X = Y
Within the Subterranean, an unyielding emperor, destiny decreeing his rule, his ordinance supreme, completely unmitigated, born from the inferno of affliction, vexation in his ichor, indignant and incandescent in his demeanour, chosen by fate to destroy the one opposing his reign, to be begotten today; revealing himself to the world, unbeknownst to himself.
"Wait, I'm actually doing this?" said Rei in disbelief.
The crowd around them, composed mainly of students, continued to roar at the fight that was raging onwards, between a Muay Thai user and a Taekwondo user.
Shinpei began to laugh. "Of course you are. Try to impress, kid! This is the trial of a lifetime! If you impress me and the other five Masters, by Seijiro's request, we're going to take you on as our student!" he shouted. "But don't get too ahead of yourself! No one's passed that ever...not in a long time anyway," he added.
"Master...You did this?" said Rei in utter turmoil.
"Yes, I did. I told you I would work you to the bone. But that bone was chewed quicker than I thought. Now, do one last thing for me. Remember every single bit of training that you did." said Seijiro.
"Training? Every single bit of it..." Rei imagined to himself. He had immediate flashbacks of the training he did. The very first memory he recalled was of himself holding an axe to cut down wood. He then evoked a memory, recollecting about gargantuan tree logs — about three times his size — with his back lying against the ground, bench pressing it. He remembered the pain it brought and the times he failed to do it.
Rei retained another memory, tasked with hunting animals and how creatures, such as deer and rabbits, were outpacing him. He remembered fighting tirelessly against Seijiro and Nagai. He remembered the thought of continuing and how close he was to giving up.
He reminisced how he continued to train his body past his limits — increasing the number of push-ups, sit-ups, swings of his sword, and bench-presses he did in a single day. He remembered when he possessed enough strength to run after deers without losing too much ground and throwing stone-tipped spears, incapacitating them. He remembered slamming that door as hard as he could with both hands effortlessly.
His eyes lit up like the heavens had descended upon the realm of darkness itself. Vigour and hope ignited his heart and mind. He let out a confident smile, looking at Seijiro.
"All of that training was for this single moment? You had all of this planned, Master?" said Rei, valorously.
"Master had all of this planned? Wow...amazing. I don't think that's true, but it's still amazing." said Nagai, who stared at Seijiro in admiration.
"What do you think, Rei? I taught you what my Master taught me. All of that labour you went through prepared your body for the Destined Emperor. Without it, you would have destroyed your morale, and with that, your body would crumble." said Seijiro.
A loudspeaker started to go off that echoed within the entire underground chamber. "The student of Seijiro Kirihoshin. Make your way to the centre of the arena."
"Who am I up against?" said Rei with a questioning tone, deprived of any fear.
"His opponent. A rookie who trained under the Master of Boxing, Master Akinobu Motoyanagi! He spent two years under his tutelage and now holds a streak of five wins! His name, you ask? Teruya Iwatsuki! The other fighter is a debutant who hasn't even stepped foot in this arena until today. A student of Kendo and Master Seijiro Kirihoshin — now everyone! Welcome the newcomer! Rei Hirojima!"
"Don't worry, Rei. No one here will reveal your identity to the outside world, nor do I think they know who you are. Everyone here has a dark story that drove them to leave the surface. They've given up modern life for this one." said Seijiro.
Nagai walked up to Rei and slapped his back with supportive intent, but Rei did not shake. "One last slap on the back for good luck, brother! Do your best. Fight like your finding the meaning of your life. Fight like you want to live." he exclaimed with a sense of brotherhood.
Rei looked at his Master, Nagai, and the Master of Karate. He walked towards the arena, and he received a bamboo sword — similar to the one he used in training. The six Masters were located around the edge of the ring with Seijiro, Nagai and Shinpei together. Rei could tell which person was a Master from the number of people that surrounded them. The Master's attire was different from those within their proximity, and they were older than them. They kept an eye on him and stared with a scent of concern.
Master Hiroaki Shibakawa, the Master of Taekwondo, was wearing a completely black uniform with his lapel and belt being white. He had light brown eyes and brown hair. Master
Yasuhiro Taba, the Master of Muay Thai, was wearing black shorts and a black top with a golden trim around them. He was in his early 30's and had short black hair and black eyes — making him the youngest Master.
