Chapter 53: Leaving Kenshin

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When Tiger was in her bed, Kokuyo treated her himself and took care of her, while the Tamer Class Blade Warriors treated her three pets - Christo, Blizzard, and Astra. They recovered soon due to such a caring treatment of the young magister and his subordinates. Kokuyo even persuaded Tiger to take off her tiger costume and put on a pink kimono-dress he had gifted her, as a sign of her gaining freedom from her past fears and timidity of her own spirit's power. But Tiger still left on her tiger-ear headgear as it was the sign of her tiger love.

Thus, soon it came the friends' time to leave Kenshin as they had done their job and received their reward of five hundred and thousand Yans from the Prefect of Matsunoki. Kokuyo hired them a private ship and they put Shiba's coffin in there as they were going to take their deceased friend back in Rosenweld so his sister and the Rose Cruce members could properly mourn him.

The farewell was very painful. Kokuyo was standing before the friends, confused and hesitant, as he couldn't really decide whether to tell Byakuya the truth or just follow them without telling them too many details... but then, he was approached by the tiny redhead maiden who gratefully and lovingly looked up at him, dashed at him and clutched him in embraces:

 but then, he was approached by the tiny redhead maiden who gratefully and lovingly looked up at him, dashed at him and clutched him in embraces:

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"Kokuyo, I remember you told me how sad you were here... so please, come with me... with us, in Rose Cruce. You'll be happy there and get your freedom too. You have a choice now! Please, Kokuyo, I want you beside me. You... You are my friend!"

Kokuyo blushed - she really meant it?! Tears filled his eyes - such a kind little cutie... He hugged her back tightly. His heart filled with determination - he must tell Byakuya the truth.



"I... I must tell you something".

"Oh? What is it?"

"I..." Kokuyo looked down, but Tiger poked him, giving him a sign to go on, so he continued: "I... I am your little brother, Byakuya..."

"W... What do you mean?! You are the child of Matsumoto main branch! You are my cousin!"

Kokuyo faintly chuckled and shook his head:

"Chigaimasu (Wrong - Japanese). Sasori is the only son of Matsumoto main branch, born four years after I was taken in by our uncle and aunt, yours and mine... I was born a year after you, to the family of Gerard von Drachen and Mikoto Matsumoto. I am your brother who was given away to Matsumoto main branch as they had no son. It is just... a sad circumstance, nī-san..." (Big brother - Japanese)

Tears fell from Kokuyo's eyes as he confessed this. However, Byakuya's shock was greater, as all of the friends' ones.

"Can't be... I... I have a brother?!"

At such confusion of his, Kokuyo bitterly chuckled, pulled up the left sleeve of his kimono, and showed a paternal mark of von Drachen's - sort of a dragon burn-mark right on his arm. Byakuya gasped - now there was no denying it, he really belonged to von Drachen family! Tears filled his eyes - so, all this time, he had a younger brother he knew nothing of?!

"Kokuyo..." he dashed at the astonished young man, squeezing him tightly, "Kokuyo, my little brother... You are my little brother!"

The two young men were shedding tears. When the first wave of happiness and emotions finally passed, Byakuya clutched Kokuyo's shoulders and shouted:

"We must go back to Rosenfeld, together! I must show you your true fatherland!"

Kokuyo grinned and glanced at Tiger who playfully winked. He then turned back to his newly discovered brother:

"I shall leave the leadership of Blade Warrior Order to its true owner - Sasori, and we two will join Rose Cruce, so we can be with friends in Rosenweld," he winked back at Tiger.

At such an offer, Byakuya brightened too and secretly glanced at Tamie.

"I accept!"

Thus, it was settled. The friends - Tamie, Riza, Tiger, and her pets - ascended the ship and waited for the two young men who were bidding farewell to their cousin, Sasori.

"We should return these," Kokuyo took his Blade Warrior ring off - the ring with a cherry blossom flower, a sword, and a red celestial dragon depiction. 

"No, leave them," Sasori smilingly stopped him, "It shall be a reminder to everyone that you belong not only to Rose Cruce but are proud Blade Warriors of Matsumoto Clan, both of you".

At such generous words of always-rude Sasori Matsumoto, both brothers smiled gratefully and hugged their cousin tightly.

"I wish you all the best on your new journey. May you prosper in the new order!" Sasori grinned at them.

Byakuya and Kokuyo ascended the ship and it sailed into the sea. They looked back at the shore for the last time and saw how all the Blade Warriors were waving hands at them. They too waved back, bitterly smiling, tears in their eyes - they were leaving their motherland, after all, and who knew when they would ever return...

However, then they looked at the two girls - Tamie and Tiger - who were chatting together, and smiled - they had a bright future ahead.  Even if they were leaving the order they had belonged to for so many years, there was still nothing to fear, as they had gained good new friends, and their brand new adventures were about to begin when they would fight side by side with these two little girls they had linked their hearts with...

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