Fushigi Yuu Yuu Hakusho Episode 2
Koenma, for once, had finished all of his paperwork. Every single last one. And as the humans seemed to be taking a break from dying, no oni were rushing in to dump more papers on his desk.
He was taking advantage of this rare opportunity to lean back, put his feet up on the desk, and daydream about Ayame.
He was in the middle of a perfectly lovely one in which they were double-dating with Kotennyo and Koashura (and Koashura got the worst and least of everything; they'd sort of made up after Kotennyo declared her obvious preference, but he still hadn't forgiven the other demigod for some of the things he'd gotten up to. The magma wouldn't have killed him, but it would have *hurt*!) when his office was invaded by a small tornado.
"KOENMA-SAMA! KOENMA-SAMA! TAIHEN DESU!"
The tornado resolved itself into Botan, hopping off her oar to lean over him.
"Mou, Botan, what is it? I was enjoying my unexpected but very welcome respite!" He felt a sudden sympathy for Yuusuke tachi's frequent complaints.
"Keiko-chan's been trapped in a book!"
OP: Yo ga Akeru Mae ni
The Chosen Maiden of Legend!
What the Heck Is This Book?
My name is Urameshi Yuusuke.
I was the number one delinquent at Sarayashiki Junior High, and went on to become the number one Student You Don't Want To Mess With in high school. I have been one of the most successful detectives for the Reikai, won the Ankoku Bujuutsukai, defeated the madman Sensui Shinobu -- the prior two with help from my friends -- am an S-class youkai whose power is not the least among that group, and one of the Three Great Lords of the Makai. Even if Enki is technically doing all the ruling stuff for everyone now.
And all that is worth damn-all in the face of what's happened to Yukimura Keiko, the girl I love.
We were going through my old teacher Genkai's possessions after her death, and Keiko opened a book called the Shijintenchi no Shou. It sucked her inside somehow, and I didn't react in time.
She seems to have become a character in the book; at least, this 'girl from another world' seems to be her. She's just been rescued from trouble by some chick with the character 'oni' on her forehead and a bouncy Amazon named Bao Guan.
We're going to get her back and find out who did this.
Because when I catch him... he's DEAD.
Keiko looked from Tamahome to Bao Guan to Mon'yuu to the guard captain, all of whom seemed to have instantly grasped some significance that eluded her.
"What's the point of it glowing? Does your class level go up or something?"
"It is believed to be a side effect of an extensive heightening in ki," Mon'yuu said pedantically. "But Tamahome-gimi's has not done so in all her years at Court. His Majesty, praised be his name, has suggested that it may only reach the appropriate level when in the presence of a threat to Suzaku no Miko..."
Keiko found herself the object of everyone's eyes, including the guard troop and the young women from within the wagon.
"Murakeiko-san -- "
"Keiko," she corrected the guard captain. "Yukimura is my family name."
"Keiko-san," Tamahome said, "may I ask where you are from?"
"Tokyo," Keiko told her.
Everyone looked blank.
More blank looks.
"In the Ningenkai?"
"Is this the Ningenkai?" one of the women asked.
"Humans live here," the guard captain answered, equally puzzled.
"I was looking at a book, which said it was a story about a girl who gathered the Seven Seishi of Suzaku and some such, and that it was an incantation which would begin when I turned the page. So I turned the page, like an idiot, and was swallowed by a red light... and then I was here, wherever 'here' is."
Bao Guan looked at her with interest.
This was a nice contrast to everyone else, who was looking at her with something akin to awe.
"Suzaku no Miko."
"It really is. She's Suzaku no Miko."
"In our lifetime."
"If Tamahome-gimi and Hotohori-gimi appeared in our lifetime, of course Suzaku no Miko would appear. But she has appeared to us; we are the ones who have been favored by Suzaku."
Keiko was certain that her face must look as confused as she felt. She directed a pleading look at Bao Guan, being the only one who didn't seem awed or shocked.
"I think it's religious," the white-blonde girl shrugged. "They worship Suzaku in this country. According to the records on Nyosei, the glowing character thingy means that she's dedicated to him or something, but I don't know where you fit in."
