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(Contains: violence/gore)
The Swordsman and the Gunslinger Part 1, Chapter 5: Storming the Mansion, Part 1: Entrance

In the desert outside L'Amour, Arizona, a lone figure rode on horseback for a small cabin in the distance. The rider was armed to the teeth—sort of-carrying with him a Winchester model 1873 rifle and a Colt Single-Action Army pistol and a pair of ammo belts. He had a look of determination on his face, as he knew what was ahead of him. Not the cabin, but what was going to happen afterward. On his right breast was a silver star, with the word 'deputy' engraved on it. His black hat, resembling a Unites States Cavalry hat, shielded his brown eyes from the harsh Arizona sun. The horse itself was at a medium gallop, neither a trot nor a full-blown run. He wasn't in much of a hurry, but he didn't want to be late to his destination, either.

So what was his mission? Well, his mission was to apprehend a vicious outlaw hiding somewhere in the desert, possibly close to where the railroad workers had their little village or camp. Well, it was pure speculation, anyhow. He really didn't know where this feller lived. And Jimmy Michaels—that was his name—wasn't too happy about having to go on a wild goose chase across the Arizona territory to find this feller. Good thing he had a little help, though. And it came from a Japanese feller.

A Japanese feller around his age—21—by the name of Kyo Sohma, that is. The man was a son of a samurai family and could wield his sword almost better than Jimmy could fire a pistol. As the wind blew around him, Jimmy held onto his hat, not letting it go. He felt the heat of the mid-June day, but could do very little about it until he reached the farm where Kyo Sohma and his fiancé Tohru Honda lived, and also where his employer Karen McKenzie was, as well.

As he got closer, he could see the log cabin much clearer, and the traces of human blood from the previous shootout he had been in at that farm were mostly gone, probably absorbed by the ground or washed away by the recent rain that hit the area. There wasn't anyone outside the house, most likely they were still inside preparing for their little mission, if you will.

"Whoa, boy," he said to his horse to get the animal to slow down. A tug of the reins also signaled to his steed that he wished to slow down and the horse did as it was commanded, slowing down to a trot as he approached the farmhouse. His face still did not show any nervousness, only a steely-eyed look that he was trying to master, but wasn't having too much luck with it. "Easy," he said to the horse as it got closer to the farmhouse. He could also smell something coming from the house, which intrigued him even more. Were the people there already eating?

Finally, he reached the farmhouse and dismounted as soon as the horse stopped. It should also be mentioned that what he and Kyo Sohma were going to be doing was essentially vigilantism. But now that they had been deputized by the sheriff of L' Amour and given an arrest warrant by the Arizona territorial judge, they were in the free and clear to apprehend Jakotsu, the man they were going after today.

Knock! Knock! Knock!Jimmy gave the front door a few knocks and waited before a young woman, about his age with brown hair and blue eyes and wearing a kimonoopened the door. "Mikurusu-san! Konnichi wa!" She said. Well, Jimmy doesn't understand Japanese, so he really wasn't sure what she just said.

"Say what?" He asked with a confused look on his face. Tohru immediately had a panicked look on her face and began to practically babble in Japanese about…something. He really wasn't sure what she was talking about.

"Oh, Jimmy, I'm sorry," said another voice. This one, whoever, belonged to a different woman, and Jimmy looked to see his employer, Karen McKenzie come to the door. She too, was his age, 21. "Tohru just said 'hello'."

"Well hello then," said Jimmy. "Is Mr. Sohma ready?"

"He's getting ready," said Karen. "We'll have to wait outside while Tohru and Kyo prepare."

"You mean she's coming too?" Jimmy asked, pointing at Tohru. "I didn't know she could shoot."

"She can't," Karen replied. "She's too afraid to even look at a gun."

"She didn't seem to mind when I first threatened her fiancé," Jimmy replied.

"Oh, she was scared, you just didn't see it," Karen replied. Unlike Jimmy, who wore a tan vest over a striped shirt, Karen wore a beige duster coat, making her look bigger than she really was. She too was armed, carrying a double-barreled shotgun, compared to Jimmy's Winchester and Colt.

"So Mr. Sohma has to get ready," said Jimmy. "How?"

"It's complicated," Karen replied. "It's a traditional process, if you will. He's the son of a samurai family, so he'll perform a few… 'rituals' if you will."

"Like what?" Jimmy asked.

"He writes poetry," she replied.

"Poetry?" Jimmy asked. He was beginning to laugh, but the look of Karen's face told him that what Kyo was doing was downright serious.

"It's not something to be made fun of," she said. "It's traditional for samurai to write poetry."

