It was a hot day. In fact, that might be an understatement—it was blazing hot, like an open-air oven. Men who were wearing their native clothing—Chinese and Japanese—toiled in the hot sun working on something that was quickly changing the landscape—railroad tracks. They sang and discussed in their native languages to pass the time away. A Chinese man stopped for a bit to wipe the sweat from his brow. But suddenly he felt the sting of a whip on his back. The man screamed in pain, as the man who whipped him, wearing Japanese clothing, prepped to whip him again. "No breaks!" He said in Chinese. The other workers stopped what they were doing to watch this. He was just about to strike the man again when suddenly an arm reached up and grabbed his. "What's this?" He said. He noticed a younger man, around the age of 20 look up at him. The young man, wearing blue kimono top with white hakama and orange hair glared at the man with his red eyes. "I know you!" The man with the whip said. "You're that Kyo Sohma person, aren't you?" Then the man felt his arm being twisted behind him by said person.

"If you whip him again," said Kyo. "I will make sure you feel more pain than any whip can ever deliver. Is that clear?"

"Y-y-y-yes, it is!" He said. "Now let me go!" Kyo did so, and the man with the whip grabbed his arm, holding it in pain.

"You should feel lucky I didn't use my katana or my wakizashi," he said. "Now leave. And tell your boss not to hire abusive foremen." The man with the whip ran away from the scene with his figurative tail between his legs. With the foreman gone, the grateful workers immediately cheered and gravitated to Kyo, mobbing him. Kyo smiled as the men surrounded him.

"Thank you, Kyo-sama!" One Japanese man said. "If it weren't for you, we'd have no hope!"

"Please, I'm just happy to help," said Kyo.

"Please, take this payment in our gratitude," said another man, this one Chinese.

"Thank you," Kyo said in response. The man gave him a silver coin that Kyo accepted gratefully. "I appreciate your kindness, as you appreciate mine."

"If you are scamming us, we won't be kind," said one skeptical worker.

"Please, don't think of it that way," Kyo said in response. "I think of other first, payment last."

"We know you're as poor as us, Kyo-sama," said another man. "That's why we help."

"Thank you," said Kyo. "Now I must leave. My fiancé is probably worried about me." The men surrounding him laughed in response, as they opened up a path for Kyo to leave. The men waved goodbye to him as he walked to his horse and put his conical kasa on. "So long!" He kicked the horse in the side and it galloped away while the men waved goodbye. Soon, the men got back to work on the railroad to improve the desert and plains.

But wait, this isn't feudal Japan or imperial China. It's the American Old West, circa 1880. The location is the Arizona Territory near the town of L'Amour in Yavapai County. There are millions of stories in the Old West, from the early days of Lewis and Clark, to the end of the 'Wild West' period in the 20th century. From the tales of cowboys to gunslingers to outlaws to great tribes, these stories, whether fictional or not, have been told many times over in books, films, and TV shows in a genre called the Western. The Western has influenced storytelling and cinema across the world from Japanese cinema to Star Wars.

There are millions of stories in the Old West. This is one of them. It is the story of two worlds, both eastern and western. Four people, one story--and this is where it begins.

The stagecoach pulled into town, like it had every other day. It was a Wells Fargo coach, inbound from New Mexico and by extension Texas, which was no surprise; Wells Fargo was one of the more powerful coach companies in 1880 America. The coach pulled up to the edge of the town, near the under-construction train station. The coach came to a stop, with the driver trying to calm the horses down. "We're here!" The coach driver said. The passengers then disembarked, save for one passenger who was asleep. "Come on son; wake up," the driver said as he shook the youngster. The young man indeed woke up, stretching and yawning big.

Said passenger stepped off the coach, carrying his suitcase, looking around. The young man, around the age of 21, had medium-length brown hair—a rarity for the time—that was parted in the middle. He wore a tan vest over a striped shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He padded his legs, feeling his gun holster. He wore a pair of Levi Strauss' blue jeans and over those, a pair of boots. The young man had brown eyes, which one could not tell, because he was squinting, as he was not wearing a hat. The checked his money and smiled, determining he had enough and walked off the platform and into town.

The town was like any town one would think of when they thought of a Western town, with False Front Buildings lining the main road. People scurried along the road, and along the planks lining the buildings. Men tipped their hats in respect to the women in their hooped skirts.

