[FFML] [yyh][ry][rewrite] Youtou Shinnoken Chapter 10: Over the Horizon (Part 4)
gabriel_gabdiel at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 15 01:38:59 PDT 2010
Youtou Shinnoken: Demon Sword
A Rurouni Kenshin/Yuyu Hakusho fic
By Chester Castañeda
chester.castaneda at gmail.com
Original concept by Chad Yang
chadjill at ms3.hinet.net
The Battousai has finally awakened after Yusuke descended into the abyss
of his mazoku self.
Chapter 10: Over the Horizon (Part 4)
The nimbus clouds danced overhead, and the newly awakened Battousai
wondered if it would soon be cold enough for snow. He seemed strangely
compelled to see snow again. He loved watching it decorate the ground
with a blanket of white that buried everything under a shroud of
pristine innocence. He was just deluding himself, of course; the dirty,
nasty things were still hidden underneath the immaculate veil the same
way his Battousai self was lurking behind the mask of the bungling
Unbidden, a bright-red spot of blood appeared on top of Battousai's
imaginary snow. From there, a vision of a dying Tomoe assailed his mind,
and for a second, his resolve almost faded and his grip on the Youtou
Shinnoken gradually loosened. However, thoughts of his other lost love--
Kaoru Kamiya--filled him with a glimmer of hope. He tightened his grip
on the Demon Sword's handle; he was ready to fight once more.
The former hitokiri and youkiri stared at the approaching mass of mist
and fog in grim silence. Eventually, _it_ appeared; the slender yet
intimidating form of a wolf the size of a monument, its golden eyes
glowing amidst the cloak of darkness. Beneath the creature stood Goro
Fujita, his lips curled with droll anticipation.
"Saito Hajime. You do know how to make an entrance," Battousai stated
humorlessly as he fell into his preferred battou-jutsu stance.
"It's been a while, Himura Battousai. It looks like I won't be bored
after all." Fujita's mild amusement at finding his prey after many years
of hunting and stalking quickly evaporated. "You sure took your sweet
time fighting small fry, as always. Fortunately, your Battousai self has
awakened just as I've arrived. That should give you an extra five
minutes to live before I skewer you apart."
'You're as creepy as ever before, Saito Hajime. You always turn into
this emotionless killing machine whenever you end up in a fight to the
death. Even still, I see you've become stronger than when I saw you
last. Granted, it's been a lifetime ago, but still, the energy you're
exuding right now is beyond that of kenki. It's beyond anything human,
Fujita's unblinking eyes were clearly pointed at Battousai, the thin
man's piercing gaze seeming to bore right through him. The ex-shinigami
returned with a stare of his own, fire for ice, but the policeman didn't
even blink in acknowledgment. A stalemate of sorts, or so the swordsman
Fujita moved towards the place where a large Tori Gate once stood,
walking casually onto the grounds devastated by Battousai's earlier
bout. He subsequently stopped just five yards short of his quarry's
Battousai exhaled lengthily. He saw mist rise from his mouth. The
temperature around him dropped considerably, and he hadn't even realized
it, distracted as he was with the policeman's presence. "I never saw you
before since Kyoto," he pointed out to Fujita.
"Yes, you have," Fujita corrected. "You merely didn't recognize me. I
was around you all the time, your faithful companion, and you became so
accustomed to my presence that you didn't make an effort to look
closer. I was always there. A lot of time has passed since we last met,
and you are no longer unaware of what I am. My return after so long has
opened your eyes. You can now see me before you."
"How quaint. So you've been stalking me all this time?" Battousai
supposed, his gaze never leaving Fujita's.
Fujita spoke again using empty words that once held some meaning but
were now lost to his unfeeling heartlessness. "You have brought many
into Death's cold embrace in times past far more than most. People who
are constantly surrounded by death and who ushered death unto others can
occasionally feel and know it for what it really is."
"Just what are you getting at? Are you claiming to be my death?"
Battousai straightforwardly asked, maybe even challenged.
"Don't be silly. Death had already come for you long ago. And yet, here
you are still; dead, yet alive. From what I've heard, you yourself
continue to be the Harbinger of Death to many a demon for more than a
century. Perhaps you can become my death as well?" Fujita told him.
"Why do you seek death now of all times, after you've evaded it for so
long? What exactly happened to you after all these years, Saito Hajime?
I've heard rumors, but I never expected any of them to be true." Moving
back, needing a moment to summon his strength, Battousai locked his icy
gaze with Fujita's. "So tell me, have you really sold your soul to the
devil to obtain immortality? Have you gone all the way to the Demon
World just to gain the secret to eternal youth and life? Have you become
a demon yourself?"
Fujita huffed mockingly. "That's utter nonsense. Open your eyes first
before you make such outlandish accusations. Just who do you think I
It was more a statement than a question. There was no emotion in his
baritone voice; it was nothing more than a subtle proclamation of an
inherent fact. His voice was as lacking of emotion as the face it
belonged to. It held a hint of inescapability, and the full implications
of what Battousai was about to do immediately settled in. He supposed
his whole line of question was somewhat foolish and ill-conceived, but
something in him insisted he do this and stop the unstoppable.
After another deep breath, the fog rose slightly above Battousai's
glinting eyes before dissipating. Indeed, it was about to snow now.
Subsequently, realization struck Battousai as hard as one of Sanosuke's
dual extreme punches to the face. 'Is this man really Saito Hajime, or
someone else entirely? Who is he really?' After a seeming eternity--
which was less than a dozen minutes--Fujita finally approached, paused,
and fell into his proverbial Gatotsu posture.
