Ken ga Kimi – Kei

Starting off with Kei because of KENN. Someone sent me a major spoiler before I started the game, and it made me really upset… but I got over it pretty quickly because Kei’s route turns out to be super sweet. Like shoujo manga level sweet.


Kei is a dual-wielding samurai from Kibi Province. He came to Edo in order to enter the tournament and obtain one of the Five Heavenly Swords. In Edo, he makes a living by working as a roundsman. He can be intimidating and has a sharp tongue, but he’s also clumsy—in the sense that he can’t be honest to people he doesn’t respect. Behind that exterior, he’s actually a kind man who turns protective upon getting relied on. 19 years old.

Tokaido Fake Wedding Parade Arc

Hakone Station

After resting for a while, Kayo decides to go to the hot spring. Along the way, she sees Kei training alone in the garden. Even from afar, she can tell that he’s serious… but she has to admit that doesn’t really like him. She knows that he’s hardworking and takes his job as a guard very seriously. She also knows that he wants the fake wedding parade to succeed more than anyone else, but even so… it won’t change the fact that she dislikes him. She’s scared of him, and it causes her to feel nervous more than anything else. Kayo tries to slip away while staying hidden, but Kei ends up noticing when the wooden floor creaks under her feet. When he asks what she’s doing here all by herself, she suddenly feels guilty—even though she didn’t do anything wrong.

Kayo answers that she’s going to the hot spring, and she’ll go to bed immediately after. However, Kei still can’t accept the fact that she’s roaming around alone. He asks where Hanzou is, so she explains that she asked for some time to be alone. Both Hanzou and Mitsuyoshi have granted their permission. Kei points out that it’s already late though, so Kayo needs to be careful just in case. He says he’ll guard the entrance as she takes a bath, but she refuses saying she’ll be fine on her own. He was busy training, so she doesn’t want to disturb him. Upon hearing this, Kei angrily punches a pillar and yells at Kayo—warning her not to misunderstand. Everyone might be calling her princess, but she shouldn’t get carried away. This journey is not a game. It’s a mission, and they’re putting their lives on the line. She doesn’t have the freedom to pick the option of “being alone”. If she understands all of this, then he wants her to stop troubling him and go take a bath already.

Kayo quietly replies that she’s not misunderstanding anything. She only wants to spend some time alone. She knows they’re not here to play, and she has Hanzou’s permission anyway. It’s not like she’s doing this without permission. Kei only tells her to stop being childish though, and he openly admits that her actions will affect his reward—which confuses her even more. Kayo also accepted this request for money, so she can understand what Kei is trying to say… but she doesn’t think it’s right to announce it with a loud voice like that. Kei says that if something happens to Kayo, his reward would be reduced. It’d be a great loss for him, and he doesn’t want it to happen. That’s why he’s going to guard her at all times, and she shouldn’t complain about it. When she’s taking a bath, he’ll guard the entrance. When she’s sleeping at night, he’ll stay in the room next door until morning comes.

As Kei’s voice gradually gets louder, Kayo is starting to panic. Even though it’s already late, there should be some people around them. Just as she feared, two middle-aged ladies soon come and start whispering about them. They think Kayo and Kei are having a lover’s quarrel in public, just like a young couple who can’t see anyone but each other. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* As they walk away, they gossip about how Kei seems to be rather persistent—leaving him and Kayo to awkwardly blush in silence LOL. After they’re gone, Kayo asks Kei not to say such things with a loud voice. People might find out about her identity, not to mention they might get mistaken as a couple. Instead of replying, Kei only looks away and tells Kayo to just take a bath already. The women’s bath is an open-air one, and he’ll guard the entrance until she’s done. Feeling embarrassed, she quickly agrees and flees inside.

From the hot spring, Kayo can see the beautiful starry sky. The water has a unique scent, but she finds it comfortable and soothing. The warm bath also makes her realize that she was indeed being childish, just because she doesn’t like Kei and was feeling cornered. The more she thinks about it, the more she believes that it was her fault. He’s a samurai who’s protecting her during this journey, so she should listen to him. Now that she’s calmed down, Kayo is starting to see that Kei is just a bit harsh with his words. He doesn’t say anything wrong—he’s just incredibly blunt. She eventually decides to apologize to him.

When Kayo comes out of the bath, Kei immediately walks up to her. This causes her to feel intimidated, but she pulls herself out of it and apologizes to him—admitting that she was being stubborn earlier. Her voice turns smaller towards the end, but it seems like he hears everything. He says it’s fine as long as she understands, so he tells her not to apologize anymore. He says they’re all hired to protect her, and that’s why he’s asking her to listen to him—because he’s her guard. She’s their top priority, so he wants her to take a good care of herself. Realizing that Kei is doing this for her sake, Kayo feels that her dislike for him has disappeared.

Just then Mitsuyoshi appears from the other side of the hallway, looking rather happy. Kayo wonders if he had a drink, but she can’t really tell. He’s not red in the face, so it might be because of another reason. Mitsuyoshi finds it unusual for Kayo and Kei to be together, and he teasingly asks if he’s disturbing them. Kei instantly turns red and tells him not to misunderstand, but Mitsuyoshi simply asks them to get a lot of rest and happily enters the bath. Right after Kayo says good night to Mitsuyoshi, Kei suddenly grabs her arm saying he’ll walk her back to jodan-no-ma. At first Kayo is confused since Kei seems to be in a panic, but then she realizes that he might be embarrassed. When she tries asking about the “misunderstanding” he mentioned earlier, he quickly replies that it’s because Mitsuyoshi said something stupid… but then she asks what kind of misunderstanding it was. Yes, she didn’t get what Mitsuyoshi was trying to say LOL.

After an awkward silence, Kei asks if Kayo is seriously raising that question. When she nods saying she wouldn’t lie about something like this, he nervously nods and looks away from her. At the same time, she notices that the air around him seems to be… softer compared to before. That, and he looks relieved. Kei then asks Kayo not to mind about that misunderstanding. If she doesn’t get it, then it’s all good for him. In fact, he tells her NOT to think further about this issue. (((壊゚∀゚)))ァヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャ Of course Kayo is still confused, but she decides to let it slide since Kei has returned to normal.

VS Mantis Youkai

If Kayo believes that they can win no matter what, Kei answers her trust by throwing away his hesitation. He then asks the others to go on ahead, saying that “fighting together” doesn’t really suit his personality. Saneaki agrees, but he asks Kei not to chase the youkai too far if it runs away. When Kayo asks him to be careful, he tells her to trust him more. After all, she’s the one who told him to fight the youkai. As soon as they leave, the youkai starts provoking Kei. It mockingly says that he should’ve stayed with his friends and fight it together, but Kei only replies that there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, he can fight more freely if there’s no one around.

When Kei draws his swords, the youkai completely underestimates him—saying it’d be useless no matter how many swords he uses. Ignoring the insults, Kei swings his swords towards the direction of the voice. At first he misses and the youkai mocks him, but his eyes show no signs of panic. Instead, he swings his swords again and summons lightning—sending sparks to fly in the air. The lightning strikes everything in the area, and the youkai is no exception. Its scream is heard when the lightning hits it, and by the time it shows itself again… it’s already dead. Kei sighs saying it’d be easy if he can always use this ability, but at least he managed to defeat the youkai quickly.

By the time Kei catches up with the others, he’s surprised to see Kayo on the verge of tears. He asks if she’s injured, but Sakyou explains that she was worried about him. Now that he has returned safely, she must be relieved. When Kayo confirms that she’s glad to see him safe, Kei blushes and gives her a brief nod. As he averts his gaze from her, she notices that his hair is standing on end. Feeling curious, she holds out her hand and touches his hair—which apparently feels soft and fluffy like cat fur. d(ゝω・´★) Of course Kei gets REALLY startled and asks what Kayo is trying to do by touching his hair, so she apologizes and explains that his hair was standing on end. He nearly answers that it’s because of the lightning he used earlier, but he quickly covers it up by saying it got messed up during the battle. In any case, he asks her not to touch his hair out of the sudden because it’ll throw him into panic.

When Kayo mentions that his hair is soft like cat fur, Kei nervously asks if it’s a bad thing. He snaps out that she should leave his hair alone, even if it’s soft like cat fur or thorny like chestnut burr. Σ(゚ー゚;) This causes her to feel bad for making him angry, so she apologizes again and thanks him for dealing with the youkai. He only gives her a brief nod and asks her not to thank him for everything he does, then he looks away from her. Noticing that Kayo looks sad, Sakyou whispers that Kei isn’t angry—he’s just embarrassed LOL. At the same time, Tsuzuramaru points out that Kei is red in the face. Thinking that Kei might be sick, Suzukake rushes over to take a look… but Kei quickly says he’s fine and shoos them away. Saneaki asks Suzukake to leave him alone though, knowing that his face is red for a different reason. (。-∀-)ニヒ♪ Beside them, Sakyou smiles and comments that Kei is surprisingly pure.

Feeling jealous of Kei, Enishi then asks Kayo to pat his head too. Out of embarrassment, Kei stops them from fooling around any further. As Kei commands everyone to continue walking, Enishi tags along while whining—obviously because Kayo doesn’t pat him in the head. (((壊゚∀゚)))ァヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャ

Yui Station

During dinner, Kayo asks if Kei makes a living by working as a bodyguard. He answers that he’s actually a roundsman, and he’s currently working under a policeman in Edo. Since Kayo looks surprised, Kei asks if he looks like a villain who does underground business LOL. She says it’s because he’s very skilled at using his swords though. He honestly accepts the compliment, but admits that he took this job by coincidence. He actually doesn’t want to swing his swords for money, but he has a reason for doing so. That, and he thinks it might be a good chance to test his own strength. In the near future, he’s going to participate in the tournament and show his strength to everyone in Edo.

This is Kayo’s first time seeing someone who’s really aiming for the tournament, but she believes that Kei can do it. He nervously says that she won’t gain anything by praising him, but he blushes and turns quiet when she answers that it’s not an empty praise. Feeling embarrassed, Kei changes the subject by pointing out that Kayo’s meal portion is too small. They have to go through a severe path by the sea tomorrow, so they wouldn’t want her to pass out along the way. After asking Kayo to hand her bowl, Kei stuffs a LOT of rice into it and tells her to eat everything. She’s surprised to see the amount, but he says it’s only normal. In fact, he thinks she’s so thin because she doesn’t eat enough.

Kei looks away when Kayo thanks him, and she wonders if he’s embarrassed. She actually finds him cute, but she knows he’ll only get angry if she says it… so she hides her smile as she continues eating.

VS Shiguragi

While examining Kayo, Shiguragi finds Juzumaru hidden under her shiromuku. This really surprises him, and he once again asks if she really doesn’t have any confidential letters. From her reaction, he can tell that she really came this far without knowing that she’s been carrying Juzumaru all this time. He wonders if the wedding parade was set up for this purpose, but of course she doesn’t know anything. Just then Kei arrives to rescue Kayo, and he attacks the oni who’s pinning her to the ground. He says it’s unacceptable for a warrior to touch a woman against her will. If they want to act like a samurai, then they should fight fair and square. Immediately after, Kei tells Kayo to stop spacing out and come over. As she hides behind his back, she thinks that he could be a bit more gentle… but it’s just like him to be so blunt. When a single tear of relief rolls out of Kayo’s eye, Kei’s expression changes.

Believing that it’s very rude to lay a hand on an unmarried woman, Kei walks up to Shiguragi and asks about his origins. Shiguragi answers by telling him not to insult the oni clan of Oumi Mountain, but Kei mutters that things would’ve been better if only they just stayed at home and caught catfish for a living. Shiguragi still wants to know why Kayo is carrying Juzumaru, and Kei admits that he doesn’t know either. However, it’s his job to make sure she reaches Sunpu safely. He can’t let anyone take her belongings, even if it’s an accessory or a strand of her hair. That’s why he can’t hand Juzumaru to a villain like Shiguragi. Kei attacks right after saying this, and he eventually knocks Juzumaru off Shiguragi’s hands. Since he’s completely cornered, Shiguragi decides to abandon Juzumaru and flees—hurling his chained scythe to stop Kei from pursuing him. He has to report this to Zantetsu, but he warns Kei that he’ll be back one day.

Kei’s immediate reaction is to try chasing after Shiguragi. Kayo stops him knowing it’ll be dangerous, but he doesn’t listen until she trips and falls down—because her legs are trembling. This causes her to feel pathetic, but he comes back to ask if she’s alright. Noticing that she’s actually really terrified, he hugs her and apologizes for trying to leave her alone in this situation. Kayo can’t say anything in return since she’s on the verge of tears, but Kei asks her not to cry. He assures her that everything will be alright, because he will protect her. As he gently pats her back, she can feel herself calming down. At the same time, he also realizes that his job is to keep her safe—not to arrest villains. He won’t chase after Shiguragi anymore, so she doesn’t have to worry.

Upon returning to the path, Kei and Kayo find the horse waiting for them. After helping Kayo to hop onto the horse’s back, Kei leads them back to the main road. Along the way, Kayo asks if they’re really carrying Juzumaru with them. Kei nods saying the pattern on Juzumaru’s sheath and hilt—which they can clearly see—is just as famous as the sword, so there’s no doubt about it. They are carrying the real Juzumaru. He also reminds her about the tournament in Sunpu Castle, and that Juzumaru will be given to the winner. As one of the Five Heavenly Swords, Juzumaru is very valuable. The officials in Edo Castle have to deliver it to the castellan of Sunpu without drawing attention, so they must be using the wedding parade for that purpose. However, this also means that Mitsuyoshi and Hanzou knew about Juzumaru all along… and Kei thinks they should’ve at least told the guards. The thought of Juzumaru falling into the bandits’ hands is just terrifying.

Kayo, on the other hand, wonders why they chose this timing. For people, the tournament is like a festival. Why are they holding it soon after Tadanaga’s death? Or Is this actually related to Tadanaga’s suicide? Upon hearing this, Kei lowers his voice and says he heard rumors from fellow roundsmen in Edo. It seems that Tadanaga committed suicide based on of Iemitsu’s order, and Choushichirou is currently in confinement. The Five Heavenly Swords engraved a long history through the Sengoku period, and they symbolize peace of tranquility in Hinomoto. The shogunate is trying to achieve something by giving one of them to the new castellan of Sunpu. Maybe they want to indirectly announce that the new castellan’s position and authority is higher than Tadanaga’s. In any case, there seems to be a political dispute going on behind the screen.

Noticing that Kayo’s hands are trembling, Kei gently holds them and asks her not to worry too much. The shogunate did something dangerous by using her to carry Juzumaru, and they might take more actions behind her back… but their journey will end today. She shouldn’t think too much and just pretend not to know anything. The guards are here for her, and he promises that he’ll keep both Juzumaru and her safe up until the end. As Kei squeezes her hands, Kayo smiles and decides to trust him. In the end, they agree to keep Juzumaru a secret from everyone else.

Just then Kei notices that Kayo scraped her arm, and he asks her to get off the horse so he can put a salve on the wound. Who knows what the others might say if they go back without treating her arm. However, Kayo is taken aback upon seeing the color of the salve. When she asks for more details, Kei explains that it’s made from toad oil—the specialty of Tsukuba. The toads of Tsukuba have spiritual power, so their oil works wonders on wounds. The moment she hears this, Kayo immediately changes her mind and tells Kei that she’s alright. He’s obviously confused and says that it might leave a scar if they don’t treat it, but she insists that she’s fine… because she’s actually scared of frogs LOL. Kei refuses to let Kayo go though. Even if she’s a fake, they just can’t deliver a wounded bride to Sunpu Castle. She begs him to stop because she really can’t stand frogs, but he asks her to stop acting like a kid and listen to him. This continues until he eventually pulls her arm, causing her to fall right onto his chest. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.*

Kei is taken aback upon sensing a sweet scent from Kayo, and he wonders if it comes from her make-up. It’s the scent of a woman, and it’s causing him to feel dizzy. When Kayo once again asks Kei to let her go, he quickly grabs her shoulder and pulls her away from himself. She notices that his cheeks are slightly flushed, so she apologizes and wonders if she made him angry. He only asks her to stay still and hold out her arm though, since it’s just unacceptable for a bride to get wounded. He also promises that he won’t rub the oil anymore, as he only wants to wrap her wound. He’s about to ask if she always smells like that, but he stops himself and takes her back to the main road.

By the time they return, Kei and Kayo learn that their friends have captured Shiguragi. Enishi was worried that Kei might leave Kayo to chase after Shiguragi, which would’ve happened if she didn’t stop him LOL. Sakyou actually wants to kill Shiguragi on the spot, but Saneaki stops him since it’s not their job to do so. For now, they have to bring Kayo to Sunpu as fast as possible. They’ll just hand Shiguragi to a Tokugawa official along the way. However, both Enishi and Kayo notice that Kei is being unusually quiet. Due to a certain reason, he can’t forgive how the oni clan of Oumi Mountain worked as bandits. Feeling worried, Kayo calls out to Kei and puts her gratitude into words. She thought he’d get angry at her for saying the same thing over and over again, but surprisingly… he smiles and nods at her. They only have a little more to go before they reach Sunpu, and he tells her to go take a nap later.

Farewell in Sunpu

While Kayo is waiting for her palanquin, Kei comes to give her a warning: “…you should never ever do a wedding parade again.” She got chosen because she looks like Hisahime, but this is actually a job for the shogunate’s spy or kunoichi. He doesn’t think she’s cut out for the task. However, Kayo asks if she should thank Kei in return. He immediately flips out and asks how on earth did she draw that conclusion, but she knows he said it out of concern. Not that he’d admit it though LOL. Even if she’s not cut out for the task, Kayo doesn’t think they have a problem since they finished the journey safely… but Kei complains about how carefree she looks. What he wants to say is there’s no guarantee that she’ll be safe next time, so she quickly adds that she won’t do something like this again.

