Hijikata Toshizou (and the) Kidnapping Incident – by Korumono Migiwa
One morning, a roar echoed through the boiler room themed like a golden tea room.
“Where the hell is my Hougyoku Hokkushuu 21? How can it disappear when I’m putting a poem in the thing every day?”
“Oh, I didn’t know you were still committed to your terrible haiku hobby.”
Most men would shrivel in fear upon hearing the roar of the Shinsegumi’s Demon Vice-Commander Hijikata Toshizou, but neither Okita Souji nor Oda Nobunaga got too distracted from their morning ice cream.
“The new flavor is carbonated red beans… What a sorry excuse for a product release…”
“Truly a flavor concept intended as a dropkick to the competition’s barbecue flavor! Would you trade a spoonful of yours for a spoonful of mine? This egg and bacon flavor is astonishingly astonishing.”
“How come both ice creams are death sentences? Nobbu, can’t you get normal food, at least for me?! I knew I shouldn’t have let you do the grocery.”
“You have no heart for adventure.”
The ridiculous ice cream flavor surprises have already become a part of the angelic girls’ daily routine. We don’t have enough page space to explain why the overlord of the Warring States Oda Nobunaga and the captain of the Shinsengumi’s First Squad, the tragic samurai Okita Souji are angelic-looking teenage girls.
Hijikata Toshizou intimidated the young girls with a menacing, merciless glare.
“You got no time for ice cream, Okita. Vice commander’s orders, help me find it.”
“Hey, commanding subordinates for personal affairs is not allowed… Can I finish my ice cream first? Melted ice cream never unmelts! Wasting food is wrong!”
“For all your whining about the carbonated beans, I see you actually enjoyed it.”
She had to eat all of her ice cream. And as usual, our day in the boiler room was about to become all a mess. Okita Souji threw her ice cream cup and disposable spoon in the trash can, stood up, and stretched.
“Actually, I didn’t even know you were still doing haiku, Hijikata! Don’t tell me… you’re trying to get an Alter or a Summer alt released as a Caster? Where’s your self-awareness? Male swimsuits are only costumes, remember? Just get a regular Saber alt, like Lancelot.”
“The fact you took 4 years to get your Summer alt is showing.”
“I’m not going for no alt.”
Hijikata Toshizou suddenly crossed his arms and stared into nowhere with mellow eyes.
“A warrior is more than just a fighter. Yagyuu Tajima and Miyamoto Musashi both wrote books, and Mori Nagayoshi holds tea ceremonies. A warrior’s heart is the same in the calm and in the conflict. If you can stake your life in what you do for leisure, you can stay relaxed on the battlefield, y’know.”
“Even as a Berserker?”
“That rowdy Hosokawa was supposedly quite the poet and yet he fought like a berserker.”
Oda Nobunaga put her finger to her forehead and started looking through the knowledge she gained from the Throne of Heroes.
“Uhhh, haiku… that is the poetry style where challengers compete with just three 5-7-5 verses, correct? The one spread for through all lands by the Ninja Master Matsuo Bashou, right?”
Okita Souji made a sorrowful face upon hearing this.
“Nobbu, sorry to break it to you, but Hijikata’s poems aren’t on such a high level…”
“Ah, Oda Nobunaga, wanna read one of my classics?”
Before she could stop him, Hijikata Toshizou took a piece of paper, effortlessly wrote a haiku, and handed it to her. She took a careful look at it.
Even if a plum
Tree gives flowers in full bloom
The plum’s still a plum
His most famous piece.
“I have no comment, for my art is Rock, not haiku… The ATSUMORI is all about the themes of rebellious souls and memento mori, not this.”
Hijikata Toshizou, seeing how Oda Nobunaga unnaturally averted her gaze, said:
“So the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven prefers the eccentric to the refined, huh.”
“Hijikata, sorry if this sounds rude, but I always admired your baseless confidence.”
The excessively composed Okita Souji voiced her complaint.
“A trait common to all Berserkers, no doubt… So, you say you lost your scrapboo… your unpublished collection?”
Oda Nobunaga tried to advance the conversation as best she could.
“Yeah, I added a poem to it last night and left it right here.”
Hijikata pointed to a low desk in the corner of the tea room: the desk Chacha uses to draw the scribbles she called “plans”. It was coated in pure gold, which made it look awful, but the entire room was already tastelessly golden, so one more piece of furniture didn’t make any real difference.
