Only the Strong

Made a few changes and corrected the errors I saw. Nothing much, but it's a great excuse to get it reposted! ^_^;;

Disclaimer: The characters of Rurouni Kenshin aren't mine (though I wish Watsuki-sensei let me keep Aoshi! ^_^;). I just let them come over and play.

Summary: The thoughts going on in Aoshi's head on coming back to Kyoto after they beat Shishio. (aka another one of those takes on "Aoshi's homecoming" ).

Category: Drama/Angst

Acknowledgments: Profuse thanks to Judith Hill for looking this over; to Sigel Phoenix for beta-reading; and to the Exalted Immortal Leathie for the encouragement. Thanks for your invaluable insights, ladies! m(_ _)m Domo!

Archive: Posted here in Poetry in Blue,, and Other archives need permission, onegai

Notes: My very first RK fanfic. Any criticism is welcome. Flames will be ignored, unless it gets too cold at night.


By Shinomori no Kami Daiji

Night had fallen. Stars peered out to greet the travelers as the fair moon rose. The journey was very long and weary, the urge to stop and rest very strong. But their legs could not stop; for the longing to reach their destination was far more important than the rest their limbs cried out for.

The battleground was far behind them now. Shishio Makoto and his forces were defeated. Now three of the four warriors tread their way back to Kyoto. Their task was done, and Japan was safe for the moment.

They emerged from the forest at dusk and returned to the main road to Kyoto as soon as they felt it safe for them to travel. It wouldn't do to arouse curiosity and suspicion from passersby. They were all too exhausted to deal with such circumstances, and one of their number needed dire medical attention as soon as they reached the town.

Shinomori Aoshi found himself in familiar territory again. He knew, within two hours, they would reach the outskirts of his hometown. His home. It hadn't been that for many years.

He had set out on this very road years before, towards the direction from whence they came. They were five: Beshimi, Hyottoko, Shikijo, Hannya, and himself. He and his men have taken many journeys, shared every hardship. Each venture took them farther from their home. Peril was at every turn, but they lived for it, thrived on it.

Now Aoshi was taking the road back alone.

It had been years. He never thought he would come back here again, if at all. The thought of returning crossed his mind almost every night for eight years, but something held him back. It was pride; that, and the devotion to his men that the rest of society did not give.

How he wished he died with them that night. At least then, he would never have plunged willingly into the abyss and discarded what honor he had left. He would never have succumbed to the evil of his intent hat dragged the good memory of his dead friends to the mud. And with his comrades gone, there was no reason to come back to Kyoto.

Even as he took step after painful step, Aoshi had little to look forward to. What did he want to expect in his homecoming? He was surprised that he was still walking beside Sagara en route to the Aoiya. He would have refused the Battousai's request to return with them, leave a tenuous promise to return to Kyoto in his own volition. Maybe lose himself in another journey that will probably take him eight more years. But for what purpose? His restless soul was tired; he didn't know if he can keep on running to find his elusive contentment anymore. His life was the Oniwabanshu, his dreams for the Oniwabanshu. Now that it was also taken from him, what else was left for him in this existence?

And why was he still walking with them? Could it be that he still believed? Why couldn't he give in to the pain radiating from body and soul and just stop? Give up?

Maybe I just really wanted to know...

He wondered if it was ever possible for someone like him, who let the darkness clutch his heart, to walk back into the light. He idly glanced at his other travelling companion, Sagara, who carried the unconscious Battousai. Aoshi was certain the former knew of the latter's violent past, and he commended such devotion the younger man manifests for the former hitokiri. Did Himura found his own journey to redemption?

His reflections were interrupted when Aoshi noticed a forked bend on the road some hundred paces away.

The road to the right led back to Kyoto, while the other led to Aizu and a secluded forest beyond it.

Possibilities raced in Aoshi's sharp mind. The road to Aizu led to a relatively quiet province, and an additional day's travel would take him to the mountains. He could lose himself there; seek his salvation, before returning to Kyoto to face the other Oniwabanshu. There, he would strive to blot out the taint of his transgressions to be able to face his old comrades with regained dignity.

The road to Kyoto was not nearly half the distance to the mountains beyond Aizu. Even from their proximity, they saw wisps of smoke rise from the town. A few more steps would give him and Sagara a clearer view of the possible destruction of the area after its own battle against the notorious Juppongitana.

They were a good sixty paces from the forked bend.

