CHAPTER 1

Takeshi couldn't believe his eyes. There in the street lies his unconscious body with blood around his head. People crowded around him, some of them shouted to call an ambulance. Police patrols came, trying to control the curious crowd. What's happening? He thought.

The flow of traffic slowed, drivers shouting curses on the crowd ahead. The busy streets become noisy with all the shouts and honking of cars. The siren of an ambulance is coming nearer and nearer.

Out of the mob, Takeshi stood their waiting for something he didn't know. Then his eyes caught something up in the sky, flying. Could it be possibly an angel? He wonders. A figure of a young woman, sitting on an oar, clad in a pink kimono, with her blue hair tied in a ponytail and her beautiful features showing serenity.

It came nearer and nearer until it halted a few feet above the ground, still sitting on the wooden oar. She smiled jovially at him then she spoke, "Hello Mr. Takeshi, I'm Botan, and I will be your guide on your journey till we reach your destination."

Takeshi stepped back when the lady came down from her oar then held out a delicate hand to him. He hesitantly looked at her outstretched hand, then to her face. "Who are you?" he asked with wide frantic eyes.

She chuckled over his reaction and said sweetly, "I'm Botan, a ferry guide."

His frown deepens, "What are you?"



"I am a guide, you see–" she said, thinking carefully for the right word to say to him.

"I know that you are a guide, you already said that," Takeshi snapped impatiently. "What do I mean is explain to me what is a 'ferry guide'?"

You need to be patient Botan, she reminded herself when she thought of boxing Takeshi's ear because of his short temper. "Yes, like what I said a while ago, I am guide," when she saw that annoying frown in Takeshi's face again, "A guide to the Netherworld," she said quickly with emphasis on the last word.

Takeshi's gaped at what she said. Oh God, this will be pretty hard, she thought. Grabbing his hand, she summoned her oar on the other. Takeshi couldn't believe at what he saw, they're flying. "Wait!"

Botan stopped when she heard his shout, "You mean you're death?" when she nodded, he wants to throw thousands of questions at her. "I'm dead?" he shouted. She nodded again, smiling.

They started to move again in the air when he shouted again, "Wait," but she didn't stop. She only regarded him when she looked at him over her shoulder. "I can't be dead" he said desperately.

It's now her turn to frown, "I thought you saw yourself lying on the street down there?"

"Well yeah, but I can't be dead," he said emphatically.

"Why not?" with patience slipping away, Botan asked a little louder than she intended.

Takeshi felt like crying. Last evening he went to dinner with his father in a restaurant together with his mom's fiancé. His mom didn't forgive him for what he had said.

Toying his food, the man seated across him, her mom's fiancé spoke, "I want you to stand as my best man for our wedding Takeshi. You're mom suggested that the best man should be the one closest to her," Mr. Shinji Ito said with a smile.

He snorted, his hand itching to hit the man's face. "Really? I think it should be dad. He's the closest 'man' to my mom, before you."

Ito's smile faded, but he decided to be silent and let his fiancée handle it. Eimi Asakura shot his son with an angry glance. "It's not a nice thing to say Takeshi," his mom said with a cool voice.

He ignored his mother, look at Shinji with resentful eyes. "I don't know what you want from us, but if you're after my mom's money, you'll never succeed." His mom and Shinji were too stunned to react at his statement. Satisfied at the impact he just created, he left.

That morning, he got a fight with his dad about his failed grades. After an hour of shouting words and curses at each other, throwing and hitting valuable furniture, Takeshi left his house with his dad demanding him to get back.

Then it dawned to him all the scenes came flashing back at the back of his mind. The crowd, the police, shouts of people, the sound of honking vehicles and the alarming ambulance. It all explains everything.

"I'm sorry," the sound of the deity's voice shattered his reverie. He looked at her with sad eyes.

He smiled but it didn't reach his eyes. "It seems that I can't apologize to my mom anymore," his voice full of emotion, "or my dad. We have fight this morning, you know. And I can't tell them," tearing his gaze from hers, "how much I love them anymore."

"We must tell the people who are special to us how much we love them as often as we can," her lavender eyes mirroring the sadness from his, "for we may not know when the time, such as this, will come and snatch away our opportunity to say we love them so much."

