Through the Cracks Ch5 bit – Heat

Yahiko clapped a hand to his forehead. Idiot. I’m an idiot.

Look for Kenshin? Might as well try to track a hawk through the sky.

This is the day Ayame and Suzume play with Aletha Candle-maker’s kids! And she just had her third a few weeks ago; I heard Gensai-isha say she’s still more tired than she thinks. That’s where Kenshin will be.

Yahiko took off, dodging through carts, riders, and pedestrians, keeping an eye out for the Guard. Chief Tostig wasn’t an idiot; he might not know Kenshin the way Kaoru did, but he was definitely bright enough to figure out some of the places Kenshin might be.

Bet he hasn’t figured out to start checking roofs yet, though, Yahiko thought smugly, craning his neck up to search for a flash of red among flapping laundry or potted greens. Not that he really expected to see Kenshin, unless the hitokiri wanted to be seen….

He dragged his eyes back down just in time to dodge around a young Valdemar swordsman sweating in light blue. The young man didn’t seem to see him, which was fine by Yahiko; there was an air around the older boy of someone looking forward to a fight, and not too fussy about who he picked it with. Not good, Yahiko thought. Scanned the crowd, street-savvy eyes picking out more blue-clad teens and young men, mostly clumped a few stoops down from the one he wanted. Really not good. “Aletha-san!”

The blonde matron rocked her youngest in her arms, wiping sweat from her brow, dark circles under the eyes watching Ayame and Suzume spinning tops with Jasenna and Tianne. “Yahiko? No, girls, you can’t make the tops fight.” Aletha glanced away from the impeding child brawl, sighing tiredly. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s a long story,” Yahiko gasped. Why is everybody sweating? It’s hot, yeah – but it’s nothing like Edo in summer! His eyes cut sideways as a cobbler’s quiet argument with a half-shoed customer turned to yells and shaking fists. A gaggle of goose-girls verbally shoved the shyest of their number away, reducing her to tears. A carter snapped his whip at his horses, drawing blood. The whole street seemed on-edge, roiling with inexplicable anger. It itched at Yahiko, dragging insults to the tip of his tongue. The boy shook it away, but a queer impatience still jangled down his nerves; the broiling threat of a brawl about to break loose. Something’s wrong. Something’s really wrong.


24 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch5 bit – Heat

  1. Oh, that’s evil.

    The Guard is chasing Kenshin, so they don’t have manpower in the right place to stop a possible riot before it starts. Karou likewise is delayed from responding, and as a Hearld, she’d be able to recognize the attack and raise an alarm //real// fast.

    Which means stopping this… falls to Kenshin. And makes him glaringly obvious.

    *preps popcorn*

    Liked by 4 people

      1. … You know, I keep reading that in Principle Sinbad’s voice? It — ah — doesn’t help the “My horns are really a halo” illusion whatsoever.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Something’s wrong. Something’s really wrong.

    Yeah, it sounds like someone is trying to make a riot or brawl erupt on those streets.

    There are Gifts that can do that but using that way is frowned upon (to say the least) by Valdemar. As as much as they fight to settle disputes, maintain honor, and it’s polite to be armed, I don’t think Yamato will be any more pleased by this use of gifts either. It’s one thing to fight for your or family or clans honor. This sounds like something else entirely.

    Story-wise, we need something that will make Kenshin have to be there and be very obvious when he was aiming for pay-no-attention-to-the-red-head-in-the-corner.

    In-universe, I wonder what the motivation behind this was. The counterpart to those Sword Corp people who showed up when Kenshin trying to avoid Yamagata attention in canon? Or part of another, overarching plot?

    Side note: Somehow I don’t think that Yamagata and all the people they could grab not only got away from Yamato, but got away alive is sitting well for some people back in Yamato.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. We might want to have her in-universe counterpart to Ja’far special headache remedy that he takes when Sinbad is being even more Sinbad than usual (or in ‘Around Simon is being very Simon) . . . granted part of his headache remedy in those moments does involve demonstrating his knife skills on said idiot king and/or zapping him a good one with Sei . . . plus another part of making Sinbad one of the other General’s problem for a while . . . but the rest of it is something herbal and soothing.

        I’m sure Selenay has got her own version of this. Maybe she has dummies that she practices weapons skills against while imagining said dummy is whoever has particularly annoyed her this week . . , or something along those lines.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Well first cause for this that comes to mind is some malevolent spirit etc that normally the Yamato people keep in check but thanks to the shift in locations, assumptions on all parties over what is proper warding etc this one got through.

    Cue the miko getting to show their stuff after Kenshin beats the critter’s head in. Should be ‘fun’ for the Valdmarians since from what I can tell, they view the miko and houshi as mundane priests and nothing more. When it’s shown that they are trained to block/negate gifts it’s going to be a whole other can of worms.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This reminds me a lot of what happened in one of the Collegium books, with one of the Sleepgivers’ ward pendants interfering with the Web Vanyel created and causing everyone around him to get irrationally angry.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’d recommend them. They were one of the first series I read when you got me interested in Valdemar. But what you’re describing is so similar, if I didn’t know better I’d swear you were getting it straight out of the book.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Funnily enough, a famous Bard in the Collegium series is known for using his projective empathy to do just that. Of course, he’s also a social climbing backstabber, but hey.

      Liked by 1 person

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