Battousai stepped forward, meeting the unspoken challenge, if it could
be considered that. "Maybe I really don't know who you are now, or what
you've become. If that's the case, then it's about time we got
reacquainted with each other."
"I thought you'd never ask. GATOTSU ISHIKI!" the Wolf of Mibu roared
mightily and charged straight towards Battousai with his deceptively
simple yet effective stabbing attack.
"SOU RYU SEN!" The Double Dragon Flash was a very tricky move to pull
off. A large amount of concentration and kenki was needed to make it
work. As luck would have it, even though his Youtou Shinnoken missed,
its sheath hit Fujita's sword arm right on target, bending it in an odd
'That's it? After a hundred years of waiting, this is how our legendary
feud ends?' Battousai frowned in displeasure. "Get up, Saito. It would
be disappointing to end our battle like this after so long."
Fujita smirked as he picked himself up and clutched his bent arm. He
afterwards straightened and popped its dislocated bones back into place,
all the while savoring the heartrending pain the action caused. Donning
his poker face once more, he contemptuously asked, "Have your senses
dulled that much? Stop making a fool out of yourself. Before you brag,
check yourself out. Have you noticed anything different, Battousai?"
A second passed, followed by a minute. Horror struck the ex-hitokiri's
features as he gradually put two and two together, working out what had
really happened in the opening moments of his bout with Fujita.
Kenshin looked numbly at his wounded and bloodied abdomen in growing
trepidation. This was one of the few times that he actually _wanted_ to
be in his ghostly form; after all, spirits didn't get physically injured
He eyed Fujita's katana warily as it shone a crimson shine. He collapsed
a second later as he felt Yusuke's pain synchronize with his own in a
cacophony of orchestral misery. The gut-wrenching pain of getting
stabbed and having your insides battered simultaneously assailed the
swordsman ghost's senses.
"The old Battousai would never have let that quick stab get him. Even
though you've gained some of your killer instincts back through your
bond with the half-demon boy, it's still not--"
Battousai then felt the aforementioned half-demon boy's instantaneous
recovery coincide with his own. Instinctively, he disappeared right in
the middle of Fujita's gibbering diatribe. Blurring into action, the
redhead flew forward into the darkness, and was rewarded an instant
later with the soft feeling of unyielding flesh on the edge of his
Rando had hoped his version of the Kaiwan and his various other stolen
techniques were enough to, at the very least, slow Yusuke Urameshi's
Toushin form down. Alas, all they did was help him survive against
fighting a true S-Level Warrior. He could barely even nick, much less
injure, the teenaged human-demon hybrid.
Rando had nearly used up half of his arsenal of skills on Yusuke, yet
the mazoku still kept coming back for more. The demon was simply
outclassed in every way possible. He didn't give a damn about that,
The raven-haired demon spawn darted inside the invisible spiraling
vortex head on, bloodying himself in the process, and drilled his target
with clean hundred-shot volleys, one after the other. He then jumped on
top of Rando and started delivering alternating left and right punches
to the demon's face.
Rando reckoned that it was now time to finish the battle before it
became a replay of the earlier portion of the fight. As he made his
now-worthless Kaiwan disappear all of a sudden, he exclaimed, "Stand
STILL!" and used Jine's Shin no Ippou on his quarry.
During that short moment where Urameshi's muscles were frozen stiff,
Rando used his speed to move in for the kill, his fingers ready to
execute a lethal ten-hit pressure point combo with laser-like
"HAKKEI!" Powering his strikes with focused nen particles, Rando made
quick work out of the half-breed. The mazoku didn't even know what hit
him as he stared upwards into nothingness, crumpling to the ground.
Concurrently, Yusuke felt Kenshin's pain harmonize with his own in a
dissonance of suffering. The gut-wrenching pain of having your insides
battered and getting stabbed simultaneously assailed the half-demon's
Soon after, Yusuke's sightless, glassy eyes regained their vibrancy as
he clapped appreciatively at his foe's latest offensive. "Wow. Bravo.
That 'Hakkei' of yours was just... incredible! My insides would have
surely turned into jelly had I not locked my reserve Sei Kou Ki inside
my body. Tough luck, but nice try."
"RYU SOU SEN!"
Fujita's blood was sprayed all over the landscape a moment later.
"G-GATOTSU NISHIKI!" a wounded Fujita bellowed as he struck forward with
the second form of his Gatotsu a split second later, its wider range of
attack enabling him to deflect the rest of the Hitokiri Battousai's
powerful strikes. His blade crashed hard against the Youtou Shinnoken as
he diverted its path away from his person. The hitokiri countered this
by using the resulting recoil to catapult himself up into the stormy
As expected, Fujita sunk his stance low and then charged upward to meet
the redhead's aerial strike, making full use of the Gatotsu Sanshiki's
forty-five degree angle strike. He expected Battousai to, at most, twist
his torso to avoid gravity-assisted impalement. He certainly didn't
expect what happened next.
"...KAN SEN, ARASHI!"
The Dragon Hammer Flash was merely a setup for the storm version of
Battousai's Ryu Kan Sen. The complicated maneuver made him tumble from
front to back, forming a spiral not unlike the eye of a hurricane. The
revolving sword strike scored some deep gashes and contusions on
Fujita's neck, shoulder, and head, stunning him briefly.
"RYU KAN SOU SEN!"
Just as soon as he landed, Battousai became an incessant whirling
dervish, swinging numerous sweeping arcs at his target with clockwork
precision. 'This is just like the combination attacks he had used
against Shishio!' was what Fujita deduced from his attacker's fluid
segue from one technique to another.