Shuzo Hokura, the Master of Jiu-Jutsu, was wearing a completely black uniform with a matte-black belt around his waist. He had long grey hair tied up in a ponytail at the back of his head in braids. His eyes were black like an endless void.
Umetori Kamahiro, the Master of Judo, was wearing a blue Judo uniform with a black belt around his waist. His hair was very light brown, but he had black eyes.
Akinobu Motoyanagi, the Master of Boxing, had red shorts and a red top, black hair tied up in a bun, and black eyes. He had wrapped both hands in white tape up to the wrists.
"That's him? The one Seijiro spoke of in that message he sent us? He doesn't look like anything special. But there's an air to him...an air of silence, a fire of terror, a wave of confidence...a tremor of anger." Thought the Master of Taekwondo — Master Hiroaki Shibakawa."Impress me, boy. Seijiro has his faith in you, so you'd best be prepared for this."
Rei entered the arena with Teruya Iwatsuki on the other side. They both assumed a stance respective to their fighting style. The loudspeaker went off again, and the commentator signalled the beginning of the fight. "The fight between Rei and Teruya begins...now!"
Promptly after the announcement finished, five other students around the same age as Rei plunged into the arena from the stands — they stood alongside Teruya.
"What's this? The Elders have accepted the change in roster at the last moment. Now it looks like a member from each fighting style will be up against Rei!" the commentator on the loudspeaker said.
"What?!" said Rei in disarray.
"Shinpei! You muscle-headed fool..." said Seijiro in truer anger as he faced Shinpei Osumi, who was standing next to him. Seijiro's face transformed into the embodiment of anger, given life by exhibiting emotion beyond the capability of a human.
Shinpei responded by laughing. "Don't raise your voice like that. I've never seen you this angry," he said, smiling unsympathetically.
"What do you think you're doing!" exclaimed Seijiro. He directed his irate-engulfed voice towards the other Masters who had diffused around the arena. "I never agreed to this! What are you planning to do to him?" he shouted.
"We're testing him, Seijiro. We're bringing him closer to what you want," said Umetori Kamahiro — the Master of Judo — with a stern look.
"He's stepping closer to death, Seijiro! We're going to kill him!" exclaimed Yasuhiro Taba, grinning evilly.
"And fight!" exclaimed the commentator through the loudspeaker.
"Fight? Six against one? How am I supposed to keep my eyes locked onto one of them?" Rei thought to himself.
"You six think you've found the weakness to my sword style? Do you really think that a weakness, as simple as that, truly existed? That it hadn't been fixed!" exclaimed Seijiro. "Defeat them all, Rei!" said Seijiro with a fiery passion.
"Try and see if you can defeat six rookies! It's impossible, newbie!" said Teruya with a devilish smile on his face.
The six dashed towards Rei, who furiously lept towards them. The first to make it to Rei was a student of Yasuhiro Taba — the Master of Muay Thai. He flew, jumping off his feet to perform a Downward Roundhouse Kick to Rei's head. Rei had an angry look on his face and a remorseless gleam within his eyes, administering his eyes on his opponent's, and he dodged by ducking. The student of Jiu-Jitsu — and Jiu-Jitsu Master Shuzo Hokura — ran in, trying to grab Rei's hand, but he sidestepped out of the way.
Then Teruya — a student of Boxing Master Akinobu Motoyanagi — tried to punch Rei, who avoided it with a head swerve, and he began to back up. The student of Taekwondo — and Taekwondo Master Hiroaki Shibakawa — rushed in and performed a Reverse Roundhouse Kick. In a state of frustration and anger, Rei grasped the student of Taekwondo's legs and with his left hand, he flipped him into the air, making his back face Rei whilst airborne. With his bamboo sword, he lunged into that student's back after he flipped.
The amount of force used pushed him through the air as that student held his back in pain, writhing on the floor. The Master of Taekwondo was bewildered by the quick knockout of his student.
"How? Inconceivable! He not only flipped him after grabbing his foot whilst he was performing a near-perfect roundhouse kick at that speed, but he flipped him and managed to time his attack to hit a moving, falling, target!" the Master of Taekwondo, Hiroaki Shibakawa, thought to himself whilst in shock.