“Last night was when that enigmatic feast was held in the cafeteria, was it not? The opening night for the ServaFes, I reckon.”
“Someone must have taken it while we were at the feast.”
The Servants in Chaldea drank to celebrate the Master returning safely with another Grail, drank to welcome new Servants, drank to drown their sorrows of every Event… they were basically doing these feasts all the time.
“We were drinking as a group pretty much the whole time, so we can prove each other’s alibis.”
Okita Souji put her hand to her chin.
“The first thing we must consider is that the word salads Hijikata calls haiku are not worth the effort of stealing… Could this be the work of someone with a grudge against you? A crime of vengeance.”
“YOUR words are salad.”
Hijikata clicked his tongue. His eyes reflected his insecurities.
“I’m the Shinsengumi’s Demon Vice-Commander, it’s hard to imagine no one resents me.”
In that case, the first suspect was in the detective office next to the boiler room. To avoid a long and irrelevant exposition, we won’t be explaining why there’s a detective office in the last fortress of humanity.
During his lifetime, the outlaw samurai who deserted Tosa, Okada Izou, never directly encountered the Shinsengumi (keyword: directly) but they were, politically and ideologically, oil and water.
“I know we never had any serious historical conflict in here before, so this really feels a bit too random, but honestly, the only one who’d do this kind of pathetic childish harassment would be you, Daoka!”
“Be grateful for our kindness, we chose to investigate this place before we inspected the usual event masterminds: Caesar, David, Paracelsus, Amakusa Shirou and Moriarty.”
“T’hell with yer kindness! Ya curs came here t’milk on my popularity!”
“You think you’re special just because you sold some books to buy a prettier grave, outlaw? I’ll have you know that a new Shinsengumi-themed media gets released at least one season per year. You’re just a fad with no confirmed lasting power!”
“You think you are a match for the overlord of entertainment Oda Nobunaga? There is an abundance of Oda Nobunaga media without the Warring States, but no Warring States media without Oda Nobunaga.”
“What’re ya here for, pests!”
Okada Izou kept barking through the whole explanation.
“Haha, Hijikata’s poetry? I already usen as toilet paper, morons!”
Explaining himself would be easier, but the manslayer of Tosa preferred to laugh like a mad dog instead.
“Okada, you bastard!”
“Unforgivable, Daoka! I will have to sully my blade with your blood!”
“Wanna piece a’ me, Shinsengumi? Yer silly code says ta slit yer guts if ya think ya can take the blade for personal shit!”
The three stood ready, swords in hand. The office felt hotter than the boiler room, until…
“Sorry about that, Hijikata. Izou is just trying to act tough.”
The fight was interrupted by a couple in navy uniforms. They were Sakamoto Ryouma and his partner Oryou. We won’t be explaining why they call themselves detectives, this time not because it would be too long, but actually because we have no idea. Ryouma smiled, unintimidated by the room’s hostility, and behind him, Oryou spoke matter-of-factly.
“He’s what people are calling ‘tsundere’ nowadays.”
“Yer the tsundere, bitch! I ain’t going dere any time soon!”
“Ok, I’ll rephrase it. I meant ‘chuunibyou’.”
“Do you have any proof?”
As the only person there with nothing to do with the Bakumatsu riots, Oda Nobunaga was completely apathetic. Sakamoto Ryouma laughed nervously.
“Yesterday evening, Yagyuu Tajima lectured Izou on his bad posture with the sword, leading to them fighting in the dojo. They went to drink afterwards, and it started a big party. Izou spent the whole night with Yagyuu and Li Shuwen, so I don’t think he had an opportunity to steal your anthology. You should be able to cross-check my claim with Mori Nagayoshi.”
“Yesterday’s feast was because of Okada?! It was not about the ServaFes to any degree?!”
“Yeah, if I recall right, a lot of people didn’t come to the party because the ServaFes deadline is so close.”
“You say the ones who truly cared about the ServaFes were absent from what I assumed to be the ServaFes party?!”
With that, Hijikata relaxed, sheathed and unhanded his sword, and dropped his stance.
“Okada and Sakamoto, I still don’t trust either of you, but I can’t suspect Yagyuu Tajima, the Baji Quan geezer or Oni Musashi.”
Okita Souji also sheathed her sword and pointed at Okada.
“Daoka, I hope you learned something from all those lectures!”
Okada’s face was red from ear to ear and it stayed like that.
