Hakuouki: Memories of the Shinsengumi (Toshizo Hijikata Chapter 10 FINAL)

Final Chapter

Benten Fortress surrendered against the Imperial Army, and Hakodate was taken, forcing the army of the Republic of Ezo to surrender. Otori had convinced the army to surrender peacefully so they may live to see the future. The Imperial Army had recognized Enomoto’s skill and spared his life, sending him to prison instead of the executioner. Shimada escaped the final, fierce battle, and escaped unscathed. He had plans to open a school of swordsmanship in Kyoto.

As for Toshi and Kaika… the two comment on their love for the cherry blossoms because the blossoms remind the two of each other. Toshi comments that he wishes he could live forever now that he was with Kaika… but with the way he used up his life energy as a fury, that could never be true… however, the two would fight to live so at the end they could say they made the best out of what they had. Toshi then comments that Kaika cries so easily he’d feel bad to leave her behind. At her surprise, Kaika felt tears coming down her face- they assured each other that since they were each other’s, they would never have to cry alone, and each would be there to wipe the tears from the other’s face.

Happy Ending Picture

Blogger note: I will be trying out Saito Hajime’s route next. I could try going into Hijikata’s bad endings, but I may just do one big bad ending post at the end instead. I may also update older posts for the generic chapters to show what different choices lead to, and post update notes with redirection links when that happens.

Hakuouki: Memories of the Shinsengumi (Toshizo Hijikata Chapter 9)

Note: Pictures are in links this time due to some difficulty I’m having uploading the photos directly to WordPress… hopefully the viewing experience is still good despite this.

Chapter 9,  January 1869

Kaika was sent for after three months when the Otori and Toshi helped make the Republic of Ezo and elections were done being held. A president would be elected for the republic. Otori became Minister of the Army and Toshi became Vice-Minister of the Army. After arriving in Ezo, Toshi had been nicer to his men, but also became more recluse, spending most of his time in his room in deep thought. Otori thinks that this is a sign that Toshi is in need of Kaika.

There is a celebration for the establishment of the new government, but Toshi stays inside his room.

Kaika knocks on the door, and Toshi responds by telling her that he is not attending the party. Kaika enters.

Picture 1 

(…O3O You look sooooo happy to see me……)

Kaika tells him that she’s reporting as his page, and was appointed by Otori. He tells her to take the letter of approval back to Otori; he couldn’t approve this posting.

  • Don’t take it
  • Take it
  • Don’t take it

Kaika stays silent and doesn’t make any move to take the letter. Toshi rips the letter in half and Kaika tells him that she’d just get Otori to write her a new one. Stubbornly holding her ground, she tells him that she is there because she wants to help, in place of all their friends who have died.

  • Take it

(Gives love points for Toshizo Hijikata)

Kaika takes the letter and rips it up. She tells Toshi that she came to Ezo because she wanted to help him. And that she couldn’t let him torture himself anymore.

Sensing her resolve, Toshi gives in and wraps his arms around her.

Picture 2

He tells her that her support had saved him. He asks if the Shinsengumi still stands for what it means to be a true samurai. Kaika tells him that the soul of the Shinsengumi that their friends believed in is alive in him, and is even stronger than ever now. There was no more need to rule with an iron fist like he had done in the past. (There are more heartfelt words between them, but I’ll leave my explanation as is ^^)

Otori comes to visit Toshi, and starts poking fun at him, telling him that he had such a nice assistant, and such. Toshi remains unruffled to the teasing, and tells Otori that he actually is quite content with Kaika being his assistant.

Otori suddenly turns serious and then asks Toshi if he thinks they’ll be coming. Kaika listens more, and realizes that they are speaking of the Imperial Army. Toshi tells her the enemy’s possible strategy, and then tells her that it may be his last battle where he draws his sword. In the situation he drew, the enemies would be coming over the mountains from Otabe or Esashi, and then attack with their navy. They would be at a disadvantage. Kaika poses a seemingly ridiculous question- what if the Imperial Army didn’t come? Toshi answers then that there would be no more need for the Shinsengumi.

Toshi starts to go into bloodlust, and then states that he thinks his body can hold up till the spring. Kaika yells at him and tells him that she’s here for him and that she wants him to live much longer than that.

Picture 3

They receive news that the Imperial Army was heading for Ebisu and meant to lay anchor in Miyako Bay. Since the Republic of Ezo didn’t have many warships, the plan would be to capture the enemy flagship, damaging enemy morale and adding to their own fleet. Hijikata would participate in the operation, but Kaika would stay behind in Goryokaku. Hijikata manages to return from this operation, called the Ironclad Seizure Operation at Miyako Bay, but the operation itself had been a failure.

Toshi pleads for Kaika to escape on a Russian or British flagship and get away from Hakodate. Unable to bear him leaving for a second time, Kaika tells Toshi that she wants to stay with him. She asks him if he’s worried about her, and Toshi, with forced nonchalance, responds, “Of course.” She then tells him that if he really wants to keep her safe, then he must stay alive to protect her. Toshi smiles in response, and shows that he’s willing to live, if only for a bit longer.

Toshi in charge of leading troops against the army headed towards Fukamata Pass while Otori is in charge of leading troops against those headed towards Matsumae. Toshi brings a barrel of alcohol to his troops to warm them up against the bitter cold night, and tells them that since they don’t know when they need to attack, only one cup is allowed per soldier until after the battle. The soldiers’ spirits are lifted by this act.

Picture 4

Otori and his men were routed at Matsumae, and Toshi and his men were ordered to retreat to Goryokaku in Hakodate, where the final battle would take place. After returning to Hakodate, Toshi left for Benten Fortress to meet Otori and the other soldiers. When he arrives, he finds Shimada and Otori, and they give each other encouraging words for the upcoming battle. Shimada tells Kaika that he leaves Toshi to her.

  • I’ll do my best
  • You can’t do that
  • You can’t do that

Sensing that Shimada was preparing to die, Kaika tells Shimada that there may be a long battle ahead, and that he cannot quit just yet. She needed his support to help Hijikata to keep going.

  • I’ll do my best

This choice just makes Shimada tell him that she’s ready to lay down his life like the other Shinsengumi members, and then Shimada advises her to protect Toshi’s heart… I dislike this choice, so I’m sticking with the first thing I picked above.

June 19th

Toshi asks Kaika one more time if she wanted to stay… before she can even finish her sentence, Toshi tells her that he wants to tell her something this time. He then tells her that he is in love with her… and that before, he had only thought of living for the Shinsengumi, and then dying once he did what he wanted to accomplish. He couldn’t see a future beyond that. Now, she had become his reason for living. They share a deep and passionate kiss together.

Picture 5

Toshi and Kaika head off towards Benten Fortress after hearing that it’s in peril, but Toshi gets shot while riding on his horse. Managing to evade enemies, they rest at the rear of Goryokaku, in a garden of cherry trees. Toshi tells Kaika that she looks good next to the cherry blossoms, but Kaika tells him that she feels that they suit him even more. Cherry blossoms were strikingly beautiful, in defiance of the tragic ends they faced. Toshi similarly shone with the same heroism with his defiance of fate.

There is a moment of peace, but…

Picture 6

Chikage appeared.  (DAMN IT…. CHIKAGE…. Leave us the hell alone already! Die die die die die….) He had left his clan and traveled all the way to Ezo to fight Toshi. Chikage commended Toshi for being able to survive up till now, although he hid these words behind derisive remarks. Kaika wants to stop Toshi from fighting Chikage, but she cannot, for running away would mean forsaking all of his values… especially since Chikage had abandoned everything to come fight him. Toshi vowed to win however, because he wanted to live.

