|tripleofive (tripleofive) wrote in genderswitch,|
@ 2008-12-02 15:37:00
A few days later, Kaoru dressed in one of her few nice kimono, which was white with red and black petals and tied with a red and black striped obi, and tied a red ribbon in her high ponytail. She may prefer the comfort and freedom of movement of her kendo uniform, but the townspeople were already sceptical of a woman teaching swords, there was no need to further offend there delicate sensibilities by wearing boys clothes – they might not sell her food! And speaking of food…
“Miso, soy sauce, tofu – mou, you’d think by now I’d know not to buy in bulk.” She pouted and turned to the old man pacing beside her. “Hey, Kihei, you’re all better now right?” Shaken out of his thoughts, the man looked at her confused. “Hmmm?”
“You were sick yesterday, right?” she prompted.
He laughed sheepishly. “Ah, yes, of course, of course.”
Before Kaoru could continue questioning Kihei, the sounds of a scuffle coming from a knot of people up ahead caught her attention. She could here what sounded like policeman calling out- “stop this” and “come quietly!”
“They must be making an arrest,” commented Kaoru idly as she and Kihei headed towards the knot of people up ahead. “I wonder who...” before she could finish her question, a voice sounded over the din, harsh and mocking - and familiar.
“Just try it you government dog! You think I’m going to let you lock her away, unarmed, where you can ‘visit’ her in the cell? I’m not stupid, though you must be if you think I’m going to let you touch a hair on her head!”
“The…rurouni?” she questioned softly, drawing Kihei’s attention from the rice he’d been inspecting.
“You know that man Kaoru-san?” he asked.
“Not really.” Kaoru hedged around the question as she burst into a run for where the sounds were coming from. Kihei was one of those who didn’t approve of a girl practicing swordsmanship, and hearing that she’d gone after the murderer stalking the streets on her own armed with nothing but a bokken, resulting in her getting injured and having to be rescued would make him even more firm in his opinion that she should give up swords and sell the dojo – and that wasn’t even considering how he would react if he found out she’d let two disreputable wanderers into the dojo when she was all by herself.
Heading for a break in the group of people eager for the entertainment of watching an arrest, she called out. Standing in the middle of several police were the two wanderers, the woman standing just behind the man, as he glared at the chief that was attempting to arrest them.
“The wanderers! You two are still in town?” Kaoru called out, drawing the redheaded woman’s attention. Completely ignoring the police officers surrounding her and her partner, she smiled at Kaoru.
“Oh, it’s Kaoru-dono! I almost didn’t recognise you in feminine clothing!” before Kaoru could get mad at that, the woman continued, smiling sweetly. “You look very nice.” Kaoru blushed, before busying herself by turning to the lead officer. “What did they do?” she asked. Of course, she was pretty certain she already knew the answer…
“As you can see, they’re both violating the edict against wearing swords – hey aren’t you from the Battousai’s dojo?!”
…Yep, she was right - wait a minuet!
A vein twitching in her forehead, Kaoru shouted at the policeman. “That’s a lie! I told you we were framed!”
Getting angry himself, the officer shouted back. “Are you defying government authority? Don’t yell at a police officer!”
“I’ll yell at anyone who dares to say that murderer is from my dojo! And government authority? Quit hiding behind you’re uniform!”
Behind them, forgotten, the male wanderer turned to his companion and whispered.
“I take it back, I like her.”
With a beaming smile, the woman answered. “See! I knew you’d like her given enough time – you’re to similar not to like each other…”
He twitched. “We are not similar!”
“Of course not Eni-chan.”
Meanwhile, Kihei had caught up. Taking in the situation at a glance, he saw the two strange wanderers – who, judging by their swords, were the ones being arrested- and Kaoru and the police officer having a shouting match. If this went on, Kaoru-san might end up arrested, and he couldn’t have that…
“Hold on a second please.” He said, drawing Kaoru and the officer’s attention.
“What do you want!?”
“Now, now, I’m sure we can settle this peaceably and without all this fuss.” Smiling as he moved to shake hands with the officer, he slipped some hush money into his hands. So quickly and quietly was it done, that only a pair of violet eyes noticed.
Calming down, the officer turned to leave, shooting back over his shoulder, “In light of what the old man has done, I’ll let you go for now, but you watch your mouth girl.”
In a move that made the male wanderer smirk and his female friend widen her eyes in shock, Kaoru stuck out her tongue. “Jerk.”
