Another update and another German title since still on Bleach kick and Quincies intrigue me.. anyway, onto the chapter!
Chapter 13- Abschneiden
Darkness. He was surrounded by it. His small form crushed by the massive amount of rubble pressing down around him. Consciousness returned and anger built up, lending him strength and with a violent push, Hiei burst forth, debris exploding as he stood up, heavy breaths taking in the heated air of Makai. A pulsating throb above his left eyebrow signaled an injury, the blood trickling down into his eye, turning his vision red. His gaze shifted to his right at the sound rubble being disturbed, focusing on Mukuro as she rose and shook off the dust clinging to her clothing, his eyes meeting hers, the look of concern unmistakable as she spoke,
"You are hurt."
Hiei swiped at the blood, frowning at the slick liquid on his hand, nonchalant in his response. "A scratch, nothing more."
"Hmm…" Mukuro sounded, turning his gaze behind her as she watched the rest of her men escape from their rocky tombs. Once they joined up beside her, the female youkai shifted her attention to the giant crater, where Gandara once stood. "My God.." She murmured, taking in the vast expanse of destruction. Storm clouds hung low in the sky above the crater, angry streaks of red lightning darting about within the growing maelstrom, the wind howled, whipping up flecks of debris, blasting the group in a cloying air that smelled of heat and death. "Such immense power, to wipe out everything and everyone in one attack."
"There are no ki signatures remaining." Hiei spoke, tying his headband around his forehead, squeezing tightly to stop the flow of blood above his eyebrow, the white cloth turning red from the effort.
"Not even those of the attackers?" Mukuro asked.
"No." Hiei answered. "So either they blew themselves up with the others when they attacked or they have moved on to the next target."
Mukuro looked back down towards the crater. "Let's inspect the area to confirm that the attackers died with their victims."
"And if they didn't?" Hiei asked.
"We hunt them down and destroy them."
Hiei smirked at the hard edge in his leader's voice, silently agreeing to her vow as the group made their way down into the crater.
Yusuke sent a blast of spiritual energy that cut through the front line of Yukio's troops, sending them flying into the air, clearing a path for Kuwabara to race forward, sword at the ready, slashing side to side, decapitating the demons he faced, dark blood splattering in his wake.
"Hey Urameshi!" The orange haired human called out, parrying a rather vicious slash from one of the enemy then thrust upward, spearing the demon in the throat, twisting the spirit sword blade, the head of his opponent popping off like a daisy, a geyser of dark fluid erupting from the massive wound.
"What is it?!" Yusuke yelled back, dodging a strike, grabbing the attacker's arm, twisting it, the creature screaming in pain then in fear as he tossed his opponent off the side of the road and into the abyss.
"No matter how many of these guys we cut down, more seem to sprout up."
A series of kicks and punches from the head detective sent several more enemies off the side of the road. "Yeah, I've noticed. These bastards just won't die." Yusuke leapt up over a row of soldiers, landing beside Kuwabara, taking a defensive position behind his friend. Back to back they stared hard at the growing mass of demons surrounding them.
"We need to figure out a new strategy to deal with these guys."
Yusuke snorted. "You know I suck at that strategy shit, Kuwabara."
The taller man looked out at the sea of demons, worry growing in his heart. " Yeah, but at this rate, we're never going to get through them, let alone find their leader."
"Where is that slimy bastard anyway?" Yusuke asked. "I haven't seen nor sensed him since we jumped over the wall of the palace.
"Do you think this was all a trap?"
"It wouldn't surprise me if it was. Lead us out here. Draw us farther and farther away from his goal."
Kuwabara frowned. "Yeah, but just what in the hell is this guy's goal anyway?"
Yusuke shrugged, never keeping his eyes off the encroaching soldiers. "Fuck if I know. Maybe he doesn't have one. Maybe he did all this because he could."
Kuwabara shook his head. "That can't be it, Urameshi. No one would do all this stuff just for the fun of it."
The attackers surged forward without warning, slashing out with their claws, their blades, and their bodies, the pair fighting the vicious assault off, the violence escalating and the mass of demons growing, pressing closer, air becoming suffocating and the head detective grit his teeth, anger filling him.
