Ken ga Kimi – Enishi

So, we’ve finally reached the route that upsets me more than anything else in the entire game. Despite his carefree and flirty attitude, Enishi has a surprisingly heavy issue that’s been dragging on for a long time. Prepare for despair ahead.

縁 (CV:置鮎龍太郎)

Enishi works as an official spy of the shogunate. He’s an expert in martial arts, but he also has an irresponsible, happy-go-lucky personality. He won’t take any action unless it’s for something that holds his interest. Usually he can be found drinking, napping or hitting on women on the streets. His delusions tend to go out of hand and can be rather difficult to stop. He screws up too from time to time, such as running into trees or getting into drunken fights. 23 years old.


Tokaido Fake Wedding Parade Arc

Hakone Checkpoint

If Kayo calls for Enishi’s help, he’ll ask her to trust him and leap into his chest. Since Enishi’s words sound very reassuring, Kayo doesn’t even stop to hesitate. She immediately jumps off the horse’s back, believing that he will surely catch her—that everything will be alright. Unfortunately, things just… don’t turn out as expected. Enishi happily accepts Kayo as she flies into his arms, wishing that it might send love to bloom between them. However, Kayo ends up knocking Enishi down instead—causing the footmen nearby to scream in shock as they get dragged into the impact. By the time she realizes it, Kayo finds herself lying on top of Enishi on the ground. The footmen are bunched up around his feet, holding their heads in pain.

Kayo is clearly shocked to see this result. She wonders if Enishi failed to catch her properly, causing him to stagger and knock down the footmen around them. If that’s really the case, it would mean everything happened because she was too heavy—which she finds horribly embarrassing. At the same time, Sakyou sighs and wonders why Kayo did something so foolish by not relying on him instead LOL. She gets even more startled when Enishi grumbles about how he didn’t call “shabby men” to come to him, and then he kicks the footmen to get them off his feet. It sends them to fly and land with a loud, painful crash. Kayo is left speechless, as hearing the crash alone is painful enough for her.

When Sakyou notes that the situation just got even worse, Enishi brushes him off saying he couldn’t care less about the footmen. Instead, he apologizes to Kayo and asks if she’s unharmed. She nods saying she’s alright, but just as he sighs in relief… she points out that the footmen he kicked are now unconscious. Just as she says, he turns around to find both of them lying on the ground. Sakyou thinks Enishi took way too long to realize what he’s done though, then he goes over to return the charm Kayo dropped. He probably picked it up during the commotion they caused. She happily thanks him and explains that she dropped it when the horse went out of control, so she was really afraid that the footmen might notice.

Sakyou smiles saying he’s glad it all worked out in the end, but he wants Kayo to rely on him right from the start next time—because it should be more secure that way. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* Before she can figure out how to respond, Enishi interrupts to ask what he means by that. Enishi looks clearly offended by the implication that he failed so hard at protecting Kayo, but Sakyou calmly says that it means exactly as it sounds. ✧*:・゚(◡‿◡✿)*:・゚✧ By the time Suzukake manages to calm the horse down, he’s really shocked to see the footmen lying unconscious on the ground. When he asks about what happened, Kayo admits that she doesn’t really get it either… but it was their collision with Enishi that brought this outcome.

Suzukake is about to treat the footmen when Sakyou quickly stops him. He points out that there’s no one outside except for them right now, and so they should use this chance to leave the checkpoint. Suzukake clearly looks reluctant to leave the footmen alone, so Sakyou explains that they’re currently in a difficult situation. Even if it was an accident, nothing can change the fact that Enishi kicked the footmen away… and they’d be in trouble if the checkpoint officials stop them here. After hearing this, Suzukake decides to give up on treating the footmen. It doesn’t look like they’re injured anyway, so it’s probably okay to leave them be—though he doesn’t seem 100% sure either.

Everyone else comes out of the office soon after that. They’re obviously confused to see the unconscious footmen, but Sakyou asks them to save the talk for later. Right now, they should leave the checkpoint as quickly as possible. They had no problems getting through the inspection, so he doesn’t want them to be stopped because of this ridiculous accident. The brief explanation is enough for Kei to figure out that it must be Enishi’s doing, which Sakyou confirms with a smile. ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ As Hanzou goes to lead the way, Mitsuyoshi nods and agrees to hurry on ahead. After all, they can’t afford to be delayed here.

Suzukake asks if Kayo can ride the horse. He apologizes for putting her through a scary experience, but she shakes her head and thanks him instead—as she manages to stay unharmed because of him and Enishi. Kayo has to admit that it was truly a surprising accident though, and Suzukake shares the same sentiment. From there, they safely leave the checkpoint. The whole thing nearly gave her a heart attack. She can’t help but wonder why things ended up that way, even though they got through the inspection very easily. No matter how much she thinks about it, she just doesn’t understand.

It’s all because of Enishi LOL.

As they resume their journey towards Hakone Station, Kayo calls out to Enishi—who’s walking closely to her horse. She feels bad for pushing him down earlier, so she apologizes for crushing him with her weight. He doesn’t see it as a problem at all though, and he assures her that it’s alright. He’s quite sturdy, and she was light despite her concerns. Kayo still feels guilty since Enishi seemed to be in pain when she knocked him down, but he says it was all the footmen’s fault. Their doumaru armors and swords were so heavy he thought his legs were done for, not to mention they also stained his kimono and left their footprints on it.

Enishi sadly frowns as he tries to brush the dirt off his kimono. After watching him for a while, Kayo can’t help but to hold out her hand—still believing that it was her fault. When he looks up at her in confusion, she gives him an apology and brushes off the dirt for him. It comes off really easily, but since she’s riding a horse, she can only reach his shoulders. She then asks him to allow her to do that much, but he quickly panics and stops her instead. Since Kayo clearly looks reluctant, Enishi tells her that he just can’t allow a princess to do such a thing.

Before Kayo can argue further, Enishi changes the subject by asking if she encountered any problems at the checkpoint—reminding her that she had to go through inspection with hitomi-onna. She replies that she didn’t run into any problems at all, and the inspection itself was over before she knew it. He says he’s glad to hear that, jokingly adding that he won’t forgive anyone who picks on his princess. Kayo also tells Enishi that Hanzou provided her with the perfect make-up. It made her look exactly the same as Hisahime in the pass, so it didn’t raise any suspicions at all.

As Enishi nods and concludes that all is well, Kayo points out that he might possibly be injured after the accident. She suggests asking Suzukake to check it for him, but again… he reassures her that he’s alright. If anything, he’s seriously frustrated about the disturbance caused by the footmen. It was a great chance for him to catch her in his loving embrace, and yet they totally put it to waste. Kayo blushes upon hearing this, while Enishi promises that no matter what happens, he will definitely catch her in his arms next time. However, Kayo realizes that Enishi is probably doing this for her sake. Maybe he doesn’t want her to think too hard about what happened, so he’d only get more concerned if she keeps blaming herself.

With that in mind, Kayo replies that she’ll be looking forward to that—praising Enishi for how reliable he is. He seems surprised and asks if she really means it, but he’s clearly delighted to hear her answer. Kayo nods saying it feels encouraging to know that someone will be there to catch her in case of emergencies, and so Enishi happily answers that he’ll always catch her—anywhere, anytime, as much as necessary. He might have failed to do so earlier, but he definitely won’t give up. Kayo chuckles upon seeing this, as she finds Enishi cute when he’s burning up in determination. He says he wouldn’t mind turning it into a pinky promise either, and she gladly accepts the idea. As they link their little fingers together, Kayo thinks about how Enishi will surely catch her if she falls during this journey—until the moment they arrive at Sunpu.

What Kayo doesn’t know, however, is that Enishi helped her to protect Juzumaru. Her safety means the sword is safe as well, and he’s relieved that no one recognized its distinctive pattern. Not that anyone in this vicinity would know about Juzumaru though.

VS Mantis Youkai

If Kayo asks everyone not to get hurt, Enishi answers by smiling at her. Now that she’s cutely pleading for their safety, he says they can’t afford to get a single scratch. Knowing that Kayo is worried, Enishi decides to stay behind and fight the youkai to comfort her. Kei notes that he’s saying it so lightly, but decides to leave the youkai to him while everyone else goes on ahead. Before leaving, Kayo asks Enishi not to push himself too hard. He assures her that there’s no need to worry, and instead asks her to give him a reward if he returns unharmed.

The youkai laughs as everyone makes their escape, mockingly saying that it’ll end them all once it’s done dealing with Enishi—who’s now blocking its way. The youkai tries taunting him by saying that he should have stayed with his friends, but he simply says that staying alone is clearly the best option. That way, he can hog the spotlight and impress Kayo all by himself. (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ The youkai thinks he’s just spouting out nonsense though. He’s just a human, and yet he’s not wielding any weapons. He must be dreaming if he thinks he can defeat it. The youkai seems to be feeling superior due to its invisibility, and it’s true that ordinary samurai probably wouldn’t be able to strike back. However, the youkai fails to hide its presence properly—making it an opponent of no importance for Enishi.

Enishi asks if the youkai wants to test out this “nonsense” with its body, then he swings his fist in the air. The youkai cries out as Enishi’s punch hits its stomach, but he’s not done yet. He calmly says it’s still too early for it to raise any complaints, and without giving it any chance to counterattack… he strikes again from the side. The youkai shows itself as it hits the ground, clearly confused about how Enishi managed to detect its location. He doesn’t say anything, only answering its question in his mind. Compared to the man who taught him swordplay, the youkai is an easy opponent.

Enishi then proceeds to kick the youkai away towards a tree trunk. He’s about to deliver the killing blow when he realizes that the youkai is already knocked out, so he sighs saying it’s so weak and gutless. This battle doesn’t even reach the level of warm-up exercise for him, so much that he’d feel bad for accepting a reward from Kayo… though he’s still going to accept it anyway. A mischievous grin appears on Enishi’s face as he rambles to himself, then he leaves to chase after the others.

When Enishi catches up, Kayo feels really relieved to see him unharmed. She even asks Suzukake to lower her from the horse, welcoming him back as he runs up to them. He apologizes for keeping them waiting, but Saneaki replies that he was unexpectedly fast—which surprised everyone. Enishi instantly grins and soaks up the praise, proudly saying that it’s the obvious result of his little effort. Behind them, Kei scowls and mutters that Enishi gets carried away really easily LOL. That aside, Kayo says she’s really glad to see Enishi safe. Since she looks like she’s about to cry, he teasingly asks if she was that worried about him… and she honestly admits that she was. No matter how strong he is, she was afraid that something might happen to him.

Enishi instantly falls silent upon hearing Kayo’s answer. When she calls his name in confusion, he quickly shakes himself out of it—warning her to never look up at other men with those teary eyes LOL. Now that he’s kept his promise by returning unscathed, Enishi asks Kayo to give him a kiss as the reward. ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ Surprised by his request, she turns red and tries to argue… but then he closes his eyes and leans closer to her—patiently waiting for the kiss. (人´∀`)☆゜’・:* For a moment, Kayo doesn’t know what to do. Enishi has put his life on the line and fought for her, but she can’t do something as embarrassing as kissing him. She eventually asks if she can kiss him on the cheek instead. He seems a bit reluctant, but he agrees and urges her to do it quickly.

Noticing Kayo’s hesitation, Kei quietly comes over and puts his finger on Enishi’s cheek. The next second, Enishi opens his eyes and happily thanks Kayo for the kiss. He says that her kiss is giving him the courage to live, which fills her with guilt since she didn’t actually do it. 。゚(゚ノ∀`゚)゚。アヒャヒャ Kei scoffs saying Enishi is such a simpleton, and he stops Enishi from fooling around any further—they have to hurry on ahead. As Saneaki puts it, it’d be troublesome if they don’t reach their destination before dusk. Enishi smiles as Kayo gets back onto the horse, and he tells her that he’s going to get a real kiss from her next time.

Kayo is surprised to hear this, because it means Enishi actually knew that she didn’t kiss him. He says it’s only obvious since Kei’s finger was dry and rough, but he doesn’t really mind. She was genuinely worried about him, and that’s enough to make him happy. When he saw how sad she looked, he felt that he truly wanted to protect her… and not because of his job as a guard. Enishi’s expression turns serious as he says this. Somehow it makes Kayo really nervous, so she can only thank him in return. He quickly reverts to his usual self though. He answers that he should be the one to thank her, because she showed her quite a lot today—such as her worried and embarrassed expressions.

When Kei stops their idle chatter and tells them to get moving, Enishi smiles and cheerfully obeys.

Yes. This is Enishi’s route, so no whining here. ゚.+:。ヾ(o・ω・)ノ゚.+:。

Yui Station

During dinner, Enishi takes the fine bones off their grilled fish for Kayo. He asks her to eat the sashimi as she waits, recommending a delicious sashimi set for her. When she thanks him, he smiles saying it feels so nice to have this interaction with her… because they sound like newlyweds. He laughs and calls her cute when she blushes, partly because he knows that Mitsuyoshi and the others would scold him if they were here. They’d tell him that people would get suspicious if the princess and her attendant sit across from each other during a meal, but he finds it boring otherwise. They have delicious food for dinner tonight, and he wants to eat them with someone. Kayo feels bad and apologizes for all the worries she’s caused him, but Enishi doesn’t seem to mind at all. Instead, he tells her to eat her dinner quickly.

As Enishi starts peeling the fish bones, Kayo notices that he has a fine way of holding his chopsticks. She finds this rather surprising, and it causes her to wonder what kind of life he leads. Curious, she decides to ask if he’s a bodyguard by profession. He answers by asking if she’s finally developing an interest in him. When she blushes and awkwardly averts her gaze, he laughs and asks her not to be embarrassed. Back to her question, he answers that he’s just a humble player—just as she can see for herself. He took this job because he ran out of money, and one can’t enjoy Edo without money. From his response, Kayo can tell that Enishi must be living in Edo. She tries asking about the specific area, but he only asks her to make a guess. If she gets it right on the first try, he’ll buy some abekawa-mochi for her in Sunpu tomorrow.

Kayo’s immediate guess is if Enishi lives at Asakusa. It’s close to Yoshiwara and has many festivals, so the people of Asakusa are known for their stylish and cheerful image. Sadly, it’s not the right answer. He says he lives somewhere near Edo Castle, but still doesn’t give her the exact location. Instead, he changes the subject by saying that he wants to learn more about her too. Kayo nods saying she’ll gladly answer any questions, and so Enishi gets straight to the point by asking if she has a lover in Edo. Kayo instantly gets flustered upon hearing this, with Enishi telling her that there’s no need to hide it. He pouts and wonders if she doesn’t trust him enough to share it with him, and since he looks terribly sad… she eventually admits that she doesn’t have a lover.

Happy with Kayo’s answer, Enishi grins saying the food tastes much more delicious now. In addition, he might be able to have a nice dream too tonight. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* He finishes his dinner soon after that, and then asks if he should put her shiromuku in the inner chamber. She apologizes for leaving it in the corner of the room after taking it off, but he assures her that it’s fine. He’ll take care of the shiromuku for her, so he wants her to enjoy her meal and rest well. As he lifts the outfit and makes a comment about its thick volume, he quietly makes sure that Juzumaru is safe. Enishi gets really startled when Kayo calls him right after that. As he nervously turns around, she politely asks him to take care of her too tomorrow. He nods saying they’re just one step away from Sunpu, so she can leave everything to him. After bowing her head to thank Enishi, Kayo resumes eating her delicious dinner.

VS Shiguragi

As Shiguragi begins examining Kayo, Enishi is running through the woods—searching for her. He’s about to call out to her when he hears faint voices, and he quietly takes a closer look. In the clearing, Enishi sees Shiguragi ordering Kayo to stop struggling. He realizes that the ambush was probably a diversion created to pull her away from them, but this situation is rather problematic. Even if he jumps in to save her, it’d be useless if they hold her hostage. A frontal clash would only put him at a disadvantage, which means he’ll have to use other methods.

While Enishi is busy thinking up of a strategy, Shiguragi orders his men to take off Kayo’s shiromuku. One of them tells her to stay still if she doesn’t want to get hurt, and in her desperation… she draws the bride’s dagger for self-defense. Shiguragi and his men look clearly surprised when she warns them not to get any closer, saying they’ll get hurt too if they underestimate her just because she’s a woman. The oni in front of her only scoffs and calls her stupid. He doesn’t think a girl like her can wield a blade, but before he can do anything to her… Shiguragi stops him. Ignoring Kayo’s protest, Shiguragi snatches the dagger off her hands. Upon seeing the emblem, he realizes that the dagger—just as he suspected—is actually Juzumaru.

Turning back to Kayo, Shiguragi asks about where she obtained Juzumaru from. She looks both surprised and confused though. This leads him to the realization that she probably doesn’t know anything, which makes him wonder if the wedding parade was arranged to deliver Juzumaru to Sunpu. As Kayo stares at Juzumaru in disbelief, Enishi is starting to panic. The situation took a turn for the worse, and he doesn’t have any time to think. He begins rummaging through his pocket, looking for a certain item. It takes him quite a while to find it though, because apparently he stored all sorts of things in there—including the umezuke he received from Hanzou.

Meanwhile, Shiguragi calls Kayo foolish for playing dumb. She firmly replies that she really doesn’t know anything, and she has no intentions of answering his question either. Unfortunately for her, he points out that her obstinacy won’t change the situation. Shiguragi then orders his men to pin Kayo down, and they push her back to the ground—warning her not to struggle. In her mind, she desperately begs for someone to come and help her. That’s when she hears Enishi’s voice, telling her to close her eyes. Kayo is obviously startled, while Shiguragi glances around in alert. The very next second, smoke rises up and fills the entire clearing. Enishi has thrown a smoke bomb at them, effectively clouding their vision.

Shiguragi curses and quickly orders his men to capture the villain, to which Enishi replies that they’re the villains here. In the chaos that ensues, Kayo is coughing heavily. She can’t breathe due to the smoke, and she’s desperately calling for her father in her mind. At the same time, Shiguragi is infuriated and takes out his chained scythe. Enishi comments that it’s a troublesome weapon to deal with, but he draws his sword just in time to deflect the attack. While the smoke screen is clearly affecting Shiguragi’s breathing, it’s not putting him to sleep like it’s supposed to. This brings Enishi to realize that Shiguragi isn’t an ordinary oni, while Shiguragi asks if Enishi is a shinobi working for the shogunate. Enishi answers by asking if he looks like a shinobi to Shiguragi. If that’s the case, then Shiguragi must have terrible eyesight LOL.

Ignoring Enishi’s joke, Shiguragi tells him to quit playing dumb. He wants to know why they’re carrying one of the Five Heavenly Swords with them, but Enishi only shrugs and repeats what Kayo said—even if he knew, he wouldn’t tell them. Setting that aside, he believes Shiguragi should be reaching his limits by now. Just as he predicted, Shiguragi soon groans and collapses to his knees—cursing him for using such a dirty trick. Enishi points out that it’s his own fault though, as his resistance only caused him to absorb more smoke. He keeps his blade ready as he walks up to Shiguragi, but makes it clear that he’s not going to kill the latter. Instead, he’ll take Shiguragi to a thorough interrogation at the magistrate’s office.

Upon hearing this, Shiguragi laughs and asks if Enishi thinks he’d lower himself to mere humans like that. He’d rather end his own life, and that’s exactly what he’s going to do. Shiguragi then bids Enishi farewell and takes his scythe, saying he’ll be waiting in death. Before Enishi can stop him, Shiguragi slices himself and collapses with a defiant smile. Enishi is definitely not pleased to see this, since the suicide has left him with a terrible aftertaste. However, he does feel relieved that the bandits failed to snatch Juzumaru away.

By the time Enishi remembers about Kayo, she has fallen asleep. He can’t blame her though, considering the smoke bomb hit her with full force. Just then Enishi hears Kayo calling her father in her sleep, and her voice leaves him speechless for a moment. When he thinks about it, they’re imposing such a cruel task on her. As a part of the shogunate’s plan, he’s dragging innocent people like her into this problem and hides a lot of secrets as well. He’s certain that she’d hate him if she learns the truth, though he’s aware that it’s his own fault—it’s too late anyway.

When Kayo opens her eyes later, she finds herself in Enishi’s arms. She gets really startled upon realizing that he’s carrying her through the woods, but he quickly asks her not to struggle. It’s dangerous and she might fall off. In her panic, Kayo apologizes to Enishi and begs him to let her down. She assures him that he can walk by herself, but he only asks her not to worry about that. She’s about to argue when he adds that he can’t allow her to travel through the woods on foot, but then he points out that they can’t let her return with a filthy shiromuku. It’d be troublesome to explain everything to the others. Realizing that he’s right, she quietly nods and apologizes once again—with him reassuring her that it’s alright.

Kayo then asks about Shiguragi, and Enishi replies that he tied the bandits up before leaving. This brings her to ask if he defeated the bandits, to which he answers that it’d be cool if he did. Sadly, he knew it was impossible to take on such a large group without using a dirty trick. Upon hearing this, Kayo realizes that it must be Enishi who made the smoke screen. She asks if the bandits fell asleep like she did, and he nods saying it was a sleep bomb bearing the arrow crest of the Iga clan. As people say, providing is preventing. Now that it’s over, he’s glad that she’s unharmed. She feels terrible for troubling him so much, but he tells her not to be concerned. After all, it’s their job to protect her.

Just then Kayo remembers the bride’s dagger, and Enishi informs her that it’s safe as well—they still have it with them. She feels relieved to hear that, but she falls silent when he returns it to her. When he asks if there’s something wrong, she tells him about what Shiguragi said. According to Shiguragi, the dagger is actually Juzumaru—one of the Five Heavenly Swords. Enishi instantly turns silent upon hearing this, but quickly pulls himself out of it when he notices Kayo’s confused expression. He adds that he was shocked, then he wonders out loud if Shiguragi was telling the truth. Kayo answers that she doesn’t know, but she noticed that Shiguragi recognized the sword almost immediately. If the sword is really Juzumaru, it means she’s been given the task of carrying it to Sunpu without any knowledge of it.

This subject is making Enishi visibly uncomfortable. He replies that he doesn’t know if Shiguragi’s words are true or false, but a tournament is currently being held in Sunpu. It reminds Kayo of what Mitsuyoshi told them at the beginning of their journey, while Enishi adds that Juzumaru will probably be handed to for the winner of the tournament. Kayo nods in understanding, but something seems to be bothering her. When Enishi asks if she still has any concerns, she hesitates for a moment. She’s aware that she probably shouldn’t say it, but eventually decides to share her doubt. It’s only been a short while since Tadanaga’s death, and she can’t help but wonder why they’d hold a tournament when people are still mourning. It’s not supposed to be the time for festivities, and so she wonders if the tournament itself has something to do with Tadanaga’s suicide.

Enishi slowly nods, agreeing that it is a possibility. Tokugawa Tadanaga, the head of the Sunpu clan, was brought to his downfall and suicide by Tokugawa Iemitsu, his older brother and the third shogun. He was stripped of his rank and civil rights as the daimyo of the Sunpu Clan, while his son, Choushichirou, is now in confinement. The Five Heavenly Swords themselves opened a long period of war, and they became the symbol of peace and tranquility in Hinomoto. Any clan will gladly employ a samurai who’s obtained one of them. Juzumaru, too, might possibly be a material used by someone to set influence in Sunpu. Maybe as a present for the new castellan of Sunpu. Who knows, the tournament itself might be prearranged too. Kayo finds it unlikely for the tournament to be fixed, but she’s aware that she has accepted a dangerous mission. The more she thinks about it, the more terrifying it gets.

Noticing Kayo’s silence, Enishi looks down and tries calling her. It takes a few seconds before she snaps out of it, and he sighs saying he can’t blame her for having doubtful thoughts. Their mission has put her in danger after all. Kayo only mutters a weak apology in return, so Enishi puts on a smile and asks her to forget about what just happened—saying there’s no use in thinking about things they don’t understand. Before she can argue, he points out that they have no means of confirming the credibility of Shiguragi’s words. Besides, commoners shouldn’t poke their nose into the higher-ups’ business. For now, they should forget about Juzumaru and keep quiet from everyone else.

Kayo is clearly reluctant at first. She wonders if that’s really the best option, but Enishi says that letting the others know would only bring more problems. He knows that she wants to finish this mission as fast as possible and return to her father in Edo, so he asks her to keep this between them—promising that he won’t tell anyone either. Realizing that Enishi has a point, Kayo eventually agrees to make this their little secret. He grins saying he likes the sound of that, though he would be even happier if their secret involves something a bit more seductive. イヤン☆(*´∀`)σ)))))*3゚),・´.、 In response, she pouts and protests about how he’s teasing her again.

