OPEN SIGNUPS Rurouni Kenshin IC thread

Jessica Stansell

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It's been quite a while since Kenshin's battle and victory over Shishio and things are getting back to normal. Now he's away a lot on and off and Kenshin's young son Kenji is at home with his mom and Kenshin's wife Kaoru and Kenji is going to the dojo with her daily.

Kenji doesn't know much about what his father does when he's off alone if anything at all. He also didn't notice the depth of the situation due to his father's absence when he was little as much as he does now. He knows also how his mom is being affected by his dad's absence all the time and it angers him deeply. For now though Kenji's just trying to help his mother Kaoru as much as he can and as best he can.

Off elsewhere, Tsunan(Katsuhiro) has been doing his art, having started it up again, while also working trying to continue clearing his captain's name as well as the name of the lot of the group he used to be in through most of his childhood.

Hansel Sagara, son of Former Sakihotai Captain Sozo Sagara, while running errands for his mom, having got done with his paper route from that morning, grasping hold of his father's red headband as he continues along on his bike, a side wagon car hooked on to the left side back wheel, starts to think to himself as he's close to entering the upcoming town, not knowing right off, due to not paying much attention at the moment, that it's the same town that the two boys who fought alongside his father when they were young, and who have now grown up, have taken residence in, Katsuhiro living in a rowhouse near the 5th street of the town coming from Hansel's current direction, and Sanosuke living at the Kamiya Dojo which is further into the town. Before Hansel enters into the town he glances over at the harbor to the early afternoon boats coming in and docking at the port.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


There's the link to the OOC and Signup Thread.
 
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Rainier Ashton Bernhardt

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Seta stepped up the beaten path of a large hill overlooking most of the growing and thriving city of Tokyo, formally Edo. It was hard to believe it had been so long since he'd started his own journey; to seek and find a truth that only he knew and could understand. Mr. Shishio, no, Makato Shishio had once ingrained an earnest idea into his soul like the hamon of a sword. It had been integral in his youth, it kept him from being mercilessly beaten by his in-laws. But, it wasn't what kept him alive--it just kept him going like some small morsel of food to nibble on; it was but a fleeting thing. What Kenshin Himura, the Battousai, had fought for was an ideal worth taking into consideration, at the very least.

Looking back on the path, toward the ever modernizing world he'd grown accustomed to. It looked much different back when he was younger, everything did. But, as time went by he adapted to it. Regardless of how the world was ever-changing around him, Seta Sojiro still wore the same clothes; a dark blue haori, a white button-up, dark blue hakama skirt-like pants, tabi socks, and straw sandals. Though many would be in shock of just how refined and discernable his boyish looks had changed into as he grew out of adolescence and into adulthood. He had very mature features; his cheeks had subtle dimples on either side of them as his jaw had become long and slender but left his chin rounded. He had a long, straight nose, and deep bluish eyes that were the envy of women. Regardless of how much he changed, however, he still had the most innocent smile a man could have.

Sauntering forwards at a leisurely pace on the dirt path to the Kamiya Kashin Ryu, he stopped along the outer wall, at the door and knocked before entering.

"Konnichiwa!" He called out jovially. Even his voice had deepened in the years making him sound not quite so effeminate. "Kaoru-san?" Seta blinked, poking his head around the corner as he followed the layout of the manor and built-on dojo. "I wonder where Kaoru-san could be?" Seta contemplated, before slipping off his sandals and stepped up on the open porch, and slid the dojo door open and stepped inside unnoticed. Kaoru was instructing Kenji in the ways of the Kamiya Kashin style of swordsmanship.

Seta watched on silently, in the far reaches of the training hall, his trained eyes on Kenji who was performing the Hadome technique. The Hadome was a variation of the Shirahadori blade catch common to all five hundred styles of kenjutsu, Hadome halts an opponent's blade differently. While Shirahadori caught the blade between the palms, Hadome was performed by crossing one's wrists above one's head and stopping a downward karatake strike with the backs of the hands before the blade struck the wrists or the skull. When done in this manner, a swordsman became able to catch an opponent's sword while still maintaining a grip on his own, unlike shirahadori which requires the user to discard his sword in favor of two free hands. They were, of course using bamboo shinai, and not wooden bokken to practice the technique safely.

Clapping emerged from Seta's direction as he watched Kenji attempt the simple skill with ease; he had his father's genius for the sword after all. He could tell talent for the sword when he saw it. Seta smiled and rested his hand on the hilt of his Japanese made sword, a Shinshintō nihontō, and watched Kenji, the boy would undoubtedly move to protect his mother from him. Though, as he moved forward slowly, he wondered just how fast this boy was. A partial smile gracing his lips with its presence.

No, he wasn't there to test the boy's prowess. He was there for another purpose...He'd been asked by Kenshin to watch over Kaoru while he was away, if there was ever danger, some years ago. That was when he first had met Kaoru. Kenji was but a small child then; jovial and rambunctious. Kenji wouldn't probably remember him, but as he stepped into the middle of the training hall, half his face obscured in the subdued light peering in from the rafters and peeking in from the door which he had entered. Yet one eye and half a kind smile greeted Kaoru's vision.

The man that could very well have ended Kenshin's life even before his fight with Shishio had even occurred. The one that outpaced the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu with his 'Shukuchi'... The Tenken, Seta Sojiro.
 

Jessica Stansell

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Kenji having heard Seta's calls out for his mom, soon notices Seta at his back. Kenji swiftly turns to face him immediately on guard, as he indeed doesn't remember Seta that well since he hadn't seen him since he was really little. Kenji stands firm facing Seta and says. "Who are you?" His sword is in his hand but Kenji doesn't intend on attacking Seta just yet. But considering he doesn't remember Seta that well, Kenji looks at him curiously wondering who is standing in front of him on the inside of his home.

Kaoru "Kenji wait! Don't attack him son."

Kenji "Huh?" Kenji looks to his mother and says "Mom? You know who this guy is?"

Kaoru nods to her son and says "Yes I do. You've met him too Kenji. You were very very young when you last saw him though which is why it's possible you don't remember him to well." She then looks to Seta.