"Enough of this shit!" Blue light erupted around Yusuke as he grit his teeth, powering up. "Kuwabara, jump back!"
The taller man's eyes widened at the sight of his best friend's power surge and he leapt up into the air, watching as the aura of blue intensified and grew larger around Yusuke.
Now free to unleash his attack, Yusuke grinned, then shifted, slamming his hand down onto the ground, a massive wave of spiritual energy exploding out, obliterating every living creature along the entirety of the path until it clashed into a spike of green light, revealing the form of a very surprised and agitated Yukio.
Kuwabara landed down to his friend's left as Yusuke rose, grinning.
"And the villain finally reveals himself."
Yukio said nothing, green light dematerializing as he lunged forward, sword in hand.
Yusuke shot off an orb of spiritual energy, hitting Yukio head on, exploding into the air. The head detective grinned and pumped his fist in triumph only to widen his eyes as Yukio burst through the blast, instantly in front of the detective, his blade gleaming red with blood, thirsty for more as he swung it down, only to growl as a yellow blade blocked his attack. Dark eyes bore down hatefully at Kuwabara, angry at the loss of his kill.
Kuwabara grit his teeth, ignoring the pain from the force of the attack as the energy shot through the hilt and up his arm. With all his strength, the big man pushed up, using his sword to force Yukio back and away, shouting. "Now Urameshi! Finish him!"
Yusuke blinked, drawn out of his surprise and shock of both the attack and his friend's defense and made a fist, thrusting out, thousands of tiny blue orbs shooting outward, slamming head on into Yukio who screeched, each explosion piercing his body, sending him up and off the road, into the clouds, disappearing from view.
Yusuke panted, looking around, senses alert for any sign of another sneak attack. But there was no energy signature to indicate his enemy was alive or even nearby. "We did it, didn't we?" He said with a grin, looking at Kuwabara.
The taller man nodded as he looked around. "I don't see anymore demons to kill. I can't sense Yukio, either. Maybe it really is over."
Both of their backs snapped at the sudden spike of energy and they whirled around, eyes focused on the palace, an explosion rocking the ground, smoke rising from above the gates.
"Shit!" Yusuke yelled, racing forward, Kuwabara right behind. The pair jumped up and over the gate, landing in the courtyard, gasping at the sight before them. Large columns of smoke billowed out from the rubble where the Reikai Palace had once stood. Debris littered the ground, the bodies of several ogres were spread out along the field, some partly underneath the massive amounts of stone, unmoving. A gentle breeze swirled around the courtyard, carrying with it the scent of blood and death as it mingled with the burnt odor of smoke that would not abate.
"Oh my God.. what happened here?" Kuwabara murmured.
Yusuke was too shocked to speak, his eyes scanning the ground for some signs of life. A faint and familiar energy pulsed from a pile of rock to his right and the head detective raced over, tearing at the debris, voice panicked. "Kuwabara, get over here and help me!"
"R.. right!" Kuwabara stammered, rushing over to help his friend, the pair lifting and tossing the rocks aside until at last it revealed the form of the spirit lord.
"Koenma!" Yusuke exclaimed as he knelt down. Reaching out, he turned his boss over, frowning at the various cuts and bruises on the Reikai lord's face. "Koenma?" The head detective repeated, watching as the smaller man's eyelids fluttered open.
"Y.. Yusuke.." Koenma croaked out, voice barely above a whisper, wincing in pain as continued to speak. "It was.. it was a trap.. no warning.. no warning at all.."
"What happened?" Yusuke asked, studying the spirit lord in concern.
"It was.. It was Yukio.. He.. he did this.."
The head detective shook his head, voice startled. "But.. But how can that be? I blasted him off into the clouds.. How could he have done all this?"
"Tricked.." Koenma replied weakly. "Survivor.. not.. survivor at all.. tricked.. snuck off.. did something.. did something to the palace.. Oh God.. the girls.. my girls.. what's.. happened to my girls.." He tried to sit up and cried out, collapsing back as Yusuke caught him.
"Lay still, stupid!" Yusuke cried out, panic in his voice again. "I'll make sure the ferry girls are alright but you're not making any sense.. Yukio's dead. I killed him.. I know I killed him.."
Koenma shook his head very slowly, voice matching. "No.. still.. alive.. must. stop him.. Yusuke.. stop him.. for all.. of us.. stop him.. before it's too late.."
"Too late for what?" Yusuke replied, voice insistent. "Koenma, too late for what? Tell me what he's going to do? Koenma.. Koenma?!"
A gasp of air left the spirit lord's lips and his eyelids fluttered closed.
Yusuke's eyes widened as he felt Koenma's remaining energy start to fade. Laying him down gently, the spirit detective shot up to his legs, racing towards the remains of the palace.
"Urameshi! Where are you going? Koenma needs help!"
"I know that! That's what I'm trying to do!" Yusuke snapped, leaping past a pile of rubble. His eyes darted about, using his senses to try to locate where the ferry girls had hidden. A sound met his ears, so faint that he almost missed it before running forward, blasting through a column of debris, clearing the path, watching as a door swung open from the ground, blinking at the sight of Ayame climbing out, several ferry girls following behind.
"Thank you, Yusuke." Ayame replied in his soft voice. "I wasn't sure we would ever be able to escape from the panic room."
"Panic room?" He murmured in surprise.
"Yes.." Ayame replied. "Lord Koenma instructed us to enter the panic room just before you arrived." Her eyes surveyed the surrounding, voice sad and troubled. "What has happened here? Is Lord Koenma alright?"
"No.. he's not.." Yusuke replied, shaking out from his surprise to grab her hand. "He needs help before he dies. Come quickly."
Ayame needed no urging, racing with the head detective through the minefield of wreckage, dropping to her knees beside the Reikai Lord. She reached out, a faint blue light erupting from her palm as she held it over Koenma's chest. Closing her eyes, the ferry girl focused her healing energy, slowly moving up and around each wound. "He.. will. live.. but.. this will take some time.."
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Kuwabara asked, watching in concern as Ayame began the healing process.
"Please.. instruct the other.. ferry girls to search among the dead.. for any who might still live.. they will need healing as well."
"Right.." Kuwabara said with a nod before heading off to retrieve the other ferry girls.
"You are afraid for him?" Ayame asked as she continued to heal Koenma. "For all of us.."
"What does that matter?" Yusuke retorted a bit more sharply than he attended. "I need to find Yukio and stop him.. like Koenma wanted me to."
"That is impossible I'm afraid."
Yusuke looked down at the ferry girl. "You don't think I can stop the bastard who did this?" He growled, waving at the destruction around him.
"It is not a matter of ability, detective, but of opportunity." Ayame replied.
"What do you mean?"
"The explosion took out the barrier control for Reikai, and thus access to and from spirit world. So unless Yukio is still in this realm, he won't be able to be brought to justice any time soon."
Shock seized control of Yusuke's features. "You mean to tell me we are cut off from both human and demon world?"
"Yes.." Ayame stated softly, a grim look upon his pretty face as she opened her eyes, gazing out at the other ferry girls as they began the search for suvivors. "No one can enter Reikai.. and no one can leave.."
Kurama held Botan in his arms, smiling as the deity snuggled against him. The intensity of their mating had left both of them worn out and content. For the first time in his long existence, Kurama felt at peace. He loved and was loved by the woman beside him. That was all he needed in this world. Botan began to stir beside him, voice soft as she whispered,
"Hmm.." The fox spirit replied, trailing his fingers gently up and down the girl's right arm. He smiled as the deity reacted with a small shiver of delight.
Botan enjoyed his touch, her own hand lifting to trace idol patterns above his heart as she spoke. "Did I ever tell you how beautiful you are?"
Kurama chuckled softly. "Isn't that my line, Botan?"
The deity smiled and lifted her head, studying the handsome man beside her. "Maybe.. but that doesn't change the fact I find you beautiful."
Kurama lifted his free hand, trailing his fingertips along Botan's cheek. "And I find you lovely, sexy, and addictive, Botan.. I love you and want you as mine alone."
