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 Price of Will - VC & Lynx

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VampireCat92
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PostSubject: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:17 am

"So, what is the meaning of all of this so soon after the final Makai Tournament?" Kurama asked the leader of the Spirit World. The tournament had gone horribly wrong and the four of them ended up having to kill the winner before she caused complete chaos over Makai and Nigenkai. Yusuke was named official King and it had only been a month for all of them to recuperate. Yusuke was still learning the ropes of Ruler and he and Mukuro were advising him.

"Nothing good," Koenma sighed, placing his hands down on the desk. He knew that they were no longer the Renkai Tentai, and Kuwabara was the only one /in/ the group who could probably even be considered as one, but they had all came the moment he asked. Whether it was out of personal regards, or what, Koenma wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. "There was a delivery that was supposed to come here gone wrong. The La'tai tribe was supposed to send us an artifact that was starting to become unstable, in order for us to seal it."

"Oh that's awesome." Yusuke drawled, rolling his eyes. He had a feeling it was something like this. "So, what happened? Did it go boom?"

"Worse, it vanished." Koenma shook his head from side to side. "Apparently, the La'tai had forseen that happening, so they weren't...too upset."

"If they had seen it coming, then why didn't they take precautions to stop it?" Hiei huffed.

"They tried. That's why they tried to send it to us. They had hoped by sending it to us, they could forestall it from happening." Koenma explained. "All they knew was that someone was after it, but they weren't expecting it to be stolen between us. We weren't expecting that one of us would have a traitor. We don't know if it's one of them or one of us."

Kuwabara frowned, "But what are these...La'Tai? I never heard of them."

"Me neither." Yusuke frowned, looking back at Koenma.

"I have, if only vaguely...they're a very hidden earth tribe. Do you perhaps know more than I do?" Kurama asked.

"They are born from the earth of Makai literally." Koenma agreed, "Isolated from the rest of the world, but more connected with the comings and goings than your best informer. They are Seers, healers, and fighters. They live near an active volcano, and they could withstand heat that not even Hiei could. When they die, they turn into the stone that they were born from. They're never sought, and they're never looked for. Many call them myths. I know that a long time ago there was once a Priestess who would go to them. I don't know if that's still the story or not. Regardless, it's an artifact that they held dear, created from the Volcano and molten rock itself. I don't know the legend behind it, they'd know more than I do. But it was theirs...and now it's no longer in their hands."

"It sounds like a fairy tale." Kuwabara mused.

"You forget that the Human World has just as many tribes that are just like that. Isolated from the modern world, hidden among the jungles and the mountains that litter the earth," Kurama chided Kuwabara lightly, "Makai is no Nigenkai. We have technology, such as Yomi's territory, but it is not widespread. So why would this tribe be any different?"

"Then what is the game plan, Koenma?" Hiei folded his arms, "Do you know of any Priestesses for us to visit so we can start this wild goose chase?"

"I do. She's one of the last elemental priestess that there is." Koenma nodded, flicking on the remote to show a peaceful village that was up in the mountains, next to a forest. "The young Priestess you'll meet is named Saiyuri Suzuki." He pressed a button and on screen was a gentle looking demon with long brown hair and wearing a traditional shinto maiden uniform. "I know you're royalty, but please show some respect when going into her village. Priestesses are stronger than your average demon, and a lot older in the noble factor. I can have a portal set up for you right now."

"I didn't think that the demon world had Priestesses." Yusuke blinked a little in surprise but shrugged it off. "We'll play nice, but I think yesterday would've been an awesome time to set up that portal. Kuwabara, coming with? I don't know if that's wise, demons like human blood you know."

"Might as well." Kuwabara shrugged. "Not everyday we get to do this."

"True, they wouldn't want to get dumber."

"Oi!"

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:09 am

That peaceful village, was in ashes and smoke. The moment that they had landed on the ground, Yusuke's nose was assaulted with the strong scent of blood and ash. He could see demons of all different kinds bandaged and leaning up against broken buildings. There were plenty of bodies that lined up the streets with sheets over them, like it would somehow preserve modesty. It was...a weird sight to be walking into, normally the bodies would just be laying out, and the demons would just be eating each other or something incredibly nasty, but not here.

Kuwabara shuddered, "Something really powerful ran by here." He said under his breath. "It's like an after effect of an earthquake or something like that."

"Saiyuri! More people showed up!" came a deep shout not too far from them.

Kurama turned his head to see if he could spot just who it was that said that, and his eyes widened considerably in shock, his whole body stiffening. There was a man, maybe only a year younger than himself, and he was hit was a wave of deja vu. He looked so familiar. He wanted to entertain the thought, but believed it was impossible.

Hiei didn't know what Kurama's deal was, but he continued his way forward, hand on the sword attached to his hip, as he walked closer to the woman he recognized from the photograph who was bent over a body several yards away, offering a prayer. "Just what happened here?"

An attack but I don't know what from." Saiyuri leaned back against her heels. She looked exhausted, and blood covered her uniform so much so that it was hard to tell if she was injured or not. She blinked and looked up, wondering just why she was asked that question before letting out a loud gasp at who was before her. Hiei, Kurama, Yusuke, and of course the human. "Lord Yusuke I'm so so sorry! I didn't know you were arriving here!"

"Easy on the formalities kid," Yusuke still couldn't get over the whole -sama and Lord thing. It was the few things that made Kurama and Kuwabara tease him endlessly. "We're not here as royalty. Just..." He looked around, frowning. "What do you need?" He hated this part. He was never /good/ at this part.

"Kurama, you have the ability to heal with herbs don't you?" The man came up to them, "There's not much else the rest of you can do, I'm sad to say...unless you wish to help dig graves with Ryoko."

