[Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies as Far Away as Possible!]



The thin but robust Yato struggled to scream - to breathe even. The hand over her lips was so unyielding that she could hardly open her mouth to bite it. Fortunately, she was able to slip her other arm over her attacker's and land an elbow to the face.

"Damnit, that hurt!" The voice stumbled back and protested. It was a familiar tone, but one that Kagura found more irritating than comforting. Instinctively, she swung her right leg to the side in an upwards kick, but her assailant grabbed her ankle mid-strike.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk," came the voice. She looked up and saw the same man from the dango shop. His irises burned a rich crimson and a long blue scarf was now falling by his chin.

"You really shouldn't be moving this much in that kind of dress. It doesn't leave much to the imagination," he lectured teasingly.

A vein popped in Kagura's heated mind, as she tried fruitlessly to rationalize how Okita Sougo could be here, of all places. Weren't her nightmares enough!? And to make matters worse, she had forgotten that she changed into a silk kimono, and her leg was dangling by the boy's head, dangerously close to exposing her panties.

"FUCK YOU, Sadist! What are you even doing here?!" She clenched her opposite hand mid sentence and aimed it at Sougo's face. But again, he dodged it. Releasing the fiery girl's ankle and now gripping her fist, he spun her body around roughly and restrained both arms behind her back.

"Oh nooo~," he drawled. "Looks like I'm going to have to arrest you for citizen assault… and hurting an officer's feelings."

"OFFICER'S FEELINGS MY ASS! You have as much feeling as Gin-chan's scalp through all that unnecessary hair! What are you really doing here? With that sketchy looking group of people, no less." The sadist pondered momentarily, then lowered himself to right by Kagura's ear.

"Hmm, I could tell you... but then I'd have to kill you." Her body shivered involuntarily at the feeling of his warm breath down her neck. Wordlessly, she kicked her lower leg behind and struck the officer between the legs with the heel of her sandal. Kagura felt his grip on her loosen when he crumpled to the ground.

"Bwahaha! That's what you get for assaulting me, you shitty chihuahua!" She glowered down at Sougo, who lay on the floor hunched over his groin. "Now tell me the truth before I use your balls to play fetch with Sadaharu!"

"S-shut it, stupid China girl," he managed despite laboured breaths. "The Shinsengumi is just escorting someone through Yoshiwara. What about you, huh? Since when were you an escort in Yoshiwara?"

She turned her back to him indignantly and huffed, "I'm not an escort, idiot, I'm undercover! Tsukky hired us to beef up security for the rumored attack on Yoshiwara." Peeking over at him again, she continued, "Which is what led me to tail you and your friends! What the hell are you guys walking around for?"

"Waitwaitwaitwait-" Sougo cut in. There was a flash of panic and urgency in his eyes. "An attack planned on Yoshiwara? When? Who's responsible?" Kagura was caught off guard by the serious turn in mood.

"U-umm, an ex-Harusame fleet was expected to 'visit' sometime within the past two weeks, but nothing's happened yet." She eyed him cautiously, monitoring how his demeanor changed to the bits of news. He was currently, uncharacteristically alert which only served to increase Kagura's nerves. "B-but I guess that's a good thing, right? It probably means they decided not to attack. Why do you care so much anyways? You guys normally pass a blind eye to this entire area's affairs."

By now Kagura realized Sougo was barely listening, and she heard him sigh a few choice expletives under his breath. "Ugh, we need to get the Shogun out of here immediately..." he whispered to himself.

"SHOGUN!? You guys brought the friggin' Shogun to the most infamous red-light district in Edo?! What were you thinking?! Are you throwing a Vegas-style bachelor party?!"

"No, stupid. He routinely does this as part of his efforts to 'understand the plights of his people' or whatever. The Shogun has been doing this for years, but no one has ever known about it… well until now." He looked at her with apparent annoyance, but relaxed when he saw that she wasn't triumphant about exposing their plans, but instead expressed admiration for the Shogun's actions.

"Wow. Soyo-chan's onii-chan is such a great, but kind of stupid, leader!" She wiped an imaginary tear from her eye. "If only my idiot brother could learn a lesson or two from him… Not the stupid part though, he has enough of that."

Sougo, though surprised at the mention of a brother in the Yato girl's life, ignored his curiosity to focus on a more pressing issue, he had a job to do after all.

"Great, so now you're all caught up, but I need to get the Shogun out of here as soon as possible. Move aside, China, and stop following us around." He fumbled for a small radio clipped in the fold of his obi. "We need to slip out before anything happens."

Kagura sensed the severity in his tone and wordlessly moved to let the officer through. However, their moment of mutual understanding was short-lived as Sougo stopped short of passing her and quipped. "By the way, I've never heard of courtesan wearing strawberry panties."

In the next instant, Sougo was flipped on his back with a murderous and blushing Kagura looming over him; but unbeknownst to everyone else, a giant spacecraft was soon looming over Yoshiwara.

I'm back! If you're still reading this dumpster fire, I wish I could buy you wonderful people a medal, but alas I am broke. If possible, please rate and review so that I may improve and self-motivate!