In which Knights and Rice Collide
Yukina looked up from Adelaide's prone form as Seadra lunged at Botan and Chasity. Raising her arm, Yukina sent a wave of ice towards the girl's feet. She dodged the icy blast, but Yukina hadn't expected her attack to work, only slow her down.
When Seadra paused to regain her footing, Genkai hit her from behind with a Spirit Wave. The girl hit a tree hard and crumpled to the ground.
"Adelaide!" Chasity ran over to the other girl, tears streaming down her face at the sight.
"I'm sorry, there was nothing I could do," Yukina said, truly regretful she hadn't been able to save the girl. She did wish there was time to let Chasity grieve, but there wasn't. "She said something about destroying her stone?"
Chasity sniffled and wiped her eyes. "Oh, that's right!" She unhooked the necklace from Adelaide. "If we break these it'll weaken the ritual that Sue is using to control this place."
"Hand it over," Genkai ordered, and one blast of Spirit Energy later the stone was history.
"Shouldn't we destroy your stone too?" Koenma asked.
"But without mine I can't manipulate this place," Chasity protested.
Genkai marched over to Seadra's still unconscious form. "You can keep yours for now, but we're getting rid of hers."
After Genkai destroyed that necklace as well, Botan said, "Shouldn't we catch up to Keiko now? I don't think we should have left her alone."
Chasity waved a hand airily, her grief over Adelaide apparently already forgotten. "Oh, she should be fine. After all, Adelaide said that dragon is the avatar for all the food warriors. Since Keiko has it, that means she can control all of them now."
Everyone stared at her. "What?"
"Why didn't you tell us that earlier?" Genkai snapped. "Keiko doesn't know she can control the others!"
"Let's go," Koenma said.
The stream of Onigiri seemed endless, and unfortunately, the guys weren't much help. For some reason, they were unable to access any of their powers, which would explain how they'd managed to get themselves captured in the first place.
Since the guys were relatively helpless, it was Keiko on her dragon who was leading the charge. The dragon was much stronger than the Onigiri, but there were far more of the demon rice balls, and the numbers were taking their toll.
Frustrated by the thought of being overwhelmed by oversized food, Keiko yelled, "Would you stupid things stop coming!"
And to her surprise…they froze.
"What are you doing, Onigiri?" Aiyoko shrieked. "Attack them!"
The Onigiri didn't move.
"Keiko," Kurama said, "order them to trap her."
"Onigiri," Keiko called out. "Trap Aiyoko!"
The Onigiri obeyed her order, much to her surprise. Why are they listening to me?
Aiyoko tried to fight the Onigiri off, but was quickly overwhelmed. As they pinned her to the ground, a chipper voice said, "See? It's okay I didn't tell her; she figured it out on her own!"
Keiko looked to see Chasity and the others coming in through the same entrance she had used earlier. The group, sans Chasity and Genkai, rushed over when they saw the guys were with her. Chasity hung back while Genkai marched over to Aiyoko and snatched up her necklace.
"No! Give that back!" Aiyoko wailed.
Genkai ignored her and shattered the necklace with a blast of Spirit Energy.
"Hey, how come you guys can use your powers?" Yusuke complained.
"Because the rules of this place don't affect them," Koenma said. "Just you."
A rhythmic clanking started, distracting everyone from their conversations. "Now what?" Keiko asked aloud.
An army of steel knights approached them, marching in step and line by line.
Keiko breathed sharply, "Oh no!"
"Don't worry Keiko!" Yusuke stepped in front of her, "I won't let them touch you."
Kuwabara stepped up beside Yusuke, "Of course not! We will save—"
He was cut off by a sharp cuff from his sister. "You idiots! None of you guys can use your spirit energy, or did you forget that little fact, mmm?"
Kuwabara shook his head, "No, but that doesn't mean we won't try!"
Everyone suddenly froze.
Someone was laughing…someone in their group was laughing.
Everyone turned to find the one that thought the new near-death experience was funny.
It was Yukina.
She pushed her way to the front, still laughing.