"I can assist with healing, yes..." Kurama watched him closely, "May we have introductions at least? You know us...be we do not know either of you."

Saiyuri bowed low. "I-I'm Saiyuri Suzuki of the Suzuki family. P-priestess of the Earth."
"Deep breaths, Saiyuri," the man said soothingly, "They were just like us before Yusuke took the mantle." He bowed low as well before straightening to his full height that matched Kuwabara's, "Masa Fundir of the Fundir family. As you can tell by my robes, I am a Priest of Water as well as a warrior."

"Just why are you not as bloody as the rest?" Hiei eyed him up and down.

"I...arrived at the tail end of the raid. I was travelling here from another village entirely a day or two away, and I saved Saiyuri in the forest, then proceeded to help her and her friend Ryoko drive out the rest of the attackers." Masa explained.

Saiyuri nodded, "And the Fundir Family has no reason to attack my family nor my village. They'd flood it. Not slaughter."

Fundir. Kurama knew that name from somewhere, but Youko shut him out before he could inquire deeper into his memories. Those eyes, though. A different color with his hair black instead of deep blue and he'd be the spitting image of him. Shaking his head, dismissing it, he turned to Saiyuri, "It is a pleasure to meet you both. Why don't you show me where I'm needed, Saiyuri-san?"

"Yusuke, I'll show you, Kuwabara, and Hiei to the graves. Yes, she is burying the dead of her enemies as well. I didn't question it," Masa shrugged.

Kuwabara beamed, "That's a pretty honorable thing for her to do. I didn't think I'd see that."

"Oh god she's a demon you. Do you have demon ancestry too? Is there something you're not telling me Kuwabara?" Yusuke teased.

"You know what?" Kuwabara rounded on to him. "I'm not as demonic as you."

"That's...not even a debate. I'm a literal fucking demon." Yusuke slowed clapped. "But congratulations for figuring that out."

"I for one am glad he isn't. He'd be a disgrace to the species," Hiei scoffed.

Saiyuri blinked as Kuwbara rounded onto him. "I'd be an awesome demon!"

"You'd die a lot faster." Yusuke offered.

"Goddamn it whose side are you on?!" Kuwabara demanded.

"No one's I think it'd be really fucking funny if you were one. Can you imagine it?!" Yusuke started giggling. "I think you'd have horns."

Kurama just rubbed his face, "They've always been like this, but now that they're older t's less out of malice and more of a game." He assured Saiyuri when he saw her confusion.

Saiyuri smiled a little. "I heard that Lord Yusuke was human once. It's good he still has a human friend. Though I'm honestly a bit shocked. I thought /he/ was a demon too."

"SEE I TOLD YOU."

"Am I going to get extra hands or what?!" A woman with long black hair to the middle of her back came storming over to the lot of them, her blue eyes exasperated, "It's not fair having our injured help me dig holes for their loved ones!"

"I was about to bring them over," Masa held his hands up, embarrassed, "Then an argument about whether or not their human friend would be a good demon started."

"I don't care! They're in pain! The faster we get these graves dug the better!" Ryo stomped her foot, "Laughter and cheer can be later when we light candles into the river and drink to their bravery."

Saiyuri started giggling when she watched Kuwabara and Yusuke flinch at Ryo's strong commands. "Sorry." They said together sheepishly. Yusuke looked a little more abashed and Kuwabara looking horror-struck.

Kurama watched his friends and the strange Fundir Priest leave, turning to Saiyuri and she led him to the injured that needed the most help. When they were stable and guaranteed to make it through the night, they moved on to the rest. While he was wrapping someone's arm, he finally decided to strike conversation, "We were sent here on a mission, but I am glad we are able to help you in your time of need."

"O-oh?" Saiyuri blinked at Kurama's sudden conversation, helping one of the others who was also injured. She was wrapping a woman's leg and was checking over the newborn baby who had been born just two days ago and making sure that the poor thing was alright. Asleep, and safe, thank god for small mercies. "I'm...glad that you were able to help us too. But um...can I ask what your mission is? I-if it has something to with this mountain, I-I might be able to help."

"I'm not certain, but it does have to do with a hidden earth tribe. The leader of the Spirit World, Koenma, referred us to you hoping you would know something. An artifact from this tribe was stolen on it's journey between locations," Kurama told her.

"Oh..." Saiyuri's shoulders slumped. "That's not good. But...I can't help you find them. My mother didn't get to continue the tradition. So I don't know the direction of where to go. H-honestly I shouldn't really be calling myself a Priestess since I didn't get their okay. But someone...someone has to hold up the mantle. Someone has to do it."

"That is very true. If your mother was one, then you must have grown up in this life so it is not new to you. Being a leader is, though," Kurama concluded thoughtfully, "Perhaps we can find another way. We can ask Masa, being a Priest and a traveler. If not him, we have other connections to follow up on who have been around a time or two."

"Since you're helping me heal, I'll help you find them. Travel with you until you do. Since I need to go there anyway." Saiyuri nodded. "Especially since this happened to my people." She sighed, standing up a little to move on to the next injured. "I do not like fights, and my people don't start them. Whoever attacked us, wanted something from us, or just wanted to see us suffer. I don't appreciate that. Revenge is overrated, but..." she shrugged. "My people will want justice for their loved ones and lives lost."

"Of course. I understand that completely," Kurama promised, "Let us finish up here and we can ask."

~
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:23 am

Masa had left as soon as Hiei started assisting some of the more able-bodied residents create two long pyres for those who wanted their loved ones cremated as well as all of the attackers. Saiyuri had said she wanted them to have a proper barrial, but she didn't say how. So Ryo took it upon herself to agree for those that were angry, and rightfully so, that their enemies should be burned separatly instead of with their people.

