Episode 2: Brat Samurai Pick Pocket! Punk! Disciple
It's a peaceful day at Kaoru's. Kenshin is peacefully washing clothes with the girls. Kaoru is peacefully drinking tea in her peacefully quiet dojo... and it's driving her nuts! "Why don't I have even one pupil? After the Battosai incident, I should have 10 to 20 people wanting to join, especially with a cute instructor like me to take your hand and lead you through from the beginning. But what if I'm too beautiful for them to approach? Oh, I'm so sad!" Kenshin and the kids come over. "Kenshin, when will I be able to start up again? Why won't you practice with me?" But the girls are hungry. The doctor arrives. What should they do for lunch? Kaoru suggests Kenshin treat them.
They go out to eat; the girls want gyu-nabe, as usual. Kenshin notices a sullen looking boy pick an old man's pocket. When the man's grandson wants a toy, the boy returns the man's purse without anyone noticing, except Kenshin. He puts his hand on the boy's head and says, "You're a good kid." This throws the boy off guard. Before they can continue, Kaoru has fetched Kenshin for lunch. Behind the boy, two women comment about Kenshin wearing a sword. It's been two years since the law was passed, forbidding swords. Even in Meiji, some people just can't give up the warrior spirit.
While crossing a bridge, the boy runs into Kenshin. Kaoru pounces on him before he can escape with Kenshin's purse. "Lemme go ugly."
"I'll have you know I'm called the Belle of Kendo!" The boy is unconvinced.
Kenshin, gives the boy his purse. "Don't get caught next time, boy." Then, he leaves.
The boy beans Kenshin with the purse. "I'm not a boy! I'm a decedent of Tokyo samurai, Yahiko Myojin! I'm not so disparate that I need pity from strangers! Don't get me wrong; I was just playing with you because you're carrying a sword."
"Your body's so young for such a fierce spirit. Sorry I didn't take you seriously. Don't lose your pride."
Yahiko takes off. Kaoru is annoyed by the boy's attitude, but Kenshin thinks the boy would make a fine samurai.
On the riverbank, the boy thinks about what Kenshin said about his pride. He is approached by three thugs. "Yahiko, hand it over."
"There isn't any!" he snaps. They beat him for his insubordination and failure. "How much do I still owe you?"
The lead punk, Hitokiri Gasuke, grabs one of his hands, "It'll take you 10 or 20 years with these sticky fingers."
At the restaurant, Kaoru and Kenshin ask about Yahiko. The owner tells them he's an orphan who's in debt to the Shuei (same kanji as Shueisha) gang for his dead mother's medical bills. Kaoru decides to find the boy. Kenshin tries and fails to stop her. Misinterpreting the gesture, she snaps, "I didn't think you were so cold, Kenshin!"
Shortly, she arrives at Shuei's headquarters with her kendo sword. She chastises the lot and demands the boy. If she wants Yahiko, she has to pay. "How much?" They want her to gamble for Yahiko's freedom. If she loses, she'll work for Shuei free for the rest of her life. She agrees.
Yahiko breaks free and says, "I didn't ask you for anything; I don't want to be indebted to you."
"Kids should be quiet," she says. " I can't forgive them for taking advantage of you. I won't lose; I have amazing luck! I won rice in the last lottery and..." It's time to bet.
The dice are thrown. "Even," says Gasuke.
"Odd," calls Kaoru. She wins!
Yahiko breaks free again. "She won. Let her go!" Kaoru's confused. "You don't understand; they don't plan to let you go alive." The thugs quickly realize that Yahiko switched their loaded dice for regular ones.
"What are you up to, Yahiko?" asks Gasuke. Recalling Kenshin's words again, Yahiko tells them he's quitting the gang. If they want the money back, he'll get a real job and pay them that way.
Gasuke laughs, "You never owed us any money. That was just a pretense for getting you into the gang. You're our dog 'til you die." When Yahiko's attempts at violence fail, Kaoru brings her bamboo sword to bear. She's doing great until Gasuke reveals the blade within his wooden club. The last blow sends her flying, knocking in the sliding door behind her.
Behind the door, the boss is having dinner. "I don't want to see a woman's blood while I'm eating," he says. He tells them to bring Yahiko before him. "Yahiko, if you stop picking pockets, what will you do for a living? In Meiji, money is everything and pride isn't worth a cent. If you learn to live low down, I'll take you under my wing."
"Don't make me say it again; I'm through with you." This gains him some more rough handling.
"Your father was a fool who was one of the first to die in the rebellion," says one of the punks, "and your mom was worthless."
This really makes Yahiko mad.
"My father was a man ahead of his time," he says, trembling with rage. "My mother worked herself to death to raise me. They were proud, noble people. I will not forgive those who speak ill of them!"
"Gotta' teach him who his master is," says the boss. Gasuke is happy to comply. Kaoru comes between them and begs Gasuke not to hurt him. Just then, Kenshin arrives.
"Did I make it here on time?" The boss calls his men. "That won't help. Since they tried to stop me from getting here, I 'put them to sleep'." Who is this guy? "I'm ruroni Kenshin Himura. I've come to pick up the boy and the girl." Gasuke loses his patience, but is quickly dealt with. "Sorry to interrupt you, but could you wait there a minute." He turns to the boss. "Do you think you could show us your generosity and let those two go. It would be much less embarrassing than having me deal with all of your men." The boss agrees. "Sorry to have bothered you." He turns to Yahiko and Kaoru. "I'm sorry I took so long." When Yahiko almost collapses, he offers a hand.
"I didn't ask for anyone's help," snaps Yahiko, "I could have done it by myself! I fought by myself!"
"It seems I've underestimated you again. Let me make up for it by taking care of your wounds." He picks Yahiko up and leaves.
The boss warns his few remaining thugs to let them go. "Those are are the eyes of a *real* Hitokiri. Even in Meiji there are still men with eyes like those. If he'd been serious he wouldn't have just knocked you out. To get rid of him for the price of one brat is cheap."
On the way home, Yahiko quietly curses. "Is your helplessness so frustrating, boy?" asks Kenshin.
I want to be strong enough that I don't need your help, that I can defend myself."
They arrive at Kaoru's. "Starting tomorrow, you'll learn kendo here."
"I'll become stronger than you," says Yahiko. Then, Kenshin introduces his teacher. "Wait? Ugly's gonna teach me kendo?" sputters Yahiko. Kaoru's equally unthrilled by the prospect. She ends up chasing him around the dojo.
And that's how Kamiya dojo got it's second boarder.
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