First of all, have to say that I loooove the cover of this volume! Very cool picture of Takaya and Yuzuru. :) This volume gives some answers about Miroku... And Kagekatsu as well! I guess most of us are wondering if Miroku as Lord Kagekatsu ever makes his debut or not. Well, the story Sensei has written about Miroku continues till very last volume, so let's see what will happen!
MoB vol. 32 (Youhen Mokushiroku / The Revelation of Universe - Yata)
In all big cities of Japan, Shiba Eiji's fanatic fans are getting aggressive and causing riots. They break show windows, torch and use violence against other people. They're unsatisfied how police and government are handling this APCD issue, so they try to get 'the justice' in their own hands and kill Ougi Takaya. They call themselves 'The Pigeons' and the leader of that fanatic fan group is university student named Atou Shinobu. Riots are continuing in Osaka too. There Yuzuru assaults (with the powers of Miroku) badly some youngsters, who were talking bad about Takaya. "So you're in Kumano... Takaya", he says as looking up to the sky... Sensing Takaya's location.
Takaya, Naoe, Teru, Rei and Kubuki visit Kamikura shrine. There meet a high school boy named Torigoe Takaya (yes, his name is Takaya too, but the kanji of name is different. In summaries I use his surname). It seems that he can communicate with the spirits, and he came here to have revenge for his sister's and friend's death. He blames Takaya to be the bad guy, who caused their death. Torigoe's friend was possessed by an onryou and died while having a battle with another onryou. And his sister was a victim of a kanshousha. They don't have time for talking with Torigoe, so Takaya makes him temporally unconscious.
After creating a spiritual barrier they start to summon Takakuraji, who is the main deity of Kamikura shrine. After all this God possesses Rei and they can have a talk. They ask what is the bow of Gotobiki, that was mentioned in the reflection of magic mirrors. Takakuraji asks back what the foreign God is planning to do with his bow (Bishamonten is originally from India, that's why this Japanese God asks it). Takaya says that for getting the sword of Futsu. Amatsukamis (heavenly gods) are gods that stay in Takamagahara (it's a place in Shintoism where the Earth and the Heaven are connected to each other by a bridge). Kunitsukamis are earthly deities (aboriginal gods) who gave Amatsukamis permission to rule the Earth. Amaterasu (the sun goddess) sent her grandson, Ninigi, to pacify the Earth and gave him those three heavenly treasures (three Imperial regalia of Japan: the sword of Kusanagi, the mirror of Yata and the jewel of Yasakani). Jimmu is the grandson of Ninigi, the heavenly descent of the sun goddess Amaterasu, and also the first Emperor of Japan. Then Takakuraji tells that the sword of Futsu is the most powerful sword that exists. It's the symbol of military power and the dignity of Takamagahara. Only the descendant of a God can use it. Takaya asks how about the child of Izanami and Izanagi (Hiruko). Takakuraji doesn't answer to this question, but says to hide his bow (the bow of Gotobiki) to this girl (Rei). The person with an innocent heart may use it. Then they let Takakuraji to take a look of amulets. He says Yata crows are symbolizing the amount of Amatsukamis and Kunitsukamis. And after that they talk again about the sword of Futsu. Jimmu (Takakuraji calls him 'prince') used that sword for resurrecting his army and wiped out some nation (like Nishikitobe). However, Jimmu was afraid if onryous of these nations and folks will put a curse on and bring calamities, so he constructed a huge tomb area in Kumano. All remains (humans bones...) of destroyed nations are buried and worshiped there. If they're worshiped, they would rest in peace and the descendants of gods (Jimmu and his offsprings) can govern Japan in harmony. And this place was Ooyunohara. They all are shocked. Does this mean that Jimmu used those death spirits as a sacrifice?! (About this ritual you can find more information in English if you google 'hitobashira'). Takaya is about to asks more details, but then they hear Torigoe running towards them. Somehow he has stepped inside of the barrier. Takakuraji gets angry for being interrupted and causes a huge explosion.
