“Leave her alone!” Yahiko got between them and the girls, not yet drawing his bokken. Kaoru had told him not to get into a fight, not unless he was about to get killed – and none of these guys were going to be that stupid. Right? “She’s just a kid!”
A smelly hand grabbed his ear and twisted. “Watch your mouth, brat!”
“Who’s the brat?” Yahiko fired back, squirming loose. “Did your parents teach you to eat with your hands, or did they dump you with the monkeys on Takeo-yama?”
And this, Yahiko realized minutes later, tied up and swatted by the blue-clad idiot’s swarm of friends, is exactly why Kaoru hits you with a bokken….
“You’ve heard the stories; you know what they’ve done to our people, even to the Heralds!” Jiki was goading his crew and crowd. “You know what they are….”
Which didn’t make sense, Yahiko thought dizzily, he’d lived in Haven for two years and never seen these people so unreasoningly angry, so willing to throw away reason and spill blood because of one man’s words-
It’s him! Yahiko realized. The anger. The hate. It’s coming from him!
Jiki smirked as if he could read the thought, swept the crowd with another hungry look. “And we know just what to do with monsters, don’t we?”
“You’ll untie them now,” a calm, quiet voice cut through before the crowd could answer, “and wait for the Guard to be summoned, that you will.”
Yahiko drew a breath of pure relief. “Kenshin!”
Bystanders melted back as the small rurouni walked toward them, violet eyes level, gait unhurried as the river. “For that is Haven’s law,” Kenshin said evenly, “The law all of us live under, who dwell in Valdemar.”