Chikage laughs at hearing that, and tells Toshi, that a fake like him can only use up his life force and throw it away like a cherry blossom throws its life to the wind. Toshi responds that he does not throw his life away, he just has many things he wanted to protect. Chikage replies that perhaps the name “fury” no longer suited Toshi for the life he strove to live was not that of a fake. Chikage calls Toshi a true demon, and that he rescinds any times he called him false. And if Toshi were a true demon, he was now to have a demon’s name… “Hakuouki.” (…there was a long pause before this, symbolizing how pivotal this moment was…) “It seemed almost as if the name had been chosen long, long ago, so perfectly did it fit him.”

“There was no give and take to this encounter; no block and parry. Everything that each man had went into that first, deciding blow.”

Toshi:“There’s still something I’ve got to protect. I can’t lose, not even to a demon.”

Chikage: “If I can die on the blade of a samurai such as you…Then I have no regrets. I have lived my life with honor, and I die with the same.”

Picture 7

“Hakuouki. Now you must live out what life you have left.” Those were his last words.

Some final comments for this chapter: I did wish for Chikage’s death here, mostly because I feel like his presence would cause the death of Toshi- but after their interaction in this final battle scene, where the two gained mutual respect for each other, I came to also respect Chikage. He came to defend his honor, and I believe he did it well… I quoted a few things in the end because I thought that paraphrasing his last words wouldn’t do him any justice. Last words are an important thing… especially to someone who stayed true to their own beliefs to the very end. This is an otome game, yes, but I think it brings a few important things in- honor, respect for one’s opponent, and fighting for one’s own beliefs. They are themes that resonate throughout the entire game, and are things that many of the Shinsengumi died fighting for, and are the things these true samurai lived for. I guess I am one of those strange girls who are touched by those notions, but I feel that because of the complex story, even though yes, by definition, an otome game is geared towards girls, the storyline is good for both genders. I believe men also have a sense of romance too, and the romantic scenes are not overly lovey dovey, so they would be able to fully appreciate it as well. I, for the same reason, will enjoy the other mens’ routes even though my heart belongs to Toshi here… my heart will not go doki doki over the other men, but I will fully enjoy seeing the romance between the protagonist and the men she chooses her journey with.

Diverging from this, Gintama, a more light-hearted story than this one, is also a great tale of samurai as well- it is also in the era of the Shinsengumi, and at the very least, there is no mention of Okita’s tuberculosis, and there are no member deaths (at least so far in the series). I recommend it if you would like to see more of the Shinsengumi, but have a few laughs and be moved by some of the strangely touching stories in there. :)

Hakuouki: Memories of the Shinsengumi (Toshizo Hijikata Chapter 8)

Chapter 8, July 1868

Once Toshi is well enough to be walking around, he meets up with the main forces. Saito meets Toshi, looking weary from the constant battles. He addresses Toshi as “Chief” though Toshi refuses this, stating that only Kondou deserves that title. Saito informs Toshi that Kondou is dead. (…this will be a great blow to Toshi. He had been fighting with the hopes of bringing a fully functional Shinsengumi to Kondou when he regained command. I dearly hope that he will not seek death after hearing this news…) Kondou had been beheaded at the Itabashi execution site at the end of April. This is a crushing blow, since Kondou had not been allowed to take his own life like a warrior, but instead was executed like a common criminal.

Toshi meets up with Heisuke and Sanan and exchange common pleasantries. He calls for Saito, and informs him that he will be commanding from the front lines from now on. Saito asks Toshi if he means to die in battle. Toshi denies this, and means to raise morale and take Saito’s place in battle. Saito tells Toshi that if he intends to take his place in battle that he must first defeat him- if Toshi was unable to defeat Saito, only death awaited Toshi in the front lines. (Thank you, Saito… Toshi was definitely rushing towards his death!) Saito pushes Toshi back.

It seems that Saito has also become a fury. Saito tells Toshi that he should leave the front lines to them and remain at headquarters to plan out strategies. Maybe Toshi would be able to forget his pain in battle, but this was not allowed for he was the only one who could unite the Shinsengumi now, and therefore, could not overlook their problems. Saito tells Kaika that he leaves Toshi in her hands now, and not to leave him out of her sight until his wounds heal.

Toshi starts to have a bout of bloodlust again.

  • Give him blood
  • Give him medicine
  • Make him endure it

Toshi is once again sad over this, and states that this type of thing can’t continue forever.

Toshi’s injuries fully heal in mid-August. The Imperial Army seems to be gaining an advantage over the shogunate supporting troops. Shimada comes with news form Otori (the guy trained in western strategies who tried shaking hands with Toshi); they are going to mount a counterattack in Sendai, the leader of the Northern Alliance.  Sanan volunteers to go first to establish a base for the Shinsengumi. Otori passed on additional news that he will be leading the Denshu Company to Bonari Pass, in hopes of stopping the enemy advance, which may actually be a ploy to buy time for others to get to Sendai. Toshi faces a difficult decision whether to send troops to help Otori out or abandon the Aizu and send all the troops to Sendai. Saito volunteers to stay with the Aizu. Saito states that the Aizu helped the Shinsengumi become what it is now, and he could not abandon them and keep his honor. So he wishes to stay with them until the end claimed them both.

Sanan sets out for Sendai and Hajime follows along with him. Saito tells Toshi to survive and carry the Shinsengumi’s facets of honor, dedication, and loyalty for what they stood in with him.

Saito tells Kaika that he leaves Toshi in her hands now.

  • I’ll never leave his side
  • He wouldn’t die even if you killed him

(This was tough so I looked at both choices and chose the one with the better reaction @___@)

  • I’ll never leave his side

Kaika notes that she already planned to stay by Toshi’s side and Toshi jokes that he doesn’t need to be in anyone’s care and that if Saito said such things, it would only go to Kaika’s head.

  • He wouldn’t die even if you killed him

(Gives love points for Toshizo Hijikata)

Kaika tells Saito not to worry about Toshi, seeing as he has pulled through countless times, despite being on the verge of death. Instead, she tells Saito not to die, seeing that the battle at Bonari Pass would be an intense battle. Toshi laughs at her words and tells Saito that he should worry about himself.

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Saito tells Toshi that he won’t die easily either, since he is fighting in the name of the Shinsengumi. He thanks Kaika for her kind gesture.

Kaika accompanies Toshi to Sendai while Toshi leaves Shimada with Saito in Aizu.

Unfortunately, when Toshi arrives with Kaika in Sendai, Sanan is nowhere to be found and Heisuke is out of contact. Murder also seems to be on the rise in the area. (:/ This sucks… Sanan was trusted to make a proper base for the Shinsengumi, and ends up mucking things up instead. I’m pretty disappointed… I actually trusted Sanan to do his job this time)

Kaika and Toshi meet Takeaki Enomoto at Sendai Castle.

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He was the shogunate navy’s second in command and had many victories on his belt. Enomoto mentions the murders in town and Toshi convinces him to let him handle the murders (he seems to also think that the murders are caused by Sanan and the Fury Corps). Kaika asks Enomoto if he’s heard about Okita, but there has been no news.

Heisuke arrives with news while Toshi is out doing rounds. He tells Kaika that Sendai Castle is (most likely) being pressured by the Imperial Army and that Kodo, Kaika’s father is in Sendai. Kodo is leading a unit of furies in the Imperial Army and Sanan was seen meeting up with him.

