Chapter 26: the Okashira, Shinomori Aoshi

Copyright© 2011 by Murasame

Kenshin: As I said to Hanya, I would avoid an unnecessary battle if I could. Will you stand aside and tell me where Kanryuu and Miss Megumi are?

Aoshi: When you said that to Hanya, did he give way? I will not either. You will ask where they are with your reverse blade. And I will answer with this.

(he pulls aside his coat, revealing a short sword)

Kenshin (thinking): The length of that sword!

Yahiko: You're gonna fight him with just one wakizashi! You're mocking him!!

Aoshi: Stand away, child.

Yahiko: WHY YOU--

Kenshin: I too must ask you the same.

Yahiko (stomping off to the sidelines): Everyone's against me! Fine, but one wakizashi isn't going to give you any trouble. So settle this quick!

Kenshin (turning back to Aoshi): If that truly was a wakizashi we could settle this without trouble, but...

Aoshi: It seems you know of the strengths of the kodachi.

Yahiko: Kodachi?

Kenshin: In short, it's a sword between a katana and a wakizashi. Shorter than a katana, its attacking power is lesser, but it is lightweight and turns extremely quickly, so it is a strong defense in emergencies. These are the characteristics of the kodachi*, "the sword which is used as a shield"...

*also known as the long or the large wakizashi.

Kenshin: A considerable disadvantage when turning to attack the enemy...

Aoshi: Really. If that's true, then let me attack.

(He drives forward. Kenshin instantly whips his sword out of its sheath.)

Aoshi (thinking): He's fast!

(He blocks Kenshin's blow with the kodachi, then kicks him to the head.)

Yahiko: Kenshin!

Kenshin (thinking): A kick! No ... Like Hanya, he's a kempoist!

(They trade blows. While Aoshi lands several punches, he blocks everything Kenshin throws at him.)

Kenshin: I see. You plan to create an impenetrable defense with the kodachi, then, like Hanya, attack using kempo...

Aoshi: You make one mistake. I was the one who taught Hanya kempo--

(he strikes Kenshin several times)

Aoshi: And the speed and strength of a master and his pupil are vastly different. Do not think we are the same. Battousai, I have no personal grudge against you. But as the strongest of the Ishin Shishi, you will find your death here.

Kenshin: You're not doing this for Kanryuu.

Aoshi: That goes without saying. That scum knows nothing.

Kenshin: As the Edo Castle Oniwabanshuu, is it for the destroyed Tokugawa shogunate?

Aoshi: If you too were a patriot, you know about the battle of Tobafushimi and the conduct of Tokugawa Yoshinobu--

Kenshin: Yes. The last Tokugawa shogun, Yoshinobu, knew his army was outnumbered and he and his senior officials fled Osaka Castle and escaped to Edo is his warship. He abandoned the ten thousand soldiers who were fighting and laying down their lives on the battlefield...

There is more of this chapter...

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