"Thanks," Keiko muttered.
"It is Suzaku no Miko!" the woman who had decided the captain's location to be a safe place said. She paused. "Anoh... who exactly is Suzaku no Miko again?"
Everyone fell over.
Tamahome was probably the first to recover. She laughed, a warm, rich laugh devoid of mockery, and remarked "This must be confusing for you."
Keiko nodded emphatically.
"Not know who Suzaku no Miko is?" Mon'yuu spluttered. "Not know of the Legendary Chosen One, destined to come to Kounan and better its lot? What are they teaching in school these days?"
"I never went to school," the woman said.
"Me neither," one of the others rescued from the wagon squeaked.
"It was a decree from the Dragon Throne that the peasant schools, as a drain on the treasury, should be closed," the guard captain offered. "He felt the monastery schools were enough."
Keiko made a face. So did Tamahome and Bao Guan. Mon'yuu looked as if he'd like to have, if not for the implied criticism of the Emperor of this place -- Kounan, was it?
"Anyway," he said self-importantly, "the point is that we are the ones who have first met you." He smiled at Keiko. "The Emperor will reward us well, and we will be greatly favored."
"What Mon'yuu is trying to say," Tamahome interjected, "is 'Please come to the palace with us.' Both of you, please do."
"I'm looking for my sister -- " Bao Guan began.
"If your sister has been in Kounan, there will probably be records of it at the palace. Won't there, Mon'yuu?"
"Heika-sama has justly decreed, in his infinite wisdom, that a record shall be kept of all foreigners residing within the boundaries of the Warm Flowery Scarlet Southern -- "
"Hai, hai," Tamahome interrupted. "Please come with us."
"Do you know how I can get home?" Keiko asked.
"I'm afraid not."
"Then I suppose I might as well come with you. I don't know anywhere else to go."
Keiko's voice, to her horror, broke on that last.
"Ah... Tsubone-gimi," the guard captain said, almost apologetically. "What are we to do with the girls?"
"Well," Tamahome said, "we have confiscated them. And you've been very good, gentlemen; surely you deserve a reward -- if that's all right with you?"
The women variously shrugged, blushed, and nodded in response to the question.
"We're very nice, really," the guard captain said.
The young women (and some of the guards) blushed harder.
"Anoh..." Keiko began.
"They seem no sillier than most girls, and the guards are no less silly than most young men, so they should get along well." She paused, taking in Keiko's shocked look, and continued in a more serious vein. "Except for you two, all of them were bought by these scum, probably from their families. If they were lucky, they might be bought by a family needing indentured servants or a brothel that couldn't get into the Guild, which has its own buyers. Otherwise... there are no enforceable laws on the treatment of those bought by 'private collectors.'"
There was a rather awkward moment of silence.
Their own families had sold them?
Keiko'd known intellectually, she supposed, but --
"Even if they died?" The words boiled up out of her mouth.
"The buyers pay for their lives," the redhead told her, a little sadly, a little cynically. "That, by implication, includes their end."
"Slaves are property," Kurama agreed. "You could buy a slave for dinner tomorrow at the Great Market in Makai, and the only raised eyebrows would be because you were buying dinner as opposed to hunting it down."
"Keiko'll be safe now, won't she?" Yuusuke worried.
"Well, they seem to think she's this prophesied Miko now, so -- right up until they demand something of her that she can't do," Shizuru told him.
"You're no help." He whirled on the girl reading The Book. "You're sure Koenma didn't know anything offhand?"
"For the twenty-third time, YES. Koenma-sama will call us when they find any useful information in the library. Now do you want to snarl at me or hear what's happening to Keiko?"
Yuusuke shot Botan a glare that had obviously benefited from prolongued exposure to Jaganshi Hiei.
