Chapter 44:

(Non-Canon Ending) Hope and Believe, For You Will Prevail

X = Y

Author's Note: This is a non-canon chapter — it doesn't occur in this story's continuity. The ending is still vague, and the story is still expansive with the characters left at the end. All loose ends were wrapped up, and there are some mysteries you can figure out for yourself. Think of them as easter eggs, such as the tunnels under the Dojos and other stuff : ] I wanted to include this to make it feel 'whole', like a true ending if you wish to think of it like that.Bookmark here

Love. What is it? A feeling? A thought? The desire to be with someone for eternity? The admiration you have for someone? A wanting to protect someone? It is explainable, yet words will never do it justice. An unstoppable force, some say. It is what makes a human, human, and not a single person is born without it. Even if one rejects it entirely, they cannot live without a heart, for it is love's origin. Love in its truest form is only experienced when one has something the other does not, thus fulfilling each other.Bookmark here

A year elapsed, fluttering amidst winds of time. From a picturesque house situated on a typical street in Machira Town, two men burst from their homes, standing dauntlessly. One was a detective dressed like one, and the other dressed in a suit, both from the same family. Their adoptive mother stood behind them, fawning over their relationship.Bookmark here

"Goodbye boys!" she exclaimed mirthfully, waving.Bookmark here

"Goodbye!" Rei turned around, waving back with a smile.Bookmark here

"Yeah! Goodbye!" Kei added, smiling and waving.Bookmark here

They continued walking away, both entering Kei's unmarked car.Bookmark here

"Who knew life was like this. Being an office worker isn't my thing." Rei said tiredly.Bookmark here

"I don't think there's much we can do. As sad as it is, you have a criminal record." Kei added, turning on the car engine.Bookmark here

"I guess I'm a gangster, huh?" Rei scoffed, smiling stupidly. "I'm so close to making it as a competitive Martial Artist. After that, I'll leave this job at the office." Rei added.Bookmark here

"If that's what you want to do. But first, let's get you to your work place." Kei added.Bookmark here

They approach the precinct, but Kei noticed a few crucial figures standing at the front. He parked his car, which bemused Rei.Bookmark here

"Why are we stopping here? At the police department? We don't go this way." Rei added.Bookmark here

Kei rolled down the windows whilst the figures began walking towards him.Bookmark here

"Hey! Kei! And is that...It's been a long time since I've seen you." Officer Sukiga Tanake replied kindly.Bookmark here

"You're that officer from that night." Rei added.Bookmark here

"I'm glad everything worked out for you, Kei. It's like I taught you how to be a detective just yesterday." Detective Ryotaro Nabeshima reminisced.Bookmark here

"Well, it's because we work in the same department together," Kei said, turning to Rei. "This is Detective Nabeshima, who I shadowed. That's the Superintedent, and you know about officer Tanake." Kei added.Bookmark here

"Superintedent? Wow..." Rei added, smiling. "Hello there."Bookmark here

"Hello, Rei. It's been a long time since I've seen you. I asked Kei to bring you here, to thank you again." Superintendent Masazaki Hamabe stated.Bookmark here

A woman wearing a floral dress walked up to Sukiga, standing beside him.Bookmark here

"Sukiga. This is where you went. I thought you were going to take me back home." Kamei Chie said.Bookmark here

"Who is this?" Rei asked.Bookmark here

"Oh! You're Rei Hirojima! Hi! I was trying to find you when you went missing with my husband." Kamei exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Husband? Who's that?" Rei asked.Bookmark here

"Me. I'm going to be a father soon. Heh!" Sukiga exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Wow. Congratulations." Rei added.Bookmark here

"Thank you!" Kamei exclaimed, smiling happily.Bookmark here

"We'd better get going. I have to drop Rei off to his job." Kei said casually.Bookmark here

They all gave the brothers sentiments a pleasant farewell, and Rei exited the car at a regular office building. Kei drove back to the precinct and continued to work the day.Bookmark here

The day passed until regular day-time jobs finished. In the mountains, at the Kirihoshin Dojo of Kendo, Seijiro and Nagai were sitting down, contemplating about life itself. They were sitting down, meditating, but a brief pause in focus interfered with Nagai's concentration. Opening his eyes, he looked to his Master, who turned his head to face him before opening his eyes.Bookmark here

