Chapter 81: Shakkuu's Thoughts
Copyright© 2011 by Murasame
(Kenshin strikes Chou in the side; he goes down.)
Okina (thinking): He's done it...
(A long pause. Kenshin stares down at his work.)
Misao (taking a step forward): Himura...
Kenshin (bowing his head): I...
Seikuu: That sword...
Misao: It's a reverse blade!
Okina: Shakkuu's last work was a reverse blade like the one he gave Himura!
Kenshin: No, this ... feels better to the hand than the old reverse blade...
Misao: But if it's a reverse blade, then...
Misao: He's still alive, Himura! You didn't break your vow!
Chou: Now I see why Lord Shishio wants to fight you while he's trying to take over the country. But don't feel too good about your win. There are still nine of the Ten Swords left. Two of them are definitely better than you. Soujirou, who you crossed swords with before, and Usui who's come to Kyoto from Ryuukyuu. You'll never get to Lord Shishio! Remember how weak you really are and sit back and watch his coup!
Okina (handing her the nunchuks): Here.
Misao (whacking him): Punishment!
(Chou is knocked unconscious.)
Misao: What are we going to do with him?
Okina: We can get a lot of information out of him; let's take him back to the Aoiya.
Kenshin: No, let's turn him over to the police. I don't know if he's arrived or not, but there's a man here who has complete responsibility for the Shishio affair. It'll be safer that way.
Misao: You mean that guy...
Okina: If you say so.
Seikuu: A reverse blade ... My father's last work was a ... I don't understand. Why...
(The wooden handle splinters.)
Misao: The sword's breaking!
Okina: Himura's technique was too much for the wood to bear...
(The handle breaks away; the blade drops to the ground.)
Okina: It's all right ... The blade itself is unharmed. What?
(The steel inside the handle bears writing.)
I forged swords that killed for countless years For the world of my grandson, a child who bears no one any ill-will. (A while later, in the Aoiya.)
Seikuu: He kept making swords for so many years ... Even though his own son hated him, he did it for the world of his grandson ... Probably Shakkuu intended this as his death poem. My father learned as he went on how arrogant it was to think that a sword could build a new age. But the time was the height of the Bakumatsu; he could not retire nor remain and suffer as the chaos reached its peak. As a swordsmith living during the Bakumatsu, my father only continued to make killing swords in the hopes that the time of peace would come another instant sooner ... It was completely against what he wanted ... It was with deep regret and a little prayer of hope that my father left this holy sword, this true reverse blade...
Misao: True reverse blade?