Yusuke Urameshi, age 17, Spirit Detective of Earth. Two years ago, Yusuke and his team of fighters entered the Dark Tournament to stop a rich human and his powerful demon accomplice from opening a permanent portal from Spirit World to the human realm. Now, two years later, as the next Dark Tournament looms near, another threat is on the table. And if Yusuke and his team don’t enter and win, the tournament won’t be the only thing lost…
Yusuke and the Destroyer of Civilizations
“You’ve got to be kidding me! Why would I enter that stupid tournament again?” Yusuke watched as Koenma paced the room. Kuwabara, Hiei, and Kurama sat quietly next to Yusuke while he conversed with Koenma. But Koenma was still pacing the floor, which infuriated Yusuke even more than the request.
“Yusuke, you don’t understand the situation. Koenma is in a jam because King Yama has done something terrible.” Yusuke looked at Botan who had stayed quietly in a corner until now.
“What could the all powerful King Yama possibly have done that would require me to risk my life in that stupid tournament again?” Koenma stopped pacing and faced Yusuke.
“It has to do with the celestial lining of the planets and stars. Every five thousand years, the planets and stars line up in such a way as to create dimensional shifting.”
“Dimensional shifting? As in other dimensions crossing with this one?”
“Yes, Kurama, that’s right. But in this case, doors are created. This allows anyone powerful enough to pass through into this world. And every time this happens, it’s just in time for the Dark Tournament. And so the baddies from every dimension congregate here to bet on the tournament. But this time, a certain ruler of the universe has bet his celestial planet that his team will win.”
“What does that mean, Koenma?”
“I’m glad you asked, Kuwabara. Since this ruler of the universe bet, all the rulers of their respective universes have bet their planets as well. And, well, my father was forced to bet planet Earth.”
“What?” Yusuke, along with Kurama and Kuwabara, stood up with shock. Hiei stayed where he was though he was faintly interested. “What do you mean ‘King Yama was forced’? He didn’t have to bet at all.” Botan addressed Yusuke before Koenma could say anything.
“Yusuke, you must think that King Yama is the ruler of this universe. But he’s only the ruler of Spirit World. Nebula is the ruler of the universe, and for reasons unknown, she told King Yama to put Earth into the pot. So this request is not just from Koenma and myself. It’s from King Yama. And I know Nebula wouldn’t have bet if she didn’t think you could win.” Koenma made a whining noise to show that Botan was wrong.
“Botan, you don’t understand. Nebula is neither good nor evil, but she is not given to protect this planet. She could care less if the earth is lost. She just wants to have fun. So that’s why I’ve taken it upon myself to ask you to fight in the Dark Tournament.”
“Koenma, whether we fight or not is up to us, but if we decide to do it, who will be our fifth fighter?” Kurama waited for an answer, but before Koenma could do so, Kuwabarra spoke up.
“What’s the big deal? It’s not like anyone powerful is going to be there now that Toguro’s dead. Winning that thing should be a piece of cake.”
“No, Kuwabara, it won’t be. These powerful rulers are bringing their finest warriors from across their universes to fight in this thing. And they don’t use spirit energy to fight. They use some power that is hard to describe and harder to defeat.”
“They don’t use spirit energy? Then how do you suppose we fight them?”
“Though they don’t use spirit energy, that’s not to say that they can’t be beaten by it. I’m sure with your Spirit Wave getting stronger and stronger, you could take down some. And Kurama can transform into Yoko at will now. But as for the fifth fighter, I was hoping to use someone who also doesn’t use spirit energy.” Even Hiei looked strangely at Koenma when he said that.
“And who might that be?” Hiei stared at Koenma as he debated whether to tell them or not. Botan looked meaningful at Koenma, and he cleared his throat.
“She is a perfect fighter, studying everything from magic to psychic attacks. In fact, she could out-do Rando in that department. But she can copy any attack because she doesn’t use spirit energy. And she’s…”
“She’s a she. We don’t need a woman on this team.”
“Genkai was a woman who helped out tremendously. What makes you so sure this girl can’t help?”
“What makes you so sure she can? Tell me one good reason we should use a woman. Or more to the point, a woman with no spirit energy.”
“You want a testament to her powers? Well, then Hiei, you’ll get one. I’ve seen her in action. I’ll tell you what I saw as long as you promise not to get angry and deny what you didn’t see.”
“She was on a journey to become stronger. She came upon one of the bigger mountains in Spirit World, Mt. Saint Beast. It was named for Suzaku. But she didn’t feel like climbing it. So I watched as she called upon the Dragon of the Darkness Flame to level it to the ground.”
“So what? I could do that.”
