To Reach Higher

Chapter: 5

Note: This takes place long after the Sensui saga, so yes Yukina does live with the Kuwabara's now.

To Katzztar I'm sorry I didn't know that you had whiskers, I simply assumed that you looked a little like Suzuki's 'bird'.

Kurama was pacing.

Not because he was restless, more like on the verge on total breakdown. Hiei shows up in his room like he normally does then starts to rave like a lunatic, and top it all off he thinks something has happened to his sister…that he killed her!

He might have Shuichi, have we gone and checked yet?

His Yo-ko self's sarcasm was not lost to the teen. In fact he soon realized that he didn't know if Hiei was telling the truth or not. A thought that startled him because Hiei would do anything to protect his beloved sister.

Even kill?

"No. Hiei hasn't killed anyone yet, he's left for the demon world and any killings will be there." Kurama visibly shuddered "I just hope it's not true."

And if it is?

Kurama didn't answer, the very though of answering would mean accepting it as fact. He wasn't ready to do that, yet.

"Lets go see." Kurama silently said to empty-air "Let's go see."

Yusuke Urameshi was a somewhat foul mood after a quick chat with his girlfriend Keiko Yukimura, who brutally smacked him when he suggested to skip class for a few days and relax. Then got an ear-full as she told him that perfect attendance was necessary for this upcoming event.

Maybe I should of asked her out to a movie after school latter instead? Yusuke thought somewhat bemused on how he had not said something smarter. Perhaps I'm just too stubborn to change all my ways.

Suddenly he remembered that Kurama told him that Kuwabara was meeting his maybe-teacher today. Picking up the pace he jogged to the demon's home, finding to his surprise Kurama himself walking out the door towards him. Slowing down he noticed that the redhead was glancing at the rooftops and alleys as he walked towards him.

He looked like an over-pulled bowstring in Yusuke's opinion.

Just like Keiko.

"Something up, man?"

Kurama's emerald green eyes focused on Yusuke like magnifying glass. Flinching under the glare he tried to smile his friend's grave look off his face. Kurama smiled slowly and shook his head.

"Sorry Yusuke I was…thinking." Yusuke notice his hesitation and didn't press the matter.

"So do you know where we should go to catch up with em?" Yusuke waited for the demon's reply as they stopped at the bus station. "hmm? You okay?"

Kurama blinked "Bone Ulcer…that's where we're headed." Kurama gave the bus driver a short bow and paid for the both of them, as well as completely ignoring the last question.

Maybe I should just leave Yusuke to go see Kuwabara and go find Yukina to make sure? The demon's thoughts went through the pros and cons, but curiosity won-out and he decided to go see this Subari first. Then travel with Kuwabara to find out if Hiei was just rambling, or if it was true.

Careful boy, you might make it happen if you keep worrying. Relax…mellow out…

His thoughts started to clear as he followed his inner-voice's advice.

Get laid!

Kurama smacked into a low-hanging bar above the seat he going to sit in. He heard several snickering from around him, including Yusuke. Grumbling about having a bad day, he sat down with a sigh. Yusuke wasn't smiling 'too' broadly, the laughter was still in his throat, but it was looking to come out one way or the other.

"Just laugh, please."

Yusuke and several others did.

Katzztar seemed to be a good guide as far as Kazuma Kuwabara was concerned. So far he had learned that the whole place was built in only five years, quite a feat since it was before heavy construction machines, and that the plants he had acquired through his trips filled a greenhouse behind the large castle.

"Lets go inside for a while, it's getting stuffy out here!" the small crossbreed called out to him as they neared the walkway to the stone structure.

"Is that okay?" Kazuma frowned "I mean does he mind us waltzing around his home?"

"Sure he doesn't it's why he let me be your guide to Hell." the bird-cat moved one paw to her face in mock surprise "Oh my, did I say Hell…I meant eternal-suffering-for-the-damned."

The teen simply chuckled "He cant be 'that' bad…" Kuwabara stopped to think about that. "…is he?"

"naw, He's almost like Genkai…except with more years on his shoulders and a flatter chest."

Kazuma Kuwabara let out a loud laugh.

"A bird-thing with a sense of humor, heh?"

The mentioned creature was less pleased with the jest.

"Hey I'm a flying cat!" her face screwed up in a snarl "That jerk just calls me that cause he too stupid to call me anything else!" Katzztar pouted, sticking her beak in the air and ruffled her feathers. "damn fool" she muttered lowly.

