Categories > Anime/Manga > Yu Yu Hakusho > Poltergeist Report 2: The Untold Story

A Reason To Be Strong

by Shisoukengo 0 reviews

As Kuwabara enjoys a night out with friends, an old enemy resurfaces looking to settle a score once and for all.

Category: Yu Yu Hakusho - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Fantasy,Romance - Characters: Kazuma Kuwabara,Shizuru Kuwabara,Yukina - Warnings: [!!] [V] - Published: 2022-04-01 - 12247 words

Poltergeist Report 2: The Untold Saga
Chapter 5 – A Man's Answer
By: Shisoukengo

There was only one word to describe the events unfolding within the crowded streets of the bustling metropolis: chaos. Explosions continued to echo like thunder, as chunks of concrete and jagged hunks of steel fell upon the streets below. The people who once calmly walked those streets were now fleeing to any available shelter they could find. In the midst of all of this chaos, one lone figure stood, savoring the carnage unfolding at his hands.
Rando laughed maniacally as he continued his onslaught on the human populace. The terrified screams of the cretins below fell gloriously upon his ears. The sensation was magnificent; second only to the euphoria he felt when he brutally dispatched a psychic with his or her own technique. The demon continued to laugh in a deranged fashion, even as he leaped from building to building, hurling balls of super-heated flames at nearby structures.
Though he did not know the particulars as to how a portal to Ningenkai seemingly appeared out of nowhere, he was not about to question his good fortune. Escape from his confines within Reikai's territory in Makai was a top priority, second only to avenging the loss that had led to his capture. Now that he was free, he intended to take full advantage of the opportunity he now had to pursue that vengeance. And the first step to doing so was to use the lives of pathetic mortals the detective protected as bait to draw him out.
"Come out; come out, wherever you are!" His shout was followed by more horrified screams of the populace.
Debris continued to rain down on the people as more destruction was caused. The demon then changed course, having grown bored with his routine. Rando dropped down into the middle of an intersection, startling the terrified motorists who were trying to make their escape. Forced to stop at the sudden appearance of the pale, red-headed apparition, they could only watch as he smirked while holding up a hand, the appendage imitating a gun. A bubble of concentrated yoki gathered at the end of his extended index finger.
'This should grab the detective's attention.' His smirk grew into a dangerous grin as the terrified civilians sat frozen in their vehicles.
The orb of energy continued to increase in size and intensity before it was fired. Rando's arm snapped back at the point of release, the beam of yoki shooting off in a bullet-like fashion toward the frightened motorists. The panic in their eyes was as delicious as the beam closed in on them.
"Oh no, you don't!" A masculine voice yelled as a teenage boy leaped from the trunk of the lead car.
His appearance was nearly as startling as the demon in the middle of the street. A loud crash sounded as the glowing form of reiki in his hands impacted with the bullet of yoki, just as the young man's feet cleared the obstacle. Held in his hands like a baseball bat, the glowing form of reiki clashed with the yoki. The young man's muscles strained as he succeeded in knocking the projectile away from the civilians.
It was an act he was mentally proud of, even as he released a nervous sigh, as he considered the action remarkably similar to hitting a professional pitcher's fastball. Kuwabara kept his eyes focused on the demon in front of him, even as the energy sailed harmlessly into the air before exploding, illuminating the sky like fireworks. Rando frowned at the sudden intrusion, partially from having his attack deflected, and partially from the appearance of the human boy in front of him. No matter which, he was sure to make his displeasure known in his words.
"I was looking for a confrontation with the detective. I have no business with leftovers."
"Urameshi's got more important things ta do than deal with trash like you! Besides," his eyes narrowed as he pointed the glowing blade of energy at Rando, "you attacked my city on my watch. You can forget about Urameshi, your ass is mine!" Kuwabara's last statement was punctuated with him firmly grasping his weapon.
Rando smirked, nearly snickering at the absurdity of the human brat's words. He was obviously suffering from some form of memory loss, or he had a death wish, as he seemingly could not recall the outcome of their last meeting; or chose to ignore it entirely. Whichever it was, Rando was only able to pity the boy enough to remind him of his failure.
"We've already been through this; your little toy wasn't even able to touch me. You could barely fend off my attack, and I was holding back at the time. Fighting you again would be a waste of lifespan."
Kuwabara had been around Enomoto long enough to recognize trash talking when he heard it. He gave a smirk along with his own remark, having learned quite a bit about to talk trash in turn.
"Heh, ya must be as blind as ya are ugly if ya think I'm still the same as I was back then. Or Urameshi for that matter, and being that he's beaten you before, I would say that 'waste of lifespan' comment ya made just now would mean the same for you, wouldn't it?"
Rando scowled from the combination of being insulted and having his own words thrown back at him. He visibly calmed himself, however, as his mind keyed in on Kuwabara's words. A slight quirk of one eyebrow was the only sign of recognition on the yokai's face, but Kuwabara caught it. Rando's eyes narrowed as the boy's sudden appearance replayed in his mind.
'Of course, when he tightened his grip on the hilt of his toy; So, he no longer needs a conduit to channel his reiki.'
'Ha, I'll have to remember ta thank Enomoto-sensei next time I see him. This trash talkin stuff is fun.' Kuwabara mused as he watched the myriad of expressions on the demon's face.
Turning his head slightly to glance over his shoulder, he frowned as he noticed the motorists he had saved standing in the street, watching the scene unfold. Although they had gotten out of their vehicles, they simply stood gawking at the two individuals, rather than try and get as far away as possible.
"THE FUCK'RE YOU LOOKIN AT?! GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE!" His shout startled the civilians out of their stupor, causing them to scatter in various directions. Turning back to his opponent, Kuwabara found himself gazing at a smug Rando.
"So you've learned a new trick with your toy, it still won't help if you cannot hit me with it."
"Say that after you've won the fight," Kuwabara retorted. Rando simply smiled deviously while spreading out his arms.
"Fine, I will indulge you for the moment, and accept your challenge. Do try not to bore me too much."
Kuwabara smirked confidently, a trait he noticed he seemed to have picked up from Enomoto as well.
"That's just fine by me!" And with that he charged forward, his rei-ken gripped tight in his hand.
"Say that again, Koenma?" Shizuru's icy tone matched the furious expression on her face.
To his credit, Koenma did not flinch, having endured such looks before. Genkai said nothing as she quietly listened in on the conversation. Botan stood behind the teenaged form of her boss, a sympathetic look on her face. It was no secret among the room's occupants of Shizuru's over-protective demeanor when it came to her baby brother. Koenma momentarily sighed, repeating the information he had just announced.
"It's true, my father has finally figured out who was responsible for cutting the Kekkai barrier, and he's issued orders to have Kuwabara either subdued or killed. And it seems that the Spirit Defense Squad are the ones who've been given the orders." Koenma's face became grave as he addressed the chances of Kuwabara successfully avoiding such a fate. "Though Kuwabara is most likely the strongest living human in terms of reiki, the S.D.F. are specially trained to deal with powerful enemies. It would only take 1 or 2 of them to accomplish those orders."
It was at the same time worrisome as it was ironic, that the same action toward Yusuke that caused the fall out between Koenma and King Enma just happened to be repeating itself again with Kuwabara.
"Are you certain of this information, Koenma?" Genkai's question was answered by a nod, even as she maintained her outwardly calm façade.