As he turns away from Kayo, Kei says her father would cry to see her wearing a shiromuku before her own wedding. She answers that her father isn’t that inflexible though, since she did tell him properly about the wedding parade. Besides, she’s going to wear her own shiromuku in front of him one day. Upon hearing this, Kei grins saying Kayo seems to be very confident. He teasingly asks if she has someone who’s willing to marry her, but she awkwardly averts her gaze and says she’ll find him one day. He laughs and tells her to get a nice kimono from her father. Even if her outfit won’t be able to match a real princess’, she should be able to catch a man or two. If she’s lucky. ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ

Kayo sadly answers that Kei is being mean, but he says she’s the mean one for doing something like this. If she’s his woman, he’d never forgive her for playing the role of a fake bride. Soon after that, a Tokugawa samurai comes to inform Kayo that her palanquin is ready. Mitsuyoshi and Hanzou will be going back to Edo with her, even though they just arrived at Sunpu. Kei thinks it must be tough for them, but Mitsuyoshi says they don’t have time to relax. The tournament will be held in Edo Castle soon after they get back. Before leaving, Kayo asks if she can see Kei again in the future. He only says that might be possible, then he asks her to be careful along the way and sends her off.

This marks the end of Kei’s job as Kayo’s guard. Their journey wasn’t THAT long, and yet he feels so tired. He decides to start looking for a palanquin after that.

Chapter 1

1934. April.

It is now the season of cherry blossoms, and Edo is bustling with people who came for flower-viewing. Due to the upcoming tournament and the nice weather, business has been going well for Kayo’s restaurant. Maybe too well, since they don’t even have much time to eat lunch. They’ve been so busy that the crisis in winter feels like a lie. Kayo’s father is a bit worried since she just came back from her Tokaido trip, but she assures him that she’s fine. This is the best time for their business, so she wants to work hard. if anything, resting inside would only make her feel uneasy. Her father jokingly asks which one is harder between working in their restaurant and playing the role of a fake bride, but she firmly answers that her job here is tougher. She asks him not to say something like that though, since someone might hear him.

After returning from the journey through Tokaido, days just flew by for Kayo. The city of Edo is as lively as always, and their restaurant is doing great. She spends her days working with her father. They get a little busy, but their days are peaceful. She was dreaming about this serene life during her journey, but recently she’s been wondering how everyone is doing. She actually missed their journey, even though it was filled with danger. People say that vows made in storms are forgotten in calms, but apparently it doesn’t work that way for her.

Not too long after that, Kinshirou comes to check up on them. He’s glad to see that Kayo and her father are doing fine, not to mention business seems to be great for their restaurant. It’s just that trouble always occurs when people are gathering, so he wants to make sure that they’re okay. When Kayo tells him that everything is running smoothly, Kinshirou nods and asks her to inform him if anything happens. However, Kinshirou then hands a folded paper to Kayo… which contains arrest instructions. He lowers his voice and explains that all the figures listed on it are from the oni clan, and this obviously reminds her of a certain encounter she had during the journey.

From Kinshirou, Kayo learns that a certain evil oni has been captured and was brought to Edo not too long ago. It seems like he has friends, and recently some people have been seeing sword-wielding oni blending among the crowd. Kayo wonders if they’re Shiguragi’s friends, because the bandits did have swords when they ambushed the wedding parade. From a long time ago, it’s always been forbidden for the oni clan to wield swords. Following their defeat to humans in the distant past, they’ve lost their rights to use swords. In any case, Kinshirou asks Kayo to be careful. She should especially avoid walking alone at night.

Due to these circumstances, the roundsmen will be patrolling around this area until the flower-viewing and the tournament come to an end. Kinshirou then calls a certain roundsman and asks him to come in, but Kayo is surprised to see that it’s none other than Kei. This makes her really happy, and she immediately runs up to him… but she realizes her mistake when Kinshirou asks if they know each other. Even if Kinshirou is a policeman and she knows him well, she just can’t tell him about the fake wedding parade. Both Kayo and Kei come up with an excuse to cover it up though. They can either pretend that he’s a regular customer, an acquaintance, he has saved her before, or that she heard rumors about him.

The fact that they know each other makes it easier for Kinshirou to explain, so he only tells Kayo that Kei will be in charge of this area. Kinshirou also assures Kayo that Kei is a dependable person, and the order actually came directly from Mitsuyoshi. Upon hearing this, Kayo wonders if Mitsuyoshi is doing fine. The name brings back memories for her. Their journey through Tokaido feels so distant by now, but it’s not a dream nor an illusion. She never thought that she’d see Kei again though. Kei then tells Kayo to report to him if anything happens. He’s just as blunt as ever but she knows how dependable he is.

Now that they’re done with the official reports, Kinshirou invites Kei to eat some delicious soba. However, Kei apologizes saying he has an urgent business to attend to. At first Kinshirou complains, but eventually lets him go. Since Kei is such a sincere person, Kinshirou can tell that it must be really important. Kayo, on the other hand, is surprised to see Kei bowing his head to Kinshirou. Noticing her reaction, he turns to ask why she’s laughing at him. She quickly says it’s nothing, but she actually feels happy to see another side of him. She’s not used to hear him calling her name though, as he used to call her “princess” all the time. Before he leaves, Kayo asks Kei to drop by again next time.

Kei’s “urgent business” is actually to pay off Saburouza’s debt. The deadline is approaching, and today the loan shark comes to check up on them. He noticed that they’ve been making lanterns lately, and he warns them to pay him in time… or else. Despite Kamuro’s attempt to stop him, he violently yanks Sato’s arm to make his point clear. None of them are aware that Kinshirou happens to be passing by. He heard their voices coming from the dark alley, so he decided to take a look. Kinshirou is about to help them, but Kei suddenly appears before he can approach them. After telling Sato to stand back, Kei takes out the 10 ryou he promised and gives it to the loan shark—who gladly accepts and agrees to leave them alone. Just to make sure that the loan shark won’t bother them anymore, Kei asks him to hand over the certificate of debt. Now that Saburouza’s debt has been paid off, Sato can finally be free.

After the loan shark leaves, Kamuro welcomes Kei back. He was worried since Kei left them for quite a long time, but he believed that Kei would never neglect them. Feeling grateful to Kei, Saburouza kneels down and repeatedly thanks him—swearing that he’ll never try to buy the status of a warrior again. Kei only asks Saburouza to lift his head though, saying a father shouldn’t bow his head so easily in front of his daughter. As much as Saburouza wants to pay Kei back, he knows he won’t be able to do it anytime soon… so he offers Sato as Kei’s bride instead. Sato also asks Kei to let her stay by his side, but Kei rejects the idea. He says he’s not a petty villain, so he won’t take Saburouza’s daughter as a token of gratitude.

Sato doesn’t give up though. She promises to take a good care of Kei, and she asks if he doesn’t want to take her as his wife. However, Kei apologizes and still turns down the offer. For now, he just can’t think of anything other than the tournament. He thinks Sato is a good girl though, so he asks her to stay with Saburouza and make sure he won’t do something stupid again. Then one day, she should marry a man she truly loves. Kei leaves immediately after saying this, with Kamuro chasing after him. Saburouza feels really bad for Sato. He sincerely wants Kei to marry his daughter, but Sato assures him that it’s fine. She knows that she’s not suitable for Kei, so the fact that he helped them is already enough to make her happy. After apologizing for putting Sato in trouble, Saburouza promises that he’ll work hard from now on and return the money to Kei.

Meanwhile, Kinshirou smiles and nods in understanding. Now he knows why Kei rushed off earlier, and he’s really impressed by how gallant his subordinate is. (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

The next day, Kayo wakes up to the sound of the temple bell. She panics upon realizing that it’s already 7 in the morning, since she has naginata practice today. Kayo is meeting up with Omatsu first, so if she’s late Omatsu will be late too. By the time she comes out of her room, her father has just finished making breakfast. Unfortunately she doesn’t have the time to eat right now, but her father tells her to pray at her mother’s altar before rushing out. If she can’t do that much, then he can’t allow her to continue attending the naginata dojo. Kayo apologizes and obediently prays at her mother’s altar. Her father is normally kind and gentle, but he’s extremely strict when it comes to these things. In fact, he never really likes how she’s attending a naginata dojo.

At her mother’s altar, Kayo apologizes for trying to leave just like that. She nearly ignored her father’s consideration too, and she feels really bad for that. Kayo’s mother came from a warrior family and knew how to handle naginata. When she was still alive, she often took Kayo to the dojo. Kayo started learning naginata because she admired her mother, but sadly her background is different from her mother’s. Her father is a merchant. She knows that rather than learning naginata, her father must have wanted her to study more about tea and flowers… so she has to be more careful. After asking her mother to watch over them, Kayo takes her naginata and rushes off. She runs into Orin outside, who thinks it’s rather unusual for a hard worker like her to oversleep.

When Kayo reaches the bridge, she finds Omatsu waving at her. They really have to hurry, or else they’ll be late and have to mop the dojo floor as the punishment. Similarly to Orin, Omatsu thinks it’s unusual for Kayo to oversleep. She asks if Kayo is still tired after her long journey, but Kayo assures her that she’s fine. Since the wedding parade is obviously a secret, Kayo told Omatsu that she went to visit her relatives because her father was busy with the restaurant. She felt bad for lying to her best friend, but she doesn’t really have a choice. Omatsu is interested in the journey though. She never went out of Edo, so she asks Kayo to share the stories.

Luckily, Kayo and Omatsu manage to reach the dojo in time. They have a nice training session after that, and they both earn a praise from their teacher. This makes Kayo really happy. She can’t come to the dojo everyday since she has to work at the restaurant, but she wants to do her best to improve. After practice, the teacher asks them to go home before it gets dark. Recently the city is full of people who came to view the cherry blossoms, so she wants them to be careful. Omatsu asks her not to worry since they can chase drunken men away with their naginata, but the teacher firmly warns them not to do that. She wants them to call for help instead. If they swing their naginata outside on the streets, they might accidentally hurt an innocent person. Besides, it’d be very dangerous if they end up provoking their opponents. They shouldn’t use their naginata so easily.

The teacher’s words remind Kayo of her mother. When she was still alive, her mother used to say exactly the same thing. She often said that one shouldn’t swing naginata outside of practice. If one draws their blade everytime they get angry, they will come to believe that defeating others by brute force is the right thing to do… and that’s not the path of martial arts. It’s just the same as violence. It also reminds Kayo of the guards. During her journey through Tokaido, she was always watching their backs. They remain calm at all times, and they’re always thinking of the best course of action. She feels like they never swung their swords recklessly, and it must be because they have a strong determination and faith to accomplish their mission—which was to protect her. While it might be helpful to have definite power, it requires an equally strong heart for one to swing their blade.

After parting with Omatsu, Kayo decides to take a detour—feeling that it’d be a waste to go home right away. She takes her time to view the cherry blossoms on the way home, and the streets are still lively even after it gets dark. Lanterns are starting to light up around her, and smoke rises up everywhere as people cook their dinner. Unfortunately, Kayo soon bumps into a man. She quickly apologizes, but she notices that the man reeks of alcohol. However, the man is clearly happy to run into her—believing that fate has brought his beautiful “princess” back to him. Why yes, the man is actually a drunk Enishi LOL.

Enishi then invites Kayo to have a drink with him at a restaurant, but she quickly asks him not to call her that way—obviously because it’s supposed to be a secret. Enishi asks Kayo not to worry though, because he calls all the lovely girl he sees as “princess”. ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ For a moment she’s relieved to see that he seems to be as cheerful as always, but the relief only lasts until he asks her to come with him—promising to buy some amazake for her. Kayo tries to refuse since her father has set up a curfew for her, but Enishi doesn’t listen. Instead, he pulls her sleeve saying they can invite her father too. When she tries to argue, he simply asks her not to hold back and orders some drinks to celebrate their reunion.

Meanwhile, Kei is on his regular patrol. The number of people has decreased in the evening, and he’s glad that no one is fighting. He finally managed to pay off Saburouza’s debt today, so he doesn’t want to get into another trouble. However, Kei soon hears Kayo’s voice and finds her standing near a cherry blossom tree. He’s definitely not pleased to see her there, especially because Kinshirou already told her not to walk around at night… but he’s surprised to find Enishi with her. As he watches over them from afar, Kei finds himself getting more and more irritated. Enishi is acting like a nasty drunkard as he calls Kayo “princess” repeatedly, and yet she’s not being clear enough in rejecting him. Her reluctance only makes her look like she’s seducing him.

Kei eventually runs out of patience when Enishi asks Kayo to stay still, saying she has flower petals on her hair. Thinking that Enishi is lying to get closer to Kayo, Kei quickly runs up to them and kicks the poor guy from behind—sending him flying towards the people nearby. As Kayo looks around in confusion, Kei asks if she’s alright. He’s about to tell her to stop roaming around and go home right away, but then she snaps at him for kicking Enishi. Ignoring Kei’s protest, Kayo goes to Enishi’s side and asks if he’s okay… but he’s been knocked unconscious. Kei is obviously not happy to see this. He went out of his way to save her from Enishi’s advances, so he thinks Kayo should ignore Enishi and go home already. At the same time, people are starting to gather around them—thinking they’re having a fight.

Since Kayo doesn’t seem to be listening, Kei calls out to her and tells her to go home. Before he can finish his sentence, she angrily snaps out that he’s so cruel for kicking Enishi like that. She does feel grateful to him for saving her, but she wants him to apologize to Enishi. Unfortunately, this only causes an argument between them. Kei points out that Enishi is just a drunkard and would definitely get into trouble sooner or later, but Kayo thinks he’s being judgmental. She gets irked because he’s being very harsh towards Enishi, but then he glares at her and says he’s the roundsman in charge of this area. He believes that punishing a bad person is the right thing to do.

Before Kayo can say anything, Kei grabs her arm saying it’s partly her fault. She told them that she knows martial arts, but is she only carrying a naginata for decoration? He thinks it’s ridiculous that she can’t use her knowledge to chase away a drunkard. However, Kayo replies that she won’t point her blade towards a drunk, defenseless person. For her, it’s just the same as picking on the weak. Kei, on the other hand, thinks she’s being too naïve. If she holds onto that carefree way of thinking in Edo, she’ll only end up crying one day. Kayo points out that Enishi isn’t an unfamiliar person though, and she thinks of him as a friend who traveled through Tokaido with them. They could’ve solved the issue just by talking to him, so kicking him is going a bit too far in her eyes. Sadly, Kei doesn’t share the same feeling. He makes it clear that he never thought of Enishi as a friend. Not even once.

By the time Kamuro finds Kei, the argument has escalated even more. Kei says it’s his job to maintain the security in Edo, and yet Kayo got angry at him for defeating a bad person. He thinks she’s a really selfish woman who still thinks of herself as a princess, and he takes it further by saying naginata is just a toy for women and children. Her naginata doesn’t have any battle experience, so he tells her not to put it on the same level as his blades. Out of irritation, Kayo replies that the feeling is mutual. She remembers that Kei was very concerned about money throughout their Tokaido journey, and she accuses him of swinging his swords for money. Kei quickly replies that she’s wrong, and it’s only then that Kayo realizes that she went too far. It doesn’t erase her anger though.

Kamuro is really surprised to see them arguing, mainly because Kei is actually raising his voice towards a girl. Just then another roundsman comes to stop their fight, and Kei quickly leaves before Kayo can stop him—muttering that today is the worst. Immediately after that, Kamuro calls out to Kayo and asks her to follow him. She’s obviously confused and asks who he might be, but he only says he’ll explain later. They have to run for now. When the roundsman finally reaches the center of the crowd, Kayo, Kei and Kamuro are already gone. He finds Genan instead, who informs him that the samurai who caused this commotion has fled towards the shrine. As soon as the roundsman leaves, Genan tells Enishi to wake up. He doesn’t remember what he was doing though, so Genan gives him a herbal medicine made from gambir—telling him that he drank too much.

Meanwhile, Kamuro is guiding Kayo through a quiet back alley. When she tries asking about who he is, he doesn’t explain and only apologizes for surprising her. After a while, Kamuro spots Kei—who’s hiding in a dark corner—and calls out to him. Kamuro explains that he was passing by when he saw the crowd surrounding them. He tries asking about what happened between them, but Kei only says it has nothing to do with him. Instead, he tells Kamuro to stand back and walks up to Kayo. The cold sensation on her back makes her realize that she’s been cornered against a stone wall. Kamuro is really surprised and asks him not to be so rough with a girl, but Kei only tells him to shut up.

Kei then admits that just as Kayo said, he protected her through Tokaido because it was his job to do so. It’s true that he did it for money, but if she’s going that far… he won’t help her anymore. She can stick to her beautiful ideals, then cry in the end without ever drawing out her blade. Of course Kayo feels bad for what she said, but she still thinks it was wrong for him to kick Enishi. Kei scoffs saying this conversation is going nowhere. Swords are not toys. They’re meant to be used for conquering opponents, and that’s why they’re valuable. Kei only wants Kayo to know that, so he walks away right after saying this—leaving her in tears. Despite his sharp tongue, he helped her a lot during their Tokaido journey. He even put a healing salve on her arm, but now she wonders if he only did it out of duty. She thinks he really treated her nicely for the sake of earning money, and that he really doesn’t care about their friends.

Noticing that Kamuro looks troubled, Kayo apologizes and lifts her head. When she asks if he knows Kei, he finally introduces himself as Kei’s number one follower and right hand man. Kamuro then gives Kayo a cloth to wipe her tears with, and he asks her not to hold back—it’ll only makes him feel uneasy. He also mentions that Kayo and Kei are actually really similar to each other. Both of them can be quite tricky to handle since they’re not really honest with their feelings, but they’re also sincere and reliable. After that, Kamuro takes Kayo home since it’s already dark. He apologizes in Kei’s behalf, but she’s aware that she’s at fault too. She got carried away and became all defensive.

When Kamuro mentions that Kei usually isn’t that harsh towards a girl, Kayo says it must be because he doesn’t like her. Kamuro doesn’t think it’s true though, and he thinks it must be because Kei was in a bad mood or something. Kayo’s father comes out soon after that, and Kamuro quickly takes her leave… which seems to raise his suspicion LOL. Kayo explains that Kamuro is a roundsman though, and her father feels relieved to hear that Kamuro walked her home. Now that she’s home, he asks her to go inside—saying he has prepared dinner for them.

