Recap: Komeko reclaimed her body via help from Kurama and they went on to rescue Botan from her watery room.
Komeko, drawn to the crystal ball nearest her, crept forward gradually. She couldn’t see what was going on in it from so far away, so she kept moving closer. It looked like a fairly open landscape, with a predominantly white backdrop. She realized there were children were playing in the snow. Maintaining her focus on the ball, she did not notice her friends being drawn to other crystals in the room.
Two nearly identical girls, one no older than ten and the other half that, jumped into the air over each other in a game of leap frog. The younger girl would run to her sister and be propelled into the air by her waiting hands. This scene, no, this memory was very familiar to Komeko.
She and her sister had played in the snow numerous times during the winter. This memory in particular, though, was one she would rather not remember so clearly. Enveloped into the scenes completely, she could not make herself look away. The snow fell on her sister, Yumi, in a way that accented her dark locks in a brilliant contrast. A white-toothed smile beamed back at her from her sister. They continued their actions for a few more minutes before they were interrupted by another small child coming up to them.
He looked to be somewhere between their ages and was wearing very little, so Komeko took off her fur lined coat that her dad had made her to let the demon child borrow. As she handed it over, the demon bashed his head into hers, knocking her down into the cold snow. She looked up, bewildered, and watched as the demon grew in size. Yumi was beside her sister in a second, but not quick enough, as the demon’s skin morphed into a long spear that jutted from its palm and straight into Yumi’s heart.
Komeko looked down at her sister in shock and returned her fearful gaze back to the large monster. A line of blood ran down her forehead from her wound. She was covered in dark blood only moments later when her father’s arrow pierced the demon’s skull. Komeko, eyes wide, stayed completely still. She didn’t move as her father shook her. She didn’t even register the crimson liquid that accumulated around her and her fallen sibling as it marred the snow.
Komeko, mirroring her younger self, sat in the cold slush, watching the scene like a ghost. She didn’t realize when she had gotten pulled into the memory, but now she could feel the snow numbing her extremities and landing on her shoulders. The tears stung as they fell down her cheeks, frosty wind nipping at the salty liquid ferociously. Catatonic, she watched her father take both girls back to their home. She was nearly completely unaware of a presence near her, except the voice she distantly heard.
Yumi had been so scared.
Why hadn’t she smelled the trouble the boy meant to do to them?
She turned her head towards the voice that urged her brain to recognize the familiarity. Her vision swam with red hair that reminded her of the blood that covered the snow. She stared, unblinkingly, at the source before turning back to the malicious reminder in the white.
“Please, we have to leave. This isn’t real right now and what happened was not your fault.” Kurama pleaded.
The worry wound its way into her conscious and jarred her from her withdrawn state. She shot her gaze back to Kurama as the scene blurred around them. She was back in the room and looked around wildly. She took notice of the shattered crystals around them and Hiei’s presence before wondering exactly what the hell had happened.
“Close your mouth, you’ll let the flies in.” Hiei jabbed as he walked past her, clothed in a suit similar to Kurama’s.
The taunt flew straight over her head and she asked Kurama what happened.
“These crystals seemed to draw us all in, replaying what was most likely our worst memories, in order to distract us. Hiei managed to overcome his and pulled me out next. In turn, I got both you and Botan out as well. I’m sorry for my intrusion into your memory, but I’m sure you understand it was necessary.”
Komeko nodded her assent before turning towards the door and wiping at her eyes furtively. “Let’s find the rest of our friends and get the hell out of here.”
A short amount of time later, they found themselves between two doors. Since these were the last two, they were unsure of which to go into first.
“We could just do one and then the other.” Botan said.
“I say we split up and get it done faster.” Hiei commented.
“What if they’re both in the same room?” Kurama questioned.
“I say we split up and meet right back in this very spot.” Komeko agreed with Hiei. “I’ll go with Botan. Girl power all the way.” Komeko high-fived her.
“Alright, good luck.” Kurama said to them both as he and Hiei went in to the right door.
“Okay, how about you open it?” Botan asked Komeko.
“Chicken.” Komeko turned the knob and pulled the door open.
The silence was eerie as both girls moved inside the room.
“Well, this doesn’t seem so bad!” Botan said happily.
“Famous last words.” Komeko muttered.