“I suppose the police aren’t exactly reliable these days, huh?” said the woman.
“They’re weak, in body and in spirit.” The man agreed. Reminded of the reason she’d come near the police in the first place, Kaoru turned to the two.
“You’re still here! I thought you would have left days ago! Unfinished business?” She asked.
Shaking her head and smiling gently the woman answered. “No, not really. By the way, has anything further developed in regards to the street killings?” she questioned, practically radiating innocence.
Kaoru accepted the change of subject with good grace. “Eh, well…I do have one likely suspect.”
Behind her back, Kihei gave her a sharp glance. “There’s a dojo called “Kiheikan” on the outskirts of the next town.”
“A dojo?” The woman questioned.
“No. It used to be a Dojo, but the owner had to sell, and now it’s a gathering place for gamblers and rogues. A former samurai took it over about two months ago. A giant of a man, they say - 6 shaku 5 shun.”
The red head raised her eyebrows. “Hohoo!”
Kaoru nodded. “Suspicious, ne? And two months ago – that’s when the street killings started.” She frowned. ‘I haven’t any proof, so I can’t actually do anything yet, but soon…”
Kihei politely interrupted. “Kaoru-san, there’s still preparations to be made for dinner, shall I-?”
“Oh yes, of course.”
He nodded and made his way past the wanderers, violet eyes following his path.
“Kaoru-dono, that man…?”
“Oh, Kihei? He’s my housekeeper. It was right after father passed away. Kihei collapsed in front of the dojo and I helped him out. He doesn’t really believe in girls practicing swordsmanship. He says I should give up swords, sell the dojo, and go live quietly somewhere.”
Violet eyes narrowed. “Where’s he from?”
Kaoru blinked. “I don’t know. I never asked.”
It was the woman’s turn to blink. “Never asked?”
Kaoru shrugged. “Should I have? Why would it matter? We all have things in our pasts we don’t want to talk about.” With suddenly serious eyes, she turned to face them.
“You two do, don’t you? That’s why you’re rurouni.”
There was a shocked look on the rurouni’s face and the man, who had been quiet until then, put a hand on her shoulder.
The woman’s lips twitched into a small, sad smile, before she looked up again and met Kaoru’s eyes. “Something like that.” She agreed softly.
Kaoru took a deep breath as she prepared to do something she didn’t do very often. “The other day – you two saved my life, and I was very rude in return, so… sorry, and thank you.” She smiled. “Really.”
The woman smiled sweetly. “Kaoru-dono, it was no trouble at all, it’s what we do – but thank you for your kindness.”
Awkwardly clearing her throat, Kaoru made the offer she’d been thinking of since she’d seen the two. “I’m sure Rurouni don’t have much money for an inn, and I really would like to repay you, so since you’re still here, if you need someplace to stay, you would be welcome at my dojo.”
“Ah, that’s all right,” still smiling, the woman turned and started to go. “I have an errand to run that I’d forgotten about however…” she paused.
“Yes?” Kaoru asked eagerly.
“Well, Eni-chan isn’t really needed on this errand, and he’ll have nowhere else to go, so if he could stay with you for the night, it would be very much appreciated.” She finished with a smile.
Kaoru cocked her head, confused. “Eni…chan?”
Still smiling, the woman pointed with one delicate finger at her partner, who was currently trying very hard - though without much success – to disappear.
A slow smile spread across Kaoru’s lips as she processed this. “Of course he can stay.” She said, sickly sweet. “Come along then…Eni-chan.”
Smiling as she watched the two younger people glare at each other, the woman turned to leave.
Kiheikan Dojo in the neighboring village. No wonder there was nothing to find in
At the Kiheikan Dojo…
All was peaceful and quiet…
…The moon shining down form a velvet black sky.
The night was calm and undisturbed.
“Hello, Hello, Hello!”
As the redhead in the ragged black yukata raised her hand to knock on the door again, it was opened form the inside.
“What do you want?” The scruffy man glared at the woman as her arms slowly lowered to her side.
“About the sensei here -”
“Master Hiruma is out, come back later.”
Turing to go back inside, he was interrupted by her soft comment.
“So his name is Hiruma…”
The man fell over. “You came here looking for him and you don’t even know his name?!”
A spark glinted in violet eyes. “No…I was sure he was called ‘HiMUra, not ‘HiRUma’.” The man froze.
