Chapter 14: A Father and Mother is Good, while Having Two of Both of Them is Much Better, as Confusing as It Sounds.
Kagura and Shinpachi
were frozen in thought for a while trying to decipher what the Hyakka had said.
But after a while, they decided to think about it later as for now, they had to
help the others to end the chaos and saved Kyouko. Kagura quickly snapped back
to reality then she walked away.
“Wait a minute, Kagura-chan! Where are you going?” asked Shinpachi.
“I’m going to help the sadist, yes. After that I’ll go back-up Gin-chan and Tsukki”, replied Kagura as she walked away.
“Then I’ll go with-“, said Shinpachi until Kagura cut him off.
“No, Shinpachi. You need to help the others about to settle the riot in the town, yes”, replied Kagura turning on him.
Shinpachi got silent for a moment, then he nodded in agreement at Kagura’s words. “I got it. Be careful there, Kagura-chan”, said Shinpachi as he walked away with the Hyakka towards the town.
“Yeah. You too, yes… Let’s go, Sadaharu!”, replied Kagura likewise as she ran off followed by her dog.
In the mean time, at the fortress front entrance, numerous dead and incapacitated bodies had been piled up and scattered on the ground. Bloods were splattered, and weapons were abandoned lying on the ground. On the scene, there was a young man with sandy-brown hair and reddish brown eyes, his sword was covered in blood and the blade started to chip away, due to have cut numerous enemies. The man’s breath was getting ragged from exhaustion and blood loss that coming out from his wounds, but his stood strong, his senses remained focus with what was in front of him.
The enemy troops had suffered numerous loss, but their numbers did not seem to change much. Although Okita Sougo was able to easily cut down his enemy one by one before, but the prolonged battle started to take toll on his body as the enemy managed to land several blows and shallow cuts on his body, resulting his current state. The enemy was hesitating for a moment, but seeing that they might had a chance of winning, with the man in front of them started to get weakened by seconds, they put on a fighting stance and jumped on him again. Sougo could only gritted his teeth as he prepared to counter the enemies’ attacks only to see a sudden change in front of him. A huge noise came out from the troops behind the enemy’s front line. The enemies that were running towards Sougo stopped on their tracks to see another fight was happening behind them. As the unknown force kept coming from behind until the enemies that were right in front of Sougo, the first division captain of Shinsengumi watched as a group in black outfits appeared from the falling enemies. It was the Shinsengumi men from first division, led by Kondou Isao and his second in command, Hijikata Toshirou. Sougo’s eyes widened in surprise to see his comrades came to his aid without him knowing.
“Kondou-san, Hijikata-san… What are you doing here?” asked Sougo in confusion.
“Saving your damn ass, duh!” Hijikata said as he smoked. “And Sougo, if you want to do a raid, at least brought your troops along with you, you idiot. And where the hell is your uniform!?” said Hijikata yelling.
“Yoshiwara is out of our jurisdiction, you know, Hijiketsu (Hiji-Ass)… The paperwork is bothersome to me, so I just want to wrap this up quickly and come back in the morning. Is that a problem, Hijiketsu?” replied Sougo deadpannedly.
“Of course it’s a problem! AND WHO THE F*CK ARE YOU CALLING HIJIKETSU!!?” yelled Hijikata furiously.
“Now, now, Toshi… “ said Kondou calming his second-in-command down and he turned his attention to Sougo. “Sougo, if you are worried about administration and those papers just tell me! I’m your commander, remember? I’ll take care everything!” said Kondou as he gave out his hand to Sougo.
“Kondou-san! You are being too soft!” retorted Hijikata to his commander. “Anyway, the rest of you, take down and arrest all of the Chidori pirates and the rogue jouis across the town!” continued Hijikata commanding the troops behind him, the men obeyed and started to attack and engage the enemy troops.
“Speaking of, how did you guys know about Chidori and those rogue jouis? How did you know that I’m here? I thought you were busy doing the search on the surface”, asked Sougo as he took Kondou’s hand to pull himself up.
“As the matter of fact, we were. But only to find out that most of their bases out there have been either abandoned or taken care of by Yagyuu clan. Besides…” said Hijikata lighting up another of his cigarrete as he continued.
“When we’re looking for you, that yorozuya guy and his woman suddenly showed up and told us about your situation here”, said Hijikata letting out a smoke after inhaled some of the tabacco.
“Boss and his woman?” replied Sougo in confusion. “But since when? I don’t recall them being in the HQ when I sneaked out”, asked Sougo in his mind.