Traveling in a litter sounded romantic, Keiko decided some hours later, but it was a wonderful way to become seasick in the middle of the land. No matter how long the bearers had practiced, inevitably the conveyance lurched forward and then jerked back as they marched, and dipped and rose depending on how high the ground beneath the men at its corners happened to be at the moment. Add to this the extremely tight quarters of a litter meant for one person and the closed curtains (for 'privacy') that shut the wind out and the musty smell in, and Keiko had spent most of the trip drawing the Joyo Kanji in her head in order to keep her mind off her abdomen.
"Tsubone-gimi, Miko-sama," the guard captain said from beside the litter, "we're about to enter the Inner City."
"Finally," Keiko muttered.
"Oh, the outer city isn't that bad," Tamahome disagreed. "At least they get out of the way of the litters. When you're walking, you're bumped into every eight paces or so at least."
"We had to keep the curtains closed the whole time, though," Keiko pointed out. "Out in the country, we could at least open them a little."
"It'll be better once we're inside," the older woman assured her. "But you really wouldn't have wanted to ride outside. You heard how they were muttering about the young women, and they at least are wearing more conventional clothing."
"This is perfectly conventional," Keiko protested. "At least, maybe not the jeans -- " she gestured to them -- "but they're in good condition and everything."
"I'm sure it is in your land," Tamahome agreed. "But here, we usually don't show our shirt fastenings quite so obviously."
Keiko, puzzled, looked at the row of buttons down her tawny-gold bloue.
"And, man or woman, a tunic or gown is worn over the waist of trews."
"Yes, but at least I'm covered," Keiko pointed out. Moreover, the blouse and jeans were far more suited to any vigourous activity she might be called on for than, say, her school uniform would have been.
"Ah, yes. I am glad Mon'yuu finally agreed to let the young Amazon ride in his litter."
"He didn't think it improper to be in such close quarters with someone so underdressed?" She was curious, now, remembering that that particular argument had not been among the ones he'd mustered.
"It is perfectly proper for a eunuch to be in close quarters with any woman, is it not?" Tamahome smiled. "Unless she be a criminal or spy or something of that nature."
The litter was carefully lowered.
"You may disembark now," another guard told them.
Keiko hopped out and into a strange and different world.
"Eunuch," Kuwabara repeated for the fifth or sixth time.
"If you keep saying that," Kurama told him, pointing a piece of straw that had come loose from a hat at the taller boy, "I shall be tempted to turn you into one."
The reikanshi immediately shut up, slamming his thighs together.
It looked, Keiko decided, rather like China.
Or, better yet, what the Hong Kong studios had decided that the Forbidden City should look like.
She ignored the sounds of Mon'yuu vociferously diasgreeing with Tamahome in the background.
"Big, isn't it?" Bao Guan had come up to her.
"And all that ornamentation..." Keiko slowly turned around, trying to look everywhere at once.
"They can't need it all," the Amazon grinned, throwing herself into three handsprings and a round-off.
Mon'yuu's voice stopped and then was raised in appalled horror, directed at the foreigner who apparently had no more sense of what was appropriate than to engage in acrobatics in the middle of the Imperial Compound.
Most of the guards and young women began wandering off. The one who'd ridden behind the guard captain came up to Keiko.
"Anoh, Miko-sama, thank you."
"Why?" Keiko blinked at her. "And I do have a name."
"Well... if it hadn't been for Keiko-sama, we'd all still be in that cart, and I wouldn't have met HIM." She laughed nervously. "Etoh... my name is Bikou! Thank you again!"
Bikou ran over to the guard captain, latching onto his arm and practically dragging him off to somewhere.
"Love," Bao Guan said, rejoining Keiko and looking after the couple. "Isn't it great? I've got to remember that technique."
"What are you still doing here?" Mon'yuu demanded of the Amazon.
"You guys seem to know where you're going," the white-haired girl shrugged. "I figured I'd tag along. Besides, I'm about out of cash. You don't know of a position going begging?"
"I could use a new maid," Tamahome offered.
"Tamahome-gimi! That is not the proper procedure for adding a new servant to the ranks of those authorized to attend the upper imperial concubines -- "
"Anoh... did you want to introduce me to the Emperor or something?" Keiko hastily interrupted. Even after this short time, she could tell that the fair-haired man was worse than Kuwabara-kun and Iwamoto-sensei put together for frarking about every little thing that came up.
