Yusuke makes a mistake after arguing with Keiko and summons the Goblin King. Now he must fight through the labyrinth, overcoming foes, obstacles, and his own inhibitions, to rescue her.
"Give me the woman. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the woman that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great. ...Damn. I can never remember that line. What is it, Kurama?"
"'You have no power over me.'"
"You have no power over—this is stupid," Yusuke yelled, grabbing the playbook from Kurama's hand and throwing it over his shoulder. It landed in the grass near some ducks which took flight. Kuwabara grinned.
"If it's so stupid, why'd you sign up for it, Urameshi?"
Yusuke glowered. "Old man Takanaka said if I didn't participate in the school play this semester I'd be thrown out of school. I got the lead part, thanks to Keiko."
The four fighters were hanging out in a park near Yusuke's house. It was a cloudy day, but the first one they'd had off in weeks. Kuwabara and Kurama were sitting on the grass, feeding Yusuke his lines for the play, while he paced on the grass. Hiei was standing at the edge of the pond a few feet away.
Just as Yusuke bent to pick up the book with the play's script in it, nearby a clock chimed seven times. "Damn it...I forgot, I have to go on a date with Keiko now," he moaned, and Kurama and Kuwabara stood up while Hiei turned back to them.
"Wait, wasn't your date at 6:30pm?" Asked Kuwabara. Yusuke thought about it, and then cursed again.
"You're right! She's gonna kill me! Here, I'll see you guys tomorrow!" Yusuke thrust the playbook into Kurama's baffled hands and ran out of the park. The others stared after him, confused.
"She sure has got him on a tight leash."
Yusuke bolted back to Keiko's house where he was supposed to meet her. While he ran, it started to rain, getting him soaked. Muttering angry words under his breath, he knocked on Keiko's door.
She opened it, looked out, and then slammed it in his face. Growling, Yusuke knocked again, this time speaking as soon as she opened the door. "Keiko, I'm sorry I'm late, I was—"
The door slammed again. Furious, Yusuke pounded on the wood of the door. "KEIKO! DO YOU WANT TO GO OUT OR NOT!?" He yelled, and shoved past her into the house. She folded her arms.
"I guess since you're here we might as well go. I still can't believe you're half an hour late, Yusuke Urameshi." He glared at her.
"I said I was sorry, okay? I was practicing for this stupid play." Keiko, getting an umbrella from the front closet, glared at him again.
"You show up late and wet, break into my house and then insult one of the most important things in my life right now? How dare you!" She glared at him, and he said nothing, so she handed him the umbrella.
"The least you could do is hold this for us," she muttered, and he did so, not opening it until they were outside. No sense in giving himself even more bad luck.
Keiko was frigid most of the evening, through the movie and dinner, so when he dropped her off at her house that night, Yusuke was happy to be going home. Of course first she wanted him to come inside so they could talk.
Keiko sat down on the couch and Yusuke lounged in an armchair, faintly wondering whether her parents were home. "Look, Yusuke, I know you're busy but I don't know if I can keep seeing you if you're going to be a jerk about it. There are lots of other guys I could waste my time on." She continued to ramble on while Yusuke continued to ignore her. Outside, thunder and lightning continued ferociously.
"I know you didn't want the lead in the play, but I think it will be good for you. At least you don't have to play the person the Goblin King takes away, I mean poor Misa-chan..."
"I wish the Goblin King would come and take you away right now," Yusuke muttered. Suddenly, the room went dark and Keiko stopped speaking. Yusuke jumped and stood, assuming the storm had knocked out the power.
"Keiko? You okay? It's just the storm, I bet." He walked slowly over to the couch to see if Keiko was freaking out or not. His hand reached toward where she had been sitting, but he felt nothing. Squinting at the couch, he realized that Keiko was not there.
Then the living room window opened, the panes sliding back, and a very tall, pale man floated into the room through the window. He had strange facial makeup, a crazy blonde hair-do and black clothes wrapped in a complicated manner around his thin frame.
His arms were folded, his mouth twisted in a smirk. Yusuke was clueless until he remembered what he had said right before the lights went out.
"What, you're supposed to be the Goblin King? That's bullshit, he's not real." The Goblin King grinned.
"Aren't I?" He asked, and Yusuke narrowed his eyes at the man before realizing that he didn't have a demonic aura. It seemed unbelievable, but...
"I didn't mean it. Bring Keiko back," Yusuke growled. The Goblin King looked amused.
"Oh, you didn't mean it? It's too late now." Yusuke took a fighting stance.
"Bring her back! Where is she?!"
"You know very well where she is," the Goblin King's smile was beginning to wane. He looked impatient, but then again, so was Yusuke. "Yusuke. Go home. Play video games and spar with your friends. Forget about the girl."
"You know I can't do that," Yusuke glared at the man. Why was he so impossible?