Meanwhile out in the rowhouse area of the town, Hansel as he travels through wonders about the current Meiji era that the entire nation has now entered into. He looks to his father's old headband as he holds it in his hands thinking of what he must have been like, Hansel having been pretty young when his father died in combat.
 
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Rainier Ashton Bernhardt

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"Oh my, I seem to have riled your son up, haven't I?" Seta inquired as he chuckled softly at Kaoru, his hand retracting from the hilt of his intricate Shinshintō nihontō.

Seta turned away from Kenji the tension being an ephemeral thing; melting and dissolving as the facts were spoken by Kaoru as she was dressed in a simple snow-white nagajuban, it was a t-shaped robe like a kimono--in fact, it was worn usually under a kimono as a sort of undergarment or robe in which one could sleep comfortably in their futon. It was worn over the hadagi or hadaguban which was, more or less, the real underwear. Atop these layers of soft white cotton was her actual kimono attire dressed across her petite shoulders and hung from them like a mantle or a cloak, drifting down by her narrow ankles. It was a dull plum purple and had no designs on it to speak of. She was married now, and that meant her youthful vibrant and extravagantly designed yukatas were turned in for more mature solid tinctures.

Seta leaned forwards, bowing forwards and sweeping his right arm across his midriff in a more common gesture these days as he bowed his head in a modest approach showing hiss due respect to the master of the Kashin-style despite his being a superior swordsman that could match Kenshin when he was younger, more so now that he had more experience under his belt--and Kenshin being as ill as he was.

"Kaoru-dono," He'd address her in a familiar tone that almost mirrored Kenshin's, or rather, Shinta's dialogue. Shinta was Kenshin's true name. He'd been renamed Kenshin by his former master Seijiro Hiko many years ago when he was but a boy.
" I am here to serve and protect you at the behest of your husband as requested by Mr. Himura," Seta explained. He then rose from his bow. "Mr. Himura asked me to look out for you while he was away fighting in the war on the Korean Penninsula." Seta then said. "Since I feared that trouble might be heading your way, I thought I'd make my intentions clear so that there weren't any misinterpretations or misunderstandings."



Somewhere on the Korean Penninsula...

A cannon went off, followed by a myriad of gunfire; Kenshin grabbed at his chest, heaving breaths and sucking in as much air as he could, before looking up at the scene unfolding before him. A few months ago, he was at home--a place, the only place he could truly ever consider home--and enjoying and enjoying the peace he'd earned. After Shishio there didn't seem to be any major looming threats or comminatory from adversaries. He felt he had won. He was happy for a long time; having married the woman who claimed his heart which, he didn't think was worthy of in the first place. He then had a child, his first and only labor of love. Even if Kenji never really took to him, he still loved his son. He loved his wife and that was why he had to get up off the ground having fallen over gasping for air...

 

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Jessica Stansell

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Kenji, seeing that his mom knows Seta, even if Kenji himself is still a little hesitant to fully lower his guard, stands down a little anyway as she requests of him nodding to her halfway. He then turns to Seta's direction seeing him bow to his mother. Seeing Seta showing his respect to his mother, Kenji is able to feel more relaxed near him but he's still curious. He believes his mother's words, that he's met Seta before. And his mother had never lied to him before and Kenji is taking that fact to heart. But Kenji is still wanting to keep an eye on Seta just incase. He moves to the wall, so as not to interrupt his mom and Seta. As Seta and his mom start their conversation Kenji just listens as he kneels to seated position. He hears Seta start to talk to his mom about his father Kenshin.

It's hard for Kenji to listen to this topic of the conversation, Seta talking about Kenshin, but he stays in the room. The fact that it makes him feel uncomfortable is because Kenji doesn't know very much about his father, other than what Kaoru told him, due to the fact that Kenshin left when Kenji was still really little. And also Kenji doesn't want his mom to see that he in fact has a good bit of anger towards his father and feels hurt that his father hasn't been there. He doesn't think that she knows yet about him feeling this way towards the man she loves, and Kenji's tried his up most best through the last few years to keep his mood about that particular matter in check. Kenji knows that his mom had enough going on in trying to keep her own spirits up with his father being gone, and trying to raise him by herself and give Kenji the best life she could, even if he didn't have his dad around.
Kenji spoke his feelings to Yahiko though at one time, Yahiko being a long time student of his mother's sense he himself was a boy. And Kenji, still in the kneeling seated position, and feeling the conversation topic of his father starting to get to him, closes his eyes in an effort to calm himself and fight his emotions off, a method that Yahiko once instructed to him.

After talking about Kenshin's current assignment on the Korean Penninsula and the war he was fighting in for a few minutes, Kaoru glances to Seta with a more serious look and says "So tell me. How is Kenshin doing Seta? Also, what trouble do feel is heading our way that has you worried?
 
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Rainier Ashton Bernhardt

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Seta Sojiro



"So tell me. How is Kenshin doing Seta? Also, what trouble do feel is heading our way that has you worried?" Kaoru would question somberly, her eyes had narrowed towards Seta who continued to gleefully grin in response.

"Oh my, miss Kaoru doesn't seem all too happy--" Seta commented on Kaoru's stern posturing.

Despite the fact she was ill she still had that fiery temper--one Yahiko had come to know well enough over the years of his tutelage under her instruction. But, even Seta knew not to get her riled up. Not because he couldn't handle her, simply because he didn't want her to make her illness worse. She needed plenty of rest, but Seta feared that time was limited, and it was running out--fast. Someone was coming, someone, he'd only have the pleasure let alone the desire to meet once--Enishi Yukishiro. If there was one person even he was troubled about, more so than Shishio it was that man. Where Shishio had made his plans known and understood, that man did no such thing. He was but a closed book. He didn't say a word about his ambitions but through investigating his group he learned he was behind Shishio's rise, he'd sold the 'Purgatory' to Shishio. He had a mole inside the Juppongatana and was very wealthy.

