Hi! This Rurouni Kenshin fic takes place after the Revenge Arc but it's before the Reflections OVA. All characters belong to Shonen Jump and creator Nobuhiro Watsuki. I am not making any money off of this. However, Hiraku the priestess belongs to me. This is not how most priests act. Please do not try to vanquish demons on your own.

To Vanquish A Demon

By Maria Cline

Kyoto

1869

In her dreams, all she saw was blood. She was scared and went to her father's bedroom. When she peeked opened the door, she nearly screamed. Standing there, covered in her father's blood, was a tall man with glowing eyes and a blood stained katana in his hand. His long hair was as red as the blood staining his face. He gazed upward and she screamed.

"Do not tell a soul and I won't eat you alive." He whispered as his amber eyes penetrated the girl's heart.

Tokyo

1880

Kenshin had been in many difficult situations before, he had fought numerous enemies who were superior in skill, he had faced the Battousai within himself, and he had even managed to summon the will to go on even while he thought Kaoru was dead, now he faced a challenge he wasn't sure he could overcome.

"Why won't anyone perform the ceremony?!" Kaoru wailed as she held her head. She and Kenshin had been trying to find a temple or a priest to perform a ceremony but each one was busy for some reason. It was possible that the strange things that happened at the dojo could scare the priests off.

"Don't worry, Kaoru-dono, we will find a priest, that we will." Kenshin comforted as he often did. He felt somewhat guilty for their troubles in finding a priest. He had no idea that a few of the priests were former warriors and that they would recognize him. Of course, Kaoru's recent 'death' and resurrection, made people a little nervous around her but she does not need to know that.

Yahiko watched the two tried to figure things out. It wasn't fair to either one of them that they had to endure so many difficulties in getting married. Kaoru and Kenshin deserved a break in their hard lives. "That's it, I'm going." Yahiko said as he got up. **Someone might as well do something about this.** He thought as he left the dojo.

As he walked towards main part of Tokyo, he wondered how and where to get a willing priest. He was an expert in pick pocketing and sword fighting, but he doesn't know very many priests.

"Yahiko!" Tsubame greeted as she ran up to him.

Yahiko found himself getting slightly nervous around this young girl. "Hey, Tsubame. Say, do you know any priests?"

"Priests? Not really, oh no, don't tell me Kenshin and Kaoru still can't find someone to perform the ceremony." Tsubame moaned as she thought about her friends.

"Yeah, they're still looking. Those stupid priests are too chicken to help them." Yahiko muttered.

Tsubame looked down and blushed. "Well, I know someone who I think is a priest. She's a little... odd."

"She?" Yahiko said confused. The priest was a woman? It was very rare for a female priest to exist but so were female kendo instructors. "Why not? Where's the priestess?"

"This way."

*****

The streets of Tokyo were busy with visitors, merchants, and other people. Yahiko noticed that lately that there had been more 'Western' stores here than before. A part of him wondered how long it would be till this place completely transformed.

"Oh look at that strange woman." A Westerner commented and Yahiko and Tsubame looked at a stall to see a young woman sitting in a meditative state. She had long blond hair and pure white eyes. She was dressed in a strange robe with beads around her neck and a staff in her hand waving slowly with a crystal dangling at the end over a map.

"Hiraku-san?" Tsubame asked softly as she came up.

Hiraku blinked slowly and put down her staff. She reopened her eyes to reveal a pair of dark green eyes. Yahiko was stunned. **I thought only Kenshin can do that.**

"Yes, Tsubame?" The woman asked as she got up. Her voice was soft and yet full of pain. There was a strange aura around her.

"Ummm... you see... I'm sorry for disturbing you but uh... you see-"

Yahiko took a deep breath and asked, "Can you do a wedding ceremony?"

Hiraku stepped back and looked at the two. "I'm sorry but you two look a little young to get married. Do your parents know?"

Yahiko and Tsubame facefaulted and the girl shook her head. "No! Yahiko isn't my fiancé! We're not getting married! My friends are! Or at least is trying to but we can't find a priest and so we are wondering if you can do it."