Fortunately everyone survives from the rage of Takakuraji, and next night they lodge in Teru's friends inn. Takaya has a talk with Torigoe and scolds him for coming to recklessly interrupt the God. They all may have killed without Naoe and Takaya, who protected everyone by using goshinha. Takaya tells him about Shadow Shikoku and why he created that. Torigoe is still angry and doesn't trust Takaya at all. When Takaya leaves the room, he meets Naoe behind the door. He had heard everything. Takaya is sad that if Torigoe doesn't accept them, how can the other modern people accept them either? Naoe encourages him that everything will go well, just trust yourself. Then they go for a walk together. They are wondering why did these old onryous from the beginning of Japan's history choose to wake up onryous from Warring States (Sengoku) era. In every era there have been wars, so why Sengoku? But one thing is sure, Kaoru opened the Pandora box of Ooyunohara and let enormous amount of ancient onryous out. Naoe remembers that 13 years ago they felt something weird in Wakayama prefecture, but Irobe and Haruie who were investigating that, didn't find anything. It seems that was the moment when Kaoru went to Ooyunohara. And soon after that Yami Sengoku started. They got a bit terrified if Kaoru and Nobunaga are somehow related to each other.
At this point of summary, I'd like to have a small summary about Rei. As it's told, she is a pure Nachi guardian since both of her biological parents (Shigeno Kaoru and Motomiya Satoko) are also guardians. Thanks to this, she has very great spiritual powers. In legend, it's said Kuukai gave these powers to Nachi guardians for protecting Kumano. But great powers require big sacrifices too. And in Nachi guardian case it's Hiruko's curse, that will kill every guardian when they pass the age of 25. In other words, in the future Rei will die at that age too. As a pure Nachi guardian she has ability to talk with the Shinto gods. And she can also use powers of Yata crow, that is the bird of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Rei is now 12 or 13 years old. She's deaf, but she can read from people's lips what they're saying. She has a ponytail and bangs. I wonder if her hair color is red too, because Kaoru has red hair, and it's mentioned (in vol. 30) that she looks alike with her father.
Hayato arrives to Tenri in Nara. For still mysterious reason Isonokami shrine is surrounded and guarded by the self-defense force of Japan, so he can't go inside of the shrine. Shingo, Tsukasa, Ushio and priests arrive. Shingo tells that they're planning to resurrect the body of Taira Koremori. Even if the body doesn't contain his soul, the brains know where the sword of Futsu is. Ushio is astonished. Are they planning the transfer someone's soul into Taira Koremori's body after it's resurrected?! Shingo promises that if Ushio follows their orders, they will resurrect Ushio's, Aki Kunitora's, original body too as a reward.
Shingo tells his story. It was World War 2 and at the age of 11 he was drifted by the villagers. It was four years earlier than it was actually planned, but maybe the villagers sacrificed him so that the war would end. Miracle happened and Shingo was saved by American navy that was sailing near by the coast of Japan. They took Shingo to the United States so that he wouldn't be in danger anymore. He didn't have any other place go, not his home village or Japan either. He wanted to revenge, but after seeing the devastation of the atomic bombs that were dropped to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he felt that he should just forget and start new life. He lived peaceful life in Virginia, worked for Pentagon and got married too. When Shingo was planning to have surgeon to remove this extra limb, his wife stopped him and said that she loves every part of him, so Shingo doesn't need to change himself. He's unique. That was the moment Shingo accepted his own body without any doubt. He lived happy life till this year. One day he came home and found his beloved wife, son and grandchildren murdered. Everyone he loved was taken away from him. And on the floor, there was an amulet of Nachi shrine. He knew it belongs to Nachi guardian and that's how he decided return to Japan and have his revenge.
Shingo and the priests start the resurrection ritual. Ushio's task is to keep guard so that no one will interrupt them. Hayato sneaks into the shrine area in guerrilla style. His target is to get the sword of Totsuka that is kept there. Earlier he met a hyouirei who told about Isonokami shrine and it's swords. Since the ancient times, Isonokami shrine has been a highly ranking Imperial shrine and also a storage for heavenly swords. In MoB, there are several swords and here they're in nutshell:
1. the sword of Kusanagi: one of the Imperial regalia of Japan. Stored at Atsuta shrine in Nagoya.
2. the sword of Futsu: saves from the death. Belongs to Takakuraji. Location is unknown, hidden by Taira Koremori.