“Oooi… Sadiiiist, you still alive there!?” said a familiar voice from a distance.
As the three Shinsengumis turned their heads to the source of the voice, they spotted Kagura riding Sadaharu. “Of course I’m still alive, China. We haven’t settled our score, yet after all”, replied Sougo as he spat a drip of blood to the ground.
“That’s good then. Because I’ll be the one to kick your ass in the end, yes”, replied Kagura glaring at her rival.
“Oi... You sure you’re alright there, Sougo?” asked Kondou in concern about Sougo’s battered up body.
“I’m fine, Kondou-san. Nothing’s serious”, replied Sougo with a reassuring smile.
“Then I guess I don’t need to hang around any longer, yes. I have to help Gin-chan and Tsukki in the fortress. See you around, tax robbers…” said Kagura as she instructed Sadaharu to run inside the said building.
“Yeah, we’ll take care of things here- Wait Sougo, where are you going?” replied Kondou to Kagura but suddenly asked when he saw Sougo who was about to chase after the yato girl.
“Going after her, of course. I’ll make sure that no one will ever lay a finger on my prey again”, replied Sougo walking away.
Kondou and Hijikata could only sigh while shaking their heads at their first division commander’s attitude. As they started to walk towards their own battlefield, Hijikata reminded something to say to his commander.
“By the way, Kondou-san…”
“What is it, Toshi?”
“Don’t you think something was a bit off when we met that Yoruzuya guy and his woman earlier?”
“What do you mean?”
“You know, their looks were kind of… different…” said Hijikata blowing out another smoke.
“Ah… that. You know, Toshi… Since they had a kid, they maybe decided to change their looks to be closer to a parental model! You know, like kids in puberty tried to change their looks in society, something like that…” replied Kondou carefreely.
“Uh… Okay… But you know that those people won’t experience puberty again, don’t you?” asked Hijikata sweat-dropped, only to receive a hearty laugh from his commander as a reply.
Then the two commanders pulled out theirs swords as they dashed to join the battle.
Sougo finally caught up with Kagura inside the maze-like hallway at the upper level of the fortress.
“Oi, shouldn’t you with the other tax robbers, yes?” asked Kagura irritated.
“They won’t need me out there. Besides, I’m here to make sure that you won’t mess up again like the last time you did, China”, replied Sougo as he kept running.
Kagura’s eyes widened for a bit at the man running beside her before she focused her eyes again on the front. Her mind was determined to save Kyouko this time. “Suit yourself. Just don’t screw up, yes”, said Kagura without looking at Sougo.
“That’s my line just a second ago, China.” Sougo only retorted to receive another glare.
They glared at each other for a second then their eyes focused again on their front as they kept running through the hallway, looking for Gintoki and Tsukuyo, or perhaps Kyouko.
Gintoki and Tsukuyo kept on running down the hallway while beating down the enemy that showed up from the room one by one. Simply put, they ran, got into a room, fighting the enemy that showed up then running again to find The Chidori Leader who was holding Kyouko captive. After running and fighting for a while, the couple took a quick break in a certain room. They started to get exhausted after all those running and fighting.
“Say, Gintoki…”, said Tsukuyo between her breaths.
“We’re lost, aren’t we?”
Silence were filled the room, until… “No, we’re not! It’s just that… It’s been a long time since the last time I went into this place, you know? When I fought Housen…” said Gintoki tried to cover that they WERE lost.
“Just admit it. We’re lost”, said Tsukuyo leaning against a wall.
“Well… but you spent more time here. You supposed to know which direction leads to where!” replied Gintoki pointing his finger, trying to avoid the question.
“It’s not like I was always around here! I spent my time more outside!” retorted Tsukuyo.
“Anyway, we need to find a way to locate them quickly”, said Tsukuyo regaining her composure.
“KYOUKOO!!!” screamed Gintoki in the room, his voice echoed around the building.
Tsukuyo shut her eyes for a second due to sudden outburst from Gintoki. Then she looked at him with disappointed eyes. “Seriously? D’ya think that shit’ll work?” asked Tsukuyo at such an old-fashioned way of finding someone.
Suddenly they heard a voice that screaming back, ‘papa, mama’. Tsukuyo only looked back with a surprised face at Gintoki while the man only grinned in victory.
“Ha! See, you hear that? C’mon, this way!” said Gintoki running towards the source of the voice.
Tsukuyo was stunned in disbelief at the moment, and she quickly snapped back her senses as she chased after Gintoki.
