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Standard disclaimers as seen in part one of this fic, apply here also. As do the warnings.
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YOMATSU HARA-SAKAI, THE BOUNDS OF NIGHT: PART 5


      "HELLOOOOOOOOO!!" Kuwabara yelled to the dim, pinkish-blue sky. He found himself in an odd foresty place, dumped here by the vortex from Makai. Around him, strange noises echoed off the almost stone-like trees, coming at him from all corners of his perception.
      He shivered slightly, circling a look around. He was on what looked like a cart road, snaking through the woods, beaten down by travelers. The entire environment reminded him of something out of a bad horror flick.
      Something rustled off in one of the tree tops as if in responce to his frantic mind. He whirled around to see a black shape, wizzing from limb to limb, circling around him.
      "Hiei! S'that you?"
      "Does it matter, baka?" Hiei blinked into existence on a nearby tree branch, glaring down to him. "Where are Kurama and the others?"
      "Like I should know!!" Kuwabara rubbed his head, looking around at the forest. "Igh ... place is even more creepy than Makai."
      "Well, you can stay here and play nice with the trees. I'm going to find the others," and he was gone in a blure of black.
      "OI!! Come back here, yokai! Don't leave me alone, you idiot!!"

      Koenma shook the stars from his head only to see Botan floating calmly before him, glancing around before centering a cute, innocent smile on him. "Rough fall?"
      He nodded, picking his teenaged body slowly up off the ground. "Where the heck are we?"
      She shrugged. "We couldn't still be in Makai." She gestured to the sky and trees. "Where ever we are, it's a strange place."
      "I wonder if this is that Yomatsu Bounds Hiei was talking about."
      "Why don't we look for them and find out."
      Koenma looked around the dense, forest region, realizing it was only himself and Botan there in the dense foliage. The trees seemed to close down in on him. He began to mentally kick himself for agreeing to come on this mission.

      Kurama brushed the grass and leaves from his shirt and hair, running his fingers through it to calm the rats and tangles. It was an odd part of some forest he found himself in. It was a large, circular area ringged with the forest, so dense that he couldn't see beyond the trunks of the trees. It reminded him of one of those Greek Amplitheaters he had read about in school.
      "Hello?" he called to the forest, circling around to search. He felt a strange hint of energy floating just outside the ring. It would move occasionally, hiding behind a different tree every so often. "Hello! Who's there?"
      The energy source flipped to radiate behind him quickly, and Kurama whirled around. Standing just inside the circle, the one-armed tengu snarled at him, the reaping scythe still in his grip. "You," it growled, fixing Kurama with a deadly gaze. "Woman. Give me the jewel."
      "I don't have it," Kurama said, pulling out a rose from the depths of his shirt top.
      "YOU LIE!!" the tengu screemed leaping into the air, scythe ready.
      The Rose Whip burst into existence in Kurama's hand as he dove for the ground, the scythe slicing into the firm earth just inches from his face. Kurama struggled to his feet, reaching with his mind out to the trees around him ...
      ... but nothing happened.
      Another sideways blow caught Kurama painfully on the shoulder, flinging him halfway across the circle, landing wroughly on the ground. And the trees mearly stared back at him, despite the effort he put into calling to them. "What is going on here?" he cursed to himself, lashing the whip before him. The tengu kept his distance from the whip as he watched the other struggle to their feet. It smiled a razor-edged grin, watching as Kurama's shoulder split open and began to bleed profusely.
      Kurama bit back a cry of agony, sliping down to his knees, holding his aching shoulder. His vision began to blur and his head spun in circles, greatly disorienting him. "Poison," he whipsered to himself.
      "The jewel, woman!"
      "I told you, I don't have it!"
      Again the tengu lept through the air as Kurama made it to his feet. He had no chances of stopping the attack, but he managed to shrug off another blow from the scythe, the Rose Whip wrapping around the broken hilt and jerking it to one side. Instead, the tengu hit him full force, pounding Kurama back into the hard ground, spliting his already gaping shoulder even further.
      He screamed in pain and lay dazed, the wind gone from his lungs and the poison slowly over taking his body. The world before him was a complete blur as if he was looking through water. He tossed his head about, and managed to get his good arm under his body, struggling against pain and fatigue as he sat up and laid eyes on the snarling creature.

