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Chapter 281
Chap281-01
Chapter Details
Volume: 29
Japanese Title: 扇の男
Translated Title: Ōgi no Otoko
English Title: The Men of Ogi
Released (Japan): May 18, 2010



Characters (in order of appearance)

Summary

Yoshimori and Sen Kagemiya wait anxiously as Kei Sazanami finishes his interrogation of Souji Hiura. Yoshimori is clearly hostile toward Sazanami, but Sen assures Sazanami that Yoshimori understands the importance of the interrogation. Sen asks if Sazanami was able to get any info out of Souji on the Sousui, but Sazanami was only able to get bits and pieces. Yoshimori asks them to let Souji rest.

Elsewhere, Shichirou Ougi is scolded by his father Nizou for his mistakes in handling the assassination of the Shinyuuchi Hunters. Particularly, Nizou assumes the Sousui is upset because one of the Hunters (Ichigou) managed to escape, and the Sousui's property (Souji) was damaged. Shichirou apologizes, and Nizou blames the mishandling on Shichirou's pride. Nizou questions why Shichirou volunteered for the Karasumori mission, since it has long been known as a risky target. Shichirou replies that he was curious about the way the land chose its protectors, but that the chosen seem to be normal people otherwise. He assumes that being chosen by such of power is just an accident. Nizou calls Shichirou incompetent and tells him to reflect on his actions.

Afterward, Shichirou's assistant Shijima tries to cheer him up. Shichirou notes that even though its the first time he's made such a mistake and expected to be reprimanded, he didn't expect it would make him feel so badly. Shichirou suspects that his father wanted these latest jobs for the Sousui to be part of a final test for him, but now that they have cancelled, isn't sure where it leaves him. Shijima suggests that Shichirou passed the test the moment he killed his older brothers. Shichirou disagrees, saying he completely destroyed the bodies instead of leaving corpses, as was instructed, and kept the Council badge instead of destroying it. Shijima says that Nizou is evaluating him because he has a mixture of mercy and cruelty. Shichirou suddenly decides he doesn't want to be encouraged by Shijima, and calls two girls from his school instead. Shijima warns Shichirou not to get too close to the girls, since they are normal and cannot become part of his world. Shichirou then changes his plans and decides to visit the mountain behind the house. Shijima inwardly notes that Shichirou intends to visit the cherry blossom tree in the shrine at the mountaintop, and tells him to take his time.

Shichirou flies up onto one of the tree branches, where he is warmly greeted by a mysterious woman named Lady Mayuka. She caresses his face, but suddenly yanks his head closer and mentions that he seems upset. Shichirou explains what happened with his father, and Mayuka immediately takes Shichirou's side. She says that Nizou used to be a fine, good-hearted man, but that humans change as they age. Mayuka says that Nizou is jealous, and assures Shichirou that he is the greatest of the countless Ougi generations that she has seen. She even promises to make every cherry blossom on the mountain bloom as a gift when he succeeds Nizou. Shichirou isn't comforted because his father insists that he not treat the succession as something that's already been decided, and that the Sousui turning his back on them will cause problems and could delay the ceremony for some time.

In the Sumimura Home's well, Yoshimori brings out Shiguma so Shimano can meet him. Though Shimano seems somewhat distracted by Shiguma's appearance, he accepts that Yoshimori has reached the ultimate blank state. Yoshimori says that this isn't enough: he lacks power and focus, and was swept away by Karasumori's power when he couldn't maintain the state. He asks for a jutsu that will make him stronger, but Shimano insists that there isn't one: the ultimate blank state is the highest achievement, and all that remains after that is increasing one's own fundamental power and strengthening the whole being. At a loss, Yoshimori trains by running. Meanwhile, Shimano admits that while he still has his doubts, Yoshimori is finally proceeding to the next stage.

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