Author's Note: Okie Dokie. Here's the next chapter. Finally got the plot idea rolling in this one. Some familiar friends will be introduced in the next chapter. I think the next one will be my favorite. Anyway, enjoy this one! Please review! I love feedback!
Nearly a month flew by before anyone had a chance to even see Alianore.
After her first week, the gang went up to the temple to visit but was sad to find that she wasn't even on the main grounds. "Genkai took her up into the mountains and they won't be back until next week," Yukina told them with a timid smile. "Hopefully," she added as an after thought.
So the following weekend they trekked back up, and were once again turned away by Kai, "They're in the caves to the east. Something about finding her center, sorry." She smiled at them apologetically. "Check back next week."
And they did. This time Genkai herself greeted them. "She's on her own this week. I was told that she nearly died the last time she was on her own. I think she can do better than that." So with grumbles and groans they left.
At the end of the month they returned, hopes minimal. Standing at the entrance was Alianore. "You're here!" They all ran up and hugged her while she laughed.
"Yes, I'm here." She said once they moved away. "Beat to hell, but yeah." She, indeed, did look tired.
"Is you're training done, or do you have to stay here longer?" asked Yusuke. He looked like he would be a little upset if she were to stay longer. Don't you worry Yusuke; I'm coming home, finally.
"Nope, Genkai is done with me. And I've never felt better."
"Can you actually hit a target with you're Spirit Shot?" Midnight asked, mostly teasingly.
"Doubt you can out shoot me," Yusuke challenged. "I can shoot my Spirit Gun miles."
"Ah, but can you hit the target at the end of all those miles?" Alianore spoke playfully.
"I think I see a challenge coming on," murmured Rei to the others. Alianore and Yusuke were face to face now, nearly glaring at each other.
"Let's do this Urameshi," Alianore growled. "We'll see who the better shot and student is."
"Bring it she demon," Yusuke retorted. "I'll out shoot you any day."
"All right children. Let's let this challenge commence." Genkai called from the door of the main building. Everyone walked out to the fields. Kai and Rei helped Hiei set up small targets nearly three miles away. "You're goal is to hit the center of the target with only your spirit energy. Don't blow up the target!" Alianore flinched slightly.
Rei, Kai and Midnight hid behind the nearest tree. "Uh, what are you three doing?" asked Kurama.
"Not sure we trust her quite yet. She's blown up things bigger than that little target before." Replied Midnight.
"Hey! I've improved! I don't blow things up on accident anymore!" Alianore yelled at them. She grumbled as she turned back to the target. "Ladies first Urameshi," she grinned at him.
"Ha ha," he muttered sarcastically. "Fine, I'll go first." He lined himself up and held his hand up in the shape of a gun. So this is the famous Spirit Gun. I've only seen it once before and that was at the Dark Tournament. It makes me shiver every time I see him ready it. I can feel him charging up his energy, which sends electricity through my nerves. I get to see it up close for the first and hopefully not the last time. Such a wondrous skill, the very inspiration for my own Spirit Shot. "Here goes nothing, Spirit Gun!" A ball of blue energy shot out of his fingertip and across the field. It hit the target, but it was hard to tell exactly where it landed.
"Nice shot Urameshi," Kazuma complimented. He turned and grinned at them.
"Yes, nice shot," Alianore agreed, still in a slight daze from watching her idol perform his signature move.
"Get it together girl," Genkai yelled. "You're turn."
Alianore shook her head. "Right, here goes," She lined herself up with her target and took the same position as Yusuke had but at more of a sideways position rather than the straight on stance Yusuke took, including her fingers in the shape of a gun. She took a breath, and behind her she heard her friends do the same. Time to show you how much I've grown. "Spirit Shot!" A ball of green energy, slightly smaller than Yusuke's, flew from her finger and crossed the field at a high speed and hit the target.
"Yes!" She heard her friends cheer. They tackled her from behind.
"You did it!" Kai yelled.
"We're so proud!" Midnight laughed.
"What's the verdict Hiei?" Kurama asked.
"Hn," He looked at both the team leaders. "Alianore hit the closest to the center. Urameshi was only off by mere centimeters."
"Yay!" The girls cried from the ground. They laughed together.
"Nice job detective," Yusuke held out his hand to Alianore to pull her up. "You win this time." Alianore blushed at being called a detective. She took his hand and allowed herself to be pulled up.
"Thank you Urameshi," she said. "That means a lot to me," she whispered in his ear. And then followed everyone back to the temple.
Upon arriving back at the apartment, Alianore went up to her room and flopped onto her bed. "Bed, it's been to long!" she cried when she landed on it.
