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The Realm of Mist

By SheilaWolfe

Fantasy / Action

Prologue

A mountain of paperwork sat on Koenma's desk, tumbling into the floor in a flurry of flyaway sheets. Fuming from his late night work, the junior ruler of the Spirit World stamped yet another document and moved on to the next.

"You have to come up with something, Koenma," Botan was pleading from across the desk as she fidgeted with the sleeves of her kimono.

"Botan, please," the toddler sighed. "Can't you see I'm busy? Go complain somewhere else."

The grim reaper groaned in frustration. "But he won't leave me alone, always asking if there's another case. You can't blame him, though. It has been awfully dull recently."

"And that's a bad thing?" Koenma turned to face the usually cheerful girl and shrugged. "Why complain when there's no problem. Besides, shouldn't Yusuke be resting after the tournament?"

"He says he's bored," Botan stated simply.

Koenma barked out a laugh. "It's barely been two weeks and he's already bored with living normal? He's a strange one."

"Well don't look at me, you're the one who hired him as your Spirit Detective." Koenma chose not to answer but turned back to his stack of papers. Botan sighed and attempted to regain his attention.

"Surely you must have something to keep Yusuke busy? If I go back empty handed you may have to find yourself a new reaper," she argued.

"I already told you, Botan, there's nothing for Yusuke to do. The Human and Spirit Worlds are calm and at peace."

The 'peace and calm' was broke, though, when a heap of blue skin and leopard print leotard burst into the room and promptly fell on its horn.

"Nice entrance, Jorge," Koenma snarked, barely glancing at the clumsy display. "Ever heard of knocking?"

"Koenma, sir!" The ogre scrambled to stand and rushed towards his boss, holding a folded red letter in one hand. "This just came from Waruyama Prison, sir!"

"What!?" Koenma quickly bounded over his desk, snatching the paper and tearing it open to read. His companions watched his worried expression slowly shift to a stern scowl.

"It wasn't…" Botan started but trailed off, waiting for her boss to speak.

After a tense moment, Koenma nodded. "Nozomu has escaped again." An eerie silence fell over the trio as the news sank in. Finally, Koenma cleared his throat for attention.

"Botan," he said quietly, making the blue haired girl jump. "Go to the Human World and get Yusuke and Kuwabara. Meet me at Waruyama Prison as soon as you can."

"Yes sir!" Botan nodded, materializing her flying oar as she hurried out the door.

"Ogre," he snapped at the still dumbstruck demon, "I want you to send word to Kurama and Hiei of Nozomu's escape. I fear we may need all the help we can get. I'll need to leave for Waruyama Prison as soon as I get back."

"But sir!" Jorge cut in as the toddler waited for the doors to open. "Back from where? Aren't you going now?"

"I need to speak with my father first," Koenma answered, turning a grim stare towards the ogre. "This has gone on long enough. It's time we brought this demon to an end once and for all."

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