A/N: Yamagata is a reasonable guy. But he is a samurai… and some things do irk him. Ouch.
Himura ignored the hand, head slightly bowed. “My apologies, but… we will walk.”
Yamagata frowned. “Don’t be a fool, Himura! Think of the child.”
“I do think of Ayame-chan, that I do,” Himura said evenly. “And Suzume-chan. And all those who may yet be born, or marry, or simply wish to travel among the folk of this land without fear.” He glanced over the crowd. “And I think of these people, who should watch, and see, and not fear they have harbored something so horrible we scurry to conceal it from them.” Violet was guileless, but unyielding. “We will walk.”
You- you- Fury blinded Yamagata. How dare this man, this hero, lower himself to care what outlanders thought? How dare he imply that they needed these townsmen’s good will, needed anything beyond land to make their own and good swords in their hands against all who’d take it from them? How dare he even hint that those of the noblest blood ever to grace this earth might deign to unite their families with such- such- kami, who did he think he was?
Hitokiri Battousai, the last bit of his reason supplied.
Fury froze. “Send the carriage off,” Yamagata gritted out.
“Sir?” His aide’s voice held concealed horror. A lord had status. A lord had face. A lord did not walk to a greater lord like a supplicant, but rode in full, glorious pride.
A lord, Yamagata thought coldly, must remember that legends have power beyond even steel.
It was why he and others had sought Himura all these years, after all. Katsura’s blade. Katsura’s dragon. The hitokiri whom songs called the greatest of revolutionaries.
The Demon of Kyoto, who left his bloodstained blade standing in the sunset of Toba Fushimi. And vanished, as youkai do, never to be seen again by mortal men.
Gods, the man couldn’t have woven a stronger legend if he’d tried!
And it would not take his men long to realize that legend stood among them. That the legend – the hero – would walk to a gaijin queen, and honor her beyond measure, all for the sake of one hanyou child….
Damn you, Himura!