Botan blushed darkly at his words, hiding her face into his neck. "Kurama.." She murmured against his skin. This man made her feel alive and brought out emotions she never thought she could ever share with another.
The kitsune's brow furrowed at her reaction. "Why do you hide, lover? Are you embarrassed at what we did?"
"No.. of course not.." Botan replied, shifting to nuzzle his collarbone. "I just.. I didn't know it could be like this.. I want to stay like this with you forever. But I don't know.. where we go from here."
Kurama shifted onto his side, crooking his arm, resting his head in his open palm as he looked down at the girl. "Where do you want to go from here?" He asked, features calm as he reached out to twine his finger around one of the deity's blue locks of hair.
Botan blushed and bit her lip. "I guess.. it depends on what.. we are to.. each other.."
Kurama's features turned thoughtful. "We are more than friends and lovers, Botan.. We are bonded.. on a spiritual level.. our love consummated on a physical level.. that makes us mates and partners."
"Like husband and wife?" She whispered, her eyes meeting his. Her heart was pounding, the thought of being his forever making her both excited and worried. What if he didn't want that? What if he didn't feel the same?
The fox spirit felt her mixed emotions, frowning at her trepidation. Was she worried he wouldn't love her after what they'd done? Leaning in, his face so close to hers, he whispered, voice full of love and devotion. "Yes, Botan.. exactly like that." He kissed her then, slowly, lovingly, reveling when she returned it, sensing her relief and her desire, rising to meet it with his own, pulling her closer, moaning her name, about to take her when the deity gasped and cried out in pain.
Kurama stopped, studying her concern, desire abating at the scared look in her features. "Botan? What's wrong?"
The deity for her part had wanted him again, needed him again. But a sudden and powerful sensation had drawn her away, the shock too much to ignore and she shook violently, gripping the kitsune's arms as she cried out. "It's Reikai.. something has happened... I can't.. I can't sense it anymore.."
Kurama studied her with a rare look of fear and rose, pulling her up with him.
"Kurama? What are we going to do?" Botan asked, panic in her voice as she watched him dress. He grabbed her clothes, handing them to her.
"If we are truly cut off from Spirit world, that means that Yukio planned this from the beginning. We may not be able to get help from Yusuke and Kuwabara."
Botan quickly dressed, trembling. "But.. the palace.. the ferry girls.. Koenma.. what has happened to them?"
"I don't know, Botan.. but we will find out, I promise.." Kurama replied, fear giving way to anger and determination. "Yukio will not get away with this.. I will make sure of it."
He took her hand, leading her away from the lake.
Botan kept her grip tight with the kitsune, relaxing a bit. Kurama was the smartest one of the whole group. He would be able to figure all of it out and come up with a strategy to solve this crisis. She had faith in him and it was that faith that soothed her concerns though she could not help but ask. "So where are we going now, Kurama?"
The kitsune was troubled at the sudden loss of access to spirit world. That it had affected the girl so deeply upset him. He loved her with all his heart. To see her hurt, hurt him and he would make sure to pay Yukio back a thousand fold for the pain inflicted on his loved one. His voice was calm and collected. His common mask of confidence upon his face as he spoke. "Makai. We need to find Hiei and come up with a way to stop this madness.. before it consumes all three realms." He replied, leading her through the woods, stopping into a clearing before turning to face the ferry girl. "We need to get back to the city, Botan, and quickly."
Botan studied him for a few seconds before understanding crept along her features. "Oh.. right.. one oar coming up!" Holding out her hand, an oar materialized and she hopped on, Kurama sitting beside her, wrapping his arms around her waist to keep steady.
"Hang on." She called out then tilted the oar upright, zooming up and out of the canopy of trees, heading towards the faint lights that lit up the horizon before them.
Okay.. long time coming.. sorry.. just not very motivated to write so it takes some effort to get my butt in the chair to write. But listening to Kurayami Ni Akai Bara helped with the last part of it. Hope you all liked it.. only one or two more chapters remain. Do leave a few words if you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!