He --- after he mastered that ability that he bragged so much about, it's a wonder whether he could be portrayed as a [He], people are apprehensive of that fact; Well for convenience sake, we just called it a [He] --- He was born of a Maniwa ninja descent, yet he walked the path of the ninjas and learnt from the ninja of ninjas.
He is of no status, because no one noticed his value; But when the time comes, he became one of the leaders, and it seems until now.
As he belonged to the Maniwa Ninja Corps who had no specific ties to the country, Koumori's existence is not widely known, and especially regarding the ninja conduct. Maniwa Ninja Corps does not engage in conflict, it does not mean that they are peaceful; It is because all of them are extremely skilled, it doesn't change if they bound the hands or feet. Koumori amongst the 12 leaders of the Maniwa Ninja Corps, he is already one of the more trustworthy guy, the notion of the whole village abandoning isn't he who instigated it; However the one who brought about the circumstances, it is undoubtedly him.
Shikizaki Kiki's 12 Perfect Deviant Blades.
This is Maniwa Ninja Corps' last assignment, if they obtained them, there would not be any need for them to live under secrecy, no need to hide; Therefore, they could at least see the light of day.
But the troublesome thing is where to find the locations of the wielders of the Deviant Blades, and the ability and the capability of the swords, and the ones that are even capable of wielding these blades aren't a lot. In this country other than the Nagasaki Region there aren't any leads or clues, it seems like the blades have to go overseas to find their proper owners. Well, might as well there is an invisible barrier, since other countries had no presence in this country ever --- and had never had any contact.
"...... so the more critical task is to ---"
Koumori spoke to himself in Strategian Togame's voice:
"Lets take out that Kyotouyruu brat."
To prevent Togame which was currently tied to the tree to call out for help, lest the Kyotouryuu brat or his sister come over, Maniwa Koumori took out a piece of cloth and gagged her mouth ( Where the cloth came from, it is obvious and no need for further explanation), after that he then resumed in carrying out his task at hand.
Koumori had already sow the seeds of discord.
After Koumori carried Togame in to the mountain forest, to prevent Shichika from following, he ran in differing directions, even backtracked to a weird point; Furthermore he also left a few footprints --- Of course, they are fake --- it is to misled Shichika.
As the island was familiar to Shichika like his back of his hand, that is precisely his weak point; One who had been tricked before, naturally won't fall for this primitive trick.
Eventually he will, as this came with age.
Unsurprisingly, Yasuri Shichika fell for this trick, and arrived at the destination that Koumori wanted him to go --- And it was the spring where Shichika drew the water from earlier on. Incidentally, Koumori did not know about that. What he needed was a wide open space, and since the Yasuri household had been using this place to draw water for 20 years, naturally the place would be a little more wider and spacious.
That time Shichika was totally clueless on how the tracks would vanish midway, and he scratch his head using his hand, and Koumori observed his every single move he made.
He envy his body, but of course not the head, his arms and legs are of desirable quality; The shurikens that were embedded into his limbs were already been pulled out, it also stopped bleeding. It was so breathtaking, and his heart races when he saw the body.
This is really of a one and only choice.
Koumori used his ability in his Maniwa Village daily, therefore he can achieve this kind of standard; While Shichika practises his Martial arts everyday, and it was similar to him; Koumori originally intend to impersonate Shichika after killing him then head to the small house to kill Nanami, therefore he was scanning Shichika thoroughly; However Shichika's body was too perfect, and it made Koumori forget his primary goal, made him mesmerized instead.
Maniwa Koumori can impersonate anyone, however there are limits to the ability, those who didn't exist in the world --- for example those with extremely disproportionate limbs, extremely strong giants --- he could not impersonate. This point it was similar to mimicry, easy to mimic but hard to replicate; So in this situation, Ninpou: Kotsuniku Zaiku is not a mimic skill, but a total transformation skill.
As because that is precisely what happened, Koumori found that Shichika's body to be extremely appealing.
His that kind of reaction, really could make Shichika embarrassed.
Nay, if it was argued using the [The body and ability is worth quite a lot of money] standpoint, it is not quite counted as a bad act.
Such a pity.
It could be just said that Shichika's luck is down the drain.
Kyotouryuu is a swordsman who doesn't use swords to fight, and Shichika's first battle isn't with a swordsman, but a ninja; And this particular ninja wields a Shikizaki Blade, and it is the [Toughness] as it's focus, Zettou [Kanna] ---
Met with a sword that he could not put a scratch on, yet break it, he really met his match.
Nay, to say about luck, when Togame first laid her eyes on him, his luck already ran out; As if it is so, how then could he take the blade away from the Maniwa Ninja Corps?
However, seeing that situation, Koumori's attention turned back to Shichika's.
Why not add him to their ranks?
Using his leader's status, to bring him into New Maniwa Village ---
Not possible. If it was other circumstances, there would have this opportunity; And this is the final task the Maniwa Ninja Corps would embark on, and the competition between the 12 leaders were started by Koumori, finding out the locations of the remaining Shikizaki Kiki's blades. When he get back to the mainland he would interrogate Togame, he should be able to get the remaining locations; Therefore, he could not dwell on this further.
Shichika's luck is really really poor, it is really pitiful.
Well to have landed up in this situation, Koumori also had a part in it.
Shichika was pacing around the spring, restlessly mumbling to himself:
"--- what the heck is going on? Where did they ran off to?"
Even though Shichika was looking out in all directions, Koumori was calm, therefore he was unlikely to be noticed. Koumori thought to himself: That brat was definitely strange. Koumori didn't know that Togame had that kind of charisma that attracted people, therefore she had to rely on strategies instead; While she landed up with a guy who was really clueless, would he had fallen for her bait? It is another huge gamble. No one would have ever guessed, he easily took the bait.
Shichika used the word [They] to refer to both Togame and Koumori, seeing that he just chased Koumori after he fled, he just followed his primal instincts. That kind of simple minded reasoning, Koumori infers that Togame was kind of useless as a hostage,and it is the right judgement; It is because Togame was not worth anything to him, how could she ever be a hostage? If Koumori bet on her being a hostage, Koumori would lose it all, and the result would not be the same.
Therefore this time he must kill him, so as to not to lose anything at all.
Koumori checked the Zettou [Kanna] in his body; [Kanna]'s orientation is like this, the blade facing to the top while the grip was at the bottom. The plan is this, he goes close to the unsuspecting Shichika, took a deep breath, then spit out Zettou [Kanna]. And if he did it and not reveal his identity, it would be a mystery.
Therefore, Koumori decided to go up close to the body and do the job.
This time it is not a shuriken barrage, more like this would be a sword barrage, precisely having a knife blade to stab.
He could not obviously take a giant breath, it is because the appearance will be different from that of a normal human being; he just need to take a breath to expel out [Kanna], and need it to pierce through the heart, it wouldn't be that hard. Using Shikizaki Kiki's swords for this purpose would be extremely weird, however since [Kanna] is the only one left, he could not even use the ultimate skill.
"...... alright, time to get a move on."
Koumori had already somewhat get how Shichika looked like, the plan of killing off Nanami is already been certain. Shichika already found out that he lost the trail, no matter how he scratch his head there wouldn't be any meaning to it; If he left the area, he would lost the chance to attack --- no matter if it is the shuriken barrage or the sword barrage, the target won't ever find their mark.
Togame popping up from the treetops would be quite strange indeed, therefore Koumori climbed down from the tree, silently landing on the ground.
Then, he just stepped into the spring area.
Since it has come down to this, there must not be any suspicious nature.
How would Togame call the Kyotouryuu Brat?
Yasuri? Shichika my dear?
Nay, when she was talking to Koumori she didn't use any honorifics or additional terms to refer to Shichika, therefore when talking to the actual person it would be so.
The time for words is over, now for the great reveal.
Koumori pretended that he just escaped from captivity barely with his life intact, and sprinted towards Shichika, then embraced him without saying a word --- Koumori knew that Togame would undoubtedly do that --- and then kill.
Hearing Maniwa Koumori using Togame's voice to call him, Yasuri Shichika turned around.
Yasuri Shichika behaved exactly like Maniwa Koumori predicted, well it is because the opponent fled that is why he gave chase. He didn't know that the footprints were deliberately left by Koumori, and was misled to the spring side area.
The wounds are totally gone, and Shichika did not even realized that he fell into a trap; He was different from his sister and father, he had no knowledge of any tactics, so the opponent easily tricked him. Seeing that he diligently scanning the surrounding for any visible clues, the imagery his eyes bugging out in concentration, its not that comical already, rather quite pitiful.
---- if it is dad in my position, what would he had done?
If it was Yasuri Mutsue, how would he deal with the shuriken barrage? Well if it was Mutsue, in the first round when he used [Chrysanthemum] he could have shattered the sword. That sword was said to be unbreakable, however if it is in Mutsue's hands, would it be true?
Shichika don't understand.
However, having a father that is the 6th Generation Head ---
Hero of the Rebellion
Shikizaki Kiki's Perfected Deviant Blades.
According to Shichika, all of these are new to him, unknown aspects of the world.
Shichika had trained under the hero of the rebellion Mutsue for 19 years, it can say that no enemy dared to challenge him; However Maniwa Koumori's Ninjutsu and Shikizaki Kiki's blades combined, it is really an exceptional combination. His feelings were like, a frog that saw the sea for the first time when it is trapped in the well for it's whole life.
The sea ---
Shichika contemplated: How would the people in the mainland look and behave like? Koumori said that he was one of the 12 leaders Maniwa Ninja Corp, so to say, there are other 11 people who could do such things like Koumori? Since there is a need to collect 12 of Shikizaki Kiki's Swords, it means that there are 11 other owners of the swords ---
Just have to cross this sea, all could be seen.
However, what will happen to sis?
Since his father already died, Shichika could not just dump his frail and weak sister alone on this island --- No, he understand that this reason is not enough to fulfil his wishes.