"Master. That's really, really, really weird." Nagai added with an innocent smile.Bookmark here

"I can feel your concentration break." Seijiro answered composedly.Bookmark here

"What do you think the rest of the Masters and Elders are doing now?" Nagai added.Bookmark here

"Shinpei is still a muscle-headed fool torturing his students but enjoying the art. Hiraoki is absent-minded but working with his students carefully. Yasuhiro is still a maniac, but unlike Shinpei, likes encouraging his students if he recognises their potential. Shuzo is still the kindest master, teaching the ways of Jiu-Jutsu. Umetori is still thinking to this day. Akinobu is clearly a villain, but no one seems to care. The Elders are still running the Subterranean, but there time is nearly over. They're changing the system for the betterment of future students." Seijiro explained.Bookmark here

Unexpectedly, the doors to the Dojo began shaking. A single hand latched onto the indent on the other side, and they slammed the door open, causing quakes to ripple through the Dojo. An infectious mischievous smile awaited the two. Luminous in the sunlight, gleaming to Seijiro and Nagai, whose astonishment transformed into exhilaration.Bookmark here

"Rei! Wow! Wow! Wow! Did you do that with one hand?" Nagai exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Eventualities. You would have returned no matter what I said." Seijiro remarked proudly.Bookmark here

"Hello, Master. Nagai. If you don't mind, I wanted to use this place for something. I also want you to meet some people, so come out at the front of the Dojo." Rei stated, smiling waywardly.Bookmark here

"Wait. What do you have planned?" Seijiro responded.Bookmark here

"Follow me, and wait at the front." Rei repeated.Bookmark here

Seijiro and Nagai stood at the front, far behind Rei, perplexed as a woman and her child walking towards the Dojo.Bookmark here

"Looks like we're the first to make it, Higo." Futami Sai said happily, holding the hand of her four-year-old.Bookmark here

Higo had a piece of paper folded up. They walked up to the Dojo, and Futami stared at Seijiro and Nagai before looking at Rei.Bookmark here

"Hello, Rei. I came here earlier than usual. Higo wants to give you something." Futami spoke assuredly. "Go on, Higo."Bookmark here

"My mom told me to make this for you because you were a superhero, and you saved her, and father was a superhero, so he had to leave!" Higo exclaimed excitedly, his eyes shimmering, handing over the note.Bookmark here

Rei was shocked but accepted the note, feeling sentimental about his words and his lacklustre understanding of his father.Bookmark here

"Is that so?" Rei responded, smiling.Bookmark here

He stared at the note, reading the words drawn in crayon over the entire page: "Thank you!"Bookmark here

Teary-eyed, Rei placed his right arm across his eyes and began rubbing them, preventing himself from crying. The affection from the note and the acknowledgement he gained from a child he saved was more than enough to make him feel warm.Bookmark here

"Mister! I was told that you had cool fighting moves too! Teach me one day!" Higo exclaimed.Bookmark here

Rei looked at him, smiling, bending his knees to reach his face.Bookmark here

"Yeah, sure. Anytime!" Rei replied, smiling.Bookmark here

Futami Sai was smiling, but Seijiro and Nagai were staring in confoundment.Bookmark here

"I guess this is his way of sorting things out." Nagai stated, smiling.Bookmark here

"I suppose so." Seijiro added.Bookmark here

A bigger group of people, including Yasuhide, Abe, Meya and Kei, with their parents, arrived. More people were still walking through the forest, obscured by the trees. Rei saw them, and they approached him. Meya and Abe wore opulent clothes, whilst Kei wore casual clothing. Urika and Akira Rakashi were there, with Abe's and Meya's parents. Everyone was puzzled by the lone Feudal-Era building that sat in the middle of a forest beside a mountain.Bookmark here

"Looks like you all could make it!" Rei exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Yeah. I guess I could." Yasuhide said.Bookmark here

"What's all this for? Who are they?" Akira asked.Bookmark here

"These two? The older looking one is my Master. When I went missing, he was the one who took me in. The other one is like a brother to me. He's Nagai, and I've been training with him." Rei explained.Bookmark here

