A/N: Thunderstorms in off the Gulf, so I need to post something quick and pop off for a while….
In Aragane Station… well, no one had liked to think about the Kabane swallowing them. But everyone knew it could happen. When the Fusojou had breached the wall, Aragane’s survivors had followed the wisdom hard-earned from the rescued souls of other fallen stations: pick up all you can carry, flee to the lord’s manor. And when Mumei had opened a path to escape, they’d run.
We had a plan. We knew what to do. But Kongokaku, the Shogun’s own city – they thought the Kabane would never touch them.
Some of the Kongokaku survivors were all right, if shaken. Others… Kibito had issued quiet orders to the crew to keep an eye out for knives and panic. Kongokaku had prided itself on being pure. Untouched by the Kabane. People who ran Hayajiro, who had to face and fight the hordes through every mountain pass and abandoned station – they were as far from pure as a child of Kongokaku could imagine.
If they realize the Kabaneri are onboard, if they have any idea what Mumei and Ikoma are….
The noble citizens of Kongokaku had nearly burned the crew alive when they knew they were human. Lady Ayame had shamed them into stopping. But it didn’t exactly speak well of their new refugees’ chances of calmly, thoughtfully deciding that two souls tainted by the Kabane could be allowed to live.
“We have to get them off the Koutetsujou,” Kurusu muttered.
Kibito raised dark brows. “Them? Not the Hunters?”
Kurusu gave him a searching look through the predawn gloom. “You said Uryuu told you where to find us, after Lady Ayame had already agreed to let his survivors on.”
Point. Kibito might not want to give Uryuu a steam rifle and a free shot at his back, but with Biba gone, the surviving Hunter leader had dealt honorably with them. So far. “Lady Ayame’s going to discuss that more with everyone. Tomorrow.” Kibito gave his friend a wink. “Come on. Ikoma’s got enough sense to sleep until he gets better. And I know you’re more sane than a mad steamsmith.”