The head of the household is Nanami, Shichika's position was taken from him, yet it is not surprising; Deep down inside, he knew that without him, his sister is able to hold her own.
Shichika just could not bear to leave his sister --- No, this was also wrong, the actual reason is a little simple.
Basically, Shichika found it a hassle; He was lazy to leave the island, sail across the island to reach the mainland. Well his sister's reason, are more close to the truth.
--- since it had came to this, how could I go back to the mainland?
--- I did not know anything about the outside world, and have no intention to find out either.
Togame said that she came here by boat; so it means, there is a boat docking at Fushoujima.
Everything is settled, everything is in place; He just needed an appropriate reason to leave the island --- However Shichika don't wish for wealth, nor wish for honor, what else can he be moved for?
---- you will fall for me.
He suddenly recalled what Togame said, and smiled involuntarily. Nah, that can't pass as a reason. However ---
So that means, that ninja said that he changed into the ferryman and reached the island; But upon hearing Togame words, she and Koumori seems like it was not their first meeting, even before the [Kanna] incident transpired they have met. Togame had also mentioned that the Shogun collaborated with the Maniwa Ninja Corps on a lot of assignments.
If it what it was, how could Togame hadn't noticed that Koumori was on the same boat as her.......? She self-proclaimed herself as a strategian, and kept emphasizing on how great and infallible she was ---
Unless Koumori used some kind of mind controlling trick? No, not that easy as it says, it is hard to do that too.
At that time Shichika was deep in thought, probably he could guessed out the truth; However, having to get him to guess that Koumori strength was not able to easily change his appearance, uses his strength as his own, that was impossible.
It is a shame that his laziness syndrome strikes again, so he stopped thinking about that topic. And went back think about the reason to leave the island, finding out where the 2 went is not a pressing issue.
Perhaps I should go back to where sis was? She should be sitting at home drinking tea by now!
At that time Shichika was deciding, a silhouette appeared from benind.
The kidnapped Togame was brushing aside the bushes and shrubs, striding up to him.
Of course, that wasn't Togame, it is Koumori who was impersonating as Togame; However Koumori even copied how Togame walks perfectly, it is quite hard to tell the 2 people apart.
Shichika who was unaware of Koumori's ability, was of course unsuspecting.
"Kyotouryuu --- [Peony]!"
So this is the situation, as Shichika turned back he raised his leg, using the Kyotouryuu patented back kick --- [Peony], the left leg sword hitting Togame squarely --- squarely on Koumori's abdominal area.
Koumori having taken the full brunt of the kick, his body buckled ---
[Kanna]'s blade was ejected forcefully from the body with a sickening sound.
Koumori was totally unprotected, his whole body was full of gaps --- well it is natural, because he is impersonating Togame, if his body has protection, it would be suspicious --- and being kicked in that manner, he gotten the full force of the kick. He then violently vomited out.
[Kanna]'s entire blade laid at his side, so that means the breath that he saved up to expel the blade into Shichika was also vomited out.
The plan was a total failure.
Koumori even vomited out the whole blade, he still used Togame's face and was extremely angry.
This impersonation did not fool Shichika?
Could it be that when Shichika was deep in thought, guessed out the truth? No, rather not. The truth, is really quite out of reach of Shichika's hands.
Then, did Shichika notice the encounter between Togame and Koumori? Or is it one of the 12 leaders of the Maniwa Ninja Corp Maniwa Koumori, his impersonation skill is that bad; Therefore Shichika could easily spot that bad mistake? No, that is also not the reason. Koumori's Ninpou: Kotsuniku Zaiku is so detailed that it can mimic any spots or wrinkles.
Then is it the killing aura? Maniwa Koumori's lungs were filled with air, when he is close enough he would shoot out the [Kanna], pierce through Shichika's heart; However Shichika who was literally raised on the island to feel that kind of killing aura, to be able to more on instinct to attack? No, that was not it. Is it the temperamental Koumori, unable to erase the killing aura?
Could it be ---
"......Oh? Come to think of it, is that Togame?"
Yasuri Shichika was totally unaware that whomever behind him is Maniwa Koumori, much less detect or recognize it was Togame.
"Oh? But you just spat out a katana...... Is it a move that is known to everyone in mainland? ...... Well come to think of it, is it Zettou [Kanna]?"
Lets take an example.
Shichika remembers every single tree and blades of grass in Fushoujima like his back of his hand, so he can differentiate any tree, any blade of grass; It is because he already seen those things daily , even if his eyes or hearing is impacted, he naturally still can tell them apart.
Conversely, a normal person who see any dog,cats or fish, unless they really go into the various breeds, they all would group them according to their species. It is not restricted to animals, as it can happen to human beings too, since a human being look almost alike with minute differences, when finding someone that you just knew in a crowd, it would be like finding a needle in a haystack. A human mind, isn't naturally equipped with this distinction capability.
Now the question comes into mind. Since long before this incident occur he was isolated in this island, Shichika only knew his dad and sister, how could he ever distinguish between Shichika and Koumori?