Immediately after that, Kayo and Enishi see the main road ahead of them. Their friends seem to be doing well too. Before they get there, however, Kayo blushes and asks Enishi to let her down. He teasingly asks if she’s embarrassed, and she admits that she is. He tells her that there’s no need to hold back though. After all, they have a special relationship which involves sharing secrets with each other. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* She gets really flustered upon hearing this though, and she’s glaring at him in protest when their friends come to pick them up. Obviously because Enishi is taking his sweet time carrying Kayo through the woods LOL. They feel bad for not coming to her rescue right away, but they’re all glad to see her unharmed.

Since they’re very close to Sunpu, Enishi then leads everyone to resume their journey. Before they depart, Kei asks about what happened to the bandits. The bandits have quite a large group, so he’s wondering if Enishi got away from them properly. However, Enishi replies that the bandits have been tied up together. Maybe it’s about time for them to wake up from their “nap”. Upon hearing this, Kei frowns and asks what Enishi did to the bandits… but Enishi doesn’t really answer the question. He simply says that he did a nice job taking care of them, so Kei doesn’t have to worry.

Farewell in Sunpu

While Kayo is waiting for her palanquin, she sees the guards coming from the other side of the road. She thought they have left ahead of her, but apparently that’s not the case. The first one to greet her is Enishi, who praises her for doing a great job during their mission. In return, she thanks him saying it’s all because they were there to help her. Even if it’s only for a short while, she’s happy to be able to meet them again. Just then Tsuzuramaru notices that Saneaki is gone, and Kei realizes that Saneaki has gotten away from them. Suzukake thinks he might still be somewhere nearby, so the three of them immediately dash off to chase after him Saneaki—all of them wishing to spar with him. Sakyou sighs saying they’re really noisy, then he decides to take his leave as well. Kayo asks him to be careful along the way, and he walks away after asking her to do the same.

After everyone is gone, Enishi notes that they all left so easily. Kayo answers that everyone must be busy, especially because some of them are planning to enter the tournament. However, it’s different for Enishi. He says he’s not exactly busy, so he’s wondering if Kayo would like to drink some amazake with him. She laughs and thanks him for the invitation, but she has to turn it down because her father must be worried about her in Edo. Enishi looks clearly disappointed by the rejection, but it’s only until Kayo tells him that her restaurant makes tasty amazake as well—asking him to drop by for a drink next time. Happy with the invitation, he nods saying he’ll be looking forward to that. Until then, they have to part for a short while.

Enishi also tells Kayo that next time, she should let her father see her as a real bride. Kayo’s role as a fake bride left her father with no other options, but Enishi knows that there’s no way a father would be happy to see his daughter doing something like that… and she’s aware of this too. Soon after that, a Tokugawa samurai comes to inform Kayo that the palanquin is ready. Enishi asks her to return to her father quickly, and also explains that Mitsuyoshi and Hanzou will accompany her back to Edo. Kayo once again thanks Enishi for everything. She asks him to visit her restaurant once things settle down, and he gladly agrees. After asking Enishi to take care of himself, Kayo finally leaves for the palanquin.

A long silence ensues before Enishi eventually sighs, muttering that doing stuff like this hurts his stomach. He wouldn’t mind at all if he had to deceive sly old men, but he certainly doesn’t want to trick people like Kayo ever again. Just then a different Tokugawa samurai arrives, reporting that they have safely handed Juzumaru to Tatsukage. After thanking the samurai, Enishi wonders which samurai is going to obtain the sword. His “sentimental moment” (or so he called it) is interrupted when the Tokugawa samurai informs him that his palanquin is ready, but instead of getting into it… he decides to go and play around in town for a bit. He says it’d be for the best if they shift his return schedule so it won’t match Kayo’s. Besides, he’s now in Sunpu. It’d be a waste if he leaves without enjoying the food and drinks first.

Ignoring the Tokugawa samurai’s protests, Enishi asks about what’s delicious in Sunpu. He immediately concludes that it must be the tea, then he walks off with a smile—leaving the poor Tokugawa samurai to chase after him in a panic.


Chapter 1

1634. April.

One morning, Kayo does some cleaning up in front of the restaurant.

Kayo’s long yet short journey to Sunpu had come to an end, and she has returned to her home in Edo. During the wedding parade, she encountered a lot of things and a lot of people. She was assaulted by Shiguragi and his men, had a narrow escape from death, and found out that the dagger she had been carrying is actually Juzumaru—one of the Five Heavenly Swords. Right now, everything that happened during the journey feels like a dream. Kayo is now back in the busy yet peaceful days she’s always had. Since some of the guards are planning to join the tournament, she believes they must have returned to Edo as well.

While thinking about this, Kayo remembers that Enishi said he lives near Edo Castle. He seems like the type who stands out and draws attention, so she might be able to find someone who knows him if she asks around. Realizing that her hands have stopped working, she pulls herself out of her thoughts and straightens up her spine—surprised to find herself thinking about Enishi. The dramatic wedding parade might have ended, but the journey left a very strong impression on her. It would come to her mind from time to time, even when she’s working like this.

Kayo notes that the weather has gotten warm, as April has come before she knew it. It’s now the season for flower-viewing, which means they’re going to be busy in the restaurant. Just then her father returns home, carrying a large barrel of alcohol. She welcomes him back saying that she would’ve helped if he called her, but he explains that the man from the liquor store carried it for him until they were nearby. He also bought some rice malt, so they can start making amazake as well. This completes their preparations for the upcoming flower-viewing season, and she smiles saying they won’t have any problems even if the restaurant gets swarmed by customers.

However, Kayo’s father is wondering if they should replace the potted pussy willow in the restaurant—it’s already spring after all. Since they don’t have many cherry blossoms around the neighborhood, he wants to put up a potted flower that suits the season… so he asks Kayo to buy one if she’s free. Happy to receive the task, Kayo asks what kind of flower they should choose. Her father completely leaves the choice in her hands though, telling her that she can pick anything she likes. Since the streets are crowded with people, he also wants her to be careful when she goes to town—to which she gladly nods.

As her father said, Kayo later goes out to find a lot of people in town. It’s only obvious though, since the Tournament of Sword Retrieval is currently being hosted in Edo Castle… not to mention it’s the best time to view the cherry blossoms as well. Of course this means it’s also the busiest season for business, so she needs to do her best at work. The traffic is heavy at the main street, and there are more stalls than usual. Each one of them is packed with customers. Kayo can see fish, vegetables, groceries, food or drinks, and also sweets for sale. Some even have unusual goods like lacquerware or paper, and she soon learns that the merchants came from Mino. She gets excited upon seeing a candy in the shape of a beautiful cherry blossom, but quickly reminds herself not to get distracted. First, she needs to buy a potted flower for the restaurant.

Upon reaching the flower shop, Kayo finds the shopkeeper promoting lovely primroses to people. When the shopkeeper asks if Kayo is interested, she smiles saying they really are beautiful—especially the dark pink color. The shopkeeper explains that they’re freshly picked, since she just got them from Arakawa in the morning. They slightly resemble cherry blossoms in shape, and the shopkeeper guarantees that they will brighten up the room. Kayo thinks the stems are a bit too short to make a nice restaurant decoration though, so the shopkeeper recommends the potted ones instead. Since it comes with a pot, they can put it in the restaurant right away.

Kayo eventually decides to buy a potted one, and the shopkeeper gives her a short-stemmed primrose as an extra. When the shopkeeper mentions that it suits a cute young lady like her, Kayo laughs saying she’s good at giving praises. The shopkeeper lightly answers that they’re having a festival, and so she wants to make sure her business thrives… though her praise is actually sincere. .+:。ヾ(o・ω・)ノ゚.+:。 After leaving the flower shop, Kayo is wondering if she should buy anything else when Kamuro passes by—selling lanterns for the Five Swords Festival. This reminds her that they also have the festival coming up, which makes the people of the main street extra busy at this time of the year. Business goes especially well at the shopping districts and the main street, and large shops would put up beautiful silk lanterns. Regular merchants like Kayo’s family, however, are satisfied with lanterns made of washi paper.

Each of the lanterns shows one the Five Heavenly Swords’ distinctive pattern. People would buy lanterns that they like, then compete over which family has the best decoration and which one of the swords sells the most. When a man passes by with a Juzumaru lantern, Kayo recognizes the pattern right away. Even now, she still finds it hard to believe that she was carrying Juzumaru throughout the journey. It should be in the hands of Sunpu’s ichibangatana by now, and she can’t help but wonder what kind of person he is. Just then Kayo sees Kamuro again, loudly throwing compliments at a passerby and asking him to buy the lanterns. Beside him, Sato mutters that it’s embarrassing… but he replies that it’s not the time to be saying that. While they have paid off the debt, they don’t have the money to eat proper food everyday, and they should make a good use of the festival to earn some.

Despite Sato’s reluctance, Kamuro says they should make enough money and treat Saburouza to a good meal. As he starts calling out to people again, Kayo chuckles and notes that they’re really lively. She then decides to buy one lantern from them, but before she can walk up to them… she bumps into a Tokugawa samurai. He immediately yells at her for getting in his way, so she can only apologize. The next moment, a familiar man comes to scold the samurai for lagging behind—ordering him to make it quick. They appear to be searching for someone, and the man is visibly irked. He mentions that they’re supposed to work out a “marriage arrangement” today, while the samurai suggests that the person they’re looking for might not be in this area any longer. The man snaps out that he knows, and he grumbles about how he should have sent more pursuers.

When the man and the samurai walk away, Kayo is left speechless. She recognizes the man’s face along with the kimono he wears—a kimono that bears Aoi-no-Gomon. The man is none other than Matsudaira Tatsukage, the one who came to greet her and the guards in Sunpu Castle. She remembers the dignified, elderly samurai who accompanied him back then, but it wasn’t the samurai who bumped into her today. Kayo also remembers seeing Tatsukage in town before she agreed to participate in the wedding parade… and how he said that they should just threaten her into accepting their request. It’s clearly not a pleasant memory for her. Since Tatsukage and the samurai seem to be in a hurry, she can’t help but wonder about the reason. Did something happen around the castle?

Kayo snaps out of her thoughts when Kamuro calls her, pointing to the potted primrose at her feet. It flew out of her hands when she bumped into the samurai earlier, and the pot unfortunately cracked when it landed. Kamuro sighs saying the samurai is terrible for knocking her down like that, as it also spilled the soil all over the ground. However, Sato soon comes over and asks them to let her see the primrose. When Kamuro asks if she knows how to handle flowers, she replies that she doesn’t know THAT much… but she assures Kayo that the primrose is alright. Despite the broken pot, the root is actually unharmed. Primroses are quite tough, so if they replace the pot and plant it properly in a new one, it should bloom beautifully.

Kayo feels incredibly relieved to hear this, while Kamuro is impressed by Sato’s knowledge about flowers. She remains humble and denies it though, saying that she simply likes flowers. After scooping the spilled soil back into the pot, Sato hands it to Kayo and asks her to take it home that way. Kayo thanks her and apologizes for the trouble, noticing that she stained her hands because of the spilled soil… but Sato says she doesn’t mind at all. Now that they have taken care of the primrose, Kamuro takes Sato back to their task—which is to continue selling the lanterns. They have to sell everything before the day of the festival, and so they don’t have any time to waste. As Sato reluctantly leaves with Kamuro, Kayo quietly watches them with a concerned expression.

When Kayo eventually returns home, her father comes out to welcome her back. He knows the main street must be full of people, and she nods saying the crowd is even larger than last year’s—it was so crowded that she found it hard to walk. However, he’s surprised to see her carrying festival lanterns. Not only one, but FIVE… and she responds to his questioning look with an awkward laugh. (((壊゚∀゚)))ァヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャ He points out that it’s a bit too early to put up festival decorations though, not to mention they don’t have enough space for all five lanterns. Kayo obviously bought them to help Kamuro and Sato, but she only tells her father that she got the lanterns on impulse when she saw them for sale.

That being said, Kayo can’t deny it when her father says that getting five is just too much… so she decides to try sharing the lanterns with Orin and Kouetsu tomorrow. He nods saying it’s a good idea as long as it doesn’t pose as a problem for them, so she can only hope that they haven’t bought one. Kayo’s father is incredibly confused to see this though. After she goes inside, he frowns and wonders about what exactly happened to her in town.

From there, Kayo heads to the backyard and checks the primrose. She’s relieved to see it doing just fine, but her encounter with Tatsukage and the Tokugawa samurai stays in her mind. Tatsukage is the person who ordered her to become Hisahime’s substitute, though the journey through Tokaido feels nostalgic to her by now. Before the departure, she didn’t want to leave Edo and part from her father. She thought it was impossible for her to play the role of a princess, so she couldn’t feel enthusiastic about the wedding parade. However, the journey rewarded her with a lot of things in the end. She managed to accomplish the mission, but the most important thing is that it brought her to a lot of people—the guards who kept her safe along the way.

It was a difficult journey though, so Kayo wonders if it’s inappropriate for her to think of it as nostalgic… but even so, she fondly remembers the memories. She keeps recalling the times she spent during the trip, thinking of the people who traveled with her all the way to Sunpu. She wonders if everyone is doing well, and since they know of her father’s business… she’s hoping that they would come to visit her restaurant. Will they ever meet again someday, somewhere in Edo?

Several days later, Enishi is sighing in one of Edo Castle’s many hallways. It appears that he was forced to attend a tea ceremony lesson, and he’s definitely not happy about it. Mitsuyoshi finds him shortly after that, calling him “young master” in a warning tone. Yes, the same “young master” Mitsuyoshi was looking for back in the prologue—the one who escaped from horse-riding lesson LOL. Enishi doesn’t respond and whines about his numb feet instead, but when Mitsuyoshi calls him again… he grumbles saying he heard it. In any case, Mitsuyoshi comes to inform Enishi that it’s time for his poetry lesson. Enishi grimaces upon hearing this, though Mitsuyoshi ignores his reaction and only asks him to quickly prepare for the lesson.

However, Enishi protests that they’ve been torturing him with lessons all day. They forced him to read a mountain of documents about history, military tactics, and philosophy; then they put him through a tea ceremony lesson, AND he still has this poetry lesson coming up. He wants them to let him rest for a while, but Mitsuyoshi replies that—unfortunately—they are pressed for time. He will have lunch after the poetry lesson, then move on to archery and swordsmanship practice at 2 in the afternoon… and that’s not even the end of it. Enishi quickly stops Mitsuyoshi from reading out his schedule any further, gingerly replying that he understands. He’ll attend all of the lessons, on the condition that Mitsuyoshi allows him to do as he likes at night.

Mitsuyoshi warns Enishi not to drink any alcohol though, for today is the day of abstinence. He’s going to have vegetables for his meals as well. Enishi sighs saying this is exactly why it’s so troublesome to live in a castle. He can’t drink and they don’t allow him to do whatever he wants, and he complains that it’s unbelievable how he had it easier during covert missions. Mitsuyoshi makes it clear that while Enishi had to conceal his identity during the mission, it was a fine service for the shogunate. Enishi disguised himself as one of the samurai guarding the wedding parade, and that’s exactly why he was allowed to do as he likes during the journey.

They’ve performed their duty well by accomplishing the mission, and Mitsuyoshi is aware that Enishi did contribute to their success. However, he can’t continue behaving like a random ronin on the streets. They are now back in Edo Castle, so Mitsuyoshi wants Enishi to control himself and act properly. Again, Enishi impatiently interrupts saying he knows that already—he’ll do as they say. Satisfied with Enishi’s answer, Mitsuyoshi smiles and guides him to a room for his poetry lesson. It’s going to be with Tatsukage, who is already waiting inside. Enishi whines that he had to meet Tenkai and Mitsuyoshi for his previous lessons, and he now has to face Tatsukage—his older brother. He finds it really boring to see them for his lessons today, but Mitsuyoshi simply says that boredom is not the issue and nudges him to go inside… which he unwillingly does.

The moment Enishi and Mitsuyoshi walk into the room, Tatsukage tells them that they’re late. He’s been waiting for ages until they finally show up, so Mitsuyoshi apologizes and explains that it took a while to clean up the charcoals. Tatsukage decides to let it slide though, and he asks them to quickly take a seat because he has a lot to do today. Upon hearing this, Enishi mutters that Tatsukage doesn’t have to give him a lesson if he’s busy—it’s not like he wants to learn poetry anyway. Mitsuyoshi quickly shuts him up though, then turns back to thank Tatsukage for the lesson despite his busy schedule. When he asks them to begin right away, their response is like so:

Tatsukage: “Hmph…”
Enishi: “Tch…”

Yeah. They’re indeed brothers. You can see the resemblance. 。゚(゚ノ∀`゚)゚。アヒャヒャ

Tatsukage opens the lesson by explaining about poetry composition. These days, people use two types of composition. The first is based on a set theme, and the second is by improvisation. During poetry-reading parties, sometimes participants will have to do both. There are also times when participants use lottery to draw random themes for the composition. In any case, it is impossible to master this overnight. It requires constant practice and devotion, so Tatsukage wants Enishi to set a standard and start reading 10 poems everyday… though Enishi is clearly not interested. Instead, he protests that he doesn’t have the time to do that. After all, he has his own official duties.

However, Tatsukage answers that it’s useless to argue. He only needs Enishi to do as he says, since Enishi doesn’t have the brain to think for himself anyway. When Enishi asks what he means by that, Mitsuyoshi decides to change the subject before they escalate into further argument. He asks Tatsukage to read one poem for them as an example, since Enishi is not yet used to poetry. Tatsukage sneers as he nods, saying that he should just think of this as a dog training program. Enishi is visibly irked, but Tatsukage only tells him to be quiet—he doesn’t have the time to listen to Enishi’s complaints.

Putting that aside, Tatsukage informs Enishi that he’s going to have a formal marriage arrangement with the Arisugawa-no-Miya family next month. Their princess is known to be highly skilled in poetry, up to the extent where she can host poetry-reading parties on her own. They will probably bring this up during their meeting to discuss the marriage, and that’s why Tatsukage wants Enishi to have some knowledge about poetry—even if it’s superficial due to their hasty preparations. Mitsuyoshi is surprised, most likely because he hasn’t told Enishi about this… while Enishi is utterly shocked. He knows the princess of the Arisugawa-no-Miya family, and he has zero intentions of marrying her. He doesn’t want Tatsukage to make decisions for him either, especially when he’d made it clear that he won’t accept marriage arrangements anymore.

Mitsuyoshi apologizes for failing to let Enishi know beforehand, but he confirms that it’s true—they have been preparing for the meeting. Tatsukage, however, simply repeats that it’s useless to argue. He asks if Enishi has forgotten his own name too, because “Enishi”—the name he spreads around—is actually his childhood name. If he did forget who he really is, then Tatsukage will give him a reminder. His real name is Matsudaira Nobuharu, the adoptive heir of Tokugawa Iemitsu. He’s turning 23 this year, so Tatsukage wants him to quit fooling around like a player already.

Enishi admits that his behavior is not something one can be proud of, especially because he can’t even fulfill his important role properly. Mitsuyoshi is taken aback upon hearing this, but Enishi continues that he makes an unsatisfactory heir to the shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. He’s well aware of that. However, the arranged marriage is a completely different issue. The princess is at least twice his age, and he asks what kind of tool does Tatsukage take him for. Tatsukage answers that it’s a trivial thing, considering they can establish a blood connection with a court noble through the marriage.

Still, Enishi can’t accept how they arranged the marriage—HIS marriage—without telling him anything. Tatsukage replies that he has no other use anyway, asking if he doesn’t think of at least putting his body to use for once. Noticing that Tatsukage’s remark hits Enishi where it really hurts, Mitsuyoshi tries to stop them… but Enishi snaps and decides to walk away. When Tatsukage asks where he thinks he’s going, he only tells Tatsukage to leave him alone—he’s just a useless good-for-nothing after all. Enishi walks out of the room after that, with Mitsuyoshi chasing after him in a panic.

Outside in the courtyard, Enishi grumbles about how Tatsukage threw insults as he likes. He doesn’t care about establishing a blood connection with a court noble, since he believes that he at least has the right to choose his future bride. When he hears Mitsuyoshi searching for him, Enishi frowns saying Mitsuyoshi is at fault too. Mitsuyoshi knew about the marriage arrangement, and yet he never said anything to him. In any case, Enishi doesn’t want to get caught. He then escapes from the castle by scaling the fence, but sadly it doesn’t go too smoothly. He accidentally steps on a stray cat as he climbs up, surprising both the cat and himself. The cat hisses and begins scratching him almost immediately, throwing him into a panic as he makes his escape. (○´゚ω゚`):;*.’:;ブッ

Meanwhile, Kayo is serving a customer in the restaurant. It’s a lady who sells fish in town, and Kayo asks if her goods sold well today. She nods saying her sales isn’t bad, but uncooked ingredients are starting to spoil faster lately—because the weather has gotten warmer. Kayo also notes that in summer, raw food go bad really easily. The lady sighs saying it’d be nice if her goods sell out before the sun gets too high, since the pole she uses to carry them is hurting her shoulders. Kayo recommends visiting the bathhouse to help with the fatigue, then she serves the amazake ordered by the lady—telling the latter to take it easy.

The lady soon notices that they have dango as well, so Kayo explains that they’re serving flower-viewing dango starting from today. She can guarantee the flavor, since they’re using fresh mugwort to make the dango. The lady decides to order a portion, mentioning that Kayo is really good at business. Not too long after Kayo goes inside to make the lady’s order, her father comes to ask if she’s not tired from work. When she asks how things are going outside in the restaurant, he says it’s just as crowded as usual—though it’s a good thing for them. They’re nearly out of amazake though, so he decides to take it off the menu. Since their food and drinks are selling faster than they expected, he adds that they should increase the amount of stock starting from tomorrow. He’s also going to visit the liquor store again later today.

Just then the restaurant door slides open, and Kayo turns around to greet the visitor… who turns out to be Kinshirou. He greets Kayo’s father and notes that the restaurant seems to be thriving, while Kayo’s father asks if he came to take a break. Kinshirou answers that as much as he wants to do that, he’s currently in the middle of a patrol. When he asks if things are going fine in the restaurant, Kayo’s father nods saying it’s all thanks to them. The neighborhood is much livelier than usual thanks to the flower-viewing season and the upcoming Five Sword Festival, so they’ve been busy in the restaurant. Kinshirou says he’s glad to hear that, because he knows that their restaurant serve delicious food. Turning around, he asks the man behind him—Kei—to drop by for lunch next time.

When Kei walks in with a skeptical look, Kayo’s mouth drops open in surprise. He shows exactly the same reaction when she asks if it’s him, recognizing her almost immediately. While she did mention her father’s business before, he didn’t know that it’s actually this restaurant. After thanking him for taking care of her during the journey, Kayo asks if Kei is doing well—which he answers with an awkward nod. Noticing that they seem familiar with each other, both Kinshirou and Kayo’s father then ask if they’ve met before. Kayo is about to explain that they met during the Tokaido journey, but she quickly stops herself. Kinshirou is a policeman, so she can’t possibly say it in front of him.

Since both of them aren’t saying anything, Kinshirou starts teasing Kei about it—especially since Kayo is calling him “Kei-san”. Noticing that Kei seems to be at loss, Kinshirou takes it further by asking if they’re actually dating. Kei blushes upon hearing this, but then he answers that it’s not funny. After all, he does have the right to choose his lover. Feeling offended, Kayo snaps out that she doesn’t want to date a rude man like him either. ゚.+:。ヾ(o・ω・)ノ゚.+:。 Kinshirou laughs saying Kayo is right, telling Kei that he won’t be popular with the ladies if he acts like that—even if he does it out of embarrassment. However, Kei decides to challenge Kayo by asking who she would choose over him. He knows she probably doesn’t have many male acquaintances to begin with, so he doesn’t think she has anyone she likes.

Before Kei is done talking, Kayo cuts him off and asks him not to put words in her mouth. She argues that she does have a man or two who she likes, which then causes him to ask if she’s talking about Enishi. He bluntly tells her to give up on Enishi though, believing that it’s not a wise choice to go for him. Kayo gets really flustered upon hearing this, and she quickly asks Kei not to come up with weird ideas. Kinshirou is clearly enjoying their interaction. He mentions that it’s so nice to be young, since youngsters tend to talk endlessly when it comes to romance. Kayo’s father, on the other hand, doesn’t look too happy about this. He’s frowning as he responds with a reluctant, dazed nod. Noticing his expression, Kinshirou immediately apologizes—knowing that he can’t make a joke out of his precious daughter.

