Shinsengumi Kekkonroku Wasurenagusa 8 – Yamazaki Susumu
CV – Morikawa Toshiyuki
It had been just under one and a half years since the Ikedaya Affair . We Shinsengumi welcomed new men and moved our headquarters to Nishi Honganji .
With the addition of new men, it was thought that the Shinsengumi became greater. However, the reality was not so perfect. The terrible things I saw while working as a spy showed that the Shinsengumi is not a united force.
However, in this chaotic era, we don’t have the freedom to view that as a problem. So perhaps we headed towards an unseen place with our gears out of sync.
Even so, I’ve decided to live here until the end. That probably won’t change at all. Gently placing my hand on my heart, I ask myself “Am I prepared to offer myself for the sake of the Shinsengumi?” Of course I am.
But if I ask myself whether I’m prepared to be separated from you, I don’t think I will be able to say yes immediately.
If I will die in the near future, then I at least want to disappear after leaving marks from my nails on you. That’s right, I earnestly wish for that.
Yes, I’m home.
I was out on a reconnaissance mission again, but there wasn’t much activity from the anti-shogunate forces. There’s no sign of them planning anything either. The men should be able to concentrate on training for a while.
Are you cleaning the floors? The headquarters is a big place, so I don’t think you can finish in one day.
Your body won’t keep up if you don’t take a few shortcuts. There are more men, so you won’t be able to cook like you did before. Things have become difficult, haven’t they?
It’s probably almost impossible to finish all the laundry in one day too.
Right. Come to think of it, it’s started to rain a little. If there’s something that’s already drying…
It seems like there was.
I’ll leave this to her for now. I’ll report to Kondo-san and Hijikata-san, then I’ve got to buy some bandages and so on too.
No, I think there are still a lot left in the training area.
I’ll go and take a look…
Hmm? Why do you have a confused look on your face?
Weren’t you getting the laundry? What are you doing back here?
Ah! Could it be…that you’re lost?
I’m sorry I laughed. You were so adorable that I couldn’t help it. This place is like a maze, so it’s no surprise that you got lost.
I’ll show you the way then. We won’t make it unless the two of us do it now. Let’s pick up everything before the rain gets worse.
It seems like we’re going to make it. There is a lot though. A maid’s work really is tough.
Not at all. Helping you was no problem.
I’m sure that Hijikata-san is hearing reports from the other men now, so it shouldn’t matter if I’m a little late.
More importantly than that, I’m worried about your health.
Perhaps I should talk to Kondo-san about hiring another maid?
What’s the reason for that look on your face?
You’re thinking about the money being spent on that, aren’t you?
You’re a maid, but you understand most things about the troop.
We certainly did spend a lot of money by completely changing the headquarters.
There are more men and so food expenses have increased. It might be impossible for a while.
But please say something if it really does get too difficult. We can immediately increase the number of people helping you.
That’s everything isn’t it? It seems that most it escaped getting wet. But you ended up getting wet. Are you feeling cold?
Hmm? Ah… There was a drop of rain on your cheek.
It looked like you were crying. I felt hurt just because of that… I might be acting a little strange.
I don’t ever want to see you cry. Tears of happiness are a different matter though.
Right, why don’t we go out of the headquarters and walk around town together one day?
It would be troublesome if you went out on an errand and didn’t return. Let’s get you used to the town soon. Thanks to my missions I’ve remembered most of the paths. I’ll tell you the quickest and safest routes.
Well then, we’ll do that another day. Please continue cleaning.
Ah! Not that way!
It looks like it won’t be any good if we don’t get her used to the inside of the headquarters first.
 Ikedaya Affair – An armed encounter between masterless samurai employed by the Choshu and Tosa clans and the Shinsengumi.
 Nishi Honganji – A temple in Kyoto which the Shinsengumi made their headquarters in 1865.
Shopping in Hanayacho-dori is easy because it’s close to the headquarters. There are a lot of people passing by so it’s safe too. If you leave the headquarters and walk in the opposite direction, you’ll end up at Aburanokoji-dori. Have you remembered it?
I’m going to believe those words.
The weather is great though. It’s as if spring will be coming soon and it feels good.