Their difference is that big like a male dog or a female dog?
What about the difference between male and female?
How many people could tell the difference in sex of fishes?
What about the difference in voice?
How many people can tell the difference in birds calls?
Then what about the colors of the clothing, the hair style, the hair color? Such regal clothes, pearly white hair --- Shichika should have remembered!
After his father left this world, Yasuri Shichika only contact with a human being is left only with his sister Nanami. So in other words, Koumori needn't have to use his Ninpou: Kotsuniku Zaiku, he can just get close to Shichika; If he had followed what Togame said, instead of coming from the back, attacking from the front instead ---
Shichika would have moved because there is someone behind him, and gave no second thoughts of dishing out that sword kick.
"Ah! So that what is it, I understand, so this is a shapeshifting move? I heard that foxes and tanuki has have such abilities, never knew that human beings are capable of it too, such an extraordinary move. Hm, so I guess you are that ninja am I right?"
"You --- you caveman!"
Koumori was unable to stand.
Well it is obvious it is because he got whacked and without protection to boot. Kyotouryuu's leg sword's power is not that strong, but it is hitting at the dead center of the target, one kick would render the opponent unable to battle. And it render's Koumori's [Kanna]'s attack useless, but it was in his favor that [Kanna] became his accidental shield, if it was not in his body while the kick was dished out his bones would have been pulverized, now it render him unable to move for a while, like a fish out of the water.
"Hm? So does it mean I already obtained [Kanna]? --- Huh......"
Shichika was gauging Koumori and the discarded [Kanna], muttering to himself:
"Togame wanted me to use a more flashy move, however that [Peony] wasn't that spectacular; Well whatever, I already helped her dispose of that shapeshifting thing, she should thank me. Well the report should be written easily now right? The opponent is so easily defeated, well who could tell that the one facing me would be a fake? What a hassle!"
Koumori was gasping as he spoke to Shichika:
"Why are you so adamant in helping her?"
"Why do you wanted to be used by her? Helping her out, you will eventually land up in misfortune......"
"No, it is not the issue of not helping or helping."
He just now said that word ---
"Well what I said just now, was to help her rightfully reacquire Zettou [Kanna] ---"
"Don't you feel the least anything strange about her story?"
Koumori was still curled up on the ground, continued to say:
"Why up to now, the Shogunate suddenly wanted issue the order to collect the remaining Shikizaki Kiki's swords?"
"Oh, isn't it because they were afraid of a revolt? The previous rebellion was started too because of the 12 swords ---"
"The reason is far from the truth, it is too convenient. Don't you think so?"
Shichika has no objection, he already thought about this thing was a little fishy.
"The shogunate today don't have the mistaken idea that the Kyuu Shogun had in the past with regards to Shikizaki Kiki's blades, well they are more pragmatic: This time the sword collecting decree was issued out by that lady's own hands, well it is all to be Strategian Togame --- the army general director to become famous."
Koumori spoke, his voice was full of spite.
"The sword collecting order wasn't issued by the higher ups in the Shogunate, it is all issued by her. Of course, the one that finally issue out that order would be the Shogun --- however it is Togame that sparked the fire, and she herself who nurture the fire to burn. Saying something like [I view things the way it would be] , [All of it were your orders, I am unable to argue], and to use it to collect the Shikizaki Kiki's blade, it is all because of her own gain, all to ride on the coattails!"
"Riding on Coattails......"
Shichika was unable to comprehend that analogy.
"She was already in the position of army general director, isn't that position high enough?"
"You are right, that position is high. However that lady wasn't satisfied, she still wanted to ascend further...... You are too truthful, don't know how to suspect people; If you really climb up to the pinnacle, she must have done a lot of dubious things. Getting to the top with the account of brute force isn't much seen in this world!"
"When I first saw her, I felt a chill. What I saw in her eyes was a fierce primal drive, a totalitarian who will get to her goals no matter what methods, a need to use the Maniwa Ninja Corps; She had no second thoughts of using us Maniwa Ninjas as an assassination unit! Such a horizon widening experience......"
"Kyotouryu, you have been used. If you continue to stick with her, you will eventually be broken, it will not benefit you in any way."
"...... So that is why you betray her first?"
"That's right, if not for money, there is no way I will follow the orders of hers. She wasn't satisfied on her current position, guess what is her eventual goal? ........ To be the right hand of the current shogun!"
Koumori laughed out loud, well his smile was laced in pain, yet with happiness in it.
"Well it does seem that the brat who was born and bred on this island, also knows how big this ambition is. That's right, now the current Shogun is old, not long after he would retire; With his new and lovely lieutenant by his side, well, you should get the rest right?"
"The world ----"
So you can control the world.
---- would you like to rule the world?
Upon finding Shichika, that is the first thing that she asked.
It is not the preface of her getting the Shikizaki Kiki swords, it is about her ruling the world!
If it is what it said, Togame's ambition is really big.
