A cool night.

It might've been a cooling night for the Shinsengumi if they had not been forced to hunt down for another one of the shogun's annoying missing pets in the forests within Edo. There were times they wondered if they are really the protectors of Edo or simply man servants for the shogun.

Almost everyone in the Shinsengumi thinks that it is the latter, counting out their Commander, Kondo Isao.

Vice-Commander of the Shinsengumi had to spend his entire day within this humid and warm forest looking out for Maru-chan, the belonging to the Shogun. Not wanting to put his life into great risk, he chose to work alone to sieve out the naughty little feline on his own without Okita Sougo.

Under the hot sun right up to the thick humid air, everything is wearing the Demonic Vice-Commander out.

"Nyao!"

"Hn?"

"Nyaaao!"

A cat?

"Nyaooo!" Hijikata rushed forth to the direction of the cats' meowing.

Screw all the branches and mosquitoes swarming at his face, he has to get to that stupid cat before it runs away like what happened in the morning. That stupid ginger cat with a diamond collar that will make any woman go mad.

'Maru-chan's call!' Sougo ran off with his group to the scene.

What greeted their eyes was…

Maru-chan being squashed under this unconscious strawberry blonde.

Clanned in broken pieces of what it seems like remnants of a black amour, bloodied and torn clothes. To top it off, she is bleeding from severe battle wounds. The amount of blood pouring out from the wound on the right of her waist had got the fat Maru-chan completely re-colored.

"Ah, found it." Sougo smirked after kicking the unconscious person aside to retrieve the cat.

"OI! WE HAVE A HALF-DEAD PERSON HERE AND YOU ARE ONLY CONCERNED ABOUT THAT DAMN CAT?!" Hijikata bellowed at the said Captain.

"Why should I care about a half-dead person when our job is to get this?" Okita asked, flashing the fat and bloodied cat to Hijikata.

Well, not that Hijikata disagrees with Okita's argument but the said person is holding onto a katana. On top of that katana, from the remnants of her outfit, Hijikata guessed that she might be someone of high rank. Her wounds did not look like she ran into a bear while on an outing. It looked more like injuries sustained from a battle, albeit a very intense one.

Also, Hijikata is not going to leave a person to die.

Ignoring looks from his comrades, Hijikata carried the lady off the ground, preparing to head off to the main camp to report to Kondo. Okita and company followed behind Hijikata, looking rather nonchalant with regards to the presence of a half-dead person being discovered with Maru-chan.

Having to working within the Shinsengumi had rendered Okita numb to these scenes. He had witnessed numerous half-dead people with his own eyes, people who are in even worse shape that the blonde Hijikata is carrying over to the camp. Somehow, he is unable to understand why Hijikata would fret over a severely-wounded person without fail. Okita wonders if Hijikata will drop his stupid 'good guy' façade for once.

"Commander!"

"Toushi, any news on Maru-CHAAAAA!" Kondo's jaws almost reached to ground when Hijikata came into his view. "TOUSHI! THE SHOGUN ASKED FOR MARU-CHAN, NOT A DEAD BODY!" the commander of the Shinsengumi almost threw a fit when he saw the bloodied lady.

"She's not dead yet, she's still breathing." Hijikata reported while laying the said 'dead body' on the nearest sleeping bag.

"Then we will have to get her to a hospital asap." Kondo managed after getting a hold of his nerves.

"What about Maru…"

"Found it." Okita's monotonous voice interrupted Yamazaki's question. The said Captain had an extremely pissed-looking wet cat in his arms.

"Alright, Sougo, head for the hospital, Toushi, to the Shogun!" Kondo ordered his men while getting ready to leave the area.

"Why am I told to…"

"I can't bring a Captain over! Toushi is my Vice-Commander, he has to follow."

Okita threw Hijikata a glare before turning his attention to the 'dead body'. Of all people within the Shinsengumi, Kondo assigned this 'dead body' to the sadist. May all luck be with her.

For a moment, the 'dead body' thought it heard someone mumbling.

"If not for Kondo-san, I would've thrown you down the river or feed you to the bears."