But, what bothered Sojiro the most was the fact that even just standing there doing an arms deal, most folks would let their guard down a little--not Enishi. Sojiro couldn't find an opening to strike a fatal blow, even for all his heavenly talent with a sword, Enishi Yukishiro was a bulwark against surprise attacks. If he had attacked him back then, it wouldn't be an easy fight, and there was certainly no guarantee he would have been the victor. But, now that he was older and more experienced, he hoped it would make a difference. If it didn't, if Enishi had gotten stronger as well, they would all be in for a world of trouble. The man was...unstable. At least with Shishio, you knew what he might do--not so with Enishi.

"To answer your question, miss Kaoru, I don't quite frankly know how Kenshin is doing. He came to me shortly before he went to the transport ship to be whisked away to the Korean Penninsula. He asked me to look after you--as a request. Mr. Himura was quite ardent and assertive about the whole thing; but he wanted me to look after you and Kenji just in case anyone tried to cause trouble," Seta laughed, rubbing the back of his head. " So I did some digging and I found someone. Did you know, miss Kaoru that Kenshin was married before he married you?"

Seta watched Kaoru's expression. Surely she must have been surprised by the fact, by the very idea that he had been married once before.

"It's true, as the assassin Battousai, he married a young woman named Tomoe Yukishiro." Seta continued to disclose. "But, before she was married to him, she was engaged to her childhood friend Kiyosato Akira. However, when Akira was slain by Mr. Himura Tomoe who was working for the Shogunate at the time, she had vowed revenge for her fiance's death. However, as time passed the two fell deeply in love or so it seems. However, the Shogunate set a trap for Kenshin--and Tomoe became the unwitting bait. Kenshin went after Tomoe and a battle ensued in which Tomoe Yukishiro was slain by Kenshin himself." Seta explained, watching Kaoru's reaction.

"Another thing I feel I should bring up--Kenshin's sick, isn't he Kaoru-dono?" Seta questioned standing in the middle of the training hall, a void of shadow between himself and Kaoru, and a thick atmosphere of tension. "I didn't say anything, I know he's the type that once he puts his mind to something, he can't be dissuaded. But he was coughing heavily, and there was a generous amount of blood coming up the harder he coughed." Seta stated soberingly. "He's dying, isn't he--and he still went...." Seta sighed heavily.

"Well, in any case-" Seta began to say but was cut off abruptly.

"Kenshin's...dying?" A voice called out from across the room. It was Yahiko who had entered the training hall. Now, much older he still had the same dark spikey hair. " Are you certain?"

"Well, I am no doctor, but coughing up lots of blood isn't a good sign--it's indicative of a disease the westerners refer to as Tuberculosis. There's no cure for it, even in Western medicine." Seta replied as Yahiko walked quietly over to Kaoru, rubbing Kenji's head affectionately as he passed by. The atmosphere of the room was suffocatingly grim.

Yahiko slid one arm under his sensei's arm, took her by the hand and looked at Kaoru. "Let's get you sitting down," Yahiko recommended.

Seta shook his head disapprovingly. "You need to get Kaoru-dono out of her, Yahiko-san."

"Okay, I may not have been here for the entire conversation, but something tells me you are holding something back--so what is it, Seta?" Yahiko stood erect, watching Seta, waiting for an answer.

Seta sighed reluctantly. "Tomoe Yukishiro had a younger brother, Enishi," Seta added. "Her brother is incredibly dangerous, even I don't know if I can win against him. His drive to make Kenshin suffer is insatiable. Which is why you and Kenji need to get Kaoru out of here--if he finds out that she is Kenshin's wife she Kaoru will be in grave danger." Seta explained.

"Is he really that strong, Seta?" Yahiko asked a tinge of concern creeping up his throat.

"I've fought for Shishio," Seta said staring down at the floor momentarily before looking Yahiko in the eyes directly. "Enishi controlled Shishio, he had him in the palm of his hand like a child's toy--So, to answer your question, yes, he really is that strong." Seta replied as a matter of factly.

"Sorry Kaoru, but you are in no condition to be running, and I don't want any lip from you. Kenshin's already fighting for his life to come back home, let's not give him a reason to lose faith in everything once he comes back, no?" Yahiko said bluntly before sweeping his mentor's legs up, lifting Kaoru into his arms with her back against one arm and her legs hanging over the other arm. "Come on Kenji, let's get your mother out of here. We don't need to be in the way when Seta and that guy go at it. If Seta says he's stronger than Shishio was, then things are going to get nasty real fast." Yahiko delineated to Kenji, his voice expressing urgency.

As Kenji and Yahiko with Kaoru cradled in his arms safely moved through the manor and towards the front opening, Yahiko slid his sandals back on walked forwards to open the door. Upon opening it, it was eerily quiet. No chirping of crickets in the night air, everything was dead still. Sojiro stepped outside ahead of the three and stopped suddenly, eyes glancing around suspiciously. Something wasn't right. It's like the animals and the insects were afraid to make a noise...

"Go back inside, find the farthest room you can and wait there," Seta told Yahiko as he gripped the lacquered sheath of his uchigatana, preparing himself.

"First you tell us to leave, now you're saying go back inside? What's going on Seta?" Yahiko asked, but he wished he hadn't because a chill ran down his spine.


"He's here...Enishi Yukishiro, the orchestrator behind Shishio, the puppeteer of the Juppongatana. Kenshin's brother in law." Seta muttered.

Enishi Yukishrio



"I really wish you wouldn't lump me together with that murdering bastard..." A disgruntled voice called out from the darkness.

Steady footsteps approached slowly towards Seta, Kaoru, Yahiko, and Kenji revealing a tall, lean figured man with spiky, silvery grey hair and small round glasses that rested on the man's slender nose. He was dressed in Chinese garbs of orange and black while also wearing a dark blue mantle which hung along his shoulders and was tied by a simple cord at the front of his throat. His sword, a Watō, was a Chinese forged Tachi style of sword. Compared to a standard katana, it was longer and had a more pronounced curvature to it. It was strapped to his back in a vertical position and was covered in a brown sack to hide what it was.

"Yahiko, go inside now, take Kenji with you. I can't fight at my fullest if I have to worry about you all being possible targets--" Seta murmured, barely looking over one shoulder.