"I reckon they're like that Saint Ignatius feller," said Jimmy. "I think. Either that or Richard the Lionheart, he was a poet himself."

"You know about Richard the Lionheart?" Karen asked with a combination confused and surprised look on her face.

"I'm smarter than I look," said Jimmy. "Ol' Saladin respected the man during the time he fought during the Crusades. Of course, a lot of people hated him, too."

"You are smarter than you look," Karen said. "But you still can't sing or play a guitar."

"Hey!" He shouted back. Yes, he knew that she just playfully insulted him. "So what's he doing now?" He asked as he looked in the window. Kyo was sitting still, with his eyes closed and apparently in deep concentration. Not even Tohru's probably noisy activities could break Kyo's concentration. It was as if his mind was in another place or something. In other words, he was meditating. "He sure isn't in a hurry, is he?" Jimmy asked.

"No, he is not," Karen replied. "So are you ready?"

"I've beenready," Jimmy replied. "I want to go catch that sumbitch and bring him to justice, but I have to wait!"

"Calm down!" She shouted. Jimmy raised his right eyebrow in reaction to her little outburst. But the scene was interrupted when Tohru stepped out clad in light armor and carrying a stick with a blade at the end of it. Jimmy was confused, but Karen knew what was going on. "Are you going to fight with us?" She asked in Japanese."

"Yes," Tohru replied.

"Wait, is she going to fight?" Jimmy asked. "You said she was too afraid to even hold a gun, why is she going to fight with us?"

"She's not afraid of a naginata!" Karen snapped back. "And I already told you she was going with us!"

"I don't even know what that is!" Jimmy shot back. But then Karen pointed at the staff Tohru was carrying, indicating that it was a naginata. "Oh. But you still made me assume she was too afraid to fight!"

"She can fight, she's just afraid of guns!" Karen repeated. "Try and give her your gun and see what happens."

"All right then," Jimmy said as he pulled out his Colt and handed it to Tohru with the handle facing her. Sure enough, Tohru recoiled from Jimmy's offer, backing away slowly and her face had a—unintentionally—comical look of fear. Although Jimmy didn't want to, he could not help but laugh a little at Tohru's reaction. He thought it was funny. Of course, he saw Karen's look, so he simply flipped his gun a few times and put it back in its holster. "Sorry," he said. "It just looked funny and I couldn't help myself."

"You should!" Karen replied.

"But it was funny!" Jimmy replied.

"It was not," Karen replied.

"I'm still not going to change that," said Jimmy.

"What are you two talking about?" Tohru asked. It was then the two remembered Tohru was still there.

"Oh, sorry Tohru," Karen replied. "Jimmy thought your reaction to his pistol was funny. Even though I don't think it was."

"Oh," said Tohru. "Speaking of which, will we succeed in our quest today?"

"Probably," said Karen. "I'm sure you and I can handle whatever the enemy throws at us. The other two, I know they can handle them."

"Here he comes," said Jimmy, breaking Karen and Tohru's conversation. He watched Kyo put on his armor, which was also light like Tohru's. After grabbing his sword, Kyo stood in front of a small shrine and appeared to pray to it before exiting the house.

When he stepped outside, he saw Jimmy, Karen and Tohru. Kyo's face was slightly stoic, but there was also a hint of determination on his face. He was certainly ready to go. "I am ready," he said. "Jakotsu will regret the day he decided to cross my path."

"It's about time he's ready," said Jimmy. "I've been getting impatient!"

"Patience Mikurusu-san," Kyo said. To answer, he had seen Jimmy's body language and noticed that he was getting impatient. He didn't understand what Jimmy said. That, and Karen told him what he said. "But we must be going. I too am ready to bring Jakotsu to justice."

Half an hour later the four rode to the railroad construction site outside of town. The reason why was because since Jakotsu was known to do some illegitimate business with the Chinese and Japanese railroad workers it was possible someone here might know where he was located. It was something of an off day, as there were fewer workers on site. Also, the location was different, and was now a mile from town instead of three, which is the location when Jimmy first arrived. Soon, it would meet up with another end of the railroad coming in from Los Angeles.

Tohru and Karen stayed on their horses while Jimmy and Kyo dismounted. Kyo would talk to the Japanese and Chinese railroad workers while Jimmy would talk to the English-speaking workers.

"Greetings my friends," Kyo said as he came upon the workers. Naturally, the workers crowded around him, clamoring to see him. Kyo obviously appreciated this showing of appreciation, but he needed to get down to business. "Wait, wait, wait!" he said to calm down the men. Naturally they did, and Kyo could speak. "First off, I have been named Deputy sheriff of the town of L'Amour, Arizona." He pointed to his badge and the workers all admired the star on his chest.