Smiling at the deity's words, Takeshi said softly, "Yeah, you're right."

They fly in the air for so long he didn't recognize that they're already in another world. His attention was captured by a light slashing the dark sky, and then he realized they're in a forest. No, a wild jungle, he thought. "What place is this?"

She looked at him over her shoulder then smiled, "This is called Makai, known to human as the demon world." He nodded silently.

Looking surprised because her passenger didn't argue for further explanation, she only shrugged then focused her attention at the view ahead. Her eyes caught something but she couldn't make out of it. Then all of a sudden a net was over them loosing their balance making them fall to the ground.

"What the –" she said, and then when she raised her head, a giant demon blocked her view. "Oh my God," she gasped with shock. Frantically looking for his companion who is gone, the demon made an attempt to walk toward her. "No, don't you dare to come a little closer," she demanded.

With a roar of laughter the demon spoke, "Oh come on missy, don't you want to play a little game?" ignoring her demand.

"What – what game?" she stammered, sounding dumb.

"Lemme see," putting a finger on his chin and pretended to think deeply. "How about, Hide and Seek, you can run if you want."

Botan started to get up, "Run," the monster shouted, laughing for her sorry state. He will let her run as far as she could and hide before he will start looking. It's the rule of Hide and Seek, right? He thought.

Her scent is getting weaker and weaker. It's almost time, he reminded him. With satisfied smirk he started to jump from tree to tree, following her scent. "Such lovely scent, milady," he bellowed.

All of a sudden, her scent was gone. "What the hell –" he cursed loudly.

Drops of water fall down from the sky. Series of lightning slashed the sky then followed by the loud, angry roar of the gods. "Where the hell did she go?"

He slowed his pace, sniffing for her scent, but still no trace of her. He heard a sound of rustling leaves then he followed it.

"Missy, come out, come out where ever you are," walking towards the big tree then searching the branches for her figure. "I know you're up there missy, such a very clever way to hide your scent dear." Holding the trunk with both hands, he raised his head, "But I promise I won't hurt you," and then he started to shake it.

A white figure jumped out from the tree though the monster didn't notice it. Then he reached for the silver rose behind his head. The sound of whip somehow caught the demon's attention.

His wide eyes shown with fear and anxiety as he looked over the kitsune. "Shit," he cursed.

"I don't know how in earth you entered my lair," he said with deadly calm. "I don't like it like though."

The demon eyed him warily trying to push away the sense of fear out of his system. He's larger than him anyway so there's no point of being afraid of him, even though he is the infamous Youko Kurama.

Cold eyes looked at the demon, sending shivers through his spine. "I make it clear that whoever trespass into my territory without my consent will end up," pausing as he move for his fighting stance. "Dead."

"You son of a bitch, do you think of me as a coward?" he bit back. "I'll fight you, even though it's not the purpose why I'm here in your godforsaken place."

Kurama raised a brow. "Then pray tell why you are here."

The demon smirk, at least he caught the kitsune's attention all he need is the right time to run. "There's a lady you see," smiling triumphantly at the kitsune's expression of interest. "A young and beautiful lady who happened to lost within your woods."

"And you're looking for her," when the demon nodded in agreement, he snorted saying, "You idiot, you think I'll believe your nonsense tale?"

"How dare you insult me you good-for-nothing thief," with all his might, the demon pulled the tree from its root then swung it forward aiming for the silver-haired kitsune.

But the demon missed him. "Nice try wimp, now it's my turn," he held his whip high above his head then with full force he slashed it against the tree breaking it into half. A sound of explosion followed, now it is intended for the kitsune.

The impact caused the kitsune's body to hit the nearby mountain. "Take that you son of a bitch," he snarled. Standing for a minute to make sure Kurama is dead, he started to leave. "That's for the throw of insults to me, bastard."

Then he felt something snapped within his body followed by a spurt of blood from his mouth. "What the hell," holding his chest gasping for air. The sound of his scream surrounded the air. The sight of demon wrapped with the plant's stems as its flower sucks the blood from the demon's body.

Standing from where he lay, he smiled at the picture ahead. Satisfaction all over is features. "Bastard," he smirked arrogantly.

***END OF CHAPTER 1***