"Wow! Wow! Wow! Rei's arm strength is far better than what I imagined. What the heck did you teach him, Master!" said Nagai in fascination.
"That boy has arm strength stronger than some of my Karate students. He doesn't follow you lightly, Seijiro!" exclaimed Shinpei, who began to laugh obnoxiously.
"What are you doing! We're supposed to be the one's winning! Hurry up otherwise, the money's going to run away from us!" shouted Teruya in anger and disappointment — aimed towards his teammates.
"I'm just a bag of money? That doesn't make sense. Whoever wins this gets money, but what am I supposed to do with that?" Rei thought to himself. "I can't complain if I get battered here. I'm the one who wanted this after all, but it's not entirely my fault. Master never told me this would happen. He's partly to blame, but I'll let him off."
The students of Karate, Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo ran in at once, pouncing on Rei with a combined attack. Rei locked his eyes on one of them and moved onto the other's eyes in a single moment. He read their movements and looked back at the student of Karate with an ominous glare. He was about to go for a lethal punch to Rei's Solar Plexus. However, Rei kept his eyes locked onto his opponent as he smashed his bamboo sword into the side of the student of Karate — knocking him away and onto the ground.
"What the...I was joking when I said that," said Shinpei, the Master of Karate, who portrayed a stupefied expression.
Rei, grabbed by the student of Jiu-Jitsu, had his arms held back and his body stuck in place. Teruya, the student of Boxing, began pummeling his stomach, and the student of Muay Thai went in for an elbow blow right into Rei's lungs. The student of Jiu-Jitsu let go, and the student of Judo lifted Rei by the body and threw him to the ground on his back.
"Master! Rei's probably going to die if this continues!" exclaimed Nagai with concern.
"No, he's not, Nagai! He will survive this and beat them all!" exclaimed Seijiro.
The crowd went wild, and Rei, being thrown over the shoulder, was planted into the ground, which caused a tiny tremor. He lost consciousness for a second and quickly gasped for air. He was picked up again and thrown by the student of Judo, as the student of Jiu-Jitsu clung on to his right arm and tried to arm-lock him into submission. Without hesitation, Rei stood up, using all of his power. Placing his arms in front of him, Rei dropped to his knees immediately — slamming his right arm into the ground and smashing the student's back against it, who met the floor first.
Teruya appeared behind Rei, who turned around swiftly, sparring no thought for anything trivial. Teruya tried to go for a jab but was quickly intimidated by Rei's glare, staring deep into Rei's psyche. Rei dodged and lunged forward, hitting Teruya's Solar Plexus, which staggered him as he fell to the ground. Rei turned around and slammed his bamboo sword into the Solar Plexus of the Jiu-Jitsu student. Both, incapacitated by Rei's immaculate striking prowess.
The foes that remain standing were the student of Karate, Boxing, and Muay Thai. Rei started to breathe heavily and sweated as his footwork began to slack.
"He's a good find. Though he's fighting a rookie in layman terms, he shouldn't be able to defeat him." Shuzo Hokura, the Master of Jiu-Jitsu, thought to himself."Excellent. This was an excellent idea of mine...brilliant in fact." Yasuhiro thought to himself, grinning maliciously.
"You have to accept this and continue to fight, Rei! This isn't a situation I can help you in, nor can you run away from it. I'm sorry...but life is harsh like this, for this is the new world you will find yourself in!" thought Seijiro. "FIGHT! REI!" Seijiro exclaimed, funnelling the sound of his voice using his hands, his shout of courage drowned out by the crowd, incapable of transmitting his feelings to Rei.
"He's a monster...Just like Nagai. But nowhere near like Seijiro..." thought Umetori Kamahiro, the Master of Judo, with a smirk.
"He's this generation's Seijiro Kirihoshin. Unbelievable. There's always a version of a previous person that lived. You can never get rid of them." Yasuhiro Taba, the Muay Thai Master, thought.
"Rei! Your brother's here to support you until the very end! Even past the end, I'll support you, even if you die!" exclaimed Nagai with a passionate expression and voice.