A slow smile pulling up delicately curved lips, the woman continued. “That’s what he said, didn’t he – ‘I am Himura Battousai, known as Hitokiri Battousai, Master of Kamiya Kasshin Ryu!’”
She blinked innocently. “Or perhaps I was mistaken – perhaps he prefers to be called, ‘murderer’ Battousai, or ‘street killer’ Battousai – after all, Hitokiri is so old fashioned.”
Taking in the man’s face, she continued to herself. “It looks as though Kaoru-dono was right.”
As men, disturbed by the noise, started coming out of the woodwork, one called out to the scruffy man. “Oi, Nishiwaki-s an, what’s the problem?” Lips curling into a grin that showed cracked and dirty teeth, Nishiwaki answered.
“Just a rat - if a pretty one. Get rid of it.”
A man who was so dirty he looked as if he’d never had a bath in his life answered. “dure boss, we’ll kill her…but before we do, we can have some fun first, yeah?” the rest of the men nodded, eyes burning as they took in the slim curves barely covered by the yukata.
Eyes hooded, the rurouni reached behind her. “A bunch of men like this, yes, I will have some fun.” Smiling slightly, she began to draw out her sword…
In the Kamiya Dojo, Kaoru blinked in shock.
“Maybe it was objecting to having your cooking placed inside it. I sure am.” Came a low growled voice as the wanderer re-entered the dojo room, whipping his mouth with a cloth.
Kaoru pouted. “It wasn’t that bad.”
Snorting, the man settled down by the wall, not saying anything.
Now it was quiet again, Kaoru tried to return to her calligraphy – but… a dojo master must be accomplished in many arts, like the samurai of old Kaoru-chan…
Everything was reminding her of her father! And that meant that everything was reminding her of the rurouni’s words.
“And do you think your father, the creator of ‘swords that give life’ would be happy if his daughter gave her life to protect his school?”
She looked down, frowning slightly.
“They echo in your head, don’t they?”
Returned to reality, Kaoru’s head snapped up. “Eh?”
The man continued, not looking at her. “Her words. She has the unique ability to see into your heart and strip away all your illusions with just a few words.”
Kaoru looked down hesitating, before her eyes sparked and her lips firmed opened her mouth to answer –
“Kaoru - san.”
She jumped. “Kihei?”
Relaxing, Kaoru continued. “Kihei, you scared me. What is it?” She gave him a curious look.
Kihei came closer. “It’s about selling the sale of the dojo.”
She blinked. “Kihei, I’ve told you before - I have no intentions of selling.”
“Actually…” He pulled a piece of paper out of his sleeve and pointed to it. “…the paperwork is already made up.”
Kaoru paused. Something was wrong. “Kihei?” Why would he…
Slowly, Kihei’s eyes opened from their usual squint. “I just need your seal.”
With a crash, the door opened, revealing a huge, bear-like man with a large beard, and several thugs behind them.
Kihei continued. “And then the property will be ours.”
The large man grinned. It was not a nice grin. “Yo!”
Kaoru paused as she looked at the mans eyes, there was something…
Her eyes widened. “You!" It was the murderer!
Kihei interrupted. “Hiruma Gohei, master of Kiheikan.” His smile widened “This is my younger brother.”
Kaoru jumped back toward the wall and grabbed one of the swords off of it.
“I don’t like to do it this way. I’d much prefer to make a legal purchase.” The goons drew closer as Kaoru took a ready stance. “But you were getting to close to discovering my brother’s true identity. It was all moving forward quite nicely, I thought. Playing the good tempered old man to gain the trust of a woman living alone…” Kihei sneered. “Unfortunately for you, you are just so stubborn about your sword fighting.”
“Kihei…” Kaoru’s lips trembled. This was Kihei - she’d thought she knew him! How could he betray her like this!
“So I used my brother to cook up this murder commotion, and discredit the name your school.” Kihei continued.
“The fame of the Hitokiri Battousai was just what we needed. Legends of his terrible prowess have been told for years, so even though his presence was unbelievable, no-one dared stand against him. Thanks to him, it took only two months to reduce you to this.”
Kihei’s grin got even wider as he looked around the dojo proprietarily.
“By my estimate, the value of this land will increase five or six times with the westernization policy and the growth of industry. It would be wasted on some sword-fighting school.”
“Damn, girl, is that all you can say,” came a voice from the side. The wanderer, forgotten until then, slowly stood up, “I think I’ve heard enough.” He turned to the giant. “So you’re the one disgracing the name of ‘Battousai’ are you?” He reached behind his back. “Let me show you no-name thugs how Kenjutsu is really done…”
The thugs attacked.
