A/n: Sorry for taking soÂ… soÂ… so long to do this folks, but FINALLY the last chapter of Rurouni Kenshin and the Lord of the Rings is being posted. I know, I know, posting the next-to-last chapter on New Years day, then waiting a whole 11 months isn’t probably the best way to do this. But I’m hoping for LOTS of reviews out of this, more than the, ‘Its about time you updated’ reviews I see a lot, though I do agree that its about time I updated.

I would’ve posted earlierÂ… but my financial problems haven’t been easy on me lately. I might risk extra expenses as I went on my computer at home each day that I edited the final chapter. As some of you know, if I need to remind you once more, I’ve written the epilogue for this fanfiction ahead of time before finishing the rest of my chapters to the story. Its kinda reminiscent of what J.K. Rowling did with writing the very last chapter of Harry Potter in book seven, so I’ve heard.

Peter Jackson had a very great time in his whole seven years of making the films. Fortunately for me, it took me over a year and eight months to write my fanfiction, but over three to four years to post the fanfiction. Good works of literature do take time, you know, hence the 11-month editing period.

I think this chapter might be the longest chapter I may have ever written. And I do tend to have it like that. I also have a few surprises at the end of the chapter, and I think you might like them, too.

But anyway, enjoy the final chapterÂ… and I hope you won’t find it boring.

Epilogue: Many Partings, Frodo’s last journey to the Grey Havens

After the celebration of Aragorn’s coronationÂ… a whole month had passed. With the successful conclusion of the War of the Ring, and the threat of Sauron ended foreverÂ…

Many folk came from the seaward vales of Lebennin and Belfalas to dwell in the city. Best of all, the Kings of the line of Elendil returned to Gondor and the Standard of the White Tree blossomed once more since Aragorn became king. Minas Tirith had become the fairest city in the west of Middle-Earth.

A week after Aragorn was crowned KingÂ… he and Arwen were married. Kenshin, Frodo, and the rest of the Fellowship of both worlds attended the wedding, seeing the great couple of the new era being joined togetherÂ… and clapped with great merriment after the ceremony was complete. The festivities were commenced with grand dancing, led by the Hobbits, to which everyone joined along, no matter how large or small they were. And there was even a drinking game to the side.

Legolas joined in again, with Gimli, SanosukeÂ… and even Kuro and Shiro for a rematch with Sanosuke. Gimli was the first to fall out this time. Kuro and Shiro fell soon after. It was neck and neck between Sanosuke and Legolas. The Elf once more felt tingling in his fingers, as Sanosuke felt very, very groggy, but wouldn’t give in, using his iron will to hold him up. Legolas then began to feel strangerÂ… drinking more liquor with Sanosuke taking pride seeing the Elf beginning to feel as groggy as he. However with his great pride and seemingly indomitable spirit–Sanosuke finally passed out from all the drinking, making Legolas the winner once againÂ… with Saito muttering out how much of a moron Sanosuke was.

More dances continued afterwards between many couples, with Kenshin and Kaoru, Aragorn and Arwen, Faramir and Éowyn, even with the Elf twins of Elrond and Omasu and Ochika. Misao, by a twist of fate… finally got Aoshi to dance with her, after much pleading on her part. Though Aoshi had a stern face, Misao enjoyed her time with Aoshi, however short it was. Megumi attended with Sanosuke, with a grimaced face, to which Katsu looked over with an amused smile.

As time passed, Aragorn gave permission for a few special dances for ArwenÂ… one with her father Elrond and the other with Kenshin, to which Kaoru gave her most gracious, understanding blessing, as this was a very special dayÂ… for all of them, and their worlds. Kaoru especially had a special dance of her own, with Frodo, despite their differences in size, to which everyone enjoyed with radiant expressions on their faces. Kenshin looked upon them with a great smile, feeling that they’ve deserved and needed this time to themselves as much as they couldÂ… because of what they had faced together in Mordor.

When it was near evening on the wedding dayÂ… the people gathered around the court, as Aragorn stepped out further, to the top edge of the dividing crag. As the sun’s falling rays shone upon AragornÂ… his white mantle turned to flame. Aragorn then held up the green stone in his hand, and there came a green fire from his hand. Kenshin, Frodo, Yahiko, Misao, and everyone present marveled greatly at this wonderÂ… as it truly marked the beginning of the New Age in Middle-Earth.

Some days after the wedding of the king and queen, there was more tending, rebuildingÂ… as well as removing that needed to be done. By order of King Elessar, Minas Morgul was broken down, for it was too great a place of evil for any man to dwell there. Many of the monuments in Gondor, including the monument that Frodo passed by, of the de-faced king, were restored to their original luster. Osgiliath, however, was not tended to, as it was allowed to fall peacefully into final ruinÂ… a lost relic of Gondor’s past that shall soon pass away–into eternity.

Word was received that many of the Orcs and the rest of the enemies of the Free peoples of Middle-Earth, namely the Haradrim and Easterlings, had descended into hysteria and confusion after Sauron had fallen. The Shadow’s armies had sacrificed themselves, nearly similar to the Japanese ritualistic form of suicide for the Samurai, seppeku, which did not surprise Kenshin, nor please him in the slightest. Aragorn took even less pleasure in it as much as Kenshin, as the king solemnly and sincerely wished peace for them, from their sudden madness that came upon them after the loss of their master.

Other former soldiers of Sauron were scattered to the far reaches of Middle-Earth, hiding in seclusion, either journeying into deep forests, taking refuge on rugged, lonely mountain topsÂ… or dwelling into deep dark caves of gloom, as Gollum did. Whatever the caseÂ… all present enemies of Middle-Earth were never heard or seen again.

Kenshin, and the rest of the Fellowship, of both worlds, dwelt within a fair house in the upper levels of Minas Tirith, large enough to house all of the companions, while they stayed. In the days that followed, Sejuro Hiko, with his expert skills as a potter, had contributed to the rebuilding of Minas Tirith by making cups and vases, as gifts from Japan.

Misao, Éowyn, and the others from the Aoiya had brought great service to the people of Minas Tirith, serving them all their foods, and gave great courtesy and tending to all the needy. Okina, with his usual naughty attitude, had been teasing some of the women, and ended up chasing them as well. Megumi offered her services in medicine at the Houses of Healing, working side-by-side with old Ioreth, and the rest of the serving women there.

Yahiko continued his training with Sam at his side. Kaoru oversaw their training together, instructing them like she does with all her students. In turn, Yahiko, Kaoru, as well as Kenshin, helped Sam to plant new gardens at Minas Tirith–with added medicinal seeds planted by Megumi.

During their training sessions together, Sam and Yahiko matched their skills with one another to see how they fared against the other. Some occasions Yahiko had the advantage, and on many other occasionsÂ… Sam gained the victory. Frodo overlooked on many of their matches, and saw how both of their skills were so equal to one anotherÂ… that they’ve made each other stronger. Frodo deeply felt that Sam would one day become a great Hobbit.

Merry and Pippin had played with Ayame and Suzume many times. Sojiro even joined along a few times, as he gave the two little children some fun rides with his amazing speed. To Ayame and Suzume, it felt like they were riding with Kenshin. And sometimes, Merry and Pippin, being the mischievous Hobbits they were, got Sojiro to join them on some of their pranks on many of the residents of Gondor, to which the citizens did not take kindly to.

Katsu, with his expertise in journalism, delved deeply into the library of Minas Tirith, with the help of Gandalf and Radagast, eager to learn more of Middle-Earth’s history. Katsu also came to Frodo and Merry for the histories of the Shire. With Katsu’s determination, Merry also sought to be a chronicler of history, as he was fascinated with Rohan. Of course he would not publish it openly, because he knew that no one would believe it. But perhaps somedayÂ… he thought someone might take an interest in these histories and publish them for the whole world to see.

With Aragorn’s permission, Legolas had brought a colony of Elves of the Silvan race from Mirkwood forest, now renamed called Eryn Lasgalen, ‘the Wood of Greenleaves’, by King Thranduil and Celeborn–to the uplands of Ithilien, to dwell and wander. Legolas even began to develop a relationship with Faramir soon after his move to Ithilien. Aoshi had visited Faramir at Emyn Arnen, as well as Legolas within the woods quite a few times each day. Faramir and Legolas even joined Aoshi in his meditation sessions, to which Misao and Éowyn observed with great smiles on their faces.

Kenshin had visited Frodo in his own bedroom, and shared stories with each other. Kenshin found Frodo at one point, writing in a journal. It was the Red Book of the Hobbits that Bilbo had in his possession. Elrond had given Frodo the book from his uncle, since he came to the coronation. Fascinated by what he say, Kenshin was also interested and asked Frodo to help him make a copy of their adventures in Middle-EarthÂ… to be kept only to Kenshin and his companions.

Kaoru and Arwen even met together many times. Kaoru still felt that Kenshin wasn’t returning her love for him, despite admitting to her at Rivendell, how happy he was that Kaoru accepted him, no matter what. Amidst their conversationsÂ… Arwen told Kaoru to have a great deal of faith, so that somedayÂ… Kenshin would be able to love her as she loves Kenshin.

A very romantic aspect of Kenshin’s companions’ stay in Middle-Earth, was between the Oniwaban women, Omasu and Ochika, and the Elf twins, Elladan, Elrohir. The twins stayed a while in Ithilien, to give what help they could to Legolas and the Elves that came with them. Occasionally, they would visit Omasu and Ochika in Minas Tirith. Then one dayÂ… the twins invited the ninja women to explore the deep forests of Ithilien, and they happily accepted. And it was the greatest time that they ever had together as well, racing with their horses through the lush green trees that surrounded themÂ… even chased a few prancing young fawns while they were at it.

Then, when it was almost dark, the twins and the ninja women settled in a glade… and there the women danced for the twins, with their graceful, ethereal-like poses, that enchanted the Elves greatly. Elladan and Elrohir then began singing in Elvish, with their voices sounding to a supernatural, haunting tone, which had Ochika and Omasu completely mesmerized, like they were in a trance. The singing and dancing rang throughout the woods of Ithilien, even reached up to the highest heavens. And that night became very celestial for Ithilien, to which Faramir and Éowyn could never forget as they smiled all night, enjoying the otherworldly melody of the Elf twins and the Oniwaban women.

Gimli was named ‘Lockbearer’ after he was given three strands of Galadriel’s head. The Dwarf, and his firm devotion to Galadriel, encouraged him to take the hair as a ‘pledge of good will between the Mountain and the Wood until the end of days’. Gimli was also named ‘Elf-friend’ because of his deep friendship to Legolas. And soÂ… the Dwarf, with Éomer’s permission–became Lord of the Glittering Caves of Aglarond, at Helm’s Deep, where a colony of Dwarves shall soon settle there. Gimli, from thereon, became a friend to Rohan and Gondor- as well as the Elves.

For that timeÂ… Gimli and Legolas started to honor their promises to each other, as Legolas looked upon the Glittering Caves, beholding their vast beauty that Gimli highly spoke of. Legolas was speechless over what he saw, as he could not find the words to describe his amazement, saying and believing that Gimli alone could find those words fit enough to speak of it. The Dwarf, smirking gaily, had claimed his victory over the Elf in a contest of words.

Merry was made a special honor for helping Éowyn and Misao to defend Théoden when the Witch-king struck him down. Among the Rohirrim, he was named, Holdwine, in their language and gave him the rank of Captain and much esteem in their land. And, for Pippin’s unfaltering services to Gondor, Aragorn made him a full-fledged knight of Gondor.

However, there were more honors given to the Hobbits from the Kenshin-gumi. Yahiko, being a self-proclaimed Tokyo Samurai, had deemed Sam as ‘Hobbit Samurai’. Sam was affrighted a little at firstÂ… but emboldened himself to accept the honor on Yahiko’s behalf, because of their great teamwork and companionship together. Surprisingly, Kaoru had named Sam as a special student in the Kamiya Kasshin School, noticing the bond that he had with Yahiko.

Aoshi and Misao inducted Merry and Pippin into the Oniwaban group as honorary members, even thought the Hobbits have had no ninja training. Merry and Pippin were filled with awe to feel that they’ve received extra rank from people from another world, especially from their friends, adding to the high rank that they received from Aragorn and Éomer. Merry had once pondered what it would be like to be either a knight of Rohan, or a member of the Oniwaban GroupÂ… but he never could have imagined that he would be both at the same time.

LastlyÂ… Kenshin deemed Frodo, ‘Hobbit Rurouni’, the word meaning wanderer in the native Japanese tongue. Frodo accepted the title without question, feeling that deep in his heartÂ… he was still wandering, even though he has a home to get back to and was saved due to the ring’s destruction. Kaoru then told Frodo that he also now has a place in the Kamiya Kasshin School, even though they’ll both be worlds apart soon.

Kenshin and the rest did not receive such high honors, but the people of Gondor, as well as the rest of Middle-Earth had given them special names. Kenshin was named the ‘Friend of Elessar’, or ‘Friend of the Renewer’, due to his close bond with Aragorn. The wanderer found it to be more pleasing than being referred to as ‘Battousai the Manslayer’. When Frodo and Sam were named as the ‘Ringbearers’, Kaoru and Yahiko, due to their direct part in the trek of Mordor were named ‘brethren of the Ringbearers’. In addition, Kaoru also was named ‘Kaoru the gentle’ as her great kindness to so many of the people of Gondor, had made her second to Queen Arwen Evenstar, and especially for her sympathetic resolution towards not killing. Yahiko, however, was personally deemed as “Samurai of Middle-Earth” by Aragorn, to which Yahiko took with great enthusiasm.

Aoshi, for his part in the siege of the White City was named Aoshi Gondcormion (Aoshi the Stonehearted), for his leadership and resolution was as strong as any foundation made of stone. In addition to being called the ‘Wolf of Mibu’, Saito was also named the ‘Wolf of Middle-Earth’, due to his merciless, cold streak that he kept holding onto. Misao was named ‘Misao the fair’ to some, but Saito and Sanosuke however still thought of her as the Weasel girl, whereas they named her the ‘Weasel of Middle-Earth’, which made Misao very, very offended. And as for SanosukeÂ… he was called, Sanosuke of the Heavy Sword, due to his uncanny ability to wield the Zanbatou, a name that Sanosuke was very fond of, feeling that it fits him perfectly.

Indeed, many great things have happened since Kenshin’s extra stay in Middle-Earth. But at the end of the monthÂ… it was time for the otherworlders to go back, for they could not stay any longer. It was also time for Frodo and the Hobbits to leave for the Shire as well, as were the wizards, Gandalf and Radagast. For this special departure, Kenshin and the some of his friends were clothed in the garb of Rohan, Gondor, and of the Elves, as was Frodo and the Hobbits, for their great services, and arrayed as Lords and maidens of the land.

Kaoru, Yahiko, little Ayame and Suzume, and Megumi wore the Gondorian cloth, while Saito and Sanosuke wore the garb of Rohan, both of them with a flowing green cloak, embroidered with the Horse of Rohan. Sanosuke had painted the back of his green cloak with the mark that said ‘bad’, the same mark that was on his white jacket. The Oniwaban group wore diversely the cloth of the Elves and Men of Middle Earth. Aoshi wore a formal Gondorian uniform that belonged to Faramir, while Misao wore Éowyn’s white dress of Rohan, to which the young lady accepted cheerfully, putting a glad smile on Éowyn’s face. Okina, Omasu and others wore regaled Elven gowns, with Omasu and Ochika’s dresses personally made by Elladan and Elrohir.

Kenshin was not so regaled as the others, but wore his red kimono, with a gleaming white Elven cloak, embroidered with the White Tree of Gondor, and the White Horse of Rohan, on either side. Kenshin was also given a new sheath for his sword, engraved with Elvish and Dwarven inscriptions, symbolizing friendship between their two worlds. Hiko took no gift from Middle-Earth, wearing his usual clothes and his great exotic white cape, with an unimpressed look at Kenshin, eyeing the white cloak his apprentice wore, thinking that it was not so radiant as his mantle. It made the Mitsurugi master believe that the cloak fitted Kenshin perfectly, especially of how he personally viewed Kenshin for such a long time.

Sanosuke was given a new Zanbatou from Éomer, stronger than the other one that was made for him in a hurry, and it was also inscribed with the language of the Elves and the Dwarves. Sanosuke personally etched another symbol on his new gift, that of the same symbol of ‘bad’ that was branded on his back, just as he did with his cloak. It still remained a mystery to Yahiko as to why Sanosuke was so fond of that symbol he wore.

As for the Hobbits themselves, Frodo and Sam wore the Elven cloth, whereas Pippin wore an honored Gondorian knight uniform, and Merry wore the clothes that were fit for a Noble of Rohan. With it, Éowyn gave Merry an ancient horn made of silver, engraved with riding horsemen, and was set with runes of great virtue. Merry took the horn with much admiration, seeing that it could not be refused, and graciously kissed Éowyn’s hand, with a formal gesture.