Turning back to Kei, Kinshirou tells him to quit playing with Kayo. They have to go back to work, though he can understand if Kei is worried about Kayo. The restaurant is packed with customers, and fights tend to break out when there’s alcohol involved. Kei is about to deny this, but Kinshirou simply tells him not to make excuses and drags him outside—saying goodbye to Kayo’s father as they leave. He still looks rather dazed after sending them off, and this obviously makes her feel really awkward. When he turns to ask her about Kei, she nods saying Kei is one of the samurai who traveled through Tokaido with her. Before they parted ways at Sunpu, she asked them to drop by the restaurant… but the sudden reunion with Kei really surprised her.

Since Kei has made it back to Edo, Kayo believes it should be the same for everyone else. Who knows, she might run into them in town by coincidence—similarly to what happened today. Her father seems worried to see her falling silent, but before he can ask her anything, they hear the customers calling for them. One of the customers is asking for the bill, while another is ordering a plate of dango. Kayo is pulled out of her thoughts, and she apologizes for spacing out before going off to serve them.

Around the same time, Enishi has successfully sneaked out of Edo Castle. After spending some time in the shopping district, he eventually reaches a shrine at the outskirts of town. Sitting down under a tree, Enishi catches his breath and looks around. There are children playing in the spacious shrine grounds, each one of them wielding a toy sword as they hold their own version of the tournament. Yanohiko is seen among them, though Enishi doesn’t know that he’s actually Kayo’s neighbor. Instead, he opens a drink which he bought from the liquor store and sips it—whispering that it’s so nice to be children. They’re innocent, and they seem to enjoy everything they do. Despite what Mitsuyoshi said about abstinence, he decides to just conveniently forget about it.

Enishi didn’t expect Mitsuyoshi and the others to chase him all the way here though, which makes him wonder if they actually have nothing to do. He notes that the weather is really nice today, and he’s glad that he can enjoy a drink while viewing the cherry blossoms at noon. On days like this, he only wants to get drunk and take a nice nap. Even though he envies the children for being so carefree, he believes that adults have their own enjoyment in the form of alcoholic drinks. As he puts his back against the ground, Enishi recalls that some of the guards from the Tokaido journey also love sword fights. Tsuzuramaru and Kei would swing their weapons in the garden at every chance they get, though Enishi doesn’t get what’s so fun about that.

That being said, Enishi finds the journey itself quite fun. It was the most enjoyable mission he’s ever had so far, mainly thanks to the troublesome members. They were all quirky and cheeky. There’s Tsuzuramaru who grew up in the countryside, followed with country bumpkin #2 Suzukake. Kei is way too serious and fussy for his own good, Saneaki is sullen, and he can never tell what Sakyou is thinking of. Right now, he feels that it won’t be a bad idea to talk to them again… and of course, there’s also Kayo. As Enishi thinks about Kayo, his mind flies back to the conversation they had during the journey.

Back then, Enishi said the mission was cruel for Kayo. They forced her to wear a shiromuku even though she’s not yet married, demanding her to act as a substitute for a princess. He also made sure to add that he doesn’t know the princess and doesn’t think badly of her, but it’s just unacceptable to ruin a maiden’s innocence by giving her such a treatment. The first part is—of course—a lie, considering his real identity. Kayo admitted that at first, she didn’t think she could do it either. It was her first time leaving Edo, not to mention she was worried about her father. However, she also knew that the shogunate needed her… and she was the only one who could play the role. In the end, she didn’t mind if it means she could be of help. She did feel slightly reluctant to wear a bride’s outfit, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to wear such a gorgeous shiromuku otherwise.

Enishi only gave Kayo vague replies, but the fake wedding parade clearly bothered him. Looking up at the sky, he quietly thinks about it. A substitute bride. A marriage only for social status. No one would be happy with such a marriage. As he mutters these words to himself, he recalls what the liquor store owner told him earlier. Due to the flower-viewing season and the upcoming festival, the liquor store is having its busiest period—even more so than the New Year’s. Restaurants that serve alcohol especially order large quantities, so the liquor store can never catch up no matter how much they stock up. This reminds Enishi that Kayo’s family runs a restaurant, and a restaurant with such a lovely poster girl must be famous even in other parts of the town. After thinking for a while, he decides to pay her a little visit.

As Kayo has expected, work is extremely busy today. No matter how many times they calculate the bill and send the customers off, the next batch of people would come in no time. Both Kayo and her father have been running the restaurant together since morning, not having any chance to take a break. When the restaurant door slides open, Kayo warmly welcomes the customer and asks them to take an available seat. The customer turns out to be Enishi, who freezes in place upon seeing the person he’s been looking for. Kayo is surprised to see him too, though he’s glad that she seems to be doing well. When Kayo notes that he has returned to Edo, Enishi nods saying he came back by the end of last month. It’s only been a short while, but he feels like it’s been forever since the last time he saw her.

If Kayo thanks Enishi for looking after her during their journey, he says the journey was fun for him too. She was afraid that she caused him many problems along the way, but he points out that Tsuzuramaru and Suzukake were much more troublesome in comparison LOL. If anything, he was glad to be able to look after her. If she thanks him for protecting her despite the fatigue it must have caused, he sheepishly grins saying it’s embarrassing to have her thank him so formally. Her gratitude makes all the fatigue felt like nothing much too, as he’d rather protect a lovely, kind princess than bald old men. 。゚(゚ノ∀`゚)゚。アヒャヒャ

If Kayo says she’s glad that Enishi is safe, he replies that he feels the same way. He was worried that she might have fallen sick out of fatigue, but she points out that she was taken back to Edo on a palanquin. She believes the return trip must have been more exhausting for them, but he says it wasn’t that hard for him… though he agrees that it was probably tiring for those who went back on foot. He’s not too happy to hear that Kei was the first to be reunited with her, but then she replies that his visit is today enough to make her happy… and he decides to let it slide. If Kayo admits that she really wanted to see Enishi again, he blushes saying his heart isn’t ready for this yet. (((壊゚∀゚)))ァヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャヒャ While she never thought that she’d meet him again, he believed their reunion would take place very soon. He was actually planning to visit her sooner, since he didn’t want to leave her alone for too long.

………that last bit kind of hurts once you’ve seen his endings. (⊙ω⊙✿)

In any case, Enishi asks if Kayo can give him some amazake. When he came in, he heard the customers talking about how the amazake here is exceptionally good as they walked out. Kayo guides Enishi to an open seat before going inside to prepare the order, and there she runs into her father… who looks rather concerned as he squints at Enishi. When he asks if she knows Enishi, she answers with a nervous nod. He notices that Enishi seems to be drunk though, so he’s wondering if it’s a wise decision to let him into their restaurant. However, Kayo smiles and assures her father that it’ll be okay. Enishi is truly a good man, and she doesn’t think his personality would flip even if he’s drunk. Her father doesn’t seem convinced, but she takes their last bottle of amazake and leaves to serve it—still a bit surprised by Enishi’s sudden visit.

After delivering the amazake to Enishi’s table, Kayo takes a moment to observe him. When he gives her a puzzled look, she answers by saying that it’s really him. He laughs and asks if she’s forgotten his face, so she shakes her head and explains that she still finds it hard to believe. She never expected to be reunited with him. When Enishi replies that he feels the same, Kayo notices that he’s still calling her “princess”… so she reminds him that she’s no longer one. As he can see for himself, she’s only a daughter of a restaurant owner—she’s just a town girl. Enishi says he’s well aware of that, but he doesn’t see it as a problem. Even if Kayo is a merchant’s daughter, men always see the women they treasure as princesses. ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ Enishi really wished that he could visit Kayo sooner, but he couldn’t find much freedom after returning to Edo… since they bothered him with annoying tea ceremony and poetry lessons.

Before Kayo can ask about this, the restaurant door is opened by two heavily drunk ronin. She hesitantly welcomes them in, and they immediately demand her to give them some drinks—especially because they can see Enishi drinking too inside. Since there are available seats, Kayo obviously can’t ask them to leave and be picky about her customers… which leaves her with no choice but to serve them. The ronin shout at her to bring their order quickly, and she scurries off into the kitchen to get their drinks. Her father is clearly worried to see this, but she assures him that it’ll be okay. They have other customers too in the restaurant, and they are serving alcohol after all—it’s something they can’t do anything about. Instead, she asks him to pay them no mind and keep working inside. He doesn’t seem convinced, but decides to let her serve the drunk ronin. Before leaving the kitchen, she promises to call him if anything happens.

Meanwhile, one of the ronin is bragging to the other about how he cut down someone. The second ronin, however, doubts it since the first ronin brags and exaggerate all the time. This offends the first ronin, as he believes his friend is accusing him of lying. When one of the customers takes his leave, Kayo is starting to panic. The ronin’s conversation is clearly spreading an unpleasant atmosphere in the restaurant, and they show no signs of stopping. Instead, they move on to another subject—Yagyuu Mitsuyoshi. They refer to him as the eldest son of the Yagyuu family, who had unfortunately angered Iemitsu in the past and fell into disfavor. They heard that he ended up coming back to Edo, and they find his return annoying.

Unaware that Enishi is listening in silence, the first ronin continues that Mitsuyoshi seems to be working as a shoinban—the shogun’s bodyguard—right now. The second ronin replies that it’s so nice to be the son of a hatamoto, as the position allows Mitsuyoshi to find a job anywhere. They conclude that in the end, it’s important to ride the coattails of one’s parents. That way, no matter how incompetent one may be, they would never suffer from unemployment. Their conversation greatly disturbs Kayo, because the Mitsuyoshi she knows is a really kind person. She knows that people have different opinions, but she just can’t accept the way they insult him like that. It gets even worse when they start calling him an “annual tax thief”, and they laugh at how he wears an eyepatch to “pose” like Date Masamune—believing that a one-eyed samurai is useless.

Noticing that Kayo is quietly watching them, the first ronin tells her to stop spacing out and bring their drinks already. She’s about to say something to them, but her father quickly comes to stop her—asking her to leave this to him. He then informs the ronin that they have run out of drinks for today, explaining that the number of customers exceeds their expectation in this season. He apologizes and asks them to come again tomorrow, but sadly this only angers the ronin. They find it unacceptable that Kayo’s father is refusing to serve them any drinks, saying that he can just go out and buy it somewhere. Startled by the violent response, Kayo snaps and asks them to stop. She points out that they’re also disturbing the other customers, and she asks if this is how a proper samurai would behave.

Of course this worsens the situation even more, as both ronin are offended by Kayo’s remark—especially because she’s only a town girl. They ask if she even knows who they are, dismissing her by saying that a girl like her can’t possibly understand anything about samurai. However, Kayo answers that the samurai she knows never uses violence to threaten everyone around them. At the very least, they never insult and speak ill of their friends—unlike the ronin before her. The first ronin answers by asking about the identity of the great samurai Kayo is referring to. Before she can say anything, he gets up and roughly grabs her arm—shocking both her and her father. He finds it amusing how a lowly town girl like her dares not only to talk back to him, but to reprimand him as well.

As Kayo squirms in front of the ronin, her father quickly apologizes and begs the ronin to let her go. He’ll do anything to make up for her rudeness, and so the ronin mockingly asks him to kneel before them. The second ronin adds that even if he owns a restaurant, it’s considered insolent for a merchant to talk back to a samurai. Kayo’s father instantly falls silent upon hearing this, while the first ronin drags his daughter away from him. He shouts at Kayo to stop struggling, but she keeps asking them to stop and let her go… until Enishi eventually gets up from his seat.

The first ronin looks confused as Enishi walks up to them with a smile and grabs his arm, telling him not to lay a hand on women. Since the ronin doesn’t seem to get it, Enishi makes it clear that he’s asking the ronin to let go of Kayo. He points out that the ronin is using violence against a young girl right in front of the townspeople, which would make him unfit for his status as a warrior. When the ronin curses and tells Enishi to let go of him, Enishi lightly replies that he will… but only if they behave and leave. If they don’t flee right away, they’ll only end up embarrassing themselves anyway.

Kayo calls out to warn Enishi when the second ronin jumps in to attack him out of rage, but Enishi easily dodges the hit and tackles his feet instead. Kayo screams as the ronin tumbles down and knocks himself out, while the first ronin grits his teeth in frustration. Knowing they’ll only cause problems if they fight inside the restaurant, Enishi then challenges the ronin to settle this outside. He leaves immediately after, with the ronin chasing after him. Once they walk out, Kayo’s father asks if Kayo is alright. She nods and reassures him that she’s fine, but she’s clearly worried about Enishi. Her father can tell that Enishi is planning to have a full-scale fight out on the street, and while he’s glad that Enishi is being considerate to their restaurant… he can’t help but feel concerned. Before he could say anything else, however, Kayo runs out to see how Enishi is doing.

In front of the restaurant, Kayo runs into Orin—who came upon hearing the commotion. When Orin asks if they’re alright, Kayo answers that the restaurant is okay… but noticing that Kayo looks upset, Orin then asks if she knows the samurai who lured the ronin outside. Kayo nods saying she does and she must stop the fight immediately, but Orin stops her saying a delicate girl like her shouldn’t interfere—she’ll only get hurt. Upon glancing around hoping to find help, Orin sees a samurai passing by… who happens to be Taichi. However, he refuses when she asks him to stop the fight. He believes in the saying “fires and fights are Edo’s flowers”, so as long as no one dies in the fight, he thinks they should allow Enishi and the ronin to do as they like.

Frustrated by Taichi’s answer, Orin exclaims that samurai are never helpful during critical times. Despite Kayo’s attempt to calm her down, Orin decides that she won’t ask Taichi for help. Instead, she asks Kayo to keep an eye on the street while she dashes off to call Kinshirou. Kayo feels really bad for troubling her, but Orin asks her not to worry—they’re neighbors after all. Orin leaves right after that, while Kayo follows Enishi to the street.

Outside, the ronin is getting frustrated at how Enishi runs around. When he tries attacking, Enishi lightly dodges and points out that he’s really slow—so much that a butterfly can perch on his head. The next moment, Enishi makes a quick turn and grabs the ronin’s arm. While the ronin is shocked to see Enishi’s physical strength, Enishi isn’t all that impressed with him. He notes that the ronin is even more of a small fry than he thought. With that sort of movement, they wouldn’t be able to defeat the son of the Yagyuu family they insulted so much. Not even if they turn blue in the face.

The ronin curses and tells Enishi to let him go, but he continues instead. He actually wants show the ronin whether Mitsuyoshi is really a “spoiled boy” samurai who earns money through his father’s prestige, but it doesn’t seem like they’d ever get any chance to fight Mitsuyoshi—for the rest of their lives. They’re clearly not capable enough for that, and Enishi believes they should be thankful for that. Even if they do get the chance to cross swords with him somehow, one eye is definitely enough for Mitsuyoshi to kick their butts. He wouldn’t need his blade to defeat them. Enishi is still smiling when he yanks the ronin’s arm and flings him away, using a technique called “Yagyuu Shinkage-ryuu, Peerless Hell Throw.”

Unfortunately, Enishi’s magnificent throw sends the ronin flying towards Orin’s shop. He crashes into all sorts of things when he lands, and Yanohiko sadly notes that he broke their festival lantern too. However, Enishi doesn’t seem to notice. He taunts the ronin by calling him a “half-asleep samurai”, asking if the hit opened his eyes a little. His provocation angers the ronin even more, and things are starting to heat up again between them… until Kayo finally yells at them to stop. She asks if they’re aware of their actions, which greatly surprises Enishi.

Kayo can warn Enishi that it will spread ill rumors about him, ask him to have some honor as a samurai, tell him that those who are close to him would be sad to see this, or say that the police is coming. Either way she’ll end up scolding him and he’ll obey without arguing much, but if she mentions the ill rumors… he’ll reply that an ill rumor or two won’t change anything. It’s far too late for that anyway, because he’s already haunted by shame as is. (´;ω;`) A roundsman comes to stop their fight soon after that, so both Enishi and the ronin are forced to escape. The ronin bitterly warns Enishi to remember what he did today, though Enishi simply replies that there’s no way he’d keep it in mind. They flee immediately after, and the roundsman asks people to make way so he can go after them. A man reports that the Enishi ran towards Edo Castle, but sadly he lost sight of the ronin… and so the roundsman decides to chase after Enishi.

Once the roundsman leaves, the people in the area can finally breathe with relief. They’re not impressed by the commotion created by Enishi and the ronin though, and Orin soon comes to ask if Kayo is alright. When Kayo nods and thanks her for helping, Orin only shakes her head and asks her not to worry about it. She couldn’t find Kinshirou, but luckily a group of roundsmen were hanging out nearby. Even though Kayo is relieved to hear this, it quickly dissolves as she remembers that Enishi and the ronin ruined Orin’s festival lantern. Orin reassures Kayo that it’s not a problem since she can buy a new one, and she’s more relieved that both Kayo and her father is unharmed.

However, Kayo’s father clearly feels bad as well. He comes out of the restaurant to apologize to Orin, as well as checking if Kayo is alright. As for the lantern, he asks Orin to take one of their lanterns to replace the broken one—they have a lot anyway. When Kayo hands one to them, Yanohiko excitedly points out that it’s Mikazuki Munechika’s lantern. He clearly wants the lantern, and Orin decides to accept the offer after making sure that they’re really okay with it. Kayo says she doesn’t mind at all. If anything, she feels terrible for troubling them.

From there, the topic shifts to Enishi and the ronin’s behavior. Orin thinks the Five Swords Festival would be put to waste if the samurai in town are acting like that, though she believes they’re different from the ones who fight in the tournament. Their neighbors add that the amount of ill-bred ronin in Edo has been increasing lately, though they can’t really do anything about it—it’s the flower-viewing season after all. Kayo stays silent as she listens to their conversation, fully aware that everyone is getting the wrong idea about Enishi. She knows that he’s by no means a bad person, but she also notices that he seems to have the tendency of causing misunderstandings. Enishi is actually a kind and strong man, and Kayo believes that things would be much better if he always keeps his act together.

That night in Edo Castle, Mitsuyoshi asks if Enishi is going out. Enishi nods saying they’ve been having a strange weather lately, and it should be “lively” around a certain area. Mitsuyoshi can’t go with him since Iemitsu has summoned him along with Munenori and Tenkai, but Enishi tells him that it’s fine—he’ll do it adequately. When Enishi asks if Mitsuyoshi isn’t angry about his escape today, Mitsuyoshi only gives him a hesitant nod in return. Noticing this, Enishi tells Mitsuyoshi to state his opinion without holding back… so he admits that he doesn’t like the idea of marrying a middle-aged woman either. Enishi laughs saying Mitsuyoshi does understand after all, though Mitsuyoshi falls silent when Enishi adds that his useless self is the same—there are things he can and cannot do.

Before going out to work—or as he says, work that even a good-for-nothing can do—Enishi also informs Mitsuyoshi to court Iemitsu’s favor even if it’s just for a bit, because the ronin in town are gossiping about him. Mitsuyoshi remains quiet as Enishi walks away. No one seems to be awake at this hour, and he goes through the silent hallway without bringing any companions. Even if someone sees him, he’ll just say that he’s going out to play. The retainers are awfully familiar with how he usually acts, so they wouldn’t doubt it. Even in the castle, only a few select people know about the role given to Enishi—one that he can never refuse. He doesn’t like his duty, but his feet are carrying him towards it with firmer steps today. By the time he realizes this, he also catches himself thinking of what happened at noon—even more than he thinks of the trouble waiting at his destination.

Enishi first called Kayo “princess” during another problematic mission. He remembered that the girl who played the unfortunate role of the fake bride always looked troubled whenever someone called her that, and he teased her by repeating it over and over again—because he found her reaction cute. However, it naturally stuck to him by the time their journey ended. He didn’t realize it either until now, but he doesn’t call her “princess” to tease her anymore. Enishi finds Kayo unusual. She’s upright, honest, and also brave despite her looks. He can’t take his eyes off her, as he enjoys wondering about what she’ll do next. She’s not a tomboy to the core, but she’s not the type who would hide behind people’s backs either.

For Kayo, Enishi is only a companion during the journey. She doesn’t know who he really is, and yet she cares about him—she got angry and scolded him for his own sake. It’s not like he can’t tell the townsfolk apart from one another. Enishi knows that Kayo did it because she was sincerely worried about him. For a moment, he wonders what kind of expression she’d make if she discovers his identity… though the answer should be obvious. After returning to Edo, he thought that nothing good would ever happen to him. Just as Tatsukage said, he can’t keep fooling around forever. Now, though, Enishi feels that it’s not as bad as he thought. His days are boring. They’re filled with things that have been decided for him, and he doesn’t even know what he should do… but something—or rather, someone—pleasant has appeared in his life. Recalling how cute Kayo looks even when angry, Enishi can’t stop himself from smiling.

Meanwhile, Iemitsu holds a meeting with Tenkai, Munenori, Mitsuyoshi, and Tatsukage. They still can’t find Choushichirou and Asakura, and Sunpu’s ichibangatana also went missing at the same time. There’s a possibility that they might be conspiring to incite a rebellion by using Choushichirou’s name, so Iemitsu eventually issues an order for the Iga clan to be positioned in Sunpu. No matter what happens, they have to retrieve Juzumaru as fast as possible and stop this rebellion.


Chapter 2

At night, Tsuzumi is slaying youkai—okuri-inu, onibi, and many others—in a cave with Juzumaru. After catching his breath, he notes that the number of youkai in the vicinity seems to be increasing each day… though he doesn’t know the reason. His guess is that either they’re targeting the precious Choushichirou, or Juzumaru is drawing them closer to itself. Either way, the youkai keep on spawning endlessly. Tsuzumi realizes that, as he expected, defeating the youkai alone won’t be enough to get rid of them. He needs to seal them with Juzumaru’s power. When a ghost shows itself nearby, Tsuzumi grits his teeth and prepares to attack. He won’t allow these suspicious creatures to lay a finger on Choushichirou and Nanae.

Meanwhile, in their hideout, Choushichirou is asking Nanae about where Tsuzumi went off to. She smiles and tells him that Tsuzumi is somewhere nearby. He’s protecting them from the youkai in this vicinity, but there’s no need to worry—because Tsuzumi is really strong. Choushichirou agrees since Tsuzumi obtained Juzumaru after emerging victorious in the tournament, which makes Tsuzumi the best swordsman ever in his eyes. Nanae nods saying that’s why he can rest assured and turn in for the night, promising that both Tsuzumi and her will always be with him. They will never hand him over to the shogunate—even if it costs them their lives.

Several days later, Kayo is having a training session with Omatsu at the dojo. Omatsu usually targets her opponent’s torso and leaves Kayo defending until the end, so Kayo tries taking the initiative to push back today. Sadly while her counter-attack is successful, Omatsu switches to a different strategy by aiming for Kayo’s face instead. Kayo is completely taken by surprise, and their match ultimately ends with Omatsu’s victory. While Kayo doesn’t seem to be satisfied with the result, both Omatsu and her receive high praises from their teacher. She’s mostly pleased to see Omatsu’s improvement; like the way she switched from chuudan-no-kamae to waki-gamae, and the way she went for her opponent’s face instead of torso.

However, the teacher is also happy to see Kayo being more assertive than usual. She’s impressed by how Kayo switched to hassou-no-kamae in that state, praising it as a pretty good battle strategy. The problem is that Kayo isn’t used to the movement yet, and her body needs to move with more agility if she wants to change her stance before initiating attack. It’s also important to observe her opponent carefully before leaping into action, and the teacher believes Kayo needs a little more training on that.

That being said, the teacher noticed that Kayo has been practicing until really late hours lately. Her father has been asking the teacher to make sure that she doesn’t return home too late from practice, and so the teacher asks her not to push herself too hard—especially because she also has to work in the restaurant. Kayo nods and thanks the teacher for the concern, but it’s actually bothering her a lot. She already finds it hard enough to win against Omatsu right now. At this rate, she might end up getting left behind again.

After leaving the dojo, Omatsu mentions that Kayo showed amazing strikes today. Kayo replies that she still lost in the end, but Omatsu can see that she’s improving too. Omatsu is starting to have a hard time defending against her attacks, and she also gives an advice to go for the opponent’s shin—it might help catching them by surprise. Kayo thinks that’d make it even harder to aim properly though, so she’s going to need more practice. Upon hearing this, Omatsu laughs saying they’re so weird. Both Kayo and her are so immersed in their naginata training, while girls of their age are usually more interested in grooming or the person they love.