"Of course!" Mon'yuu smiled, pleased by this reminder. "Miko-sama, Tamahome-gimi... woman, please follow me. We shall seek audience with His Majesty at once!"
"I have a name..." the Amazon muttered as she followed the other three.
"And where," an urbane voice demanded before they had barely begun down one of the maze of passageways, "do you think you are going?"
"Taishi-denka!" Mon'yuu gasped, bowing, as some even more elaborately armored guards came pouring out of a side passage, a smaller man in their middle.
"Or, more precisely," the same voice continued, "what do you think you are doing? I still have loyal ears in the Guard, Tamahome-sama." He wrung the last drop of exquisite mockery out of the honorific. "Usurping the duties of a judge now, are we? My father may be besotted, but you and my dear, dear elder brother cannot hope to outmaster me."
He turned, slightly, and Keiko finally got a good glimpse of the Crown Prince's face.
It wasn't precisely the cruel smile that shocked her, or the handsomeness of the face that, if only slightly less strong, would have been beautiful.
It was the fact that his features were a somewhat more attractive version of ones she had seen before, graced with the same nasty smile.
On the face of a youkai known as the elder Toguro brother.
"Well," Keiko said valiantly, "I've never been in a gaol before. Even Yuusuke didn't manage to do that."
"Ah, it's nothing special," Bao Guan said from the other side of the dark, small cell. "You see one gaol, you've seen 'em all."
"You've been in a number, then?" Tamahome asked in the tone of one making polite conversation.
"A couple. Mostly at home, spending a night to rethink the stupider aspects of various pranks I pulled." She grinned suddenly. "The look on the Elder's face was so worth it, though."
"Taishi-denka's rashness has destroyed us all," Mon'yuu wailed. "We'll rot down here, and Kounan will come to doom and disaster without Suzaku no Miko -- "
"Nonsense!" the red-haired woman said firmly.
"The one time I was in one of your Kounanite gaols," Bao Guan added, "I waited till the food came by, sort of swiggled -- " she demonstrated a rather sensuous wriggle -- " whacked the guard one through the bars, and snatched his keys as he was crumpling. Should work just as well here."
"I doubt that will be necessary," her new employer told her. "When Hotohori finds out about this, he'll undoubtedly come let us out. I'm surprised his little brother even tried this; he must know it can't hope to succeed."
"Who's Hotohori?" Keiko asked. "And if he's the crown prince's elder brother," she forcibly kept herself from shivering at the memory of the crown prince's face, "why isn't he the crown prince?"
"Taishi-denka is the eldest child and only son of the Empress, praise be to her memory," the court eunuch explained, apparently pulled together by the challenge to explain some point of etiquette or precedence. "Hotohori-gimi is the son of the Emperor's favorite, Lady Reika, who sadly died soon after his birth. Kohtei-heika treasures him as the last living memory of Reika's beauty and cleverness.
"And he, like Tamahome-gimi, is one of the Shichiseishi of Suzaku."
"Another concubine's son is even older than both of them, but he doesn't come to court much," Tamahome offered. "Not after their big brother got in a fight for repeating that silly rumor and managed to break his neck. I wish he hadn't; it only gives the gossip credence."
"What gossip?" Bao Guan asked. "Juicy stuff? Spill it, spill it!"
"About Hotohori-gimi, and by implication Tamahome-gimi," Mon'yuu said, sounding even more dignified than usual, "and it is so ridiculous I'm not even going to dignify it by repeating it."
"Awww... " Botan said.
"I should think it would be obvious," Kurama said dryly. "Especially if this Hotohori is good-looking."
"He ought to be," Shizuru said. "Heroic princes in stories always are."
Keiko, bored, kicked the bars.
They made a quite incredibly ghastly noise.
"Hey, that's an idea," the blonde said. "Make the guard come now so we don't get bored waiting around for him to show up." She walked over to Keiko, waited a moment, and then kicked in unison with the Japanese girl.
The bars wiggled like so many willows in a high wind.
