The grand clash between Gintoki and Takasugi is finally about to end.
Young Takasugi left the Shoka Sonjuku dojo and was stopped by young Gintoki. He admitted his defeat but reminded Takasugi that Gintoki still leads in wins. He added that if the Academy student wanted to fight the white-haired boy again, then he should come back to the school the next day, surprising Takasugi. Back in the present, after Gintoki collapses from their strike, Takasugi smirks as he adds his win to their even win record before also collapsing. Back in the past, that night, a young Katsura came across Takasugi, tied up and hung from a tree as a harsh punishment from his father for visiting Shouyou's school. Katsura told his fellow student that the school held rumors that it teaches "anti-bakufu" propaganda. They both agree with the rumors but Katsura admitted that their belief in a different type of samurai was far more preferable. In the morning, Takasugi watched Shouyou teaching from outside the school but is confronted by the Academy students that had attacked him and Katsura days before. After mocking the boy for gravitating towards the "shady" school instead of staying at the Military Academy, one of them told Takasugi that he revealed the school's suspicious rumors to their father, thus leading officials to potentially arrest Shouyou.
During the night, Takasugi is spotted by Katsura, who added that this might get him expelled and disowned for being out at night; the boy didn't care (he had not long before beat up the students he met earlier) and suggested the same for the pony-tailed boy. Katsura also didn't care and stated that he warned the school earlier with the two stalling the guards while Shouyou and Gintoki flee. Gintoki appeared before them instead, thanking them for the warning while he himself preapred to stall the guards and asked both boys to flee if they wanted to keep their samurai status. Takasugi and Katsura responded that they both didn't care and were part of Shoka Sonjuku. Mildly surprised, Gintoki says nothing more as they were spotted by the officers and attacked. Before retaliating, Shouyou appeared behind the guards and warned them to not attack the kid. He swiftly destroyed their swords in the blink of an eye and promised that he would not hesitate to truly topple the Government if the guards harmed his students. The guards, scared witless, scampered away. Shouyou apologized to Takasugi for no longer having a school for him to fight against, but the two boys surprised him by revealing that they were joining his school. Proud, the man accepted them... and punished them (including Gintoki) for staying out at night.
In the present, Takasugi slowly rises to his feet and sees a hallucination of Shouyou. In reality, it's the beaten up Gintoki who chastises him for being stuck in the past and tells him that the only person who can stop them is each other. The two strike with their swords which are thrown out their hands and they both resort to physically beating each other up. During this, Takasugi responds that he can still see the happy and painful memories behind his missing left eye as well as the person he should destroy, that to get revenge for Shouyou, they must destroy each other since they can't kill themselves.
In a flashback during the Joui War, a Tendoushuu member mockingly shows his prisoner, Shouyou, the corpses of his students strewn across the battlefield. He decided to test Shouyou's remaining students to see what they will do. Surrounded by the Naraku, the tied Katsura and Takasugi are thrown behind the prisoner and Gintoki is forced to choose between killing Shouyou or the two tied men. Despite Takasugi's horrified pleas, Gintoki decides to execute Shouyou, with the man's last words to Gintoki being "Thank You". Back in the present, the two badly injured men struggle to crawl to their swords before attacking. Takasugi's sword breaks but he still stabs Gintoki with the broken pieces while getting struck by Gintoki's bouken. In the past, Takasugi angrily rushed toward his comrade (who had broken his promise to protect Shouyou), only to be stabbed in the eye by a knife thrown by the then-not leader, Oboro. He tells the Tendoushuu that he had decided to let them live due to the fact that with the loss of their teacher, they had lost the will to fight, mainly thanks to their own weakness.
In the present, a downed Takasugi reveals that the last thing his left eye saw (the person he should destroy) was Gintoki's crying face. He admits that they shouldn't have survived, having been forced to both use their teacher's death as a stepping stone and letting Gintoki bear the burden. He desperately asked the downed Gintoki why he decided to save him and Katsura when the white-haired man had more of a reason to save their teacher. As the two slowly rise to their feet, Gintoki answers that Takasugi would have done the same thing if their roles were reversed; this was the real reason for their antagonism to each other, being two sides of the same coin. Gintoki understood Shouyou's feelings far more than Takasugi, choosing to honor his promise to Shouyou to protect his comrades and fellow students, including Takasugi. The one-eyed man is surprised to hear that he is still part of Shouyou's school, but before they continue, Takasugi is stabbed through his back by a thrown sword-staff and collapses in front of a horrified Gintoki. The thrower, Oboro arrives with his Naraku, and chastises them both for wasting Shouyou's sacrifice.
- Takasugi Shinsuke
- Sakata Gintoki
- Katsura Kotarou (flashback)
- Yoshida Shouyou (flashback)
- Tendoshu member (flashback)
- Tenshouin Naraku