Right, when I left the headquarters today, I said that I would show you around. Kondo-san also told me to make sure to show you around well too. I’ve got a mission at the same time, so there’s plenty of time. It’s been a while since we’ve walked around like this, so let’s enjoy ourselves.
Right, why don’t we walk over there too? I haven’t been there either, so I’m interested. Well, shall we go?
Oh? This looks like an open space. But… It seems to be a gathering place for cats. I didn’t think there’d be so many kittens here.
Hmm? Ah, I’m sorry. I haven’t got any food.
Eh? Has it gotten friendly with me?
No, it hasn’t. Just like I said earlier, this is the first time I’ve been here. I haven’t met this kitten before. But for some reason, I’ve always been liked by animals. I wonder why that is.
You’re so cute. But you should be a little more cautious. What if I was a bad man?
Ah, you’re smiling! You like cats too, don’t you?
Then why don’t you pick him up? He seems to be very friendly.
Ah! It seems that animals like you too.
Oh! He licked you. I’m sorry. Give him back to me.
Why? He licked your lips just now, didn’t he? That’s unforgivable.
It’s okay because he’s a cat? It’s no good! Just look. It’s a male cat. I let my guard down, thinking it was a female cat.
Why are you laughing? I’m serious!
It seems as if you don’t understand my feelings at all.
In that case…
Ah, this one is a girl.
Ah! Hey, don’t lick me. It tickles. Goodness, you’re a troublesome little one.
Hmm? What’s the matter? You’re not jealous of a kitten, are you?
Why are you looking away?
Your ears are all red.
I’m sorry. I was just teasing you a little. Don’t get so angry. I really do think you’re the cutest. Look this way. I’ll give you a kiss.
Hey! Right now, I’m…
Hey, you! I suppose I don’t have a choice. I’ll save it until tonight.
Listen up. Get ready for me to come to your room tonight. Let’s spend some time together. It’s a promise.
Well, shall we go? I’ve got to finish up my work early today too.
May I come in?
Well then, excuse me.
Oh, this? It’s wine.
It was given to me earlier, so I brought it with me.
There’s a full moon tonight. Will you drink a little while looking at the moon tonight?
You’re going to pour it for me? Thank you very much.
It tastes good, doesn’t it? It’s even better because you poured it for me.
You have some too. It seems to be very good wine.
The wine I drink with you is special.
The wind blowing into the room feels good too. Today must be a good day because I’m getting to experience something happy like this.
Could I have another drink?
You think I’m a fast drinker?
No, it’s alright. I’ve heard that this wine isn’t strong. It shouldn’t be any problem for me to drink too much.
We haven’t drunk wine together like this before, have we?
Even when the men drank together during parties, you would be doing the tidying up.
Come to think of it, I haven’t seen you drunk before. I’m sure you’re not a strong drinker, are you?
What are you like when you’re drunk? I don’t mind you getting drunk in front of me.
It smells like wine, doesn’t it?
Am I drunk? No, I’m not drunk yet.
What makes you think that? I usually always think of wanting to kiss you. It’s not as if there’s anything special about now.
And today, I said I’d save things until later. I’ve been waiting for this moment a long time. That’s all it is.
The inside of your mouth is so warm. Your body is getting warmer, isn’t it?
You look cute when your cheeks are red. It’s just like how you are when we’re sleeping together.
It’s strange, isn’t it? My body feels really warm too. Rather than being drunk because of the wine, it seems like your charms have affected me.
Please lie down.
You’re being more obedient than usual, aren’t you?
You’re so cute. So cute that I’m about to go crazy.
You’re mine alone.
Please move your hand. There’s no need to hide yourself away.
It’s alright. I’m the only one looking.
If any of the men are looking from somewhere, then I’ll cut out their eyes. So don’t worry. Come on.
Your skin is always soft whenever I touch you. Does it tickle here?
How about if I do this?
All your reactions are so lovely that I can’t get enough of them.
I love you.
I want our minds and bodies to become connected.
Hmm? You’re holding onto my arm. You don’t usually do this because you’re so nervous. It seems that you’re already drunk.
