At Akabeko is the fifth chapter of the Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration manga.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Udo comments about the sensation he is feeling and how it brings back memories, which everyone comments about how Udo is dangerous. Udo then asks who is six, seven, and eighth, and says that they can decide the order and that he will respect it. Everyone gets frightened and runs away, out if fear of dying. Kanryu shows up and notices that Udo had scared everybody away, and that this is all he has left. Kanryu says that Udo is a madman, and thinks about how it would be dangerous to try to put a leash on Udo and that it would be wiser to stay out of Udo's way. Kanryu asks Gein and Inui why they were not scared away. Gein says that this isn't enough to scare him off and even offers to bring 2 or 3 more skewers if Kanryu wants, while Inui proclaims that he can kill Udo if Kanryu want him to. Kanryu says that they might be useful, and says that they will let Udo deal with Battosai and they will finish off the Kamiya Dojo.
At the shrine, Kenshin says that a man in a straw hat showed up at the dojo yesterday. Kenshin says that his hands were pierced while fighting people during the bakumatsu and asks if he was one of Saito's men, which Saito says that is name is Udo. Saito explains that Udo's primary missions were eradication, assassination, and dealing with powerful enemies and states that Udo was as skilled as any captain but he was to dangerous to be included into any unit. Saito says that Udo enjoyed cutting and being cut equally, and was known as Hitokiti Jin-e amongst the troops. Saito also says that Udo killed enemies, friends, and innocents alike during the boshin war, and then disappeared. Saito says that he doesn't know what he's been up to since, but Udo is one of the assassins on Kanryu's payroll. Kenshin comments about how Udo still has a grudge over what he has done to his hands. Kenshin remembers what Udo had said yesterday, which Kenshin is after something else. Saito tells Kenshin that its between the two of them and that they can figure it out. Kenshin says that Saito has changed, he let Udo roam free despite knowing his wickedness and has quietly watched Kanryu who has brought his freedom. Kenshin asks if Saito has renounced Aku-Soku-Zan, which Saito replies that if that is what Kenshin thinks then he can kill him himself and that he is not getting involved. Saito states that Kenshin is the winner of the restoration and that he is just a loser. Saito tells Kenshin to carry out his duties as a winner before expecting anything from the defeated.
Kenshin arrives at the Akabeko, which Kaoru calls Kenshin over. Tsubame introduces herself to Kenshin, which Kenshin asks Yahiko is a childhood friend of his. Tsubame says that they were neighbors in Kanda before Yahiko's family had moved three years ago. Sano recognizes the region and asks if Tsubame is from a samurai family, which Tsubame says that she guesses that she is. Tsubame asks Yahiko where he lives now, which Kaoru says that Yahiko is staying at her dojo for the time being. Tsubame says that Yahiko is studying to be a swordsman now and is glad to hear that he is still chasing his dream. Yahiko says that he doesn't remember some stupid dream he has as a kid, which Sano, Kenshin, and Kaoru say that Yahiko is still a kid. Yahiko tells them to shut up and to keep eating. After they finish eating and pay for the check, Tae thanks Kaoru for generously ordering twenty orders which Tsubame reveals that Tae is the manager at Akabeko. As the group leaves, Tae thanks them and tells them to come again.
While walking home, they talk about how Tsubame is a nice girl and comment about how he is working at such a young age. Yahiko says that's what doesn't make sense to him, since Tsubame's family was wealthy not like his. Sano says that the lifestyles of samurai families changed drastically after the restoration and only the merchants made out well. Yahiko tells Kaoru that starting tomorrow he won't need dinner every third night since he will be going to the Akabeko. Kaoru asks how he is going to pay, which Yahiko says that he has a year's pay for working under Kanryu. Kaoru is shocked that Yahiko has money and says that Yahiko could have at least paid for food. Sano comments about how Kaoru is trying to wheedle money from a kid, which Kenshin says that is may be ill-gotten gains but Yahiko still worked hard for it. Kaoru is shocked what they said, and comments about how she is the bad guy. Kaoru says that she paid the bill at Akabeko for all of them and tells them to get a job if they wanna talk to him like that, which Kenshin says that he is a rurouni and Sano says that street fighting isn't lucrative. Kaoru then chases after them and tells them to work. Yahiko thinks about what Tsubame said about Yahiko's dream and squeezes his money.