"Deputy?" An older Chinese worker said. "That's amazing, Kyo!"

"Kyo-sama is the Deputy?" A Japanese worker asked. "I never thought I'd see the day!"

"Now that you know," Kyo said. "I have an arrest warrant for Jakotsu from the Yavapai County judge in Prescott. I must know where he is so I can find him." The men went silent, as if they didn't want to tell Kyo where he was. Kyo suspected they may have been afraid to tell him. "Are you afraid to tell me?" He asked for confirmation. "If he is brought to justice, you won't have to live in fear of him. I have done what I can to help you all. And I want to help you here. I know what he has done to you and I want to put an end to it. Like I said, I have an arrest warrant for him. Please, tell me." The men stayed silent, and Kyo sighed. This was going to take some convincing.

Meanwhile, Jimmy approached several other railroad workers, most likely ones that spoke English. There were four of them, not what he had hoped for. Two were black, two were white. No, that was not intended to be racist. "Excuse me fellers," he said to get their attention. "But do any of you gentlemen know about a man named 'Jakotsu'?"

The workers looked at each other, as if they didn't know what Jimmy was talking about. Well, except for one of the workers, a black man. "Yes, I reckon I've heard of him," he said. "I reckon I've heard the Oriental workers talk about him, and I've seen some queer-looking [1] fellers talking with them."

"Do you know what he does?" Jimmy asked.

"I reckon he's a criminal," the man said.

"Do you know where he lives?" Jimmy asked. The man seemed to be in deep thought and took his time answering Jimmy's question, much to Jimmy's annoyance. He was already impatient waiting for Kyo, and now this feller was taking his time.

"Why should I tell you?" He asked. This provoked Jimmy's attention. "Why are you looking for him?"

Jimmy was not pleased one bit. In reaction, he pointed at his deputy badge and said, "Because I'm a lawman!"

"So?" He asked again.

"I'm a deputy sheriff!" Jimmy replied. "I have an arrest warrant for him! Now could you please tell me?"

"Sorry," the man said. "I don't know where he is."

"WHAT!" Jimmy shouted. Now his face had a comical look of disbelief. "You don't even know where he lives even though you took so dadgum long?"

"Yessir," he said.

"GAH!" Jimmy shouted. "If you didn't know, then why in tarnation did you take so long to answer?"

"Because I wanted to see the look on your face when you found out," the man said in response. Jimmy simply sighed and placed his face in his palm in response while the four workers laughed. And yes, Jimmy felt stupid.

Kyo, meanwhile, was having a more serious problem with the Chinese and Japanese workers. They were still silent about his question, which made him nervous. Jakotsu must be more powerful than he thought. Then, one worker spoke. "I do," he said. Kyo looked around to find the source of the voice. Sure enough, he found it. It belonged to Ping of all people.

"Ping," Kyo said. "Can you tell me where Jakotsu lives?"

"He lives not too far from here," he replied. "You can't miss where he lives. It's a Japanese mansion."

"He lives in a mansion?" Kyo asked with disbelief on his voice and face. "In the middle of the Arizona desert?"

"I am not lying," Ping replied. "They got the wood to build it from California."

"Thank you Ping," Kyo replied. "I shall share my best sakewith you for this… if I can find any."

"I thank you as well, Kyo-sama," Ping replied. At that point, Kyo put his thumb and index fingers in his mouth and whistled.

"Mikurusu-san!" He shouted.

Meanwhile, Jimmy was alerted by Kyo's whistle and immediately went over to the crowd that surrounded Kyo. Kyo then gestured to Jimmy to follow him. "I reckon he knows where this Jakotsu feller lives," Jimmy said out loud.

"I'll be helping," said Ping. Jimmy was at first surprised, but then he remembered that Ping spoke English and Japanese.

"You're going to help?" Jimmy asked. Ping nodded. "Fair enough," he said. "Lead the way. Karen!" Karen immediately looked at Jimmy. "This feller here knows where Jakotsu lives!" He said.

"That's good," she replied. "Did Kyo ask him?"

"Yes, he did ask me," Ping replied. "Most of the workers are too afraid to tell where he lives."

"I just hope you aren't lying to me," Kyo said in Japanese.

"Why would I lie to you?" Ping replied. "I have the utmost respect for you."

About 15 minutes later, the five of them arrived in what seemed to be a small village outside of town. Most of the buildings were small, and looked almost Japanese. It was no surprise that four out of five of the people there were very surprised that this village even existed. "Where in tarnation did this come from?" Jimmy asked.