With his former mentor Okina overseeing the Oniwabanshu, Aoshi was assured he would find them still standing in the aftermath of the conflict. The same would be said of Himura and Sagara's friends, who must eagerly await their return.

But would the group turned his back on be waiting for Shinomori Aoshi?

Anxiety mounted as they neared their destination, but he felt too weak to concentrate on quelling his inner distress. But not weak enough to lose his composure in the face of his companions. Then the town gradually loomed against the pitch-lack horizon. He didn't immediately register the scattered ruins. In his mind's eye, he saw his fate. Condemnation. Guilt. Disappointment. His karma patiently awaited his arrival to claim its dues.

What irony. The longer route to Aizu appealed to him. Nobody would know him there, no one would condemn him. And he would take up a solitary existence just to begin his walk to atonement. He couldn't bear to see his—friends—just yet. He wasn't sure he could look Okina in the eye after what he had done to him. Nor would he have an idea on how to face the others again.

And Misao.

She had taken his mantle of okashira after Aoshi defamed the title by giving in to the violence in his heart. The pure, tender little girl he and his men had left behind had grown up and had taken the yoke of responsibility he abandoned. He was her playmate in her tender years, her teacher, her friend.

The only one, Himura had said, that still believed in him even when his own teacher had given up on him.

How could I still have your trust after seeing what I've done to your beloved Jiya?

A familiar carved stone marker of a monk stood guard at the midst of the divided road a little more than twenty paces away . . .

Himura had vowed to a tearful Misao that he would bring back Aoshi with them. Aoshi hoped with all his might that such spark of acceptance would be enough to give him the strength of heart he would need to stand in the face of the difficulties ahead.

It was ten steps before reaching a final decision. Leave his companions to turn and seek answers alone, or stay and face retribution to earn back his soul.

His eyes fell on Himura's back. He made the last stand against Shishio. Now his shoulders slumped, bleeding, his body sagging against Sagara.

Aoshi felt a faint tug at his lips.

. . . the statue, mute and immobile, stood five paces away . . . four . . .

He will help Himura fulfill his promise.

Aoshi was inwardly appalled at the sight before them upon reaching Kyoto. He hadn't imagined such destruction so like in the old times could happen in these peaceful times. The very place where he lived was almost completely destroyed as if some large ogre frolicked there.

He heard a grumbled curse from Sagara, the first words he heard from him since leaving the fortress.

He quickly assessed the surroundings. Residence and business establishments alike that were situated near the Aoiya have either been gutted out or have collapsed, but there were no evidence of fatalities in sight. He supposed that the people were promptly warned, and found himself relieved. He spurned the Juppongitana, however, for their in discriminate assault. But, as he recalled the image of the old town he grew up in, seeing it come alive in his mind, he felt an odd sense of warmth and comfort. He had come home.

There as a knot of people standing around at the front of where the Aoiya had stood, the establishment that served as home and headquarters to the Kyoto Oniwabanshu. The tightening in his chest returned as he recognized his former comrades. Aoshi instantly spotted Okina, standing resolutely, arms folded before him.

A crooked smile formed at Sagara's lips at seeing the familiar faces.

An enthusiastic sound burst forth as the Oniwabanshu together with Himura and Sagara's friends ran to meet them. Aoshi could feel his grip on his scabbard slipping. He took in a slow, cleansing breath and stepped in time beside Sagara.

Exultation was evident on every face, not noticing the deplorable condition of the newcomers. They, too, bore the signs of battle.

"Thank Kami-sama you're all safe!" exclaimed one relieved voice.

A girl in kendo-gi looking slightly older than Misao advanced from the throng, her eyes bright with unshed tears. Aoshi recalled her from the Takeda mansion, the owner of the Kamiya dojo, Kamiya Kaoru. Now, the Kamiya girl approached Sagara and Himura.

"You've come back," she said in a contained sob. "I knew you would."

"Now, now, Jou-chan," Sagara's rebuke was gentle. "We're back now. So quit the waterworks already."

Kamiya Kaoru shook her head good-humoredly, as her hands and those of the others reached out to aid the two warriors, relieving Sagara of his burden.

Aoshi stood silently, his eyes lowered. He had seen the genuine relief etched in the faces of his old friends, but did not deem himself deserving of it. The child he left years ago now stood before him, elation spread across her soot-streaked face.