"Aww, why you gonna go hide for?" Enishi inquired, slipping the Tachi off his muscular shoulder, and standing it on the sheathe's tip on the ground. "I'll t tell you what--you tell me where that no good murderer is, and I'll leave those three alone," Enishi said, his black eyes glinting with a tinge of blue as the moon basked them in an ethereal glow.

"Go, now!" Seta said with imperativeness, not turning away from Enishi as he heard Yahiko scurry up the stairs with Kaoru still tucked safely against him in his arms, Kenji not far behind. The door shut behind them, leaving the two swordsmen out in the courtyard to stare each other down.

"Oh, I remember you now--it was nagging at me that I could swear I knew you from somewhere--you're Shishio's prodigy. What did they call you? 'Tenken'? The Sword of the Heavens." Enishi said with conceit expressed thoroughly through his tone. He laughed softly and shook his head dismissing Sojiro's natural inborn talent. " I never understood the need to label things; it's like we have this compulsion to categorize everything--when really, we just need to stop naming things and giving things a power they don't deserve." Enishi's words turned into palpable animosity.

"Take the word 'Battousai' for example--it gives more credit to Kenshin than he truly deserves. It gives him power over the masses. No one would dare think to fight Battousai the Manslayer. No one can conceive that he could even be beaten---but..." Enishi trailed off looking around the courtyard, then looked back at Seta. "I'm here to end the legacy, the myth, and the man, so tell me where he is, won't you? I'd really hate to drag others into this, but if it gets that killer's attention, so be it."


"I'll never betray the man that set me on the right path and showed me true compassion." Seta declared boldly, his hand gripping the saya, or the sheath and hovered his hand over the uchigatana's ray skin and silk hilt wrap that was bound in such a way that it had diamonds all the way down the extended handle.

He was preparing for what felt like an all-out war. The atmosphere was laden with the tension between the two, if they were storm fronts, electrical discharges could probably have been visible. But the killing intent he got from Enishi was almost overwhelming. He was so bloodthirsty that it was actually hard for Seta to remain composed--he felt like the seconds that were passing had slowed to a crawl and had become hours almost. Sojiro took a deep, relaxing breath. Exhaling slowly and deeply. Enishi on the other hand just grinned a grin that wasn't emotionless like Seta had been before, it was the look of someone who was about to enjoy doing a lot of damage...


"Alright, but once I'm done playing with you, I'm going to go ask each of your friends that left in such a hurry," Enishi commented sinisterly, and Soji swallowed the lump in his throat.

He hoped he could fend him off...He had to. There was nothing else that mattered. He had to protect Kaoru and Kenji. He had promised Kenshin that he would. Now, now it was time to back those words up for Enishi was unveiling his Watō. The long curved blade was just a bit longer than his own, but it had a Chinese influence to the hilt. He then threw the sack to the side and simply stood there momentarily. Sojiro slid his left foot back, crouched his lean build forwards, still gripping the sheathe, and keeping his hand over the hilt.

The technique to battōjutsu, was not to pull the handle--the secret lie in pulling the sheath back. It accelerated the speed of the draw to an astound 0.3 seconds. So he could draw his sword and make a cut with less than a second...And with Shikuchi, he could move faster than most if not every opponent he's ever come across. But even so, he had his doubts that it would be enough. Even if he could dodge the Kuzu Ryu Sen, a move that struck all 9 vital points on the human body, even if he could turn on a dime and avoid sword strokes--Sojiro kept asking himself...would it be enough?



 
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Jessica Stansell

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Kenji is waiting inside with Yahiko and helping him with his mother all while Seta's message to his mom is ringing through his head. Two major facts screaming out through his skull. The first fact being that his father was married to someone other than his mom and the man Seta is facing head on with his sword outside of their house is his dad's brother in law, and the second fact being that his father is sick like his mother is, and in fact that his even sicker and is still fighting away from home on the Korean Penninsula in that war. He's still angry at his dad for being gone and leaving them, but hearing Seta's story, Kenji doesn't even know what to feel now. Judging by the way Yahiko reacted, it was obvious to Kenji that Yahiko knew nothing about his father being ill when he left, let alone being that ill. Kenji wonders if his mother had any idea before his dad left that he was in that condition. After getting his mom settled with Yahiko's help, Kenji, without saying a word, goes over to the wall of the room that's closest to the two of them. Kenji knows, as he always did, he'd rather have his father home with him, his mom, and Yahiko. He didn't like it that his father was so far away from them before he found out about his father being sick, but now Kenji doesn't know if his father should be fighting in the war at all. Kenji knows by all the stories that his father is incredibly strong. He didn't like that his father had to be the one to solve everything and always had to be the one to go away to battle. Not that Kenji wanted anyone else to have to put themselves in danger either, but he didn't know why no one else was able to solve the problems that came up. But Kenji always had the knowledge that due to his father's strength, that no matter who his father had to fight and no matter how many his father had to fight, his father had a good chance of winning like he always did and would come home to them. But if what Seta said was true, if his father was fighting just to live, this information has Kenji's mind spinning, and he just stands there facing the wall not saying anything.
 
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Rainier Ashton Bernhardt

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Yahiko Myojin



Yahiko knelt down slowly, and laid Kaoru down as gently as he could pulling the blanket over top his teacher and sister-like personage. Yahiko was seated neatly on the knees of his pleated hakama pants, with his feet tucked under him and his hands upon his lap. He was worried and concerned over Kaoru's well being, but also Kenji's mental state; he'd been blindsided by the revelation of his father's past and that he had been married once before. He didn't know all the details himself, so some of the information Seta had divulged was still processing in his mind as well. Whatsmore, there was someone more terrifying than Shishio, someone who manipulated that madman, and gave him the resources to try and destroy the Meiji government. And that man was outside right at this moment, fighting Seta Sojiro, a one time enemy of Kenshin's that had reformed of own accord.

As Kaoru rested, Yahiko didn't budge or move from her side. But his thoughts were anywhere but locked away in that room. His mind started unraveling the pieces of information that Seta had shared and he compared them to his own theories and imaginings. Kaoru had only started to become ill, but Kenshin was far worse off than he had anticipated. He had always pushed himself way too hard, especially if he felt it was doing the right thing. He'd go above and beyond what was asked of him and most times it would cost him. It had before, that much was appearent now. But only Kaoru knew the whole truth of it, she was his wife afterall. Yahiko doubted anything Seta had said, was something new to her. And as he looked down at Kaoru incapable and powerless to stop whatever was afflicting her, he wondered if she would tell him everything. They had been through so much together, just the three of them; Kenshin, Kaoru and himself.