“Yes, but she controlled it.” Hiei’s eyes went wide as the others stared in complete shock. Botan herself could hardly believe what she had heard. Koenma watched as the initial shock wore off to be replaced by disbelief. Though Hiei had said he wouldn’t deny it, Yusuke had promised no such thing.
“What are you talking about, Koenma? From what Kurama told me, no one can control the darkness technique. Who is this mystery woman? She won’t be wearing a mask, will she?”
“No. She says it’s criminal to cover beauty such as hers.”
“Koenma, who is this fighter?” Koenma looked hard at Kurama, wondering how he would take the news. But against his better judgement, he told them.
“Her name is Riga. Her title is the Destroyer of Civilizations. If we can persuade her, Riga the Destroyer of Civilizations will be the fifth member of Team Urameshi.” Kurama let out a gasp of disbelief, and the others turned to look at him. Koenma gave Kurama a knowing look, but the others missed the subtle glance. Kuwabara turned back to Koenma, as did Yusuke.
“What’s with this fighter? It seems that Kurama here knows her. But with all our dealings with demons, I’ve never heard of her. Why don’t they talk about her? And if she’s so strong, why didn’t she enter the Dark Tournament when Toguro bragged about being unbeatable?”
“Yusuke, stop being a brat. Riga doesn’t go in for showcasing her powers like other low-class demons. She’s a true lady. But as to the other answer you want, they don’t talk about her because she’s been missing for seventeen years. She just disappeared from Spirit World.” Kurama jumped up in frustration.
“That must mean she’s gone from here.” Kuwabara tapped Kurama on the shoulder.
“You know her and all, but what does that mean?”
“She can go through dimensional doors as well. She can leave this physical plane at will. Of course, another explanation would be that she’s here on Earth.”
“Bingo, bingo! You win the prize Kurama! Riga is here on Earth, thanks to some hinting from Genkai. I frequently visit her up there. Even she knows of Riga. They did meet at a Dark Tournament. Actually, it was the same Dark Tournament that she and Toguro fought together. She said that they were supposed to fight Riga’s team, but Riga was on a team by herself, which I thought was rather odd.”
“Wrap it up, Botan.”
“Well, excuse me Yusuke. Well, Riga came to meet them and talk to them. And this is how the conversation went exactly:
Genkai: you are our next opponent?
Riga: yes, but I came to check out the competition.
Toguro: well, you look upon the victors.
Riga: most definitely.
Genkai and Toguro: what?
Riga: I heard your plans for if you win Toguro.
Toguro: what about them?
Riga: I concede. Get stronger and I’ll take you on.
And she just walked away. Can you believe that? Genkai and Toguro won by default. Genkai always resented her for that. She said because if they had fought, Riga would definitely have won and prevented Toguro from becoming what he was.”
“Wow, so this Riga was the reason we went through so much hell? Well, if we get her on our team, I’ll make sure she gets the toughest battles and see how she likes getting beat like a drum.”
“Yusuke, it’s not nice to hold grudges. Especially against someone you don’t know. Besides, it’s not wise to cross Riga or there will be consequences. She gets angry easily.” Kurama went up to Koenma. “Koenma, how can we track her down?”
“Genkai’s already done that. We find a girl named Sandra Blueskies, and we have our fighter.” Kurama turned on his heel and headed for the door.
“Where are you going?”
“To get Riga.”
“Kurama, how do you know her?” Kurama took a brief glance at Hiei. Then he quickly turned away.
“She was my lover,” and Kurama was gone.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Kurama and this woman were… what’s going on?” Yusuke, thoroughly confused, hurled question after question at Koenma.
“Not exactly, Yusuke, and settle down for crying out loud! I haven’t seen you whine this much since you died.”
“Who’s whining, toddler?”
“I told you not to call me a toddler!”
“Koenma, maybe you should tell the boys about Riga and Kurama to avoid future confusion.”
“Whatever, Botan. Ahem… Riga was not Kurama’s lover exactly. She was Yoko’s. But seventeen years ago, Yoko came to Earth, and that’s when Riga went missing as well. Now that I think about it, I should’ve had you ask Suzaku about it.”
“They’re brother and sister.”
“What?” Yusuke and Kuwabara were bowled over by the news, but Hiei, calm as ever, asked Koenma a question.
“There’s another reason you want Riga found. What is it?” Botan gulped. Koenma cleared his voice and looked Hiei in the eyes.
“She’s the Guardian of the Gates of both Heaven and Hell. And unless we find her before the dimensional opening, they’ll open and let loose a torrent of demons.” Hiei was speechless, and Yusuke was bowled over yet again.
“Does that me Toguro could come back?”
“Yes, Yusuke. But this time, he’ll be undead and unstoppable.”
“Keiko, are you sure she lives here?”
