Chapter 7:

Vol 1: Ch 6: A New Beginning

Realms of Destiny


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The green-eyed boy ran as fast as he could trying to catch up to his master who is was already more than twenty paces ahead of him. The dojo was only two blocks away and Sousuke knew that though he was only four years old, he could easily walk home by himself. Just a moment ago, he had refused to let his master carry him, saying that he would only slow his master down. The four-year-old boy tried desperately to catch his breath. He couldn’t blame his master, after all, it’s not every day that a man becomes a father for the first time.

Sousuke was on a grocery shopping trip with his master, Hakuda Tensaburo, founder of the Soratenshi no Ryu school of martial arts, when one of the older students caught up to them, breathless, with the news that the master’s wife was going into labor. According to the senior student, his friend had already gone to find the midwife who just happened to live nearby. Everything will be fine. Today is a joyous day after all. He picked up the grocery he had offered to carry and followed as fast as he could.

By the time Sousuke entered the dojo, he could already hear the sound of a baby crying. In his excitement he dropped all his shopping and dashed towards what, to the four-year-old, seemed like a mountain of humans (which in truth, were five senior students), and pushed his way through into the multi-purpose room, which, in this occasion has been used for Hakuda Rina’s quiet living space, and at the moment is buzzing with the sound of a baby crying and the excitement of the other students who dared not go in. Sousuke slipped through to see his master cradling the baby, wrapped snugly in a piece of white cloth. Rina was unconscious and the midwife was busy tending to her, she looked worried. To his surprise, his master beckoned him to come closer and placed the baby in his arms.

“Sousuke, here, take her to the room next door, where the crib is. Yamamoto-sensei needs to concentrate on her work here.” Said Hakuda to the boy who he himself took in as a baby as well. Sousuke wasn’t sure what to do with this baby, all he could do was look from the baby to his master in wide-eyed exasperation. He’s only four for god’s sake why him and not an older student? “I know I can trust you to look after her like your own sister. Go on, I’ll follow you later.”

“Y…yes, sir.” With that he shakily carried the girl towards the room across at the end of the corridor. “Sempai please make way.” The older students were just too curious and excited and confused at the same time to mind the boy giving them orders. After all, they were all day students who came here to train and go home in the evening, whereas the boy was as much a part of the master’s family as this little baby was.

“Sousuke, where do you want me to put the grocery?” That was one of the responsible seniors, the one who went to fetch them earlier.

“Please put them in the kitchen Toki-sempai, thank you very much for helping.” He called over.

“Alright. Don’t worry, you take care of the baby.” Toki called back as he picked the grocery up.

Sousuke carried the little girl into the room with the crib but before he could put her into it he noticed that she had stopped crying and was looking straight into his green eyes with a bright gold pair of her own. Wait, GOLD?! For the moment there the boy thought his senses were deceiving him. No, she’s still looking at him and smiling, and those irises are definitely gold in colour. The baby looked like she was slightly glowing as well, literally, that is. What kind of Japanese has golden eyes? He was not one to talk, having unusual green eyes himself but gold just took the winning prize somehow. He tried to put the baby down into the crib but as soon as she left the warmth of his arms she began to cry again. He quickly picked her up again, and as soon as he did so she fell silent, smiled, and laughed at his dumbstruck face. He couldn’t help but smile too.

“Alright, so you wouldn’t let me go huh?” The girl held up her hands towards his face and he let her touch his cheeks. Her skin felt as soft as feather and the touch relaxed him. He smiled at the little girl again and closing his eyes, gently gave her a kiss on her forehead. With that the baby too relaxed and fell asleep. “Don’t worry I’ll never leave you ojousama. I swear I’ll be by your side and protect you…forever and always.” He meant every word of it. Somehow he felt as though protecting her was something he was destined to do, he felt no difficulty saying those words, and though it was the first time they’ve met, he felt that he had known her for far longer. He put her down as gently as he could and rocked the crib slowly, singing the lullaby that Rina-sama had always sang to him:

The breeze that sings a whisper,
The leaf that holds the breeze,
May clouds of white that slumber
Fly with you while you sleep.

“Sousuke….Sousuke.” Sousuke could feel a strong hand on his shoulder. He had fallen asleep!

“Master!” He said, startled, a little too loudly.

“Shhhh!” Said his master, gesturing towards the baby who is still fast asleep in the crib.

“I’m sorry, I fell asleep. I was singing her a lullaby and… I must have fallen asleep then.” He continued apologizing. His master had given him the task of looking after his precious daughter and here he goes and falls asleep on watch.

“It’s alright. She’s happily sleeping see? Listen Sousuke, I have something to tell you…”

“I have something to tell you too sir! The girl, your daughter! She…she has golden eyes!” At that, the girl began to stir. “Look Master! She’s waking up!” However, instead of a pair of gold eyes, gray ones were looking back at Sousuke’s green ones.

“Now that’s an unusual eye colour.” Said his master. “They’re beautiful.” Hakuda picked his daughter up and held her in his arms. He rocked her back and forth then tears formed in his eyes. “You’re beautiful….If only your mother could see…” The latter part Sousuke wasn’t sure he heard right, but one look at his master confirmed it. His master was crying. “Please, take her, I don’t want to scare her.” He handed the baby back to Sousuke.

“But Master, why are you crying?” Having sensed the shaken state of her father, baby Hakuda started crying as well. “Shhh…It’s okay, don’t cry.” It was all Sousuke could do to tell the baby that, because he was so confused and scared himself that he was about to cry too. His master had always been so strong, why is he crying? Did something bad happen? Where is Rina-sama? Was all he could wonder. “Is Rina-sama alright?”

“She’s not in pain anymore…she’s gone to be with her best friends, your parents.” Was the best Hakuda could say to the four-year-old. But unlike many other who would probably not have been able to comprehend the concept of death, Sousuke was no ordinary four-year-old and he understood exactly what his master meant. Or rather, somewhere inside him knew, somehow…and it felt sad and painful.

“Shh…shh…don’t cry ojousama…there you go.” The boy seemed to have gotten a hang of this. Now that Rina is no longer around, it is down to him to help his master raise this child.
“What will you call her, Master?”

“Reina.” That came without hesitation.

“Reina-sama, what a beautiful name.” He held baby Reina up close and walked over to his master and huddled close. On this day of both joy and sorrow, they were a family, and that was what matters.


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