"Wow! Look at the people, Master." Nagai exclaimed to Seijiro.Bookmark here

"Why am I allowing this to happen? What does he even want to do?" Seijiro spoke in disappointment, with a scent of happiness.Bookmark here

"Oh. Then thank him for me. I should do it myself." Akira said to Rei. "Thank you, Rei's master and brother for taking care of him." Akira exclaimed to Seijiro and Nagai.Bookmark here

"Rei...Why did you bring us up here?" Abe asked affectionately.Bookmark here

"Me? It's for Kei. I wanted him to tell someone something special." Rei said, staring at him.Bookmark here

"Me? What would I say? To who?" Kei responded confusedly.Bookmark here

"Wait...Rei...Are you scared?" Abe said cheekily, smiling.Bookmark here

"Scared of what?" Rei responded, smiling.Bookmark here

"You're afraid of saying it...I know...That's why you want Kei to say it to someone first..." Abe added.Bookmark here

"Say what? What's going to happen. Don't tell me..." Urika responded in glee.Bookmark here

"Well, there is a person I'm scared of. Let me think...They always seem annoyed, and they're always there for some reason, and they always send mixed signals, and they're mean to me. Maybe I like this person too much..." Rei said mockingly.Bookmark here

"Oh really? Well there's a person that I know that always disappears, everytime he does, I can't stop thinking about him." Abe said confidently and playfully.Bookmark here

"Why did you bring all of us here, Rei?" Abe's mother asked.Bookmark here

"Listen. You see, it took a long time to plan this. To gather everyone here that I wanted. For all the things that people have done, I wanted to give it back. It's been tough not only for me, but for everyone else." Rei said.Bookmark here

"Rei..." Abe responded.Bookmark here

"What's happening here?" Meya whispered to Kei.Bookmark here

"Let's wait and find out." Kei responded.Bookmark here

"Abe. You have been with me since the start of that crazy journey. You've always been there for me, and I know how you feel, and I don't want to let that feeling go. Will do I say this?" Rei said nervously.Bookmark here

"Will you what..." Abe said in astonishment.Bookmark here

"Is there an easier way to say this? Fine...I've been through worse. Will" Rei said.Bookmark here

After hearing these words, the atmosphere became silent and suddenly rose to jubilation. Tears rolling from Abe's eyes told Rei of her decision. Her parents were happy, and her mother began crying. Everyone began smiling, including Seijiro and Nagai.Bookmark here

"Yes...I will!" Abe exclaimed, hugging Rei tightly, who embraced her back.Bookmark here

"Is this what the invitation was for?" Kei added after they stopped hugging.Bookmark here

"Yeah...But there's also another reason, right, Kei? Take the chance. Do it." Rei said, smiling.Bookmark here

Both Meya and Kei turned to look at each other, but they became nervous, staring deeply.Bookmark here

"Um...In front of an entire crowd and parents. We've grown a lot, and time tells many things. I need to stop overexplaining." Kei said, making Meya giggle. "Will you...I've taken a liking to you ever since the start, Meya. Will you...marry me?" Kei said, stuttering.Bookmark here

"Yes...I will...Kei." Meya responded, smiling, kissing Kei on the cheek, flustering him.Bookmark here

"What do you say to this?" Meya's father asked Abe's father.Bookmark here

"We have two modern-day heroes who want our daughter's hands. What more could you ask for? It's the least we could do for them because they protected our families." Abe's father responded.Bookmark here

"I couldn't have said it better myself." Meya's father replied.Bookmark here

"I told you everything would work out, Kei. I have your back, and you have mine. Always." Rei replied. "Everyone, lets go inside! If you could kindly accept, Master." Rei smiledBookmark here

"Only this one time, Rei. After that, ask your Master, and ask nicely. Come on in, but beware of the doors." Seijiro said, walking into the Dojo and leaving the doors open, smirking.Bookmark here

"Let's go. All of us." Rei said.Bookmark here

"Together." Kei replied.Bookmark here

They walked into the Dojo and celebrated with the food Seijiro had. Of course, they ordered food from the town to his Dojo, and all the guests were pleased. Everyone was acquainted with each other quickly. Rei and Kei continued living their lives, starting a family themselves, and pursuing their dreams. Abe and Meya's rise to superstardom continued. Kei continued working as a detective, and thanks to his efforts, crime decreased substantially. Rei became a master Martial Artists that was deemed undefeatable in the world, making headlines everywhere. Kanda was at rest, watching over the world and protecting his friends.Bookmark here

