Declaimer: I do not own Soujiro (though, I wish I did).
Rurouni Soujiro – starring Seta Soujiro
Chapter 1: Crossing the Path of the Cat Girl: The Journey Begins
Italic words meant someone's thinking
It was a warm afternoon as the breeze blew on the dusty, deserted road. No-one but a young travel worn boy walked on the lonesome road. The boy wore a blue gi with a white collar shirt, a dark blue hakama and greyish-green arm guards. His white tabi and laced sandals both looked a bit worn out as he walked peacefully along the road. He let the warm breeze run gently through his dark black hair showing his young face with bottomless sapphire eyes and a benign smile. He kept a katana trusted through his obi, even though carrying swords were banned.
This boy is Seta Soujiro, also known as the Tenken, the smiling emotionless boy and former assassin for Shishio, who was once the notorious leader of the Jupongatana group and wanted to take over Japan. After the entire plan failed, Soujiro, with a few possession, left Kyoto to become a rurouni and to find his emotions and own path in life.
Soujiro had travelled for a month now, since the day he left Kyoto. He had stopped at a lot of places and towns and had very little money with him. But even though he had to battle through the consequences of being a rurouni, he still kept a smile where ever he went. Even at the age of 18; Soujiro knew that he had a lot of responsibilities.
His katana was often the reason why some people kept away from him. It was the Meji Era and swords were banned at this time, but that didn't worry him; in actually fact it was only his Kikuichi Norimune sword that was broken from his battle with the Battousai. He couldn't let go of it, he couldn't just simply stop using a sword even though he was trying to start his life over again. He couldn't use it to fight anyway, but it still gave him a sense of security… and it was the only thing he had left.
Soujiro noticed that it was getting darker by the minute and he still hasn't spotted any sign of a town.
He sighed. "Looks like I'll be spending another night in the forest."
A month of being a rurouni has taught him a lot of things. Food wasn't too much of a problem, he was very good at hunting animals and it also helped keep him in practise with his Shukuchi. Though animals have better defenses than most men, he had been forced to develop a few new techniques to take birds out of the air with his broken katana; he had a lot of time on his hands, and had no intention of getting rusty.
Soujiro shrugged his shoulder before walking into the forest and preparing to camp for the night.
He backed away from the cloaked figure until his back touched the wall. The figure continued walking until it was about 3 feet away from him. Sweat was rolling down his face as he knew there was no way out, his katana laid next in the figure in front of him.
"W-what do you want!" he shuttered.
The figure smirked and removed its cloak to show a young girl. Shadows covered her face but it was easy to tell that the figure was female.
The girl picked up his katana and examined it, making the moon light reflect on it. "Nice katana you had there, Ginjo-san. How did you get it?"
Ginjo's eyes widened at the sound of his name. H-how did she know my name?
"I-I won it." He said shakily.
"Who was its former owner?"
"Akiyama Itou…h-he's a collector who collects the rarest items in Nagoya."
"Ah, Akiyama Itou, I've heard of him."
The girl faced him directly. "Tell me Ginjo-san, Akiyama Itou owns a katana called Nihon, is that true?"
Ginjo's eyes yet again widened. He has heard Akiyama mention of a sword called Nihon. A magnificent sword that glitters with divine brilliance, he says and Ginjo remembered it well.
He nodded. "H-hai, that's true."
The girl smirked and laid his katana in front of him. "Arigato Ginjo-san, that's all I came for." She then left without saying another word.
Now Ginjo knew that his pride was crushed. How this girl no older than16 had been able to defeat him, he didn't know. Had he knew that the figure that attacked him was a mere girl, he wouldn't have payed her any mind, and that would have been his biggest mistake.
"Hmmm, it looks like I arrived at Nagoya." Soujiro said reading a sign with the kanji 'Nagoya" on it.
Apparently, his camp was only an hour's walk away from Nagoya, so it was still early when Soujiro arrived at the city.
"I wonder what I should do in Nagoya." Soujiro mused as he entered the city. Suddenly, his stomach rumbled, telling him that he hasn't eaten breakfast yet.