At the Kiheikan dojo, red hair flying behind her, the rurouni danced.
In the Kamiya Dojo, turquoise eyes narrowed in concentration, the wanderer fought.
Blue eyes widened as Kaoru took in the sight before her. The wanderer was good! He didn’t use the odd blade like a katana - instead of going for major arteries or limbs; he struck out at joints, breaking bones instead of cutting them off.
But…no matter how good he was - there were so many of them - and the murderer, Hiruma Gohei, was so big…
And that sword…
Now that he wasn’t deliberately covering it, she could see what had seemed so strange to her the first time she had seen it.
“The blade is a katana – but the hilt?” speaking to herself softly, she didn’t expect him to hear her, or answer when he was in the midst of a battle.
“It’s a wattou.”
He paused, looking around. More cautious now, the thugs surrounded him, but none wanted to be the first to go after him, so he decided to answer her question.
“After Toba Fushimi, we traveled all over
Kaoru was confused. “But why would she want you to learn a sword style that is best used against hers?”
“Because, if she ever goes mad and returns to what she once was, into a monster - she wants me to be the one to take her down.”
Ignored, the giant snorted. “Bah, no woman could be that good! Women can’t learn swords, everyone knows that!”
He turned to Kaoru and began to advance as the thugs, taking strength from their leader, roared and attacked the wanderer.
“My big brother says your motto is ‘swords that give life.’” He grinned even wider. “Why don’t you use that sword to save your own life?” He laughed.
Kaoru swallowed and tensed as his eyes narrowed.
“If you won’t come to me, I’ll go to you.”
“Yah!” Kaoru jumped, bokken swinging – and hit!
Only to be picked up and tossed away like so much dirt. “Hah!” He smirked. “I’m wearing armor little girl. You can’t beat me with that pathetic piece of wood.”
Trembling, Kaoru got up. She wouldn’t fail. She couldn’t!
“Ha-” he caught it.
Eyes wide, Kaoru backed away, her bokken now only a splintered piece of wood slightly larger then the hilt.
Grin widening, the giant spoke. “Like I thought – a woman with that philosophy can’t fight.” He picked her up by the collar of her gi and shook her. “And look.” He said, turning her to face the rest of the dojo. “Your ‘knight in shining armor’ can’t save you now.” Kaoru’s eyes welled with tears as she saw. There were simply too many thugs, and the wanderer was wounded now, blood staining the shoulder of his gi, and sweat dripping into his eyes.
“My goal is violence! My essence is killing!” Gohei roared. “That’s what Kenjutsu is all about!” Kihei came forward and cut Kaoru’s thumb before pressing the bloody thumb to the deed paper.
“That’s it. The land is ours.” Kihei smiled like a devil. “Kamiya Kasshin Ryu is no more.”
Kaoru closed her eyes. No…
“Hey, little brother.” Kihei addressed Gohei. “Take care of that rat, will you.” He said, nodding to the wanderer.
Gohei dropped Kaoru, who landed in a puddle on the floor, feeling like the world had just dropped out on her. Her dojo…her father’s dojo…Kihei…This could not be happening.
With a click, the door slid open, revealing Nishiwaki standing there, looking like Kaoru felt – his eyes were so wide that the iris were only little pinpoints surrounded by dirty yellow whites, and his mouth kept opening and closing like a fish out of water.
Distracted from the wanderer, Gohei looked at the man. “Nishiwaki? What’s wrong with you?!”
“Str…” said Nishiwaki, finally able to make some sound. “Strong…”
Gohei blinked as Nishiwaki finally collapsed – revealing the small, slender, red haired woman standing behind him, eyes a cold narrow blue.
Unnoticed by everyone else, the wanderer, from where he was cornered by Gohei’s thugs, smirked. Drama queen…
Kaoru found her voice. “Ru…rurouni?” she questioned softly.
Despite the softness, the rurouni heard her. “Sorry I’m late.” She said, stepping into the room. “The man over there told me everything.” She shot a narrow look at Kihei. “I thought there was something iffy about you…” she turned back to his brother. “I’ll deal with you later.”
Gohei turned to face her more fully. “You again.” He sneered.
“Are you here to talk about “swords that give life,” too?!”