3. the sword of Totsuka: brings dead corpses back to life. Belongs to Izanagi. Stored at Isonokami shrine in Nara.
The situation falls in chaos when Hayato is found out. Ushio is shocked meeting Hayato there. Tsukasa demands Ushio to kill Hayato as a prove that Ushio is on their side. While they're fighting Hayato tells what happened in Jingo-ji temple and the only way to save everyone is to lend the powers of the sword of Totsuka. Suddenly Ushio grabs Hayato's shirt and whispers him to go to get the sword while Ushio will handle the skull of Taira Koremori. So Ushio was just bluffing to be Nishikitobe's and Hiruko's side?! As they rushes to different directions Tsukasa understands Ushio betraying them. The orders the Tatara assassins to catch both of them.
Ayako and Kiyomasa arrive to Nara by a helicopter. They're astonished how many onryous there are. Looks like everyone is heading for Isonokami shrine. And as a creepy thing, those onryous are carrying human bones with them. It seems that onryous have heard about the possibility to get their original body back. Kiyomasa starts to fight with the Nishikitobe onryous while Ayako hurries to look for Hayato. After all she finds Hayato and Ushio, who try to get in the hall of worship, but it's difficult because it's surrounded by a strong spiritual barrier. Meanwhile Shingo and the priests are processing the ritual, but accidentally they lose the control and enormous power rises up from the ground making the thunderous roar. Everyone in the shrine area loses their consciousness. In Kumano, Rei wakes up trembling in fear. Even if she is deaf, she can hear the sounds of the gods. Teru asks what's wrong and Rei says that the gods are angry. Kousaka is on the way to Kumano by train. Takeda clan doesn't take care about using Taira Koremori to rule the Taira army, because Shingen is the most powerful of all now thanks to sharing a body with Bodhisattva. However, Kousaka is worried if someone uses Taira army for bad reasons. And he doesn't approve if someone is bullying the Shinto gods either, so he decides to take a look what's happening in Tenri city after hearing that roar coming from Nara.
Nobunaga arrives to Isonokami shrine by a limousine. He walks into the hall of worship and finds everyone unconscious. As seeing Shingo laying on the floor he scorns and whispers: "Too big responsibility to you after all, huh?" It seems that the priests and Shingo couldn't finish the spell by themselves. Nobunaga feels someone moving and as watching over his shoulder he sees Tsukasa coming back to his conscious. Relieved smile appears on Tsukasa's face and he calls out "Ka... Kaoru-sama!" after seeing Nobunaga standing there. Nobunaga picks up the sword from Shingo's hand. It's the sword of Totsuka. "This surely is the truly self of heavenly spirits of this shrine. The sword of Izanagi... With this sword it's possible to bring back those who were spirited away to the netherworld... But too bad for everyone, I'm not gonna bring the gods back. The sword of Totsuka belongs to Hiruko's father, Izanagi. In other words, the sword of Futsu will also follow Izanagi's child's orders." Nobunaga looks the sword entranced and starts to spell mantra. The room fills with high spiritual atmosphere as Nobunaga is spelling. At last he hits the coffin by the sword. The body of Taira Koremori starts to come back to life. Nobunaga nods to Tsukasa, who starts to prepare for the next step: he kills himself by cutting his throat open by a short blade. Nobunaga pulls out Tsukasa's soul and places it into the body of Koremori. "This is your new body, Tsukasa." Shingo wakes up and Nobunaga orders him to make spiritual barrier to protect the shrine. Then Nobunaga orders Nishikitobe's onryous to listen to him. Three onryou possess Ayako, Hayato and Kiyomasa. Nobunaga wants them to catch Ougi Takaya alive and bring him to him. And if they find Naoe Nobutsuna, Ayako can exorcise him. Possessed by Nishikitobe's onryous, three of them leave the temple walking like zombies. Ushio gets in panic, because Takaya is in danger. Unfortunately Ushio is caught by Shingo before he manages to escape.