In addition, Sam wore Yahiko’s old bamboo practice sword upon his back, while Frodo had tied the bandage he received from Kaoru back on Mt. Doom on his arm. Kaoru and Yahiko had tied the torn shirtsleeves from Sam and Frodo that were used as bandages, on their arms also, as a remembrance of their companionship. Merry and Pippin, in addition to their clothes, wore blue headbands, to which they gazed at brightly, symbolizing that they were an official part of the Oniwaban Group.

Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Arwen, Faramir, Éowyn, the Hobbits, as well as most of the people of Gondor were present outside of Minas Tirith, at Pelennor Fields, to bid the otherworld people farewell. King Éomer of Rohan, and his betrothed, Lothiriel, daughter of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth, along with some of the people of Rohan, was also present at this great parting. And to their surprise…Treebeard had come to see Kenshin off as well, as he left temporary authority upon an associate Ent of his called Quickbeam.

As everyone gathered, the whole Fellowship began to say his or her last good byes to each otherÂ… as Aragorn commenced with an opening statement to KenshinÂ…

“It seems that we have come to the end of the Fellowship of the RingÂ… for both our worlds, Kenshin,” announced Aragorn, as he gestured to their companions, the friends that have been made throughout this whole ordeal, consisting of Men, Dwarves, Elves, HobbitsÂ… even Ents for that matter. In more ways than one, even though they were about to depart, they have all become a great part of the Fellowship ever since it was officially formed in Rivendell.

Kenshin gazed upon the entire congregation of the Fellowship who were present, the original founding members, as well as the other members that joined in since the quest began. He even remembered the members who were lost in the end–Boromir, Haldir, Théoden, Théodred, FujiÂ… even Gollum, despite some reservations from Sam and Yahiko–and many others who either died, or were not present. It didn’t matter what race, gender, land, world, or origin they were from, as long as their hearts beat together as oneÂ… from the beginning, unto the very end.

Aragorn continued, “many blessings will be brought back with us, as we go our separate ways. But the greatest blessing of all our worldsÂ… shall be given to the Hobbits, and to the Shire.

With a nod of understanding and acceptance, Kenshin graciously said, “Aragorn, we cannot thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us.”

“Â…Kenshin,” answered Aragorn, sadly smiling, “Â…it is I who should say this, to you. You and your friends’ presence here in Middle-Earth has been a most enlightening experienceÂ… to us all. And for that, we greatly thank you.”

“I greatly appreciate that, Aragorn,” Kenshin smiled back thankfully.

“Kenshin,” said Éomer fervently to Kenshin, “Kings of old would have laden you with much honor and rank, and yet you take none you say?”

“I only use my sword for the purpose of protecting lives,” replied Kenshin, somberly, “I have absolutely no desire to claim any title of nobility whatsoever.”

Éomer nodded to himself, as he respected Kenshin on that point. He felt or knew somehow… that obtaining any kind of honorary position would make Kenshin more burdened than he first was, because of his bloodied past of a manslayer.

Éomer then added, “our time may have been short, but I am glad that you came to Edoras, in honor of Théoden’s memory.”

“I was honored to do so, Éomer,” responded Kenshin, “Â…I shall always remember Théoden, that I will.”

Misao went to say her farewells to Merry and Pippin.

“Here, Merry,” said Misao, handing a brand new patch of Kunais to Merry as a parting gift, “now you can have something to remember me by. And at least something to occupy your time, instead of just planning mischief.”

“This is great, Misao,” replied Merry fondly, “they’ll go nicely with the horn Éowyn gave me.”

Merry then turned to his side at Pippin, adding, “it’ll definitely be less cumbersome than what Pippin’s got.”

Pippin held within both his hands, the long double-kodachi sheath, in which Aoshi gave him. The knighted Hobbit had some difficulty handling the weapon.

“You should take your time, Pippin,” Aoshi advised, “it’s not an easy weapon to handle at first, but with practice, you shall obtain proper balance of the sword, as well as for yourself.”

“Thanks Aoshi,” stuttered Pippin in his response, “I’m sure I’ll get use to it eventually, especially being a new knight and everything. Oh, almost forgotÂ…”

Pippin released one hand from his new weapon, as he went into his pocket, and pulled out a small pouch of leaves, handing it to Misao.

With one look, Misao said, “isn’t this the package of that Longbottom leaf Merry gave you?”

“WellÂ… Merry says I smoke too much anyway, so I never even smoked it,” replied Pippin.

“And here’s a little pipe to smoke it in,” Merry interjected, handing a pipe to Misao.

“OhÂ… you guys are the greatest,” said Misao happily.

“You shouldn’t smoke that Misao,” Aoshi cut in harshly, “you’re still too young.”

Misao’s face instantly fell miserably after hearing such rebuke from the man she admiredÂ…

“You should at least wait a few more yearsÂ… before you’re old enough to smoke it,” Aoshi finished serenely.

“Ah, Lord Aoshi,” Misao lightened, along with Merry and Pippin.

“Ooh–one other thing,” interrupted Pippin, as he slowly unwrapped the scarf around his neck, lending it to Aoshi, humbly saying, “another keepsake to remember me by, Aoshi. That isÂ… if you’ll take it.”

With a grim look, Aoshi returned, “hmm, I’m not usually a man who accepts gifts, compared to the many gifts we received from Middle-Earth. This makes me feel spoiled to say the least.

“However, since you asked so nicely,” Aoshi addedÂ… as he reached out to receive the scarf Pippin handed to him, “I would be honored to accept your scarf, Pippin. I shall treasure this always.”

“Â…Thank you,” smiled Pippin thankfully.

Treebeard then came up in the midst of this parting, to add his special good-byes to Merry, Misao, and Pippin.

“So longÂ… my young friends,” said Treebeard, in his usual deep, tree-like voice.

“We most certainly won’t forget about you, Treebeard,” replied Misao, speaking for herself as well as Merry and Pippin.

Bru-ra-hroomÂ… that is a great comfort to hear, Misao,” Treebeard rumbled a deep sigh, as his face became sad, “even as this new age begins, the forests–may growÂ… woooods may spread, but–not EntsÂ… there are noooo Entings. And it may prove that the Kingdoms of Men shall outlast me.”

“There is hope in your search, Treebeard,” interjected Gandalf, “lands will lie open to you eastward that have long been closed.”

“Hoom! But it is far to go, Gandalf,” retorted Treebeard, “Â…and there are too many Men there in these days.”

The Eldest being of Middle-Earth then turned back to Misao, Merry, and Pippin, and said, “Â…if you should hear any news ofÂ… or find any Entwives in your lands, bring word to me.”

Merry and Pippin nodded with uncertainty, doubting much that they would find Entwives in the Shire, as they have said before to Treebeard.

“Uhh, Treebeard,” said Misao, “I hope you’re not suggesting I try to find your mates in my world, because I already said that there weren’t any.”

Bru-ra-hroom–you’re still as hasty as ever, Misao,” Treebeard reprimanded lightly, “whether it be a long walk, or–by a separation of worldsÂ… you should always know that when there’s a willÂ… there’s a way.”

Misao then deeply contemplated Treebeard’s words. She was not always the patient type of person so easily. Some of it gave meaning to Misao, that perhaps by a twist of fateÂ… she might really get to meet more Ents in her world, eventually. After having that moment of reflectionÂ… she turned back to Merry and PippinÂ…

“Well,” Misao said sadly, with her eyes fixed solemnly at her Hobbit friends, “Â…it’s been fun, you knuckleheads.”

Pippin and Merry’s eyes started filling with tears, as was Misao’s own eyes.

“It looks like,” Misao began to cry, slowly, “Â…that this is goodbye for good.”

Merry nodded sadly, “Â…it sure looks like it, Misao. And we’ve had so much fun together.”

“Â…Yeah,” replied Misao.

Then the three companions hugged each other so tightly and so warmlyÂ… that Aoshi gave a sweet smile that was unnoticed by Misao, since she waited such a long time for that moment. Even though Misao couldn’t see itÂ… she felt that she knew that Aoshi was smiling. Aoshi then laid a hand over Misao’s shoulder. Misao looked upÂ… and saw that Aoshi only looked at her with great sympathy, but not smiling. Misao smiled at him just the same, although she did not see the smile that was on his face a moment ago.

Faramir and Éowyn went up to Misao and Aoshi to say their good-byes.

“Aoshi,” said Faramir as he and Éowyn bowed their heads, “I have enjoyed our sessions together in your meditations. I shall dwell upon them for the rest of my life.”

“Thank you, Faramir,” said Aoshi.

“And you better stay true to Éowyn, Faramir,” Misao said, smirking, “or you’re going to be answering to me. She’s one of my closest friends.”

“Yes, of course,” Faramir replied sarcastically.

“Don’t worry Misao,” Éowyn assured Misao, with a mischievous smile, “I’ll be watching him. As I trust that you’ll be looking out for Lord Aoshi.”

“You bet,” Misao winked.

Faramir laughed a little as he said to Aoshi, “it seems that you should not underestimate Lady Misao’s spirit, Aoshi. For indeedÂ… she has the fieriest spirit I have ever seen, as I saw it within Éowyn. You should not squander such a wonderful gift. And even I was not so hesitant to squander my feelings with the Lady Éowyn.”

Aoshi gave no reply. But although he would not admit it openly, in his heartÂ… he knew that Faramir had spoke true. Misao had indeed meant more to Aoshi than just the granddaughter of his previous leader that he was bound to protect since his death.

Ayame and Suzume went up to Pippin and hugged each other very warmly. Especially for the time that they were all tortured by Sauron and felt a deep connection towards one another since then.

“Well,” said Pippin, “goodbye children. You’re both very sweet.”

“Thank you, Uncle Pip!” the children cheered brightly.

“You’re welcomeÂ… little Ayame and Suzume,” said Pippin, with tears in his eyes, “and don’t you get scared now, you hear?”

“Yes Uncle Pip,” replied Ayame and Suzume.

Legolas then came up to Aoshi to say his farewells. Besides his deep companionship with GimliÂ… the elf also shared a bond with Aoshi, as well, ever since the first day they met.

“It appears that the time has come for us to go down different paths, Aoshi,” said Legolas.

“Indeed, Legolas,” replied Aoshi, “your path shall be with the men of this world for a time, while mine still lies within my meditations.”

Legolas nodded in affirmation, knowing well how Aoshi still favored being isolated, and respected it greatly.

“I shall be able to look after Faramir for you,” Legolas told Aoshi.

“I never said that I wanted you to,” said Aoshi, “I thought that Éowyn would be able to do that.”

“An extra pair of Elf eyes wouldn’t hurt,” retorted Legolas, “besides, while my kin and I shall be in Ithilien, I figured that I’d be able to occupy myself a bit with Faramir–perhaps we’ll even have some meditation sessions to remember you by.”

Aoshi paused before saying, “Â…that is very thoughtful of you. But I suggest that while you’re keeping company with FaramirÂ… you don’t intrude in his privacy, especially when he’s with Éowyn.”

“HehÂ… yes of course,” Legolas giggled a little.

After everything had been said between themÂ… Legolas laid his hand on Aoshi’s shoulder as he did with Aragorn at his coronation. Aoshi, in turn, laid his hand on the Elf’s shoulder as well.

“AoshiÂ… it was a pleasure to fight at your side,” Legolas said, brightly.

“As it has been an honor to be in battle with you as well, Legolas,” Aoshi replied proudly.

“Namárië, Aoshi.”

“Â…Namárië, Legolas.”

Aragorn then came to Katsu, who carried two large bags that were packed with manuscripts of the histories of Middle-Earth. Indeed Katsu was infatuated with the many myths and legends of Middle-Earth, when he first stepped foot into that world.

“Take this gift of our history with you, Mr. Tsukioka,” Aragorn said, giving his blessing, “for we have great respect for a man who has an interest in our land and its pasts.”

“Thanks, your majesty,” replied a gracious Katsu, then said pointedly, “I enjoy writing for a newspaper, especially if it’s for trying to expose the dirty dealings of the Meiji government, which I take great pleasure in doing. But I don’t think I’ll be able to publish what I’ve acquired here–nobody in my world would believe it.”

“I know,” Aragorn nodded affirmatively, “most people, in any world concerned, would believe it to be nothing but old ghost stories.”

“Yeah, but you know what I think?”


“Â…Even though people in my world and time may not believe it now, I do think that somedayÂ… one might be interested and will publish it for all the world to see and enjoy one day,” Katsu ended.

Aragorn smiled, for part of him believed the same as what Katsu believed in.

Gimli said his good-byes to the Kenshin-gumi, especially some special farewells to Sanosuke and Saito.

“Farewell, laddies,” said Gimli, “this parting will be the saddest of all, for my part.”

“Speaking of sad,” added Sanosuke, “my saddest parting I ever had was with Captain Sagara when he was killed by the imperialists.”

“I never get sad, people–I’m not the type,” Saito pointed out bluntly, as he smoked a cigarette, from a pack in which he himself made of weed from the apothecaries of Minas Tirith.

“Maybe so,” lamented Gimli, “many of us have a reason not to be sad. All of us should come safe to our homes in our respective worlds, and I shall not stay awake for fear of their peril. Many of us may meet at timesÂ… but I fear that we will not be gathered together like this ever againÂ…”

Gimli then recovered his wits, with a twinkle in his eye, confidently saying, “Â…on the other handÂ… perhaps we might meet again someday, Hajime Saito.”

Saito blew out the smoke as he replied, smirking, “Â…I could care less if any of us met again. But there is an old saying that fate has a way of bringing old comrades together soÂ… I guess you might be right there, Gimli.”

“I know I am, laddie,” huffed Gimli, brightly.

“Oh really,” interjected Sanosuke, “in that case, why don’t you let me into that wager. If there’s any chance of coming back here, I’d like to have a good fight with some of you people one day.”

Sanosuke then turned in Éomer’s direction and called out, “and Éomer! Like I told Aragorn, if you start giving your people a hard time, its gonna be you and me, buddy!”

Éomer left his Lothiriel’s side and slowly came up to Sanosuke, with his pride unwavering. The two comrades stare at each other for long moments, locking their eyes, not blinking, nor turning their eyes awayÂ…

“Â…If that day should ever come, Sanosuke,” replied Éomer, “it would indeed be a great fight.”

Sanosuke smirked at Éomer’s adamant challenge.

“Remember,” Éomer said proudly, gritting his teeth a little, “I could cut you down at anytime.”

“Not if I get the best of you first,” returned Sanosuke.

Éomer and Sanosuke then grasped their hands upon each other’s arms, in a gesture of fellowship and rivalry.

“Take care,” said Sanosuke.

“The same to you,” Éomer wished back the same.

Yahiko and Sam were the next to say goodbye to each other. These two, despite their different mannerisms of behavior, shared many characteristics together. They were both too stubborn to give up on their promises, no matter how hard their challenges were, especially against Shelob and Gollum. Indeed, they were going to miss each other as well.

Sam began to speak, saying, “Â…wellÂ… so long.”

“Is that all you can say, Sam?” Yahiko asked incredulously.

“Â…I don’t know what to say, Mr. Yahiko,” said Sam, rather bemused.

“How about,” Yahiko suggested, “Â…I’m going to miss you.”

Sam smiled as he nodded.

“Â…Yeah,” he admitted, “I’m going to miss you too, Mr. Yahiko. And I almost forgot to thank you–for restoring my confidence, when Gollum tricked us when he threw away the Elven bread. I was acting like an idiot when Frodo told me to go home, even when he wasn’t acting like himself. You were the one person that saw what was really happening, while all I could do is feel sorry for myself, when I really shouldn’t have. I just wanted to say thatÂ… before you leave.”

“Ah,” said Yahiko, sheepishly, as he scratched the back of his head, “it was nothing. Besides, it was a man to man promise between you and Gandalf. I couldn’t let you stray away from it, could I?”

“Man to man?” asked a confused Sam.

“Oh, you know what I mean,” Yahiko shrugged.

“Â…Actually, I don’t, Mr. Yahiko,” Sam said sarcastically with a smile, “but I’ll say thisÂ… I’m very proud to have had you as a great and equal companion in this quest. In many ways, you’ve become another part of meÂ… and you’ve made me stronger than I’ve ever been in my lifetime. I hope I’ve done the same for you, Mr. Yahiko.”

“EhÂ… what are you talking about,” smirked Yahiko, “I was always strong even before I met you, Sam. If anything, I’ve gained another contender in the Kamiya Kasshin Style because of our matches. So, I’ll tell you what–whichever of us keeps on our training, and ends up mastering the style firstÂ… then we’ll see who’s really made the other stronger, okay?”

Sam nodded strongly, with a firm reply, “okay!”

From a distanceÂ… Kaoru observed the great competition–as well as companionship–being formed between Yahiko and Sam, even though they’ll be worlds apart, and smiled greatly, feeling that they’ve both made her, and especially Frodo, very proud indeed.

The Elf twins, Elladan and Elrohir came to bid their farewells to Omasu and Ochika. Their parting alone would be one of the hardest partings ever, especially since their growing enamored feelings for each other began to blossom even further after the coronation, and then the blessed night they had in Ithilien. Despite the time that they’ve all had in Middle-EarthÂ… they all knew that they would have to part this day.

