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   Chapter 38 Akihito’s punishment

Mending the Shadow By Elria Cortez Characters: 9569

Updated: 2018-12-27 16:22


When Hideo returned to his house late in that afternoon, Kirito and Akihito were waiting for him. Upon seeing the Master, the two men kneeled on their one knee and bowed at him.

"Master", Hideo looked at Kirito, then at Akihito, who was obviously having a hard time keeping his posture properly due to his aching muscles. He has been treated well and bandaged by the clan's doctor.

"You may both rise. Akihito, come with me to my private hall. Kirito, bring Kana and Ken Inamori to me."

"Yes, Master!"

The two men answered in unison.

In Kana's chamber, Ken is still there. He decided to stay for a while after they became officially in a relationship. It wasn't because of Ken, it was because of Kana who does not want to let him go.

He was sitting on a big lounge chair at the receiving chamber in her room, while she was seated near him, with her face still pinkish. The staff had served them tea and home-made cookies, and the TV is turned on. Ken was intently watching the sumo wrestling, while Kana's mind was still reeling with the aftermath of his much-awaited confession.

'I am now his girlfriend, and he is my boyfriend!'

She stole a glance at him, but his eyes were focused on the TV screen. She shivered inside as she continued to replay that scene in her head, when he kneeled in front of her and asked her to be his girlfriend, and he smiled to her in such a way that she has always pictured him in her dreams to do so. It was a fleeting moment, but it was buried deep in her heart.

She looked at his hands, which are placed casually on his lap.

'Would he find me too uncouth if I initiate to hold his hand? Maybe it's alright, just holding hands is normal in a relationship.'

Her fingers fidgeted, and very slightly, while watching his face, she inched her left hand towards his right. She kept her eyes on his face, watching for any slight indication that he might be noticing her intention.

Then, a knock on the door surprised her and her hand unintentionally touched his. She became beet red when Ken looked at her. She stood in haste.

"Y-yes, who's there?" She asked, suppressing the panic in her voice.

'Fool! You're making a fool of yourself!'

Ken did not stand but he noticed how her hands were inching towards him earlier. With a playful smile on his lips, he touched her hand, and held it in a way that all her fingers were interlaced with his. She kept her face turned towards the door, not wanting him to see how she blushed with the contact.

'Be still, my heart! It's just holding hands!'

Her other hand went to her chest and she began to calm down.

"It's me." Kirito's voice was even, and he did not open the door. "The Master is asking for Lady Kana and Inamori's presence at the master's chamber."

Ken and Kana exchanged looks, and when Ken shrugged his shoulders, she answered.

"We will be there in a while."

Kirito did not say a word, but they heard his movement when he bowed and left.

Ken stood then, and patted her hair gently.

"Let's go." He said, still holding her hand in his.

Kana followed him towards the door, her eyes fixed on their joined hands. She smiled to herself, and looked with a serene expression at Ken.

----

"Master, I have brought Lady Kana and Ken Inamori." Kirito announced in front of the closed door to Hideo's private room.

"Come in", Hideo's answer was curt.

Kana wondered what is going on. She could not help but feel nervous at the summon of her grandfather, whom she refused to meet since what happened yesterday. She felt ashamed of herself for acting childish.

She felt that Ken slightly pinched her hand, as if silently telling her not to worry.

She glanced at his expressionless face, and she also willed herself to be calm.

Once they entered, they immediately saw another man knelt down in front of Hideo with both knees. It was Akihito.

She immediately felt the tension from Ken's body as his hold on her tightened coldly, his expression became dark and unforgiving.

"Kana, Inamori, please sit on those chairs."

Hideo motioned for the two chairs a few steps in front of him, almost near where Akihito was stooped to his knees. Kirito walked and sat on the chair at the right side of Hideo. The left chair was vacant.

Ken led Kana to sit down. He did not let go of her hand, no matter when they noticed that Hideo eyed him intently upon seeing their hands in such a manner.

When they were settled on their seats, Hideo cleared his throat. It was the signal for Akihito to face them, and he knelt in the most respectful way towards Kana. His head touched the wooden floor.