"...... However ---"
Shichika was hard to shock, and continued:
"This also nothing much to be upset about. My dad taught me, to make a mark in this world, it is a natural thing to be clever to do that. Of course, it is also natural that you guys are unhappy for being used ---"
"Being used is not a problem, well in the human world, it is natural for people use people or be used. However the problem lies in the reason of being used. To be clever to make a mark in the world? Right! However this woman's ambition is too high, it takes 2 hands to clap, how could she obtain the world by herself?"
To be precise, she got the time period wrong.
The Sengoku Period is over, now it is the time of peace.
"To collect Shikizaki Kiki's blades, I have heard many interesting and useful intel. Maniwa Ninja Corps are famous for their assassination legacy, but their intel collecting skills are also not bad, especially with my specialty skill. This time I am competing with the other leaders, and since I have that unique and awesome skill, when I over heard the conversation I am able to procure some good intel..... No, I should say I obtained some juicy and valuable intel."
"Why do you always say things in ways so hard and difficult to understand? I should say beforehand, my head isn't that good; If you want to say it like that, I wouldn't be able to understand. To summarise, when you eavesdrop on us, you discovered Togame's drive to be the next Shogun, right?"
"There is no mistake about it. However I didn't stop at that stage, because there are still suspicions left. That woman isn't pleased with the position of the army general director, so she must have some ulterior motives; To even risk me betraying and Sabi Hakuhei too, to collect Shikizaki Kiki's blades."
Koumori coughed, even when he said there is some pain expressed; However his body already regenerated to normal, it is just Shichika was too distracted, he didn't noticed it.
"This woman is the daughter of the previous rebellion leader Hida Takahito."
Maniwa Koumori pointed to himself to said.
Hearing that, Yasuri Shichika was shocked.
--- the previous leader of the rebellion identity was still fresh on his mind, the thought of the rebel's motives and goals, were like an impossibility to achieve.
And the issue that Togame talked over with Shichika is actually the goals and aspirations of the rebels.
"If she was born in a different time, she might be a princess of her own country. All who supported the Takahito family was branded a traitor, and totally exterminated, none of them exist, well except for one small kid. That woman how she grew up, and how she managed to infiltrate the Shogunate, I don't know; However to get to the top, she is willing to use any means. And what she will attempt to do after being the Shogun, you should get the whole picture am I right?"
"Think about it, who would fault her for being the army general director. This position is not too low, however it is not enough for the current generation retired shogun!"
A crackling sound was heard, Koumori's body transformed again, his skin was slowly shifting; However Shichika was unnerved.
And that time Shichika didn't pay any heed to him.
Hida Takahito --- Shichika heard about this name, it is said by his father Mutsue.
The hero of the rebellion --- Kyotouryuu 6th Generation Head Yasuri Mutsue had mentioned the name of the previous rebellion leader.
"She must be thinking of revenge."
"It could be for revenge, it could be restarting her late father's wishes, initiate a new rebellion. HAHAHA! However I do think it's the former. It would not surprise me if she saw her family got slaughtered, and that head of white hair was the result of that!"
That time Koumori's hair isn't white anymore, and it turned into a messy black hairstyle; So he didn't say [this head of white hair], instead saying [that head of white hair], and [this woman] corrected to [that woman].
However, when Shichika saw that weird transformation in front of him, he did move an inch; Well in his heart it is quite unsure of himself, his heart was turmoiled.
Hida Takahito --- The snake of the Ao Region, Hida Takahito.
A traitor and a criminal.
Kyotouryuu 6th Generation Head Yasuri Mutsue often talked about him to Shichika and Nanami --- talked about how he himself doing a heroic deed by decapitating that leader with his own bare hands!
It is just that this matter is not that widely known.
The end of the rebellion was brought about by the work of the exiled Yasuri Mutsue of Kyotouryuu, it already been associated to what the household is known for --- In actuality, Maniwa Koumori before he even stepped on this island never heard about Kyotouryuu, naturally would not know the one that killed Hida Takahito is actually Mutsue. It could be he didn't pay specific mind to this matter, even if he try to seek that information out, he wouldn't be able to obtain it easily.
Then again, Togame knew of this matter; It's because she herself was there.
--- Kyotouryuu Yasuri Mutsue, I had only heard his name, never seen him in person.
It was a lie.
She was watching the whole time when she saw Mutsue murder her father, how could she not have seen him then?
It is precisely she knew about Kyotouryuu's fearsome power, that's why she came to Fushoujima.
So that means, if dad --- if Mutsue had not died, she would even seek out the one who killed her father to collect the remain Shikizaki Kiki worlds! Even if Shichika was the son of the enemy!
Won't she ever see this as a failure?
No, she won't even admit it. Compared the people who tried to come here in the past, how could she even admit that coming on this island is a wrong choice or even a failure?
Well, she had been betrayed by both Maniwa Ninja Corps and Sabi Hakuhei, so she is left with no choice.
