Chapter 143: Yumi--Forms of Love
Copyright© 2011 by Murasame
(In front of the wreckage of the Aoiya, Omasu hands Kaoru a cup of tea.)
Omasu: Here you are, Kaoru.
Kaoru: Oh--thank you.
Misao (climbing to the top of the smashed roof): They really wrecked the place.
Okina (similarly perched): Ah, this is nothing compared to what happened in the Boshin War.
Omasu: Will you two get down from there! (You're hurt!)
(Kaoru broods over her tea.)
Hiko (sipping sake): You worried about him? Don't be. The Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki I taught him can't fail. When you avoid the fangs of the dragon that soars the heavens, a fierce wind steals the freedom of your body and it pierces you with its claws. That is, if you do it exactly right. (I didn't bother to tell him that much!)
Kaoru: ... I understand. It's all right. I believe in him.
Misao: But you still can't help worrying about him. (sighing) I know. When I think of Lord Aoshi...
Yahiko: I still don't know what you see in that gloomy guy.
(Misao demon-bird kicks Yahiko.)
Okina (tears streaming down his cheeks): Love is different for everyone, Yahiko. Among a hundred different people there would be a hundred different forms of love.
(Yahiko: What're you crying for, old man?)
Okina: There is no one form of love.
(Yahiko: Aren't you embarrassed to talk like that, old man?)
(Back at the battlegrounds.)
Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki!
(Kenshin's attack throws Shishio's body high into the air.)
Sanosuke: That's settled it. The Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki...
(Shishio lands on his feet, but chokes and has to sink to the ground.)
Saitou: He's feeling it...
Aoshi (thinking): The attack pulled together the first step, the drawing of the sword, the centrifugal force of swinging the body, the second step, and the advantage gained by splitting the air in front of him. The second Amakakeru Ryuu no Hirameki concentrates all these forces; it's much greater than the attack I took.
(Shishio shudders, then retches violently, throwing back his head in pain.)
Sanosuke, Saitou, Aoshi: (thinking): Something's changed... !!
Yumi (thinking): His limits...
Houji: Wait, Yumi!
(She throws her body between Shishio and Kenshin.)