As Yahiko's mind meandered, and wandered through a sea of questions--questions Kenji no doubt had as well, he remebered the day Kenshin left for Korea. Before he did, he handed the Sakabatou to him, entrusting him with the welfare and protection of Kaoru and Kenji. That was why he often came to Kaoru's, to watch over them and to train Kenji and hopefully do right by a man that he admired a great deal. He knew Kenji resented Kenshin for leaving them, and making his mother sad and lonely. But, there were lessons Kenji had to yet learn to mature as a person and understanding Kenshin's philosophy that every life was precious and deserved to exist despite the sea of dangers surrounding a given life at a given time.


"Kenji," Yahiko said sighing and exxhaling deeply but calmly. "It's time I tell you about your father." Yahiko stated firmly, not taking his eyes of Kaoru for the moment. "I'm going to tell you everything I know, everything I've learned about your father since I was about your age." Yahiko then lifted his head and looked at Kenji sternly. He wasn't glowering, but Kenji needed to know the truth, he needed to know why his father left, and who his father truly was. He needed to feel and understand that here in this moment he needed to listen to what Yahiko had to say.

"A long time ago, well before you were born--there was a great and terrible conflict between the old Tokugawa Shogunate, and those that allied with the Emperor of Japan. This war claimed many lives, and many misdeeds went unaccounted for. Your father, Kenshin--No, Shinta, was once a man who killed many people. He was young then, about your age when he joined the Imperialists in their campaign. He was an assassin of sorts, killing important officials and leaving only warnings behind that there would be divine punishment for those who sided with the Shogunate. It was a time of murder, bloodshed and chaos. But it came to a close sooner than later thanks to what your father did. But, Kenji, your father--he saw that taking lives was not the way to do things, it ownly sowed heartache, and pain and planted the seeds for revenge. Just as that man outside wants revenge on your father for whatever he did." Yahiko said, looking down at the tatami matting as he contemplated his net words.

"You're father's a hero. Always has been. He's a kind man, who plucked me out obscurity and being trapped in a situation I couldn't get out of at the time. He's saved your mother numerous times--and he's fought so hard to keep peace in this country." Yahiko told Kenji while looking at him with uncertainty and worry for Kenshin's well being.

"I know you resent him for leaving your mother, and making her worry and sad--but he had his reasons to go to Korea. Wars are unforgiving, they take lives with out measure and without conscious. I know if Kenshin left, it was because he felt he had to save as many lives as he could rather than sit back and let untold dozens, or hundreds of people be killed." Yahiko placed his knuckles against the matted floor and swiveled in placed to face Kenji fully sitting upright with his back straight.


"I know you harbor a great deal of anger towards Kenshin--and I'm sorry, I don't have all the answers to give you to make it alright, to make it okay. But your father has devoted his life to helping others and upholding his ideals against violence. He has been through enough, he's suffered enough. So I'm begging you--let those feelings go. Your mother loves your father, even if he makes her sad sometimes, even if he makes her worry. But she still loves him, because she knows him not as Battousai the Manslayer, not as the wandering samurai--but as the man who saved her time and again, as the man that goes out of his way to help others and reveres life and shuns death." Yahiko told Kenji, hoping to get through to him.

"
One day, you will find someone and you'll understand why it is that your mother feels sad, and lonely; she feels sad because she misses him. The way he talked to her, the way he held her, and she feels lonely because she feels misplaced and misguided without him here. And you'll feel that too. And no matter what, you'll want that special person to be around all the time. But she understands him, she understands that he is the type of man to go out of his way for someone." Yahiko watched Kenji closely, keeping his hands on either thigh. "So let go of that bitterness, love your father as I am certain he loves you immeasurably. You're his son, and he was proud to have you when you were born--as I am sure he is proud of you now. He's out there alone, and he's very sick and he's fighting to come back home to you and your mother. Because he loves your mother. He'd die for your mother without a single question about it."
 

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Kenji, still turned facing the wall, just stands there not moving a muscle, as he listens to every word Yahiko says to him. After listening he stays completely silent for a few minutes after Yahiko's speech ends. Yahiko, along with some things about his dad that his mom told him too in the past years, he told Kenji some other things that his mom didn't mention to him, Kenji's guess being that she probably felt he was to young to hear those specific details at the time she told Kenji about his father. Then, as he swallows the lump in his throat, Kenji puts his left hand on the wall and responds to Yahiko, his mind still spinning from everything Seta told him earlier as well. "T..Thank you for telling me everything Yahiko. My mom told me some of it in the past few years, but she didn't mention all of it to me. I guess she thought I was too young at the time. But yeah I know. I know my father loves me. And I know he's proud of me..And I don't like seeing war happen either..I'm happy..and proud that my father wants to help everyone he can possible..And I..I love him too.." Kenji after saying that puts his right hand up to his face, his left hand still being on the wall.
 

Rainier Ashton Bernhardt

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Seta Sojiro & Enishi Yukishiro



Seta's rear foot began tapping itself rhythmically against the ground while his keen eyes kept Enishi in his sight. The tapping of his foot against the ground signaled the impending speed blitz that was the Shukuchi technique. But he had to gauge it just right. Too fast and he could overshoot his target, too slow and he would be left vulnerable to a counter-attack. Enishi wasn't moving which was troubling for Seta, it was hard to discern rather the man understood his capabilities--or he was just too arrogant to care. Whatever the case was, Sojiro's left foot left the ground to take the initial step forwards. The powerful springing motion of the muscles in his legs propelled him forward in such a rapid acceleration that his body would seem to 'flicker' as he sped forwards his left hand drawing the sheath back whilst his right pulled at the hilt of his nihonto.