“Yusuke, you jerk, if you ask me one more time if I’m sure, I’m gonna show you what I’m sure of. And it won’t be pretty.” Botan and Kuwabara snickered at Yusuke’s chastisement, but quickly stopped when they received one of his dirty looks. The four of them walked to the front door, Hiei and Kurama staying behind to implement Koenma’s plan later.
“Remember, she doesn’t know who she is, so we’ll have to do something drastic to get her power out into the open. Once she’s been exposed to her power, she should remember.”
I hope Koenma’s right. Riga, please come back. Kurama watched as Keiko rang the doorbell and waited next to Yusuke for the door to open.
“Hello? Who’s there?”
“Sandra? It’s me, Keiko. My friends here want to ask you a question.”
“What kind of question?”
“I’m not sure, but I’m sure it’s important or they wouldn’t have bothered you.”
“I guess it’s okay. But please hurry. I’ve got to finish studying before my mother gets home.” Yusuke stepped in front of Keiko and answered before she could.
“No problem. This will only take as long as you deem necessary…Riga.”
“Who? Did you say Riga? Who’s that?”
“Yeah, whatever. I know that people who have powers like you do just don’t go missing for no reason. Come out Riga. I want to fight.”
“Yusuke, you jerk! You didn’t tell me this was what you wanted. How dare you do this to Sandra? I’m so sorry Sandra. I didn’t know they’d do this. We’ll just be going.” Keiko pulled on Yusuke’s shirt as she turned around.
“Whoa, Keiko, let go! I can walk on my own you know. Keiko, we weren’t done!” At this point, Kurama and Hiei leapt down from a tree nearby and stood in Keiko’s way.
“I think this is where you human’s would say ‘give us all your money.’ So you do just that.”
“Yusuke, aren’t these your…”
“Shut up Keiko. You’ll ruin the whole thing. Who do you think you are? You can’t just demand all our money. Besides, we don’t have any.”
“Then you’re of no use.” Hiei whipped out his sword and began to slash at Keiko. But Keiko’s name being yelled by Sandra stopped the blade, and everybody turned to stare at her. Her aura glowed black and purple as it crackled around her body. Her power pulsated throughout her body, and her hair stood on end. Sandra was becoming Riga, and Koenma popped up in front of Yusuke to confirm it.
“Yusuke, it looks like your girlfriend has managed to befriend not just the girl, but the beast within. Nice work, Keiko.”
“Uh, thanks, I guess.” Keiko still shook from the unexpected attack on Hiei’s part, however.
“Yeah, Keiko, good going. But what the hell were you thinking, Hiei? You could’ve hurt Keiko.”
“Don’t be foolish. If Riga didn’t present herself, I would have stopped the blade before it got to her. I know how her life means so much to you, Detective.”
“You’d better watch it, three-eyes.” A sudden scream interrupted the banter, everyone’s attention once again on Riga. Sandra’s clothes had been disintegrated by Riga’s vast power. Riga’s own clothes were replacing them. She wore knee-high black boots and elbow-length black gloves. The ankles and wrists were adorned with silver bracelets with amethysts set into them. Her thighs and upper arms were bare, as was her torso.
A black bra covered her breasts, and the length of her shorts couldn’t have been but two and a half inches. It seemed to them a bikini, and Keiko blushed at such a skimpy outfit, but Yusuke and Kuwabara gawked at her. Riga’s hair was long and luxurious, held back in a beautifully tied ponytail. She was taller than an average girl was, however barely to Kuwabara’s shoulder. Hiei watched with indifference, while Botan watched in awe. Koenma watched in anticipation, but Kurama looked on in love.
Fangs appeared at the corners of Riga’s mouth, and her lashes grew out. Her skin grew smooth and white and very beautiful. The bangs of her black hair shadowed her eyes, which were crying tears of gold. A lilac purple wrap conformed itself to Riga’s figure, wrapping around her arms very loosely, never actually touching her body. As the transformation completed, the aura slowly diminished to reveal the completely revived Riga. She opened her eyes, and the others stared into the deepest purple they had ever seen. Or ever will see, thought Kurama.
“Who is it that has awakened me from my sleep?” Fingers pointed at Keiko, who was willing to take the blame.
“I did. My name is Keiko. I am Sandra’s friend.” Everyone held their breath.
“Thank you, Keiko. I didn’t think I cold take that confinement a moment longer. I was about to have Sandra kill herself.” Riga heard Keiko’s gasp of horror and quickly rephrased herself. “I mean, I was thinking about it. But I wouldn’t actually do it. Anyway, I’m looking for someone. Maybe you could help me, Koenma.”
“So you know me, Riga? That’s a surprise.”
“Why? I’ve seen you around the Gates a few times.”
