Of Demons and Cursed Springs

Chapter 2

Yusuke couldn't believe it. He'd been so careful... he'd made sure to keep himself in check until he knew Saotome could take it... How could Saotome have been so... dishonorable?

The punk had clearly bolted when he realized he'd caused this girl's injury by his fall. 'Unless... unless he's waiting for a moment to attack!' Yusuke cast his eyes wildly about, but no one was there. Still keeping aware of his surroundings, Yusuke shifted his focus to the girl. Oddly, she wore a red shirt just like Ranma's and her red hair was in a pigtail like his as well. Was it their school uniform? No... that couldn't be it. The other Furinkan students didn't dress like that. Perhaps they belonged to the same club? Or maybe they were somehow related?

Yusuke clenched his fists in fury. Ranma and this girl clearly knew each other somehow, and yet he was nowhere to be found after landing on her! He scooped her light frame up into his arms. This girl had nothing to do with their fight... he would take her back to the group of students and see if she had any friends or relatives there. He grimaced. Then he could find that coward Saotome and finish their fight.

Minutes earlier, Keiko, slid to a halt, panting as the rest of the students from Furinkan and Sarayashiki continued their run through the school towards the stairs to the rooftop. She'd seen the explosion in the window as well as the figure sent flying, and knew Yusuke's Spirit Gun had to be the cause. Since that was the case, she knew running to the roof would be pointless, so she quickly changed direction and started running back towards the exit and the soccer field. A girl with short black hair in a Furinkan uniform seemed to realize this as well, quickly overtaking Keiko and running full sprint outside.

Keiko clenched her fists. How could Yusuke have done that? Ranma was clearly strong, but a spirit energy attack was way too dangerous to use on an ordinary person!

It turned out that Keiko and the girl with short black hair had made the right choice in leaving. Just then, an even younger girl stepped into the hall. She noticed the group of students fighting to get onto the stairs and shouted, "No fighting in the halls!" Then she held out a fifty-yen coin piece and yelled, "Happo Fifty-Yen Satsu!" In a bright flash of light, the students slumped to the floor, conscious but weak.

Keiko was paid no attention to the phenomenon and quickly sprinted out the exit and onto the grounds and the rain.

Yusuke returned to the soccer field to a puzzling sight. The field was completely deserted save for an unconscious Ukyo, and Kuwabara, who was on his knees with his face in his hands. Hearing strangled sobs, Yusuke realized Kuwabara was crying.

"Hey Kuwabara, what's with you?" Yusuke questioned, raising an eyebrow. "It looks like you won. Why so down?"

"Why so down?" Kuwabara repeated, bitterly sniffling. "Take a look at Ukyo!" He pointed to the student and then burst into tears again.

Yusuke got closer to inspect the student. "What? I don't see anythi-" He stopped, noticing that underneath Ukyo's jacket, there was an undershirt, as was to be expected, but also breasts! "Wait a second... Ukyo's a girl?" Yusuke gasped.

"That's right!" Kuwabara sobbed. "I punched out a girl! I can never forgive myself!" Suddenly, he noticed the unconscious girl that Yusuke was carrying. "Wait, who's that?" He jumped to his feet angrily. "How could you beat up a girl?" He demanded ironically, getting into his fighter's stance.

"Now wait just a second." Yusuke said. "First of all, you beat up a girl too..."

Kuwabara degenerated back into sobs, falling to his knees again. "Oh God, I punched out a girl, oh God, oh God..."

Yusuke sighed in exasperation. "And secondly, I didn't do this to her. Ranma Saotome did!"

Kuwabara once again jumped to his feet. "What? How dare he? Where'd he go, Urameshi? We've got to teach that girl-hitting punk a lesson!"

"Look, I don't know where he went," The Spirit Detective began. "But why don't we first find someone who can take care of Ukyo and this girl? Where did everybody go anyways?"

Just then, the Furinkan girl with short black hair ran up looking very worried. "Oh my God! You two won?" She looked at Ukyo and the pigtailed girl in turn with looks of shock and confusion. "You beat Ukyo and Ran-" She paused for a second "-ko?"

