|Chapter VI: Love's Striking Blade|
|Kuro Arashi: The Black Storm chapter|
|Focus Character||Motoko Aoyama, Seno Nakakami|
|Place||Hinata-Sou, Shinmeiryu Dojo|
- "Combat is the best judge of intent, particularly when sentient weapons are involved. A weapon like Shinaijou would not have allowed itself to be used dishonestly."
- —Tsuruko Aoyama, Heavenly Sword, Revised Edition
The morning after the previous night's party at the Hinata-Sou, Motoko awakens to find a note from Seno stating that he has left on a short trip to Kyoto and would be back in a few days. She questions Naru Narusegawa and Keitaro Urashima on the note, both of whom state they have no idea the swordsman would be leaving. All three deduce that Seno has left to speak with Tsuruko, Motoko's elder sister, about apologizing for Kawakami Gensai's rape of the swordwoman's younger sister.
Deciding that Seno would paint himself as at fault, the three decide shortly to leave for Kyoto to explain matters themselves and ensure Seno's safety.
In Kyoto, Seno approaches the Shinmeiryu dojo, though he is stopped by a guardsmen, he is quickly shown to an audience with Tsuruko. The two converse and hastily Seno rushes into asking for Motoko's hand in marriage. Tsuruko points out that the two have only known each other for a short time, and that they have even only been dating for a week.
Seno explains that he is asking because it is because of the sudden appearance of the violently supernatural, in particular his death and revival, that he wants to seek Motoko's hand in marriage. Tsuruko asks him to elaborate, which causes the entire story of Gensai's return and Motoko's rape. Tsuruko expresses sadness, but deduces that it was not Seno's fault. She then agrees to let Seno marry Motoko on one condition, that she impress him in combat.
The scene shifts to Motoko, Keitaro and Naru arriving in Kyoto. They converse for a time about Tsuruko and then Seno and his motives for coming to the dojo, and then they eventually reach the dojo proper. There, they meet the same guardsmen that had stopped Seno, whom confirms that Tsuruko recieved a visitor not long ago. As the guardsman leaves, Tsuruko appears, her sword resting upon her shoulder.
Motoko's eyes fall on her sister's sword, and for a moment she worries that Tsuruko is trying to hunt Seno down. The sisters talk, Tsuruko confirming that Seno is here and she challenged him to combat. As Motoko calls Tsuruko by her first name in a shout, rather than the common term "aneue" as she usually refers to her elder sibling, Tsuruko comments that Seno must be bringing Motoko out of her emotional shell. She then ushers the three to a building where they can hide and watch the duel, with Motoko showing no small distress that either of the two involve might get hurt, but especially Seno,
The three leave to hide, and Tsuruko finds Seno and resumes the duel. They trade blows in numbers, Seno eventually doding by leaping over Tsuruko and then attempting to finish the duel with a decisive strike. Tsuruko blocks, the two locked at the hilt for a moment and toe-to-toe as they fought for dominance over the exchange.
Tsuruko comments that Seno's skill at swordsmanship is impressive, and Seno claims to be self taught. The two converse a bit more and then Tsuruko strikes out with her foot without warning, slamming it into Seno's chest and knocking her opponent back. She then attempts to swing her sword in an uppercut, but Seno jumps back in a dodge. The woman then executes a Gurenken attack, the ki knocks Seno to one knee. Hastily Seno dodges again, in a awkward scramble, as Tsuruko brings her sword down on the grass and dirt Seno had previously been upon.
Tsuruko's demon eyes flash and she strikes out as Seno again as he scrambles to find footing and their blades meet in a series of rapid blows, continuously pressing Seno back and on the defenseive, a state that almost always sees him lose a fight.
The battle continues, with Seno finally backed into a statue. Tsuruko closes in and Seno ducks from another blow which gouges the statue. Seno leaps up and sicks off another statue, sailing towards his attacker. Tsuruko leaps to meet him and they clash in midair, their swords clashing fourteen times in blows before either of them land. Seno lands on the ground, slightly stumbling, while Tsuruko lights atop the same statue Seno had kicked off from. She then attemps a downward cleave on Seno's skull, which the swords man blocks, shockwaves coursing through him.
The man then comments that Tsuruko must be holding back, as the woman had barely used any of her ki abilities. Tsuruko comments back that he must be holding back as well, and they must be doing so because both of them know that Motoko would wish neither of them see any harm. Seno then shoves Tsuruko's blade away, knocking Tsuruko off balance. The woman executes another Gurenken attack, and the force knocks Seno back into another statue. Tsuruko begins to close in, but notices the statue is begining to tilt and hops backwarss to avoid being crushed. Seno steps out to the side.
A sharp pain slips up Seno's side and Tsuruko chuckles, noticing that the pain seems to be bothering the man. Then she questions if Seno would want to forfiet. The man replies that he will finish the fight and prove himself to Tsuruko and Motoko. Tsuruko comments that perhaps they should stop, she notices that Seno's injury might be getting serious. Seno declines, stating he would continue despite the wound.
The swordswoman sighs at the stubborness the man is displaying and decides it is time to finish the battle once and for all, apparently growing serious as she was not as such before.
The scene shifts to Keitaro, Naru and Motoko, who have witnessed this whole exchange. Naru comments that she finds it shocking Seno would continue despite the wound. Keitaro explains that that is just how Seno is, stubborn to a fault. Motoko watches wordlessly, though she wishes silently that Seno does not need to do any of this to prove herself.
Tsuruko faces down Seno, an orb of ki appearing in her outstreached hand, icy blue in color. A similar orb appears in Seno's, red in color. The two throw their energies at each other, which bypass one another and slam into their respective opponents, exploding near each combatant. When the light dies down from the explosion, the three onlookers watch as Tsuruko remains standing but Seno collapses. Motoko cries Seno's name when the man doesn't stand and she rushes towards him. Tsuruko is closer, however, and attempts to bring her sword down upon Seno.
The path of the blade is stopped, however, when Motoko throws out and wraps around the blade the chain of the pirate necklace that Seno got for her. Voice raw with emotion, she states that she will not allow her sister to harm Seno.
Tsuruko then states that Seno and her duel was to allow Seno permission to marry Motoko. Since Motoko interfered, she was now forbidden by Tsuruko to marry the swordsman. Shocked and dreams broken, Motoko reaches her limit and her ki swells powerfully and Tsuruko reflects internally with pleasure, glad that Motoko has reacted in challenge. Seno rouses at the display and Motoko exclaims that she would give up her family before allowing Tsuruko to stand in her way of spending her life with the man.
She then strikes out with Shinaijou, having taken it from where it fell, and uses the Aoyama Kokuhakuken. The overwhelming ki of the attack blasts Tsuruko and, when the attack clears, the woman is a hundred of more feet back, crushes against a wall and her sword has shattered. Tsuruko shakily returns to her feet and then stares wordlessly at her destroyed sword. She then smiles, though in large pain, and states that Motoko has surprised her and that Motoko must fight with her heart and that she had finally learned that today.
Seno then asks if Motoko truly meant what she said, that she would indeed forfiet her family ties. Motoko confirms this, stating her love for Seno is that strong and the Aoyoama Kokuhakuken could not have worked if she was lying. Tsuruko admits, however, that she wouldn't have to leave the family. That her own words had only been a test of Motoko's affections of Seno and that she had ever permission to marry the man.
With that, Seno asks for Motoko's hand in marriage and she agrees with a "yes."