure, much like the English yay, yahoo, or woo hoo
yoshi. Pronounced with a silent I, an interjection meaning good, expressing success or great pleasure
Yukimura. Snow village (yuki is translated as snow, mura as village), used as a name in this fic
Yusuke. Ghost helper, used as a name in this fic
You already know the drill—if I missed anything that you need translating or explaining, just say so in the Reviews page. Please REVIEW! Thank you so much! ^-^