"You know this girl?" Yusuke asked, jerking his head to indicate the person in his arms.

The black-haired girl nodded. "Yes, her name is... Ranko. She's my... um... cousin. What happened to her?"

"That Saotome punk did this to her!" Kuwabara yelled angrily as Keiko arrived on the scene.

"That Ranma boy did this?" Keiko said, shocked and completely forgetting the lecture she'd planned for Yusuke.

The Furinkan girl laughed a bit. "Ranma? I doubt it..."

"Believe what you want." Yusuke said. "All I know is Ranma must have landed on her when he fell off the roof. That's why she's been injured."

The girl looked uncomfortable. "Um... if you wouldn't mind, could you help me take these two back to my house? It's only a few blocks from here and I can't carry both on my own."

"Fine." Yusuke responded. "I guess this is sort of my responsibility, but after that I'm going to find that Saotome guy and finish our fight."

The girl shrugged. "You can try, I guess. Ranma's a lot stronger than you may think."

Yusuke snorted. "Yeah, well you can think that if you want too, I guess. Kuwabara, pick up Ukyo and let's go." Kuwabara however, shook his head, sobbing slightly again.

"I...I punched her... really hard." Kuwabara confessed. "I don't deserve to touch her after what I did."

Yusuke groaned. "In case you forgot, she was fighting you!"

"Yeah, b-but..." Kuwabara choked Yusuke groaned again

"Yusuke..." Keiko scolded. "Why don't you leave Kuwabara alone. He obviously feels guilty." She turned to the other boy. "Kuwabara, are you sure you won't carry Ukyo?" She asked kindly.

Kuwabara shook his head and suddenly the unconscious Ranko was shoved into his arms. "W-what's this?"

"It's not that complicated." Yusuke muttered angrily. "You carry Ranko and I'll take Ukyo, okay?

After they finally had the arrangement's settled, they followed after the Furinkan girl who introduced herself as Akane Tendo. As they followed her back to her house, Kuwabara looked down at the unconscious redhead in his arms. She just looked so helpless, needing protection... Kuwabara blushed. And she was pretty cute...

"Kuwabara, stop falling behind!" Yusuke shouted at him.

"Oh! Sorry!" Kuwabara shouted, embarrassed and quickening his pace.

"Excuse me. Do you by any chance know how to get to Nerima?" Ryoga Hibiki asked a random student passing by.

The student, a boy with long red hair and a purple uniform, looked at Ryoga quizzically. He wasn't confused because Nerima was far, but because they were standing next to a large public map with 'Nerima' labeled very clearly. "Why, yes. It's a few towns over in that direction." He pointed off into the distance. "There is a map right next to you, you realize."

Ryoga scratched the back of his head, embarrassed. "Well, to tell the truth, I don't have the best sense of direction, so a map wouldn't help me to much."

The boy nodded politely. "I see. Well, I wish you the best of luck finding your destination, but I must be off."

"Oh. Well, thanks anyways." Ryoga said, setting off.

"Excuse me." The boy said, noticing Ryoga again. "Nerima is that way." He pointed in the same direction he had before.

"Heh." Ryoga chuckled nervously. "Right. Sorry."

The red haired student, Shuichi Minamino, returned to his thoughts as he walked away. 'That definitely was odd.' He was blocked, however by a large man in a trench coat and hat obscuring his face. "Excuse me." He said, attempting to pass.

The man smirked. "Can't let you do that, Kurama."

Shuichi, better known as Kurama became immediately more alert. This man knew who he was. In addition, he was attempting to threaten him. Was it a demon? If so, it had to be either very powerful or very foolish, attacking in a crowded street such as... 'Wait.' Kurama noticed that the street was filled with people wearing similar coats. More than that, they had gradually surrounded him. 'How could I have been so foolish? Letting my guard down like that?' Still making sure to keep a calm expression, his eyes darted around wildly, trying to formulate a plan. Kurama already had a few basic ones, but he knew nothing about this mysterious group of people.