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Furies suddenly break into the room and Heisuke and Kaika meet face to face with Kodo.

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Kaika finds out that Kodo followed Heisuke and that he plans to use furies (new and improved and unaffected by daylight) to restore the Yukimura clan. Unable to convince Kaika to come with him, Kodo knocks Kaika out and brings her to Sendai Castle.

Sanan is working together with Kodo to do Fury research.

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Heisuke is assumed dead, but… He arrives with Toshi in tow! (<3 <3 <3!!!) Kodo reveals his plans and apparently, Kodo was under orders from the Imperial Army to decimate the Northern Alliance, but disagreed with their plans and just convinced them to do nothing to help the war. Kodo and Sanan joined forces, and Kodo planned to seek vengeance on mankind, and those who were responsible for the fall of the Yukimura clan. Sanan tries to appeal to Toshi and suggests to use furies to help the Shinsengumi, but Toshi is against this… Sanan raises his sword and brings it down

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upon a fury… a fury existed for battle, and if that was taken away from them, the least he could do was to let them die now, in battle.

Kodo asks Sanan why he was doing this- Sanan tells him that as he continued on, he saw that there was no way to save the furies. A rasetsu is about to attack Kaika, and she draws her sword, only to be too late. Kodo defends her and is dealt a fatal wound. The rasetsu is about to attack again, only to be slain by Toshi. Kodo tells Kaika that the rasetsu were a failed experiment, but he didn’t want to give up because he wanted to bring back Kaika’s clan and family. Kodo passes away, along with the furies. Only Heisuke, Sanan, Toshi, and Kaika are left alive.

But… not for long. Sanan and Heisuke both used up all of their life force, and said their goodbyes to Toshi… leaving only a pile of ashes.

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Shimada arrives with bad news… Saito had fallen in battle (WOT?!!!!!! Why are all these people dying?!!!!! Saito’s supposed at least be alive! Why?! He was the longest living member of the Shinsengumi in actual history! Why did they kill him off?! Argh, this game  is depressing…)

It’s getting dangerous to stay in Sendai, so the Shinsengumi prepare to leave for Ezo with Enomoto. Toshi tells Kaika to stay in Sendai. Kaika insists on going with him, and Toshi tells her that Chikage will be coming after him, but he can handle it. Kaika yells at Toshi that she doesn’t stay just because she needs him to protect her from Chikage. Toshi then tells her that he can’t make her happy.

  • Being with Hijikata makes me happy
  • I don’t care about being happy
  • Being with Hijikata makes me happy

Kaika tells Toshi that being with him was all that she needed to be happy. Toshi sighs and calls her a kid.

  • I don’t care about being happy

(gives love points for Toshizo Hijikata)

Kaika tells Toshi that all she wants to do is fight alongside the Shinsengumi and follow the same path he does. He is honored by her feelings, but wishes her happiness.

Toshi orders Kaika to stay behind (regardless of the choices made above). Kaika is left in tears. Otori steps in and offers her a handkerchief. He tells her to wait until they’re settled in Ezo. He would assign Kaika to Toshi once she arrived.

Hakuouki: Memories of the Shinsengumi (Toshizo Hijikata Chapter 7)

Chapter 7, April 1868

Toshi worked hard to get Kondou back, but the former vassals he spoke with were afraid of angering the Imperial Army and ended up refusing or ignoring his pleas.on April 11th, a shogunate vassal and the head of the Satsuma Domain met and Edo Castle was surrendered. But the war was not over. The Shinsengumi left Edo to meet with the Denshu Company. Saito took the main body of the Shinsengumi to Aizu to keep an eye on the Fury Corps.

Once Kaika arrives, she finds the allied soldiers have a mix of curiosity and fear in regards to the Shinsengumi. There were rumors of the Shinsengumi being a pack of murderes, and the soldiers treated them as such. Keisuke Otori, the Infantry Magistrate and the commander of the Denshu Company meets with Toshi. Otori extends a hand to Toshi, but Toshi is puzzled and stares a the hand as if it were a “week-old fish.” Toshi then asks Otori if he wanted money. Otori then explains that shaking hands is a Western gesture of greeting people.

Shimada explains that be is organizing the operation of 3000 soldiers, with an advanced, main, and rear guard. He is thinking of putting Toshi in charge of the advance guard due to his experience in battle. Toshi then discusses this with Kaika and Shimada and tells them he plans on agreeing and wants to send away Shimada to help with the main guard. Shimada then Tells Toshi that although he is separated from Toshi,he still wants to identify as a Shinsengumi soldier. Toshi tells him to do whatever he pleases. Shimada also then advises for Toshi not to put Kaika in a soldier’s position for the rear guard. Kaika asks Toshi why he wants to order them away. Toshi tells her that he can no longer be ready to give his life while he battled. He also reveals that the Awanokami Katsu had been the one to give up Edo Castle. Toshi curses himself for not having more foresight. Toshi doesn’t know what he is supposed to believe in anymore.

•I believe in you

•You have responsibilities

I believe in you

Gives love points for Toshizo Hijikata

(Although Toshi is strict most of the time, right now is not the time to be like this. He is incredibly emotionally vulnerable, and thus needs emotional support)

Kaika tells Toshi that she doesn’t know what he is supposed to believe in or fight for, but if someone were to ask her why she was there, she would say that it was because she believed in Toshi. For the men, they would be willing to fight men with guns with their swords for the sake of Toshi. Toshi softens and smiles, and remarks that Kaika is correct, and that if he lost sight of something, the only person who can find it again is himself. He then asks Kaika if she really is planning to

stay. She tells him yes, and he responds coldly that it was fine, but to stay out of his way. (I know you are hurt, but that’s kind of a dick-ish way to say things…)

Toshi is once again hit with bloodlust. (and Kaika becomes the local blood bank @_@)

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Toshi asks Kaika how long she plans on letting him keep drinking her blood. She tells him forever, and that as long as he needed her, she’d be there. This seems to make him miserable, as he’s lost sight of what has made him human.

The imperialists have captured Utsunomiya. Toshi proposes to take the castle with the advanced guard, but Otori is against it, and wants to wait for more troops to arrive. Toshi seems to not care whether he lives or dies at this moment.

The shogunate soldiers overwhelmingly outnumbered the castle guards, but ended up evenly matched due to the castle fortifications. Toshi orders the 200 men under him to storm the enemy line, but soldiers are hesitant because the enemy has guns. One tries to flee, but Toshi cuts him down and tells the rest of the men that he will kill those who run away. Toshi storms the enemy himself and dodges all their projectiles, killing men left and right. The men are inspired by the sight, and started fighting along with him. Shimogawara Gate (part of the castle) is captured.

There is trouble at the dining hall. All the men sent there have been killed. Toshi goes there with Kaika and finds Chikage and Amagiri waiting for them. Toshi’s hair turns white(fury mode) and fights Chikage. When Toshi is cut, the wounds that are supposed to heal do not, and Chikage reveals that his sword is Yasutsuna’s Demonslayer, used by Yorimitsu Minamoto to kill a demon named Shutendouji.

Despite this, Toshi pushes himself again and again, bleeding and almost going unconscious. He eventually loses his white hair, and goes back to being a normal human. Chikage taunts that he will kill Toshi and destroy the Shinsengumi. This riles Toshi up and his hair turns white again. Kaika realizes that if Toshi doesn’t stop trying to fight, he will die.