The Goblin King, continuing to float, smiled warmly at Yusuke. "I've a gift for you." From the depths of his clothes he brought a shining, clear, silver orb that was perfectly round. He spun it quickly and deftly around his fingers, making it look effortless. Curious, Yusuke said, "What is it?"
"It's a crystal, nothing more. But if you turn it the right way, it'll show you your dreams. However, this isn't a gift for an ordinary boy who takes orders from a controlling girlfriend. If you want it, you'll forget the girl." Yusuke's stance became defensive again.
"I can't do that. I just want her back. If you don't bring her back, I'll kill you." Yusuke meant it, too. Keiko was a pain in his ass most of the time, but he did care for her. The Goblin King glared at him, his eyes turning to slits. He brought a snake from his sleeve. It was large, and from the look of it, dangerous.
"Yusuke. Don't defy me," the Goblin King said coldly, and threw the snake at Yusuke. He dodged, and as the snake hit the ground it turned into a rope of knotted handkerchiefs. "You're no match for me," said the Goblin King. Yusuke doubted that this was so.
"I need Keiko back," he maintained. Perhaps he could annoy the Goblin King into surrender.
The King turned and behind him through the window, Yusuke saw a sun-coated land usurped mostly by a large and complicated maze. At the center was a large castle.
"She's there, in my castle. Still want to look for her? Turn back. Turn back before it's too late." Yusuke grimaced, clenching his jaw.
"I can't. Besides, it doesn't look that far."
"It's further than you think," the Goblin King pressed. Yusuke looked around and saw that he was now completely in this other world where the sun was just beginning to rise. Everything was coated in a gold-orange sheen.
The King stepped back from him and conjured a clock, the hands of which were both pointed at 12. "You have thirteen hours to solve this labyrinth. If you don't, the girl becomes a goblin forever."
The Goblin King smiled at Yusuke, making him want to punch out the cocky son of a gun, and began to vanish. Before Yusuke could step forward, the man was gone. Yusuke sighed, and then began walking.
He walked down an expanse of grass before making it to the beginning, which really didn't look like a beginning at all. It was just a stone wall, no entrance of any sort. As he looked, he saw tiny fairies flying around him. They didn't have a demonic aura either.
But then, he looked a little past the fairies and saw Hiei catching the fairies and smashing them between his hands or stomping on them. Yusuke ran up to the smaller demon, outraged.
"Hiei! What are you doing? They're just fairies." A small blue-skinned fairy landed on his finger, and Hiei smirked at him as the fairy sank razor-sharp teeth into Yusuke's palm. He shook his hand, cursing, and the fairy took off.
"They're nasty creatures who enjoy the taste of blood. I suggest you do the same and destroy them." As he spoke, Hiei smashed another fairy into the stone of the labyrinth's wall. The poor fairy slid to the ground and withered up.
"How can I get in?" Asked Yusuke. Hiei gave him a curious look, but didn't answer. "Well, do you know?" Yusuke asked, impatient. Keiko was on her way to becoming a goblin now. Hiei shrugged.
"Maybe." He squashed another fairy under his foot and started walking up to another group of them.
"Well, where is it?" Yusuke demanded.
Hiei didn't look back at him as he asked, "Where is what?"
"You're hopeless," Yusuke spat, and Hiei killed another three fairies by sweeping them into a pile and kicking them against the wall.
"Not if you ask the right questions," he said in a nonchalant manner. Yusuke sighed.
"How do I get into the labyrinth?" He asked. Hiei pointed to an expanse of wall behind Yusuke.
"You get in there." Yusuke walked over to the wall, which he realized had a gap in it large enough for him to fit through. Surprised he hadn't seen it before, he poked his head through to get a look of the maze.
The path stretched left and right, but the way ahead was blocked by another stone wall. He reached his hand forward and felt that this one was solid. Hiei came up behind him, peering into the labyrinth.
"You're going in?" He asked swiftly. Yusuke nodded, stepping into the narrow passage. Hiei smirked. "Left or right?" Asked the fire demon. Yusuke looked both ways. They seemed to stretch on for miles.
"They both look the same," he answered, unsure. Hiei smirked again. "You won't get far that way."
"Well, what do you suggest?" Raged Yusuke. Perhaps half an hour had gone by already. Hiei shrugged. "I wouldn't go either way." Yusuke growled.
"You take too much for granted. Even if you do make it to the center, you won't get out alive," Hiei folded his arms. Yusuke sighed.
"Thanks for nothing, Hiei." He turned and walked to his left a few feet. When he glanced back, the gap in the wall where he had entered was solid wall again.
Rolling his eyes, Yusuke began to walk on. He walked for at least a mile to the left, before he began to get frustrated. "What kind of labyrinth doesn't have any turns or corners?" He asked, kicking the stone wall behind him.