Teru and Naoe have done research whole night. They have checked ancient books and travel guides to find even a small hint. They surprise seeing Takaya stepping into room. Earlier Takaya's body condition was quite bad and he needed have some sleep, but it seems that he got up now. Naoe takes him to corridor for having a talk. He found information about a festival that is held every year at Hiryuu shrine. It's very similar to their glue. Naoe recognizes Takaya isn't feeling well... As if he's about to faint. Then Takaya's smiles slightly and wonders why he's in Kumano when the Red Whales are needing him in Shikoku. Naoe says that don't worry, their spying department and Reijirou are protecting Shikoku with all their powers. Takaya hits pillar with his knuckle. Naoe asks surprised "Why are you so irritated?" and walks to Takaya. The younger man is fuming. Naoe touches Takaya's forehead and recognizes him having high fever. Then they start to argue if Takaya's should go back to bed or not. Takaya tries to leave the another room when he suddenly feels dizzy and crumbles down to the floor. This is enough for Naoe who takes Takaya in his arms and heads for their room. Takaya rages and demands Naoe to let him down, but Naoe tries to calm him saying "What's wrong with you? Take it easy, calm down!" But Takaya is like as if he's seeing some kind of illusions. Takaya keeps yelling that "I'm not fleeing from Shikoku or you! Don't come Death! I can't die yet! Not yet!!" After all Naoe manages to carry Takaya to the bed and the younger man calms down a bit. Takaya feels terrible for being so weak when he should be strong. Nobunaga is getting closer to them and Takaya's body is powerless. As Naoe is promising that Takaya will definitely be stronger if he rests. But then Takaya blames Naoe for pitying him, because he's fatally ill. Takaya says he doesn't want to have any special treatment, because he isn't going to die. Naoe answers that this is for recovering from the fever, not for his upcoming soul demise. Naoe also says that he has to be Takaya's eyes when Takaya himself is in the middle of confusion and cannot make correct decisions by himself. They remember what happened almost two years ago when they had fight (at the time when Takaya was creating Shadow Shikoku). Naoe almost crying says that he just wants to live together with him. He just wants to be together, this isn't sympathy or pitying. Takaya looks at Naoe's sad face, apologizes and promises to be mentally stronger. Naoe says that Takaya has nothing to feel sorry and actually he was a bit relived to see him showing emotions, anger too. Then Naoe caresses Takaya's forehead. Naoe's cold hand feels good in Takaya's opinion and finally he finds the peacefulness.
T: "Naoe... I think... I think that rather than winning, being defeated has more value. The person who is defeated, obtains after all much than the person who wins. Something more profound than glory. The dept of meaning is much stronger. In human life, the most significant things ain't got when one wins, but when one is defeated..."
T: "I really think so. You're evidence of that."
Takaya understands that Naoe has grown as a human more than him. Especially this one year has taught so many things to Naoe.
T: "That's why I disagree with Nobunaga. He thinks that only winners have value... But it's not true. He's so wrong. The defeated is just a person who is still on one's the way in this human life. "
Naoe says that Takaya's right and looked at scars on his left wrist.
N: "Nobunaga tried to take you away from me. I haven't forgotten the pain that lasted 28 years. That person who denies you, is my main enemy. This time we definitely will suppress him."
Behind the door Torigoe and Teru are listening their discussion. Teru asks doesn't Torigoe trust them now, but he isn't sure yet. Teru says that she can see someone's spirit being at Takaya's side. It's a spirit that doesn't belong to this world anymore... A priestly attired warrior who is wearing a white hood. She doesn't know who this spirit is, but it's with Takaya. (According to the description that spirit is Kenshin... ;__; I really thought he had abandoned Kagetora, but it seems that he hasn't...)
*some plot things happen here*
Very early next morning Takaya gets kidnapped by few members of the Pigeons who take him to the Nachi beach. While they are assaulting him, a mysterious guy wearing black clothes comes to them... It's Narita Yuzuru. Yuzuru orders the youngsters to stop bullying Takaya or he will kill all of them, but the Pigeons doesn't take care about his words. Yuzuru moves supernaturally fast and breaks their cameras that youngsters used for taking humiliating pictures of Takaya. After seeing the youngsters have also made burns onto Takaya's skin by using lightning tobacco, Yuzuru gets super mad. "I won't forgive you", Yuzuru says eyes shining devilishly and bright light surrounds the youngsters as if the sun is about to fall down on them. At same time Naoe, Kubuki, Torigoe and Rei has found Takaya's location. Naoe runs to the beach first and sees the youngster being as if they have totally lost their minds (acting like animals and seeing illusions). Naoe lost his words after seeing Yuzuru being there too and holding unconscious Takaya on his arms. This scene was quite interesting, so I would like to share it with you! It starts on p.180
Y: "Well, well. Isn't it Naoe-san."
