Through the Cracks Ch3 bit – Private Chat

:Lovely sunshine, my tail. You’re just patting yourself on the back because Kaoru paid attention in counter-surveillance,: Sayvel said dryly.

With Himura on her hands, she’s going to need it. “I’d say we’re clear,” Kerowyn stated.

Kaoru’s shoulders relaxed. “Good.” She tensed again. “This is going to sound really, really stupid….”

“I lived with mercenaries for decades,” Kerowyn pointed out. “People who put their lives on the line every day get strange. Sometimes even stupid. And your samurai were supposed to be ready to do that, yes?”

“I’m not sure where to start.” Kaoru bit her lip. “I didn’t just take Kenshin in out of warrior’s compassion. I had a plan. Well, sort of a plan.”

“Does this have to do with honor-debts?” Eldan put in. “It seems to be the key way Yamato handle social obligations,” he added at Kero’s glance. “Everyone owes someone a favor. And if you can’t pay it back, your family owes it until it is returned. Chief Tostig told me he recently had to adjudicate a case in which a family’s debt ledger was… borrowed.”

Before someone decided to take it back the hard way, Kero thought, picking up Eldan’s images of the blood and bruises. “And why haven’t I heard about this before?”

“You’re not in the system, Kero-love,” Eldan said plainly. “You don’t owe anyone, and no one owes you. No Yamato’s going to give a gaijin, who doesn’t have any idea what’s proper, the opportunity to put them in their debt-” He stopped. Thought. Grinned. “Oh, that is clever.”

“A master of a sword-school is expected to find ways to improve,” Kaoru said simply. “Any sensei can take in a ronin or rurouni. It’s a trade; a place to stay, for the chance to train with someone as good as you are. It’s customary. It’s tradition.” She crossed her arms. “And it gets people talking to a shihandai who just won’t talk to a Herald.”


25 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch3 bit – Private Chat

  1. Sounds like Kaoru is stuck in that ‘neither fish nor fowl’ dictomny that is so much fun (sacrasm). Too Yamato for the Valdemarian tastes, too Valdemarian for the Yamatoan tastes. And aware of her father’s and her culture to not only know that she is being kept out but why. And how as long as no one gives her a chance*, nothing she can do about . . .

    While Kenshin knows a thing or too about being the odd person out, the one who doesn’t quite fit.

    *Yes, part of that is their very sensible reasons for steering clear of Heralds. But I bet the bigger part is that Kaoru is in many ways an outsider and Yamato are wary of outsiders.

    Of course, another reason they might want to avoid going into debt with a gaijin is the knowledge that the gaijin in question won’t know what they are being given and what they are expected to pay back. I bet someone somewhere tried to brush off something that a Yamatoan considered a debt owed to them the forgeiner or them the Yamatoan and said Valdemarian was really confused about why the Yamaotoan is suddenly so angry with them . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Specially when you remember that: oh, yeah, in a culture that runs on honor and debts /Kenshin/ is very literally the only reason they survived the Jump, nevermind however many of their lives he’s saved personally. True, some of that falls under the heading of Duty, but not all of it.

      He isn’t one of their leaders solely because he /chose/ not to be. But their leaders remember him, and pay attention when he gets involved.


      1. *Nod* Kenshin getting involved is going to give Yamagata some leverage to come clean, because he can do it in the vein of “the Queen needs to know this so our hero is properly honored”.

        …Face. Have to always remember face. Whoof. And yes, it happens in Western culture too; we just don’t always recognize it as easily.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ehh… *shrugs*
        ‘Eck if I know, but Yamagata can probably make some educated guesses, and if anyone asks who Kenshin will deal with honestly he’ll tell them what he told Kero. And not only is Kenshin unlikely to lie, but by tradition – if probably /not/ by law – Kenshin could claim anyone questioning his word was insulting his honor – even if it is merely the honor of a rurouni, that it is – and challenge them to duel to prove their accusation false. Kenshin would probably wouldn’t do this, not without some very pressing circumstances to encourage him, but just the possibility of being challenged to a duel by Hitokiri Battousai would probably keep a lot of mouths /shut/.

        Beyond that I imagine you’re average Yamatoan refugee treats Kenshin the same way as he was treated in series: most don’t know and react to him as just some rurouni. But get to Uramura’s level or higher – basically be anyone who really pays attention to gossip or has actual information access – and they know who Kenshin is. And that the refugees’ leadership basically give him carte blanche as to how he operates.


      3. … I hadn’t realized the leadership /didn’t/ know. I figured with Gensai and at least a few other Yamatoans running around and it already have gotten as far in continuity as Jin-E that someone /had/ informed Yamagata of Kenshin’s survival by now.


      4. > and they know who Kenshin is. And that the refugees’ leadership basically give him carte blanche as to how he operates.>
        I can see it being not too different from how Hitokiri normaly operate. Well the sane ones anyway.

        Because considering how dangerous Yamato apparently is (and the fact that these guys train to kill mages) when one of these guys gets sent to deal with a situation, the rule for the bystanders (law enforcement and otherwise) is simply get out of the splash-zone while the man-slayer goes to work.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. They said the hitokiri died. Jin-e would tend to imply someone was lying.

        And some might be mistaken.

        After all, Kenshin didn’t land with the rest of the group. Who is to say who else might gotten . . . a little lost, shall we say?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Point on the various Hitokiri being lost/spread-out. I know I was assuming that Jin-E had followed from Yamato itself. Of course, my knowledge of Velgarth’s geography is still lacking, and so I hadn’t realized exactly how far he would have to have followed them from in that case…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Probably after Hiko hears something and thinks “That has my baka denshi written all over it. Maybe I should go and see just what, exactly, that little idiot has gotten himself into this time . . . ”

        (Side thought: Hiko might think Kenshin is dead. After all, if the plan to mess up the Jump worked as intended, he would be. And I don’t imagine that the powers that be are spreading around that their plan didn’t exactly succeed . . . but you never know just what rumors a swordsman and potter can turn up, especially one that knows if anyone could survive that mess it was his little idiot . . .)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Nah, Hiko wouldn’t think Kenshin is dead. That would be the universe letting him off too easy.πŸ˜‰

        Fair point. πŸ™‚

        But he probably does know that Kenshin is probably in trouble . . . by which he means more trouble than usual. So running down his wayward apprentice might be on the to-do list. Because Kenshin might be an idiot but he is Hiko’s idiot.

        Okay, maybe the evil bunnies just love the idea of at some point in the future, Hiko just showing up at Kamiya Dojo one day and surprising everyone . . . especially Kenshin. There might be some subtle revenge for running off . . . like embarrassing him to high heaven in front of Kaoru and all his new friends . . .

        Liked by 2 people

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