The room was painted a lavender color and felt larger than it looked. Komeko distinctly smelled cookies and tea, but saw no evidence of either. Both girls walked towards the center of the room and peered around a white wall that jutted out from the right. The sight that greeted them looked like it was straight out of a little girls dream. Recognition bubbled in Komeko’s stomach since it reminded her of her experience during the Dark Tournament.
A long marble table was centered in the area with eight chairs surrounding it. Predominantly empty, save two, the cold stone was slathered with different food items and several antic-looking tea cups. A woman with long blonde hair and vertically-slit yellow eyes sat on one side as she poured tea to her guest – Kuwabara. He looked slightly panicked in his light blue suit, but accepted the drink regardless. Then, their attention turned towards the two girls.
“Where have you two been?” The blonde asked. “You’re very late for our appointment. In fact, we’ve started without you.”
Botan and Komeko exchanged confused looks before sitting down at the table, since the chairs decided to pull themselves out for them so nicely.
“We’re sorry. We got tied up with a few things.” Komeko nudged Botan to play along.
“Yes, we’re very sorry.”
This seemed to appease the girl, who placed the teapot on a small tray that walked itself down to them in an offering. “Well, as long as you’re here now, then we’ll still be able to get this settled.”
“Remind us again, what exactly is it that we’re supposed to settle?” Komeko queried.
“Must I retell you two everything?!” The blonde stood, giving them both a very open view of the bright white wedding dress she wore. “We’re planning out the rest of the ceremony. I can’t go doing everything all willy-nilly, now can I?”
She put her fists on her hips and stared the two down while the unattended teapot began to pour into their cups on its own.
“Oh, of course not. We’re here to help!” Botan said nervously, eying the walking pot as if it might bite her.
“I’m so glad you guys could make it. Hana and I would just be helpless without your support.” Kuwabara said, eyes franticly motioning towards the girl’s hand.
Catching on that the ring on her finger was important, Komeko spoke up. “Hana, do you think I could see the ring? It’s just so lovely, but I’m sure it looks even prettier up close.”
Eagerly taking the opportunity to show off, she presented her hand just out of Komeko’s reach. “Isn’t it lovely? It’s expensive, but Kazuma knows nothing is too good for me.” Hana smiled, turning just as Komeko swiped at her hand.
Completely missing the offensive move, Hana started rambling on about the wedding and became quite absorbed in her own musings.
“Do you think I should just jump her?” Komeko asked Botan in a whisper.
“I don’t know. What if you miss?” She replied.
Komeko gave her a look to say she would not do such a thing. Both girls noticed the pleading look in Kuwabara’s eyes as Hana started to physically show her affections with kisses and other nonconsensual smothering gestures. Taking the chance while she was distracted, Komeko roughly tackled Hana into the corner of the room. Botan stood as Komeko moved and helped Kuwabara remove his restraints that tied him to the chair.
“What do you think you’re doing, you moron?!” Hana yelled as Komeko wrestled the ring from her finger.
Almost immediately, Hana began to shrink down and morphed into a snake on the floor. The reptile started to strike Komeko, fangs on the way to pierce her vulnerable flesh, but Komeko crushed the ring in her hand with a little help of her demon energy. Hana, the horrid snake, disappeared into thin air.
“Wow, thanks, you guys. I knew that ring was important to her because I could feel it. That also explains her creepy eyes.” Kuwabara said as he hugged both girls.
After they returned the greeting, they walked out of the room while Kuwabara asked similar questions that Botan had. Neither girl had any better answers yet. As soon as they opened the door, they saw Yusuke, Kurama, and Hiei, but none of them could hold in their laughter.
“What, what happened to you?” Komeko asked as she picked up a section of Kurama’s hair.
Each male was covered in strange purple goo that smelled disgusting to Komeko. She wiped her finger off on Botan’s skirt, who, in return, squealed at the gross substance.
“Sometimes, there are things better left unsaid.” Kurama told them.
“That’s not fair! Come on. What happened, Urameshi?” Kuwabara received a strike to the face in response. “Man, I’d rather take my chances with the creepy snake lady than get covered in that nasty stuff.”
Hiei walked beside Kurama while Yusuke, dressed in a dark outfit, and Kuwabara were up front, heading the group off. Komeko and Botan were still laughing at what happened to the rest of the guys when Kurama turned around and gave both of them very large hugs. Now coated in the liquid themselves, both girls were much quieter.