"That insect that was born from the rebellion, on what grounds she has the rights to criticize me on my behavior? HAHAHA! I am a ninja that specialize in assassination, of course know what that woman is planning; That pair of eyes actually doesn't contains ambition, instead it contains the burning fire of revenge, can only be expressed as a madwoman. I am working for the sake of money, as for her? She do not need money, yet she want to throw the world into chaos, you think I personally will support it? Oi! Kyotouryuu, you spent much effort in training up your body, yet you allow yourself to be used like a tool, don't you even feel ashamed?"
--- listen carefully, I am not some kind of noblewoman.
Togame made a comparison.
It is hard to say that Shichika understands any emotions, he even unabashedly asked about the relations between Mutsue and her father; That time Togame gave him that analogy.
It is like Koumori said, Shichika was too pure and juvenile, totally did not understand what Togame is thinking and working.
To fulfil her father's dreams and wishes, she then became a strategian.
"......what you said just now ---"
Shichika lowered his voice and said:
"You said that you just overheard it --- It means that currently who knows, its only you?"
"Ah? ...... Oh, you could put it this way. So what?"
"If it is so---"
Shichika got into a stance, his arms were like blades --- and assumed the Kyotouryuu Second Stance [Daffodil].
"So if I finish you off here, the news of Togame won't spread?"
"......? Ah? What?"
Koumori was unable to comprehend what Shichika is doing.
"What nonsense you are spouting? Ridiculous! You should be angry at that woman, why would you be so antagonistic towards me?"
Koumori do not understand.
His intent was basically to spread kindness and love. Of course Shichika won't be able to say such mushy stuff, however his regards to the late head was duly of pure love; It is because the house that Mutsue built was broken that's why he flared up, and in addition being called filial by his sister. Even been marooned on this island, Shichika believed his father was a knight in shining armor.
Of course, he also have thought about that before --- even under the hands of the hero of the rebellion, there are victims.
It is the first time Shichika whom could not differentiate from male and female, to feel for [Them].
"Kyotouryuu 7th Generation Head Yasuri Shichika, I will show you some of my moves!"
Koumori originally wanted to wear Togame's clothing just to get close to Shichika body, never knew that even after getting close to his body it was useless, well it could say it is a miscalculation; So in short, he followed his original plan --- he morphed his body while healing from his wounds.
"Then I too am also Kyotouryuu 7th Generation Head --- Yasuri Shichika."
And the one who got up in front of Shichika eyes, it is Shichika.
The lanky built, the hair that was messy, no doubt it was Yasuri Shichika.
Maniwa Koumori transformed, use the matter about Togame to distract Shichika, correcting his to internal organs to rebuild his body; Well it is hard to change Shichika's intent, so to buy more time, to complete the transformation.
Koumori's voice is naturally the same as Yasuri Shichika, just only he was wearing Togame's clothing at that time, so it is easy to distinguish who is fake or not.
"....... the voice is not the same!"
Shichika retorted, however Koumori was unable to retort what the guy said about Togame's reasoning.
The pair stared down, no movement was made.
"HAHAHA! To say the truth, my ninjutsu is more suited for assassination, not suited for head on attacking; To say what is my ultimate move, it's the Shuriken Barrage, but that move already was exhausted by you. And if I revert back to my original form to attack you, the winner should be you."
Hearing his doppelganger speak, Shichika was unable to move.
"But however now? Your muscles, your strength is all mine --- No, you still have the pain from your arms and legs when my shurikens hit you, so it means I hold the advantage."
Shichika still hasn't lose his cool, said:
"Since you put it that way, you could have able to transform into any insanely strong professional? Lets say even the swordsman called Sabi Hakuhei. Oh! You haven't seen him before right? So if you are very very experienced, you should transform to someone who is more skilled than me right?"
"You are really someone who like just born onto this world, people would be envious of this. That people won't be as bright as you, it is because there are some rules to follow --- like how rock will win scissors, yet could not win against the cloth that can be cut with the cloth. So in that case, how would you do it? Of course we will use rock versus rock to battle!"
"...... just to let you know, this small wound isn't anything anymore. Now my wound is vanished, it felt like a itch; But now it is not painful nor itchy now!"
"Really? So that is a stalemate, rock versus rock, equal as ever."
The transformed Koumori looked at the [Kanna] at his feet.
He just spat out that Zettou [Kanna], it is one of Shikizaki Kiki 12 Completed Deviant Blades; unable to bend or break, it can cut through steel like butter, it's definitely a match for Kyotouryuu!
"Although I have this toy, my rock would be stronger than yours!"
"Kyotouryuu Men are swordsmen who don't use swords, and those who don't use swords took up arms, naturally will be even stronger than not having any sword right? This will give me an advantage!"
Koumori was quite happy with himself.
Zettou [Kanna] just laid by Koumori's side, taking it up was too easy already; And if Shichika was to attack, the distance between he and the Zettou was more than that of Koumori, and since both of their leg power are the same, the winner certainly could be decided then.