"Ah, of course. I am Priestess Miambie Hiraku of the Temple of Enryakuii Kor." The woman smiled as she bowed her head. "Forgive me, I sensed a strong connection between you two. I am certified to perform marriage ceremonies. A wandering priestess like myself needs to have some form of income after all. I wish to speak to this couple first. I am curious, why can't they find a priest?" She narrowed her eyes at the boy. "Are they criminals?"

"NO!" The two exclaimed. Yahiko thought, **Just that Kenshin was the Battousai and now every priest around here is afraid of him.**

"I sense truth in your words. I will meet them and see for myself. Can you lead me to them?" Hiraku asked as she put away her map and staff.

"Sure, it's this way." Yahiko smiled slightly as he pointed behind him. The woman nodded and followed the two down the street. Immediately, everyone was gawking at the three. Yahiko leaned closely next to Tsubame and whispered, "How did you meet this nut?"

"She wandered in the restaurant a couple of weeks ago. She's been eh..."

"I have been searching for a demon." Hiraku replied as she went between the two. "I know that I may sound a little crazy but it's true. I am not like other priests as you can tell. I specialize in hunting demons; in fact I travel the world learning secret techniques on defeating demons. I had this one demon that I had to vanquish." Her eyes became blank again as she held her beads.

Yahiko and Tsubame sweatdropped and hoped that Kaoru and Kenshin wouldn't hate them for recommending this priest.

*****

When she first accepted this job, she thought the unfortunate couple was living in some gambling place or a crime syndicate but she was not expecting a dojo. She was confused, while kendo had become less popular since the new era began, priests wouldn't refuse anyone just because they owned a dojo. "What kind of dojo is this?" She asked.

"This is the Kamiya Dojo. We learn the Kamiya Kassim Style here. I'm the top student." Yahiko bragged.

Tsubame blinked and said, "But aren't you the only student?"

Yahiko facefaulted and seethed, "You don't have to tell her that!"

Hiraku chuckled and asked, "May I ask, how deadly is this Kamiya style?" Perhaps the other priests didn't approve of the dojo's philosophy.

"It's not deadly at all! The philosophy is the sword that protects but doesn't kill."

The priestess looked at the two confused. A non-lethal dojo shouldn't be so unpopular that it had only one student and no priest would dare touch them. They were hiding something. There was something about this dojo that doesn't feel right. "Very well." She reached into her sleeve to get her special weapons just in case.

They walked into the dojo and Hiraku noticed how clean it was and then all of the repairs made to it. She can smell the fresh sawdust and saw the tools. What happened here?

"Kenshin! Kaoru! We got a surprise for you!" Yahiko called out.

"What is it, Yahiko?" Kaoru asked exasperated as she came into the main room and saw Hiraku. "Who are you?"

"I am Priestess Miambie Hiraku of the Temple of Enryakuii Kor. I understand that you are looking for someone to perform a marriage ceremony." Hikaru introduced herself.

Kaoru beamed as she bowed. "Oh, good, we've been having some trouble in finding someone to perform the ceremony. Kenshin! Yahiko brought home a priestess, can you get some tea for her?"

"Hai, Kaoru!" Kenshin said from the kitchen.

Hiraku paled as she clutched her beads. Something about that voice sounds familiar but she can't tell what.

"Are you okay?" Kaoru asked concerned.

"Just a feeling." Hiraku replied as she smiled slightly. "You seem like a lovely young woman, why can't you find a priest to perform a ceremony in town?"

Kaoru just laughed nervously. "It's a little complicated. But can you perform the ceremony?"

"I suppose but I must meet your fiancé. There is something about this place, something isn't right." Hiraku closed her eyes and held out her staff.

"What do you mean, might I ask?" Kenshin asked as he came in with a tray of tea.

Hiraku gasped as she felt the energy. She opened her now blank eyes and glared at him.

Kenshin put away the tea and stepped back. **Those eyes.** He thought. Years went backwards until he remembered back when he was the Battousai. A little girl was looking at her with those strange blank eyes after he killed her father. "Kaoru-dono! Get back!" He ordered as he reached for his sword.

"BATTOUSAI!" Hiraku screamed as her long hair flared outward.

"Oh dear." Tsubame whispered as she went to the side.

"Oh great." Yahiko muttered. **Another nut hunting for Kenshin.**

"Oh no." Kaoru moaned as she held her head.

"Oro?"

