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"Show some respect for your mentor!" the old woman harangued Yusuke.

"Master Genkai," Botan said, full of respect and astonishment, "we never knew you owned a theater."

Genkai Yusuke Botan
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"It was part of my attempt to bring humans and demons closer together," Genkai explained. "Unfortunately, I've been letting my agent do all the booking, and as a result, we got this gang of thugs."

"We're highly skilled mercenaries!" Jakotsu protested.

"Yes, thugs," Genkai nodded. "As for you," she turned to Mukotsu, "your fine is to hop like a frog for five minutes on stage."

Genkai Jakotsu Mukotsu Frog
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"That's not enough of a punishment!" Inuyasha complained. Genkai ignored him.

Mukotsu insisted, "It was a special effect!"

"A special effect that almost killed the audience! Now hop like a frog already," Genkai insisted.

"I refuse-" Mukotsu began to say, reaching for one of his jars. Before he could, Genkai had run behind him and kicked him to the ground. "If you won't hop like a frog, you'll get a lot worse than that from all of us." Genkai pronounced.

Bankotsu started forward, and Jakotsu flicked his Serpent Sword towards Genkai. Hiei barely managed to bat it out of Genkai's path. Ginkotsu and Renkotsu aimed at Hiei. Suikotsu advanced on Genkai while Kyokotsu lifted his foot to crush the audience. Yusuke aimed his Spirit Gun while Kurama got out his Rose Whip and Kuwabara his Spirit Sword. Inuyasha cracked his knuckles.

Inuyasha Bankotsu Jakotsu Hiei
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Ginkotsu Renkotsu Evil Suikotsu Kyokotsu
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Yusuke Kurama Kuwabara
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Suddenly, flying insects raced up to the members of the Band of Seven, and every member of the Band of Seven collapsed to the floor, decayed to skeletons, and then vanished.

From a shadowy alcove, unseen by Inuyasha's row, the man in the baboon costume collected the Band's Jewel Shards from several flying insects. "They've already failed to kill Inuyasha," the man murmured, "they couldn't possibly defeat everyone in this theater." He vanished with a chuckle, and the insects flew away.

"Wow," Tasuki stated. "These special effects are just as amazing as you told us, Miaka!"

"I dunno that those were special effects, you know," Chichiri thought aloud.

Poisonous insects Naraku
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Tasuki Miaka Chichiri
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"Oh great, there go our Jewel Shards," Inuyasha grumbled. Sango grimly agreed, "The insects left too fast for us to follow. I suppose we're unsuccessful."

Genkai bowed to the audience. "Sorry about that, everyone. Let's have an intermission. Please visit our concession stand just outside the doors."

"Who could possibly feel hungry after seeing that?" Botan wondered aloud.

Inuyasha Sango Genkai Botan
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"Ooh, ooh, can we please get some snacks!" Miaka jumped up.

She appeared to be the only one who wanted to eat, and she skipped down the aisle and out the doors before most people quite registered what she had said. A few minutes later, the doors opened again and a man bearing a large tray of food appeared.

"Kikyo Rolls! Get your Honey-Glazed Kikyo Rolls!" the man called.

"Kikyo?" Inuyasha asked urgently. He leapt out of his seat and towards the voice.

"Inuyasha," Kagome said in a sad, hurt, and winsome way.

Miaka Kikyo Inuyasha Kagome
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Genkai and Yusuke's group caught up on what had been happening lately.

Ashitare, growing restless, decided to investigate the Seven Psycho Psychics. Sniper watched his approach idly, ready to fire on him if he made a hostile move. Itsuki was attempting to learn how to play an instrument in the short time before their performance. He was not pleased with the results and was considering getting Ura-Otoko, a giant demon who lived in the earth, to do a solo in his place, if he could teach it to sing.

Ashitare Sniper Itsuki
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"There aren't seven of you," Ashitare growled at Sensui.

"Our seventh member, Gourmet, was assimilated a long time ago by the elder Toguro," Sensui enlightened him cooly, "and we didn't particularly want to free the elder Toguro from his imprisonment in the Sinning Tree."

Ashitare accused, "This is a concert for bands of seven. You're not allowed to play."

"We'll do just fine with six," Sensui assured him. "If it comes to it, I've got six other personalities that could count as members of the band."

Doctor walked over to him. "Excuse me. I was hoping to talk with Sensui about arranging the charity concert for House of Miracle Hands." It was a charity Doctor had founded after his own reformation.

Sensui nodded, "Of course," and proceeded to discuss details with him, turning his head from Ashitare.

Sensui Gourmet Elder Toguro Doctor
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In the blink of an eye, Ashitare had bitten deeply into Doctor's shoulder. He released the bite, shoved Doctor into the next row, and howled, "Never turn your back on the Seiryu Seven!"