Soujiro sweat dropped and smiled nervously at his stomach, "I guess I could go find a restaurant that serves breakfast."
Soujiro began walking again. Nagoya is a fairly big city. Soujiro mused. The city looked clean and well built. Soujiro saw a couple of kids playing on the streets and hoped that they were having a happy childhood. He noticed a few shops were opened and people slowly began to start their daily routine.
It took Soujiro about 15 minutes before he found a restaurant. It was a simple but pleasant restaurant and only a few people sat at the tables eating their breakfast. Soujiro found an empty table for one and ordered a light breakfast for himself. He ate his meal slowly, enjoying its delicious taste. However, that didn't last for long when Soujiro saw four policemen enter the restaurant and sat down three tables away from he's.
Soujiro lowered his head, keeping his attention on his simple meal of rice and fish. He wasn't scared of the police, but even he knew better than to mess with them. He needed to keep a low profile, so it was better not to strike any attention. He quickly finished his breakfast and paid for his bill. Then casually began to walk out of the restaurant...
"Boy, stop right were you are!" …only to be stopped. So much for trying to keep a low profile.
"Don't you know that swords are banned now, how dare you walk around with a sword in the Meiji Era!" the police yelled at him.
"Ara?" Soujiro faced them with eyes as big as china plates. Oh yeah, the sword ban.
"Don't you 'Ara' us! You're under arrest for...HEY, GET BACK HERE!"
Soujiro ran out of the restaurant as fast as he could, without using Shukuchi. The policemen fumed and ran after the boy carrying a sword.
Soujiro ran through the streets with the police on his trail. Of course, he could have easily outrun them, but he thought it was better to not reveal too much. So Soujiro just kept running until the police would get tired.
After half an hour Soujiro was still running away from the police.
"Ara, don't these people ever get tired." Soujiro said to himself. He looked back at the four policemen he was running away from and saw that they were running a little way off, but still chasing him.
Suddenly, Soujiro saw at the corner of his eye that someone, like him, was running as well. He acted a little too late, they both collided into each other, both dropping their katanas. They both fell in the ground and were on there feet in three seconds. During those three seconds though, Soujiro got a good look at the person he crashed into.
It was a girl, no older than16. Her long black hair was tied in two buns, with pigtails flowing out on the side, fastened with pink ribbons. She wore a pink and red ninja outfit with a sakura tree printed on it. She also wore a tight dark purple T-shirt underneath, matching colour tight shorts that cover her thighs and red fingerless gloves on her hands. She wore white tabi with laced sandals. Her eyes, Soujiro noticed, were the most beautiful violet colour he has ever seen.
When Soujiro was on his feet again he heard the police still running and yelling him to stop. He also noticed the two identical katanas that lay on the ground in front of him. Crap! Which one is mine?
"GET BACK HERE YOU LAW BREAKING FOOL!" Soujiro could hear the police coming, so he quickly picked up the sword closest to him, as did the girl, and both started to run again.
Soujiro looked back and saw the police chasing him. He couldn't see the girl, who probably ran away also. But suddenly, Soujiro saw another group of men running from another direction and pretty soon the same thing happened; only it wasn't him. The group of men and the police ran into each other.
That gave Soujiro the chance to hide in an alley and escape the police. He waited until the police pasted the alley and breathed a sigh of relief.
"Finally, and I thought they would never stop chasing me." Soujiro sighed.
It was that moment that Soujiro noticed something was wrong. His katana didn't feel right, it wasn't the familiar weight and balance it use to be. Quickly, Soujiro pulled the katana out of its sheath and immediately regretted it. The blade shone brightly in his eyes, even in the shadows.
At once, Soujiro knew that this was -definitely- not his katana. He thought back to when he met head-on into that girl in ninja outfit and remembered that they both dropped their swords. I must have accidentally taken the wrong katana. This sword must belong to that girl.