Then, he looked a little closer at the space of wall next to his foot. "Maybe I'm taking it for granted," he said, and poked the wall. His finger went through.
"All right! Now I'm getting somewhere!" He yelled, and went through the false wall to another passage.
Keiko was sitting in a dirty stone room with a bunch of monsters. They're goblins, she thought distantly. Just like in the play. The goblins were stinky, disgusting creatures who, for the most part, just sat around fighting with each other and staring at her.
She was wearing the same dress she had worn on her date with Yusuke, but it was getting dirty from all the filth in the castle. There was a rusty, old chain around her right wrist that was attached to the wall so she couldn't run away.
A man entered the room. He was tall, in dark clothing with pale skin and crazy hair. She grimaced at him, thinking he wasn't looking at her, but his head whipped around and caught the expression. He grinned at her, his teeth white and perfect, his eyes sparkling.
She thought he might be somewhat handsome if he wasn't holding her hostage. The man—Goblin King, she thought—chuckled.
"In eleven hours, you'll be mine!" His chuckle turned to a laugh and all the goblins chimed in. Keiko clenched her fists. Not if I have something to say about it, you pig.
Yusuke had been glad to see that after coming through the false wall, many more turns and paths were open to him. That glee had lasted about a minute. Now he was running around, trying to avoid making the same turns and probably getting nowhere. Suddenly sure he was just retracing his steps, he stopped running and sighed loudly, once again kicking the wall.
"That won't get you where you want to go," said a voice that sounded suspiciously like his mother's, and he whirled to see a door behind him that either hadn't been there before or he'd never noticed before. In front of it were two people...sort of. Yukina was in front of the left door and Yusuke's mom, Atsuko, was in front of the door on the right.
Only their heads were upside-down. In front of where their bodies would be were shields, blue on the left door and red on the right, and their feet, at the top of the shields, weren't visible. They were smiling at him.
"What do I do?" Yusuke asked warily. Seeing his mom upside-down was weird.
"Try one of these doors," Yukina suggested.
"One of them leads to the castle," said Atsuko, "and the other leads to certain death!" finished Yukina. Both women laughed.
"Well, which one is which?" Asked Yusuke. Atsuko opened her mouth to answer, and then paused.
"We can't tell you," she mumbled.
"Because we don't know. You'll have to ask them," said Yukina, and her and Atsuko's heads disappeared while Botan's and Shizuru's heads appeared on the top of the shields. Yusuke jumped.
"You're two two-headed freaks!" He yelled. Botan grinned at him.
"Okay, which door leads to death?" He asked. Botan giggled and Shizuru smirked.
"You can only ask one of us."
Botan nodded. "It's in the rules. One of us always tells the truth, and one of us always lies." Yusuke rubbed his chin in thought, wishing Kurama was there to help him.
"Okay." He turned to Botan. "Would she tell me that this door leads to the castle?" He asked, pointing first at Shizuru and then at the door behind Botan. Botan pondered for a minute.
"Yes," she answered. Yusuke squinted, thinking, as the women watched carefully.
"Then, this door leads to death and the one behind Shizuru leads to the castle," Yusuke grinned.
"But how do you know I'm not the liar?" Botan asked, still grinning.
"Well, if you were the liar, Shizuru would be telling the truth. So if that door really did lead to the castle, Shizuru would have said yes, and your answer would have to be no, because you're the liar. It's the same thing if you were the one telling the truth."
Confident, Yusuke stepped toward the door with Shizuru on it. As he walked, a trap door opened under him and he began falling down a black chute. Suddenly, hands grabbed onto him, around his wrists, ankles, legs and arms. They held him in place, stopping his fall.
"Hey, let go of me! Help!" He yelled up the chute, but only heard the women laughing.
"What do you mean, help?" Asked a voice, coming from inside the chute itself. Hands that weren't holding onto him made faces out of themselves to give a mouth to the voice. Yusuke found it eerie.
"Yes, we're helping hands!" Cried another voice.
"You're groping hands," Yusuke grimaced. Some of the hands were holding him rather tightly.
"Do you want us to let you go?" Asked another voice, and he shouted, "No!"
"Well, then, which way?" Asked yet another voice. He thought about it.
"I guess I'll have to go down, since I know I chose the right door," he said, and the hands began handing him downward, passing him off while the numerous voices laughed.
Yusuke squirmed, wondering whether he'd made the right choice. At length, the hands deposited him on cold, hard, dirty ground, and he sat around wondering what he'd landed himself in.
The Goblin King was contemplating Yusuke's progress, watching him with the crystal he'd offered the Detective earlier. Goblins crowded around to see the human failing. "He's in the oubliette," said the Goblin King, and the other goblins cheered.
"He'll never escape!" They laughed. The Goblin King glared at them.
"He should have given up by now!" Another goblin pitched in.