It's long time since he heard Yuzuru's voice last time.
Y: "So you're still alive. I though you died."
Naoe couldn't answer. There was something strange about Yuzuru. Even if he was smiling, it wasn't natural at all. And this person here didn't have those kind and friendly eyes that Yuzuru had earlier.
N: "Why are you here, Yuzuru-san?"
At last he could open his mouth.
N: "Is it true that you took Miya-chan? Where is she and is she fine?!"
Y: "I don't want to tell you anything, Naoe-san."
This low voice he used didn't belong to Yuzuru.
Y: "It's your fault what has happened to Takaya. If he hadn't met you, everything would be still fine. He wouldn't have involved into Yami Sengoku or wouldn't be called as 'Kagetora'. Without all of this, he would had lived proper life and made his dreams to come true."
Naoe was astonished and couldn't say anything else than: "Yuzuru-san... You..."
Y: "I came to get Takaya back."
Yuzuru's eyes shone eerily.
Y: "Takaya was just seeing a long dream. It's my time to wake up him."
Sudden gust rolled up sand from the ground obstructing Naoe to approach Yuzuru and Takaya while the heat haze surrounded two of them. The wind was strong that Naoe and others needed to shelter themselves.
Y: "I start it over."
Yuzuru's voice didn't drown out to the wind.
Y: "I'll start everything over with Takaya. We'll find the way to be together again. These five years have been bad time for me and him too."
Naoe tries to rush through the sand storm, but sharp grains of sand make him plenty of wounds and blow him backwards.
Kubuki and the others run to Naoe's side as he gets slap onto the ground. Blood is bleeding from Naoe's head, staining the sand red. Even if his face was bleeding, Naoe didn't give up that easily.
N: "Ta...kaya... -san..."
Naoe reaches out his hand to Takaya. Reacting to Naoe's call Takaya, who was unconscious on the ground, opened his eyes slightly. Suddenly the gust stopped. Yuzuru was startled as feeling someone has grabbed his ankle. As looking down Yuzuru saw Takaya, who had crawl to him, holding tightly his ankle. Takaya was glaring at him angrily.
T: "What... What the hell are you doing! You son of a bitch..."
Hearing that made Yuzuru wide-eyed in surprise. Takaya was taking the rifle onto his hands and then pointed the gun directly to Yuzuru.
T: "If you touch Naoe... I'm gonna kill you!"
Yuzuru kept his confused eyes on Takaya who was getting up wobbly. He was completely speechless as seeing heavily breathing Takaya placing his finger on the trigger and pointing him by the gun.
