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Volume 11, Chapter 10 (full)

I proudly present to you:


Volume 11, Chapter 10 : The Surrendering Loser

This was the eve of the end? ..

Night had enveloped the dark veil of water of the Inland Sea. On this small island there were no traces of people, only in the western rocky coast on the edge of the cliff was a glowing beacon. The entire forested island resembled a small mountain, which had grown out of the sea.

On the shore of one of the edges of the island could be seen a flickering light. On that narrow strip of sand rested a shallow cave where someone was burning fire. A man sat by the fire. The fluctuations of the flame increased his trembling shadow, behind on the rocky wall of the cave.

His wet dripping hair and clothing had almost dried up from sitting long by the fire, but the fabric of the shirt was soaked sea salt and was stained with blood in several places, perhaps he was wounded? His hair was in disarray, and a few strands of hair were falling over his forehead, his eyes were closed.

Takaya was lying beside unconscious, motionless, as if dead. Only by touching his mouth half open, you could feel the faint breathing. Somebody had removed his clothes, except underwear and a black jacket covered like a blanket, from under which bare legs were visible. Naoe was sitting next to him with his eyes closed, like a sentinel, his left hand on a bent knee in a protecting gesture.

There was silence around, broken only by the lapping of waves and occasional crackle of logs. The flickering glow of the fire covered the face of Noe, keeping him from the darkness.

“This is the eve of the end?..”

His heart was full of anxiety and foreboding.

"The sign announcing the beginning of the fall?"

Nobunaga’s power had reduced the steam ferry severed into pieces, turning it into a pillar of fire. If anybody else survived there it was unknown, but the possibility was vanishing.
Nobunaga was reborn himself... but Naoe was surprised at how little this shocking fact disturbed him. He felt strangely calm. It was not that he knew or foresaw - no, nothing like he had expected. Perhaps there was no more strength to be shocked, that's all. It was a strange calm...

Under his eyelids, his internal screen scrolled the film: the tongues of fire, the cruel smile Yuzuru ... no Nobunaga’s smile. It was the last thing he saw.

“Poor him” he thought about Takaya. Thought distantly, as if it was something that absolutely does not concern him. It seemed Takaya remembered about who Yuzuru actually was – but this truth he had not entrust even Naoe, his right hand. But for him, judging by the reaction, in the guise of Yuzuru, appearance of Nobunaga came as a surprise.

"That is the Devil's Grain ..."

The freezening had stopped to function - that was the only conclusion.
Carrying in himself the Grain of Devil, he had become a puppet of Nobunaga. Now Nobunaga Grain controlled via Yuzuru, who was not only Takaya’s friend, but also the object of protection for some extremely important reason.

“I guess your fate is cursed...”

Yes, I should say curse why else, would such a villainess misfortune, be tossed on you.

"I pity you..." - Naoe tried to say these words, full of frivolous sympathy for what only a bystander was capable of. He, who was present in his condition, was a observer of direct road to it.

“And I can do nothing...”

Even the usual Samoyed smile turned to be so helpless. Naoe raised his left hand to his forehead, then bridge of his nose and then bowed his head. In him there was not a drop of strength he could not now budge even a small pebble.

“You took it, huh? .. A scared man who dared to challenge you, and you forced on him spell of powerlessness ...”

How it would be nice to state everything in reality on such a mythical scenario.

Then, even exhausted, he could take comfort in the fact that he was able to inspire fear in Kagetora, and it would satisfy his lust for superiority. But what good was this wishful thinking. The deeper he drowned in the fruitless fantasies, the more pathetic and useless he felt ... Kagetora was not even a drop afraid of him.

Moreover, Naoe had completely and irrevocably lost. Until now, he could even protest, fight Kagetora when he exerted pressure, and had therefore not been an ordinary loser he was ‘the loser who resists.’ He admired Kagetora, but he could not forgive himself for what he had given to him. He had lost, but running away did not appeal. He saw before him a perfect ideal, to pursue him he may have had to hurt himself to death, but he had still tried - struggled to achieve and surpass it.

He knew how to make their lives easier. Just had to leave the competition and just "worship"; forget about the desired victory, looking sideways and revelling in his own merits. Why had he not done so?

Could I not have accepted the fact that there was someone out there to whom I was inferior? Yes, he had. Had he wanted to become the centre of the universe, the centre of everyone's attention? It was also that, but most of all ... had he not wanted to become Kagetora’s special? Among the many admirers and losers, did he not want to become the ‘only’? Must had, so he tried to give his defeat meaning ... or maybe wanted to rise above the other losers to that alleged victory that lulled the helpless of sense, of worthlessness.