Meanwhile Yusuke and Kawabara were digging deep holes for the rest. Now that Ryo's hands were free, she began etching in names of the fallen on tombstones once another member, a much older and weathered demon, gave her a list. The pile beside her just kept growing and her expression was focused but flat.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:28 pm

"Not the greatest way of spending a day," Yusuke said as he shoveled, his hands working the best that they could. So far, they were told that they might need to dig more if Saiyuri and Kurama couldn't save those who were injured way back in village. He doubted that it would happen, Kurama's healing abilities were highly advanced, but then again he didn't know how long they've been suffering either. "So what are you to the village?" He asked to Ryo. "Are you a shrine maiden too?"
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:21 pm

"In training I guess you could say. I have a uniform, but I never wear it and Sai gave up trying to get me to. I'm more like Masa, I'd rather train to fight and protect. The whole village knows that, too. Saiyuri uses a bow and arrow and fights from a distance, but I was in the middle of the action. In fact, my clothes were so torn up and bloody that I had to change so not to frighten the children, but I haven't cleaned up what's on my skin," Ryo explained, adding another stone to the pile.

Yusuke supposed he could see the point. Children, no matter human or demon, were always scared when it came to things they didn't understand. A random attack on their village? It happened everywhere in Makai, sometimes even planned, but children didn't know that. They just knew that they in a midst of something terrifying, that made people not move, and covered in red.

Kuwabara was the one to open his mouth, "So you know where this La'vai or somethin' might be?"

"It's La'tai moron."

"I bet you're not pronouncing it any better, Urameshi."

"Fuck you!"

"Never heard of it," Ryo shook her head, "That's why you're here then? Saiyuri probably will know what you're talking about, if your friend Kurama isn't already taking care of it. I don't know everything there is to know."

"Saiyuri isn't your sister then?" Kuwabara asked curiously, looking away from his task to look at Ryo. Now that he was really taking in the woman in, she didn't look anything close to a resemblance of the girl. "Well, Kurama's probably havin' better luck. He's better with women. Urameshi would just frighten' the poor gal."

Yusuke threw a small rock at Kuwabara's head. "Oops, must be an earthquake."

"Landslide genius. This is why you failed high school." Kuwabara snapped. "an' I know you threw the rock. I'm not an idiot."

"You two fight like you're mated," Ryo looked at them in amusement, the first real emotion besides anger and sadness she's displayed so far, "/Do/ either of you have a mate? Or have you just been friends that long?"

"Friends." Yusuke and Kuwabara said together at the same time with the same amount of horror laced in their voices.
"-and I don't have a mate." Yusuke finished. "Kuwabara's ugly mug isn't fancy enough for any human to look his way."
"That's not true, there's this one girl that I think has a crush on me." Kuwabara frowned.

"Kuwabara, you think someone has a crush on you and then you find out that they just wanna be friends, or worse they were looking right past ya." Yusuke patted his friend's shoulder.

Ryo giggled just a bit, covering her mouth, "I can see why an argument started earlier. I'm sorry for snapping. I just...wanted to get these taken care of so we can start healing emotionally. Hopefully Saiyuri will be here later to say a prayer for those on the pyre."

"I can't imagine her missing it." Yusuke frowned, looking behind him where the fallen village was. "She'd want to offer one to her enemies too, right?"

"Yes, yes she would," Ryo agreed, "She's the sweetest. I've only known her a year but In this dog eat dog world she provides sanctuary for those who want to start new. "

"Yeah? Surprised she's not eaten first though I guess that's your doing?" Yusuke asked, nearly rhetorical as he turned back to his task. "She's a good kid. Glad she's got you looking out for her, and that mystery priest guy."

"His skill with that nodachi sword is insane. His water powers are a force to be reckoned with as well," Ryo finished another tombstone, "We should be almost done with our graves and markers. I have to thank you again for your help."

"Don't sweat it." Kuwabara grinned before Yusuke could say anything. "We're glad to help, even if it's just the shoveling."

~
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:20 pm

Much later, after the burials, the fires that Masa stayed away from, and the candle lighting into the river, they all gathered around in Saiyuri's temple that had remained untouched because of the levels upon levels of wards to protect it. She and Ryo had cleaned up and looked tired, but way more refreshed.

"So, you're looking for a hidden tribe?" Masa tapped his chin thoughtfully.

"That's the gist of it." Yusuke nodded, he and his own group were exhausted too, but luckily Saiyuri had offered them refuge here. Oddly just seeing him made the villagers' morale go up, even after a horrible tragedy. He felt bad, that he couldn't do a lot.

"I don't know anything about the La'tai..." Masa frowned, brows furrowed, "Yet, my mother's been around for over two hundred years, so I could create a connection and ask her."

"I had a feeling we would be bouncing around quite a bit between people," Kurama sighed, "Whatever anyone is able to offer, we will take."

"Saiyuri, do you have a large bowl we could fill and bring in here?" Masa looked at the brunette, gesturing the size he needed with his hands.

Saiyuri frowned, before nodding her head and standing up gracefully, though a little on the exhausted side, and walked off to get it. She managed to find a suitable one in the kitchen and took it through the side doors to fill it with the water from the small well. She had a feeling he could've filled it himself, but she wanted to make his life a bit easier. After all, he helped them with the fight, she couldn't let a guest do all the work here. Carefully filled to the brim, she walked back inside, balancing the water as carefully as she could, trying not to trip. She breathed easy when she set it in front of him and went back to her place, hands in her lap as she watched.

