Chapter 128: Soujirou Takes the Field
Copyright© 2011 by Murasame
(Houji pounds his fist against the table.)
Shishio: What is it, Houji.
Houji (shaking with rage): A telegram ... from intelligence in Kyoto ... The attack on the Aoiya has failed. Iwanbou has fled, and Henya, Kamatari, Fuji and Saitsuchi have been arrested... !
Shishio: In other words, the Ten Swords are all but destroyed.
Houji: Why! They even had Fuji with them, there was no way they could have failed! How did--
Shishio: They were stronger than we were. That's all there is to it.
Soujirou (adjusting his wristguards): After all, in this world the flesh of the weak is the food of the strong. The strong live, the weak die. But it's okay. I'm strong, so I can do the work of all of the Ten Swords, can't I? (on his way out) Well, I'll just be a minute.
Shishio: The strong live, the weak die. Those words I taught him are the code he lives by. It's his only truth. Because he has suppressed all emotions but amusement, it's impossible read the lines of his sword. He uses his natural gifts to the fullest. A born prodigy who surpasses even Battousai. And there's something Battousai didn't see at Shingetsu. The other gift of Okubo's assassin. The supreme violence I discovered and perfected in Seta Soujirou. You were given a glimpse of what will destroy you, Battousai.
Yumi (pushing herself away from Sanosuke): All right, I've had it!
Sanosuke: What're you so mad about, I'm the one that had to carry you the whole way.
Yumi: Shut up. What woman would be happy about being carried like a dog?
Sanosuke: Kay, then how 'bout like this? (holding a straw dummy in classic bride-over-the-threshold manner)
Yumi: No way! (Not with you!)
Sanosuke: You can count me out too. (A twisted bitch like you.)
Yumi: What was that??
Kenshin: Miss Yumi. Is that the next room?
Yumi: Yes. That's the room of Soujirou the Prodigy, strongest of the Ten Swords. This time, you've met your destiny--
Sanosuke: Hey, I think I've heard of this guy. He any good?
(Yumi: Are you listening?)
Kenshin: He's the youth that cut through the reverse blade in an exchange of battou-jutsu. We both withdrew then in a draw. Had we continued, it was obvious by looking at our swords who held the advantage. But now I have the true reverse blade and the succession technique, the Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki. This time, I will not be defeated.
(They open the door. Soujirou is waiting for them.)
Soujirou: It's been a long time, Mr. Himura. I'm pleased to see you arrived here safely.
Sanosuke (smacking his forehead): This is him... ? (thinking) Don't know what kind of hero I was expecting, but this is the kid Kenshin can't defeat?