Since she was a little girl, Ryoma found herself with troubling dreams, and abilities which she keeps hidden. She is also plagued by demons, another thing she hides from her team until she gets a fateful invitation...


Memory Replay

Next match was Hiei VS Bui.

Ryoma HAD to watch out for the Kokuryuuha and make sure her guests don't get hit by a crazy dragon running amuck all over the stadium. Her teammates were more than horrified with Hiei than they were with Kurama...especially when she explained to them what the Kokuryuuha is. And the fact that a 90-something year old youkai can pull it off when youkai older than he had trouble was something worth taking note of. That, and he destroyed most of the ring, while he's at it. The wrecked ring forced Sakyou to ask Toguro to bring back the ring from the old stadium...because of a nuisance called rules.

'OK, that was fantastic, amazing, and scary.' said Momoshiro as they talked with the Urameshi Team. 'But there sure is a lot we don't know about you guys.' he said. 'Who'da thunk that Minamino-san's a youkai and a fox?' they all conveniently let slide that Kurama had terrible injuries on his person and he was sprouting plants all over and he just told them the herbs' 'juice' is helping by speeding up his metabolism for him to heal quicker.

'A pretty fox though...when I think youkai, I think of the ghastly ghouls who sit beside and behind us.' Fuji shuddered.

'My, we're very different every now and then.' Kurama chuckled heartily. 'Not all of us are hideous-looking...'

'Well, you guys and those Toguro guys are certainly proof enough.' said Nanjiroh. 'But I've never seen a man who's at least, two meters tall.' he shuddered at the mere thought of Toguro. 'And three times as wide of a normal guy. So Ryoma, two guys left...who will you fight?'

'Our boss gets the giant, I get the scraggly guy.' Ryoma told him. 'That's a done deal. I also got some warning about that one. The giant loves fighting but he appears to have morals and honor. The scraggly? Judging from my teammates' observations, he's your very definition of bastard so I got to watch out for that one.' she quipped. 'I might need...to take off my limiters.'

'What limiters? I don't see any on you.' said Kaidoh as many pairs of eyes roamed on their kohai. Nope, none at all, but Tezuka had the last word.

'Normal humans can't see it.' said Tezuka. 'But she has a white bracelet each wrist with strange writings on them. As long as she has it on, her powers are sealed. Her powers will not influence her tennis games and she can use only her own efforts.' he explained. 'She badgered Koenma to make a pair for Yukimura and myself as well. This is so our powers cannot affect our game. We are proud sportsmen and we do not cheat.'

'Oho! Really now? I want to see it!' Nanjiroh said eagerly. Powerful fighter or not, his daughter even went as far as badger the prince of Reikai to have her powers temporarily sealed for a fair Tennis game!

'I'm wearing the real thing but I can conjure a fake.' Ryoma offered as she made gestures of taking off her invisible bracelets, and she conjured what it looked like for her father and teammates to see before she put her bracelets back on.

'Heee...two is enough to seal the entire deal away?' Fuji asked as they eyed the bracelet.

'They have a warranty of five years though...and that five years' time decreases as the wearer gets stronger.' Ryoma explained. 'Right now, my being a B-Class puts a couple cracks in my bracelet...and I'm on the verge of becoming an A soon...'

'What? An A?' Kurama choked out. How could Ryoma become an A so soon? Then again, she's been following her dreams before her memories returned...she was a C when they met again, months went by she became a B and soon low A? "Wow, how the roles reversed." Kurama thought wryly. 3000 years ago, he was stronger than Kuronue but now, Ryoma, Kuronue's current incarnation, is now stronger than he. He has a lot of work to do...

Three hours came and Toguro's not yet back with the ring. They opted to buy lunch.

But...

'Uh guys...let me be honest with you...' Ryoma choked and went green as she saw the menu. 'We better go back to the hotel for REAL food.'

'Why? This is a fast food restaurant isn't it?' Kawamura asked her but they all got a bad feeling about this.

'Think about it! Most of the customers here are youkai!' Ryoma hissed. The boys thought...they then froze and went green.

The 'meat' on the menu can only be HUMAN MEAT.

'Now you get it.' she deadpanned. 'Let's go to the hotel for a real lunch.'

'But the hotel's too far away from here and we won't make it in time!' Oishi moaned.

'I will and with lunch.' Ryoma winked. 'For now, you guys are safer with Yusuke and the others. With you near them, no moron will dare approach.'

'Well, that's somehow reassuring but there's one thing I'm concerned about.' Nanjiroh frowned. 'What's your relationship with Kurama? You guys look very close...'

'They're best friends, Nanjiroh-san.' said Tezuka. 'They met online in internet...'

'That's what we said for public appearance.' Ryoma told them as she walked on ahead. 'While the truth is that we're best friends...we met in competition...to see who's the better fighter. We were complete opposites. Kurama who's deadliest weapon is his intelligence and I whose deadliest weapon is my trickery...and his icy cold, no-nonsense personality with little mercy to his foes compared to my carefree, lackasidal self...somehow, we ended up a tie...and we got along. We then began working together as thieves...'

'WHAT?'

Ryoma continued on, as if not hearing their outburst as she was completely lost in memories, not noticing her eyes went purple. 'We earned notoriety in Makai. No matter the security, we could bypass it and take what we want for kicks...we became more than best friends...we were practically brothers. We began doing everything together.' Ryoma chuckled. 'Kurama's ice slowly melted. He learned how to smile but that smile is reserved just for me while to his enemies...they'll get the nastier variety that promised death of course.'