"Arigato," Masa smiled tenderly before he shifted his sleeve up, not wanting to disturb the water with the fabric. There were many scars that littered the revealed space, some worse than others. When the water had settled after being moved around so much, he touched his finger to the middle of the bowl, then swirled outwards. "Ka-san..." he whispered, eyes glassed over, "Are you near a water source?" He hummed after a moment and soon he lifted his finger from the water, letting one droplet fall. A woman who he obviously got his appearance from rippled into view.

"Masa! You've been away quite a while, and you look awful," she had a deep frown to her features, "What happened?"

"The village I came across was attacked. I helped, and I'm fine," he assured, "King Yusuke is here, and he's on a mission. I'm calling upon you to ask if you've heard of the La'tai tribe?"

"Oh! The volcano village!" she nodded, "I've never been there myself. My ice blood makes it difficult. My mother was the last one who went there. Uncle Touya and his friend Jin would know a lot more."

Yusuke grinned, "Always could count on Jin. Though I wasn't aware Touya had family."

"Been a while since we saw them though," Kuwabara pointed out. "How do ya think we'll get a message to them?"

"Are you all as stupid as you look?" Hiei rolled his eyes, "Touya is mated to Yukina. We can invite them to the Temple."

"Jin lives maybe a few hours away from us. He did have to come here while his mate Sakrira was pregnant last year, after all. He could be easier to get a hold of if you want to come back here," Masa's mother offered, "I can just send your father after him."

"Yes...about that..." Masa glanced at Kurama which made the redhead narrow his eyes suspiciously, "I have Kurama with me, Ka-san..."

There was a long pause, before her expression turned gentle, "Masa..." her voice twinkled with amusement and sweetness, "Is there even a question in that statement?"

Another pause, and then Masa closed his eyes with an amused smile of his own, "No, Ka-san, I suppose not."

"Fantastic! I'll open the portal for public use so you can get as many people as you have through the door, and tea will be ready by the time you get here!" she clapped her hands excitedly, "Your father can leave to get Jin later."

"Field trip." Yusuke sighed loudly, "Tea sounds good as well as a bit of R&R right about now." He looked over at Saiyuri and Ryoko. "Though are you two coming? Is it wise?"

"I have to go." Saiyuri replied, clenching her fists. "I don't know how to get to the La'tai. I need to know if I want to carry on tradition. So I'll go, and help you out if you need it. You helped me, it's only fair."

"That is what we discussed earlier," Kurama agreed, standing as the image disappeared in the bowl, "So how are we getting there, exactly?"

"I hope none of you get too dizzy or claustrophobic..." Masa smiled a bit lopsidedly, "Through the water."

"Saiyuri? Do you think I should go?" Ryo frowned.

Saiyuri thought about it. She was leaving her people. They all knew that she was going to go. They all were aware that she wanted to find what hurt their village and bring them back to have the people do what they wanted. On that note, they were fine. Though, many issues could arise without having a leader. She took a breath. "You and Kuwabara should stay here." She agreed and turned to Kuwabara. "I know you're human, and I know us demons aren't very fond of your people...or your people to us. But you can probably keep Ryo on a leash. As long as you have her, they have to listen to you. Be gentle and kind. My people need it more than ever."

Kuwabara lit up like the fucking sky and grabbed Saiyuri's hands, his face earnest. "I promise Saiyuri, your people are gonna be in great hands with us. I'll watch out for them and Ryo-chan."

Saiyuri grinned brightly and Yusuke drawled, "Is anyone getting a weird sense of deja vu here?"
"I don't know what you mean," Kurama smiled as he looked towards Hiei who's eye was twitching.

"Then leave it to us to keep everyone calm and in check. It's really late, so everyone will be asleep soon anyway. Kuwabara and I can take turns with the perimeter." Ryo stood up, "I'll give you a better tour of the are and places to keep an eye on."

"The rest of us should head back to the river." Masa was already on his feet and heading for the door.

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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:03 am

The mansion was fucking /huge/ With a bunch of flowers and greenery that Yusuke could /swear/ was Kurama's doing and not Masa's mother's doing. It was like walking away right into a fantasy scene. He half expected tiny elves to start popping out of the ground, though then again, he didn't want to jinx anything either. He was kinda glad that he was one of the first ones there. Kurama was staring at the place so awestruck, he wished he had a camera to use. Hiei looked like a drowned cat...that was another picture to mentally take.

"Wow..." Saiyuri whispered behind him, making him jump a little. "Look at those..." She was pointing at a flower that was in bloom and glowing a pale white. "Moonflowers. They're rare..."

"There's quite a few rarities here," Kurama agreed as he helped Hiei out of the small pond they'd popped through, "Those moonflowers are gorgeous. I see some stargazer lilies as well. The purple compliments it. The color coordination is something to be admired." The area though. It felt nostalgic to be here. They were on the side of the mansion, he could tell, but something about it and the air about it felt so familiar.

Hiei flashed his powers and steam billowed off of him now that he had flash-dried himself, "Just lead the way inside."

Masa lead them from the garden into a nicely fitted kitchen where a man with a black vest, long black hair tied in a ponytail with a necklace around his neck turned around. Purple eyes gleamed with mischief as he grinned. "Kurama! I haven't seen you since forever! I saw you go up against Yomi!" He cheered going after him with arms open wide. "Nice job knocking him do-"

Hiei wasn't surprised very often, but one second there was a redheaded green-eyed man with them, and mid-punch as he launched himself at the bat demon there was suddenly a white haired yellow-eyed fox that was just as tall as Masa and the bat. He flew across the kitchen and landed on the floor.

"Otou-san!" Masa ran over and knelt beside him as Kuronue held his swollen and red cheek.

"Don't act so casual!" Youko boomed at him, appearing to be absolutely livid.

