X = Y
Monday the 3rd of October, 2016. Rei was standing in front of Shinpei, who had his arms and legs spread out. The entire Dojo stared in terror, including Rei, who was more confused than he realised.
"You want me...to punch you in the Solar Plexus, Master?" said Rei, with a distraught expression.
"Test your ability, Rei! Try and knock me down in a single punch. If you do not, then I will force you to remain here! There's nothing more I have to teach you. You've done all there is to do here once you have beaten the Master!" exclaimed Shinpei with a wild, crazy look as he began to laugh unpleasantly. "Show me what the Eternal Rule can do!"
"The laws are different with you compared to Master Kirihoshin. I can't defeat him. Maybe I could defeat Nagai, but that's me being optimistic. I should really call him brother instead of just Nagai. Brother Nagai then..." said Rei to himself.
"What do you mean! This isn't Seijiro's Dojo. It's mine! Defeat me with Karate, not Kendo. Maybe one day you could beat me in an actual fight, but I'll probably be too old to lay a finger on you!" said Shinpei. He let out an echoing laugh.
"Okay, Master! Are you ready," said Rei, bearing an innocent smile.
"YEAH! FIGHT! REI!" Shinpei bellowed.
Rei assumed a stance where he stood sideways, with his left foot ahead of his right, his eyes locked onto Master Shinpei's eyes. Rei swivelled on his left foot, using all of his strength, allowing his body to turn leftward. He lifted his right foot and smashed it into the ground in front. He moved his right arm impetuously, forming a fist swiftly, thrusting it into Shinpei's Solar Plexus, and following through with his right arm.
Rei pulled his arm back and watched Shinpei, his legs began to quiver, and that motion grew stronger. Everyone noticed him shaking, and it grew more violent. Shinpei tried sustaining a brave expression and remaining in a spread-out stance, giving the illusion that he was unfazed. However, he could not maintain it and fell, with his right hand on the ground, supporting him, and his left hand on his left knee, which he kneeled on.
All the students were shocked as Shinpei looked up at Rei and let out a proud smile. He stood up on both feet after breathing heavily for a couple of seconds and releasing a bit of sweat from his forehead, which glistened.
"Not bad, kid!" he said, beginning to laugh obnoxiously. It immediately transformed into coughing, and he tried to cover his mouth. Blood flew from Shinpei's mouth onto the floor and onto his hands.
"What the heck," Shinpei wondered with an eerie, calm smile. "What are you going to do about this? What was that? True Supremacy? You knew what my weak point was, and you didn't hesitate to act."
"I'm sorry, Master! I guess I still need to work on that," said Rei with a worried look. "Are you going to be okay? Guys, I think we need medical attention for Master!"
"If I needed medical attention from every single hit I took, then I wouldn't be standing here. Pain makes you more resilient, and resilience makes you a stronger person, Rei!" said Shinpei with a growing, prideful smile. "Now, are you going to make the announcement now, or should I?"
All the students started talking amongst themselves. One of them spoke to Rei. "Announcement? What for?".
"Wait! Are you leaving, Rei?" said another one.
"You've figured me out. I've enjoyed my time here getting to know you guys. The fights were fun, and so were the jokes! Don't forget me in your memories! I'll remember you guys too. And don't cry over me leaving. Hehe!" Rei said with his trademark goofy smile.
"When are you going to leave?" said Imatosen, whilst sidelined with the students.
"I already asked Master Osumi to send a message to Master Shibakawa. He's going to get someone to pick me up from here. I'm going to learn Taekwondo next. If anyone wants to, they can come with me, right?" said Rei with an optimistic expression.
"I don't think we can. But thanks for the offer. If Master would listen to anyone, it's you, Rei." said Imatosen with a smile on his face.
"Right?" said another student next to him.
All the faces of the students lit up with glee. They were gratefully happy about meeting Rei and the things he showed them. What was once impossible to see a rookie do, became possible thanks to his hard work. They had memories of Rei lifting Ishi Sashi (Stone Padlocks) outside the Dojo with the guidance of Master Osumi. He lifted them with ease and moved on to heavier weights that they could not lift themselves.
They remembered Rei slamming the doors open and breaking them the first time he entered. Shinpei began laughing in response whilst Rei looked remorseful and laughed it off. Everyone present wondered how Rei, with his strength akin to an animal, obtained such power because it was incomparable to a human.
They remembered watching him spar with their fellow peers, along with Master Osumi, and how Rei quickly learnt to get along with them, learning techniques through them. To their surprise, he could perform a Mawashi Geri (Roundhouse Kick) with his right foot and then an Ura Ushiro Mawashi Geri (Spinning Heel Kick) with his left foot whilst turning, and then a Tatsumaki Senpuu Kyaku (Tornado Kick) in succession. It was unheard of that a Karate student, who knew of a Taekwondo move, could perform one stupendously without prior training.
They remembered how kind he was and how motivated he remained, no matter how many times he was beaten by the more experienced students or by Master Osumi. A minority of the students were visually happy that Rei was moving on, and a majority of them looked unfazed, but in reality, were secretly hiding their emotions away. The rest had an upset look which they failed to hide.
A few more days passed. Rei entered Master Osumi's Dojo, slowly opening the door. There was no one inside.
"I didn't break the door this time. How many times have I broken it? I haven't kept count, so I don't know. It's been a lot though. I'm talking to myself so the other's know I'm here! Where are you guys? I know you're here somewhere." Rei said to himself as his voice echoed slightly through the baron Dojo. He had a smile on his face like he knew what was going on.
