Chapter 9:

The Understanding of Hurt

X = Y

The body is feeble, prone to injury, easy to cut, deceitful when neglected. Its regenerative abilities are impressive, but it prioritises closing wounds, repairing without knowledge, and cannot regrow limbs, nor when it no longer has a template. Optical illusions, misunderstandings, the brain perceives what it can understand, trying to make do with limited information, but is potentially dishonest.Bookmark here

Deceit is truth and falsity integrated, resulting in a difficulty to distinguish it from its constituents. Efficacious in use, believable by nature, a fault within human psychology allows it to be effective, caused by desperation, regardless of intensity.Bookmark here

Monday the 5th of September, 2016. Over a year had passed since the devastating effects, which reaped nothing but sorrow and desolation for Kei Hirojima. In his second year of high school and twelfth grade of his academic career, Kei returned to Metagawa High School after his summer holiday.Bookmark here

He entered his homeroom class and sat down, staring at the television on the news channel. "Another man has been found dead in an alleyway beside a grocery store. The man, identified to be a seventeen-year-old boy, was beaten to death. Marks created from a person's fist, and indents in his skull, show that his brain was damaged severely, and he suffered a brain haemorrhage. Police are on the scene, and detectives are still trying to find the culprit."Bookmark here

"That's the store that I used to go to with Rei to buy some soft drinks...The police still haven't found him! Where could he have gone?" Kei thought to himself in frustration.Bookmark here

Meya walked into class, but she looked different. She had pink highlights in her hair that ran down her face.Bookmark here

"Good morning, Kei!" she said with a smiling expression.Bookmark here

"Good morning!" Kei responded with a smile. It quickly dissolved into a serious, saddened look.Bookmark here

Meya noticed, walking up to Kei and sitting down at her seat.Bookmark here

"Is everything okay?" she said.Bookmark here

"Yeah. The news got to me. That's all. How is Act Time going for you, Abe, Risa, and the other girls?" he said with a gentle voice and a kind look.Bookmark here

"It's going good! Our plans of starting an acting agency are actually happening! Abe's trying to find people who can sponsor us!" said Meya with great enthusiasm.Bookmark here

Kanda entered the classroom and sat down in his seat.Bookmark here

"Hey, guys. Good morning," he said in a dull tone.Bookmark here

"Good morning!" both Meya and Kei responded.Bookmark here

Meya and Kanda had been visiting Kei for the past year. Most days, they spent their time together in and outside of school. On the weekends, they came to visit, which the Rakashi family enjoyed, whilst Kei slowly integrated himself into his new life.Bookmark here

"I'm guessing that you want to pursue your career in acting, right?" said Kei.Bookmark here

"Yeah! I'll give you and Kanda tickets to my first show! Or even my first movies!" she said.Bookmark here

"Hmmm..." said Kanda lengthily.Bookmark here

"What's the hum for?" Kei questioned Kanda, confused.Bookmark here

"You forgot to invite someone, but just the two of us is fine..." said Kanda.Bookmark here

Both Meya and Kei look at each other. Kei becomes saddened at the thought of the person they are missing.Bookmark here

"Kanda...You didn't need to remind Kei." said Meya in an upset voice, but she mustered up a smile.Bookmark here

"No, it's fine, Meya. I'll find Rei. Even if the police cannot, he said he would be back. I'm going to become a detective and find everyone involved." said Kei.Bookmark here

"Isn't the case cold? The police have no idea who could have done it." added Kanda.Bookmark here

"No matter who you are, in this day and age, you cannot get away with an injustice like that. We have the technology to find the littlest things. It's possible, but the police are busy with other crimes and occurrences that need to be dealt with." said Kei with a stern tone.Bookmark here

"Where do you two want to go after school? Let's enjoy the decent weather while it lasts! I bought tickets to see an action movie where they fight using music. Just for the three of us!" she said with a smile.Bookmark here

"I wouldn't mind going. What about you, Kanda?" said Kei, turning his head to look at Kanda.Bookmark here

"I don't mind. Where should we meet up?" responded Kanda.Bookmark here

"We can meet at the mall near the centre of town. The Cinema is in there on the top floor." added Meya in excitement.Bookmark here

"Okay then! It's sorted," said Kei with a smile.Bookmark here

After the school day ended, and the three of them went home, Kei exited his house and had changed his clothing. He was wearing a white jacket that did not have a hood, with black cuffs on the end of the arms. The collar was black, and he was wearing a white shirt beneath his jacket. He had black trainers on with grey trousers.Bookmark here

"Make sure you three stick together, Kei!" said Urika, his adoptive mother.Bookmark here

Nozomi, his grandmother, was standing at the door with Urika, who watched him leave with a smile.Bookmark here