That night, Kayo does some reflection before bed. A lot has happened today, and she feels tired. It started with her waking up late, then she went to the dojo for practice, received wise words from her teacher, and viewed cherry blossoms on her way home. Again, she knows that she went too far while arguing with Kei. While she does feel sorry for Enishi, Kei did it because he was worried about her. In the end, she forgot to thank him for helping her. Just then Kayo notices the sound of rain falling outside, and she lets out a sigh. The cold spring rain will cause the beautiful cherry blossoms to scatter.

Outside, an oiran is walking with an oni. REMEMBER THEM. They’ll play an important role later on. Once they reach the bridge, the oni tells the oiran that they should part here. She still wants to be with him, but he says she’d be in danger if someone sees them together. Since the tournament is approaching, the magistrates have been on edge recently… not to mention they also issued an order to arrest oni. They have to bear with it for now, since things should settle down once the tournament is over. The oiran sighs saying men always get so immersed in the tournament, but the oni says he loves her more than swords. It starts raining right after that, so he tells her to go back before she catches a cold. Before leaving, she asks him to promise that he’ll visit her again at the shop.

At the same time, Kei is training on the river bank. The air smells strange tonight, and it’s distracting him. He quickly hides himself upon sensing someone’s presence, which turns out to be the oni and the oiran on the bridge. At first he wonders if the smell comes from the oni, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Kei also notices that the oni came from Yoshiwara. He thinks romance between an oni and a human oiran won’t go anywhere, but it’s not like they’re doing something bad. However, Kei seems rather concerned about what the oni said. Once the tournament is over, things will settle down and Edo will be quiet again. After making sure that both of them are gone, Kei lower his swords. The tournament is coming soon, and it makes him feel restless. Recently, he’s been training on the river bank late at night.

Unfortunately for Kei, his training gets interrupted by a lightning… and he can tell that it’s about to rain. Of course this only annoys him even more, since he’s already irritated thanks to Kayo and Enishi. He soon figures out why the air is so humid though—there’s an onibi lurking nearby. When the onibi shows itself, Kei decides to take out his irritation by taking it down. It doesn’t take long for him to defeat it, but he also notice that the amount of evil spirits residing in mountains and rivers has been increasing lately. It’s not a problem for him though. If they come out, he only has to defeat them. Kei’s job is to eliminate everything that could harm the people of Edo, be it evil spirits or drunken men. However, the fact that Kayo blamed him keeps on staying in his mind. He can’t accept it since he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

In order to brush off the frustration, Kei turns his focus back to his swords. This year, he’s going to win the tournament and become Ichibangatana. In Hinomoto, power and blades are everything… and he’s going to obtain power.

The next day, Kayo goes to the dojo in the hope of clearing her mind. During a break, the teacher notices that Kayo doesn’t look too well. When the teacher asks if there’s something wrong, Kayo decides to asks if their naginata is different from a samurai’s blade. The teacher replies that even if they all share the same rank, there are different kinds of samurai. Some of them want to work, some want to win the tournament, and some use their swords to earn money. However, it doesn’t change the fact that swords and naginata are both weapons. They might have different reasons, but their feelings will show through their swordsmanship. Kayo apologizes for raising such a strange question, but the teacher replies that it’d be terrifying if she can swing her naginata without any doubts. She asks Kayo to think carefully and find her own answer, because it’ll surely lead her to the right path.

On the way home, Omatsu mentions that Kayo was very high-spirited during practice. She doesn’t realize it though, and she says it’s because she’s been thinking a lot about the path of swords. Just then Omatsu points to some lanterns hanging above the street, and Kayo realizes that they have Juzumaru’s emblem… which reminds her of her Tokaido journey. She carried it all the way to Sunpu, and she wonders what kind of samurai received it in the end. Juzumaru and her went through quite a lot of joys and sorrows together, so she’s hoping that Juzumaru is in good hands. Omatsu then reminds Kayo that the Five Swords Festival is coming soon, and they promise to go together.

At the same time, in Edo Castle. Iemitsu is leading a meeting that involves Tenkai, Munenori, Mitsuyoshi, and Tatsukage. He asks if they still can’t find Choushichirou and Asakura, who have escaped from Sunpu right after the awarding ceremony. That, and Sunpu’s Ichibangatana also went missing at the same time. There’s a possibility that he might be conspiring with Asakura, so they should retrieve Juzumaru as fast as possible. Asakura might be planning to resist the shogunate by using Choushichirou’s name, or gathering the people and ronin of Sunpu to form a rebellion. For a moment, silence fills the room—with everyone’s eyes set on Iemitsu. Eventually, Iemitsu says he understands. He orders them to gather the members of Iga clan and place them on Sunpu. No matter what happens, they need to stop this rebellion.

Chapter 2

A few days later, the Tournament of Sword Retrieval finally starts in Edo Castle. For the first round, Kei is up against a ronin who tries to provoke him in the waiting room. Kei ignores him though, and instead only says that dogs who bark a lot are usually the weak ones. The ronin instantly gets angry upon hearing this, but Kei tells him to shut up if he wants to be taken seriously. This only irks the ronin even more, but a Tokugawa samurai soon comes to stop them—reminding them that participants are not allowed to fight outside of the tournament. Their match starts right after that. As they walk into the arena, the ronin swears to teach Kei a lesson in front of everyone. Again, Kei doesn’t reply. The time has finally come for him to impress the people of Edo with Ushitora dual-wielding techniques, and he asks his swords to work with him.

Aside from Kamuro, Saburouza and Sato also came to watch Kei’s match. They even made a big banner so he can see it from afar, with “Kei, the no. 1 samurai in Hinomoto” written on it LOL. This leads people to recognize Kei as the roundsman who regularly patrols around Edo, and they think he’s so bold for aiming to be number one right from the first match. ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ Kamui isn’t too impressed though. If anything, the flashy support only makes him think of Kei as a bumpkin samurai. At the same time, Zantetsu is watching over the arena in silence. Kei finds the banner extremely embarrassing, but he knows this means he really can’t lose. If he loses after receiving such support, he’d be too ashamed to go out tomorrow.

Despite the ronin’s provocations earlier, he panics when Kei draws his swords—because he never fought a dual-wielding opponent before. Kei starts the match by asking the ronin to come and attack him. He soon figures out that the ronin’s best qualities are only his strength and force, but those alone won’t be enough to bring him to victory. After repelling the ronin’s sword, Kei moves in to slash his torso—instantly winning the match. However, the ronin refuses to accept the result and insists that he can still fight. Kei tells him to stop since participants would be disqualified if they argue with the referee, but sadly this only angers the ronin even more. Out of rage, he gets up and lunges to attack Kei… but Kei easily knocks his sword off his hand. Once again, he tells the ronin to give up. One would only look shameless if he tries to be a samurai without obeying the rules.

The ronin grits his teeth in frustration, and he reveals that he would’ve gotten a job in a shipping agency if he makes it to the second round. Kei thinks it’s ridiculous how the ronin is doing this for money, but this also reminds him of what Kayo said. The fact that her words won’t leave his mind makes him feel like he’s hiding an ulterior motive, and he’s definitely not happy about this. In any case, the first round safely ends with Kei’s victory. Feeling annoyed by the ronin’s attitude, Kei lightly bows his head and leaves the arena. As Kamuro happily cheers with Saburouza and Sato, Zantetsu grins saying he might be able to have fun.

Outside of Edo Castle, Kei finds Kamuro waiting for him. Since Kei is in a great condition, Kamuro believes he’s off to a promising start. This year, he should be able to win in the tournament. When Saburouza and Sato come to join them, Kei sighs saying their banner was so embarrassing. They apologize for the flashy support, but both of them want to repay Kei’s kindness. Sadly they can’t do much to help him, so they ask him to allow them to support him—that’s the least they can do. Kei says they can do as they like, but also warns them that they might see horrifying things in the tournament. While both Saburouza and Sato are happy, Kamuro isn’t sure if that’s a wise decision. Kei asks him to let them be though. As the tournament goes on, participants will eventually start getting injured. It might be unbearable for them to watch, so he allows them to stick around until then.

After that, Kei and Kamuro run into Kinshirou in town. From their expression, Kinshirou can tell that Kei successfully won the first round. Kei says it’s only obvious though, while Kamuro adds that he wanted to show the match to Kinshirou. Feeling proud to see how reliable they are, Kinshirou then says that he has a request for them. Due to the sunny weather, people have been continuously flooding Ueno Mountain for flower-viewing. He feels bad knowing Kei must be tired after the match, but they really need more people to keep things under control. Kei doesn’t mind at all though. He can focus on the tournament because the other roundsmen are doing their job, so he immediately takes Kamuro to go on a patrol. As he sends them off, Kinshirou muses about how Kei has a sense of duty and humanity, as well as the spirit of bushido. It’s unusual to find someone like that nowadays, and he believes Kei will become a good samurai.

A few days later, Omatsu goes to pick Kayo up for the Five Swords Festival. Before Kayo leaves, her father asks her to be careful because this year’s festival is especially crowded. After leaving the restaurant, Kayo and Omatsu find Yanohiko crying outside. He wants to see Onimaru Kunitsuna’s festival car, but sadly Orin is busy with delivery today. She has to see an important customer, and so she can’t take him to the festival. Kayo is a bit surprised because Yanohiko is always so obedient, which means he wants to see the festival that much. Knowing that it’d be difficult for Orin to take him there, Kayo turns to Omatsu and asks if they can bring Yanohiko along. Omatsu says she doesn’t mind at all, as she knew Kayo would say something that anyway. Kayo asks Yanohiko to promise that he’ll hold onto their hands while walking though, and Orin sends them off after thanking both Kayo and Omatsu.

Along the way, Kayo apologizes to Omatsu for the sudden request. She explains that Yanohiko’s parents are no longer around, so Orin is always busy taking care of him and her store. Omatsu feels bad because Yanohiko is still really young, but she asks Kayo to drop the gloominess for today. It’s a festival after all, and they might be able to get extra goods by bringing Yanohiko along. Once they reach the festival site, Omatsu reminds Yanohiko of his promise. It’s really crowded, so he has to keep holding onto their hands. Yanohiko happily replies that he’s not a kid anymore, and he’ll keep his promise properly… for now. They soon see a festival car coming through, and Omatsu explains that it’s Mikazuki Munechika’s festival car. The sword itself is currently in Edo, in the possession of Matsudaira Nobuharu.

Noticing that Yanohiko is a bit confused, Kayo explains that Omatsu comes from a warrior family—she knows a lot about warriors and samurai. Yanohiko is amazed since he wants to be a samurai too one day, and he gets really happy when Omatsu replies that he can be one if he works hard. After the festival car passes through, Yanohiko points to a stall and asks what it is. Omatsu explains that it’s a candy stall, and it sells animal-shaped candies. They decide to buy a horse-shaped one for Yanohiko, and the owner even gives him a tiger-shaped one as an extra. The animals are mainly the ones from the twelve Chinese zodiac signs though, so Omatsu asks if the owner can make other animals too—like a goldfish. Since the designs are so beautiful, both Kayo and Omatsu have a hard time deciding on which animal to get… and this turns out to be a fatal mistake.

While Kayo and Omatsu are busy talking with the owner, Yanohiko hears an old lady telling her grandson that Onimaru Kunitsuna’s festival car is coming out next. By the time Kayo realizes it, Yanohiko is already gone. She immediately informs Omatsu, but they can’t find him among the crowd anymore. He should be somewhere nearby though, so they quickly start searching for him. At the same time, Yanohiko has made his way to the shrine. He’s really impressed by how cool Onimaru Kunitsuna was, but then he realizes that Kayo and Omatsu aren’t with him. Before he can figure out what’s going on, he bumps into Kamui—who gets angry at the poor kid for staining his kimono with candy. ( `ω´⊂彡☆))Д´)パ- Kamui is irritated since he has to treat people who injure themselves by getting into fights, and he walks off right after that—leaving Yanohiko to weep over his fallen horse candy.

Fortunately, Kinshirou soon comes and finds Yanohiko crying at the shrine. Well… maybe not so lucky for Kinshirou, since Yanohiko finds his face scary. He totally bursts into tears when Kinshirou comes to talk to him. (((壊゚∀゚)))ァヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャ Kinshirou quickly apologizes and tries to calm him down, but it only makes him cry even harder. Kinshirou is troubled since he’s not good at dealing with these stuff, so he eventually decides to just take Yanohiko with him. At the same time, Kei and Kamuro arrive at the festival site. Today they’re working at the festival site with Kinshirou, and they soon find him with Yanohiko—who has turned hysterical by now. When Kamuro asks if Yanohiko is lost, Kinshirou nods saying that seems to be the case. He’s having a hard time since Yanohiko won’t stop crying, and he takes another attempt at entertaining the boy by doing peekaboo… except this only scares Yanohiko and makes him cry even louder LOL.

Kei can’t hold back his laughter upon seeing this. When Kinshirou protests, Kei simply replies that he’s an honest person. Kinshirou can’t really argue either, or else he’ll end up scaring Yanohiko further. ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ Since Yanohiko keeps saying “big sister” as he cries, they figure out that he probably came to the festival with his sister and got separated. Yanohiko finally stops sobbing when Kei promises to find his sister for him, but he asks Yanohiko to stop crying. Kei reminds Yanohiko that he’s a man too, and men don’t sob like that. This reminds Yanohiko of what Omatsu said earlier, so he decides to stop crying and mentions that he’ll become a samurai one day. Kei seems interested to hear this. He then tells Yanohiko that strong samurai don’t cry, and this finally makes Yanohiko smile—much to Kinshirou’s relief.

Soon after that, a lady comes to report a fight between ronin. Kinshirou immediately uses this chance to leave Yanohiko to Kei and Kamuro, then he quickly flees LOL. Kei doesn’t mind taking care of Yanohiko though, and he decides to take Yanohiko to the stone monument for lost people—in the hope of finding his sister or parents. Luckily, Kayo and Omatsu gave Yanohiko an identification tag. This makes it easier for them. Even if they fail to find his sister, they can use the address to take him home. When Yanohiko thanks them for helping, Kei praises him for thanking others properly—making him even happier.

On the other hand, both Kayo and Omatsu feel really bad for taking their eyes off Yanohiko. He has an identification tag, so someone might find him and take him back home… but this all happened because they didn’t watch him properly. They can’t find him anywhere due to the crowd, so Kayo asks Omatsu to wait at the stone monument. At first Omatsu wants to continue searching with her, but Kayo explains that someone might take him to the stone monument and they’ll end up missing him instead. Omatsu eventually agrees to stay while Kayo leaves to resume her search.

At the same time, Yanohiko is happily walking around the festival with Kei and Kamuro. Knowing that he must be hungry, Kamuro buys some okoshigome for him to eat—saying he can bring home the rest and share it with his family. Since the festival is really crowded, Kei also reminds Yanohiko not to let go of his hand. Just then they see a stall owner promoting a wind-up doll. He says it’s a present for the shogunate, so they can only see it here during the festival. The doll takes the shape of a samurai, holding Ootenta in its hands. The owner asks people to give it an applause if it successfully chops down the wood in front of it. Of course Yanohiko is instantly interested upon hearing the name “Ootenta”, and Kei decides to take him to see the show. After all, he wouldn’t want Yanohiko to cry again in front of all these people. Kamuro jokingly comments that he can’t win against a crying kid, but Kei only asks him not to put him on the same level as Kinshirou LOL. Since Yanohiko’s view is blocked by the crowd, Kei puts Yanohiko on his shoulders so he can watch the show properly.

Kayo is still looking for Yanohiko at the shrine when she suddenly hears lively festival music. She notices that the crowd is flocking to a certain spot, but she can’t see anything due to the large number of people. However, she does spot familiar figures among the crowd. She quickly makes her way through the crowd and finds Yanohiko sitting on Kei’s shoulders, along with Kamuro beside them. Yanohiko is amazed to be so high up in the air, and Kei is warning him not to move around too much. Kamuro, on the other hand, is jealous since he can’t see the show at all. Kei only tells him to bear with it though, since he’s clearly not a kid like Yanohiko. Kayo instantly feels relieved to see them. Yanohiko looks really happy, and she can tell that they must be treating him well. She also notices that Kei has a really gentle expression, which makes her realize that he must be a good person inside. She actually wants to see him as that kind of person, but his angry voice from that day still lingers in her mind. He looks really kind in front of Yanohiko, and yet he said that swords are meant to be used for conquering opponents. She doesn’t get it.

As a token of gratitude, Yanohiko then hands his tiger candy to Kei. Kei laughs and asks if he’s giving a reward even though he’s just a kid, but Yanohiko replies that his mother told him to be a person who can voice his gratitude properly… so Kei honestly accepts the candy from him. When Kei says they’re taking him back to his parents after the show, Yanohiko lightly answers that he doesn’t have any. He was told that his parents went off to the distant sky. That’s why he came to the festival with his “big sister” today. Yanohiko knows he can’t see his parents anymore, but he wonders if he can see her again—to which Kei answers that he can. Kei then asks Yanohiko not to worry, because he will take Yanohiko to see his sister again. It’s a promise between men.

Kayo loses all words after hearing their conversation. Yanohiko’s words are so innocent, while Kei looks really calm and kind—so much that it surprises her. She’s thinking about how to approach them when it happens. The samurai doll isn’t moving at all, and people are starting to leave one by one. Noticing that Yanohiko looks disappointed, Kei puts him down and asks him to wait. He then goes to talk to the owner, who looks just as confused as everyone else. When the owner explains that the samurai doll isn’t working like it usually does, Kei snatches the doll saying it probably needs more force. The owner panics and asks Kei not to treat it roughly, but Kei slowly observes the doll… and then he injects it with lightning. However, he doesn’t know that Kayo actually saw this. She doesn’t know what he actually did, but she noticed that his palm was glowing for a second.