Doctor calmly picked himself up, without any exlamations of pain or flinches of discomfort, using his powers to prevent any sensation of pain. "Do you know how long I'm going to have to operate on myself to fix that?"

"A long time," sneered Ashitare.

Doctor looked at Ashitare, nonplussed. "No time," he corrected him.

Game Master, distracted from a quick handheld videogame by the disturbance, pointed out, "That bite didn't even break the skin. You could say he's got all of his hit points!"

"Leave us, impertinent boy, or I'll rip out your throat," Ashitare snarled.

"He was saying that you didn't hurt him," Sniper translated. "That's a good thing, or else I'd have killed you," he tossed a pair of dice in the air.

Genkai wandered over and said sternly, "Ashitare, you broke the truce, and in a rather stupid way, biting him with your human teeth rather than shifting into your wolf form. I think you're in need of serious character reform, so your penalty is to get on all fours and act like a cute puppy for ten minutes."

Ashitare Game Master Sniper Genkai
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"I will do no such-" Ashitare began, then noticed Nakago's eyes on him from across the room. With an growl, he got down on all fours, and morphed into a cute puppy and yipped cutely. "Good," Genkai smiled. "Only nine and a half more minutes. See if you can impress some of the ladies in the audience with your nice, new nature."

Ashitare bounded away, glad to escape from the stares of the Psycho Psychics, and ran up to Yusuke's row.

Ashitare Nakago Genkai Puppy
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"Thanks a lot, Genkai," Keiko muttered. Botan said hesitantly, "Er, uh, nice, doggy," but kept her distance- she preferred not to get involved when Genkai was disciplining someone. Ashitare wanted to scream, but instead made a cute puppy's bark. It was better than getting Nakago and the old woman mad at him.

"He's so cute as a puppy!" Yukina gushed, petting his long gray hair. Kuwabara joked, "He has long grey hair. Kinda like you when you transform, Yusuke!"

Ashitare reflected that at least one person here had accepted him, and he had endured much worse humiliation at Nakago's hands. He panted and looked at Shizuru with sad puppy eyes, since she didn't seem to have reacted one way or the other to him yet.

Keiko Botan Yukina
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Kuwabara Yusuke Transformed Shizuru
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"I'm not touching him," Shizuru said firmly. Ashitare howled sadly.

"Awww, poor little puppy," Yukina hugged him around the neck. "Can we keep him?"

"No," said Hiei, Shizuru, Kuwabara, Keiko, and Yusuke together.

Hiei Kuwabara Yusuke
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"I certainly hope you found Kikyo, because you've really hurt Kagome this time," Shippo told Inuyasha disgustedly.

Inuyasha sighed. "It wasn't Kikyo, just some rolls that look vaguely like her." He started to eat one.

Shippo stared at him. "What are you staring at?" Inuyasha demanded defensively. "I was hungry."

Shippo Kikyo Kagome Inuyasha
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"Could I please have some of the roll?" Shippo asked ravenously.

"Get one of your own! The vendor's standing right over there!" Inuyasha gestured over his shoulder.

"Waah!" Shippo cried. "Kagome, he's not shar-"

"Inuyasha, sit," Kagome said quietly and with the force of her simmering anger. Inuyasha cried out in alarm as he crashed to the floor. Shippo managed to snag part of the Kikyo roll (Kikyo's arm and bow) from Inuyasha's outstretched arm.

Keiko stared at their row again. She was sure now that Kagome could use the word "sit" to force Inuyasha's necklace to the ground.

Keiko
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"Everything, from the tickets to the food, is so expensive at this concert hall," marveled Tamahome.

"The food is definitely worth the expense," Miaka told him during a mouthful of Kikyo Roll.

Tamahome Miaka Kikyo
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"All right, intermission's up," Genkai commanded. "Next act, Suzaku Seven, you're up."

"But Yui and Keisuke aren't here," Miaka balked, nearly forgetting to take another bite of roll.

"The world is still turning," Genkai said offhandedly.

"Hey, we just need a few minutes," Tamahome complained.

"Tamahome," Chichiri whispered, "I imagine her temperament is like Taiitsukun. Anger won't help here."

"I suppose you recommend groveling like everyone else?" Tamahome grumbled.

"I wouldn't say no to some well-placed groveling," Genkai agreed. "Dimwit, you should learn from Chichiri."

Genkai Yui Keisuke Tamahome Chichiri Taiitsukun
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"Tamahome isn't-" Miaka began. Yusuke put in, "She was calling me a dimwit. It's a bonding thing between us." "No," Genkai dissented, "it's an accurate description of how your attitude depresses your abilities."