To receive as compensation, so to speak.

“Did I really resist you?”

But here he finally saw what people smarter than him had guessed from the start. He had refused resistance, not because he had lost power, not because he had become less stubborn ... he just had realized that he could never win, and had decided to lay down his arms.

The rest long had been aware, it just came to him now and so he had became the same as everybody else.

“Is that right? .. So? ..” He asked himself. “How sickening is my own stupidity already...”

The sound of the surf echoed, knocking on the stone walls of the cave. Feeling that someone was standing at the entrance, Naoe looked up, but the one who entered spoke first:

“Has Saburo-dono already recovered?”

The voice belonged to Fume Kotaro. Naoe took a deep breath and turned back towards Takaya.

“No, still unconscious.”

“If he does not wake up and it turns out I just saved you, then it's totally meaningless.”

Kotaro came to the fire; his long hair swaying to the beat of his steps.

Kotaro had pulled him out with Takaya when the ferry exploded. Kotaro having put all the energy into the mental shield, and Takaya in repelling Nobunaga, and when all three were in the water, Shinobi last effort to help them had been by swimming them to the nearest island.

“You have really lost power” Kotaro said, sitting on the other side of fire facing Naoe. “You could not even create a shield, and were trying all the same to cover up Mr. Saburo. In protecting him, I had to unwittingly protect you.”

“Expecting I will say ‘thank you’?”

“Why do I need your thanks? I did not do it out of kindness.”

“Oh yeah, you saved your new master - a man who claims to have two masters he will ...”

“Do you want to ask about Yuzuru Narita?”

Naoe cocked his head; but his eyes were closed at the same time.

“Grain of the Devil, to think ... now he's in the hands of Nobunaga, that is fraught with consequences as soon you had it ... do you not wonder who he really is?”
“And you, you know?” Naoe asked warily. He did not allow himself to be careless against Kotaro.

“Our Lord Ujiyasu knows everything” he answered his flat voice low. “Everyone, including the true intentions of Kenshin.”

“Your baseless statements ...”

“Of course, they seem unfounded to you, because you are nothing but dedicated. It seems Kenshin forbade Saburo-dono to talk to anyone else about Narita. But then all of this is only part of his ingenious plan? What else would your actions be in this case?”

Naoe frowned.

“The expulsion of spirits is suddenly just an excuse to use you?”

“‘Banishing force’ allows you to subdue and restrain the spiritual generals. Uesugi are able to do it, having the patronage of Bisyamonten. However if you can manage to take control of the power of Yuzuru Narita and freely dispose of Oda, Takeda or you will not need to be afraid. All the spirits of dissension generals bow to Uesugi.”

“Watch your mouth, you bastard ...”

“I say, Naoe I know what was your use” Kotaro coolly smiled. “But from now on there is no use of you...”

Naoe sat breathless, with hooded eyes, fully concentrating on the words Kotaro. While Kotaro watched him over the flames of the fire, and then said:

“Moreover, you cannot even move independently. You have lost ability to fight and very soon you will lose the right to be among yaksh Uesugi.”

Naoe remained silent.

“So what are you going do?”

“The answer is known” Naoe slightly lowered his head, turning to the lying Takaya. “Choice has been made, decision has been made.”

That silenced Kotaro. Quietly the twig snapped in the fire; the sound of the surf broke soundlessness night, echoing under the arches of the cave.

Kotaro looked at the man's face in front of a calm and thought ‘Just as on Lake Asinoko I cannot understand just what is his choice.’

‘A strange man ...’

This man was constantly losing little by little as though someone was pinching off pieces from him. Kotaro again wondered what was going on in his mind. Not that he sought to truly understand Naoe but he interested him as one of the specimens of human species. At heart Kotaro was cool and calm, and he was at peace with other; but Naoe touched a chord in him, in spite of everything.

“How strange ...”

Naoe did not seem worried, his question was exact:
“You said Yuzuru Narita is not a man ... is he maybe the embodiment of Buddha or some inferior deity?”

“Why do you think so?”

“For several reasons ... In Sendai, he called two meo1, Dayitoku and Gozanze and managed them himself. A man cannot command the Buddha, nor borrow the power of the Buddha. One need’s to surrender to God's will, one needs to perform a special ritual, but he did not do anything like that and did not call a blessing himself. Consequently, it initially possessed ... Buddha’s grace was his strength.”

Meo - deity of Buddhist pantheon, immediately follow the bodhisattvas (chain bodhisattva Buddha Meo celestials). In the text referred to two out the five Great Meo.

Kotaro was silent.