“It is sad that you must leave,” said Elladan, “my brother and I wish that you would not go. We shall not forget you, for you have great beauty.”

“We wish that you could come with us,” replied Omasu softly.

“I suppose that we both wish to be with one anotherÂ… since Elladan and I forsook our immortality,” said Elrohir, speaking of this revelation, between him and his brother, “Â…but I guess we all knew somehow, that we must return to our two worldsÂ… to protect them.”

Ochika and Omasu nodded in realization, because they were still part of the Oniwaban group, who had sworn to protect Kyoto until their death. Elladan and Elrohir greatly expressed their love of the world of mortals, but were more attached to Middle-Earth than anything elseÂ… and for this reason alone, they could not ask Omasu and Ochika to give up their duties as members of the Oniwaban group. The fact that Elladan and Elrohir had given away their immortality, like their younger sister Arwen, was no surprise, as they were already told of that, since their time in Ithilien.

“That night we all shared in Ithilien will always be a blessing to Omasu and I,” said Ochika, very sadly, “we shall not forget that night–it will be treasured always.”

“We appreciate that,” answered Elladan, serenely.

“What will you do now, since you have forfeited the privilege of going over the seaÂ… to where your mother is?” asked Omasu, considerately.

“My brother and I express no regrets, Miss Omasu,” defended Elrohir, “not on giving up our immortality, nor of our night together with you in Ithilien. We both know that our mother would understand.”

After Elrohir made his statement, Elladan then added, “other than that, Elrohir and I shall ride with the Dunedain of Arnor, in memory of our departed friend, Halbarad. King Elessar has appointed us as rangers, and we shall join them after you and your friends part this world.”

“Â…Well, we understand,” said Ochika truthfully, “you both were doing what you thought was right, and Omasu and I respect that. It’s just that we fall so hard for cute men, or in this case, cute Elves, who are strong, handsomeÂ… and ready to fight for a woman. You two have certainly proved worthy of those qualities, since you saved our lives back in Kyoto, even when you were wounded for a time.”

“And then you told us about your sad memories of your mother,” interjected Omasu, “I sympathized with the both of you, especially with your hatred of the Orcs for torturing her. In your place, Ochika and I would’ve hated them just the same if they did that to our families.

“All that aside, before we even met you guysÂ… we had our sight on Master Hiko when he came to our rescue at one point,” Omasu ended sheepishly at the mention of Hiko.

“Ah–now Master Hiko is indeed a skilled fighter, worthy of praise by any of our elf kindred!” exclaimed Elladan, “perhaps one day, one of you will actually win his heart.”

Omasu and Ochika blushed greatly at that remark, realizing that they have another chance with Hiko.

“Oh, give me a break,” Shiro huffed to himself, a little disgusted at his friends’ follies.

“So, does your father know that you’ve forsaken your heritage?” asked Ochika.

“Yes, he does,” answered Elrohir, “even though he believed that we were going to ride with the Arnor RangersÂ… he too sensed that somewhere–we were doing it for nearly the same reason as our sister Arwen, to be with the one she loves.”

Arwen smiled brightly, as well as sadly at her brothers, feeling that she now had something in common with them, though they won’t be with people that they love. However, she deeply felt glad that at least she won’t be entirely alone in Middle-Earth, though their father will still leaveÂ… to be with his wife, Celebrian, their mother.

“All that aside,” said Elladan, “we now have something to guard and protect here, as you do, back in your world. And despite how we might yearn to be together, my brother and I respect your responsibilities, and we couldn’t take that away from you.”

Omasu and Ochika nodded with understanding, though tears were swelling within their eyesÂ…

Then the women hugged Elrohir and Elladan tightlyÂ… and kissed them on the cheek, making the once-immortal twins blush very deeply. And because of their intimate feelings for one another, all four of them became eternal soulmates, and they would be in each other’s hearts forever.

“WellÂ… goodbye then,” Ochika spoke tearfully, “and don’t try to be stupid, or we’ll be really mad, you hear?”

Elrohir became perplexed at her statement, before answering, “Â…of course.”

“And we really hope that you two will find someone special someday,” said Omasu brightly.

“So do we,” replied Elladan, with a great smile.

“ItÂ’s a sad thing for them to leave one another,” interjected Sam, listening in a bit on the sorrowful conversation, between the twins and the ninja women, “it’s not hard to see that they’re very much in love, but cannot have that. I feel very sorry for them. For me, there will always be Rosie Cotton.”

“So,” observed Okina, “there’s a woman in your life, eh Sam?”

“Yes, Mr. Okina,” answered Sam, a little nervously, “I’ve had a crush on her ever since I was a wee child.”

“Did she give you any looks?” inquired Okina.

“Â…I don’t know,” replied Sam, “I’ve been away so longÂ… I don’t know if she thinks about me the same way. She probably has found somebody by now.”

“Don’t feel so down, she probably misses you the same way,” Okina said sarcastically, “if you want to know if she still likes youÂ…”

“Â…Yes,” Sam waited for Okina’s adviceÂ…

“Just keep your eye out for her!” exclaimed Okina, frivolously, “watch her movements, if she gives you one lookÂ… that will be your chance, and she’ll want you to be her man, HAHAHAHAHA!”

Sam was taken back by Okina’s advice, believing that the old man was crazy. Frodo, Merry and Pippin smiled mischievously at Sam’s reaction, feeling he’s going to be in for some troubleÂ…

Dirty old man,’ Omasu thought angrily.

“Â…Are you sure, Mr. Okina?” Sam asked nervously, “what if I overstep myself?”

“Don’t worry, you’ll be just fine,” Okina arrogantly assured Sam, “trust me, as an old man, I’ve had very good experience.”

“Yeah, right–experience as an old man who wants to be around gorgeous women, you mean,” Omasu breathed in exasperation, “I guess I feel sorry for you, Sam, butÂ… good luck.”

“Thanks, Miss Omasu,” said a nervous Sam.

Radagast then came up to the womanizing Okina, smiling frivolously.

“Still up to your old tricks, Okina,” the wizard inquired, with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Well,” said Okina, playfully, “its very handy, once you get the hang of it all. Besides, an old man like me deserves to have some fun, or otherwise, I might get a heart attack or something. Laughter is, after allÂ… the best medicine, people say.”

“You’ll never change,” Radagast said as he extended his hand for Okina, as Okina responded in kind, grasping the brown wizard’s hand, and shook it firmly.

“Goodbye, Radagast,” Okina said sternly.

“Farewell, Okina.”

Sejuro Hiko went up to the wizard, with his arms folded. Radagast smiled at his attitude as it amused him greatly.

“I don’t know about you, old man,” said Hiko, “but I’m hoping I don’t have to do this again. Besides saving worlds from Dark Lords sounds like getting involved other people’s businesses.”

“Nobody knows for sure, Hiko,” replied Radagast, “but, as Saito said, fate has a way of bringing old comrades together.”

“This is precisely why I wanted to get away from the outside world,” explained Hiko, with arrogance, “there’s too many social obligations, and doesn’t leave much room for independence.”

“Master,” Kenshin said, a little exasperated.

But Aragorn smiled, as he was also amused at the streak of arrogance courtesy of Hiten Mitsurugi’s master. Ochika and Omasu blushed even brighter, as they were very fond of his attitudes towards life.

“And Megumi,” Radagast turned to her, ” you just be sure to continue to take care of your friendsÂ… especially that ruffian.”

“Oh please,” Megumi said, a little annoyed, “I hope you’re not suggesting I get together with him.”

“Yeah,” added Sanosuke, “the day I hook up with a fox lady.”

“Who are you calling a fox lady,” said an upset Megumi, blushing a littleÂ…

As they continued arguing, Sam went over to Yahiko and said, “Â…hey Mr. Yahiko, that reminds me. Aren’t you going to confess your feelings to Miss Tsubame?”

“What are you talking about?” Yahiko said nervously

“Well,” said Sam, “you were talking about it back on Mount Doom–“

“Who cares,” Yahiko said angrily, “I can’t do that, its so embarrassing!”

“So,” interjected Kaoru, with a cute expression, “you’re still a little sheepish about Tsubame, huh, Yahiko?”

“SHUT UP, KAORU!” exploded YahikoÂ…

“HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!HA!” everyone laughed out loud, even Sam, Saito, Aragorn, Faramir, Éowyn, Megumi and Sanosuke.

Yahiko became even more upset with their laughterÂ…

“Hey stop it!” yelled Yahiko, “Â…stop it already!”

But everyone kept laughing as Pippin said gaily, “soÂ… it looks like Yahiko has a little crush on somebody, doesn’t it Merry?”

“It sure does, Pip,” Merry said, laughing still.

“Stop it, you two!” Yahiko demanded furtherÂ… but nobody stopped, “stop it everybodyÂ…!

“STOP LAUGHING ALREADY!” roared Yahiko in great exasperation, “ugh!”

Kenshin then came to Gandalf and gave him a hug. Hiko reacted very nervously to it as he remembered when Kenshin tried to hug him when he thought he had almost killed him with mastering the Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki. Indeed Hiko wasn’t the man who enjoyed being hugged by another man. Kenshin then noticed the ring on Gandalf’s finger, a gold ring adorned with a single red stone, which it was as red as fire. It was the first time that Kenshin had noticed it.

“What is that ring you wear, Sir Gandalf?” asked Kenshin.

“Â…Narya the Ring of Fire,” said Gandalf, “one of the three Elven rings of power, given to me by Cirdan the Shipwright. For I shall soon sail to the west, along with the Elves.”

“As will I,” interjected Radagast, “none of us wizards can stay here in Middle-Earth any longer. It is now the domain of Men.”

“How sad,” said Aragorn, “Gandalf, I would still have need of your counsel.”

“Not for much longer, Aragorn,” Gandalf said, smiling with great compassion, “as Radagast said, this is your realm nowÂ… and the heart of the greater realm that shall be.

“For the Third Age of Middle-Earth was, mine age–our age,” Gandalf added, gesturing to himself and Radagast, “which has thus ended, and I was Sauron’s chief adversaryÂ…

“Â…Now that Sauron is gone, the Fourth Age is near its beginning. It is now your task to order its beginning and to preserve what may be preserved. Though much has been saved, much must now pass awayÂ… as the power of the Three Rings are now passing as we speak.”

“Â…I know it well, dear friend,” said a sad Aragorn.

Gandalf stood there a moment looking upon the King of Gondor with his unwavering sympathy. He blessed Aragorn greatly, and continued to do so, since the day he placed the crown upon his lofty head. It was truly Aragorn’s duty to be the chief caretaker of Middle-Earth, of all that there is and shall be afterwards, and with Arwen to stand queen at his side, his burdens shall become very light, as he shares them with her, one day at a time.

“Is it true, Mr. Radagast?” asked Suzume, as she and Ayame walked up to Radagast, “are you really leaving Middle-Earth?”

“Yes,” Radagast answered, with a smile, as he squatted down to meet the children at eye-level, caressing their heads, “the wizards’ task was to help the people of Middle-Earth in their hardships of life. ItÂ’s the same with the relationship with parents and children. It was their task to bring up the youngÂ… so that they may one day fend for themselves.

“Â…And yet the hardest parting of allÂ… will be between old friends who have a great strong bond with one another, just like this great parting. Despite the many partings that are taking place today, many other partings will happen as time goes on, which shall be painfully beyond our controlÂ… and some of those partings, shall be forever,” ended Radagast, somberly.

Suzume began to cry, with tears slowly manifesting within her eyes, as Ayame laid her hand on her sister’s shoulder, feeling depressed. They both had the same experience when Kenshin left them to fight with Shishio, and the memory was still painful to them even to this day. Ayame and Suzume’s most heart-wrenching parting they would have would be the day when Kenshin would leave them–forever. Fear was gnawing at their minds like strangers in a foreign land. The children then became scared, fearing the thought that if they were to lose their Grandfather, at their ageÂ… they would have nobody, and they will be forced to fend for themselves as Radagast had said.

“What if they don’t want their friends to goÂ… to be left alone?” asked Ayame.

“Â…Many people don’t want to be left alone,” explained Radagast, “Â…but then, many others desire a need for freedom, a need to be alone by themselves, a chance to live, as independent beings, much like Master Hiko, in such respect. I had also sensed the same yearning for independence from many of the beasts that have lived with me for many years, and had set them free. Those same beasts made families, and their children left to make families of their own, it is the same pattern of life as Men go throughÂ… and that is the most exciting thing ever accomplished since life began on Middle-Earth.”

“They can be such children,” said Megumi, chiding Ayame and Suzume.

“Actually, Megumi,” said Radagast, “tears are good. There are two kinds of tearsÂ… tears of sadness–and tears of joy. And from these childrenÂ… I sense a little bit of both.”

“We’ll miss you, sir,” said a crying Ayame.

“And I’ll miss you, too,” Radagast said before hugging the children.

“What of the Elves?” interjected Kaoru, inquiring, “many of them are leaving, or have already left, so that men will inherit Middle-Earth. But Legolas and his Elves are staying in Ithilien, right? Shouldn’t they be trying to leave, to return to their home land as well?”

“Let me explain Kaoru,” offered Radagast, in clarification, “the Elves that have come to live in Ithilien shall dwell, and help to restore Gondor to its former glory, though it may take many years to do so. In the process, the Silvan Elves may make many friends among the men, too. But when the time comes, they have only two choices:

“Either find a place of rest here in Middle-Earth, perhaps find someone they truly love and care for, and bear away their immortality, like Arwen did for AragornÂ… or to ultimately build ships of their own, so that they will one day, sail for Valinor. The Anduin River lies in Ithilien, and it flows straight into the great sea–though I am certain that a majority of the Elves will choose to sail awayÂ… but that is their choice to make. So, either way, the Elves must realize that Middle-Earth now belongs to Men, for it is the true land of Mortals,” ended Radagast.

“But do not fear,” said Gandalf, “Radagast and I still have some affairs to attend to before we sail for Valinor. HoweverÂ… Radagast shall go ahead of me, for I intend to leave on the last ship to leave Middle-Earth.”

“But don’t you have friends here, sir?” said a sobbing Suzume, “won’t they miss you?”

Radagast paused a moment before answering, “Â…yesÂ… indeed they shall. Remember that I was a caretaker of beasts, so I do not have many affairs with Men as Gandalf does. And therefore, I shall be ahead of Gandalf at the Grey Havens.”

“And besides,” added Gandalf, “I was the last to arrive in Middle-Earth by shipÂ… it is only fair, that I should be the last to leave the same way.

“Â…We shall meet in Valinor, my old friend,” Gandalf softly proclaimed to Radagast, who nodded in humble affirmation.

“Sir,” a voice came inÂ…

It was Sojiro. Radagast and Gandalf looked upon him, wondering what he as asking.

“Â…Is it okay that I stay to see you off, Mr. Radagast?” Sojiro said, with his smile as vibrant as ever, “I would like very much to see the Harbor of the Elves. It sounds fascinating.”

Radagast drew a peculiar look upon Sojiro’s request as he replied, “that seems a bit much to ask. Do you plan on returning to Japan after I leave?”

Sojiro then answered, “Â…actuallyÂ… I’m planning on traveling around Middle-Earth a bit longer afterwards.”

Everyone either gasped, or looked shocked to hear that response from Sojiro.

“Sojiro,” said Kenshin, “are you saying you want to stay here? You’d probably never be able to return to Japan.”

“I understand Mr. Himura,” answered Sojiro, still smiling, “nevertheless, I want to stay here.”

“You don’t have to do this, Sojiro,” interjected Kaoru, reasonably, “just because you’re a wanted person, doesn’t mean that you feel you must escape. You can live at my dojo, just like Kenshin, and–“

“I appreciate your concern, ma’am, but I’m not staying because I’m on the run from the Meiji Government,” replied Sojiro, as he turned away from everyone, adding somberly, “Â…I’m doing it, because I really don’t have anything to go back to in Japan.”

Silence followed, after hearing Sojiro’s sullen response to why he wants to stay. Gandalf, Aragorn, and the Middle-Earth companions looked on Sojiro with sympathy to his choice to remain in their worldÂ…

Sojiro solemnly explained further, “Â…the only family I ever truly hadÂ… was Mr. Shishio and Miss Yumi. They were like second parents to me, and done a whole lot for me, despite the choice I made to leave them and to be on my own. After Shishio diedÂ… I decided to take 10 years to search for my answer, just like how you did, when you took your vow to not kill, Mr. Himura. And I believe–deep in my heart–that I’ve found that answer, right here in Middle-Earth. I never really expected that to happen so soonÂ… but it has.”

“Sojiro,” spoke Kenshin, sorrowfully.

Sojiro then turned his head back to face Kenshin, saying, “you must’ve helped a lot of people, wandering around Japan for 10 years, haven’t you Mr. Himura? And because of thatÂ… you’ve made friends–lots of them. Maybe someday, I’ll have some friends of my own in this world, other than the friends that we have here.