"Master. Nagai. Let's do this! Go! Go! Go!" thought Rei. He let out a confident smirk, intimidating the remaining fighters whilst the others remained on the ground. "Come at me with everything you have. Teach me everything you know in this fight! And don't back down!" he shouted ferociously, animalistic-like.
"If that's what you want, then you can have it! Give it to him, guys!" responded Teruya, the student of Boxing.
"YEAH!" the other two responded, feigning fearless expressions.
The student of Muay Thai ran into Rei — he locked his eyes onto him and tried to elbow thrust his body. At that moment, Rei swung his bamboo sword with monumental amounts of velocity and power, making contact with his elbow — which snapped his sword in half. Successful, Rei dislocated the student of Muay Thai's shoulder.
SNAP! CRUNCH! POP! The sounds of his muscles tearing and his shoulder wrenched from its socket vibrated through the air, which silenced the entire crowd. He squealed in pain, falling backwards as his shriek made itself transparent to everyone.
"Someone! Bring him some medical attention, but after the fight! Those who are down! Walk out of the arena, now!" exclaimed the commentator through the loudspeaker sanguinely. That attitude turned into concern quickly after. "Hey...They're all unconscious! Even the fighter who got his shoulder snapped! This is serious!"
Yasuhiro Taba began to laugh maniacally like a deranged psychopath. "His arm's gone, but that can be fixed! This kid is interesting. He's younger than expected, but I expected no less! Heck! I expected nothing from him!" he yelled, smiling evilly. He jumped up and stood on the edge of the seats where the arena began. "Hey, Seijiro! What's this about the weakness of your sword style? He's not doing anything different, is he! He's just getting lucky!" exclaimed Yasuhiro across the entire arena.
"He always speaks before thinking. Yasuhiro Taba. I suspect that this was his idea. I wonder how he convinced the other Masters and even the Elders. Maybe it was my words I sent to the Masters that caused this..." said Seijiro in a regretful manner. "Watch the fight, for it is essential that the outcome is shown. With it, I will explain to you in greater detail, but your puny mind will never comprehend."
Rei continued to fight with the remaining three students, applying a defensive style, blocking the attacks with his arms. He had the half-broken bamboo sword in his hand whilst berated by his foes. Staff trained in medical treatment and physiology carried any injured students out of the arena.
Rei continued to punch his way out of the holds and locks that he encountered. He defended himself as the three found it hard to knock him down. They all began to tire, and their movements became sluggish.
"How can I defeat them without a sword? I only have my arms and legs left...to win, what did I have to do again? I have to make them stop fighting...and that means I have to shatter any hope they have of winning into pieces!" Rei thought to himself.
He continued to block their attacks, consisting of kicks and punches. His eyes moved only to look at the eyes of his foes that scowled at him with disdain, like a lion eyeing its prey, knowing that their victory was assured.
In a moment of space, which he comprehended as a gift, perceived as the pinnacle of opportunity, Rei threw the remains of his broken bamboo sword. It flew past two of their faces, at the point where both the student of Muay Thai and Karate performed a synchronised punch, producing hesitation and dread.
He grabbed both by the arm and performed a one-armed shoulder throw, which slammed them into the ground. THUD! Using their bodies, Rei created a tremor that Teruya could feel.
Only two people remained conscious, and Rei was one of them.
"A...Nage waza (throwing technique). He's a student of the Master of Kendo, yet he performed a nage waza. Not only that, it was an Ippon-seoi-nage (One-armed shoulder throw). His form requires more work. He didn't even use his feet to knock them off balance, but what can I say when I've never thrown two people at once. Not once in over twenty years..." thought Umetori Kamahiro, garnering a look suggesting he was trying to wake up from a nightmare.
"How? You're younger than me...You have less experience than me, yet you have the power to take out rookies! You even took out students classified as intermediate fighters..." said Teruya in utter fear.
"I have experienced things, but I've experienced something completely different from you!" said Rei, launching himself into Teruya.
Teruya began to attack him with a flurry of jabs and punches. Tired of this fight, Rei blocked his fists with an open palm and grabbed them both. He had a look of death and a face of anger only the grim reaper could match. Sparks of fear ignited inside Teruya, which spread like a flash flood within his being, bearing witness to a sea of sparks that blinded him with horror.