"Using force to fight against the enemy is really stupid, if there is a way for it to make it easier, it would be perfect. Ah, you can scold me or rage at me for being despicable for all you care, so long as it is not that woman, any one who scold me would not matter --- I haven't heard you start cursing me yet!"
"I think you had a little misunderstanding here."
Shichika coldly spoke at the cheerful Koumori.
"Kyotouryuu is powerful precisely because it doesn't use swords."
"Ah? It is just what they say on the surface. It is basically the basis of the attack power, how could unarmed combat excel armed combat specialist? Unless you admit that your arms and legs are as sharp as a real sword?"
"That's why I said you are mistaken. Kyotouryuu is not because it uses arms and legs as swords, then they are classified as swordsmen who don't use swords --- Kyotouryuu swordsmen is actually a Japanese sword that took on the form of a human, so it is a sword, so it is akin to something like a 'dog eating a dog'. Basically, I don't think I can lose to me who was holding a sword, because ---"
"Alright! Enough, no need to find any more excuses; If I waited for you to finish, the cows will come home! This kind of thing for you to explain it through words, go somewhere else and do it --- like in the other world! Take this! The other me!"
"Really....... Then bring it! Other me. I will show you the finishing move to finish you off --- it is my Kyotouryuu's Ultimate Move!"
Koumori took the first step, Shichika was still and unmoving, waiting for the opponent to strike.
Seeing that Koumori raised the [Kanna], he was unable to stop it, it is because his arms were akin to blades, he was silently waiting for him to strike his own body, The Second Stance [Daffodil] and the First Stance [Lily] is similar, it's both used to fight people; His palms are like creating a wall in front of him, its just that the striking range is longer than that of [Lily], and to know the difference, in the eyes of the katana there's no difference.
"DADADAADADADADA! Hofuku Zettou!"
Koumori's both hands gripped the handle of the Zettou tightly, leapt, he was even higher than that in the beach previously. It is for a reason, because the land of the spring area is better than that of the sandy beach; Well the more important point is, Yasuri Shichika's body will be pulverised --- Since he had that amount of leg power.
Koumori in the air smash down with a greater kinetic and gravitational power ----
"HA! ...... Eh? EH!"
No, not actually smashing down.
Falling down with the power of gravity, Koumori could not even grasp the Zettou, what's there to discuss about smashing down? Zettou [Kanna] already lost it's owner, it is somersaulting over his head.
"Ri ...... Ridiculous!"
"Even if you have to wait till the cows come home, you should hear finish what I have to say."
Shichika who was on the ground said this to the airborne Koumori:
"Just what you just said, it is true it is just what the people say...... Well to say the truth, actually Kyotouryuu men has no ability whatsoever to wield any blades --- it is not because we are not swordsmen who don't use swords, it is because we are swordsmen who CANNOT use them!"
Yasuri Shichika couldn't.
Yasuri Mutsue couldn't.
Of course, the First Generation head Yasuri Kazune also couldn't ---
It is because, the swordsman called Kazune started out the art of without using swords --- If not, how could one discard the weakness that comes with the long reach?
"Especially after I was born into this world, today is the first time I seen a sword .... If you want to copy the body strength, the limbs strength, it is no importance; However to copy this brute strength is not something that you should be done! The other me!"
"Ah....... Oooo, ooo... what a pity, I am about to ......!"
Koumori lost the sword, falling down uncontrollably; Gravity was his enemy now, no matter how he think or panic, he is unable to revert back to the air.
To trace back to the roots, Maniwa Koumori had only one loss --- to take advantage of the siblings feelings, well according to sense, the more experienced Koumori could not have lost to the battle inexperienced Shichika.
Maniwa Koumori's loss, it is due to Zettou [Kanna].
He is overly dependent on using Zettou.
Firstly Koumori wanted to use it as a introduction present, then he will be able to bring it back under control. However, Koumori isn't a swordsman, more of a ninja; Since he has exhausted the shuriken barrage, he shouldn't have repeatedly, repeatedly use [Kanna] as it's match point. It is because, it is precisely of the sword's poison affecting his body --- made him less cautious overall.
Shikizaki poison's nature --- when the sword is in one's hands, naturally will feel the drive to kill.
"However, it is a blessing that you let go of the sword --- if it got hit by my ultimate attack, even if it is [Kanna] I am sure it will break. Right, You know why I say this move is the ultimate attack? It is because I just thought out this ultimate attack yesterday!"
Shichika said this to the falling Koumori who was ever inching closer.
Kyotouyuu has 7 ultimate moves.
1st Move. [Kyouka Suigetsu] [鏡花水月]
2nd Move. [Kachou Fuugetsu] [花鳥風月]
3rd Move. [Hyakka Ryouran] [百花繚乱]
4th Move. [Ryuuryoku Kakou] [柳緑花紅]
5th Move. [Hika Rakuyou] [飛花落葉]
6th Move. [Kinjou Tenka] [錦上添花]
7th Move.[Rakka Rouzeki] [落花狼藉]
"Now to reveal the true nature of each of the moves, I will reveal it in the next month. Well for this move, it is unleashing 7 simultaneous moves on the opponent; As you said, it is the unbeatable form of [Rock,scissors,paper]. Normally when one move was used, the opponent will break in 2; And if I applied 7 moves at one time, it will tear the enemy into 8 pieces --- therefore I shall name this move."