“Mr. Himura, just as you freely took the responsibility to help other people in Japan, when its peaceful times began–I wish to do the same here, as it begins its era of peace,” finished Sojiro, serenely

“Are you absolutely sure you want to do this, Sojiro?”

“Â…Yes,” Sojiro nodded solemnly, “I want to continue my wandering here–and find my own place in this world, just as you continue to try to find yours in Japan.”

In that momentÂ… the people of Middle-Earth became astounded to know that one of the otherworlders has opted to live among them. Some even shared their thoughts with one another.

“Saying goodbye to Kenshin and his friends saddens me dearly,” said Éowyn, sharing her views with Faramir, “but my heart rejoices a little greatly, knowing that at least one of them will stay with us.”

“As I am very rejoiced in mine own heart, Éowyn,” replied Faramir, brightly.

“It looks like this won’t be a complete goodbye to them after all,” said Merry with a smile, as Frodo, Sam, and Pippin nodded affirmatively.

“The inhabitants from the other world continue to surprise me, Gimli,” said Legolas.

“Aye, laddie,” agreed Gimli, “you never know what they’re really thinking, until its actually spoken of. Having that lad around will certainly stir things a little in Middle-Earth for the future. But still–even though the feats of men may come to outlast us, they might yet come to naught in the end as might-have-beens.”

Legolas made no reply to Gimli’s last comment of the future of MenÂ… for neither he, nor the Elves had the answer to it.

“And young Sojiro over there won’t be the only one wandering–we have our own travels to that Mirkwood forest of yours, to settle the score we have,” Gimli reminded Legolas.

“Yes,” Legolas replied, remembering the promise he made to Gimli to take him to see Mirkwood, “I just hope that Idrial will take care of things while we’re gone.”

“I’m hoping that my cousin Hadhod will do the same,” added Gimli, “otherwise, this place will be in worse shape than when we first saw it.”

“Indeed,” agreed Legolas.

Humph! Its almost as irritating as hearing the Battousai give out his speeches,’ thought Saito, with an annoyed expression, before saying aloud, “well, do what you like. It’s not as if we could actually stop you, or anything.”

Radagast then went up to Sojiro as he said, “very wellÂ… I shall help to show you more of this world of Middle-Earth. But as you know, I cannot stay with you long. You must find your own way, in timeÂ… and I certainly won’t teach you the philosophy of how the strong live and the weak die.”

“I understand,” Sojiro replied, chuckling and smiling.

“Sojiro Seta,” Aragorn said to Sojiro, proclaiming, “upon whatever road you travel in this world, you shall always have a place here in Gondor.”

“Rohan shall also grant you with sanctuary, young Sojiro,” Éomer added his declaration for Sojiro.

“Thank you,” Sojiro answered, bowing humbly.

“I do suppose that an old man like me should have a companion in his last days,” beamed Radagast, “itÂ’s a good thing too, you know. At least I’ll have someone to share a few good conversations withÂ…”

The brown wizard then walked to the brown horse he brought from Japan, whom he named, ‘Nightprancer’, gesturing to a package hung around the horse’s neck, which apparently had two globe-shaped objects in them.

“As well as to help me carry this until we reach the ships to Valinor,” Radagast added.

“What’s in the package, old timer?” asked Sanosuke.

“Two of the remaining seeing stones, Sanosuke,” answered Gandalf, explaining further, “Radagast and the Elves will store them upon Elvenhome, never to be used again–as they shall also be removed from Middle-Earth as well. One stone shall remain here, which King Elessar shall keep, to see what passes in his realm, and what the people are doing.”

“My goodness,” interjected Pippin, with a thought, “if only I could have a stone to see all our friends in.”

Misao rounded on the Hobbit, and growled, “I think you’ve had quite enough of messing with those kind of stones, Pippin.”

“Yeah, you’ve messed with those stones quite enough, Uncle Pip!” Ayame and Suzume added angrily, pointing fingers at Pippin, making the Hobbit recoil nervously.

“Hey Kenshin,” spoke Yahiko, asking, “don’t you think that we should have one of those stones so we can see what’s going on in Middle-Earth?”

“Â…No Yahiko,” replied Kenshin, “the Palantir stones are special heirlooms of the men of Numenor. And since Aragorn is a direct descendant of the line of Kings–he has rightful ownership, that he does. Also, the stones have the ability to see the futureÂ… and that’s something I don’t ever wish to see, that I don’t.”

Kenshin finished off his statement, with a hint of consternation, to which Kaoru closely indicated, feeling as if Kenshin knew what danger lurked within the stones’ powers. And whatever those dangers were, Kaoru would probably never know, due to Kenshin’s secretive nature.

Arwen went to Kenshin and Kaoru and gave them each a kiss on their cheeksÂ… for indeed she did feel a connection in their relationship as deep as her relationship with Aragorn. For Kenshin and KaoruÂ… it felt like Arwen was their Evenstar, just as she was to the people of Middle-Earth.

“My hopes go with you both,” Arwen said softly, yet brightly.

“Thank you, Miss Arwen,” Kaoru replied, devoutly bowing, “our hopes will go with you and Aragorn as well.”

“Miss Arwen,” interjected Kenshin, “we’re all counting on you to look after Aragorn, that we are.”

“Â…As you must look after Kaoru yourself, Kenshin,” said Arwen.

“I will,” answered Kenshin, assuredly.

Arwen then went into her pocket in her gownÂ… and pulled out a silver-lined string, with a diamond-shaped jewel hanging from it, that radiated a gleaming bright white light. Kenshin found it a bit reminiscent of the Evenstar pendant that Aragorn once had.

“This gift is to you, Kenshin, from GaladrielÂ… my grandmother,” Arwen saidÂ… as she delicately placed the jewel around Kenshin’s neck, “should you somehow falter in your future journeys, KenshinÂ… the light of the Elves will shine for you, whenever you need it.”

Kaoru smiled gladly, seeing that the Elves had given to them one last gift, so that a part of the Elves would be with themÂ… always.

“Â… I thank you for this gift Miss Arwen, that I do,” replied Kenshin graciously.

Frodo then came up to Kenshin and Kaoru, feeling much sorrow and loss for their parting. Kenshin and Kaoru looked with even greater sorrow at Frodo and his nine fingers that were left on his hands. They, as well as the others from Japan, had meant so much to Frodo, even when he just had Kaoru and Yahiko, along with Sam to complete the task in Mordor.

“Miss KaoruÂ… Kenshin,” said Frodo, as he slowly brought out a piece of parchment, handing it to them, “this is from all of us.”

Kaoru unfolded the paper that Frodo gave herÂ… and saw that it revealed a drawing of a fair, cultivated land.

“Its very nice, Sir Frodo, that it is,” complemented Kenshin, “what is it a picture of?”

“ItÂ’s the Shire, Kenshin,” Frodo answered, “Â…the town of Hobbiton to be precise. Sam, Merry, Pippin and I drew it together, so you could have a picture to remember us by.”

Kaoru remembered it well, as she, and Yahiko, were the only people to see the peaceful home of the Hobbits. She recognized every detail of the drawing, as she saw Bag End in the right upper corner, standing out compared to the rest of the pictures of Hobbiton. Down below was the Green Dragon Inn, with the bridge next to it that crossed the river, as well as the many Hobbit holes that were dug along by its shores. There was also the wide, large Party field where the great, tall Party tree stoodÂ… and of course the many grazing fields that the Hobbits cultivated each day to support their homes.

Kaoru stood speechless, as she never even though to do something like this, otherwise, she would’ve considered making a picture of Tokyo and the Kamiya Dojo to give Frodo. In either case, Kenshin and Kaoru were surprised immensely with this great gift the Hobbits gave to them.

“Its beautifulÂ… thank you Frodo,” said Kaoru graciously.

“You’re welcome,” replied Frodo, as he slowly lowered his head a little, “Â…I am so sorry to see you go so soon.”

“Kenshin and I feel the same way, Frodo,” Kaoru responded kindly.

“Miss Kaoru,” said Frodo, as he began to stutter a little nervously, “Â…no matter–what happensÂ… I-IÂ… will always think of you the most.”

Kaoru blushed a little faintly, feeling the attention she has from Frodo.

“Â…I guess in some way, I’ll think of you too, Frodo,” responded Kaoru, with a sympathetic voice, “Â…it’s just so bad that you don’t have a special girl. Perhaps you never will.”

Frodo nodded sadly, responding somberly to Kaoru’s comment. Kaoru, aside from Galadriel, was probably the only woman that Frodo had feelings for to some passionate extent, when they held hands together at Cirith Ungol, and again at Mt. Doom, while tending to their injuries. Kaoru also felt some little infatuation for Frodo, but had stronger feelings for Kenshin instead, no matter how close she grew towards the Hobbit. And despite his growing feelings for KaoruÂ… Frodo knew, in his heartÂ… that she’ll always love Kenshin, very strongly, and respected that greatly.

Kaoru sighed brightly as she told the nine-fingered Hobbit, “even though I still think of someone elseÂ…

“This one’s for you, Frodo,” said Kaoru as she slowly lowered her headÂ…

And kissed Frodo’s head in the same way that Galadriel kissed him on the head. Kenshin smiled radiantly, deeply believing that whatever made Kaoru happyÂ… made him happy the same way as well. Frodo felt very relieved when Kaoru did that, and it made himÂ… feel whole with her. And because of this, it didn’t matter if they gave each other the same gift or whether they parted or not–as long as he had something to remember Kaoru byÂ… always.

After long moments of the kissÂ… Kaoru raised her head softly, looking upon the Hobbit with the most loving smile. Frodo, in turnÂ… smiled the same way.

“Goodbye, Frodo,” said Kaoru.

“Â…Goodbye,” said Frodo, with his smile, still so bright, “Â…Miss Kaoru.”

Kenshin then knelt down at the sad, but happy HobbitÂ… and hugged him tightly. When they released each otherÂ…

Kenshin said to him, “you need not be sad, Sir Frodo, you will need to be strongÂ… especially when your time comesÂ…”

The wandering samurai then turned to Gandalf and said, “isn’t that so, Sir Gandalf?”

“Yes, Kenshin,” Gandalf responded, nodding a littleÂ…

After all the farewells were saidÂ… Gandalf and Radagast stood together, raising their staffs to open the portal to send Kenshin and the others home, to Tokyo. As the portal openedÂ… all of Kenshin’s friends and comrades-in-arms, save Sojiro, prepared to depart Middle-EarthÂ… never to returnÂ…

“Sir Radagast, Sir Gandalf,” Kenshin said to the wizards, “I once again thank you for your efforts.”

“Kenshin,” Gandalf spoke fondly.

“When Sir Radagast told me of this story, he said that I would see how it would end,” recalled Kenshin, of his first meeting with Radagast, “I never could’ve imagined it would end like this, that I did not.”

“End?” interjected Radagast, with compassion, explaining, “Â…only the chapter has ended, Kenshin, not the story itself. A new chapter has begun for all of our lives, as well as your own. But there will be new charactersÂ… new parts and roles to fill as time goes on. The story truly ends, when all of our parts have ended and when all life passes… as it should.”

Kenshin slowly nodded, with a smile believing in what the wizard had said, as he looked at the book in his hands, a copy of his adventures in Middle-Earth, along with his comrades behind him. In his heart, the wanderer knew that there was great deal of truth to what Radagast said, and deeply felt that there was more to writeÂ… even though the Darkness of Sauron has vanished forevermoreÂ…

Sojiro stood by the Hobbits as he saw the others heading for the portal. Omasu turned back at SojiroÂ…

“Â…Goodbye, Sojiro,” she said sadly.

“Â…I’ll never forget you all,” Sojiro responded solemnly, “Â…especially Mr. Himura.”

Omasu nodded at Sojiro with a smileÂ… and turned away.

“Goodbye Misao!” exclaimed Merry, Pippin, Treebeard and ÉowynÂ…

“Farewell, Aoshi!” exclaimed Legolas and FaramirÂ…

“Goodbye Saito!” exclaimed GimliÂ…

“Farewell, Sanosuke!” exclaimed ÉomerÂ…

“Farewell, Mr. Yahiko!” exclaimed Sam, happily, with tears in his eyesÂ…

“Â…Goodbye, Miss Kaoru!” exclaimed Frodo, sadlyÂ…

“Â…Farewell Kenshin!” exclaimed Aragorn, with great pride, “Â…you shall always be remembered!”

“We won’t forget you either, Aragorn, that we most certainly won’t,” replied Kenshin, proudly, as he waved at the othersÂ…

The rest of the Kenshin-gumi, said their farewells as they wavedÂ…

“Goodbye, Treebeard! Bye Merry, Pippin, Éowyn!” exclaimed MisaoÂ…

“Bye, Sam!” exclaimed YahikoÂ…

“Bye, Frodo!” exclaimed KaoruÂ…

“Bye, Gimli, Éomer!” exclaimed SanosukeÂ…

“Farewell, Legolas and Faramir,” said AoshiÂ…

“See you later,” said Saito nonchalantly with his back turnedÂ…

“Goodbye everybody! Goodbye everybody!” cheered Ayame and SuzumeÂ…

“I hope I don’t do this again,” said HikoÂ…

“Thank you!” exclaimed KatsuÂ…

“Goodbye!” exclaimed Okina, Shiro, Kuro, Omasu, and OchikaÂ…

“FAREWELL! FAREWELL! FAREWELL!” the people exclaimedÂ…

And the Kenshin-gumi began to part through the portal, leaving Middle-Earth–with great praise, glory, honorÂ… and friendship to all of themÂ…

Gandalf and Radagast closed the portalÂ… and all settled upon Pelennor Fields. The wizards smiled, staring at the space where Kenshin and his friends departed… with tears, glistening in their eyesÂ…



Éowyn and Faramir…

Gimli and LegolasÂ…


Aragorn and ArwenÂ…

Elladan and ElrohirÂ…




And especially FrodoÂ…

Continued to stare out towards the blank, empty distance, at the spot where Kenshin had finally left Middle-Earth, with tears filling their eyes, and their hearts, feeling perhaps the greatest hurt in this fateful parting. Though even when they all felt sadÂ… they were also happy–as the friendships they made with Kenshin’s group had not been brokenÂ… not by a long shotÂ…

Because they shall always rememberÂ… that even though they were of different cultures, racesÂ… and of different worldsÂ…

They were all one great family, in spiritÂ… and their bond shall lastÂ… until the end of time.

Outside Tokyo, the Kenshin-gumi came from their portalÂ… and saw it close from behind them. As their feet settled upon the ground of their worldÂ… it suddenly felt like that they were still far away from home, even though they have returned to their home. Some of them became teary-eyed as Gandalf, Aragorn, Frodo, and the others back in Middle-Earth. They could imagine the same dreary expressions upon their friends that they had just separated fromÂ… but the unity they all shared together was still within their hearts–nothing had shattered it, and nothing ever willÂ… not even their sad parting. They had witnessed for themselvesÂ… the greatest adventure that anybody could ever have in their lifetimes.

But now, that was behind themÂ… and what was ahead of them, as they walked upon the edge of a hillÂ…

They all looked to see the City of Tokyo, shining as ever, from a clear blue sky, and a blazing yellow sun that covered the whole city in its beamsÂ… and a breeze of wind that flew blissfully throughout Tokyo, as if the heavens blew a kiss to the city.

The trees were healthy and strong with rustling green leaves. The birds flew across the air with their young. Every building in the city was pristine, intact, and in order. The people of Tokyo continued their lives as if nothing bad had ever happened to them, reading the newspapers from their favorite newsstands, and spending time with each other in their homes. Kids were playing and going to school, where they continue to learn. Men and women went to the stores, where they bought all their favorite goods from, with some others going to the temples to make their wishes. Restaurants were packed with customers, who sat down to devour their good-tasting, every-day meals, and meeting with their friends.

There was no sign of barren, dug, ravaged, desolate earth. There were no fire pits, no trenches, no wretched machine engines of war to plague the land withÂ… and certainly no infernal dark towers with overlooking fiery eyes shining at the top to fill the country with dread. No Orc troops were found marching below, led by the cruel, cracking sounds of a whip, save the whooping of an angry parent to a disobedient child. Horrific beats of the drums of war were not being heard, unless they were the soft, rhythmic sounds of the drums being played in a dance line. The savory smell of Beef-pots and other Japanese foods were a great relief to Kaoru and Yahiko–compared to the hateful stench of the ashy, smoke-like air they both breathed in Mordor. The Beef-pot smell had wet Sanosuke’s appetite, as a trip to the Akabecko was the first thing on his mind the second he and the others re-enter Tokyo.

Tokyo was untouched in every detailÂ… it’s just like it was when they first left it, as they looked upon it with great relief. Kenshin and the others wished the same for Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin, that their home, the Shire, would be the same as they left it, when they go back.

Kenshin and Kaoru were side by side together, with their eyes poised at each other, shining with tears of ease and happinessÂ…

“Â…Kenshin,” said Kaoru as she held her hand up at Kenshin, “Â…we’re finally home.”