  • Stop Kazama
  • Stop Hijikata

Stop Kazama

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Kaika tries grabbing onto Chikage, but ends up being flung across the room. Chikage goes to cut up Toshi some more.

Stop Hijikata

Gives love points for Hijikata Toshizo

Kaika tries to stop Toshi, reminding him that continuing to use his powers cut away at his life force. Toshi is resolved to continue the fight nonetheless, and ends up getting cut in the shoulder by Chikage.

The place is set on fire by the guards fleeing the castle. Chikage realizes that he’ll be in danger if he stays any longer, and retreats. Amagiri tells Toshi and Kaika that the demon clans will no longer be involved in the government struggles. Amagiri tells them that they have fully repaid any favors owed to the Satsuma clan, and that the shogunate was doomed to fall either way. Toshi acknowledges this, and Amagiri asks why he plans to go down with the sinking ship, especially since the Tokugawa shogunate never gave the Shinsengumi the recognition it deserved. Toshi replies that a samurai fights for their lord no matter what, although with a sad smile on his face.

Amagiri tells Toshi that if Chikage attacked again, he would be breaking the demons’ moral code, and the clans would abandon support for him.

Toshi collapses, and Shimada comes around to carry him out of the burning castle.

Only a few days later, the imperial army takes back the castle. Toshi is sent away to Nikko to recover and Kaika tries her best to nurse him back to health. Toshi recovers to the point he is able to get up now, but Kaika is furious to see that once she has told him this, he has begun to work. She tells him that after he has finished, he should go to sleep and tells him that he should not work behind her back.

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Toshi thanks her. Kaika notes that this is the first time Toshi has been so genuine and nice.

Otori and Shimada come to visit. Shimada is relieved to tears that Toshi is well, but Otori admonishes Toshi for his behavior at the castle. The commanding officer is not supposed to be at the front battling enemy lines- the commanding officer is the head, and if it’s cut off, no matter how much of the body remains, the war will be lost. Toshi remembers Yamazaki’s words and smiles. He genuinely apologizes to Otori for worrying him and then to Shimada for having to carry him back. Both Kaika and Shimada are startled by the sudden change in Toshi’s manner.

Hakuouki: Memories of the Shinsengumi (Toshizo Hijikata Chapter 6)

Chapter 6, March 1868

The Shinsengumi went back to Edo. Kondou was still distraught over his first lost battle, and spent most of his time moping. Yoshinobu was ordered out of the Imperial Court and put into house arrest at Kan’ei Temple in Ueno. The imperial court was now in the control of the Choshu and Satsuma and the loyalist faction’s numbers were numerically at a disadvantage.

Saito tells Kaika to make some of her delicious tea for the commander. Kaika notes that he is more talkative than usual, signaling that he may be upset of the past day’s events.

Harada and Shinpachi decide to leave the Shinsengumi and still fight the same enemy, just not under Kondou anymore. Okita’s condition worse sanche is sent to a separate house in Sendagaya.

Kaika goes to give tea to Toshi, but finds that she’s walked in on a meeting with Sanan and Heisuke. Toshi is disbanding the Fury Corps and Sanan objects, telling him that the Fury Corps was the best way to gain strength in a weakened Shinsengumi, especially with the loss of Harada and Shinpachi. Toshi tells Sanan the conditions for using a fury’s power, and Sanan turns pale, but uses it as a reason to keep researching and find a way around it. Toshi still stands by his decision, and Sanan and Heisuke take their leave. It seems Kondou is passing by at the same moment (though I suspect he was eavesdropping).

Toshi talks to Kaika and tells her his concerns and troubles with Shinpachi and Harada leaving. He seems exhausted from working day and night.

•tell him to stop

•tell him to rest

Tell him to rest

Kaika tells him to rest and Toshi agrees to take her advice. He then tells her his plans to regroup…First letting Kondou regain control, and then having their allies help hold center areas of Japan while the Shinsengumi go to protect the northeast. Toshi is taken over by bloodlust again

•Gave him some blood

•Gave him some medicine

•Make him endure it

Gave him some blood

Kaika is about to cut her finger again when Toshi stops her and decides to make a cut himself. He cuts part of her neck with his sword and starts drinking from there. She feels his bitter feelings of regret and guilt just as he finishes drinking. Kaika tells Toshi he can drink from her whenever he wants, but he only gives her a smile and warns her that saying such things will only have someone use her up and throw her away later.

The Shinsengumi move to Nagareyama to train and Saito goes to Ichikawa to learn training with modern arms. Sanan, Heisuke, and the Fury Corps go on the Utsunomiya route to the Aizu since they can’t go to the Kaneko mansion in Nagareyama.

Kondou’s battle spirit is broken and he spends his day listlessly reading books. He tells Kaika of his books’ content and how he had dreamed of serving a great leader and becoming an amazing general just like Kansei Teikun, a great general who had served Liu Bei in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. He said that dreaming of being a great general didn’t make you one. Kaika tries to convince him otherwise and that Toshi would help bring them out of the rut they were in.

The Imperial Army surrounds the mansion with 200-300 men with rifles. Toshi urges Kaika and Shimada to help Kondouescape while he defends the mansion. Kondou disagrees, and tells him that he will surrender himself to the enemy and tell them that they are mere hatamoto holding down the mansion. He then orders Toshi to flee with Kaika and Shimada. Toshi fights back tears while telling Kondou that if he were to give him up to the enemies now, what had he been fighting for all these years?

In the midst of their retreat, the three run into enemies. Toshi takes his fury form and slays many men. When Shimada and Toshi have killed all the men in their path, Toshi orders Shimada and Kaika to go check for more enemies on the road ahead. Shimada goes, but Kaika insists on staying after seeing the sorrowful side of Toshi that he was trying to hide.

Toshi starts pouring his soul out to her, telling her that his one main goal was to see Kondou become an important person, to the point where even Kansei Teikun would mean nothing In comparison. Shooting for the same dream, he felt like he could do anything for Kondou, and now he had just fed him to the wolves. Toshi questions why he is even alive now. Kaika embraces his back and tells him that she told Kondou that he would figure things out. Kondou then told her that she was asking too much of Toshi. Kondou had cared for Toshi in the same way Toshi had cared for Kondou…and that was why Kondou had decided to give himself up instead of seeing his friend die.

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Kaika tells Toshi not to blame himself. Toshi takes a while to respond, but he can only reply that he has nothing left now. (I hope I can change that soon… And give him another reason to live!)

IMG_20131224_225035_337Author comment: From the looks of it, the chapters are getting shorter- or at the very least, less is happening in each chapter. The pictures at the end may not sync up very well with the summary descriptions, but I hope they add a bit of flavor to what’s going on inside the story. For these chapters, I may just go back and edit posts once the first walkthrough is done to show what happens when other choices are made. However, since the storyline is affected by each and every decision, I am not sure when the story starts to diverge into something completely different. As a result, I may need to add which route I am on, as indicated by the chapter start, to my summarizations in order for things to make sense.

Hakuouki: Memories of the Shinsengumi (Toshizo Hijikata Chapter 5)

Chapter 5, January 1868

The men are rattled- everyone is affected by how the shogun had run away while soldiers were fighting for him. Saito is off taking the wounded to Matsumoto, and hasn’t had time to come back yet. Shinpachi and Harada are depressed about the future. Toshi keeps pushing himself to work even during the daytime now, even though he’s now a fury. He’s barely been getting any sleep. Shimada tells Kaika to be careful not to walk the streets at night because of the recent nighttime killings of civilians.

