Realist Demon King – 165
The Strongest Man in the Shinsengumi
In the end, Toshizou was the one to defeat the Ghoul, but it wasn’t as if I did nothing at all.
I supported him from the back with buff magic.
I casted enchantments to increase the sharpness of his sword, and raise his physical strength.
“Oh, so this is buff magic. Thank you.”
“It will allow you to move faster than usual, but don’t allow yourself to lose control.”
Toshizou jumped around in order to confirm this, and then he smiled.
“This is good. I feel like I would be able to cut down a hundred of the Satsuma and Choshu dogs.”
Toshizou would say such dark things with a serious expression. But this attitude made him reliable.
In fact, Toshizou had cut down many of the new government’s army during the Toba and Fushimi battles. Had he had the support of magic back then, then he might have been able to defeat a whole clan on his own. That’s how powerful Toshizou’s sword was.
Before I knew it, the old man with the fox mask was standing next to me and explaining.
“Who was the strongest man in the Shinsengumi? Many people have asked me that through the years. I never engaged in such vain debates, but the others have said many things.”
“The strongest sword in the Shinsengumi was Souji Okita. However, he was frail in body, and after a few years, he could not even hold a sword properly. Considering this, the strongest should be the second corps’ Shinpachi Nagakura or the third’s Hajime Saitou. And there were some who suggest the dual-wielding Takeo Hattori and the southern mercenary samurai, Kanichirou Yoshimura.”
“They are all famous swordsmen.”
“Aye. However, as someone who was able to get a close look at them, they were all just extensions of training swords. Of course, they had some actual combat experience. But they were too sophisticated.”
“So, who was actually the strongest?”
“Don’t rush, Demon King. Let me tell you an old story. Do you know of the Ikedaya incident?”
“Not the Ikedaya from the Satsuma conflict, but the one involving the Shinsengumi?”
“You’re very knowledgeable. Yes.”
“Then I do know about it.”
“Many Shinsengumi members were mobilized in order to capture thirty of the lawless samurai, but due to a mistake, the team with just four people, including Isami Kondo, was the one to arrive at the scene first.”
“It’s a famous story. Isami Kondo, Souji Okita, Shinpachi Nagakura, and Heisuke Toudou invaded the Ikedaya, and destroyed the lawless samurai in spite of being greatly outnumbered.”
“Yes. There were too many to capture all of them. And so most of them were cut down in the end.”
“If it’s four against thirty, you would be killed if you tried to capture them.”
“Mmm, indeed. But then again, it wasn’t as if these people had any aversion to killing people. And so they cut down the enemy regardless of their numbers. However, before they were done, Souji Okita, who was really a sophisticated young lord, showed signs of tuberculosis, and so they became three.”
“That’s what they say. So Isami Kongo and Shinpachi Nagakura did most of the killing.”
“That is an exaggeration. Because Nagakura was wounded during the fight and had to retreat.”
“In other words, Isami Kondo defeated the majority of the thirty samurai?”
“Aye, that is right. He cut down the majority of the Ikedaya samurai. Isami Kondo. The head of the Shinsengumi. The dojo master and successor of Tennen Rishin-ryu. He would go on to be a great man.”
“That’s amazing. For the leader of a group to be the one to go out and fight.”
“Back then, you had to do that or soldiers wouldn’t follow you. Who would follow those ronins just because they wanted to? They are strong. If I follow him, I’ll be successful. It’s only when they think such things, that soldiers fight like their life depends on it.”
“In other words, it was Isami Kondo who was the strongest in the Shinsengumi?”
The old man in the fox mask nodded. But then he continued.
“But there was one person who he regularly said was stronger than him. Toshizou Hijikata. It was the demon vice-captain who was really the strongest.”
The old man talked in a nostalgic voice, but he sounded serious at the same time. And Toshizou was fighting as if to prove it.
The Ghoul’s movements were slow, but its immortal body was ridiculously tough, and one slash was not enough to take it down. And so it survived special attack after special attack. It didn’t just survive, it fought back with attacks that would cut through flesh and bone.
The average fighter would have gone down five times already. That’s how precise and powerful the Ghoul’s attacks were. But Toshizou dodged them by a hair’s breadth and then countered.
I had thought that I knew his ability well, but seeing him like this reminded me of how much of a monster he was. He had an air around him that was more fearsome than the Ghoul.
“The strongest man in the Shinsengumi…huh…”
It wasn’t an exaggeration. He was often seen as the sharp leader of the organization. However, perhaps he was more of a barbarian who relied entirely on his sword. That’s what I thought.
As I reevaluated him, Toshizou proved that I was right. He was just about to finish off the Ghoul.
“These ancients are true villains for creating monsters with the gathered bodies of sinners. It’s time I return you to the earth.”
Toshizou said as he pulled back with his sword.
I muttered, and the old man replied.
“It’s the one-handed flat thrust that they were known for.”
“The demon vice-captain thought of it. It’s a technique where you thrust with your sword level. The advantage of this, is that when the blade enters the stomach, it passes through the ribs and deals a lethal wound. And even if you miss, you can just swing to the side. But…”
There, the old man paused.
I asked, and then he continued.
“It doesn’t really matter. When it is done by Toshizou Hijikata, his attack is sharp, and no ribs can stop it. And he never misses, so a second attack is never necessary.”
As the old man declared, Toshizou’s one-handed flat thrust went straight into the Ghoul’s head. Even though it was undead, it still had a brain. No, it was because it was dead, that the brain was an important organ. Once he realized this, Toshizou targeted it without hesitation.
He moved faster than the eye could follow. His blade pierced into the Ghoul’s right eyeball and destroyed his skull. And then it crushed the brain within. The Ghoul’s head exploded like a firework of filth. Rotted flesh splattered all over Toshizou, but he looked like he didn’t even notice. That being said, he wasn’t expressionless either. He looked very amused. This was someone who felt fulfilled when he was fighting. Otherwise, he was incredibly awkward.
I thought about how he lived while the Ghoul crumbled to the ground, and then I waited for Toshizou to return from the battlefield.
The Legendary Rebuilding of a World by a Realist Demon King
Thanks for the treat.