"I am. This information was given to me by Botan, who received it from my assistant, Ayame. And I trust Ayame implicitly. She would not lie to me about such a matter.
The conversation then was interrupted by the spike of yoki that each of them felt. Their eyes widened at how strong it seemed, although they could tell it was a good distance away. The sound of explosions in the distance drew their attention towards the curtain covered windows. Rushing over, Shizuru drew back the curtains, allowing each of them to see the thick clouds of smoke rising in the background.
Genkai was now standing up off of the couch, gazing in that direction as she attempted to assess just how strong the energy actually was. Koenma's eyes were narrow, finding the disturbance occurring a little too conveniently, given the current circumstances.
'There shouldn't be any attacks from the Makai with the struggle for power going on down there. Damn it, we got too lax.' He thought as he turned his attention to Genkai.
Sensing his eyes on her, Genkai answered his coming question before he even had a chance to speak it.
"The yoki seems familiar, but I can't pinpoint exactly who it is. And whoever it is, has enough power to make B-class easily; far too powerful for me to handle now that Yusuke has my ki-kyuutai*."
Before he could respond, a second energy made itself known. And the familiarity of it was such that each of them recognized it almost immediately.
"That's Kuwabara-kun's reiki!" Botan announced.
No sooner had the words left her lips that Shizuru was rushing for the front door, throwing it open while snatching her coat from a nearby coat rack. The elder Kuwabara sibling hardly broke stride as she raced through her yard and down the sidewalk, even as Koenma called out after her while following. Genkai fell into a run beside him as they followed the worried young woman.
"I'll fly on ahead and see who he's fighting," Botan announced, hovering in mid-air on her oar.
"Right," Koenma nodded, "and make sure you don't get too close to it. Whatever's happening, I don't want you caught in the middle as well. We'll follow his energy and meet up with you there."
Botan nodded in understanding before turning and flying off toward the scene. Koenma and Genkai continued to pursue Shizuru, who was tearing through the suburban streets like a woman possessed.
Kuwabara brought his blade down hard in a downward swing, his battle roar echoing through the streets. The rei-ken made a decent rent in the ground, though it did no damage to Rando, who had nimbly side-stepped to the right of the attack. Immediately, Kuwabara pivoted, his hips turning as he brought the sword up and across in a horizontal swing in the same direction.
Rando still held his smug sense of superiority even as he captured the blade in his hand. Kuwabara's eyes narrowed, a growl emanating from his throat as the demon was sending him a clear message.
"I told you," Rando stated as he drew back his left fist, "your toy is useless against me!" His fist swung down, but Kuwabara was able to lean his head back, thus barely avoiding the blow.
As he leaned back, Kuwabara countered with a left jab of his own, while simultaneously pulling back the arm that held his sword. This was effective in stunning his opponent and enabling him to free his captive sword, as the two beings separated. Rando stood back up to his full height, as Kuwabara did the same. He noticed a smirk on the teenager's face and scowled as he made an assumption.
"Don't get cocky because you managed to avoid one punch. I'm nowhere near taking this battle seriously."
"Che, and you should try not to make such an ass of yourself. I'm not grinning because I dodged your flimsy-ass punch. I'm grinning because my 'toy' is more dangerous than you think." His eyes glanced toward Rando's hand.
Rando's eyes followed, his brows creasing as he noticed the thin line of blood along the palm of his hand. His face contorted into a rage as his killing intent flared, stretching out in the form of his yoki. The civilians who had stuck around to watch the fight were now scampering back further, trying to alleviate the feeling of dread coming from the deadly aura. Kuwabara felt the pressure but managed to keep himself from flinching. He'd felt stronger auras before, so he wasn't impressed. That and sparring with his gym coach had allowed him to get used to fighting under pressure from an opponent.
"As I said, don't think I'm tha same as I was back then. And this toy can do a lot more damage than a scratch." He still held his rei-ken at his side, but this time gripped it with both hands instead of one.
Not wanting to waste any more time, Kuwabara charged forward again, his battle roar sounding even as his opponent mimicked the action. Instead of charging forward, however, Rando leaped back and upward, his hands forming blazing balls of fire again.
"Kasho Happa-ken*," Rando's voice echoed as he hurled the flaming spheres at his opponent.
Kuwabara successfully fended them off his rei-ken, which he now held with all of the finesse of baseball player, knocking the attacks back at his opponent. Rando landed on the side of a building before immediately leaping in another direction. He watched as the attacks slammed into the building he stood on just a moment ago. Kuwabara realized all too late the folly of his defense, his ears picking up the screams of the frightened civilians still taking shelter outside of the buildings.
'Dammit, I gotta keep people from getting sucked into this fight.' He looked around, taking a few moments to fully observe the surrounding area. 'These streets are too crowded though. The evening traffic's a bitch to get around even when it's calm out. No way in hell these people gonna be able to clear outta here anytime soon.'
Looking back up, Kuwabara saw his opponent circling around, grinning as he knew he had the advantage of the terrain as long the people were around.
'And this guy ain't stupid enough to chase me to another place. He's gonna keep gettin people involved until I make a mistake and leave myself open. Fuckin coward,' he snarled mentally as he prepared himself for another kasho happa-ken. As the flames rained down toward him, Kuwabara had sudden thought came to him, as to how he could circumvent the problem.
"As the saying goes, one cannot be everywhere and thus cannot save everyone. That is why the martial arts are called self-defense, because, at its very core, it is learning to defend one's self." Kanekita's words from their conversation not long ago replayed in his mind.
'But how can I keep fightin, knowing that I'm puttin all of these people in danger?' Kuwabara mentally asked himself. Another memory came to him, one that brought with it an unexpected moment of clarity.
"Listen up! I'm about to teach you guys something important." Enomoto's statement immediately grabbed the attention of the four youths standing in front of him. Checking to make sure that he had their complete attention, the gym coach continued.
"There will be times in a fight where you can get overwhelmed by your opponent. They may have an offense that's hell for you to dodge. Or they might fight at a distance, wanting you to chase after them so that you make a mistake. Whatever the case may be, don't get discouraged. Losing focus on what you have to do, or worrying about what your opponent is doing, is the quickest way to get your ass handed to you in a fight."
The group of teens looked at each other, silently wondering how to keep focus during a match if their opponent was beyond their skills. A quick, yet strong punch was thrown, the wind from it ruffling the bangs of Kirishima even as he leaned his head back in reaction to it.
"If the attack is strong, simply grit your teeth and take it head-on. If the defense is strong, keep pounding away until it finally breaks. Overwhelming power isn't the only way to win a fight, and it's never a sure thing. Losing focus on what you've got to do, however, is a sure way to lose. Attack your opponent, observe his movements, and when they show an opening, hit 'em with your best shot and kick their ass."
Realizing the point Enomoto was making, the group nodded in understanding, each one promising to take the words to heart.
'Of course, if knockin 'em outta the way is too risky, then I just gotta cut through 'em,' He thought as he tightened the grip on the hilt of rei-ken.
Watching his opponent leap through the air again, Kuwabara honed in on the flaming projectiles as they were being released. Swinging his sword at each one, Kuwabara managed to cut the projectiles in half. The resulting explosions from the kasho happa-ken being cut in two had the convenient effect of providing Kuwabara with a smoke screen.