Kaika waits in the common room for the captains to come back. Heisuke comes in and tells her that Shinpachi and Harada have taken the men to a brothel and left him behind to house-sit. Apparently, Sanan has been conducting patrols at night. Heisuke finds his behavior suspicious.

Toshi comes in the room, and seems to be in a bad shape, as if he’s about to collapse.

  • Hijikata, you should rest.
  • Is there anything I can do to help?

Is there anything I can to do to help?

Kaika asks if there is anything she can do to help, and Toshi responds that she should stay put and stop thinking about it. Her face immediately fell, and Toshi noticed- he asks her not to make that face and to not worry about them. He asks her to go make some tea and that her tea is alright. (I apologize for the awkward phrasing… @__@) Heisuke comments that Toshi puts up a good front, but is pretty easy on Kaika.

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Heisuke asks Toshi if he is okay, since he is a fury now, but keeps working during the day. Toshi tells him that Kondou told him that if he was shogun he would have locked himself in the castle and fought until he didn’t have anyone left, even if he only had two or three hundred men. Then he would have gutted himself, like an honorable warrior. Toshi knows that Kondou would die for any of them- and now that Kondou is stuck injured in bed, even though he feels horrible, it doesn’t mean he can rest. Toshi wants to get things back in order before Kondou is back on his feet.

Heisuke mentions that it seems like Toshi hasn’t felt the bloodlust yet. Sometimes, a desire for blood kicks in and before it is sated, the fury feels a deep pain. Once the fury drinks blood, the pain goes away. However, this is only temporary, and the bloodlust comes again another time. Kaika asks Heisuke if he drinks blood, and he tells her not to ask him such a question.

Kaika goes to her father’s house looking for clues on how to get over the bloodlust. After searching for a long time, she finds a formula for a medicine that temporarily relieves the bloodlust. She makes the medicine, and goes back to headquarters.

Kaika meets Sanan and Heisuke and offers the medicine to Sanan. Sanan refuses her offer and tells her that the medicine would only be a temporary and solution. Heisuke tells Kaika that he’ll accept the medicine. He also tells her that he’ll keep an eye on Sanan while he is on patrol.

Kaika goes to meet Toshi, and hears him in pain.

  • Give him blood
  • Give him medicine
  • Make him endure it

Give him blood

(Hakuouki has a biography section. It shows each romantic choice and their romance level. For those who turned into furies, there is also a corruption level. I noticed that Toshi’s corruption is high, and if you give him the medicine, it will still be high. Admittedly, I did go back and choose ‘Give him blood’ after seeing that so the corruption level would become low. Don’t know how that affects the storyline though.)

Kaika cuts open her finger and tells Toshi to drink her blood. Toshi refuses at first, but eventually gives in. He tells her that a girl shouldn’t cut herself up because no man will want to marry a girl covered in scars. (:P Not like I care… if that man is Toshi, he will know that she did it for him, and so he wouldn’t mind the scars) He then takes Kaika’s hand and licks the blood from her finger. Kaika tells him that she doesn’t mind because she’s a demon and she heals really fast. Toshi tells her that it doesn’t matter since she’s a girl. She apologizes for being so toward, and Toshi tells her that it’s fine- he shouldn’t pretend to be okay at this time, and that to have Kondou succeed, he needs to become a monster.

Toshi’s hard work began to pay off, and the Shinsengumi were given one of the hatamoto mansions to use as their headquarters.

Soon, Kondou made an appearance, seemingly completely healed. He tells the soldiers that they’ll head to Koufu and have been ordered to ambush the Imperial Army. The shogunate gave them two cannons, a number of small arms, and funding. Apparently Awanokami Katsu gave the order, and was known for being a pacifist. Shinpachi seems doubtful of him. Toshi mentions that if the shogunate didn’t exist anymore, Katsu would be out of a job- so when push comes to shove, sometimes war is necessary. They would need to round up more troops if they were to go to war with the Imperial soldiers. Sanan wants to deploy the Fury Corps, but Toshi turns him down. Kaika asks him why afterwards, and he tells her that he suspects that Sanan has indeed been cutting down innocent people in the streets. Also, the enemy used silver bullets on the furies that made them useless, so until they could find a solution, they would need to exclude the Fury Corps for now.

Toshi tells Kaika that the next fight would be big and that he shouldn’t include her, but the risk of having Chikage appear while they were away was too great to leave her behind.

Kaika finds all the captains dressed in Western clothing.

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Toshi explains that their enemies will be wearing western clothing and that they better do so too if they want to win. Kaika ends up staring at him a bit, thinking that he was as handsome as an actor. Toshi notices this and asks if he’s wearing it wrong. Kaika tells him that he isn’t. Toshi smiles, and tells her that she’s strange.

Kaika notes that Kondou isn’t wearing any Western clothing. Kondou tells her that he doesn’t feel right in it, and Toshi tells Kondou that he’s fine and he just needs to act dignified for the troops. His presence alone was enough to inspire the men.

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Kondou is out recruiting soldiers when Toshi suddenly gets news from Saito that The enemy has conquered Koufu Castle. Toshi tells Kaika to go back to Edo, since things are now chaotic.

• go with them
• stay behind

Go with them

Toshi gives Kaika a single order: if they fight the New Government Army, and things start not
looking good, he wants her to make sure Kondou escapes, no matter what. His belief is that if
Kondou is there, no matter how bad things get, they can still regroup. (Though I wish Toshi would realize his own significance more… Historically, after he died, the Shinsengumi fell to pieces.)

The Kouyou Regulatory Company at Koufu Castle were making negotiations with Kondou, who
wanted to resolve things peacefully. However, one of the new recruits called out they were the
Shinsengumi and attacked the castle’s defenders. This sparked a battle, and the enemy, who was superior in their knowledge of western weapons, were winning. Kaika urged Kondou to retreat with her, with Saito helping her, while Kondou looked at his dying soldiers with regret and tears.

A soldier calls out and asks them to identify themselves while they retreat down the mountain.
Saito distracts him while Kaika helps Kondou retreat. Amagiri appears, and Kondou asks her to
ask Amagiri to aid Kondou with his suicide, with Kondou taking responsibility for the war and
their great loss. Amagiri tells them that he is not there for the Shinsengumi, but since Chikage
has gone rogue due to his obsession with Kaika and Toshi (and he doesn’t intend to cut ties with the Satsuma), he is there to kill Kaika. She draws her sword and tells Kondou to escape, but he draws his sword and attacks Amagiri, telling her that a man would never leave a woman behind to protect him. Amagiri easily overwhelms him and knocks him out, but tells him that he respected the man for his actions. Amagiri tells Kaika that she is next and she attacks him, but she is quickly beaten and sent flat on the ground. Tears spill as she realizes she doesn’t have the will to overcome the pain and stand back up- she inwardly apologizes

“Giving up so easily? A real Shinsengumi warrior doesn’t stop fighting until they’re dead. The only thing on your mind right now should be how you’re going to out-think this chump.”

Toshi battles it out with Amagiri, and they are equally matched. Amagiri is surprised by this, and he asks what Toshi plans to do with his power. Toshi tells him that he plans to use his strength to protect those important to him. Amagiri stops fighting, and tells Toshi to be aware that Chikage would be back to challenge him. He also notifies Toshi that the power of the fury comes with the price of decreasing his lifespan.