The young man looked around the town and then smiled when he saw what he was looking for—a hat shop. The young man walked to the store, the bell ringing when he opened the door. The clerk, having heard the bell, came to the front counter and said, "Can I help you, sir?"

"Yes, I'm looking for a hat," said the young man, laughing.

"Yes, well, I can see that," said the clerk. "What kind of hat do you want?"

"I'll find my own," said the young man. The clerk nodded and smiled, and allowed him to look at the merchandise. The hats lined the wall, and the young man scanned the merchandise looking for the right hat. He tried a few on, but they didn't work right for him. Finally, he found one the fit right. It was a Stetson hat that slightly resembled a cavalry hat. The young man turned to the clerk and said, "I'll take this one."

"Great!" The clerk said. The young man paid for his hat with the money he had in his pocket. "Thanks for your business son," said the clerk.

"You're welcome," said the young man. He walked out again into the Arizona heat and put on his hat. He smiled at how much better he felt with his new hat on, which provided him some much needed shade. Now he needed to get to the general store and get some bullets for his gun.

Out side the general store the young man noticed a wanted poster, much like the ones he had seen in Texas. They were mostly of men he knew of—Jesse James, Big Nose George, William Bonney[1]—hadn't he met him before? Then he came across one that intrigued him. Some guy named 'Kyo Sohma', for harassment? The young man shook his head and sniggered in response before entering the general store. Again, the clerk came to the counter, but this one was a woman. She seemed about his age, with brown hair like him, but in a ponytail (a rarity!), denim shirt and blue jeans, much like him. "Hello," she said. "My name's Karen McKenzie. What's your name?'

"My name?" The young man said. "My full name's Seamus McMichael, but I prefer to just be known as Jimmy Michaels. But you can call me Jimmy," he said while smiling at her.

"Well, Jimmy," said Karen. "What can I get you?" Jimmy reached to his gun holsters and pilled both his guns out.

"I need some ammo for a Colt Single Action Army," he said. "Make that two."

"Colt Peacemaker?" she said to verify. Jimmy nodded in response. Karen pulled out some ammunition boxes containing Colt ammunition. Jimmy opened the boxes to verify and nodded when he saw he got what he wanted. "Need anything else?" She asked.

"Yes," Jimmy said. "Are you free anytime soon?" Karen laughed in response, as if she was going to reject him.

"I'll tell you what," she said. "You bring that Kyo Sohma guy in, and I might go to the saloon with you."

"Kyo Sohma?" Jimmy asked. Karen nodded her head, which Jimmy laughed to. "Isn't he wanted for harassment? What's so great about him?"

"Oh, he acts like some Robin Hood character," said Karen. "He tends to help out the Japanese and the Chinese out working on the railroad with some bad foremen. The railroad company has gone through 5 foremen already because he keeps scaring them off!"

"HA!" Jimmy laughed. "Has he killed anybody?"

"Not that I know of," said Karen. "I think the only reason he's wanted is because the railroad company's getting tired of him."

"I'm not sure if he's even worth bringing in," said Jimmy. "Is there another way?"

"Sure," she said. "I'll tell you as soon as you pay for your dadgum bullets!"

"Oh, sorry, I forgot about that," he said. "And you do realize it's not very lady-like to say such words, right?"

"I'll say what I want whether or not it's lady like!" She said.

"Sorry about that," he said. "I'll pay."

"Good for you," she said.

--

Speaking of Kyo, we find him riding the range to his log cabin some distance outside of L'Amour. It was a simple log cabin, one that had been built when Kyo and his fiancé, Tohru Honda, had come from Japan to their new home a year prior. In fact, Tohru was just stepping out of the house right now. She wore a blue kimono with a sakura sprinkled obi. She was around Kyo's age, 21 and her blue yes lightened up when she saw Kyo approach on his horse. Just seeing her face brighten always made Kyo happier and could make a bad day good again.

"Kyo-kun!" She called and waved to him. He waved back in response and said,

"Hello, Tohru!" He quickly got off his horse and walked towards her while she ran towards him. The two met and embraced in a loving way, much as they did when Kyo asked her to marry him back in Japan.

"Where did you go today, Kyo-kun?" She asked him.

"I helped some of the railroad workers again," he said. "They brought in a foreman with a whip, but I took care of him."

"Kyo, I'm not sure you should be doing that," she said. "I went into town earlier and I noticed there was a poster with your picture on it. I think it might be for your arrest."

"A wanted poster?" He asked. "Why would they want to arrest me?"