“That’s one of the things I need to talk to you about. The Gates are about…”
“About to open! I completely forgot! Hold on a sec.” Riga’s powerful aura appeared again, and so did a huge staff with a purple shaft and gold trimmings. The huge statuette on top of the staff was that of a fox demon with nine tails. When the staff was complete in her hand, she raised it aloft and recited an incantation. “Gate of Heaven, Gate of Hell, bound by divine fate. Reseal the doors, Calm the dead, closed by powers great!” A stinging wind arose along with a piercing howl. A great noise filled their ears from above, as if doors were scraping the sky. A deafening thud could be heard, and it shook the earth they stood upon.
“What happened, Koenma?”
“She closed the Gates with her power. She did it from here, as well. She’s something else. And now, Riga, who was it that you were looking for?”
“I’m looking for Yoko. I know he’s here. I’ve felt his presence for the past two years. I want my beloved!”
“You may not like what he’s become.”
“As long as he’s not a Saiyan, I’m fine. I don’t even care if he’s human. Where’s my Yoko?” Kurama stepped forth in front of Koenma and Yusuke to speak to Riga.
“I’m here, Riga. And I’m human.” Riga stared at Kurama so long that everyone was afraid she wouldn’t like him any more. But the tears of gold that had never completely stopped flowed more heavily down her cheeks, and Riga ran to Kurama.
“Yoko!” She wrapped her arms around him and wept on his shoulder. Kurama held her tighter as the tears began to come to his eyes as well.
“So, if you’re so powerful, why have you been missing for seventeen years?”
“I wouldn’t keep up that attitude if I were you, Detective. I will reveal my shortcomings in due time.”
“Your shortcomings? Riga, did you do something stupid?”
“Of course not, my love. I would never do anything like that. But I did have it coming. I was beaten very badly by an opponent seventeen years ago and was forced to come to Earth. I now see it was the same with you, Kurama. But I wish it was something less embarrassing that sent me here.”
“What happened, Riga?”
“I’m sure Genkai has relayed how I met them at the Dark Tournament. And I told Toguro to get stronger and then I’d take him on. But now we have to shift to hundreds of years ago. Because Suzaku betrayed Nebula, she put a spell upon the family. The spell disables our powers once a year for the duration of a day. But when Suzaku was trapped behind King Yama’s barrier in Maze Castle, he became immune. I, however, was still affected. Flash forward to twenty-five years ago. Toguro had gotten his powers and hunted me down. We faced off, and I kicked his ass.
“Flash forward to seventeen years ago. Toguro had gotten even stronger and hunted me down once again. But unfortunately for me, he found me the very day Nebula’s spell took effect. I was powerless against his onslaught, beat to within an inch of my life. To put it bluntly, I used a fraction of my reserve life energy to cast a transportation spell. I came to Earth, and to keep my presence here from Toguro, who I’m sure was mad at my escape, I cloaked myself with a human shell. But Earth did not have the right atmosphere for Nebula’s spell to wear off at that time. So I spent seventeen years building my powers to break free, but I found that doing so would kill the shell.
“I didn’t want anything to happen to this poor girl or her family, so I stayed hidden. Bored as I was, I began to watch from her eyes. I’ve seen you, Keiko, many times through her eyes. She admires you. And I’ve seen you, Yusuke, through her eyes, albeit not very often. She thinks you’re cute, but very rude. And she envies your height, Kuwabara. But enough of this. Yusuke, Spirit Detective of Earth, student of Master Genkai and receiver of the Spirit Wave technique…”
“You killed Toguro, did you not?”
“Well, that’s okay. Now I’ll get to torture him in Hell. Ah ha ha!” Riga continued laughing until Kurama calmed her down. At this point, Koenma moved slightly closer to Riga to address her about the Tournament.
“Riga, I must talk to you about the up coming alignment of dimensions. All the rulers of the different universes are coming to watch the Dark Tournament, also sending their warriors to fight in the Tournament. And…”
“And Nebula has bid Earth to save face in front of her cohorts. Heh, you’d think she’d learn her lesson from the last time she did that.”
“The last time? There was a last time?”
“Oh yes, but I bailed her ass out then too. And now you want me to do it again.” Riga cast blazing purple eyes upon Koenma, who shrunk back in fear.
“What?” Koenma turned pale, and Yusuke jumped up from his perch.
“What do you mean ‘no’? This is a life or death situation! You have to help!”
“I will do no such thing, punk!” Kurama stood up to hold Yusuke back, who had decided to jump at Riga. But Riga had begun to power up to throw him backwards, so Kurama prevented it.
“Riga, it would please us all if you’d be our fifth.”
“Our? You’re fighting, my love?”
“Yes, of course. I am part of the team. As is Hiei here. I can’t let him have all the fun now can I? And I’ll get to fight as Yoko.”