"He'll never give up. He wubs the wittle girly," the goblin grinned, staring at Keiko, who was trying to ignore everyone in the room.
"The fire demon will lead him back to the beginning. He'll give up when he realizes he has to start all over again!" Roared the Goblin King, and began laughing loudly. The goblins joined him, shrieking and glaring at Keiko, who looked at the ceiling, hoping they were wrong.
It was pitch-black in the place that Yusuke was in, and by the smell, he guessed that it was underground. As he was standing up, he heard footsteps coming toward him and paused, holding his breath. "Who's there?" He asked, wary. He half expected some gigantic man-eating monster.
"It's me," Hiei answered, coming into the small room. He held a torch, so Yusuke could see that it was, in fact, him, but not where he had come from.
"I knew you'd fail, so I came to help," Hiei scoffed. "I suppose you've realized there aren't any doors or windows. This is an oubliette. Without help you'd starve to death here." Yusuke, who was used to Hiei's bravado, raised an eyebrow at the demon.
"You know what an oubliette is?" Hiei nodded slowly.
"A place you put others when you want to forget them. I know a way to exit the labyrinth." Yusuke sighed.
"Hiei, I can't just leave Keiko to become a goblin. I have to find my way to the castle. I'm close, I know it!" He answered hotly.
The smell of the oubliette was beginning to annoy him. He realized that Hiei would never help him through the labyrinth, or even out of the oubliette...unless he had something to offer.
"You remember the smell of Demon World, don't you?" Yusuke said suddenly. Warily, Hiei raised an eyebrow.
"If you help me get through this labyrinth, I'll get Koenma to clear you completely and give you a ticket back to Demon World." Hiei was tempted, but didn't answer right away.
"Or take me as far as you can through it, not all the way if you don't know how. You'll be a free man once again," Yusuke grinned. Hiei paused for what seemed like a long time, and then nodded, the gesture only slightly visible in the torch's glow.
"Fine. As far as I can for a free ride to Demon World. This way." He turned, pulling a door handle out of his pocket. He stuck it into the wall and pulled back on it, creating a stone door. Hiei crouched slightly and went through, holding the torch over his head.
Yusuke practically had to crawl through, but finally made it. They were standing in a much larger hall, filled with stone pillars that had faces carved into them. Hiei walked forward, and Yusuke paused to look at the face in one of the pillars.
"DON'T GO ON!" The rock pillar yelled. Its stone mouth formed the words as Yusuke watched. Another one chimed in down the hall.
"THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY!" As he caught up to Hiei, even another yelled.
"SOON IT WILL BE TOO LATE!"
Hiei growled. "Ignore them, they're just false alarms. They are abundant in the labyrinth, especially when you are getting close."
"OH NO, YOU'RE NOT!" Yelled the nearest pillar, and Hiei glared at it. "Shut up." The rock's face pouted.
"I'm just doing my job," it moaned. They walked forward and another spoke. "BEWARE, FOR THE—!"
"Forget it," Hiei hissed at it.
"Please, I haven't got to say it in such a long time," the rock's face whined. Hiei rolled his eyes.
"FOR THE PATH YOU TAKE WILL LEAD TO CERTAIN DESTRUCTION!" Yusuke grinned at the pillar as they passed. The path got narrower from here and there were no more pillars. They walked into a hall made of stone that turned a corner to the left.
At the corner was a strange creature that was hunched over with an ugly beak. They went to move past it, but the figure stood up and threw off its skin. It was the Goblin King, who had been in disguise. Hiei jumped.
"What have we here?" The King asked, glaring at Hiei, who, for the first time since Yusuke had known him, looked intimidated. He wasn't frightened, just humbled.
"Nothing," the demon spat, glaring back at the King.
“Are you helping this human?” the Goblin King demanded.
Hiei shrugged. “If I thought for one second that you would betray me, Hiei, I’d be forced to throw your sister into the Pit of Despair." Hiei held his tongue, glaring angrily at the Goblin King.
“And you, Yusuke. How are you enjoying my labyrinth?” He asked, sauntering up to the Detective, who gave him a fixed glare.
“It’s a piece of cake,” Yusuke spat.
“Is that so? Then you won’t mind me upping the stakes a bit,” grinned the King, and conjured the clock again.
His hand spun in a circle, and so did the hands of the clock, taking away around four hours of Yusuke’s remaining time, leaving him with just over four hours before Keiko was a monster. “That’s not fair!” Yusuke yelled, getting ready to attack the King.
The clock disappeared and the Goblin King glanced at Yusuke, unamused. “So the labyrinth’s a piece of cake, is it?” The Goblin King pulled the crystal ball out of his sleeve again, and Yusuke didn’t like the look of it this time.