"Maybe because you've been chasing off foreman after foreman, Kyo-kun" she said.

"Tohru, I do it for our fellow Japanese and the Chinese," he said. "Even the white and black men appreciate what I'm doing."

"I just don't want you to get hurt Kyo-kun," she said. Kyo, in response, hugged her tightly.

"Tohru," he said softly. "Nothing will hurt me. I will not allow myself to get hurt, especially as long as I have my swords."

"But that's what worries me," she said as she walked their cabin. "These Americans have guns, and you don't."

"I can see why you're worried about me," Kyo said. "But I can disarm them if I want to. But since I do not want to see you cry, I will not get into a fight with a man armed with a gun."

"Thank you, Kyo-kun," said Tohru.

--

"So do any of you fellers know about Kyo Sohma?" Jimmy said a group of patrons at the L'Amour saloon. It was around mid-afternoon, and the saloon was hopping with activity, as it usually would be. In the background, a lively tune was played on the piano and patrons discussed the events of the day. Some people even played poker; others indulged in some… titillating acts with some of the ladies upstairs.

"Kyo Sohma?" One older patron said. "Yeah, I've heard of him. Hell, I've seen 'im, too. He came out to where they're building the railway one time to bring water to the workers. The C****s and the Japanese seemed to like him the most. He wore some kind of robe-like clothes, and he's got orange hair. And red eyes"

"Orange hair?" Jimmy asked as he took a sip of his beer. "He's from Japan, right?"

"Yep," he said. "Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as though he speaks much English, cuz I tried to talk to 'im and he didn't understand a word I said. You know, he even looks your age. How old are you?"

"Twenty-one," said Jimmy. "I'm old enough to vote."

"Well, he seems your age," said the old man. "He seems like a nice feller, he gave me water, too."

"I hear he's like some kind of Robin Hood figure," said Jimmy.

"He has that reputation," said another man, a Gary Cooper look-a-like [2]. "I never saw him though, so I can't tell."

"Neither did I," said the older man. 'I don't even know why he's wanted, must be because the railroad company doesn't like 'im."

"I know they don't like him," Jimmy said. "And to my knowledge, he hasn't killed anybody, why put a price on his head?"

"Probably cuz they value profit over people," said the old man. "The railroad may be changing the West, but the railroad companies don't care about who dies in order for that to happen."

"Have you been reading Marx?" Jimmy asked. The old man looked confused as to whom Jimmy was talking about.

"Who's he?"

"Some philosopher in Germany my pa talked about once," said Jimmy. "He said he had some good ideas, but if they were ever put into use, they would probably fail."

"No, I never heard of 'im," said the old man. "Sorry to disappoint ya."

"Oh well," said Jimmy. "I think I'll go to the railroad tomorrow and talk to the workers. After I get a horse."

--

The next day—after he obtained a horse—Jimmy moseyed on out to the railroad, about five miles west from town. It was a new line that came from Prescott and on to Nevada. There was already a line that went to Tuscon and on to Los Angeles, so this was a separate line, in a sense. Jimmy approached the construction site with relative ease. There was a foreman overseeing the work. He was a white man, unlike the Japanese foreman that Kyo had dealt with yesterday. The foreman greeted Jimmy by tipping his hat to him, which Jimmy returned. "Are you the foreman around here?" Jimmy asked.

"Yep," the man replied in a Texas accent. "What can I do for you?"

"What do you know about Kyo Sohma?" Jimmy asked. The foreman looked at him.

"Why, do you know him?"

"No," said Jimmy. "I'm trying to find him."

"Let me guess, you're thinking of that wanted poster in town," said the foreman.

"Yep."

"I haven't seen him yet," he said. "But it seems the c****s and the Japanese seem to know about him."

"I hear he's like a Robin-Hood figure to them," said Jimmy.

"He's attacked several previous foremen," the current foreman said defensively.

"Yeah, I know," said Jimmy. "That's why I hear he's a Robin Hood figure."

"Well I still don't like it," said the foreman. "You can ask these men anything, but you might not get anything out of the C****s."

"Thank you," said Jimmy. The foreman departed, got on his horse and rode away, presumably to report to the bosses. When the foreman was out of sight, Jimmy began looking for someone to talk to. He found his first discussion with two black gentlemen a few yards away. Jimmy walked over to them and said "Good afternoon," the two men paused for a moment to look at Jimmy. One was an older gentleman, around 40 years old, and his beard was starting to turn just the tiniest bit grey. The other man was in his thirties and had a goatee that had no grey in it. "Can any of you tell me about Kyo Sohma?"