"Prepare to be vanquished, Battousai!" Hiraku screamed as she lassoed her beads around the samurai.

"At least she's not screaming, 'Die Battousai' like the other nuts." Yahiko observed.

"I guess." Kaoru sweatdropped as she watch Kenshin become entangled in the beads. **No one will treat my fiancé like that.** She thought as marched up to the priestess and said, "Hey! I know that you probably got some problem with Kenshin but he's not the Battousai any more!"

Hiraku sighed as she glared at the woman. "I understand that a naïve girl would fall for his tricks but I can feel him. Please, get back and you won't get hurt. Demon vanquishing is serious business."

Kaoru paused as she looked at Kenshin who just nodded. This priestess was not like Kenshin's previous foes. While those like Shishio and Enishi were bent of killing Kenshin using swords and cruel tricks, this priestess just wanted to destroy the Battousai using popular (but hopefully harmless) demon warding tricks. She stepped back and put her bokken to the side.

"Thank you." Hiraku got out a paper ward and started chanting. Kenshin and the others watched for any possible deadly moves this mysterious priestess would do. He can sense great power within her, if she had been a swordswoman, she would be deadly. The woman's eyes glowed as she screamed out some chant he can't understand and slammed the paper on his forehead.

Kenshin fell back with swirls in his eyes and moaning, "Oroooo..."

Hiraku scowled as she watched the man closely. "Oh man! It didn't work!" She pouted as she reached into her sleeve and got out a calendar. "No wonder! This is the wrong day to fight demons!" (1) She put away the calendar and pointed toward the still stunned Kenshin. "Beware, Battousai, I will be back to vanquish you!" She marched off and slammed the door behind her.

"Well, that was interesting." Yahiko said as he sweatdropped.

"Why did you bring that nut in here?!" Kaoru demanded as she helped Kenshin out of the beads.

"Hey! I didn't know that priestess have this insane mission to destroy the 'evil demon' Battousai! What was I supposed to do, ask 'Excuse me but do you have a grudge against the Battousai?" Yahiko snapped.

"I'm so sorry, I wasn't thinking that she wanted to kill Kenshin." Tsubame whispered.

"That's okay. You were only doing what you thought was right, that you did. She was not evil, just confused. Hopefully, she will understand that I am not a demon." Kenshin said as he took off the paper ward and felt the bruise left behind. He wasn't seriously hurt by the priestess' attempts but it did leave a mark. He smiled sadly as he stared at the piece of paper. **Besides, she have every right to believe I am a demon after what I did to her.**

*****

The next day, everything was back to normal. Kenshin and Kaoru were still trying to think of a way to get a priest to perform their wedding. Yahiko was practicing his kendo and there was calmness in the air.

Kenshin was contemplating as he did the laundry. The priestess was still out there and hurting from his actions over ten years ago. Why does the past haunt him like this? Thankfully, this woman won't attack Kaoru or anyone innocent around him. She wasn't the type. She is aiming for him and him alone.

All of a sudden, something hit him on the back of the head. "Oro?" Kenshin felt the object tangled in his long hair. He got it out and stared at it. It was garlic. The man looked up to see Hikaru with a slingshot in her hand ducking behind the wall. He sighed as he put the garlic away and continued on his laundry.

Another hit his head. Kenshin got out the garlic from his hair and continued.

*****

Kaoru and Yahiko entered the yard to check on Kenshin and saw the former rurouni doing the laundry next to a pile of garlic. Another piece of garlic struck Kenshin and he got it out of his hair and put it on the growing pile.

"Kenshin?" Kaoru asked as she looked to see someone duck behind the wall.

Kenshin looked up and sneezed. "Hello, Kaoru-dono *achoo*, can you do me a favor and put away the garlic. I think I'm *achoo* allergic to it, that I *choo* am."

Kaoru smiled as she went in got out a bag and started putting them in.

"Hey! What do you think you're doing?!" Hiraku screamed from her place from the wall.

"Kenshin's allergic to garlic! It's making him miserable!" Kaoru screamed back.

"Of course he is! All demons are allergic to garlic! In Europe, people use garlic to ward away evil!" Hiraku bellowed as she flung more garlic at Kenshin. The man ducked and dodged the flying garlic.

