Chapter 11

Was it going to be over just like this? Was her life going to end just like this?

Megumi thought to herself, as the magistrate tore her blouse off her and spread slobbery kisses all around her neck.

I'm so sorry Sano, I couldn't.

Megumi's eyes brimmed with tears, as she looked to the side of the bed. Struggling was fruitless. The magistrate had pinned her by her shoulders to the mattress with both his hands, making her unable to get up and shove the magistrate away. Her last attempt was to try and hold off the magistrate with her forearm, but the magistrate just slapped her and caught hold of both her wrists, holding them effectively over her head.

Sano.

Suddenly, there was a crash against the door, and in the next second, the doors to the room burst open and Sano burst into the room, flanked by other members of the rebel group.

Sano! Megumi's mind cried out with relief as she saw him.

Sano took less than a second to assess the situation, and the expression on his face turned to one of utter outrage.

" You bastard!" he shouted, as he rushed across the room to grab the magistrate by the collar and fling him on to the floor. The rest of the rebels followed his cue and they surrounded the magistrate and pulled him to his feet, dragging him helplessly out of the room. One of the rebels said to Sano as they left the room

" We'll take care of things here. Don't worry."

Sano nodded in gratitude as the door closed, and he hurried over to Megumi who was attempting to cover herself with her blouse.

" Don't look at me." Megumi said " I'm not a pretty sight right now."

Sano didn't say a word; instead, he gently pried Megumi's blouse from her fingers, and tenderly examined the bruises all over her body and her face.

That simple act was enough to drive Megumi to tears

" Sano!" she cried out, as she threw her arms around Sano, who put his arms around her and hugged her tightly. " I was so scared! I was thinking that it was going to be all over, and I didn't know how to face you if you found out what I happened."

Sano kissed Megumi softly and gently, cutting her off in mid speech.

" Hush, it's all right now. I said that I would come for you remember."

" You nearly didn't make it." Megumi sniffled. " I was so scared."

" I know, I was scared too, when I heard from the village people that the magistrate had taken you to his residence. I was afraid of what he might do to you, and I was right. That bastard." Sano angrily punched the corner post of the bed, causing a crack to appear in the wood.

" So they told you?"

" Yes, you should know by now that almost the entire village is on our side. Furthermore plus the fact that you're my woman."

" What the hell do you mean by that, I'm not yours!" Megumi replied angrily as she looked up at Sano.

Sano smiled and pulled her close to him again. " Of course not, you are very special to me, that's what I meant. I treasure my women very much you know."

Megumi was about to reply, then suddenly, the door burst open and two men came hurrying into the room.

" What's the matter?" Sano asked

" Two government officials are here from the capital! They've brought over a hundred soldiers with them, and they've surrounded the magistrate's residence. The government officials say that they have come in peace and that they wish to speak to the leader. Everyone wants you to go and speak to them."

Megumi and Sano looked at each other as they heard what the men had said. Had the law finally caught up with Sano this time? Would he be caught by the officials and be put into jail, and Megumi would never see him again?

" Leave Sano, leave before they catch you!" Megumi urged

" No. I can't be running away forever. I think that its time that I lead a normal life again." Sano replied as he stood up and walked towards the door.

Megumi caught his hand and pulled him back " Sano! This is madness! Do you know what they might do to you? They'll put you away for life! They might even kill you! Don't you realize! Please Sano, I do not wish for anything to happen to you!"

" It's all right. Nothing's going to happen to me, I promise." Sano smiled and walked out of the room.

*********************

" Sanosuke Sagara?" the government official rose to his feet as Sano approached him.

" Yes." Sano replied and gave a short bow, before sitting down on one of the chairs provided.

" As I told your subordinates, I come here on a mission of peace. The emperor has taken note of the crimes that the magistrate has done in the town and he has ordered me to take care of it."

Sano nodded the show that he understood. The official continued.

