Chapter 88: Overture to Destruction
Copyright© 2011 by Murasame
The destruction of the Oniwabanshuu--that moment is creeping over closer to the Aoiya. Meanwhile... (Hiko and Kenshin leap to the attack; Hiko kicks Kenshin in the back before he can strike.)
Hiko: You held the sword high up over your head. Attacks aren't limited to the sword. You're relying too much on your speed at reading your opponent's moves. It's a good thing I decided to test you before I taught you the secret techniques. I wouldn't have thought you'd be so out of practice.
Kenshin: ... No time. Shishio could be moving in on everyone right now. I have to learn the techniques before that happens.
(In reply, Hiko sheaths his sword.)
Kenshin (thinking): Battou-jutsu, taking the sheath from the belt in that stance ... Hiten Mitsurugi Second-level Battou-jutsu Souryuusen.
(He holds his sword vertically downward to block.)
Kenshin (thinking): The sheath first--oh no. Another second-level battou-jutsu. The attack with the sword from the scabbard-blow. Souryuusen Ikatsuchi.
(Trapping Kenshin's sword with the scabbard, Hiko smashes into Kenshin's shoulder.)
Hiko: You think you can learn the secret techniques of the Hiten Mitsurugi school in that condition? Stupid pupil. First fight a round with me. Then I'll teach them to you. Hey, what's wrong. I deliberately hit you with the flat, so get up.
(Clutching his shoulder, Kenshin turns his glare at him.)
Hiko (thinking): Unlike his skills, his gaze hasn't dulled at all. Just like when I taught him the Hiten Mitsurugi-- (aloud) That was just child's play. You've got some hard training coming up.
Kenshin: Huh? (Child's play?)
Hiko: Nothing. Come on and fight. There's no time. You keep fussing like that and you won't be in time to save those friends of yours.
(Five soldiers, hooded and masked, approach the Aoiya; each has three blades lashed to their left arm to form claws.)
Aoshi (in Houji's office): The Kyousoushuu?
Houji: They were picked from our soldiers for effectiveness in darkness. They're a unit of spies who specialize in night attacks. You said the original headquarters of the Oniwabanshuu is now just an inn. Like a rat's nest. It'd only be a waste to send the Ten Swords. Even a handkerchief is too much to catch rats.
Kyousoushuu: We have no use for anyone but the old man. You can kill the others Roger. All right, spread out.
(They divide up and enter the Aoiya; two creeps into Okina's bedroom. He pulls away the bedcovers--)
Okina (wide awake and ready): Who are you?
(The soldier is stunned.)
Okina (standing up): I said, who are you.