'Is it me or she's rambling?' Inui muttered worriedly as Ryoma droned on. They went ahead of her to look at her...only to see her eyes distant...and purple with slits. And she appears to be reminiscing something.

'We better listen.' Tezuka frowned. 'We'll know what's going on soon. No but-ins.'

'We thieved...we killed...we had fun...' Ryoma's voice changed to that of a man that freaked them out. But they soon noticed that the more she rambled, the paler and clammier she seemed. And began sweating from exhaustion. '...we were together for a thousand years. Kurama then gave me a pendant made of a rare gem and silver that could buy you your own mountain range. I treasured that little trinket and always carried it with me and guarded it with great zeal. But 2500 years later...when we ran from the army of a Demon Lord we thieved from, traps that shot bamboo spears...and it cut the chain of my pendant and it fell. Kurama told me to forget it and run as he'll just get me a new one but I couldn't leave it. It was his gift to me. I couldn't bear for a second replacement. It was that important to me.'

'But I triggered a trap. I finally retrieved the pendant at the cost of my life. I was...impaled all over. Kurama looked on in horror and yelled at me why I had to go back for it when he could simply get me a new one...and it wasn't worth losing my life for. While I agreed with him on that point but it's not the pendant I'm after but the memory of how and who I got it from. I got it...from the man I loved as a brother.' Nanjiroh and the regulars listened in astonishment at such declaration. Nanjiroh wished Ryoma could show that same love to Ryoga once they got to know each other well.

'He was all I have as I've been alone as long as I remember. I treasured everything as long as it came from him. He tried to get me out of my predicament but even if he does, the lord's army will get to him too...and some spears pierced a couple vital organs. Even if he did get me out, I'll die soon anyway. Both from blood loss and vital organ piercings. I gave my treasure back to Kurama as I slowly bled to death...and begged him to leave me there and live.' Pierced by spears and die by bleeding? Ouch! 'I didn't want him to end up in a worser predicament. Silver Foxes are very beautiful youkai no matter the gender...sought after for their beauty as mere playthings for lords as well as lovers to a privileged few. I didn't want Kurama to end up a slave to some pervert just because he tried to save me. I begged him to leave me...and eventually, he did in tears. My final proof that he loved me. I died a happy man...minutes later...' and Ryoma fainted after finishing her story, while possessed by her memories.

'Ryoma/Echizen!' Oishi caught their teammate and gasped.

'My god! She's so cold and clammy!' Oishi cried in alarm as he touched her forehead. 'She wasn't like this earlier!'

'We better ask Kurama what to do...she was possessed by something earlier.' said Tezuka worriedly. 'But...what was that? She's talking in a man's voice and speaks of things as if she's done it...'

xxx

Back at the arena...the boys explained to the team what happened to Ryoma. When they relayed what Ryoma revealed out of possession...

Kurama burst into tears of heartbreak. '...he died...a happy man knowing I loved him, he said?' he choked out as tears flowed down his cheeks. 'And that even if I saved him it'll just be meaningless...?' he cried in despair and emotional grief that the regulars fell silent, while Yusuke and Kuwabara looked on in sympathy and discomfort at the sad atmosphere the kitsune was emitting from his memories.

'But what's going on? Why did my daughter get possessed?' Nanjiroh asked him. 'Her eyes went purple and she began talking in a man's voice.'

'Ryoma is the reincarnation of Kurama's best friend, the black raven Kuronue.' they looked behind to see Koenma in his human form. 'Kuronue died 512 years ago in the exact manner Ryoma told you how. And as Ryoma educated Tezuka in how souls undergo transition in Reikai, yes, we guide them to the afterlife but souls, especially those with strong wills have the power to reincarnate every 500 years only. If reincarnation is successful, they are reborn with their memories intact. For youkai, power is included in that rebirth of course. Ryoma has been having dreams of her past life in America. She even woke up with Kuronue's trademark weapons under her blanket in her bed. She took to the weapons like a natural. From a typical tomboy girl...her personality changed in a blink because memories of the person she once was, was returning. And the memories came back faster and stronger when the Echizens moved to Japan. And in a location where Kuronue's spirit could sense Kurama who was nearby whether a few blocks or a prefecture away...the awakening came much faster and a month after the move...Kuronue's full personality merged with Ryoma's. But she started to have an identity crisis.'

'She couldn't tell who or what she is, as she has memories as Ryoma and as Kuronue.' Koenma continued. 'That and she has youki, not reiki because her soul is a youkai despite being in a human body that produces reiki. And as a human, youki is dangerous to people like Kurama and Kuronue as the more you grow in strength, the quicker your human body will be converted to a youkai. Upon reaching A-Class levels, their aging will start to slow down. Once a hundred years had gone by and there's not much physical changes in you, you'd have become a full-fledged youkai. Complete with no heartbeats.' Nanjiroh and the regulars were horrified by this revelation.

'Y-you mean in Heart Monitors, a flat line will appear even if she's alive and perky?' Nanjiroh yelped in alarm as Koenma nodded. 'You've got to be freaking kidding me!'

'I know. That's why I supplied Ryoma with her sealing bracelets.' said Koenma. 'Not only does it seal her power, it also converts youki into reiki so she would stay human. In return that she helps me keep unruly lawbreakers and miscreants in line of course. But due to circumstances, I can only call on her when she's really needed.' he deadpanned. 'Unlike the other boys, she had nearly no free time but she is still in my employ. Her memories merging took two more months after moving to Japan...and she's accepted her destiny that she reincarnated wholeheartedly. If she hadn't, she would suffer a bad case of Multiple-Personality Disorder, with Ryoma and Kuronue's personalities separate entities.'