The gaunt officer stabbed several Gatostu Nishiki at the approaching
strikes, hoping that his dual attack-and-defense posture would somehow
find an opening in Battousai's ostensibly unstoppable assault. After a
few metallic clangs, the Wolf of Mibu decided to try a different tactic.
"GATOTSU ZERO--" Just short of executing his critical pointblank
stabbing technique, Fujita pumped his long legs forward with a Gatotsu
"ISHIKI!" fully parodying Battousai's recent combo attacks. The added
thrust of the cancelled Zeroshiki gave his Ishiki the extra leverage and
momentum he needed to drive the manslayer into the chalky ground. The
former Ishin Shishi fell into a dusty heap, wheezing in agony.
Fujita snorted, gingerly wiping the blood on his neck and face as he
assiduously observed his adversary's current condition. 'He's breathing
too hard. Could it be that his body couldn't keep up with that show of
strength? It must have taken more out of him than he anticipated.'
Slowly, Battousai brought his breathing under control.
Fujita was definitely taken aback by _that_. 'Humph. What a phenomenal
recovery. Like in my fight with him in the Kamiya Dojo, this watered-
down version of Battousai is slowly adapting himself in the face of a
superior foe, becoming fiercer, stronger, and faster. By fighting me,
his oldest enemy, has the sense of more than a century ago been revived?
Has he become Hitokiri Battousai once more? Or am I instead fighting the
"I have never tried using the Zeroshiki on you until now. I wonder, is
my ultimate technique even stronger than your ultimate technique?"
Fujita reflected out loud as he pointed his sword at the former
hitokiri's general direction.
"You won't even get the chance to find out," Battousai patently vowed as
he fell into stance once more.
"Indeed? Prove me wrong, then." As Fujita uttered the words, his sword
started to glow ethereally. "Only this will tell. The true from of the
Gatotsu. No holding back now."
'Now, like before, his ghost had learned to accept victory by awakening
the strength of the Battousai that sleeps inside him. It's just as I
thought. When the need arises, although he doesn't know it, little by
little he's reverting to his Battousai self.' Fujita grimaced as his
sharp, amber eyes of malice narrowed at his target. 'Nevertheless...'
Fujita stabbed forward. Battousai sidestepped and turned, making the
Former Captain of the Third Shinsengumi Unit miss his adversary and
"RYU KAN SEN!"
With his footing uneven and the Battousai inching closer and closer with
a sword that did _not_ have a reverse edge, Fujita had a very small
chance for survival--yet also a very small window of opportunity. Though
the dragon's advantage lay in the heavens, the wolf's advantage lay on
Battousai's resulting centrifugal-powered Ryu Kan Sen--the same Ryu Kan
Sen that had beaten the human version of Goro Fujita many decades past--
hit nothing but air this time around. 'What...?'
"Amazing. Avoiding the blow and turning at the same time. A blow to the
back full of centrifugal force, the Dragon Swathe Flash," Fujita jibed
as he crouched low, avoiding the counterstrike and regaining his balance
and leverage. The Youtou Shinnoken whistled past him, its blade mere
inches from his scalp. "But this instance won't become a replay of our
last fight. Observe."
Dragon and wolf were again face-to-face. Fujita had long discovered that
the claws and teeth of the dragon that soared the heavens could not
reach a wolf that had gone to earth. He even tested his theory
successfully against the Shisejyu Seiryu.
'Let's see how this technique is going to fare against _the_ legendary
Battousai.' "GATOTSU SANSHIKI!" Fujita roared as he once more charged
with the third stance of his Gatotsu.
'What an interesting counter. Indeed, he has done his homework.'
Battousai's mind immediately worked out over a dozen attacks and
counterattacks from Fujita's location, and the defenses he could muster
to counter or evade them. However, before he could implement even one of
his elaborate battle plans, he felt his spirit break and his soul
shatter. Something had happened to Yusuke once more.
Unbidden, Himura Battousai's entire being quickly spun into chaos as
agony stabbed the very core of his tangible soul. It exploded from the
inside out, tearing him apart in every which way possible. Nothing
could penetrate the haze of searing pain he felt at that moment. 'Not
now. NOT NOW!'
Fujita continued his charge, inadvertently taking advantage of his
sudden stroke of luck. "Say good-bye to your borrowed life, Battousai!"
What concerned Battousai at the back of his mind was the lack of feeling
from his environment that followed Fujita's lance of unbearable torture.
After several minutes, Battousai blanked out altogether.
Rando sneered. "Urameshi, you arrogant piece of shit. Your arrogance
astounds me; astounds and disgusts me," he growled. "It's humans like
you who perpetuate the rot in society, people like you who, secure in
your own ability, belittle that of others, no matter how hard they try.
To think that you could actually be a half-demon makes me sick. Only
humans can be this bigheaded, giving themselves more credit than they
"Whoa. Easy there, lady. Take some deep breaths. In... out... in... out.
There, have you calmed down a bit? I hope so." Yusuke sniggered. "I must
say, I was actually praising you, but the way you reacted to it will
have me laughing for days. You're ANGRY! Grrrr! I think you need to put
some stuff into perspective here."
"All I need to do is give you another Hakkei and you're toast. You
should be the one putting things into perspective," Rando countered.
"Whatever, man. Anyway, by this time I reckon your present power range
is somewhere between B-Class and A-Class, right? It's good to see that
you're not a Class-C shit anymore. You're now as powerful as the Younger
Toguro was at the height of his power. I'm impressed, I really am."
Yusuke nodded to himself as Rando continued to glare daggers at him.
"You're never at a loss for words, aren't you?" Rando scathingly barked,
scowling. "Just what are you getting at?"