Kenshin had remembered an event that happened just like this. It was when Kaoru had welcomed him back after they returned from Kyoto and the battle with ShishioÂ…

Kenshin closed his eyes and smiled, like he did before when this happenedÂ… feeling the heavenly breeze of wind in his hair, that passed between him and Kaoru. It felt very right for this to happen again. It was as ifÂ… he had a healthy dose of deja vuÂ…

Kenshin raised his hand to grasp Kaoru’s hand. Kaoru smiled brightly, as did KenshinÂ…

“Â…YesÂ…we’re home,” replied Kenshin.

ThenÂ… they turned their gaze back to Tokyo, with their hands still grasping each other tightlyÂ… as they began to lead their friends, back home.

Frodo and his fellow Hobbits had arrived in the Shire from their long journey from Minas Tirith. Frodo returned to his home in Bag End, Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, Westfarthing, the Shire, Middle-EarthÂ… in the Fourth Age of Middle-Earth.

Frodo sat alone, in the study, writing down the chronicles of his great adventuresÂ… and great tragedies that happened in his quest to destroy the One Ring. Beside the worktable, there lay a map of Middle-Earth, marked with the paths that he and the Fellowship had taken. From Minas Tirith, to Helm’s Deep and Edoras, to Isengard, to Lothlorien, to Moria, to Rivendell, to Weathertop, to BreeÂ…

And finallyÂ… to Hobbiton and the ShireÂ…

Frodo continued to write as he musedÂ…

“Â…And thus it wasÂ… a Fourth Age of Middle-Earth beganÂ…

“Â…And the Fellowship of the Ring, of two worldsÂ… though eternally bound by friendship, and loveÂ… was endedÂ…

As Frodo thought these words in his head, he gave a great smile, taking great pride of the compassionate line, in which he wrote so well. Frodo wrote onÂ…

Â…Thirteen months, to the day, since Gandalf sent us on our long journeyÂ… we found ourselves looking upon a familiar siteÂ…

“Â…We were home.”

Frodo remembered that day when he returned with Sam, Merry and Pippin, riding the ponies that they were given from Gondor. Old man Proudfoot had been, as he had alwaysÂ… swept the front porch. When he looked upÂ…

He saw Frodo and his friends strolling past the old Hobbit, like they owned the Shire, wearing regal clothing, courtesy of Gondor and RohanÂ…

“Hi,” said Pippin to Proudfoot.

But the Old Hobbit did not say anythingÂ… only grimaced distastefully, seeing them stroll by, wearing the fancy clothing, like he did when Gandalf arrived for Bilbo’s 111th birthday. Proudfoot shook his head, rather annoyed with Frodo and his friendsÂ… and went back to his work.

That night, at the Green Dragon InnÂ…

The pub was as full of life, Hobbit-wise, as it had always been. Frodo grabbed four mugs of ale to bring to a table where Sam, Merry, and Pippin were sitting, but nearly bumped into another Hobbit that was carrying a pumpkin.

“Hey, watch the pumpkin,” the Hobbit told Frodo, still smiling.

Frodo then set the four mugs of ale on the table before his friendsÂ… but didn’t drink them immediately like any other Hobbit wouldÂ…


The Hobbit companions looked about their surroundings at the other Hobbits, one of them, who Frodo nearly bumped into, laughed gladly to a crowd of Hobbits, as he used a cloth to wipe his pumpkin. The simple folk, who have not experienced the adventures that they’ve undergone, still had absolutely no conception of the dangers they all went through to save the two worlds and the ShireÂ… especially about Kenshin and his friends, who had came to their world of Middle-Earth to help against Sauron. Frodo and the others would never forget them, as Aragorn had said when Kenshin went back to his world with his friends.

Whatever had happened–the Hobbits of the Shire were happy, and they would neverÂ… feel the sting of Sauron, ever. The four Hobbits looked at each other, feeling somewhatÂ… unfulfilled. Now that Sauron was gone forever, the companions felt that there was nothing more for them to do, other than save two worlds from destruction. But Frodo would still remember Kaoru and KenshinÂ…

As Sam would always remember YahikoÂ…

Merry and Pippin, in turn would remember Misao, forever, as much as Sanosuke, AoshiÂ… and even Saito a littleÂ…

And with all that was said and saved, the four Hobbits raised their mugsÂ… and toasted to friends made and lost, battles wonÂ… and quests, internal and externallyÂ… fulfilled. As they drank their aleÂ… Sam looked up and saw Rosie, behind the counter, cleaning the mugs, and bidding farewells to the guestsÂ…

“More of the same, Rosie!” the Hobbits called to the lovely she-Hobbit.

“Good night, lads,” she replied to them, with a bright smileÂ… and gazed a gay and loving look at Sam.

At that momentÂ… Sam had remembered Okina’s adviceÂ…

Just keep your eye out for her, if she gives you one lookÂ… that will be your chance, and she’ll want you to be her man, HAHAHA!

Alright, Mr. Okina,‘ thought Sam, with a burning determination in his eyes, ‘Â…I’m going for it.”

Sam then quaffed one big gulp of his aleÂ… and dashed forth from his table to the bar to talk to Rosie. Sam had already wasted a year, and there was no use in waiting any longer. Pippin and Merry looked on in surprise, and grin, while Frodo begins to laugh. They had also remembered what Okina told them. AndÂ… it seemed to be workingÂ…

On a day, in spring, which seemed impossibleÂ…

Sam and Rosie were married. The bride and groom kissed each other passionately and faced their guests. Frodo, Merry and Pippin were also present at that wedding. Everyone clapped gaily, even Sam’s friends. They had not had a good time like this since they attended Aragorn and Arwen’s wedding, to which Kenshin and his friends had attended. Frodo had wished that they were here with themÂ… so did Sam.

Rosie then tossed the bouquetÂ…

Which was caught by Pippin. He was standing next to a young Hobbit girl, Mistress Diamond of Long Cleeve, who gave Pippin a roguish glance, and he smirked and nodded at Diamond.

Frodo kept clapping as he continued to smile, butÂ… his smile had faded slightly, for something was weighing heavily on his mindÂ…

About 3 years laterÂ…

Frodo wandered about, alone in his house, Bag End, which was now as tidy as a spring morningÂ… and was empty and alone, like Frodo. He had a mug in his hand, looking out of a window, still remembering the past, wandering, just like Kenshin. Frodo easily thought that it was the reason why Kenshin would deem him a Hobbit wanderer, as he was truly living up to that titleÂ… as he musedÂ…

How do you pick up the threads of an old lifeÂ…?

How do you go onÂ… when in your heartÂ… you begin to understandÂ…?

There is no going backÂ…

There are some things that time cannot mendÂ…

Some hurts that go too deepÂ…

That have taken holdÂ…

As Frodo pondered thisÂ… he once again sat in his study, writing away the chronicles of his many journeys during the quest of Mordor and Mt. Doom, as well as what happened afterwards, since their return to the ShireÂ…

Merry and Pippin went to their fathers, Saradoc Brandybuck and Paladin Took, and told them of their adventures and deeds on the fields of battle, as they were shared to many other Hobbits. Some believed them, others thought they were nonsense, believing that the stories were just a means of attention. But despite all this, Merry and Pippin’s fathers had believed them, sensing no lie within them. And for that reason, Merry succeeded his father as Master of Buckland, and Pippin succeeded his father as 32nd Thain of the Shire, being a knight and noble of Gondor.

After Sam and Rosie’s wedding, Sam was elected the Mayor of Hobbiton, and was deemed the most famous gardener in Hobbit history, added with the title of ‘Hobbit Samurai’ by Yahiko. The married couple had two children; the first was a daughter named Elanor Kaoru Gamgee. Elanor, being named after a little golden flower that grew upon the grass of Lothlorien. Sam surnamed his daughter Kaoru, because of the gentleness he saw in her, that was almost as the same as Kaoru’s kindness. The second child was a newborn boy, Frodo Yahiko Gamgee. Sam gave his son the names of Frodo and Yahiko, because of his close relationship with them.

Frodo wrote in his last lines, of how it took courage for Sam to ask for Rosie’s hand in marriage, and that it was the bravest thing, he ever did. But even as he wrote those linesÂ… Frodo more and more found it very hard to get over his present problems, no matter how hard he tried, musing even furtherÂ…

Â…When I think about how hurt I’ve becomeÂ…

Â…I can say the same about KenshinÂ… about the many hurts he received other than his cross-shaped scarÂ…

Â…For within our heartsÂ…

Â…We share a loss of innocenceÂ…

Â…I have felt it when the ring finally corrupted meÂ… but was still destroyed nonethelessÂ…

Â…And because of what I and Kenshin feltÂ…

Â…We made one last difficult choiceÂ…

Â…A choice that will probably tear all our friends apartÂ…

After he ended his musingÂ… Frodo flipped back the pages–to view the title page of the book, written, ‘There and Back Again, A Hobbit’s Tale by Bilbo Baggins‘. As Frodo looked upon the titleÂ…

Frodo dipped the tip of his pen, into the inkwellÂ… and began to write something a few spaces below the main title, adding an additional title for the book.

This is for you–for usÂ… Kenshin,‘ thought Frodo, as he wrote his line underneath the titleÂ…

As he finished, Frodo, once again, felt the pain of the Witch-king’s blade, as he clutched onto the wound, holding his shoulder, scratching at it. Even though the wraith was destroyed by Éowyn and Misao, the wound continued to bring Frodo great toilÂ… perhaps even more a greater toil than the finger that Gollum bit off on his left hand. Then the front door of Bag End openedÂ…

“Mr. Frodo,” a voice called outÂ…

It was Samwise, the Mayor of Hobbiton, as he was just walking into Frodo’s study, returning two books that he borrowed from Frodo, placing them on top of the writing desk. He looked over at Frodo, still clutching at his shoulder, noticing that he was in pain.

“Â…What is it?” asked Sam, feeling great concern for his friend.

Though Frodo was still in pain, he answered, “Â…it’s been four years to the day, since Weathertop, SamÂ… it’s never really healed. In a wayÂ… it’s like Kenshin’s cross-shaped scar, on his left cheek.”

“Â…Mr. Kenshin’s had that scar on him for a long while, no mistake, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam.

“He told me, Sam,” replied Frodo, “Â…he even told me how he received the wounds.”

Sam froze in his standing, for the way of tone that Frodo was sayingÂ… it sounded like those cuts that Kenshin received weren’t that ordinaryÂ…

“Â…He ended up killing his wifeÂ… her name was Tomoe,” Frodo solemnly explained, “Â…before he met her, he killed her original fiancee, named Kiyosato, who gave him the first part of the scar. Over time, he met Tomoe. She knew that Kenshin was the one who killed her lover, and wanted to kill him. But each time when they were togetherÂ… they bonded and learned to love each otherÂ…

“And when Kenshin found out that she was sent to kill him, it brought him great distress and disarray. He didn’t even want to kill her then. However, the people who took her into their service held her captive. When Kenshin was fighting Tomoe’s masterÂ…

“Tomoe went into Kenshin’s path, while he took a swingÂ… and ended up slicing her, along with her master who she serviced. That was when Kenshin received the other wound, that made it into a cross.”

Sam was taken back at the explanation that he gave, for it was a very sad explanation indeed.

Frodo turned to Sam and said, “Â…he didn’t mean for that to happen, Sam. He loved her so much, that when he killed herÂ… it tore him apart.”

Sam breathed in softly as he replied, “Â…that Kenshin’s sure a troubled one, Mr. Frodo. I’m just glad that he didn’t turn out like that Gollum.”

“So am I Sam,” Frodo admitted, nodding sadly, as he remembered with woe, of the creature’s fiery fate within Mt. Doom, “there’s one other thing Kenshin told me Sam.”

“Â…What was it, Mr. Frodo?”

Frodo paused a moment, before he told Sam, “Â…his name–his real name he received from birth. Kenshin was the name his master gave him because it befitted a man of SwordsmanshipÂ… but his real name is Shinta.”

Sam was even more surprised to hear that Kenshin had another name, other than the one that everyone in Middle-Earth, including his friends in Japan knew him by. He knew that Gandalf also had many other names throughout Middle-Earth as well. But thenÂ… Sam supposed in the end, that it didn’t matter whether you were a wizard or a mortal man, because we all are who we are, regardless of one’s reckoning.

“Does Miss Kaoru know all this?” asked Sam.

“Â…No, she doesn’t,” answered Frodo, “Â…Kenshin never told her, or anyone else, as far as I could tell. But somehow, even though he leftÂ… I feel–or rather know somehow, that he’s told her already. And I think Miss Kaoru will except it, for her love of Kenshin shows no bounds, SamÂ… no matter what manner of crime he has committed, or whatever name she knows him by. Kaoru told me once that I was like him, in a wayÂ… and she may have been right on some level of respect. So perhaps Kenshin and I truly do share the same souls, Sam.”

“It sure seems like it,” said Sam, sadly, “Â…we’ll never forget him, Mr. Frodo.”

“No, Sam,” Frodo said thoughtfully, “Â…indeed we won’t.”

Frodo then pointed at the title page, for Sam to see. Sam looked at where Frodo was pointing.

“Â…‘There and back again, a Hobbit’s tale, by Bilbo Baggins’,” said Sam, reading the titleÂ… then looked down to see what else Frodo wroteÂ…

“Â…‘And The Lord of the Rings, by Frodo BagginsÂ… and Kenshin Himura’,” Sam added brightly as he read the added title that had Frodo and Kenshin’s name on it, “Â…it was sure mighty nice of you to add Kenshin’s name beside yours in the title.”

Frodo nodded a little at Sam’s complement.

“SoÂ… you’ve finished it!” exclaimed a smiling Sam, in a low voice.

Frodo then closed the bookÂ…

“Â…Not quite,” said Frodo, in a distant voice, as he turned to Sam, smiling gently, “Â…there’s room for a little more.”

Days laterÂ…

Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin gathered at the Green Dragon Inn, waiting for someone. It was Gandalf, driving a carriage, with two horses up front. And there was another passenger, Bilbo Baggins, who had now aged even more so after Frodo last saw him at RivendellÂ… old enough to pass the only other Hobbit who had lived the longest–Gerontius Took, also called the ‘Old Took’.

It now was time for Gandalf to leave for Valinor, and apparentlyÂ… Bilbo was coming with Gandalf as well. Frodo and the others were coming along to see them off at the Grey Havens, for their final farewell to Bilbo and Gandalf. Gandalf smiled at the Hobbits who waited for him.

As Frodo saw Gandalf, he mused in remembrance about something that Bilbo said to himÂ…

Bilbo once told me, his part in this tale would end. That each of must come and go in the tellingÂ…

Bilbo’s story was now over. There would be no more journeys for himÂ…

Â…Save one.

Frodo rode with his uncle in the carriage while Sam, Merry, and Pippin rode on their ponies up front.

“Tell me again, lad, where are we going?” Bilbo inquired, with his weary, old voice.

“To the Harbor, Bilbo,” answered Frodo, “the Elves have accorded you a special honorÂ… a place on the last ship to leave Middle-earth.”

“Frodo,” said Bilbo, “news has reached me that that Kenshin fellow and his friends have left Middle-Earth already. Is this true?”

“Yes, Uncle–all but a young man named Sojiro. He still continues to travel Middle-Earth, while the others went back. They left about 4 years ago.”

Bilbo sighed as he wearily said, “Â…ah, yesÂ… I seem to remember meeting a young-looking fellow by the name Sojiro, with someone in brown rags named uh–Ranta–RenegÂ…”

“Radagast,” Frodo clarified, remembering of how Radagast and Sojiro were traveling together when they last met them.

“Radagast–oh yes!” Bilbo exclaimed, having his memory cleared up, “they came to Rivendell some months before Gandalf came for me. I guess we all part our separate ways within different worlds sooner or laterÂ… if Sojiro from Kenshin’s world would choose to live here the rest of his days, heh. It would have been nice to see them again before they left.”

“They’ll always be within our hearts, Bilbo,” assured Frodo.

“Â…FrodoÂ… any chance of seeing that old ring of mine again, hmm–the one I gave you?” Bilbo inquired, glancing at Frodo from the corners of his eyes.

Frodo knew that Bilbo was inquiring about the One Ring. Bilbo’s old memories of the ring never seemed to fade, even in his growing age. Frodo looked away, his expression full of sadness and loss, as he had to answer him eventuallyÂ…

“Â…Sorry uncle,” Frodo repliedÂ… somberly and fatefully, “Â…I’m afraid I’ve lost it.”

“Â…OhÂ… pity,” Bilbo pleasantly responded, taking the news fairly well.

Bilbo then took a deep breath, and rested his weary head on Frodo as he said, “Â…I should like to have held it, one last time.”