“Your allegation was flawed from the moment you suggested Servants go to the toilet. Despite your edgy façade and thuggish exterior, you have quite the salesman spirit.”
“Yeah, Izou is finally learning how to behave in public.”
“Why ya lookin’ so motherly, Ryoumaa!”
“If it wasn’t a crime of vengeance, then what could it have been…”
After becoming convinced of the suspect’s innocence, Okita tilted her head.
“The question still remains, what’s the point of stealing Hijikita’s seemingly worthless poems?”
“Hey, Okita, c’mere for a sec.”
Hijikata Toshizou was intimidating, but Oda Nobunaga was still there next to her, yawning.
“Could it be that a kid Servant took it for a scribble book? Or perhaps the opposite, someone mistaking it for a decent book returned it to the grand library?”
“They wouldn’t need to mistake it for shit, it IS a decent book, it’s just incomplete.”
Hijikata paused to think about what he was told.
“The grand library… the one with Murasaki Shikibu.”
He remembered the most famous literary woman of the Heian era.
Leaving the office, he immediately turned the other way, returning to the boiler room.
“I’ll just change these clothes real quick.”
“Who’re you trying to dress up for?!”
It turned out the gorgeous gothic garbed gal was not the only one to greet the trio in the grand library. There was another girl, still not even in her teens, also wearing a similar gothic lolita outfit.
“Oh dear, a book disappeared? That’s a kidnapping!”
“I wouldn’t say it’s a kidnapping, but this kind of disrespect to a book is unforgivable! There’s no excuse to steal a book! You have no idea how many times I had to deal with people borrowing books from the library and never returning them!”
Nursery Rhyme is a legendary Heroic Spirit who is technically also a book. This one actually makes sense if you think of her as just a mage’s familiar. The trio was perplexed at how she and Murasaki Shikibu were so much more infuriated by this case than the actual victim.
“Damaging and stealing books are unforgivable crimes! In my era, there were even people who would mark the culprit’s name on the book’s character list, or worse, copy all the text without permission!”
“I can’t deal with this! How can they live with themselves after doing that? I’m going to go question Jack and Bunyan now! I’ll be back soon, hopefully.”
“There’s also one person named Qin Shi Huang who burns books, Nursery! A person who can burn a book can burn a person too! I’ve been somehow classified as the most ‘confucianist’ person here! They’ll burn me and bury me alive!”
“What an evil monster, I’m terrified! I’ll need to ask the Count of Monte Cristo for help!”
Driven to find the culprit, Nursery Rhyme left the grand library with a graceful bow. The trio just stared dumbfounded.
“Clever of the lass to go for the Class advantage.”
“She may be a kid, but she’s still a Caster. They’re the scary Class here.”
“Well, she’ll be handling the brats and Qin Shi Huang for us. If she really can bring Monte Cristo into the case, we picked the best person for the job.”
“Hijikata, you adapt so fast.”
“I’ll use any tool I got available. Though I think that if Qin Shi Huang felt like burning some books, he’d start from this library, not my haiku… More importantly, Murasaki Shikibu’s not like I imagined she’d be.”
Hijikata closed his eyes, trying not to say out loud that he wasted his time changing into a better coat.
“You shouldn’t feel bad. I hear her ideal man is Ariwara no Narihira2.”
“You’re saying I’m worse than Narihira?”
“How would a thorny brute from Tama’s countryside even have a fighting chance? All you two have in common is being Japanese men who traveled from Kantou to Kyoto a lot. I don’t believe Narihira tortures people with 15cm needles.”
He and Okita were whispering at each other right in front of Murasaki Shikibu, but she pretended not to notice anything. She finished checking her wooden book trolley and raised her head.
“No Japanese poetry book was returned today or yesterday. Hougyoku Hokkushuu 2, was it? I’ll notify you if I find anything that could be it.”
“Thanks, I’m counting on you.”
“I had no idea a warrior of your caliber recited poetry. And haiku, no less.”
Hijikata Toshizou was sucker punched.
“First thing I’ll do when I find it is bring it to you.”
“You’ll show those haiku to Murasaki Shikibu!? What a Berserker, you know no fear! Wait, wasn’t she ‘not like you imagined’?”
“Okita… It pains me to tell you, but the radish man talking to me is a completely different man from the radish man talking to my Avenger self.”
Nobunaga whispered into the horrified Okita’s ears.
“Shikibu, will you not do your usual stunt? Give us your ‘What’s making her so annoyed? Okita can’t put her feelings into words’ deal.”
