Volume 8 is the eighth volume of Shigurui that includes chapters 38-42.
In this volume Iraku and Fujiki undertake a sanctioned duel with high ranking officials of Kakegawa in attendance.
All remaining students return to the Kogan-ryuu dojo, standing in a double line and wish Fujiki victory. The bamboo fence surrounding the duelling ground stretched over three hundred feet in every direction, holding back people who had come to watch the battle. Even Fujiki’s older brother calls out to him within the crowd, but Fujiki ignores him, for the third son of a poor farmer died long ago; Fujiki was born Samurai. Iraku, in a separate waiting area, asks Iku if Fujiki appears to bear any chains, and Iku replies he does not. Fujiki, Mie, Gonzaemon and a man called Ootsubo wait at their station. Seeing Iraku for the first time in years sitting on the other side, Mie’s cheeks flush red with colour, and her lips part slightly. At the same time, her grasp on her short dagger was firm, to stop her hands from shaking. Sitting in a spectator stand nearby were high ranking officials of Kakegawa. Inspector Yanagisawa Tanomo, Kengyou, and Haramitshi together with his young third son, Yukichiyo, standing behind them. Yukichiyo is said to have impregnated no less than three female servants of the Haramitshi estate when he was 13, and was called from far away by his father to observe the way of the warrior by observing Fujiki. Haramitshi berates Yukichiyo for observing Mie’s beauty instead. As the battle drum begins, an announcement is made that a blood feud could not be held twice. Iku and Mie watch with worry.
A warrior bearing resemblance to a toad sits in the tree, observing the events afar. Funaki Ichi Densai is also in attendance. Already old and senile, as Fujiki begins to rest his blade at the back of his head, Ichi Densai recalls the advice he gave to his late twin sons to be wary of this stance. To the crowd’s alarm, Fujiki turns his back to Iraku and presents him his exposed vital. The gasp from the spectators in response to Fujiki’s strange stance greatly distracts Iraku and worries Iku. Mie turns to look at a smiling Gonzaemon. Unsure of Fujiki’s intentions, Iraku is struck with a sense of mortal danger. Fujiki observes Iraku strike from the reflection of his sword, and Fujiki produces a Nagare strike parallel to the ground. Although Iraku blocks the strike, the force of it brings to Iraku to the ground, rendering Iraku left to defend Fujiki’s sword pressing against his own from above.
"Thundering of the Earth"Edit
If it had been a normal duel, the cry of match decided would have run in the air, and the battle would have stopped, but this was a duel to the death. Iku begins to cry blood. Like a serpent, Iraku’s leg desperately coils around Fujiki, blocking his nose and mouth like a hand, leaving no space for Fujiki to breathe. Freed from the attack and now above Fujiki, Iraku calls Fujiki a sea shell and asks him to die. Though pressing down from above, Fujiki uses his leverage against Iraku to deliver a powerful blow with the fist into Iraku’s solar plexus. Iraku vomits and is thrown like a rag doll towards the sitting Samurai officials. This should have been the perfect moment to kill Iraku, but Fujiki gives up the opportunity, for he could not even take the slightest action which could be taken as a sign of hostility against the officials. Haramitshi acknowledges the wise judgement, while Fujiki calls out to Iraku to come at him.
Iraku accepts he has underestimated Fujiki, believing him to be weaker than his master, Kogan. Iraku stands in Nagare Boshi. A technique which used to be closely hidden but is now on full display for all to see. Though Gonzaemon anticipated this could happen in a public duel, Gonzaemon resists with all his might the urge to murder every man who had witnessed the hidden technique. Though Fujiki knew how to perform Nagare Boshi, it was another matter entirely to defend against another user of that art, and there was no way he could know of any technique that might stop it. Fujiki employs a stance unknown to Gonzaemon, there being no such thing in Kogan-ryuu. Regardless, Fujiki defends against a Nagare strike, as Iraku’s sword had sliced between the grip of Fujiki's sword (Nakago), but the strike was not short enough to cut Fujiki’s fist.* The Nakago was the lower part of the actual blade of the katana and resided inside the grip. Though sometimes the hilt was used in such a way as to parry an opponent’s attack during a match with wooden swords, to use the Nakago defence in order to stop a blindingly fast blade was a miracle.
"A Pair of Eyes"Edit
Fujiki strikes a futile blow upon realising Iraku was wearing a chain mesh woven into his clothes. It was a matter of course for Samurai to weave metal into their clothes in a duel, and it could not be said that this was a treacherous or an underhanded act. However, Haramitshi noted Fujiki entered the tournament only with his swords. Haramitshi acknowledged that it was Fujiki’s resolve and his knowledge, that one who fears the blade of a blind man had no right to become master of his own dojo. Iraku commences his stance and begins to strike from below upwards, but Fujiki responds with a defence practiced with Gonzaemon to counter it. However, Fujiki senses that Iraku can “see” him.