Frodo smiled a little, for he also knew that Bilbo had wished it so before. But despite this… Bilbo had his last time, when he gave up the ring, so long ago. And so Frodo laid his head upon his uncleÂ… and they both slept for the rest of the journeyÂ…

In TokyoÂ…

5 years had passed since their return from Middle-Earth. The year was now 1884, the 16th year of Meiji-Era Japan. Life in Tokyo was normal, yet very troubled in many, many waysÂ… ways that could never fully be explained with words, but by how everyone lived out their day-to-day lives. But despite thatÂ… Tokyo had remained untainted by Sauron’s evil, as well as the rest of Japan. No traces of his evil had remained, cast away swiftly with the destruction of the One Ring.

The Kamiya Kasshin Style Dojo stood as solemn, and as peaceful as it ever was, with its training halls as quiet as a tomb. The picture of Hobbiton hung high in the training hall, placed right above the nameplates, which listed Kaoru Kamiya as Master, and Yahiko Myojin as Assistant master. There were two more nameplates added to the large roster of students that have come to the Dojo, since its foundingÂ… that of Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee–named as honorary students of the Kamiya Kasshin style.

Kenshin Himura (originally named Shinta) shall always remember the hard battle with Sauron, despite the battles he had afterwards. He was now outside the dojo, taking a rest against a tree, wearing the Elven jewel that Arwen gave him, around his neck, as he was writing of what happened after his returnÂ… in his copy of his adventures in Middle-Earth with FrodoÂ…

To this day, as I write in this bookÂ… the battle with Sauron in Middle-Earth still seems like it just happened yesterday, despite that it was only five years ago since we returned from Middle-Earth. And many things have happenedÂ…

From Shogo Amakusa, to the Black Knights and the Divine elixirÂ… Even the incident with Feng shuiÂ… that in some ways, resembled what, I faced in Middle-Earth with Miss KaoruÂ…

And also, when I never thought the day would comeÂ… I was up against Enishi Yukishiro, the brother of Tomoe Himura, my first wifeÂ…

The visions that I saw from the Palantir of Minas Tirith by Sauron were beginning to come true. Enishi was going for Miss Kaoru, as his way of exacting revenge for the loss of his sisterÂ… and he got to her, piercing a sword through her body, with a cross-shaped scar scratched on her left cheek, just like I doÂ…

And because of thatÂ… like Sir Denethor, when he used the same Palantir that I did to help Aragorn withÂ… I fell into despair, tired and worn out because I was unable to save Miss KaoruÂ… a woman that I truly loved besides TomoeÂ…

But in realityÂ… Enishi had kidnapped Kaoru and held her prisoner. But even though I was miserableÂ… I faced Enishi still, for I had no answer for my atonement for killing my wife. But I had found it, when I faced him with him that day on the island where he held Miss Kaoru captiveÂ…

Â…To use my sword and heart to complete my life of battle, and to see smiles of everyone that I see in front of me, just like the smile that Tomoe gave to me when I was wrenched with despairÂ…

Enishi was full of madness. His whole life was lost after the death of Tomoe, so much so, that he decided to slaughter the foster family who took care of him while he went to Shanghai, where he became a crime lord and arms merchant, and studied swordsmanship. With Tomoe’s smile upon meÂ… I was able to defeat Enishi, and I gave to him a diary, which was written with Tomoe’s thoughts, the diary that I had entrusted to the temple where she was buried, in Kyoto.

Enishi disappeared afterwardsÂ… and we haven’t seen him since. Time stopped for Enishi when he was fifteen, and now has to atoneÂ… by living and smiling once moreÂ… or the Tomoe inside him will never smile again, that it won’t. But the real Tomoe was kinder than anyone I had ever knewÂ… and I do believeÂ… that she’s watching over her brotherÂ… from wherever he is nowÂ…

Kaoru and I went to Kyoto to visit Tomoe’s grave once each year, to show that a part of herÂ… will always be with us, as long as we both shall liveÂ…

After defeating Enishi, staying true to my answerÂ… Kaoru and I were married two years later, declaring my love for Kaoru. My wife became pregnant with a child, a son that we named Kenji. But before our wedding and our son was even bornÂ… we too had a breakup with our fellowship as did the others back in Middle-Earth, where everyone went their own pathsÂ…

Sanosuke Sagara went off on his own during the battle with Enishi, and had assaulted an Imperialist named Tani. He became a wanted fugitive and decided to set out into the world, taking all that he had with him, including the tokens he received from Middle-Earth, wearing the white horse of Rohan, with the symbol of bad marked upon his back. HoweverÂ… Sanosuke gave Yahiko his longhouse, so he would ‘stay out of mine and Miss Kaoru’s lives’Â…

Megumi left for Aizu, with the urgent news that Aizu was now plagued with sickness and famine. Miss Megumi always planned to go back to Aizu someday to look for her family. Ayame and Suzume miss her greatly, having being with them for so long and had helped many people with Dr. Gensai. Miss Kaoru and I wish her the best of luck and praise for her continuous endeavors.

Miss Megumi, in turn wished happiness for Miss Kaoru and I, as she told Miss Kaoru to keep looking at me with her smile, as it was the best thing for my scar, believing that somedayÂ… the scar shall lift itself, that it will. In many ways, Miss Megumi understood that I chose to love Miss Kaoru, because of those smiles she gave meÂ… and knew that those smiles gave me the strength to move on further in my life, that they doÂ…

Yahiko had become a strong and praiseworthy swordsman during the battle with Enishi and has become the acting master of the Kamiya Dojo. He occasionally works at the Akabecko, with Miss Tae and Tsubame. At times, he even has private picnics with Miss Tsubame. Perhaps someday, he will be able to tell her how he feelsÂ…

Aoshi and Misao, although it took some courageÂ… they were finally able to get together like Kaoru and me. They now have joint ownership of the Aoiya as leader and former leaders of the Oniwaban group. However, they were not yet married. Perhaps someday, when the decide to do it, they’ll invite us to their weddingÂ…

And as for SaitoÂ…

Even though we fought together against so many foes, including Sauron, he still wanted a fight with me, to settle the score that dates back to the revolution. But since the battle with Enishi, it seems that he’s given up on me to settle the score. Maybe he’s finally realized that I was no longer Battousai the ManslayerÂ… so fighting me would be meaningless to him, that it would.

But later onÂ… we heard that Saito had transferred to another station. The wolf of Mibu had disappeared out of our lives forever, with the one justice that I never met againÂ… Aku Soku ZanÂ…

I had once told Miss Kaoru that I saw all of these eventualities coming, nearly similar to what Radagast had said about how some partings would be inevitably forever, thus ending their parts in the tale. Saito’s part in the tale was the first to truly end as his quarrel with me was put to rest when he realized the kind of person I truly was.

Sanosuke’s part was somewhat postponed to a great extent when he decided to travel the world. Megumi’s role had changed when she went to Aizu, and there may be something for her to write for this book, that there is. Aoshi and Misao shall also have particular roles to play in the story as well.

Many roles in all stories change, due to a certain loss of something that’s very treasured by each and every one of us. I however, suffered the greatest loss more than any of us could ever loseÂ… my ability to use a sword.

Before Megumi left, she told me that, in four, or five yearsÂ… I would lose the ability to use the Hiten Mitsurugi Style. Megumi said that the Hiten Mitsurugi Style was meant for large men, blessed like Master Hiko with a muscular physique that shielded their bodiesÂ… but my own body was too small, that it was.

I had felt that something was wrong with my body, ever since I mastered the ultimate attack, Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki. Every time I fought more, my body got worse, especially at the hard battles at Pelennor Fields and the Black Gate of MordorÂ… even those battles we fought after we returned to Japan, including the fight against Enishi.

NowÂ… that time had finally come, and I engaged in a sparring session with Yahiko. I had defeated him, but I gave him my reverse-blade sword, Hope, as a coming-of-age gift, to use as he shall soon set out further into the Meiji Era of Japan. The main role in the story of this worldÂ… shall pass to Yahiko now for a time. However, my fighting, is not yet quite particularly over, that it isn’tÂ… but my overall part has changed, and shall not be as active as it once was beforeÂ…

And to this dayÂ… I still wonder of Sir Frodo. Throughout the quest, he did not wish to take the burden, but was willing to do it nonetheless. And throughout the entire quest, from his home, the Shire, Sir Frodo had received many wounds, internal and externalÂ… including wounds that will inevitably remain, and never healÂ…

The wound that the Witch-King of Angmar gave him at WeathertopÂ… and his missing finger that was bitten off by Gollum when the ring had finally corrupted him at Mount Doom.

Indeed that’s what my cross-shaped scar was–two wounds that were made separatelyÂ… but were marked in the same place, on my left cheek. Maybe that’s what makes me and Sir Frodo alike in many ways. Somehow I feel that we share the same soul together, like I did with Aragorn. Sir Frodo and I may have had many hurts, and we may have made up for themÂ…

Â…But the hurts still lie deep, and darkly inside of us. And there still are difficult choices for us to makeÂ…

Perhaps we already made those choices, within our heartsÂ… that we did.

“Kenshin,” a voice called outÂ…

Kenshin turned to see that Kaoru walked out of the Dojo, tall and bright, carrying a young, angelic-faced child with red hair the same as Kenshin’s. And with herÂ… was a taller grown Yahiko, wearing the reverse-blade sword, Hope, upon his belt.

“We have some visitors,” she added.

“Coming,” said Kenshin, as he closed the journal.

The Dojo had a crowd of visitorsÂ…

Tae and Tsubame of the Akabecko, Ayame and Suzume, with their grandfather, Dr. Gensai, Megumi, arriving from Aizu, Aoshi and Misao. And among the crowdÂ… there was a man, covered in a cloak, assisted by a police officer, who wore small spectacles and a tiny mustache. It was Chief Muraki of the Tokyo police, who had been a very close friend to Kenshin among all of the other police officers in Japan.

“Well,” said Kenshin, “I never thought we would have so many, that I didn’t.”

“Who’s the one covered in a cloak?” Kaoru wondered of the hooded stranger.

“Hey, missie,” the hooded stranger repliedÂ… removing the hood, revealing himself to be a long, black-haired stranger with a red bandanna on his head, growing a small beard, “how’s it going? I see that you and Kenshin finally decided to have some children. I knew I could count on you two to show me some kids before I got back here!”

Kaoru paused a momentÂ… then gasped brightly in realization, “Â…Sanosuke, its you! So, you’ve decided to come back to Japan after 5 years of being out in the world. My, you’ve certainly have changed much, since we last met.”

“Yep, I certainly have missie,” replied the man, revealed to be Sanosuke, “so what’s the kid’s name?”

“Kenji,” answered KenshinÂ… as Kenji scowled and grabbed Kenshin’s hair, pulling it harshly.

Nearly everyone laughed frivolously, save for Aoshi, who had nothing more than an amused smile.

“I suppose he’ll get used to me, eventually, that he will,” said Kenshin thoughtfully, with his hair still being pulled by Kenji.

“Man, the kid’s got a tight grip, Kenshin,” complemented Sanosuke with a sly smirk, “the kid might grow up to be just like you someday.”

“I agree,” said the police chief.

“Chief,” Kenshin inquired, “I suppose you helped to smuggle into Tokyo, then?”

“It was the least I could do Himura,” Chief Muraki replied humbly, “since I did help to let him escapeÂ… but just make sure that this matter stays between us, or it may mean more than the end of my career.”

“Gotcha, mustache-glasses,” replied Sanosuke to the chief.

“I never expected to see you again Sanosuke,” said Yahiko, “I’m glad you took a chance in coming back here, despite being wanted by the police.”

“Well, I never expected you to be so overgrown, compared to how little you were when I last saw you,” Sanosuke answered back, which made Yahiko angryÂ…


“WANNA FIGHT!” gritted Sanosuke provokingly rolling up his sleeveÂ…

“Now, now, we shouldn’t fight,” interjected Kenshin, with his usual humble smile, kindly using his hands to keep Sanosuke and Yahiko from fighting

“Hey Himura,” said Misao, “don’t mind if we all come in, do you?”

“Certainly,” answered Kenshin, still smiling fondly.

Kenshin had never expected a gathering like this, and not only for themselvesÂ… but also to remember the journey to Middle-Earth, and the War against Sauron. The company sat on the back porch with Ayame and Suzume playing together with Kenji, who enjoyed their company as he always did. Tae, Tsubame, Chief Muraki and Dr. Gensai were the only people who didn’t experience the Middle-Earth adventure since they all stayed in Tokyo. There was also some skepticism among them as well, which didn’t really surprise Kenshin much, as it was a natural thing among many people.

Kenshin then turned to Misao, who brought out a pipe, in which she stuffed a few pieces of dead plant. It was the Longbottom leaf that Merry and Pippin gave her when they left Middle-Earth.

“I see that you’re smoking now, Miss Misao,” noted Kenshin.

“Yeah,” answered Misao, “Lord Aoshi says that I can smoke it now, so I started to do it when we left Kyoto to come here. And I wanted to have it with me, just so that we can all have something to remember all our friends in Middle-Earth, while we meet like this, Himura.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you, Miss Misao, that it is,” complemented Kenshin.

“I still find hard to accept,” said Tae, “Â…a dark lord from another realm, trying to reclaim a ring that corrupts people? It just doesn’t seem likely.”

“I know Tae,” Sanosuke agreed, “but it was sure real enough.”

“Yes, Mr. Sanosuke,” replied Tae, “I guess, for you all, I’ll accept.”

“Well, I accepted it, Miss Tae,” said Tsubame, thoughtfully, “Â…I’ve always thought that anything was possible.”

“And while I myself have trouble understanding this matter, I also accept this story about Middle-Earth, since I heard about what happened in Kyoto, and was deemed classified,” Chief Muraki agreed.

“You know I still donÂ’t like how the government covers up the bad stuff they did,” Sanosuke said grimly, “but when it comes to fantasy beasts and dark warlords, who’d believe it anyhow.”

“I was especially intrigued,” said Dr. Gensai, “about this Aragorn person, of how he refused to take his place as king when his ancestor took this ring for himself.”

“He’s pretty much gotten over it, Dr. Gensai,” responded Kenshin, “but he’s still a little unsure of his position as king, even though he accepted his destiny.”

“I wish I could’ve gone to Middle-Earth,” added Dr. Gensai, thoughtfully, “it must be a great place indeed, with the land called the Shire, that Kaoru and Yahiko went to.”

“I was especially a great help to the city of Minas Tirith, at the houses of healing,” said Megumi, fondly thinking of her time at Minas Tirith.

Misao then spoke, “you know what I won’t miss, SirÂ… that creepy Mirkwood forest.”

“Mirkwood is now called Eryn Lasgalen, Misao,” said Aoshi.

“Well, whatever name they give it, it’ll still be creepy because of all those giant spiders,” replied Misao harshly.

“Giant spiders?” gasped Tsubame.

“Yeah,” interjected Yahiko, with a great smirk, “I even took on one myself, at Cirith Ungol, along with Sam.”

“One of these ‘Hobbits’ you told us about?” wondered Tae, as Yahiko nodded positively.

“And don’t forget the Elves and Dwarves,” interjected Sanosuke.

“Legolas and Gimli, were their names, right?” asked Dr. Gensai.

Sanosuke nodded affirmatively.

“Yeah,” Kaoru chimed in, “especially with the Elf-maiden, Arwen, who gave up her immortality to be with Aragorn.”

“Éowyn was one of my best friends,” said Misao fondly of her relationship to Éowyn.

“Well, that creepy Gollum wasn’t one of my favorites, that’s for sure,” said Yahiko in disgusted remembrance of the creature that melted at Mt. Doom.

“And don’t forget the bad guys, Sauron and Saruman,” added Sanosuke.

“There were many armies as well,” noted Aoshi, “the Orcs and Uruk-Hai, the Easterlings, and Haradrim.”

“And there was that battle in Kyoto,” added Megumi, “that was covered up, as the chief said, for a wild animal invasion.”

“Oh, goodness,” the chief gasped a little, “you all have been through a lot in this Middle-Earth world, haven’t you?”

“Indeed we have, chief,” confirmed Kenshin.

“And what about the Hobbit called Frodo?” wondered Dr. Gensai, “I imagine that the whole experience was just as great and painful for him, when he personally carried that ring you were talking about, even though it completely corrupted him for a time, before it was finally destroyed.”

“Yes, he’s been through much, Dr. Gensai,” answered Kaoru, thoughtfully, “even though Sam, Yahiko, and I went with him. I’m sure that he’s back at Bag End, living his life peacefully for the rest of his days, just like we are, right Kenshin?”

Kenshin did not smile at his wife’s thought, but rather had a long, sad expression. Everyone had noticed and began wondering at his now sorrowful expressionÂ… even Ayame, Suzume and Kenji stopped playing when they saw Kenshin’s unhappy face.

“Â…Uncle Kenny?” wondered Ayame.

“Â…What is it, Kenshin?” asked Kaoru as Kenshin paused for long moments, “Â…is something wrong?”

Kenshin still kept his silenceÂ… until he lifted his head and said, “Â…as a matter of factÂ… there is something I haven’t told you. I promised Sir Frodo that I wouldn’t tell any of you, until we came back. Now that we are backÂ… its that time.”

“Time for what, Kenshin?” asked Yahiko.