"I will, mother! You don't have to worry about me!" added Kei with a smile.Bookmark here

"He seems to be doing well, grandmother. I hope he continues to smile like that. Such a brave boy." Urika spoke with a warm-hearted look of love.Bookmark here

He strolled down the streets, and a few minutes later, he passed a dark alleyway. In the corner of his eye, he could see red splatters. Fear awoke inside of him, but his curiosity suppressed it. He walked into it and remained vigilant. Hidden by the darkness was a body on the floor, leaning against the wall, in a slump. Covered in blood, the person looked to be a few years older than Kei but relatively young.Bookmark here

"What the heck?! Another dead body, and it's not a prosthetic. The blood is too smells like metal rusting! I need to call the police!" Kei thought to himself. He took his phone out and looked closer at the body. He could see something reflecting light near the ground. "That is not blood. It looks like a fragment from a knife or a sharpened metal weapon. There are cuts near his throat, and the source of the blood is his stomach." he continued to think.Bookmark here

He called the police, who arrived quickly on the scene. They surrounded the place with tape and barriers so no one could enter. A familiar face had just arrived in his police car, and he got out.Bookmark here

"Wow! Another one? How many more are there going to be." said Officer Sukiga. "This must be some kind of cruel fate. It's been quite a while, Kei."Bookmark here

Kei watched Sukiga, who had a big smile on his face, approach him.Bookmark here

"It definitely has, Officer Tanake," said Kei.Bookmark here

A woman stepped out of Sukiga's car, bringing the walkie talkie in her hand away from her mouth and placing it on her belt, walking towards Sukiga.Bookmark here

"We have another case? What happened to this one?" she said.Bookmark here

"It looks like his stomach was slit open. There's part of the broken blade on the ground. The body looked fresh because the blood hadn't dried up, and the clotting cascade has not happened yet. His body temperature felt normal, and his wounds hadn't closed. No rigor mortis or algor mortis, nor were there any insects near his body." said Kei in a wise manner.Bookmark here

Both Officer Sukiga Tanake and Officer Kamei Chie looked stunned by what Kei said. They glanced at each other before looking at him.Bookmark here

"You got all of that from the body already?" she said.Bookmark here

"Yeah. We haven't met yet, have we? I'm Kei Hirojima." he said.Bookmark here

"I recognise you. We tried looking for your brother, but we haven't found him. I'm sorry for that, but we're still looking for him and those people that did that to you. You should become a detective when you're older. You speak like one of them. Oh, I'm Officer Kamei Chie. I forget to say that first!" she said with a smile.Bookmark here

"That's fine. You don't have to apologise. I actually want to become a detective." said Kei, realising something. "I just remembered! I have to be somewhere. It was nice meeting you. Bye!" said Kei, running off to the mall. He left both Sukiga and Kamei in bewilderment.Bookmark here

He made it to the same street that the mall was on. He had his head down and contemplated to himself.Bookmark here

"Who were they...the ones on the motorcycles...How did they set fire to the house? What caused it...where are they now? Are they linked to the man that was left in the alleyway? What reason would you have to take people out? Gang wars? But why only one body? He was singled out...why couldn't mother and father escape?! Who held them down? How did they know about father...Tatashi Industrial. This isn't adding up..." Kei thought to himself erratically whilst being bombarded by memories and his subconscious trying to piece together the puzzle left for him to solve.Bookmark here

He continued to walk further as he could see Meya in a different outfit. She was wearing a straw hat with a red-pink ribbon around it. She was wearing a red floral dress that went up to her knees, with short sleeves. Around each wrist were two blue ribbons and a black choker around her neck. Kei blushed slightly, and he looked at her with a surprised face.Bookmark here

"Kei! You made it. Kanda's inside, waiting for us! We thought you weren't going to show up!" she said, smiling. "What's wrong?" she said with a concerned look.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry for being late. I'll tell you about it later, I think. You know what. It's better if I didn't. Let's go inside." Kei said with a smile on his face whilst scratching the back of his head.Bookmark here

Kei, enjoying his time with his friends, with his mind occupied by the movie, forgot about what happened recently. Far away within the mountainous region, Rei continued fighting to his limits and smashing his boundaries. After returning to the Kirihoshin Dojo of Kendo from his first Subterranean battle with a pouch of money in his hands, he made a decision. He was standing in front of the Dojo, whilst Seijiro and Nagai were inside of the open doors, standing beside them.Bookmark here

"Here, Master," said Rei with a smile, throwing the pouch of money with great power into Seijiro's hands. "I've enjoyed my time here. Thank you for teaching me Bushido and true Kendo, and for reminding me of the things that I forgot. You'll be happy to know that I don't have this burning rage inside of me anymore." Rei added, smiling innocently. "Take that as a leaving gift from me. Money isn't what I need."Bookmark here