Before Kayo can figure out what just happened, Yanohiko happily points out that Ootenta is moving. The owner is relieved to see his doll fixed, and he asks the crowd to give applause for Kei and the samurai doll. Both Yanohiko and Kamuro are cheering for Kei when he returns, but now that they’ve seen the show… he says it’s about time for them to search for Yanohiko’s sister. Yanohiko nods saying he won’t cry anymore since he made “a promise between men” with Kei, and Kei answers that he’ll grow up to be a fine samurai if he can keep that promise. Kayo watches as both Kei and Kamuro hold onto Yanohiko’s hands, and the three of them look so happy as they leave the crowd. Even though she doesn’t really get what happened, Kayo knows that Kei must’ve fixed the doll for Yanohiko. She quickly chases after them before their backs disappear among the crowd.

Upon returning to the main street, Yanohiko notices Omatsu waiting at the stone monument. She feels so relieved to see him, especially because it’s almost sunset and Kayo still hasn’t returned. Knowing that she was worried about him, Yanohiko also apologizes to Omatsu for running off on his own. Kei is glad that Yanohiko has found his “big sister”, but he asks Omatsu not to take her eyes off Yanohiko again. It’s very easy for kids to get lost in this crowd. Omatsu nods and thanks him for taking Yanohiko back to her, and Kei is about to leave when Kayo finally catches up. Kamuro instantly recognizes her, and Omatsu asks if they know each other… but Kei doesn’t say anything. His expression turns cold as he glares at Kayo, and he looks very different from the person who put Yanohiko on his shoulders.

Kei quietly turns around and takes Kamuro to leave, but Kayo quickly stops him. She needs to thank him, or else she’ll only regret it later. After gathering her courage, she lifts her head and looks straight back at him. She explains that Yanohiko is her neighbor and she brought him here, so she thanks him for taking Yanohiko back to them. Kei coldly replies that he never thought he’d end up helping Kayo again, but this is his job—he doesn’t need any gratitude. Kamuro quickly tells him to be nice though. It must be fate that brought them to meet again, so he wants Kei to be more friendly towards Kayo. Kei instantly protests, but Omatsu suddenly tells them to be quiet… because Yanohiko is falling asleep. He’s nodding off even as he stands next to them. Kayo doesn’t have the heart to wake him up, knowing he must be tired after walking around all day. Since Kamuro wants to carry him home, Kei has no choice but to follow them.

On the way home, Yanohiko has completely fallen asleep on Kamuro’s back. When Kayo thanks him for carrying Yanohiko and buying okoshigome for him, Kamuro tells her to drop the “-san” suffix. He laughs saying he doesn’t mind at all. He used to get lost pretty often in the past, and his mother would carry him on her back as they walk outside at dusk. Just as Kei sighs about how troublesome this is, Kamuro starts singing a lullaby out loud. He nearly steps on a stray cat while doing so, and he jumps in shock when the cat leaps to attack him—with Yanohiko still on his back. Luckily, Kei quickly comes over to help Kamuro. Kei doesn’t mind the lullaby, but he wants Kamuro to walk more carefully. After all, he’s carrying a kid on his back. Kamuro sadly apologizes, and Kei laughs saying he’s so hopeless.

Despite what he says, Kayo notices that Kei’s eyes look so gentle. She comments that he’s just like a kind, caring big brother, but he brushes off the compliment and averts his gaze… which makes her feel terrible. That day, he saved her from Enishi’s advances—even if he did it violently. He probably did it because she couldn’t deal with Enishi herself, and he couldn’t bear to see her in trouble. She should have thanked him right away, but she didn’t and said terrible things instead. Kayo takes this chance to apologize for what she said before, and Kei obviously didn’t see this coming because he looks really surprised. Kayo admits that what she said was really cruel, especially because she knew that Kei isn’t that kind of person.

When Kayo deeply bows her head, Kei nervously replies that she won’t gain anything by acting all meek… but Kamuro stops him from going further. Kayo is politely apologizing, so Kamuro asks Kei to quit sulking like a kid and make up with her already. Of course Kei’s immediate reaction is to protest, so Kayo quickly tells Kamuro that it’s alright. It was all her fault, and she thinks it’s only obvious for him to be angry. After a short silence, Kei finally says he understands. He admits that he also said too much, and he apologizes to Kayo as well. Kayo feels bad since Kamuro is clearly worried about them, but he says the fault wasn’t entirely hers. He thinks Kei was being harsh too during their argument. Kei rages at Kamuro for saying all these things, but Kamuro replies that it’s because he’s so stubborn LOL.

Omatsu is surprised to hear about the argument though, since she never saw Kayo getting into a fight with anyone before. Kayo once again apologizes for acting so childish in front of Kei and Kamuro, but Kei answers by asking her to stop calling her “Kei-san”. When she looks at him in confusion, he turns red and snaps out that she calls Kamuro by name… and yet she refers to him as “Kei-san”.

Kayo: “Oh, um… Well then… Kei?”
Kei: “………”
Kamuro: “Ah. Aniki is embarrassed.”

Kei flatly asks Kamuro to repeat what he just said, and Kamuro instantly refuses knowing Kei would only rage at him LOL. Kayo and Omatsu laugh as they watch over this interaction, with Yanohiko comfortably sleeping on Kamuro’s back. From there, Kei and Kamuro take them all the way home. Kayo thanks them for doing this even though they’re busy with work, but Kamuro says this is also a part of their job. Kei, on the other hand, seems REALLY distracted. He thinks Kayo is actually has some cuteness in her when she’s honestly appreciating their help. (。-∀-)ニヒ♪ He only snaps out of it when Kamuro asks if he’s listening, and since he’s clearly not, Kamuro tells him that Kayo said thank you.

Kei: “I-It was nothing much.”
Kamuro: “Ah, embarrassed.”
Kamuro: “No, no! I didn’t!”


When Omatsu comments that they get along really well, Kei quickly denies it out of embarrassment LOL. Ignoring Kamuro’s protest, Kei turns to Kayo and invites her to see the tournament. His second match will be held in five days, at 1 in the afternoon. They had quite a lot of misunderstandings between them, so he wants her to come and see his swordsmanship again. Since she also does martial arts, she should be able to understand. As Kei looks at her, Kayo can see that his gaze is just as sharp as always… but she doesn’t find it scary. It’s different from when he glared at her, because she can feel how sincere and serious he is. Kayo agrees to watch the match, and Kei promises that he’ll definitely win.

Just then Kayo and Kei hear a familiar voice calling them, who turns out to be none other than Suzukake. It’s been a while since their journey came to an end, so he happily walks up them and asks if they’re doing well. Omatsu asks if Kayo knows him, but since she can’t tell anyone about the wedding parade… Kayo covers it up by saying Suzukake is one of her customers. Kei doesn’t explain anything to Kamuro though, and he only confirms that they do know Suzukake. Today, Suzukake is accompanied by Hachimoku and Madara—both in their human forms. He then reveals that he’s participating in the tournament as well, so there’s the possibility that they might have to fight each other. He’s really looking forward to it. Madara notices that Kei doesn’t seem to share Suzukake’s excitement though, while Hachimoku whispers that he’s just as unfriendly as always.

Sadly, everything goes downhill when Suzukake notices that Kei’s bandanna is coming loose at the edge. He holds out his hand to fix it, but Kei gets really startled and roughly pushes him away—causing him to fall onto a nearby cart. The luggage inside are crumbling down due to the impact. Kayo is really shocked and asks if Suzukake is alright, while Madara snaps at Kei for hitting him like that… but Suzukake quickly gets up and assures them that he’s alright. However, none of them knows why Kei suddenly did that. Not even Kamuro. He doesn’t explain anything either. Instead, he only turns away from them with an irritated expression. Kayo nearly snaps at Kei upon seeing this, but she holds back and asks why he did that. If he has a reason for doing so, then she wants him to give them a proper explanation. However, Kei only says that he didn’t think Suzukake would fall like that… then he runs off. Despite Kamuro and Kayo’s attempts to call out to him, he doesn’t turn back and disappears just like that.

Due to all the noise, Yanohiko ends up waking up from his nap. Kayo also points out that Suzukake’s arm is bleeding, but he doesn’t seem to be concerned at all. He reassures her that he’s alright, and he goes to put the luggage back onto the car instead. Both Madara and Hachimoku want him to get some rest, but he refuses since he was the one who knocked them down. Of course Kamuro feels terrible and apologizes for Kei’s action, but Kayo replies that it’s not his fault. Similarly to Madara, Omatsu is really annoyed and says she’ll throw a tub of soil at Kei if they ever run into each other. When Yanohiko asks where Kei is, she only tells Yanohiko to forget him. Kamuro sighs since this happened right after Kei made up with Kayo, so everything completely goes to waste. Kayo is just as confused as he is. She thought they finally managed to reach an understanding, and she can only wonder why Kei did something like this.

Several days later, Kayo goes to the dojo for practice… but she keeps spacing out instead. Ever since that accident on the festival day, she’s been feeling gloomy and can’t concentrate at all. As she tries to focus on her footwork, she hears Omatsu grumbling beside her. Omatsu says men who can’t apologize are no good, and she gets irked whenever she recalls the accident. Since she’s stomping on the floor and keeps talking during practice, she ends up getting a warning from their teacher. Kayo feels bad since they were supposed to enjoy the festival that day, but Omatsu says it was Kei’s fault no matter how they look at it. That being said, Kayo doesn’t think of Kei as a bad person. He’s just a bit rough.

Since Kayo’s reaction towards Kei is rather mild, Omatsu asks if they’ve been close for a long time. Kayo admits that they’re not that close to begin with, but this also makes her a bit sad inside. They went on a journey together, and he even saved her more than once… and yet they’re not close to each other. Kayo says that she doesn’t like violence either, and she got into a fight with Kei over this issue before. Omatsu thinks it’s only obvious if Kayo gets angry for that reason, but Kayo admits that it was her fault. It seems like Kei and her had a lot of misunderstandings too, and that’s why he invited her to come and watch his match. This reminds Omatsu that Suzukake is participating in the tournament too, so she concludes that Kei probably wanted to give him a light warming-up. Kei is a roundsman, so maybe he was only teasing Suzukake—thinking that Suzukake wouldn’t be able to go against him.

The teacher warns them to stop chatting after that, so Kayo and Omatsu resume their practice. However, Kayo can’t get Kei and the accident out of her mind. What should she do about the tournament? At this rate, she’s not sure if she can give him any support. Besides, she gets the feeling that she might snap and blame him for the accident… even though she doesn’t want to fight anymore.

That night, Kei is training by the river bank as usual. He’s not doing well either, even though he’ll have to fight Tsuzuramaru for the second round. Since Tsuzuramaru is an Iai user, Kei wouldn’t want him to take the lead. His training is interrupted when a ghost appears. It can feel a really nice smell coming from Kei, and by “nice” I mean nice by youkai standards—the smell of jealousy, envy and hatred. For the ghost, his soul smells really tempting… like a rotten apple. Σ(゚ー゚;) Kei is obviously disgusted, and he decides to take out his irritation on the ghost since it’s disturbing his training. At first it vanishes into the darkness, but he detects its presence just as it comes out to attack him. The ghost curses at Kei as he slashes it, calling him “a mere human’s…” It doesn’t get to finish its sentence though, because he kills it before he can continue.

The killing blow used nothing more than brute force, but Kei is pretty satisfied with his speed. He should be able to keep up with Tsuzuramaru, and he will have to strike right to the core. Kei mutters that his time is limited, and he’ll have to win. If he doesn’t accomplish any results, living beyond this point would be the same as dying for him.

Meanwhile, in a ruins somewhere, Choushichirou asks how long do they have to keep hiding. He’s bored because they can’t ride any horses here. Asakura explains that they’re all desperately looking for a place where they can see Tadanaga again, so he wants Choushichirou to bear with it until then. When the boy complains that he’s bored, the elder creepily laughs saying he’ll get taken away by Marebito if he doesn’t behave. Tsuzumi quickly stops her from bothering Choushichirou though, and Nanae soon comes to join them. Once again, Nanae congratulates Tsuzumi for successfully forming a pact with Juzumaru. He feels bad for taking her into hiding with them, but she says she doesn’t mind—as long as she can be with him. Choushichirou is also wishing for Tsuzumi to gain the power to seal youkai soon, and Tsuzumi promises that he will answer Choushichirou’s expectations.

Choushichirou then asks Nanae to play chase with him, but she says they can’t do anything that makes sounds… or else the Tokugawa samurai in Edo would find them. She can play otedama with him though, and he happily follows her to another room. As soon as they’re gone, Tsuzumi turns to talk to Asakura. Before Tsuzumi can say anything, Asakura tells him to be patient. The place definitely exists somewhere out there. Their preparations are complete, and all that’s left is for them to find the place.

Chapter 3

Five days after the accident with Suzukake, Kayo is busy working in the restaurant. The cherry blossoms are slowly starting to wither, but the people of Edo are excited about the tournament. Speaking of which, today is the day of Kei’s match… and Kayo still hasn’t made up her mind. She hasn’t seen him again ever since he ran off that day, and she feels even more bothered whenever she hears people talking about the tournament. From today’s customers, she learns that the number of participants have narrowed down in the tournament. At this point it seems unlikely for something unexpected to happen, but they’re looking forward to see today’s match. Kayo secretly lets out a heavy sigh to clear her mind, then she pulls herself out of it and returns to work.

Just after Kayo serves two portions of soba for the customers, her father comes out and asks her to water the ground outside. Recently they’ve been having sunny weather all the time, which unfortunately causes the street to get extremely dusty. She tries to recall the last time they had some rain, and she remembers that they did have a sudden downpour not too long ago. It was on the day when she got into a fight with Kei over Enishi, and this makes her sad. She feels like whenever Kei and her are together, they always end up having a fight. Kayo quickly shakes her head, scoops a lot of water with the dipper, and sprays it onto the ground with all her might… but then she hears a scream. She quickly apologizes thinking she sprayed someone by accident, but she doesn’t see anyone nearby—though she can still hear the voice saying that surprised him.

Kayo is glancing around in confusion when the voice recognizes her as the “princess”. At the same time, a black shadow suddenly raises from the ground and happily reminds her that he traveled with her through Tokaido. Yes, the “black shadow” is actually Tsuzuramaru LOL. He seems surprised to find her here, so she tells him that the restaurant in front of them is her house. Tsuzuramaru nods and smiles as he brushes off the dirt on his kimono. Since Edo is a big, bustling city, he never thought he’d get the chance to see Kayo again. Kayo feels guilty and apologizes for spraying water onto him, but Tsuzuramaru says it was his own fault for crouching down on the side of the street… and he also apologizes for surprising her.

When Kayo asks if it was because he’s feeling unwell, Tsuzuramaru shyly admits that it was mainly due to hunger. He had to sit down because he couldn’t move anymore, and he ended up falling asleep like that. He only woke up because she sprayed water onto him, so he actually feels grateful to her. 。゚(゚ノ∀`゚)゚。アヒャヒャ Kayo bursts into laughter since normally people would get angry in this situation, but Tsuzuramaru says she really did help him. He’s also participating in the tournament, and his match will be held today. If she didn’t wake him up, he would’ve kept spacing out and get disqualified for coming late. Tsuzuramaru then takes his leave, but just before he walks off… his stomach growls LOL. Kayo can’t hold back her laughter since the sound is so loud and clear, while he turns red in front of her.

There’s still some time before the match, so Kayo asks Tsuzuramaru to come inside and have some soba. Besides, he wouldn’t be able to fight with an empty stomach. He refuses because he doesn’t have money, but she asks him not to worry. She’ll treat him as an apology for spraying him with water. Tsuzuramaru seems reluctant, but he eventually accepts the offer since Kayo keeps pulling his sleeve. When he bows his head to thank her, Kayo notes that Tsuzuramaru’s shoulders are drooping down—making him look like a dog who just got scolded by his owner. (((壊゚∀゚)))ァヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャ After that, she prepares a bowl of soba for him and he gulps it down in no time. Since he was obviously starving, she asks when was the last time he had a meal. He doesn’t remember, but it was days ago. He got tired and stopped counting along the way. Worried about Tsuzuramaru’s health, Kayo asks him to come if he needs food. She says she’ll gladly treat him, but he refuses. Next time he’ll make sure to bring the money to pay for his meal, including the soba she gave him today. Thanks to her, he feels that he can win today’s match.

Kayo wants to say she’s glad to hear that, but her words are stuck in her throat… because she realizes that Tsuzuramaru’s opponent in today’s match might be Kei. If she goes to see the match, she might have to watch them exchanging blows. Both of them are strong, so their battle will surely be intense. She doesn’t think Kei would go easy on his opponents, no matter who they might be. If they go all out, there’s also the possibility of them getting injured. This only makes Kayo even more reluctant to see the match. Noticing that she suddenly fell silent, Tsuzuramaru then asks if there’s something wrong. She only says it’s nothing though, and she wishes him luck for the match instead. He takes his leave after thanking her, and she asks him to be careful as she sends him off—unable to say anything about the match. In the end, she decides not to watch it.

At 1 in the afternoon, a Tokugawa samurai goes to check if Kei and Tsuzuramaru are ready. He finds Kei and Kamuro in the waiting room, but Tsuzuramaru is nowhere to be seen… and Kei is getting impatient because their match is about to start. Fortunately, Tsuzuramaru arrives right after that—apologizing for being late. Unlike Kei, Tsuzuramaru didn’t know that they’re going to be opponents in today’s match. He seems happy to see Kei in a good shape though, and Kei returns the sentiment. He thought Tsuzuramaru fell asleep somewhere out there since he came so late, and he was worried that Tsuzuramaru would miss their match… which almost happened LOL. Tsuzuramaru also wants to tell Kei that he ran into Kayo, but gets interrupted when the Tokugawa samurai tells them to get into the arena. Of course Kei doesn’t have any intentions to chat since they’re supposed to be enemies for today, but Tsuzuramaru cheerfully walks off—saying they’ll save the talk for later.

