Requiem of the West

Incident at the Pink Lotus

Or, Alcoholic Avenger Assassinates Asinine Asker

After the previous night’s revelations, morning comes. Jyuurouta, even more haggard than normal, barges into Shiomai’s room. His hair is down and covering his face, his kimono barely covering his chest, and his eyes are wild. He is frantic, and in a rare unguarded moment actually takes hold of Shiomai while repeating that “He’s here!”. She manages to calm him down enough for him to explain that Seiji left a calling card that night, and for them to talk. Deciding that there is little to be done, if he wanted Jyuurouta dead he would have done it, they focus on the plans at hand. Namely, meeting with the Regent.

A day or so passes as the group prepares. Then a messenger from the Pink Lotus arrives at the dojo, obviously distraught. Shiomai, who had been staying there as Lady Inara, goes down to meet her. As master of the dojo and having offered his protection, Jyuurouta calls out his students and does likewise. The rest of the group has also gathered to listen. The girl explains that a young noble and his men are at the Pink Lotus causing trouble and refusing to leave until the madame arrives. Jyuurouta arms himself and calls for Sakura and Haji to join him as he accompanies Inara, along with two of his students. Arita comes along as well.

When they arrive, they find a crowd has gathered on the scene. Jyuurouta and the Second Wind identify themselves as police and disperse them enough to push through. Inside they find the place has been trashed, with several drunken samurai loitering about and a young samurai sitting on a couch in the center, a serving girl and boy on each arm. They clearly are not comfortable. The young man bears a scar on his chest that just peaks out over the top of his kimono. Jyuurouta’s eyes go wide, then harden as he recognizes him as Iisamu Yokio, the man he has been hunting for the last 6 years.

Yokio notices them, specifically Inara. Arita notices the glassy stare of a man obsessed in Jyuurouta. Yokio manages to get out a “Hey! I want to talk to you!”, before chaos ensues. With little thought of defense, Jyuurouta launches three strikes at the three guards closest to Yokio. Two go down in an instant, throats cut. The third manages to duck. Haji, who had stayed close to support Jyuurouta, attacks the three samurai on his left and grievously injures one. Sakura moves to intercept the three on the right and does likewise. Arita draws his sword, but attempts to seem like he has wandered into other people’s business. Haji takes a blow, but is protected by his armor, and otherwise defends himself from his opponents, as does Sakura. Having forgone his own protection in his rage, a blow glances off of Jyuurouta’s armguard from the surviving samurai. Then, though ordinarily not a spectacular swordsman by any means, Yokio draw-cuts into Jyuurouta’s chest. Most of it is absorbed by his armor, but still draws blood.

The combatants prepare their next moves before they are interrupted by Shiomai’s voice, calling loudly for them to halt. Suprisingly, Yokio and his men pull back. It is obvious that continued attempts at violence will be met in kind, but for the moment they will not attack. A brief lull ensues before Yokio asks ‘What the hell! You wanna take this outside?". Jyuurouta collects himself and ask if he remembers him. Yokio says he doesn’t. Jyuurouta asks him if he remembers a girl and a tea shop in Mihama, but Yokio responds that he’s been a lot of places. Finally Jyuurouta challenges him, pointing to Yokio’s scar and says it was he who did that. At this Yokio completely loses composure and demands they fight. Jyuurouta agrees with a grim smile, insulting Yokio as he does so. Yokio attacks without warning, but Jyuurouta is prepared and expertly blocks his strike. He taunts Yokio with having broken an honorable arrangement, and this seems to shake him. He agrees to continue with the duel.

As they set up, a crowd begins forming. In the distance the banners of the Shonin no Keisatsu are seen and they quickly arrive to enforce order and ensure the proper forms are followed. Jyuurouta strips off his armor and the two men face off. As the challenger, Jyuurouta lists his grievance against Yokio, relating how he killed his fiance and destroyed his father-in-law’s tea shop. Unaffected, Yokio explains that he wants satisfaction for being mutilated by scum off the street. The duel begins and the two men move into draw range, hands on their swords.

Jyuurouta moves first, drawing with blinding speed. Yokio attempts to react, only to stare stunned as it sends his severed arm flying off into the crowd. Then Jyuurouta shouts “HER NAME WAS IZUMI!” as he slashes brutally into Yokio’s chest, opposite the scar. Yokio stares up, quickly losing consciousness, as Jyuurouta leans down and whispers “I’m glad you got a good look at what I did to your arm before you died. I wish I could have done worse…and by the way, I’m practically a Daimyo.” Arita, despite being far off in the crowd, somehow manages to hear this. Then Jyuurouta savagely drives the point of his sword into Yokio’s neck and finishes him off.

The crowd mills about as Jyuurouta sits there, unmoving. Shiomai goes over and tells him it’s over and she is proud of him. He barely responds, but accepts medical attention. Then he rises and moves off in the direction of the dojo, pushing through people without a second thought. His students move forward and begin expertly clearing his way, as Inara and Haji follow. Haji moves beside Jyuurouta and says “I don’t know what that was all about. I do know about death though. And whatever it was, it’s done.” He finishes with emphasis, then walks ahead. Arita slips off and returns to the dojo on his own, and Sakura stays behind to check on the staff of the Pink Lotus.

The first group returns to find Arita waiting for them. Shiomai notes to herself he could have used this opportunity to take the documents and run. He makes a crack at Jyuurouta, who brushes by him without seeming to take notice and walks onto a second floor balcony. Speaking for the first time, he asks to be alone and places his swords and sake jug in front of him before locking the door. He then sits and stares out over the balcony, touching neither.

Sakura returns and is informed of Jyuurouta’s behavior and whereabouts. She climbs the balcony from the outside, bringing him rice and tea. Without looking up Jyuurouta asks which part of “Leave me alone” she did not understand. Sakura just informs him she will be outside and leaves. No sound comes from the door as Jyuurouta sits still until nightfall. Then the sound of him singing is heard throughout the dojo.

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MarcoDamiano

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