"What is this! The fight is now at a standstill! Rei Hirojima isn't even letting go! He's showed mercy to all his opponents and still decides to do so! Killing is not allowed, but he looks to have killed the entire competition off," said the commentator using the loudspeaker.
"Concede, Teruya," Rei said with a pernicious expression that lacked any empathy — like an ocean that was once teeming with life, devoid of water that gave blessings to it.
"Why didn't you give them the choice to concede?" said Teruya in completer anger, hate and terror.
"They're not as hurt as you think. I can control the amount of power I use. You're the person I was supposed to fight, and you're the person that I have to force to concede. Whether I make you, or whether you do, it's not a problem which route I take." added Rei.
"DO NOT CONCEDE TO HIM, TERUYA! BANISH THAT MONSTER, AND MAKE HIM VANISH FROM THIS REALM!" Master Akinobu Motoyanagi cried out.
"Vanish?" thought Seijiro, arriving at a sudden realisation, his eyes becoming livelier. "Is this what it's about?" he screamed in anger. Seijiro's face returned to normal, and his attitude became reasonable. "You're afraid of me — of the power we possess?"
Seijiro's attention diverted to Rei, as was the attention of the Masters, by a scream that came out of Teruya's mouth.
"NEVER! DIE!" he exploded in anguish that went further than the spine through his body.
Startled by his scream and the look on his face, Rei let go of Teruya's hands in concern. Using that opportunity, Teruya performed a sidekick into Rei's stomach. He held his stomach in pain, and Teruya tried to perform a kick to the head. At that moment, he got up quickly and locked his eyes on Teruya, which caused him to hesitate.
"What are you looking at! Get those eyes away from me!" Teruya thought with fear bombarding his face.
Rei grabbed his leg, and using whatever remaining strength he could muster, Rei threw Teruya directly up in the air. Everyone in the arena held their breath, including the Masters and Elders. Taking advantage of the situation, Teruya controlled himself and spread his body out whilst facing the floor, lowering his impact speed. He looked beneath himself; Rei was staring at him with a look far superior to anger.
"You idiot!" Teruya shouted with anger equivalent to Rei's, his eyes becoming bloodshot red.
Rei did not move from beneath Teruya. Within the last second, Teruya tried to punch Rei in the face using the force he accumulated from falling. With great grace and immense agility, Rei simultaneously dodged Teruya's fist and grabbed his face with his right hand, stopping Teruya mid-flight.
"Now will you concede?" said Rei with a menacing look that Teruya could barely see between Rei's fingers.
Teruya started to tap Rei's arm violently. "I concede! I concede! Let me go! I'm done! I'm tapping out!" said Teruya with regret and dread, large enough to crush him.
Rei put him down on his feet, and he relaxed. Teruya stood there looking at Rei, who turned around and began walking out of the arena.
"Masters and Elders! Here my call to you, and look at what I have for your viewing pleasure!" Seijiro exclaimed calmly.
Seijiro lifted his hand, his palm parallel to the wall, vertical, as Yasuhiro glared back at him in bewilderment. Seijiro then closed his hand in a fist, adjusting his thumb to be in front of his finger. Then he re-adjusted his fist so that he enclosed his thumb in his fist, covering it.
Like being stabbed in the heart, Yasuhiro was astonished and frightened by his realisation — the realisation of imminent death. However, he tried to play it off with a sinister smile. "There's no way. You're joking, right? He's learnt your hidden sword?" he shouted.
"It's not called the hidden sword! Address it by its true name. Without knowing, Rei was already using the greatest technique from the Destined Emperor. There are three conditions you have to fulfil. First, everything is an extension of his body. His sword, the floor, the air, the bodies of his foes. He can feel the pain he inflicts and knows the damage he has done to them. He feels the movement of the air and the ground. He notices and predicts their movement using their eyes. They not only belong to them but him too — known as Absolute Authority!" exclaimed Seijiro.
"He's not a superhuman! It hasn't even been a year, yet he knows how to do that. You know it, and so does Nagai, but how can he already!" exclaimed Hiroaki Shibakawa.