"You're not getting out of here that easily, Kurama." The 'man' said, removing his hat to reveal horns and blue skin, just as the rest of the people on the street did the same. "You're supposed to be pretty good with plants, huh?" When Kurama didn't answer, he continued. "Well, then we're here to take you in. We've got a very important use for you." Seeing Kurama shift his weight to his center in what appeared to be a fighter's stance, the demon chuckled. "Oh please. Don't think you can escape. We've got you surrounded."

Kurama was relatively calm, however. The group was made up entirely of low-ranked demons. D or E class, probably. As long as he was careful, they wouldn't be a problem. However, what he was more worried about was what had succeeded in mobilizing such a large number of demons for a single cause. 'I'll have to make sure to leave one alive to question.' He thought as he removed a rose from his pocket.

Ryoga stopped, hearing a violent group of yells coming from behind him. He turned around, seeing a large mob of people attacking...someone. 'Wait! That's the way that nice kid went!' Temporarily forgetting about Nerima, the boy booked it back towards the mob, swinging his incredibly heavy umbrella aloft.

When Yusuke's group finally reached Akane's home, they were greeted by, of all things, a giant panda, which received a swift kick to the face from both Yusuke and Kuwabara.

"Take that, you vicious bear!" Kuwabara yelled down at the concussed creature. "That'll teach you to wait in people's homes, ...holding signs that say... 'welcome home...' " Comprehension dawned on him. "Oh. Uh, sorry Akane."

"Oh, it's fine." Akane said with a completely insensitive expression. "He's endured a lot worse than that."

"Oh, Akane. You're home early." A long haired young woman said, entering with a smile.

Akane nodded. "Well, Ukyo and Ranko got hurt at school, and so these three offered to help me get them home."

The young woman then handed Akane a small, grubby looking passage. "Make sure to give this to Ranko when she wakes up. It's from you-know-where." Still smiling, she gave Akane a really obvious wink.

"Thanks, Kasumi." Akane muttered.

Yusuke, Kuwabara and Keiko were puzzled by the secrecy, as well as the odd pronunciation of Ranko's name, but they decided to let it go. After leaving Ukyo in Akane's room and Ranko in another, they made to leave until Kasumi invitited them to stay for tea. Although Yusuke didn't really feel like staying, Keiko, and, surprisingly, Kuwabara, made a big deal about being polite and insisted they stay.

It wasn't long before Ranko emerged. scratching herself in a very unfeminine way. "Hey Akane, what happened? Last thing I remember is..." She stopped, noticing the three newcomers at the table. "YOU! What are you doing here?"

"Now, Ranko," Akane said, once again putting emphasis on the word, almost like she was prompting her. "Yusuke here was nice enough to carry you here after you somehow got hurt at school."

"I'm telling you, it was that Saotome punk." Yusuke muttered.

Kuwabara, not hearing, jumped to his feet with a blush. "A-actually, Ranko... I'm the one who carried you home..."

"Great." Ranko said sarcastically. She paused for a second. "I-I mean, thank you very much mister!" She exclaimed, suddenly much more feminine than before.

Yusuke groaned. Kuwabara needed to make up his mind already. Hadn't he already professed his love to Yukina?

"Oh, look. It's stopped raining." Kasumi observed, looking out the window.

Ranko started, looking out the window. "Well what do you know? It has. I'll be right back, I just need to take a quick bath..." She said, scampering off.

"What was that all about?" Keiko asked.

"Oh darn, I forgot to tell her about the package..." Kasumi reprimanded herself.

Suddenly, the pleasant conversation was interrupted as Ranma Saotome leaped into the room and delivered a flying kick Yusuke's face, shouting. "IT'S TIME FOR ROUND TWO, PUNK!

End Chapter

Ah Kuwabara, what a hopeless romantic...

Well, as you can see, things are already getting more serious than just a simple school fight, as Yusuke and Ranma are soon going to have to realize if they hope to stand any chance in the future. I feel like I should have more to say, but I'll just end by saying to please review, and feel free to suggest things you'd like to see!