Omatsu wonders if Kayo shares the same opinion, but after thinking for a while, Kayo answers that she wants to be stronger. While her family runs a business, her mother used to train everyday when she was still alive. Her mother came from a warrior family, and it seems that her dream was to become an oku-jochu—a high-ranking maid working in the domestic quarters of the shogun or feudal lords. She doesn’t know if she can fulfill that dream for her mother’s sake, but she wants to continue her naginata training. Just then, they see fireworks rising up from Edo Castle—marking the beginning of the Tournament of Sword Retrieval. As Omatsu wonders who’s going to become ichibangatana this year, Kayo falls silent beside her.

Meanwhile, Tsuzuramaru is attending the tournament’s opening ceremony with Taichi. He’s amazed to see the number of audience, mentioning that it’s as if all the samurai in Edo are gathering at the castle. Taichi thinks that’s not necessarily wrong though. Aside from the participants, there’s a large number of people who only came to watch. Up on a raised platform, Tsuzuramaru sees a figure and wonders if it’s Iemitsu. Taichi nods and explains that the one on Iemitsu’s left is the swordsmanship instructor, Yagyuu Munenori, while the one on his right is the lord of the Sendai clan, Date Masamune. Tsuzuramaru didn’t know that the opening ceremony would be so impressive, and he only snaps out of his admiration when his sword’s sheath hits someone standing nearby.

Tsuzuramaru quickly apologizes for spacing out, only to realize that the person he bumps into is actually Kei—who doesn’t look too pleased to see him. It’s been quite a while since they parted ways in Sunpu, so Tsuzuramaru asks if he’s doing well and if he’s participating in the tournament too. However, Kei doesn’t answer any of his questions. Instead, Kei replies that Tsuzuramaru is just as ignorant as always. He wants Tsuzuramaru to think about what everyone here is gathering for, aside from those who obviously came to watch the matches. They had to work together during their Tokaido journey, but Kei declares that they’re enemies from now on… and so Tsuzuramaru shouldn’t talk to him so casually.

Tsuzuramaru frowns and falls silent upon hearing this, while Kei leaves him without saying further words. Beside him, Kamuro asks if Kei knows Tsuzuramaru—whom he finds somewhat strange. Kei answers that they’re merely acquaintances, and he takes Kamuro further up through the crowd to reach the front side. The other participants might or might not become his opponent later, so he needs to watch their matches carefully. Neither Kei nor Tsuzuramaru are aware that Sakyou is actually watching them from somewhere among the crowd, and their presence just confirmed his suspicion that they really are participating in the tournament. Similarly to Kei, he sees them as enemies. If they get in his way, then he only needs to defeat them. That being said, Sakyou’s target doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight…

On the other side of the courtyard, Madara spots Sakyou and informs Suzukake right away. Suzukake is excited to see that Sakyou has returned to Edo and goes over to greet him, saying he’s glad that Sakyou seems to be in good health. Unfortunately, Suzukake doesn’t get any response… because Sakyou quietly walks away from him without saying anything. Of course this really confuses Suzukake, while Madara is greatly irked by how rude Sakyou is. Hachimoku remembers Sakyou as the ronin who journeyed through Tokaido with Suzukake, and Madara nods saying he’s really annoying. That’s why she’s always warning Suzukake not to get involved with other samurai, except Suzukake doesn’t really listen until she calls his name in annoyance. Suzukake gives Madara a nod, but he noticed that Sakyou had a scary expression. He can’t help but wonder if there’s something wrong.

Madara is about to scold Suzukake for ignoring her warning, but then a Tokugawa samurai comes and asks them to keep quiet—the sword dance is about to begin. Since Suzukake doesn’t seem to know what it is, the samurai explains that it used to be a part of exorcism or incantation in the distant past. Recently, however, the dance aspect has been polished and refined as well. The one they’re going to see now is the sword dance ceremony for cleansing battlefields. Just as Suzukake learns about the meaning behind the sword dance, a red-haired masked samurai steps onto the stage—holding a sword in one hand. Noticing that Suzukake is distracted, Madara asks if there’s something wrong… so Suzukake says that the samurai seems familiar to him. Hachimoku doesn’t get it since the samurai is wearing a mask, but Suzukake feels that he has seen someone with a similar stature before. He can’t remember though, so he wonders if he’s just imagining things.

Anyway, Madara recognizes the sword dance as the one dedicated for Kotoamatsukami—the five deities from ancient times who are believed to have created the universe. The performance’s purpose must be to pray for the tournament to go smoothly. According to the Tokugawa samurai, the sword dance can only be performed by a samurai who has emerged victorious in the tournament and successfully retrieved one of the Five Heavenly Swords in the past. The sword in the masked samurai’s hand is Mikazuki Munechika. Suzukake has never heard of the sword before, so Madara tells him that Mikazuki Munechika is known as the most beautiful sword ever forged by Amakuni—even when compared to the rest of the Five Heavenly Swords. During the tempering, the pattern that appeared on its blade resembled crescent moon veiled by thin clouds. That’s where the sword got its name from. As Hachimoku marvels over the description of the sword’s beauty, Suzukake mutters that he wants to see Mikazuki Munechika from up close.

At the same time, Tsuzuramaru notices that something is off. When Taichi asks him what’s wrong, he says he doesn’t know much about dance… but the masked samurai seems to be walking with strange steps. At first Taichi thinks the steps are probably meant to be that way, but he quickly realizes that Tsuzuramaru is right. Before they can think of anything else, however, the masked samurai suddenly trips and falls off the stage. Σ(-`Д´-ノ;)ノ!? In the panic that ensues, Tatsukage quickly orders the guards to end the performance and throw the confetti. One of the guards runs up to the stage to see if the masked samurai is alright, and Genan—the shogunate’s doctor—soon arrives to check up on him. After ordering the guards to carry the masked samurai to the waiting room, Genan turns his attention back to the masked samurai—calling him “young master” and “Nobuharu-sama” while asking if he’s okay.

Why, yes. The masked samurai is actually Enishi. Who else can be that clumsy, really. (○´゚ω゚`):;*.’:;ブッ

Enishi nods saying he’s alright. He only lacks practice… Or rather, lacks concentration. Genan, however, points out that he reeks of alcohol. Enishi is caught by surprise, and he quickly answers that he doesn’t have a hangover. He didn’t drink that much yesterday. Maybe. If he remembers right. ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* Genan can only sigh in disbelief LOL.

As for the others’ reactions…

Tsuzuramaru is amazed by the beautiful confetti, which remind him of falling snow or scattering cherry blossom petals. Taichi actually finds them elegant as well, but they’re definitely not enough to make him forget about what they just saw. Sakyou, on the other hand, isn’t impressed at all. He finds it impossible to believe that Mikazuki Munechika’s wielder is such a stupid man. Kei shares the same opinion, since he just can’t believe that such a person actually won a past tournament. Kamuro is barely holding back his laughter as he adds that things like that happen sometimes, but Kei refuses to believe it. It sounds like a joke to him, and he wonders if the masked samurai only had to fight blockheads by coincidence during the tournament.

…ouch. (´;ω;`)

Kamuro says the masked samurai must be really lucky if that was the case, but Kei doesn’t wish to share that luck. However, he does think that the samurai is lucky to have his face concealed behind a mask. It doesn’t change the fact that he fell off the stage though, so Kei isn’t sure if it’s good or ill luck.

Later on, Kayo drops by Edo Castle after running an errand nearby. The crowd seems restless when she enters the tournament arena, and it confuses her at first—thinking that something might have happened. After a while, however, she realizes that maybe people are always like this during tournaments. Both the castle gate and the arena grounds are packed with samurai, so she wonders if the people who traveled through Tokaido with her are somewhere in this crowd. Seasoned warriors from all over the lands are gathering in Edo for the tournament. Up until now, Kayo never really watched it because she has to help out in the restaurant… but she finds herself feeling strangely curious this year. It’s probably because of the people she met during her Tokaido trip, as well as everything that happened to them along the way.

Just then Kayo hears a familiar voice calling her “princess”, and she turns around to see Enishi running up to her. He says he found it unusual for a young woman in a place like this, but then he took a closer look and realized that it’s actually her. Kayo is surprised and asks if she stands out, and Enishi nods saying she does—to some extent. He also apologizes for the commotion he caused in her neighborhood, and he asks if everything was alright after he left. When she nods saying they managed to take care of it somehow, he apologizes again for not giving them a proper apology. He’s been busy lately, so he couldn’t find the time to visit them. Kayo asks Enishi not to worry though, because he did help them by taking care of the drunk ronin.

This reminds Enishi of Kayo’s family’s business, and so he asks why she came to Edo Castle today—is she here for work? She shakes her head and admits that she got a bit curious about the tournament, because she’s never watched it properly before. Enishi can understand since their friends from the wedding parade are participating as well, though Kayo adds that she doesn’t have much time to watch at her own leisure. Since Kayo can’t stay for too long, Enishi then decides to show her around. This leads her to wonder if he isn’t participating in the tournament, but before she can word her question… he laughs and answers that he’s not. The only problem is there’s a lot of “acquaintances” he doesn’t want to see, and so they can’t go to places that would make them stand out.

Enishi asks if Kayo would mind, and she happily answers that she doesn’t. She’ll gladly accept the offer, as long as it’s not a problem for him. Satisfied with Kayo’s answer, Enishi then points to a certain spot in the distance—saying they can see the whole arena there without bumping into the crowd. However, just as he starts to walk, he suddenly winces in pain and bends down to touch his ankle. Upon looking down at his feet, she realizes that one of his ankles is bandaged. When she asks if he’s injured, he only tells her that it’s nothing serious—just a little sprain he got earlier. Kayo is worried and asks if it’s okay for him to walk around instead of resting, but Enishi reassures her that he’s fine. If anything, he’s relieved that she didn’t seem to see how he screwed up today LOL. Of course she doesn’t know what he’s referring to, but he doesn’t explain and only guides her away from the crowd.

Along the way, Enishi spots Tsuzuramaru among the crowd and quickly informs Kayo. He points to a pine tree in the distance and tells her that Tsuzuramaru is standing under it, but sadly Tsuzuramaru disappears from sight before she could take a look. When Kayo asks if it’s really Tsuzuramaru, Enishi admits that he’s not entirely sure either if she puts it that way… but he knows Tsuzuramaru is definitely here at Edo Castle for the tournament. Enishi thinks Tsuzuramaru is a great samurai, though he’s still young. With thorough training, Iai will become the strongest weapon a samurai could ever wield. Enishi wants to see where that would lead Tsuzuramaru to in life. He adds that of course Kei and Sakyou are strong too—it’s just that he sensed an extraordinary potential from Tsuzuramaru. He believes that sooner or later, Tsuzuramaru might be able to provide a good match for people like Saneaki.

Realizing that Kayo is listening to him in silence, Enishi asks if there’s something wrong. She answers that he seems to have a big heart, pointing out to how he can approve other samurai sincerely. He wonders if it’s weird, but she thinks it’s a good thing. Enishi actually finds the compliment unexpected, but he admits that it makes him happy—even if it’s just a lie. When Kayo tells him that she wasn’t lying, he happily nods and says she finally understands his charm. He smiles and pats her head before pulling her closer, then he starts rubbing his cheek against her forehead. Surprised and flustered, Kayo turns red and asks Enishi not to treat her like a kid.

From there, Enishi takes Kayo around the tournament arena. People fill the entire place, starting from the seating platform for important guests to the waiting rooms for participants. Looking up at the inner keep of the Castle, Kayo finds herself captivated by the unusual scenery. Beside her, Enishi asks for her opinion about the arena. He thinks the place itself might not be THAT interesting, but it’s quite a spectacular sight to have so many samurai around. Kayo nods saying she heard that samurai from all over the town would gather at the castle, and now she can see that it’s really true. She wonders if they’re all here to obtain one of the Five Heavenly Swords, but Enishi doesn’t think that’s necessarily the case. Some of them came here just for fun—including himself.

Besides, the tournament is a festive event. Not only for the townsfolk, but for those of the samurai class as well. Some of them join in because they have nothing to lose, while some others came to accompany their friends or simply to watch. Not every single one of them are participating. Kayo realizes that Enishi does have a point because there’s a lot of samurai here. If they’re all participants, the tournament would never end. However, Kayo is curious about Enishi’s reason for not joining in. When she tries asking him, he tilts his head and takes a moment to search for the right words… then he says that the closest reason would be because he’s not that competent to begin with.

Kayo knows that it might be intrusive or rude of her to ask that sort of question, but she’s purely curious. She doesn’t think Enishi would be inferior to all the other samurai here, and besides… she realized it after seeing the arena. As warriors who wield swords and fight to make a living, it’s every samurai’s wish to be stronger than anyone. That’s why they are devoted to the pursuit of the Five Heavenly Swords, hoping to obtain one of the swords. Even during their journey, Kayo heard Tsuzuramaru, Kei, and the others saying that they’re definitely going to obtain one of the Five Heavenly Swords… but Enishi doesn’t seem to think about this at all.

After a while, Enishi says he can see what Kayo is trying to tell him. Despite her curiosity, Kayo just can’t bring herself to put her thoughts into words. She doesn’t think it’d be appropriate to say it, and she falls silent instead. Noticing this, Enishi gently taps her shoulder saying it’s a bit noisy here. He then holds her hand and takes her to the outer edge of the crowd, where they find a garden rock for her to sit on. There, Enishi slowly asks if people like Tsuzuramaru or Kei would come to Kayo’s mind when she hears the word “samurai”. The image of a samurai in her eyes is someone passionate, vigorous, and ambitious. Someone who wants to be stronger than anyone else—no matter how small the difference may be—and prioritizes their devotion before anything else.

When Enishi asks if he makes the correct guess, Kayo admits that he might right. He nods saying her view is probably not wrong, and he wants her to hold onto that faith as well. However, she needs to know that not all samurai are like that. The drunk ronin who came to her restaurant are samurai too. The majority of samurai fall into the first category, like their friends from the wedding parade, but definitely not everyone. There are also those who hit their own limits, those who suffer from setbacks because their strength is not enough for them to overcome difficulties. Just because a samurai is skilled, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have doubts. Those who become too strong might find themselves in an unexpected path, or grow afraid that people would take advantage of their strength.

Enishi then asks if Kayo finds it disgraceful for samurai to have doubts, and she can’t bring herself to say anything in return. She doesn’t think it’s disgraceful, but the image of “samurai” Enishi speaks of is really different from the one she had in her mind. This also causes her to wonder if by mentioning samurai who have doubts, he’s implying that he’s in that category too. However, Enishi then smiles saying he was just kidding. Somehow he got all serious there, but this type of samurai are mostly not participating because they find it troublesome. Or because they know they wouldn’t win. In the end, it means there are different types of samurai. The nice ones and the bad ones, the strong ones and the incompetent ones, those who wanted to be a samurai… and those who didn’t.

Before Kayo can think further about that last part, Enishi says he needs to get going now. He asks if it’s alright for her to stay here, knowing that she’s supposed to be working too—which reminds her that she does have work waiting for her. She explains that she came here to see the tournament during her break, so he tells her to return home before her father gets worried. He’s planning to drop by again and give his apology for the commotion, and he asks her to let her father know. Kayo doesn’t think it’s necessary for him to go that far, but Enishi points out that he caused trouble in their restaurant—it’s only obvious for him to apologize. Besides, he can use it as an excuse to see her. Or maybe that’s where his true intention lies. ゚.+:。ヾ(o・ω・)ノ゚.+:。

Upon hearing this, Kayo laughs saying she’ll be waiting. After saying that he’ll see her again soon, Enishi suddenly leans in and kisses her on the forehead. His lips leave a warm sensation there, and she instantly turns red. When she calls his name in protest, he only laughs, lightly waves his hands, then runs off like a kid who just did something mischievous. ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ In her panic, she glances around to make sure that no one saw what just happened. Relieved that no one seems to be looking at them, Kayo smiles and mutters that Enishi doesn’t change at all.

After parting with Kayo, Enishi goes back into the castle—where he receives Tatsukage’s rage for what happened at the stage. When Tatsukage slaps his arm and calls him a fool, Enishi only smiles and gives him a flimsy apology before explaining that he had too much drink at Yoshiwara yesterday. Recently, he found a really nice woman at the shop he frequently visits. She’s so beautiful that she can rival Yoshino Tayuu, the number one oiran in Yoshiwara. Tatsukage cuts him off saying he’s not asking about his Yoshiwara adventures, which Enishi responds to by noting that Tatsukage seems to dislike women. He adds that it’s hard to find a nice woman like that. She’s pretty, smells nice, kind-hearted, and tolerant as well. She was serving him with her beautiful voice, so he ended up drinking more than he should.

Tatsukage doesn’t care about the reason though. All he wants to know is why Enishi stepped onto the sacred stage in that half-hearted spirit. He asks if Enishi doesn’t have any dignity left in him, but Enishi lightly replies that he’s not sure either—maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. Frustrated by Enishi’s answer, Tatsukage sadly asks when exactly did he become like this. He can’t possibly understand, because Enishi is supposed to be a man who can do anything perfectly—so much that he harbors resentment towards Enishi because of it.

Tatsukage then asks if Enishi knows how he feels. He’s been weak and sickly ever since he was small. He can’t go anywhere beyond the front gate of the castle. Whenever he tries to do something, people would stop him since he’d only become a hindrance. When he attempted to learn Yagyuu-style swordsmanship, his body failed to keep up even before he could finish the basic training. Even when he tried to fight in a match, he never managed to score a single point before getting defeated Enishi—his younger brother. In his eyes, Enishi has everything he doesn’t… and he doesn’t get why Enishi isn’t happy with his life.

Enishi’s expression turns serious. He doesn’t say anything though, so Tatsukage continues by asking why he doesn’t do what he needs to do properly. Tatsukage won’t say all these harsh things if Enishi is truly a blockhead, and he wants to know what’s causing Enishi to act like this. However, Enishi replies that he is undoubtedly a blockhead. In his whole life, people have never tested and proved that he is NOT an idiot. He believes that the perfect man Tatsukage speaks of is only a deception. If Tatsukage is frail, then Enishi calls himself crippled. He bears the crest of kamioroshi, and yet he can’t do anything with it. He’s a failure who can never do anything properly, and that’s who he really is.

Enishi walks away immediately after saying this, ignoring Tatsukage’s attempt to stop him. After a while, he manages to get away by sneaking into an empty room. He finds it depressing to see Tatsukage again, and since they have a sunny weather today, he decides to take Koro—his dog—out for a walk. However, Enishi does realize that both Tatsukage and him are struggling with their own issues… and that’s exactly why they’re always clashing with each other.

After that, Enishi takes Koro out to town. He rarely brings Koro out with him during the day lately, so the dog is barking excitedly as he follows his owner through the streets. Since the town is bustling with people today, Enishi tells Koro to stay close and walk beside him—receiving a happy bark as the answer. As he observes the number of people in town, Enishi complains about how cramped the streets are when a tournament is taking place. He doesn’t think a competition of sword retrieval is that interesting though. Just then he notices an elderly man nearby, repeatedly apologizing to a ronin. The ronin is going to walk through the gate of Edo Castle today, and he’s blaming the man for leaving a sandal mark on his socks.

When Enishi goes over to ask what’s going on, the ronin gives him a really rude response for interfering. The elderly man, on the other hand, nervously explains that he has insolently stepped on the ronin’s feet by accident. The ronin says it’s all because the man didn’t watch where he was going, and now his socks are covered in mud. However, Enishi thinks it’s plain impossible to tell people not to space out during the cherry blossom season. At this time of the year, everyone looks up as they walk to admire the scenery, so he asks the ronin not to be so insensitive. Enishi also says that the ronin is acting like a girl for making a fuss over his socks, but if it’s bothering him that much… he can just buy a new pair.

The ronin is surprised when Enishi hands him some money. Enishi says it should be enough to get him a clean pair of socks, though no one would pay attention to his feet at the tournament arena anyway. As the ronin leave with a scoff, the elderly man thanks Enishi for helping him. Enishi answers by telling him that he shouldn’t go around bowing his head to every single samurai he runs into. Carrying two swords (the sign that a samurai is officially employed) doesn’t make someone a great human being, and Enishi asks him to be careful if he doesn’t want to get in trouble. Enishi walks away after receiving a blank nod from the man, muttering that he’s actually in no position to lecture others about this.

Right after that, Enishi sees a group of kids talking about festival lanterns. One of them says that he’s got a huge one at home, inviting his friends to come over and see it. Yanohiko is spotted among them, saying that he also has a lantern at home. The previous one was broken, but now he has a Mikazuki Munechika lantern. As they run off while bragging about their festival lanterns, Enishi recognizes Yanohiko as one of Kayo’s neighbors. Enishi remembers that when the ronin and him crashed into the shop next door during their fight, Yanohiko was sadly staring at the broken lantern.

Of course this makes Enishi feel really bad, and he decides that he really needs to apologize to them. He’s been thinking of giving Kayo’s father a proper apology, and he knows that she won’t be able to hold her head high if her neighbors are troubled by what he’s done. When Koro barks at him, Enishi laughs saying he understands. If he doesn’t go now, he would only end up avoiding the issue… so he eventually decides to prepare himself and pay them a visit.

Meanwhile, Kayo is watching the street in front of the restaurant. It’s even livelier compared to yesterday, which unfortunately also makes the area really dusty. No matter how many times she cleans up, she just can’t keep up with the dirt. She wonders if the matches are being held in the castle right now. She didn’t run into the other guards when she explored the arena grounds with Enishi, but she believes they must be filled with fighting spirits—all prepared for their respective matches. It’d be nice if she can find the chance to watch their matches. Kayo is still thinking about this as she sprays water onto the dusty street, but then she suddenly hears a startled voice. When she lifts her head, she sees Enishi standing right in front of the restaurant—with Koro barking next to him.

Enishi whines that Kayo shouldn’t greet him in such a way when they just run into each other, though it’s not a coincidental meeting. Kayo is really surprised, both to see Enishi and the… unfortunate state he’s in. It appears that just as he emerged from the shadows, she dashed the water over him instead of the street. Needless to say, he’s now drenched from head to toe. Koro lets out a sad whine as Kayo wonders what she should do, but Enishi lightly says that his kimono should dry sooner or later—especially because it’s sunny today. Knowing that she feels bad, he laughs it off and asks her not to worry so much. Just as the saying goes: “水も滴るいい男 / mizu mo shitataru ii otoko”. It literally means “a man so good-looking that water drips off him”, which basically says that a man is stunningly handsome. ✧*:・゚(◡‿◡✿)*:・゚✧

If Kayo says that Enishi might catch a cold, he tries reassuring her that he’s going to be fine. She refuses to leave him alone though, telling him that one of a kid in the neighborhood got an upset stomach after kicking his blanket away. He protests and asks if she’s putting him in the same level as kids, but she says that diseases are never picky about their victims. If Kayo comments that Enishi really has a big heart, he replies that it’s not something to get angry over. This reminds her that she’s never seen him angry before, not even during their Tokaido journey. He simply says there’s no need to get angry if he doesn’t even feel annoyed, and anger isn’t good for your health anyway… except he sneezes right after saying that LOL. If Kayo asks if he’s not cold, Enishi answers that it’s nothing unbearable. He can stay warm just by walking, so he tells her not to worry—he’s not that weak. Kayo can also say that she just can’t allow Enishi to walk around looking like that. He’s a samurai, and he needs to take care of his appearance properly. He laughs saying he never paid that much attention to his looks in the first place, but she insists.

Either way, Kayo will ask Enishi to dry his kimono inside—saying she’ll make some warm tea for him too. Before they go inside, he tells her that he needs to do something first. Since they just ran into each other at the castle, the issue has been haunting his mind. Enishi then apologizes to Kayo for stirring up a fight in her restaurant before, causing trouble for her family and her neighbors. He realized that she might have apologized to them in his behalf, and so he came here to give her a proper apology. Kayo is taken aback for a moment, but then she smiles and tells Enishi that it’s alright. Orin’s shop didn’t sustain any damage, and they had a spare lantern to replace the broken one. No one got angry at him.

If anything, Kayo thinks they should be thanking Enishi for chasing the drunken ronin away. Besides, she was irritated too by the way they gossiped about Mitsuyoshi. If he didn’t stop them, she was about to tell them off herself. Enishi asks Kayo not to do that though, as he wouldn’t want anything to happen to her. She thanks him for the concern, but also reassures him that she’ll be fine. The restaurant serves alcoholic drinks after all, so it’s only natural to have drunken customers. Since they’re going inside, Kayo then asks if they should tie up Koro’s leash somewhere. Enishi nods saying that should be fine since Koro is a smart dog, and so she goes to tie his leash around a tree.