Miaka Yusuke
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Yui, Keisuke, Tetsuya, and Suboshi finally walked in.

Yui Keisuke Tetsuya Suboshi
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"Yui! Keisuke! Tetsuya!" Miaka shouted happily.

Nuriko was in the middle of yelling at them, "Where have you been!" when he noticed that their foursome was in the middle of a fearsome quarrel.

"All I'm saying is that next time we go on a subway, ask us for your ticket instead of insisting on 'privileged transport for the Seiryu Seven'!" Tetsuya snapped. He had come, since he was Keisuke's friend, but was obviously wishing he'd made his own plans for the evening.

"They made Lady Yui stand up on their abomination of a carriage! A woman forced to stand on a thing that creaks and sways like a ship at sea!" Suboshi retorted vehemently. He was obviously an identical twin to Amiboshi, and accentuated the effect by sporting a duplicate blue headband.

Miaka Nuriko Amiboshi Suboshi
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"Suboshi," Yui had evidently tried to explain this to him many times before, "they're always that crowded. Many women were standing up. It wasn't an insult to any of us."

Keisuke looked extremely put out, which was surprising for this relatively calm man. He vociferated, "Suboshi, when we leave the concert, just stay close to us and stop going on your own. The next time you run off the train, we might not be able to catch up to you. You would've been lost at the station-"

"We're arrived at the concert hall, and I protected Lady Yui! I'm an adult! Stop treating me like a child!" Suboshi vented his anger on them.

Yui collapsed into a seat behind Miaka. "Miaka, it's good to see you," she groaned softly.

Suboshi Yui Keisuke Miaka
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"Lady Yui," Nakago began, "it's-" he paused a moment as Soi tightened her grip on his arm and stared at Yui, "-good to see you are well," he finished in his levelest voice.

Nakago Soi
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Inuyasha crossed his arms and frowned. Kagome yawned while Sango checked Hiraikotsu's edge for the tenth time. Shippo had been playing with his top for the past few minutes, while Kilala watched him. Miroku was trying not to think about the itch on his neck.

Inuyasha Kagome Sango
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Shippo Kilala Miroku
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"What happened?" Tamahome whispered to Keisuke.

Keisuke sighed, "Suboshi complained about Yui's accomodations when we were in the subway car, then caused a panic when he started mutilating himself, so of course he bails out at the next station-"

"I apologize," Amiboshi said sheepishly. "I was just worried about all of you."

"It's okay," Keisuke sighed again, and sank into his seat, Tetsuya taking a seat behind him. Suboshi sat down beside Yui, and asked solicitously, "Are you comfortable, Lady Yui?"

"Yes! I'm fine!" she said a little too quickly and loudly. "I'm totally fine, there's nothing wrong!" Suboshi sat back bewildered.

Tamahome Keisuke Amiboshi Suboshi
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Tetsuya Yui
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Inuyasha began tapping his foot. Kagome frowned at him; that meant it wouldn't be too long before he gave in to his impatience and said something rude. He abruptly asked a rhetorical question, "Why are we still here? Without the shards from the Band of Seven, there's no point to staying any longer. We need to get a move on and find more Jewel Shards before Naraku does."

Kagome almost wanted to argue with him out of habit when he used that irritating tone of voice, but he did have a point. A quick survey of Inuyasha's friends indicated that none of them had pressing reasons to stay, and were staring at each other almost hoping that they might leave soon.

Inuyasha's group Naraku
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From about four rows ahead, Kurama murmured. "He said Naraku. Interesting. Hiei, are you familiar with the legend about Naraku?"

One of Inuyasha's dog ears, the one nearest Kurama, twitched. "Do you know something about Naraku?" he called out to Kurama.

Kurama turned around to face him. "I do," he affirmed mysteriously. His eyes flicked back to the stage, where the Suzaku Seven were setting up what they needed, then added, "Why don't I tell you more about it after their number?"

Kurama Hiei
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Next Chapter:

"Please, step on my hands."

"It's cutting through my magic!"

"He's the pint-sized ruler of Spirit World."

"I'm not touching you!"




1Anime Galleries at http://www.animegalleries.net

2http://www.ex.org/1.5/11-fy3.html

3http://www.freewebs.com/jakotsushrine/jakotsusfriends.htm

4http://morgan-d.net

5http://www.yuyuhakusho.com/index.cfm?page=characters

6Wikipedia "Frog" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog

7Wikimedia Commons, Patrick Edwin Moran, at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Puppy_and_shoe.jpg

8Yuu Watase and Her Manga: Fushigi Yugi at http://genbukaiden.tripod.com/id12.html

9Terrace Black's Anime Shrine 101: Inuyasha at http://terraceblack.tripod.com/id1.html


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