Rando landed a few away, staring at the smoke as he could barely make out the figure of his opponent. Laughing in a deranged fashion, the demon began mocking what he thought to be a foolish opponent.
"Ha-ha, fool, the kasho happa-ken are flaming spheres designed to explode on contact, incinerating all that they hit. You cutting them with your little toy is like tripping a bomb right in front of your face."
There was no answer from the smoke at first until a chunk of concrete the size of a volleyball was hurled in Rando's direction. The demon dodged by maneuvering out of the way, even as equal amounts of more debris was hurled in his direction.
'How is this idiot able to tell where I am? That smoke should be obscuring his view as much as it is obscuring mine.' Rando thought as he continued to weave back and forth between the flying debris.
The attack stopped just as quickly as it started, the smoke finally clearing to show what lay behind. Rando was startled to see rubble lying nearby that appeared to have missing pieces torn out of it. Scowling, the demon heard a teen's battle cry again, drawing his attention upward. Kuwabara was poised above him, his arms swinging down his rei-ken* like an ax upon a piece of firewood. Rando deftly dodged the attack again, but this time by only the barest of margins.
Unrelenting, Kuwabara charged straight at the demon, not wanting to give him time to leap back to a safe distance. With an angry shout, the teen began swinging his rei-ken in baseball style fashion once again. His movements were too predictable though, as the way he wielded the weapon meant he could only swing down or across. This made it easy for Rando to dodge the attacks before he landed a swift left kick to Kuwabara's open ribs. The blow sent the teen crashing into the side of a nearby car.
Kuwabara clutched his side where the kick had landed, applying pressure to see how bad the damage was. The spot felt tender, but he did not seem to be extensively hurt.
'Nothin broke, that's good, means I can still fight.'
He took a deep breath, feeling the slight sense of pain bloom momentarily as his lungs expanded. Releasing the breath, he felt some of the pain leave along with it. A chill suddenly swept up his spine, drawing his attention back to his opponent. Rando had immediately begun charging another you-gan*. He was nearing the end of his patience with the pesky human. And killing him with the detective's own signature attack was the most pleasing end he could think of for the meddlesome teen.
"Gah," Kuwabara shouted as he quickly dove to his left to avoid the attack.
The explosion that resulted from the vehicle being struck flung Kuwabara further along the street. Landing shoulder first, he grimaced while feeling his rei-ken disperse as he tumbled a few feet, before skidding to a stop. He gritted his teeth, eyes clenched shut as he struggled to his feet. Attempting to shut out the pain coursing through his body, and the ringing in his ears, Kuwabara slowly opened his eyes, trying to shake off his disorientation.
Rando charged, his anger and impatience at the human boy mounting as he delivered a powerful rising knee strike to the boy's face. The blow had the effect of drawing blood as Kuwabara's head snapped backward. Stumbling back on his feet, and blinded by pain, Kuwabara instinctively tried to protect himself. Holding one arm up in front of him at a vertical angle, with the other arm held behind it at a horizontal angle, the patented cross-arm block* did little to deter his opponent.
Rando's former anger turned to glee, his follow up combination of punches managed to slip past the human teen's guard. Kuwabara felt the force of each blow, even as his cross-arm block protected his vital areas. Clenching his jaw, he forced the pain from the forefront of his mind, squinting as he focused the sole of his attention back onto his opponent.
'Don't ignore the pain you might feel in a fight, but don't be consumed by it either.' The words of Enomoto replayed in his mind. 'Pain's a good thing. It reminds you that you're still alive, and also points out any mistakes you make in a fight. The moment you stop feeling pain in a fight, it's game over. Remember, don't shut out the pain; embrace it, and use it as motivation to fight harder!'
Maintaining his cross-arm block, Kuwabara continued to observe Rando as the demon drew his right fist back for a critical punch. Catching that single moment, Kuwabara pounced on the opportunity as he ducked down and dashed forward. The suddenness of the movement combined with the sheer quickness of the teen's step-in, startled Rando as his punch sailed harmlessly over Kuwabara's opposing shoulder.
The demon caught the slip just as Kuwabara quickly launched a one-two combination, consisting of a left jab followed by a right straight to Rando's midsection. While the left jab had done minimal damage to his opponent's well-muscled physique, despite Kuwabara's weight having been placed on his left foot to reinforce the blow; the right straight contained enough power to cause Rando to double over slightly, due to the twisting of Kuwabara's hips transferring his built up power from his leading jab. Rando gritted his teeth, having felt blows of this caliber and above before.
Raising his head, the demon noticed the sight of the teen's glaring expression before catching sight of the overhead left heading right towards his jaw. Rando leaned back, the punch sailing downward harmlessly in front of his face. He leaped backward as Kuwabara followed, his feet shuffling as he launched a succession of fast yet compact jabs. Rando was able to dodge the blows almost seamlessly but was still stunned by the human's performance.
'What is this cretin's deal? He was so poor of a fighter the last time we fought that it was embarrassing to watch. The only good part of that fight had been hearing the snap of his bones when I broke them after shrinking him.'
His mental reflection was momentarily cut off by the boy's furious battle cry, as the demon ducked beneath and leaned away from two powerful punches thrown consecutively. Rando scowled as he circled around his enemy, trying to put distance between himself and his opponent.
'Now this moron is different. That last blow nearly caused some serious damage. It's time to put an end to this ridiculous farce now, and find the detective who humiliated me.'
Bringing his attention back to the fight, Rando managed to avoid another powerful strike, this time a right hook to the jaw. Leaping back up into the air, the demon resorted to his former tactics, knowing that his opponent could not do the same.
"I should be able to finish him more effectively this way," he muttered as he bounded off of a nearby traffic light post. Leaping toward another building, Rando prepared another set of flaming spheres.
"Dammit, bastard ran again," Kuwabara exclaimed as his opponent, once again, took to the air.
His disorientation having cleared earlier in the midst of his trading punches with his demonic adversary. As Rando landed and then jumped off of a traffic light pole, the teen had the opportunity to replay their previous round in his head.
'I know I got 'em with that right straight.' The teen grinned in silent appreciation. 'I gotta remember ta thank Enomoto-sensei for his training. Turns out the old man knows what he's doin after all.'
Watching as Rando launched another series of kasho happa-ken, Kuwabara re-summoned his rei-ken. Wielding the weapon once again, he silently watched the spheres' approach. Rather than the forceful, baseball-like motions of before, his movements now emulated the awkward, fly-swatting motions reminiscent of his days in the Dark Tournament. This movement, while not anywhere close to resembling the gracefulness of his school's basic kendo movements that he had been learning since entering high-school, had the effect of causing the spheres to explode upon impact, rather than repel them.
The flames licked at his clothing as the spheres exploded around him, beginning to cover Kuwabara in a thick, smoky mist. It was at this moment that a group of voices could be heard as the individuals rounded a nearby street corner. The group noticed the increasing cloud of smoke in the middle of the intersection. They struggled through a crowd of awe-struck spectators who crowded the streets. Police sirens and fire engines could be heard as they approached the area, seeking to restore order and quell the flames.
"Man, you'd figure with all the explosions goin on that these people woulda cleared outta here," Kirishima complained as he maneuvered his way through the mass of people.
"Then what does that say about us, since we're heading towards them ourselves?" His date, Akane, asked in annoyance as she clutched the hem of Kirishima's coat.