*huge energy overflew from Yuzuru's body*
About Yuzuru... Somehow Takaya doesn't remember him. I don't know when did Takaya actually seal his memories about Yuzuru, but it seems to happen right after vol. 19. In vol. 18 Takaya almost strangled Yuzuru till dead when Nobunaga was controlling Yuzuru's body by the seed of Demon King. Just before that Takaya was angsting how Kenshin and Naoe have left him, so he was mentally very broken. And this person controlled by Nobunaga was once Kagekatsu. Takaya strangling Yuzuru lost his own control and cursed on his mind like 'You took everything away from me, Kagekatsu'. But then Yuzuru took control back on his body and begged Takaya to kill him before Nobunaga makes Yuzuru to kill Takaya. And at that moment Takaya recognized what he was doing and stepped back shocked. After that Takaya and Yuzuru didn't meet each other till now. I guess this why Takaya didn't miss Yuzuru while he was in Shikoku, since he had sealed his memories about him. :I
Nagayo Takashi has arrived to Shikoku. He's a journalist who was at Jingo-ji temple gate when Hayato told about onryous to media. In the forest he becomes surrounded by Takaya's spiritual forms who demands him to go away from Shikoku. Then another spirit comes, it's Nagahide! Nagahide asks Kagetora to not scare this poor man that much. He promises Takaya to take care of this man. Takaya's spiritual form disappears. Nagayo and Nagahide have a long talk. Nagahide tells his name to be Chiaki Shuuhei (I guess his spiritual form has a look of Chiaki) and that he's a kanshousha. As hearing what's happening outside of Shikoku, Nagahide recommends journalists to not believe what Shiba Eiji says. He doesn't revival Shiba's true identity, but tells that everything so far is Shiba's fault. He also says that Ougi Takaya is innocent for all this, he had just make a peaceful place for spirits to live and find enlightenment. Chiaki says that he finally understands what Takaya wants. Then they hear gunshots coming from the Red Whales' fort of Iya valley. Chiaki runs there and finds some members of the Pigeons shooting and setting fire on the buildings where some hyouirei's live. The Pigeons have a monk from Mt. Kouya with them. His name is Kurumiya Kouen and he's the same monk who kidnapped Takaya in vol. 28. Now he came to have his revenge and exorcise all onryous. He found the Pigeons on the internet, where these fanatic Shiba Eiji fans were planning to have an attack against to the Red Whales. Reijirou, Doumori and Satta arrive there, and also Takaya's spiritual form starts to fight against with this monk. Chiaki drives away these youngster, who were after all too scared to fight with the spirits. In the end, Kouen also manages to escape, but swears to come back. Nagayo finds his way to fort and begs Reijirou to come as his special guest to his tv interview. He wants Reijirou to revival the truth about the Red Whales and everything if they truly are innocent.
Naoe wakes up in the bed of hospital, Torigoe is sitting next to his bed. Naoe gets panic and tries to get up, but terrible pain strikes on his ribs. He knows Takaya is in great danger, so he wants to go to save him right away, but Torigoe forces him to stay on the bed. Naoe tells him about Yuzuru and how Kagetora decided to perform kanshou again. Kagetora was tired of everything and didn't want to meet Naoe anymore, but after knowing Kagekatsu to be reincarnating soon, it after all motivated him to try once more. Naoe got known the true identity of Yuzuru after Kenshin promoted Naoe to be the new general of Uesugi's underworld army. The reason why Kenshin took Kagekatsu as his adopted son was guarding the evilness inside of him and prevent his awakening. It's the secret mission of the general. Irobe is the general now, but it seems that he and the others couldn't guard Yuzuru well enough. Naoe's hands are shaking and his heart is beating terribly strong as if we has got a panic attack. Torigoe looks at him worrying. Even if Kagetora sealed his memories for letting their fate together to resolve the struggle between him and Naoe, but also because of Kagekatsu. He didn't want to remember Kagekatsu, so that he could build their relationship back again. Naoe thinks on his mind: "Yuzuru-san and Takaya-san... Uesugi Kagekatsu and Uesugi Kagetora... Their fate together seems to be cursed".
I think now is a good moment to take a bit look of the nature of Miroku! So why Bishamonten can't win Miroku that has waken up? In Japanese Buddhism, there are different levels based on the hierarchy. I made a hierarchy list and gave an example what kind of MoB related deity is a part of this level.
1. Nyorais/Buddhas (Dainichi nyorai, the main deity of Shingon sect)
2. Bodhisattvas (Miroku)
3. Myou'ous (Fudou myou'ou, emanation of Amida nyorai)
4. Heavenly kings (Bishamonten)
5. Some Shinto deities that has Buddhist background (Kumano Gongen)
6. Holy persons/teachers (Kuukai)
As you can see, Bishamonten is on level 4, so it isn't so powerful as Bodhisattvas. In novel, Naoe gets a flashback to the time when Kenshin told him about Yuzuru. When Naoe asked why Miroku is dangerous if he's supposed to be their savior in the future. Kenshin explains that yes, if humankind still exists at that time. The existence of Miroku was born at the same time as Shaka-sama (=Siddhartha Gautama) found enlightenment. This makes Miroku to be still very young deity. Kenshin tells that most of Heavenly Kings (Bishamonten too) were originally devil gods in the foreign countries before they became good. At first young Bodhisattva is also devil god that prefers destroying rather than saving. If you leave this kind of evil Bodhisattva to do whatever he wants, he will just eat endlessly everything that comes on his way. That's why it's very important to keep young Bodhisattvas 'chained' so that they won't wake up before the time is correct. After Miroku wakes up, his soul is impossible to 'kill' (=exorcise). This is because even if Bodhisattvas aren't enlightened yet, they're already free from the cycle of birth and death (samsara; rinne 輪廻). The only way is to make him sleep again by killing the host body he's having. In other words, in order to save this world from Miroku, Narita Yuzuru must die.