You really are cute when you’re being this daring. Your heart is beating faster than usual too. You feel as if you want to lose yourself in this evening too, don’t you?
Then I’ll kiss you so much that you won’t be able to breathe.
Let’s get closer to each other. Just being touched like this feels good.
Your chest seems a little red. When I bury my head in your chest, I feel really calm.
Your scent is really nice. I want to stay like this forever.
Oh? I started feeling sleepy all of a sudden.
How strange. I’m sorry. My body must be heavy. But I just don’t have any strength. Does it hurt?
I’m sorry if I pushed you too hard.
Oh? Good morning.
I feel asleep without realising it, didn’t I?
My head hurts! It’s because of the wine, isn’t it?
I heard it was weak enough for Okita-san to drink, but that’s not true. I was tricked! I was tricked by Okita-san!
No… I don’t want to get up… I’m sure this must be earlier than the time I usually wake up. I can still stay like this a little longer.
Medicine? I don’t need that. If I got better right away, I’d have no reason to spend this sweet time with you. Let me stay like this a little longer.
Yes, this is quite good.
Ah. Come in.
Oh, you’ve brought some tea for me? Thank you very much.
This? I was just writing something. I had a chance to learn from Hijikata-san recently.
My handwriting wasn’t very good, but when I was taught a neat way to write, I really enjoyed it. Before, I didn’t know that writing makes you feel calm. It’s surprisingly complex too. Are you good at writing?
If you like, I’ll teach you when I have time. It’ll just be what I’ve learned from Hijikata-san though. I feel as if I’ve become quite friendly with the other men recently. Before there weren’t many opportunities to talk about anything except our missions. It’s strange isn’t it?
Even Kondo-san told me the other day that my expressions seem more gentle. Of course, I didn’t tell him the reason why. The more I get to know everyone, the more fond I am of the Shinsengumi. Before, I thought that no one would open up to me. But I was wrong. I was the one who wasn’t opening up to others.
I can’t believe that I only just realised that. While talking to the others, I became better at understanding the situation within the troop. Becoming able to see things you didn’t see before has its bad and good points. There’s something I’ve noticed recently.
Soon, I’m sure that… Toudou-san will be leaving the troop.
No, I’m not just guessing. I know he will. In other words, Toudou-san didn’t try to hide that feeling when he was around me. I felt both happy and sad about that. It’s not just Toudou-san, several other men will probably leave too. I’m sure it will get lonely. Especially because Toudou-san is the life of the troop.
It’s unfortunate to lose him, but it’ll be fine. You won’t be affected.
So don’t look so sad. I don’t want to see that expression on your face.
I’ll be here for you.
You should go back soon. Isn’t it almost time to prepare dinner?
Thank you for the tea. I’ll drink it gratefully.
What are you doing here? The veranda gets cold at night.
Are you worried about something? I’m going to sit down next to you, alright?
It’s quiet this evening. Perhaps it’s because Toudou-san and Saitou-san have left the troop. Having less people here really does change the atmosphere around the headquarters. The third and eighth troops, which have lost their captains, are feeling particularly frantic.
But there’s no need for you to look so lonely. It’s not as if they’re dead, you see. When you’ve got a gloomy expression on your face, the men here will feel gloomy too. And it seems like someone else apart from me is necessary to you, which hurts me. That kind of thing is difficult to bear.
No, don’t worry about what I just said.
Come on, please smile. That expression doesn’t suit you.
The other men will see us? That might be a good thing. If everyone else knows that you’re mine, I can protect you better.
Not really. I was only joking.
Come on, go back to your room now. You’ll catch a cold here.
Good night. I hope you’ll have a good dream.
Is now a good time? I just got back from my reconnaissance mission.
And I saw some tasty looking sweets on the way back, so I bought some! Shall we eat them together?
Well then, please excuse me.
They’re from a shop that Kondo-san told me about before. Because Kondo-san told me about it, there’s no doubt that it tastes good.
Here you go.
What’s the matter? You’re looking at the sweets so intently. You don’t feel hungry?
Eh? You talked to Saito-san about this shop before?
Ah… I see…
So you talked to Saito-san about that kind of thing… I didn’t know that you were friendly with Saito-san. Did you find things to talk about with Toudou-san like that too?
