Chapter 7:

The Heart Becomes Fervent To

X = Y

Feelings, innate ephemeral inconsistencies, unable to be taught, gained through experience, turbulent and erratic, affect everyone fundamentally, without indication, their effect, unique with every sentient being, unknown unless provoked. Bookmark here

Feelings have influenced humanity since time immemorial, eradicating thought processes and potential futures, swaying favour between ideals, causing consideration of an extremity, inducing rebellion. Such instigators of betrayal, tarnishers of loyalty, destroyers of bonds are not understandable by others until experienced. However, to the experienced, they are justifiable, but such impulse is difficult to justify for the beholder.Bookmark here

Simply put, feelings are spontaneously transpiring, intangible, immeasurable, eventualities. Observable yet invisible, concealed within humans, transparent to the eyes, incomprehensible to the mind, yet understood by the heart, essential to the essence of human life.Bookmark here

The six Masters surrounded Rei and Seijiro. Nagai began to panic, standing there observing, his hands on his head, and he tried to come up with a plan. Unable to comprehend the unplanned events happening, Nagai became hesitant, relying on his instinct and disregarding any thoughts. Everyone in the crowd was silent, watching keenly — their eyes fixated on the gathering of all seven Masters at once.Bookmark here

"Why do you want to destroy Rei? I'm the one who taught him, so destroy me instead!" exclaimed Seijiro gallantly.Bookmark here

"We know! But you're stronger than all of us. You wouldn't go down with a fight, but we're not the ones who came up with the idea!" said Shinpei.Bookmark here

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING! KILL HIM NOW!" said a familiar voice over the loudspeaker. It was a voice that Seijiro recognised.Bookmark here

Startled by the voice, Seijiro had a moment of self-reflection. He portrayed a hint of sadness and betrayal on his face. "Master? Why..." said Seijiro in a sorrowful tone.Bookmark here

"I'm the one who came up with the idea, but for that old man over there." said Yasuhiro in a relaxed attitude but a grinning face.Bookmark here

"What do you think you're doing, Yasuhiro? Fulfil your mission!" said Akinobu, the Master of Boxing. "He's a true monster!" he added.Bookmark here

"What! What! What is happening right now!" said Nagai fearfully.Bookmark here

"What are they doing? What's going to happen? All we can do is wait for the drama to unfold, right in front of our very eyes! Remember, if any of this gets out to the public, then so will your head! Haha!" said the commentator in a booming laugh.Bookmark here

Umetori Kamahiro walked into the circle the Masters created, and he stood beside Seijiro with his arms crossed. "I do not think so, Akinobu," he said with a stern look. "We're not puppets to the system. Nor are we puppeteers who pull strings behind closed doors. We respect the Elders, but when they make stupid decisions, then I will not comply. If they go out of line, then so shall we." he said.Bookmark here

"We. Who are you referring to when you say 'we'? It's only you and Seijiro! Have you forgotten what Elder Furutoku said!" Akinobu exclaimed with pride and resolute disdain.Bookmark here

Suddenly, the other four Masters, excluding the prideful Boxing Master Akinobu, stood firmly beside Seijiro. Rei shifted his body and stood between Seijiro and Shinpei.Bookmark here

"I have no clue...They're surrounding us, protecting us. It's like some sort of civil war. My arms and legs are in pain. My stomach is aching. I'm not going to show my weakness. I'm not weak...I need to be strong to take them on. I have to be, for mother and father. For you, Kei!" Rei thought to himself with the pain ceasing to subside. His legs were quivering violently, and his muscles were frequently convulsing. His bones were shaking whilst his entire body was pulsating from blood circulating from his heart that tried to maintain his oxygen levels.Bookmark here

"Are you rebelling against the Elders? You five surely know what that means! It will not end nicely for any of you!" said Akinobu.Bookmark here

"I still have no explanation to why this is happening-" said Seijiro, as he was cut off by the sound of a door suddenly swinging open ominously.Bookmark here