"You mean that young man the Chinamen seem to like?" said the older man. "I've seen him before."

"What can you tell me? " Jimmy asked. "When was he here last?"

"He was here just yesterday," said the younger man.

"The foreman was whippin' a man because he stopped to wipe his sweat," said the older man. "That Kyo boy popped up and stopped the man from whippin' him any more and sent him runnin' after he twisted his arm."

"Do the Chinese and Japanese like him?" Jimmy asked.

"Yessir, they do," said the older man. "Whenever he pops up, they get a lot happier. He seems to come out of nowhere, too."

"Like a ghost?" Jimmy asked to verify.

"Well, not exactly a ghost," said the younger man. "Sometimes, we've seen him comin'."

"Have you ever talked to him?" Jimmy asked again.

"I tried to once," said the older man. "He didn't understand a word I said, though. You should ask the Chinamen anything about him."

"If they speak English," said the younger man.

"Thanks anyway," said Jimmy. The two men got back to working once Jimmy terminated the conversation. After that was done, Jimmy walked over to a group of Chinese and Japanese workers. "Excuse me," he said. They noticed his presence and looked up. "Do any of you speak English?"

"I do!" Someone a bit to the right said. Jimmy motioned for the person to come over to where he was. The person was about Jimmy's age, and much shorter than Jimmy's height of 6'00".

"What's your name?" Jimmy asked.

"Ping," he said.

"Hello Ping, my name's Jimmy Michaels," said Jimmy. "Can you ask these men about Kyo Sohma," said Jimmy.

"Well, what, exactly?" Ping asked.

"Well, what they think of him," said Jimmy. Ping called the Chinese workers to attention and asked them, in Chinese, what they thought of Kyo. An older man replied in Chinese. Ping turned to Jimmy and said,

"He looks out for us. He gives us water when we need it and he has driven off several foremen who have been hard on us."

"Yeah, that's why he's wanted by the sheriff's office," said Jimmy. Ping looked at Jimmy in confusion, as if he didn't know what he was talking about. "He's wanted! Doesn't that say anything?"

"None of us knew that," said Ping.

"That's why I'm looking for him," said Jimmy. He failed to mention that he really didn't think Kyo was worth being wanted by the sheriff of L'Amour. "So is he armed?" Ping relayed the question to the workers. A younger man responded.

"He's armed with two swords, a long one and a short one," said Ping. "He carries them because he's a son of a samurai family."

"Samurai?" Jimmy asked.

"They're a class within Japanese society that served their landlords," said Ping.

"Kind of like European knights," said Jimmy. "So samurai are like knights?"

"Yes, they are, "said Ping.

"What does he look like?" Jimmy asked. Ping relayed the question to the workers. Jimmy already had a good idea, but just wanted confirmation.

"He has orange hair and red eyes," said Ping. "He wears a traditional Japanese robe that has navy blue top and white pants." Jimmy was about to ask Ping another question, but then the foreman showed up again and Jimmy had to cut the conversation short.

"Did you have a good conversation?" The foreman asked Jimmy.

"Kind of," said Jimmy. "Most of the answers I already knew. And you cut me short before I could ask any other questions." Unbeknownst to the both of them, Ping was relaying the news of Kyo's wanted poster and the fact Jimmy was looking for him to the workers. The workers would eventually tell the Japanese workers, too. As Jimmy and the foreman rode away—in separate directions—the workers agreed to warn Kyo of Jimmy.

Ten minutes later, Kyo rode up to the construction site. The non-Asian workers continued on while the Chinese and Japanese workers gathered around him.

"Kyo-sama! Kyo-sama!" One worker said. Kyo tried to keep the workers calm as he got off his horse.

"Calm down, calm down," he said. "I have some food that my fiancé made for all of you, and I would like it if you could line up so I can hand you your rice."

"When do we tell him?" An older worker asked.

"When the time is right," Ping replied. The men waited for when they were done with their lunch and Kyo had been paid. "Kyo-sama," Ping said to him in Chinese.

"Hello Ping," Kyo said. "What is it?"

"Kyo, you're wanted," said Ping. "The sheriff of L'Amour has a price on your head." Once he heard Ping's words, Kyo's eyes widened in shock. Tohru was right! He was wanted. "Someone came here saying he was looking for you. Someone named Jimmy Michaels."