Toshi helps Kondou up and Kondou discovers for the first time that’s Toshi has become a fury.
Seeing this fills Kondou with regret, but after Toshi tells him that he was happy to become a fury and help Kondou, Kondou tells them to dismiss his words and carry on.

Hakuouki: Memories of the Shinsengumi (Toshizo Hijikata Chapter 4)

Chapter 4, December 1867

Again, from the game: With the new year just around the corner, the Satsuma-Choshu Alliance formed an army and marched on the capital. In response, the Shinsengumi moved to the Fushimi magistrate’s office and began to prepare for war.

Someone has attacked Kondou. Kaika brings tea for the captains. Apparently, the Satsuma-Choshu Alliance wants power in the court as well as the shogunate’s assets and holdings. Shinpachi deduces that they want to start a war, and that they should prepare for it. Toshi agrees. He waits for input from others. Shimada states that Sanan has been trying to augment the Fury Corps. Harada is against using them because they’re too hard to control in a war. Shinpachi comments that it’s inhumane to use them too, and Saito tells him to offer better suggestions. Shinpachi shoots back that they’re still coming up with other methods, and that if it was such an easy matter to solve, they wouldn’t be in this mess.

Shimada asks for Toshi’s opinion. Toshi tells him that he’ll think about it, first surveying the actions of the alliance and then hearing the wishes of the shogunate.

Kaika decides to go visit Okita after not being able to fall asleep that night. She finds out Heisuke has also come to visit. Heisuke makes jokes about Kaika visiting a man’s room at night, but Okita doesn’t seem amused. He asks why they’re there, and Kaika asks them if they have heard about Sanan trying to augment the Fury Corps. They both affirm that they have, and discuss about how Sanan thought that without more men in the Fury Corps, they would lose, and how ultimately, it was Toshi’s decision whether or not to use them. Okita personally wants to get vengeance for Kondou and curses his ill body. Kaika notes that using the Fury Corps would give them an advantage in battle, but after the war, they might be disposed of.

Princess Sen and Kimigiku comes to visit Kaika. They ask to see Kondou, but he isn’t in the shape to see anyone, so Kaika proposes for them to see Toshi instead. They agree. Sen and Kimigiku ask Toshi how long they are going to use furies and tell them that they are a failed experiment. Toshi tells them that they have continued researching the Water of Life, and that it isn’t their place to judge them. Kimigiku then tells him that the furies have been murdering people in the streets to test out their strenght. Toshi is taken aback by this news. Toshi asks for the source, and Kimigiku tells him that she has no reason to divulge it, but that it was reliable. She suggests for him to disband the Fury Corps. Kaika thinks of what may happen to Sanan and Heisuke if that were to happen. There is silence.

Sen breaks the silence, but suggesting to postpone their talk of this, and asks Kaika to leave with them again. Sen states that there is a war about to start, and the Shinsengumi won’t be able to protect her once it does. Hijikata is upset with this statement, but Sen backs up her argument by asking him if he could protect her from Chikage if he came while he was in battle with the Satsuma and Choshu. Toshi couldn’t give a reply. Sen then appeals to Kaika by saying that if she leaves, then the Shinsengumi could fight their battles without any distractions. Kaika knows this is true, but still wants to stay. She looks over at Toshi for an answer, but he looks away.

  • I have to leave

  • I should leave

I should leave

(What the hell is this?!!! Is this because I don’t have enough love points with Toshi?!!! Argh!)

Kaika thinks that she should leave, but she does not want to. She hoped to live as a human after the war, and doesn’t respond when Sen asks her for her decision again. Hijikata senses her feelings and says, “…You don’t want to leave, do you?”This is more of a statement, rather than a question. “Then stay. What’s there to think about.” He gives Kaika a warm smile.

(Gives love points for Toshizo Hijikata)

(Ah, I see now- the choices were actually quite different despite them seeming the same- I should probably not jump to conclusions next time.)

Kaika asks if he’s sure that it’s ok. He responds, “I’m not going to repeat myself. …Or are you suggesting the Shinsengumi can’t handle this?”  Toshi reassures her that she can stay, and that if she was as much of a pain in the ass as she seemed to think she was, he would have kicked her out a long time ago.

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Before Sen leaves, she talks to Kaika again. She asks if the man Kaika was interested in was Toshi. Kaika has difficulty explaining her feelings, but tells Sen that although Toshi seems cold, she feels that he has a heart, but cannot show it because the fate of the Shinsengumi lies on his shoulders. She says that she wants to do whatever she can to help him.

Sen laughs and remarks that Toshi has captured her quite thoroughly. She then says that her ancestor, Suzuka Gozen, fell in love with a human named Tamuramaro Sakanoue and followed him to the capital. She was their granddaughter- so she knew a bit about how Kaika felt, claiming that circumstance and rank had nothing to do with love. Kaika gets flustered once she mentions love, but Sen calms her and tells her that she is cheering her on. She bids farewell and asks her to be careful, esp. since Chikage was very dangerous.

Kaika wonders if her feeling of wanting to be near Toshi was indeed love. She then thinks that to Toshi, the most important thing to him right now was the Shinsengumi, so she would need to think of how to put her skills to use.

Okita’s illness worsened to the point he couldn’t hide that he had tuberculosis anymore.

Kaika and some other men, including Inoue, are on their way to Yodo Castle to bring reinforcements, under Toshi’s orders. Inoue mentions that they must bring back reinforcements, and that he doesn’t want to see Toshi like he was that day.

//Flashback time!//

3rd day of the new year. The Fushimi Magistrate, the Shinsengumi’s new headquarters, are attacked and a cannon is shooting at the building. Saito notes that they have incredibly long-range rifles and skilled gunners (fifty percent of their shots hit, despite the long range). Shinpachi tries to attack the enemy line, but is pushed back. Toshi, alarmed by the rifle shots outside, thought Shinpachi died, and had went pale. Suddenly smoke starts to rise and it is apparent that the cannon had set the building on fire- Harada urges Toshi for a retreat.

Toshi: “…I guess this is the end. Nobody can win a war with swords and spears anymore.” He calls for a retreat.

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// End Flashback//

Inoue remarks that it was incredibly hard for Toshi to call a retreat, and that one defeat was enough. He then remarks that even though he’s not as good a swordsman as Kondou, he had his own ways of helping out. Kaika is resolved to help out as well.

Yodo Castle is strangely quiet. Inoue announces that they are looking for help to crush the rebels. Yodo Castle responds with bullets. They are no longer allies. Inoue decides to retreat with Kaika to help protect her from harm. This makes Kaika feel useless.

After they get to a safe place, Kaika weeps about how useless she is. Kaika likens Inoue to her father after he tries to calm her. They go to find the soldiers they left behind, and find that they’re all dead. And Chikage is standing in the middle of where all the corpses lay. (T___T That bastard….) Apparently, Chikage had gone to talk to those in Yodo Castle, and seeing Kaika, decided to play with the soldiers before she came back. Both Kaika and Inoue are furious- Inoue especially, because most of the men killed were from his division (the sixth division). Kaika, looking at the situation, knows that they can neither retreat nor defeat Chikage nor hold him back. Kaika is about to turn herself in when Inoue tells her to stay back. He puts himself between her and Chikage and tells her to run for it, and tell Toshi that he apologizes for his incompetence and that he hopes that Toshi will forgive him for not staying with him to the end. “Tell him that I don’t have the words to thank him for giving a man like me the chance to be a part of something. I’ll never forget what he did for me.” Kaika fights back tears as she pleads with Inoue to let her go with Chikage so he won’t have to die. Inoue tells her that he won’t use a woman as a shield to escape and that no father wants their daughter to die before them.