"Quite strong for a woman," it laughed back at him. Kurama only snorted, pulling himself to his knees, wincing in pain. "Very well, then. You who fight in battle as a man ... " he raised the scythe menacingly over his head ... "shall die like a man!!!!"

Unable to move, Kurama forced his eyes shut and braced for the blow, preparing himself for the seering pain that would follow. He felt the wind from the blow before his face ... heard the scythe cutting through the air...

He waited, breathing heavily ... but nothing more ever came.
      And the environment fell deadly silent around him.

'Am I dead already?'

There was a dull 'thud' from before him, and Kurama opened a cautious eye. His blured vision rewareded him with only a black shape against the green of the forest... and beyond the black shape, a glowing object, like a suspended lightning bolt. "Kurama!!" it bellowed at him.
      Kurama jerked his head about, the poison nearly over taking him, causing his vision to black out in large chunks. "Hiei .. Kuwabara ..." and he collapsed forward.
      Hiei caught the man by the shoulders, feeling his hand sink deep into the wound. "Kurama!" he called, shaking him wroughly. "Kurama! Wake up!"
      The red head bobbed back and forth, lifelessly as he was shook, lying to rest in an akward position off to the side. Hiei felt his heart sink and his eyes widened as he stared into the expressionless face. He concentrated his mind frantically on Kurama and found that his spirit was still in his body. He wasn't dead yet.
      "By Kami, is he dead?" Kuwabara whined.
      "No he's not, fool!" Hiei barked back as he laid the limp figure back on the ground as carefully as he could.
      "HEY GUYS!! What happened!!"
      Hiei and Kuwabara turned to see the others burst into the circle void of tree's; Yusuke leading the pack with Koenma and Botan following. They all slid to a hault, simultaneously noticing the limp figure laying beside Hiei.
      "KURAMA!!!"
      Yusuke fell to his knees across from Hiei and leaned down. Kurama's chest rose and fell in sporatic movements, the shoulder of his shirt spreading red throughout his clothing.
      Then he noticed the neetly spliced pile Kuwabara and Hiei had made out of the tengu ... and panic began to set in on him. "He's not dead, is he?" he stared wide-eyed to Hiei.
      The youkai had to time to answer as a soft, female voice laughed from a tree top. "Strangers to this land ... do you require assistance?" the small vioce sung, echoing around them.
      The tree tops seemed to swirl around them in a great tornado of leaves as the small voice floated in. It contined for a few seconds, then abruptly the entire forest fell silent in a rustle of settling leaves.
      A nearby tree branch bowed slightly and a sliver figure appeared, drawing the group into defensive possitions. The female figure laughed again.
      "What do you want?" Yusuke yelled to the tree.
      In a brilliance of little lights, a small glowing globe of energy popped into view before Yusuke and Kuwabara. It hung simply in the air as if studying the group, bobbing up and down occasionally.
      Kuwabara suddenly became weightless. He felt himself being flung from the group to landed near the edge of the ring of trees as Hiei tossed him easily aside and raised his katana before him, threatening the pea-sized light.
      It flickered in responce, floating forward. "Put away your weapons."
      "Make me," Hiei growled in that low, penetrating voice, stepping forward.
      The light flickered again ... and Hiei's sword exploded into tiny, glittering lights. He fumbled forward through the air with his hands, slinking back to stand over Kurama's body.
      Again, the light flickered, growing long and slender down to meet the ground. It filled out and disolved into a young girl, silver wings sprouting from her back, smiling gently back at them all.
      "It's a... a yousei? A fairy?" Yusuke almost asked rehtorically, dropping his hands and chuckling lightly to himself. "You've got to be kidding me.
      The yosei nodded, stepping back. Before Hiei, his sword sparkled back into existence, floating obediantly befire him. The little fire demon frowned to the young girl as he reached out and slowly took it back, keeping a close eye on the young girl before him.
      "Who are you?" Koenma asked, shadowed by Botan.
      She smiled over to him and bowed her head. "I am Kagayaku." She turned blank, blue eyes down to the body lying motionless under Hiei. "Your companion has been fatally poisoned by that ... " she pointed to the scythe laying beside a quickly decomposing corpse. "Come. We will help you."
      "We?" Kuwabara inquired.
      The trees surrounding the grassy ring were littered with about twenty of the silver yosei, giggling and conversing quietly among themselves.

      BBBBRRRRRIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGG!!!!!
      "WAH!!!!" Yukina and Keiko sat bolt up-right on the floor beside Karyn's bed, paniced.
      "That noise!" Yukina whined, pressing her hands over her ears. Karyn reached a lazy arm over and swated the alarm clock into silence, yawning.
      Keiko groaned and rubbed her eyes. "Where's the fire?"
      Karyn groaned in a responce. "Gotta go to a Girl Scout meeting."
      "What's a girl scout?"
      Karyn fell back in bed, rubbing her tired face. "Believe me ... you don't wanna know."
      Kieko sighed, looking out the window at the rising sun. "I wonder how Yusuke and the others are doing."

      Yusuke stared down into the brownish tea. It tasted funny ... not like tea normally should, but more like dirt. He leaned his elbows on the edge of the wooden table he sat at in a white marble hall, spinning his tea cup around. The contents shimmered for a few seconds like the rising sun would on the ocean back in Japan, and died down into the browish liquid.
      "So HERE you are!"
      He looked up to see Kuwabara strolling into the hall heavily, ploping down across the table from him.
      "How's Kurama?" Yusuke inquired, watching the man cross the dining hall.
      He shrugged. "Don't know. I thought Hiei went to check on him. The little runt probably got lost, or something." He reached across the table and took the tea cup, taking a big gulp.
      Yusuke leaned over the edge of the table just before Kuwabara spit the contents of the tea cup back out, a gigantic wave of brown tea rocketing across the table from the other's mouth. "YUCK!! Stuff tastes like shit!"
      Yusuke smiled at his friends stupidness. "I'm gonna go check on Kurama myself. You coming?"
      "Sure."

      Kurama's eyes fluttered open, the blurriness clearing to the point he could outline figures. His entire upper body ached in a dull throbing pain, radiating from his shoulder. He was more stiff than sore he found out, as he flexed the muscles in his stomach and sat up.
      Sitting at the foot of the bed, arms crossed, glaring at the door sat Hiei, looking pissed as usual. Kurama pulled himslef up quietly, watching as his vision slowly cleared. "Itoshii," he called softly.
      Hiei's head snapped around, turning the cold glare down to Kurama. "Don't call me that," he grumbled, returning the gaze to the door.
      "What is it?" Kurama asked, crawling across the long bed to sit behind Hiei. He reached out and laid his hands on the small shoulders.
      "I don't trust those yosei ... they're up to something. Especially that Kagayaku."
      Kurama reached forward and wrapped his arms around Hiei's small body. "You think EVERYONE'S plotting," he whispered.
      Hiei turned his head slightly into Kurama's ear. "Everyone IS."
      Kurma smiled and kissed the side of Hiei's face. The little boy relaxed and wiggled in his grasp, letting his eyes slip shut for an instant.
      "Tired?"
      Hiei grunted an affirmative, crawled up into Kurama's lap and curled into a ball, instantly falling asleep.

      Yusuke and Kuwabara passed group after group of the fairies, each sliping into silent conversations as they walked by.
      Kuwabara tugged on his frieds arm, leaning down. "Have you noticed that these yosei are all female!" he whispered harshly.
      "So? What's the big deal," he shrugged, leading him down a separate hall, void of the giggling women.
      "I don't know ... kinda makes me nervouse."
      "YOU?" the other laughed. "I figured you'd be in seventh heaven here. 'Fraid of a bunch of girls?"
      "NO!!" Kuwabara countered quickly. "It's just that ... "
      Yusuke reached a hand out to the door knob of Kurama's room.

--- heh heh, don't ya just hate 'to be continued 'lines? ---

© 1998 Jiminy Cricket Presses

On to part 6

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