"O-kaeri nasai, Aoshi-sama," Misao greeted breathlessly.

He merely blinked wearily, doubting even such welcome. Finding no response, he bowed his head.

"Domo, okashira," he murmured.

Misao flinched slightly, but maintained her presence of of mind, almost making Aoshi smile at seeing her trying to carry herself in her new stature.

The silence they suddenly found themselves was palpable, and the attention that rested on them was beginning to get stifling. Aoshi wanted to break the stalemate.

"A word...?"

Her eyes looked back at him with such regard that he drifted his gaze to the top of her head.

"I request an audience with the Oniwabanshu present." he stated in what strength he could muster. He felt one other watching him, and Aoshi glanced up to see his old mentor from a distance. Okina stroked his beard contemplatively, regarding him in mute scrutiny.

"But, you're injured," Misao reasoned. "We have to look a--"

"Dozo," Aoshi cut in smoothly with a stiff bow. "I insist." Again, he flicked his look at Okina, saw the brief flicker in the old man's eyes. He understood it must be done.

Okina spoke. "It will be ranted. After," Okina added with an inclination of his head, "we see to the wounded. That includes you. We will meet later after everything is in order."

Aoshi gave no reply, but resigned himself to begin his penance by doing what he was told.

The Aoiya obtained severe damage, so the people from the Shirabeko opened their doors to its occupants and their guests. Aoshi learned later on that the owner of the restaurant was an acquaintance of Himura and his friends.

It was in one of the rooms where Himura and Sagara were taken to be treated. He was led to the opposite direction to another vacant room.

"I'll return shortly after I get some supplies," Okon explained after ushering him into the room. She lingered by the door with an inquisitive face before stepping outside.

Aoshi swept his gaze about the sparsely furnished room. There were no indications of a previous occupant. The futon's sheet was crisp and clean, the floors scrubbed. Walking towards the low dresser table, he placed his kodachis on it and eased his coat from his shoulders, folding it on the low table.

He turned to stare at the bed. If he gave in to the compulsion to lie for just a while, he knew he wouldn't wake up until morning. But he wanted to get off his feet so badly, so he picked up his weapon and padded across the room, lowering himself by the wall and leaned heavily with a contented sigh.

The cool night breeze blew in, causing Aoshi to shiver slightly and his deeper scars to sting keenly from the cold. Okon left the door open. Weariness and pain had already possessed his body, leaving him no choice but to simply look out listlessly beyond the door. The ebony sky was littered by a million stars, the moon shining full in their midst. There was many a night like this when he slipped in the shadows, cloaked by darkness, carrying out campaigns, leading raids. Never did he feel so alive than those moments, time and light playing against him. Now, with time hanging heavily, he lifted his eyes to the heavens in distantly similar childish wonder. He would sneak off to the rooftop as a child, when he thought everyone was asleep. He would lie back, hands under his head, and picture the images the cluster of stars would form. Sometimes, he waited for a falling star, until he fell asleep, only to wake from the cold water from Okina's bucket.

Aoshi allowed a pensive smile and wondered why such a childhood memory would stray in his thoughts all of a sudden. So this is what a condemned man feels!

His features sobered at being reminded of his predicament. He was beginning to have second thoughts about having this inquest. Perhaps it was too soon. Having led the group, he also oversaw the trials of captives and traitors to their group. Aoshi's verdicts were swift and efficient. Okina then hardly objected to his decisions, but always had advice, if asked for it. Therefore, he was well aware that his offense would mete the severest punishment.

Why was he in such a hurry to die? The question lingered in his mind as he absently ran his thumb along the kodachi's tsuba. Presently, his attention was diverted to the sword in his hand. He pushed back the hilt to partially expose the blade. A wild thought streaked across his head. He could finish it then and there with his sword. The ceremony would be quick: a lateral cut across the belly. The only drawback was there was no-one to take his head to prevent him from crying out, which could bring him further disgrace even in the afterlife.

The end of his miserable existence lay within his very hands. His passing could bring back his honor.

Honor. What was it that Himura said? His head was swimming with images of the past, present and a bleak future. Was there true honor in death?

Aoshi snapped back to the here and now when he felt a sting in his hand and saw blood trickle from his finger down the silvery blade. He saw his reflection illuminated in the flickering firelight, stained with his own blood, on the polished steel.

One last act.