With this, Shichika fulfilled Togame's request, defeating the enemy with a flashy move.
"Kyotouryuu, [Shichika Hachiretsu]!"
It won't tear, it won't unravel.
No matter how hard thrashing is done, the twine that bound here did not even budge --- it seems that Koumori has used some incredibly strong threads, or could be using some special ninja ropes. Togame gritted her teeth and think: If I weren't gagged, I would have chewed off the rope!
Will that change the matter?
Will it change her position?
She threw away her name, threw away everything --- threading on this beaten path that was carved out by blood and tears, only to end in this no name island? Collecting the remaining swords that Kyuu Shogun was unable to collect, and successfully deliver it to the Shogunate, her success to her [plan] has only a step left!
Togame embarked on the path of a Strategian, only to end up like this?
Just a bit more, then she is able to exact her revenge for her dad!
To look for Kyotouryuu, it is a failure.
She is certainly drunk in her obsession.
No matter off the beaten path she took, she should never even look to the people who killed her father; Even if it is not him, much less his son! So to say the enemy is the Shogunate, the true enemy is the Shogun, so it's part of them! Even if, even if she promise to help Kyotouryuu --- helping Mutsue to reintegrate back. Why do she have to symphatise with the enemy, helping to annul the sins of the murderer of her father!
And all to end up at this place, really embarrassing indeed.
And would she even exist as a woman then?
If she got taken back to the mainland by Koumori to get interrogated, Togame will have divulged the locations of the Deviant Blades. Togame has high trust in her eloquency, however she is unable to withstand the torture, if a ninja really show his stuff, she confirm will not survive. There are a lot of ways to question people, and Togame knew a couple of it; However the Maniwa Ninja Corps could have known thousands of ways.
If it is like this, why not I break myself ----
She doesn't care that she was being gagged by a cloth, and laughed to herself nonetheless.
Look at the other perspective!
The one that won't tear, the one that won't unravel it is not the twine,
it's my thoughts;
The thing that was unable to break, cutting through steel like butter, it's my strategies.
Right, I am a strategian --- no matter how bleak the circumstances, there is a strategy to get me out of this! What's past is past, what matter's the most is now!
To exact revenge and use the Kyotouryuu who was her enemy, so what? Blood begets blood, it is a war!
Knowing the status of Togame, most of the people seeing her head of hair thought that she went through a traumatic experince, well it is not far from it.
It is because she was so stressed about it that her hair turned white.
And she swore on the head of white hair---
no matter how she was shunned,
or being hated,
or being ridiculed, she will finish this even if it cost her life!
There is a shadow passing through the bushes, heading towards this direction. Is it Maniwa Koumori? He's already back? It is too early --- No, if he used the sword barrage to win, the victory should take a short time; if it seems that way, it is too late.
Togame just has to clench her fists, couldn't do anything,
but to watch in fury at that direction.
Shortly, the approaching person entered her line of sight.
And said "I see".
"I see, I see. So that was what the eyes he was talking about? However what the ninja said could not be trusted, I felt that that eyes are mysterious, its pretty!"
The one who appeared is Yasuri Shichika.
How could this be?..... NO! Koumori didn't just cheerily said? After he killed of Shichika, then he will transform into Shichika to kill Nanami --- maybe he he going to head to ...... No, maybe he did all of it already! He killed off Nanami, that's why he is that late! But why would he have to maintain this image? So thats how it is, he was thinking of impersonating Shichika, then get whatever information he could from Togame. Koumori thought that he was smart, but did he think that she will fall for this parlor trick? The title of Strategian is really being looked down upon!
Thinking of which, Togame just noticed the thing on Yasuri Shichika's hand.
It is one of Shikizaki 12 Completed Deviant Blade, Zettou [Kanna].
He didn't even know how to properly handle a sword, he was grabbing the end of the handle, trailing the long blade, and the tip of the blade was scraping the ground.
However if it is Koumori, he would have kept it in his body.
Then it means, this Yasuri Shichika is ---
"Come to think of it, perhaps that ninja has parents, or could have kids too; Nope, of course he have. Will they hate me for what I did?"
"...... in short ---"
Shichika waved [Kanna] carelessly in front of Togame
Lucky this is the Zettou, not easily broken or bent.
But no matter the reason he still have to handle it more carefully!
"I've got the first one, Togame."
What does this words mean? Don't tell me it is a prelude for ---
He then gave a speech confirm this.
"Don't get the wrong idea, I am doing this all for you. I have harbor no other thoughts, no been affected by Shikizaki's poison, nor is it for the Shogunate --- I just feel like helping you."
After this, he smiled at Togame.
He said this to the future traveling companion for a year:
"I have decided to fall for you."
<Katanagatari Chapter 3: Strategian : End>