“Then I’m there!” Yusuke let out an exasperated sigh, as did Koenma.
“Ladies and demons of all ages, welcome to the Dark Tournament! This year, we have special guests, special financial backers, and a mysterious new fighter on the ever-popular Team Urameshi! The former champions who took down Team Toguro two years ago have returned to partake in the delightful festivities. This is your beautiful announcer Koto speaking, and I’ll be here through the duration of this Tournament. Return tomorrow morning for the first battle of the Tournament between the new Team Uriatogi and Team Blade!”
“Oh boy. I thought you said you wouldn’t hide your identity?”
“I did. I would never cover my beauty with a mask like Genkai. But you see, I’m so powerful that stories have been spread about my appearance throughout Spirit World. Not a single demon here, much less alive besides Yoko and Hiei, know what I really look like. So it’s okay, Kuwabara. I’m covered, sort of speak.” Riga turned and walked from the stadium grounds with nine pairs of eyes on her. Kurama bid farewell to his teammates and followed Riga into the forest.
“Man, she sure is a feisty one. I don’t see how Kurama and her get along.”
“It must be the Yoko in him. Anyway, since we’re all here, for some reason I don’t know, why don’t we all get something to eat?” Koenma looked at everyone for their vote, but Hiei didn’t want to partake.
“No thanks, Koenma. I don’t feel like it.” As he turned to leave, someone pulled on his shirt. Hiei looked behind him to see whom it was.
“Please, Hiei, don’t go. You should have some fun with your friends before all the fighting starts.”
“Yukina…” Yukina had joined the travelling team a few days before wanting to cheer Kuwabara on with the others. Shizuru had then insisted on coming as well. Botan had tagged along with Koenma, and Keiko came because Yusuke actually invited her. She had been inclined to refuse, happy just that he had asked. But a little pushing from Botan convinced her to go after she had asked Yusuke if he was sure she wouldn’t be in the way. So that brought the group to ten people, Riga actually excited about the Tournament.
“Welcome to the party, Hiei.” Hiei gave Yusuke a sharp look, but agreed to go nonetheless. They went back to their hotel room and changed. The girls put on their best dresses, and Yusuke flipped when he saw Keiko. Kuwabara did the same when he saw Yukina, Hiei bristling with anger. He still didn’t approve of Kuwabara hanging around with Yukina. Before they left, Kurama and Riga rejoined them. They came into the lobby arm in arm, Riga leaning on Kurama’s shoulder. When told they were going to party, Riga wanted to join them.
“We’ll wait down here while you go and change.”
“What do you mean, Keiko? I can change right here.” Suddenly, Riga was bathed in a golden light. Her clothes disappeared, only to be instantaneously replaced with an elegant black evening dress. “What do you think? Too much?”
“No, of course not. Don’t be silly. It looks good on you.”
“Thanks, Botan. That’s nice of you to say.” Riga picked up her train and led them to the door. But before she walked out with Kurama, she looked over her shoulder at the others. “Oh, and I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve just made reservations at a place that’s just to die for. The company there is a gathering of people I have to say hi to before the Tournament gets underway.”
“What do you mean ‘you just made reservations’?”
“Telepathically. Didn’t Kurama tell you? Or Koenma? Well, you’ll learn about me in due time, Yusuke. Come now, we don’t want to be late.”
“Yeah, whatever.” Riga led them to the restaurant, and they were shown straight to their seats. The waiter took their orders, while Riga told him to put it all on her tab.
“And who might you be, madam?”
“Oh, you must be new. Look me up in the records. My name is Mistress Dark.”
“Mistress Dark? Oh, of course, I’ve heard of you. I’m sorry for the horrible inconvenience. It will never happen again, I assure you. Please forgive me.” The waiter took his leave, everyone staring at Riga in shock.
“What? You don’t have connections? Don’t tell me I’m your first celebrity.” Before anyone could speak, someone yelled across the restaurant.
“The Demon of the Dark is here! Everyone run! She’s going to kill us all!” A mad frenzy broke out, and Riga told her nine companions to sit still. When the commotion was over, four people stood behind Riga’s chair. She calmly stood up and turned on her heel.
“What do you want here Demon?”
“Ha, those fools. I’m the Mistress of the Dark, not the Demon. Imbeciles!”
“Mistress of the Dark? I’ve heard that name before. But it was your other name that escapes me.”
“Koenma and others, let me introduce you to four of the rulers here for the festivities. Well, they’re basically all that there is. Nebula isn’t here and the Serpent, the one who orchestrated the whole thing, doesn’t eat human food. These are the company I came to see. I came to introduce Team Urameshi’s mysterious fifth fighter. Riga the Destroyer of Civilizations is that fighter.”
“Riga! No, not her. We can’t win against her.”
“No we can’t.”