"Hey, that's different, our buddy's over there," Sawamura retorted as he barged his way through the spectators. His date, Gina, held fast to the hem of his attire with one hand, while her other grasped the hand of a young girl behind her.
"You okay back there, Yukina-san?" She questioned as she spared a glance back at the red-eyed girl.
"Yes, I'm fine," the young demoness replied nervously. Gina noticed the uncomfortable expression on Yukina's face and frowned.
"Watch out for wandering hands back there. There might be some perverts out here in this crowd." Yukina responded with a nod, having only heard of perverts rather than experienced them first hand. From what she had been told, the experiences were quite….unpleasant, to say the least.
After a few more moments of shoving and exchanges of polite "excuse me's", the group finally managed to break through to the forefront of the crowd. They gawked at the scene, awed by the amount of destruction on display. Movement from the cloud of smoke drew their attention as Kuwabara rolled out from the side of it. He straightened into a low crouch, coughing as his lungs sought to expel the smoke and take in much-needed oxygen. His back rose and fell in dry heaves as Rando landed down on the opposite side of the street.
"Kazuma-san," Yukina's worried shout sounded like a gunshot in the crowded street, even amongst the sirens of the now arriving rescue vehicles.
All attention was drawn in their direction, both the observers and the fighters taking in the group's countenance. These varied between angry and worried. Rando smirked as a still heaving Kuwabara turned wide eyes to his group of friends.
"Who the fuck's that!" Kirishima's yell rang out, his mind still playing catch up with the entire situation.
"I think Kuwabara-san and that freak are fighting," Sawamura replied angrily, his fists clenched, ready to step in and throw down at any time.
"Is he the one that did all of this?" Akane questioned, still looking around at the rubble in the street.
"What...the hell…are you guys…doin here?" Kuwabara called out, his breathing slowly returning to normal.
"We're here ta help, that's what!" Sawamura answered, with Kirishima nodding in his concurrence.
Rando, meanwhile, held up his right hand again, the other clutching his wrist as he began charging up another you-gan.
'No, not again,' Kuwabara mentally shouted, sucking in a deep breath as he immediately recognized the attack.
His feet were in motion even before the shot was fired, propelling his body forward at a dead sprint. Sweat poured from his forehead as he pumped his legs harder, hoping to reach his friends before the attack did. His eyes tracked the beam's movement, his knees crouching before launching his body up and forward. Kuwabara's jump allowed him to clear the hood of an opposing vehicle in one swift movement. He summoned a pair of rei-ken just as his feet touched the ground, twisting and placing himself in the line of fire.
Kuwabara barely had time to guard himself with his weapons, by placing them in an "x" design, before the powerful you-gan slammed into them. The muscles in his back, shoulders, arms, and even in his jaw clenched tightly as he struggled to hold off the attack. His group of friends was shocked by this turn of events, each of them frightened by the scene playing out before them. Feeling the muscles in his legs tighten as well, Kuwabara pressed his feet even more firmly against the cement, leaning his upper body forward.
This movement placed all of his body's weight behind his two rei-kens, bracing them as he pushed back against the attack. He took slow, careful steps, maneuvering the beam of yoki away from his friends. Rando watched in utter disbelief as, with one more push, Kuwabara slid his weapons apart. This effectively cut through energy blast, causing the attack to explode in the middle of the street. The gust generated from the burst of yoki blew dust and soot towards the spectators, who by now were being forced back from the area by the police officers.
Though arriving with the hopes of quelling the situation, the officers were now reluctant to get involved in such an unbelievable confrontation, for fear of being caught in the crossfire. Newly arriving news reporters also stood clear, opting to capture the events from a distance. Kuwabara shoulders continued to heave as his body took in more gulps of air, his muscles slowly relaxing as the tension began to leave his body.
"Im-impossible, you couldn't possibly have stopped that attack!" The demon's disbelief was shared by the rest of the crowd.
"Don't worry…you guys. I'll protect…all of you." Kuwabara's declaration was followed by a determined look sent toward his opponent.
The glowing pair of rei-ken hummed vibrantly in his hands, further adding to the demon's disbelief. That disbelief suddenly turned to anger, Rando's yoki spiking to match his rage. His shoulders shook with fury, his gleaming with hatred of the meddlesome teen.
"You, you have made a fool of me one time too many. I will kill you right here and now!" The threat was followed by a strong wave of killing intent. Kuwabara simply shifted his feet, his weight placed on his back leg as he wondered how he could attack his opponent now.
'Geez, this guy's pissed. He's definitely not gonna make any mistakes now, he's gonna come at me harder than he ever did before.' His thoughts went back to what happened just a moment ago, remembering what all was on the line if he failed. 'That fucker shot at Yukina and my crew. No way in hell he's walkin away from this!'
He crouched lower as he kept a watchful eye on his opponent, wondering just what he could do to land a blow with his swords. Suddenly, words spoken by his kendo instructor came to the forefront of his mind.
Kuwabara fell backward, his rear making hard contact with the unforgiving wood floor of the dojo. He rubbed the sore spot on his shoulder where the wooden blade of his opponent's bokken struck. Hitoshi, the second of his sensei's assistants, looked down on him calmly. No trace of gloating or amusement appeared visible in his eyes whatsoever. Reaching a handout, he offered Kuwabara a hand up, which the young man took gratefully.
"Kuwabara-kun," His sensei's voice rang out from the front of the room. Turning to address him, Kuwabara locked eyes with Kanekita, who had his hands placed calmly on the top of his thighs.
"Yes, Sensei?"
"Just what, may I ask, sort of kendo form was that you showed us now?" It was at his question that Kuwabara froze, before turning embarrassed eyes away. Seeing an answer wasn't forthcoming, Kanekita rose to full height. "I understand that you are relatively new to the art of wielding a sword. However, you have been here practicing the basic movements of kendo for over two months now. Yet the way you moved just now, during your spar, seemed more appropriate for a floundering monkey than a swordsman."
This elicited barely restrained fits of laughter from some of his other classmates, but direct looks from both Daichi and Hitoshi promptly silenced them. Kanekita, who had not bothered to respond to the sounds, knowing his young assistants would address them, gently retrieved the shinai from his young pupil. Kuwabara watched as his sensei held the weapon with an expertise the teen both envied and admired.
"You must remember, Kuwabara-kun, that swordsmanship is just as much of an act of grace as it is of murder. It is as rewarding as it is demanding, and to wield a sword is to wield a weapon of both life and death in your hands. The power to protect, and the power to destroy, are all contained within your blade. Therefore, you must always remember the essence of what makes one a capable swordsman, and of what it means to wield a sword."
By now, the entire class, along with Kuwabara's attention was focused on their sensei. Daichi and Hitoshi, having heard this speech before, kept silent as they knew what their sensei was about to say would have profound and lasting effects on their fellow students.
"The essence of a capable swordsman lies not only in skill and footwork but in the observation and adaptation of an opponent's movements. By observing your opponent, you learn to anticipate their movements and exploit openings within their technique. By adapting to your opponent, you are able to redirect all of their energy and efforts back onto them, causing your enemy to contribute to their own defeat. That said, remember your footwork and the execution of your school's techniques. But above all, remember to observe your enemy, and adapt to his or her attacks. Only then will you be able to claim your victory."
Handing the shinai back to his student, Kanekita smiled at his students as he turned to take his place back at the head of the class.