"A few of the railroad workers from Japan live here," Ping replied. "They wanted something to remind themselves of home, so they built this village."

"How in tarnation did anybody miss this?" Jimmy asked again. Already his willing suspension of disbelief was being challenged by this very village.

"I've seen stranger," said Kyo after Ping repeated his words in Japanese. "We need to find Jakotsu's mansion."

"I say we dismount for now," said Jimmy. "We approach on foot."

"Good idea," Karen said. She and Jimmy dismounted and Kyo, Tohru and Ping followed suit.

The village was almost a ghost town. There may have been people there, but if there were, they certainly were quiet. Kyo suspected it must be because of Jakotsu's men. There was also an air of tension among the five of them. Jimmy kept his hands on his Winchester, and Karen gripped her shotgun also tense. Kyo kept his hand near both his swords and Tohru followed them closely with her naginata. Ping led the group. Jimmy could not help but keep his eyes on the buildings as if he was worried that someone might pop out of those houses and bushwhack them.

"Jimmy," said Karen. "I reckon once you enter Jakotsu's hideout, you should leave the Winchester behind."

"I don't reckon I will," Jimmy replied. "Unless the situation forces me to, I might just do that."

"This is it," Ping said. All five stopped in front of what was indeed a Japanese mansion. It wasn't gigantic, but it was large building, nonetheless. And no, it was not two stories, only one story high. But even from the outside, it looked pretty vast. Not surprisingly, Jimmy and Karen were astonished.

"What in tarnation?" Jimmy asked to no one in particular. "How in tarnation did they get a mansion out here in the middle of the Arizona—oh, MY HEAD HURTS!"

"How did they build this?" Karen asked. "Where did they get the wood?"

"From California," Ping replied.

"I reckon we oughta forget about how silly this looks," said Jimmy. "We should just concentrate on the task at hand."

"Exactly," said Karen.

Kyo, meanwhile, had already walked up to the main door. Tohru was also nervous about what was coming next. There was indeed nervousness that still hung over the group, especially since none of them were sure about what was on the other side of that door. Were there goons or not? Would Jakotsu go quietly, or as Kyo suspected, put up a fight? The two Americans, Jimmy and Karen, gripped their guns in anticipation. Neither of them knew what would happen. Neither did Kyo and Tohru. Remembering what he had to do, Jimmy also stepped up to the front door. "Well, here goes nothing," he said. At that point, he banged on the door. "Open up!" He shouted. "Deputy Sheriffs, we have and arrest warrant for Jakotsu!" There was no answer, which annoyed Jimmy instead of making him even more anxious. Even though he didn't understand a word Jimmy just said, Kyo decided to give it a try as well.

"Open up!" He shouted in Japanese. "We're with the L'Amour sheriff's office! We have an arrest warrant for Jakotsu! He is to surrender and come quietly so he may face trial in Prescott!" Suddenly, there was a clatter coming from inside the house. Jimmy and Kyo looked at each other in confusion. There was now little doubt that there were people inside the mansion.

At the same time, they could hear more clamoring from the houses. It was now clear that the village was indeed inhabited. And Karen suspected they were not friendly. "If anyone here attacks," she said. "Tohru and I will stay behind."

"Good luck," he said. He was also getting impatient. He was already impatient from waiting for Kyo and the men at the railroad site that he took his right leg and with those boots he was wearing, kicked the door in. Kyo gave him an annoyed look. "I said, deputy sheriff! Jakostu is under arrest and is to stand trial! Surrender NOW!" He stepped foot inside and to his displeasure, saw several men, all armed with sharp, nasty-looking objects. "Oh, dammit," he said.

"You know, you don't make yourself look like a scholar when you do things like that!" Karen shouted.

"Will you stop that?" Jimmy shouted back.

Kyo however, stood fast. He had a job to do and not even Jimmy's little muck-up would change that. "I am Kyo Sohma, deputy sheriff of L'Amour, Arizona," he said as he pointed to his badge. "I have a warrant for Jakotsu's arrest. He is to come quietly back to L'Amour so he may face trial."

The men who were confronting Jimmy and Kyo stood there with disbelief on their faces. Jimmy didn't know what Kyo said, but it must have affected them. Until, that is, when they began laughing. Jimmy and Kyo were not happy. "Arrest?" One of them said. "Jakotsu cannot be arrested! He is above the law!"

"Not here," Kyo replied. "Here, he is a wanted man. And I suggest you surrender or else."

"Or else what?" the man said back.