"You're welcome to visit here again, Rei, my student. Learn as much as you can, and never stop. Your justice isn't what you want, it's what everyone else including you needs." said Seijiro with a sweet smile.Bookmark here

"Hey! Hey! Hey! I'll see you another day, Rei! Don't go doing bad things, alright!" said Nagai, hands behind his head and a smile. "You know how important it is for us to keep Eternal Rule a secret!"Bookmark here

"I'll remember those words," said Rei, spinning around, waving his hand. "I'll tell Master Osumi you said hello! Goodbye, brother. Goodbye to you too, father!" Rei said, laughing to himself.Bookmark here

Seijiro and Nagai looked at each other in confusion, but then they stared at Rei walking away.Bookmark here

"Seriously. We could be your sons, Master! Think about it for a second! What if we were, but in a different life. Wow! I blew my own mind!" Nagai said with fickle astonishment.Bookmark here

Both Nagai and Seijiro began to laugh, but Rei could not hear them, and he did not look back. Instead, he looked forward to the new world, stepping valorously. Rei walked for about three minutes, and Imatosen Sekiru, who was one of the six additional students that jumped into the arena to fight him, was waiting there patiently. He had a rolled-up piece of paper in his hands.Bookmark here

"You're the one taking me to Master Osumi's Dojo? I didn't get your name that time we fought. We're good. There's no bad blood between us. Let's get along, okay?" said Rei with an inviting smile.Bookmark here

"Yeah...I'm Imatosen Sekiru. Nice to meet you, and I'm sorry for fighting you like that. It was unfair and uncalled for." said Imatosen with a regretful face.Bookmark here

"How are we going to get there? I don't know the way! That's why I'm relying on you." said Rei with an understanding behind his voice.Bookmark here

"With this map. We don't use technology. We don't live in that world. Just follow me, and we'll be there." said Imatosen.Bookmark here

Rei talked to him to so they could create a bond of brotherhood with each other. It proved to be easy, as they started chatting to each other whilst on their journey there. Both enjoyed each other's company as the path continued to dip and rise, with new challenges ahead.Bookmark here

Rei's dream of wanting to be tutored by all the masters had come to fruition. He wanted to guarantee he did everything possible to stop the gang which threatened his brother's life.Bookmark here

Inside the Dojo of Karate, on the same day which Kei found that dead body, Rei fought Imatsoen Sekiru. Rei had spent approximately six months learning Karate — under Master Shinpei, now sitting down on the side, along with roughly twenty other students currently in the Dojo.Bookmark here

Rei kept his eyes locked onto Imatosen, who was intimidated and did not move forward. He only held his side-facing stance to move and to protect himself.Bookmark here

"He's exactly how he was then...I could move all my limbs to try to fake him out, but it will never work. He's too scary...I can't think to do body isn't letting me..." Imatosen thought to himself in fear, which he tried hiding.Bookmark here

Rei moved around him as Imatosen tried to take a step back. At that moment, Rei dashed in and performed a sweeping leg kick to the back of Imatosen's trailing leg. He knocked him off balance as Rei bent down and put his fist quickly to his neck.Bookmark here

"Excellent! Excellent Ashi Barai! (Foot Sweep)" bellowed Shinpei, who began laughing hysterically. "That's it, Rei! Your form still needs work, and so too does your decision making, but that was good from you both!"Bookmark here

"Thank you, Master Osumi!" Rei responded with a smile. "Hehe. That was good on your part, Imatosen." Rei said, putting out his hand to help him up.Bookmark here

Imatosen grabbed Rei's arm, who pulled him up with little to no effort. Imatosen was surprised by the power of his pull. "When can you spar next." Imatosen spoke reluctantly.Bookmark here

"Just ask me. I'll be happy to fight with you again!" exclaimed Rei, putting his fist out. Imatosen looked at him with admiration and gave him a fist bump.Bookmark here

"Even Imatosen is asking him for a fight," whispered a student. "We should ask Rei to spar with us so we can learn." another whispered. "Sounds good, doesn't it. Do you want to join us." whispered another. "Yeah. I'll do it if you do it." another responded with a whisper.Bookmark here

Thus, both brothers, who bore the tragic fate of losing their parents, who shared an upbringing in the same environment, around the same people, walked down their paths. Fuelled no longer by the hatred towards that gang but by the love shown to him, Rei was steadfast in his efforts to thwart evildoers who he would surely come across.Bookmark here

Driven by his friends and the new family that accepted him immediately, Kei quickly approached that turning point, slowly becoming a self-sufficient adult, continuing to gain knowledge in the field of criminology.Bookmark here

Both had a single goal — to seek retribution on the assailants of their parents and bring justice to them in their way.Bookmark here

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