"Hiraku-dono, please I am not a demon, contrary to what *achoo* you may believe." Kenshin sneezed.

Hiraku scowled as she ducked behind the wall. "You are so lucky I'm out of garlic! I'll be back, demon!"

*****

Morning came as Kaoru looked around cautiously. Ever since that stupid priestess appeared, she had been anxious. They still needed a priest but they can't do anything with an insane priestess running around attacking Kenshin at random with garlic.

"Good morning." Hiraku said as she came up with a couple of bags. "Can you step aside? I have to put these here to prevent the demon from leaving."

Kaoru stepped back and watched the priestess. "It's not deadly right?"

"Not deadly to humans." Hiraku said as she poured some white stuff across the doorway and chanted a prayer. "Salt to keep the demon Battousai at bay. Not only will this keep demons away but it also kills any slugs that happen to come by." And then sprinkled clovers over the mat. "Clover to aid the salt."

Kaoru just nodded as she watched her. "Say, Hiraku, I know that you hate Kenshin-"

"Battousai."

"Whatever, why do you think he's a demon?"

Hiraku paused and gazed at her with dark green eyes. "I have seen the Battousai kill my father. He was nothing like that man you called Kenshin. He had a dark aura about him and his eyes were golden and had no emotions. If you saw the Battousai in his true form, you would know that he is a demon."

Kaoru looked down. She had seen the 'Battousai' during that fight with Saitoh. Kenshin did looked possessed and his abilities were not human but she knew that he was human. "I'm sorry about your father. I lost my father too and I missed him greatly but what if Kenshin is really a human, would you kill him?"

Hiraku frowned as she put down the bags. "I am a priest, priests don't kill humans. I know that Ke- I mean _Battousai_ is a demon. I know he is."

The young woman just nodded and closed the door. "If you change your mind, let me know, okay?"

Hiraku just took her beads and started chanting. **Poor girl is in denial. But, what if she's right. No, she can't be right.** She thought as she glanced at the closed door.

*****

Kenshin sighed in relief as he gathered the usual laundry and hung them to dry. So far, the priestess had not attacked that either meant that she had given up or that she was planning something. He hoped to see her again to try to convince her that he was sorry for what he did.

"Kenshin, I'm going to do some teaching and maybe find someone to convince Hiraku you are just a normal guy." Kaoru said as she came up to him. She smiled slightly as she took his hand. "She told me about what you did. She will forgive you like the others had."

"Kaoru, Hiraku may act odd and not like the others but please be careful. She has a very strong will and should not be underestimated, that she is not." Kenshin warned as he led Kaoru outside where he saw the salt and clover.

"She lay that to keep you in." Kaoru explained as she chuckled.

"Ah." Kenshin said as he stepped over it only to feel strange. He fell back and moaned, "Oro..."

"Kenshin!" Kaoru cried out as she helped Kenshin back in. "Are you okay?"

"I just feel a little dizzy." Kenshin gasped as he got up and glared at the concoction on the footstep.

Kaoru sweatdropped at how effective Hiraku's crazy attacks were. "I'll get Yahiko to clean it up. You just stay there and clean the house."

Kenshin sighed as he nodded.

*****

"I don't know which is creepier, the fact that this nut is still running around or that her 'spells' work." Yahiko said as he scrubbed away the salt and clover. He shouldn't have found her and bring her to the dojo. Of course with her strange 'powers', she could've found Kenshin sooner or later. There was something odd about her staff that he couldn't quite figure out.

Hiraku came up with something in a cage covered by a brown cloth. "Hello, Yahiko."

"Hey, Hiraku." Yahiko looked up. "Still convinced that Ken-"

"Battousai."

"whatever, is still a demon?"

"Oh yeah and I have my special demon hunting partner right here." Hiraku boasted. "A being so frightening that he will scare the Battousai into submission!"

"What is it?" Yahiko asked as he tried to look in.

"That is a secret." She said as she waved her finger and walked inside.

Yahiko paused and decided to watch. Kenshin may be able to handle himself but he was curious about what this demon-hunting partner is. Quietly, he snuck back into the dojo and watched the two.

Hiraku came up to the former manslayer that was scrubbing the floors and said, "Battousai."

Kenshin got up and felt his sword. "Hello, Hiraku-dono, are you here to try to vanquish me?"

