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Standard disclaimers as seen in part one of this fic, apply here also. As do the Warnings: Up-and-coming scenes of lemon, yaoi violence ... take heed when reading


     It was night in New York City, and the entire city population was uptight and panicked over the mutilated corpse of Jason Murry that had been found in a back alley that day. The police were on special alert, out patrolling the streets regularly.
      From a down-town dojo, two young girls stepped out of the front door, calling their goodbyes to their master.
     "You girls be careful tonight!" he called in a thick Japanese accent. "Stick to the streets!"
      "We will, Tanaka-sensei," they called back, hopping out into the steady flow of late night pedestrians.
     All along the sidewalks, newsstands had displayed articles about the supposed 'gang mutilation', every television in the Sony Store window was tuned to the news where they were headlining the story just about every five minutes.
     "Why does this city always glorify disgusting crap like this?" Karyn Miller asked, pointing past her best friend to the television screens.
      "Who knows. If you ask me, half the news people around here are sick and perverted. They make a big deal about the TWA crash ... they go on for days about the subway bombings ... they bore ya with the hostage situation at the World Trade Towers ... but when something important comes along, it's two words, and 'boom-boom, bye-bye'. Sicko's if ya ask me!"
     The two continued on, following their masters instructions and sticking to the well-lit main streets. Their normal trek home usually involved making their ways through the labyrinth of back alleys.
     They passed an alley they would have normally turned down and stopped. Something caught both their eyes, just visible beyond the smoky blackness. A dim, red glow throbbed under some cardboard boxes about halfway into the alley.
     "What's that?" Karyn asked, tugging on her friends gi.
     "Let's go find out." The two agreed silently, checking their position on the sidewalk and slipped deftly into the alley, keeping close eyes out for alley-thugs as they reached the cardboard. The pulsating glow was coming from a large gem ... almost like a ruby, buried under wet cardboard and newspaper.
     Karyn sifted quickly through the mess and held it up in the dim light from the streets. "Wow. Pretty neat, huh?"
     "I bet some gang leader or jewelry thief hid it back here."
     "Then let's not stick around to find out!"
     The two ran out of the alley and continued on down the sidewalks, hurriedly, gawking over the glowing gem. Karyn thrust it into her gi pocket, watching as the pocket glowed red from inside. "How are we gonna sneak that by your mom?" her friend asked, poking at the glowing pocket.
     Karyn stopped suddenly.
     "Ever feel like you're being followed?" Karyn and her friend looked behind them ... but the sidewalk was bare. Occasionally, a stray bar-hag would stumble out on a man's arms, and they would disappear into the night, but other than that, they were completely alone.
     "Just the wind?" her friend suggested.
     Karyn nodded. "Let's get home. This is givin' me the creeps."
     On they walked, glancing about them as they turned down a long row of apartment buildings. They were being shadowed ... Karyn noticed this when they turned. She reached over and nudged her friend, ppinting as she gestured to the other side of the street. Across the street, keeping pace with them was a tall man, dressed all in black, carrying a long, slender glinting object. The two picked up their pace, watching as the man picked up his pace too.
      "Oh God ... what if it that's that mutilator guy?" the friend whispered.
      Karyn reached down to a passing trash pile, retrieving a length of pipe. "Then we'll just have to take him out ourselves"
     "Yeah!... what?" her friend hissed.
      Karyn jerked to a halt, turning with the lead pipe to the figure across the street. "What the hell are you following us for?!!" she yelled loudly.
     The figure stopped and turned toward her ... and in an instant he was to the other side of the street, glaring down on her.
     The man had long, streaming black hair, short crops of it sticking out at odd angles from the nape of his neck, haloing his head. And set within his face were two, large black eyes that smiled gently at the two girls as if they didn't belong to the mysterious man at all. "The gem ... give it to me," he asked quietly, cornering them both with his gaze.
     The two girls screamed and stumbled back. "Shit, he can move!" the friend yelled.
     The man reached a long arm out to his side, clutching a long katana. "You have my gem. Please give it to me."
      Down the sidewalk a ways, a flash of light brought a lumbering shadow into sight. "The jewel!" it bellowed, running forward toward the three. "My lovely! Give it to me, thief!" A horrid looking thing brandishing a reaping scythe blinked in and out of the musty street light, heading straight for them.
     "RUN KARYN!!!"
     The girls burst off across the street, screaming at the tops of their lungs.