"I'll tell you; just shut up and hear me out," Yusuke berated. "Indeed,
your vast knowledge of techniques makes you nearly unbeatable once
you've attained enough energy to execute them all; that much I'll give
you. I suppose that's why you desperately wanted to get a hold of
Genkai's Spirit Light Wave Gem in the first place. However," the Toushin
smirked as his eyes glimmered with glee, "your greatest strength will
prove to be your own downfall."
"Fuck you, Urameshi," Rando cursed. "You're just flapping your gums,
talking trash. Let's just get on with it."
"You're a fucking idiot, aren't you? Do you really think that having a
hundred and one techniques is an advantage on your part? Ha. That's just
a hundred and one reasons for me to beat your sorry ass." Toushin Yusuke
shook his head in mock dismay. "Don't you know that there's a reason why
true fighters only make use of, at most, seven to eight techniques? And
out of all those techniques, there are only two or three they use most
Hearing Rando's lack of a response, the mazoku continued. "You're a
jack of all trades, but a master of none. You can easily get confused
thinking up of which technique to use in a given situation, and you have
to choose carefully because you can only use a certain technique at a
certain time. Fact is, once you overspecialize, you breed in weakness.
So what are you going to do now, you stupid walking Swiss Army Knife?
"I'm going to do this: SHAOLIN-KA-SHOU-HAPPA-KEN! ZANKUU REPPU JIN!
BLOOD FIRE WAVE! ZANKUU RETSU JIN! KIKOKEN! YOU-GAN! BLOODY RAIN! SPIRIT
GUILLOTINE! SHIKIGAMI TENKU! HADOU KEN! POWER WAVE! REPUU KEN! AOI HANA!
PSYCHO SHOT!" His throat raw from all his shouting, Rando threw a
multitude of his projectiles at the half-breed, one after the other. The
myriad of dancing energy waves converged into a hodgepodge of rainbow-
"As for me, I only need one technique; a technique that surpasses all
my other techniques by a mile. And I ain't talking about the Rei-Gan
either! So eat this, demon! SEI KOU KI!"
Sparks flew as the Bloody Rain's barrage cascaded upon Toushin Yusuke
like shrapnel at point blank range. The blistering assault would have
ripped the mazoku descendant apart had he not evoked his Saint Light Ki.
As it was, the attack merely neutralized the half-demon's impassioned
'Impossible! How can he summon that technique after suffering from the
Blood Wind's energy-sapping powers? And what about the power he used
earlier? Shouldn't that have depleted him of his strength too?' An
audible mental click akin to the sound made by plucking a taut guitar
string echoed in Rando's head.
Toushin Yusuke went through the Spirit Guillotine, Blood Fire Wave,
Shaolin-Ka-Shou-Happa-Ken, Zankuu Reppu Jin, and Zankuu Retsu Jin with
no trouble whatsoever, like they weren't even there. On the other hand,
the combined forces of the Hadou Ken, Power Wave, Repuu Ken, and the
ever-fiery Aoi Hana gave him a bit of pause as they clashed mightily
against his halo of divine grace.
'Wait. Didn't he just say that he kept some reserve Saint Light Ki
inside his body?' Rando nodded to himself in understanding. 'But of
course. He didn't need to charge up a new batch of Sei Kou Ki, he
already stored up all the Sei Kou Ki he would ever need beforehand. He
wasn't afraid to use up quite a bit of his reiki and youki because he
already hoarded a lot of holy energy within him as backup; it's all
money in the bank,' he assessed.
By the time Yusuke was able to advance further, the Kikoken and the You-
Gan had already merged, creating a spherical explosion that pushed the
mazoku back a couple of feet away. The Shikigami Tenku then detonated
in the heart of the blast, creating an explosion within an explosion
that annihilated almost everything in its path.
"I won't hold back anymore!" Rando declared; obviously, he was merely
bluffing. He had already said the same statement many times before at
different points of the fight. He wasn't really holding back at all;
the truth was, he simply didn't know what his true limits were. "I have
something even more powerful than your precious Sei Kou Ki!"
The mazoku didn't have time to engage in witty repartee with his
nemesis; he was too busy shaping his celestial powers into angelic wings
that would serve as his shield from the approaching many-megaton blast.
His half-demonic brown eyes then widened in astonishment as the last
projectile, the Psycho Shot, absorbed all the leftover energy of the
previously released attacks, hurtling itself towards him like a gigantic
streaking comet from outer space.
Spending all his reserves on his protective parry, Urameshi turned his
complete and total attention to the sphere of psychotic energy, hitting
it with the Sei Kou Ki in full power. Slowly but surely, the intense
psycho ball decreased in size as his gilded wings dispersed the
incursion's superfluous amount of negative energy. After a while, the
energy orb dissipated into nothingness; only then did he look over his
Yusuke had been so preoccupied with dispelling the Psycho Shot that he
didn't even anticipate what happened next. Rando looked straight into
Yusuke's eyes, making the mazoku think that the youkai was aiming for
another surprise Shin no Ippou. However, instead of shooting out
hypnotic rays of kenki to arrest his opponent's movements, Rando's eyes
turned blood red as tendrils of raging demonic power scorched through
his upper body.
Rando subsequently did two quick jabs, moved forward by a quarter of
a foot, did a low kick and a fierce straight punch, and then ended his
short kata by raising his left knee and shifting all his weight on the
tips of his right foot's toes. Surreally enough, the demon began gliding
towards Yusuke while maintaining his bizarre fighting stance. Away from
the mazoku's field of vision, the kanji for the word 'Heaven' appeared
on Rando's pasty back like a large, bleeding scar.
"SHUN GOKU SATSU!"