"Yes." Hiraku said as her eyes glowed. "I just got this special demon hunting partner to attack you relentlessly until I can gain my full power! Beware, Battousai."

Kenshin prepared himself as he tightened his grip on the sword.

The woman flung off the sheet and opened the cage. "COME FORTH MY HOLY DEMON HUNTER!"

Kenshin's eyes bulged and Yahiko facefaulted in disbelief. A big brown rooster with a red bandana flew out of the cage and crowed.

"A CHICKEN?!" Yahiko screamed from his hiding spot. "WHAT KIND OF DEMON HUNTER IS THAT?!"

"Hey! It's a special chicken trained for the special purposes of demons like you!" Hiraku proclaimed as she pointed toward Kenshin. "Zanza, attack the demon!"

Zanza glared at Kenshin and flew at the samurai. "Oro?!" Kenshin cried out as he ran away from the chicken.

Yahiko watched at the comedic scene. A chicken, that happens to look like Sanosuke, is attacking Kenshin and winning. "Come on, Kenshin! This is embarrassing! You're not chicken of some... chicken!"

"Oro oro oro!" Kenshin yelped as he dashed to the other side of the yard with the rooster at his heels.

"Say, Hiraku, why did you name the chicken 'Zanza'?" Yahiko asked as he came up to the woman while watching the chase. He knew that Kenshin should handle some barnyard animal.

"Well, it all began about a couple of years ago back when Zanza was a chick. I was traveling to Kyoto when I met up with this guy who was completely lost." Hiraku began.

"And let me guess, he was Sagara Sanosuke also known as Zanza and you helped him to Kyoto. You were so amazed by his strength that you decided to name your chicken 'Zanza'." Yahiko finished.

Hiraku smiled slightly. "You can read minds?"

"Nah, I know the guy. He hangs out here for a while until he left due to political pressures. That guy just had a poor sense of direction. I wouldn't be surprised if he somehow got lost right now."

*****

Meanwhile in the vast mountains of America...

"Achoo!"

*****

"Wait a second." Hiraku said as she held up her hand. "Sanosuke hated the Meiji Government and he was planning to kill the Battousai because of his role in the Revolution. Zanza was full of rage when I saw him. How can he be hanging around here all the time?"

"Well, that's kinda odd, you see, Kenshin beat him to a pulp and the next thing I knew, Sanosuke gave up being a fighter for hire and was mooching off of us." Yahiko replied as he smirked. **Maybe, that will convince that insane priestess that Kenshin's a nice guy.**

"I see." Hiraku pondered as she fingered her staff. "Oh my, that means that..."

"Yeah?" Yahiko urged.

"That Zanza had fallen in love of the Battousai and couldn't fight him again!" Hiraku proclaimed and Yahiko and Kenshin fell over. Suddenly, an image of a love struck Sanosuke serenading Kenshin appeared in their minds.

"It's not like that!!!" Yahiko screamed, "Sanosuke is not in love with the Batt- I mean Kenshin!" **Great, now I'm starting to do that.**

"Why not? Look at him, the Battousai is so small and delicate looking. He had been mistaken for a woman many times." Hiraku pointed out.

"True." Yahiko nodded.

"And that shirt, it's pink."

Yahiko stared at her trying to figure out the logic behind that remark. Finally, he gave up and asked, "So?"

"In many countries, pink is considered to be a feminine color."

"Really? That explains things."

"Yahiko! Who's side are you on?!" Kenshin cried out as he was struggling with the chicken. He had taken off his shirt and captured Zanza in it.

"Hey, relax, I know how manly you are!" Yahiko yelled back. **Even if you do enjoy housework for some weird reason.**

"Here is your chicken." Kenshin said as he handed Hiraku the shirt with chicken in side of it.

"Thanks, WAIT A SECOND, YOU ARE THE ENEMY!" Hiraku took the shirt and marched off. "I WILL DEFEAT YOU, BATTOUSAI!"

"That is one weird girl." Yahiko sweatdropped.

"Yes, but she will understand, that she will. I just hope she will bring me back my shirt." Kenshin crossed his arms.

*****

A couple days passed without any more incidents. "Do you think that crazy priestess decided to give up? I don't think she would, she's too stubborn." Yahiko asked as he ate some rice.