The rurouni looked down, before answering heavily. “No.” Kaoru’s eyes widened. “A sword is a weapon.” She spoke, walking forward. “Kenjutsu is the art of killing.” Shishou…
“Whatever pretty words you use to speak of it, this is its true nature.” The rurouni continued walking forward, her eyes shadowed by the fall of her hair. “What Kaoru-dono says are the words of one who has never dirtied her hands. An idealistic joke.”
Kaoru’s eyes filled with tears as she looked down. “Rurouni.” she whispered to herself.
“But…” Kaoru looked up again - into the rurouni’s gentle violet eyes as the woman smiled at her. “I like Kaoru’s idealism better then the true nature of Kenjutsu. And if I had one wish - it would be for the world to except her ideals as its true nature.”
Without looking away from the rurouni Gohei addressed his brother. “Brother, you don’t mind if I kill her do you?”
Kihei gritted his teeth. I’ll deal with you later… “No. She’s in the way. But we’ve got what we came for, so just get the guys to kill her.” He looked around disgusted. “What’s left of them anyway. Why are you just standing around?!” he shouted at the remaining thugs, of which there were about twenty. The wanderer had gotten rid of many of them, but there were still over half of the original thugs there.
Kaoru looked over at the wanderer – surely he would help his wife?! But he was simply leaning against the wall, calm as you please, even smiling slightly. Noticing Kaoru, he winked at her.
Fuming, she looked back at the rurouni – just as Gohei gave the order. “Go on!” he roared, and the thugs attacked.
“Run rurouni!” Kaoru shouted.
The rurouni’s eyes were blue again. “I don’t like needlessly causing injuries, so anyone who doesn’t want to go to the doctor, please leave.”
The thugs laughed as the prepared to attack. What could one little girl do against them? “There aren’t going to be any injuries!” one shouted. “Only one dead body!”
They attacked. The rurouni danced.
Drawing her sword, three men went down. Crouching down and whirling around, another three fell to the floor, their knees broken.
The rest of the thugs only had time to gap before she was on them, raising her sword to the level of amber eyes, and sweeping so fast Kaoru could only see a blur before four men were down, their swords broken and blood spraying in the air.
Moving so swiftly she could hardly be seen, the rurouni danced through the remainder of the thugs.
Kihei gaped, uncomprehending. “She’s taking out four or five with each swing. Is it sorcery?!”
“No.” Kaoru said, buoyed by the sight before her. The part of her that was assistant master cried out look, see! This was what she strived for; this perfect mastery over your own body, till the sword you wielded was an extension of your own arm.
It was beautiful.
It was terrifying.
It was everything she’d ever wanted.
“No.” she repeated, more firmly. “It’s not sorcery - its speed!”
Without her noticing, the wanderer raised an eyebrow at her approvingly. He’d been right when they first met- she did know swords.
So did Gohei. “Speed of the sword. Speed of the body. Speed at reading your opponents moves. She’s using them to bring down as many as she can, with the least possible movements!”
It was over. The rurouni stood, facing away from them, the only one still standing, her odd reversed blade resting on her shoulder.
“One thing, I forgot to mention.” She said, slowly. “Hitokiri Battousai’s
She turned to face them, revealing cold, deadly amber eyes.
“The style he used is an ancient one, from the Sengoku era, designed to pit one against many. It’s called Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, and without a sakabatou, it is slaughter with deadly swiftness.”
Three pairs of eyes widened, as one turquoise pair flashed in amusement.
“During times of war, when people are desperate, they will take on anyone.”
The rurouni continued. “When you are young, it is easy to bind your chest and wear boy’s clothes, and after you show enough skill, they don’t care what gender you are.”
Kaoru’s eyes widened. She couldn’t be saying what she thought she was, she couldn’t. “No…rurouni…”
She continued. “Only six people, during the Bakumatsu, knew my gender - Katsura Kogorou, Takasugi Shinsaku, Okami-san, Saitou Hajime - though he was an accident -, a man named I’izuka…”
She raised a hand, and pointed at the wanderer. “And him.”
She paused. “Though personally, I always thought at least some of the rest of the Shinsengumi figured it out, what with the way some of them were always sort of flirting…”
Kaoru spoke softly. “So…you...are the Hitokiri Battousai?!”
“Interesting!” Gohei called out, advancing.
Despite having just seen the rurouni take out so many men, and claim to be the most feared killer in Japan, Kaoru couldn’t help but notice that the tiny woman seemed even more small and slender next to the giant - she barely came up to his waist!