Kyo knew that the man had just signed his own death wish. At that point, he looked at Jimmy and nodded his head. Jimmy got the message loud and clear. With a semi-psychotic smile on his face, Jimmy nodded back, and quickly raised his Colt up and took aim at the man. Then, he pulled the trigger and fired. BANG!

Suddenly, the man recoiled. He had a shocked look on his face as he looked down at his chest and noticed a red spot spreading at where his heart was. His eyes rolled back in his head and he fell to the ground face first. The other goons watched in horror while Kyo watched. Jimmy, meanwhile, cocked the rifle's lever and took aim again. "He killed him!" Another goon said.

"I was serious," Kyo repliedas he reached for his wakizashishort sword. "I didn't wear my armor for no reason. Now I will say this again: Jakotsu is to surrender and come silently. Or else my associate and I will be forced to take action."

"You and your associate?" The man said. "What about your women?" At that point, Kyo turned around and noticed several people advancing on Karen and Tohru. But the two looked ready to fight them both.

"Kyo, Karen-san and I will deal with these people," Tohru said. "You and Mikurusu-sanshould deal with Jakotsu."

"Jimmy, Tohru and I will handle these fellers," Karen said. "You do what you have to do."

"Gladly!" Jimmy said. Kyo stepped up next to Jimmy. The two confronted the goons in the doorway. Jimmy could see a hallway to his right and one to his left. He wasn't sure which one led to Jakotsu, so he knew it would be a good idea to split up. But how was he going to convey that to Kyo? He wouldn't understand what he said, but—that's when he got the idea. Since Kyo could not understand what Jimmy was saying, he could probably understand what he was doing. "Sohma," he said. Kyo turned to look at Jimmy. It was then that he gestured to himself and then pointed to the right. He then pointed to Kyo and pointed to the left.

Kyo at first was confused about just what Jimmy was doing. Why was he pointing to himself and then to the right? It was then that he got the idea. Just to be sure, he pointed at Jimmy and then to the right. Jimmy nodded, meaning he had gotten his point. Kyo then pointed to himself and then to the left. Jimmy then nodded again, and he had a smile on his face. Kyo got the message. Jimmy was saying, 'I'll go this way, you'll go that way'.

"Ready?" Jimmy asked, even though Kyo didn't understand him. He then reached for his Colt while Kyo reached for his short sword. With his left hand, Jimmy held up three fingers. Then, he held up two. He was counting down. 3… 2… 1… "GO!"

At that point, Jimmy drew his pistol and Kyo his sword and attacked the goons. Jimmy drew his Colt with a lightning-quick move and fired his pistol. Kyo charged the goons and swung his sword at the goons. Even with his short sword, Kyo had little trouble dispatching these men.

Jimmy had little trouble as well, especially since these fellers were armed only with sharp objects and not pistols like Jimmy was. In short, Jimmy could fire his six-shooter at the men and keep his distance from the men with the sharp, pointy objects—until he ran out of bullets, that is. "Oh, damn," he said when his six-shooter ran out. Well, you can imagine the look on his face and the faces of the assailants. It was a good thing Kyo noticed Jimmy's situation and took care of the assailants. "Thank you," he said. Kyo, who did know the meaning of that phrase, just gave him a slight salute before taking the left hallway to find Jakotsu while Jimmy took the time to re-load. It was also at that point, that Jimmy heard a shotgun blast coming from outside. Karen and Tohru must have begun to engage their enemies. Jimmy could only wish them good luck and continue with his fight, stepping over three men he killed to get to the right hallway. "Get em, Karen!"

BANG! With a shotgun blast to the ground, Karen kept a group of would-be attackers at bay. Tohru, meanwhile, was fighting with a pair of women, using her naginatato fight. And she was doing good. Karen had to admit even she didn't think Tohru could handle herself. The lady seemed so delicate that to see her fighting well, even she was surprised. It was then she realized she still had to deal with her objectives, so she took the butt of her shotgun and swung it at her opponent.

Tohru didn't think much about it herself. She was just concentrating on handling her opponents. With a quick move, she blocked a sword attack on her left while at the same time using the non-blade side to take out another opponent on her right. When that was done, she swung her staff-like weapon around and swung it at a pair of assailants. That strike hit her opponents.

Back in the mansion, Kyo was having an easy time getting through. Most of the goons he faced were bad at sword fighting, much to his surprise. Well, compared to him, anyway. A quick backhand swing took out three opponents and he spun around again and took out a man behind him. A cry alerted him to another man behind him and this time he ducked to avoid the man, who tumbled over him. He then blocked another sword attack and threw the man off of him. It was then he decided he wasn't going to toy with these fools any longer so he barreled through the wall of men—well; it wasn't much of a wall if he could penetrate them that easily—to continue down the hallway.