"Lady Kana, what I did to you is unforgiveable. Please punish me." He said while keeping his head bowed down.

Kana was taken aback.

She has grown in a modern environment, and she has never seen this kind of humility to anybody before who did something wrong. She wanted to forgive him in that instant, feeling bad that a proud man like him as the left-hand man of the Yamada clan was reduced to bowing his head on the floor in front of her.

She looked at Ken, who has kept his expression impassive. But the way he was holding her hand told her that he badly wanted to hurt Akihito. She remembered that Asano told her that Ken was ready to kill Akihito with a dagger yesterday if not for Kirito's interference.

"I am safe. So I will not-"

"Kana!"

It was Hideo who spoke. His eyes were cold as he looked at her, and at Akihito.

"You are the next Master of this Clan. Akihito did a grave mistake when he even contemplated on harming you. It is a good thing that he was unable to continue his plan, but what if he did? You must decide for his punishment."

"But grandfather, I'm sure Akihito has a valid reason for doing so."

She could not bear to be this ruthless when she is feeling so happy with Ken's confession. However, her words made Ken looked at her dangerously.

"Are you saying that if anybody has a valid reason for touching you, you will just let them off the hook and forgive them?"

Kana was speechless as she looked at him. Ken's words were laced with venom, and she could feel his wrath for Akihito. She could tell by the narrowing of his eyes as he looked at Akihito that he is obviously displeased with her answer. She shivered at the thought on what kind of punishment Ken has in mind.

"It's not like that Ken." Her voice turned softer.

How can she explain to them that the happiness she is feeling right now won't allow her to have any negative feelings? How can she explain that because of Akihito's plan, Ken returned to her and finally confessed to her?

"Then what?" Ken turned sharply at her.

She almost shrank on her seat at his scowl.

'He was just looking so gentle at me earlier!'

"I…it was no big deal. I am still…me." She stammered uneasily.

"Kana", he pulled his hand from hers, and she could feel the build-up of his fury. "This man had the audacity to touch you."

He reached out and pulled her collar gently. The faint remnant of the bruises on her neck was still evident, and the rope marks on her hands haven't faded completely, too.

"Do you know how much I want to tear this man alive right now for leaving these bruises on you?"

She swallowed her saliva for two reasons.

First, she was thrilled by his indirect statement that his anger was such because another man has dared to touch and harm her.

Second, she was frightened by how far he would go just to extract vengeance for her sake.

Akihito was sweating profusely. He has accepted his fate, if Lady Kana would decide to take his life then he would gladly give it. After all, his life has been offered to whoever the Master of the clan is since his birth as a Kurogi son.

Hideo watched the exchanged of words and looks between Ken and Kana. He could sense a familiar aura in Ken, but he dismissed it as something he has as an assassin.

Meanwhile, Kirito was looking at the two with amusement in his eyes. Without a doubt, Ken Inamori has the skill to defeat Akihito, especially now that Akihito is still in a weakened state. He could not help the excitement rising in his chest as he waited who would put on a leash on the neck of whom between the two. He could tell from their behavior earlier that they have acknowledged their mutual feelings to each other.

And in the deepest corner of his heart, he felt a sharp sting. Kirito chose to ignore it.

"Ken, will you let me handle this, please?"

She has no choice but to use her pleading look on him, because she could tell that if she insisted on letting Akihito go unpunished, Ken will give her a hard time later.

Ken did not respond, but at the defiant stare she gave him, he breathed deeply and leaned back on his chair. He turned his face away from her on the opposite direction. Kirito's eyes lit in mirth. Ken lost.

She smiled nervously at Hideo. She decided to be calm.

"Akihito, do you have anything you want to tell me?"

"Lady Kana, whatever reason I had, it was not enough to do what I did. Please punish me." Akihito said, his words told her that he himself will not let his own action be left scot-free as if nothing has happened.

'Ok, punishment it is, then.' She inhaled deeply.

"Ok, Akihito Kurogi, because you dared to touch me, you would be responsible for me as long as you are alive. I declare that your punishment shall be to act as my bodyguard from now on, 24 hours a day without break. You will spend the rest of your life atoning for your sin. That's all."

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