“You didn’t need to make up a caption for it!”
Murasaki Shikibu covered her face.
“You mean the Taizan Kaisetsusai curse? I used that incantation today on…”
She pointed to one of the library tables.
One of the people there was Shakespeare, sitting perfectly still in front of a mountain of paper with a quill in hand. Another person was buried under a pile of books on the floor and only their hand was visible.
From the gaps between the books, it was possible to see a scanner, a digital tablet, and three human legs. They were all right legs. One was a child’s leg with leather shoes, another wore armor and the third wore white socks.
“W-what am I seeing?”
“They are using our space to write their manuscripts for the upcoming ServaFes. Osakabehime and the Hokusais also made use of our copy machines a few minutes ago… Oh dear.”
It took until this moment for Murasaki to realize how disastrous the situation was, but when she did, she immediately lost all of her composure and left the counter.
“A book avalanche! Mr. Andersen, are you hurt?”
“That’s not the way I wanted to die!”
Something groaned from inside the books, so Okita and Hijikata rescued the buried survivor. Instead of moving to help with the rescue, Shakespeare remained eerily still, staring at the void with his mouth slightly open.
“I’m not kidding, the death animation sparkles were about to appear!”
The boy with glasses was saved, but it was too early to celebrate with two pairs of legs still under the books.
“I see a few more limbs in there! Is there anyone still buried?”
Despite Nobunaga’s yell, Andersen’s face remained cold.
“Yeah, there’s a couple automata Hokusai was using as anatomic models. She was trying her hand at the American comics style. She’s doing the actual work in her room, but she might come back later, so she asked me to keep her stuff here. She’ll pick them up after the deadline.”
“Wow… I don’t think she’s ever coming back to pick them up…”
Okita was trying not to laugh, and Murasaki was sighing.
“With so many famed authors invested in their manuscripts, I got curious and powered up the captions curse… causing their raw plots to leak, ruining their earnest efforts. Thinking back, I realized it would be rude to take a peek at an unfinished work…”
“And yet, you were dying for a peek before you thought back.”
Apparently, adding captions to people’s hearts against their wills wasn’t rude to her. Writers are incorrigible.
“This morning I finally learned how to seal. I won’t be using it until the day of the ServaFes. I’m sure Seimei couldn’t see this scenario coming…”
“That Skill is beyond your control, is it not, Shikibu? What a shame, it would be the perfect tool to instantly find our culprit.”
Murasaki collapsed upon realizing she missed something this obvious.
“I never considered how useful this could be in such a critical moment… What a blunder, Kaoruko…!”
“No, you didn’t do anything wrong, Murasaki.”
“Oh dear, everyone has gathered here. Welcome to hell! What a clichéd line… I see I’m finally running out of gas…”
Here’s where Shakespeare finally spoke his first words. He had his arms open dramatically and a lot of energy in his voice, but his eyes didn’t look awake. Nobunaga took a look at his desk and found an emptied black can.
“Shakespeare, you already had enough magical energy drinks. Your mind is far away from your body. This sort of hyperconcentrated tea drains from your lifespan, you know?”
Hijikata asked, with low expectations.
“Did any of you happen to see my haiku book?”
“I’ve seen no haiku book. But really, Hijikata? You’ll be submitting Japanese poetry to the ServaFes? You want me to write down the poems I remember to copy them to your entry?”
“No, that’s not what I’m here for. I’m not participating in the ServaFes.”
This conversation with Andersen made Okita’s jaw drop.
“Andersen… you read Hijikata’s haiku? You even have some memorized?”
“Someone asked my opinion on them.”
“What did you think…?”
Andersen sighed, cleaned his glasses on his lab coat’s sleeve and put them back.
“Every part of them is flawed. They’re the pinnacle of imperfection. Beyond terrible. But that’s clearly because you’re not striving to be an author, but to reach mental uniformity as a warrior. I couldn’t be more jealous of how you can have a side like this to yourself without it reflecting on how your Noble Phantasm works. That said, the first step to improving is caring less about metrics and more about creativity. Practice your imagination. Originality is not a bad thing. And if you really can’t be sensible with your writing, being insensible to the point of parody is also a perfectly valid option to strive for.”
“W-what a rational criticism!”
“I also have read thy pieces. Classic of a samurai to nourish his mind through poetry! And I find thy style delightful, in a ‘so bad it’s good’ sense. It shows far more personality than thine average well-done piece. It has more character than it has any business having. To the point I find myself wishing to copy it! Dear librarian, you should also read it, and rewrite the story of Suemutsuhana with his words in mind!”