“We’ve no chance against evil that powerful.”
“Let’s get our fighters out of here. I don’t want to lose my planet.” The four rulers cast a last glance at Riga, not knowing it was she, and took their leave from the restaurant. They were gone from the planet before dawn.
“And that takes care of our opponents from now until the finals. We’ll win by default, and now there’s only one team left to beat for us to win.”
“What about all the other teams entered?”
“Kurama, the Serpent wants to fight you, but he wants to judge your strength first. So he’d put the toughest teams against you and the weakest teams against his own. After his team Blade takes down Team Uriatogi tomorrow, all the others will drop out. Then it’ll just be the two of us. Me and him.” An intense fire began to glow in Riga’s eyes, and the others knew better than to argue. But it didn’t stop at that. Her skin began to flame as well, the fire within seeping through its cover. Her hair burst from her bun and writhed around her head as if in pain. All but Kurama backed away from her in fear, even Hiei. Expecting Kurama to calm her and lead her back to the hotel, the others were shocked when he transformed.
Yoko stood before them staring at Riga. He closed in on her and drew her to him. His arms wrapped around her waist and his lips pressed upon hers. She ran her burning hands through his hair, both enjoying the sweet ecstasy that burned within. Yusuke and the others were crimson but unable to look away. They had never seen Yoko when they weren’t fighting someone strong, so it was shocking. They felt as if they shouldn’t stare, but the couple made it rather hard not to.
“I’ve missed you, your smell, your touch. How could I have not hunted you down for eternity?”
“Because I had already sworn to find you, my darling. We belong together.” Riga stopped any further conversation by occupying Yoko's mouth once again in a passionate kiss that set his ears alert. Aware, but not caring that the others were looking, they continued to burn with a passion made of the thrill of inevitable battle and their longing for one another. But a harsh ringing pierced the night air coming from the open veranda and interrupted their performance.
“Such a slut, Riga. Can’t you get a room?”
“Oh, I have one, but it’s for something a little more fun. What brings you to this neck of the woods, Nebula? Can’t get it off anywhere else so you come to watch others?”
“Don’t be sick. I’ve just found out that some stupid Spirit Detective, his group of fighters, and one bitch scared off the strongest competitors of the Dark Tournament.”
“Who’s a bitch? You must have brought that little hand-held mirror of yours. And yes, I did scare them off. But unintentionally, you see. They just merely heard my name and ran off with their tails between their legs. But…can you blame them?” Riga laughed evilly in no general direction. Nebula was invisible, but her presence filled the room.
“If they interfere with my fun, Riga, I swear I’ll make their lives living hells. Especially that handsome toy of yours. My, isn’t he yummy? Maybe we should make a separate bet for him, Riga.”
“He’s out of your league, Nebula. Besides, why would he settle for a low roar when he could have a deafening howl?”
“Virgin.” Nebula screamed rage and fury, but did nothing. She left the restaurant in a rush of wind. A flame that had never died erupted once more into a stunning display of power and passion, and Riga’s attention was once again on Yoko. But suddenly self-conscious, she tugged at Yoko's shirt. “She was right about one thing.” Yoko looked at her confused. “We should go to my room.” His eyes filled with laughter as they turned to say goodnight to the others. Riga winked at them and disappeared with Yoko into thin air.
Kuwabara put an arm to his sweat-beaded forehead and spoke. “I don’t know about you guys, but I could use a shower.” Hiei grunted in hesitant agreement, and the girls tried desperately to stop the flush from brightening on their faces.
Yusuke nodded his head and echoed Kuwabara’s sentiments. “Yeah, a cold one.” And Keiko smacked him upside the head.
Only three days later was the final battle and Koto tried to explain the unexplained absence of the other teams but failed miserably. The crowd jeered and roared, unsatisfied that there wouldn’t be more blood shed. Team Urameshi stood to one side of the stadium awaiting the arrival of Team Blade. Unable to account for their absence, Koto decided to ask the audience their opinion.
“And you sir, what do you think of Team Blade’s absence?”
“They aren’t true warriors if they can’t even be here for the biggest fight of their lives. It’s unforgivable, that’s what it is.”
“Heh, I see. And what do you make of Team Urameshi’s new fighter? She’s nothing like the Masked Fighter from two years before.”
“That’s for sure. But then again, nobody could be Genkai. And just look at her. She’s yapping at the mouth like she’s something to think twice about.”
“I heard that, you primped-and-permed demon! Come down here and say it to my face!” Koto jumped at the outburst.
“Well folks, it looks like the mysterious fighter has good ears. I didn’t even have the mic on.” Koto jumped from the audience to the ring. She then advanced upon Riga to inquire about her identity. “Excuse me, ma’am. Just who exactly are you?”