Even though it’s been quite some time since the Goryou Eji left this troop, you still talk about them.
Why do you always seem so sad? I’ve told you again and again! I don’t want to see you looking like that. I can’t accept you thinking about any other man…
I’m fine as long as I have you. But why is it different for you? I want you to look at me alone! Don’t think about other men! If that’s impossible, then I’ll…
Ah, I’m sorry! I said too much. Even though you haven’t done anything wrong…
I’m no good. I can’t help becoming emotional when it’s something that involves you.
I feel as if I’ve become very selfish since meeting you. I’m unable to control my feelings and I don’t even understand myself.
I’m sorry I scared you. You were afraid, weren’t you?
But I want you to understand. I just want to be everything to you.
I’m the only one you need to see. I’m the only one who should have a place in your heart. Is it selfish of me to wish for that?
It’s not? You’re a kind person, aren’t you?
But I sometimes feel that kindness is something incredibly cruel.
Look this way.
That’s right. I told you about a small mountain where there are lots of animals and birds. Would you like to go there again soon?
Now is the best time to see all the butterflies. We might be able to see them. I’ve only seen the butterflies once before, so it’s uncertain whether we will see them… But I really just want to go there again with you. How about it?
I’m glad! It’s a promise then.
Come on, let’s eat the sweets! There are only two, so let’s keep it a secret from the other men.
Does it taste good? I’m glad I got to see your smile.
It’s around here. Watch your step.
Come this way.
Coming here really does make you feel calm.
Ah, look! There are lots of butterflies here. I might be able to show you that scene. The sun is in just the right position too.
Can you see the butterflies? Their wings are still right now.
Look closely. Ah!
Eh? You don’t think it’s beautiful, right? It hasn’t begun yet.
When butterflies’ wings are still, they keep them both together. Right now you can only see the brown underside of the wings. But when they open their wings, the topside shines green and blue. When they fly into the sky, they seem like twinkling stars, because you see the brown and coloured sides alternately. I wonder if my dream will finally come true.
Shall we sit here? If we do, then eventually…
That scene was much more beautiful than when I saw it alone and I honestly felt glad to be alive. The flickering blue and green light surrounded us. That light became blurred through the tears that welled up in my eyes, and it looked even more brilliant.
Why does the simple sight of butterflies fluttering away make my chest feel so tense? When I happened to look at you beside me that doubt disappeared immediately.
I see… It’s not the scenery that I find beautiful, but this time that I’m spending with you.
Ah… Until now, I didn’t know that such a beautiful time could exist in this world. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to feel that way if you weren’t next to me. I’m sure that I won’t ever forget this time. No, it’s more than that. I definitely won’t forget it.
I can see the sparkling light reflected in your eyes. It looks wonderfully magical. I wonder how this scenery will be imprinted on your memory. I hope it would be the same as it is for me.
Let’s come here together again next year. I want to spend an amazing time with you here. Continue keeping this place a secret from other people. It’s a place just for you and me, you see.
Hmm? We ended up holding hands like this without realising it. I didn’t notice at all. We probably both brought our hands closer to each other. I feel kind of happy.
Kondo-san and the others will be getting worried. Shall we go back to the headquarters?
It seems that you’ve remembered the way, so you’re fine now, aren’t you?
My hand? No, I’m not going to let go. I’ll let go when we’re near the headquarters. Let me stay like this a little longer.
October, in the third year of the Keio era . Due to the restoration of imperial rule, power was transferred to the emperor. Society was in turmoil as a result of this sudden occurrence. We Shinsengumi were also surprised, but this didn’t mean Yoshinobu-kou  had simply handed power over to the Imperial Court.
At the same time, the secret imperial command of overthrowing the shogunate had been given to the Satsuma and Choshu . In order to avoid the shogunate being overthrown, Yoshinobu-kou carried out the restoration of imperial rule, which forced them to no longer have a reason for that command. Naturally, after being suddenly given the power to rule, the Imperial Court no longer had enough strength to carry out that command.