“Then I wonder how you’ll like this little slice,” hissed the Goblin King, and he turned and flung the crystal at the wall opposite Yusuke and Hiei. It smashed, and in its place grew a giant machine with a rotating wheel of spikes which began to barrel down the hall toward Yusuke and Hiei. The Goblin King disappeared.
“What the hell is that thing?” Yusuke asked Hiei as they began to run down the hall that led left. Hiei threw the flaming torch on the ground so he could run faster. "Cleaners,” Hiei answered, his legs flying swiftly beneath him. Looking back, Yusuke saw that the cleaners took up the entire hall, destroying anything in their path with the spiked wheel. Yusuke followed Hiei, unable to see ahead without the torch.
Hiei suddenly stopped running and examined a piece of wall that Yusuke realized was wood, not stone. The cleaners were around five feet away. The two of them stepped back, and then kicked down the wooden wall, falling into a small haven just as the cleaners passed them.
Panting, they stood again and Hiei looked up to see a ladder. He grabbed the bottom rung and began to climb up, Yusuke following close after. As they climbed, Yusuke couldn’t help but ask, “So what’s this Pit of Despair?” Hiei grimaced.
“It’s a torture chamber where the King sends his enemies. He’s the lead master of it but there are others, ruthless and hungry for pain. I myself have experienced it twice. I would brave it again if necessary, but I won’t allow...” He drifted off, and Yusuke understood. Hiei would brave the Pit of Despair if it meant that Yukina would be safe from it. The idea of Hiei being tortured made Yusuke sick.
They finally got to the top of the ladder and found themselves outside, in the bright light. They were back in the maze, though Yusuke could tell that they were closer to the castle than before he had fallen in the oubliette. He looked around and began walking with Hiei close behind.
They walked through a zigzag piece of the maze and came upon an enclosed area where a boy was hanging upside-down from a tree. There was a rope tied to his ankle, suspending him, and around him were goblins with spears, poking the poor boy.
Looking closer, Yusuke realized that it was Kuwabara. He was shrieking and the goblins were jabbing him with the spears. “Hey!” Yusuke yelled, running into the fray. He kicked the nearest goblin far away, the thing’s head hitting a stone wall.
“Thanks!” Yelled Kuwabara, as Hiei cut him down from the tree with his sword. The three men began to fight, punching and mostly kicking the goblins into the walls, stunning them. When they were all knocked out, Yusuke turned to Kuwabara. “Want to help us get through the labyrinth?”
Before Kuwabara could answer, Hiei jumped in. “Not us, you. This is where I take my leave. I cannot help you further.” With that, he ran down one of the pathways and disappeared. Yusuke glared after him, and then turned back to Kuwabara, who grinned.
“Sounds great! Let’s go this way.” They took a path leading to the right and after following it some way, came to another double-door. Each one had a knocker on it made with two strange faces; one of Koenma’s face, whose knocker hung from his ears, and one from George the ogre’s face, whose knocker hung from his mouth.
“Which door should we take?” Yusuke asked. Kuwabara shrugged and they stared at the doors.
“It’s very rude to stare, you know!” Koenma’s face yelled. Yusuke’s eyes widened.
“Sorry, we’re just trying to decide which way to go,” said Kuwabara.
“WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Yelled Koenma’s face. The boys looked at each other in confusion.
“Mff phff dmmr,” said George’s knocker. He was having trouble speak around the ring in his mouth, so Yusuke reached over and removed it.
George stretched his mouth, and then grinned. “Thank you! It feels so good to get that out,” he said loudly.
“WHAT?” Yelled Koenma.
“What were you trying to say?” Asked Kuwabara. Koenma glared at them for ignoring him.
“It’s no good talking to Koenma sir; he’s deaf as a post with that ring in his ears.”
“Okay, where do these doors lead?” Asked Yusuke, getting tired of the fact that everyone here was so slow to catch up.
“WHAT?” Yelled Koenma.
“I don’t know, we’re just the knockers,” George answered.
“How do we get through?” Asked Kuwabara, after trying to push on the doors, to no avail.
“Huh?” Koenma shouted.
“Just knock on the knocker and it’ll open,” said George. Yusuke grinned.
“Thanks. Now open your mouth,” he said, trying to put the ring back into George’s mouth.
“No! I don’t want—” but Yusuke forced the ring in. George had to hold onto it.
“Sorry,” said Kuwabara as they knocked on the door. It swung open and the two friends went inside.
The Goblin King and his minions were feasting around Keiko. They’d offered her some food, but moldy bread and rotten meat didn’t quite whet her appetite. She refused, looking defiantly at the blank wall. The King, who was sitting near her, grinned.
“Pretty eyes, you’ve got. Maybe I’ll keep you from turning into a goblin so you can be my wife.” Keiko stuck her tongue out at the man, and he laughed along with his goblins.