Kayo: “Sorry, Koro. Wait here for a bit, okay?”
Koro: “Woof!”
Enishi: “You sure are friendly towards girls… Who did you get that from?”

…obviously from you. (⊙ω⊙✿)

When they enter the restaurant, Kayo’s father comes to ask if she’s done cleaning up outside. At first he seems wary when Enishi nervously greets him, but it’s only until Kayo gives Enishi a proper introduction. She tells him that aside from chasing away the ronin, Enishi is also one of the people who accompanied her through the wedding parade. She mentions that he helped her a lot during their journey, and her father warms up to him right after hearing this. After apologizing for the late greetings, Kayo’s father thanks Enishi for protecting his daughter as they traveled through Tokaido. Enishi seems surprised to receive such a warm response, but then Kayo adds that he’s really strong—impressing her father even more.

Kayo’s father believes his daughter could stay calm and focus on her mission because she had Enishi at her side, but Enishi himself seems to be at loss. He awkwardly averts his gaze, saying he’s glad if he was able to help. Kayo’s father then invites Enishi to have a seat, even though their restaurant might be a bit run-down. He just happens to be making some soba right now, so Kayo asks Enishi to have a taste after his kimono dries—ensuring him that their soba is delicious. Enishi eventually decides to accept the offer, but he lets out a sigh when Kayo isn’t looking. He came here to apologize to them, and yet he ends up in this strange situation.

After that, Kayo takes Enishi to a seat at the back of the restaurant. The table is a bit small, but it has a screen which makes it difficult for the other customers to see him. When she brings a portion of soba for him, he happily starts eating it right away. She finds it pleasant to watch how he wolfs it down, but then she notices that he has refined table manners. It feels strange because he’s just eating his food normally, and yet he uses his chopsticks and holds his sake cup in such a fine way. He gives her a questioning look upon noticing her silence, and she responds by asking if he likes their soba.

Enishi nods saying their soba is delicious. It’s on a completely different level than the ones sold at random stalls, and he asks if Kayo’s father made the soba himself. Kayo answers that he did make them by hand, while she was the one who made the tsuyu. Enishi is a bit surprised to learn that Kayo is good at cooking too, and she replies that she’s not sure whether she’s good or not. It’s just that due to her family business, she has to do more than just serving food for the customers—or else they’ll be short-handed. Enishi notes that work must be tough for her father during their Tokaido journey, and Kayo admits that it was… but she already discussed it with him beforehand. It seemed that a helper also came over to help him during her absence. She can’t travel far away from Edo otherwise, so the journey was a great chance for her to broaden her horizons.

Upon hearing this, Enishi says that he actually noticed this from quite a while ago… but Kayo is always so optimistic in everything she does. He’s never heard her complaining about anything. She’s always smiling despite how tiring it must be for her to help out in the restaurant, and she never raised any protests either during their journey. However, Kayo admits that she had a lot of worries before she decided to participate in the wedding parade. She couldn’t help but wonder why it had to be her, and the fact that she couldn’t refuse made her uncomfortable too. Enishi points out that she didn’t actually show it during their journey though, and she nods saying it’s because she made the decision after thinking about it carefully. Besides, she also made sure to talk to her father until he eventually agreed. That, and she knew that she can’t turn back after they leave Edo. On the day of the departure, she actually felt really nervous.

Enishi agrees. He lightly states that if one can no longer turn back, it would be meaningless to struggle… and he adds that Kayo is a honorable person. While she’s not aware of this herself, he points out that she has always been like that—both before and after their journey. She values her duties highly and does her best to accomplish them, and this image is further enhanced by the fact that she was playing the role of a princess when they first met. After seeing how Kayo helps her father and cooks something delicious for the restaurant, Enishi is sincerely impressed. No princess is as versatile as she is. She laughs saying that’s not a problem. Real princesses have attendants to take care of them, but she’s not a princess—she’s only a merchant’s daughter.

Enishi says he’s envious of how Kayo draws a clear line, and he mentions that he has to learn from her. Kayo is about to say something in return, but then she realizes something—she has no idea what Enishi usually does in life. While she knows that he’s a samurai, he shows no signs of being busy with anything. He doesn’t seem to be troubled financially, and yet he doesn’t seem to be working hard either. Of course she can’t blatantly ask about his job, but it’d be a lie to say that it’s not bothering her at all. If anything, she’s worried about him.

However, Enishi can tell that Kayo is curious about him. He smiles and asks why she suddenly fell silent, though he knows what’s on her mind for the most part. She must be wondering why he spends his time roaming around in town everyday, and it’s written all over her face. Kayo instinctively puts one hand on her cheek and tries to deny it, but Enishi touches her other cheek before she can say anything. She loses all words as he fondly caresses her cheek, and she has no idea what she should do in this situation. She turns red as she calls his name, and he chuckles saying her inability to lie is also one of her charms… but she’ll have to do something about it eventually. He admits that he does wander around in town, and he has no intentions of hiding it either—because he really is a good-for-nothing.

Kayo doesn’t think it’s true, but when she tries to argue, Enishi cuts her off and asks what she would do if he wants her to date him. Can she go out to town with him? Or introduce him to her father? She blushes saying she can’t answer that without experiencing the situation firsthand, but he replies that he’s talking about whether or not that situation is possible in the first place. Of course Kayo didn’t see this coming at all, and so she can’t answer Enishi’s question right away. As the thought of dating him fills her mind, he points out that she’s wearing a troubled expression. At the same time, he moves his hand from her cheek to her lips. She lifts her head upon feeling the unfamiliar sensation, only to see that his face is really close to hers… and that he seems to be enjoying this.

For Enishi, the idea of dating Kayo is actually quite possible. He wants to see more different sides of her, and he jokingly suggests giving it a try. They already know each other anyway, so he doesn’t think it’d be a bad idea. Kayo is thrown into panic as Enishi leans closer from across the table, but just when it seems like their foreheads are about to touch… Orin bursts into the restaurant saying they have a big problem. When Kayo asks her what’s wrong, she says it’s the dog leashed outside—Koro. Upon recognizing Enishi as the samurai from before, Orin asks if the dog is his. Because, much to Kayo’s shock, the leash came off and Koro has dashed off somewhere.

When Orin first saw Koro, he was sitting quietly in front of the restaurant. When she asked if he belongs to a customer, he answered with several happy barks. Koro seems smart despite his friendliness, so Orin thought having a dog like him would help keeping drunken people away from the restaurant. However, Koro suddenly went still and let out a low growl. Before Orin could figure out what’s going on, he began barking and struggling fiercely. Despite Orin’s attempt to stop him, the leash eventually came off and he ran off into the distance—still barking while doing so.

Enishi finds this hard to believe. Koro is different from other dogs, and it’s very unlikely for him to escape simply because the leash came off. Orin points out that Koro is really gone though, so Kayo decides that they should chase after him. She’s going to help too, and so Enishi agrees to go along with it. Orin thinks they need to split up too, or else they might not be able to catch him. Kayo asks Enishi to meet her by the bridge after an hour, saying that she’ll try asking her acquaintances as well. He apologizes for the trouble and thanks her for helping, but she smiles saying it’s not a problem. Then she leaves saying she’ll see him again later.

As Orin wonders if it’s really okay for Kayo to leave the restaurant, Enishi also apologizes to her and asks if she’s unharmed. She answers that she’s fine, but she’s wondering where Koro has gone off to. Just then one of the customers asks if Orin is referring to a dog, because he actually saw one earlier. He says it was a fine dog rarely seen around this part of the town, which is why he remembered it well. When Enishi asks where the dog went off to, the man says it was heading towards the castle. The man himself was coming from that direction, and he saw the dog rushing over to bark at a couple—especially at the woman. He’s now wondering if she’s alright.

Upon hearing this, Enishi asks what kind of woman she was. The man says he couldn’t really see her face, but the woman is young. Compared to the town girls of Edo, she looks somewhat like a princess. She has long hair and appeared to be curiously modest, and the man she was with is really good-looking as well. Noticing that Enishi has gone silent, Orin asks if he knew the couple. He only shakes his head saying it’s nothing, and he thanks both Orin and the man for helping. The man says he didn’t do much though, and he sincerely hopes that they can find Koro soon. Orin, on the other hand, asks Enishi not to give Kayo too much trouble. He laughs saying she could say that again, and then he leaves the restaurant as well. Orin thinks it’s nice that Enishi doesn’t put on airs like other samurai, but she also finds him rather unreliable… and this leaves her feeling concerned.

The couple Koro is chasing after turns out to be none other than Tsuzumi and Nanae. Before Koro found them, Tsuzumi noted that the Five Swords Festival is just around the corner—which is why the streets are crowded with people. They’ve been staying in the mountains, far away from any human dwellings, for so long that he nearly forgot about the common events in town. Nanae soon reminded him that they should go back. It’s dangerous for them to be outside in the daytime, because they might run into someone who knows them. Tsuzumi agreed. They were mostly done with their business in town anyway, and they better leave before they get into any trouble.

However, Nanae noticed that something was coming their way. Just as Tsuzumi asked her what’s wrong, Koro appeared before them and started barking at her. Shocked by the sudden occurrence, Nanae clung to Tsuzumi and tried to chase Koro away. Unfortunately for them, he refused to leave them alone. Before long, people started noticing that the dog was pestering them. Since Koro was mainly barking at Nanae, some also wondered if she had some food in her pocket. They were drawing a lot of attention, and it was obviously a bad thing for them. This left them with no other choice, so Tsuzumi eventually took Nanae to flee—with Koro chasing after them.

Meanwhile, Saneaki is quietly walking through the town. He’s going to leave Edo for quite a while today. Since he has a long mountain hike waiting ahead of him, he wonders if he should stock up on some dried rice. At first he’s curious about why the town seems to be even livelier than usual, but quickly realizes that the Tournament of Sword Retrieval is currently being held in the castle. An inn owner calls out to him and asks if he’s here to watch the tournament, inviting him to stay at their place if he hasn’t gotten an inn yet. They’re really close to the bathhouse, and their beds are thicker than other inns. Saneaki answers that he won’t be spending the night in Edo today. The inn owner is surprised since they’re having a festive time in Edo, and he can’t believe that Saneaki is just going to pass by. He tries asking Saneaki to stay and take it easy, but Saneaki ignores him and continues walking. If he thinks about his departure and the time when the sun sets, he just can’t afford to lose any time here.

For Saneaki, Edo is awfully noisy. It’s like the town is packed with a whole year’s worth of noise from his secluded settlement in the mountains. He’s planning to finish his business quickly and go back, but then he notices Kayo in the distance—asking people if they saw a dog around here. A shop owner asks about the details, and she gives him a description of Koro: medium-sized, has white and brown fur, and wears a leash around his neck. While the shop owner didn’t see him, their conversation soon draws the attention of Kouetsu—a polisher whom Kayo hasn’t seen in quite a while. He mentions that the town has been full of people since morning, and so someone might have seen Koro if he ran off to the main street.

Saburouza, who happens to be nearby, wonders if they’re looking for the dog he saw not too long ago. Kouetsu asks if he saw anything, and he nods saying he saw a dog like that from afar—when he went to fish up some gobies from the river. He confirms that said dog has white and brown fur, and he thought it was weird for such a well-groomed dog to run around without an owner. Saburouza isn’t sure if the dog is still at the river right now, but Kayo decides to take a look and leaves after thanking everyone. Saneaki sighs in disbelief as he listens to their conversation. The woman he used to call “princess” is now running around in search of a dog, and he wonders what he’s going to do about this.

Luckily, Koro is still at the bridge by the time Kayo arrives. She scolds him for running off on his own, and then asks him to go back with her—surely Enishi must be worried about him. However, she soon realizes that Koro is actually asleep. Kayo tries waking him up, but no matter how much she shakes him and tells him not to sleep at a place like this… he doesn’t budge and continues snoring instead. Just then, Saneaki comes over to join Kayo. He points out that Koro seems to be sleepy, most likely exhausted after running around. While Kayo is surprised to see Saneaki, he only smiles and tells her that waking Koro up by force would probably be useless. If she holds onto his leash and let him catch some sleep, the dog should wake up eventually.

Noticing that Kayo is reluctant, Saneaki asks if she’s in a hurry. When she nods, he gives in and decides to help her… by summoning Habakitsuki. Habakitsuki looks really surprised as she pops out of Saneaki’s sword, even more so when he tells her to play with Koro for a bit. Just as she opens her mouth to protest, Koro senses her presence and instantly perks up. Kayo’s eyes widen as Koro starts barking at Habakitsuki, who panics and wonders out loud if he can see her. At the same time, Saneaki notes that Koro is different from other animals. It seems like Koro’s nose is keen enough to pick up out-of ordinary-things, as proven by the way he’s tugging on Habakitsuki right now. It’s only until Habakitsuki cries out his name—clearly begging for help—that Saneaki finally decides to stop them.

Habakitsuki vanishes when Saneaki puts his sword away, leaving Koro in confusion. Kayo gets confused when Koro lets out a sad whimper, and she wonders if he saw something she didn’t… but Saneaki quickly tells her hat nothing happened and asks her not to worry about it. Before she could say anything else, he adds that she must’ve come all the way here searching for the dog. Now that she’s found him, she should either go home before her family gets worried or ask someone to pick them up. Since Kayo seems to have something to say, Saneaki allows her to go on. She’s mostly surprised to see him, as she didn’t know that he’s here in Edo. She asks if he’s participating in the tournament, but he replies that he’s only passing by. In fact, he’s going to leave Edo today.

Kayo looks surprised to hear this, so Saneaki asks if she has any problems with that. She shakes her head, telling him that she’s glad to have met him in Edo before he leaves—even if it was by a mere coincidence. She also thanks him for helping her during their Tokaido journey, though he doesn’t think he deserves her gratitude. After all, protecting her was his duty. Of course Kayo understands this as well, but that doesn’t change the fact that Saneaki has helped her a lot during their journey… so he eventually gives her a nod. Realizing that it’s almost been an hour, Kayo then decides to excuse herself. Before leaving, she also asks Saneaki to drop by her father’s restaurant whenever he visits Edo again—saying that he can find it at the shopping district. Kayo then takes her leave and walks away with Koro, asking Saneaki to be careful.

Soon after Kayo is gone, Habakitsuki comes out and notes that Kayo is a really active “princess”. Saneaki sighs saying she is, though they can tell that’s probably her real personality. Habakitsuki remembers that Kayo also mentioned that she’s really immersed in her naginata training. Considering her personality, the wedding parade must’ve been troublesome for her. As Saneaki takes her to leave, Habakitsuki smiles and wonders if they’ll ever see this energetic princess again someday.

Meanwhile, Koro is literally dragging Kayo to the bridge. She sighs in relief when he finally stops walking and pants at her feet, but Enishi is nowhere to be seen. Kayo doesn’t know which area Enishi is searching at. This leaves her with no choice but to wait until he comes, wondering if he’s okay. He eventually shows up not too long after that. She waves at him as he runs up to them, with Koro happily barking at her side. He apologizes and asks if he kept her waiting, but she says she didn’t wait that long. Noting that she has caught Koro, he then asks where the dog ran off to. Kayo explains that she found Koro at the riverbed, as well as how Saneaki helped her… but then she notices something. Enishi reeks of alcohol.

Enishi is surprised that Kayo noticed. Before he can say anything, she frowns and asks where he went off to while she was looking for Koro. He didn’t go drinking, right…? However, Enishi awkwardly admits that he did drink a bit to warm up. She can either scold him for breaking his promise, ask if she did something unnecessary by looking for his dog, tell him not to make promises he can’t keep, or say that he’s so mean for lying to her. Regardless of what Kayo says, he will feel terrible and apologize—knowing that he’s hurt her. The very next second, Koro suddenly leaps with a bark and tackles Enishi. Kayo gasps in shock as he falls off the bridge and into the river below, then she rushes over to see if he’s alright.

Under the bridge, Enishi grimaces saying that really startled him—his vision totally flipped over when he fell down. Kayo is obviously worried and asks if he’s unharmed, and while he reassures her that he’s fine, she notes that he’s drenched from head to toe. Again. He insists that he’s okay though. The river is quite deep, and he didn’t hit himself anywhere… but then he starts sneezing. She points out that his condition is even worse than when she splashed him earlier, and he just can’t shake this off with a joke about how good-looking he is. Enishi actually has to agree with Kayo this time, because he’s literally shivering right now. In any case, she asks him to take off his wet kimono first. She points out that he might catch a cold that way, so he agrees and starts stripping right away.

The moment she sees Enishi’s body, Kayo is really surprised. Noticing her expression, he apologizes for stripping in front of her eyes. It’s probably considered bad manners, not to mention they’re still in broad daylight. She gets flustered and tries to deny this, but he adds that he doesn’t mind—she can look at his body for free! ✿*,(*´◕ω◕`*)+✿.* Feeling embarrassed, Kayo quickly turns around saying that’s not what she meant. Enishi jokingly says that she doesn’t have to avert her gaze, but she only tells him to wear his kimono as fast as possible LOL. As Enishi wrings his kimono like a dust cloth, Kayo silently thinks about what she just saw on his body—scars. Not only one or two, but a lot. They’re covering his entire body.

After a while, Enishi tells Kayo that he’s done. He feels like he’s wearing wet laundry though. When Kayo turns back to face Enishi, she reluctantly asks if he’s really unharmed. He nods saying he doesn’t get any injuries, but she points out that he has scars. He doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with them though, so she states that he has a lot of them… but he thinks it’s only natural. He tells her that when he runs out of money, he usually works as a roundsman or something for daily income. Kayo has never heard about this before, and she asks if Enishi knew Kei right from the start—because they didn’t seem to know each other. He says that’s because Edo is a large town, and he’s often stationed at the outskirts.

Kayo nods, but a part of her finds it difficult to accept Enishi’s answer. While she didn’t get a clear look, she saw that he has countless scars. She can’t help but wonder if working as a roundsman would really give one so many injuries. Kayo only snaps out her thoughts when Enishi calls her, asking if they can go back now—he feels cold in his wet kimono. She apologizes for spacing out and asks him to come to her house first, since they have to dry him up before he catches a cold. He accepts the offer, but he wonders what her father would think about his appearance. Kayo says they have no choice but to be honest and explain that Enishi fell into the river, especially because it was his own fault to begin with.

When Enishi complains, Kayo reminds him that he broke his promise and went for a drink while it’s still bright outside—that must be why Koro got angry at him. Koro barks happily when Kayo turns to him for support, while Enishi frowns at him for taking her side. Jokes aside, Kayo tells Enishi that he really can’t do something like that. She doesn’t really mind, but if he keeps doing irresponsible things, people would misunderstand. He needs to keep his promises, and he shouldn’t drink until he gets drunk at noon. Since people are working during the day, he’ll look like he’s lazing off.

Kayo stops upon noticing that Enishi is quietly listening, nodding to everything she says. However, when she tries calling his name, he once again nods saying this is nice. Then he breaks into a smile, wondering if she’d give him such a cute scolding everyday if he takes her as his wife. Kayo’s mouth drops open, and her cheeks turn red as Enishi gives her some examples—such as “wake up, it’s morning already!” or “your kimono is all messed up!”. He actually quite likes the idea of getting reprimanded by her, while she—out of embarrassment—says that she’ll get angry if he continues doing that. He doesn’t take her seriously at all though, since he then turns to Koro and talks to the dog about how cute she is. When she tries raising another protest, he calmly nods saying he’s listening, so she ends up pouting at him instead LOL. As they walk back to her house with Koro, Kayo notices that Enishi seems happy.

At night, Enishi meets up with Mitsuyoshi outside. Enishi asks if he kept Mitsuyoshi waiting, but the latter shakes his head. Instead, Mitsuyoshi asks if Enishi is alright—he was trembling hard when he returned to the castle. Enishi says it’s not a big deal though. Once he takes a warm bath or go to sleep, he should be back to normal. If anything, it was Tatsukage’s rage lecture that gave him the most damage. He certainly didn’t expect his brother to scold him again after he came back, but Mitsuyoshi thinks there was nothing they could do about that. Tatsukage got really angry after Enishi left him, and Mitsuyoshi believes Enishi is lucky that Tatsukage only scolded him that much. Enishi agrees. What he’s about to do now isn’t going to restore his honor, but it’s time for him to do his daily duty.

As they walk into the woods outside of town, Mitsuyoshi asks Enishi about what happened today. Enishi winces at the question, thinking that Mitsuyoshi is referring to his stage failure. He answers that he lacked practice. He didn’t really get any sleep last night, and he knows that it was his fault. However, Mitsuyoshi is actually referring to tonight’s mission. He feels that Enishi is more enthusiastic than usual, so he asks if something happened in town. Enishi laughs saying Mitsuyoshi really knows everything, which makes him wonder if that’s one of the traits which make him a master swordsman. He turns to ask if Koro agrees with him, and Koro pants as he walks beside them.

Since Mitsuyoshi is still waiting for an answer, Enishi tells him that nothing in particular happened—he only has something in mind. When Mitsuyoshi asks for further explanation, Enishi continues that there’s someone who would seriously scold a good-for-nothing. There are lots of people around him who would nag and scold him, but only a few would get angry because they really care. Not that he’s blaming them though. Before Mitsuyoshi can say anything, Enishi says the sincerity in the scolding makes him feel like he did something terrible. It motivates him to be a better person.

Enishi recalls how Kayo scolded him at noon. She got seriously angry upon sensing the scent of alcohol from him, and it made him feel happy and guilty at the same time. She must’ve thought that he skipped the dog search and felt disappointed in him, but he was actually doing an important investigation—one that he can’t talk about in public. If Koro went as far as shaking off his leash to bark at someone, then whoever he was chasing after must be a suspicious person. The investigation was necessary in order to track them down, but Enishi isn’t exactly happy about the misunderstanding it caused. Sadly, he knows that it’d sound like a sad excuse even if he explains it to Kayo. He made a mistake by drinking while he was gathering information at a tavern, so maybe it was his own fault.

Mitsuyoshi tells Enishi that while they are not perfect, the people in the castle are all hoping to help him. Enishi knows that Mitsuyoshi is telling the truth, especially for Mitsuyoshi himself. Kamioroshi cannot be mastered in a brief interval. Mitsuyoshi can understand Enishi’s worries and impatience, but Enishi needs to endure it without giving up. Enishi replies that he’s not exactly panicking or burning with impatience, but at his current state, he’s wondering if the proof—the crest of kamioroshi—is just a false alarm. While Mitsuyoshi doesn’t think so, Enishi points out that he can’t see himself. That’s why he finds it impossible to believe in himself, even if everyone is telling him to have faith.

The topic of kamioroshi reminds Enishi of Sunpu’s ichibangatana, the one who earned Juzumaru. From Mitsuyoshi, Enishi learns that the samurai’s name is Tsuzumi Hougen—which he thinks is a really fitting name for one with supernatural power. He also asks if Tsuzumi is able to use the power of the crest, but Mitsuyoshi answers that they can’t really say anything about that. Ever since Asakura disappeared with Choushichirou, Tsuzumi has been missing as well—most likely because he’s working with Asakura.

After thinking about this for a while, however, a question comes to Enishi’s mind. If Tsuzumi has been a part of Asakura’s rebellion from the very beginning, then why did Juzumaru decide to grant him power? Of course Mitsuyoshi doesn’t know the answer either, and Enishi thinks all these things that go beyond human knowledge—the Five Heavenly Swords, Marebito, kamioroshi—are so troublesome. Or rather, it feels like these things are using humans however they like. Enishi wonders if he’s having these thoughts because of the doubts in his mind though, and Mitsuyoshi only keeps silent.

Meanwhile, Kayo sees a dream of a red river surrounded by spider lilies. Countless youkai are swarming a number of doors from the other side, and to her horror, someone is opening one of the door—allowing all the youkai to flood into Hinomoto. Soon she finds herself in the familiar view of Edo, except the town is wrapped in chaos and filled with the agonizing cries of people. In the panic, she rushes to see her father in the restaurant. When she finds her father inside, she cries and begs him to close the door as quickly as possible… only to have her father transforming into Marebito. He has crossed over to this world through the open door, and so it’d be useless to close it now—Hinomoto will be swallowed by Tokoyo. As the view reverts to the red river, Kayo is filled with the realization that Marebito should never be summoned, and that the doors should never be opened. Marebito smiles as he tells Kayo to feel her own foolishness, and then everything turns red.