"How long have you known him?"

"hmm" the flying cat blinked and clicked her beak in a way that was strangely almost human "Gawd! It's been so long I cant remember…hmm lets see…" her eyes glazed as she zoomed through her memory "I…think it was about three years before the first World War is when I first met him."

"WOW! Your old!"

Katzztar fell out of flight and hit the hard ground with a 'thump'. She growled from her new position as Kazuma knelt down.

"Grrr Baka!" Katzzatar's right paw swung at his face, claws extended, slamming the boy in the face.

Kazuma muttered a low yelp as her claws cut his face. Looking mildly miffed he glared down at the flying cat, surprised that she was already eye-level with him.

"Despite…not being human, I am still a 'lady'." She took a deep breath "And what do you 'never' talk about with a lady, Kuwa-kun?"

Kazuma flinched"Never talk about her age….sorry!" the boy gave a short bow.

"Well at least you have manners, unlike a 'certain someone' I know!"

"Come on he cant be that bad." Kazuma stopped and thought about it for a moment, then added "Can he?"

The flying cat turned and gave the human teen a grave look. "He's worse." she said softly.

For a moment Kazuma Kuwabara was worried. For a moment he thought that it was going to be a living Hell. For a moment he thought she was serious.

Until she started laughing.

"Y-You should see your face!" the flying cat had broke-down into a fit of laughter. Laugher so hard she had to land. "I cant believe that you bought that load of crap!"

Growling in aggravation Kazuma kept quiet, also so he didn't say anything to piss the little demon off. He then realized how close they where to the castle now. A slanted walkway that could be likely even used by those that cant walk, he watched as the path went up, then abruptly turned.

He looked up and noticed the arrow-slits ten feet over his head and then realized the function.

"Say this goes back and forth like a staircase doesn't it?"

The flying cat nodded leaving the laughter behind to answer his questions. The boy racked his brain to figure the whole out.

"So if an invading army were to try to force their way in they would have to take the time to make several turns." He continued walking as Katzztar nodded. "So once the archers had positioned themselves overhead, they would rain down on them…thinning their numbers, right?"

"Not bad!" Katzztar cheerfully smacked him on the shoulder "Keep this up and you'll be Lord of this place!"

Kazuma stumbled over his words and embarrassment as the turned the seventh and final turn to the entrance.

"Ko'Vash!"

The teen was going to ask what that meant when the large doors opened up without so-much as a creek. Inside he could already see the elegant tapestries and exquisite urns and beautiful black rugs that lined the floor. Now Kazuma Kuwabara felt like he was stepping into the past.

"Neat, huh?"

"Neat!" the teen felt it absurd to just call it 'need', this was beyond simple words. "Isn't that an understatement?"

"hmm Yeah, but hey," tilting her head a little she regarded him with an sagely gaze "once you've seen it enough times you get used to it." She speed down the hallway shouting for him to hurry up.

Amused he followed wondering at his sudden change in pace.

It could have been worse.

Kurama reflected sullenly, not the least bit happy at the arrangement. He seem to be tormented both inside his mind and in the material world that surrounded him. The laughing crowd, many that where in his grade and most likely would let the knowledge spread.

Doesn't matter. In half a week I'll be in college. Kurama thought sharply. Let them! Damn it all let them spin their stories, I will be over their heads and out of their way!

"Is that anger I hear in you Shuichi?" Again his Yo-ko self taunted him beyond restraint. "Very 'unbecoming."

Clinching his teeth he stepped off the bus without further incident, minus the grin that refused to go away from Yusuke's face.

Before them lay the way to Tarukane's mansion, the still-broken fence and the grass growing over the old path slowly quite clearly that none have traveled this way in a while. But they weren't heading this way.

Two pair of feet had headed further down the road. Silently and uneventfully they followed these footprints until they turned once more into a broken pathway, leading into the forest.

"So we go this way, huh." Yusuke's said more in statement than question, and all he got was a small nod from his friend. "Lets go."

Why do I have the feeling this is going to take a while? For some reason Yusuke Urameshi, Spirit Detective of the Underworld, couldn't find an answer to his instincts.

"This is really something!" Kazuma remarked as they made their way past the halfway point of the tour "So much art, where did he get it?"

"All around the world, Kazu-kun!"

As the flying cat said "around the world she spun in mid-air to emphasis the phrase. She flew a little more ahead of the teen until she suddenly stopped near an alter.