Kuwabara and Yusuke came into a forest, and were surrounded by crazy salmon-colored birds that were flapping their wings and singing. Only Jim Henson could think of this, Yusuke thought, and began punching out the birds one by one. Kuwabara helped, but the more they punched, the more birds appeared. “HELP ME KUWABARA!” Yusuke yelled.
Some distance away, Hiei heard Yusuke calling and sighed, turning to help the Detective. As he did so, the Goblin King appeared next to him, grinning down at him. “And where are you going?” He asked. Hiei glared at him.
“It’s none of your concern.”
“You’re not going to help Yusuke, are you? You haven’t forgotten what I’ve said will happen to your sister if you betray me?” Hiei’s eyes moved from the King’s face to the horizon, where Yusuke was still calling.
“I’ve got to go.”
“Wait!” Said the Goblin King, producing a plump and golden peach from a pocket. “Give this to the Detective.”
“What is it?” Asked Hiei, eyeing the peach.
“It’s just a present,” grinned the King.
“I won’t kill him,” answered Hiei, not taking the peach yet. He didn’t care if he went into the Pit for this.
“You’ll give him that, Hiei, or I’ll make your sister suffer for one hundred years on your behalf,” the King hissed. Hiei hesitated once more, and then took the peach in his hand.
The crazy birds kept coming, so Yusuke and Kuwabara abandoned fighting and began to run. As they reached a clearing in the forest, Hiei appeared suddenly, stabbing three of the birds with his sword at one time. The other birds stared, and then ran away, their feathers flying out from behind them.
Hiei looked at Yusuke and Kuwabara, who grinned, and the three of them walked on. They walked to the edge of the forest, Yusuke beginning to feel desperate. As the forest ended, they saw that they had come to a giant crevasse, the bottom of which wasn’t visible.
The gap was too far to jump, and extended for miles in both directions. The only way to cross, they saw, was a small wooden bridge. In front of the bridge stood Kurama, his arms folded and a small, mysterious smile on his face.
“I’m glad you’ve made it this far,” greeted the fox. Yusuke stepped up next to him, attempting to cross the bridge. Kurama stepped in his path.
“Unfortunately, I guard this bridge and you may only pass once you’ve answered my question. You can only give one answer and it must be right, otherwise you may not cross this bridge.”
Yusuke stepped back and glanced at Kuwabara and Hiei, then turned back and nodded. “What’s your question?”
“I come in darkness, but fill the mind with light. I bring enlightenment to some, while gripping others in the hand of fear. With me it can be a journey of inexplicable joy and sorrow. What I will show you will often be unreachable. Journey with me and what you will see may haunt you. Journey with me and you may never want to return home. Journey with me and you will never know when it will end. What am I?”
Kuwabara shrugged. Hiei remained silent, though he had an idea of what the answer could be. Kurama smiled gently, waiting to see what Yusuke would say. The Detective rubbed his chin, thinking and repeating parts of the riddle out loud, though only in a low mutter.
After some time, he looked up at Kurama and smiled. “You’re a dream,” he said, and Kurama smiled wider and stepped aside. Yusuke shook his hand.
“Thanks. Want to come with us?” Kurama nodded, so the four of them crossed the bridge. On the other side of the crevasse was more forest. They began walking, tromping through the undergrowth. Kuwabara’s stomach groaned loudly.
“I’m starving,” moaned Yusuke. Hiei, who had been walking behind, tapped him on the shoulder. Yusuke turned, and Hiei offered him the peach.
“Hey, thanks Hiei! We’ll pass it around.” Yusuke took the first bite, the peach tasting strange in his mouth.
The others watched as he stumbled backward, head swimming. “Hiei...what’d you do?” He asked weakly, falling backward. He landed against a tree, slumped over, and passed out. Hiei ran off into the forest, disappearing, and Kurama and Kuwabara knelt beside Yusuke, trying to shake him awake.
Yusuke found himself in a strange place. The walls, ceiling and floor were all white, and around him people danced wearing masks. He looked down at himself and saw that he was wearing a fancy tux. He didn’t have a mask, but he felt strange. Looking around, he saw a woman moving through the crowd also without a mask.
From behind, he could tell that it was Keiko. She was wearing a beautiful blue dress and singing to the music that was playing in the room. She looked over her shoulder, eyelids fluttering, and smiled at him, disappearing behind a crowd of gossiping dancers. Yusuke followed her through the crowd, desperately trying to reach her, to know that she was okay and not a goblin.
Finally, he found her hiding meekly, and when she walked up to him, he found himself unable to move. She pulled his arms into a dance and they went round and around the floor. Suddenly, he realized that he was being jostled by the crowd. Looking around, he found all of the masked people laughing at him, their mouths stretched wide. They were bumping into him, pushing him, irritating him.