“Dr. Gensai, Chief, Miss Tae, Miss Tsubame,” began Kenshin, “since you were not with the rest of us in Middle-EarthÂ… I will certainly tell you about the choice that Sir Frodo made, that he did.”

“Â…What choice, Himura?” asked Misao.

“Â…A very difficult choice, Miss Misao,” answered Kenshin solemnly, “and it may not be easy for you all to hearÂ…”

Gandalf and the Hobbits finally reached the Grey Havens, the chief harbor of the Eldar, founded by the Noldor in the first year of the Second Age of Middle-Earth. Sam went to the carriage as he helped Frodo carry Bilbo down from it, to lead the old, exhausted Hobbit to the end of the harbor, and onto the ship that was waiting for him. Gandalf walked over to Frodo and Bilbo.

“Well, old friend,” said Gandalf to Bilbo, “it seems that we shall share at least one last journey together.”

“Â…Eh,” Bilbo answered in a weak voice, nodding wearily, “Â…so it would seem.”

“Gandalf,” interjected Frodo, “did Radagast leave already?”

“Yes,” answered Gandalf, “he left on one of the last five ships.”

“Radagast and Sojiro came to the Shire about five months ago,” Frodo told Gandalf, “Sojiro was greatly admired by the children, as he got along with them pretty well. But others, like Proudfoot had frowned upon him, like an unwelcome guest, like you were, Gandalf.”

“Hmm,” Gandalf muttered amusedly, “well, that’s no surprise.”

“Since they left, we do not know what has come of him,” Frodo said worriedly of Sojiro.

“Last I heard, Sojiro was traveling north, along the Blue Mountains,” said Gandalf of Sojiro’s current whereabouts, then continued, “Â…you should know Frodo, that it is not our business to be preoccupied with another man’s journeyÂ… which is his own road to take. Whatever path of truth Sojiro takes in the New Age from this day forth, he has to find it himself, and none of us can do that for him.”

Frodo nodded understandably, knowing that he should not worry so much about Sojiro.

“What about our other friends, Gandalf?” asked Merry, “those here in Middle-Earth, of course.”

Gandalf answered, “Treebeard has given Aragorn the keys to Orthanc, as the tower is given back to the King, to whom it belongs, even though he might not need it. But the Ents shall keep watch over Orthanc to see that none enter it without leave of the King. However, Treebeard’s forest has slowly begun to grow back the way it was before Saruman ruthlessly cut it down. King Éomer of Rohan now has a son named Elfwine, who is now 2 years old. Gimli and his Dwarves at Helm’s Deep are busy each day, delving for new material wealth and riches. It seems, that even in this age, some people never change.”

“What of Faramir and Éowyn, in Ithilien?” Pippin inquired.

“Both of them have become strong leaders and caretakers in Emyn Arnen. Legolas has also kept watch over them, just as he promised he would. Faramir and Legolas even meditate together from time to time, just like they did with Aoshi. And the King and Queen, whom you know as Aragorn and Arwen work hard to stay together, while sharing the rule their new kingdom, even in the toughest of challenges. So–all things consideredÂ… everyone should be in good hands with each other,” Gandalf ended fondly of his report, which made all the Hobbits glad, as they went on.

The company entered the beautiful city-like harbor of the Elves and walked down a path to the sea. Sam and Frodo were walking with Bilbo up front while Merry, Pippin, and Gandalf, walked behind them. As they reached the bottomÂ… Bilbo lifted his old and weary headÂ…

“Â…Oh!” Bilbo gasped with the greatest delight imaginable, “Â…well, here is a sight I have never seen beforeÂ…”

They all saw a white ship, adorned with the head of a swan at its bow. On the quay beside the ship, stood Elrond, Celeborn and Galadriel, with her hood over her head. Cirdan, the Shipwright, along with an Elf guard stood many paces away from them, as they all bowed in Bilbo’s presence. Bilbo respectively bowed his head before the Lords of the Elves.

“The power of the Three Rings is ended,” proclaimed Galadriel, brightly, “the time has comeÂ… for the Dominion of Men.”

“Â…I Aear can vên na mar (The sea calls us home),” Elrond gracefully added, as he gestured for Bilbo to board the ship with them.

Though old and wearyÂ… Bilbo’s fatigue left him, giving him one last ounce of excitement as he grinned and chuckledÂ…

“Â…Heh, I think I’m–quite ready for another adventure,” Bilbo said proudlyÂ… as he hobbled off by himself over to the ElvesÂ… and met Elrond, grasping his hand.

Elrond slowly helped Bilbo alongÂ… boarding the last White ship with him. Galadriel then looked over in Frodo’s directionÂ… and gave her brightest, unfaltering smile to the once-ringbearing, nine-fingered HobbitÂ… before turning to board the last ship. Frodo did not smile at her, but looked away with a long expression. Celeborn, Cirdan, and the Elf-guard joined along with Galadriel.

Gandalf then walked forward, past the HobbitsÂ… and looked down on them one last time, with a smile.

“Â…Farewell, my brave HobbitsÂ… my work is now finished,” declared Gandalf softly, as tears began to fall upon the Hobbit’s facesÂ… save Frodo’s, “Â…here at last, on the shores of the seaÂ… comes the end of our Fellowship.”

Tears continued to pour from Merry, Pippin, and Sam’s faces. ButÂ… Frodo wept no tears, only kept to his solemn expression, as if there was something else occupying his mindÂ…

“Â…I will not say, do not weep,” Gandalf said to the weeping Hobbits, “for not all tears are an evil. RememberÂ… Radagast said the same thing himself once before.”

Sam then looked up at Gandalf and sadly replied with a smile, “Â…when Mr. Kenshin and them left Middle-Earth about 4 years ago.”

“Exactly, Samwise,” confirmed Gandalf, with a small nodÂ…

Then turned away to board the ship. Merry, Sam, and Pippin, with tears still flowing, were sorry to see their wizard friend leave Middle-Earth forever. Frodo still wept no tears, looking on in great silence as the wizard departed. SuddenlyÂ…

Gandalf stopped where he was, and turned at the Hobbits’ directionÂ…

“Â…It is time, Frodo,” he said.

Upon hearing Gandalf’s statementÂ… Sam, Merry and Pippin became bemused and bewildered as they turned to look at Frodo, to hear that not only Gandalf and Bilbo were leavingÂ… but Frodo as wellÂ…

“What?! You mean Frodo’s not going to stay in the Shire?” asked a nearly yelling Misao.

“No, Miss Misao,” answered Kenshin, “he plans to leave with the Elves to Valinor, that he does.”

Everyone was surprised, as they didn’t expect to hear the news, that Frodo was going to leave Middle-Earth with the Elves.

“Frodo’s going to leave his home?” inquired Tsubame, “Â…but why would he do that?”

“What’s going on, Kenshin?” demanded Yahiko.

“What does he mean?” asked a stricken Sam, facing Frodo.

A pause followed, as Sam waited for Frodo to answerÂ…

“Â…We set out to save the Shire, Sam,” Frodo intoned his response, “Â…and it has been savedÂ…”

Frodo’s face then paled in agony, as he fatefully ended, “Â…but not for me.”

“Â…You don’t mean that!” exclaimed Sam, with his tears flowing even greater than before, “you can’t leave!”

But Frodo’s mind was absolute as he handed the Red Book to Sam. Sam looked at the book in great confusion.

“Before Kenshin left, Sam,” explained Frodo, “he and I were writing a copy so he could take it with him to his worldÂ… to keep alive the memory of the age of this world that is goneÂ…

“Â…So that one day, his heirs and future companions would someday read about the Great Danger. The Elves made Kenshin the same offer, SamÂ… to come to ElvenhomeÂ…”

Sam and the others were even especially surprised to hear that Kenshin might want to go to Valinor as well someday.

Frodo went on at Sam, “and as I gave that copy to KenshinÂ… so I give this one to you.”

Sam looked at the book that Frodo gave himÂ…

“Â…The last pages are for you, Sam,” finished Frodo.

“Â…If Mr. Kenshin is coming,” Sam sadly inquired, “will you ever see Miss Kaoru again then? She’ll never leave his side, no mistake.”

“Â…I shall never know, Sam,” replied Frodo, “Â…but I hope I will.”

And with thatÂ… Sam lowered his head, weeping miserablyÂ…

“But I don’t understand,” said Misao, “why does he have to do this? He’s done his task, he should be happy again!”

Kenshin gave no response to Misao’s disappointment.

“How could he liveÂ… without his friends!” ranted Misao, further, “how could he be happy–I know that I could never be happy without the Oniwaban Group! Ever since Gramps tried to dissolve the Oniwaban Group, I refused to let that happen and took leadership!”

“Misao,” interjected Aoshi, caressing Misao, “Â…for what its worth, I understand how you feelÂ… we all do. But it must be often so when things are in danger, someone has to give them up, lose them. It’s just like when we had to lay our dead to rest Misao, because the dead can never return to us. For anything and everything that has a beginningÂ… has a most unexpected and untimely end.”

Misao looked up at Aoshi dilating with tears, as realization dawned on her. She remembered one time when she wanted to stay with Kenshin and Kaoru, after the battle with Enishi, feeling close to them than everyone in KyotoÂ… but Misao knew in her heart that she had to go with Aoshi that time to bury their dead. However, it didn’t change the fact that the mention of Frodo leaving Middle-Earth didn’t agree with herÂ…

Frodo then went to say his farewells to his other friends. Frodo first hugged Merry, the Hobbit who became a noble of Rohan, and the Master of Buckland. Merry was completely in tears because of this unexpected revelation to hear that Frodo was leaving forever, not knowing what to say about it.

Frodo could imagine what Merry was thinking. He didn’t want Frodo to leave and deeply wishedÂ… that he didn’t have to. HoweverÂ… Merry knew that it was impossible to do so, and accepted Frodo’s decisionÂ… rather reluctantlyÂ…

“I’m not very surprised,” said Kaoru sympathetically, “Kenshin told me that others will walk their own paths. Frodo must be doing the same, believing that going away forever is the best thing to do.”

“It is true that a man has to go his own way, Missie,” noted Sanosuke, “and besides, it’s not like Kenshin’s going to go, somehow.”

“As a matter of fact, Sano,” Kenshin responded fatefully, “Â…the Elves did ask me if I wanted to go, that they did.”

The others became shocked greatly, hearing the revelation that Kenshin might leave to go with Frodo, to Valinor. The statement that Kenshin made caused a lot of mixed feelings among the group: disappointments, sadness, anger, lossÂ… all sorts of emotions that were very uncomfortable for them to deal with. Kaoru however, felt a great deal of understanding, seeing as she’s the only person who was very, very close to Kenshin.

Misao then lifted her head from Aoshi’s lap, facing Kenshin. “Â…SoÂ… you’re planning to leave too, Himura?” she asked a little bitterly.

“What was your answer, Sir Ken?” asked Megumi.

“I didn’t answer, Miss Megumi,” answered Kenshin, “but they may already know my answer, since some of them can look inside of me, that they can.”

Everyone looked at KenshinÂ… and they sensed that somehowÂ… they believed that Kenshin had excepted the offer to go to the land of the Elves. Ayame and Suzume became sad, as they began to cry, remembering of what Radagast said to them about inevitable partings between friends–especially those that will be forever. Now, it seemed that one of those partings was going to happen with KenshinÂ… and there wouldn’t be anything they could do, to stop itÂ…

Frodo went over to hug Pippin next, who turned from a highly mischievous HobbitÂ… into the strong, hard working Knight of Gondor, Took and 32nd Thain of the Shire that he was today. Pippin still cried out his tears, seeing his second cousin leaving Middle-Earth forever, deeply wishing the same as Merry, but also reluctantly accepted this most unexpected parting. Pippin then released FrodoÂ… and looked at him sadlyÂ… as neither he, nor MerryÂ… could say goodbye to FrodoÂ…

Kenshin continued, solemnly, “Sir Frodo was so torn apart by his burdenÂ… that he feels his innocence was taken from him, when the ring took him over, even if it was for a short time. My innocence departed from me, when I became a Manslayer, so long ago. None of us may have borne the ring, but we’ve all carried it in our own way, that we did.

“The One Ring easily corrupted people because of their deepest desires, and Sauron’s darkest desire was the domination over all life. He had those desires, even before he created the ring, that he did. Its just the same with us and our desires, we all have rings of power that are part of us, just as Sauron’s ring was part of him. And that’s how the Nine Kings of Numenor became the Ringwraiths, because the rings that Sauron gave them, were somehow a part of them, that they were,” ended Kenshin.

Mixed feelings once again came upon everyone who listened. It was hard to believe that Sauron’s ring was a part of their very lives in some ways. But then, considering on how humanity was so adept at corruptionÂ… anything could be possible, including the supposition that the ring was a part of them, despite them being in a different world.

“So, if it is true about the Ring being a part of us, why didn’t they ask if we wanted to go?” asked Misao, in a demanding tone.

“They gave special accordance to me, Miss Misao,” answered Kenshin, pointedly, “if they had wanted to ask the rest of us, they would do so on their own accordÂ… and the choice is ours to make. In which case, Men aren’t really allowed to go to the Undying lands, that they are not.”

“Â…Are you going to leave soon, Uncle Kenny?” Suzume asked depressively.

Kenshin softly lifted the youth’s head, to look in her eyes.

“Right now, I will not be going anywhere,” Kenshin assured Suzume with his usual vibrant smile, “Â…there are a few last tasks for me to perform, that there are. The continuing life of battle, without the Mitsurugi styleÂ… “

Kenshin then went down to pick up Kenji, then gave him to Kaoru and added fondly, “Â…and the raising of our child, my love.”

“How sad,” lamented the chief, of Frodo, “Â…that one would resolve to leave his possessions to seek a better way of healing, just like you had Mr. Himura.”

“Indeed,” admitted Kenshin.

Kaoru also nodded as she said, “KenshinÂ… if you are thinking about going to the land of the ElvesÂ… then I’m going to be with you, understand? The ring took me over too, you know. In that senseÂ… I also share the same pain as Frodo.”

“Â…I understand Miss Kaoru,” said Kenshin, “Â…I’m sure they’ll welcome you to their land, that they will. And your smiles would be very comforting for me, should I choose to go to the Undying lands.”

“Does anyone else know, Kenshin?” asked Sanosuke.

“Actually Sano,” replied Kenshin, “Â…I had given Saito a letter that day after the battle with Enishi, explaining my condition of how I will be unable to use the Mitsurugi style in a few years. I also included Sir Frodo’s decision to leave for Elvenhome, and how I mightÂ… or rather will join him eventually. I wrote it all down, though it may not concern him much, that it most certainly won’tÂ…”

As they were discussingÂ…

Hajime Saito, former captain of the Shinsengumi, stood, smoking a cigarette, by his office window at a Police Department, somewhere in northern Japan. He had in his pocketÂ… the letter that Kenshin gave him telling of his conditionÂ… and his eventual departure from JapanÂ… to the land of Valinor with Frodo, where he will remain for the rest of timeÂ…

Those morons,‘ Saito thought bitterly, though the part of Frodo going to the Elves’ land meant nothing much to him, ‘Â…they’re two of a kind almost.

Frodo lastlyÂ… went over to hug Sam, the Mayor of Hobbiton, who was his most faithful and loyal Hobbit companion, aside from Kaoru and Yahiko. Because of their bond togetherÂ… their hug was the most tightÂ… and the most long and warming hug of all. Not even Sam could say anything to Frodo, not even goodbye, greatly wishing he wouldn’t leave, as this partingÂ… had affected him the hardest. He was now sorrowful at heart, and it seemed to him that if the parting would be bitterÂ… more grievous still would be the long road home alone. Sam continued to weep his tears of sadnessÂ… as Frodo began to whisper something in his ear.

In that timeÂ… Sam widened his eyes the moment Frodo began whispering to him. Nobody else could hear it, because what Frodo had to say, was for SamÂ… and Sam alone. Sam and Frodo finally released each other afterwards. Frodo then laid his hands on Sam’s neckÂ…

And gently kissed his brow like the Lady Galadriel and Kaoru did. The Hobbit companions shared one last glance at each otherÂ… then Frodo turned from his friends to make for the shipÂ…

Kenshin then showed his friends the book that he had, the copy of the Quest for Mordor. Sanosuke took the book and opened it.

“Â…‘The Wanderer from Japan and the Rings of Power, by Kenshin Himura and Frodo Baggins’,” said Sanosuke, reading the title.

“I plan to give that to my child, Sano, when the time comes,” stated Kenshin firmly, “so that he might write in it, in the generations to come. Sir Frodo told be that he’ll give his copy to Sam to keep the story of the Hobbits alive, when he leaves for Valinor, and that Sam would be named his heirÂ… in Bag End.”

Kenshin then took the book from SanosukeÂ… and held it out towards Yahiko.

“Kenshin,” spoke Yahiko, incredulously, “what are you–?”