Unsheathing the katana in a flash so fast it left little to room to think, only act. It was like lightning had struck, as the sword was drawn back, up and forced downwards so fast and so overwhelmingly hard that the curved edge divided the air, creating a vacuum that cracked and boomed reminiscent of thunder. But as fast as he had moved, seemingly taking several strides in the blink of an eye, he was shy of the true technique of the Shukuchi. Nevertheless, Enishi had, in fact, kicked up his own sword with his foot sheathe and all, and proceeded to block the strike effortlessly by holding the unsheathed weapon out in front of himself. Seta sprang back quickly, escaping any form of retaliation from Enishi who lowered his sword once again.

"I'm going to ask...one more time. Where is Himura?" Enishi questioned Seta.

"Well, it's a little hard to tell, I mean he's just so far away I don't even know which direction to point you in, to be honest," Seta responded honestly enough. "But, if I had to say, I wouldn't tell you even if I did know where he was."

Enishi glowered. His jaw clenching shut. "Then I will ask those that are inside, perhaps they will be more forthcoming with the information that I seek." Enishi declared.




 
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Kaoru looks to Yahiko from where she is. He just explained Kenshin's life story to their son from what he knew of it. She had told Kenji about his father as well, including who his father trained under. But she didn't know if she should mention everything to him because Kenji was still pretty young when Kaoru told him about his father. She then hears her son thank Yahiko for telling him about what he knew regarding his father and turns to look at him wondering what he's currently feeling, knowing her son's been absorbing all kinds of explanations and information in just the past few hours.

Kenji just stands at the wall still after thanking Yahiko, his left hand still on the wall. He breathes in and out a couple of times before he lowers his right hand from his face to his right side. His mind is still spinning from all he's heard, especially about what he heard recently. And knowing more about his dad and the kind of man he really is, now that Yahiko explained all he knew about Kenji's father to him, Kenji knowing that his mom is sick, and a full on sword fight is going on just outside the door of the room they are in. Kenji knows also from what he's heard in the past hour, that the opposing man outside who started the fight against them is after his father, who is even sicker than his mom, and that the man named Enishi, who claims to be his dad's brother in law, wants to know Kenji's father's location. Kenji knows that's what Enishi is trying to get the information about out of Seta, another man who he barely knows, but Kenji at least knows that Seta is on there side and that he can trust him now.
 

Rainier Ashton Bernhardt

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Seta Sojiro & Enishi Yukishiro



"Oh boy, I seem to have made this one a bit angry, haven't I?" Seta said aloud, smiling uneasily, his hand cautiously rested on the hilt of his sword.

If need be he would draw, but he didn't quite have a good enough grasp of this newcomer's abilities or skillset quite yet. So it was difficult to gauge his level. He had an ominous feeling, however, and that never boded well or sat right with him. However, his 'kenki' or 'swordsman spirit' was monstrously oppressive unlike Seta who lacked or had very little kenki, Enishi on the other hand, had it in spades. Yet, there was something more troubling; he didn't exude 'sakki' the kind of ki that lesser-skilled swordsman often demonstrated when they had a killing intent or an inclination to deliver a killing blow despite how angry he seemed. This was Seta's biggest advantage against Himura; Kenshin's style of swordsmanship was one laden with battojutsu techniques with a few kenjutsu maneuvers scattered throughout to cover the inherent weaknesses and drawbacks to an exclusively sword-drawing artform, but it was his ability to read his opponent's intentions through understanding their flow of ki that allowed him to use the techniques so masterfully. Without this basic but fundamental understanding, the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu was like a sailing vessel with no wind in which to guide it.

Seta had a first-hand experience of this; when his emotions had been locked away, stifled and repressed, Kenshin had found it extremely difficult to move properly and react to his attacks and counter them. However, once those emotions started to boil up to the surface and his own sakki had begun to expose itself, it didn't matter how fast Seta moved, Kenshin would intercept him. It culminated in them both utilizing the ougi as a deciding factor. With that said, there were ways to bypass Kenshin's ability to read ki correctly, or one could be brutish enough, punish him physically until his body couldn't hold up. Despite all appearances, he was human still and could be outperformed, outsmarted, and outplayed. However one would have to an extraordinary specimen to succeed as it was proven that Seta could, in fact, outmaneuver Kenshin even with a point-blank range Kuzu Ryu Sen which was supposedly unavoidable.

So, where did that leave them? There were only two real options: Either Enishi knew Kenshin well enough to know what he could do--or he had some innate trait that allowed him to excel in combat. Seta had ruled out all other options. Enishi was no s2nd or 3rd rate swordsman, he could tell that much by the sensation he was getting from Enishi. Enishi lacked a killing intent yet his fighting spirit was tremendously overwhelming. The fact he could react leisurely to the Shukuchi also spoke volumes. Even it was three steps away from the true form, it was hard for Kaoru and Kenji to clearly see what had just occurred. All that their senses could react to was the sound of metal colliding against each other and nothing more. He hadn't even drawn his sword either...



 

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Kenji hearing the loud sound of metal colliding looks to the door almost instantly. He starts to feel worried all of a sudden as he brings his left hand down to his left side from against the wall and straightens his stance. He just stares at the door which is the only thing blocking Kenji's, Yahiko's, and Kaoru's view from the battle. He gulps hard as he wonders what happened just now, and he takes hold of his sword hoping Seta is alright, his right hand shaking lightly as he grabs hold of his sword's hilt. Kenji breathes in and out a couple of times again as he passes Yahiko's seated position and slowly approaches the door. As he passes the part of the floor where his mom lay resting, a drop of sweat drips down the left side of his face from his forehead. He still has a few feet to go after he passes his mom's floor bedside before he reaches the door so it isn't like she can just grab his pants leg to stop him. He doesn't open the door when he reaches it though but he doesn't answer anything either. He just stands there hoping that Enishi leaves and that Seta will open the door.

