From chapter 1:

The house, in its own way, was as lovely as the gardens. Although there was nothing obviously rich or ostentatious about it, and it was sparingly furnished, everything was of the best quality, from the rice paper in the wall frames to the soft tatami on the floor. The cabinets were lacquered and painted with traditional motifs, and while the two kotatsu tables were plain, the wood was polished so highly that the grain seemed alive. Exquisite vases held flower arrangements, and the flowers and silk-covered pillows added bright warm color to the room. On one of the tables was a wide, shallow bowl of paper-thin porcelain in which lotus blossoms floated on a bed of water. Yuki felt out of place in this room, even a little shabby and dirty. She stared hard at a vase of unusual, twisted shape, the bends traced with pine boughs, to avoid looking at her dusty feet when they slipped off their zori at the door.

A woman came at once, but Bunto waved her away, saying, "The lady will serve them herself." This brought a deep and reverent bow from the woman as she backed out of the room. Bunto said, "Please make yourself at home. The lady will be with you shortly."

"Right, make ourselves at home," Yuki muttered under her breath as soon as the man was gone.

Kenshin grinned at her. "It is very pretty, isn't it? I never noticed, when I was a boy. And I begin to understand some things now."

"What things?"

"About my Master."

His Master? What did Seijuro Hiko have to do with it? But before she could ask, they heard the sound of light, running feet outside. The sound stopped abruptly, and after a moment the door was pulled open and a woman came in, speaking cheerfully in a rich clear voice. "I hear I have company," she said with a smile at both of them. Then her gaze locked on Kenshin and the brittle, false lightness fell away. "Kenshin," she said, and her lower lip trembled and disappeared between her teeth. Yuki realized that the brightness of her eyes was due to unshed tears. Oh, no. He's right. She's going to cry.

Kenshin looked as if he'd rather face Shishio and Soujiro together, barehanded, than to be here at this moment. He took refuge in a deep bow. "Hikaru-san."

She took a step toward him. "You're alive. And you're here, you're really here. It really is you." She put out a hand to touch his face, the unscarred side. As if that touch convinced her he was real, she suddenly sobbed and put her arms around him. The movement was oddly awkward, as if she'd never hugged him before, but once started, she hugged him as if she'd never let him go, her face buried in his neck. He held her and patted her back and looked at Yuki with an expression that said clearly, See? I told you this was going to be bad!

Yuki felt sorry for him, but at the same time she watched it all with intense curiosity. How in the world had Kenshin come to mean so much to this grand lady? Because she was a grand lady. Not just her reputation told Yuki that. Nor did her clothes, which were a plain purple kimono with a simple obi over black kendo pants, her head topped with a wide-brimmed straw hat, now knocked askew. The house said it, of course, but it was mostly in the way she stood, the well-kept hands, the straight-backed supple grace with which she finally released Kenshin and dried her eyes, and most of all the dignity that she was trying so hard to regain.

"Kenshin, where have you been?" she asked him.

He smiled at her. "That would be a long story."