Before Kei follows Tsuzuramaru into the arena, Kamuro notices something strange. For some reason, he can sense the scent of incense in the waiting room. Since incense is heavily associated with the dead, Kei only tells Kamuro not to say something so ominous right before the match. Kamuro still wants him to be careful though, and Kei replies that he knows. He won’t take his opponent lightly, as he’s fully aware that he can’t drop his guard in front of Tsuzuramaru. Upon entering the arena, Kei subconsciously glances at the audience—searching for Kayo. However, he soon realizes that Tsuzuramaru is looking straight at him with a serious expression… so he decides to just focus on the match for now. Even before they draw their blades, he can feel that Tsuzuramaru is much stronger than the samurai he fought in the first round.

Tsuzuramaru has always wanted to spar with everyone during their journey, so now he’s formally asking Kei to fight him. Despite this innocent request, Kei can see that Tsuzuramaru has absolutely no openings. As soon as the match begins, silence suddenly envelops the arena. The audience is still cheering, but Kei can’t hear anything. Or rather, there are no sounds around Tsuzuramaru. No sounds, no temperature, no presence. Kei knows that he’ll end up losing if he charges in without thinking. Tsuzuramaru is waiting for him to make an opening, which would only happen if he wavers. Here, Kei suddenly picks up the scent of incense that Kamuro mentioned earlier. Before he could even realize it, he’s already charging in to attack. Tsuzuramaru is taken by surprise, but quickly counter-attacks.

Noticing that Tsuzuramaru’s torso is slightly open, Kei instantly takes the chance to attack it. He narrowly dodges Tsuzuramaru’s sword and gets slashed on the shoulder, but it doesn’t stop him. The next moment, he uses both of his swords to strike back. Tsuzuramaru manages to dodge the tip of the blades, but sadly he gets hit really hard by Raikiri’s ridge—knocking him back and bringing him to his knees. The audience cheers when Kei is announced as the winner, but both of them are spacing out in the arena. It’s only after the referee tells them to put down their swords that Kei finally realized that he has won. Tsuzuramaru says he thought he was going to die, but Kei replies that it’s supposed to be his line. Due to the strange smell of incense, Kei finds Tsuzuramaru’s sword really creepy.

Despite his defeat, Tsuzuramaru is satisfied with the match. He thinks it makes his trip to Edo worthwhile. However, this also puts him in trouble because he doesn’t get any rewards for losing… which means he’ll have to make some money in order to pay Kayo. When Kei asks if he’s talking about the Kayo they know, Tsuzuramaru nods saying she saved him when he was dying from hunger. Kei can’t believe he met her by collapsing right in front of her restaurant, but now he knows why Tsuzuramaru was running late earlier… even though the reason is so sad LOL. Kei then asks if he came to Edo Castle with Kayo, but Tsuzuramaru says he came alone. She only sent him off from the restaurant. He mentions that she seemed really busy though, so she probably couldn’t come even if she wanted to.

Since Kei seems to be bothered by this, Tsuzuramaru tells him to go and visit Kayo at the restaurant. He believes Kayo would be happy if Kei tells her that he won, but Kei doesn’t think so. If he blatantly reports that he defeated Tsuzuramaru, he’s pretty sure she’ll only rage at him. Tsuzuramaru doesn’t get why she would get angry though. Kei won their match fair and square, and Tsuzuramaru believes Kayo will praise him for the victory. Tsuzuramaru also asks Kei to give his regards to Kayo if he goes to see her. When Kei tells him to say it to her directly, Tsuzuramaru reluctantly admits that he finds it hard to visit her until he can earn enough money to pay her. When Tsuzuramaru apologizes for being so sad, Kei sighs saying he looks so different from the man who fought him earlier LOL.

After leaving Edo Castle, Kamuro says he feels really proud to be Kei’s follower. He thinks Tsuzuramaru is pretty good too. He knew the participants won’t have it easy because it’s an elimination tournament, but their match still gave him chills. Kamuro is sad that Kayo didn’t come though, since he really wants them to make up. If she came to see the match, Kei would have been able to impress her. Kei only tells Kamuro to quit saying unnecessary things though, and Kinshirou comes before they can argue further. Impressed that Kei won the second round, Kinshirou gives him some money as the reward. At first Kei protests since he’s not participating in the tournament for money, but Kinshirou says he knows that. It’s just his victory motivates the other roundsmen to work harder. As their boss, Kinshirou wants to set a good example by giving Kei a reward. Besides, the people in town are praising the roundsmen thanks to him. Kamuro also asks him to accept it, jokingly saying that he’ll take the money if Kei doesn’t want it.

Kei responds to this by smacking Kamuro, but he eventually decides to accept the money. Kinshirou says he can use it to get something nice for his grandmother. He’s also giving them a day off today, so Kei can rest up and return to work tomorrow. Kamuro is happy to see this, mainly because Kei used all the money he earned to pay for Saburouza’s debt before. Despite what he said earlier, Kamuro is surprised when Kei really shares some of the money with him. Kei tells him to use it to buy something delicious for once, and Kamuro takes this chance to nudge him towards a certain direction. First, he asks what kind of delicious food he should get. Since Kamuro loves dango and sweets, Kei says he can get them in a restaurant… but he quickly realizes that Kamuro is trying to say something by mentioning the word “restaurant” LOL. He’s obviously trying to get Kei to visit Kayo.

After a short silence, Kamuro asks Kei to apologize to Kayo for the accident. Kei instantly refuses saying he didn’t do anything wrong, and it happened because Suzukake was getting too close. All he did was shove Suzukake a bit, but they made it sound like he gravely injured him or something. Kamuro points out that it made things sour between him and Kayo though, and it’s definitely not good to leave it that way. If Kei finds it hard to visit Kayo with Kamuro beside him, then he’ll gladly leave them alone. Before Kei can stop him, Kamuro tells him to go have some soba at Kayo’s restaurant and runs off—saying he’ll see Kei again tomorrow. Smart move. Now Kei has no choice but to visit Kayo. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.*

Kei arrives at the restaurant right after Kayo’s father sends a customer off. He ends up coming all the way here, but he finds it hard to go inside. That, ande doesn’t know what to say either. If he says the accident happened because Suzukake got too close, there’s no doubt that she’d only get angry again. Before Kei can figure out what to say, Kayo’s father suddenly comes out to ask if there’s something wrong—clearly because he’s talking to himself in front of the restaurant LOL. Kei is REALLY startled and stutters out that he didn’t come for that reason, but then Kayo’s father recognizes him as the roundsman who came with Kinshirou before. Kei gets even more confused when Kayo’s father thanks him for the good work. There’s a lot of people in Edo lately, so accidents are prone to happen. Kayo’s father has been worried about his daughter, but he feels relieved to see Kei “patrolling” around the area.

…except Kei isn’t here for patrol, but let’s put that aside. (。-∀-)ニヒ♪

Kayo’s father has always wanted to thank Kei for doing his job, so he invites Kei to come inside. While he doesn’t have much, he can at least serve some tea and snacks. Kei is about to turn down the offer since he didn’t come here for that, but then he realizes something. If he accepts, he wouldn’t have to think of an excuse. Kayo wouldn’t find out that he actually went out of his way to visit her LOL. Kei immediately changes his mind and decides to take the offer, and he nervously follows Kayo’s father inside.

From there, Kayo’s father guides Kei to their living room and gives him a cup of tea. Kei thanks him, but asks if it’s really okay for Kayo’s father to keep him company. He says he doesn’t mind being left alone if Kayo’s father is busy in the restaurant, but Kayo’s father assures him that it’s fine. People aren’t flooding the restaurant anymore for today, especially because today’s match has ended. He was about to take a break himself. Kei also mentions that the tea tastes really good, and Kayo’s father is happy to hear that. However, Kei’s expression instantly changes when Kayo’s father serves the snack—a dish made of beans. The black beans they cooked yesterday turned out nicely, so now he’s sharing them with Kei.

Kei wants to refuse because he doesn’t like beans, but then Kayo’s father happily explains that it was his daughter who boiled the beans for dinner. Kei is surprised and asks if Kayo is the one who made the dish, and since he mentions her name, Kayo’s father then asks if he knows his daughter. Kei nearly flips out for a moment, but he quickly covers it up by saying he heard about her as the poster girl of their restaurant. He also adds that she’s well-known as a good daughter around this area, and it obviously makes Kayo’s father happy. Speaking of which, Kei hasn’t seen Kayo at all since the moment he came inside. When he asks where she is, her father reveals that she’s currently out on an errand. He’s proud to have an attentive daughter, and he adds that she cooked the beans out of consideration for him—because he’s been busy in the restaurant lately.

Since Kayo’s father looks so happy, Kei asks if he brought out the beans just so he can openly praise his daughter LOL. He laughs saying that wasn’t his intention, though it can’t hide his love for Kayo. Despite his dislike for beans, Kei agrees to eat the dish… but then he grunts upon taking a bite. Kayo’s father asks if he doesn’t like it, but Kei quickly puts on a smile and denies it. He nearly says that he’s getting all itchy, but he corrects himself and says the dish is delicious. Very, very delicious. (⊙ω⊙✿) It’s been a while since the last time he ate some beans, but he says they taste surprisingly good… even though he clearly looks troubled. Unfortunately, this leads Kayo’s father to believe that Kei loves beans. He says they have green soybeans too on the restaurant counter, and he goes to take them for Kei. When Kei tries to stop him, he simply asks Kei not to hold back. \(^o^)/オワタ

Kei finds it unbelievable how they have so many beans in stock. Is Kayo’s father trying to kill him!? Sadly, he doesn’t even have the time to grumble right now. Hives start appearing on his skin, and eventually he can’t handle the itchiness anymore. When Kei rushes out to the restaurant, Kayo’s father asks if he needs anything. Kei nervously says that he just remembered something, so he has to go home for now… but he promises to visit them again.

Kayo’s father: “Ah, Kei-san! As a present, please take some of the black beans!”

…and he runs off. Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒Y⌒(。A。)アヒャヒャヒャヒャ!!

Meanwhile, Kayo has just returned from her errand. She notices that her father has removed the shop curtains outside, and she finds this strange since it doesn’t happen very often. Just when she opens the door, she suddenly bumps into Kei—who quickly apologizes and runs away. At first she doubts her eyes since it happened in an instant, and she can only wonder why he was in their restaurant. However, her father soon comes out and asks if she saw Kei—confirming that it was indeed him LOL. After explaining about what happened, Kayo’s father reveals that Kei dropped a bundle of money in their living room… which should be the reward he received from Kinshirou. He probably dropped it by accident because he was in a hurry.

Thinking that Kei would be troubled without the money, Kayo’s father tells Kayo to deliver it to his house tomorrow. Kayo is surprised since she doesn’t even know where Kei lives, but her father says they can just ask the roundsmen for his address. He also mentions that Kei ate the black beans she made and said they were delicious. When Kayo asks if Kei said anything else, he says Kei praised their house—saying it’s nice and quiet. In any case, Kayo’s father seems to really like Kei. He thinks Kei is a good person who doesn’t act all high and mighty. The reason why Kayo asked for details is because she thought Kei came here to rage at her for not coming to see his match. She’s actually curious about the result of the match, but she also feels terrible because she was the one who broke their promise.

The next day, Kayo goes to visit Kei’s house. It’s located quite far away from the town, but she managed to get his address from a roundsman. That, and she also learned about his victory. In contrary to what he expected, she actually feels proud to hear this. She heard that both parties didn’t get any serious injuries, which makes her feel a bit better. After learning about all of this, Kayo feels that she will be able to talk to Kei properly. When she knocks on the door, a sweet old lady comes out and asks if she needs something. Upon learning that Kayo is Kei’s friend, the old lady invites Kayo inside—thanking her for coming all the way here. Kayo quickly explains that she only came to deliver the bundle Kei left, but the old lady doesn’t change her mind. She only replies that Kei is so careless, then she introduces herself as Kei’s grandmother and goes inside—leaving Kayo with no choice but to follow her.

After asking Kayo to have a seat, Kei’s grandmother goes to pour some tea for her. Just then Kayo notices a needlework on the table—most likely made by Kei’s grandmother—and she’s really amazed to see how beautiful it is. Realizing that Kayo is staring at her needlework, Kei’s grandmother apologizes for leaving it on the table and asks her to cast it aside. While she actually wants to learn more about embroidery, Kayo decides to finish her task first. Since Kei doesn’t seem to be around, she asks if he’s currently at work… but his grandmother answers that he’s resting inside. He’s been feeling sick since yesterday, so now he has to stay in bed. Kayo is shocked and asks if something happened during the match, but she says it’s nothing serious. He got hives after eating a certain dish, but most of them have disappeared this morning.

As Kayo sighs in relief, Kei’s grandmother gives her a warm cup of tea and thanks her for worrying about him. She’s aware that her grandson is terribly unfriendly, but she’s hoping Kayo can continue being good friends with him from now on. When Kayo hands the bundle to her, Kei’s grandmother asks her to give it directly to Kei. Then she calls out to Kei, telling him to stop hiding and come out LOL. Since he totally got caught, Kei has no choice but to show himself and join them in the living room. He doesn’t admit that he was hiding though, so his grandmother tells him to greet Kayo properly… which he does with a short “yo”. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* When Kayo asks if he’s feeling well now, Kei nervously nods saying it wasn’t a big deal. However, his grandmother reveals that he actually made a big fuss over the itchiness yesterday. She can only wonder why he ate a cuisine made of beans out of all things. Kei tries to stop her from going further, but it’s too late—Kayo totally heard that. His grandmother soon goes to “make more tea”, just so she can leave them alone. ゚.+:。ヾ(o・ω・)ノ゚.+:。

At this point, Kayo has realized what actually happened yesterday. She asks if Kei doesn’t like beans. He doesn’t answer, but she remembers that her father gave him the black beans she boiled… and she asks if he got hives because of that. He remains silent, but this only confirms her suspicion. Of course Kayo feels terrible and apologizes in her father’s behalf, but Kei quickly replies that her father didn’t force him to eat it. He even says the beans tastes pretty good, just because he knows that she’s the one who cooked them. As for the hives, he says they appeared because he was a bit tired after the match… and this brings them to the next subject. Kayo apologizes for not coming to see Kei’s match, even though she has promised to do so.

However, Kei only asks if Kayo met Tsuzuramaru yesterday. When she confirms that she does, he tells her that he heard it from Tsuzuramaru himself. They had to fight each other in yesterday’s match, so Kei says he’s glad that Kayo didn’t come. She doesn’t get it though, because the match ended with his victory. He also assures her that both Tsuzuramaru and him didn’t get any serious injuries, since they only scratched each other. He admits that it was a close call though. The line between a scratch and death was very thin during their match, because both of them are strong. They had an equal chance of losing the match, and that’s why Kei is glad that Kayo didn’t come. If he saw her face among the audience, he wouldn’t be able to focus and would end up losing. Kei also admits that Tsuzuramaru is really strong despite how he looks. He mentions that Tsuzuramaru used “a sword with a strange presence”, and he was honestly frightened.

Kayo is glad that both of them are unharmed though, and she notices that Kei looks really serious as he nods at her. At the same time, she also starts wondering about what kind of match they had. Usually Kei would confidently say “There’s no way I’d get injured!”, so Tsuzuramaru’s swordsmanship must be pretty impressive as well. Kei then tells Kayo that the guards who journeyed through Tokaido with them are all extremely strong, and it’d be troublesome to have them as opponents. This reminds her that Suzukake is participating in the tournament too, and of course he’s an exception. He might have a small posture, but he’s by no means weak. Kei gets the feeling that if he keeps on winning, he’ll have to fight Suzukake too eventually. After all, Mitsuyoshi wouldn’t have chosen Suzukake as a guard if he’s weak. Their journey to Sunpu was a really dangerous mission. They were carrying Juzumaru, so failure was not an option. Kayo says she’s glad that she didn’t know about Juzumaru back then. If she did and got nervous because of it, people might have found out that the wedding parade is a fake. Mitsuyoshi should know about this, and that’s probably why he didn’t tell her anything.

In any case, Kei says the tournament might get harsher from now on—regardless of whether he gets to fight Suzukake or not. That’s why he won’t ask Kayo to come and see his match anymore. He has to win no matter what, so he can’t go easy on his opponents—including Suzukake. However, Kayo makes it clear that she’s not asking Kei to hold back. She knows he’s not supposed to do that, especially when he has to fight a strong opponent like Tsuzuramaru. However, Kei is certain that Kayo wouldn’t want to see that kind of battle. Kayo can either admit that she doesn’t want to see Kei fighting their friends; tell him that she’ll only get worried if she doesn’t watch it; ask him to go easy if his opponent is weaker than he is; or say that she wants to cheer him on. My personal favorite is the second, but it’s actually the choice for his Aramitama ending LOL.

No matter what Kayo says, Kei will tell her that he’s swinging his blades with faith. It’s the same as how she has her own faith and belief regarding martial arts. He admits that he traveled through Tokaido with her because he needed money, and he also interacted with her because it was a part of his job. It’s only obvious if she thinks of him as a person who would take dirty jobs just to earn money, but he’s not that kind of person. He’s not wielding his swords for money and fame, and he invited her to see his match in order to prove that. Upon hearing this, Kayo realizes that Kei was really concerned about what she said before. She can feel both frustration and sincerity from his words, and she admits that it makes her a bit happy. He did his best to protect her as they traveled through Tokaido, so the thought that he only did it for money made her sad. Even though it’s only obvious since he took the job to earn money.

When Kayo admits that she was being childish and sulked a bit, Kei blushes and answers that he’s not a good talker either. He has the tendency to make things even more complicated, so he can’t really convey what he actually wants to say. That’s why he invited her to see his match, thinking that it will be easier to show her instead… but he realizes that it was only for his own self-satisfaction. He was trying to force his opinions onto her, without taking hers into consideration. Kei then quietly bows his head, apologizing to Kayo for asking too much. However, she knows it was partly her fault as well. Both of them went too far during the argument, and so she asks him to drop this subject.

Kayo thinks the reason why they argued that much is because they don’t know much about each other, even though they went on a long journey together. She’s hoping that they can still be good friends from now on, and Kei shyly nods in return. He asks her not to say embarrassing things to his face though, and she points out that it’s a flaw he has to work on… because there’s a lot of things others won’t understand unless he puts it into words. Kei looks embarrassed as he scratches his head, but he admits that Kayo has a point. At the same time, she realizes that he can show a friendly expression as well. She wants to know him more, because she’ll be able to understand him better that way.