Jimmy, meanwhile, had a little more to deal with. His hallway was lousy with goons. But it didn't matter a Few quick shots from his Colt and they were easy to deal with. One man tried to charge him like a rhino, but Jimmy simply shot him and he fell like a sack of potatoes. Jimmy only cackled as that happened. Of course, he didn't only use his six-shooter. One man did get close to him, but Jimmy took care of him with a boxing punch. And yes, he knocked the man out cold. Then he took his Colt again and with the last bullet in his gun at the time, shot at another man. Well, now his gun was empty, so it was time to reload. But since he could, he pistol whipped a pair of men, knocking them out and running away to find a place to reload.

At the same time, Kyo ran into a slight problem. Now he had found the men who could actually fight with their swords instead of some lowly lackeys. Jakotsu must have hired some former samurai from before the Meiji revolution, since they were old enough to have fought in said revolution and they were very experienced swordsmen. Kyo could not let his guard down. One swordsman swung downwards at Kyo—he was taller than him—which Kyo just barely blocked with his short sword. What's even more, he seemed tgo recognize Kyo. "You are Kyo Sohma, aren't you?" He asked. "You are the son of the famed Sohma clan?"

"That is correct," Kyo replied. "How do you know who I am?"

"I knew your father from the days of the revolution," he replied. "He was an honorable man."

"But not for me," Kyo replied. "He was not honorable to me."

"Then your teacher Kazuma was honorable," he replied. "I have heard great things about him. I hear he fought 10 soldiers of the Shogun alone."

"That is part of his reputation," Kyo replied. "I can't say if it's true or not. But that's not the point. What are you doing here in America? And especially working for a man like Jakotsu?"

"I could ask you the same question. But to answer yours, the samurai are dead," he replied. "I needed a way to make money so I came to him. I really don't care about his plans."

"What plans?" Kyo asked. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm not even sure about what he means myself," the samurai replied. "And I must ask what that star on your chest is for."

"I am a deputy sheriff of L'Amour, Arizona," Kyo replied. "I am here along with my partner to apprehend him."

"You're a lawman?" The samurai asked. "And who is your partner? Where is he?"

"My partner is an American by the name of Jimmy Mikurusu," Kyo replied. "He's a gunslinger. And he's currently trying to find his way to Jakotsu himself."

"I see," said the samurai. "So you're working with a trigger-happy American. That is interesting."

"You seem to think he's out of place," Kyo replied. "In reality, we're the ones out of place. My partner is not."

"You have a point," the samurai said. "Very well, then. Although I am not happy about it, I shall defeat you anyway."

"Bring it," Kyo replied. The man charged Kyo, who stood his ground like Stonewall Jackson. The two swords clashed, sending sparks flying.

"Good block," the older samurai said. "Now let's see how you handle this!" The man charged Kyo again, this time he was going for the kill.

"DAMMIT!" Jimmy, meanwhile, had to deal with another older samurai, one that was dodging all of his shots. "Where in tarnation do they get these fellers?" Jimmy asked to no one in particular. To put it short, Jimmy had thought that he would just shoot the man, but he was too fast for Jimmy's six-shooter. And right now, the man was attacking Jimmy while the young American tried to reload. And it's not easy to reload when a samurai is thrusting and swinging his sword at him. "Should have brought my Winchester," he said to himself. Finally, he got the Colt loaded and got a good distance between himself and the samurai, taking aim. When the time was right, fired—and missed. "Oh, not again!" He said. The samurai had dodged in the nick of time and was now bearing down on Jimmy.

"Do you actually think a gun can defeat me?" The samurai said in Japanese. Jimmy of course, had absolutely no idea what he just said, but did have a scared look on his face as the samurai began to bring his sword down on him. "Prepare to die, American!" The samurai shouted as he charged Jimmy. As the samurai charged Jimmy, he gathered his wits and took aim at the samurai before pulling the trigger.

Outside, Karen and Tohru were having their own problems. They were surrounded by some of Jakotu's goons after dispatching some pro-Jakotsu villagers. What was worse was Karen was running low on shotgun shells and slugs and Tohru was getting tired. They had that difficult a fight. And of course now, they had some trouble. "Karen-san," Tohru said.

"What is it, Tohru?" Karen asked.

"If we're going to die," she said. "Then let us die in style." Karen was obviously surprised. This kind of talk was coming from a lady who was afraid of guns! Karen had to admit that even though she and Tohru were good friends, she didn't know everything about the Japanese woman.

