48 HOURS A DAY - S01 E558

2 months ago

Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 558

Menjo Kaiden

“People from Shinsengumi came to look for you?”

Zhang Heng accompanied the French businessman for an afternoon stroll around the hanamachi. Upon returning to the dojo, Akane related to him what happened that afternoon. As of now, work had been as easy as a breeze. He had only been asked to accompany Gabriel to eat, drink, and have fun. The latter seemed very patient, as well. So far, Gabriel had paid Zhang Heng four koban for his translation services. Coupled with other leisure expenses, it seemed like Gabriel wanted to experience Kyoto’s exotic atmosphere to its fullest. His activities these few days was truly baffling. Zhang Heng also noticed Gabriel’s followers got lesser and lesser. He knew that the day Gabriel’s plan to come to pass was not too far away.

“It’s a young man,” Akane said. She then described the appearance of the person to Zhang Heng briefly. When Zhang Heng heard that he was from Shinsengumi, the bright smile on the person’s face, and the fact that he was constantly coughing, a name came to his mind.

Could it be that man?

“He came here because of the Choshu Domain’s samurai. He heard about what happened at the market that day, and they came back to seek revenge. The reason why he came here today was that he wants to cooperate with us,” Akane went on.

“Cooperate? And how do they propose to do that? Stay hidden in the dojo and ambush those samurai?” While talking, Zhang Heng took down the wakizashi from his waist. He recently followed Gabriel around to have fun in Kyoto, and since there was no danger, for the time being, he left his primary weapon at home and only brought the wakizashi with him.

Other than that, he no longer wore the haori that the system gave him by default at the beginning of the quest. Akane found some of her father’s old clothes and gave them to Zhang Heng. However, Zhang Heng’s height was very uncommon during the Edo period, and he stood out among the crowd everywhere he went. In the end, he had to look for a tailor to customize some clothes for him. Until today, he hadn’t yet received any custom-made garments.

“No, Shinsengumi has no interest in ordinary Choshu Domain samurai. They seem to have bigger goals in mind.”

Although the visitor did not elaborate on their intention, Akane wasn’t the kind of girl who was oblivious to how the world worked. As the daughter of a dojo owner, she now bore the burden of running the center alone. She was informed about the current situation in Kyoto. Since the Shinsengumi had found this dojo and they weren’t here for Yamada or the others, it was apparent they were looking for more important people.

“What do you think?” Zhang Heng asked Akane.

“When my father was still alive, Ito used to visit him to discuss the emperor’s affairs. However, my father refused to divulge into the matter every single time. After that, some generals came to persuade him to serve the emperor, but he rejected them as well. He said that it wasn’t something he wanted to do and that he was just a small dojo owner. He also said that he was not equipped with the knowledge to distinguish between right and wrong. In that case, it was better to focus and do what he knew was right, such as wielding the katana to protect the nearby neighborhoods or help people in need in these troubled times,” said Akane. “So I rejected their proposal of cooperation.”

“And then, what did that guy say?”

“He said that he understood and respected my choice, but the others in the group might not think so. He also told me not to worry too much, and he would try to persuade their chief to take another approach. Before I forget, he heard about you slicing off Yamada’s left hand. He said that he would come to see who you are when he has the time.”

Such childlike curiosity did sound a lot like him.

Zhang Heng had developed a lot of interest in that man. If the man was who he thought it was, it would be a more than worthy opponent to fight with. So Zhang Heng said to Akane, “If he comes here again next time and I happen to be away, can you help me to set an appointment with him?”

“Huh?” Akane misunderstood Zhang Heng’s intention. She hesitated and said, “I think he… should be harmless. He just wanted to meet

you.”

“You have misunderstood me. I’m more interested in Tennen Rishin-ryū,” explained Zhang Heng as he splashed his face with well water.

The two had dinner under the maple tree of the dojo. When that was done, Akane cleaned up the dishes and leftovers and went back to the house to take out two wooden katana. Although she preferred to meditate than to wave her weapons around, it would be inappropriate for her not to know anything about the sword as the leader of a sect. After Zhang Heng joined the dojo and listened to Akane’s explanation, he learned that he would need a certificate to practice the sword.

There were three tiers when the leader of a dojo assessed their disciples.

– Kirigami, Mokuroku, Menjo, or Mokuroku, Menjo, Kaiden.

Kirigami was the most basic pass for anyone wishing to join a dojo. When a person first enrolled, they could not tell others about their sect’s name when they fought with others. After all, reputation was something fundamental to a sect. If others were always picking on the sect members, it was inevitable that their reputation would be affected. As such, for disciples who were still at the kirigami stage, the sect required them not to get into trouble as best as they could. If they somehow did, they were forbidden from mentioning the sect that they were in. At least, when they were defeated or wounded, no one would know who their sensei were. This could avoid bringing shame to the dojo that they were in.

As for the Mokuroku tier, the sect would give out the paper scrolls so their disciples could jot down the moves that they learned. Once they reached Menjo tier, the samurai would earn the right to tell anyone about the sect they were in before a battle’s commencement. Like Akane and Yamada, the two of them were at Menjo tier.

And the last one, Kaiden, meant that the disciple had learned everything their sensei could have taught them. Those who had reached this tier could be considered as real masters of the sect. Just like the guy who came to see Akane this afternoon, if he was really the person that Zhang Heng familiar with, then he had achieved the Kaiden tier.

Back to Zhang Heng, he initially thought he could fight with anyone he liked after joining Akane’s dojo. However, it appeared that he needed to get to the Menju tier first before he could fight anyone freely. This wasn’t a difficult task for Zhang Heng, though, who had an Lv.3 in swordsmanship. Putting aside his state of mind, he could master a technique in about two to three days. After all, his power, speed, and reflexes were top notch. Now, he just needed to acquire a license before he could kill someone.

Akane had to admit that Zhang Heng was better than her. When she was a child, she practiced really hard to master her swordsmanship. There were times that she shed tears for the tough training that she had to go through. To her surprise, Zhang Heng managed to learn and master it without needing to put too much effort into it. She often required to correct his form a few times, and Zhang Heng would perfect the moves.

Now the two were having a sparring session. Both were using Koyama Myoshin-Ryū. Akane could no longer defeat Zhang Heng. It made her wonder if she was a dummy.

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