Their story was now truly eternal, everlasting until time perished. For they hoped and believed, and they prevailed.Bookmark here

Afterword:Bookmark here

Hello! I thank you, the person who has read this novel in its entirety, regardless of its feebleness. (About 9 days later, from future me, I have something else to say): Yes, I know my writing sucks. I'm bad at writing, and I know that. As sad as it is to think and say, I know I'm not going to get very far. That's just life...that's just reality. Maybe if I didn't write so boringly or use words of uncommon use, then perhaps people would be interested, but that's just my style. Perhaps I wouldn't be as complainant as I am in the following paragraphs. But I'll let my past self continue to speak now. (Past self is now speaking):Bookmark here

As an author, it is draining and morally debilitating to carry on when you confront daunting monstrosities in life. Against those, you compete with and life, in general, will crush your mentality if you do not persevere.Bookmark here

I'm just a regular person who had a pipe-dream of creating a novel. I thought I could do amazing things and be that glossy diamond that didn't require polishing and would explode onto the scene. I then realised that it was never the case for anyone and that you have to improve and remain determined.Bookmark here

I kept on thinking to myself: "What does it take to win? What does it mean to be the best? I'm improving more and doing better than these people, yet the results aren't showing? Subjectively, my work is better than theirs against my own criteria." Jealously thinking is never the answer.Bookmark here

I've finished writing this novel, and if there's one thing I wanted to do, it was to inspire people. I made it this far, so it's possible for you. I was told that 'there's no harm in trying,' so I tried, and to 'stop thinking deeply about life, and just enjoy it.' That's what kept me going. A lonely, sad regular boy that I am, I did what I wanted and tried to motivate myself. Yes, there were days when I thought: "What's the point? Nothing's going to come of it." but something did. This is what came of it.Bookmark here

Let's make this a little more personal, and it may get repetitive.Bookmark here

It's upsetting when you try your hardest, and no one notices. It's upsetting when you think your work is so good, but you're never acknowledged for it. You wonder why it doesn't get attention, and then self-doubt and self-deprecation kicks in. You care about the most trivial details, and eventually, being pedantic doesn't help. Intermittingly thinking about it eats away at your mind, and it's detrimental.Bookmark here

That's exactly how I felt. You always compare the outside world to yourself and those around you to yourself. But, each progressive interaction I received meant more to me. I remained indignant, however. Bitter that I wasn't receiving as much attention, I had days where I wanted to quit.Bookmark here

If no one else believes that you can't make it, then know that I believe. I will always believe, regardless of the outcome or precedence. As much as I tried convincing myself that numbers didn't matter, they hit hardest, knowing that I would be left behind: The Psychological Principle of the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).Bookmark here

It also felt unfair that people would never give my novel a try, and that I needed to be somewhat relevant in conversation amongst people. Social anxiety and introversion are two killers in that aspect.Bookmark here

I'm rambling on for too long, and none of this is coherent, but I'm not going to delete it. Time for one last personal message that I want someone to take away.Bookmark here

Just know that even if no one else believes in you, there is always someone who will believe in you. I will believe. You are never alone. Never. I wrote this novel to inspire people. That a regular, nothing boy could make something out of it. That you should remain positive, and no one can replace you exactly. You were given rights, and I'm not talking about the kind in law. The right to life is the most important. Use it because it is only you who possesses that exact single right. Believe, Dream, Aspire, Thrive and Succeed. Pick yourself up when you're knocked down, but there's no harm in asking others for help first before you go solo.Bookmark here

I am extremely grateful to the people who enjoyed my writing and decided to read my work. It does mean more than you will ever know. I don't like self-promoting because of social anxiety and such, so do what you wish with this novel. Give it to people, or keep it to yourself. Love it or hate it. Being disheartened is a sign that you want more, so continue to strive and endure.Bookmark here

All I ever wanted was for someone to say the words that I have just said to you, so I will be that person for you. With its nuisances and sentiments, all of it.Bookmark here

Hope and believe, for you will prevail. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.