And of course it's Gaiden. The alternative was something depressing with Gou Jian or Ya Yu or both.
(Konzen ran, with the child beside him.)
It could never have ended well. If he'd ever thought it through Tenpou would have known that. But Tenpou never thought things through. All those books he read-- all the theory he talked-- it meant nothing in the end. Tenpou had no more forethought than Gokuu. He forced doors open just to see what was behind them, pulled levers just to see what they did, threw substances together because he had them to hand-- and then was terribly surprised when they blew up in his face.
But happy, yes. Tenpou liked upheaval and destruction. And I don't. My nice quiet life---
Tenpou didn't care about nice quiet lives. Tenpou behaved like a lunatic on his missions Down Below, rushing alone into danger and making it out by the skin of his teeth. Kenren had told him all about it. Tenpou thought risking his neck was the greatest fun in the world.
Fun. Even Kenren knew better than that.
Except Kenren was the same, really. Just more directed in his efforts. Kenren stuck his neck out all the time-- insulting his commanding officers, insulting the Great Minister, reaping the results of that and thinking it worth it to say what he pleased. Broken bones, broken teeth, ribs black with bruises and red with lacerations. Why would anyone willingly put themselves through something like that? Konzen's bleeding palm gnawed at him with a pain as red as the ragged welted skin.
Something like this.
There weren't as many guards as there should be. Kenren and Tenpou had drawn them off. Drawn them off and-- taken on an enemy bigger than they were, more powerful than they were, more numerous than they were...
Had they gotten away with it again? Or not?
'Konzen, let's give up.'
'We can't go on. If you tell them you're sorry it'll be OK-- won't it--?'
'I want us to be together! And if we're not together I don't wanna go on!'
'Gokuu.' He took hold of the child's shoulder. 'We don't give up. We promised, remember? Whatever happens, we'll stay together.'
'But they're gone an' we're here an'--'
'We'll be together again soon. They promised and we promised so we will. Whatever it takes, we'll be together again.'