Chapter 101: The Great Kyoto Fire (Middle)

Copyright© 2011 by Murasame

Shishio: It was good thinking finding me here, I'll give them that. (looking through the spyglass) Himura Battousai. Saitou Hajime. And--? (handing the spyglass to Soujirou) There's someone I don't know with them.

Soujirou: Yes? Oh, that's probably one of Mr. Himura's friends. Um ... I'm pretty sure.

Houji: That's Sagara Sanosuke. He made a name for himself as a street fighter in Tokyo, but he's not nearly as dangerous as the other two.

Shishio: Basically, just cannon fodder?

(Sanosuke sneezes.)

Sanosuke: The enemy's surprised at our matching abilities.

(Saitou: Idiot.)

Sanosuke: But the real surprise is yet to come.

Soujirou: What do we do now, Mr. Shishio? Settle what we started in Shingetsu?

Shishio: I'd like to, but it would take too much time. On the other hand, if we left now, it would look like we were running away ... Houji, assemble the crew and prepare to break off the cover. I'll show my overwhelming strength, make you taste your own incompetence, and then it's sayonara. What do you say to that?

Kenshin: In any case, we'll have to swim to the ship with their noticing us. From there, we'll cut the underside of the ship to--

Sanosuke: Hold on. For making holes in the ship we've got something better than swords. (holding out his grenades) Katsu gave them to me when I left Tokyo. They're the latest model, they don't even need fuses.

Saitou: Idiot.

Sanosuke (barely managing not to throw the grenades at Saitou): Every single time I--what did I say this time?!?

Kenshin: Now, now...

Saitou: If you don't know, then you're really an idiot. (That's an interesting expression.)

Kenshin: Sano, even if they don't need fuses, when you dive in the gunpowder will get wet. Even the best bombs would be duds.

Saitou: Exactly. You don't have a sword. Wait quietly until the Osaka police get here.

(A huge explosion lights the bay)

Sanosuke: What the hell--Shishio's ship self-destructed?!

Saitou: Did a cannon misfire...

Kenshin: No...

(As the shrapnel settles, the sleek battleship Rengoku appears.)

Shishio: You look surprised. I put three fifths of the resources for the Rengoku into that shell. You'll have to be more surprised than that. Houji, load the Armstrong cannons. We'll give them a scare.

Houji: Roger.

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