As she lays on the floor, Kaoru hears the loud sound of the colliding metal too, waiting out and hearing the same battle going on just outside between Seta and Enishi. She doesn't know why Enishi is taking things as far as he is. Kaoru of course doesn't know the kind of relationship Kenshin had with Enishi back when he was married to Enishi's sister. She doesn't know how close the two of them were to where this battle would become so personal to Enishi. She feels that something happened outside just now too but she is not sure of what. She then notices Kenji's change of position seconds after. She watches him lower his left hand from the wall to his side. When she sees him walk in the direction towards the door she calls his name a couple of times trying to get his attention. But then she blinks after saying her son's name the third time, as she's seeing Kenji not respond to his name, and what's more noticing her son Kenji's face start to pale a little when he passes her resting spot on the floor. This worries her and Kaoru looks to Yahiko hoping he'll do something.
 

Rainier Ashton Bernhardt

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Seta Sojiro & Enishi Yukishiro/ Yahiko Myojin



Seta inhaled deeply and calmly, releasing the breath with a slow, controlled exhale. Things were about to get very exciting--and dangerous. There was no telling what the two swordsmen could and would do to each other. The Shuckuchi wasn't just fast; it used the sheer velocity that its wielder garnered and translated it into raw kinetic energy. Though in terms of power, it was less powerful than the Amakkakeru Ryu No Hirameki, the ougi of the Hiten's style. However, because Enishi hadn't unsheathed his Tachi nor took a stylized stance--it was hard to discern how powerful his moves actually were. The only thing Enishi had shown was that he was reflexively fast enough to dodge and parry attacks that could barely be made out by the eye. That his intuitive combat prowess was trying to tell Seta something wasn't quite right about this man; that he was truly dangerous.

Yahiko was still sat on his knees when Karou fall over. Quickly reacting, he lifted his sensei and the only real family he'd known throughout most of his life--and laid her back to her backside on the futon. She kept calling Kenji's name and Kenji continued to ignore his ailing mother's pleas. This upset him a great deal. While he was far from being Seta, or Saitou Hajime--or even Aoshi Shinomori--when he slammed on foot to the floorboards forcefully he made his presence known to Kenji. Stepping swiftly across the breadth of the distance between them, Yahiko grabbed Kenji roughly by the arm and led him away from the conflict. He then made Kenji sit down on his knees. There was no doubt Yahiko was very irritated by Kenji's lack of duty to his mother.

"How dare you!" Yahiko said sternly towards Kenji. " Your mother is very sick--and you make her beg for you to be at her side? Have you no shame?" He asked the young boy. "You will be of no use ou there--get that out of your head! You will only get in the way at best--at worst you will end up dead. You don't think I'd like to be out there? You're wrong. I want to be out there--but you know what would happen? I'd be throwing my life away--those men are leagues beyond you or me. I don't think you know just how capable Seta was just as a kid your age--let alone give him ten or so years to hone his technique and develop more. Don't ever do that again--make your mother beg for you to come to her."









 

Jessica Stansell

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Kenji heard Yahiko yell to him and then seconds later felt his grip as he was pulled back forcefully by Yahiko from the door to where Yahiko was sitting in the middle of the room and Kenji's mother Kaoru was laying just at the left of his seated positon. He listens to Yahiko's stern words about Seta's skills and talent and hears Yahiko tell him not to involve himself and not to ignore his mother calling him. Kenji heard her maybe one time but only once. But Yahiko said that she called him multiple times. This confused him. Seconds after that Kenji feels his sword in his hand then looks down to his side and sees his right hand gripping hold of it. As he wonders what he was about to do, knowing he was standing at the door before being yanked back by Yahiko's pull, Kenji releases the grip he has on his sword with his right hand shaking a little as he's doing it, swallows once roughly, and then looks to his mother saying "I..I'm sorry..I didn't answer you mom.." His voice being a bit hoarse as he apologizes to her. He then looks to Yahiko and nods to him saying "And I want sorry to you as well Yahiko..I..I don't know what happened before..I guess I just went blank..t..thanks for stopping me.."

Kaoru nods to Kenji accepting his apology. "It's alright honey.." She hears the hoarseness in her son's voice and remembering his pale look earlier and hearing Kenji saying to Yahiko just now that he thinks he went blank at that moment in time before when he wasn't responding to anyone, she still feels really concerned for him.
 

Rainier Ashton Bernhardt

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Seta Sojiro & Enishi Yukishiro




Seta's sandaled foot tapped at the ground in a rhythm as he bounced on his other foot. He was about to go full Shikuchi and bear down on Enishi with the full might of his perfected technique. Enishi merely lifted a finger, unphased, perhaps unprepared for just how fast Sojiro could get to be and pushed his round glasses back up the bridge of his nose. But Enishi's composure wasn't without reason, and he too had had something he was holding back for the right moment. Nerves of Insanity was a double-edged sword; it could grant the user inhuman reflexes but at the cost of doubling the level of pain received.

Alas, time passed. What felt like hours Kenji as he peered through the shoji screen door that was held slightly ajar. Just enough for the young Kenji to witness Seta's impossible to follow the immense speed boost Seta could which propel him forwards at speeds unimaginable. Seta was untraceable, like the wind he was fleeting but prior to Kenji's retrieval by Yahiko, Seta appeared crouched, parallel with the ground--hunched and his sword hand gripping the nihonto tightly in its scabbard before he once again vanished. Using the powerful springing motion of his legs and leading with his right foot, similar to Kenshin's final technique he'd perfected the Shikuchi. However, that did not mean that as Sojiro passed Enishi it was as straightforward attack as his Shuntensatsu was once noted to be.

The instantaneous kill stroke had been...parried. Enishi had, in a moment's span of time, thrown up his spectacles, his eyes focusing so intensely they became razor-sharp in their perception that he could perceive even Seta's beyond godlike speed. He drew his Tachi, the blade was longer and more curved than a traditional katana and so Seta's sword struck the side of the blade rather than the edge. More than that, though, Enishi was able to draw the Tachi entirely and cut a swathe through Seta's uniform which Seta simply whistled at and smiled.

"You barely missed me!" Seta said excitedly.

"The next time, you won't be so lucky." Enishi replied





 

Jessica Stansell

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Kaoru lays on the floor in between both Yahiko and her son. Kenji had apologized to her and to Yahiko minutes before, after Yahiko pulled her son back to them from the door and brought Kenji to kneeling on his knees. She watched her son's actions while Yahiko spoke to him telling him to trust Seta and believe that he will win, and after her son then nodded apologizing to her and to Yahiko, even though she saw Kenji's hands shaking a little as he did so, she watched Kenji get into a normal seated position on the floor next to her. She didn't know if her son's hands were shaking from shock at Yahiko's words to him or if there was another reason. She continues to watch over him though.