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Chikage kills Inoue, and even though Kaika’s instincts are to run, she goes to hold Inoue’s hand as he passes away.

Chikage steps forward to take her hand.

  • Run for it

  • Get revenge

Get revenge

Kaika grabs her kodachi and points it towards Chikage. He taunts her and tells her that her time with humans must have poisoned her and that Inoue’s death was inevitable when he challenged a demon. Kaika yells at him to shut up, and feels a strong desire to kill him. And if she were able to transform her wrath into strength she would have been the strongest creature alive. She runs towards Chikage and he slaps her strike aside. Her kodachi falls out of her hands and as she goes to reach of it again, Kazama stomps on her arm. Chikage notes that perhaps he should punish her so that she would never defy him again. “Pain is an excellent tool for discipline. Fortunately your body heals very quickly” Kaika curses. “Damn you!” She realizes she can’t escape, but at the very least she could refuse to give him the satisfaction of a compliant victim. “If all you’re going to do is use me however you like, then I might as well bite off my own tongue and drown in my own blood!”

???: “Don’t remember giving you permission to do that. And I don’t much care for people who can’t follow orders.”

It was Toshi (or Hijikata, as Kaika refers to him in the game). He sees Inoue’s body, and is shaken by grief and regret, seemingly on the verge of tears. Kaika gives Toshi Inoue’s final words, although she knows this will pain him. Game words (I find them to be too beautiful to rephrase and summarize, so here they are): Slowly, almost as if in prayer, he bowed his head. When he lifted it again, his eyes were changed; they shone now with the brilliant fires of rage. (Again, I am reminded of why I fell in love so deeply with this man… I fell initially for his looks, but once I found out how compassionate he was, although seeming like a Demon on the outside, and how he is able to turn his grief into rage, his sorrow into strength, how he puts duty, pride, and honor, but most of all the well-being of the Shinsengumi before his feelings- I fell completely and utterly in love. For two years and counting already… I’ve been waiting a long time for you, Toshi…^___^)

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Toshi prepares to attack Chikage. …the game words are amazing at this moment, so I’ll be transcribing them instead at this point.

Chikage: “Another human who wishes to throw his life away? It is difficult for me to understand why your kind is so anxious to die.

Chikage: “I was hoping I’d seen the last of this idiocy. Very well. Let’s get this over with.”

Kazama’s voice was bored, but as he spoke the fire in Hijikata’s eyes grew into a raging furnace.

Toshi: “‘Throw his life away,’ you piece of shit?!”

(…damn, I love you…)

Toshi: “How dare you say he threw his life away!”

(…I love you even more…>___<)

Hijikata roared in wordless fury and launched himself toward Kazama. (I’ve been using first names up to this point, but Hijikata = Toshi, Kazama = Chikage :) )

With all of his weight behind the blade, he struck at the demon’s neck.

Chikage: “Nn!” (Chikage looks rattled at the moment)

Kazama flicked his sword up to catch Hijikata’s. For a moment, it looked as though they were evenly matched- And then Kazama was thrown back!

Chikage: “What?!”

From the look on his face, it was likely the first time he’s ever found himself overpowered by a human, and he was stunned. Hijikata didn’t let that opening go to waste. He pushed forward, his sword hissing back and forth through the air if possessed.

Chikage: “Guh!”

Just moments ago Kazama’s face had been calm and serene- now it was warped with frustration and surprise. Hijikata, by contrast, wore a manic grin and his blade slammed again and again into Kazama’s with more strength than I’d ever seen before.

(Just have to say… DAMN… the writers for Hakuouki are SKILLED. The words are like poetry and they’re also able to add in a really damn good storyline mixed really well with the actual history of the Shinsengumi… I’m really impressed…maybe I haven’t read a decent read in a long time, but this is definitely a work of art so far.)

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Chikage: “Be honored, mortal. The moment your eyes behold a true demon is the moment of your death.”

And with that, the battle changed.

Toshi: “Guh!”

Kazama’s sword hummed and flickered through the air with ease, far faster and smoother than it had been a minute before. It was all Hijikata could do to anticipate and block his strikes, leaving him no time to try and land an offensive blow on his own.

Chikage: “Where’s the fire you had a moment ago?! Is this the most you can muster for the dead insect?”

Kazama’s demonic strength and endurance were beginning to show: He wasn’t even breathing hard.

Toshi: “Damn!”

Hijikata, however, was quickly running short of breath. All Kazama had to do was wait for him to tire, and…

Toshi: “Goddamnit!”

He threw his full strength behind his sword, and lunged at Kazama one more time. The demon anticipated his blow easily, and twisted to the side as Hijikata’s blade swept past him.

Toshi: “Gah!”

Kazama’s hand snapped out and Hijikata’s sword fell, clattering, to the ground.

Kaika: “Hijikata!”

In my mind’s eye, I could already see him, crumpling to the dirt, just as Inoue had done. A slow puddle of blood growing under his still-warm body… I had to do something! I couldn’t let him die too! … But I was utterly and completely helpless. Useless.

Toshi: “…” (he’s coughing and wheezing right now… :()

He fell to his knees, his chest heaving. Sweat rolled down his forehead in streams, and the cloth of his shirt was soaked. Kazama lifted his sword and pointed it at Hijikata.

Chikage: “…This is the end for you.” His mouth curved up into a cold, confident smile. “Humans are such fools. They will try to fight what they know they cannot defeat. I call that recklessness, not courage.” “You have underestimated the power of a demon, and chosen not to fear us. I hope your last thoughts are of shame at your ignorance.”

As Kazama spoke, Hijikata dragged his tired body across the ground, toward his fallen sword.

Chikage: “What’s this? Trying to run?”

Hijikata had reached his sword. With the last ounce of strength he possessed, he lifted it up once again and turned to face his foe. (….again, I fall in love one more time…haha…)

Chikage: “…You won’t bow, will you? I’ve made a fool of you, and yet you refuse to acknowledge the difference between us.” …No. Hijikata was not the sort of man to care about a difference in strength, but neither was he the sort of man that would simply abandon victory. So why, then, had he not responded? As I watched, he pulled out something from inside his shirt.

Kaika: “Ah!”

A tiny bottle filled with red liquid.

Chikage: “The Water of Life, eh? How far do you mean to take this idiocy?”

Hijikata replied with a toothy grin. “I’m an idiot, huh? Like I give a shit what you think. We were always a pack of idiots. We shared an idiot’s dream that we were all too bullheaded to give up on. And now, here we are. We’re halfway up the hill. If we stumble now, we’re gonna fall all the way back down.”

Chikage: “Even if you become a fury, you’ll be nothing more than a faded reflection of a true demon.”

Hijikata’s grin never wavered. “Well, you never know till you try.”

Kaika: “Hijikata, no!” My cries fell on deaf ears.Hijikata lifted the bottle to his lips and drank.

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Hijikata: “Shut up.” Hijikata’s voice rumbled out from the fury, dark and low, like approaching thunder. “I’ve had enough of those fucking cowards in the shogunate and I’m sick of you goddamn demons. So I’m not a real demon? Why the hell should I care? Never once in my whole stinking life have they treated me like a real warrior.”

His eyes burned with anger. “But hell… Where are you supposed to find a real warrior these days? Lotta men callin’ themselves ‘samurai’ when all they do is sit behind ten feet of stone in a castle and get fat. Only thing those sons of bitches care about is making sure the side they buddy up to is the side that’s gonna win. We’re better soldiers than any of those bastards!”