“And for Buddha there is no difficulty clean up the lost soul to. When the spirits were filled with revenge in Kaske, Yuzuru Narita easily cleaned them for all to see” Naoe turned to Kotaro. “If he is not a man, then there is one conclusion: he is Buddha.”

Kotaro smiled and nodded:
“I see you've already guessed everything ...”

“So, am I right?”

“The problem is what kind of the Buddha ...” Kotaro crossed his arms and leaned back against the rock. “His strength, it is a double edged sword.”

“How is it? ..”

“It can either save the universe or destroy it.”

“Saving the universe ...” Naoe frowned. “In what sense? Could it be ...”

He was interrupted by a low moan which sounded from nearby. Naoe leaned over to Takaya, who was obviously regaining consciousness. Now he was seriously tossing from side to side.

“Takaya-san ...”
He winced, not opening his eyes, as if he dreaming something.

“Saburo-dono ...” Kotaro called. Takaya threw his head back, his straining neck damp with sweat, struggling he shook his head. It seemed that the dream was not pleasant.

“Uh ... ...”

“Takaya-san!”

“Y. .. Zura ... - Takaya clutched his chest with both hands, almost tearing the skin and curled into a ball. Then he threw out his hand, as if pleading for help, and when his trembling fingers slid on Naoe’s shirt, who immediately took his hand in his own.

First thing that Takaya saw as he opened his eyes was Naoe nearby. Panting Takaya stared at him with dilated pupils.

“Awake?”

“Naoe ...”

Takaya muttered his name hoarsely, slowly looked around and found himself lying on the floor of some cave.

“Where are we? ..”

“Unknown. On an island but cannot say the exact position. Are you all right? You were having a nightmare?”

“Creepy nightmare ...” Takaya sat down and in a frightened gesture grabbed Naoe shirt. “As if Nobunaga appeared as Yuzuru and wanted to bury us in flames ... just like thirty years ago, only now, when he laughed, he had the Yuzuru’s face...”

“Takaya-san ...”

Hearing the sympathetic note in Naoe’s voice, Takaya was confused. With a puzzled look, he again looked around to notice the flickering flame fire, and immediately behind it the figure of Kotaro.

“Kotaro ..” he exclaimed, instantly tensed, but the next moment his expression changed. Takaya concentrated his look at the lazy fire, unwinding the tangled thread of memory, and soon joined the surrounding reality finally in his head with the preceding events.

I am Oda Nobunaga, Lord of the sixth heaven ... very thankful for our meeting and to celebrate the soul!

“So it was not a dream ...” Takaya’s face changed in and he bit his white lips. He mumbled something, and placed his head in his hands and nuzzled his knees.

He was silent for some time perhaps Nobunaga’s revival greatly shocked him. But an even bigger shock was that Nobunaga appeared in the form of his friend ...

“Yuzuru ...” Takaya moaned through clenched teeth, and then suddenly lifted his head. “What happened to him?”

“Takaya-san ...”

“What happened to him then?”

No one answered him. Takaya opened his eyes and turned toward the entrance.

“I have to save him ...”
“Saburo-dono.”

“I'm going after him immediately. Where is he? I have to save him!” Takaya tried to rise to his feet, but Kotaro blocked his way.

“Out of the way, Kotaro!”

“Saburo-dono this is folly. Besides, now late at night you cannot move freely.”

“Well, what, what folly! .. I have to! I'm not going to let Yuzuru remain the plaything of Nobunaga!”

“You” there was suddenly a voice behind Naoe “should save him because Mr.Kenshin ordered so?”

Takaya turned.

“Naoe ...”

Slightly opening eyes, Naoe said:

“Calm down. You are so agitated that you are incapable of making sensible decisions. How, for heaven's sake, you're going to look for him in the middle of the night?”

This seemed to anger Takaya. He stared Naoe in the face with a angry scowl:
“ I can order anything. And the way to look for him. I will send gohododzi, and can use the conga-ray. Even if I cannot move to align with gohododzi and fly to the rescue.”

“Do not be silly. It's Oda Nobunaga. Right now Yuzuru-san is in his complete control even with gohododzi you are unlikely to release him.”

“But I can release him!”

“It will not work.”

“It will!”

“I will not let you stick your head in a noose!”
Takaya raised his eyes and looked at Naoe. He tossed at him without lifting his eyelids:
“They are now linked. It would be okay if it was only Nobunaga’s force but now he manages Yuzuru’s force too. Do you understand what that means?”

“Naoe ..”

“You should understand, and much better than me, because you know the truth about him. Nobunaga has added him to his power, the situation is much worse than thirty years ago. Now his power has increased so much that we will probably have nothing to oppose it. If you get hit in the forehead, then nothing can save you. If you succumb to emotions now, you will part again with life, I think it's still a affluent body.”