"I knew you were going to punch me," Kuronue admitted rubbing his cheek. "You certainly don't hold back." He smiled and ruffled Masa's hair. "I'm alright kiddo. Uncle Youko has to let off some steam. I did /die/ on him after all." He stood up, still rubbing his cheek.

Yusuke whistled, "This is...interesting."

"I /did/ watch you die! That's the /point/!" Youko snapped.

'Obviously not...'

'Shut the /fuck/ up right now, Shuichi.'


"Someone impersonated you! Tried to twist that last memory to make me think I tricked and left you to rot!" And he already had issues with that, goddamn it, which is why it was so easy to turn him on himself.

Kuronue blinked slowly and he shook his head from side to side. "I hope you gave him a good death then." He said slowly. "Otherwise I think I'd ask Shi-chan to come with me to go hunting. Look, Kurama...I told you to run. I told you to get out. You did not leave me. I told you to. It was either we both get caught and maybe wind up dead, or leave me and you got to go home back to Shika. I was badly injured, to the point of death." He explained. "But Naia healed me...and before I could go back to the village to tell you I lived, you died. Then you came back, and well...where was the opportunity?"

"Whose this Shika chick?" Yusuke asked, knowing all too well that his voice was probably lost on them.

"Of the ten years I've known him, I've never seen Kurama act like this. I remember the demon that impersonated him during our Netherworld fight, but I was unaware it had such an impact on him." Hiei hummed as he watched Youko closely.

"I know you did, Kuronue. Fundir...this is the house we robbed with the mirror. I thought it felt familiar..." Youko swallowed thickly, averting his gaze to glance around the kitchen, "With the best healing, it must have taken you a long time to recover." He gritted his teeth and looked back at him with a tortured expression, "Your son is a hero."

Kuronue beamed, "Yeah Naia told me about the village." He looked over at Saiyuri who immediately straightened up. Then to Yusuke and Hiei. "Damn, I didn't realize that you brought a crowd with you. Sorry about that." He said to them. "Naia's in the living room with tea." He turned to Youko with a smile. "She didn't want us to ruin her favorite porcelain if you decided to break out the big guns."

"No...that would be a tragedy wouldn't it?" Youko shook his head.

"We'll go talk to Ka-san while we wait for you," Masa's face was tinted pink and he was the first out of the kitchen doorway.

Saiyuri decided that was probably best for her as well. Yusuke decided that he didn't need to be nosy and that there was things that Kuronue and Youko probably wanted to talk about without an audience. He also wanted to know who the hell Masa's mother was.

They reached the living room and Masa was hugging his mother, whispering something to her. Pulling away from him, she beamed at all of her guests, "Welcome to the Fundir estate. Congratulations on winning your title, Yusuke. I am Tsunaia," she bowed to them all, "I heard the commotion in the kitchen."

"They are having a private moment now," Hiei hummed, "When they are done is your husband going to go get Jin?"

"Yes, of course. We discussed that before you arrived," Tsunaia assured.

"I'm kinda surprised that you met me first." Kuronue said after a long moment of silence that stretched between the two. "Out of the two of us, I would've thought you would have gone and see Shi-chan. You think you might see if you could visit her? Or are you gonna cut that tie?"

"Shika's still around?" Youko frowned, "I didn't know that, just like I didn't know you were alive." He crossed his arms, "It's been twenty-five years, and I'm only a ghost of what I used to be. Shuichi...Kurama is what he goes by, is the main body."

"You think she hasn't changed in those twenty five years?" Kuronue snorted, "She cut her hair to a tomboy's cut. It's so goddamn short. She's still wielding that sword with a grace that you and I always had admired /and/ she's really fucking good with kids. Something that I know the two of you talked about sometimes when you first mated." He shifted, "She was hysterical when she found out you died. She thought it was her fault, much like how you believed mine was yours."

Youko's throat bobbed and he took a deep breath, "I will think about it. I can't promise anything. You....you are a shock as it is. I feel like if I punched you, she would punch me."

"She might." Kuronue smiled and he hugged his friend tightly, feeling like now was a good time. "Come on, let's go say hello to my mate. You only met her in glimpses. She's /beautiful/. As you can tell from how handsome our son is."

Hugging him back tightly, he nodded and followed him out. Everyone was sitting with some tea in their hands and he could tell they were all content. He allowed himself to power down and he easily reached for a teacup, joining Hiei on one of the two very plush couches, "It is a pleasure to meet you both now that the truth is completely out. I thought you looked familiar, Masa, for however much you truly look like your mother. Tsunaia-san...you must be quite a woman to capture Kuronue's heart. Three thousand years and he didn't ever take a mate."

Masa was so embarrassed and he bowed politely, "I get that a lot from the local village. Thank you."

Naia giggled, "We're bonded, really. Besides the fact I saved his life, we got to know each other quite well."

"I'm gonna go ahead and take flight." Kuronue said with a small wave. "Better to fly at night than during the day." He pointed at Saiyuri. "You're gonna have to come back sometime, I got a lot of things to ask you, you know." He winked before walking out the front door, humming.

"It's been a weird fucking night." Yusuke sighed loudly. "What does a bond mean though?"
"It's a c-connection." Saiyuri spoke up. "Between mates. Reincarnation happens, so, lovers get recycled sometimes."
"Lifebond/Soulbond." Masa and Tsunaia answered together, and Naia beamed at her son who blushed all over again.

Masa cleared his throat, "It's not very common in demons...we kill each other too often for there to be any real significance besides pure reproduction then moving on...though you'd be a lot more familiar with the term Soul Mate instead," he told Yusuke.

"Touya did tell me he was a bit upset he was Bonded to my sister, Yukina, because of the distance and time apart they'd have to be so often." Hiei knitted his brows together, "At least theirs was a Lifebond. It's more forgiving than the other version. It's easier to build endurance."