Ten days pass and nothing happens. Kenshin thinks about how Udo intentions are unclear, but it is clear that Udo is after him. Kenshin wonders what if he leaves the dojo, but decides not to since Knaryu will quickly make his move. Kenshin thinks about how he could asks Sano for assistance, since having to protect the dojo and the people here alone worries him as well. Kenshin figures that its not palatable, but he could ask Saito for help but it seems that Saito has his own plans. Sano asks where Kaoru is going, which Kaoru says that she is going to practice at another dojo and asks Kenshin if he wants to come with her. Kaoru says that their are some rice balls in the kitchen they can eat for dinner, which Sano asks if she made them. Kaoru says that they don't have to eat them, which Yahiko says that he won't. Yahiko says that he will eat dinner at the Akabeko, which Kenshin thinks about how they won't try anything in the middle of town and says that this one will come back to pick him up later. Sano tells him to be careful, and Kaoru tell him to say hello to Tae for them. Kenshin tells Sano to look after the dojo for them for a while, which Sano agrees to it. Kenshin and Kaoru then leave.
At the Akebako, Yahiko is eating and talking with Tsubame. Tsubame reveals that work is not going so good for her father, and explains that her father was a stableman before the restoration. Yahiko says that rickshaws are convenient and popular these days, and that its hard for ex-samurai to make a living now. Yahiko offers Tsubame some food, but Tsubame declines it which Yahiko tells her to just eat it. Yahiko says that eating good food will cheer her up a little, and comments about how its been three years but her eyebrows are still little arches. Tsubame says that Yahiko hasn't change either, which Yahiko is shocked by this. Tsubame asks if Yahiko has really forgotten his dream, which Yahiko remembers how he proclaimed that he will be the strongest swordsman in Japan. Yahiko says that he doesn't remember what he said when he was a still snot-nosed kid and starts to eat his meal, which Tsubame says that Yahiko won't remember what Yahiko said on top of the tree. Yahiko tells her that he hasn't learned a time about swordsmanship and that he is just living at the Kamiya Dojo for the time being, which Tsubame asks about his house and his mother. Tsubame apologizes and says that Yahiko doesn't have to tell her is he doesn't, which Yahiko says that its fine since its only fair that she told him about her family and reveals that his mom is dead. Yahiko says that his dad died in the battle of Ueno, and that they lose everything three years ago even through they tried to save all their property. Yahiko says that his mom's lungs went bad after they moved into a row house a year and a half ago. Yahiko explains that he was homeless for six months before he worked under Kanryu for a year, and then that brings him to where he is today. As Tsubame starts to cry and apologize, Tae shows up and asks what Yahiko did to make her cry. Yahiko tells Tsubame that there is no reason for her to cry, since unlike him, she is leading an honest life and that why she should live with a smile.
Yahiko says that its natural to smile when they are full and order another serving, which Tae thanks him but apologizes since the entire restaurant is rented out later tonight for a private party. As Yahiko leaves, he says that he will bring Kenshin and the other next time and bids them farewell. Suddenly Kanryu appears behind him and says that its been a while. Kanryu says that his wounds have healed enough that he can step out in public, which Yahiko asks how's he find out about this place. Kanryu says that he hired an ex-ninja, and that they have knowns that Yahiko been up to for the past week. Yahiko says that Kanryu is coming after him when he is alone, which Kanryu replies that if wanted Yahiko kill, he would have one of his men do it. Kanryu says that he is a merchant and a merchant shows up when there is a deal to be made. Kanryu says that they can make a deal, which Yahiko can either let his friend at the dojo die or save the lives of everyone except Battosai and even make some money on the side. Yahiko says that they can discuss it inside.