Naoe, you ...”

“Hakonha Nobunaga, backed by the power of Yuzuru, is now even more terrible. I repeated before you today appeared Oda Nobunaga. Our battle with him ... begins anew.”

Takaya silently lowered his eyes; his mouth had turned into a thin line. Again he pulled his knees to his chest and hunched, bowing his head.

“Frankly, I expected that you would be more nervous. I'm glad I was wrong.”

“I do not understand how can you be so calm ...”

“No matter what happens, no matter what situation we might be, I only need to do one thing.”

Takaya raised his head, but Naoe did not respond to his opinion. He had left only thin slits between the eyelids, in attempt to avoid eye contact. Takaya tilted his head, puzzled.

“I need to do everything for your protection.”

“Naoe ...”

“And failure in this, I cannot tolerate.”

And Takaya finally realized what was wrong, and his face took on a shocked expression.

Naoe did not raise his narrowed eyes from the ground and never once during all this time did he look directly at him.

And Takaya’s heart sank. In a wooden voice, he asked:
“Why are you not looking at me? ..”

Naoe’s jaw twitched.

“Why are you not opening your eyes? ..” Silence. “Look here. Look at me, as always Naoe ...”

But he did not answer.

“Look, how you always look straight into my eyes ... Naoe! ..”

Though it cost him tremendous effort, Naoe slowly raised his eyelids and Takaya saw the completely unfocused gaze and the empty pupils. He was frightened even more when he stretched out his left hand, but Naoe did not respond to this motion, although he was supposed to have seen it. Takaya brought his hand to his face, but Naoe had not noticed. In dismay Takaya touched his cheek, and only then, feeling the touch of his fingers, Naoe flinched. Takaya grabbed his chin and stared at the pupils still trapped opposite.

“You cannot see me ...” he managed. “You do not see? ..”

Naoe was silent, not noticing the aspirant glare at him clenched his lips together, as if fighting the pain, and did not utter a word. Takaya could not bear and grabbed him by the collar and with the other hand pulled his jaw.

“ Can’t you see? .. Naoe! .. Can’t you see?”

His voice began to fall apart.

“Saburo-dono!”

“Answer me, Naoe! Can’t you see anything at all ...! .. Absolutely! ..”

Naoe gritted his teeth and endured his jaw being tugged. Takaya opened his eyes and let his hand on the shirt slid helplessly down, and he froze, with a motionless gaze stared into them, forgetting all the words ... But at some point his fingers involuntarily clenched into a fist.

Naoe was completely, totally blind.


***


The moon illuminated the noisy waves crashing on the shore. It was late at night, but Takaya had no idea of the time, his wrist watch had stopped from the explosion. Kotaro had brought Naoe out of the cave, and helped him stay at a nearby rocky area.

From the sea, the wind was blowing. His hair was tousled and his skin cold (Takaya came out in his shirt, which was just great for him), but the cold did not seem unbearable. Kotaro stepped forward, reaching the edge of the wet rough rocks, stopped, and then turn around.

Takaya looked pale and haggard. He never once opened his mouth must be, because he could not recover from the shock. Nobunaga was revived, he controlled Yuzuru that had already been more than enough, but now ... things got worse. Naoe had completely lost sight.

“Why is he blind? ..” Takaya muttered, stopping on the rocks. “Eyesight ... even lost sight, why? ..”

“Probably, from the shock of the energy strike. Or the strong waves and sea salt ... Well, if it will pass nothing can be stated with certainty.
If dysfunction is caused by psychological shock and is temporary in nature, we can hope for recovery. Worse, if the retinal detachment happened - then he will need surgery. Maybe still, his sight might not recover ever ... In any case, one thing is clear now: instant improvement will not happen.”

Takaya strongly squeezed his eyes shut and bit his lower lip. Kotaro flatly continued:
“He did not let you out of his hands the whole time. Since then, as we were in the water, in those crazy waves, and had not yet got here, he never opened his hands.”

“Kept me? .. All the time? ..”

“Despite the fact that he was without power ... I believe he did it unconsciously, probably the habit of many years has even penetrated into the flesh ...”

Kotaro turned a indifferent glance at the sky, where the horizon was drawing the thin moon.

Takaya braced his shoulders and stared into the darkness.

“Are you saying that it's my fault?”

Kotaro looked at him in silence.

“What is it that I have done to him? I had brought him? You are also saying that it's all my fault!”

“Not what I said Saburo-dono” calmly replied Kotaro.