“Yahiko,” Kenshin explained to Yahiko, “Â…my main active role has lessened, and it shall be many years before Kenji can take the burden. Since you have been to Mordor yourself, Yahiko, it’s only fair that someone who has actually been there should write in this journal. So until thenÂ… I’d like you to take the active role, since you will soon set out into Japan.”

“You should listen to Kenshin, you know,” said Sanosuke, with a smirk, “I told you that Kenshin’s not the only one I expected great things from, remember? I was meaning to say that I’m also expecting great things from you too, Yahiko. You have Kenshin’s sword now, and you’re going to have the responsibility of protecting the people of this world, the same as Kenshin did. So, you really shouldn’t pass up this opportunity–you hear me, Yahiko?”

Yahiko, after long perplexing moments of confusion from listening to Kenshin and Sanosuke–hardened his eyes, determined to take the active role in the story, to pass on to the future generations of this world. He wasn’t expecting to write a story, or asked to give a contribution to that taleÂ… but for Kenshin’s sake, he would do it. And with a firm nodÂ… Yahiko took the book from Kenshin, accepting the task of keeping the book up-to-date.

“What about Sam?” inquired Yahiko, thinking of Sam, “Â…he’s the one who’s the most attached to Frodo. This would tear him apart, won’t it Kenshin?”

“I believe so, Yahiko,” responded Kenshin, “Â…but I also believe that Sir Sam will find someone else who he loves, just as much as Sir Frodo.”

“Yeah,” said Yahiko, “I think her name was Rosie, Rosie Cotton. Sam said he wanted to marry her.”

“And I believe that he will, Yahiko,” said Kenshin in great assurance, “even if they do get together, they will undoubtedly face some of the challenges that will always be ahead, whether they concern Sauron or not. Just like how the fight with Enishi was a more personal struggle, that it wasÂ…

“Â…As Shishio was fighting for what he believed when we defeated himÂ… so was Sauron, trying to prove their righteousness by winning battles. Whether they were good or badÂ… they both acted upon their beliefs, as we did, and all of our friends in Middle-Earth who fought during the battle against Sauron. And like the outcome of every battle that concerned the fate of the worldÂ… whatever was right, will be determined by the future generations, when the history is learned and revealed to them.

“Â…They’re may not have been a chronicle about Shishio, but we have in our possessionÂ… a chronicle of Sauron and his evil ring of power, to pass over to our future generations. And to Sir Sam, Miss Rosie, and to their future generationsÂ… and to whatever they all may believe to be right for themÂ…

“Â…I wish them all, a happy and prosperous lifeÂ… that I do,” Kenshin solemnly finished, leaving an unsettling silence in the Kamiya/Himura DojoÂ…

Frodo had strongly shared the very same sad and sorrowful thoughts of his friends that he just said his good-byes to, forever. Bilbo firmly believed that Frodo would’ve joined him if he was asked toÂ… but thought that Frodo deeply admired the Shire more. And this was very true for Frodo–he still was in love with the Shire, but due to the many hurts received during the quest, including the unnerving thought of being corrupted by Sauron’s ringÂ… Frodo could no longer feel the same love he had for his homelandÂ… and decided to go with Bilbo–to ValinorÂ…

Gandalf extended his hand for Frodo. Frodo unhurriedly went up to GandalfÂ… and grasped his handÂ… as they both walked towards the ship together, hand in hand. Sam, Merry, with his hand on Pippin’s shoulder in consolation, and Pippin’s tears were still unsettling when they somberly watched FrodoÂ… board the ship along with Bilbo and Gandalf.

Once Frodo boarded the ship, he slowly turned his head over to his companionsÂ… and gave them his brightest smile, telling them that no matter what happened in the near futureÂ… that they would be okay. For Frodo, the other Hobbits reluctantly returned his smileÂ… despite how strongly and deeply hurt their feelings truly wereÂ… feelings that even they could not have the courage to express. And with all that was said and doneÂ…

Frodo finally turned away from his friendsÂ… and settled upon the White Ship.

The Last Elven Ship lowered its mainsailÂ… and began to cast off from the dock, sailing away from the Grey Havens, slowly making for the Undying Lands of Valinor. Merry and Pippin, after long moments of watching Frodo sail off on the shipÂ… turned away in silence and sadness, leaving the havensÂ…

Sam stayed behind a bit longer, holding the journal that Frodo gave to him, as he quietly watched Frodo and the Last Ship of the ElvesÂ… sail away into the setting sunÂ… reaching past the cliffsÂ… disappearing out of Middle-EarthÂ…

Â…For all time.

Back in the green, verdant, flower-filled town of HobbitonÂ…

Sam slowly walked alone to his house, as Merry and Pippin went back together to Buckland, still thinking of Frodo. Soon, he shall bear news to his family that Bag End will be their new home. And whatever unhappy reservation Sam felt about itÂ… he would put it aside, for Frodo’s sake. The front door to Sam’s house openedÂ…

And Sam’s daughter, Elanor Kaoru Gamgee, saw her father coming, running happily towards him. Sam picked up little Elanor and held her in his arms, smiling at her. Rosie, who held little Frodo Yahiko Gamgee in her arms, came out to greet her husband. Sam looked at his wife and came up to her and kissed her, laughing and sighing happily, delighted to be with his family again.

As he enjoyed this little reunionÂ… Sam then remembered what Frodo whispered to him when they parted at the Grey HavensÂ…

Â…My dear SamÂ…

Â…You cannot always be torn in twoÂ…

Â…You will have to be one, and whole for many yearsÂ…

Â…You have so much to enjoy–and to be, and to doÂ…

Â…Your part in the story will go onÂ…

“Â…Well,” Sam said softly and sincerely, breathing in gently, “Â…I’m back.”

As Sam finished saying those wordsÂ… he laughed aloud brightly with happiness now entering him, making him truly and genuinely whole as FrodoÂ… and especially Kenshin would have wanted him to be. But despite making himself whole today, he, as well as his family, as they grow, would still go through many hurts in the future. Facing this fact aloneÂ… made Sam ready for any other future challenges that he would undertake, as he kissed Elanor once more, and lowered her down, closing the front gate from behind him.

Sam, Rosie, and little Frodo followed Elanor into their houseÂ… and Sam closed the door behind them to make preparations to live in Bag End, where he, his wife, and his children, both present and future, shall live and prosperÂ… through good and bad timesÂ…

Â…Till the end of their days.

The End

Into the west, sung by Academy Award winner, Annie Lennox.

Lay downÂ…

Your sweet and weary headÂ…

Night is fallingÂ…

You have come to journey’s endÂ…

Sleep nowÂ…

And dream of the ones who came beforeÂ…

They are callingÂ…

From across the distant shoreÂ…

Why do you weepÂ…?

What are these tears upon your faceÂ…?

Soon you will seeÂ…

All of your fears will pass awayÂ…

Safe in my armsÂ…

You’re only sleepingÂ…

What can you seeÂ…Â…on the horizonÂ…?

Why do the white gulls callÂ…?

Across the seaÂ…

A pale moon risesÂ…

The ships have come, to carry you homeÂ…

And all will turnÂ…

To silver glassÂ…

A light on the waterÂ…

All souls passÂ…

Hope fadesÂ…

Into the world of nightÂ…

Through shadows fallingÂ…

Out of memory and timeÂ…

Don’t sayÂ…

“We have come now, to the endÂ…”

White shores are callingÂ…

You and I will meet againÂ…

And you’ll be here, in my armsÂ…

Just sleepingÂ…

What can you seeÂ…Â…on the horizonÂ…?

Why do the white gulls callÂ…?

Across the seaÂ…

A pale moon risesÂ…

The ships have come, to carry you homeÂ…

And all will turnÂ…

To silver glassÂ…

A light on the waterÂ…

Grey ships passÂ…

Into the west.

Now, for my other surprise folksÂ… A cast listing for all, who played in both RK and LoTR, and of course, some in the Last Samurai, in alphabetical order, of courseÂ…

MegumiÂ… Â… Jane Alan

Elanor GamgeeÂ… Â…Alexandria Astin

Sam GamgeeÂ… Â…Sean Astin

MadrilÂ… Â…John Bach

SauronÂ… Â…Sala Baker

BoromirÂ… Â…Sean Bean

GaladrielÂ… Â…Cate Blanchett

AyameÂ… Â…Stevie Bloch

LegolasÂ… Â…Orlando Bloom

PippinÂ… Â…Billy Boyd

Sharku/SnagaÂ… Â…Jed Brophy

EldarionÂ… Â…Sadwyn Brophy

DamrodÂ… Â…Alistair Browning

KuroÂ… Â…George C. Cole

EothainÂ… Â…Sam Comery

Nathan Algren (Red Samurai)Â… Â…Tom Cruise

CelebornÂ… Â…Marton Csokas

MisaoÂ… Â…Debra Cunningham

WormtongueÂ… Â…Brad Dourif

ShikijoÂ… Â…Dean Elliot

Gil-Galad (Lord of the Elves)Â… Â…Mark Ferguson

SojiroÂ… Â…Lynn Fischer

YahikoÂ… Â…Elyse Floyd

Seijuro Hiko 13thÂ… Â…Richard George

Háleth… …Calum Gittins

KenshinÂ… Â…Richard Hayworth

Théoden… …Bernard Hill

BilboÂ… Â…Ian Holm

GamlingÂ… Â…Bruce Hopkins

Voice of the RingÂ… Â…Alan Howard

Théodred… …Paris Howe Strewe

IrolasÂ… Â…Ian Hughes

YamagataÂ… Â…Simon Issacson

OmasuÂ… Â…Tara Jayne

Dr. GensaiÂ… Â…Steve Kramer

SanosukeÂ… Â…Lex Lang

HannyaÂ… Â…Abe Lasser

SarumanÂ… Â…Christopher Lee

Uglúk… …Nathaniel Lees

HamaÂ… Â…John Leigh

ShiroÂ… Â…Dan Lorge

KawajiÂ… Â…Joey Lotsko

Maúhur… …Robbie Magasiva

Lurtz/Gothmog/Witch-King of AngmarÂ… Â…Lawrence Makoare

MorwenÂ… Â…Robyn Malcolm

OchikaÂ… Â…Ruby Marlowe

SuzumeÂ… Â…Mona Marshall

HenyaÂ… Â…Dan Martin

OkinaÂ… Â…Michael McConnohie

GandalfÂ… Â…Ian McKellen

Elendil (King of men)Â… Â…Peter McKenzie

Rosie Cotton-GamgeeÂ… Â…Sarah McLeod

Baby Frodo GamgeeÂ… Â…Maisie McLeod-Riera

KaoruÂ… Â…Dorothy Melendrez

MerryÂ… Â…Dominic Monaghan

AragornÂ… Â…Viggo Mortensen

DenethorÂ… Â…John Noble

King of the DeadÂ… Â…Paul Norell

Éowyn… …Miranda Otto

HaldirÂ… Â…Craig Parker

GrimboldÂ… Â…Bruce Phillips

Voice of Treebeard/GimliÂ… Â…John Rhys-Davies

Déagol… …Thomas Robins

TsubameÂ… Â…Georgette Rose

TaeÂ… Â…Michelle Ruff

IsildurÂ… Â…Harry Sinclair

Gollum/SmeagolÂ… Â…Andy Serkis

HyottokoÂ… Â…John Smallberries

Simon GrahamÂ… Â…Timothy Spall

The Mouth of SauronÂ… Â…Bruce Spence

AoshiÂ… Â…Terrence Stone

Tsunan (Katsu) TsukiokaÂ… Â…Kim Strauss

ShagratÂ… Â…Peter Tait

FredaÂ… Â…Olivia Tennet

SaitoÂ… Â…Sparky Thornton

ArwenÂ… Â…Liv Tyler

Beshimi/ChouÂ… Â…David Umansky

Éomer… …Karl Urban

Gorbag/Grishnákh… …Stephen Ure

ElrondÂ… Â…Hugo Weaving

FaramirÂ… Â…David Wenham

FrodoÂ… Â…Elijah Wood

A/n: wellÂ… that’s it folks, the end of Rurouni Kenshin and the Lord of the Rings. I remember when I promised to end the fic at the beginning of 2006, at the latestÂ… but it looks like that I finished near the end of 2006 instead, huh? At least I didn’t wait as long as 2007 or 2008 though, and that’s a comforting thought, isn’t it? Oh, and here’s one last surpriseÂ…

The last chapter has at least 24,700 words! That’s almost close to 25,000. I told you it would be the longest chapter, didn’t I? And LOTR has the largest epilogue in the history of fictional writing–or is there another piece of fiction other than LOTR that has a very big epilogue. If there is, please let me know.

So, what did you think? I hope you found it just as touching as the ending of the third movie, because I sure did. However, I did hear that Jack Nicholson talked to Elijah Wood about how there were just too many endings for the movie, which I don’t think there were. If any of you think that there were too many endings for my story, I understand.

But as I said before, I hope to get LOTS of reviews, so I might probably reach up to 700 or more, if possible, as well as tons of hits for my fic as well. The current hit total is 12,800, but I know it was a whole lot more hits than that, because I didn’t have a hit counter till some years after the story was posted.

I’m also planning to have some side stories for this, as another aspiring writer is writing one, if I’ve told you this before. I’m open to any ideas, and you can e-mail your ideas to me, or you could write the stories yourselves and I could post them for you, either way, I don’t care.

And as for other fanfiction endeavors, I was thinking of doing Stargate crossovers, if possible, since I read them a lot and marked many of them in my Favorite stories section of FF.net. But I had another project I was undertaking before I even wrote this crossover, that involving a massive Anime crossover with the newly returned series, “Doctor Who”. You can e-mail me at Docwho4243 at hotmail.com if you want more details, as well as any ideas for side-stories, like I mentioned above.

If any of you still greatly wish to see a movie version of “The Hobbit”, prequel to LOTR, you should check the LOTR information sites. There were many problems in getting the rights to film and distribute the movie. It seems that both MGM and New Line had rights to it, and fought over on which distributor will release the Hobbit movie.

They even proposed to make not one, but two movie versions based on the book. It was Peter Jackson’s original idea to make two movies on LOTR, but was talked into making three, which was the best suggestion, if you ask me. But after the movies were released, Peter Jackson began to have legal problems with New Line, suing them over compensation, which still aren’t going so well.

Peter then eventually thought about withdrawing from making Hobbit, which I don’t think he should do. I did hear, though, that New Line gave up the rights to The Hobbit, so everyone’s hoping that Peter Jackson will make the film because Ian McKellen thinks that nobody else can match up to Tolkien’s vision better than Peter Jackson can. I think the same way myself, seeing as he won all Oscars for Return of the King. But all things considered, we should keep our eyes out in case Peter Jackson reconsiders to make the Hobbit movie.

By the way, there were some days that I wanted to post the final chapter of my great epic crossover. I did think about posting this chapter at Easter, seeing that it was a special holiday–not to mention that some fans, including Christopher Lee, read Lord of the Rings every Easter. I could’ve posted on March 1st, which was Aragorn’s birthday, and the exact day that he died, so I read in the appendices. I even thought about posting on my birthday, August 7, which I have done numerous times already (I’m now 27 years old, just so you know). I would’ve posted on Oct. 31, Peter Jackson’s birthday, too if need be.

Also, I lately found that the day that Frodo left with the Elves, was Sept. 29, which would’ve been the most perfect day to post the last chapter. Its almost reminiscent of how almost everybody expected that the last Harry Potter book would be released on July 7, 2007, next year (07-07-07), get it? But Miss Rowling says that it may be sometime after that date, that the book will be released. We all do what we have to do, and not think about what others expect to happen.

No, I was able to post it today or on the weekend of Dec. 1-3, because of the release of the movie, ‘The Nativity Story’, which tells the story of the birth of Jesus, because, in the end, he’s the most important person, than any one of us. So, I’d like you to go see it, because my mom’s thinking about it, as well.

Also, I would like all of you readers to pray for my mom and I, so we can get some funding to pay off the mortgage. We live in my old Grandmother’s house, and everything’s still in her name and not ours, so we’re trying to get everything put in our name, so we can get mortgage lending for our expenses. I’d appreciate it if you’d pray for that as wellÂ… thank you.

But aside from all the differences in the film industry and my financial difficulties, I’d just like to thank Peter JacksonÂ… Wingnut FilmsÂ… New Line CinemaÂ…Weta Workshop and Weta DigitalÂ… the beautiful country of New ZealandÂ… and of course, the cast and crew of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy for making such a successful epic film for the early 21st century.

Oh, and I’d like to send a little note to one of my reviewers, The White Monk, if Ff.net will allow me:

The White Monk: Your last review said that people should read my fic if they wish to write a good crossover, and that you would explain when the last chapter is posted. I hope to receive a good, well, thought-out explanation for the reviewers to read. I’ll be waiting.

Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin or Lord of the Rings. RK is the property of Nobuhiro Watsuki and Lord of the Rings is the property of Professor J. R. R. Tolkien.

P.S. Please read and review. Bye, and Happy Holidays to you! And wherever you go when you readÂ…

You will find adventureÂ… or adventure will find you.

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