Just then Kei remembers Tsuzuramaru’s message, so he tells Kayo that Tsuzuramaru promised to pay her for the soba. Of course Kayo already told him not to worry about the payment, and Kei also asked him to say it directly… but he feels so ashamed and doesn’t know how to face her LOL. Kayo laughs saying that sounds just like Tsuzuramaru, while Kei sighs saying he’s so weird. Speaking of which, Suzukake also has a weird way of thinking—it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking of. In fact, the people who traveled with them through Tokaido are all weird. (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ When Kayo asks if he’s included, Kei tells her to shut up and calls her stupid… but he’s smiling. By now she has learned that he’s always harsh towards others, but he also sets himself to be strong and fair at all times. His harsh attitude probably comes from his sincerity, and he comes off as unfriendly because he fails at expressing it properly.

This makes Kayo feel a bit more relieved, and she tells Kei that she’ll come to see his next match. He says she doesn’t have to force herself, but she assures him that she’s not. She only wants to watch him fight at least once. At first he only wonders why she suddenly brings this up, so she asks if he doesn’t want her to come. However, Kei turns red the moment Kayo lifts her head to look at him… and she realizes that he’s just embarrassed LOL. She nearly says this out loud, but she quickly stops herself knowing that he’ll only rage at her. She’s pretty sure he’ll allow her to come if she patiently waits for his answer though, and just as she expected, he eventually replies with: “…do whatever you want.” ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ It might be something trivial, but Kayo feels happy since she’s starting to understand Kei better.

When Kei asks why she’s grinning like that, Kayo only says it’s nothing and thanks him—promising to see his next match for sure. Kei blushes saying she doesn’t have to force it, but of course Kayo doesn’t change her mind. Instead, she takes out the bundle of money and gives it back to him. Apparently he didn’t even realize that he dropped it, and he thanks her for delivering it all the way here. Just then Kei’s grandmother returns to the living room, saying she’s glad that they’ve made up. Kei snaps out that they didn’t have a fight, but she ignores him and turns to Kayo instead—telling her that he always yells like that when he’s embarrassed. (((壊゚∀゚)))ァヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャ Kei protests and asks his grandmother not to share that with Kayo, who laughs and points out that his face is all red.

After that, Kayo has a good time chatting with Kei and his grandmother. It feels strange to her since they used to fight a lot. He was irritated during their journey, so she couldn’t have a comfortable conversation with him. The journey was scary and she really wanted to go home back then, but in the end Kayo is glad that she accepted the request. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have met Kei. She’s glad that she met him, and she’s happy that they’re getting along well… but for now, she still finds it embarrassing to say it honestly. That’s why she’ll keep this a secret for a little longer.

Meanwhile, Asakura is still busy with the search. When Choushichirou asks what he’s looking for, Asakura says he’s searching for the path to see Tadanaga. There are five of them in Hinomoto: Yomotsu Hirasaka, Nirai Kanai, Koumadan, Fudaraku, and Rendaino. According to the legend in the elder’s village, these five paths are connected to Yomi. The legend says those who died with regret will use these paths to come to the world of the living. If they manage to find one, Choushichirou should be able to see his father again… so Asakura asks him to bear with it until then. Of course the boy doesn’t know what this actually means, so he happily agrees and leaves to play with Nanae.

However, Choushichirou has gotten bored of otedama. Nanae is about to tell him a story, but then she suddenly starts coughing. Choushichirou is worried and asks if she’s feeling sick, but Nanae assures him that she’s alright. Well, she’s actually not alright… but we’ll get to that later. Not in this route. Just then a samurai returns and reports to Asakura that they’ve found one of the paths—Koumadan. It’s located in the mountains of Edo. Upon hearing this, Asakura commands everyone to head out immediately. Now that they’ve found the path, Choushichirou can finally see Tadanaga again.

…or can he?

Chapter 4

On the day of Kei’s third match, Kayo goes to watch it with Kamuro—just as she promised. His opponent for today turns out to be Suzukake. She knew they’ll run into each other eventually, but she didn’t expect it to be this fast. Noticing that Kayo looks rather pale, Kamuro asks if she’s alright. Kayo replies that she’s just nervous since this is her first time watching the tournament, but Kamuro reminds her that she doesn’t have to force it. If she doesn’t feel well during the match, he’ll take her to go outside. Kamuro then recalls that Kayo knows Suzukake, and he asks her about Suzukake’s strength. When she answers that Suzukake should be pretty strong, he actually saw it coming since Kei seems to be very cautious towards Suzukake. Besides, Suzukake wouldn’t make it this far if he’s weak.

Since Kamuro himself has met Suzukake on the day of the festival, Kayo continues saying that Suzukake doesn’t give off a “strong” image due to his cute appearance. She never really saw him fighting seriously either, but that’s what she finds terrifying. She always felt peaceful and secure whenever she walked with him. They even had a good time chatting, but now that she thinks about it… it was probably because he eliminated all threats so she wouldn’t notice. This makes Suzukake even more dangerous than a warrior who clearly looks strong. As Kamuro shivers beside her, Kayo thinks about how Suzukake must’ve gone through a lot of trouble during the journey. He just did it where she couldn’t see.

Kei isn’t taking Suzukake lightly either, most likely because he knows how strong Suzukake really is. This also reminds Kayo that Kei said his match with Tsuzuramaru was a close call. When it comes to crossing swords, Kei is always calm. He’s definitely not modest, but he won’t underestimate his opponents either. He has the strength to acknowledge his opponent’s strength, as well as the strength to measure his own abilities. Meanwhile, Hachimoku and Madara are watching the match too. Upon noticing Kayo among the audience, Hachimoku wonders if she’s going to cheer for Suzukake. Madara thinks the shogunate is so stingy for not letting them stay by Suzukake’s side, but she doesn’t really mind. The arena is quite far from their seat, but he wouldn’t need their help anyway. Madara believes Suzukake will win.

Soon after that, both Kei and Suzukake enter the arena. While Kei is ready to fight, Suzukake seems very concerned about the accident. Instead of taking out his weapon, he keeps apologizing to Kei—thinking that he accidentally did something offensive that day. However, Kei only tells Suzukake to draw his blade already. The referee is clearly troubled since they can’t start the match in this state LOL. The accident has been bothering Suzukake too, especially because he couldn’t apologize to Kei after that. Kei says there’s no need for Suzukake to apologize though, since he’s not angry or anything. Suzukake looks very relieved to hear this. With the accident out of the way, he can finally fight to his heart’s content. He smiles saying he’s really excited for their battle, though his innocence is making everything feels so wrong for Kei LOL.

Suzukake then draws his dagger, swiftly flipping the blade backwards. The dagger is glittering under the sunlight. As Suzukake’s good partner, its main purpose is to deliver fast, smart attacks that won’t gravely injure his opponents. At the same time, Kei notes that a lot of participants must’ve lost in the tournament because they underestimated him. The moment Kei strengthens his grip on Raikiri and Kazakiri, Suzukake charges in. Suzukake’s attacks are fast and light, but Kei actually feels grateful because it means he can go all out. Kei definitely has more power, but Suzukake can match him in terms of speed. If he shows an opening, Suzukake will surely use it to attack him. This also means that Suzukake is well aware that he’s lacking in power. Due to his small stature, he won’t do much damage by taking a strong opponent head on. That’s why he makes excellent use of his speed and endurance to provoke his opponents, using every opening they show to strike.

Kei openly admits that Suzukake is indeed strong. Unfortunately, his fighting style also makes him rather easy to read. At a glance it might be hard to tell what Suzukake is aiming at, but once he has decided on a course, Kei can easily predict where he’s going to hit. This makes it very easy to block his attacks, BUT it can only be done by those who can keep up with his speed. After repelling Suzukake’s attack, Kei strikes back with full power. The hit comes with heavy pressure and thin veil of lightning, loosening Suzukake’s grip. Kei takes this chance to knock Suzukake’s dagger off his hand, sending it flying into the air. When it falls back down, the blade catches the tip of Suzukake’s cloak just before it pierces the ground. Suzukake gets pulled back and falls on his rear because of the impact, and the match finally ends with Kei’s victory.

Even after the match ends, Suzukake is still sitting on the ground. His mouth hangs open as he voices his admiration towards Kei, who only sighs in relief and puts his swords back into their sheaths. Suzukake is just as strong as he expected, and now Kei really wants to avoid getting all the other guards as enemies. Despite Suzukake’s strength, his fighting style isn’t really suitable for matches… so Kei had an advantage in today’s match. If their battle took place in a dark forest and Suzukake was secretly following him from the shadow, Kei isn’t sure if he would be able to win. The thought of swiftly getting stabbed in a vital spot gives him the chills.

After pulling his dagger off the ground, Suzukake gets up and thanks Kei for the match. He happily says that Kei is really strong, and he never had so much fun swinging his blade before. Kei smiles saying Suzukake is pretty impressive himself, even if the result of the match has proved that Kei is stronger. Suzukake doesn’t seem to mind at all though, since he looks sincerely happy to receive the compliment. While Suzukake wants to have another match with Kei one day, Kei refuses to do so. Most likely because of the reason stated above LOL. Suzukake protests saying it’s so unfair to run away after winning, but Kei says he’s not running away. He just doesn’t feel like fighting Suzukake again. In return, he promises to play with Suzukake if he feels like it. That’s enough to make Suzukake happy, and he’s hoping that they can have another journey together. When Suzukake holds out his hand, Kei smiles and firmly shakes it.

Meanwhile, Madara is shocked to see Suzukake’s defeat. Hachimoku thinks Kei is amazing though, since he actually won without hurting Suzukake at all. This also makes Madara realize that Kei is so calm when he’s holding his swords, and she finds this surprising because of his short-tempered and stubborn image. As Hachimoku and Madara go to see Suzukake in the waiting room, Kamuro is happily cheering for Kei’s victory. Beside him, Kayo is shivering on her seat—still amazed by Kei’s strength. Towards the end of the match, she was so fascinated by his fighting style that she forgot to breathe. In her eyes, it looked like he was dancing… but it was by no means peaceful. His movements were so fluid, sharp, and intense. That’s why she finds his swordsmanship beautiful.

Kayo also noticed that Kei’s blades didn’t show any doubts. He has no hesitation, no anger, no arrogance and no agitation. The only thing shown through his blades is a pure, straightforward desire for victory. After seeing the match, Kayo can tell that Kei isn’t a person who would lightly use violence on others. She has seen his swordsmanship, his faith, and the proof of his firm resolution. However, she starts wondering why he’s yearning for victory and power that much. Why is he so dedicated towards that goal? Noticing that Kayo is tearing up, Kamuro panics and asks if watching the match was that painful for her… but she shakes her head saying she’s happy. She’s glad that she came to see the match. She knows that she can trust Kei no matter what’s going to happen from now on, and that’s what makes her happy.

When Kei leaves Edo Castle, he finds Kamuro and Kayo waiting for him at the gate. She tells him that she watched his match properly today, so he wants to hear her opinion. She can either say that he was really cool; admit that she was worried for both parties; say she was surprised to see how strong he is; or tell him she’s glad none of them got hurt. Either way, Kayo learns that a sword shows its wielder’s personality. She realizes that she should’ve come and see Kei’s matches right from the start. Kei only nods saying he’s glad to hear that. They only exchange a few words, but Kayo can feel that both of them understand each other and it makes her happy. They feel cheerful and refreshed as they walk through the gate.

Even though the cherry blossoms are starting to wither, the town is still full of people. Kei thinks Edo will remain lively until the tournament is over though. He’s about to start today’s patrol, but Kamuro quickly stops him saying he must be tired after the match. Kamuro will gladly do the patrolling for him today. Of course Kei is confused since Kamuro regularly complains about how boring patrols are, but Kamuro only grins and tells him to enjoy his time with Kayo. ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ Noticing that Kei is getting flustered, Kayo asks them what happened because she didn’t catch what they said. Kamuro doesn’t explain anything though. Instead, he quickly says goodbye and leaves them alone LOL. Kei wonders if he’s trying to be considerate by doing this, while Kayo is obviously confused.

To change the subject, Kei then asks if Kayo is busy in the restaurant as usual. She confirms that work is indeed busy, but she already informed her father that she’s going out today… and he told her to take her time. Kei can only respond to this with an awkward nod, but then Kayo says she has a request for him. If he doesn’t mind, she’s wondering if he can take her to his house. She actually brought something for his grandmother. During her last visit, Kayo found out that the obi Kei always wears was embroidered by his grandmother. Apparently he told her that she didn’t have to do it, but she did it anyway. While Kei works as a roundsman, his grandmother makes a living by doing needlework. That’s why the one Kayo saw on the table looked so beautiful. She has a store that really favors her creations, so even though she doesn’t make much per piece, she always receives endless orders from them. A lot of women take up embroidery before they marry, but Kei’s grandmother is on a completely different level.

Despite what Kei said, Kayo knows he actually loves the obi—he just won’t admit it LOL. After learning about his grandmother’s occupation, Kayo remembered that her mother used to do embroidery too a long time ago. When she opens the bundle in her hands, Kei can see colorful threads and fabrics inside. Kayo is hoping that Kei’s grandmother will find something that she likes and use them for work, but Kei feels bad since she brought a lot. They used to belong to her mother too, so he knows that she must’ve treasured them up until now. Kayo doesn’t mind at all though. She also talked to her father about this, and he told her to take everything—believing his late wife would be happy if Kei’s grandmother uses her old threads and fabrics. As much as Kayo wants to use them herself, she can’t do any needlework since her mother passed away when she was small.

Upon hearing this, Kei points out that Kayo can just learn needlework from his grandmother. Her abilities are guaranteed, since she makes a living by doing needlework and embroidery. Kei turns red and admits that he’d be happy too if Kayo can come to visit his grandmother from time to time, but he quickly stops himself and concludes that his grandmother will definitely be happy. Kayo is worried that it might trouble his grandmother, but Kei reassures her that she’s not being a bother at all. With that in mind, Kei happily pulls Kayo’s arm and takes her to his house.

When Kayo hands over the bundle, Kei’s grandmother is amazed to see the beautiful threads inside. She asks if they’re really for her, and Kayo nods saying she will surely turn them into wonderful creations like Kei’s obi. In return, Kei wants his grandmother to teach Kayo needlework. At first Kayo feels bad and tells Kei not to ask too much from her, but his grandmother is actually surprised. Before, he made a huge fuss about how embarrassing it is to have flashy embroidery and refused to take up needlework. Kei turns red and protests that he’s not the one who’s going to do it, so it has nothing to do with his opinion regarding needlework. Plus, he also asks his grandmother NOT to say unnecessary things LOL.

Anyway, Kei’s grandmother doesn’t mind at all and asks if Kayo wants to give it a try. When Kayo asks if it’s really alright, she nods saying she’s completely fine with it. If Kayo doesn’t mind learning from an old lady like her, then Kayo is always free to come and visit her anytime. Of course Kayo is happy and thanks her, and Kei’s grandmother says the joy is mutual… because she never taught needlework to a young girl ever since she moved to Edo. However, she also mentions that Kei used to follow her around and imitate everything she does. (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ Upon hearing this, Kei instantly blushes and asks her to stop revealing his past LOL. The choices here are really amusing, so I’m going to list them out. ↓↓

If Kayo comments that Kei must love his grandmother a lot, he’ll snap out that she’s wrong and call her stupid. If she asks him not to get angry since his father is also good at sewing, he’ll tell her not to compare him with his father. If she invites him to do needlework together, he’ll blatantly refuse and say he doesn’t remember how to do it anymore. If she asks what kind of kid he was, his grandmother will explain that he used to be really gentle, cute, and graceful—just like a girl. It didn’t last for long though, since he quickly got absorbed into sword fighting and turned into the person he is today. Kei looks really embarrassed as they talk about this. After getting his grandmother to stop, he also tells Kayo not to ask weird questions.

Either way, Kei’s grandmother points out that Kei is being really rough with his words. She says Kayo will come to hate him if he’s being too thorny, and feeling even more embarrassed, he snaps out that it’s got nothing to do with her. However, Kayo assures Kei’s grandmother that it’s okay—because she knows that he’s just embarrassed. Kei’s grandmother replies that Kayo is a really nice girl, and she thinks it’d be great if Kayo marries into their family and becomes her granddaughter. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.

Grandmother: “Right, Kei?”
Kei: “Wha… D-Don’t fling that kind of question at me!”

When their eyes meet, Kayo and Kei realize that they’re both blushing. He awkwardly calls her stupid and tells her not to give him that look, but she points out that he’s making exactly the same expression LOL. His grandmother, on the other hand, seems very satisfied and goes to make another cup of tea—clearly an excuse to leave them alone. (。-∀-)ニヒ♪

From there, Kayo goes to Kei’s house once per week to learn needlework. Her father was pleased to hear about the lesson and happily gave his approval. One afternoon, Kayo goes out after the busy hours pass by. Her father tells her to take her time and not to worry about their restaurant, even giving her a bundle of stew, pickles, and dango for Kei’s grandmother. Kayo thanks him saying Kei’s grandmother will surely be happy to receive it. Since she lives far away from the town, it must be difficult for her to go shopping. That’s why if she ever needs anything, Kayo’s father is always happy to help. He’s really glad that he kept his late wife’s sewing tools, and he’s pretty sure that she’ll be happy as well to see their daughter learning needlework.

Kayo can’t help but smile since her father looks really happy. When she told him that her teacher is Kei’s grandmother, he looked even more relieved. She spent most of her time learning naginata, so maybe he was secretly worried about her. Before leaving, Kayo says she wants to improve quickly and make pretty embroideries for his obi. Her father smiles saying he’ll be looking forward to it, and he asks her to give his regards to Kei. When the opportunity comes, he wants to have a talk with Kei again. Outside, Kayo runs into Orin—who notices that Kayo has been going out regularly. Since Kayo looks so cheerful lately, Orin teasingly asks if she has found a boyfriend. Kayo denies it and explains that she’s just attending lessons, which leads Orin to ask if it’s domestic training before marriage LOL. Orin also mentions that Kayo looks very beautiful and energetic lately, though Kayo only asks Orin to stop teasing her and takes it as a joke.

