Recap: After brooding over her less-than-perfect school score, Komeko and the gang ended up invited to the House of Four Dimensions and encountered Kaito.
Kurama sat down in a chair opposite Kaito, who was reading. He had just offered Kuwabara a drink from the refrigerator, but Botan insisted on opening it first. She picked out some orange juice for him.
“That’s fine. Just pour it over ice so we share it with each other as long as we have two straws.” Kuwabara told her.
What had happened to Hiei, happened to Kuwabara.
“Hey! He didn’t even say it!” Komeko yelled.
Kaito set her with a look. “Think carefully.”
“You’re cheating! He never came close to saying hot!” Botan yelled and realized her mistake too late. “Oops, I goofed.”
She was struck just like the other two and Komeko growled at Kaito angrily while Kurama glared at him. Taking the seat that Kuwabara had retained before, Komeko stayed beside Kurama.
“Forgive me for not explaining the specifics. I didn’t think your friends could handle it. In my territory, you cannot use the letters h, o, and t in a row even if they are in other words.”
“Fair enough.” Kurama said.
Kaito held the souls in his hand threateningly. “I’m warning you. If you so much as bruise what’s in your hand, I’ll show you pain. You and your soul will cease to matter because you will not be judged when you die. You will simply no longer exist.”
Kurama held up the key he obtained from Yanagisawa in his hand. Kaito made him check.
They noticed the plant on the ceiling.
Komeko smiled at Kurama while Kaito was distracted. “If you believe you’ve got this, I’ll just kindly keep my mouth shut.”
He nodded and she turned her face in a mask easily. She kept her sight on Kaito when he returned.
“Keep those souls in perfect condition, Kaito. You’ve found yourself in over your head.” Kurama said.
Kaito tried to play off his intimidation and Kurama asked if they could up the ante. “I assure you that you will speak the taboo within forty-five minutes and you will free their souls. If I cannot, then you may have my soul as well.”
“And mine.” Komeko added, showing her support, but making Kurama turn to her in question.
She wasn’t sure what made her trust him so heavily, but she knew his wit was endless, as well as his intelligence. She also wanted him to take the wager and if that meant adding herself into the pot to sweeten it, then so be it. This was more than she’d trusted anyone outside the battalion in a long time, but she felt her heart warm at the lengths Kurama was willing to go to save his friends. She admired that in him deeply, unlike how Hiei had casted off his own opportunity to help selfishly.
“I accept your challenge.” Kaito agreed.
Kurama spoke to explain the rules. They would start with the letter Z being taboo until they worked their way up the alphabet, adding letters every so often. This would continue for the duration and if Kurama didn’t get him to say it, then they would all be lost. They started at one AM.
“We begin.” They said in unison.
Kaito goaded him to get any Z words off his chest before they became taboo. Seconds later, he said the same for Y.
“Be careful, Kaito, you’ll tire yourself and make a mistake.” Kurama warned.
Quickly, letters disappeared as they lost the last five, then eight. Komeko couldn’t help the feeling pitting in her mind that wanted deeply to rebel and splurge out all the letters she knew were now taboo. Face unchanging, she continued to watch them. She noted precisely how calm Kurama was. His pulse had not quickened and his gaze did not falter. He was one cool cucumber and she admired him for it.
Kaito stood a second later to go to the bathroom. Kurama took his opportunity while Kaito was away. Komeko noticed the vines gently caressing her arm, looked at them and then at Kurama. He made a gesture with his hand for her to stay quiet as he stood and grew more of the plants. She also heard Yanagisawa drop to the floor and calmed breathing. She assumed he was knocked out. She stayed put and watched Kurama wade carefully into the newly created forest.
She heard Kaito rustling through the greenery only a moment later. Enough time had ticked by that only a few letters were left. Kaito reached the spot and stared at her in confusion. He felt unnerved from her cold stare and she could hear his heart race steadily with his anxiety. Kurama was definitely under his skin and she was sure his mind was battling with possibilities.
Kaito left her momentarily and went further into the forested area. Several sounds came from different places in the room and Kaito backed up into the table. Thinking he would hear Kurama, he stood alertly.
Only A and B were left as Komeko saw Kurama hang upside down behind Kaito. She glanced at him quickly to avoid suspicion, since Kaito had begun to watch her expression more analytically. She almost had a hard time not staring, considering the view was so much different than normal of him. His hands were placed around his face and Komeko understood what he planned to do.
“Baaaa!” Kurama shouted, surprising Kaito.
He didn’t make a noise aloud as he cupped his mouth. Quickly, the letter B was taken away with time. Kaito turned around to see Kurama as he was, making the funniest face both of them had ever seen. Komeko averted her eyes quickly to avoid laughing. Kaito was not as lucky since he busted out sniggering, officially using the taboo letters and then some.
He was zapped just as the others had been shortly after his fit. As hoped, the three souls returned to their respectful bodies. Komeko jumped up and hugged Hiei before he knew what hit him, then Kuwabara, and finally she picked up Botan in elation.
“Don’t do that to me ever again, woman!” She swung her around until she was almost dizzy.
Botan hugged her back and smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, sorry about that. It just slipped.”
They each took in their surroundings and smiled while Hiei glared at Komeko.
“He got it in the end, but we’d be toast without you, Kurama!” Kuwabara said.
Given her opportunity, Komeko laughed, clutching her sides. Kurama sweat-dropped, knowing what the source of her laughter was.
“What’s so funny?” Kuwabara asked.
Komeko kneeled on the floor, clutching her sides. “You should’ve seen his face!” she managed between breaths.