Some thoughs: I think it's normal for Kagetora to feel grudge against Kagekatsu. It's actually wonder how well he has forgiven to Naoe and Nagahide since they were on Kagekatsu's side when the war of succession happened. Before being adopted by Kenshin, Kagetora's role as the youngest son of Houjou Ujiyasu was mostly being a hostage for Takeda clan. And after coming back to Odawara he got raped by very close retainers. And this seriously broke him. However, Kenshin trusted him and gave him reason to live, reason to be a human again. After all those years of being literally a piece of shit, he got meaning to his life. And then, Kagekatsu came. He just didn't take Kagetora's position, but also killed his new family. Basically everything Kagetora got after being adopted was gone. In historical aspect we may never know surely whom Kenshin wanted to succeed him, but in MoB this volume tells quite clearly, that it had supposed to been Kagetora (and Kagekatsu is 'the bad guy').
This made me speculate the following thing: in vol 30. referring to Takaya, Miroku says "He's a latch that keeps me 'locked'. Without removing the latch I can't be enlighten". When did Takaya become 'a latch'? Was he already that when he and Kagekatsu were still alive? Or since he performed kanshou last time and started his life as Ougi Takaya? If Kagetora was the key why Miroku couldn't wake up when he was Kagekatsu, could it be possible that Miroku somehow contributed Kagekatsu to start the war of succession in order to get rid of Kagetora (the latch)? Hmmm... When Kagetora performed kanshou for the first time (in Kaikou prequels) Kagekatsu was still alive and ruling Echigo without any influence of Miroku... Did Kenshin start Yashashuu not only for exorcising onryous from Echigo, but also for keeping eyes on Miroku so that he won't wake up? Hmm...
Kikkawa Motoharu and Akechi Mitsuhide have come to the Nachi beach together. There they meet a Buddhist priest, who is playing a biwa lute. Motoharu is dumbfounded, because this priest is exactly same who appeared to his dream and asked him to come look for Taira Koremori's head. This priests says that Shikoku will sink soon by itself. Someone is about to wake up the most frightening onryou of all Japan's history, Emperor Sutoku. Mitsuhide gets bad feeling and asks if it's Lord Nobunaga, but the priest just smiles and says that this country will be devastated soon.
Rei learns Kaoru to be his biological father. Even after knowing the truth, she wants to stop him and save Kumano. Together with Teru, Torigoe and Naoe they head for the Nachi falls to hold the ritual. The bow of Gotobiki comes out from Rei backbone, the target is Nachi waterfall and sun rays are the arrows. Just as Rei is about to release the arrow, someone shoots her in the arm and interrupts the ritual. Naoe stiffs as he sees Hyoudou Hayato coming down the shrine stairs and shooting without any mercy by his gun. Naoe shouts him what's he is doing, stop it. But possessed Hayato keeps shooting like a machine gun. Naoe doesn't have any other choice than attack so strongly that Hayato loses his consciousness. Then, Katou Kiyomasa also appears and attacks with his bamboo sword. For Naoe's great shock he sees a woman slowly coming down the stairs too... It's Kakizaki Haruie. She is looking at Naoe with the eyes that only a demon could have. "I'm going to exorcise you, Naoe Nobutsuna." Naoe and Haruie have a fight. Eventually Naoe falls down (he has broken ribs so he can't move well) and Haruie keeps him on the ground. Somehow she has sad eyes when she blames everything to be Naoe's fault. Naoe recognizes Haruie, Hayato and Kiyomasa are possessed in similar way as Ushio was earlier. Hayato points the gun on Naoe's forehead and says with cold voice: "I'm gonna kill you, Tachibana...You're like a cancer cell that has nested into Ougi's body."