'Shit! Of course, Kanekita-sensei gave me the answer back then. I've just been too caught up in this freak's attacks to remember. I've been lettin this freak have too many chances to attack, and Yukina-chan and the guys almost paid the price for it. Well fuck that, it's time for me to get serious too!'
Inhaling a deep breath slowly, he exhaled it as he released one of his rei-ken. Grasping the other with both hands, he held it in a basic kendo ready stance, the tip of the blade held at eye level. His eyes focused on his opponent, a deadly calm held within them. Rando stared angrily, his yoki receding as he began to speak again.
"I must admit, you have changed a great deal since our last battle in that swamp. However," the demon's eyes took on a dangerous gleam as he moved to occupy an unfamiliar stance. "I have also changed since the battle with your little friend, the detective. After all, Reikai did not kill me, but instead imprisoned me in an area known as Demon City, within their territory in Makai."
The name of the demon's former prison struck a chord with Kuwabara, eliciting the response of a slight frown. He continued to hold his sword at the ready, however, his newly found resolve still held firmly in place. He kept his attention focused as Rando continued his speech.
"Not only was I able to increase my power during my captivity there, but I was also able to assimilate a new technique to my already formidable list. That technique, which I was able to retrieve from an enemy who had also been beaten by that detective; combined with his rei-gan*, which I have been able to modify as my own, gives me over 100 attacks to use on my enemies." He smirked dangerously as he executed his new technique, his body multiplying into seven different copies.
"Ankoku Yorojin*, consider yourself fortunate, as I did not expect to have use of this technique until my rematch with that detective." Each of the beings mirrored the original in every manner, even in the amount of yoki they were emitting. "This technique is truly a wonderful thing, as each of the copies you see before you are very real, and possess strength equal to my own. They are also capable of functioning independently, making them even more deadly. As I told you, your flimsy little toy will never be able to hurt me!"
The demon laughed maniacally, Kuwabara maintaining his composure even as he took stock of his new predicament. The demon's laughter drew looks of disgust from surrounding populace, each soul hoping for the teen to prevail over the psychotic being.
'Remember what Enomoto-sensei and Kanekita-sensei said. Focus on your opponent, watch him, and strike to kill. It's your duty to protect this place while Urameshi's gone. No,' he shook his head mentally, 'relying on Urameshi and the other guys are played. It's time to stand on my own two feet.' Kuwabara felt his reiki course through his body as he drew upon it as if responding to the strength of his resolve.
"Let's try again, shall we?" Rando asked rhetorically as the seven duplicates began moving systematically around their opponent.
Kuwabara watched silently as best as he could, as two took to the air, while two maneuvered to each side of him. One remained in front, looking on as two in the air immediately launched a set of attacks at the human. One prepared another set of kasho happa-ken, while the other duplicate crossed his arms briefly before separating them, 4 rings of compressed air mixed with yoki spinning around each arm.
The two to his left charged equally powerful you-gans, firing them in the same direction. Seeing the bullets of energy launched, an idea developed in his mind as he leaped as high he could to avoid the attacks. Kuwabara kept his focus on the attacks below him even as he remembered that two of the seven Rando's were poised above him, possibly launching their attacks.
'Gotta play this just right,' he thought as he pointed the tip of his rei-ken downward.
At the point that the two you-gans met in an explosion of blinding light, Kuwabara pumped more reiki into his sword. As the smoke from the explosion rose upward, he manipulated the blade, extending it down into the smoke created from the blast. A feeling of heat, combined with a significant pressure of air on the back of his neck, warned him of an incoming attack on his person. He focused on his plan as he felt the blade of his weapon pierce the ground below, propelling him further up into the air just as the kasho happa-ken and met with the hishou kaze setsudanki*.
The two attacks met with a fierce explosion as the wind from the second attack fueled the flames of the first one. Smoke once again shrouded the key players from view. Only the four copies of Rando and the one in front remained visible following the attacks. The one at the forefront frowned, the other duplicates mirroring him as they look upward at the smoke where they last saw the teen. The sound of reiki being gathered was every bit as sudden as the human's shout.
"Rei-ken Ni Tokai Ryu!" Rando's eyes widened as he and his four duplicates looked up further, only to see Kuwabara descending into the smoke with a pair of rei-ken.
The sound of a battle cry immediately precipitated the sound of the rei-ken being swung across a target. The four Rando duplicates drew back slightly, bracing themselves in preparation for an attack. Six pairs of eyes focused at a point in the center of the smoke. The vibrant humming of the teen's weapons was the only thing that gave away his location. Suddenly, the tip of the two blades appeared from the left side of the smoke, nearly piercing the two doppelgangers who managed to dodge at the last moment.
Landing on either side of the Rando in front of the already dispersing smoke cloud, the three figures looked on as the other two copies also leaped away, forming a strategic front as they positioned themselves in front of the other three. The smoke finally cleared enough to reveal the human teen standing near the center, the bodies of the other two Rando duplicates lying on the ground beside him. Kuwabara's eyes looked fierce, though his breathing was heavy again as he had been forced to hold his breath since entering the former cloud of smoke.
The other 5 Rando's scowled even as the leader attempted to dissect the events that just occurred in his head.
'He used the smoke as a screen to attack again. And instead of staying in the middle of the attacks to try and land a strike, he took to the air and attacked my doppelgangers from there. But he shouldn't have been able to reach that altitude. So how was he able to get above them? Could the blast have propelled him? Humph, it doesn't matter, he can only deal damage if he gets in close. As long as I keep my distance, I have nothing to be concerned about. Plus, he could barely handle one of me. Five is plenty for me to use to finish him.'
"Not bad to be able to take two of my copies so soon. And wielding two of your toys at once is an impressive feat for a simpleton like you. However, there are still five of me left, each with plenty of yoki and over 100 attacks to use. You cannot survive this." Rando's declaration was followed by a smirk from each copy.
Kuwabara simply tightened the grip on his rei-ken as a few tense moments passed. The two Rando doppelgangers in front charged suddenly, fists poised in a silent challenge of hand-to-hand combat. Unwilling to back down, Kuwabara charged forward to meet them head-on. Deciding to take the initiative, Kuwabara swung the pair of rei-ken in opposing directions. As his weapons gave him a reach advantage, this attack forced the doppelgangers to alter their attack. They leaped as one as the rei-ken cut across the spots where they would've been.
Kuwabara had held no intentions on stopping but was forced to as a third Rando appeared almost instantly. Eyes widening, he was preparing to attempt another blow, but instead was met with a powerful left-straight to the gut. The punch caused him to gag, his rei-ken involuntarily dispersing once again as he was lifted off of his feet and thrown backward.
His flight ended after less than a few feet as he felt himself collide into something hard. His body bent back inwards upon coming into contact with the doppelganger's reversed roundhouse kick. A choked grunt sounded from his lips just as another duplicate appeared above him, delivering a powerful hammer strike blow upon him. The power behind the clasped fists that connected with the crown of his head sent the human teen crashing down into the cement beneath him. Kuwabara lay dazed, disoriented once again from the damage inflicted by his opponents.
The crowd of onlookers watched in horrified silence, willing the teen to get up and defeat the yokai responsible for so much devastation. Some turned away, unable to handle watching the pain the young man was receiving. Kirishima and Sawamura both growled, worry for their friend and leader warring with the anger they felt for the demon. Somehow sensing what they were about to do, Akane and Gina both grabbed their arms to prevent the boys from getting involved.