The girls blinked. Then Keiko turned to Tamahome. "Come over here and help us. On three: one, two, THREE!"
The entire grille covering the front of the cell fell outward, landing with a horrendous crash.
"Oh dear, oh dear," Mon'yuu wailed. "This is terrible!"
"Aren't you a little young to be turning into such an old man?" Bao Guan asked.
"Obviously they weren't any good anyway," Keiko pointed out.
"Far better that we discovered it," Tamahome agreed, "than some desperate criminals whom the Dragon Throne could not afford to let escape. Don't you agree?"
The eunuch whimpered.
"Ch', what a lamer," Kuwabara said.
Yuusuke nodded firmly, turning to Botan and Yukina -- the two blue-haired girls were giggling like mad. "Knock it off. I need to hear what happens next. Keiko escapes all right, doesn't she?"
"Excuse me," Kurama said, taking The Book from Botan. "I believe it's my turn."
Oddly enough, the dungeon seemed to be denuded of guards except for right at its entrance, where two stood in attitudes suggesting their extreme boredom. Tamahome swept up to them.
"Do you have any idea," she demanded, "what a DISGRACEFUL condition the cells are in?"
As the two spun to face her, blinking in total surprise, Bao Guan came up behind one of them and hit him very precisely on the side of his head. Tamahome socked the other one in the solar plexus, chopping her hand down on his neck as he folded up. The redhead and platinum blonde smiled at each other with the satisfaction of a job well done.
"Now what?" Keiko asked.
"My quarters, I think," Tamahome said. "But be careful anyway, just in case."
They carefully snuck around several corners and down a number of confusing hallways. It was a good thing, Keiko reflected, that she had no desire to return to the dungeons, because she'd never have been able to find her way back.
And, then, just as they were about to go out into a major hall, they heard voices. Instinctively, all four of them flattened themselves behind a pilaster. (This meant that they weren't very flat and that Bao Guan's hipbone was pressing into Keiko's behind, among other things, but at least all four of the tightly huddled group were quiet.)
"I don't believe it. Not the captain."
"Maybe the Kakyuu woman bewitched him. They do say she's a sorceress, y'know. If that's so, they can get an abbot or something in to unsorcel him and the others."
"Will they? Taishi-denka put them all under immediate house arrest and hasn't let them speak to anyone. "
"Well, that's to keep them from contaminating anyone else -- "
"Or to tell anyone else the truth, whatever that is."
"If you're right, you DON'T want to talk about it, do you? Not and keep your head on your shoulders. C'mon; we're supposed to ransack her chambers and see if we can find any evidence, not hang around gabbling in the halls. Maybe when we're done they'll let us at the girls: I heard they captured a whole bunch that the Kakyuu woman was presenting to her troops."
"Ransack a Suzaku Shichiseishi's chambers?"
"Oh, come on. Everyone knows the shichiseishi are just legends of the old days -- unless the priests made them up to keep themselves in a job."
"YOU shouldn't talk like that... "
From the sound of their footsteps and fading conversation, the guards had apparently moved on. Still, it was a while before the four unplastered themselves from the corner.
"Ugh, that hurt," Bao Guan muttered, trying to find a way to unobtrusively rub her right breast.
Neither Mon'yuu nor Tamahome were paying any attention to her. "May the gods curse me for a fool," the redhead hissed. "A real plot, and we've walked right into it."
"I cannot believe that he would dare," the eunuch replied.
"He doesn't believe in the Sevenstar Gentlefolk," Tamahome argued, sotto voce. "He would. He did. And I don't dare talk to Hotohori."
"The Emperor must be informed."
"Yes, but we need to get to him to inform him. You see if you can get to Hotohori -- I'll try a few other routes."
"Through the harem?"
The Suzaku Shichiseishi snorted. "Most of whom would happily see my throat slit? Hardly. I was thinking of the Court at large; I think Houki for one owes me a favor... "
"I'd better be off, then." Mon'yuu said, and bustled away, secure in the responsibility of a defined task.
"There's a room around the corner and on your right," Tamahome told the other two girls. "Wait there till we come back."