Rei walked towards the door to the next room and remained cheerful.
"Maybe you guys are in the other room. Or are you underneath the Dojo? Have you really hidden in the basement? Master? Were you the one who did this?" Rei continued to talk to himself, attempting to persuade those hidden from him to come out.
He opened the sliding door to the second room with a slam. The door shattered, and he caused a minor tremor to shake the Dojo.
"Oops. I can fix that later..."
There was a note on the table in the second room, beside the trap door. Rei walked over to it, and he found a large pouch with things inside. He picked up the notes and read them.
"I'm taking the young ones to the Subterranean. You know, the arena that you fought in. We went there together with the other younglings."
"The subterranean..." Rei thought about the seven months that he spent at Master Osumi's Dojo. During that time, Master Osumi took him back to the Subterranean with the students, some of which he befriended. He remembered meeting with the skilled and expert fighters of each fighting style, who stayed there to make money and get stronger. He showed them respect, and eventually, they did too.
The division he was in did not allow him to fight opponents classified higher than intermediate fighters. He could not fight for long because everyone that he could fight was scared to battle. His only option was to wait another three years to become an expert.
"If you see this note, then I knew you would sneak back to the Dojo without us so you could leave and avoid the emotional goodbye! You're a tricky one, kid! If that's so, then take care, Rei! All these guys are going to miss their little brother! Keep smiling!" The note ended there.
Rei began to pout his lips, and a single teardrop fell down his face. Then another fell, and both created dark spots on the note, which were the same size. He rubbed his eyes wildly with his arm.
"I can't cry. What would they say if I was brought to tears by a note? I need to be there for him...my eyes need to be focused on the future. I can't let them get cloudy now..." Rei thought with an intense feeling of loss. He brushed his emotions to one side and smiled, vowing to remember how he felt, always.
Rei took the note and the large pouch left on the table. He walked past the broken door and slowly slid open the front door. The person standing in front of the Dojo, beyond the single step to stand on the wooden walkway that surrounded the Dojo, was Master Osumi. He was wearing a black cloak with a white trim right at the bottom, and he stared directly at Rei. Surrounding the Dojo were trees and a path paved with stones inside the forest that allowed wanderers to exit or travel through it to other desirable places.
Master Osumi began to laugh. "Are those tears? What were you crying about! If you have something to cry about, then ask them! What a stroke of luck, right?" He had an enormous smile on his face.
Behind Shinpei Osumi were his students who slowly walked through the path in an individual line, not bringing attention to themselves. They were wearing the same cloak as Shinpei. Imatosen was right at the front, and he was surprised to see Rei with a letter in one hand and a pouch in the other. Everyone began to gather slowly at the front.
"You got here before us? I was wondering why you left so early? But what's the bag for?" Imatosen questioned Rei about his possessions, and no sad thoughts played with his mind.
Frozen by his fervid feelings, Rei watched everyone gathering in front of him, behind Shinpei. He started walking towards the crowd of students slowly, with his head dipped down so they could not see his face.
"Are you leaving, Rei? What about a goodbye?" The students whispered their thoughts amongst each other, and they asked Rei questions. Shinpei watched him walk with a face that he understood. For the first time, he had a kind smile which Rei heed no attention to, as they passed each other.
"Did you really think that the message you left with Hiroaki would get past me, Rei? You've got me all emotional. I actually have a soft spot for you. Look at me, the great Master of Karate!" He spoke with sympathy and compassion.
Rei lifted his head to etch the sight of Shinpei's back into his eyes one last time before turning his head around to look at the students. The feelings of loss re-surfaced, and he became upset momentarily before smiling with his trademark grin.
"I would hug you all before I go now that it's come to his, but I think that would take too long. How about a high five instead?"
"I'm fine with that."
"If you do it, then I'll do it."
"Goodbye, Rei! Come back when you can!"
Shinpei turned around to see Rei walking up to Imatosen, who had a proud smile for his friend. They gave each other a high five as Rei walked past him. Imatosen turned around and could see all the students giving him a high five before leaving. They stood still in front of the Dojo to see Rei disappearing into the forest.
"I know you're hiding something, kid. The way you fight and the way you act...you're fighting like you're standing on top of a million bodies. You act like someone who's prepared to die for anyone, and you never seem to forget your true self. Motivated by whatever you saw in your past, you're like the thing that comes to get everyone that deserves it. You walk and talk for someone else...power doesn't affect you. If you were given a billion riches for the body of a dead person, you'd bury that body without hesitation whilst honouring those who came before you. You're not hungry for something. That something is hungry for you, and you're trying to reach it. You've found your calling, and now it's trying to call you back. Remain wise and humorous, Rei!" The time that Master Shinpei spent with Rei flew through his mind like an arrow that eventually decayed after circling the entire world.
Rei walked through the forest on the stone path, and a mysterious figure made its presence known.
"You've mastered Karate. What's next for you, old friend?" said a familiar voice with an inviting smile.
"You know the way, Takashi Bizen," responded Rei with a smile.
Thus, Rei enrolled as a student of Taekwondo under Master Hiroaki Shibakawa. With it, he met Takashi Bizen, one of the students he fought in the Subterranean. Through the memories he relished with the students at Osumi Dojo, Rei felt the kind warmth of a family, one that would neither hurt nor burn him. They spurred his growth, and he savoured every single moment with them.
From meeting those like him, he came closer to truly understanding the Bushido that Seijiro taught. With another fighting style under his belt, Rei trod safely, hoping he would meet his brother again.