The first time they met, Aoshi fell before the power of Kenshin's sakaba sword, but had they fought when Aoshi arrived at the Kamiya dojo, Aoshi would have been the victor. Now, with Anji and Usui defeated, and only Soujiro and Shishio himself remaining, the time for their rematch has come. Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu meets the deadly techniques of Kodachi Nitou Ryu, and Ama Kakeru no Hirameki meets Kaiten Kenbu Lokuren in a battle that will settles the spirits of the past and decide one man's future.
When he was fifteen, Misao's grandfather, the founder of the Oniwabanshu, passed away. As his replacement, Soushi Okina was chosen, but Okina believed that the new era needed a younger leader and renounced the position in favor of Aoshi. During the Bakamatsu, they served as the guards of Edo Castle, but with the coming of the new Ishin era, most of the former ninjas retired to live normal lives. Of their number, however, there were four, Beshimi, Shiki-jou, Hyottoko, and Hanya, who would be unable to live a normal life in the new era. And so on their behalf, Aoshi left with them on a journey, leaving Misao behind under Jiya's care.
Something happened in the years after they vanished, and when Kenshin first fought against those who were the last remaining Oniwabanshu, they were serving as guards for a black market weapons and narcotics dealer named Kanryu. It was in this meeting that Aoshi met defeat under the sakaba of Kenshin. In the aftermath, Beshimi, Shiki-jou, Hyottoko, and Hanya all perished while protecting their leader from the gattling gun wielded by Kanryu, and Aoshi swore that he would defeat the man known as the Hitokiri Battousai, so that he might bestow upon his men the title of the strongest warriors. In response, Kenshin gave to him a promise, saying that he would fight him again, whenever he so chose -- a promise that is about to be fulfilled.
Since the first battle, nearly a year has gone by. In that time, Aoshi has changed his fighting style to Kodachi Nitou Ryu. But that is not the only thing that has changed. In his obsession to defeat Kenshin, he has become a driven man -- willing to sacrifice anything to win that title for his men. To this end, he has allied himself with Shishio, giving him the information leading to the first aborted attack on the Aoiya. Moreover, he personally fought and nearly killed Jiya in a confrontation that ended with Misao renouncing Aoshi's leadership and claiming the title of Okashira for herself. Alone, having thrown away honor, loyalty, and self-respect, Aoshi now waits for the fulfillment of a promise. And yet, Kenshin made another promise as well, one to Misao. He swore that he would bring Aoshi back to the Aoiya, and free him from the demons that haunted him. But that is one promise that may be impossible for him to keep.