"I'll ignore that remark. Secondly, his entire body acts precisely and perfectly whilst deprived of vision. His body moves as if it can see the enemy itself. At first glance, he can analyse everything instantaneously and knows where any weak points are. He can create a plan, and he commits to it without any hesitation. He has a psyche so strong that it is nothing but impenetrable. That's not because of his training, but because of himself and his previous experiences — known as True Supremacy." exclaimed Seijiro with a great sense of pride.
"That's insane! You'll break his body, you fool! Do you want his career to end abruptly!" exclaimed Hiroaki Shibkawa, who erupted with anger.
"Calm down! Does it look like his body is breaking, Hiroaki?" said Shinpei, who laughed vehemently after.
Hiroaki's eyes became bloodshot red — filled with nothing but jealousy, disbelief, anger and a dark obsession. "Impossible. Unfathomable. Inconceivable. Unbelievable. Unforgivable!" he thought to himself.
"Finally, and most importantly, the psychological pressure he exerts. Over these months, he's learned to fight whilst only focusing on a single point in a fight — the eyes. Absolute Authority allows him to attack and defend without looking, and alongside True Supremacy, the opponent cannot read his movements. It is all but random in their minds. It causes a substantial increase in hesitation, which creates openings. His foe will then try to adjust, and he will adjust quicker than them — known as Sovereign Subjugation." added Seijiro.
"ENOUGH! This is true lunacy! You've created another monster like yourself and Nagai!" roared the Master of Boxing, Akinobu Motoyanagi.
"If you don't like it, then you shouldn't have played it unfair and attacked him at once! I didn't know you would do this. I taught him everything he wanted to know because I saw that he needed my help. All three of these attributes he possesses allow him to achieve the ultimate technique, not only in Kendo, but in any fighting style. The Eternal Rule!" said Seijiro, with an authoritative roar.
Seijiro spoke the loudest, enabling the Masters to hear him, including the Elders.
"Oi...You can't be serious," said Shinpei Osumi with disbelief slashed across his face. "That kid has the power to kill anyone. If he gets too strong, no human would be able to beat him."
"He doesn't need power like that. For what he wants, he doesn't, Master! Why did you teach him all of that..." said Nagai with a surprised and confused appearance.
"I know. But he may never be able to use this power if he never finds the one he can use it against. I'm giving him the greatest advantage possible if that time comes..." added Seijiro.
All the Masters, and the Elders, were in shock by the possibility of another person, after Nagai, learning Eternal Rule.
Audible to Rei, he was astounded by such coveted power, hidden from his train of thought. Admiring his Master extensively, their unseverable bond was fortified that day. Appreciative of Seijiro and Nagai, Rei smiled tenderly, determined to refine his skill further, transcending his power, eclipsing all.
"Master...You taught me all that! Thank you...and to you Nagai! Master! I'll be victorious for you, and I'll get them for what they did!" Rei mused.
"We have a winner! But what's this? The Masters are inside of the arena!" exclaimed the commentator in amazement.
The Masters, excluding Seijiro, jumped into the arena and began to walk towards Rei.
"What do you think you're doing! Stop it, now! Shinpei" Seijiro screamed.
"Elders orders, friend. Oh, and it's Master Osumi to you," said Shinpei, who began laughing whilst walking towards Rei.
"Elders! I know you can hear me, Master! Tell them to stop this, now!" he roared.
The voice of an elder reverberated through the speaker system. "No."
"Then I'll take matters into my own hands!" said Seijiro. "Nagai, stay here!"
Seijiro joined them, hastily running towards Rei. He did not have a single weapon in his hand, but he willed to protect Rei.
"Master. What's happening?" said Rei in confusion.
"I don't know, but prepare yourself. I know you don't have much strength left, and you'll feel the pain very quickly...but remain calm and steady," said Seijiro with his back to Rei.
"Now. I think it's time we find a conclusion ourselves..." said Yasuhiro Taba with his menacing trademark of a grin on his face.
Rei's life flashed before his eyes. The Masters whom he wanted to gain approval from were now walking towards them. The thought of death was prominent in his mind, and he figured out they wanted to finish off what their students could not. Thus, Rei and Seijiro found themselves in a predicament neither could have predicted. Rei's desire to live grew stronger as he began to lament his life and rued never stopping the gang leader, which extinguished the flame within his parents.