Chapter 52: Kokuyo's Decision

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"Capricorn Style, Sworder Art, Samurai Mode; Snake Spirit, Ring Eleven - Black Sand Demon Serpent!" Kokuyo cried out and got embraced by a large Black Snake spirit which hissed demonically at full force.

"Oh, I see - so we both are Capricorn Snakes, eh? But I am stronger! Royal Black Sand Ray!" Kassandra's Snake spirit blew out a black sand ray again.

"Royal Black Sand Shield!" Kokuyo raised his Black Zen-infused sword and activated an ultimate defence, letting his Snake spirit raise a big black sand shield around. The black sand ray collided with it and got fused with it, making the defense even more solid. "The same rank and style defence against the same rank and style offence consumes it".

At such an arrogant remark and a calm demeanour of his, Kassandra sneered:

"I will crush you!" her Snake spirit growled along with her, and this time, she mobilized all of her strength and shouted an incantation: "Capricorn Style, Battler Art, Queen Mode - Tailed Goat Summoning!" 

A black fish-tailed goat appeared out of thin air, roaring in an infernal voice. Kokuyo widened eyes - she performed summoning even after having fought so much?! 

She has to be the final level of the Queen rank...

Kassandra didn't wait for him to properly react, but instead quickly shouted at her summoned beast:

"Go! Celestial Blast!" The Tailed Goat roared and opened its mouth, blowing out a powerful Black Zen Ray. Kokuyo quickly put up a sand shield, but it wasn't enough - he got hit. "Haha, bull's eye!" the woman laughed with triumph. Kokuyo cried in pain and fell. His Black Snake vanished. He coughed and barely stood on his feet, glaring at Kassandra. "You lost, cockroach!" she wove a sign to launch the final attack when she heard the same calm tone of the young man:

"I've just begun..."

"Huh? What are you babbling about? You can barely stand!"

Kokuyo frowned in response, indeed leaning on his black sword. He began uttering an incantation:

"Capricorn Style, Sworder Art, Emperor Mode..."

"Emperor? But you had awakened only Samurai Mode just now!"

"Black Zen..."

"You have so much energy left you can even manipulate Zen?!" Kassandra was shocked - didn't her attacks hurt him at all?! She had already drained so much of her own energy, and he was just now turning on his Emperor Mode?! Why did he awaken only Samurai Mode earlier? This made no sense!

"Snake Spirit, Ring Twelve - Black Desert Cobra!" a massive, blackened, red-eyed gruesome Cobra spirit embraced the young man this time, placing him in its core - the final manifestation of a Capricorn's Snake spirit - the Black Desert Cobra of the Twelfth Ring.

"N... No way..." Kassandra trembled, even making her Snake spirit crawl back a little. Her spirit didn't have much time left from using up so much energy, while this Cobra had only just emerged, and screw that - she didn't even possess the final evolution of the Capricorn Snakes - the Black Desert Cobra, which she could now see before her very own eyes!

"You mistook my principle of following the Code of Blade Warriors. We are to fight against enemies on equal terms... but it seems you are not a dignified opponent," Kokuyo glanced over at collapsed Tiger and then glared back at frightened Kassandra, "therefore, I have a right to punish you as I decide..." he pronounced the incantation, raising his black sword: "Imperial Black Sand Ray".

Kassandra gasped - so he truly was the Emperor rank! She let out a shriek as the powerful black sand ray reached her and blew her along with her Snake spirit. When the black dust smoke aerated, all that could be seen was Kokuyo standing near the collapsed woman who couldn't even move a finger anymore. The Magister of Blade Warriors watched her with a stern gaze. Suddenly the door slammed open and the Blade Warriors led by Sasori barged in:

"Matsumoto-sama, reinforcements are here!"

However, once they saw all was over, they stopped and curiously waited for the Overlord's orders. Kokuyo still watched collapsed Kassandra who was trembling. Then he took his black sword:

"The crimes you've committed in Matsunoki town, Kassandra Braun, equal the sentence of death". 

The woman gasped, but then braced herself and closed eyes, waiting for the sword's strike...

"But I am to ease your punishment - you shall be sent back to Desert Island, your home, and be confined there for the rest of your life!" 

Pronouncing such a sentence, Kokuyo sheathed his sword and gave a sign to the Blade Warriors to apprehend her. They immediately dashed at her and tied her up, while some others brought stretchers and put unconscious Tiger and her three pets there. Sasori remained unsatisfied:

"Eh? She deserves to be killed for all the monstrosities she's done in Matsunoki! Why are you so mild in all of a sudden? The Code does not care whether a criminal is a man or a woman, the punishment is the same".

"She did commit crimes, it's true, but she is still a mother, and a mother of not just anyone, but a kind soul such as Tiger Braun. That is enough of a deed as is".

Kassandra gasped and astonishedly stared at him - he really meant it?!

"Oh, really? So, what about raising her properly? Did you even listen to those guys' tales of what that woman did to your Tiger Braun?" Sasori frowned.

"Motherhood is a sacred phenomenon. You, of all people, should know it well, since your mother did love you, unlike mine," Kokuyo sighed and walked on.

Sasori first widened eyes with incense, but then looked down - he was right...

"Lord Matsumoto!"

Kokuyo halted and turned back, facing saddened Kassandra.

"May I... ask you a favour, as a fellow Capricorn Snake?"

"I listen".

"You said your heart is linked with my daughter's. Are you... her friend?"

"Just an acquaintance".

"Then... she trusts you, right? I... I know I've not been a good enough mother to her... I've failed my duty," a tear streamed down her cheek, "I've been chasing after my love, and forgot completely that I had a child I should've taken care of... But, even if I have failed her, there is still a person who can show her his love if he only finds out she exists..." tears gushed from her eyes as she grabbed surprised Kokuyo's hands and put there a little silver ring with a big yellow gem, "Please, find her father for me! For her... He gifted me this ring long ago when we met for the first and the last. He should definitely recognize it... He lives somewhere in Rosenweld, of that I am sure. Please, find him for her!"

Kokuyo blinked at such a sudden burst of emotions from the woman who wanted his death just a little while ago. He deeply sighed and clutched the ring.

"I give my word".

Kassandra beamed to him gratefully. Then she obeyed the swordsmen captors and followed them out. Kokuyo was frozen on the place, still staring at the ring.

"You gave your word?" Sasori frowned, "You know you are to keep it, right? The Code says so. But I wonder how you're going to do it since you're our Overlord and thus bound to Kenshin".

"It is simple - I shall tell Byakuya the truth and follow him back in Rosenweld".

"And what of the Order?"

Kokuyo faintly smiled:

"Blade Warriors already have someone who can take good care of them".

Sasori first raised an eyebrow, but then he guessed the meaning, so his lips formed in a broad grin:

"Thank you, brother, and... good luck!"

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