"It's nice to have her back. I never realized how much we've become used to having the girls around," Kurama commented as the boys sat in the living room. Rei, Kai and Midnight were in the kitchen getting dinner ready, as they had every night since joining the boys nearly two months ago. "I could get used to having them around all the time."
"No kidding," Kazuma agreed. "It'd be like having one of you guys leaving for a long period of time."
"I'm gonna go check on Alianore. If she's sleeping we can have the girls set aside an extra plate for her," Kurama said and walked up the stairs to Alianore's room. At her door, Kurama knocked. "Alianore?"
"Come in!" She called from the other side. Kurama opened the door and found her sitting cross-legged on the floor, in front of her were two blades. "Did you see what Hiei made for me?" She held one of them up for Kurama to see.
"This one looks more worn than the other," Kurama said, taking the blade from her. "Did he make both of these?" He couldn't recall her having a blade on her when they had first met.
"I normally keep it locked away in my keepsake chest, but she finally has her sister, so I thought it would be good to bring her out again." Alianore replied and took the sword back, placing it next to it's 'sister.' "And yes, Hiei made the older one as well. I left before he had a chance to make the second. I've always worked better with two, rather than just one."
Kurama sat down on the edge of her bed. "You and Hiei were close back in the day then?"
"We were like siblings. The man protected me from demons and other creatures. I was badly injured when he found me and I'm forever grateful to him."
"He's not so bad when you get to know him, huh?" Kurama smiled. He and Hiei had been friends for many years now.
"True." Alianore tilted her head back at him, exposing her neck. Kurama had to swallow past a lump in his throat. "What brings you up to my lovely abode, Kurama? Just for idle conversation?" She tilted her head back down to sheath her blades.
"You're much better of a conversation than most people I interact with," Kurama replied truthfully. "How were the books you took?"
"You've only really talked to me for a total of at least several hours. Not much to compare with the years you have probably known most others." She giggled. "The books, right, well I never really got a chance to read them, unfortunately."
"Well, I'm certain you'll get a chance now that you're back. Though, I believe Koenma wishes for us to do some training together, so we understand how we all fight, so as to work better as a large team."
"Understandable, I will very much like to finally get to work with the people I've practically worshipped for some time." She looked at him; there was a red tint to her cheeks.
Kurama chuckled. "Are we heroes or something?"
"You and Yusuke have been something like my idols. Kai has always been partial to Kazuma and Rei and Midnight have looked up to you and Hiei."
Kurama felt his cheeks heating up. "Well," he cleared his throat. "Thank you, I guess."
"Don't worry, we got all of our fangirling out of our system before we got to meet you. We had to look somewhat professional when we met you guys." Alianore laughed.
Kurama laughed as well. "Yes, understandable. Well, shall we go see if dinner is ready? I'm sure the girls are preparing a feast in honor of your return."
Alianore's stomach growled at the word 'food.' "Sounds like a brilliant plan." Together they went downstairs, Alianore obsessed with the thought of eating real food after nearly a month of having to fend for herself in the wild.
The next morning, Alianore gamboled down the stairs where only Hiei, Kurama and Kai sat. "Where is everyone else?"
"Rei and Midnight are finding places to hide so they don't have to train. Botan has currently found them under the kitchen sink, in the shower, the broom closet and the attic," She looked up at Alianore from her book. "I didn't even know this place had an attic."
"Yusuke and Kuwabara are still asleep. They tend to sleep in on the weekends," Kurama glanced up at her from his own book, a smile on his face, which made her smile in turn. "Especially if there is training on the schedule."
"I'd be more than happy to wake them up." Alianore offered. "I'd like to get this done and out of the way. More time to read," Alianore made her way back up the stairs and headed to Kazuma's room first.
Alianore knocked on the door, then without waiting for a response she walked in. Kazuma was sprawled and tangled in his blanket and sheets. She smiled. He looks like a five year old. She thought as she walked over to his bed. Alianore shook his shoulder. "Kazuma, you gotta wake up, we've got to train soon."
"Five more minutes sis," Kazuma mumbled sleepily into his pillow. "I'm having the best dream."
"Sorry Kazuma," She straightened up and kicked him on the ass. "Wake up!"
"Yow!" He cried and flew up out of his bed. "All right! Jeez, no need to get violent!" He replied from the other side of his bed, where it was safe and away from Alianore's feet.
She shrugged. "The gentle way wasn't working very well." She moved back to the door. "If I have to come back in here, it'll be ice water." She left his room and made her way to Yusuke's room.
