Through the Cracks Ch3 bit and Ch2 up on AO3

Through the Cracks Ch 2 is up on AO3. And hands up, who feels sorry for Kero….


Silvered glass, Kenshin thought, ghosting over to tap one. “In Yamato, Kerowyn-dono, this would be an unacceptable hazard.”

“Really?” Kerowyn raised a blonde brow at him, tightening straps on her leather armor.

“Earthquakes.” Kenshin shuddered, all too able to picture shards of flying glass.

“Now those, I still find hard to believe,” Kerowyn admitted, picking up a weighted wooden sword. “I’ve felt the earth shake once or twice, and a few of my Skybolts have told me about places where that happens every year – but a land where the ground actually opens up and tries to swallow you? Without any mage behind it?” Aquamarine eyes narrowed at Kaoru. “And I thought you were going to make him bring armor.”

“According to my father, it can,” Kaoru nodded. “And… well… he did.”

Kenshin set down his travel bag, taking out the leather arm-guards Hiko had given him so many years before. He’d had to replace the outer, disguising layer of ordinary leather more than once, but the true armor beneath it, crafted of youkai dragon-hide, would likely last his lifetime.

“That’s it.” Kerowyn’s tone held frank disbelief.

Kenshin inclined his head.

“That’s all?

“This one’s style does not lend itself well to armor, Kerowyn-dono. The less weight, the better.” He cinched the guards into place, feeling the hitokiri’s mindset rise closer to the surface. Sparring. We’re only sparring. “And these appear little different from the guards of arm and hand any peasant would wear to work the fields. Scythe to reap or sword to block; in Yamato, both peasant and samurai have need of shields against their own blades. If pressed, a lone warrior simply needed to abandon the blue haori of his uniform, and no Shogunate soldier could be certain they had snared one of Choshu.”

“So you’re a skirmisher first. Good to know,” Kerowyn murmured. Shrugged her shoulders. “Well, when you walk away from this with bruises, don’t come crying to me.”

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24 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch3 bit and Ch2 up on AO3

      1. Kero’s about to find out about ki-reading.

        There is also that.

        Kero might be getting an inkling about why the Hitokiri Battousai is so feared. Not completely because since this is spar, Kenshin will not going all out but still . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Kerowyn, I think one is underestimating their opponent.

    Through to be fair, most people underestimate Kenshin.

    And Kerowyn is very good. And has used her sword in don’t get killed conditions so she has the right to be confident. I just think she isn’t used to fighting someone who can move too fast for most people to see him move, let alone follow his movement, and doesn’t stay on the ground when he fights.

    And the only Yamato style swordsmanship she has probably seen is Kamiya Kasshin-ryu and if she has only seen it done by Kaoru, she has never seen someone who is a master level swordsman. I say level because if this close to canon, then Kenshin still isn’t officially a master of Hiten Mitsurugi. Which is one of the reasons I think Hiko would make some people very nervous. They have seen what Kenshin can do and this is the guy who taught him. Gulp.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *G* Hiko makes anyone sane nervous.

      Kero’s not underestimating that he’s deadly. She’s just unaware of everything he can bring to a fight. If you recall the bit with the Oniwabanshuu, it’s actually not Kenshin’s speed that’s his most dangerous characteristic. Though that helps. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. All lined up that way, Chapter two brought tears to my eyes. Thanks.

    Kerowyn, at this point, hears style and thinks ‘preferred method of fighting’, not ‘I was trained only to use this method’.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. … to be fair to Kero: plenty of Samurai have real armor (even without the Youkai crafted stuff Inuyasha as a background brings to the table), it’s non metallic, but it does its job well enough to probably match her own leather armor.

    Further, she’s not wrong: Kenshin /is/ primarily a skirmisher. That’s actually touched on in RuroKen canon: most of the Isshin Shishi operated via guerilla tactics where they expected to be outnumbered. It just takes a /lot/ more to outnumber Kenshin. Plus there’s also Hiko’s fully armored cloak, that’s supposed to be passed down to the next master of Hiten-Mitsurugi-ryu… So, yeah, he technically /should/ be more heavily armoured. It’s just… complicated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Masters of Hiten Mitsurugi are supposed to pick their fights. They aren’t supposed to be using their skills in situations where they can’t abuse them to get an unfair advantage. Kenshin might be killable on a WWI battlefield, but he is supposed to know that, and avoid WWI battlefields.

      Plus, in recent years I heard that American soldiers will take the calculated risk of not wearing lots of armor in order to have more speed. I understand this can be safer than wearing the armor.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. To be fair, a good swimmer might expect a guy to be a good swimmer. She would not expect Michael Phelps to come and break her brain.

    To be fair on the other side– in real life, European swords and sword schools were probably better than Japanese ones. (Better steel, better damage, had to deal with better armor, more competition across a wider area of travel, better nutrition, bigger guys, etc.) But Kenshin does not live in real life, even if the manga writer provided science justifications for his moves; and this hanyou Kenshin really does not live in real life. And Valdemar isn’t our Europe, and Kerowyn is extremely talented and strong, but not a guy.

    So they both are going to have to maximize speed, accuracy, and forethought in order to win.

    And it should be a really good fight.

    Liked by 1 person

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