     An old man settled calmly down in a battered sofa and flipped on the television. "In updating the Manhattan Mutilation story .. " *click* "In other news, there still have been no leads as to the mutilated body of ..." *click* "and the boy's parent's ... " *click*
     The old man huffed and turned the TV off. "Damn city."
     Just then, a blood curtailing scream burst through the open windows, startling the old man up out of the chair. "What in bloody blazes ... " he staggered for the phone and dialed 9-1-1, watching the two girls race down the sidewalk past his apartment window.

     Hiei stepped through the portal first and onto the dark streets of New York City, wrinkling his nose at the musty smell that wafted from the rained streets. The city smelled horrible, compared to what the smells of Tokyo brought to him. Fast food, cooked hamburger and wet, dirty streets lingered up to tease his nose as he growled.
     Behind him, everyone started stepping out carefully, surveying the streets before them. They were on a residential, inner-city street, lined on both sides with apartment buildings, lit only by the occasional dim street lamp.
      "I guess this isn't the ritzy part of town," Yusuke sneered, shoving his hands in his pocket. "But, I guess things could be worse."
      From down the long street-way, a blood-curdling scream bounced off the buildings up to them, running their veins' cold. Through the dim lights, two girls ran quickly, tailed by a lumbering figure brandishing what looked like a sawed-off reaping scythe.
     "You were saying?" Hiei growled, dissipating into the air.

      "We can't out-run him, Karyn!"
     "My house is just a little farther down ... "
      The man in black suddenly appeared before them, warping into existence, raising the long katana over his head. He eyed Karyn's glowing pocket ...
     The two girls turned on their heels only to see the lumbering goblin galloping up the street ...
      .... the man in black swung the long katana and they braced themselves ...
     The sound of metal against metal echoed throughout the street in an eerie, reverberating whine. Karyn opened a cautious eye to find a short boy before her, his spiky hair almost reaching up to her chin. He expertly held his own katana before him, having successfully blocked the attack.
     "REI-KEN!!" came a bellowing cry from beyond the two in black. A flash of yellow light burst into view, heading strait towards them, swinging oddly through the air.
     "Nigero," the child with the spiky, black hair growled, pushing back the attack.
     Karyn and her friend turned, only to find the goblin in mid swing. "AAHHHH!!!" they screamed, ducking the swing and stumbling out into the street
     The yellow, lightning-like light whipped before them, wielded by a tall, goofy looking man with red hair. He yelled something to the goblin in a language the two girls didn't understand, and preceded to land well-aimed blows.

     Kurama slid to a halt as Yusuke and Koenma pushed past. "Keep the girls back there!" Yusuke yelled, beginning to gather his power.
     Keiko and Yukina ran up next, each being caught on the shoulders by Kurama. "Stay back. This isn't something either of you can handle."

      Karyn and her friend ducked out of the battle, barely missing the whirling blades. The five new people were involved heavily in the battle now, ganging up two and three at a time against their attackers ... and not having much luck. The little boy with the spiky black hair moved like the wind, almost invisibly, but the tall man in black blocked every strike and then some.
     "This is nuts!" Karyn yelled to her friend. "Let's get outta here. Ya with me?" Without another word, the two took to their feet.
     "OI!! Matte!!" One of them yelled after the two girls. "Koenma-san! Shoujo-tachi yo!"
     "Keep running!" Karyn yelled.

     Kurama noticed the two girls get up and run as he dodged a scythe attack. "HEY!! Wait!" he yelled, but they continued running. He leapt back from the battle. "Koenma! The girls!"
     Koenma slid to a halt, watching the two girls rush by him. He turned quickly to chase after them. "This isn't what I came along for!" he groaned to himself.

      Hiei stepped back, breathing heavily as he glared down the man before him. "Who the hell are you anyway?" he growled, grasping the hilt of his sword.
     The man only smiled as a slight breeze struck up. It ruffled the hair concentrated around Hiei's forehead and reveled slight glimpses of a purple object, Hiei's jagan, his third eye.
     The man grinned. "Youkai? In the Ningenkai? You are looking for more trouble than you're worth, little one."
     "Watch who you're calling 'little'!!"
     "And such a temper!" He laughed slightly, lowering his katana. "I admire your swordsmanship, little youkai. Perhaps you can help me."
     "I'll help you alright ... to a hole in the head!" Hiei raised his blade to strike.
      Behind them, the battle with the tengu took a sudden turn as Kuwabara landed a blow, completely severing one of the razor-clawed arms. Quickly it reeled back, disappearing into a brilliant vortex of light, leaving behind a trail of oozing, purple gook.
     All attention turned to the tall man.
     He stood confidently in place, one hand in the pocket of his pants, the other gently gripping the hilt of the long katana.
      Kurama frowned as he took a defensive stance. The figure before him: the body, the hair, those eyes. The man in black almost looked just like Kurama!
      "You're outnumbered," Yusuke said boldly, ripping Kurama from his thoughts. "Perhaps." The man sheathed the katana. "Mark my words, I WILL be back." and he vanished in a puff of wind.

     Get your hands offa me, pervert!!" Karyn yelled, kicking and screaming. She furiously tried her martial arts techniques, but the man's grip was like stone. She clawed and bit at the hands, trying to get away.
     "ITTAI!!!" the young man screamed, releasing his grip. Karyn crashed to the pavement, turning on her back to stare up at the man, holding and cradling his hand. He cursed and wiped a hand across his forehead, chewing intently on what looked like a pacifier in his mouth.
     Karyn stared strangely up at the teen as he began to shake the life back into his hand. "K'so!" he cursed, waving around his bitten hand and muttering to himself.
      Behind him, the others ran up quickly, joining the other teen, beginning a conversation in some oriental language. Karyn fingered the gem in her pocket as she got to her feet, keeping a close eye on the group.
     A woman with flowing red hair and green eyes stepped forward, bowing. "Hajimemashite," she smiled. "Watashi no Kurama desu. Dozo yoroshiku."
      "Yeah, hadji-whatever to you too," Karyn said backing up, keeping close eyes on the group of strange visitors.
      A teen with slick, black hair elbowed the teen sucking on the pacifier, conversing quickly. He shrugged and looked to the redhead.
     "Forgive me," the redhead began again. "You speak English?"
      Karyn backed up a few paces. "This is just too gonzo for me! I'm outta here!" and she turned to run ... only to come face to face with the short boy, a third, purple eye glaring her down. "AHH!!" she screamed, reeling back. "Just who the hell are all of you!"
     Kuwabara stepped forward, dissipating the spirit sword. "I'm Kuwabara. .." and a volley of introductions followed.
     "Weird names," she said. "Now if you don't mind, I'm going home."
     "Hold it right there," Yusuke said. "Exactly what were those two after you and your friend for?" He pointed down to her glowing pocket. "Couldn't have anything to do with that thing in your pocket, would it?"
     Karyn shot a hand to the pocket. "Why would they want this?" she said, pulling the jewel from the folds of her gi.
     The group's eyes widened.
     "It's that power again!" Yusuke awed, reaching a hand over the gem. "The same power that came of that shuriken back in Tsukiji."
     Kurama rubbed his hand. "You're right." The woman turned to Hiei. "Can you and Kuwabara find that opening to Makai?"
      "It's not Makai," came his reply, quickly. Hiei's expression turned to one Kurama had never seen before. He tried desperately to read the face ... analyzing the features as Hiei's brow twitched every so often.
     "Not Makai? Then where did that tengu come from?" Yusuke broke the silence.

© April 1997 Jiminy Cricket Presses

On to part 4