"Yukina? Have you lost your mind?" Shizuru cautiously asked her.
Yukina shook her head, "No, but whoever sent metal knights to face us sure did!"
A pause as everyone tried to comprehend this statement.
"Why?" chorused half a dozen throats.
Yukina straightened up, "Because I'm an ice yokai and metal, well, it doesn't do too well in extreme cold."
Kurama was the first to catch on and start laughing. "This will actually be delightful!"
Hiei though wasn't so optimistic, "If it works. The odd creatures before weren't so obedient to the laws of physics."
Koenma shouted, "No! This should work. The girls are outside of the power of the ritual. The girls practically force things to act the way they should."
Yukina took a stance in front of the group and focused her power.
Keiko felt the cold before she saw its effects.
For the group behind Yukina the temperature decreased just by a few degrees, but the ground in front of Yukina quickly had frost creeping towards the knights.
The wave of intense cold hit the first row of knights and they stuttered in their marching, but they showed no signs of stopping.
"Come on Yukina," Keiko whispered, "you can do it."
Yukina saw the knights weren't stopping and increased her efforts. The first row of knights took the next step and their leg shattered on impact, causing the knights to topple over, blocking the way for the following knights.
"Yes!" Kuwabara shouted, "You did it Yukina!"
"Not quite yet," Hiei cut the celebration short. "The others are still coming."
Yukina took her stance again and sent out more waves of extreme cold. Sweat started to bead on her face with the effort it took to send out the cold needed to affect the magical constructs.
Keiko started, "Wait! I can help." She started running towards the dragon, "Yukina, keep up the cold!"
Keiko scrambled up the dragon and called out in a stern voice, "Weird rice food things, attack the metal knights! Stop them!"
A swarm of onigiri came out and scuttled towards the knights. There was a shuttering pause when they hit the extreme cold, but the onigiri recovered quickly and continued charging towards the knights.
Clang!The first onigiri hit a knight like a rock and the knight shattered. The process continued until the knights were all shattered stumps and shards.
Yusuke pouted, "We didn't get to hit anything."
"I'm sure you'll get your chance," Genkai said dryly.
Shizuru looked around, "Hey, where did that crazy girl go to?"
Keiko jerked her head around to look at where the onigiri had been holding the girl Aiyoko down. "She's gone," Keiko groaned.
"When you ordered the onigiri to charge the knights, they must have let her go," Kurama said thoughtfully.
"Yeah, straight to Sue-san!" Chasity jumped in.
"Who are you?" Hiei said rudely.
"She's one of the girls controlling the ritual, but she's helping us now," Koenma explained.
Keiko looked around. "Where's the other one?"
Chasity looked down and scuffed her foot on the floor.
"She was killed by another one of the crazies," Botan said softly.
Chasity nodded sadly, but bounced back up immediately, "But it's okay! Adelaide read the super-secret ritual book that no one but Sue was supposed to read, and she told me everything that we weren't supposed to know!"
Genkai sighed, "Like the fact that whoever's riding the dragon can control the food?"
"Yep!" Chasity bounced on her toes. "Oh and the only way to defeat the knights forever is to defeat their avatar."
"Whatever that might be," Hiei said glumly.
"We will find it!" Kuwabara raised his fist in the air. "And we shall defeat it!"
Chasity's eyes seemed to sparkle in an unworldly way. "I'm sure you will Kazuma!"
"And then we will pound whoever is responsible for bringing us here into the ground!" Yusuke promised.
Aiyoko and Seadra bowed before Sue-san and her iron knight.
"I'm sorry Sue-san, I could not defeat the unworthy one," Aiyoko simpered.
"And I could only kill one of the traitors," Seadra said, looking a bit worse for wear.
Sue glared at them from her throne, "And you both lost your stones…Idiots! Useless, worthless!"
Seadra and Aiyoko cowered before Sue's rage.
"I should just kill you both-" Sue paused, and then knelt down in front of the girls. "But…I may still have use for you," she patted each of their heads. "A very good use for you."