Yusuke could probably be imaging it, but he was pretty certain that Kurama had just flinched at the term. Not noticeably, but...it was enough. He looked away from his friend, he wondered if Youko had bonded with someone before. "So it's kinda like the demon way of being romantic then?"

"In a way..." Kurama answered slowly, "We may kill each other more often, but we also live the longest. Those who live and survive long enough to create a bond tend to be quite powerful together. If I remember correctly, Jin is bonded to Sakrira as well. As is Chuu to Nikkei, though they are still quite new to theirs. That is to say it's not that it doesn't happen in humans. With Kuwabara's spiritual awareness, it is quite possible that he could find himself a Soul Bond of his own. It really isn't for the feint of heart and weak of will."

Yusuke blinked slowly at this admission. "You sound like you went through hell. Is it really that worth it? To be powerful together for a high cost?"

Saiyuri nodded fervently. "You feel their pain. Their sorrow. You know a bad day from a good day and you'd know what you could do to make it better. Sometimes bonded couples can read minds, sometimes bonded couples can't, but they know how to read a situation. They know each other's weaknesses and strengths. You could say they're the ultimate weapon in your arsenal...and your weakest piece of armor you could be wearing."

"If you cut the connection early enough, it is possible to keep them and yourself from that pain," Masa chewed his lip.

"Yet it's not recommended," Tsunaia piped up again, "A lot of the time, you don't get a choice in the matter. Think of a battery in your Human Technology. Your cell phone will die after a few days if you don't plug it in. Or plants will die after so long without water and sunlight. You don't know how rare it is for a bonded partner to continue living once their chosen dies."

Another flinch, but a sad slump to go with it. Yusuke was pretty certain that Naia was hitting all sorts of buttons she didn't realize she was hitting. Maybe he should steer away from this topic. Save his friend a bit of dignity. "Huh. Go figure then. I die way too often so I don't think I'd hold a steady bond."

"You only died twice, stop exaggerating," Hiei rolled his eyes.

"I dunno, might as well keep the good faith." Saiyuri said seriously, making everyone look at her. "I mean you could die a third time and then we'd all be screwed."

"I feel like the more you open your mouth, the more I'm talking to a demon female Kuwabara. This is weird." Yusuke's eyebrow twitched.

"Kuwabara's a good man," she turned to Naia with a happy smile. "He's human and he can withstand demonic energies pretty well. He's not being torn to pieces or anything. He has a sense of honor too and kindness. You don't see it much in this world, it's like a breath of fresh air. He's with my sister shrine maiden right now."

"We're not telling Kuwabara that Saiyuri placed him on a pedestal." Yusuke muttered under his breath.

"No, it would only bloat his ego," Hiei had to agree with the detective on that one.

Naia reached out and patted the brunette's head, "I think it would be best if Masa went with you to the tribe."

"I-It's in a vulcano, though...or at least near one..." It was the first time he stuttered and he looked pale.

"I believe you will be alright," Naia said soothingly, "You will have to learn it's location as well in case there is anything like this in the future, Masa. I heard about the plague that ravaged your village a few years ago, Saiyuri, and am sure your mother really was the last Priestess to go. My own mother may have known your grandmother, depending on how log your bloodline lives for."

Sayuri nodded sadly, bowing her head to look at her knees. "We were allies for a long time. I was supposed to come here after taking the title, and introduce myself to you." She admitted. "I was supposed to do a lot of things...but I'm doing them now. Now that I have a method. I'm a bit late, but I hope the tribe forgives me."

"Brings up a good question. What's special about the Priestesses here?" Yusuke asked bluntly.

"Well, the Fundir clan has always been the ones that are more ritualistic. Water divination, and every so often when there are full moons on either Beltane or Samhain, we have celebrations." Naia explained, "Many generations passed where there was only one child and that child was always female. Then Masa came along and surprised me," she patted her son's shoulder affectionately.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:19 am

"Our tribes hold the same full moon rituals and spiritual practices. Only we're more attuned to the earth, and a whole lot more casual. We're traditionalists by nature, so we follow a bunch of leads." Saiyuri held her left wrist out, that was a bracelet that was filled with nothing but tiny little rocks. Yusuke wondered how it didn't feel like a cuff by now. "This is our demonstration. Each time a priest or a priestess is ready to take on the title, we go to the La'tai and get our personal crystal, made from our blood and spirit. So far, there's about a thousand gems on my bracelet." She placed her hand down. "We specialize in crystals, and we don't do divination, we leave that to other clans. Suzuki clan was always blessed with both females and males, but we had at least two children. I'm the first and only child." She paused. "My uncle did not live through his childhood, so I'm the only one who can continue the bloodline."

"But Naia just said your mom was the last Priestess."

Saiyuri nodded, "It's complicated. The gems, the meeting the La'tai, their all formalities really. I'm still Priestess even if I don't meet them, but there's no honor behind it. There's no show of leadership. There's no show of alliance. My family protects the mountains and the earth, which means we protect the La'tai. In return, the La'tai makes sure that we understand what it is that we're protecting. If they deem us corrupted, they can pick a new bloodline to inherit the title. That's why it's rare for my family to only have one child."

"Oh that old game. The Heir and the Spare."

"It's very much like that," Saiyuri nodded.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:09 pm

"All we have now is to wait for Kuronue and Jin to show up so we can go there." Hiei sipped at his tea.

"Shouldn't take too long, they can both fly," Masa shrugged, "Um...I can give a tour of the place? Or show you places you might be interested in? It'll be at least an hour or two."

"If I remember correctly, you have an extensive library?" Kurama tilted his head at Tsunaia.