His heart beat frantically within him, as his very being came alive. Aoshi had come to a resolution. He will fight his last fight, not with swords, but with every ounce of integrity he pushed down inside him and face the shura once and for all. And it shall be done for his former allies to see.

I would be free . . .

He set aside the pleasant prospect as he sensed footfalls from the corridor. Aoshi stared at his kodachi wistfully, wiped off the blade hastily with his sleeve, before sliding it into its sheath. He used it to hoist himself up to a standing position.

Misao, Okina and the rest of the Oniwabanshu arrived. Shiro, Kuro, Okon and Omasu gave him a perfunctory bow before filing into the room, a respectful gesture which startled Aoshi. Misao and Okina entered last, did the same, and took their place at the forefront, with Okina sitting at Misao's left.

The old spymaster gestured for Aoshi to sit as soon as Misao was settled, and the latter eased himself on the tatami, his weapons at his side. He squared his shoulders and fixed determined eyes at the small council.

My journey, my battle, begins right now. Whatever the outcome, I shall follow that path with no misgivings in my heart. And in death, I shall finally give them and our fallen comrades the honor I never gave while I lived.

"We have all gathered, as you've asked," Okina spoke. "From all indications, you've asked us here to make an inquest. Is that true?"


A frown deepened in the old man's features. "Why, this is a rather unusual request. If this is what you wish..." He stroked his beard ruminatively, then nodded.

"Very well. Everyone here is well aware of the treachery of your actions. By aligning yourself with Shishio Makoto, you have forsaken the principles this organization upholds. Worst of all, being leader, you bought shame to the group and to the title of okashira by leading a life of violence. By our standards, such acts merit a very grave punishment. But, before judgment is passed, we will allow you to speak in your defense."

After a pregnant pause, Aoshi replied quietly, "I have nothing to say in my defense. I was consumed by rage at the death of my men that all I ever thought of was revenge. I let the anger control me that it made me blind and deaf to the bald truth: that killing will never bring back the lives of my valiant comrades.

"But now I see clearly. that I've done wrong. I take sole responsibility for everything. For going against you, my former comrades, and for being a tool of destruction for Shishio Makoto."

Moments of stunned silence followed his confession as his audience witnessed their deposed leader fell prostrate before them.

"Having led the Oniwabanshu before," Aoshi continued, his forehead touching the floor, "I am aware of the reprisals. I ask you now, to reclaim the reputation of this group, and do what is to be done." Aoshi wasn't sure whether he was heard, what with his blood thrumming in his ears.

He had set his fate. Now he has to meet his destiny with his head held aloft.

Come to me, demon, and fight!

He could feel the clutches of hell at his shoulders, pulling him. But no claws dug into flesh, but felt like warm, human hands. Aoshi opened his eyes to see, not creatures of the underworld, but the homely faces of friends.

The young members crowded around him, Misao right in front of him. She looked like she was about to cry, and wasn't being discreet about it unlike the others.

Aoshi could only look on in beguilement. The question couldn't form on his lips. And, much as he wanted to disengage from their touch, he wanted to savor the moment, a fragment in time he will take with him in the afterlife. He will miss the faces looking up at him, especially of the one who stood by him. Misao. I'd do everything all over again, if I could . . .

"The Oniwabanshu regained face the moment you faced Shishio in battle." Aoshi raised his eyes to see the glow of pride in Okina's eyes. "And we have the Aoshi we knew back again the moment you decided to help Himura with his cause. Those deeds alone were enough to merit pardon."

Aoshi sat stock still, stifling a gasp. He couldn't believe he was sitting there, in the midst of the only family he recognized, and hearing the words from his old teacher's lips. Pardoned? His mind made rapid inferences: the confrontation with Himura, his last-ditch efforts against Shishio . . . it could only be Sagara Sanosuke!

Misao led a loud cheer, bouncing in her seat with glee as Okon and Omasu seemed undecided whether to laugh or cry, while the young men simply beamed at him.

Aoshi felt his heart go weak with relief and unknown joy a the news. He was afraid he would lose his control from the overwhelming emotions washing over him. He opened his mouth to speak, but Okina raised a hand.

"We shall talk further later. This deliberation is dismissed. You are in need of tending to." He looked knowingly at the crowd surrounding Aoshi.