Hijikata’s words weren’t just for Kazama anymore. They were for Inoue, who had died in a fight he couldn’t win…For the shogunate and the counselors, who didn’t have the courage to make difficult decisions; and for everyone who had ever refused to treat the Shinsengumi as true warriors.

Hijikata: “I believe what I believe. Nothing can change that. And I will never, ever, retreat. That’s what brought us this far. Call us fake if you want, but if we push hard enough and don’t give up, eventually we become what we say we are. If I can defeat you now, as a fury, then I-no then we- can become real demons. Right?”

The predatory grin on Hijikata’s face wasn’t human. When he leapt at Kazama, he moved so fast that I could barely even see him. He’d been impressive as a human, but as a fury.. he was beyond belief.

Chikage: “Gah!” Kazama smashed aside the first attack but a second followed it almost immediately, and then a third. Blow after blow crashed against his defenses, giving him no time to even breathe.

Hijikata: “C’mon! That all you’ve got! I thought we were just ants for you to crush! Where’s your smart mouth now, demon?!”

Hijikata’s eye flashed, like a great beast closing in on its prey, and he lunged at Kazama.

Chikage: “Hnng!” With an effort, he managed to swing his blade up in time to catch HIjikata’s but he’d lost the advantage of casually superior strength. “Gaaaah!” His sword rebounded from Hijikata’s strike, and Kazama was forced back. Hijikata leapt for the opening.

*Blood splatter sounds and a flash of steel*  Hijikata’s sword moved too fast for the eye to see: A line of blood simply appeared on Kazama’s face. He clapped a hand to it in surprise and pain, and jumped backward, trying to put space between them.

Hijikata: “Ah ha ha ha… Great. Looks like you’re finally getting into it. You look like a man now. How’s it feel to get cut by a fake?!”

Kazama didn’t even seem to hear HIjikata’s words- he simply stared, eyes wide at the blood that fell from his face to pool in his hand. Even as I watched, his wounds closed themselves. The stream of blood slowed to a trickle and then stopped. “Damn you!” Though the wound itself had disappeared, it seemed the ramifications had not. “How dare you! False demon! Insect! Scum!”

It must have been the first time he’d ever been wounded by a human. Kazama’s preternaturally calm face was distorted now by rage and disgust. It was the first time I had ever seen him truly look like a demon.

Chikage: “I will never forgive you for this! I will torture you until you beg for death! You will learn what it truly means to feel pain!”

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Hijikata: “Gaaaah!”Kazama had been strong before, but now his blows landed with all the strength of a cannon. Veins stood out on Hijikata’s neck and forehead as he strained against the onslaught.

Chikage: “Damn you! You are nothing! Not even a shadow of a demon! How dare you draw my blood!” Kazama had gone mad with rage, his golden eyes wide and bloodshot.

Hijikata: “Bastard!”Every time their swords met, I could see Hijikata’s chip and shake. It looked as if the next blow could break it in two. Hijikata tried desperately to block with the back of the blade, and protect it from more damage, but Kazama’s strikes were too quick and too powerful. Hatred rolled off of them in waves. Neither of them would be satisfied with simply killing the other. “I’ll never forgive you, you arrogant son of a bitch! You’re going to hell even if I gotta drag you there myself!”

His clothes were soaked with blood, but eyes alight with vigor and determination shone out from beneath his white hair.

Chikage: “Ha! Go to hell if you like, but you’ll be going alone!”

They leapt at each other like enraged animals, blows flying so quickly that they could only defend or attack on instinct. It was clear that the battle would only end when one of them was dead, but it was rapidly becoming clear that Hijikata was fighting in a way that put him at a disadvantage. Back home, he’d always been so calm, even in the heat of battle, but cool detachment had fled with his humanity.” I had to stop them. If I didn’t, Hijikata would die, but awe and terror at their display of violence and skill had sealed my voice in my throat. Even though I was a demon, just like Kazama, I was helpless. It was maddening.

Ok, time for the story transcription to end. Summarizing again.

Yamazaki asks Kaika if she’s seen the commander. She tries to explain what’s happened, but things come out in a jumble. He sees a fury engaged in combat- he recognizes the clothes- Kaika confirms his suspicions by telling him that it’s Toshi (:P I could say Hijikata, but Toshi’s his pet name, so I’d rather call him that at the moment. Plus, it’s shorter to type, >3>;;)Toshi’s sword is knocked away. He is about to be done away with by Chikage when Yamazaki suddenly jumps in and takes the blow for him. Yamazaki asks Toshi why is he fighting the enemy alone and that the men are his arms and legs while he is the brain of the Shinsengumi. You can replace the arms and legs, but without the head, the organization is dead. Kondou and Toshi make one whole. Hijikata’s hair turns back to original color, and Kaika watches as he struggles to blink back tears. Shinpachi’s yelling voice indicates that he’s not far away either. Chikage wants to finish off Toshi now, but Amagiri gets in the way, telling him to stop, and that further battles would only result in unnecessary casualties.  Apparently, the Satsuma does not want the shogunate to fall by the hand of a demon, but by a human. Chikage vows never to forget Hijikata’s (I’m saying Hijikata here because that’s what Chikage calls him) name and that he’ll have his revenge. Toshi makes a death vow of his own to Chikage.

Shinpachi and Harada try to inquire for details of what happened, but Toshi tells them to attend to Yamazaki, who’s still alive at this moment.  Kaika helps out with the first aid. Saito inquires what happened as well. Toshi doesn’t seem to hear him and instead is muttering about how he never though that he’d sacrifice his own men to survive. He then asks Saito to help him bury the soldiers and Inoue. He jokes that it gets cold this time of year so they can’t let them freeze. Kaika knows that although he wanted to break down and cry more than any of them, he struggled to grin and joke in front of his own men. (……*sigh*…..I wonder if I can comfort him somehow… I hope I can…)

Kaika breaks down but cries in her hands so no one can see. Inoue died protecting her, Toshi became a fury to fight the demon who was chasing after her, and Yamazaki might die from protecting Toshi. She wonders how she might atone for her sins.

The Fury Corps, which seemed to have an advantage because it was hard to aim pistols once night fell, were overwhelmed, and the Shinsengumi’s allies crumbled. With the betrayal of the Yodo and Tsu Domains, and the refusal of the Owari Domain to become involved in any way, the Shinsengumi was alone. With their allies gone and enemies everywhere, they had no choice but to retreat to Osaka Castle.

Shinpachi and Harada go take Yamazaki to go see Doctor Ryojun (Matsumoto). Hijikata is still around in the daylight even though he is now a fury. Kaika asks if he underwent any changes yet- he tells her hasn’t, but he won’t be able to look at sunlight anymore later, so he might as well enjoy it now. He tells her that he’s the one who decided to drink the Water of Life, so she shouldn’t worry about it too much. Toshi seems pleased that they were able to stay in the castle, since it’s impregnable.

However, his excitement is put to a halt when Shimada tells him that they’ve been ordered to go back to Edo. Yoshinobu Tokugawa has already boarded a ship for Edo so there is little point in remaining in Kyoto. Toshi’s infuriated because Tokugawa had run away to save his own ass while his armies put their lives on the line for him. He muttered that it was fine, and that they weren’t fighting solely for Tokugawa in the first place, and that at the least they had the Denshu Company, an elite force trained in western tactics by French military instructors, and a few warships bought from the foreigners.