And then she, too, was gone.
Keiko and Bao Guan looked at each other uncertainly, and then went out into the hall.
"The right one, I assume."
"You're the Miko."
Keiko glared at the platinum blonde as the two of them tiptoed over to the curtained entranceway and lifted the drape aside.
The room appeared to be full of relaxing guards, every one of whom was staring with shocked recognition into the two pairs of female eyes.
"SHIT!" Bao Guan yelled, grabbing Keiko's arm and taking off running. Keiko heartily agreed with the sentiment.
They pounded down corridors, around corners, up short flights of stairs, down more flights of stairs, and across courtyards.
"You ever... done anything... like this before?" Bao Guan panted.
"Only... if you count... being chased... by a flock... of demon-possessed teachers... for use as a hostage."
"Shit, your world's... weird."
"It's not... usual... there either."
And then they found themselves in a quiet garden. The sound of water falling was clearly audible, as was the chatter of birdsong.
Both girls slumped to the ground, sucking in deep breaths.
"I think we lost them," Keiko said hopefully.
"Me too. I think we lost us."
"What is this place?"
It certainly had been laid out with great care. The garden was no Katsura, of course -- but then, what else is? The two rose and wandered along the graveled pathways for a while, passing a chattering stream and a great hedge of camellias.
And then they came to the place where the stream fell for perhaps a man's height into an ornamental pond. A light rail guarded a vantage point on the edge of the drop, and someone veiled in white was standing there, looking out over the pond. One long brown tress escaped the veil to fall to the watcher's waist.
"Maybe we could ask her where we are," Keiko suggested in a half-whisper.
The other person moved, apparently alerted by the noise but uncertain of its origins.
"Her, hell," Bao Guan hissed. "That's a man, dearie, a MAN." Then, as the man in white's face became visible, "A cute man. He's gorgeous."
Kurama's face scrunkled up.
"What?" Botan said, snatching The Book back from him.
"Suzaku no Miko regretted her mistake," the ferrygirl read. "The man in white looked less feminine than the human form worn by the fox of her acquaintance."
"Is that thing implying," Kurama said very carefully, "that I look like a girl?"
"Implying?" Shizuru rolled her eyes and took another drag of her cigarette.
"No, no," Botan said. "That this person looks even less like a girl than you do. Like, oh, Kuwabara-kun with long hair or something."
Yuusuke began to snicker.
"What?" Shizuru asked.
"I was just -- just picturing Kuwabara with long hair in sailorfuku -- "
"Excuse me?" Keiko said, walking toward the man in white. "Could you tell me where we are?"
"The Camellia Gardens," the man told her. His face didn't quite look Chinese; it had a bit of an exotic tilt to it that reminded her, slightly, of Kurama's youko form as much as anything. He looked at her and then at Bao Guan in slight puzzlement. "Your friend is obviously an island Amazon -- "
Bao Guan smiled and waved.
" -- but I have never seen your mode of costuming in my life. Where are you from, lovely maiden?"
Keiko looked at him with wary hope. "Are you by any chance Houki-san?"
"No, I'm afraid not." The man looked puzzled. "Who's Houki-san?"
"Beats me," Bao Guan put in. Keiko and the man who wasn't Houki ignored her.
"Had you heard that Tamahome-san has been arrested and thrown into a dungeon?" Keiko tried again.
Obviously he hadn't.
"Who would dare such a thing?"
"The Crown Prince," Keiko told him.
"We were there," Bao Guan added.
"Did she send you to find me?" the man who wasn't Houki asked.
"If she had, wouldn't we know who you were?" Bao Guan told him.
"We escaped," Keiko informed him, "and she sent Mon'yuu-san to find someone called Hotohori-gimi and went to find Houki-san. We were supposed to wait for her -- "
"Only we took the wrong turn and got chased by a whole bunch of soldiers and now we're really lost," the Amazon interrupted. "And since she's supposed to be this priestess person, shouldn't we go find her temple or something and get them to argue for her?"
Keiko glared at Bao Guan. "Oh, fine, tell everyone we meet everything."