Karen simply shook her head. "We're not going to die," she replied. "No, we're going to fight bravely and we're going to handle these fools. What do you say?"

Tohru replied by smiling at Karen. It was her standard smile, the one the always made Kyo's heart melt whenever he saw that smile. "Then let's die when we're old and decrepit."

"I like that," said Karen. Karen immediately raised her shotgun at one goon and fired. Tohru then took her naginataand swung it at several goons. Karen's shot hit her target and Tohru's strike took out a few goons.

With the fight on, the goons attacked Karen, who swung the butt of her shotgun at the goons, striking one in the head. Tohru then spun around, twirling the naginataabove her head like a helicopter before brining it down on several goons. Karen's attack knocked the man out and knocked a few teeth out of his mouth, as well. Tohru's attack, meanwhile, took out several goons, even cutting off body parts. "I think we can handle these guys!" Karen said.

The older samurai who attacked Kyo doubled over in pain, clutching his stomach. Kyo had swung his sword into the man's midsection as he attacked him. The man was in enough pain that he had dropped his sword. And he was also worried if he was bleeding or not. Kyo, meanwhile, stood tall above him. The man moved his hand from his chest to discover that—there was no blood. The samurai was understandably confused. "What is this?" The samurai asked. "Why am I not bleeding?" It was then that he saw Kyo's sword. His eyes widened in shock and realization: the blade of his wakizashishort sword was on the reverse side. "A reverse-blade sword!" The man said. "I have heard of those. There's a man in Tokyo that I've heard of who used a reverse-blade sword. As I can recall, he was a feared assassin during the revolution and has been atoning for his sins [2]. How did you get that?"

"It was made for me before I left Japan," Kyo replied. "I have also done things I regret, which is why I carry this around."

"I see," said the older samurai. "You are your teacher's student. Go on, then. I'll leave this town and go to either Los Angeles or San Francisco to start a new life. I wish you luck."

"You're giving up this easily?" Kyo asked. "But why?"

"Even I don't know why," the samurai said. "I suppose it's because I don't like Jakotsu either." With that, the man stood up and sheathed his sword. Then, he bowed before Kyo and walked away. "Until next time," he said as he left. Kyo only shook his head.

"Old fool," he said to himself before continuing on.

Meanwhile, Jimmy had just fired his gun at a charging samurai. Before, he had missed every shot. Now, he had gotten close to the man—even though he still missed. "DAMMIT!" He shouted again. However, his shot had seemed to faze the samurai, who had frozen just before bringing his sword down on the American. Also, Jimmy was about to fall on his behind because the samurai was so close. But now that the shot had nearly hit the target, Jimmy's resolve was getting stronger.

"Not bad," the samurai said—in English. Jimmy looked at the man in surprise.

"You speak—"

"Yes, I speak English. And no, I won't tell where I learned it." the samurai said. "And that was a decent shot. Normally, a man would be dead from that attack, but your shot made me stop. I'm impressed."

"I reckon you might be,' said Jimmy. "But I'm not done. Not at all."

"I still believe you should give up American," the samurai said in response. "If all you've got is a gun, then you can't really fight me."

"We were fighting?" Jimmy asked. "I did not know. I've just been tryin' to kill you."

"You're not going to kill me," the samurai said. "You won't even shoot me when I'm not talking."

Of course, this gave Jimmy a bad idea. "You sure about that?" He asked as he pointed his gun at him. But he didn't get a shot off, because the samurai moved in quickly and kicked the gunslinger in the chest, sending him backwards. Jimmy grunted in pain, mainly from crashing into a wall.

"You should also be more careful," the samurai said. "I suggest you give up."

But Jimmy would have none of it; none at all. "I'm not giving up," Jimmy replied as he stood up. "My pa's regiment fought hard, and to honor my pa's legacy, I'll do just the same. His brigade's motto was 'they shall never retreat from the charge of lances'. In other words, I AM NOT GIVING UP, EVER! I WILL CONTINUE ON IN HONOR OF THE IRISH BRIGADE!"

"The Irish Brigade?" The samurai asked. He dodged again when Jimmy fired his Colt again. The American was a spirited fellow.

"Faugh a ballagh[3]!" Jimmy shouted as he fired his Colt again. The samurai dodged again, this time Jimmy had the upper hand.

"You're a spirited fellow!" The samurai said. "I'm impressed! And you seem to say your father was a soldier!"

"My pa fought in the War Between the States," Jimmy replied. "He fought in the Irish Brigade and served in the Battle of Gettysburg for the Union. I am proud of what he has done!"