"What the...?" Yusuke reared back and hesitated for all of two seconds
before instinctively rushing forward with an iron-hard punch filled with
his consecrated Sei Kou Ki power.
The two approached each other with the momentum of two raging bulls,
heading for the place where life and death met.
As the two energies clashed together, Yusuke's sense of balance and
equilibrium was rendered null. His whole world went upside down as
absurd amounts of poisonous jaki was forcibly pumped into his system,
subverting and nullifying the sanctified abilities of his Saint Light
Ki. In a little while, the mazoku saw a very brief vision of a bloody
river filled with souls of the damned; he thought he saw the Gateway to
Was Yusuke going to die the same way Keiko did? Was he going to suffer a
death by jaki as well?
'Keiko... is dead. And I will be dead as well. Maybe it won't be so bad,
once we're finally together.'
There were flashes of pain and agony as pandemonium erupted. Afterwards,
there was dead silence.
And then it was over. Yusuke came to without even realizing it. He had
no idea how long he had been unconscious, but he had been out for quite
some time; that, at least, was certain. One moment he was surrounded by
madness, and the next he had stepped into the eye of the storm, a
featureless bubble of merciful stability. Sudden relief washed through
him, and he fell to his knees, gasping desperately as he tried to
The only thing he could remember was an intense flare, and then... this.
He tried to open his eyes to see where he was, but found that they were
already open. Alas, he saw nothing but pitch blackness. Could the flash
have blinded him? The mere thought drove him to terror, and he struggled
the best he could against the darkness of his surroundings, gritting his
teeth in pain. The droning in his head was still there, louder than ever
Gradually, the weird high whining in his head weakened. Weakened until
he realized that it wasn't a whine at all, but... a voice.
Another epiphany rose slowly out of the nimbus of his consciousness. He
was unconscious, but the voice, the droning in his mind, was no dream.
Keiko's spirit smiled faintly as she finally got through to Yusuke's
inner mind. The Kugai had lost the war for Yusuke's soul and sanity...
for now. It was up to her to completely free the half-demon from the
World of Suffering's tight, smothering grip.
"Keiko... KEIKO! Keiko, where are you? A-Are you all right? Um, what I
meant to say was, are you...?" Yusuke stopped his stuttering short; he
didn't know what to say. He knew. He already knew why she was there and
what had happened to her. He knew that her body was in danger of
expiring, and her soul had already passed through the Spirit World.
Because of the Kugai, he felt every conscientious, difficult breath her
slumbering self took in. 'What do you say to a person's ghost anyway?
_I hope that, besides the dying part, you're all right?_'
Strangely enough, Keiko girlishly chuckled at Yusuke's morbid joke. 'You
do know that I can now hear all the weird little thoughts that are
running in your head, right? It's one of the perks of becoming a ghost.'
Once Keiko became aware of what she just replied, she paused. Obviously,
her own dead baby joke left a bad taste in her mouth.
Yusuke couldn't see Keiko's face at all in the pitch-blackness of his
withering psyche, but he did get the gut feeling that her mood soon
after become melancholic. Not that he could blame her for that or
'Well now. It seems that the tables have turned. Looks like this time,
I'm the one who died in an accident and you're the one that... that...'
Keiko forced a laugh. Though unseen, Yusuke intuitively knew that she
was crying inside right then and there.
"So this is just a dream, since dreams are the only way a ghost can talk
to a living person. But even though it's just a dream, at least...
you're real," Yusuke confessed, scratching the side of his cheek in
growing embarrassment. "At least I can have that comfort, Keiko."
Yusuke felt Keiko smile. 'Yes. Yes, I am. I'm very real.' Keiko's hands
shook, trembling like bamboo leaves, moving upwards to reach for her
unreachable, untouchable loved one. She, like Yusuke, could feel the
half-demon's trepidation; his dread. 'Yusuke...' She braced herself.
'Listen to me carefully. This is very important. Botan-san had already
briefed me on what's going on with you, and it had me a bit worried,'
she informed telepathically.
"S-So what's going on with me?" Yusuke questioned warily. "How long have
I been out cold? How long have I been dreaming? Why do I feel like I'm
out of the loop? I'm so confused that I don't even know which way is
'Botan-san said that it was all the Kugai's fault. Your subconscious has
automatically transformed you into a demon in order to counteract the
Kugai's tendency to leave people hopeless and suicidal. Your demon self
is what's keeping your sanity in check because only your demon self
would survive if the Kugai ever had its way. Your humanity is being
destroyed piece by piece, and you mustn't let the World of Suffering do
that to you!'
"Well, ain't that just fucking convenient." Yusuke grunted in annoyance.
"It's almost as if the Kugai was tailor-made to make sure that I stay
demonized. It's a setup, I tell you!"
'Well, that's not the case now. Only after you've stopped being in
denial and accepted the painful truth about,' she inwardly sighed, 'my
situation did you set yourself free from the Kugai's grip. I'm so proud
of you.' That was what Keiko said, but the way she said it made it sound
as if she were anything but proud; or happy, for that matter.
Even though he already knew the answer, Yusuke couldn't help but dazedly
state, "So it's true. It wasn't a dream... the fact that you're..."
Yusuke could almost hear the heartbreak in Keiko's voice. 'Dead?'
Both teenagers mulled over the situation wordlessly, both desperately
trying to find a solution to their problem.
"Yes," Yusuke finally confirmed. "About that..."
'Yusuke, I... I've prepared myself. Though I was in limbo... purgatory,
actually... for quite a while, in total denial of what had happened to
me, my heart is now ready. I have accepted the fact that I may not come
back to life like you did when you were dead. Just my rotten luck, huh?