Just after Kayo heads out, Kamuro comes and asks if she’s going to Kei’s house. When she nods and asks why he knows about that, he suddenly looks really troubled. Kei told him to keep quiet about this, but he finds it plain impossible. Kamuro then asks Kayo to go to Kei’s house immediately. At first Kayo is worried that something might’ve happened to Kei, but Kamuro shakes his head and explains that it’s actually his grandmother. It seems that she’s feeling sick, and Kei told Kamuro to keep it a secret because he doesn’t want Kayo to get worried. Instead, he sent Kamuro only to tell Kayo not to come for today’s lesson. When Kayo asks if her condition is THAT bad, Kamuro admits that he doesn’t know because Kei doesn’t let him in. That, and Kei wouldn’t listen to him either at times like this. However, Kayo asks Kamuro to leave it to her. She agrees to visit them right away, and knowing that he’s worried, she also promises to inform him about Kei’s grandmother’s condition later.

Kayo arrives just as Kei walks out of the house, and she immediately asks about how his grandmother is doing. Kei is clearly not happy since it means Kamuro told her everything, but Kayo says she was the one who forced him to spill. Instead of explaining, Kei only asks Kayo not to worry and sends her to go home for today. She’s too worried to leave them alone though, so she tells him that she can go call a doctor if they need one. Upon hearing this, Kei suddenly snaps saying they’ll be in trouble if Kayo dares to bring a doctor over. Kayo is really shocked, and Kei only realizes what he’s just done when she mutters his name. He quietly lowers his gaze, and she recognizes this as a gesture that he sometimes does when he’s feeling guilty… but it also shows how emotional he is right now. She wants to ask if his grandmother’s sickness is just that bad, but she can’t bring herself to raise the question.

After a while, Kei calms down and says he feels grateful for Kayo’s concern. However, he assures her that it’s fine and asks her to just go home for today. Just as he turns away to leave, his grandmother suddenly comes out of the house—because she heard Kayo’s voice. Kei is really surprised and asks what she thinks she’s doing, but she only scolds him for raising his voice that much against a girl. She starts coughing up immediately after, and he says that’s exactly why he told her to stay in bed. Kayo feels terrible for causing such a commotion when she’s not feeling well, but Kei’s grandmother also apologizes because she won’t be able to teach Kayo for today. Recently the temperature has been unstable, so she ended up catching a cold. She tells Kayo not to worry since it should heal if she gets enough rest, but Kayo still asks her to take care because a cold might lead to all sorts of diseases. Kayo then gives her the food from her father, and Kei tells her to go back to bed already. She thanks Kayo and asks her to visit them again, then she finally returns inside.

Once his grandmother leaves, Kei thanks Kayo for the food and apologizes for shouting at her. He asks her not to worry too much though. As she can see, his grandmother is doing fine. He also mentions that there’s a spring in the mountains which water can heal all sorts of diseases, so he’s planning to go there now. If his grandmother drinks it, her cold should be gone by tomorrow. Kayo nearly suggests calling a doctor just to be safe, but she stops herself. The anger Kei showed earlier wasn’t normal, so she wonders if there’s a reason behind this. Is his grandmother’s sickness really serious? Or is it because they don’t have the money to pay for a doctor? Kayo might be able to ask for her father’s help if money is the issue, but she finds it hard to ask in this situation. Besides, Kei would definitely turn obstinate if she tries forcing him to say the truth.

Before Kei can tell her to leave again, Kayo asks if she can follow him to the spring. He’s really surprised since it’s located deep in the mountains, but she says she doesn’t mind. She wants to do something for both of them, knowing he must be worried if his beloved grandmother is sick. Even if she can’t do much to help, she still wants to stay with him. She can at least talk to him, and also help him to carry the water back home. At first Kei looks really reluctant, but he eventually nods—knowing that Kayo wouldn’t listen even if he says no. He warns her that it might be a rough trip though, because they have to rush through the mountain road and return to Edo by dusk.

From there, Kayo follows Kei out of town and into the mountains. Along the way he asks if she’s alright, to which she answers that she’s completely fine. Since she seems to have a lot of energy, it reminds him that she kept up with them through Tokaido. If she doesn’t have much stamina, she wouldn’t be able to stay with them until the end. Here, Kayo notices that Kei just smiled at her for the first time today. When she points this out, he instantly blushes and averts his gaze from her. (。-∀-)ニヒ♪ Their interaction might be simple, but it makes her feel warm inside—which she finds a bit embarrassing. After a while, they reach a steep slope deep in the woods. It’s hard to see the path, but Kei seems used to it and lightly make his way forward. When Kayo asks if he often comes here, he only gives her a nod… and this leaves her wondering if he always goes to the spring alone whenever his grandmother is sick. She’s actually still curious about why they won’t call a doctor instead, but she doesn’t have the courage to ask. There’s a lot of things that she doesn’t know about him, and it makes her a bit sad because he feels so distant.

Knowing the slope must be hard for Kayo, Kei asks her not to force herself. He doesn’t mind if she wants to stop and wait here, but she promises tell him if it she can’t take it anymore—because she doesn’t want to drag him down. Kayo looks up when Kei suddenly stops, and he turns around to thank her for doing all of this for his grandmother. She actually feels pathetic since she can’t do anything to help, but he replies that having her to come with him is already enough. He never thought that he would feel so much better just by having someone by his side. Once again, Kei apologizes for yelling at Kayo earlier. Kayo thinks it’s partly her fault though, so she also apologizes for giving suggestions despite not knowing their situation. However, Kei denies this saying she didn’t do anything wrong. He’s about to say something, but ends up stopping himself and takes her to move on instead.

Kayo and Kei reach the spring soon after that. It lies in a clearing with a small shrine standing at its side, and it looks mystical with the sunlight shining through the trees around it. The water can heal fatigue as well, and Kei asks Kayo to drink it so she has enough energy to walk back home. They can take the water for his grandmother after that. When Kayo tries touching the water with her fingers, Kei suggests putting her feet in the spring if she’s tired after walking. She actually feels embarrassed to show her legs, but she doesn’t want to cause any trouble for him on the way home. After all, she was the one who asked him to take her along. Following Kei’s suggestion, Kayo takes off her sandals and puts her feet into the spring… but the water turns out to be colder than she expected. Due to the shock, Kayo ends up kicking the water onto herself. This surprises Kei as well, especially because her kimono is completely drenched.

Kayo sneezes when she tries to apologize to Kei, and he scolds her for being so greedy. Even if the spring has healing effects, no one would want to bathe with it from head to toe like she did LOL. Kayo protests saying she didn’t mean to do that, but Kei only gives her a towel and tells her to go wipe her body with it. That, and she should hand her kimono to him after taking it off. Noticing that Kayo is blushing, Kei asks why she’s giving him that look. She’ll catch a cold if she wears a wet kimono, and he doesn’t want her to get sick like his grandmother. This leaves Kayo with no choice, so she goes to take off her kimono. When she puts it on the ground for Kei to take, he turns red saying he’ll go dry it off at a sunny spot. ((・´∀`・))♪

After asking Kayo to stay where she is, Kei leaves and disappears into the woods. She then goes to hide in the bushes and begins wiping herself with the towel, sighing about how he must be appalled by what she did. However, just when Kayo is finally starting to feel comfortable… she hears footsteps approaching. At first she thinks Kei has returned, and she’s about to say that he’s really fast when she realizes something. Kei took her kimono to a different direction, which means those footsteps aren’t his. Kayo suddenly feels really terrified, especially because she can tell that it’s not a wild animal—the footsteps are coming from a human. She slowly moves towards the direction Kei went off to, but the footsteps are still heard behind her. Since she’s currently not wearing anything, Kayo is completely defenseless. She won’t be able to run off looking like that. If the person attacks her, she wouldn’t be able to resist.

Before Kayo can think up of a solution, a figure suddenly appears before her eyes. She gets really scared and screams out Kei’s name, but the figure seems taken aback to hear this—because he recognizes both Kei’s name and Kayo’s voice. At the same time, Kayo also finds his voice familiar. When she fearfully lifts her head, she learns that the figure is none other than Saneaki. She’s really surprised to run into him here, but he explains that he’s temporarily living nearby. He’s just as confused as she is though, and he averts his gaze as he points at her… uh, appearance. Upon remembering that she’s not wearing anything, Kayo screams and asks Saneaki not to look. He nervously swears that he didn’t mean to do that though LOL. After explaining about what happened at the spring, she apologizes and asks him to look the other way for a while. He agrees and turns his back on her, but also asks her to tell him if she needs any help.

Kayo is actually planning to call Kei. She wants to put on her kimono even if it’s still wet, then apologize to Saneaki. However, Kei actually heard Kayo’s scream. He soon comes back in a rush, and thinking that she got harassed by the figure standing nearby, he draws his swords and attacks before she can explain anything. Kei actually doesn’t know who he’s attacking until Kayo tells him that it’s Saneaki, but despite her attempt to stop him… he doesn’t lower his swords. When Saneaki greets him, Kei angrily asks about what he wants and what he did to Kayo. She quickly answers that Saneaki didn’t do anything, but sadly the rage in Kei’s eyes doesn’t go away. Just as she tries to grab his sleeve, he throws her kimono back at her—completely stopping her movements.

At first Saneaki asks Kei not to misunderstand, because he just happened to be here by total coincidence. Unfortunately, Kei doesn’t listen and tells Saneaki to stop making excuses. When Kei starts attacking him again, Saneaki notices that he’s surrounded by a strange light. Or rather, sparks of lightning. This raises a question in Saneaki’s mind, but Kei obviously won’t give him any answer in this situation. Somehow he’s under the idea that Saneaki is making fun of him, and he challenges Saneaki to a duel. Knowing that Kei won’t be satisfied otherwise, Saneaki accepts the challenge—admitting that he a bit interested in Kei too. Habakitsuki comes out to say that it’s really unusual, but she’s cheering for Saneaki. After putting on her kimono, Kayo begs them to stop because Saneaki didn’t do anything to her… but again, Kei only tells her to stay out of this.

The moment he heard Kayo’s scream earlier, Kei felt like his heart has been crushed from the inside. It’s a terrible déjà vu. The sensation reminds him of a certain day on his childhood, when his tranquil, peaceful home suddenly burned up in the flames of purgatory. That day, he has made a resolution that he’ll never lose anything again. Kei grits his teeth, desperately stopping himself from trembling. Kayo’s scream was more than enough to revive the tragedy in his memory. Meanwhile, Saneaki notes that Kei’s blades have a clear feeling to them. He mutters that they’re blessed with a good owner, then he draws his own sword. This is Kei’s first time seeing it from up close, but he can tell that Saneaki has a great sword. The pattern on its jigane is glowing with a faint yet clear light. Kei is captivated for a moment. Both Saneaki and his sword show absolutely no openings. Kei remembers this sensation as well. It’s the feeling of fear against an overwhelming power.

When Saneaki counter-attacks, the tip of his blade scratches Kei on the cheek. His movement was light, and yet the burning pain remains. Since Kei is attacking recklessly, Saneaki tells him to calm down since he won’t be able to hit anything at that state. Unfortunately, this only angers Kei even more. Once again, sparks of lightning float around him when he attacks… which finally confirms Saneaki’s suspicion. Sadly even though Kei keeps on pushing, his blades only swing in the air without actually hitting Saneaki. This revives the fear in his heart, along with a piece of memory from his childhood. That day, his village was engulfed in flames. His family got dragged out of their house by force, mocked and insulted before they were murdered. The last thing he heard from his parents was them asking him to run, and he didn’t have any other options. If it was their last wish, the only thing he could do was to fulfill it. Back then his hands were too small. He couldn’t do anything but to cry and call out to his family.

On the other hand, Saneaki says he has learned about Kei’s identity for the most part. It’s unnecessary for them to fight any further, so Saneaki decides to end it by swinging his sword towards Kei’s forehead. Kayo closes her eyes and screams at them to stop, but the next moment… everything suddenly turns silent. She can’t hear anything around them, so much that she thinks her heart might have stopped beating. After a while, the heavy silence is finally broken by Saneaki’s footsteps. He walks up to Kayo saying he has put his sword away, and he apologizes for scaring her. Upon feeling his hands on her shoulders, she slowly opens her eyes and finds him in front of her. He says she should leave the mountains as quickly as possible, and he asks what she wants to do. If it’s necessary, he doesn’t mind taking her back to Edo.

However, Kayo is terribly concerned about Kei. She hesitantly glances around and finds him crouching on the ground, so she quickly runs up to him and asks if he’s alright. He desperately yells at her not to come, but it’s too late. Kayo finds Kei kneeling on the ground while covering his forehead. His headband is lying near his feet, but there’s no blood around him. It doesn’t look like he’s wounded. Kei is safe and alive, but Kayo is shocked the moment she sees his forehead… because he actually has two horns. Kei only grits his teeth as Kayo stares at him in confusion. She turns to Saneaki and asks if he did something to Kei, but of course Saneaki didn’t do anything. If Kayo has any doubts, Saneaki tells her to just ask Kei directly. As he gets up, Kei says he won’t forgive Saneaki for doing this in front of Kayo. Saneaki thinks it’s wrong for Kei to hold a grudge against him though, since all he did was accept the challenge and cut Kei’s headband.

It takes a while before the realization sinks in, but Kayo finds it hard to accept the fact that Kei is actually an oni. She’s about to say something, but Saneaki interrupts and asks if she wants to say that oni are the enemies of humans. Kayo doesn’t deny this and points out that they got attacked by oni too during their trip through Tokaido, so Saneaki gives her a good question in return: “Are there no evil among humans?” Unfortunately, the ones who can be purely “good” since birth are only gods. This also means that no one is truly “evil” since the day they were born, because the world isn’t that black and white.

Since Saneaki is clearly defending him, Kei asks what he’s trying to achieve by doing this. Saneaki simply replies that he won’t hate Kei just because he’s an oni. Earlier he was interested because he knows the oni clan has the power to summon lightning, so he only wanted to make sure. Sadly, the world won’t be as accepting. Both humans and oni are still chained to the past. They’re still clashing with each other, so it’s only natural for Kei to hide his identity. Saneaki admits that he also went too far though. That’s why if Kei wants him to continue concealing his identity, Saneaki promises to keep it a secret as well. Habakitsuki is not happy with this, but she doesn’t really have a choice. Saneaki won’t cut Kei, and even if he does, she’ll only get the blood of an oni anyway.

When Kayo hesitantly asks if he’s really an oni, Kei quietly answers that he is indeed one. She asks why he kept this a secret, but he snaps saying he doesn’t have any other choice. If there are other ways for the oni clan to gain power and use swords, then he wants her to tell him. Saneaki also adds that the oni clan are not allowed to wield swords to begin with, all because of the law of sword hunt. No matter what kind of cruelty they have to go through, oni can only cry themselves to sleep because they don’t have any power to fight back. Humans have attacked their villages countless times. Even if everything precious to them is destroyed right before their eyes, the only thing they can do is to watch. Kei asks if Kayo and Saneaki can understand that frustration as a human.

Kei then continues that he doesn’t want to cry himself to sleep anymore, and he asks if it’s wrong for him to seek for power. This year, he’ll win the tournament and restore the oni clan’s right to wield swords. He’ll ask Iemitsu to discontinue the law of sword hunt, as he doesn’t want to experience that kind of nightmare anymore. After hearing this, Kayo finally understands why he said that power determines everything. She then runs up to him and clings onto him, rubbing his back as she asks him to stop. She understands what he wants to say, so she asks him not to cry anymore—even though he denies it. This also makes Kayo feel really bad, because she said a lot of terrible things without knowing how Kei must’ve felt.

Kayo starts crying too as she apologizes to Kei, and she wishes for the rain to fall right now. He’s shivering because of the painful memories, and she can’t help but wish for the spring rain and tears to wash them away. For a while, the two of them only cry by each other’s side—just like a pair of kids.

33 thoughts on “Ken ga Kimi – Kei

  1. Wa thank you Rin for the summaries

    This is clearly seen that everyone is started to get use to Ken behavior at the end of the journey, well except for Tsuzumaru and Suzukake whose clearly too “innocent/airhead?” about this

    I clearly laugh my heart out in chapter 2 during the festival with Kei embarrassment part (* ˚᷄ 艸 ˚᷅ *)
    ぶぁっはっはっ!!tooo cute (●´∀`●)

    Chapter 3: As expect of Tsuzumaru as well as his *black hole* stomach (◕ฺ‿◕ฺ✿ฺ). Tzuzumaru review come quickly *rage*(just kidding, i will be patient like a good girl =w=). Kamuro is a nice side kick for Kei since he understand Kei sooooo well. The bean incident……ぶぁっはっはっ。I think that Kei is too much of a Tsundere, to the level of hilarious, when playing his route i just keep on laughing and thinking that he’s a sweet-idiot non-stop (❤ฺ→艸←). かわあああいいいいいいいいい!!!!

    I hope that Rin will finish the review in both Ken and Kimi route soon, I’m really looking forward to reading :゚。+━ヾ((○*´∀`*))ノ゙━+。゚:

    • Hello, thanks for reading!
      I had to split the post into 3 pages so it won’t get confusing with the Ken and Kimi routes. The rest will be posted in this format too, but apologies because I can’t post as quickly as you want me to be. This is a classic excuse, but I’ve been super busy with work. This entry alone is 60k+ words, and I obviously can’t dish out long tl;dr like this everyday LOL. I won’t leave Ken ga Kimi unfinished though, so I’ll get to Tsuzuramaru eventually.

      • i will wait extremely patiently, i know since it almost summer and this is the exam period which is annoying for studying so i know how busy it is

        I love both of Kei happy ending and his Aramitama trauma me the most (I mean the MOST) though i have to admit i hate Kei Tokaido arc at the beginning!!!