"Don't, you guys don't stand a chance against that…thing!" Gina snapped fearfully, not wanting to see anyone else get hurt.
"Don't what? Don't step in and help our buddy even up tha odds a little? Screw that, Kuwabara-san's our friend, and we don't ditch our friends!" Sawamura's tone was fierce in reply to her.
"Are you two nuts? You see what that creep can do, there's no sense getting yourself blown to bits fighting something like that!" Akane's voice belied her worry, despite her attempt to emulate her friend's authoritative tone as she maintained her grasp of Kirishima's forearm.
"I don't give a shit what that freak can do, I'm helpin Kuwabara-san!" Kirishima replied while wrenching his arm free from Akane's grip.
The two boys were about to follow through on their words when Yukina suddenly stepped in front of them. Arms held apart, the koorime's almost panic-like expression stunned the two into stillness.
"Please listen to Akane-chan and Gina-chan, you mustn't get involved!" She pleaded to them. "That person will kill you if you do."
"Didn't you just hear a word we said? We're helpin Kuwabara-san and that's that. Now get outta the way!" Kirishima yelled. However, the young ice-maiden merely held her ground, unwilling to let the two teens past her. Akane and Gina were shocked that the boy had yelled at the girl, even if a part of them could understand, given the circumstances.
"I'm sorry," Yukina shook her head, "I am worried for Kazuma-san as well." If they were stunned before, then hearing this strange girl whom they had only just recently met, refer to their friend by his given name was even more stunning.
"He has helped me and protected me so many times before; when I first came here to this place, I didn't know anyone. Bad men took me, they took me and did bad things to me. But Kazuma-san saved me. He has watched over for me ever since, and I have no way to repay his kindness. He is very kind, brave, and strong, and I believe that he will protect us, just as he said he will." The koorime looked back at the young man who had saved her from Tarukane, unaware that the crowd nearby had heard her speech.
The crowd of citizens turned back, watching as the teen was once again struggling to his feet, only for one of the copies to stomp him back down. The crowd began chanting, willing him to get up once again. Some even began to throw nearby objects at the apparition, only to be met with a sneer from the demon as he swept his arm toward a group of them, releasing an arching burst of yoki. The energy caused the crowd to scream and drawback, trying to seek shelter as the wave of yoki swept down on them, killing those who were unfortunate enough to be caught in its path.
"That ought to silence the rest of you annoying pests." Rando then turned his attention back to the young man on the ground. Kuwabara's head was tilted upward, staring in disbelief at the sight of innocent people being slaughtered. Rando simply smirked, basking in the enjoyment of his superiority over the human.
"So familiar, isn't it?" He taunted as two of the copies dug their feet further into his back. "I warned you that you would not be able to stop me. We have played this game once before, and despite you're so-called 'improvements', you are right back where you were last time. Lying down at the feet of a superior being, right where you belong."
Kuwabara continued to glare, even as he grunted as the doppelgangers continued to stomp on him. The sounds and looks of terror coming from the crowd, combined with those coming from Yukina and his friends, were beginning to take their toll on him. The severity of the situation, and what all was on the line dawned on him in a sickening fashion.
'I-I can't do this, I can't beat him. Urameshi, if I can hold out long enough for Urame-' His thoughts cut off as he suddenly remembered where Yusuke was at the moment. 'I'm alone on this one. Alone against a freak I can't beat. What can I do?' Rando's words replayed in his mind, followed by those from a life he remembered not so long ago.
"Familiar isn't it? You are lying face down at the feet of a power greater than yourself." The words of the demon standing over him taunted him, eerily similar to words he had heard from past enemies.
"You've gotten yourself up most admirably. But honestly? Lying on the ground suits you." The words of Elder Toguro held the same mocking tone, assuring him of an impending death.
"It must be frustrating, being so strong, and yet so weak; barely able to defend yourself. It pains me to think you'll have to suffer before you die." Sensui's calm voice reasoned as Kuwabara lay defeated at the renegade detective's feet.
A guttural roar suddenly tore from the teen's throat as his reiki spiked intensively. The sudden surge of energy caused Rando to stumble back, wide-eyed as the boy leaped up off of the ground and into the air. His rei-ken activated in his hand as he reached the height of his jump, which was at least several feet up in the air.
"SCREW YOU, I AIN'T FUCKIN LYIN DOWN AT NOBODY'S FEET!" Gripping the weapon with both hands, he brought it up over his head before swinging it down. Rando and his duplicates leaped aside, maneuvering out of the way as the sword cracked the asphalt upon impact.
'So, he still had this much power left, huh?' He thought as he landed, the clones of him beginning to move strategically as soon as they landed.
Kuwabara stood for only a moment, his eyes tracking the movements of the other four. He noticed the two copies lying by him on the ground and heard them groaning as they began to attempt to rise to their feet. With fury still etched on his face, the teen made a swift movement with his sword, cutting off the heads of the clones at the neck. Though the sight was sickening to some, the fact that the young man was still able to fight was a welcome one to many. All of those except for Rando, who had been silently hoping to buy time for his clones to recover from the teen's attack.
"Hope ya weren't countin on those two, cause they ain't gonna be any use to ya anymore." He brandished his sword in front of him, his expression remained fierce as he spoke. "I'm gonna cut down each and every one of ya, just like them."
Rando scowled, taking the human's threat seriously, even if he didn't think he had the means to do it. Kuwabara watched his opponent, turning his head every couple of seconds to take notice of the clones who were lined all around him. The moments ticked by before he suddenly charged. There was no battle cry this time as his feet carried him forward, his sword held at his side.
Rando ducked down underneath the teen's swing as the sword arched over his head. Balancing on his right leg, Kuwabara brought his left knee up toward the demon's chin. Rando blocked the attack, however, pushing the knee away as he straightened back up. Lunging forward, Kuwabara threw a left fist, as his rei-ken was being held in his right hand. His shoulders rotated with the movement, his hips and knees turning in the same direction, even while his feet stayed planted.
The punch caught the demon square in the jaw, causing him to stumble backward, though the lack of reiki powering the attack caused it to do little damage. The surge of yoki behind drew his attention, as did the footsteps he could hear on the pavement. Remembering their positions, Kuwabara ducked and twisted to the side as a clone came rushing past him. The right punch missed its target at the back of the teen's head, causing it to overextend itself. Flaming spheres were launched as Kuwabara swept his rei-ken forward, gripped in both hands. The blade sliced into the clone, spilling blood from the doppelganger as it cut into his torso.
He continued his forward momentum as the kasho happa-ken slammed down into the clone he just cut. The flames engulfed its victim as Kuwabara turned his fierce gaze back to the Rando he originally confronted. Rando's look was murderous as he gazed at the human through the flames. Another tickle feeling hit Kuwabara, causing him to turn toward the other three clones behind, one landing in front of him from having launched the previous attack, the other clones bounded off of two traffic poles adjacent toward each other.
The clone stood his ground as Kuwabara charged forward, hoping to be able to get rid of another clone. The clone prepared to move out of the way of what it assumed to be another series of slashes from the teen's weapon. A smirking Kuwabara answered by stabbing the blade of his energy sword into the cement ahead of him. The clone watched, stunned as Kuwabara used the weapon as a makeshift pole-vault to propel him into the air. Wrenching his sword out as he reached the height of his ascent, Kuwabara focused his gaze on the airborne clone.
