Fleeting Dream

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"You let her go? Just like that?" Shiranui asked, stunned, after hearing Kazama's explanation for the noticeable lack of Sumiko's presence later that evening. "Wow. I definitely did not see that coming..."

"Yes. I misjudged Miyagawa Sumiko," Amagiri said. "You were wise to cut ties with her when you did," he told Kazama.

"Whoa, wait," Shiranui said as he and Kazama glanced at Amagiri with confused and disapproving looks on their faces. "Were we listening to the same story, because I could have sworn she and Kazama just got engaged...?"

"What are you trying to say, Amagiri?" Kazama asked lowly, narrowing his eyes dangerously at the red-haired oni.

"She has become too involved with human affairs," Amagiri replied calmly.

"Hmph. Isn't it a bit late for that?" Kazama asked sardonically. "She was raised by humans, remember? She has been involved with them since birth. She has her own code of honor."

"I thought she had begun to appreciate our ways, but I was wrong. She has strayed from the path of the Oni. We must have nothing more to do with her," Amagiri stated sternly. He didn't like Kazama's tone when speaking of Miyagawa Sumiko. He should be shunning her, not defending her.

"Amagiri, you—" Kazama began to growl angrily as his hand twitched on the hilt of his sword.

"—Speaking of cutting ties..." Shiranui bravely interrupted before things could escalate. "I think it's about time we pull out of this war. Forget Satcho, I heard they're planning on making their own rasetsu unit."

"What?" Amagiri said, taken aback, as he and Kazama whipped their heads around to stare at him.

"It's true," Shiranui insisted with a disappointed sigh as he crossed his arm. "They're following Tosa's example and have even made a payment to Koudou for his services."

"Hmph," Kazama furrowed his brow and frowned. This is why humans were...

"How foolish," Amagiri said, closing his eyes.

"Yeah, tell me about it," Shiranui agreed. "I know you all have a debt to repay, so you can do what you want, but as for me, I'm tired of this bullshit. I'm done."

"As am I," Kazama agreed. "Whatever debt we may owe the Satsuma clan, we have no obligation to assist them any further if they insist on creating more of those fakes."


April 11, 1868

Edo Castle surrendered without a fight. That indicated that the Imperial Army had obtained supremacy in the Boshin War. Just outside the Tosa manor in Edo, Harada Sanosuke was keeping a careful watch from the shadows, observing their every move...

"I hope you're not planning on storming the fortress by yourself," a familiar voice said quietly from behind.

Harada's eyes widened as he spun around to face its owner.

"Yo!" Sumiko greeted him with a smile.

"Sumiko!?" Harada whisper-yelled, pleasantly surprised. "What are you doing here? How did you get away?"

"Surprisingly enough, they let me go," she replied frankly. "I—"

"!" Harada raised his spear as she felt the presence of another oni appear behind her.

"So, this is where you went," Shiranui commented as Sumiko turned to face him too. "Who knew you'd still be in Edo," he said, glancing at Harada. "Didn't you skedaddle with the others?"

"I have my own work to attend to," Sano replied, furrowing his brow slightly.

"I didn't expect to see you again so soon, Shiranui-san. Has Kazama changed his mind about letting me go?" Sumiko asked, frowning slightly.

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