Soujiro, despite the bright light, had a closer inspection on the blade. It was definitely a beautifully made katana. Its sharpness is excellent, made from a very strong mental and was very well balanced. The katana was, for a lack of better words…perfect. Soujiro then spotted small writing on the blade closest to the handle.
"Nihon." He read out. Nihon? It's probably the name of the katana.
He was impressed, how had that girl obtained such a weapon was a mystery. Then again she could have stolen it. Soujiro thought. Then he remembered what Yumi told him when he was still with Shishio.
"If you find anything that belongs to someone else, you must give it back." Yumi lectured.
"Naze?" Soujiro asked.
"It's because it doesn't belong to you, if you took something that belongs to someone else that means you're stealing. Also, never take something from a girl. That would be rude."
Soujiro smiled. "Ok."
Soujiro looked at the katana once more and sheathed it. "I better find that girl and give it back to her."
Meanwhile, -the girl- also discoverers that she took the wrong katana…
After losing the group of men, the girl ran down the streets and went through the back door of a restaurant called 'Sakura Numa'.
The restaurant looked like it was going through good business. It was well decorated and clean. The girl went into the kitchen and was hit with a delicious scent in the room. A few workers were cooking food and one was cleaning dishes.
Suddenly, the woman cleaning dishes spotted her at the door and smiled.
"Welcome home, Kira. Did you get the Nihon?" the woman asked warmly. She wore a light purple worker's uniform with a white apron.
The girl named Kira smiled back. "Hai, I did. Would you know where Kisho-san is?"
The woman nodded. "The old geezer should be in his room up stairs."
"Arigato Sachi!" Kira said before running up stairs to her grandpa's room.
Sprinting up the steps, the ninja quickly found her destination.
Without knocking she opened the door. "Kisho-san, I got the Nihon! Look!" She said excitedly, waving the katana in the air.
A short old man sat in the middle of the room. His head was bold, but he had long white eyebrows and a long white beard. He wore a grey kimono with a black sash around his waist. The old man looked up from his mediation and smiled. "Ah, Kira-chan, you got it. Come and let me see it."
Kira walked up to her grandpa and handed the katana to him. She sat down in front of the old man, waiting for a compliment like always. But the moment Kisho received the katana, his wrinkled face frown. Something wasn't right and Kira could tell from his face.
"Is something wrong, Kisho-san?"
The old geezer closed his eyes. "It feels…like a fish with legs."
Kira sweat dropped, it was typical of her grandpa to say something so weird. It always had a meaning, but she never understood it. "…Kisho-san?"
"It means it feels wrong. Kira-chan, I think you took the wrong katana. Take a look for yourself." Kisho said handing the katana back to her.
Kira took the katana and unsheathed it. Instead of the shining blade of the Nihon, she found a katana with a broken blade.
Kira's eyes nearly popped out of its sockets.
"As I predicted." Kisho said while stroking his long white beard.
"B-but, how could this have happened…" Then Kira remembered the time when she collided into that blue-clad boy.
She gasped. "I must have taken the wrong katana when I bumped into that boy…" Her eyes started to tear up. "…And now my father's Nihon is with him!"
Kisho blinked when he saw the tears in his granddaughter's eyes and patted her shoulder. "Maa maa Kira-chan, it's ok. You can just find the lad and asked for it back."
Kira's tears quickly disappeared and smiled. "You're right, I'll go find him now…"
"KKKKKIIIIIIIRRRRAAAAA!" A voice screeched through the calm room. Suddenly, a girl around 14 rudely burst into Kisho's room. She wore the same ninja outfit, but only in light green and blue. Her adorable honey-brown eyes were wide with excitement and her jet black hair was tied into two short pigtails like Kira, but without the buns. The cute little girl bounced around the room with joy.
"Kira, it's time for luuunncchh!" she sang.
"Hai hai, Kirei. I know, would you stop jumping so much?" Kira said trying to calm her cousin down.
Kirei immediately stopped jumping. "Sachi said it is time for lunch."
"Arigato Kirei-chan for informing us." Kisho calmly said, then turned to Kira. "Maybe you should crack the nuts before you go out to look for that lad, Kira-chan."