“I’m nobody important. Just an extra fighter here to cheer on my man.”
“You mean you and the wondrous Kurama are an item? Is that why you look so happy and excited? Your face is flushed.”
“No, not exactly.”
“Then what?” Yusuke and Kuwabara came up to Koto before Riga could answer.
“We’ll give you one guess!” The audience began to hoot and whistle while Kurama grew red as his hair. Riga closed her eyes with a joyous smile upon her face, hugging Kurama’s arm tightly.
After a minute of embarrassed laughing, Koto continued her inquisition. “Yes, well, the audience would still like to know who you are.” Riga opened her mouth to answer, but was cut short by a thunderous laugh that boomed from overhead.
“Who else would she be? The Spirit Detective was no fool in choosing her. She is the mother of all chaos, the blackness in every heart, and the spawn of male desires. She’s the sex symbol of dark forbidden. However, there aren’t enough words to describe her. She is feared throughout the universe, yet is loved by all men. She is the ultimate contradiction in terms. And I’m going to cast her from her throne of human sorrow and suffering.”
“That’s nice, but that doesn’t answer who she is.” A small group of demons began to scream from the nosebleeds, but went unheeded by the crowd. But as audible gasps of disbelief and horror rippled throughout the audience, a single word began to be chanted from rafter to ground seat.
“Riga, Riga, Riga!” A multitude of demons arose to scream the name and stamp their feet. The stadium soon shook with the noise they were making, and Riga beamed with pride.
“Do you hear that? I haven’t in so many years…more than fifty to be exact. They chant my name once more in the stadium of death. I can feel my heart and blood pumping with their anticipation at first blood. So, Steel, where’s your team?”
“High-tailed it with the others. I’m here to take you on all by myself. Do you agree or shall your fox boy defend your honor for you?”
“You keep Kurama out of this. I’ll fight you, one on one, to the death. Then our old score will be settled. But what do I get if I win?”
“The satisfaction of my blood under your nails. But this will not be a fight to the death. If I win, not only do I get this world, I get the satisfaction of you under me. Does that sound fair?”
“You bastard. But if those are your terms…”
“Riga. No!” Yoko appeared where Kurama had been.
“…They’re accepted.” Riga shook his hand. And he pulled her into his embrace.
“You won’t regret it.”
“Guess not. Either way, I’ll get some pleasure, right?” Both laughed, but Riga’s laugh was unsettling to Team Urameshi, as though they hadn’t actually met the real Riga, instead meeting a painted mask over that of a killer’s. They watched as Steel kissed her quick and jumped away before she struck. He turned to the left and began to bounce like a boxer with his hands in mock fists. Riga turned to her left and did the same. Then each leaned backwards slightly, and they disappeared. Wondering where they had gone, the audience began to boo and jeer.
But just when Koto would have tried to calm them down, sparks began to fly throughout the stadium like fireworks. Thunderous explosions accompanied these flashes of light, and Yoko realized what was going on.
“That’s them. They’re fighting so fast, not even I can see them. Riga was always powerful, but never have I seen her fight like this. She’s really getting into it.”
“What kind of monster is she?”
“Kuwabara, do not call her that. She is beautiful no matter what she looks like. Whether in her human form or her demon form, she is something to behold. She is no monster, but a creature like no other. Call her anything otherwise, and I shall rip the heart from your chest, human.”
“Scary.” Kuwabara returned his gaze once again to the ring where the fighters had appeared once again. Both were breathing rather easily, but both had cuts and bruises all over their bodies. Small rivers of blood speckled their arms and legs. Steel’s shirt was ripped to shreds, and he was in the process of taking it off. Riga’s purple wrap was missing, and her boots were scuffed.
“You’ve gotten better, Steel. Did you steal someone’s power before you came here? Or am I just getting weak?”
“No, you could never be weak, Riga. You’re the epitome of strength. It is I that have become more powerful. A brief trip to the dimension of the Saiyans has brought me limitless power.”
“Huh, that’s funny. From the way you were fighting, I might have guessed the dimension of the Sailor Scouts. Or perhaps that of some other weakling’s dimension. But no matter because no amount of power can surpass mine.”
“That’s what you think. I’ll tell you those Dark Star Dragonballs know how to grant a wish. Now I am as immortal as you.”
“Damn you! Diamond Spear Blast!” Riga’s massive attack hurled straight for Steel, but he dodged easily as the crystal blades headed for the audience behind him. He then came at Riga with an attack of his own, which she dodged just as quickly as he had dodged hers. And once again, they disappeared into the sky, throwing attacks fast as lightning back and forth across the stadium. Suddenly, everyone on the ground her a crunching noise as loud as thunder, and watched helplessly as Riga plummeted back down to the ring.