As the same with Kazuma, Alianore knocked on Yusuke's door and without waiting for an answer (because, honestly, if you're in a dead sleep, you think you'll be hearing a knock on the door?) she walked in. Yusuke was curled up on his side under his covers. As Alianore stepped closer, she could hear a light snore coming from his slightly open mouth. His hair was ungelled and tussled across his pillow. He's… stunning when like this. I'd love to see this side of him more often. A gentle smile washed over her face. She leaned in close and whispered in his ear, "Hey, sleepy head. Gotta wake up, we're going to be training soon."
He groaned sleepily and turned over. "I don't wanna."
Alianore huffed and straightened up. "Really Urameshi? I was being nice, and I can do to you with what I threatened to do to Kazuma," She threatened.
"Mmmm," He moaned into his pillow. "I'm so scared."
Her eyes narrowed at his naked back. "Very well then Urameshi, you leave me no choice," she left and came back moments later with a rather large bucket of ice water. "One last chance, Urameshi. Are you going to get up?"
"I rather like it here," he muttered into his pillow.
She sighed. I really don't want to do this, yet at the same time…I do. She smiled inwardly and said, "Okay," and dumped the bucket over him.
A blood-curdling scream rang through the house. Yusuke jumped out of bed and bounced around his room. "What the hell?" He glared at Alianore, who had a serene smile on her face. It faltered when he stopped jumping around. My gods. He's more beautiful up close. She and her friends had horrible seats at the Dark Tournament and the large viewing screen didn't do his pecs justice. Don't falter. Nothing will come of it. You're teammates, nothing more.
"I told you so," She sang, and traipsed out of his room. "Be downstairs in ten," She called over her shoulder and then returned downstairs.
Downstairs below the living room, there was a training room that Koenma had had installed so that they could train without the watchful eyes of other demons and spirits or humans.
"Man, you guys sure have done a number on this place." Rei remarked as the girls glanced around. It was a stone floor, not unlike the circle ring in the stadium from the Dark Tournament. But stones were missing or damaged, there were only a couple still intact. The walls were mirrors, but two were cracked and could barely be viewed through. Sparring dummies were lined up on a wall more were piled in a corner nearly unrecognizable.
"We may not train all at the same time, but we've had this place for awhile now, and sadly it's not self fixing," Kazuma said stepping over a piece of broken stone.
"It's too expensive to have it self fix since you boys continually destroy this place," a voice said from behind them. "Think of it as a homemade obstacle course." They turned around to find Koenma in his older form. Botan stood next to him.
Rei, Kai, and Midnight straightened and bowed. "Good morning, sir."
"Ladies," Koenma nodded his head in greeting. "Nice to know I'm appreciated by some people." He spoke pointedly towards Yusuke.
"Suck it up sucker mouth," Yusuke said.
"I agree with Urameshi," said Alianore. "I don't have time for pleasantries with royalty. 'Specially if we're going to see you all the time."
"If I wasn't still mad about the ice dowsing this morning," Yusuke sniggered as Koenma glowered at them menacingly. "I would compliment you on that."
"Fair enough," Alianore sighed sarcastically. "So Koenma, milord," Rei, Kai and Midnight snorted as they tried to hold in their laughter. "What brings you to our humble abode?"
"To check on you ladies, you disrespectful mongrel," Koenma shot back. Alianore growled. The laughter wasn't held back that time. "I trust you're getting along well?"
"The boys have been quite hospitable," Kai commented.
"Yes," agreed Midnight. "It's nice to have a home again." Rei nodded in agreement.
"Good," Koenma said, turning to head back up the stairs. "I can't say that we'll have a case for you anytime soon, but I want you all to continue to work together, in case something does come up." And with that he and Botan disappeared back up the stairs.
"Foreshadowing much?" Rei said. Alianore shrugged.
"I don't question the methods of the higher ups." Alianore said and unsheathed her swords, blades resting on the back of her forearms. "Let's get started shall we?"
A couple of weeks later Alianore was summoned to Koenma's office while the others were at school. She politely knocked on his door and then entered the room. "You wanted to see me Koenma?"
He was in his toddler form. Koenma looked up from the mounds of paperwork piled on his desk. "Ah, Alianore, glad you could make it."
"Well," she started as she shut the overly large door behind her. "When one of the rulers of Spirit World summons me, I assume I should answer with promptness."
"Yes, thank you lady Yusuke," replied Koenma with a slight hint of sarcasm. "But there is a more serious matter at hand than dealing with your insults."
"Hmm?" she looked at him from across the desk.
"First off," He pulled out a silver egg from the depths of his desk. "Similar to Yusuke's ordeal, I'm giving you an egg to take care of."