Kira blinked. "You mean eat, right?" Kisho nodded.
Kira smiled and nodded as well. "Come on Kirei, let's go eat lunch!"
Soujiro sighed. Still no sign of that girl I bumped into.
The sun has set for darn and Soujiro still hasn't found the girl to give her katana back. He has been walking around Nagoya for nearly the whole day and it was starting to get late. But Soujiro decided to search a bit more. Maybe I'll be lucky. Soujiro thought.
Soujiro walked around the now dessert and dark streets, with the only light coming from street lamps and the moon. Shadows covered most of the city, but in a way, Soujiro was glad of the newfound darkness. He left safer in darkness than in daylight. He had been told that other mothers in Japan told their children that dark things lurked in the darkness. Soujiro had never had a real mother. He had killed his adoptive one. He guessed that made him one of those dark things.
Soujiro kept walking for an hour and there was still no sign of the girl. Soujiro sighed, he was about to give up when he suddenly heard the sound of metal on metal. Frantically, Soujiro searched for the source of the sound, running through the streets as he did.
When Soujiro reached at a bridge, he saw the source of the noise. A group of grown men cornered a girl to the rail. The girl was, Soujiro noticed, the girl he was looking for. The pink clothing she wore was unmistakable.
Kira cursed her bad luck. How could this have happened? Kira wondered as she backed away from the five guards she was running away from earlier.
These five guards were the guards for Akiyama's mansion and rare collections. She had to admit, Akiyama wasn't a bad judge to have picked such men to guard his mansion. They were all muscular and tall. Each one held a katana and was smirking at her as she backed away again. There was no way out. Darn my rotten luck!
"We don't have time to play cat and mouse, now give us Akiyama-sama's katana." A guard said, threatening her.
Kira took out the weapon she kept on the side of her waist, it was a strange weapon; it had an almost flat, circular body that looks kind of like the sheath of a katana's, except it was twirled into a circle. And five sharp blade spikes stuck out around its sheath body. All together, it was about as wide as the length of your elbow to your hand.
"Why should I give you something that doesn't even belong to you?" Kira said dangerously.
The guards held their katanas defensively. "We don't care if it doesn't belong to us or Akiyama-sama. We're just doing what we are told to do, and that is giving the Nihon back to the boss!" And at that, all guards tried to swing their katanas at Kira.
But Kira was ready, before they could land a blow at her; she had jumped over the semicircle of men and landed as gracefully as a cat on the other rail of the bridge. The men turned around and charged at her again. Kira, yet again, jumped and landed directly behind them, then with her spike weapon, she slashed at the men's backs, drawing blood. Four guards fell in the ground in pain, but one guard was able to dodge the slash and reacted quickly. He reached out and grabbed Kira's neck and hailed her over the rushing waters below the bridge.
Kira held the arm that held her neck, she tried to struggle out but the grip got tighter, coursing her to choke from the lack of air.
The guard smirked. "What do you say kid? Give us the Nihon or drop dead into the river?" He was definitely enjoying himself.
Kira was having a hard time trying to breathing, let alone speak. But a calm voice spoke for her.
"I think you should let her go. It's rude for a grown man to hurt a young girl."
The guard faced the person who spoke and saw a smiling blue-clad boy.
"Mind your own business, boy, or else you'll be next."
The guard glared at the still smiling boy as he lowered his head so not to let anyone see his eyes, then…disappeared. The guard's eyes widen. Where'd he go?
Suddenly, he felt something hit his arm that held Kira and out of the corner of his eye saw a glimpse of blue.
Landing lightly, Soujiro carefully placed the girl in pink on the floor of the bridge. She was breathing heavily, breathing in as much air as possible. Soujiro faced the man, who was yet again glaring at him.
"If you don't want to get hurt, I suggest you leave." Soujiro said in a warning tone, despite his smile.
The man growled. "We will not leave! We still need to get the Nihon katana from that girl." Slowly, the fallen men began to recover from the cuts on their backs and stood up.