"What did he look like?" Kyo asked.

"Well, he's a white man," said Ping. "He has brown hair, slightly longer than the hair on the white men we've seen, he was wearing a shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a hat that looks like what the United States Cavalry soldiers wear, a tan colored vest, jeans and he had a pair of gunbelts." He was armed. Kyo had to be careful.

"Thank you Ping," said Kyo. "I'll be careful around him."

"Do be careful Kyo-sama," Ping said as Kyo got on his horse, and gathered the utensils he brought with him. Kyo urged his horse towards his and Tohru's cabin.

--

Kyo hurriedly rode to his and Tohru's cabin in order to tell Tohru. Ten minutes later, Kyo arrived at his cabin where Tohru was waiting for him.

"Oh, Kyo-kun!" She said as he entered the cabin. Her face changed quickly from happy to worry when she saw the look on his face. "What's wrong?"

"I'm wanted by the L'Amour sheriff," said Kyo. Tohru gasped at Kyo's news.

"Oh no!" She said. "Kyo-kun, we have to leave!"

"No!" He said. She recoiled, not in fear of him but for him.

"But Kyo—,"

"Tohru, bushido says I should not flee from an enemy, for it brings dishonor upon me and my loved ones," said Kyo.

"But Kyo, this is America, not Japan!" She said.

"Tohru, I never said I was going to kill the man looking for me," said Kyo.

"That's good Kyo," she said. "I don't want to see you get hurt."

"I won't Tohru," he said. "I promise."

--

It was around late afternoon when Jimmy rode back into town on his new horse, which was named 'Bullet'. It was a good name, as the horse could not only ride fast, it could cover vast distances easily and it took a while for the horse to get tired. But the horse is not the focus. He was going to go to the sheriff's office and ask him about Kyo Sohma and why he was wanted. Jimmy really didn't think that Kyo was even a threat to the peace, just to foremen who abused their workers. He rode over to the sheriff's office and hitched his horse there and entered the sheriff's office.

"Hello there," said the sheriff. "What can I do for you?" the man looked like something right out of a Western movie. He wore tan leather pants and a jacket, a white hat and black leather boots. His sheriff's star shone brightly, reflecting the sunlight from another window. He looked like either Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant [3]. He gave Jimmy a steely-eyed look and said, with a stern, gravely voice, "My name's Sheriff John Kane. How can I help you?"

"I'm asking about the wanted poster for Kyo Sohma," said Jimmy.

"Oh, yes, that," said Sheriff Kane. "What about it, have you seen him?"

"No, not yet," said Jimmy. "I was actually wondering why should you have it? Has he robbed any banks?"

"No."

"Has he killed anyone?"

"No."

"Has be attacked anyone?"

"Just some foremen, but he's usually gone easy on them."

"Then why's he wanted?"

"Do you have some sort of fixation on him?" The sheriff asked.

"No," said Jimmy. "I'm just saying that there are far worse criminals out there, I don't see why he's such a threat."

"Well to the railroad company he is," said Sheriff Kane. "To me, he doesn't really mean a whole lot, he's just giving the railroad company a hard time. I only have it up there because the railroad pressured me to put it up there. Really, if he's caught, I'll probably only have him fined."

"Okay then," said Jimmy. He turned to leave, but before he did, he turned around and asked, "By the way, do you need any deputies?"

Sheriff Kane laughed in response and said, "If I do need one, I'll call for you right away, got it?"

"Okay then, "said Jimmy as he walked back into the street. Jimmy felt the intense heat of the Arizona sun beating down on him like an open-air oven. It usually wasn't like this in Florida, particularly since Florida was much more humid than Arizona. He walked a few yards from the sheriff's office before he bumped into something firm, knocking the thing down and he came with it. Dazed, he shook his head and tried to get up. He looked over to see what he had bumped into. "Sorry about that," he said.

"That's okay," came the feminine voice. Jimmy looked to see whom he had bumped into. It was the general store clerk he met yesterday.

"You're Karen McKenzie, aren't you?" He asked.

"Oh, Jimmy Michaels," she said. "I almost didn't recognize you."

"That's okay," he said. "Let me help you with that," he said.

"No, I really don't—," she started to say, but he cut her off.

"I'm only trying to be polite," he said. "I just want a little appreciation."

"Okay then," she said.

"About Kyo Sohma," he began. "I don't think I'm going to turn him in."

"Why not?'

"He doesn't seem like a threat," said Jimmy. "All he'd get is a fine and I'd only get a small reward."

"How do you now this?" Karen asked.

"I talked to the sheriff," he replied. Karen's load that she was carrying was books mostly, which interested Jimmy. "What's with all the books?" Jimmy asked.

"I've got a lesson," she replied. "I'm not the one taking the lesson, I'm teaching."

"Oh really?" he asked. "Who?"

"Some Japanese girl who wants to learn English," she said. Jimmy listened as he picked up another book on the street. Then he reached over to another book but Karen's hand reached it first before Jimmy could get to it. But Jimmy didn't stop and his hand landed on top of hers. Their hands jumped away from each other like a jolt of electricity had passed through them. Embarrassed, Karen recoiled while Jimmy reached for the book. The books had all been collected and the two rose to their feet.

"Here are your books," said Jimmy.

"Thank you," she said. The two blushed furiously, and an awkward silence filled the air. The two tried to find their next words, but could barely do so. Finally, Karen said,

"I should go."

"You do that," Jimmy said. "Good bye."

"Good bye," she replied. Jimmy watched the lady leave for her lesson. After a few minutes, he left to the inn where he was staying until he found a place to live permanently. But he could not help but think about that lady Karen McKenzie.

--

"So what do you know about this Kyo Sohma feller?" The bartender asked Jimmy in the L'Amour saloon.

"Well the sheriff doesn't think he's a threat," said Jimmy. "He won't even give him jail if he's caught!"

"I'm not sure who's got it off worse—"

"This Sohma feller clearly has the advantage," said Jimmy. "He gets a dadgum fine if caught? It makes the railroad look like dadgum fools, if you ask me."

"What do you think is next, though?" A saloon patron asked.

"I reckon he's going to be on the dodge for a spell," said Jimmy. "I don't see why he would be so fool-hardy to come into town until the sheriff declares he's no longer wanted." He took a sip of his beer when he was done talking there.

"So what then?"

"What then?" Jimmy asked. "Well now I have my beer!" He took a gulp of the liquid to show the other patrons what he was up to.

"Aren't you going to find someone else to take in?" The bartender said.

"I'm not exactly a bounty hunter," Jimmy relied. "And I'm trying to settle here."

"Alright, alright, hold your horses," said the bartender.

"If I was going to take someone in, I'd go after that William Bonney feller," said Jimmy. "Hell, I faced him before, too."

"Really?" said one barfly. "What's he like?"

"Well first off, he's loco," said Jimmy. "Second, he's a hell of a shooter. I'm not sure even Wyatt Earp would have been a match for him."

"Dadgum," said one patron. "He must be good."

"And like I said, he's loco," said Jimmy. "When I got a look at his eyes, I could see just how crazed he was, like he enjoyed killing a man. I do not want to see that again."

"Goldangit, I wouldn't want to see that either," said a middle-aged cowboy.

"Let's just hope you don't," said Jimmy. "I met the guy in New Mexico just months ago, and let me tell you, he is one crazy feller."

--

With Tohru taking her English lessons, Kyo decided to walk into town. But because he was a wanted man, he had to hide his face; might as well use his kasa tonight. L'Amour was silent tonight; most of the people were either at home or at the local drinking establishment, which the workers referred to as the saloon. He wasn't sure why they called it that. And it was one of the few English words he knew. He wanted to learn English, but he kept on forgetting to ask Tohru's teacher to help him. With the brim of his kasa down over his eyes, it was difficult to see not only his eyes, but his hair as well.

Kyo walked down the street, not really caring about a destination. It was somewhat late, maybe around 10:00. Tohru's lessons tended to take a while. Or she had made dinner and/or tea for her teacher. Ever since they had left their homeland a year ago, Kyo had tried to make his fiancé as happy as he could, and part of that was to have her learn English. In Japan, this probably wouldn't have been allowed, at least with her family, anyway.

After walking a while, he came across the general store where Tohru said her teacher worked and where his wanted poster supposedly was. He looked at the wanted posters, mostly of men who clearly were criminals until he found one that had a picture of him, probably that time he and Tohru had that photograph together. He could not read the words on the poster, so he could not see that he was wanted alive for harassment. If he could read it he would have laughed at how silly the charges were, really. He did not notice the sheriff, just yards away, watching him. Well, actually, he did notice him.