They grinned meekly, then scurried away to do their tasks. First, Omasu arrived with a basin of water and a washcloth, leaving Shiro to aid Aoshi in cleaning himself. Next came Misao with a change of clothes for him. She traded snickers with Okina at seeing the sleeves were too short, and that Aoshi had outgrown his hakama. Okon entered just as Shiro and Okina took their leave, as she and Misao took out the bandages and healing balms for Aoshi's wounds.

The young man had remained silent in that interval, and merely watched as the girls went about their ministrations. He ignored the pain from the medicinal herbs, being too preoccupied at being confounded by the kindness they were giving him.

"Oh! Gomen, Aoshi-sama! Did it hurt? Misao exclaimed with much regret. Aoshi realized he had flinched from the contact of her fingers on his skin as she wrapped the bandages on his chest. He gave a brief shake of his head, not trusting himself to speak.

He was rewarded by a smile. Not knowing how to respond, he lowered his head and closed his eyes and let the girls finish their work. But Misao seemed to have other things in mind.

"Ara! Don't fall asleep on us!" she said. "You're too heavy to carry. Don't worry, we're almost done."

She kept up a lively chatter with Okon, who gamely responded. In no time at all, they helped him into his clothes.

"There you go," Misao announced, as Aoshi mutely watched her closing up his robe. "All patched up and good as new." She gave a sunny smile, reminiscent of the child he knew, and it warmed his heart.

The young women were gathering their things when Kuro filled the doorway. A tray in his hands carried a simple fare of smoked fish and pickled rice, together with a pot of tea. He stepped inside and sidestepped for Okina to pass before him.

"You must eat something to regain you strength," Okina advised as Kuro laid the tray before Aoshi. Okina nodded to the three expectant faces, and Misao, Okon, and Kuro made their exit.

Aoshi gaped at the food in front of him. He was still reeling from the goodwill gestures to think of his own appetite. But he picked up the lacquered hashi and rice bowl and slowly ate.

Okina sat patiently without a word and waited until Aoshi finished his meal. Feeling that he couldn't eat anymore, Aoshi set down the bowl and chopsticks and set aside the tray. He faced his old mentor, wishing Okina would indulge him by speaking first. When it didn't happen, he thought of satisfying his nagging curiosity.

"Himura and Sagara...?"

"Sagara-kun is resting comfortably," Okina replied. His face turned grave. "As for Himura-kun, he has yet to regain consciousness. It's a surprise he survived the journey back, with such injuries he sustained." He shook his head.

Aoshi nodded once, his fists bunched tighter in his lap, the sinking feeling returning. Some of Himura's wounds were inflicted by he himself. And yet, why was everyone treating him so kindly as if nothing had happened?

"Why?" he blurted his concern in a whisper.

The spymaster eyed him at length, puzzlement clouding his face.

Aoshi breathed in slowly. "I don't deserve this generosity," he put in bluntly. "Especially from you. I almost killed you!"

"But you didn't," Okina replied with a sagelike smile. "I should have taken the cue from there. With your present skill, you have every ability to kill me. But Misao reminded me of what I've overlooked then."

It was Aoshi's turn to fix perplexed eyes at the older man.

"I was the one who asked Himura to kill you, you know. But Misao... she was totally against it. So Himura-kun offered to bring you back with them. I didn't know what they both saw in you worth saving then. I understand them now."

The younger man was shocked when Okina placed a hand on each shoulder.

"You weren't entirely given over to evil. You would have killed me, Misao, or anyone indiscriminately who got in your way. You have only been misled by your goal that you thought nothing for yourself, only revenge. The anger you harbored made you dangerous, and the anguish you tried so hard to quell within you made you cold. There's no need to hide from your torment anymore. I'm very certain they will understand why you weren't able to avenge them. They gave up their lives knowing it will let you live, but not live to throw it away."

To live, Aoshi pondered. Is that what they wanted to tell me? Beshimi. Hyottoko. Shikijo. Hannya. Himura. Okina. They want me to live?

"Death is never a way to deliverance," Okina said as if divining his thoughts.

Aoshi was stunned. "What are you saying? Death has always been the way with us. Always! And how could I live with myself knowing the deeds I've done? You're asking too--"

He winced at the sharp stab of pain as he tried to rise. Okina had to push him gently back. He forgot the damages he sustained in his agitation.