Soujiro placed his hand on the hilt of the Nihon katana… "You mean this?"…and pulled out the sword. The blade of the Nihon shone brightly in the night, even Soujiro was impressed.
The moment the guards saw the shining katana, their faces light up. "Hai, that's it, give it here, boy."
Soujiro's smile widened. "Iie, the Nihon belongs to this young lady next to me. You have no right to take it."
"I SAID GIVE IT HERE!" The man roared and all men charged again.
Soujiro also sprinted forwards. "Aoi Denkou Ryu; Meimei Moui Sen!"
He took down every single man with rapid swings, while trying not to kill them at the same time. How does Himura-san do this? Not killing is so hard!
It all ended in just 5 seconds and all men were unconscious. Soujiro would have to say that he was proud that not only did he not kill anybody, but that move was one of his own moves he invented on the spot. He had used it to stop a striking snake and has been practicing it ever since.
Soujiro held his hand out for the girl, who was still on the floor. "Daijobu desu ka?"
Kira slowly took in everything that just occurred so quickly. The blue-clad boy, who she bumped into this morning, saved her from choking to death and used the Nihon to defeat Akiyama's guards, and quite effectively too. Now, that very same boy was standing in front of her and offering his hand to help her up.
Kira hesitantly took the offering hand and was pulled to her feet. "D-daijobu, ano…"
The blue-clad boy smiled and handed the Nihon to her. "I'm Soujiro, Seta Soujiro. I believe this belongs to you."
Kira hugged her father's precious katana. "Hai, it's mine and my name is Kira, Kitamura Kira. Domo arigato gozaimasu Seta-san, for saving me." Kira bowed.
Soujiro smiled. "It's ok, Kira-dono. Ara…you -do- have my katana, right?"
Kira blinked and smiled sheepishly. "…Well, you see, before you came, those guards through it in the river."
Soujiro face faulted on the ground. This can't be happening! Kami-sama, WHY?
Kira raised an eyebrow. "It can't be that much of a lose. Why carry a sword that's broken?"
Soujiro stood up with a desperate face. "Why? It's my most precious possession!"
"You need to get yourself a new precious possession." Kira said flatly. She placed her weapon back at the side of her waist, turned around and started walking. "Come with me, I know how to repay you."
Soujiro face faulted on the ground for the second time that day.
Soujiro found himself in an old man's room with Kira and were both sitting facing Kisho.
Kisho was definitely old, but even in his elderly years he was a wise man. But it was his ki that unnerved Soujiro, he could sense a very powerful life force coming from the old man. Soujiro made aware that he was on his guard.
"Kira-chan, please make some tea for us, would you?" Kisho said calmly. Kira nodded and quickly went to prepare some tea. When Kira was out of hearing range, Kisho turned to Soujiro.
"I understand that you have saved my granddaughter, Seta-kun. Arigato." He bowed in gratitude.
Soujiro placed his hand on the back on his head. "Iie, no need to thank this one, I'm just a rurouni wondering around and…please address me as Soujiro."
The old man raised an eyebrow. "Hmmm, there aren't many rurounis around anymore, especially one as young as you. But I guess teenagers nowadays like a little adventure."
Soujiro's smile quivered a bit, but it was barely noticeable. If only you knew the real reason.
Running foot-steps can be heard outside the room and soon Kira was at the door with a tray in hand, two tea cups sat on the tray. Kira put down the tray and sat next to Soujiro. Kisho nodded thanks and started to drink the tea.
"Kisho-san, now that we got father's Nihon back, what is the next sword on the list." Kira asked suddenly.
Soujiro glanced at Kira with a questioned look. "Next sword on the list?"
Kira nodded sadly. "Hai, my father used to be a famous sword smith but was killed in a fire, along with some of my relatives. I was the only one who survived. But apparently, the people who caused the fire knew my father and stole all his fine crafted swords. Not one sword was left. But that was all ten years age.
Kisho-san took me in and trained me to be a ninja with the rest of the Sakura Numa workers. We all try to uncover where my father's swords are so we can take it back."