"I'm glad she's taking a break. Just her hanging around here is making everyone nervous." Kaoru confessed as she drank some tea.

"She will attack tonight." Kenshin predicted.

"Huh? What makes you think she'll attack tonight?" Kaoru questioned hoping for some explanation.

"Tonight is a full moon. In many cultures, a full moon is when a priest or priestess performs their ceremonies. A priest is strongest under a full moon, so I hear. Hiraku was not just taking a break, she is gathering strength to try to vanquish me." Kenshin explained as he stared at his tea.

"What will it take to convince that insane priestess that you're not a demon?!" Kaoru screamed, "We all know that you're just a swordsman who happen to know the most effective killing swordsmanship technique in the world!"

Kenshin sipped his tea. "I will explain it to her, that I will. Do not worry, Kaoru-dono, she is a good person, she won't hurt you."

"I'm more worried about you." Kaoru muttered.

*****

The moon was full as Kenshin snuck through the dojo and looked around. He thought he heard something going on. Hopefully, Hiraku will give up her mission to destroy the 'demon' Battousai.

He went into the yard and his jaw dropped. "Oro!" All around the yard were paper wards, holy symbols, and garlic. On the ground was a strange circle of powder with a bunch of triangles on it.

"Kenshin!" Kaoru called out as she went into the yard and saw the mess. "Who did this?!"

"Do you like it? I created it myself. It creates the ultimate holy place so your powers will be sealed here!" A voice came out of nowhere.

"Oh great, it's the insane priestess again." Yahiko muttered as he followed.

"I am not insane!" Hiraku proclaimed as she jumped from the trees and landed onto the ground. Instead of her customary robes, she was dressed in a short tan mini-skirt with a tight tan bra. All over her chest were black symbols in different languages and on her face was red and white tribal makeup. In her right hand was a long wooden staff and in the other was a long chain of beads.

"What's that on your body?" Kaoru asked pointing to the marks.

"They are called tattoos, they are pictures permanently drawn onto the skin." Hiraku explained, "They protect me from evil."

"Does it hurt?" Kaoru asked stunned that anyone would be willing to permanently mark their bodies.

"Only during the process but it's worth it." Hiraku said as she held her staff. "Okay, Battousai, now it's time that I vanquish once and for all but first." She glared at Kaoru and Yahiko and a flash of light came out of her eyes. Kaoru and Yahiko felt their muscles betraying them forcing them to become completely still.

"Kenshin?" Kaoru whispered as she remembered the feeling with Jineh only it was in her lungs.

"Kaoru! Yahiko!" Kenshin screamed.

"You have nothing to worry about, my eye of stillness is not fatal. It will wear off eventually or until I will it off." Hiraku explained, "I don't want them to get hurt."

"You are very kind, Hiraku-dono." Kenshin said as he put away his sword and lay it on the ground. "I am not scared of you, like you are of me. I am sorry for the pain I caused you. That is why, I will try not to fight you." He said as he went to the middle of the circle and waited patiently.

Hiraku stared at him. She was confused. The Battousai she knew would attack her immediately. Was this Kenshin some form of protective shell to sway her confidence? "No! You can't fool me! I saw you kill my father! You said it yourself that you are a demon and that if I say anything you will kill me! I had devoted my life to ridding the world of demons like you so people can sleep easier at night! I was afraid of you but no longer! I am not a little girl any more!"

Kenshin smiled sadly at her. "I know. I am sorry for what I did but I was lying. I was on an assignment during the war, to kill your father and don't leave any witnesses. You were only a little girl and I can't kill you. So, I threatened you and pretended to be a demon so you would not say anything. Please, do not be afraid any more."

"I am not afraid!" Hiraku screamed as her eyes glowed and she held her staff high into the air. "I had traveled the world being trained in every possible method of demon eradication and studied every possible defense style. I had endured the coldest mountains and the hottest deserts to build up my strength and my spirit energy."

"And you did an excellent job, you have very strong energy." Kenshin commented.

"Thank you, I've been-" Hiraku scowled and held her staff up again. "CUT THAT OUT! I AM SWEARING MY ETERNAL VENGENCE AGAINST YOU AND YOU'RE STANDING THERE COMPLIMENTING ME!"

