In today’s marathon, we accomplish EVERYTHING WE WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH TODAY.
Return of the King.
The deep ocean is no longer the scariest thing on this planet.
It doesn’t take long for consequences to find me.
I sneak out of my room to figure out who was hurt. I slip into the meeting room so I can listen in.
Oh, this bodes well.
Hijikata, as is his wont, explodes.
The targets of his wrath, The Colossus of Swole and Sanosuke Harada, plead their innocence. The bottles are tiny, Sanan was in charge, no one thought HE’D drink it…
I can’t tell if this is them trying to say they can’t be held responsible anymore or not.
Remember that thing Saito does, where he picks his spot perfectly to say something that arrests all attention in the room? Thanks, I hate it.
Do we appreciate him for testing it on himself, or do we acknowledge that that’s how supervillain origin stories start?
oh shit that was with the outside voice
He adds that since I’m Kodo’s daughter, I have a right to know.
Hijikata isn’t happy.
I mean, it kinda already was, but… don’t say it, just smile and nod. Frown and nod. Just stop making expressions and sounds, actually.
Brought to them from the shogun’s men, obtained in trading with Western merchants. A foreign drug, billed with the ability to augment a man’s healing and physical strength. It makes the drinker nearly invincible.
Oh, like a vampire.
Oh, like a vampire.
DO I LOOK LIKE A VAMPIRE??????
While I have my quiet little come-apart, they discuss what to do with Sanan. The batch he drank was new. It might not drive him mad.
It might not drive him mad.
Hijikata asks Kondou to keep an eye on him.
Okita will be there too – he already is.
So many secrets to keep.
Nagakura nods, and leaves. As he goes past me, his eyes meet mine. I try to look supportive. I try to look understanding. I try to look sympathetic. I try to look encouraging.
He doesn’t try at all.
Saito accepts his position with grace and determination.
This isn’t for my well-being.
This is to make sure I don’t do anything stupid.
I’ve done enough already.
I’ve done enough.
Hijikata tries to reassure his friend.
It doesn’t work.
Sanan leaves, no matter what else we say.
Harada says that the men have been avoiding Sanan lately, which Nagakura seconds. Sanan’s been taking everything everyone says poorly.
And who can blame him? Everything he is, everything he prides himself on, is just… gone, and this isn’t a time that treats this with anything remotely approaching support or respect. This is a society that treats anything approaching disability with scorn, which is bullshit and toxic, and of course our own attempts to support and reinforce and help are going to smash against the dam of disdain that surrounds the rest of Kyoto.
Like, into the sun?
WHY THE FUCK NOT
…you’re right, he does.
It is here that I realize that they were BOTH talking about just straight up killing him.
Wait hang on I don’t–
Okay DEFINITELY don’t do that–
I’m gonna go over here.
Saito, what do you think?
That makes sense. The more people you bring in, the more you’re gonna get.
On that pleasant note, and as the only woman in the group, I excuse myself.
Sanan’s been so different since the accident. The injury to his arm changed everything about him. There’s no magic cure-all for that. There’s no mystical panacea that’s just going to restore his arm.
But I’m the daughter of a doctor. I probably know more about medicine than the Shinsengumi do. Should I do something? Should I go help?
Every time I leave my room something bad happens.
Every time I leave my room someone gets hurt.
Better to hide in here.
Like a coward.
Like a coward who deserves her pain.
Note the eyes. I took away the text so you could just see the EYES.
Hijikata acknowledges that Sanan is, indeed, very smart.
Sanan takes it hard. Sanan takes everything about his arm hard. Poor Sanan.
“Sanan is quite the beloved member here, isn’t he? It’s nice to see such a tight-knit group. It’s just that, as I’m sure you’ve thought about it, I hope the new members share that sentiment.”
Kondou tries to defuse the situation by asking Itou to join him elsewhere to talk about the search for a new base. Takeda follows them out, leaving all of us — except Tails, can’t help but notice Tails isn’t here — left to seethe.
Do we all get to punch Tails like that one scene in Tales of Vesperia? Can I punch Tails? I’m ready to punch Tails. I’ve been practicing!
Itou is with the Imperial Nationalist party, and they share the same beliefs as the Choshu, which is notable, because we just cut a bunch of Choshu people, but here we have people that they they did nothing wrong joining the Shinsengumi who very much believed that they did something wrong and what’s more, they cut ‘em for it.
Hijikata’s political concerns are second to his family concerns.
A big dopey dog.
We’re all gonna die.
Hello, Chekhov’s Gun.
It’s 1865. I’ve been here almost a full year now, not finding my father, not finding any real friends, not finding love, not finding any payoff to absolute mountains of frustration of ALL kinds, but at least I’ve gotten good at pouring goddamned tea for goddamned assholes.
Sorry, the cold is making me cold.
I hadn’t really noticed the lack of space, on account of I have my own room, but maybe the others have?
I gotta get outta here
and into there
Hey, Sex Pistols, what particular brand of hand-wringing Helen Lovejoy nonsense do you think we are? Stranger Danger? Satanic Panic? Violence in Video Games? Communism? Everything’s communism sooner or later, isn’t it?
Lavender Febreze continues to wax poetic on the advantages of the temple, that it can house our few hundred men and also be a powerful defensive position should the need arise.
HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME TAILS
HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS WAS ALL YOUR FAULT TAILS
Itou continues. “Additionally, it is well known that the Nishi used to shelter the Choshu ronin.”
I’m starting to think that maybe I’m not quite so special after all, and Kondou loves everyone, like a big golden retriever who gives the burglar a stick.
Forgive me, Father, for I’m about to sin the fuck outta this place.
Wow, Itou must have his own podcast. Spotify probably hosts it.
oh fuck off
“Wouldn’t it just be peachy if all those Choshu ronin were on their best behavior, like a Kamakura warrior?”
Darling? (also, “peachy?”)
“Allegedly” is putting in WORK there.
Hope goes in the bin.
I make a cool new toy and immediately throw it in a hole.
I’m going to hang out with my new best friend forever.