Gohei grinned as he spoke. “I didn’t think you were that strong the other day – you were hiding your strength!”
The rurouni gazed up at him, expressionless. “I’m not like you; I don’t like mindless violence, so I hesitated when I should have finished you the other day. I regret that now.”
Her eyes narrowed even more. “Don’t worry; I’ll make up for it.”
“You’re confident.” Said Gohei mockingly. “Or maybe just arrogant.”
He slowly unsheathed his sword, grinning at the sound.
“This world doesn’t need two Battousai’s! The name should belong to me!”
He raised his sword to strike – only for the rurouni to vanish.
“Eh?” his eyes widened, confused.
“Up here.” Came a cold voice. Gohei looked up, to see the rurouni above him, ragged sleeves flying back like the wings of some great bird, bloody hair flying around a pale perfect face, offset by narrow amber eyes, and with the cross shaped scar drawn in red across one cheek. Demon… he barely had time to think to himself – before the rurouni landed, sword striking Gohei so hard he crashed into the ground, as Kihei and Kaoru could only watch helplessly. So…strong…he thought to himself, before unconsciousness came to him on black wings.
“I have no attachment to the name the name Battousai.” The rurouni said to Gohei’s unconscious body. “But I won’t but it on to a man like you.”
The wanderer got up from his slouch against the wall. “Well, that’s taken care of.” He said.
“Almost.” She answered – and turned to face Kihei.
“You’re the only one left.” She said, voice cold as snow. “Shall we test…” she raised the sakabatou in front of her, and then flipped it delicately to the sharp edge. “…the sharpness of this blade?” She asked him.
Kihei fell back against the wall, frothing at the mouth as with a tinkle he lost control of his bladder.
The rurouni’s nose wrinkled delicately as she plucked the deed from Kihei’s limp hand. “It figures,” She spoke to her partner, “that a man who would arrange such a thing would be the worst kind of coward.”
He snorted in agreement as she ripped the deed into little pieces.
Kaoru watched, eyes wide, as the rurouni spoke – this time to her. “My apologies Kaoru-dono. I didn’t want to hide from or deceive you, but over the past ten years, I’ve learned that’s it is best if my identity isn’t known.” She looked over her shoulder and smiled at Kaoru - with gentle violet eyes.
“I really am sorry.” She said, before turning and beginning to walk to the door.
Kaoru tried to find her voice. “W…” She licked her lips. “W…” Damnit they were almost at the door! “W…WAIT A MINUET!”
The rurouni’s eyes widened as she oro-ed to herself.
“How am I supposed to fix this mess by myself?!” Kaoru asked. “Look at the floor!” The two travelers did, seeing that where Gohei had been sent headfirst into it there was a great big floor. The rurouni oro-ed again. “I could care less about someone’s past!” Kaoru continued, glaring at them.
“You should have cared more about Kihei’s past.” The wanderer muttered.
Kaoru looked at him slanty eyed. “I’ll work on it.”
“It’s better if I go.” The rurouni said gently. “You can finally work to clear the disgrace form your school now, but it would be bad if the real Battousai stayed here - you’d loose everything.”
“I didn’t say I wanted the Battousai to stay.” Kaoru called out. ‘I want the rurouni to -” she pulled back and put her hands over her mouth. Idiot, idiot, idiot! She chanted to herself. Now they’d never stay!
She turned around quickly so they wouldn’t see her eyes fill with tears. Damnit, she didn’t want to be alone in the dojo anymore! One of the reasons she was so excepting of Kihei was that he’d been a presence in a far to empty dojo after her father had died. She didn’t want to be alone again…
“W-well, fine! If you have to leave, then leave!” she said, before softening her voice a bit. “But if you’re leaving, at least tell me your name. ‘Battousai’ is a warriors name – your parents can’t have given it to you…”
Silence, then the sound of the door closing. Her shoulders slumped a little.
She turned around - and there were the wanderer’s, one smirking slightly, and one smiling softly at her. “Himura Kenshii.” The rurou- no Kenshii, said softly. “That is my name…today.” She titled her head at the man beside her. And that’s Enishi, Yukishiro Enishi.”
Kaoru gazed wide eyed at them, a happy, bubbling feeling growing in her chest. They were going to stay!
“We’re a little tired of traveling, so if you don’t mind, may we stay with you a while?”
Kaoru beamed.And so the story begins, in the eleventh year of Meiji, with the arrival of two wanderers, Yukishiro Enishi and Himura Kenshii.