N: "You bastard, Hyoudou..."
H: "You're on my way."
In the deep of Hayato's eyes, Naoe sees the true feelings that Hayato has kept hidden. He recognizes that even they are possessed by Nishikitobe, these words are what they really think.
The scene ends Naoe hearing Ayako's cold-hearted voice saying: "Goodbye, Naoe."
*Hayato pulls the trigger*
In the next scene there are Yuzuru's memories about Takaya and their friendship together. Walking at the park in the middle of night... How Takaya threw small stones at Yuzuru's room's window glass to ask him come outside... "You must have mistaken something. Actually you haven't forgotten me, right?" In Yuzuru's thoughts he tells how he felt proud to be so close friend to Takaya. He was the only one who had seen Takaya crying, Takaya's weak side... He was supposed to been the person who knows the most about Takaya.
Y: "I was, till that day when he came to your life. Those people, who knew you already before I was born, took you away from me to the distant world... It's time to wake up, Takaya. Now I can protect you. This time, definitely."
Takaya wakes up in the cave. Right away he jumps back after seeing Yuzuru's face just in front of his own. Yuzuru looks at his reactions sorrowfully and asks: "Do you afraid of me that much?"
Takaya is like an animal that is corned. He asks who Yuzuru is. For a moment Yuzuru doesn't understand what did Takaya just say. Takaya repeats his question. As the atrocious light appears back to Yuzuru's eyes, he stands up and gets closer to Takaya.
T: "Don't come!! Don't-!!"
Like a beast, Yuzuru pushes Takaya down on the floor fiercely and comes on the top of him. Takaya is shocked. Yuzuru tells he made a spiritual barrier here, so Takaya can't use his powers. Then he asks if Takaya has forgotten him. The only thing Takaya is able to do is shivering from fear.
Y: "Why?! Why don't you remember me?! Please, remember!! Remember me!!"
Yuzuru is breathing hard and looking at Takaya's eyes desperately as if trying to find even a slight of hope that Takaya would remember who he is. But Takaya just shakes his head.
Y: "I see... It must have been too traumatic for you. So traumatic that you forgot about me, right? I'm sorry... I'm so sorry for not being too there for you. It's me, Yuzuru... Narita Yuzuru. I'm sure you have heard my name."
T: "Narita... Yuzuru...?"
Takaya feels pain in his heart. He remembers that name. Naoe has told that Takaya's best friend's name is Yuzuru. But he himself doesn't remember him. Yuzuru starts to get hysterical and tears are falling down from his eyes. Yuzuru shouts that letting Takeda Shingen to possess him (in the beginning of story) was the biggest mistake ever, since Takaya wouldn't have met Naoe without that.
Y: "I'll eat you and then we're never separated anymore... Takaya."
*Yuzuru's eyes are shining and his corner teeth grow to look like vampire fangs*
Takaya is terrified because he can't escape. The terrible pain stiffens him as he feels Yuzuru biting him on the neck.
And the volume ends here!
Yay, good news for Nagahide fans, Chiaki Shuuhei is finally back! :) After losing his former body he decided to stay in spiritual form without performing kanshou. He doesn't accept all things about Shadow Shikoku, but he's on Kagetora's side again.
I feel so sorry for Yuzuru. His fate is just too cruel and sad.
By the way, I have to tell at this point one scary thing I learnt recently. Last spring, Kuwabara-sensei re-tweeted one post on Twitter. Kenshin died on the 19th of April. Japanese have different names for different days of year depending on how the number is pronounced. For example the 5th of January is the day of strawberry (1 = ichi, 5 = go, ichigo = strawberry). The scary thing is that the 19th of April is possible to pronounce 'shi (ni) iku' = to go to die. And on the top of this, both Kagetora AND Kagekatsu also died on this same date, but different year of course. Is Uesugi family cursed? Well, at least quite interesting (and scary) coincidence.
How about you guys? How do feel feel? Any thoughts about Yuzuru/Miroku/Kagekatsu? :)