"Interesting," the samurai said. "You're like me—in a sense."

"How is that?" Jimmy asked.

"It's complicated," the samurai replied. "Your father and I have one thing in common: we both fought in our respective wars. Your father fought in this War Between the States you talk about and I served in the Meiji Revolution, fighting for the Imperialist side. After that, I came here."

"Oh, so that's what you're doing in America," Jimmy said. "You're out of place here. Especially those honor codes I've heard of."

"I suppose you're right," the man said. "But enough talk. IT'S TIME TO FINISH THIS!" He charged Jimmy again, brandishing his sword. Once again, Jimmy had his back against the wall—literally, this time. But Jimmy stood his ground, cocked his gun and aimed it at the samurai, and fired. BANG!

The action stopped. The samurai stopped in mid-stride. Jimmy stood still, his Colt barrel still smoking. There was a tense silence, which was a vast contrast to the loud noise of the fight earlier. Then, the samurai's sword split into and half of the blade fell to the ground. Jimmy had shot the sword at the right spot, and despite the legendary strength of the samurai sword, it had still broken in two. "Not bad," the samurai said. "Although I suppose this comes from my sword being so old. Still, you're not a bad shot."

"Practice," Jimmy replied as he twirled his gun a couple times.

"Very well then," the man said. "I'll let you through to arrest Jakotsu." With that, he stepped aside to let Jimmy through. The American obliged and walked past the samurai to find Jakotsu.

However, Kyo found him first. After encountering little resistance, Kyo managed to find the room where he suspected Jakotsu was. Like the hallway, it was lousy with goons. But Kyo just swung his sword once and took out all of the goons in the room. Now, it was just him, an older man and a few bodyguards at the end of the room. "Ah, Kyo Sohma," said the older man. He was slightly overweight, bald, and middle-aged. Kyo knew exactly who it was.

"Jakotsu," he said. "At last I've found you."

"It's nice to see you as well," Jakotsu replied. "I've been looking forward to this ever since I heard you killed Kaitou."

"So have I," Kyo replied. "But I must get to the point. I am now Deputy Sheriff of the town of L'Amour, Arizona. I have an arrest warrant for you." With that, he pulled the arrest warrant for Jakotsu to see. The crime boss simply sat there. "By order of the Yavapai County judge in Prescott, I place you under arrest and you are to come to Prescott to face trial. If you do not, I shall be forced to either kill you or apprehend you myself."

"Arrest?" Jakotsu said with a laugh on his tone. "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm wanted? Those American fools! Don't they know who I am?"

"Apparently not," Kyo replied. "It took two weeks just for the judge to reply to a request for an arrest warrant. The sheriff of L'Amour doesn't even know who you are."

"Well, now that you say this, then I must be honored that they want to arrest me," Jakotsu said. "But they won't get me."

"Do you think you're above the law?" Kyo asked with venom on his tone. "You may have been in Japan, but not here."

"You fool," Jakotsu replied. "I won't turn myself in. Not because I'm not above the law, but because I just won't."

"You'll regret that," Kyo replied as he sheathed his reverse-blade sword and drew his katana. He was serious. "I'll kill you if I have to."

"Then do it!" Jakotsu shouted. Suddenly, the man got up and charged Kyo. Kyo stood his ground and prepared to defend himself. "DIE, SOHMA!" He shouted as he brought his sword down on Kyo. But Kyo aimed his strike at Jakotsu's chest and thrust his sword at Jakotu's chest. Jakotsu stopped. His face now had a look of pain and shock on it. At the same time, the men who were knocked out by Kyo watched in shock as Kyo's blade stuck out of the man's back. Jakotsu's eyes rolled backwards and when Kyo revmoed his sword, he fell to the ground. Blood pooled around the body as the last breath of life left it.

Kyo was not happy. He had hoped to bring him in and bring him to justice, but now that he had killed—"Well done, Kyo." Suddenly, Kyo looked at the source of the voice.

"Who was that?" He asked. "Show yourself!" It was then that a feminine-looking man stepped forward. He was not much older than Kyo, and he had black hair and had combination feminine-masculine body. "Who are you?" Kyo asked.

"Oh, I must apologize," the person said. "Well then, allow me to introduce myself. I am the real Jakotsu. And it's a pleasure to finally meet you, Kyo."

To be continued

[1] In this context, 'queer' means strange, not homosexual.

[2] Oh come on, you know who he's talking about!

[3] "Clear the way!"
The climax begins! Yes, I know a Japanese mansion/village in the middle of the Arizona desert is pretty ridiculous... but I don't care.

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