"Yes! I can show you that while you lead the rest of them somewhere else, Masa," Naia beamed at the redhead.

"Um...anywhere you'd like to go, Yusuke?" Masa inquired, "Hiei?"

"Hmph...I'll finish this tea and go with Kurama," Hiei shrugged.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:17 pm

"I'm fine where I am, I'll probably wander around myself." Yusuke shrugged.

Saiyuri smiled brightly, "I'll go wherever you want to me to see." She happily stood up and the group scattered to their ways to kill time before Jin and Kuronue came back.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:39 pm

~*~

Kurama wasn't entirely sure if anyone else noticed, but he could certainly tell the further into the mountains of the volcano they went, through caverns and a cave maze with many forks and twists, Masa was becoming more and more agitated. Not in an angry agitated way, but quiet and spooked sort of way. There was a point where they crossed a bridge over a lava pool and Masa was rigid like a tree, walking briskly and keeping close to Jin but not going passed him.

"You know, Yusuke..." Kurama spoke to create a distraction for the poor man, "If Kuwabara was here he might make a comment about Byakko's lair."
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:48 pm

Yusuke snorted a laugh, "He really would." He remembered the cat demon and his love for the lava floor. "Did you know that it's a literal card you can play in this American card game called Cards Against Humanity? Playing the floor is lava, with literal lava? I think he'd throw a massive fit at that. He had to play it." He snorted. "Jeez, they were fucking awful. I'm glad we got rid of them asap. They were a bunch of nuisances compared to the other cases we had to work."

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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:54 pm

"They keep getting more powerful as we do," Kurama agreed.

"That's how it works," Masa glanced over his shoulder, some of the tension leaving his shoulders as they finally reached the other side.

"Ha, remember when Touya 'n' I were a challenge?! Now ya could wipe teh floor with us!" Jin floated backwards with an ear to ear grin on his face.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:12 pm

"Only if we wanted to." Yusuke laughed, "and if you didn't try to make a bomb go boom in my face like last time."

Saiyuri beamed happily now that they were on the other side of the bridge. A few more turns through the dark tunnels and they came to a village deep in the mountain. The colors of red and orange from the lava glowed on the walls, bathing it in a bask of warmth. The people were all made from rocks, embedded in skin or looking close like mud. They didn't have any hair or eye color, just black holes for where their mouths and eyes would be. Small, tall, fat, and huge were the only variations. "Children" were easy to tell since they were mostly clay. Adults had more rocks and had a smoother or rougher surface depending. Their weapons were also made from stone. There was really no such thing as a "hut", they were just together, living if they could even be called that.

A few of them nodded their heads in acknowledgement, though whether it was at Yusuke or at Saiyuri or both was still up for debate. The leader's place was in the middle of the village, a scatter of bones and stones in front of them. They were so close to being completely stone, so it made sense that they were the "elder" of sorts.

"We have waited to see who would come." The elder said, not moving from their spot that they had seated. "Forgive the lack of ceremony and of comforts. We find we don't need much here. Sit if you wish, stand if you like."

Yusuke sat down without further ado, crossing his legs while Saiyuri sat down with her legs underneath her. "So let's cut to the chase. The artifact."

"What about it?" The Elder asked curiously.

"What can it do?" Yusuke pressed.

"Open doors."

"What kind of doors."

"That depends on the door they open," the elder replied, picking up a bone and tossing. "What they desire most, what they despise the most. That's what they'll open."


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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:39 pm

"Can anyone use it? Or is there anything special you have to do to unlock it?" Kurama continued to stand, as did Hiei while Jin flew off to talk to some of the villagers. Masa sat down close to Saiyuri.

"Do you have any idea how much time we have? I know it was unstable. What about any suggestions on how to find it?" Masa hoped he was asking the right questions because the Elder was being quite vague.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:00 pm

Can anyone use it? Or is there anything special you have to do to unlock it?" Kurama continued to stand, as did Hiei while Jin flew off to talk to some of the villagers. Masa sat down close to Saiyuri.

"Do you have any idea how much time we have? I know it was unstable. What about any suggestions on how to find it?" Masa hoped he was asking the right questions because the Elder was being quite vague.

“Anyone can use it,” The Elder replied, nodding their head. Another stone was tossed with the bone and it cracked against it. If their faces could move, they probably would look concerned. “It is an artifact that was meant to keep wishes. It was an artifact that once was guarded heavily by the Royal Family, but they had no need for it when the world split itself. Demons and humans have dangerous desires, and dangerous despairs. Therefore, it was safer to hide it. It would’ve been devastating to destroy. Though perhaps that’s what she should’ve done.”

Saiyuri shifted, “What about what Masa said? How do we find the artifact?”

The Elder looked up at the young Priestess, eyes and face still immovable, but Saiyuri liked to think that she saw a hint of pride on their face. “You will have to find others who may know more about it. Find them, and you will gather hints of a puzzle. Bring them here, and a story will be told. You have to find a fighter whose never lost hope, a shadow whose paid the highest cost, a human who will not to any demon bow, and a hanyou who can hear the wind’s desperate howls.”

“Hold on, I thought I was Royal Family. Why would you need to hide it form me?” Yusuke couldn’t help but to ask.

“You are,” The elder agreed. “A long time ago. Now, you aren’t. Temporary measures, for a temporary ceasefire. Demons don’t satisfy as well as humans do. Humans only have a short amount of time for satisfaction. Demons can wait centuries. They can wait thousands. No. The artifact that once belonged to you, belongs not to you. Maybe it will again.”

“That’s nice to know.” He grumbled.

“We find these people, and we’ll know everything?” Saiyuri piped up again, clenching her fists into her pants.