"I will not let them dispose of a young prospect like this one. He hasn't done anything to earn such treatment," said Shuzo Hokura, Master of Jiu-Jitsu.Bookmark here

Everyone's attention in the arena now steered towards that sound. The box at the top of the Subterranean, which people could not look into from the stands, made its presence known to everyone.Bookmark here

"Go out." said a new voice unfamiliar to Rei, belonging to Elder of Karate, Yoshiaki Katsukawa.Bookmark here

"You are outnumbered, Ginji. Do as we say." said the Elder of Taekwondo, Kenshi Sakaba.Bookmark here

"Your dignity is what we will not strip you of, Ginji." said the Elder of Muay Thai, Hirotake Iwaizumi.Bookmark here

All members of the Elders were wearing expensive kamishimo's with extravagant designs. They had distinguished colours, unique to each Elder. Many guards wearing kamishimo's themselves ran up from all around the arena to escort all seven Elders into the ring.Bookmark here

"Are they guards? Why didn't they jump in?" said Rei in wonder.Bookmark here

"It's because they were part of the plan and were told not to interfere," said Shinpei. "But it looks like the command of one was overruled by the command of many!" he exclaimed as he laughed obnoxiously.Bookmark here

"I don't understand. This was the plan...and you six planned against it...along with the Elders..." said Akinobu, who was against, and was standing opposite, the other six Masters that sided with Seijiro.Bookmark here

The Elders managed to make their way into the arena at that point.Bookmark here

"It looks like there's a ceasefire! Discussion shall be made, and straight after an agreement, we'll get onto the next fight! Currently, the Elders who run this, have made their appearance in front of a crowd! Normally you would never see their faces, but this is a rare opportunity!" said the commentator.Bookmark here

"Stand down, Akinobu. I know when I have been defeated. Thank you for being loyal, but we have lost this fight." said Ginji Furutoku, Elder of Kendo.Bookmark here

"Master. Why did you want to kill Rei? Why didn't you kill me or Nagai when we learnt the Eternal Rule?" said Seijiro in a frustrated, disappointed, angry tone. He could not convey a single emotion, but each emotion blurred with another.Bookmark here

"Come with us. We will tell you everything. You are also included, student of Seijiro." said Teruaki Uenohara, Elder of Jiu-Jitsu. "Carry on with the battles. They will go on as normal, Derukiro," he exclaimed towards the other side of the arena opposite the box.Bookmark here

"Right right! The fights will continue, as the Elders will take their business elsewhere! Let us begin with the next card!" said Derukiro, the commentator for the Subterranean.Bookmark here

They walked towards a tunnel past the arena to a heavily guarded area. It split into many paths, and they turned right, which was the most heavily guarded sector. The Elders passed through, and so did the Masters along with Rei and Nagai.Bookmark here

"What is happening. I feel my body is about to break...It's going to break. It's broken already, so how can it break?" Rei thought to himself.Bookmark here

He smiled and collapsed, falling backwards. Seijiro noticed and quickly held him up to stop him from falling. Rei became unconscious.Bookmark here

"It is to be expected. He went against foes you wouldn't dare face in a fight at his rank. Yet he did it because of his past trauma..." said Seijiro with a concerned look.Bookmark here

"You'd better take care of him, Seijiro. He's already keeled over!" said Shinpei laughing loudly.Bookmark here

"Nagai. Take him and the guards with you to the medical attention centre, where the other fighters are." Seijiro added.Bookmark here

"Yes! Yes! Yes! I shall." said Nagai, taking the body of Rei with him. A couple of guards, who the Elders asked, followed Nagai to escort him.Bookmark here

They entered a large room filled with many rich, wonderous things. There were beautiful chairs, walls decorated splendidly with unique patterns, and the room filled with lavish items.Bookmark here

"Sit down. We have much to discuss. This worked well in our favour. He shouldn't hear what we say." said the Elder of Judo, Yusakuro Osuga.Bookmark here

The seven Masters and the seven Elders sat across one another, respectively.Bookmark here