"I am just making some observations, is that so wrong?" Kenshin asked as he smiled sweetly.

Hiraku sweat-dropped and shook her head. "You are a very odd demon. No matter, I will vanquish you and make the planet safe for mortals like me." Her eyes lit up and the circle glowed. "Ring around the roses." She said as she tossed a handful of rose pedals into the circle. "Pocket full of posies." She tossed a handful of posy pedals into the circle. "Ashes, ashes." She flung two handfuls of ashes into the circle. "WE ALL FALL DOWN!" She finished and a bright flash of light engulfed the warrior.

"KENSHIN!" Kaoru and Yahiko screamed as they felt control over their bodies returned to them.

Hiraku collapsed onto the ground and breathed heavily. "My most powerful demon-vanquishing spell. I've only had to use that once before. The world is now safe."

Kaoru's eyes watered up as she ran to the circle. "KENSHIN!" She screamed and the dust cleared to reveal a dazed Kenshin lying on his back with swirls in his eyes.

"Orrroooo..." He moaned.

"He's still in existence?" Hikaru gasped in astonishment.

"Kenshin! Speak to me!" Kaoru shook the warrior.

"I'm okay. I was just surprised, that I am. That was an impressive ki attack, Hiraku-dono." Kenshin said as he shook the swirls out of his eyes.

"I... you're unhurt! That attack was created to destroy any demon no matter the strength! The only way that you could have avoided it is that if you are..." Hiraku stepped back and held her head.

Kenshin, Kaoru, and Yahiko watched the young priestess intensely. The poor girl had dedicated to her life to eradicating the Battousai much like Enishi had. She had suffered a great deal and to find out the truth that Kenshin wasn't a demon, it may kill her.

"Hiraku-dono... are you okay?" Kenshin asked softly.

"Why didn't I see it before?" Hiraku berated herself. "I should've known."

"It wasn't your fault." Kenshin insisted feeling guilty as always.

"Yeah, it could be worse." Kaoru added.

"But, I should've realized that someone had beaten me to sealing the Battousai!" Hiraku wailed and the group jaw dropped.

"Oro?"

"The Battousai is a legendary demon with many enemies. Many priests have been perfecting their techniques just in case. Another priest must have sealed the Battousai away into Kenshin! Of course! It makes perfect sense!" Hiraku explained as she smiled slightly.

"It does?" Kaoru asked trying to understand the strange woman.

"Yes! I'm so sorry, Kenshin-sama for being a pest!" Hiraku bowed deeply.

"That's okay. No harm done." Kenshin waved his hands. **Kami, I think she's better when she was trying to vanquish me.**

**Kenshin-sama?** Kaoru asked, "Aren't you mad?"

"About someone sealing the Battousai already? No, of course not. I mean, if you had been training all your life to vanquish a deadly demon and found out that the demon is vanquished so to speak, wouldn't you feel relieved?" Hiraku beamed as she put away her beads. "I will clean up the yard, Kaoru-sama."

"Kaoru-sama? Kenshin-sama?" Yahiko repeated as he watched the priest start to get things down.

"Oh! I nearly forgot you are still looking for a priest right? Is it too much to ask if I can be your priest?" Hiraku asked as she looked over her shoulder.

"Yeah." Kaoru nodded.

"Of course you may." Kenshin agreed.

*****

It had been a lovely and interesting ceremony. All of Kenshin and Kaoru's friends and family had attended the ceremony and no one got attacked. Hiko was drinking some sake observing everything when he saw the priestess. He choked and he tried clear his throat. **What is she doing here?!** Using his infamous stealth, he snuck to the edge of the room hoping the girl won't see him.

"So, you're the priestess." Misao said as she came up to Hiraku who was greeting the various guests.

"Yes, I am a wanderer priestess dedicated to the destruction of demons everywhere." Hiraku replied as she bowed.

"I remember you." Aoshi recalled as he smirked at the two.

"Aoshi-san! Oh..." Hiraku blushed. "How are your Obiwaban group? Are they still mad at me?"

Aoshi became silent as he looked down. "They died in battle but if you should know they were never mad at you. In fact, it was an inside joke to them."