Kenji sits near his mother and Yahiko. After apologizing to the both of them, Kenji thinks about what Yahiko told him just minutes ago about trusting Seta to be victorious against Enishi. To which Kenji does trust that Seta will be able to win. But that still doesn't ease him very much currently, as he knows Enishi's anger level is rather high. Kenji knows of course that Enishi's anger is mainly toward his dad and not Seta, but Kenji still hopes that even though Seta is very skilled, that Seta will still all the same be careful considering Enishi's anger. But at the same time as he is processing the battle continuing outside, Kenji is also trying to figure out why he took his sword in his hand, as the few minutes before that were pretty much a blur to him..he didn't hear his mom call him but one time and he only recalls that faintly..and yet Yahiko said she had called Kenji's name several times trying to get his attention..He hardly remembers any of it..He tries to recall what happened but he only remembers standing near the wall..next thing he remembers is he heard Yahiko's foot slam against the floor, and then he remembers the feel of his arm being yanked pulling him back from being next to the doors to the outside and next being faced towards Yahiko. And his mind is still spinning over all he heard earlier that day too..
 

Rainier Ashton Bernhardt

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Seta Sojiro & Enishi Yukishiro

"I think miss Kaoru requires her beauty sleep--lets you and I head out over yonder and finish this?" Seta inquired with a soft, almost forgiving grin.

"No. I came here for the Battousai--I fully intend to extract it from whoever knows of his whereabouts. That includes his second wife Kamiya Kaoru. Or should I say--Kaoru Himura?" Enishi said coldly, looking back over his shoulder, through the open doorway.

Yahiko couldn't hold his anger any longer, he couldn't just bite his tongue while his sister figure, perhaps the only he'd ever come to know as a family was belittled and berated. He grabbed his bokken, the thick wooden practice sword he used every day as the new assistant-master of the Kamiya Kasshin-ryū. before Karou could even think to speak Yahiko rushed to the sliding shoji door open, the rice paper door was slammed shut yet it did lotto to negate Yahiko's shouting.


"I don't know you are--or where you came from--but you've far outstayed your welcome. Leave now, or---" Yahkio froze in midsentence as the man calling himself Enishi Yukishiro, brother-in-law to Kenshin, began to ascend the steps.

Staring down at Yahiko who stared back defiantly. Enishi's eyes were soulless; a vacancy so deep it could fill a thousand oceans. He was a man that was lost; who had seen and felt a loss. How that dealt with Kenshin, they wouldn't know until he returned from the war in Korea. Yahiko reaffirmed his convictions, took a step back he then 'drew' the bokken into a center read position called chudan kamae.

Yahiko kept an upright posture, shoulders relaxed back, his back was kept straight. The hell of his rear right foot slightly was raised. Yahiko's right hand was gripping where the tsuba or handguard would have been. His left hand was lower down on the kashira. Yahiko had practiced these moves for more than a decade; making sure the v-shape was on the uppermost of the butt cap of the sword with his thumb and forefinger were on either side.


"So, wanna take me on next, do you?" Enishi questioned callously, he then lifted the Tachi; a longer deeper curved nihonto that a traditional katana. " I'll tell you what, you land a blow on me and I'll leave--right here right now. I won't even draw my sword."

"Don't fall for his trick Yahiko--"
Yahiko went to object before a boot rammed itself into Yahiko's abdomen launching hin from the walkway. "I told you..."

Yahiko sailed through the air his toned physique stunned by the momentary blow he had been delivered. The Assistant-Master landed rolled to a standstill, almost to a point it looked as if he'd passed out. But Yahiko could hear it; his determination and dread and fear and passion; they were forcibly throbbing in his ears. It was a dull ache, nothing to the beating his ribs had taken from a single kick. The hell was he, an omi?

"Oh look, he's back on his feet--he's got balls. But, I'm going to let you in on a little secret; Shishio his little group--his plan to take the government by force--all my idea. I even sold him the battleship and he got sunk! So what hope do you have if Shihio couldn't beat me?" Enishi laughed as Yahiko struggled to stand up, but just as he did Seta stepped forwards, there was something vastly different about Seta Sojiro. "Is it true--did you put the ideas in Shishio's head--that ones that consumed him?! The ones that broke me and left me wandering by the wayside?! That was you, right?! Well, now I can finally let go--and return to who I once was! The Tenken!"

"Seta! He's mine! He belittled my older sister Kaoru--I can't--!!"
A solid fist met with Yahiko's diaphragm. He dropped to his knees and then fell over, unconscious.

"Sorry, your decades behind this guy," Yahiko heard Seta say peaceably. "The gaps just too large; you'd never even get close...." Seta admitted. " Me on the other hand...I'm through with the games! Your terror ends now!"
 

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Kenji witnesses as Yahiko is tossed to the side of nearly effortlessly by Enishi. He just blinks his eyes as he sees Yahiko just laying there still like that. His breath catches, and then he looks from Yahiko's landing spot back to Enishi's location in the room. He dashes forward to where his mom is laying on the floor and jumps out in front to shield her unless Enishi decides to attack them. All the time as he just stares Enishi down, thoughts about what Yahiko said to him earlier keep playing back in his head. He can't believe that Yahiko, the strongest warrior he's ever come to know in his life next to his mom and his dad, is lying on the floor now aross the room and knocked out cold. He knew Enishi was strong sure. He knew he had to be to take Seta on like that. He didn't think that Enishi could really defeat Yahiko that easily though. Now he sees how wrong he was about Enishi's power. It sends a wave of panic through Kenji, on top of everything else he witnessed and heard all that day. He knows Seta is in front of him ready to continue his and Enishi's battle. The room starts to spin in his eyes, but Kenji stands firm readying himself and takes hold of his sword at his side too just the same. He knows with Yahiko out cold, that he has to protect his mother, as she's in no condition to make a successful escape.
 
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