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Nobutsuna Naoe (直江信綱)TACHIBANA Yoshiaki, usually called by his old name NAOE, comes into Takaya's life as a mysterious rescuer, and soon becomes his close helper in carrying on the lonely and hard-fought 400 year old battle to exorcise warring ghosts. He protects Takaya, trying to make him again into a powerful proud leader. However, he seems to have many dark secrets and a lot of guilt from their previous lives together which Takaya does not remember.
In this life, Naoe was born into a Buddhist monk's family, and is now a tall, well-groomed handsome man in his late 20s.
On the surface, Naoe is calm, reserved and competent, albeit too secretive, and a reliable right hand man to Takaya (Kagetora). In a few volumes, however, we discover his true nature, his boundless passion and obsession with Takaya (Kagetora), and his strong attraction to and burning envy of Takaya's superiority. The intense painful love- hate relationship between the two protagonists is a driving force of the whole series.
Naoe loves Takaya and devotes himself entirely to him but he resents Takaya's superior strength, power, and independence in the relationship. Naoe cares for Takaya, calms him when needed, and would die for him, but also nurses a devouring desire for and resentment towards him. It is suggested that Naoe did something brutal and unforgivable 30 years ago to Kagetora's then (female) lover Minako, and the tragedy caused Takaya's loss of memory in this lifetime.