He looked down at Keiko and saw that her face was that of the Goblin King’s, and she was growing in size. Her dress fell off and revealed his dark clothing underneath, and she grew taller, taller than even Kuwabara, until she was the Goblin King. Yusuke gasped, shocked, terrified, and felt the floor sink beneath him. He realized that he was falling, falling through the air and everyone that had been dancing with him was remaining in the white room, laughing down at him.
He landed in Keiko’s living room, in the armchair he’d been in when the Goblin King had first appeared. But the image of the Goblin King was fast fading from his mind. He looked around, confused, unsure of what had gone on in the last few hours. He stood, and realized that there was a person in the room with him. It was a small, shriveled old woman with garbage piled all over her as if she was homeless.
She glanced at him and grinned a toothless grin. “What are you looking for, Yusuke?” Asked the lady. Though he might have been able to answer the question moments ago, Yusuke found he couldn’t remember, so he told the truth.
“I don’t know...I was searching for something, but I don’t remember what...it was...”
He looked around, as if the thing might be there with him. “Is this it?” She asked, pointing to a game console on the floor. It was a new one that Yusuke hadn’t even bought yet.
“Hey! I want to play that,” he said, then stopped. Was that what he was looking for? He thought so.
“I guess it was just a dream...” He said, and then went for the door. “I had better go home.”
“No, you should stay here, dear. There’s nothing good out there, trust me,” said the old woman, and she continued to bustle about the room. Yusuke went and sat by the game station.
“And here, look at all these games!” She handed Yusuke at least a dozen games for the new platform. He frowned at them. “And a wireless controller! And a battlepack! Ooh, look at all this neat stuff!” She pressed more and more stuff into Yusuke’s hands. He looked down at it, his brow wrinkled.
“There was something I was looking for...” Yusuke said, now certain that it wasn’t in his hands or anywhere near him.
“Nonsense, nonsense, everything in the world you’ve ever cared about is right here,” she said, and kept pressing stuff to him.
“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the goblin city to take back the woman that you have stolen...” Yusuke said quietly, unsure of what the words meant.
“What’s the matter, sonny? You don’t like all these new toys?” Yusuke stood up, dropping everything to the floor as he remembered the face of a young girl that he cared for very much.
“It’s all junk! It means nothing without Keiko!” Yusuke yelled, and the illusion disappeared. Keiko’s living room melted around him, along with the lady, who was screaming. He looked around and was in a pile of trash. He stood and walked off of it, to the dirt, where Kurama and Kuwabara stood.
“You’re awake!” Yelled Kuwabara, and Yusuke grinned.
“We’re almost there,” said Kurama, and the three of them turned. Behind them was a large gate, and just beyond that stood the castle, enormous.
“Those are the gates to Goblin City,” Kurama informed them.
They walked toward the door, and then all three pushed on it, throwing it open. They walked into the Goblin City and the door slammed behind them. Yusuke glanced back at it, and then turned to face the front as a giant monster stood. It was easily fifteen feet tall and looked menacing. Looking closer, Yusuke thought it was a robot.
“WHO GOES?” Yelled the robot. No one spoke.
“WHO GOES?” It yelled again, and Yusuke thought they maybe could sneak past it. He tried to push Kuwabara to his left, to get the guy moving, when the robot called again, “WHO GOES?” and struck.
One of its arms swung toward the ground, creating a hole mere feet from where Kurama stood. They split up, moving around the robot whose arms swung around crazily. Just as they were beginning to think that they couldn’t dodge the robot much longer, Hiei appeared from nowhere, slashing up the robot’s head.
The robot fell on its front, slamming into the ground and causing minor tremors. Inside the head were two goblins operating the giant robot. They were swiftly killed by Hiei. The three boys stood near Hiei, looking at him expectantly.
“I’m not asking to be forgiven. I’m not ashamed of myself and I don’t care what you think. The Goblin King made me give that peach to you.” Hiei looked Yusuke in the eye warily, and Yusuke surveyed him back, and then nodded, grinning.
“I know why you did it. I would have done the same thing. It’s okay,” he chuckled, patting Hiei on the back. The fire demon’s jaw clenched.
“We forgive you, Hiei,” smiled Kurama, and Kuwabara nodded.
“I want the Goblin King’s head on a platter,” spat Hiei, and the others cheered.
The Goblin King was humorously attempting (and failing) to seduce Keiko when a goblin burst into the room. The King turned away from Keiko, who rolled her eyes, as the goblin screeched, “Your majesty! The boy who ate the peach and forgot everything!”
“What about him?” Asked the King, annoyed at having been interrupted and even more annoyed at Keiko’s ignoring him.
“He, the bridge’s guard, the orange-haired hostage, and the fire demon are going through the Goblin City now!” The Goblin King stood, furious.
“Stop him! Send out the guards and hide the girl!” The King exited swiftly, and the goblin stared, frightened, at Keiko, who looked ready to kill him if he came within reach.
