Chapter 10: One-sided Heart
Copyright© 2011 by Murasame
(Kaoru lies awake in bed)
Kaoru (thinking): I can't sleep ... what's wrong with me? I'm really worried for some reason.
(She gets up to pace the house. Yahiko is out like a light in his room.)
Kaoru: Well, it is Kenshin. I'm sure he'll be okay. And Sanosuke's with him too, just in case ... Kenshin will be fine...
(the Black Hat stands framed in the window.)
Black Hat: One, two, three ... fourteen, fifteen of you? Not as many as I thought.
Sanosuke (to Kenshin): That's the Black Hat? Hm. Those eyes are pretty scary.
Kenshin: Do you understand, Sano? He'll deal with me. You look after Mr. Tani.
Tani (leaping to his feet): What are you just standing there for? Get him! I'm paying you enough! Get to work! The one who destroys him gets five times what I'm paying you now! And I'll get you an office at the Department of War!
Bodyguard: Five times! An officer! (as they charge) All right, that job's mine! No, I'll take it!
Sanosuke: Idiots! You want to throw your lives away for greed?
(The Black Hat chuckles again, building to a maniacal laugh. The charging guards are quickly slaughtered.)
Black Hat: Ah, this feeling--it's good.
Sanosuke (thinking): He's fast! He doesn't fly like Kenshin, but he's using some weird form of kenjutsu! (aloud) Stay back! You can't take him!
(The guards are pulling back.)
Black Hat (turning the full power of his eyes on them): Don't run!
Tani: Wha--what was that...
Chief: They can't move!
Black Hat: You can't run away. Once you draw your sword, you fight until one of us dies. Otherwise, it just wouldn't be fun.
Sanosuke (who also is having trouble moving): Why you ... what are you doing? What the hell have you done to me?
Black Hat: Oh ho ... someone who can move against the "One-sided Heart" must be at least a little more than a mere worm.
Kenshin: The Nikaidou Heibou "One-sided Heart" is also known as "the art of shrinking." I thought it was unbelievable, but you are indeed the Black Hat of Rushes.
(He vaults over Sanosuke to exchange blows with Black Hat.)
Chief: Mr. Himura!
(Kenshin has taken a cut to the arm.)
Kenshin: I heard stories about you during the Bakumatsu in Kyoto. A man who didn't belong to any clan, but took contracts on people for pay. Said to be a master who had attained the highest level of the Nikaidou Heibou.
Nikaidou Heibou--this form of kenjutsu is made up of three forms, the one, eight and ten. (****note: the sword is held in positions similar to the characters for these numbers; straight across, in two diagonal lines, or in a cross.) Its secret technique is famous as it is strange and terrible. The "one-sided heart" is said to have been used only by its originator. One-sided Heart--This most secret of secret techniques entails sending one's own ki out through one's eyes to crush one's opponent, freezing him in place. It's said that the technique was never passed down to a second generation. In modern times it would be called a kind of instantaneous hypnosis. Kenshin: I thought you'd use as an attack, but you use it to kill those who have lost the will to fight ... Isn't that unfair, Udou Jin'eh?