Kerowyn waited a second. Gave him an infinitesimal nod. “You’ve broken no laws in Valdemar, or Sanosuke would have stomped you flat. So I’ll tell you right up front: the worst that can happen to you – the very worst I, personally, will let anyone do to you – is that you’ll be escorted to the border of your choice, and asked not to come back.” She let another breath pass. “Who are you?”
“Sessha is Himura Kenshin. A rurouni, that I am.” Violet eyes were low, avoiding hers. “But ten years ago, in Kyoto, sessha was known as… Hitokiri Battousai.”
Kaoru was pale as Megumi’s coat. Sanosuke gave the ex-mercenary a look of grim wariness. And Kerowyn….
Kerowyn was doing her level best not to let loose a Shin’a’in battle-cry in pure glee. A hitokiri. My gods, we’ve got a live one!
A live source of tactical and strategic information she couldn’t find anywhere else. Who apparently had the humanity and honor, despite his bloody profession, to save a Herald’s life.
Who’d just admitted what he was. Without coercion.
Sheka. He thinks he can get past me if he has to. Kerowyn reviewed the trail of his fight with Jin-e in her mind. He just might be right.
“Kenshin,” Kaoru said in an urgent undertone.
“The Herald-Captain is an intelligent and persistent woman,” Kenshin said levelly. “And it is not as if sessha’s description is unknown.”
:Oh, come on,: Sanosuke objected. :You can’t be the only redheaded swordsman in all of Yamato…: White ears swung forward as Kenshin gave him a wry look. :You’re kidding!:
“Until sessha reached a fairly large settlement in Rethwellan, sessha had never seen ningen with red hair,” Kenshin said bluntly. “Ever.”
Ningen. People, Kerowyn thought, hiding a frown. Why did he say that?
:Because he hadn’t seen other redheaded people?: Sayvel put in privately. :I don’t think he’s lying.:
:No,: Kero agreed. :He’s not lying. But something about that seems off.: