Hearing Taro and Hiro's voices guided him to them. He pushed back the hood and said, "Taro, Hiro. It is good to see you." Then he added, "I have had a very long walk." For a moment there was nothing but astonished silence as Shusaku had known there would be. Then Hiro spoke.
"Shusaku." The name was breathed in disbelief and then uttered again with more confidence. "Shusaku, what happened to you skin? I can't believe you're alive."
"Wait," Taro said. "You can see him too?" That made Shusaku wonder what exactly had happened to Taro to make him ask that. He wished he could see so he could tell what Taro's expression looked like.
"What?" Hiro asked. "Of course. He's right there. I just can't believe it. We thought you were dead Shusaku."
"I can see him as well." That soothing voice could only come from Lady Hana. It seemed that she had grown quite fond of Taro as well and seemed to understand what Taro had meant earlier. "We met in the woods," she added. "When you saved me from the bandits."
"I remember. Well met Lady Hana," Shusaku said. Then what Taro had meant earlier sunk int. Taro must have thought he was ghost. "I'm not a ghost," he told Taro. "The sun burned me but it couldn't kill me."
He felt a cool hand touch his face and then Hana said, "Those burns… It must have been terrible." Her voice was touched with sympathy. Shusaku simply shrugged.
"It was. Lots of things are." Being away from Taro had been one of them. Lord Tokugawa's son had grown on him.
"Is it really you?" Taro's voice bordered between hope and disbelief.
"Yes. It's me. I'm sorry I didn't find you sooner." And he really was. He wished he could have been there sooner to help Taro. He was startled moments later when Taro flung his arms around him. Shusaku hugged the boy back and lifted him easily, spinning him through the air. Then he released Taro and let out a half embarrassed laugh. "It's good to see you too. I have thought of you every day." He coughed and then continued. "Those I train do not usually occupy my thoughts so much." Taro was different though. Shusaku wasn't sure how but he was. He had the unwavering loyalty of a friend, he had captured the heart of Oda's precious daughter, and he had somehow captured the friendship and trust of Shusaku himself. Yes Taro was going special and he was going to be a great man one day; and a respected shogun.