"Say what's this?" Kazuma looked at the alter of stone and saw a long sword in a silk sheath. The hilt looked silver with small symbols carved on the grip. The sheath was pure white and looked unstained by time or the elements.

"That's Sumeragi's sword." she glanced down a the blade "It's called Shattered Star…take a look at the blade."

Blinking he wondered if he heard right. To touch someone else's sword without permission was to insult the owner.

"What, no way!"

"Don't worry he wanted me to let you touch it…it may be yours one day." Katzztar for a moment looked sad but it passed and she nudged him with her paw "Go on, draw it!"

Kazuma Kuwabara found himself hesitating, for good reason too. For all he knew Subari Sumeragi was a uptight and possessive to a T. He might rip his throat out for touching something as personal as his sword. The problem now was hard to answer.

Do I draw it, and trust her? His brow furrowed. or do I not draw it, possible piss her off, and be cautious?

Gowning inwardly he realized that he couldn't 'just put it down' now. I'm gonna regret this I bet. Grinding his teeth and grabbing the hilt he felt a small vibration and the chill of the polished metal against his palm.

Slowly he drew the weapon from it's sheath, careful not to tear the sheath. As he drew it felt as if a sudden breeze had entered the hall. He could hear the walls rattle from some invisible force, yet the air was calm despite it all. When he pulled the blade out all the way he could hear the non-existent wind and see the walls shaking slightly.

The teen looked at the blade and almost dropped it in shock, it was beautiful. The blade was straight with no noticeable curves and unusual as it's owner. The blades was a mesh of bright polished steel that curved inward like the letter I. The gap was filled with a clear translucent glass, and the only visible edge was the one that the light hit. All long the blade, cover both steel and glass, were veins of silver and gold forming unusual patterns. Like words of a dead language.

"Beautiful aint it?" Katzztar knew that the guy was stunned by how exotic the blade was and that beautiful had never seemed enough of a word to describe. "It hasn't seen action for years, decades even! He just keeps it in good condition for future needs."

"Yeah."

Yeah. Katzztar thought smugly that was everyone's response to the question. "Well I bet their done now so maybe we should go check up with em?"

Mumbling a "yeah" he looked into the silk sheath.

Metal lined the inside. Deceptive! Kazuma mentally commented.

As he sheathed it the vibration in the hilt lowered along with the shaking of the walls. It got quieter until only the slight whisper of the non-existent wind remained.

With a 'click' the sword was fully sheathed, and the wind was gone.

Taking a breath that he didn't realize he was holding he felt a whole lot better. Adrenaline was pumping through his veins and making the human restless. So he put the sword back in it's proper place on the alter.

Only then did he see the painting.

The style of it was foreign, Western most likely…maybe even Spanish. Remembering the paintings they looked at in class it looked old indeed.

The painting was of a white-clad man with a sword similar to the one he had just held. A shaggy head of brown hair and bright jade-colored eyes stared at him with a look of patience and his hand was over the hilt of the sword. He was dressed in a white kimono as well as matching obi. In the background and foreground people of different ages and nationalities surrounded him.

"Before you ask Kuwa-kun," Katzztar interrupted his analyzing, seemly with haste. "I have no idea who painted it. Or who those people are…" Her cat-face scrunched up in a semblance to a human in deep thought "But I swear I've seen some of them before, I just don't remember where!"

"Well that'll be a question for some other day, I've already got a headache from everything that's happened so far."

To emphasis his point, Kazuma rubbed his temple and sighed.

"It's still weird…the way he reacted when he first saw us." Kazuma blinked at the cat itching for an answer "Say, does he get any other visitors?"

The flying cat had been preening herself while he talked and after finally getting a twig that had gotten into her wing out did he answer.

"He sees these men," Kazuma thought she suddenly looked vicious "greedy, ugly, fat-arsed, men-in-cheap-black-suites." She made a war-cry-like screech. "They stink of blood and malice. He makes charms for them and they pay him nicely….BUT I DON'T LIKE THEM!"

Ohhhkay. She obviously doesn't like them, and by the sound of it I don't either! Kuwabara had an odd sense of deja vu but couldn't for the life of him figure it out why. It sounds so familiar why cant I remember it!

"Ohmygosh!" Katzztar suddenly looked startled as her paw pointed to a clock on the wall beside them "It' getting late, we need to get back double-time!" She was already zooming towards the stairs before the teen could realize why?

"Hey, wait up!"