" However, when I was here, I found that I was one step too late and that you had already done the job for me. I found the magistrate being bound up and beaten by your subordinates. Naturally, as part of the government, I had to put an end to it. Nevertheless, he will be dealt with in orderly fashion, but I will need your help."

Up to this point in time, the room had been filled with tension. Everyone in the room, including Megumi thought that the officials had come to arrest Sano, and the tension had been lifted a little when the official had requested Sano's help.

" What do you want to help me to help you with?"

" If you help me, I will be able to seek pardon for you and the entire group. I will need your help to clean up this mess that the magistrate has made. I understand that the village is in need of many necessities. With the money that I have brought from the capital, I hope that it will be put to good use here. I will be busy handling the problem of this magistrate, so I will need your help, will you help me?"

Sano considered that for a moment, and then he nodded in reply. " Yes I will."

************************

Five months later.

" The village is much better. Thanks to the money that you gave, we were able to rebuild many of the old houses. The people are better off now, thanks to you." Sano informed the official as he stood in the official's study in the magistrate's residence. Ever since the magistrate had been captured, the official had taken had over the magistrate's residence for his own.

" That's good. I'll be leaving tomorrow. The emperor will be happy with this report. Thank you Sanosuke, for all the help that you have given me."

" It was nothing." Sano replied. " If there is nothing else, I shall take my leave now."

" No. Wait a minute. I have another preposition for you Sanosuke."

" What is it?"

" This village cannot go on without a magistrate. When I meet the king again, I want to recommend you for the post. Is that all right?"

Sano grinned.

" Thanks for the offer, but I've got plans already."

" You would make a very good magistrate, and you would live well, on top of that."

" Riches don't interest me."

" I know, it's a pity, but what plans do you have in mind?"

" I want to become a farmer." Came Sano's reply, as he left the official's study, whistling under his breath.

Half an hour later, Sano was still whistling as he made his way along the streets and made his way into the village clinic. The waiting room was empty, and there was no nurse at the front desk. Sano made his way to the examination room and peered inside.

" Hello. are you ready to go?" he asked

" Give me five more minutes, I've got a report to finish." Megumi called from inside.

" Hurry up will you, I'm hungry already." Sano complained as he leaned against the door.

" All right, all right, I'm done." Megumi penned the last word and got up from her chair. The gold ring on her index finger glittered as she took off her white coat and flicked her hair. The same ring glittered from a chain hanging around Sano's neck.

Sano took Megumi's hand as she switched off the room light. Together, they headed out of the clinic, into the new village, into their new lives.

***********************

Japan

" Hey guys! Look! I've got a letter from Megumi!" Kaoru cried out excitedly as she waved a white envelope energetically and ran into the dojo where Kenshin and Yoshi were having practice.

" What does she say? Is she all right over there in China?"

" Let's see." Kaoru opened the envelope. It was two pages long. It read:

Dear Kenshin and friends,

How has everyone been? Sano and I have been married for almost four months now. At first, Sano had been helping the official with the village business. When the official left, he had offered Sano the post of the magistrate, but Sano declined it. It's just like Sano, isn't it? He's still suspicious of government officials, even though he is willing to work with them now.

Just recently, Sano purchased a piece of land not far from the village. He plans to farm there, and also raise some animals. The villagers helped us to construct a simple house, with three bedrooms, and a kitchen. Sano plans to add on to it later, when he earns more money.

I help out in the village clinic, and my common job is to help out as midwife. Sano picks me up every evening, and from there, we either go home for dinner or we eat in the open market, where there is an occasional show of Chinese opera, which Sano finds rather amusing.

Speaking of midwives, I am three months pregnant as it is. It is too early to get worried, but Sano is already acting as if I'm about to go into labour. Sometimes, he forgets about the fact that I'm a doctor, and I know how to take care of myself.

I really hope that everyone in Japan is as safe and sound as we are here. May we meet again soon.

Megumi.