The boys swiftly swept through the Goblin City, walking down side streets and avoiding the goblin residents, who were plentiful but foolish. Suddenly, a soldier goblin came upon them and began yelling for the other guards. Then, all hell broke loose. Goblins began to attack them, throwing rocks at them, attacking them with spears.
Cannons on the castle’s outer walls were fired, shooting goblins and cannon balls alike. The boys spread out, killing the goblins that got in their way but not making much progress. Soon after, they decided to abandon the fight and just ran past all the goblins, who were putting up a good fight.
The four boys reached the walls of the castle and ran through, slamming the wooden doors behind them. Multiple goblins ran into the doors and began pounding on them. The boys were at the foot of the castle, which had no door at the bottom but a staircase leading up.
They ran to the staircase, and Yusuke took a few steps up it before realizing that the others weren’t following. He turned back and saw their faces and understood.
“I have to face him alone,” he said aloud. They nodded.
“But, should you need us...” Kuwabara began.
“Yes, should you need us...” Kurama continued.
“I’ll call,” Yusuke grinned, and nodded to them all. They nodded back, and Yusuke ran up the stairs, yelling “THANK YOU!” as he ran.
Yusuke reached the top of the staircase and suddenly felt like he was going to be sick. The stairs, from there, broke off and were stuck in parts all along the walls all the way up to the top. They were sometimes upside-down or backward, and he couldn’t see how he was going to get to the top. Plus, he could hear Keiko singing somewhere.
He looked over to a staircase near him and saw Keiko walking up them, her eyes glazed over, her mouth moving as she sung some obscure song. “Keiko!” He yelled, and ran up the staircase nearest him, hoping to get to her. But then, as he ran, the stairs changed, turning Keiko upside-down.
He ran down some more stairs and up another set, trying to reach her. The Goblin King appeared, standing sideways on a set of stairs and smirking at him. Yusuke run back up another flight of stairs toward Keiko who was walking off the edge of another staircase.
Yusuke ran up yet another, following her, and found himself finally standing on the top of the castle. The roof was flat, rectangular, but too small for his liking. The Goblin King moved forward to stand in front of him.
“Give me the girl,” Yusuke spat. The Goblin King lifted a finger.
“Be careful, Yusuke. I have been generous up until now. I can be cruel.”
“Generous! What have you done that’s generous?” Yusuke yelled.
“Everything. Everything you have asked, I have done. You asked that I take the girl, and I took her. I have reordered time, I have turned the world upside-down, and I have done it all for you. I’m exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn’t that generous?”
Yusuke ignored him and did only what he thought might work to let him beat this stupid King. “Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the goblin city, for my will is as strong as yours, and my—”
“Wait! Look, Yusuke, look what I’m offering you. Your dreams.”
“And my kingdom is as great.”
“I ask for so little. Just let me rule you, and you can have everything that you want.”
“My kingdom is as great...Damn! Why can’t I ever remember that line?”
“Just fear me, let the girl love me, let her obey me, and I will be your slave.”
“My kingdom is as great. My kingdom is as great...You have no power over me!”
Yusuke heard his words echo once, twice, again, and the clock chimed, and the Goblin King threw the crystal ball into the air with a resigned and pained look on his face. Yusuke found himself, once again, in Keiko’s living room. Looking over, he saw that she too was there, rubbing her head and looking confused.
“Keiko!” He yelled, scrambling up to meet her. She hugged him, still looking dizzy. Yusuke held her for a few minutes, making sure she was okay. Then he went to the mirror.
“Was it real?” He wondered aloud, rubbing his face. He thought so, but wasn’t sure.
Suddenly, Kuwabara’s face appeared in the mirror. “Goodbye, Yusuke,” he grinned.
“And remember, should you need us...” Hiei’s face spoke.
“Yes, should you need us for any reason at all...” Kurama continued, smiling.
“I need you guys. I need all of you...” Yusuke said into the mirror, feeling desperate and a fool at the same time. He couldn’t have saved Keiko without them; his friends were his reason for fighting.
“Well, you should have said so!” Said Kuwabara, but the voice didn’t come from the mirror. It came from Keiko’s front door, which was opened by Kuwabara, and he and Kurama and Hiei burst in, followed by Koenma and Botan, Yukina, and Shizuru.
“Party time!” Yelled Kuwabara, and Yusuke grinned.
KNOCKER 1: Koenma
KNOCKER 2: George the Ogre
GOBLINS AS THEMSELVES
JARETH/THE GOBLIN KING AS HIMSELF
 I have slaved over this riddle for hours in my time. Trust me, Yusuke's theory is right.
 The Pit of Despair is my substitute for the Bog of Stench, 'cause that's just silly. The new name comes from The Princess Bride.
 Of course, Jim Henson did the puppetry in The Labyrinth. Yusuke enjoyed smashing the fourth wall to bits, I'm sure.