Her left arm was in tatters, her glove gone, and blood and bone protruding from the skin. Her hair was in disarray as she tried to stand. Koto began the count to ten, but a sharp order from Steel to stop cut her short.
“This will not be counted as an ordinary match. There will be no count of ten. If I die, the match is over. If she is down longer than I deem necessary, the match is over. But those are the only two ways this bout is allowed to end. Get up Riga, and show these pathetic demons what a true warrior is.” Riga’s eyes blazed with a fury unseen by the onlookers. It was meant for Steel, and only he could understand its true depth.
“My left arm is useless. I have no way to continue, except for this last attack.”
Riga lifted her right arm and closed her eyes. Suddenly appearing on her forehead was a Jigan, and from it came a terrible light. Riga began to power up, and all at once, released her attack. “Dragon of the Darkness Flame!”
“No!” Steel was bathed in the flame, disappearing in the fiery light. When she called off the attack and he Jigan disappeared, Riga stood alone in the ring. The audience was hushed in awe, as was Team Urameshi. Yoko stared into the ring at his beloved warrior. She was hurt, but she was his and alive. When he would have jumped into the ring to embrace her, she told him to stay his ground. Her fight was not over. And it truly wasn’t, for appearing from the sky was Steel as he descended back into the ring. He was badly hurt, but nowhere near death.
“He’s still alive! How can that be? The darkness technique is one of the most powerful in all of Spirit World!” Hiei stared into the ring with disbelief.
“What was the point of that, Riga? I can’t die. Why waste your energy?”
“If you think I wasted my energy, then you’re sadly mistaken. Now I’ll end this.” Riga summoned forth her powers and bathed the stadium in light. Before her appeared her staff, which she grabbed with her right hand. Summoning the staff had drained her somewhat, and she leaned on the staff for support. After catching her breath, she lifted the staff into the air and spoke the incantation of the seal. “Gate of Hell, of Burning Flame, bound by powers great, Unlock the door, Wake the dead, show him to his fate! Open!” A gate several feet tall shot up from the ring and opened behind Riga.
“What’s going on?”
“I did not hit you with that attack to destroy you. I have cloaked you in power from the Dragon, which is the perfect bait to bring the souls of the dead. They will follow your signal to the door, and in your weakened condition, pull you into the depths of Hell. And you’ll be mine for all eternity to do with as I please. But I promise it won’t be pleasurable for you, if you know what I mean. And don’t worry about your celestial planet. Nebula will take extra good care of it.”
“You two-faced bitch! You’ve deceived me! This isn’t the end. I can’t die. I will be back for you.” Steel didn’t bother to run as souls came flying from the doorway. They covered his body and seemed to devour him. And as they returned through the gate, one stopped and turned to Yusuke. An evil smile played across its face, and Toguro disappeared into Hell. Riga closed the door for the last time. She vowed never to open it again.
“But how will you torture all of your victims?”
“Oh, Koenma, there’s always a backdoor. One that those pathetic souls can’t get through because it’s up in Heaven. Ha-ha!” Team Urameshi stood in the middle of the ring looking into the empty bleachers.
“Looks like we were the ones that weren’t needed, huh, Hiei?”
“Shut up you mindless baboon.” Hiei blushed as his eyes came to Riga, and he quickly looked away as he caught her eye. Riga smiled to herself and hugged Yoko's arm tighter. But she found herself falling and couldn’t catch herself. Yoko grabbed her before she hit the ground and held her in his arms. She was exhausted, so Koenma said it was time to go home.
“This has been one exciting week, hasn’t it Yusuke?”
“I’m sorry. Did you say something, Koenma?”
“Yusuke, you brat, don’t pretend like you didn’t hear me. Come back here!” Koenma flew off after Yusuke. Keiko followed behind, and Kuwabara came after her. Yukina raced after Kuwabara, and was in turn followed by Hiei. Botan and Shizuru brought up the rear so that Yoko and Riga could have some time alone.
“Riga, will you be alright?”
“I just need some rest. But after my arm heals, I’ll have to revert to being Sandra so that my power can recover. And you’ve chosen to live in Spirit World as Yoko. We can’t be together for some time.”
“Don’t worry. I will stay as Kurama for the duration of your recovery. Then we can live together in Spirit World as we did seventeen years ago, my love. And I will protect you when Nebula’s spell takes over, never to let you out of my sight.”
“Thanks, Yoko. You’re too good to me. You are my rock, my pillar to lean on. Being apart from you for nearly two decades had almost weakened me to the breaking point, Yoko. I was afraid the next step would never come. I never want you away from me again. Do you hear me?”
“Loud and clear, my dark princess. You know foxes mate for life as well as I.”
“Fresh.” And they laughed their way into a bright and happy future.
The Next Step Is Love