"I am deeply sorry for them. Despite their appearances, they are very kind." Hiraku held her beads. "Maybe, I can pray at their graves."

"Yes, that would be nice."

"What did you guys do?" Misao asked feeling confused.

"A couple of years ago, I met the Obiwaban group and I tried to vanquish them." The girl blushed as she tried to look down.

"They fell over laughing as the priestess tried to vanquish them." Aoshi said as he smiled slightly. He scowled as he remembered something. "Wait a second, you told me of your mission to kill the demon Battousai, what happened?"

Misao's eyes bulged out of her head as she looked at the priestess. "WHAT?!" **Not another one!**

"Vanquish the demon Battousai." Hirkau corrected, "Anyway, the demon was already sealed into Kenshin so there's no need for me to anything about it now. I can't kill Kenshin because I have vowed not to take a human life."

"You're speaking as if Kenshin and the Battousai are two different people." Misao observed.

"They are." The girl sighed as she crossed her arms. "I understand that you think that Kenshin and Battousai are the same person and in a sense you are correct but you can never understand the complicities of demonic possession."

Before Misao could attack the priestess, Hiraku's eyes lit up as she ran to the side of the room. "HIKO-CHAN!" She gushed as she hugged the stunned samurai.

At once, all activity in the room stopped and everyone stared at the sight. "Hiko-chan?" Kenshin asked as he sweatdropped. While Shishou was young looking for his age of 44, he could not be mistaken for a child and he could not remember the last time he had allowed _anyone_ male or female to hug him.

Hiko saw the stares and pushed the girl away. "You are embarrassing me, Hiraku-kun." He whispered harshly.

"Forgive me, I didn't expect you to be in a huge city like Tokyo. I thought you had given up all hope that mankind won't destroy itself." Hiraku babbled as she stepped back. "You look great."

"I know."

"What are you doing here anyway? Do you know Kenshin-sama, Hiko-chan?"

"He is my idiot apprentice, the one I was talking about." He leaned down and whispered, "And don't call me 'Hiko-chan'. I am old enough to be your father."

"You knew Shishou, Hiraku-san?" Kaoru managed to speak up.

"Oh yes, I met him during my travels." Hiraku glanced up at Hiko who was glaring at her. "And I had made a vow not to tell a living soul about what happened."

"Awwww..." Everyone moaned including Kenshin who wanted to hear an embarrassing story about his master for a change.

After a few hours of merriment and ribbing at Hiko to find out what happened between he and Hiraku, which no one could force out of, everyone left.

Hiraku stood outside of the gates dressed in her normal traveling attire with her chicken in his cage. "So, what will you do now the Battousai has been sealed?" Kaoru inquired as she handed Hiraku the money for the ceremony.

Hiraku gazed upward as she smiled. "Travel. My mission may have been completed but the world is still filled with demons, lost souls, and others in need of my services. I am a priestess after all. It's funny, I thought I would die vanquishing the Battousai or just lose my power but now I feel stronger than ever. I still miss my father but nothing I can do will bring him back. I had accepted that. The weight in my heart had vanished and the world seemed brighter for some reason. So, I must leave."

"Good luck in your travels, Hikaru-san." Kenshin said as he bowed toward her feeling happy that this girl had found some measure of happiness despite what he put her through.

"Yes, and if you come by Tokyo, you're free to stay at the dojo." Kaoru added as she bowed as well.

"I will remember that. Bless you both, and may your children be happy and strong." Hiraku waved her hand and walked away leaving two happy and somewhat relieved people behind.

Kyoto

1880 (one month later)

He stood by the unmarked grave reading the diary. He poured over it constantly memorizing it and yet he could not understand it fully.

"Greetings."

The man looked up to see a young woman wearing a strange robe with a wooden staff in one hand and a chicken in a cage in the other. There was something odd about her he could not describe. "Hello."

"Are you lost?" She asked softly.

"No, I know where I am."

"You can still be lost even if you know where you are. I am Priestess Miambie Hiraku of the Temple of Enryakuii Kor and I can sense that you are lost. What is your name?"

The man stared at her wondering how she knew. He sighed and answered, "Enishi. My name is Yukishiro Enishi."

The End?

1. In case you were wondering, in Japan it is believed that some days are better to perform ceremonies and such than others.