Kyo froze, noticing that someone had seen him. He stood as perfectly still as he could, just staring under his hat at the sheriff. Whether or not the sheriff recognized him, he did not know, but the silence and tension were suffocating. Then, the sheriff touched the brim of his hat as if to say, 'howdy'. Kyo did the same with his hat and moved on as the sheriff went back into his office. As Kyo walked, he passed by the saloon again. That's when he overheard the conversation.

--

So I'll see you tomorrow, Jimmy?" Said the bartender as Jimmy left the saloon. Jimmy wasn't really drunk, he just wanted the one beer and to socialize at the saloon.

"I'll be here," said Jimmy. "If my name isn't Jimmy Michaels."

"Ssshh," the bartender shushed Jimmy, much to the latter's confusion. "You don't want to alert your enemies, do you?"

"What enemies?" Jimmy said. "I don't have enemies!" Jimmy turned around, walked away and said, "Good night, Matt."

--

Kyo could not believe it. It was Jimmy Michaels, the man who was looking for him. And the workers didn't tell him he was so young, almost Kyo's age. Kyo waited until the bartender was back inside the saloon before making his decision: he would kill, wound or warn Jimmy Michaels not to come near him. Silently, Kyo began to follow Jimmy like a ninja assassin.

--

Jimmy rubbed his eyes. It was getting late, and he wanted to get back to his room so he could get some sleep. The inn he stayed in was close to the general store and the sheriff's office, so he had a pretty good distance to walk still. He did not notice the figure closing in behind him.

--

Kyo stalked Jimmy as best he could, using he techniques he ninja cousin had taught him. While he couldn't exactly disappear—at least to Jimmy—he did have some speed that if necessary, he would hide behind a post if Jimmy looked. Sure enough, Jimmy looked behind him and Kyo ducked out of the way.

--

Whether it was his mind playing tricks on him, Jimmy couldn't tell. He could have sworn he heard someone following him. He turned around to see and nobody was behind him. He blinked a couple times to try and see if he was tired. The streets were mostly empty, and anyone behind him probably would have made some noise, the only noise being Jimmy's spurs if they touched the dirt. The only lights were the lights in the windows and the street lamps. Jimmy shook his head and adjusted his hat, wondering if he was paranoid and continued on.

--

Kyo let out a sigh of relief. The American thought he was crazy. Now was the time to strike. Usually, his bushido mind set would have stopped him—this was clearly not a fair fight, as Jimmy did not have a sword—but his self-defense mindset overrode it. This man wanted to bring him in. He had to do something. Kyo stalked Jimmy again, this time walking more silently. With full knowledge that Jimmy was not going to see him, Kyo drew his Katana and prepared to attack. But he made a fatal mistake.

--

Suddenly, Jimmy noticed a shadow behind him. The shadow seemed to have a conical top, much like the hats the Chinese were wearing. Jimmy watched the shadow draw its sword from its waist. Oh no, it was going to try and kill him! Jimmy had to stay calm. The person making the shadow mostly likely didn't know Jimmy had noticed him. So Jimmy slowly reached for his trusty Colt Peacemaker in the holster on his right side. He had left the one for the left in his room. Slowly, Jimmy prepared to draw.

--

Kyo raised his sword up, ready to strike. Kyo decided that if he was going to do so, he would yell as soon as he was ready to bring his sword down upon Jimmy. If needed, he would give Jimmy his wakizashi to make it something of a fair fight.

--

With time possibly running out, Jimmy knew he had to draw soon and catch this guy, whoever he was, off guard. The shadow was already raising its sword up, ready to attack. Jimmy slowly reached for his Colt. He was going to wait until the right moment.

--

The time was right. Kyo would strike now! Kyo opened his mouth and prepared to yell, letting out only little—before suddenly, there was a motion like a whirlwind that caught Kyo off guard. Kyo tried to attack, but he could not get it off. That's when he heard the gun cock. Instead of brining his sword down, he was on the wrong end of the situation, facing Jimmy Michaels, who was facing him with a determined look on his face. And Kyo also found himself on the wrong end of a gun, staring down the black end of the barrel of a Colt Peacemaker.

--

Notes

[1] Better known as Billy the Kid.

[2] I know Gary Cooper was not alive at this point, but I'm using that anyway.

[3] The same with these two.

First Fruits Basket Western, baby! Woo-hoo! Check that, make that first real Western. Ha ha!