But it's not so bad. I might actually pass on to the afterlife, in fact,
"Shut the fuck up," Yusuke said in a low, dangerous voice. "Don't go
telling me shit like that! What you're saying is complete and utter
Keiko bit her lip as she felt the Kugai reassert its grip on her half-
demon boyfriend's mind. This was going to be... difficult.
Then, after much hesitation and inner deliberation, Keiko finally spoke.
'I forgot to say that I love you.'
Yusuke was taken aback by what Keiko just said, completely nonplussed.
"That was kind of out of the blue. I love you too, of course, but what
the heck are you trying to say?" he cautiously inquired in befuddlement.
'Shush. Let me finish.' The walls were down, Keiko realized; just for a
moment, Yusuke had burst out of his Kugai-induced shell. But something
told her that she had to be careful. One careless remark was all it took
to slam his defenses back.
Feeling as though she were walking on eggshells, she firmly prodded,
'I'm sorry I wasn't able to tell you that back when you were supposed to
leave for the Demon World, but I presumed that you already knew. Well,
it's my turn to say it. I love you a whole lot. I love you so badly that
even I'm confused about it. You disgust me immensely, you're
insufferable, and I love you so much, it hurts.'
"Stop it, you fool." There was indescribable agony in Yusuke's tone.
"Why tell me that now of all times? I already know. Stop saying such
things, because it sounds a bit too much like a good-bye to me."
Perhaps Keiko _was_ bidding Yusuke farewell, but she didn't want to
think such depressing thoughts at the moment. She needed to set her
priorities straight, because there was nothing left of her pride now as
she bared her soul to Yusuke. She'd be very, very embarrassed later on
once they survived this ordeal and faced each other again, but she was
more than willing to take the risk, knowing there might not be a 'later
on' for her anyway. It was this same sort of insight that drove her to
kiss Yusuke to save his life as well, once upon a time.
'I understand the pain that you must be feeling because of my situation
more than you'll ever know. I lost you not once, but twice. All I'm
asking now is that you man up and fight on. Use that pain to persevere,
because that's the thing I love the most about you.'
"Of course I'm going to fight! I'm going to fight for your life, Keiko!
Don't sound so resigned and helpless! Remember, Kuwabara almost died
dozens of times over, and look, he's still here! Genkai was honest-to-
goodness dead, but with one snap of Koenma's fingers, she got better!
And there're the Toguro brothers and their eternal youth shtick. Oh, and
let's not forget our friend Kenshin, who's been hanging around this
world for more than a century because of some cursed sword or something.
And what about me? I've overcome death twice! I'm not bragging, that's a
fact. So you can't give up. I won't let you surrender so easily. I won't
leave you behind, so don't you worry. I'll find a way to bring you back
'I knew you'd say that, and I appreciate the sentiment.' Imaginary tears
streamed across Keiko's cheeks. 'You're fighting for everything. You're
fighting for me and fighting so that you'll know how deep my love for
you is. So please, continue fighting for me, come what may.' She
swallowed hard. 'Unfortunately, to do so, you have to let go.'
There was another pause. "But how can you be sure that nothing bad will
happen to you if I do?"
'I can't be sure. I'm sorry.' Her vaporous lips touched his; a deathly
cold non-kiss from a girl who already had a foot on her grave. 'It's
just that... you have no choice.'
And then Yusuke cried. His familiar defenses were down. He stood before
her, hidden in the darkness, but more open and vulnerable than she had
ever beheld him before. She didn't want him to be like this, and yet
hearing his wails filled her with desire and longing, and all she really
wanted in the world was to reach up and wipe the wetness from his face,
touch his skin, feel his warmth on her hands, her lips...
But she couldn't. Not anymore. And, if things turned for the worse,
perhaps she never will. All she had to give were words. She hoped that
they were enough. 'Please don't cry. It's quite unbecoming of you. Like
Kuwabara-kun says, 'Be a man, Urameshi!'' She laughed miserably. 'Don't
worry, because I'll be with you too, crying, bleeding, and fighting
harder than I ever thought I could. Whether or not I'll live through
this, I will always, _always_ be by your side. You can bet your life on
And with that, Yusuke completely let go, finally accepting Keiko's fate;
only by doing so did the Kugai fully dissipate from the splinter in his
Yusuke awoke with a shout of terror, lurching forward and clutching his
chest. Curiously, his long mane of hair had already receded to normal
length while the myriad of markings on his body slowly faded away. Most
curious of all was the fact that the aforementioned chest that he was
clutching was strangely covered in his own blood; it was apparently
punctured by... God-knew-what.
He proceeded to rub his eyes wearily with his unsullied hand; he felt
dizzied for some reason, as if someone had just crushed his skull with
'A dream!' he told himself. 'Just a nightmare! Man, that was spooky.' He
tried to fit together the jumble of ephemeral images and sensations from
his nightmare. Something dark... something with claws... burning globes
of amber set against a black field. Also, something about Keiko...
If Yusuke's heart were still beating, it would have stopped right then
'N-No, that wasn't part of the dream,' he thought hastily, disinclined
to delve into such melancholy. Shuddering, he tried to shake off the
dark thought. 'No, I'm thinking about the _other_ dream.'
His epiphany merely lasted for one minute, but to Yusuke Urameshi, it
seemed like an eternity. The combined powers of Rando's last technique
and the special stabbing skill of Kenshin's enemy proved too much for
even his mazoku self to handle. He promptly fainted in sheer exhaustion,
but not before seeing though Rando's gambit of using hypnosis to make
him think that the demon could do a high-level maneuver like the Instant
There was more. Keiko was comatose, and her ghost just helped him get
through the curse of the World of Suffering. He was now awake and back
to normal, although he was still morbidly depressed. On the bright side,
Rando's power was just about completely depleted at that point. And,
like the coward that he was, the demon was currently crawling to the
exit of the dojo, completely spent and broken.
