Continuing their journey to Kyoto, Kenshin and Misao cross the woods as a shortcut from the highways. But as they continue ahead, a bloodied and ravaged man holds a young boy in his hands. Passing on only shortly after, his name is Mishima Ei'ichirō, and the young boy he protects is younger brother, Mishima Eiji. As Kenshin and Misao are accompanied with an arrived Saito, they all come to learn of the atrocities and terror that have come about Eiji's hometown of Shingetsu, all under Shishio Makoto's domination. With determination and having learned of such inhumane cruelty under his power, there is one thing for Kenshin to do now - to confront his vicious successor himself!
Continuing their journey to Kyoto, Kenshin decides to take a shortcut through the forest. With Misao following him, she hopes to entertain and enlighten him of her times with the Tokyo Oniwabanshu, but is annoyed with his choices of straying from the highways, seemingly not listening to her stories, and not stopping to have lunch. Still hoping to wring out of him his experiences clashing blades with Aoshi, Misao barters with him some hardtack for his word, but Kenshin declines, continuing to part the grass and steadily make a way out of the snakes and ticks lurking ahead for both of them.
Realizing that Kenshin could just up and leave anytime he wanted, Misao learns of his steadfastness and devoted nature, and gives him some of her lunch (though he isn't so trusting, finding suspicion that his share might be laced with truth serum, which she takes offense to); shortly after, a rustle of foliage and clicking of a sword are heard in their vicinity. With nothing to throw caution away from, Kenshin orders Misao to leave back to the highways, taking it as a possible ambush, and dashes off to find the assailant. With her pride as an Oniwabanshu ninja and her will to help Kenshin, Misao tails him to watch his back. Not before long however, she finds Kenshin, standing over a gravely wounded man leaning before a tree.
Seeing that the young man has not long to live, Kenshin consoles him, telling him that fate has brought him there to listen to his last words, and that he will do everything in his power to fulfill his last will; the young man begs Kenshin to protect his younger brother who lays asleep in his arms, and to liberate his village away from the hands of those under the power of Makoto Shishio. Passing on, Kenshin and Misao prepare a grave for him.
The young boy that slept awakens before Kenshin and Misao. Hoping to find where his older brother went to, his sights turn onto a grave; Misao explains to him that by the time they found the both of them, it was too late to save him. In grief at the loss of his older brother, he refuses to talk to Kenshin, who hopes to know what is going on, scared and in bitterness; calmly explaining to him that he is to meet Shishio, the young boy tells Kenshin everything he knows. The boy named Eiji, comes from the nearby village of Shingetsu; not too long ago, an ominous man walked into the village and killed the police officer stationed there. With another officer positioned, the man then killed that officer, and in time, no more officers would come. The man then had men of his own come into his village, eventually ruling over it, and the village would eventually be wiped off the face of the map. Pulling out a map of the region, Eiji shows it to the both of them, with Shingetsu shown as to no longer be recognized by the nation. Ruled over now by Shishio, Eiji tells the two that the village sees Shishio make his way to his hometown every six months for an unspecified, but important reason.
Telling them that his older brother tried to smuggle him and their parents out of the village, Eiji feels the need to rescue the rest of his family, and goes to his brother's grave, praying for him to give him strength, and grasps the sword that rests upon it. Not shortly after, Kenshin quietly halts Eiji from brandishing the sword, and tells him that he made a promise to him before his death, to help him in his place. Though Misao wishes to accompany Kenshin as well, he tells him to stay behind as well, to watch over Eiji as he investigates the situation.
Before a cliff, the desolate village of Shingetsu lay below. Trekking into the town, it is quiet, dilapidated, in disrepair, and in such away that it seemed deserted. Quietly tailing Kenshin from an unnoticeable distance, Misao and Eiji follow him, hoping to also investigate the village to know of what has happened to it. As Kenshin goes around a corner, he stands still, solemn and in serious observation. Before him, two desecrated corpses, brutally murdered and hung from an execution post, lay before him. A loud scream of grief erupts from Eiji, and they learn that the two people strung up in grim example are his parents.
Immediately afterwards, a massive company of black masked soldiers surround Kenshin. Knowing that he is an outsider of the village, their commander makes it known of the policy that outsiders are to be subject to the penalty of death with no exception. Demanding an explanation for the horrific display before him, the commander boasts of how the village was "liberated" from the hands of the Meiji Government under the campaigns of Shishio, and that the Mishima family's actions of leaving was that of an insult to the current ruler of the village, Senkaku, whose word holds the right of who lives and who dies in Shingetsu. Having put up the parents slain by Senkaku to serve as a warning to those that break Senkaku's laws, the commander demands that Kenshin prepare himself in the face of their wrath. Kenshin glares back, and tells that the one to prepare should be them.
In absolute focused rage, Kenshin rushes forward and blasts the leader into his own men with a stroke of his sword. Rhythmically taking down the army of thugs without difficulty, Kenshin's mercy has now been bent into a need for punishment, striking the army down into the realm of sleep with every blow he delivers. Outside of the battle, Misao consoles a grieving Eiji, who is still overwhelmed by the death of his parents. A soldier witnessing Kenshin's wrath and the carnage that make up his onslaught, finds the two as easy targets, and rushes at them with a spear. Before Misao can toss a single kunai at him, from behind, a katana is drawn and simply jammed into the soldier's spine before the area of the mouth. As Kenshin finishes off the last of the thugs, they both are surprised: Hajime Saito has arrived.