"I know you have much to wonder, Seijiro. I will tell you. I do not want this to affect the relationship between the Masters. Akinobu, worry not. You have a right to be concerned." said the Elder of Boxing, Shigehisha Miyokawa.Bookmark here

"Why is that? I only told you about Rei through a letter, and this is what you decided to do when you first meet him?" said Seijiro in a calm manner.Bookmark here

"It seems like someone had a vendetta against him because he was reminded of someone else," added Shuzo Hokura, the Master of Jiu-Jitsu. "I think it's best if we get the explanation from the one behind this all. I think that would be best, otherwise, the true meaning of the story will be lost."Bookmark here

"After seeing his display, I was mistaken. However, he is now your responsibility, Seijiro. I wish that you do not make the same mistake I did." said Ginji Furutoku, Elder of Kendo. "I am the one who convinced the Masters to plot the destruction of Rei behind the Elders' back. Fifteen years ago, I taught the Eternal Rule to a boy who seemed like the world gave up on him. He was but a child, and I couldn't feel anything but sorrow and anguish as I watched him, day after day, carrying a blank expression on his face. I took him as a student, like you did, Seijiro. You told me of Nagai after he became too powerful, so I could not dispose of him without raising suspicion. I couldn't risk you creating another one..."Bookmark here

"Why Master?" said Seijiro in an inquisitive, concerned manner.Bookmark here

"That boy killed many members associated with the Subterranean. He killed innocent students with his own hands after he was engulfed by his power-hungry desires and by the ego that he developed. The Elders ordered me to kill him because of how dangerous he became, but I couldn't do it. I let him go into the world, and I do not know where he is. Now the thought of him and the destructive power he possesses plagues my mind. The possible souls he could be tormenting and the lives he takes are my responsibility. However, his Eternal Rule is incomplete. He left too early to complete it..." said Ginji in a remorseful attitude.Bookmark here

"You kept him hidden from me. I've been your student since the beginning of my time in this world. It's the first thing I can remember. A father is what you were to me. You must know how it feels to lose a person you care for, let alone a son." said Seijiro sternly.Bookmark here

"I did keep him hidden from you, and for that, I apologise. I didn't think to introduce you to him. When I knew you would leave me, I slowly began to feel empty. I didn't want to lose that feeling of belonging somewhere, so I fought it off any way I could. This forsaken world introduced me to him, and I took the snake by its fangs..." added Ginji in sadness.Bookmark here

"That's truly insane. I'm utterly surprised at the plan you gave us, Elder," said Hiroaki Shibakawa, with an unchanging face.Bookmark here

"You know about this too you idiot! Elder Furutoku was the one who gave us a reason to defeat Rei using our own students. We went through with it because he is an Elder, and his story sounded reasonable. It was the perfect opportunity to single that boy out and render Seijiro useless. It was the easiest, and the least suspicious, solution." said Akinbou.Bookmark here

"Oh. So I do," said Hiroaki with an empty look on his face.Bookmark here

"You're not going to let Master Furutoku go that easily? No man can run away from their consequences, because they will eventually run towards them without knowing," said Umetori Kamahiro with a calm, relaxed voice. He let out a huge sigh after.Bookmark here

"He has already faced the consequences. Ginji Furutoku will have less command over the subterranean until we can establish that he has changed his way of thinking. Will you accept, Ginji?" said Shigehisha Miyokawa. "Do the rest of you agree?" he added.Bookmark here

"A fine punishment indeed. Take this as an opportunity to learn," said Teruaki Uenohara, the Elder of Jiu-Jutsu.Bookmark here

"Do not tell anyone of this, Seijiro. The rest of the Masters will not be let off lightly. You cannot deny the request I am about to make." said Yusakuro Osuga.Bookmark here

Seijiro wore an expression of concern allied with uncertainty in response to their statements.Bookmark here