The couple finally arrived at the grand hall where Gintoki had fought Housen in the past. The piled-up dusts and rubbles, and the broken giant rabbit statue were signs that the room was in total mess from the fight with King of the Night before. Only the difference was, someone had fixed the bridge at the middle of the hall that got destroyed during the fight with Housen, so the current occupants would still be able to move more freely around the fortress. After they walked and arrived at the middle of the bridge, suddenly Gintoki sensed something was coming at them and he quickly pushed Tsukuyo aside when sound of gunshots were heard, resulting a hole on his leg and his arm, and a bullet also managed to graze Gintoki’s waist. Tsukuyo’s eyes widened in surprise seeing Gintoki got injured from protecting her.
“GINTOKI!” shouted Tsukuyo as she quickly approached Gintoki to see him upclose at his injuries, and she turned her eyes at the direction where the bullet came from.
At the end of the bridge there was another enemy troops gathered in front of the couple, another group of enemies also gathered at the other end of the bridge, surrounding the injured Gintoki and Tsukuyo. Gintoki tried his hardest to stand up with injury on his left arm and his right leg, while withstanding the pain he looked up at The Chidori Leader who was standing on the story just one level above the bridge. The enemy leader’s hand was carrying a pistol with a smoke coming out from its hole, and he was accompanied with two of his men beside him, one of them holding Kyouko who was standing on the terrails. The enemy leader smirked when he saw the Shiroyasha was still kneeling, trying to stand up as The Courtesan of Death also kneeled beside him, trying to stop his bleeding. The little girl who was held captive could only let out a cry upon the sight of her injured father.
“Papa!” cried Kyouko trying to hold back her tears.
“I’m fine, just stay focus on Kyouko and the surroundings”, said Gintoki pushing Tsukuyo’s aside.
Despite being worried about Gintoki’s condition, Tsukuyo could not help but aware of their own situation. With one of them injured and enemies from both sides, Tsukuyo could not find a way out of the mess.
“Well done on making it here”, said the enemy leader sarcastically, pointing his gun again at the direction of Gintoki and Tsukuyo.
“Stop… Stop hurting papa and mama…” said Kyouko pleading with teary eyes.
Gintoki, who could barely stand up took a deep breath as he looked at the level where Kyouko and the enemy leader were standing on.
“I’m fine, Kyouko. Just wait there, ok?” said Gintoki reassuring, but his breathing was getting ragged.
“You don’t need to worry anymore about your little girl. We’ll make sure to handle her with care…” said The Chidori Leader as he pulled back his gun and raising his hand, ensuing a command.
The enemy troops let out a warcry as they started to run towards Gintoki and Tsukuyo on the middle of the bridge. As the couple had prepared for the worst, suddenly Kagura, Sougo and Sadaharu bursted out from the door on another level above them, causing the enemies to stop on their tracks. While the three were in mid-air, Kagura fired three bullets from her parasol. One bullet hit The Chidori Leader’s gun to the floor below causing him winced in pain holding his hand. The other two bullets hit the head of the guards beside the enemy leader, making one of them released his grip on Kyouko. The little girl lost her balance since she was standing right on the terrails and the hand that was grabbing her has gone, making her fell towards the bridge below.
The enemy troops who were still shocked from the sudden ambush did not see that the couple in front of them had used the opportunity to storm forward. Tsukuyo quickly threw her kunai to graze the rope that was binding Kyouko, releasing the little girl. Gintoki knocked out all the enemy troops from the bridge to clear the path for them to run, and the couple jumped forward while stretching their arms to catch their daughter.
“Kyouko!” shouted the couple trying to reach their daughter.
“Papa! Mama!” shouted Kyouko back reaching out to her parents.
Gintoki and Tsukuyo managed to catch Kyouko in mid-air and the couple surrounded the little girl within their arms when they fell to the ground to reduce the impact. Kagura, Sougo and Sadaharu who finally landed on the bridge saw that the family managed to make a safe landing. The little girl cried as she buried her face in her parent’s embrace.
“Papa…! Mama…!” said the girl within her sobs.
“Welcome back, Kyouko-chan…” said Tsukuyo patting the little girl’s head gently.
“Sorry for the wait”, said Gintoki holding Kyouko’s small body tightly and gently at the same time.
The three back-ups that arrived earlier quickly approached them at the end of the bridge. Kyouko quickly jumped into Kagura’s arms as soon as she came out from her parent’s embrace. Kagura and Kyouko were hugging each other as Kagura apologised to the little girl for not being able to protect her before. Kyouko did not seem to care about that as she kept her smile on her face.