“I’m definitely interested!”
Shakespeare laughed like a broken record. It was impossible to tell if he knew what he just talked about or not.
“Speaking of fixed form poetry, I cannot seem to find mine own newest sonnet compilation.”
“That’s a much bigger problem than the disappearance of Hijikata’s salads!?”
“I could have just penned them all in a dream, hahaha!”
He fell from his chair laughing then turned face up. He started snoring. The Shinsengumi were in the middle of a violent battlefield unlike any they’d ever seen.
After having stood and returned to the counter, Murasaki Shikibu watched them jealously.
“How passionate they are. I’d be interested in participating in this ServaFes, but since I already did my worst in Hollywood, I’ll be only appreciating everyone’s pieces this time around…”
“H-how modest of you… You’d be guaranteed to get a premium booth if you participated…”
Okita was equal parts shocked and admiring, but Murasaki kept herself humble.
“No, I’m certain that if I got a large booth on a hall wall, I’d be subject to mockery for reasons that have nothing to do with my content, such as talking too much to my friends in the venue space, or making people wait in too long of a line, or selling out too soon, or not shipping my work to other regions, or being too inaccessible to talk.”
“That’s too graphic!”
“That is our answer!”
Nobunaga suddenly clapped her hands. Okita turned her face to her.
“These sorts of events always have resellers leeching on the sleep deprived folks over there, and those would not mind one more product. Okita, you call Hijikata’s haiku word salads, but look, there are folks who properly value it.”
Nobunaga crossed her arms and let out her signature laugh.
The grand library was a facility that logically belonged in Chaldea. A boiler room is theoretically necessary, but the existing boiler room had its purpose and definition twisted. The detective’s office had no comprehensible reason to be there. And the place they arrived at never even had an official name. People just came to call it “the hangout spot”. Its steel racks contained figurines and the type of adult manga you wouldn’t find in the library filling its shelves with no room to spare, and with some more piled up on the floor.
“The swimsuit booths will be on the venue walls and on row 6…”
“Are Fran, Mash, or the Grand Duchess participating with photo albums? And where’re the peek-a-bangs booths?”
“Lmao, good luck searching the rare fetishes area.”
“It’s not as rare as you think!”
“That sure’s not a disgusting kink but the way you act about it makes it disgusting. I say ‘disgusting’ because just ‘gross’ is too short of a word to express how awfully horny you get about it.”
“As if BLACKBEARD has any moral high ground here!”
The two pirates were found with their laptops open on the meeting table as they checked the event’s digital catalog.
“I’m already starting to regret having come here!”
Okita Souji had already completely lost her will to talk to them, but Hijikata Toshizou raised his voice loud and clear.
“You’re under inspection by the authority of the Shinsengumi!”
“WTF?! Our art is being censored by the shogunate?! To think the enemy was hiding right under our noses!”
Teach was the only one of two to be horror stricken.
“Hello, dear samurais! Why is that long-haired dog-like friend of yours not with you today? Or the little lady’s other Saint Graph?”
Bartholomew stood up with fire in his eyes, and Nobunaga was taken aback by his rapid speech.
“Your interest in me does not surprise, but is Okada Izou really within your range?!”
“He’s earning a place in a hall of fame of sleazy fetishists!”
“Let’s not get off-topic.”
Hijikata got the conversation moving. Hearing the situation, Teach kept a serious expression for the first time in forever.
“Hijikata Toshizou’s handwritten haiku anthology…! Colored reprints would sell for a sweet profit! Big bucks!”
No one is quicker than a pirate when it comes to counting treasure.
“And who would do this sort of business?”
The two pirates stepped away, revealing Columbus sitting on the couch behind them, taking a close look at the event venue map with his legs spread wide and a red pencil on his ear.
“Oy, you can’t just make every problem ever my fault. I’m not even a pirate, what kind of joke is having the pirates accuse me of piracy?”
Columbus laughed softly like a good-natured old man, but everyone knew better by this point.
“If you’re no pirate, why are you in their room?”
“He’s here cause we couldn’t find a good excuse to kick him until now.”
“I can’t find any reason to be civil with him, no matter how I try. He doesn’t even conceal his eyes.”
Columbus shook his head, dejected at Bartholomew’s declaration.