When Kayo opens her eyes, she finds herself in her room. It takes quite a while before she realizes that she had a nightmare, and she wonders why she saw such a horrifying dream. She hadn’t heard of Marebito again since the wedding parade, and the dream gives he a strange feeling. It fills her mind with a lot of questions, but she quickly tells herself to forget about the dream, gets changed, and goes outside to see her father. Since Edo is lively and filled with the high spirits for the tournament, it doesn’t take long until Kayo completely forgets the ominous dream.


Chapter 3

Several days later at the dojo, the teacher says she has something to discuss with Kayo and Omatsu after practice. Due to the tournament at Edo Castle, a lot of martial artists has gathered in town—as they have seen for themselves. The teacher’s mentor is no exception. According to the teacher, her mentor is an old lady from Sagami Province. She will be visiting the dojo on the day after tomorrow, and so the teacher is wondering if Kayo and Omatsu can perform a demonstration during her visit. They’re her best students in this dojo, not to mention they’re perfectly in tune with each other. She also mentions that they don’t have to be all formal and stiff over this, and then she asks if they’re willing to do it.

Kayo and Omatsu share the same opinion. They’ll gladly do it as long as the other is alright with the idea, and so they both agree to perform the demonstration. The teacher is visibly relieved to hear this, and she asks them to work on the preparations—though she feels bad for imposing so much on them. Since it’s not a formal demonstration, Kayo and Omatsu will be the only ones performing on the day of the visit… and the teacher believes they’ll present a beautiful demonstration together. Kayo promises to do her best to be a worthy representative for the dojo, and the teacher smiles saying she’ll be looking forward to their performance.

Later on, as they walk home after practice, Kayo mentions that it’s unusual for them to receive visitors at the dojo. Omatsu nods and points out that their teacher’s mentor might be someone of high social status, which makes Kayo even more determined to work hard for the performance. She agreed without giving it much thought, but she’d only bring their teacher to shame if she doesn’t practice for it. However, Omatsu admits that she’d actually prefer a match instead of a demonstration. After all, martial arts are meant for combat. Kayo agrees. She just can’t see naginata as nothing more than a part of a bridal trousseau, and Omatsu feels the same way—because they’re both training to become stronger. This is one of the reasons why they get along so well. They’re learning martial arts with a clear objective in mind. In Kayo’s case, it’s because she’s wishing to learn and understand the art of naginata—her mother’s memento. She’s aware that not everyone approves of this though, because she doesn’t come from a warrior family like Omatsu.

Omatsu then remembers that the Five Swords Festival is starting tomorrow, and she mentions that Taichi is inviting her to explore the festival together. Kayo remembers him as the samurai who recently came to work for Omatsu’s family. According to Omatsu, Taichi is strong and she learns a lot of things from him. He invited her to see the festival stalls tomorrow, after watching the tournament matches. Kayo smiles saying that’s really nice, but Omatsu looks concerned upon hearing her response. Omatsu asks if Kayo doesn’t have anyone who can go to the festival with her, and Kayo reluctantly admits that she actually does have someone in mind.

The last time Enishi visited Kayo, he asked if she wants to go to the festival together. She looked really confused and asked if he’s inviting her to go with him, so he jokingly wondered if she thought that he’s asking her to go out with Koro. (○´゚ω゚`):;*.’:;ブッ She quickly shook her head and explained that she was just surprised, but he looked sad to hear her answer. He didn’t expect her to find his invitation surprising, though he knew that her father would probably be alarmed. Even though her father has forgiven him, it wouldn’t change the fact that he has behaved disgracefully in front of them before. There’s no way that her father would let her go out with such a man, and while he can understand that… he looked terribly disappointed. Koro whimpered as he let out a sigh.

Back then Kayo didn’t give Enishi a proper answer, but now she’s wondering if she should have made it clear for him. On the other hand, Kayo also thinks that going to the festival with Enishi seems to be really fun. She snaps out of her thoughts when Omatsu asks if she wants to join her and Taichi, but she quickly refuses and tells them to enjoy the festival without her. Omatsu tries to reassure Kayo that they wouldn’t mind her company, though the topic of martial arts might dominate their conversation with Taichi… but Kayo still turns down the invitation. She asks Omatsu not to worry about her. Besides, the restaurant will probably be busy anyway—it’s a festival after all. Omatsu doesn’t press further. She finds it unfortunate that Kayo won’t be going to the festival, but Kayo only gives her a dry laugh in return.

Kayo spends the morning of the next day making dango in the restaurant. She calls her father to ask if it’s okay to mix mugwort into half of the dough, and he asks her to make it slightly less than usual since they have to make all three colors. When she wonders if they should prepare some sesame dumplings as well, he nods and accepts the suggestion… but then he stops to ask if she’s not going to the festival. She answers with a quiet nod, but he asks her not to worry about the restaurant. A helper will come at noon, and he knows that Omatsu must have invited her to the festival. However, Kayo smiles and reassures her father that it’s alright. She’s helping out because she wants to, and she doesn’t dislike her job here at the restaurant. It brings her to meet a lot of people, and also she learns a lot through her interaction with the customers.

Before her father could say anything, Kayo directs his attention back to their preparations. They’re going to have a lot of customers today, so she tells him that she doesn’t have any time to play—it’s the time for them to make profit. Her father has no choice but to agree, though he still looks reluctant. Just then, they hear footsteps walking into the restaurant. Kayo goes out to greet and inform the visitor that they are still in the middle of preparations, but she’s really surprised to see that it’s actually Enishi—cheerfully greeting her with a smile. Noticing that Kayo’s father is inside, Enishi politely greets him too and apologizes again for the trouble he caused before.

By now, Kayo’s father has completely gotten over that issue. No kidding, Enishi has been apologizing to him over and over again LOL. If anything, he’s more concerned about why Enishi is visiting his daughter today… so Enishi explains that he came to invite Kayo to the festival. Kayo is absolutely mortified to hear this. She knows it’s probably her fault for not giving him a clear answer, but she never thought that he’d ask her out right in front of her father—she has no idea what to say in this situation. Since Kayo remains silent, her father eventually does the answering. He feels honored that Enishi is inviting his daughter, but he’s going to let Kayo make her own decision. If Kayo wants to go, then he’ll gladly ask Enishi to take her along.

Upon hearing this, Enishi turns to Kayo and asks for her answer. He makes it clear that she can refuse if she doesn’t want to go. He knows the restaurant will be busy today, and he just can’t force her to go out with him… but he also admits that he personally wants her to come along. He has caused her all sorts of trouble, and so he wants to make it up to her. After thinking for a while, Kayo asks if her father will really be alright without her. He reminds her that he already told her not to worry about the restaurant, so she’s free to do what she wants. Both Enishi and him are leaving the decision in her hands, so he wants her to think about it and decide for herself. Eventually, Kayo gives in and decides to check the festival—just for a bit. Enishi doesn’t mind at all, clearly happy that he didn’t come to invite her for nothing.

Kayo’s father then asks Kayo to get ready and not keep Enishi waiting, but Enishi asks them not to worry about that. It’s not like he has anything else to do anyway! \(^o^)/ Her father sighs upon hearing this, and she can tell that he’s actually a bit worried about them… and she needs to take the initiative to make things clear. Kayo can either tell her father that Enishi is an honorable man, reassure him that Enishi isn’t drunk today, admit that she actually wants to go with Enishi, or say that she’d feel bad if she turns down the invitation. Most of these options will lead to Kayo explaining that Enishi helped her a lot during their Tokaido trip, but the first one triggers a different response from Kayo. She will explain that Enishi usually works for the police. In her mind, she notes that he actually never made it clear, but she believes he has a reason for not telling her anything—like how he got those wounds on his body.

In any case, Kayo’s explanation is enough to clear her father’s doubts. He apologizes to Enishi for their unrefined manners, but Enishi doesn’t mind at all—pointing out that he’s the one who came to visit them without prior notice. Before they leave, Kayo asks her father not to worry about her. She’s going to enjoy the festival just for a little bit, and he answers by telling her to have fun. He also asks Enishi to take care of his daughter, to which Enishi nods saying he can leave it to him.

Meanwhile, in Edo Castle, Munenori has been summoned to see Iemitsu. Iemitsu apologizes for calling him in the middle of a match and asks if he was busy, but Munenori simply denies it. Every year, it takes roughly three days for the tournament to become bearable to watch. Until they can find a skilled fighter among the participants, Iemitsu believes there’s no need for them to watch from beginning to end… and he advises Munenori to take it more lightly as well. That aside, Iemitsu then asks if Nobuharu—Enishi—is nowhere to be found. When Munenori nods, he sighs and notes that Enishi must have escaped. It leaves him wondering if Enishi hates him, but Munenori replies that Iemitsu is probably the closest and yet also the furthest figure for Enishi.

Noticing Iemitsu’s puzzled expression, Munenori points out that in the past, Iemitsu has taken Mikazuki Munechika with his own hands and received the eye of Futsumitama—his kamioroshi crest. These facts, along with Iemitsu’s presence, give Enishi mixed feelings as his heir and the current wielder of the sword. Iemitsu admits that he honestly doesn’t see it as a problem though. Even if Enishi can’t use the power of kamioroshi, he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with that—he never gives Enishi that much pressure to begin with. Sadly, Munenori believes that Iemitsu’s tolerance only makes it even more complicated for Enishi, which then leads to Tatsukage growing even more anxious. Both Enishi and Tatsukage have high pride, and thus failing to meet expectations is unbearable for them.

Iemitsu sighs saying this is problematic, but a tinge of grief is heard in his voice. Mikazuki Munechika used to be his treasured sword, and he certainly didn’t let go of it to torment Enishi. Most importantly, Enishi himself is probably aware of this too. Several years ago, Iemitsu—who doesn’t have a biological son—decided to take an adoptive heir for the first time. Naturally, it caused a stir among the clans and hints of conspiracy were billowing everywhere. As the successor of the shogun, Iemitsu’s heir should be someone with the ability to wield one of the Five Heavenly Swords—just like Iemitsu himself. The details were unclear about who first suggested this idea, but it was indeed a clear requirement.

Five years ago, a new wielder for Mikazuki Munechika was chosen during a tournament in Mito.

It was the second son of Yorifusa, the founding leader of the Mito clan. Matsudaira Nobuharu.

Back in the present, Munenori asks if Iemitsu regrets letting go of Mikazuki Munechika. Iemitsu answers that he doesn’t, and that it’s unrelated to this issue they’re facing. However, he admits that a part of him does miss the sword. His current weapon—Kannagiri Nagamitsu—is also a good sword, but it’s no match for Mikazuki Munechika. Frankly speaking, Iemitsu let go of Mikazuki Munechika thinking that it should be wielded by someone who needs it more than he does. He asks Munenori not to ask further though, or else he’ll end up regretting it for real… and Munenori frowns as the weight of Iemitsu’s words sinks in.

After leaving the restaurant, Kayo and Enishi go to the main street—where the festival is being held. As the name says, Five Swords Festival is a celebration dedicated to the Five Heavenly Swords. Five festival cars parade around the area, each of them designed after the swords, and treasures or armors related to the swords are being displayed as well. The festival was originally an celebration for warrior families, but nowadays everyone is allowed to enjoy it regardless of their social ranks. People swarm the shops lining up the street to the shopping district, and there are lots of stalls on the side of the road.

Kayo finds it fun to walk through them, until Enishi and her eventually reach an area the festival cars go through on their parade. When she happily notes that they can get a good view from this spot, he replies that it’s because the ground is slightly higher—though he also came to this place last year. Upon hearing this, Kayo admits that she’s never seen the festival properly before… and Enishi can understand since her father’s business thrives the most during festival seasons. He then explains that Five Swords Festival used to be more of a ritual held during tournaments in Edo Castle. Eventually, stories about the swords spread and reached the public through picture books, and the festival changed into an event for commoners.

Enishi also mentions that when a tournament is being hosted, people who are familiar with martial arts would come from various provinces and gather in Edo—it’s only natural if the town becomes more alive during this season. Kayo answers that her teacher’s mentor will be visiting them as well, and she tells him about the demonstration she’s going to perform with Omatsu. Enishi smiles saying he wants to see that, and this also reminds him that Kayo knows how to use a naginata. He never saw her wielding one during their Tokaido journey, but she points out that she was surrounded by seasoned guards. Even if she had a naginata with her, she wouldn’t get any chance to fight anyway.

That being said, Kayo admits that naginata is special to her. She tells Enishi that her mother came from a warrior family. Even after she got married, her mother had never stopped her lifelong training. When she died, Kayo received her naginata as a memento. Kayo wonders if it’s weird, but Enishi replies that it’s not. She received an item that her mother used to treasure, and it has become something important for her as well. Enishi believes that it’s a happy thing, and Kayo quietly nods in agreement. She’s aware that due to her background, it may not be appropriate for her to learn martial arts—especially because her father is also against the idea. However, if it’s possible… she wants to continue her naginata training, in the hope that it might be useful someday.

When Enishi nods and smiles at her, Kayo suddenly realizes what she just said. Her cheeks turn red from the embarrassment as she apologizes to him, saying that it’s not something she should talk about with a samurai. Enishi doesn’t think so though. If anything, he finds Kayo’s story inspiring. Kayo looks confused upon hearing this, but Enishi gives her no explanation. He simply says that he likes that side of her. She’s full of spirit and has no doubts… and he believes that’s probably why her personality stands out. Despite the compliment, however, Kayo is slightly concerned by Enishi’s response.

After watching the beautiful festival cars, Kayo and Enishi make their way to the stalls—where they can always find unusual items for sale. There are early-ripened fruits that haven’t reached Edo’s markets yet, treats made from unfamiliar seafood, refined porcelains, summer kimono cloths from famous production areas, mysterious liquors, and toys from southeastern countries. She feels really excited simply by looking at them. After a while, Kayo notices a beautiful kimono in one of the shops. She’s never seen something like that before, not even among Denma-cho‘s wide variety of goods. When Enishi comes to take a look, the shopkeeper invites them inside to see their products.

While Enishi happily accepts the invitation, Kayo is taken aback since the shop is rather grand. She tries to refuse knowing the kimono must be expensive, but he reminds her that it’s a festival—it won’t hurt to look at the goods. The shopkeeper doesn’t mind at all, even suggesting them to think of this as a part of their Edo sightseeing. Of course Enishi and Kayo are actually not tourists and have been living in Edo to begin with, but Enishi doesn’t see that as a problem. He then urges Kayo to follow the shopkeeper inside, leaving her with no choice but to go along with it.

Upon entering the shop, Enishi is impressed to see that the shopkeeper has brought cloths from faraway lands. The shopkeeper nods and explains that he travels to various provinces, stocking up fabrics woven by wholesalers in each area. While he has trending items in stock, he can also offer various cloths which are still unusual in Edo. Enishi agrees since he has never seen these items before among all the offerings. At this current state, he believes the townsfolk are much more stylish than they are. He’s clearly referring to the nobles at the castle, but since Kayo doesn’t know his real identity… the word “offerings” leaves her confused. He quickly says it’s nothing though, then changes the subject by picking up a fabric and asks where it came from—he finds it extraordinary.

Impressed by Enishi’s fine taste, the shopkeeper answers that it’s a pongee from Kaga. Enishi is surprised because the fabric is soft and vividly colored, resembling satin more than anything else. The shopkeeper also explains that it was woven in the snowiest mountain in Kaga, making it terribly inconvenient to visit. Nowadays he also receives pongees from Oshima Island to the south and Yonezawa to the north, but he believes the one from Kaga is the best for the upcoming season. Kayo finds the fabric beautiful. The base color is an elegant lavender, laced with wavy striped pattern in dark grey. It’s a mature with a bewitching charm, and she doesn’t think she can pull off that look.

Enishi, on the other hand, asks Kayo to try it on. Kayo immediately refuses saying the kimono would only be wasted on her, but since the shopkeeper thinks it’ll look nice on her… Enishi decides to take this further by asking the shopkeeper to recommend the best items in the shop. First, they start with selecting an obi that matches the kimono. The shopkeeper recommends a summer obi with an unusual design. It’s made of silk and embroidered with snowflake-shaped crests. He explains that it can only be woven one step at a time, so it requires quite a long time to make. Enishi finds it interesting to have snow motif for summer, and he agrees to go with the obi.

From there, they move on to the undergarment—which is important for summer kimono. Similarly to the kimono fabric, the shopkeeper recommends a chirimen from Komatsu in Kaga over the ones from Tango or Oumi. As for the color, Enishi believes pink or gentian blue will be nice. He quickly moves on to the obi sash immediately after, and the shopkeeper happily follows as his eyes travel from a sash with the classic genjikou crest to one with rangiku motif. Before Kayo can stop him, he smiles and asks the shopkeeper to give them the entire set. Kayo’s mouth drops open as the shopkeeper thanks Enishi for the purchase, even more so when he explains that it’s a token of apology for all the problems he’s caused her—asking her to accept it.

When Kayo tries to refuse, Enishi simply says that she looked great in a shiromuku… but he wants to see her in various attires. He’s wishing to see her dressed in a kimono of his choice, and he believes this is the perfect chance to do that. Kayo reluctantly glances at the kimono and obi they’ve laid out for her. Every single one of the items has the air of elegance and maturity to them. They are all dyed in vivid color and uniquely woven, but… no matter how hard she tries, she just can’t bring herself to think that they’d suit a girl who works in a restaurant. Noticing her hesitance, Enishi sadly asks Kayo to accept it for his sake. He says he wants to see her dressed up for once, but the fact that he’s doing this out of goodwill only makes it even harder for her to refuse.

Kayo can either ask if Enishi doesn’t like her current outfit, tell him that the kimono is too much for her, admit that it’s still too early for her to wear such a mature kimono, or point out that it’s not suitable for working. No matter what Kayo says, Enishi will try to argue before eventually accepting her decision. On the other hand, the shopkeeper is clearly disappointed. This makes Kayo feel really bad for refusing, but then Enishi comes up with an idea. He’s still going to buy the kimono set, but he asks the shopkeeper to keep them until Kayo agrees to accept them someday. Enishi also covers the tailoring fee in his payment, though he adds that the shopkeeper doesn’t have to work on the order—he can do that when Kayo feels like wearing the kimono in the future.

Turning back to Kayo, Enishi asks if she can accept the kimono this way. She’s actually not too sure, and she wonders if it’s really okay for her to receive it… but he reassures her that it’s 100% fine. Kayo mentions that her father might get if she does, and Enishi lightly replies that he’ll talk to her father if that’s the case. This leaves Kayo with no other choice, so after contemplating for a while, she eventually agrees to accept the purchase—much to the shopkeeper’s joy. As the shopkeeper thanks her, Kayo realizes that Enishi has successfully coaxed her into it.

After the strangely exhausting kimono shop trip, Kayo and Enishi head back to the shopping district. The familiar streets, including the one in front of her house, are unusually lively with stalls lining up the sides. Enishi notices that the crowd is growing larger. Kayo nods saying it’s because lunch time is approaching, and they decide to grab some meal too. Since they’ve come all the way to the festival, he suggests going for something unusual. As Kayo glances around to see their options, her eyes land on a certain stall with boxes neatly placed on the counter. When she inches closer, she sees various combs and kanzashi inside the boxes. She can’t help but admire their beauty, and the old lady who runs the stall warmly greets her.

Noticing that Kayo has stopped in front of the stall, Enishi soon comes to ask if there’s something wrong. She apologizes and asks if she can take a look at the items for a while, and that’s when he realizes what she’s looking at. The stall is mostly selling accessories made for daily use, items which are normally worn by the girls in town. The price might be affordable even for Kayo, so she decides to buy one. When Enishi asks which one she likes the most, Kayo picks up a jade kanzashi and asks for the price. Unfortunately, it turns out to be much more expensive than she expected—500 mon.

Since Kayo is clearly shocked, the old lady offers a different jade kanzashi for only 200 mon. Enishi notes that the second one has a pretty good quality due to its deep green color, but Kayo eventually decides to she’ll think about it for a while. The old lady replies that she’ll always be available during the festival, and so they can visit her again later. After thanking the old lady, Kayo leaves the stall and walks to the bridge with Enishi—where she asks if she’s really sure about not buying the kanzashi. She nods and tries to steer the topic back to lunch, but what just happened reminds him of the wedding parade. He’s not sure if it’s okay for him to raise this question, but he decides to ask if she received some reward for her participation.

At first Kayo only gives Enishi a brief nod, but before he can inquire further, she reveals that she used the reward money for the restaurant. It was her reason for accepting the mission in the first place, though her father seems to be saving some of it for her marriage in the future. Upon hearing this, Enishi smiles saying Kayo has a good father. They’ve only met and talked for a short while, but it’s enough for him to see that her father really treasures her. She’s well aware of this too. That’s why she wants to do something for him, and also to make up for the loss he suffered after her mother’s death. In that sense, Kayo is glad that she could help everyone by participating in the wedding parade.

After hearing this, Enishi decides to share a part of his life with Kayo—though he’s still keeping it vague for the most part. He tells her that he has a father and an older brother, but unlike her, he finds it difficult to be honest with them. It doesn’t help that he was adopted by his current father, though he’s related by blood to his brother. Both of them are great people in terms of position, so while he doesn’t hate them… he can’t help but feel inferior whenever he’s with them.

Kayo is starting to notice that something seems different from Enishi, but before she can say anything, they see two Tokugawa samurai nearby. One of them sighs saying they’re finally done with work, while the other points out that it’s because people are allowed to walk through the castle’s main gate during this season—they have to be really strict with the inquiry. Enishi winces upon seeing them, and then he quickly drags Kayo to escape before the samurai notice him.

By the time they reach the shrine, Kayo is running out of breath. Enishi apologizes for making her run so suddenly, as he didn’t expect to run into Tokugawa samurai even on the bridge. This causes Kayo to ask if Enishi knows those samurai, and if he got into yet another fight that led him to them… but he denies it saying he simply didn’t want to see them. It doesn’t convince her at all though. She finds him suspicious, so he whines and asks her to believe him. In contrary to the lively festival site, the shrine grounds are still and quiet. Children usually play around in this area, but Kayo doesn’t hear their voices today. Now that she’s alone with Enishi, she suddenly grows more conscious of something she didn’t notice in the festival crowd—his presence. She gets nervous upon realizing that he’s really close to her, and she quickly thinks of something to say.

Hoping to get rid of the awkward atmosphere, Kayo says the first thing that comes to her mind. She tells Enishi that she was a bit surprised to hear about his family, since he never really talked about himself up until then. He nods and admits that he doesn’t share much with others—partly because he was adopted. It’s just that when he heard her talking about her father, he realizes that their family situations are really different… and he couldn’t help but share a bit with her. When Kayo asks if he lives separately from his family, Enishi answers that he can see them everyday if he wants to. The problem is that he doesn’t. This leads her to ask if they don’t really get along, and so he admits that—unfortunately—they’re not exactly on good terms.

As Kayo wonders if they had a dispute, Enishi gives her a vague explanation of his situation. He tells her that no matter what he does, his family would never be satisfied… as long as he still can’t fulfill the hope they have in him. Kayo then asks if he’s referring to work, but Enishi only smiles saying it’s something like that. However, he also admits that he does wants to answer their expectation—if it’s possible. Before she can figure out what to say, he sighs saying he’s hungry after all that running. He then asks her to wait at the shrine for a bit. He’s going to dash through the stalls and grab some food, and he also asks what she wants to eat—some sweets, maybe? When she reluctantly nods, he promises to return in no time and runs off. It leaves her thinking if it was rude of her to ask so many questions, but somehow… she can’t seem to ignore what he said. She just can’t leave him alone, and she wonders if it makes her nosy.

After waiting for a while, Kayo is starting to worry. She’s afraid that her questions were troubling Enishi, and that he’d gone home because of it. To her relief, he returns soon after that. He apologizes for taking so long, but she doesn’t mind—she’s actually more concerned about how exhausted he looks. He replies that it’s because the old lady closed her stall early, so he had a hard time finding her again. Before Kayo can ask further about this old lady, Enishi grins and tells her to close her eyes. She’s obviously confused, but reluctantly obeys and shuts her eyes. The next moment, Kayo feels Enishi’s hands brushing her hair. She asks if there’s a leaf or something on her head, but he says that’s not the reason. Right after that, he tells her that he’s done and that she can open her eyes.