Thin threads of yoki appeared from the clone's mouth, only to be literally cut off as the teen swung his sword at its throat. The doppelganger snapped his head back, feeling the tip of the sword pass in front of him as he grasped the threads in his hands. Meanwhile, Kuwabara immediately formed another rei-ken in his right hand, stabbing forward with all the built up momentum from his initial swing. The clone's eyes widened as it felt the blade pierce its chest, exiting out of its back.
Blood spurted from its mouth as Kuwabara brought his left arm back around, the rei-ken in that hand connecting with the demon's ribs. The blow drove the doppelganger down into a car in the street below, denting the roof and shattering the windshield. Kuwabara didn't have time to consider how upset the owner of that vehicle would be, as the threads suddenly tightened around him. He grimaced, letting out a grunt of surprise as his arms were suddenly pinned to his side. A glance over his shoulder confirmed the location of the attack, as a smug clone looked down on him.
"So how do you like my Ito no ki*?" The clone shouted gleefully as it twisted in midair, swinging the teen into a car.
Kuwabara let out a startled yell before he met with the unforgiving steel of the vehicle. A shout of pain tore from his throat as the clone landed back on top of the traffic-light post it had originally been standing on. Leaping down on the opposite end of the traffic post, the momentum brought the gasping teen up into the air. The doppelganger pulled the thick thread of yoki along with him as he back away to align itself with the original Rando and its fellow clone.
"Well, you've certainly impressed me, managing to have lasted this long. Defeating four of my clones is also an act worthy to be proud of. But now you're unable to move, and my patience in this little cat-and-mouse game of ours has worn thin." His clone manipulated its energy, causing the giant cluster of threads to tighten around his captive. This action caused another yell of pain to erupt from Kuwabara as felt his arms being crushed against his body.
'I-I have to do something!' Kuwabara thought, his eyes clenched shut as he thought about what he could do to escape.
"Don't bother trying to muscle your way out, this technique can't be broken by physical human effort. And with your arms pinned in that manner, there is no way you'll be able to swing that little toy of yours. Plus, these threads are linked to my own energy, allowing me to tighten them with a simple fluctuation of my yoki. Escape is futile, your life will end here." The demon punctuated his statement by having his clone flex its yoki, tightening the strings even more.
Kuwabara cried out in pain again, his eyes still clenched shut while his mind raced to try to develop a plan of escape. Unable to think of anything, he felt his resolve begin to weaken before Rando's words finally settled into his brain. As he reflected on the demon's insight on his technique, a thought took root and a plan began to spring forth.
'It's a bit of a gamble,' he thought as he opened his eyes halfway, 'but it's the only option I've got.' Squeezing his arms in toward his body, Kuwabara ignored the trio of Rando as he slowly managed to maneuver his hands in front of him. Since he could not bend his elbows, the teen had to settle for bending his wrists, his hands cupping each other.
'Please let this work!' He thought as he felt a wave of yoki coming from Rando's direction.
"Now DIE!" The demon shouted as he and a clone launched two you-gans toward the young fighter.
"Jigen Tou!*"
Kuwabara's shout was followed by the extension of another blade of reiki from the palm of his hands. The blade shot out toward his body, cutting into the ito no yoki that held him in bondage. His body immediately dropped upon being loosed from his bindings as gravity did its work. Swinging his clasped hands toward his right side, the blade cut through the extending threads as the beams of yoki whizzed by the top of his head and destroyed the traffic post he had been suspended from. His breathing was labored as he landed, crouched down onto one knee, taking in the three stunned looks of his opponents.
"This is my one chance," he muttered to himself as he dispersed the golden sword of reiki from his hand.
"Im-impossible!" Rando shouted, his attention drawn toward the clone on his right as blood spurted from its chest.
It gurgled before dropping down to one knee, clutching at the slash on its chest before collapsing. Turning back to his opponent, Rando and his remaining doppelganger were greeted at the sight of Kuwabara charging forward, the strange new weapon held in a waki-gamae stance. Sensing the danger behind the weapon, Rando leaped to the side, his clone evading in the opposite direction as the teen thrust his sword forward.
'It's now or never.' Dispersing the golden blade of reiki, Kuwabara focused his energy into his hands.
'What's he doing?' Rando thought upon sensing the surge of reiki from the human. 'Even if he summons two swords again, he won't be able to reach us at this distance.' His answer was given as Kuwabara turned in the direction of his clone.
A stream of projectiles comprised of reiki burst from the opened palm of his hand as he thrust it forward.
"What?!" The doppelganger cried out as it was bombarded in mid-air by the projectiles. The clone crossed its arms, expecting the projectiles to burst upon impact. It couldn't have been more wrong as the blades of reiki speared through it, cutting through its limbs. Again, blood spurted from its mouth as it fell back onto the street.
Turning toward the last remaining Rando, Kuwabara was met with a blade of yoki piercing through his body. Though the demon had aimed for a vital spot on the teen, Kuwabara's sudden change in position caused the blade to pierce his side instead. The teen's wide-eyed stare of shock was met by a victorious smirk from Rando as the demon withdrew the weapon. Kuwabara's legs immediately gave out as he dropped to his knees, one arm barely catching him while the other gripped the wound in his side.
"That's more like it," the demon spoke amusedly as it held the you-ken* in one hand. "Fitting isn't it? That you should die by your own attack. I can't imagine a more ironic end."
Thinking for a moment, the demon grinned as a sudden flash of inspiration came to him. He delivered a powerful rising kick to Kuwabara's injured side, causing blood to erupt from the teen's mouth as he tumbled a few feet away. Dispersing his version of the teen's signature attack, the demon lifted a hand in the air as he spoke.
"I've exhausted quite a bit of yoki toying with you. Luckily I can absorb the yoki of the clones that you struck down, bringing my energy back to full." The energy flowed to the demon's body, even as he spoke, rejuvenating him and replenishing the yoki he lost.
"And thanks to my last attack, you are now too injured to come at me with that little toy of yours. I can also tell using that last attack in the manner you did put a strain on your reiki. That tells me that you are obviously unaccustomed to utilizing your reiki that way and that the chances of you using it again are nearly non-existent. You've utilized all of your tricks against me, and now you're out of options, and out of time." He paused as his hands came together to form a strange sign.
"I will correct my former statement, I have imagined a more ironic end for you. I will reduce your size once again, with the very technique I used to defeat you the last time we fought. This will show you that no matter what tricks you use, the outcome between us will always be the same."
Rando's speech was followed by him chanting the words necessary to use his infamous chijimu fuju*. His attention focused on casting the spell, he was unable to detect the flux of reiki until he heard the human teen's voice.
"Akuma-sasu no yari!*" Kuwabara's caused Rando to halt in his incantation.
The demon's eyes opened just before a blade of reiki stabbed right into his chest. Rando gazed astonishingly at the weapon that extended all the way back to the human's hand. Kuwabara was down on both knees, gasping as his arm continued to support his weight. The other hand had been taken off of the wound and was now holding onto the long rei-ken that had pierced the demon's chest.
"Ya know, ya really talk too much," Kuwabara grunted as he struggled back to his feet.