The Chidori Leader moved away from his position to another section to get a better sight on the situation. Upon seeing Gintoki and his gang were alive and the little girl with them, he gritted his teeth in irritation. Gintoki, who noticed that the danger had yet to pass, motioned his friends to focus again on the current matter. They sure had eliminated enemies at one end of the bridge, but there were another troops at the other end of the bridge, with their leader still alive. The enemy leader then showed another menacing smirk.
“Well, I guess you bastards are lucky this time. But don’t you think that it’s over yet!” yelled the enemy leader as he let out another snapping sound with his fingers.
This time, another troops were coming out from the room behind him, revealing armies in white outfit with swords. Gintoki recognized their appearance as he widened his eyes. “Tch, those guys are Shinra clan…” said Gintoki as he spat a blood from his mouth.
“Kagura, Okita-san, get Kyouko-chan outta here, we’ll hold them off”, said Tsukuyo to Kagura as she handed her daughter to the yato girl.
“But Gin-chan, Tsukki-“ said Kagura when Gintoki cut her off.
“Just go! Hurry!”
Before Kagura could have another say, Sougo grabbed her wrist and he looked right into Kagura’s eyes. Noticing what Sougo’s look in the eyes meant, Kagura clenched her teeth as she got on Sadaharu’s back with Kyouko in her arms, the youngsters quickly left the room to get Kyouko out of the battlefield.
“We’ll be back with help, yes!” shouted Kagura looking back while running.
“PAPA! MAMA!” cried Kyouko as she could only reach out her tiny hands towards the figures of her parent’s back that kept getting futher and further.
After making sure that the kids have ran far enough, Gintoki and Tsukuyo prepared themselves for another all-out battle. Gintoki was still injured from the gunshots earlier, and Tsukuyo realised that she had used her last kunai to untied Kyouko’s binding before, leaving her only with her two tantos. The situation wasn’t looked good for both of them.
“Say, Tsukki…” said Gintoki readying his wooden sword.
“What?” replied Tsukuyo pulling her tantos out.
“Have you ever… You know, regretted about all this stuff about Kyouko?” asked Gintoki.
Tsukuyo only smiled at the question as she answered with, “No. And never will”.
Gintoki smiled back at the answer and the couple focused their eyes on the enemy before them. As both sides let out a warcry, ready to engage in battle, suddenly another outburst was occurred from the behind the enemy army.
Gintoki, Tsukuyo and The Chidori Leader could only gap their mouths at the scene before them as they saw dozens of enemy were thrown out to the air, kunais rained down out of nowhere, and a familiar figure was busy knocking his enemies one by one. As the number of the enemies started to decrease, the spectator getting a clearer view on the strangers that joined the fray. There were two figures coming out from the dust smoke caused by the fight, one of them was a man with a natural wavy silver-blue hair, and the other one was a woman with blonde hair. Upon recognising the strangers, Gintoki and Tsukuyo could only stared in disbelief.
“Gintoki, ain’t they…”
“D-don’t tell me….” Replied Gintoki swallowing a big gulp.
“Yo”, said the stranger with silver perm hair.
As the couple heard the stranger’s voice, they screamed in their minds with shock.
Meanwhile, Kagura, Sougo and Sadaharu were running across the hallway with Kyouko, looking for the exit. Kagura could not say anything to the little girl who was weeping in her arms, as she was also worried about her surrogate father and Tsukuyo. Seeing the girls’ depressing mood, Sougo let out a small sigh. “Don’t worry, jou-chan. Your parents are much stubborn than everyone else thought”, said Sougo with his deadpanned voice.
Hearing Sougo’s words, Kagura’s face brightened up a bit as she continued, “That’s right, Kyouko-chan! Gin-chan and Tsukki are gonna be fine, yes! I’m sure of it!”
Kyouko could only nodded at the two rivals’ words, but at least her tears had stopped.
“By the way, sadist. You didn’t do anything back there, you know. I’m the one who did everything, yes”, said Kagura looking at Sougo.
“I said that I came only to make sure that you won’t f*ck up, and you didn’t. That’s all there is to it”, replied Sougo still focusing on the path before him.
“You asshole, watch your words! We have a kid here, yes!” said Kagura scolding while she covered Kyouko’s ears with her hands.
“Same goes to you, China. Your mouth is as dirty as mine. No, wait. Yours might be dirtier since you eat a lot!” replied Sougo glaring at Kagura.
Kagura and Sougo arguing and glaring at each other seemed to be able to cheer Kyouko up a bit. The little girl let out a small chuckle upon seeing her two elders bickering to each other as they ran for the exit.