"Like you didn't?"
"Ladies, please," the man interrupted. Then he looked more closely at Keiko. "Lady. Are you truly the foretold Suzaku no Miko?"
"I don't know," Keiko said.
There was a loud clamor.
"There they are!" the leader of the troop of guards, which had burst into the gardens unnoticed, called, pointing to the two girls.
"Have you no manners?" the man who wasn't Houki chided them. "Why do you pursue these two maidens?"
"None of your business, woman! Stand aside!"
The man who wasn't Houki threw the white silk veil aside, letting it puddle to the ground. "Oh, but one of these ladies is the Miko I am bound to protect," he near-purred, striding forward, "and that makes it very much my business."
As his hair swung, Keiko noticed the character 'star' on his neck.
"Someone had better explain what the whole deal is with this Miko and character and seven stars stuff soon," Bao Guan muttered, "or I think I'm going to explode."
"Same here," Keiko hissed back.
The star man turned back to them. "I apologize for not revealing sooner that I was one of those whom you were seeking," he said with a dazzling smile. "Suzaku Shichiseishi Hotohori, at your service. Now," he turned to the guards, who seemed to be caught in the throes of a growing urgent desire to be elsewhere, "shall we not set this whole matter before my father? Including the lady Tamahome and the respected Mon'yuu?"
The guards fell in around Keiko and Bao Guan as they followed Hotohori, who certainly seemed to know where he was going. A few of them fell away to run elsewhere.
And when they finally came into what Keiko presumed to be the throne room, they found a nervous Mon'yuu and a decidedly annoyed Tamahome there before them, surrounded by their own complement of guards.
Keiko cautiously looked up to the end of the room. Seated on what surely must be the throne, wearing an odd sort of bucket-shaped hat, was a grey-bearded man with a strong -- if not precisely kind -- face.
And next to him, on a cushion, was the Crown Prince, looking decidedly annoyed but not at all like a man facing the ruin of his plans; rather, he seemed like someone faced with the presence of a cockroach in the kitchen.
[ED: "Daydream Generation," sung by Mawatari Matsuko]
Kotennyo and Koashura: "Heavenly Maiden, Junior" and "Wardemon, Junior" respectively; the "tennyo" is the same legend as the ones in *Ayashi no Ceres*. You may remember these two from the first Yuu Yuu Hakusho movie.
Taihen desu: "Big trouble!" / "It's an emergency!" This is Botan's customary phrase for alerting either Koenma or the Urameshi Team to whatever mess they have to deal with *this* time.
class level: In Keiko's world, youkai are ranked in classes according to how much power they have. She is making a perfectly logical assumption that turns out to be almost correct.
Joyo Kanji: There are about two thousand Chinese characters ('kanji') used commonly in Japan, plus about three thousand more ones used infrequently. The government, in one of their language reforms, published the Jouyou/Joyo Kanji List, which consists of 1945 characters, the first 1006 of which must be learned in first through sixth grade. Keiko is doing something akin to rattling off the multiplication table, with the difference that one thousand nine hundred and forty-five characters (in correct stroke order) should keep her mind occupied for rather longer than producing a hundred and forty-four numbers would...
eunuch: These were common in the courts of Imperial China. Many rose to high positions in government and shaped the direction of the country.
concubine's son: The line of imperial succession went through the Empress first. If she were childless, it went to the sons of the highest ranking concubines in order of age, and so forth. Otherwise, they were often given noble ranks and positions found for them, to keep them from growing overambitious or something.
Katsura: the Katsura Gardens in the Imperial Compound in Kyoto are some of
the most beautiful in the world.
Ya-ho! Botan-chan desu! In our next episode, a family feud turns vicious; will Keiko be able to prove that she is the legendary Suzaku no Miko, especially when she's not sure herself? Also, discover the true Legend of Suzaku, and -- Yuusuke, WILL you stop muttering things about Hotohori? He seems perfectly nice and very gentlemanly to *me*. You could learn a thing or two from him. See you next time! O-tanoshimi-ni!
Um. Comments are always welcome.