Alianore took the egg from him; it fit snugly into the palm of her hand.
"My detectives have a habit of getting into trouble, and I want both leaders to be safe, so you'll hatch a Spirit Guardian from that egg. Hence the silver color."
"Thank you, Koenma," she tucked the egg into her jacket pocket.
"Now then, look behind you on the screen," she turned to look at the large screen that descended from the ceiling. An image of a woman with long black hair streaked with grey and strikingly bright blue eyes, she was also thin and almost deathly pale. "This is the most recent photograph of a woman captured by a powerful demon by the name of Mokra."
"Koenma," Alianore's voice was barely above a whisper. "Do you have any idea who this woman is?"
"I haven't received information on that yet. My father, of all people, handed this case to me to give to you and the others. So she's high priority."
"Koenma, this is my mother," Alianore felt weak in the knees. She had believed her mother was dead, like her father. So where had she been all this time?
"Alianore," he began, but she stopped him.
"No, don't," she shook her head. "When do we head out?"
"Not until I hear more from my father. We have absolutely no Intel. No idea where the headquarters are, no idea how many demons we're dealing with. So we wait. I'm sure it's going to be rough on you for a while, but please bear with us. We just needed you aware of the situation. We're also bringing in help. You'll be meeting with them later in the week."
"Thank you Koenma," Alianore said in a subdued tone. "Let me know when you have more." She left before he could say anything more.
She walked down the hall, her head consumed with thought about her mother. She's barely changed over the years I haven't seen her. But where has she been hiding? I thought she was dead, died when father died. So if she was alive, why did she leave me at that hellhole of an orphanage?
Alianore was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she nearly ran into Hiei, who luckily pays attention and is a very fast person. He stepped out of the way and grabbed her arm, pulling her out of her thoughts. "Hey, what's the matter with you? You nearly walked into me."
"Sorry Hiei. Just something Koenma showed me is got me all bothered."
"Not that I care, but what has you so lost in thought?" He asked, letting go of her arm.
So Alianore proceeded to tell him about the mission they were to be assigned and who their target was. "So your mother is actually still alive and we're going to have to rescue her from gods knows where?"
"That would be the gist of it," Alianore nodded. "But Koenma hasn't said when we'll be leaving. He did say though, that we're to be getting some help and that they'll be here at the end of the week." Alianore continued to walk along the path she had been following. "I'm sorry Hiei, but I need to be alone for a little while. Gather my thoughts and such. Forgive me." And she disappeared around a corner.
Hours later, long after the sun had set Alianore returned home. Rei, Kai, Midnight, Kurama and Kazuma perked up at the door opening and shutting again.
"Alia! You're home!" Kai exclaimed.
"We've been worried sick," Rei said. "Hiei told us not to worry, but how could we not, when you don't know the city very well."
Alianore smiled at the concern her friends were showing. "I'm fine. I just- I had to clear my head."
"Everything all right Alianore?" Kurama stood up. He saw her tense shoulders; windswept hair and the color in her eyes had a dull sheen to them.
Alianore shook her head. Though whether in confirmation or not, they couldn't tell. "Where are Yusuke and Hiei? Everyone should be here for what I have to say."
"You called?" Yusuke came from the kitchen and Hiei appeared in the living room from where ever he was.
"Hm," Alianore nodded. "Right, well, I spoke with Koenma today and he has a mission for us, handed down from his father-"
"King Enma himself, has given us a mission?" Midnight's voice was filled with surprise.
Alianore nodded and continued. "Yes, it's high priority, apparently. Anyway, we are to rescue a female demon by the name of Kira from a demon with the name Mokra. Though we may not be heading out anytime soon. We have no idea where they are located, how many demons we're dealing with, and there has been no ransom. So we are to wait. But Koenma is bringing more help, who will be here at the end of the week."
"Great, just what we need, more people running around here." Hiei muttered. He glanced at her. "Tell them the rest. They are bound to find out sooner or later. So let it be from you, Lia." She glanced up at him in surprise. I haven't heard that name in years. She smiled at him.
"Very well," she agreed. "The woman we are to rescue- she's my mother."
"You're what?" Everyone nearly yelled.
She waved them off. "Don't worry. I'm not as emotionally involved as you think I might be. I don't even know her." Alianore yawned. "I'm off to bed now. G'night."
"Night," replied everyone in a confused tone as she went upstairs to her room.
Why is it that I don't believe myself when I say that? Alianore thought.
Yusuke heard the door shut upstairs. There's more to this than she's letting on. And I intend to find out what it is.