Kayo opens her eyes to find Enishi standing right in front of her. He happily comments that it really suits her—just as he thought. When she lifts one hand to touch her head, Kayo realizes that Enishi has put a kanzashi into her hair. It’s the jade kanzashi she was eyeing at the old lady’s stall. She opens her mouth to argue, but when he stops her and leans a bit closer… she finds herself unable to say anything. Enishi then admits that he was being a bit selfish with the kimono, but he still wants give Kayo something that she can keep with her. He knows that she can’t receive gifts without a proper reason, and that her father might scold her for this… but he wants to stay by her side at all times. If it’s not possible, then at least he wants her to always think of him. If that’s impossible too, then he asks her to think of the kanzashi as the symbol of his feelings—his wish to be close to her.

There’s a brief pause after Kayo nervously calls Enishi’s name, and then he asks if she wants to try dating him. Kayo is surprised by the sudden confession, though Enishi doesn’t see it as sudden at all. He’s always found her cute, from the time they spent traveling to Sunpu. Accompanying the fake bride was enjoyable for him, and they also talked about a lot of things during their journey. However, he only saw the real her after they came back to Edo. She’s always busy with work, passionate about her naginata training, loves her father a lot, and worries about every single thing he does. He doesn’t know the reason why, but in his eyes, she looks much more dignified and pure now compared to how she was during the journey—even if she was dressed in a shiromuku and protected by guards back then.

Kayo tries to deny this at first, pointing out that the outfit was made for a princess who was marrying into the Sunpu Castle. The shiromuku only was given to her for a short period of time, but it was as wonderful as a dream. It was made of silk that town girls would never be able to touch, with pictures flying flocks of cranes and pine branches woven into it. In contrary, right now she’s wearing a normal kimono. However, Enishi tells Kayo that it has nothing to do with what she wears—that’s how she is in his eyes. He then asks for her answer, but since she remains silent… he asks if she’s willing to give it a thought. She can take the time to think if it’s possible for her to fall in love with him, and also about how she feels towards him.

Eventually, Kayo agrees to give it a thought. Enishi is relieved to hear this, and he tells her to accept the kanzashi. When she asks him why, he says it will serve as a reminder so she won’t forget about him. He wants her to hold onto it—at least until she can come up with an answer. Kayo isn’t sure if that’s really necessary, but Enishi insists that it is. He asks her to think about him at all times, because as long as the kanzashi is staying in her hair, it’s as if he’s physically touching her.

After parting with Enishi, Kayo takes a stroll through rows of cherry blossom trees. He actually wanted to walk her back, but she’s wishing to be alone for a bit before returning home. Lanterns have been lit under the cherry blossom trees beside the pond, and she can hear voices of people who are enjoying the view at night. In a way, it feels like she’s in a dream. Now that she can think alone, Kayo starts doubting Enishi’s confession. Enishi was really serious when he said those words, but if someone hears about this and says that he’s probably just teasing her… Kayo doesn’t have the confidence to dismiss that possibility.

Besides, Kayo is unsure about how she feels towards Enishi. Of course she doesn’t hate him. If anything, she likes him. She always gets worried whenever she thinks about the possibility of him getting drunk, or if he walks into yet another fight. However, she feels that it’s different from romantic affection. It’s closer to the fondness one holds for their younger brother or childhood friend. While Enishi is older than Kayo, somehow she can’t seem to stop herself from looking out for him. Once again, she touches the kanzashi in her hair. As her finger brushes the smooth and cool surface of the jade, Kayo remembers the sensation left by Enishi’s hands. She turns red as she mutters a protest for him, because she really ends up thinking about him all the time.

Unknown to other people, Enishi heads out with Mitsuyoshi again at midnight. As they reach the woods in the mountains, Mitsuyoshi warns Enishi to be careful. There are figures ahead that don’t fall into the ayakashi class. Upon taking a closer look, Enishi frowns and wonders if they’re the fugitives from Sunpu. Mitsuyoshi isn’t sure either, but he points out that they’re moving in groups. Considering the current time and location, Enishi deduces that they’re either enemies or bandits. Soon enough, Mitsuyoshi notes that the figures seem to have noticed them. Enishi smiles saying it’s been a while since he last killed someone, as he’s only been dealing with youkai all this time. Mitsuyoshi replies that it’s the same for him. He adds that his skills might be turning rusty by now, but Enishi only laughs saying that’s nonsense.

Enishi and Mitsuyoshi make their way past a deep grove, where they find several shadows swaying in the distance—just as Mitsuyoshi said. Fixing his grip on the hilt of his sword, Enishi pushes the guard up and out of the sheath. As Enishi and Mitsuyoshi leap out of the shadows at the same time, one of the figures shouts at them to identify themselves. Standing before them are five men dressed like a ronin. They draw their swords one by one upon seeing Enishi and Mitsuyoshi, and Enishi follows them by drawing his own. The blade shines under the pale moonlight as it slides out of its sheath. The sword is easily identifiable by anyone who sees it, as it’s well-known as the most graceful among the Five Heavenly Swords—Mikazuki Munechika.

However, none of the ronin seems to pay any attention to it. They simply charge towards the two figures who appeared before them, driven solely by their killing intent—not greed nor conspiracy. Finding them similar to youkai, Enishi puts on a faint smile and takes his stance. On the other hand, Mitsuyoshi moves instantaneously. The ronin scream in agony as he slashes them with terrifying speed, slitting one’s throat and cutting another’s arm. The remaining three are shocked to lose one of their friends in an instant, and as they swallow their ill fortune… they turn their blades against Enishi.

Mitsuyoshi immediately turns towards Enishi, but Enishi only tells Mitsuyoshi not to mind him. He’s going to deal with two of the ronin, and so he wants Mitsuyoshi to take care of the other two. Following Enishi’s order, Mitsuyoshi goes to attack towards a ronin who’s lifting his sword with an exaggerated motion. He manages to lure another one by doing that, leaving only two of them in front of Enishi—who challenges them to come at him. It seems that the ronin group is nothing more than a ragtag team though, because they don’t even try to trap him in. As one of them charges towards him, Enishi prepares to counter-attack and whispers: “…if there’s anything I can do…”


Chapter 4

The next day, Omatsu finds Kayo spacing out after practice. She wonders if Kayo is tired, though Kayo denies it and asks if she’s done packing up. Omatsu nods and asks if Kayo can spare a little time for her, or if she has to help out at the restaurant. When Kayo replies that she still has some time before work, Omatsu asks if she wants to discuss their upcoming performance—which reminds her that their teacher’s mentor is coming tomorrow. Since there are festival stalls in town, Omatsu suggests getting some food to eat as they talk. She also asks if Kayo went to see the stalls yesterday. She found one that sells cute Kyoto confectioneries, so now she’s inviting Kayo to visit it with her.

However, Omatsu soon notices that Kayo has been responding with reluctant nods. Thinking that it’s not a good day for the plan, Omatsu wonders if they should move it to tomorrow noon instead. Kayo quickly says that today is fine for her though, so Omatsu smiles and tells her to wait as she prepares to go home. The moment Omatsu walks away, Kayo quietly lets out a sigh.

From there, Kayo and Omatsu make their way to the public square—where the festival stalls are lining up. After buying some snacks and tea, they start discussing tomorrow’s demonstration… or at least Omatsu is trying to do so. She begins by pointing out that it’ll be better if they wear the same hakama, asking if they should go with deep blue ones. Kayo only answers with a brief nod. Next, she wonders about the scope of their performance. Their teacher didn’t specify, and she’s thinking of demonstrating the major techniques in general. When Kayo once again gives her a quiet nod, Omatsu frowns and asks if she even wants to do this—reminding her that they have to perform tomorrow.

Kayo immediately apologizes, but Omatsu knows that something is bothering her. It’s just that Kayo isn’t telling her anything, so she didn’t ask up until now. Omatsu then asks Kayo to try sharing it with her, as it may help distracting her a little from the problem. Besides, Omatsu doesn’t think Kayo would perform well tomorrow in that state. Knowing that Omatsu is right, Kayo eventually agrees and apologizes to her. They decide to take a short break after that, eating the food they bought as Kayo begins telling Omatsu about what happened yesterday—starting from how she got invited and went to the festival. She realizes that if she makes a mistake during the performance, she’s not the only one who would get in trouble—she’d end putting Omatsu to shame too. With that thought in mind, she decides to reveal everything to Omatsu.

Once Kayo is done explaining, Omatsu says she didn’t know that Kayo has someone like that in her life. Kayo apologizes for keeping quiet, but Omatsu answers that she doesn’t mind. She’s just surprised since they talked about this topic only two days ago. As for Enishi’s confession, Omatsu actually feels bad for putting it this way… but she points out that Kayo looks really troubled. Kayo also admits that Omatsu is probably right, because she doesn’t know what to do. When Omatsu asks if she doesn’t like Enishi, Kayo reluctantly says that she doesn’t hate him. She’s been thinking about this all night—over and over again. If she had to choose between like and dislike, then she’s leaning towards like. The problem is that after he makes his feelings clear, her desire to accept him is recoiling. She doesn’t know why, which only confuses her even more.

Omatsu also mentions that Kayo doesn’t know what Enishi does for a living. He only said that he works as some kind of a roundsman, but both Omatsu and her find this strange because he’s carrying a pair of swords. Omatsu wonders if Enishi is his real name, because somehow it sounds more like a nickname or something… and Kayo has to agree. As she answers Omatsu’s questions, doubts are coming to her mind one after another: What is Enishi’s job? Where does he live? Why is he living his life like that? What is his real name—?

After giving it some thought, Omatsu says she can understand how Kayo feels. It’s only natural that she can’t find any words to say in this situation, no matter how many times Enishi confesses his love for her. Upon hearing this, Kayo quickly makes a correction. Enishi didn’t say that he loves her—he simply asked her to go out with him. Omatsu points out that it only adds to Kayo’s confusion, and she admits this too since she finds it hard to leave Enishi alone. However, Kayo is taken aback when Omatsu asks what she wants to do. Putting the dating aspect aside, what does she want Enishi to do? When Kayo answers that she wants Enishi to get his act together, Omatsu says she sounds like a mother… and she hesitantly nods saying she’s aware of this too. (○´゚ω゚`):;*.’:;ブッ

That being said, Kayo says she noticed something after talking to her father. She doesn’t want people to misunderstand Enishi. She can’t give Omatsu much details since it links back to the wedding parade, but she mentions that Enishi has helped her a lot before. He saved her and gave her encouragement, and she probably knows him more than most people. That’s why she doesn’t want anyone to misunderstand him, though she wonders if it’s weird for her to feel this way. Omatsu nods saying Enishi seems to be a difficult one, but she can tell that despite all these worries… Kayo seems to love him too. When Kayo stares at her in shock, Omatsu laughs saying it looks like that in her eyes. While it’s true that Kayo doesn’t know much about Enishi, it only becomes a serious issue for her because she’s attracted to him.

Since Enishi has gone as far as asking Kayo to date him, Omatsu thinks Kayo should ask him directly. Of course they don’t know if he’s going to tell her or not, but everything will probably depend on his answer. Even if she thinks about this all by herself, she won’t figure anything out anyway. Realizing that Omatsu is right, Kayo agrees to give it a try. Omatsu nods saying that’s a wise decision, since Enishi himself might reconsider once he learns that Kayo is taking his confession seriously. Hopefully.

Omatsu then asks when Kayo is going to see Enishi again. When she says she doesn’t know, Omatsu tells Kayo to quit thinking about all these things. First, she needs to focus on what lies before her eyes. Omatsu promises to listen to her again if anything happens, so she wants Kayo to work on what she can do at the moment. Kayo nods and apologizes for the trouble, promising to do the performance properly tomorrow. Omatsu says she doesn’t mind though. This is a rare topic for them since they usually talk about naginata all the time, and she’s sincerely wishing for things to go well between Kayo and Enishi.

Sadly, even after talking to Omatsu, Kayo only feels clear-headed for a brief moment. She returns home after saying goodbye to Omatsu, and by the time she goes out for an errand, Enishi has come back into her mind. Despite Omatsu’s advice, she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him. The jade kanzashi he gave her is still pinned onto her hair. The sensation makes her feel weirdly uneasy because of what he said, and it keeps filling her mind with what happened yesterday. It’s really bothering her, as she’s afraid that she might end up making mistakes at work… and she’s worried about tomorrow’s performance too. She has never felt so restless before, and if she does something weird during the demonstration, Omatsu might really get angry.

Kayo walks through the main street with such thoughts in her mind, until she eventually sees the castle’s main gate in the distance. That’s when she senses a presence running up to her, followed by a loud voice calling her “princess” from behind—Suzukake. He’s clearly happy to see her again after so long, but she quickly reminds him not to call her like that in public. She’s only a merchant’s daughter here in Edo, and people would be surprised to hear him calling her “princess”. She then asks him to just call her normally by name, to which he happily agrees. That aside, the sudden reunion with Suzukake has blown away all the thoughts in Kayo’s mind. This is the first time they meet in Edo after leaving Sunpu, so they move to the side of the road and begin chatting there.

Recalling that Kayo’s father runs a restaurant, Suzukake asks if he can drop by next time. She nods and explains that she’s currently in the middle of an errand, but she usually spends her afternoons working in the restaurant. Her father cooks all the food, while she takes orders and serves meals for their customers. Suzukake seems to like the idea of having Kayo delivering food for him. He says he’d visit them everyday if only he lives closer to their restaurant, so she chuckles and answers that he can come anytime. Just as Suzukake starts telling Kayo about the tournament, she suddenly sees a certain figure in the crowd. He’s wearing a familiar dark red kimono, and she immediately recognizes him as Enishi. Kayo is surprised to find herself watching Enishi so closely, it’s as if she just found the person she’s been looking for.

Noticing Kayo’s expression, Suzukake follows the direction of her gaze. Upon seeing Enishi in the crowd, Suzukake immediately tries to call out to him… but Kayo quickly stops him and shuts him up. Obviously he’s really surprised and asks why she did that all of the sudden, but before she can explain, Kei appears before them. He found them noisy and came over to check, though he didn’t know that they’re actually Suzukake and Kayo. When she asks what he’s doing here, he gives her a reminder that the tournament is being held in the castle right now. If they roam around the main gate like this, it’s only natural to run into a familiar face or two.

Kei then asks what they were making a fuss about, so Suzukake tells him that they just saw Enishi. As he points to where they saw him, they can see his dark red kimono walking away—blending into the crowd. Kei didn’t seem to know that Enishi is in Edo as well, though he doesn’t find it surprising. After all, there are people who come to Edo just to watch the tournament—even if they’re not participating themselves. Suzukake continues that he was about to call out to Enishi, but Kayo suddenly stopped him. Kayo turns red upon hearing this, while Kei wonders if she needs something from Enishi. He quickly realizes that it’s not the case though. She clearly didn’t want Enishi to see her, so Kei then asks if she’s avoiding him.

Just as Kayo tries to deny it, Suzukake points out that her gaze was following Enishi the whole time. He says she should chase after Enishi if she needs something from him, then—despite her attempt to stop him—he takes her hand and runs off into the crowd. Kei warns them not to run since the street is really crowded, but since Suzukake is clearly not listening… he ends up following them too. Probably because he can’t leave them alone. At the same time, Kayo is panicking. Even if she sees Enishi right now, what should she say to him? Her mind keeps on spinning as they run after Enishi, unable to reach a coherent conclusion.

Based on Kayo’s desperate request, Suzukake and Kei agree not to call out to Enishi. Instead, the three of them end up following Enishi discreetly from a distance. Kayo is aware that this is actually an even worse idea, but the fact that she’s watching him from afar instead of going home makes her realize that maybe she really is attracted to him. Suzukake doesn’t get what Enishi is doing though. Ever since they started following him, all he’s been doing is visiting various shops and talking to random passersby. It’s like he’s wandering around without any specific destination in mind. After a while, Kei wonders out loud if this is how Enishi always spends his days. Kei can’t help but question what Enishi does for a living, and he only looks more and more suspicious as they follow him further. Kayo remains silent as Suzukake points out that Enishi is buying some dango now, while Kei grumbles about how carefree Enishi is.

By the time Kayo realizes it, the sun has already gone down. She tries to say that she should be heading home now, but Kei thinks they should stay and watch for a little longer. After all, they have no idea what Enishi is going to do. When Suzukake notes that Kei has become the most enthusiastic one among them, Kayo realizes that it might be due to his job. As a roundsman, Kei probably wants to keep a close eye on shaky people like Enishi. Still, her father will be worried if she doesn’t come home soon. Just as she thinks about this, however, Kei tells both Suzukake and her to take a look. Enishi has made his way into the red light district of Edo—Yoshiwara.

In contrary to Kayo’s shock, Suzukake is amazed to see all the beautiful, unique buildings in Yoshiwara. He wonders if all the shops are putting lanterns on display because of the festival, so Kei calls him dumb and asks if he doesn’t know what kind of place Yoshiwara is. When Suzukake admits that he never came to Yoshiwara before, Kei nods saying Suzukake surely wouldn’t have any business in the red light district. Or rather, the residents in Yoshiwara wouldn’t want any “business” with him. Suzukake protests and asks for the reason, but Kei only tells him to come and ask again once he learns more about Yoshiwara.

Kayo, however, isn’t really listening to their banter. Because unlike Suzukake, she does know what sort of place Yoshiwara is—even though she only learned about it from rumors. She finds it hard to believe that Enishi would come to such a place, especially because he just confessed to her yesterday. He looked very serious when he asked her to go out with him, and yet he goes to play around in Yoshiwara the next day. A bad feeling is rising up inside of her, and despite her attempt to deny the suspicion, what she sees next literally ruins everything. When Kayo lets out a gasp, Kei and Suzukake follow her gaze to see a woman coming out from one of the buildings. Enishi is talking to her. Every now and then, they lean closer and whisper into each other’s ears.

The situation gets even worse when Suzukake comments that he can’t hear what they’re talking about, and Kei notes that the woman is an oiran on display. Since Suzukake still doesn’t understand, Kei finally decides to tell him that Yoshiwara is a red light district—a place for women to sell themselves. They line up behind the lattice and wait for a customer to fall for their charms. However, the one who’s talking to Enishi is an oiran. Oiran are high-ranking prostitutes, and they’re not supposed to come out of the shop like that. As Suzukake wonders if they know each other, Kei eventually draws the conclusion that Enishi must be the oiran’s man—which would explain why he seems to have a lot of money. When Suzukake asks what it means, Kei grumbles and takes the direct approach by stating that Enishi and the oiran are dating. They’re lovers.

Those words hit Kayo really hard. She’s really shocked to find out that Enishi is in love with someone else. The woman is so beautiful and elegant. The white face powder she’s wearing suits her really well, and she looks like a princess. A real one, not a temporary replacement like her. This causes Kayo to wonder why Enishi confessed to her, and if the words and present he gave her were only a game for him. Before she knew it, she quietly lifts one hand to touch the kanzashi. The sensation feels oddly cold to her. Just then Suzukake points out that Enishi is entering the brothel, and Kayo dashes off towards him without saying anything—leaving Kei surprised.

Kayo doesn’t know what drove her to do it, but she finds herself running up to Enishi before he can enter the building. Naturally, Enishi is really surprised to see her too. He asks what she’s doing here, but instead of answering… she slaps him across the face.

……… (´;ω;`)

As the dry sound echoes in Yoshiwara, Enishi turns to look at Kayo in disbelief. She then tells him that she believed in him. No matter what anyone says about him, she had always held onto the faith that she can trust what she sees with her own eyes. She believed in everything he said, including the words he gave her yesterday. Now she wants to know why he confessed to her even though he already has a lover, and she asks him if he likes teasing her that much. Enishi tries to explain that she’s got it all wrong, but Kayo cuts him off… and the options are like this:

  1. “You make a good couple with that person.”
    Kayo says the oiran is really beautiful and perfect for Enishi, much more than she’d ever be.
  2. “Don’t touch me!”
    Enishi is surprised to hear Kayo’s harsh response. His hand stops mid-air before it can reach her, and then he weakly lowers it.
  3. “What do you mean wrong?”
    Kayo tells Enishi that she doesn’t want to hear any excuses.
  4. “You were fooling around with me?”
    Kayo admits that she took Enishi’s confession seriously, but the accusation in her reply is so thick that he can’t say anything to clear up the misunderstanding.

WHY YOU DO THIS!? (ノД`)・゜・。

Anyway, Kayo then asks if Enishi remembers their conversation yesterday. When he replies that he does, she tells him that she’ll give him the answer now: “Before even getting into the matter of love and hate, I can’t believe your words… Do you think I can trust you? You’ve been lying and hiding things from me… I feel stupid…” Kayo can feel her voice trembling, but she doesn’t want to cry in front of Enishi. After telling him not to come to the restaurant anymore, she quickly runs off—ignoring his attempt to stop her.

Along the way, Kayo bumps into a ronin who grumbles about how young girls are behaving these days. The impact also causes the kanzashi to slide off her hair, and it falls onto the ground with a dry clinking sound. Kayo panics and quickly asks the ronin not to step on it, but it’s too late. As the ronin walks away, he unknowingly stomps on the kanzashi—breaking it in half. As she stares at the broken kanzashi, Kayo can’t help but think that it resembles Enishi and her. He caught up to her soon after that, so she gets up and immediately flees without picking up the kanzashi—with all sorts of emotions haunting her mind.

Unfortunately for Enishi, he loses sight of Kayo in no time. He looks bitter when he has to stop chasing after her, quietly letting out a curse. He had no idea that she was following him. He usually has a sharp perception at all times, so he can’t help but wonder why he didn’t notice her today. Not to mention she saw him in the worst situation ever. In her eyes, he must have looked like a player with a cheating habit. When he lowers his gaze, Enishi notices a broken kanzashi lying on the ground. He’d never mistake it for anything else—he knows it’s the kanzashi he gave to Kayo yesterday. Enishi gently picks it up from the ground. It may be possible to fix it, but… he’s not sure if Kayo would still want it.

Meanwhile, Suzukake and Kei have been watching the whole thing from afar. Now that both Kayo and Enishi have left, Kei says they should get going as well. Suzukake seems confused since they’ve lost sight of Kayo, so Kei clarifies that they’re not chasing after her—he was talking about going home. Suzukake is worried since Kayo and Enishi seemed to be fighting, but Kei tells him that sort of fight is called a “lover’s quarrel”. It’s not something they can help with. Before Suzukake can argue further, Kei quickly stops him saying they’re leaving right now. Then he walks off while grumbling about how they ended up witnessing something dumb, with Suzukake chasing after him.

At home, Kayo is greeted by her father. He asks if something happened since she returned really late, but she shakes her head and apologizes—both for causing him to worry and for leaving the restaurant. She promises to work properly tomorrow. Her father seems to notice that something’s wrong with her, but he doesn’t say anything as she quietly goes inside. In her room, Kayo starts wondering why she’s so angry. She’s aware that she has lost her composure, and that she didn’t listen to anyone who tried to stop her. She only wanted to be alone, so she fled and ran all the way home—leaving Kei and Suzukake behind. Enishi tried to say something to her, but she brushed him off.

In the darkness of her room, Kayo sadly mutters “…stupid Enishi-san…”. Up until today, she has always tolerated his elusive attitude and slightly unreliable side—as if it’s something natural. What happened today, however, is an entirely different issue. Kayo thinks she only means that much to Enishi, and she recalls the oiran they saw earlier. The oiran’s graceful hands and elegant demeanor really resembled a princess’. In comparison, her own hands are worn-out from work and naginata training.

Yesterday, Enishi told Kayo that she looks much more dignified than a princess in a shiromuku, but she’s nothing like that. She’s not a beautiful princess. Tears are flowing out of Kayo’s eyes as she remembers Enishi’s tender smile, the way he gently captured her heart. She’s still shocked that everything is only a game for him, and that’s when the realization hits. She doesn’t even know when and why it happened, but she has fallen in love with him.

When Enishi returns to Edo Castle that night, Mitsuyoshi reports that he has information. According to a ninja who’s scouting the woodlands outside of town, youkai have been behaving very conspicuously in a certain area. Rumors were pointing towards a vicinity with an abandoned temple, but it appears that the area is located not too far away from Koumadan as well. There are reports that youkai are showing up in the mountains before the sun sets, in an area which is dark even at noon.

Due to this situation, Mitsuyoshi suggests checking the outskirts of town… but then he notices that Enishi isn’t really paying attention. When he asks if there’s something wrong, Enishi shakes his head saying he was just thinking for a bit. Mitsuyoshi then wonders if he has any concerns, but Enishi answers that it’s not something like that. He simply had a few things on his mind, and he realizes that maybe it’s about time for him to make a decision regarding his future.

