What was his name? He couldn't even be certain anymore. The child he had once been had been named Shinta. The weakling Shinta had died during the massacre and Kenshin had been born in his place with the hope that he would gain strength to protect people from the suffering Shinta hadn't been able to. Now Kenshin and the ideals he had once stood for were dying fast. In their place was a new reality, killing over and over again with no other purpose than the shedding of blood. The being doing the killing was not the idealistic Kenshin, but a demon the men had named Battousai, the master of unsheathing the sword.
When he had left for the war, Kenshin had told his master that he would use Hiten Mitsurugi to protect people. Now it seemed that night after night, all he did was use it to kill. Every time he was to kill someone, he chanted the words ‘divine justice’ over and over in his mind. The heavier his heart felt, the louder he chanted those words, working hard to convince himself that what he was doing was indeed the work of the gods.
Kenshin had been the shining ideal. Battousai was the bitter reality.
New Year's Day, 1864
"For the sake of the new era, I cast divine justice on you."
The quiet voice was the last thing the skinny, mustachioed man would hear. Just before his body was cloven in two, he beheld a redhaired, hard eyed demon running straight at him, moonlight glinting on its katana.
Blood soaked the cold, white snow, turning it a horrid pink color. Hitokiri Battousai flicked the blood from his katana, resheathed it, turned his back and walked calmly away without once looking back at the carnage behind him.
After a particularly trying and bloody night, Hitokiri Battousai made his way back to the Kohagiya over the rooftops of Kyoto. Covered in blood, all he wanted was to take a bath and spend the day sleeping in the window, as was his habit. The sun rising in the east caused Battousai to pause just for a second to watch it. Something in him needed to see the sun rise. After a night of casting divine justice, he needed to see the light of day.
As the sun rose, the birds came out of hiding and started their morning forage. Several small robins landed on the roof and began pecking for food. Battousai stopped to watch them, enjoying their morning song. He approached them cautiously, but when he got too near, they flew away. There was a brief flash of sadness in the hitokiri's eyes, but it quickly died, sealed beneath the icy exterior. In a blue and red blur, he disappeared into the new dawn.