He managed to maintain his hold on the weapon, the act of his standing causing the blade to pierce slightly forward into Rando's chest. The demon dropped to one knee, biting back a grunt of pain as he leveled a hateful glare upon Kuwabara. The young man didn't even flinch from the look, too busy focusing on the task of maintaining his rei-ken while trying to ignore the blood leaking from his wound.
He stalked forward, the weapon pressing deeper into Rando's chest, even as it shrunk as the distance closed between them. Coming to stand in front of him, Kuwabara kept his cool gaze locked onto Rando's furious eyes.
"This…is impossible. I still…have to…exact my vengeance on that detective." Rando's words were followed by a groan of pain as Kuwabara clasped the hilt of his weapon with both hands.
"Ain't it sunk in yet? Urameshi's off handlin more important things than you. Besides, in case you didn't notice," his voice lowered as his eyes narrowed at the demon, "I'm the sheriff round these parts now!"
Wrenching his blade from the demon's chest, Kuwabara swiftly brought the blade up, sweeping from his right to his left, decapitating the menace in the process. Straightening back up slightly, the teen released his weapon as he clutched his wound, trying to apply pressure in order to stem the blood from flowing any further. He could barely register the cheers that erupted from the crowd of spectators as his head swam from the blood loss.
He collapsed forward, only to feel himself being caught by two pairs of arms that steadied him. Looking up, Kuwabara was met with the grinning faces of Kirishima and Sawamura. Akane, Gina, and Yukina were right behind the two, having approached as soon as they saw the two boys move.
"Way to kick that freak's ass, Kuwabara-san." Kirishima encouraged as he supported him.
"Yeah, that's how our buddy does it right there." Sawamura agreed as he stood on the other side of Kuwabara.
The teen managed a grin at his friend's words, even as the pain he had been shutting out during the fight came back upon him with a vengeance. Kuwabara let out another gasp as his chest continued to heave, still fighting against the urge to slip into unconsciousness. Yukina stepped forward, noticing the wounds on her 'date'.
"Please, lay him down," she urged his two friends.
The boys looked at her strangely, wondering why she was making such a request. They were met by the koorime kneeling down in front of them as she pleaded with them again to lay him down. They spared each other glance for the moment before complying with the girl's request. After laying him down on his back, Yukina placed her hands right above his wound. A faint glow lit around her hands as she focused the healing energy into the young man. Her face was etched in worry as she focused on the task at hand.
Kuwabara looked toward her, grinning in victory as he felt his own body respond to her healing energy. Already he could feel the blood flow lessen, and soon after the sharp, stinging sensation of pain along with it. Only a dull throb remained as she continued to heal him while the others looked on, amazed that this girl seemed to have some amazing power as their friend did. After a few more moments, the ache had all but vanished as Kuwabara's breathing slowed back to a normal pace. Seeing that the wound was healed, Yukina relaxed her energy before leaning over the young teen.
"Kazuma-san, are you alright?" Though her tone was no longer urgent, her eyes still reflected her worry. She was relieved, however, when Kuwabara responded by sitting up, his grimacing from the sudden movement.
"Be careful, Kazuma-san. Though I managed to close the wound, it is still not completely healed. There will still be some lingering effects." He responded by looking over at her with a smile.
"Nah, I'm sure I'll be fine now, thanks to you, Yukina-chan." His reassurance set her ease, as she was glad to see he was back to his old confident self. She knew nothing could keep him down for long.
"Thank goodness," she stated as she placed on his shoulder, a warm, happy smile on her face.
This caused Kuwabara to grin in return while he placed one of his hands upon her own; so caught up in their moment that they didn't notice the wave of euphoria that swept over the area. Thinking it another attack, Kuwabara maneuvered himself protectively in front of Yukina, his eyes sweeping around the streets simultaneously. The sight of all of the people in the streets who had been watching the battle, lying seemingly unconscious in streets and on the sidewalks stunned both of them. A voice followed by the sound of clapping only added to their bewilderment as its owner spoke from nearby.
"Not bad, Kuwabara Kazuma-san," the two turned to see a blue-haired man dressed in typical Reikai attire approach them. Kuwabara's eyes narrowed as he recognized the leader of the Spirit Defense Force easily.
"Tha hell're you doin here?" He spoke up, maintaining a defensive stance in front of Yukina, unsure of the man's motives for his sudden appearance. Sensing the teen's wariness, the man smirked.
"Come now, Kuwabara-san, I was paying you a compliment."
"Cut the crap! I know you're here for a reason so spit it out." His eyes then narrowed dangerously. "It'd better not be for Yukina." The threat only served to humor the Captain further.
"Be at ease, Kuwabara-san, we have not come here for the demon behind you."
"Then what the fuck are you doin here? Don't expect me to just take your word for it, last time you were here it was to get rid of Urameshi, one way or another."
"So distrusting, and direct as well. I see you and Urameshi-san share some similar attributes." This caused Kuwabara's lips to curl in almost a snarling fashion, obviously seeing no humor in the statement.
"Very well, I will get right down to business then. By order of his highness, Enma-Daioh-sama; we, the Spirit Defense Force, have been sent here to subdue the power responsible for tearing the Kekkai barrier." Kuwabara's gaze turned startled by the Captain's words, suddenly fearful of his own safety.
To be continued…
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Ki kyuutai - spirit orb, refers to the orb of reiki (spirit energy) Genkai give to Yusuke prior to the Dark Tournament finals.
Kasho Happa-ken – Circles of Inferno, a technique in which the user forms spheres of fire the size of a palm, using his/her energy.
Rei-ken – spirit sword, Kuwabara's signature attack.
You-gan – demon gun, or evil ray, is a version of the spirit gun using yoki (demon energy) instead of reiki (spirit energy).
Rei-gan – spirit gun, Yusuke's signature attack.
Ankoku Yorojin – Prism of Seven, a technique first utilized by Suzaku, the leader of the Saint Beasts. The user forms 6 flesh and blood copies of himself, each of them capable of independent thought and movement, as well as possessing their own amount of energy.
Hishou Kaze Setsudanki – Flying wind cutter, a technique in which the user uses his/her energy to form circles of compressed air around their arms, before hurling them at their opponent.
Rei-ken Ni Tokai Ryu – Twin Spirit Sword, a technique in which Kuwabara forms a pair of swords made from his reiki (spirit energy).
Ito no ki – Life-force Threads, a technique in which the user converts energy into thin strings, or threads, that are used to ensnare the opponent.
Jigen-Tou – Dimension Blade, is an evolved version of Kuwabara's rei-ken, which is able to cut through psychic barriers and territories.
Rei Shuriken – Spirit Knives, a technique Kuwabara originally used in the finals of the Dark Tournament. It is similar to the shotgun in that the user thrusts a hand forward, blasting the opponent with multiple projectiles made of reiki (spirit energy). Two main differences are that this technique requires an open-handed thrust, rather than the closed fist utilized with the shotgun. The second is that the projectiles cut through the opponent, rather than explode upon impact.
You-ken – Demon Sword, a version of the rei-ken that is formed from youki (demon energy) instead of reiki (spirit energy).
Chijimu Fuju – Shrinking Incantation, a technique in which a user casts a spell using a series of phrases to reduce the size of the opponent's body.
Akuma-sasu no Yari – Devil-piercing lance, a technique in which Kuwabara manipulates his rei-ken, causing it to extend well beyond its normal length. It can be used as a long-distance attack, as well as a spring or pole-vault
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