Kuwabara eyed Kurama curiously as Komeko helped herself up off the floor. She sighed as her giggles slowed and just smiled like an idiot at Kurama. They walked over to the door and unlocked it with the keys Kurama supplied. They stopped at the third when they saw a note saying they needed Yanagisawa’s permission before entering. They walked over to him as he started to wake up.
He looked wildly between each of them. “Nap time is over.” Kurama said.
“Looks like you defeated Kaito. Impressive.”
They showed him the note and he complied, but took his time in doing so. They were lead to a room with several entryways and stairs lit in different colors.
“Now what’s going on? Jeez, this place is big.” Kuwabara said.
“Each of you has to take a different staircase to get to Yusuke on the second floor. My reasoning is my own and you have to follow it.”
Kurama agreed, “We need to comply in order to get to him, Kuwabara.”
“Oh, I forgot! I knew this would come in handy.” Botan said as she opened her box of gadgets. “This clever little thing is guaranteed to blow you away – the always stylish Megiru seals!”
She brandished a blank circular sheet with squiggles around it before explaining it. They would track the applier’s condition and were only removable by the applicant.
“So, we should write our names on the seals and put them on each other.” Kurama said.
Yanagisawa approved them and Botan pulled out a marker for them to use. After they were marked and applied to everyone but Hiei, Botan approached the odd man out. He grabbed her wrist and threatened to break it if she tried to do it, but Kurama managed to sneak his own on and the others followed suit.
Komeko stared down at her chest awkwardly. Nothing lightens up the evening like everyone getting a free feel. Fabulous. They all lined up at different staircases and said they were ready, except Hiei. Nodding determinedly, Komeko trudged up the steps. Turquoise colored light filtered over her form as she walked for a little while, until she was met with her steps turning into different and small sections. She followed them carefully towards a door way and had to jump over some of them to make it there.
“Freakin’ obstacle course.” She grumbled.
She reached the door and eyed it carefully. It seemed way too easy. She opened it and saw Yusuke; the rest of the group joined her.
“Welcome.” Kido greeted them.
“What’s up, guys?” Yusuke said. “Stay away. I’m stuck because he’s on my shadow.”
“That’s true, but I’m not the one you should be worried about. One of your friends is now an imposter. Figure out who they are quickly or the friend they replaced will be killed. You may only speak when Yusuke asks you a question.” Kido explained. “You have ten minutes.”
“What’s the best way to weed out a fake…? Kuwabara, what’s your blood type and when were you born?”
“Do you even know my blood type, Urameshi?” Kuwabara countered.
“Good point. Kurama, what’s your mom’s name and how old is she?”
“Her name is Shiori, she is forty years old, and she will be married in the fall.” Kurama answered easily.
“That’s great, tell her congratulations for me!” Kido reminded Yusuke of the time limit. “Alright, Botan, prove to me who you are by telling me your boob size!”
“Are you crazy?! You know I’ve never told you!”
“You told me on the roof of the school, don’t you remember?” Yusuke supplied.
“No, you liar, you’re making that up!” Botan said, enraged.
Yusuke sighed. “Oh well, Komeko, what was the first thing you ever said to me?”
“I called you a dumbass for kicking Kuwabara while he was down.” Komeko answered.
“I’m tiring of this.” Hiei added.
“Fine, then let’s get to you! What’s your little sister’s name?”
“You know her well enough. I refuse to play this nonsense game.” Hiei replied.
Kuwabara began to harass Hiei about it and he became mad when he was the only one who didn’t know.
“We don’t have time for this!” Kurama yelled. “I’ll talk to you about her later.” He said when Kuwabara pushed it.
“Hey, guys, what are those weird things on your chests?” Yusuke asked.
Botan got mad at him for not paying attention, since they had been explained to him before. “Those are your Megiru seals! Hey! We could try that! If we can’t peel them off, then the person is an imposter!” Botan said proudly.
The tried to do it and everyone was able.
“Damn.” Komeko cursed.
“I assure you there is a fake. Yanagisawa can copy absolutely everything from his objective. He can do it to anyone. Your time is up, Yusuke. You will need to hit who you think is the imposter as hard as you can. It’s the only way to stop Yana’s power. If you don’t, I’ll kill your friend.”
Released, Yusuke looked at his friends. “Thirty seconds, Yusuke.” Kido reminded.
“I’ve decided, just don’t take this personally. I hope I’m right!”
Yusuke landed a heavy punch on Kuwabara’s – Yanagisawa’s cheek. Yusuke explained his deduction and Kido was impressed.
“The game’s over, now cough over Kuwabara.”
“He’s fine and I’ll give him back, but first off, I’ll introduce the master of this plan.”
Genkai’s scent wafted in before she moved forward.
“I can’t believe it. Why?” Yusuke questioned.
“You never cease to surprise me, Genkai.” Kurama noted.
Genkai revealed her purpose – to teach them all a lesson in perception and that it was often necessary to use your mind rather than just your brute strength. She dragged Hiei and Yusuke down about their mistakes. She explained that the three boys they had encountered were her students in training.
“The cause of these new psychics is our latest threat. I assume some of you have already noticed the demon insects flying through the city.” Genkai said. “Someone is carving out a tunnel to the Makai. Sakyo’s plan was not buried with him. He needed funds to drill his tunnel, which is why he had so much money riding on the Dark Tournament.”
Kuwabara popped out in his red boxers, agreeing with how messed up Genkai’s statement was, before going to get his clothes as Yusuke laughed.