Several days pass. After leaving Enishi, Kayo has gone back to her regular daily life. The only thing worth noting is probably that her teacher’s mentor visited the dojo, and she performed the demonstration with Omatsu. For some reason, idle thoughts would vanish from her mind whenever she’s holding a naginata. She’d been practicing her swing repeatedly to regain her composure, and she earned a compliment from her teacher as the result—which is ironic. In the tournament, the battle has begun between all the strong samurai who have won through the previous rounds. However, only her neighborhood remains quiet—as if nothing is happening.

One morning, Kayo lets out a sigh as she sweeps the restaurant entrance. For the last few days, she can’t bring herself to smile even when she’s serving the customers. Her father has been worried about her, and she knows that she can’t let this continue. Not too long after that, Orin comes to ask if a woman passed by the restaurant. Kayo answers that she was spacing out and didn’t pay attention though. Orin nods in understanding, but then she sighs saying this is a problematic situation. When Kayo asks her about what happened, Orin explains that said woman came to ask her to mend a kimono… but she forgot her wallet in Orin’s store. Orin immediately chased after her, but she’s nowhere to be seen.

Knowing that Orin can’t leave her store unattended, Kayo then offers to look for the woman in her place. Her father will be in the restaurant even if she heads out, and she might be able to catch up if she leaves now. After taking the wallet from Orin, Kayo asks for the woman’s characteristics. According to Orin, the woman is long-haired and beautiful. She’s wearing a red hakama like a miko, which should make it easy to identify her. Before leaving, Kayo asks Orin to let her father know as well. Orin agrees, but she also tells Kayo not to force it and return once she’s done enough search. Kayo reassures Orin that it’s okay though, and then she runs off to look for the woman.

Upon reaching the bridge, Kayo finally finds a woman who fits the description—long-haired and wearing a red hakama. She then calls out to the woman, believing the woman would be happy to have her wallet back. However, the woman looks terrified instead… and she runs away before Kayo could hand the wallet to her. Kayo is obviously surprised to see her reaction, but she quickly chases after the woman.

Just in case you haven’t noticed, yes, the woman is Nanae LOL.

Following Nanae, Kayo runs all the way out of town and ends up deep in the woods. She remembers that there’s supposed to be an old temple around this area, but that’s the least of her concerns right now. She doesn’t get why Nanae ran away, and it doesn’t help that she has lost sight of Nanae too. This leaves her with no options but to feel greatly confused as she catches her breath.

At the same time, Enishi and Mitsuyoshi are checking the mountains. As the report says, the area is dark even during daytime. Mitsuyoshi also asks Enishi to check the ground, where they can see footprints that don’t belong to humans or animals. Enishi notes that the abandoned temple mentioned in the report seems to be close from their current location, to which Mitsuyoshi confirms that it likely is. While Enishi finds it relieving that this strange occurrence is happening in a remote location, something seems to be bothering him…

Meanwhile, Kayo notices that her surroundings have turned dark all of the sudden. She wonders if she’s wandered that far out of town, and she realizes that she probably should go back now. She’s lost track of Nanae anyway, not to mention it’s somewhat eerie here in the woods. Before she could leave, however, she hears something rustling in the bushes. She tries asking if someone is there, but quickly realizes that the footsteps don’t sound like a human’s. Just as she wonders if it’s a wild animal, an okuri-inu leaps out of the bushes and growls at her. Kayo is really shocked to see the youkai. The sun is still high, as it’s only been around an hour since she entered the woods. She would be able to fight it if she has her naginata, but right now… she has no choice but to escape.

Back to Enishi, Mitsuyoshi says they can’t even see their own feet in this darkness. It’s not just because of the terrain and the trees—it’s probably created by a youkai’s power. Just then, Enishi hears a voice in the distance. There’s someone in the woods, not too far away from where they are. Mitsuyoshi wonders if the farmers who live nearby came to gather firewood, but it’s dangerous here. It won’t take long until youkai start showing themselves, and they can’t allow them to attack anyone. When Mitsuyoshi asks about the direction of the voice, Enishi points to a certain location and quickly leads the way.

The voice they heard obviously came from Kayo, who is desperately running away from the okuri-inu. It just won’t stop chasing after her, until she eventually trips and falls down. Kayo is wondering if she really has to fight when an osaki-gitsune—a fox youkai—appears to join the okuri-inu. The presence of youkai around her is increasing one by one, each of them releasing a terrifying growl as they surround her. She glances around in a panic to see if there’s any way for her to escape, but it’s no use—they’re completely blocking her way.

When the okuri-inu jumps to attack her, Kayo shuts her eyes and screams for help. The next thing she hears is the sound of a sword slashing the okuri-inu, followed by Mitsuyoshi’s voice calling out to his “young master”. In response, another voice answers that he’s fine. Instead, he wants Mitsuyoshi to deal with two of the youkai. Kayo’s eyes widen in surprise. She recognizes that voice.

Following the voice, Enishi and Mitsuyoshi find a group of youkai gathering in a small clearing. They resemble stray dogs in appearance, and there are four of them in total—with another one coming out just as they arrive. A person is crouched down by the root of a tree, surrounded by the group of youkai. From where he is, Enishi notices that the person seems to be a young woman. When one of the youkai bares its fangs and leaps to attack her, Enishi runs up to them and slashes the youkai’s torso—nearly cutting the creature into half. The youkai collapses with an ear-piercing cry. It twitches on the ground a few times before it eventually stops moving. That’s when Mitsuyoshi calls out to him, and he replies that he’s fine—asking Mitsuyoshi to deal with two of the youkai instead.

Since the remaining youkai are trying to attack the girl from both sides, Enishi and Mitsuyoshi split up to lure them away from her. They wield their swords as they close in on the youkai, completely drawing their attention to themselves. The youkai change their targets immediately, and the osaki-gitsune moves away from the girl to attack Enishi. However, beast-type youkai are much more agile than humans. In the blink of an eye, it has dodged Enishi’s blade and tries to bite his limbs. Knowing that the girl will be exposed to danger if he dawdles around, he doesn’t dodge and waits for the youkai to attack—planning to crush it with one strike. When the osaki-gitsune’s sharp fangs sink into his thigh through his kimono, he endures the hit and turns around. Then he takes the chance to slash the youkai from behind, vertically cutting its torso open. It falls onto the ground just like that, landing on its stomach. One down.

The other youkai on Enishi’s side is an okuri-inu, and he initiates an attack before it does. Holding the hilt of his sword, he uses the blade as a shield as he runs up to the youkai, and then he strikes before he could even check the target’s body parts. When the okuri-inu lets out a cry, Enishi feels a skull-cracking reaction through his sword. At the same time, he fixes his stance and pierces the writhing creature’s throat. It gives him an agonizing death cry before it finally stops moving. By the end of the fight, Enishi is running out of breath. Even though it ended in an instant, the fact that his vision didn’t really work in this darkness was frightening enough. When he looks to the other side, he sees corpses of beasts lying around Mitsuyoshi’s feet. He takes a slightly deep breath, then he turns to see the girl by the root of the tree.

That’s when it happens.

Kayo: “………Enishi…san…?”
Enishi: “…!?”

When the girl calls his name in a weak voice, Enishi’s body turns tense. He’d never mistake that voice. At the same time, his reaction also confirms Kayo’s suspicion. She tried calling his name thinking that it couldn’t possibly be him, but then she hears him gasping in the darkness—as if it surprises him. As the sunlight trickles through the trees and falls upon his face, Kayo realizes that the person who slew all the youkai in front of her is really Enishi.

If Kayo mutters that she never knew Enishi is that strong, he will ask if she was watching him. She finds it hard to believe what she just saw—how he cut down the youkai in an instant and fought like a seasoned swordsman. She never really got the chance to see him fight during their Tokaido journey, so she realizes that maybe he really is experienced and she simply didn’t know. If Kayo says she’s glad that Enishi came, she’ll notice that he looks a bit relieved too… though he doesn’t say much. If she admits that she thought she was done for, he’ll answer that it must’ve been terrifying for her, and he’s glad they made it in time. If she asks why he’s here, he’ll return the question right back at her.

Kayo is even more confused when Mitsuyoshi comes over to ask if they’re alright. He looks just as startled to see her, but the biggest surprise for her comes from his words. When she asks if she’s referring to Enishi when he says “young master”, Enishi interrupts by asking him to walk her home. Enishi also noticed that Kayo seems to be injured, so he also wants Mitsuyoshi to check her condition. If it’s bad, then Mitsuyoshi should bring her to a doctor. Mitsuyoshi is about to say something, but Enishi only asks him to take care of Kayo… then he walks away before she could stop him.

When Kayo turns to Mitsuyoshi, he smiles saying he never thought they would be reunited in such a way. However, his smiles disappear the moment she tries to ask about Enishi’s true identity. He simply tells her that he can’t answer that question, and he asks her to forgive him for this. For now, Mitsuyoshi says they should return to town first. Her father will get worried otherwise, and they need to treat her injury as well. Kayo quietly nods, knowing that she has no choice but to listen to him. She reluctantly gets up, then she follows Mitsuyoshi down the mountains in silence. Her head is full of fear from the youkai attack, as well as doubts and questions that surpasses that fear.

However, Kayo was the one who told Enishi not to come anymore. She just can’t bring herself to ask him anything after everything that has happened between them. She can’t ask him for the reason behind his actions… or about who he really is.

At the same time, Enishi seems to have made a decision as he thinks about Kayo.

The next day. Kayo returns the wallet to Orin and explains the situation, apologizing for failing to hand it back to its owner. Orin doesn’t mind at all though. The fact that Nanae ran off doesn’t surprise her either, because Nanae was terribly rushing it even when she was in the store. On the other hand, Kayo can’t help but wonder about Nanae’s identity. Kayo is resting on the porch when he father comes to ask if her leg is alright now, so she nods saying the injury doesn’t seem to be serious. It’s a little swollen, but she can walk with no problems. That being said, he wants her to avoid going into the mountains alone. He has always allowed her to do as she likes up until now, but he reminds her that she’s an adolescent girl… and so she shouldn’t do anything too reckless. When she nods and apologizes to him, he smiles and asks her not to worry about the restaurant for today—she should take it easy.

Once her father leaves, Kayo lets out a sigh. She actually didn’t tell her father about her encounter with youkai. She only said that she ran into a wild dog in the mountains, and she doesn’t really get it herself. Why did those youkai appear in broad daylight? Even when she returned to town with Mitsuyoshi, it was still bright outside. The woman who ran away for an unknown reason. The bizarre occurrence she saw in the mountains. A lot of things are bothering her, but her mind is occupied by an entirely different issue. Just then, Kayo hears someone knocking on the door. At first she wonders if it’s a customer, but then she realizes that it actually comes from the door to her house—not the restaurant.

Upon opening the door, Kayo is surprised to find Mitsuyoshi outside. When she asks why he came here, Mitsuyoshi only says he had a feeling that things would end up like this. He’s aware that he’s making an unreasonable request, but he’s wondering if Kayo is willing to come with him. As she follows Mitsuyoshi, Kayo’s mind is filled with worry… as well as slight conviction. They eventually reach a certain shrine, and there she finds Enishi waiting for her. Behind her, Kayo hears surprise in Mitsuyoshi’s voice when he sees Enishi’s outfit. Lured by Mitsuyoshi’s words, Kayo lifts her head… and her eyes meet Enishi’s.

After what happened yesterday, Kayo already has a rough idea regarding Enishi’s identity. However, now that she’s seeing it with her own eyes, she actually finds it difficult to believe. Enishi is wearing a black ho (a round-necked robe) and sashinuki hakama—the traditional formal outfit for men in the Imperial Court. It’s not something a commoner like Kayo would normally see. However, she does know that it’s an outfit worn by people with social standings far above her own… and that it’s a special ceremonial attire. Before Kayo could raise any questions, Enishi asks Mitsuyoshi to leave them alone. When Mitsuyoshi falls silent, Enishi says he knows what Mitsuyoshi is thinking of. Still, he wants Mitsuyoshi to let it slide just for now… or else he’s going to regret it forever.

After a long silence, Mitsuyoshi bows his head and excuses himself. Then he turns away from them, and leaves the shrine grounds without further words. Kayo is standing still, finding herself unable to run from this situation. When Enishi tries to start the conversation, she asks him to stop calling her “princess”. She has told him repeatedly that she’s not a princess, and they only called her that so no one would discover her identity during their journey. She doesn’t want him to keep calling her like that. However, Enishi only asks Kayo to listen for now. First, he explains that the oiran she saw is actually one of the spies assigned by the supervisor in Edo Castle. Places like Yoshiwara tend to hold all sorts of secrets, especially because the shogunate is currently tracking down the whereabouts of a certain person. He’s willing to swear that there’s nothing between him and the oiran.

Kayo tries to deny that she cares, but Enishi smiles and points out that she was angry. He admits that he didn’t know what to do. The fact that she snapped in that situation clearly showed that she doesn’t hate him, but he found it painful that she couldn’t trust him… because everything she said was true. That’s why he took some time to think about it. He was hoping to find the best solution, and yet it was meaningless. He never thought that he’d end up saving her in the mountains. This makes Kayo realize that she hasn’t even thanked Enishi for rescuing her yesterday. When she finally responds, however, she ends up asking what he was doing in such a place. Enishi wants to ask exactly the same question though. He was really surprised to see Kayo there, though he’s glad that she’s unharmed.

When Kayo brings up the point of youkai appearing during daytime, Enishi explains that Mitsuyoshi and him heard rumors about that. They learned that thick youkai presence had been detected in an area with a suspicious abandoned temple, and so they went to check. Upon hearing this, Kayo is starting to get an idea about who the shogunate is chasing after… and Enishi comments that she’s just as sharp as always. Then he nods and confirms that the person they’re pursuing is indeed Choushichirou—the orphaned son of Tokugawa Tadanaga. The boy was taken away by an unknown party by the end of the tournament in Sunpu Castle, though the public has no idea about this.

Kayo then asks if that means Choushichirou was kidnapped, and Enishi says it’s something like that. The problem is they can’t say for sure whether it was done by thugs who are aiming for money, so Mitsuyoshi and him have been running around to search for Choushichirou. The task would be too much for regular spies, especially because it’s closely related to the shogunate’s course of action—it’s a top secret mission. Kayo is surprised to know that Enishi has been doing such a dangerous job, partly because he lied to her about working as a roundsman. He does feel bad for covering up so many things from her, which is why he came here today—he wants to fix his lies.

Enishi also tells Kayo that getting into danger is something he can’t do anything about, because it is his duty to do so… in more than one way. When she asks what he means by that, he takes out his sword and shows it to her. He’s certain that she must have heard of its name at the very least. Mikazuki Munechika, one of the Five Heavenly Swords. As Kayo’s eyes widen in surprise, Enishi gives her a wry smile and says that he doesn’t really understand either. He ended up receiving the sword for some reason, and then he got adopted into the shogun’s family as the heir. Thanks to that, he got flooded with all sorts of peculiar jobs. Kayo asks if the wedding parade was one of them, and Enishi admits that it is—though he was the one who said he wanted to do it.

Kayo falls silent upon hearing this. Enishi once again apologizes for hiding so many things, but he asks her to believe that he didn’t do it because he wanted to lie. However, she doesn’t know what she should say to him in return. Enishi is the heir of the shogun’s family, a person who has obtained one of the Five Heavenly Swords. He’s been exploring the town as a spy, pursuing the son of the Sunpu clan’s deceased daimyo. Somehow it all sounds like a lie, and yet Kayo also feels a part of her accepting it as the truth. Everything about Enishi was shrouded in mystery. Aside from his name, she knows absolutely nothing regarding his origins… and maybe it’s not even his real name.

As the possibility crosses her mind, Kayo decides to ask if his name is really “Enishi”. He answers that his name is Matsudaira Nobuharu, and that he was originally the son of the Mito clan’s feudal lord. “Enishi” is his childhood name, though people often say that it suits him better. However, Enishi is surprised when Kayo smiles and bows down to him. She formally apologizes for all the rudeness she has shown up until now, politely referring to him as “Nobuharu-sama”. Even though she didn’t know about his identity, she has been behaving improperly in front of him—because he’s from the shogun’s family while she’s just a commoner.

Just as Enishi is about to argue, Kayo asks for the permission to leave if he’s done talking to her. Or else her father will get worried. She also tells him not to play around like this again in the future, because it wouldn’t bring any good things for anyone. When he tries to stop her, she reminds him that she already told him over and over again—she is NOT a princess. Before Kayo could finish her sentence, Enishi says her name and pulls her into his arms. If she doesn’t like him calling her “princess”, then he’s going to call her by name instead. He then asks if she’s okay with that, but since she doesn’t give him an answer… he decides to continue.

Enishi: “…Kayo. I love you.”
Kayo: “…I am a commoner.”
Enishi: “Yes. I know.”
Kayo: “You… said it yourself, that you have a duty.”
Enishi: “Right. I do.”
Kayo: “Then… You shouldn’t be doing something like this!”

OUCH. (´;ω;`)

Clearly I wrote down the words for sadistic and masochistic purposes.

When Enishi asks for the reason, Kayo asks back if he won’t understand unless she spells it out for him. She’s just a commoner, while he’s something else entirely. Knowing that Kayo is talking about the gap between their social standings, Enishi then asks if that’s why she wouldn’t believe in his words—if that’s why she’s being so cold to him. He tells her that it’s just wrong to use that as a reason, but she only asks him to let her go… and he refuses to do so.

Enishi then reveals that he was planning to end everything today, after clearing things up for Kayo. He says it’s painful that she wouldn’t accept his feelings, but the fact that she wouldn’t trust him hurts even more. That’s why he decided to tell her everything. If she finds it impossible to believe in him, then he will say it again and again—he loves her. He wants her to stay the way she’s always been, scolding him and looking after him. He wants her to stay by his side and see him as a simple, boring man; not as someone from the shogun’s family, a spy, or an ichibangatana.

Sadly, Kayo knows that it’s impossible. Enishi is holding her tightly, telling her that he loves her… and she feels so much happiness that it puts her in a daze. Still, there’s a calm voice in her mind that admonishes her. It’s telling her that it’s impossible, that there’s no way Enishi and her could be together. Each time he says something dreamy to her, the thought would rise up too inside of her—as if it’s fighting back. Once again, Kayo realizes how she truly feels about Enishi. Her feelings for him are more than just her worries about him, or how she couldn’t seem to leave him alone.

After a long silence, Kayo eventually asks if Enishi is satisfied now. She tells him that he really is selfish, childish, and never thinks about anything aside from himself. He said he wanted her to trust him, and that he wanted to tell her how he feels… but in the end, she thinks he’s only doing it for self-satisfaction. When Enishi begs her to wait, Kayo points out that he asked her to stay by his die. To her, that sounds so funny that she might actually laugh. She tells him to think of his own position before saying it so lightly, and whether or not the people around them would allow such a thing.

Ignoring Enishi’s attempt to stop her, Kayo turns away and leaves.

21 thoughts on “Ken ga Kimi – Enishi

  1. ITS FINALLY HERE! I’VE BEEN WAITING (since Saneaki in August last year \(*T▽T*)/)
    Reading it in detail really pokes into my heart, especially for those Ken endings. It’s actually a pretty nice touch on Enishi’s character, since he’s first portrayed as a flirtatious man.
    Most heart-wrenching route out of all the rest. (istillloveyoutsuzuramaru)
    But his Kimi route made me go: (」゜ロ゜)
    So different from the Ken route…farmers!!!
    His route was enjoyable either way. Thanks for the review despite your lack of time, I appreciate it!

    • Thank you, and sorry I made you wait so long! (´;ω;`)

      I agree that Enishi’s Ken route is the most painful of them all. For Tsuzuramaru, his questionable endings can be seen as win-win situation depending on whether you like *the handsome spoilers* or not… but Enishi doesn’t have something like that. Just pain.

      Despite my complaints, the completely different path in the Kimi route felt kind of refreshing. We now have soba farmer Enishi and Edo watchdog roundsman Enishi. :’D

  2. OMG it’s out, it’s out!! Thank you so much :D I love how detailed you are, and I really really appreciate the time you took to do this! Every so often, I dropped by your blog and read what you wrote under now playing. Seeing that HP bar decrease made me laugh haha. Then again, I’m gonna go through that painful process once I go through Enishi!
    Can’t wait to play his route now *Prepares a tissue box.. maybe two tissue boxes*

    • LOL Enishi’s Ken route was seriously killing me, I was left with 0 HP at the end of it. Glad that was entertaining to you. xD

      Good luck with Enishi’s route! I hope you’ll have fun with it as much as I did.

  3. I was thinking about playing Ken Kimi ga, but then I thought, first I will expect the Rin article about the game to see if it really worth it worth story to itself and very interesting, love is like the bonus rate this otome game, Lovely article Rin (っ^▿^)💨

    • Thank you! If you don’t mind the slightly heavy language level, I’d 100% recommend this game. It’s really good. Or if you have a Vita, you can wait for the Vita port next month. :D

  4. I am sooooooo glad to see you have continuedupdating. Although i like happy endings, i still really like the other sad endings because he really fulfilled his duties right till the end.
    I am looking forward to the vita port of the game and the extra after stories. Please continue updating if you can. Your summaries are the best and most detailed! Thank you!

    • Thank you, and sorry it took a while!
      Glad to hear these massive textwalls are enjoyable for you, as I sometimes wonder if anyone actually reads the whole thing LOL.

      I have no intentions to stop blogging. 8D It’ll take a while with Ken ga Kimi though, because at this rate I’ll be blogging the PC version and the port back to back, but otherwise updates will be continue as usual.

  5. Prepare for a long reply! Firstly, thanks for the review! So, when I reread the earlier routes after finishing all the routes, there was a lot more meaning to the things they said. Enishi’s words especially, as you’ve mentioned. And the one where Kayo talks about her mother’s dream of being a lady-in-waiting, it’s kind of foreshadowing for the Aramitama ending, in my opinion, since she ends up helping to take care of Choushichirou in the castle. It made my heart throb painfully with sadness—-!
    That scene in the Aramitama ending where he pulls her onto the bed to talk to him…So utterly adorable! But that ending! No—-! It was fitting, but i..i don’t…they had that cute scene, but that painful ending…!!
    The Kushimitama ending, i agree witn your opinion.It can indeed be viewed negatively or positively.i have mixed feelings about it, it’s true.While i feel hope for the future in this ending, there is this bitter feeling inside.
    and what—-?! There id going to be after stories?!Awesome, I can’t wait! So excited for it!
    it also really pains me that Kayo feels she has to push Enishi away, for his own sake. Considering the importance of a person’s status and such back then, especially since Enishi has such a high-ranking status, i really feel for Kayo and Enishi. And the extremes the people around them might go to break them apart …oh…-sighs-
    sakimitama ending:it’s a fresh, new start for Enishi, and i feel really glad for him!a new place where no one knows who he is, and a new lifestyle!
    nigimitama:i think it is a fine ending for enishi. He gets to help people, and no pressure from his family. Him working alongside Kei and Kamuro is actually a pretty nice image! They make a good trio! Haha!

    • No problem, thanks for reading too! :D

      The Aramitama ending is actually the best ending for everyone. I actually forgot to edit that part before, but the position Kayo ends up getting in the castle—oku-jochu—is the same position her mother wanted to achieve. So in summary, Enishi accomplished his dream of using Mikazuki Munechika to save Hinomoto, Kayo fulfilled her mother’s dream by working in the castle, Marebito has been sent back to Tokoyo and Hinomoto is peaceful again. It’d really be the best ending… if we don’t look at the irony dripping off the “peace” bought by Enishi’s death.

      Rejet said on the blog that the Vita port will have after stories for all 4 endings. It’s great since an after story might be able to provide a better closure for endings like Enishi’s Kushimitama, but… what about the dead endings? What are they going to do with those? LOL. I’d love to see more Enishi with Kei and Kamuro though, they do make a good trio even if it frustrates the hell out of Kei. :3c

      • The Aramitama ending.. i guess some would say that ‘a sacrifice is needed for peace’…but…-sobs- nooo! Ooh, after stories for all the four endings?Awesomeness! For the dead endings…they might…uh, continue on about Kayo’s life, or the lives of the others…or,or…they might…might have a perspective from the dead. ..which will be awfully ad, augh, i don’t know—-! That might be good, but my heart!

      • OMG I think it did… (⊙ω⊙✿)

        WordPress really hates the usage of “>” and “<" together, and it tends to eat comments that use those in kaomojis / emoticons. Thanks for leaving a comment though! ;w;

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