Kabaneri Fluffbit – Loyalty

Kabaneri. Corpse-person, Dogen thought. Yes, townsfolk can be superstitious, but how can they think that’s even possible?

And why had it seemed as though the two steamsmiths flinched?

Red fluttered as Mumei huffed. “That’s completely different….”

Not his imagination, Dogen realized, horrified. Ikoma had definitely flinched, the lady steamsmith had shifted so she was between Dogen and her companion, and everyone else was giving Mumei a look of mingled worry and utter exasperation.

Mumei shrugged, and gave him a brilliant, young smile. “Oops?”

“Ayame.” Dogen couldn’t ask. He had to ask. His people’s lives depended on it. “What is a Kabaneri?”

Ayame braced herself, and any hope he’d had it was just a rumor died.

“They’re the Koutetsujou’s protectors,” his niece said steadily. “They’re part of our crew. If it weren’t for them, no one would have survived Aragane’s fall. They’re not dangerous, Uncle.”

From Kibito’s mostly-hidden smile, Dogen doubted that.

“We’re keeping it quiet so your people don’t panic,” Ayame went on. “I don’t want them being shot at!” Her voice caught. “They’ve been hurt enough already.”

Dogen drew himself up, determined. “Ayame, I need to know-”

“We are existences between human and Kabane.” Mumei stood, dark eyes watching him as intently as a samurai gauging her first strike. “We can strike with their strength. We can sense them coming. But our minds are human.”

Impossible. It couldn’t be true.

But – Ayame had said Mumei was one of Biba’s warriors, and she’d helped fight through an entire infested city…. “Biba was researching the Kabane,” Dogen said, shocked. “Ways to defeat them, to fight them on their own ground… did he create you?”

Mumei stared a moment more, then nodded. “I survived the operation. Ikoma, too. We are Kabaneri. We exist to destroy the Kabane.”

“He was insane,” Dogen breathed.

The brunette steamsmith’s fingers clenched on her uniform. “Don’t say that!”

“Kajika,” Ikoma murmured.

“Well, he shouldn’t!” the female steamsmith said fiercely. “It’s not your fault, or Mumei’s! There’s nothing wrong with living when everyone else thinks you should have died!”

Fierce young woman. Though Dogen was rather more concerned about the two bushi carefully not eyeing him as if they wanted to cut him up for stew. Whatever these Kabaneri were or weren’t, they’d apparently convinced the leaders of Ayame’s bodyguards that they were loyal.

They went with Kurusu to face a monster that would have doomed us all. They may well be loyal.


A/N: No way are the Koutetsujou crew letting on what the Nue actually was. Nope.

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21 thoughts on “Kabaneri Fluffbit – Loyalty

      1. It makes me nervous when you toss around absolutes like that…

        Me too.

        Mostly because it has the feel of the Sealed Evil in a Can solutions . . . . someone always opens the can eventually. Often because they either dismiss the danger (“Surely it cannot be that dangerous” or “Monsters aren’t real.”) or because they cannot read the warning label or can only read part of it or something along those lines (i.e. how we were supposed to know, thousands of years later, that series of squiggles meant ‘Do not operate – Hostile aliens who think they are gods on the other side!’)

        Also bad guys can have back-up plans. Or will make one up. Especially ones that may or may not believe what they are doing is a benefit. Because there are villains who have “This is for your own good and it’s going hurt me more than it’s going hurt you” thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Mumei stared a moment more, then nodded. “I survived the operation. Ikoma, too. We are Kabaneri. We exist to destroy the Kabane.”

    “He was insane,” Dogen breathed.

    The brunette steamsmith’s fingers clenched on her uniform. “Don’t say that!”

    “successful or not the man was insane to even try!”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hm, and here was me thinking he just cracked because of all the crap his father put him through. I like that idea!
        (POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING!)
        Also, wasn’t Biba also a Kabaneri? A colony heart may have had a bad effect on him that vanilla humans wouldn’t be vulnerable to…

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Whatever these Kabaneri were or weren’t, they’d apparently convinced the leaders of Ayame’s bodyguards that they were loyal.

    They are convinced they are loyal because they are loyal. And have demonstrated that fact more than once, often at great personal risk, and even after being threatened and treated poorly by the people they sought to protect / help out protecting (if the Wikipedia article is to be believed) – bushi tend to pay attention to things like that. Because that kind of loyal and courage doesn’t exactly grow on trees and never should be taken for granted.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And he’s not stupid enough to squander that kind of loyalty and courage. Or prideful enough.

        Through one could argue being so concerned about your pride that you let it get in the way of doing your job or your own survival is stupid. You can regain your pride. You cannot regain your life if you lose it. And one would think messing your job horribly would be more damaging for your pride than accepting help from an unexpected source.

        Ayame lucked out there – no every bushi would be as sensible as her Kurusu is being about this.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Kurusu’s had his bushi pride stretched a bit by reality. Lucky for everyone!

        *nods*

        Still, it’s good that he isn’t the sort to ignore reality once it has punched him right in the face.

        Characters with Clue Telfon Shields can be very frustrating (*cough* Cassim *cough*).

        Like

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