Volume Eleven

Souryuu's headwoman wishes he would take a break from working, settle down, and behave like a proper family man. He replies that his children understand why he can't spend more time with them, because they're part of him. During the war with Kurikara, the Golden Emperor gave some of his power to Souryuu. It proved too much for him to contain and overflowed. The part that sprayed into the air became Kijin, and the part that flowed into the sea became Tenkou. They are separate bodies with essentially the same mind.

A guard comes running in to announce that the kekkai containing Kurikara has broken, allowing the dragon the possibility of escape. The guard warns that if Kurikara starts another war, the unstable Gensoukai might collapse completely. Souryuu rushes to deal with the crisis. Meanwhile, Kurikara is busy working on a sword.

Hisoka confronts Kurikara's greatest sword, Futsunomitama, which warns him to leave immediately. Riko explains that, as a fire dragon, Kurikara specializes in forging swords. Though Hisoka desperately insists he only wants to talk and will wait until the dragon is ready, the sword attacks him as an intruder. Luckily, Kurikara senses what is happening and blocks the sword. Hisoka is flabbergasted by the dragon king's appearance--particularly his small stature. Hisoka asks to be tested for his worthiness to be Kurikara's shikigami master, but the dragon refuses and tells him to go. Hisoka doesn't intend to take "no" for an answer, so Kurikara blasts him with his power. The burst is spotted by the raven brothers, who consider it their duty to protect the boy.

Kurikara is somewhat impressed that Hisoka survives, but he knows the burns he inflicted will cause maddening pain even to a shinigami. Out of a sense of mercy, he instructs his sword to kill the boy to prevent further suffering. Riko begs for Hisoka's life, and when that fails, puts himself in the path of the killing blow. Kurikara is stricken by the death of the low-level shikigami, for that hadn't been his intent. At that moment, the raven brothers arrive to challenge the dragon and rescue Hisoka. Kojirou acts to buy time for Kotarou to take the boy back to Mount Kurama, the home of their high priest.

Burning to gain revenge for Riko's death, Hisoka charges Kurikara, but Kotarou knocks him out for his own safety and carries him away. Kurikara sends his sentient sword to pursue them. Kojirou is thrilled at the opportunity to duel the renowned sword master. However, Kurikara instead pulls out his second-best sword to handle him.

Futsunomitama can fly as fast as the raven without tiring. Kotarou cares nothing for himself, he is simply determined to protect Hisoka. He's frantic when the sword's relentless attack forces him to drop his charge. He counterattacks and rescues the shinigami in the nick of time, but he knows he can't continue for long. The sword will battle tirelessly until it is destroyed. He uses his ability to open a dimensional gate to escape the desert and flee.

Meanwhile, Souryuu explains the situation to the others. However, the dragon's priority is to repair the hole in the kekkai imprisoning Kurikara, and he is angry that Tsuzuki considers Hisoka more important. He doesn't think Tsuzuki understands the peril they face if Kurikara starts a war in a land already unstable from the wormholes. When his outburst makes the shinigami cry, though, he backs down and apologizes.

Kurikara's desert is a separate dimension from Gensoukai, and aside from the direct access route from the castle, only a wormhole could have gotten through to it. Souryuu leaves Suzaku and Byakko to guard the castle while he takes Tsuzuki to scope out the extent of the problem. Tsuzuki is excited to be going to his partner's aid.

Kotarou believes he's safe when he arrives at Mt. Kurama, but the sword had been able to follow him. The sword vows to have revenge upon Tsuzuki's twelve shikigami as well as the Emperor. Determined to stop it, Kotarou lays Hisoka down and prepares to fight. He lets loose his best attack, which shatters the sword in two. The blast drains all his stored energy.

Kurikara senses the sword's defeat. He has already beaten Kojirou when Souryuu comes upon him. Kurikara boasts that his hair has grown longer since they last met. For the dragons, their hair is the source of their power, the length indicating their strength. Upon hearing that Hisoka left before their arrival, Souryuu turns to go, afraid the shinigami is in danger. Kurikara stalls him. Futsunomitama begins to vibrate.

Kurikara asks Souryuu why the Emperor isn't helping with the wormhole problem. He demands to know whether Souryuu has ever even seen the Emperor in person. He suspects the Emperor doesn't really exist. Souryuu is furious at the insult, but Tsuzuki prevents him from starting a fight. Tsuzuki wants to know why Kurikara started a war in the first place; the conversation implies that the dragon cared about Gensoukai and hadn't originally intended to destroy it. Kurikara refuses to answer, yet when he is once again alone he contemplates that he did it out of his own sense of what is right.

While Watari pretends to be a doctor at the Kurosaki estate, Tatsumi goes out to investigate. He suspects that the local police are in collusion with Hisoka's father in declaring the previous doctor's death an accident. Using his powers to search, Tatsumi discovers a photograph from 1978.

When he returns, he is mobbed by the Kurosaki estate staff, who dress him in Nagare's yukata to attend the village's summer festival. (Watari pretends to be busy.) Tatsumi shows his escort Miya the photo he found depicting Rui--two of her. She had an identical twin sister. As he is questioning Miya, the village mayor comes over and greets him enthusiastically. The old man says that the Kurosaki family cannot be allowed to die out, for the sake of the village.

Miya explains that long ago the village was tormented by a god in the form of a horned serpent. The people had to offer someone as a sacrifice every summer. No one could stand up to the god except for one hero, Kurosaki Ren. He fought alone, finally defeating the god, but it cursed him and his family. To this day, the descendants of the hero are plagued by mysterious and unusual deaths that often take them while still young. The curse affects anyone who becomes involved with the family.

As Tatsumi walks back, musing that the legend is probably nonsense (he knows Hisoka's death was the result of Muraki's actions, not a curse), he pauses to watch a swarm of fireflies. Suddenly, he is attacked by a woman rising out of the swamp. She mistakes him for Nagare because of the borrowed yukata. When she emerges, she has the tail of a monstrous snake. Tatsumi recognizes her from the picture.

Meanwhile, Watari finishes setting up his computer. In another part of the mansion, Nagare is tormented by a voice taunting him and insisting he'll never escape from the blood running through him. Tatsumi returns and reports his encounter with the ghost to Watari. He used his powers to get away, but her words still bother him. She spoke to "Nagare" as if she were his wife, though she must be Rui's twin sister.

Tatsumi contacts the Enma-chou library with a request for information about Gensoukai. He wants to know everything about the wormholes as soon as possible. While he's waiting for a reply, he helps Miya clean and discovers a book containing the Kurosaki family tree. He notices that all family members are given names consisting of a single kanji character. That makes it difficult to tell the sex of each person, though the leader of the family is always supposed to be male. He senses something unusual about the family tree, yet he can't put his finger on it.

Nagare continues to protest as the horned serpent god delights in assaulting him. It accuses Nagare of wanting to have sex with it. It claims that the "curse" on the family is simply a matter of Ren taking upon himself the burden of the village sacrifice so that it would trouble only his line. He gave himself to the god. When the day comes that the family dies out, the god will return.

End Volume 11

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