Rando had already stumbled to the gargantuan doors leading outside
before he stopped himself altogether. 'Have you lost all pride? Stand up
and fight!' he heard himself think as Yusuke started to walk towards
He was down on his knees now, clenching his ashen fists in either terror
or shame; he couldn't tell which. His face was chalk-white and beaded
with sweat. Like a verbal curse, he repeated his accusatory mantra of
cowardice, the words seemingly draining more from him as time passed. He
looked about ready to pass out.
"No, damn it!" Rando screamed suddenly, ferociously, startling Yusuke.
"NO! I WON'T LET IT END LIKE THIS!"
But he felt so tired and weak, as if the all his energy had been sapped
from his body. 'The Jagan of Deception has depleted me of the jaki that
the Chojin had so generously provided. Dammit, I'm such a spendthrift
fool!' His strangely reddened eyes narrowed.
It was far too late for regrets; Rando reckoned that, even though he
hadn't much strength to offer at that point in the fight, he had nothing
else to lose. He only had two choices: to live in dishonor or to die in
He let out a bitter laugh. "This is appropriate, don't you think? Seeing
myself sprawled on all fours, making a hasty exit towards the door like
a whipped dog, I mean," he drawled. "After all, I'm just a lowly demon,
a mere pawn to the Chojin's elaborate chess game. Well, I once thought
that even a pawn like me can make a big difference in our war against
the Spirit World, conveniently forgetting that the very definition of a
pawn is 'expendable'."
"Rando--" Yusuke hesitated before continuing, "You sound like you..."
"...Like I want to die?" Rando laughed: a horrid sound. "You have no
idea. I don't want that at all. I want--" His eyes grew distant. "I want
it to _mean_ something."
"This fight of ours, you mean?" asked Yusuke.
He laughed again. "You _don't_ understand. I mean... all of this!
Everything! Damn it--" he broke off. "Look," he said. "I've sacrificed
my honor, my dignity, my soul... I gave my whole life to be stronger,
no, to be the strongest of all the demons! To be a Class-S warrior, or
at the very least, one of the Chojin's generals! That was my dream, and
_you're_ the one who stole it from me! You, who didn't even want my
dream in the first place! You, who threw away a life of dominance and
ambition, a life that would've meant everything to me! And here I am, on
the verge of taking back what was supposed to be mine, and you ruined it
again! My decades of waiting, training, and suffering was about to end,
and in just a few hours, the opportunity has passed me by once more!
Don't you _see_?"
Yusuke gulped in bewilderment as the remnants of the Kugai made it
abundantly clear how Rando truly felt.
"Think about it," Rando urged Yusuke desperately. "You don't deserve all
the power that was given to you! You don't deserve all the luck and the
hand-me-downs that you've gotten, since you can't even appreciate just
how important these things really are! If my ambition was this fragile--
if it could be destroyed this easily, stolen and taken for granted so
effortlessly--then what _good_ was it? If everything I worked for could
be taken away just like that, then what was the _point_? What does it
Rando held back a sob. "Don't you see?" he whispered. "I just don't want
it to have been for nothing."
There was a long silence. Yusuke stared at Rando for the longest time.
In the distance, they heard the disturbing howl of a wolf. Rando sighed,
and started to turn away.
"Then fight," snapped Yusuke.
Rando looked around quickly, shocked.
"Fight, damn it!" Yusuke repeated. His voice was filled with anger. "You
want it all to be meaningful? How dare you! The only thing that makes
your suffering meaningless right now is that you've given up! You want
meaning? You want what you've done to be significant? Then _defend_ it
instead of just beating your chest and moaning about how sad you feel!"
Rando trembled from the might of Yusuke's words.
"The surest way to defeat," continued Yusuke, "is to give up before you
begin." He shook his head, and something like an arrogant smirk crossed
his lips. "So what are you going to do now, Rando?"
Rando finally realized that there wasn't any other choice left for him
at all. He stood up, spun on his heel, and turned towards Yusuke.
Looking straight into his opponent's eyes, he shouted what could be his
last battle cry.
An inferno of unbridled power exploded from the tips of Rando's fingers;
the remnants of the Chojin's jaki. A fountain of dark matter, a void of
energy; it screamed out a fiery, all-consuming storm of chaos and
destruction. There was a rumble of noise, like converging bolts of
lightning, like the howls of a banshee wind, like the vociferous crash
of a thousand sheets of glass.
Above it all, out of the eye of that maelstrom, out of a throat burning
with power and sore with desire, came his tortured cry.
"GRAVITON THUNDER!" Rando charged proudly, foolishly, magnificently, his
eyes a smoldering, murderous cauldron of rage that threatened dire
vengeance on anyone who got in his way.
At the same time, from the tips of Yusuke's fingers came a revolving
sphere of sunlight; the remnants of his Saint Light Ki. It afterwards
exploded into a supernova that, strangely enough, pulled in and turned
back the Sei Kou Ki in a never-ending cycle of destructive death and
fiery rebirth. A hairbreadth of a second later, he cried out, his voice
stridently clear and mighty as he uttered an oath of total annihilation.
"CHOU REI-GAN!" Feeling rather rebellious for a change, he unleashed the
roar of a dying phoenix, giving everything that he had in that one
blast. The shot made an eerie humming sound as it was launched, followed
by an earsplitting crack after it accelerated in the air. It moved so
fast that it was ignited by friction, turning into a streak of white
flame, a vengeful shooting star from the heavens sent by the Son of the
Great Mazoku Warlord himself.