“How unkind. Where’s the solidarity between the men of the sea? Tho I guess no crew can work when everyone’s a captain and no one’s a sailor. Anyways, I’m not selling your thing.”
The old voyager grinned and bowed forward, stroking his beard.
“I’d have brought the business up to you and discussed your share of the profits, vice-commander Hijikata. How ‘bout 30 to me, 70 to you? I’d then compile Sakamoto Ryouma’s letter and, Okita, I’d make you write something too, then…”
“I see you’re an archetypical convention shark!”
The Three Deadly Sins of the doujin community are sleepless work, reselling, and this sort of thuggish business. Some argue that booth fraud is the fourth sin, real time sketching is the fifth, and attending to see the cosplayers instead of the products is the sixth, but no list is ever made official due the lack of a seventh sin. There are dozens of discussions about this online already, so we won’t go in detail about it here.
“Are you alright with this publishing contract?”
In an instant, Columbus filled out a sheet of parchment paper into a fine document and laid it on the table.
“Wait a second, this contract has a second page glued to the first one!”
The moment Okita pointed this out, everyone in the hangout spot heard an unsettling whisper.
“An unyielding Asian Berserker… he’s gonna be a great product.”
“Murasaki Shikibu’s Taizan Kaisetsusai activated with a time lag? I clearly remember her saying her ability was sealed!”
“No, I believe it is just that his face speaks so loudly we can physically hear it.”
While Nobunaga had no real reaction, Okita was ready to draw her sword, until she was stopped by Hijikata’s hand.
“Quit it, Okita, the opponent here’s not a living human. Fighting Servants who follow your own Master is a waste of time.”
“If you try to leash and tame a Wolf of Mibu, you’ll suffer the consequences, but only when you actually try it. Lemme see if your scrap of paper can knock down the flag of Honesty.”
Hijikata was standing still, not in his fighting stance. His sharp and menacing voice was all it took to discourage the Servants from fighting.
“Columbus… your tactic was too risky. You had a lot more to lose than to gain.”
“You’re dealing with an 5*Zerk, senseless violence incarnate. We’d get ripped in pieces just for being in the same room.”
“No, a better punchline would be you all being made into Shinsengumi members.”
No dream is meant to last forever. Thanks to the pirates’ desperate attempts to stop him, Columbus’ ambitions fell apart. Teach returned to his computer and checked the data.
“Hijikata Toshizou handwritten book… No results in the event catalogue, no one advertising it on social media either…”
“But whoever our mastermind is, they should have to go through this to trade their product.”
“Is it possible to put an item for sale without advertising it?”
“Your life depends on your publicity! No ads means no distribution! You gotta be really naïve to think quality is all it takes to get your art noticed! It’s a dog eat dog world!”
He grabbed his gun and spoke weirdly fast to add more stress to his explanation.
“That said, the line-up is not complete yet… There’s a few dudes who haven’t announced their works yet.”
“There’s also someone who practically announced she’s not announcing what she made. Katsushika Hokusai filled her title form with just a -, so we can’t even tell if she’s releasing anything new.”
Okita took a step back upon hearing Bartholomew’s words.
“T-That’s some proof of her strength…!”
“A lion never screams ‘I’m a lion’.”
“And I remember she’s been in the library.”
Hijikata started thinking for a while until Teach called on him.
“But Hijikata, why’re you not selling your poems on the ServaFes? All artists deserve to have their work compensated. Or do you just not care about leaving your work to the public?”
Hijikata took only one word to reject his ideas.
“I’m no writer. Yagyuu and Miyamoto Musashi wrote their teachings with the sword, so it makes sense for them to take money for it, but for me it’s out of the question.”
“Free publishing is a thing. Are you not confident in their quality?”
“I couldn’t be more confident.”
His face suddenly softened, coming as close as it could get to a smile.
“I just don’t wanna show them to everyone. Y’know, it’s a lot more stylish to show them only to someone special to me.”
“Really cool way to word it, but basically what you’re trying to say is that you want to show your poems to Murasaki Shikibu as a way to hit on her!”
Okita Souji could never bring herself to trust Hijikata about this.
The Hougyoku Hokkushu is a haiku compilation completely written, edited, and compiled by the man Hijikata Toshizou himself. It’s famed for being very cringe. The poem in this chapter is one the most commonly mocked in Hijikita’s repertoire.
Ariwara no Narihira is one of the Six Poetic Geniuses of Heian era and popularly considered the best among them.