Chapter 1: The Clock of Reality
The end of the Demon World Tournament marked the start of a new world for demons, humans and spirits. While humans remained virtually oblivious to this fact, the few who had known about the happenings of Demon World and had played their role, felt content and satisfied for their actions. The Spirit Detectives and their friends felt that at long last they were free from the danger. They felt they could at long last move on with their lives and look toward the future with the knowledge that all was well.
Yet it is unfortunate that all good things must end. The end of the tournament ended conflict with Demon World. That however did not solve the problems faced by Spirit World. The end simply marked the start of the search for all the artifacts that were unaccounted for. And while they were able to recover most, one always eluded them. The Clock of Reality. The search and discovery of this artifact has many risks and challenges. The recovery could only be left to the most trusted of Spirit World. But as the Spirit Defense Force had been placed on guard duty until new vaults were installed, the task had to fall to the former Spirit Detectives.
The reason for Koenma's visit was obvious upon the moment he entered the temple of the late physic Genkai. Koenma sat at the edge of the entrance to the dojo staring at the former detective at the other end by a small table. Yusuke glared at the prince and groaned. He had finally married Keiko and was ready to go back to school to start a new life. "Can't you Spirit World guys handle anything without dragging me into it?" Yusuke asked with a heavy sigh.
"I wish we could, Yusuke," The prince answered with a look of pity on his face, "I know you are no longer a detective and I am fully aware my father doesn't even want you to help but… but we don't have another choice. I already told you how preoccupied the SDF is. If you do this I promise that-"
"Save it," Yusuke said as he pulled a cigarette out of the box on the table, "I don't want to hear that you'll promise not to ever need me again," he said as he lit the smoke and took a long drag of it before exhaling, "reason being that I know you'd go back on your word for one reason or another, Just tell me you can make it easier on me by getting everyone else here so I don't have to find them on my own," Yusuke said, smirking at the thought of seeing his old team in one place again, "I mean, Botan is no problem, she's in Spirit World or ferrying souls and shit right? As for Kuwabara he still comes here for Yukina, and Kurama is in College with his nose down an old textbook. And Hiei, well I have no clue about the runt, maybe he's baning that Mukuro chick or something…" his voice fading off in thought slightly as he rubbed his fingers along his chin, laughing slightly at how his request to find the team was fairly simple unlike the old days when finding everyone was slightly troubling.
Koenma smiled at his old friend, nodding his head, "I'll gather everyone as you requested Yusuke," Standing to leave, the prince bided farewell before opening a portal and departing.
Seeing everyone together for the first time since the death of Genkai was a bittersweet reunion of the old team. Knowing they were bound for another mission, the boys sat readying themselves for the most likely dangerous task they would have to complete. Hiei reserved himself to leaning against the wall in the far corner of the room, far away from the others. His long time fighting partner, Kurama, stood by Yusuke and Kuwabara who were engaged with laughing at each other's crude jokes. While the boys readied themselves for the mission the girls sat huddled together chatting amongst themselves. Shizuru, Botan, and Yukina listened intently as Keiko spoke of how happy her marriage to Yusuke was. Clearing his throat, Koenma rose to speak. "Glad to see everyone could make it, to cut to the chase as I can see Hiei is already bored," Pausing he and the others laughed quietly, "The task you have to complete is the retrieval of a Spirit World artifact. The artifact is not guarded at all, in fact no one even knows about it-"
"Then what the hell do you need me for?" Hiei snarled from his place in the corner, "If the object doesn't require fighting to retrieve it that what use am I to this?" The fire demon's glare intensified each second Koenma did not answer. The prince was even frozen under the intense glare.
"Th-th-the reason is because the protection of the object is of the upmost importance. In its present state it is harmless, but if activated it is unknown to me what it is capable of. I just want to make sure it is safe and that it does not fall into the wrong hands." With a growl Hiei turned his head away, seeming tolerant of the prince's response, "The artifact is known as the Clock of Reality. As its name states, it is a clock. For the reality part, we still are unaware of the significance. We do know that it is in this world. To be more specific, it is in the Grand Canyon in America." Koenma reached into his coat and pulled out a pink communication mirror, "I can send you directly to the location using this, Botan," Koenma turned to face the blue haired girl, "The coordinates are in your mirror already alert me when it is found." Botan nodded and smiled at the boys on the other side of the room.
"Okeydokey! Who's ready to get this show on the road?" She asked giving her best cat face. Groaning the boys stood and walked over to her ready to start the mission. Giving her boss a thumb's up, Koenma nodded and sent the team away.
Retrieving the artifact was no problem for the team. The task even seemed too easy. The Clock of Reality was located in a cave along the side of one of the ridges. It would have been difficult to reach had they not had Kurama and his plants to lower them to the edge of the cave.
The clock itself was exactly as Koenma had described. It was an ordinary clock the size of a dinner plate with the hands pointed at 6:45. Behind the hands, the clock lacked any protection for its gears that protruded slightly and lacked any shine to the bronze colored gears. The team lacked any real interest in how the clock looked taking one quick look, Yusuke shrugged and proclaimed it mission accomplished and wanted to head home. The others hurriedly agreed, all but Kuwabara who yelled and waved his hands franticly about his head. "Wait! How can you just say 'mission accomplished' like that?" he asked mimicking Yusuke while rolling his eyes lazily, "I mean what if it's a fake or something? Or what if there's like some trap in here like what happens in those Indiana Jones movies with the boulder and stuff? What if it's poisoned?" Kuwabara raged franticly, with each of his theories getting more absurd by the second.
Groaning Hiei rolled his eyes and shook his head wondering how he ever became allied with such a fool. "All this time, you still lack the intelligence of even a human child. If we can trust Koenma then there is no danger. And if there is danger there are two possible causes." Hiei paused raising his eyes to meet the taller fool's eyes. "Either you do something wrong or that idiot does," Hiei casually stated while pointing at Botan standing behind him.
"Hiei!" Botan shouted, clenching her fists tightly, "After everything we've done together you still have the nerve to call me an idiot! Maybe I'll just stop doing what you like me doing!"
"What are you talking about women?" Hiei asked, when he was met by her rapidly blinking eyes, he knew what she was talking about and chuckled lightly, "You wouldn't, I already know you can't go a day without that,"
"What are you two going on about?" Yusuke asked while the two continued talking while avoiding any specific details. While attempting to figure out what his friends were talking about, Yusuke and Kurama never noticed when Kuwabara snuck the Clock of Reality from Yusuke's hand. Turning the clock around in his hands trying to deduce which of his theories were right.
Turning to see what Kuwabara was up to, Kurama noticed him fumbling around with clock, Kurama shouted, "Kuwabara! Don't!" But it was too late.
Coming to realize why the clock wasn't working Kuwabara smiled with pride as he lightly tapped the switch by the first gear in the center setting the clock in motion. "There! I know why the clock was broken!" he declared. But as soon as the words had left his mouth, the cave they were in started to shake, rocks rumbled and fell off the edge of the cliffs around them and plunged into to Colorado River. Sounds of aircrafts and bombs rang in their ears. As each lost balance and fell through a blue rift that had opened beneath them.
Falling, the team desperately tried to grab hold of something or someone. More sounds of bombs rang, coupled by sirens and screams. Smell of smoke and ash filled their noses as immense heat struck them, blowing them farther and farther apart until they all drifted down their own rift, and falling without end.