Play 29: Till They Have Faces

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I opened my eyes slowly, and found myself staring at a tall blue-clothed figure. To my surprise, it was Souji. He had stopped the ronin's punch in time before it could hit me.

"Well, well, well. Guess being a patriot doesn't mean what it used to if we've got men like you throwing it around." Souji's voice was hard and cold, but I could almost hear him laughing at the ronin's ridiculousness. I noticed that everyone started to shift away from us, afraid to be dragged into our affairs.

"You...You're one'a those Shinsengumi fellas, ain't ya!" One of the ronin glared at his blue jacket.

Souji turned to the man and smirked. "Ah, you must be the brains. So tell me, chief..." He met eyes with the ronin, who shuddered and took a step back. "What's it gonna be?" He touched the sword by his side, and the air became tense immediately. I didn't even dare to let out a breath. Souji's message seemed to have got through the ronin, and their faces paled. The ringleader finally hissed in frustration.

"Goddamnit. Get outta here, ya brown-nosing son of a bitch!"

Heisuke stepped up then, glaring coldly at the leader. "Shut up. If you really wanna live, maybe you should follow your own advice." In a second, the ronin's faces paled even further, and they quickly turned and ran for their lives.

"Are you alright, miss?" I turned to the girl behind me, and felt my heart stopped. Standing in front of me was Yukimura Chizuru. Even though I only saw her portait for a few times, I was quite sure it was her. Without thinking, I grabbed her shoulders a little too violently. "You! You're—" I bit my tongue as a girl ran into me, apparently chased by her brother. I was about to reprimand the kids when my eyes widened by a fraction.

"I'm sorry, big sister."


Her bright green eyes were gleaming with pure menace, and even though I didn't know the face, I knew those pair of eyes and that squeaky cute voice. Behind her, a boy with red eyes glared at me, seeing right through me. I knew what they were trying to tell me—if I dared to speak a word about Yukimura Chizuru, I could forget about living. Quickly, I turned back to the girl, who was staring at me intensely. I winced, and let go off her shoulders.

"Sorry, I thought there was dust on them," I scratched my head, my cheeks red. I shot a quick glare at the Byakko twins, sliently telling them that I wanted to talk to them later.

"My name is Nagumo Kaoru. Thank you for saving me." She bowed elegantly, and I felt a pang of jealousy. I could never be as feminine as her, even if I was acting.

I bowed back politely. "I'm Yukimura Jun..." I then froze, a hand to my mouth. If she was really Yukimura Chizuru...

Kaoru's eyes lowered, and she smiled, as if she knew everything about, well, me. I frowned at that, before deciding to ask her.

"Do you mind lending me your ear?" I muttered, and she edged closer so that her ear was in front of me. "You...where did I see you before?" I whispered as quietly as I could.

Her smile widening, she whispered back, "No, I am pretty sure you have not. However..." Her voice lowered a little, as if threatening. "I know who you are."

I felt all my blood drained from my face as she moved away from me. She bowed to Souji and Heisuke, excusing herself, and then left. When I regained my composure and searched for her in the crowd, she was gone.

"Jun, what did you whisper to her?" Heisuke asked. I shook my head, keeping quiet. It seemed that the girl called Nagumo Kaoru had something to do with Yukimura Chizuru, but I wasn't sure what the connection was. Hopefully, that 'connection' would be something that would help with my situation.


"What the hell was that about?"

"It's for us to know, and for you to find out, Jun-chan." Yuri was rolling around my room like a kitten, while Eri was dazing off on my futon.

"Don't touch my futon, Eri!" I hissed out warningly at him, but it didn't get through him. Giving up, I glared at Yuri instead. "Were you two stalking me?"

Yuri sat up immediately, looking offended. "We weren't stalking you! We were watching over you!" She pouted angrily. "Plus, you promised you wouldn't tell anyone about this!"

"I didn't promise! You threatened me!" I burst out. "Look, I know you know who that girl is. Tell me!"

"Do we know? I don't know whether we know about that." Yuri teased playfully. I resisted the terrible urge to strangle her, and sat down on the floor in a puff. There was slience for a while before she spoke again. "I can only tell you...that person is dangerous. Look out." She stroked her chin. "I wonder if that person knows..."

My head snapped up to glare at her. "Know what?" I buried my face into my hands, wanting to cry.

"Your weakness..." Eri was finally off my futon. He walked up and stared down at me without a single expression on his face. "If you die, Yukimura Chizuru dies. Same goes for the other way round." He tilted his head as if listening to something. "We can rescue you when people want to kill you, but we can't save Yukimura Chizuru. Her health is currently unpredictable. There is a chance that her immune system might fail."

My jaw dropped to the ground. I was too stunned to say anything. I quickly closed my mouth soon, and asked worriedly, "If you give her the claw?"

"The thing is..." Yuri looked awkward for once, scratching her neck. "If we give her the claw, you will end up with none. You know, this era really has some lousy medicine..." She waved her hand as if it was nothing much. "I'm sure the doctors back there will do their best trying to save her." She paused. "If she is dying."

I covered my ears, not wanting to hear it anymore. True, the current era couldn't compare their medicine technology and knowledge with the modern times, but I was still worried. I thrusted the claw into Eri's hands, who looked shocked for the first time.

"Give it to Chizuru. I don't need it." I glared at the ground.

"Are you sure, Jun-chan? You have a weaker immune system compared Chizuru-chan." Yuri was smiling as if the entire thing was funny. I nodded, before quietly making my futon and covering myself in it. After making sure they were gone, I sighed and stared at the ceiling.

If you die, Yukimura Chizuru dies. Same goes for the other way round.

These words echoed in my head so much that I couldn't sleep properly for the entire night. I tried to convince myself that what I did was the right thing. After all, Chizuru must be under the influence of machines and drugs, and who knows that they might make her weaker instead. I could take care of myself here, unlike the other unconscious girl.

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