Chapter 98: One More Target

Copyright© 2011 by Murasame

Kenshin: Well, Master ... thank you for everything.

Hiko: Wait. (He removes the cloak and holds it out.) The white cloak is passed down from generation to generation. It's proof you're the successor of the Hiten Mitsurugi school. Take it. You've earned it.

(They both contemplate Kenshin wearing the cloak.)

Kenshin: I'll have to decline. (It just wouldn't look good on me.)

Hiko: Hey, you--

Kenshin: Master, I've learned the secret techniques, but I have no wish to succeed as the fourteenth Hiko Seijuurou and continue the school. I only want to pass on the ideals of the school.

Hiko: You're pretty selfish. Well, it's not like this is the first time.

Kenshin: You might call this selfish as well, but there's one more thing. While I'm fighting the Shishio faction, will you protect the Aoiya for me?

Hiko: Hm.

Kenshin: Master.

Hiko (with a big thumbs-down): I've had about enough of you talking me into things. (putting the cloak back on and turning back to the house) When you said you wouldn't carry on the Hiten Mitsurugi school, I was no longer your master, you were no longer my student. Forget I was ever your master.

Kenshin: Master!

Hiko: But remember this. Just that I didn't teach you the Hiten Mitsurugi school to bring you misery. Don't worry about it too much. Go beat Shishio.

(Kenshin bows, and walks back towards Kyoto.)

(In Kyoto, police patrols line the streets.)

People: Something's going on. It's really noisy. Lot of police out today.

(At police headquarters)

Chief: Fujita, the patrols have been sent around Kyoto as you ordered. The reinforcements are coming in from neighboring prefectures; by evening we'll have about 5,000 men. No matter how many the Shishio faction, they won't be able to act freely.

Saitou: I wonder how this will go.

Chief: It's okay. It'll go all right. Heaven is on our side. The legendary man we were searching for appeared at the station at the base of Amaketake. They put him in a carriage immediately, he should be here soon.

(The sound of wheels outside.)

Chief: Just like the rumors said.

(Kenshin steps out of the carriage.)

Chief: That's the Hitokiri ... Himura Battousai.

Saitou (calling out the window): Hey. Look at you, visiting in a carriage on a weekday afternoon, like you were some rich guy.

Chief (nervously): Fujita.

Saitou: So what is it? You've resolved to become the Hitokiri once again?

Kenshin (smiling): Well, I'm not sure.

(a pause)

Saitou: Well, we have a lot to talk about. Come inside. That noisy guy just went to get something to eat, so this is perfect.

(A little later, in a library)

Kenshin: A fire in Kyoto?!

Saitou: Yes. We heard it from one of the Ten Swords we captured, Chou. Also, early this morning one of the patrols arrested and questioned a suspect. He confessed to making preparations for the Great Kyoto Fire. It's set to begin at 11:59 tonight. That much is certain.

Kenshin: That seems strange.

Saitou: You think so too. No matter how strong the Shishio faction, we still have an overwhelming advantage of numbers. So their tactics will have to emphasis surprise attacks and assassinations. The Great Fire of Kyoto is also a plan with these important points.

Houji (speaking to the assembled soldiers): Gentlemen! Our time is finally come! There will be need to hide or lurk in this cellar!

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