Truth be told, Yusuke didn't want to use his Rei-Gan at that point
because he himself was so exhausted from the extensive fight that he
could barely stand, let alone fight. But for the very same reason, he
had to do it; Rando's Graviton Thunder might just possibly kill him this
Rando's face blurred and rippled amidst the glare of the projectile. He
flared with holy light. He felt neither remorse nor regret as the Super
Spirit Gun--childish a technique as it may sound--basically burned him
inside out with explosive power. What he did feel was painful numbness.
He knew that he did the best that he could in the fight, so there was
nothing for him to be ashamed of. He actually halfway enjoyed it, though
probably not as much as Urameshi did. "Yes. Finish me off. I'll be glad
to die this way. It's an honorable death."
That was the last statement he was able to make before his body began to
twist and writhe inside the infernal blaze of what seemed to be a
miniature star, like an ant curling up into a fetal ball as it got fried
by sunlight from a magnifying glass.
There came a sickening crunch, followed by a strange hissing sound that
was akin to sizzling liquid on top of a hot frying pan. Yusuke's burst
of spirit energy, on the other hand, eventually dispelled into
nothingness a moment later.
The weary half-demon heaved a heavy sigh as he involuntarily turned his
head away from the mangled and fried lump on the ground that was once
Rando. 'Dammit. It's finally over.' His knees then buckled as he
collapsed in complete exhaustion.
Yusuke stiffened. 'Oh no. Oh fuck no.' He uneasily gulped, choking in
his own guilt. 'I've exhausted all my powers. That means...!' His eyes
widened in horrific realization. Without his ki energy, Kenshin too
would run out of strength; that was the double edge of their shared
Demon Sword bond. 'Goddammit, no! SHIT! Not again! I'm so sorry. I'm
so fucking sorry, Kenshin!'
Completely spent and worn out, Yusuke fell face-first to the ground, a
shroud of darkness draping over his subconscious as his blood started to
mysteriously pool underneath him.
As the real Yusuke awoke from being the Toushin, so did the real Kenshin
wake up from being the Battousai.
Fujita snorted in disgust as he kicked Kenshin in the face while in the
process of retracting his sword from his opponent's chest. Luckily for
the swordsman ghost, the half-mazoku Yusuke didn't need a living,
beating heart to survive, so the strike wasn't a fatal one.
"Awaken your true self again. You've done so before, in the hands of
countless demons. Do the same thing now. Abandon your humanity. Become
the Devil inside the Demon Sword once more, Battousai. The vagabond
ghost that does not kill has made you weak," Fujita snarled.
"I don't need to abandon my humanity just to stop you, Saito," Kenshin
all but spat out before charging without heed. If his next attack didn't
succeed, the fight was over. He had no choice but to force his attack to
His new move was the apex of his swords skills; an unbeatable technique
he had come up with on his own during his tenure as Guardian of the
Demon Sword. At least, that was what his body instinctively remembered.
Nevertheless, it didn't even have a name until that point...
"KAITEN BATTOU-JUTSU!" It seemed like an appropriate name; perhaps
something that Sanosuke himself might have suggested. From there,
Kenshin used up every last inch of his strength, his strike coinciding
in perfect harmony with Yusuke's Chou Rei-Gan.
"GATOTSU ZEROSHIKI!" Fujita countered, his attack pound-per-pound as
powerful as Kenshin's.
The Zeroshiki proved too much for the Youtou Shinnoken to handle; it
slipped from Kenshin's tight grip, flung away by the collision of two
irresistible forces. Shortly, the pointed tip of the weapon embedded
itself unto the ground just as the pointed tip of Fujita's sword pierced
itself into Kenshin. Both warrior and weapon lay unmoving long after
they fell. His blood, the spirit guardian noted idly, had started to
pool underneath him.
The Legendary Battousai, Kenshin Himura, had just been defeated soundly,
unquestionably, and completely by Goro Fujita. 'How anticlimactic.'
"Aho. You're a complete and utter moron. Get up. Get up and fight, you
pathetic fool. It would be disappointing to end our battle like this
after so long," Fujita derided in disgust as he flicked his sword clean
of his quarry's blood.
To Fujita's revulsion, Kenshin finally swallowed his pride, pleading,
"Please, don't kill me. This life I've borrowed isn't mine, but a
friend's. I beg of you, please spare him! I'll do anything...!"
Sooner rather than later, Kenshin realized that Fujita had not made a
move to finish him off at all. "S-Saito... I mean, Fujita! Whoever you
"Shut up," Fujita responded in a reproachful tone. "Just look at
yourself. This parody of the Battousai, the wanderer that could not
kill, doesn't deserve a death by my hands. I'll leave you to your fate."
The swordsman didn't say another word. What else was there to say? He
didn't even know whether he should have felt relief or shame for himself
after hearing Fujita's decision. It was all very puzzling to the
To be Continued...
Next: More on Kenshin Himura's past.
The debate in regards to Rando being a jack of all trades and a
master of none was based, believe it or not, from a wrestling
forum. As everybody knows, wrestling is serious business. In any
case, yeah; some forum debates, utterly retarded as they may be,
are quite interesting to archive from time to time.
Disclaimer: Yuyu Hakusho is the rightful property of Yoshihiro
Togashi, Shueisha, Fuji TV and St. Pierrot. Rurouni Kenshin is the
rightful property of Nobuhiro Watsuki and Sony. This disclaimer
also covers all the other copyrighted material that are far too
many to mention here. Don't sue me please, I'm very poor.
More information about the ffml