"You're right. It has been that way with fighting men like us," Okina acknowledged after a while. "But this is the Meiji. They ways of the warrior have past. Our kind belongs to the past, sadly," he added with sympathy. "But we must reinvent ourselves in the changing times. Honor is no longer gained by valor in battle, to die by the sword." He looked directly into his intense blue eyes. "You can only win back the dignity you lost by living on, to strive to be a better man than what you have been, than what you are now. There is no shame in this. Endless chances are never for the dead."

The profound words weren't lost on Aoshi that he couldn't suppress the faint sly grin that crept to his lips. "How did you get to be so old and still be wise?"

Okina shook his head slowly as if feeling the weight of his age. "Our young okashira made me see what was hidden. I merely opened my eyes."

Okina begain to rise, thought the better of it, and landed an affectionate cuff on the other's cheek.

"And I'm not that old, you rascal," he said with a glint in his eye. "Come now, it's late. You need rest."

The tension melted away and the old camaraderie was slowly revealing itself. Aoshi accepted the helping hand as he stiffly shifted onto the quilted mattress. Okina helped him settle in, in the same fashion he'd done when he was a little boy, then he turned to go.

"Okina," Aoshi called out. "I . . ."

He turned, waiting for him to continue.

Aoshi didn't know where to begin, for there were so many things to say to this man whom he owed so much. His life wasn't enough, he knew. To repay him, he would do what he was advised: be the best he can be. Okina and the rest would make sure it will be possible.

"Thank you," contained all the gratefulness and regret Aoshi had for all his shortcomings.

The older man must have realized how those two words cost him, because the smile softened his eyes as he said, "Rest easy, young one. There's no need to run anymore." He padded outside, sliding the shoji panel behind him.

Aoshi watched as the shadow passed down the hall. Alone in the room, he gave in to the exhaustion and gave vent to a loud sigh. The healing balm was beginning to work its wonders for him, taking some of the pain away and giving added warmth at the same time. The tea helped him relax as well. Lying in a comfortable futon with warm, clean clothes, his belly filled, he felt a sense of contentment he hadn't felt for a very long time.

Yet sleep was still a long way coming. His mind was alive with so many thoughts of what happened to his life, up to the quiet moment with Okina. He was still having a hard time reconciling with the fact that fate had been kind to him. The group didn't reject him, and will be given all the chances in the world to restore his life to rights. He didn't know what would have happened to him if not for the devotion of friends. What did he do to deserve such dedication? Aoshi had never known such benevolence in his hard life as onmitsu and as leader. Under such circumstances, he wasn't permitted to show tender, kindly acts unless it be mistaken for weakness, especially when he first took the responsibility at a young age.

For this reason, their good turn unnerved Aoshi. He was confused by the overpowering commotion inside him that threatened to consume him. Then there's Okina's words. He had already made up is ind to die, there was no need to plan ahead. And now that he will still be among the living for a time, he found himself afraid for the first time. His whole life was plotted like a map. Every step to be taken was always considered; even those times he planned his vengeance against Himura. Everything he did had a laid-out course of action. Now he doesn't know what he's going to do with his life. And it frightened him more than the enemies he has faced, more than death itself.

"To live without purpose," he muttered in the darkness.

He must plan his course by the next day. A new day for Aoshi. He needed to calm his mind and reorient his thoughts and start his life over again. This battle is not as dangerous as the ones he had fought in, but the goal is far more sought than prestige. He needed to seek his purpose for existence in this new world, and find that elusive object--whatever it was--that will quiet his perturbed soul.

He will never forget this day. Like a prodigal son, he was embraced back into the family he left behind for many years. And after years of wandering, then finding his way back once more, he felt a swelling of conflicting emotions: relief, shame, humility, happiness, and love. He will prove himself worthy of their trust, swearing to himself that he will return their kindness and repay their sacrifices with every ounce of his breath and strength.

There was no amount of pain, nor affliction, nor suffering that dented his stoic discipline he had lived by most of his life. But that night, in the dark quiet of his room, that one act of compassion broke through his heavy wall of resolve as Aoshi let the hot tears fall freely down his face.



Araan interjection/expression equivalent to "oh!"

Domo- thank you


futonJapanese quilted mattress

Gomen (nasai) – excuse me.

hakamaloose baggy pants

hashi -  chopsticks

kodachishort sword

-kun – young Mr. …

Okashirahonorable head

Okaeri nasai – Welcome home


shojisliding door panel

shura – demon

tatami – Japanese straw mat

tsuba – sword guard

Anything I missed, any glitches you may find, just inform me, dozo