“You're lying. You also accuse me. Laugh - they say, you reap what you sow. But I'm not guilty ...” Such trembled and shook his head slowly from side to side, like a frightened child. “I did not do anything ... To torture him so ... I did nothing like that!..”

“Saburo-dono.”

“I'm not guilty ...” Takaya's eyes were unfocused, “ ... that he lost power ... that he went blind ... I had nothing to do! .. I'm not guilty, that he is bent!”

“Saburo-dono?”

“I have nothing to do ... I did not mean to ... I did not do anything ... He bent himself ...”

“Saburo-dono, if you would please calm down.”

“How could he do this to me!” Takaya broke. “He rebelled! He himself fell in love! He himself threw a noose around his neck! Is this revenge? After everything, what he did ... after everything, he forced me to say ... he said he wants to win! So what? Loses his power, loses his sight ... This is the most cowardly, the most vile revenge in the world!”

“Saburo-dono!” Kotaro quickly took his wrist and squeezed. Takaya started in surprise.

“Kotaro ...”

“It seems you are experiencing more than the victim. Pull yourself together, do not be anxious. Breathe deeply.”

Takaya through sheer strength closed his eyes.

“Sorry. Let me sit down over there.”

Kotaro sat him down on a large boulder. Takaya took another deep breath. Looked like he had calmed down a bit.

“I do not know what came over me ... I'm sorry.”

“What are you going to do with him?”

Takaya ran his hands over his face, pulling his hair, grabbed his head and was silent for a while, staring at his feet. Then hoarsely, in a stationery tone said:

“If you are familiar with any first aid, do it. Once we get out of here, I'll take him to the hospital with the normal equipment, where they can diagnose and prescribe treatment.”

“And then?”

Takaya's face became unhappy. He did not answer immediately, but the answer was obviously known.

“I will remove him from the line of battle, now he has no power to serve Uesugi. We have become one yaksha less - regretful, but it cannot be helped.”

“I will become your assistant instead.”

Takaya looked at Kotaro in amazement.

“You will? ..”
“Yes. From now on I'll be your right hand. We will return to our lord Ujiyasu and then move against Oda and Yuzuru Narita.”

Immediately Takaya’s all suspicions came back, and he stared at Kotaro’s face with a sharp look.

“All the same, what is your purpose here...”

“Now, when the two will merge, the Uesugi would not defeat them alone. And behind me there are many allies, together with which you may well be able to withstand the new enemy.

In addition, you must break all ties with Kenshin and return to Mr. Ujiyasu, to protect the universe from the threat posed by Yuzuru Narita.”

“Shut up, Kotaro!” Takaya snapped. “Have no illusions! I believe in Mr. Kenshin, and I do not care what you say - even if it is the word father, it will not convince me. Mr Kenshin’s ambitions are unknown. Father is wrong!”

“Then you're wrong, Saburo-dono. Wake up, you are simply being used. Return to the Hojo, and you will discover the true face of Kenshin!”

“I will not return to the Hojo!” Without thinking, shouted Takaya as he had yelled many times before, and curled his lip bitterly. “I was hoping that with these words gone forever ...”

“I repeat, leave Kenshin. Do what your father commands you. Destroy Ode and Narita together.”

“I cannot.”

Kotaro’s cold stare became even more harsher than usual.

“Obey Mr. Ujiyasu.”

“I cannot ...”

On the rocky shore their eyes locked in the moonlight. A wave passed over, crashing, splattered a white cloud in the space between them. The moon highlighted the water droplets hanging in the air like a sparkling veil.
“I see that your decision will not change ...” said Kotaro finally. “Tomorrow my people will arrive for us. Until then I suggest you reconsider everything properly again.”

“My answer is the same.”

“In any case, tomorrow you will stand facing one very serious choice.”

“What? ..”

“Do not you worry” said Kotaro, heading away. “You are my Lord, and I will not do anything that would cause you harm.”

With these words, Kotaro walked toward the cave, and escorted Naoe. Takaya gave a long intense look at his broad-shouldered figure.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ishitori
Jul. 16th, 2014 09:14 am (UTC)
Thank you! ヽ(´Д` )人(´Д` )人(´Д` )ノ〜♪ Ah, there's hope of this series being completely translated yet!!!!

BTW, I forgot -- when you mentioned the mirage trans group was closed to new posts I think it's because the mod transferred the comm to http://mirage-trans.dreamwidth.org/ so you could try posting there/contacting her in case you haven't yet :9 (Disregard this if you have ^^;)
imagase
Jul. 16th, 2014 02:58 pm (UTC)
Volume 11 at last!!!^^ I've waited so long for this, THANK YOU!!! It's so painful to see Naoe like this:(
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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