Yoshinobu-kou predicted that he would soon be given the power to rule and was at the top once more, trying to obtain the power to rule as emperor. But reality isn’t that simple. As we had thought, the idea of the overthrowing of the shogunate was temporarily halted in order to prevent Yoshinobu-kou’s plans being carried out, the Sonjou Faction  tried to establish the power to rule once more, with the imperial court at the centre.
Before long, the power was truly transferred to the imperial court. Yoshinobu-kou ended up crossing swords with the Satsuma and Choshu. We Shinsengumi also had to participate in that battle.
A battle, hmm… I think this is the first time I’ve been in such a great battle. I wonder how many people Satsuma and Choshu have involved in the battle. Now that they’ve come this far, they’ll try a lot of different things to make sure they won’t lose. In this battle, I’ll probably…
What will happen to her if I disappear? Will she keep working here as a maid? At any rate, it doesn’t seem as if I’ll be able to keep my promise of taking her to that place again next year.
I hope she will be able to accept my death, but will she be able to survive alone with that small body of hers?
No, there’s no need for her to be alone, is there? Even if I’m not around, if she can become closer to someone else, I’m sure that she can be happy. But thinking of her with someone else like that…
That’s right. You’ve left many wounds on me.
In that case, it should be fine now. It’s my turn this time. I’ve got to wish for her to live happily from now on. But the idea of her becoming closer to someone else…
Damn it! Damn it!
Why do I only have one life?! At this rate, I won’t be a part of you any longer…
Ah… I see… That’s right…
Why didn’t I realise sooner? I was nothing more than an obstacle to your survival.
In that case, I should…
What was I thinking? I was trying to allow you a different kind of happiness. It’s unthinkable for another man to have a place in your heart. You’ll be mine, even if I’m dead.
 Keio era – An era which began in April 1865.
 Yoshinobu-kou – The last shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. He unsuccessfully tried to reform the shogunate.
 Satsuma and Choshu – Two powerful clans which were attempting to overthrow the shogunate.
 Sonjou Faction – A shorter name for the “Sonno Joui” who supported revering the emperor and expelling foreigners.
Ah, it’s you.
What is it? If you want something, then make it quick.
Nothing in particular? Oh, I see.
Don’t touch me. You’ve just been cleaning, haven’t you? My clothes will get dirty if you touch me.
There’s no need to apologise. Just don’t touch me from now on.
Why are you standing there? Can you move? You’re in my way.
I’m acting strangely? I haven’t changed. I’ve always been like this.
No… It’s more like the way I’ve been acting until now was a lie.
Ah. Could it be that you misunderstood? You thought that I loved you because I was kind to you until now?
Have you forgotten what I do? Observation and investigation. I had to associate with you in order to find out whether you were a spy.
Well, if you were mistaken, then I will make it clear to you. I have no more obligation to get along with you.
It means that I no longer need to observe you. In a few days, the Shinsengumi will go to do battle in Osaka. You’ll be staying here, so we won’t see each other for a while.
I’m relieved that I no longer have to be around a fool like you. Well then, please excuse me.
What are you doing out on the veranda? You can return to your room if your work is done. If you act suspiciously like this, then I have to be concerned about it. I don’t want anymore surveillance missions. It’s bothersome, so could you not walk around the headquarters until I’m gone?
If you’re going to apologise, then why don’t you hurry back to your room? I don’t want you wasting anymore of my time. Come on, hurry up.
When am I leaving? The day after tomorrow, early in the morning. Didn’t you hear about it?
Well, all the men are busy right now. They probably didn’t have any chance to tell you about it.
They’ll be busy getting ready tomorrow, so you should help them.
I’ll tell you this now. You don’t need to help me. I’ve got hardly anything to take with me, you see.
Am I planning on dying in the next battle?
So what if I am? Are you going to look at me pitifully? Just as I have said before, I have decided to live and die for the sake of the Shinsengumi. I told you several lies, but this is not a lie. There is no doubt that I truly feel this way.
Losing my life in battle would also be my true desire. You don’t have the right to object. I’m done talking.
Well, I’ll be going back then. You wish for the troop to survive, don’t you? You’ll be wandering the streets again if the Shinsengumi no longer exist, you see.