Soujiro felt his stomach tighten and sadness fell over him. Nani? What is this feeling I have? Being emotionless for ten years made Soujiro forget what most the emotions were. Soujiro took that as a sign that he was beginning to feel again. But he couldn't remember what this feeling was called.
Kisho nodded, "The next will be the Hiryuuken. For what I know, it's like finding a peanut in a herd of elephants. Hahahahaha!"Both Soujiro and Kira sweat dropped. Kisho continued, "Anyway, according to our research, the Hiryuuken is located in Osaka. Kira you'll have to go by yourself, the rest of us can't go because of business. But you must be careful."
Kira smiled, "Don't worry, Kisho-san. I'll come back with the Hiryuuken, no problem!"
"How about I come with you." Soujiro suggested. "I was planning on going there anyway. Maybe I can help."
Kira nodded, she liked that idea. "Yokatta, we'll leave tomorrow morning!"
Kisho nodded too. "Hai, you do that."
Leaving the old man in his room, Kira took Soujiro to a large room in the ceiling. In the room were katanas and kodachis hanging on the walls, some swords were displayed in glass cabinets, sets of every type of shuriken were displayed and some weapons even Soujiro haven't seen before were displayed. Soujiro was amazed; even Sword Collector, Sawagejou Chou, and Shishio didn't have that many fine weapons all put together.
"Here is the place were we store all the swords and weapons, father made." Kira said proudly. "Since you saved my life and gave back the Nihon to me, I'll award you with a sword or weapon of your choice. Just don't pick the ones in the glass cabinets."
Soujiro looked shocked, despite his ever-lasting smile. "Iie, I can't accept…"
"But of course you can, I need to replay you back the sword those bastards threw away. It was my fault that they did anyway." Kira said, waving her hand like saying 'go ahead'.
"Are you saying that my father's swords are not good enough!" Kira fumed.
Soujiro held out his hands to admit defeat. "Iie, iie. I'll pick a sword." I didn't know that she can be so scary.
Kira relaxed and Soujiro walked around the weapon-filled room.
There were definitely a LOT of weapons; Soujiro wondered how long it took Kira to search for all these weapons. Rows and rows of different weaponry were either hung or displayed on the floor, there were so many to choose from. There were katanas, kodachis, wakizashis, draggers, shurikens and other fancy weapons that Soujiro couldn't identify, but his favorite weapon would be the katana. Soujiro looked around for a suitable katana, but then he caught sight of a sword lying at a corner of the room. He didn't know why but he was drawn to it, Soujiro walked up to the abandoned sword and picked it up.
Soujiro unsheathe the sword a little and his eyes widened, the sword in his hands was a sakabato! It was finely made and very well balanced. Soujiro's smile widen, if it was possible, and he made up his mind.
"Kira-dono, I would like to take this." Soujiro said showing her the sword.
Kira looked surprised, "Eh? A sakabato? Why that?"
"Because I'm wandering without killing, if I use a normal katana, I'd bound to kill someone." Soujiro answered with his best smile.
Kira raised an eyebrow at that, but soon she shook her head, "Fine, if that's what you want then you can have it."
Soujiro smiled, "Hai."
After today, Soujiro had got a new sword and most importantly a new friend. Now seeing that he will be traveling with Kira for awhile and that he is actually traveling for a reason, that gave him a sense of responsibility. He doesn't know what or who would cross their path but he will be ready no matter what.
Rurouni – a wanderer.
Shukuchi – Reduced Earth
Nihon – Japan (I know, it's kind of stupid to call a sword 'Japan'.)
Naze – why
Sakura Numa – Cherry Blossom Pond
Arigato – thank you
Aoi Denkou Ryu; Meimei Moui Sen - Blue Lightning Style; Dark Fury
Daijobu desu ka? – Are you ok?
Daijobu – I'm ok
Hiryuuken – Flying Dragon Blade
Sakabato – Reverse-blade Sword
There, this is my first story ever to be submitted. What you think? Good, bad?