Over in the other area of the Subterranean, Rei was lying on a bed in a large modern infirmary. There was medical equipment and technology, along with beds separated by hanging white sheets. He had wires with suction cups attached to his body, along with a strap around his arm, which connected it to a heart monitor, and an IV drip through a tap in his right hand.Bookmark here

He woke up at the sight of the other six students who he fought not too long ago. They, too, were connected to heart monitors, but they did not require IV drips. They had bandages around their bodies to support them. Teruya was the least injured, yet he was lying down with his hands behind his head.Bookmark here

"I-" Rei was interrupted quickly by a familiar voice.Bookmark here

"Oi, kid! You're awake!" said Shinpei, who began laughing hysterically.Bookmark here

"Master, I failed you..." said the student of Karate, Imatosen Sekiru, with a frown on his face.Bookmark here

"Oh, did you? You weren't even supposed to fight him! Raise that head of yours, Imatosen. Laugh at yourself!" said Shinpei with a huge grin.Bookmark here

Imatsoen Sekiru began laughing awkwardly, whilst the other students tried ignoring his bellowing laugh, dumbfounded by his stupidity. Master Shinpei Osumi, being inclusive to Imatson, trying to make the atmosphere less awkward, began laughing obnoxiously, encouraging Imatosen.Bookmark here

"Master Shinpei...What are you doing here?" said Rei with a confused look on his face.Bookmark here

"I'm not the only one here. All of you, come out here!" exclaimed Shinpei.Bookmark here

The six other Masters entered the room, creating an intense atmosphere. The attention of the students placed itself onto their respective Master. All of them were surprised to see them gathered like that. They did not speak but stared at the events that unfolded. The Masters stood close to, or around, Rei, who tried sitting up in his bed.Bookmark here

"OW! Yep! I can't sit up..." said Rei in frustration, laying back down gently, rigidly.Bookmark here

"Seijiro told us about your aspirations and what you truly wanted from us. We allowed all of that to happen to you. We are partly to blame. For that, we are sorry. But to truly show it, we will accept the request he made on your behalf." said Umetori, Master of Judo.Bookmark here

Yasuhiro Taba, Master of Muay Thai, turned around and looked at his student. "Hey! Zanroke! Say hello to your new underclassmen!" he said with an intense happy look on his face.Bookmark here

"That's right, kid. You are now my student, so smile and look happy about it!" said Shinpei, pointing to Rei with a smile, seriously.Bookmark here

Rei could only stare at the Masters who surrounded his bed. He looked at them individually, but they had a serious, yet happy, expression, except a reluctant Akinobu who scoffed.Bookmark here

"I cannot deny the kid on the surface, nor the monster that hides behind his eyes. Those Elders...the punishment they gave wasn't even theirs..." thought Akinobu Motoyanagi, Master of Boxing.Bookmark here

"They've all accepted you, Rei. You are now their students, and with it, you can learn their fighting styles," said Seijiro with a kind smile.Bookmark here

Overwhelmed by his emotions, Rei placed his right arm over his eyes. He tried his best to cover the tears that began to fall from his eyes, but everyone could see them. His lower lip quivered, and he puckered his lips.Bookmark here

"The pain in my body is too much for me. That's why I'm crying..." said Rei in an uncontrollable manner. "Thank you...for taking me in as a student! I will not fail you! I promise!" he exclaimed, whimpering and shouting, unable to control his voice. He continued to cry whilst covering his face with his arm.Bookmark here

"Look at that. You made him cry. Fascinating, isn't it, Shinpei?" said Hiroaki with a smirk.Bookmark here

"Our stomachs are still not free from the sword. Anything we do now must be passed through the Elders. They have to make sure that we don't betray them again." said Umetori with a smirk. "But that's something we have to deal with. Together. Not one of us is alone in this. Not a single one..."Bookmark here

Rei truly believed he would have enough power to take down the menace that wandered the streets of his hometown. All the Masters had taken him on as a student, and he would have gruelling moments, moments of satisfaction, and moments of happiness. The time he wished upon the earth would finally come to fruition, and he continued to become strong enough for his brother and his deceased parents.Bookmark here

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