        • I’m not a student though. xD
          Usually the end of the month is the busiest period for me, but recently I’ve been flooded with work since the beginning of each month too LOL.

          It’s understandable if people find Kei irritating at the beginning. I got annoyed too, but he got so much better after that—and that’s what matters the most, in my opinion. :)

    THANK YOU RIN <3 <3 <3 ASDJFAKSDJFALSDKFADF *screams some more*

    LOL I'm sounding so incoherent, but this post is absolutely the BEST thing for me to wake up to!! I can't wait to play his route now! I just started and it's glorious already! I can't wait for his exterior to melt and fall head over heels in love with Kayo <3 I have a good feeling that Kei really might end up being my bias of this game, but we'll see :D And oh Rin I really wish I could hug you right now. The amazing detail you put in here and it's 3 pages too! I just feel like crying, while I can't hug you in reality, the best thing I can do is a virtual hug *HUGS FOREVER AND EVER* You've seriously made me the happiest girl ever <3 It's hard to put my gratefulness in words, but I truly and utterly appreciate it. I understand that this took A LOT of work and effort on your part, so get a LOT of well deserved rest. Go at a pace that's good for you, it's fine if you take your time and go at a slow pace; it's totally understandable. Your well-being is most important too ^^

    ^ Oh btw staryna, hopefully you see this, but Rin did do his whole route. There are THREE pages, look at the bottom of her wonderful post ^^

    Once again Rin, I honestly don't know how else to put my feelings into words, but THANK YOU SO MUCH <3

    • OMG no, thank YOU for always leaving nice comments. ;-;
      At first I was planning to just do a shorter summary, but then again Ken ga Kimi’s language level is definitely not for beginners… so I ended up tl;dr-ing everything. If this helps you then I’m glad to hear that.

      Also, thanks for understanding that it takes time to type long entries. Since Ken ga Kimi is such a great game, I want to take my time to put in every single detail the game offers. I really don’t like being rushed so your comments always make my day. ❤

      I hope you’ll enjoy Kei’s route! Kei is really cute and his route is one of my favorites, putting the seiyuu bias aside. :D

      • I’m glad that my comments make you happy *blushes* It’s the least I can do to show my appreciation for all that you do <3 And yes, the details and tl;dr really helps me out a lot, I can fully enjoy and understand the game thanks to you :) But as always Rin, take your time and don't ever feel that you have to rush for us readers. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Your posts for this game are so wonderfully detailed, and real life tends to get busy, so people should understand that. Go at your own pace and your happiness comes first ^_^

        So far, I'm loving Kei's route. Sure at the moment, he's being pretty rude at the beginning, but since I know that he'll turn out into a huge teddy bear, it's worth it for now :D Haha I adore KENN too, he's a fantastic seiyuu, so I'm glad to hear that even putting the seiyuu bias aside, it's a great route. On tumblr, I accidentally got spoiled with one of Kei's CGs (the wedding one as you already know of). But it's okay as it just made me even more excited ^^ The art is truly beautiful and when I saw that CG in particular, it made me feel all warm and happy inside <3

        All the characters in this game really interest me in their own ways, which is a surprise since a lot of otome games often have that one character that I wouldn't want to play. Yet, in Ken ga Kimi, it's different and all the characters are intriguing. I'm also loving Kayo a lot, she's been a fantastic heroine so far!

        Take care of your health Rin and psst just between you and me, you're my favourite otome blogger ever *hugs*

        • Ahh, thank you! 壁|ω-o)゚+. ポッ

          LOL yeah if you want to avoid spoilers completely, it might be necessary to avoid Tumblr / Twitter. I had to do that because people kept livetweeting / liveblogging Ken ga Kimi without tagging, and then someone sent me a message on LINE that Kei is actually an oni. That kind of killed it for me because it’s a major spoiler, but thankfully the game is so great that I still enjoyed it anyway. ;_; I hope Rejet continues to use Yomi’s art for their future products, her style is absolutely gorgeous.

          Glad to hear that you like all the characters. I usually have that one character I’m not really interested in, but in Ken ga Kimi I ended up loving everyone… so hopefully you’ll love them too. :D

  3. Thank you for writing such a detailed summary out of your busy work life… your one of the best bloggers I know that writes in such detail for us non-japanese speaking readers, so we can amerce and enjoy reading character story’s were interested in, even if we can’t play the VN :) Love your summaries and the the CG’s for this game looks amazing :) xx

    • No problem, and thank you for the comment! (*ゝω・)ノ アリガ㌧♪
      A lot of people have been rushing me to post updates as fast as possible, and it makes me really sad because I don’t want to skip the details BUT I obviously can’t write that fast. So your comment really makes me happy, glad to know that you find these posts useful. ;-;

      The art for Ken ga Kimi is indeed beautiful. The production itself took more than a year to finish, but the quality is amazing. The artist, Yomi, is now working on Rejet’s new series LIP ON MY PRINCE. It’s a drama CD series so I won’t be summarizing it, but if you like Yomi’s art, you can find more on the staff blog. :)

  4. jkdagdkjsfsdakjfhsal *mashing keyboard at Aramitama end* NO! NO! NOOOOOO! KEIII!!! Please don’t die, don’t die….. (TTTTOTTTT) I’m not much of a fan of Kei (thanks to Tokaido Arc) but the way you write about him changed my opinion. He is sooooooooooo cute~
    And gee this one is long, not that I complained because your detailed review is something that I had waited for days? weeks? months? Meh, don’t care about the detail. I wanted to see Tsuzuranmaru but…. well, you save him for the last so I will be a patient reader and wait patiently for it.
    Anyway, Kei route is so cute, sweet, and satisfying though *sob* his Aramitama is tragic, the writing pained me so much I tried so hard to not cry. The CG of the ending is beautiful but I-WANT-KEI-BACK! *rage* Eh, well, but his Kushimitama made me rofl on the floor. The other is just…. lol. The way they threw a prank on Kei is just….. hilarious! Sorry Kei but I couldn’t feel bad about that since…. *pfft* mwahahahaha!
    Kei’s Sakimitama is awesome as well, I love the yamabuki scene as well. It gives me a warm feeling inside since it’s so damned touching all the button of my pure maiden heart. Oh and Kei’s grandparents are awesome. His Nigimitama however made me conflicted…. it was saddening when I read it, the conclusiona in Sakimitama gives me a good closure so the Nigimitama is just… well, yeah, that.
    For Kei’s ending the one I love the most is Kushimitama, because…. lol, I couldn’t help but love his tsundere reaction…. and Kei’s cuteness. Sakimitama followed closely behind and then the Aramitama although it traumatize me so much I don’t know whether I would read any more of the other Aramitama. Conflicted about the Nigimitama but I guess after reading the Sakimitama, it fell low in my rank.
    Oh yeah, one more thing before I forget. Can I ask for the CG of Ken ga Kimi after you are done with it? And do you think having Ken’s photo when he smiled cutely it was unfair, inside my wallet is a good idea?

    • Kei gets a lot of hatred because of the Tokaido arc. Not gonna lie, he annoyed me too at first LOL. It’s just he becomes so much sweeter when you do his own route, and he treats Kayo nicely too even in other people’s route. As for Tsuzuramaru, there’s a reason why I’m saving him for last. I know it’s tempting, but everything becomes more meaningful when you do him last. :3c

      For Kei, his Aramitama and Nigimitama are his bad endings. Well, for Nigimitama it also depends on how you view it… but personally I don’t think Kayo is truly “happy” there. At least she still has Kei though, unlike the ironic tragedy in Aramitama. The other guys don’t exactly follow this ending pattern though, just saying.

      I actually haven’t saved the CGs myself, but I’ll try once I’m done blogging this game. Oh, and it sure is a good idea. I have pictures of Kei’s smile too all over my PC. He’s just too cute LOL.

      • Yeah, I’m not gonna lie either, he is so annoying, I was like ‘Yeah, I’m woman so what?!’ but I guess first impression really isn’t everything. I know why Tsuzuranmaru should stay as the last…… after all I had spoiled myself about it but I just take glimpse because your tl;dr is what I’m waiting for~

        Aramitama is completely sad ending for Kei at the point of tragical. I would say that the Nigimitama is more bitter-sweet than actually bad, though compared to his Sakimitama, it is bad. Oh, is that so? So I guess when I heard Kenishi ‘epic’ ending is actually in his Aramitama and something like Tsuzuranmaru true ending is Nigimitama (or Sakimitama, I forgot) isn’t so wrong…

        Oh yeah, you played Saikyou right now right? How does it feels going after the one who killed the oni in bloodied way? Does he redeemable?

        • I didn’t want to bring this up, but since a LOT of people complained about how everyone underestimates Kayo for being a woman… Maybe we all should keep in mind that Ken ga Kimi takes place in feudal Japan, and in that period women were viewed as inferior compared to men. It’s not that they’re looking down on her or being sexist. It’s just how things work in that period, so that kind of behavior is considered normal because women aren’t supposed to fight to begin with. Especially because of Kayo’s background. Omatsu is learning naginata because she comes from a warrior family, but Kayo comes from a merchant’s family—the lowest class in terms of social status. That being said, I do agree that Kei is rude at the beginning LOL.

          As for Tsuzuramaru, if you’re referring to something related to Marebito… then I wasn’t actually talking about that. There’s something else that makes Tsuzuramaru perfect for the last. 8D

          Also, Sakyou is actually a very lovable character. I like him a lot despite that personality of his LOL.

  5. Ahh, I understand now why it took a month even considering your busy schedule! LOL. Ahhhh. Kei I can’t //// why is he so sweet guhh

    Are the other guys also like this? I really like how they somehow connect all the guards to your main guy like this as well. Haha!

    Kureha was really cool!! I was kind of expecting someone a little bitchy since that’s how it usually goes for otoge third wheels but ahhh. Kureha is really cool and really sweet!! The women in this game are the best ( Kayo especially! I didn’t think I’d like a heroine this much. I hope she doesn’t change in the other routes? )

    Thank you for the summary!! I always look forward to yours because you always have really detailed summaries and cute commentaries as well! Thanks a bunch, I can’t wait for the other routes!

    • LOL yeah, sorry it took so long. I can only write at night and on holidays now, so this massive textwall took forever.

      Also because I got absorbed into Bravely Default, but that’s a lame excuse.

      Right? When Kureha first appeared I thought we’re going to see that classic love triangle, but that was so unexpectedly awesome LOL. Omatsu is cool too, though she mainly receives her spotlight in Saneaki’s route. Oh, and you don’t have to worry. Kayo remains awesome throughout the whole game. She’s always strong and supportive. She does have her moments of weakness (like how she fell into depression in Kei’s Nigimitama), but her personality never wavers even when things get blown out of proportions. Personally, I think Kayo is one of the best heroines I’ve ever seen in any otome game.

      Thanks for reading, I’ll do my best to finish Sakyou’s route as quickly as possible. (ง •̀_•́)ง

  6. Hello Rin,

    I read both “About” and “FAQ”, but found no method to contact you about link exchanges as the comments were closed. I apologise for asking something completely unrelated to this review, but I was wondering if it was okay for me to add your blog to my blogroll? If you’d like to add mine, here is the address:

    Thank you for your time, and I’m really sorry if I happened to overlook a better method to ask you this! >_<

  7. At last, Kei -kun is <3. Tsundere guys is <3

    thanks for your hard effort for this! I know exactly how you felt right now since I'm also working already. My time for playing also lessen (and yes,just when I have my own PSP, Vita came and some otome games are migrating to Vita ;A;) . Just take your time in writing/playing this game.

    We'll wait patiently for more updates!

    More power to you RIn!

    • There’s a lot of good otome games on the PSP though, so you can take your time catching up before buying a Vita. I’m not in a rush myself, considering my backlog has turned into a blackhole with too many stuff in it LOL.

      Thank you for reading and understanding! I’m working my way through Sakyou’s route right now. :D

  8. Another great post/storytelling :’DDDD thank you for doing this so that people like me who can’t understand jap might enjoy reading your review! I cannot wait for the others’ route ; v ;

    Anywho, after reading everything, Aramitama ending made me go “askajdkajd rageee y u do dis” while the kushimitama was sooo d’awwwwww, personally I prefer the Ken route rather than the kimi one and best ending for me was the kushimitama one xD it was because everyone knew there that he was an oni + he won the competition + he got the girl! it feels sooo canon LOL, but sadly, only one kiss cg? hopefully in the other routes there would be more raburabu moments xDDD

    Sorry for the long post orz, I’m excited for your next review! 8DDDD

    • Hello, thanks for reading! :D
      I’m almost done with Sakyou’s route, so it should be up in a few days.

      Ken ga Kimi is heavily plot-based, and so the romance isn’t as thick as otome games that take place in modern days / high school setting. I think each guy has one (two for Tsuzuramaru) kiss CG each, and most of the ラブラブ moments take place in the drama CDs instead. I agree about Kei’s endings though, his Kushimitama is undoubtedly one of his best even though it doesn’t show their wedding. That’s about the only thing that might make Sakimitama better, though it all depends on your opinion. Personally I prefer the dramatic tournament too than the shoujo manga-ish drama with Kayo’s father. :D

  9. …I honestly lost count with how many times I re-read Kei’s route. Lol.

    Kei you cute little tsundere oni~ X3 When I read the drama CD translations for Ken ga Kimi – Kashinfuu ~The Path I Walk with You~ , I think that maybe, just maybe the Kushimitama end for Kei could have also applied as one of Kei’s happy endings for that drama CD since as far as I see, most of the Ken route endings for the other characters are all …heart breaking except for Kei which had it equal. One happy end and one bad end for both the Ken and Kimi routes. There’s a chance that Kei might one day stay over in the Kibi province after the Oni’s and humans settled together for some time so… um, yeah, that’s what I think regarding the epilogue of Kei’s track in the drama CD. ^^”

    And also, I remember you mentioning the color hints of choices that leads to the Ken or Kimi route of each character to another user… Sorry to trouble you but do you have a link of the walkthrough? Thanks to this though -And your comments- , I like to give this game a try and experience it all. Again, thank you!

    P.S. I had to agree Kayo’s Shiromuku is pretty in Kei’s Sakimitama ending. I love the design there. >U<

    • I actually didn’t use any guides for Ken ga Kimi, but if you Google “剣が君 攻略” there should be a lot. Basically the colors are:

      Blue → Ken route, Aramitama
      Green → Ken route, Kushimitama
      Yellow → Kimi route, Sakimitama
      Red → Kimi route, Nigimitama

      Even if you pick the wrong choice, there’s always the rewind / 巻き戻し button. :D

      As for the Ken route, Tsuzuramaru and Suzukake do have happy endings there. It’s not 100% happy like Kei’s Kushimitama, but definitely not heartbreaking either. In Kei’s case though, I believe Kei’s Kashinfuu track takes place after his Sakimitama—after his wedding with Kayo in Kibi Province. It’s unclear whether he stays in Edo or goes back to his hometown in Kushimitama, but I guess we’ll find out in the Vita port since they’re adding after stories. :3c

  10. Dear Rin
    I noticed your site about one and a half year ago while looking after amnesia CG (around the time amnesia was made into horrible anime version), and as i went through your summaries on Amnesia i noticed something: im addicted to your style. Since that time i have read a lot of your summaries and i loved them all (i’m picky about the plot but Heart Glass Princess was so far one of my favourite). I never knew otome games could be so exciting. Now i’am waiting patiently for the new summaries on Ken ga kimi, reading over and over again Kei route whitch i want to tell you i love to the core.
    Kei is such a sweet guy, i dont even know anymore if hes bold or tsundere, but i love your summary on him soooooooooo much. Your comments like about Kei being so cute are very stimulating (cuz he IS so cute ha). Also dialouges you add from time to time makes me laugh almost every time. I felt like crying (and still do) at his aramitama end ToT So far hes my favourite (im very curious about Tsuzuramaru and Suzukake route).
    At the end of this long boring note i want to tell you THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORK I LOVE IT and i hope you will write again, your summaries are the best i have ever read. Also you are motivating me to leran japanese, as much as i could go with listening i cant read at all, so now im learning. I’m just a poor little girl from europe with roken english, who fails her tests because she prefers to read your blog rather than study and i want you to know i will still do. I will read more of your summaries and wait patiently (hunger is the best spice) for Enishi route that i’am starting to be interested in when i saw your status “now crying”.
    Hope i didnt creep you out or made angry (i often do unintentionaly) and that my love for you and your work will reach your strong heart.

    • Hello. Thank you for leaving such a nice comment! ;o;

      I’m currently going through Enishi’s route really slowly, but I’m still working on it. The last months of 2014 had been super busy for me, so I didn’t have many chances to touch otome games and write route summaries. It’s gotten a bit better after the holidays though, so there should be some progress soon. Hopefully. Thanks for being so patient with me. _(:3」∠)_

      Also, glad to hear that you’re getting the motivation to learn Japanese. It’s by no means easy and needs a lot of dedication, but it gets fun once you get the hang of the basics… so I hope you’ll enjoy the experience as much as I did! Your English is good though. I’m not a native English speaker myself, so don’t worry about that when you talk to me. BUT please take some time to review for your tests LOL. I’d feel bad if you fail because of me. :’D

  11. OMFG I never understood the appeal of a tsundere but KEI IS TOO CUTE ;w;
    I felt like table flipping at the Aramitama ending, but I still loved it. So much pain but so much love at the same time /cries
    Actually liked his Nigimitama ending the least… It doesn’t sound like a real happy ending (even though the same suggest that) when Kayo just leaves like that O:
    The thousand yamabuki and Kei grandparents were amazing xD

    Thanks again for the amazing work! As a Japanese learner, I really appreciate it! <3

    • You’re right, it’s not a real happy ending. It doesn’t resolve Kei’s issue with Kayo’s father, he didn’t accomplish what he came to Edo for, and Kayo seems to be in doubt too. I always think of it as a bad ending disguised as a happy one. It’s probably fair in that sense, since Kei has a happy ending in his Ken route. :D

  12. Pingback: My Feelings About Ken ga Kimi (剣が君) | Santi's Blog

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