“I had taken one of Biba’s researchers captive, so we knew the thrust of his plans,” Kurusu stated. “We bound our wounds, and went to stop them.” He drew a breath. “We couldn’t catch up before the monster was unleashed.”
Which was neatly avoiding how they’d caught up at all. “The city was surrounded by Kabane,” Dogen pointed out.
“We were armed.”
That was the most bushi non-answer of an answer Dogen had heard in a long time.
“Kurusu’s the most skilled samurai we have,” Kibito said heartily, “and Ikoma figured out how to give us an edge.”
Dogen raised a wary brow. So, under Kibito’s calm and level exterior lurked a sly sense of humor-
With a bow, Kurusu presented his blade for inspection, exposing two thumb-lengths of lava-veined black metal.
Dogen stared at that newly-familiar glow, and shuddered. “This… is from an iron cage?”
“You have to refine it, or the coating won’t be strong enough to pierce the heart cage,” Ikoma stated. “And it’s not just iron. There are other metals, and something organic. If we had a proper metallurgist….”
“We have you,” Ayame said firmly. “Find out what we need to do it better, and we’ll look for that at the next station.”
Kurusu sheathed his blade, calm as if he weren’t carrying a weapon made from dead enemies. “With these, close combat is possible.”
Close combat. With Kabane. Dogen didn’t know whether to give his blessing on the spot or lock his beloved niece up until she found someone far less insane. “And… the two of you…?”
“We shoot them.” Mumei smiled. “With jet bullets, it only takes one shot.”
“We avoided as many fights as we could,” Ikoma said practically. “If you’re not screaming, sometimes they don’t notice you.”
At least one of those three had a sense of his limitations. So Dogen could reassure his people what Ayame’s lost trio had done was unlikely, and ill-advised – but certainly not impossible.
Though that did leave one worrying loose end. “You said you had one of Biba’s doctors,” Dogen noted. “Where is he?”
Kurusu had a very thin smile. “He created the monster. He wanted to see it. We let him go.”
A/N: Yep, they’re glossing over a lot. Dogen probably wouldn’t want to know. “Actually, the monster’s been cured and she’s fine now,” would not go over well.