The Elder nodded, “You will know all the truths as we present them. And more. You are looking for your gemstone.” They pointed at the bracelet that was on Saiyuri’s wrist. “If you complete this quest of finding your companions, you will receive it with honor.”


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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:21 pm

"It seems as though we have been given a new quest," Kurama chuckled softly.

"We came all the way here to spend five minutes and turn around and leave," Hiei growled, "We don't have time for this. Who knows how long it will be before that artifact becomes more unstable, or gets used for something that makes our lives more difficult. Why do we have to go around in circles?!"

Kurama shook his head, "You could try and force it, Hiei, but I don't think that will end well for anybody. Let us just take what we have and try and figure out the riddle. We can come back now that we know the way."

Masa swallowed thickly, "I guess it would be best to leave to find those people."
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:31 pm

"Unstablity depends on the person using as well," The Elder said softly. "The more peopel you have, the more they'll fell hunted. More mistakes will be made and hopefully? Hopefully that's all you ever needed. But things come to pass? You, Hiei Jaganshi, may not find your soulbond in this lifetime."

"We get it, we get it. End the worlds." Yusuke stood up and stretched, helping Saiyuri get up as well. "I guess that means we better start narrowing down our search and what not.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:50 pm

"I think I may have an idea on who might be the 'never lost hope' one...but I suggest we just go back to the Fundir estate and sleep. There's not much we can do when we're so tired," Kurama pointed out.

"Alright. We'll find the nearest water source when we're out of the volcano," Masa jumped on the suggestion, "We have more than enough room for everyone back home."

"Then let's go. I'm done playing games for today," Hiei headed back for the entrance.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:20 pm

It was nearing dawn. Everyone was asleep as far as Masa was aware, but after the trip to that volcano Masa had tried to sleep only to have a nightmare. He just needed some air. That's what he told himself as he dangled his feet over the wooden bridge over the small river that ran through his mother's garden that hydrated the plants around, the moonflowers glowing softly nearby.

So many events in such a short amount of time. He wasn't sure how anybody was able to sleep so soundly. Though he did suppose they were just so exhausted. He was, too, but right now it was just too difficult. He'd fought bandits, even though they were way too organized, and met a beautiful Earth Priestess. He had met his father's best friend, basically his Uncle and King Yusuke and the rest of the crew. Then he had to travel to some secluded volcano for a hidden earth tribe. It was just so insane.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:26 pm

Saiyuri was too keyed up to sleep. She had tried only to toss and turn, not liking that she was far from Ryoko and far from her village. She didn't do sleepovers all that much, especially something so far. Every time she closed her eyes, she could hear the screams, smell the blood and ash, and she opened them with a snap, her blood racing and energy up.

Deciding that she might as well take a walk, see if cold air would do the trick and maybe see something pretty rather than horrifying, she walked out of her bedroom and walked out to the garden. The gentle colorings of purple and blue mixed in the sky, turning a small shade of pink. She sighed softly, a day of sleeping wasted, but it was what it had to be. Undoubtedly, before they could return to her village, they'd follow Kurama's lead.

She trusted Kuwabara. His sense of honor was the same as hers and she didn't sense any ill will from him. Ryoko would be able to handle any mishaps, but it still felt wrong to be so far away. She walked until she came across a wooden bridge, and a thoughtful Masa sitting, looking into the water.

Silently, she walked over and sat down next to him, looking into the water. In his reflection, she could see that his thoughts were racing, his expressions changing with every one that came across. Some fearful, some thoughtful, and sometimes, downright exhausted.

"I'm afraid of storms." She said quietly, making him twitch. She smiled apologetically. "I thought you saw me in the water."
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:30 pm

"I was seeing without seeing," Masa explained softly, "I saw the images in my mind in front of my eyes instead of you. I am sorry. I'm not afraid of storms. Thunder can be startling, but only if it's extremely loud. I like to think of the little rumbles as purring. Lightning is beautiful to watch, and my favorite thing to do is dance in the rain." He looked at her with a crooked smile, "I hate to admit it...but I am certain I can trust you. I am terrified of fire. I was caught in a forest fire as a child."
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:37 pm

Saiyuri nodded, she looked back into the water. She swung her legs back and forth. "It's ironic really. I like how beautiful fire is. It's...destructive and helpful. We celebrate with fire. Bonfires, pyres, we burn away pasts, we burn a new life." She shrugged after a moment. "But like any fire, it can destroy homes, kill people who didn't deserve it." She let her shoulders slumped, thinking about the chaos that just happened only yesterday. "I feel bad for Hiei, life would be easier if we didn't have to follow riddles. If things were straightforward. But I get the feeling it's for their benefit than for finding the artifacts. A thank you, rather than a curse. The La'tai work in odd ways. They never say things straight."
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:59 pm

"I expected that," Masa nodded, "That is why I tried to word things in a way that might get a good answer rather than a roundabout one. I am surprised you didn't speak, even when the Elder addressed you." He tilted his head at her.
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PostSubject: Re: Price of Will - VC & Lynx   Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:04 pm

Saiyuri laughed a little breathlessly. "It was..." She let out a soft sigh. "It was such a long night to begin with. I buried my people just yesterday. We fought a battle. Just yesterday. Then we traveled all the way into the volcano." She shook her head sadly. "I...I'm ashamed to say it, but at the moment, I just...wanted to be home. I wanted to just hear what they had to say, and just go back. Or at least find somewhere to rest. My mind was already spinning. But they knew my question...and they answered it. I'll get my gem once we find everyone...and keep the artifact from falling into other people's hands. Next time, I hope that regardless of a weary mind, I can help navigate what they say better. I was...horrible the first time around. I wasn't the person you needed. To them neither."
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