Nikaho, Akita Prefecture, January 6th 2022
Roar of the crowd.
Clash of wooden swords.
Several dozens of young teenagers watching the matches roaring. They were on an old and unused Kendo stadium with sand on the ground. Anyone who wanted could join the fights, but most fighters and watchers were students from Nikaho Middle School. The fights had few rules and they could use any weapon to fight in, except of course, lethal weapons. The matches were in control and organized by students of 3rd grade and lasted utill one of the fighters surrendered.
The games were just for joy…and illegal.
Several boys already in puberty among the croud are watching them.
Yamato: “The fights are particularly entertaing today!”
Daisuke: “We'd enjoy more viewing them from the 3rd grade’s stands. Look at them...Fucking shit eaters.”
Miya: “Forget about them, Daisuke. Or man'll put them in their place when he steps to the sands.”
Yamato: “Besides we have left like two months of this. Afterwards, classes will be over and we'll have to go back to Tokyo.”
Miya looks around, and sees someone he knows.
Miya: “SAKURA! TAI! HERE!”
Sakura: “Sorry, we were still on class, a test.”
Tai: “I hope we haven't missed the best spectacle.”
Yamato: “Today's your lucky day guys. Cause you haven't.”
Miya: “He getsnext match.”
The gladiator in the ground surrenders. He's helped to get out of the stadium by the gate.
Matou, one of the kids of 3rd grade raises his hand as one of his classmates enters the sand with Shinai in hand, while cring out towards the crowd.
Sakura: “Matou begins the last lesser match without any introductions?”
Daisuke: “Introduction? That shit-eater barely can talk...”
Miya: “Now he'd take positio..n.”
The door opens, a teenager with blue eyes and blond hair appears with a smile shining on his face enters the sands. The entire crowd gets up and roars to him, showing approbation and happiness to see him back on the sands. He continues to walk and smile while looking to the crowd of teenagers, boys and girls.
Miya gets up.
“NOW THERE'S A FUCKING GLADIATOR!!!” He shouts
The blond kid sees his friends and he raises both hands with his shinai on his right hand. He keeps on walking with the smile.
Matou remains still, looking at him. As most of the students at third grade, he despised him.
Yet this doesn't stop the student known as “the Blue Ronin”. he gained that ephitet since he was always wearing blue and he never followed command of anyone, except himself.
He raises his arms again keeping his smiles and turning 360º grades, as if he would be a total diva on a catwalk. He stops at the left of his opponent, looks at the grades of 3rd and waits.
Matou raised his hand.
The opponents face each other, as the blond kid swings his sword a single time circularly.
The one of third attacks spinning in the ground and making a downwards slash, but the Blue Ronin sees him coming and blocks with his sword and then tried to hit him at his side, yet the gladiator eludes and attacks back. They clash swords. The blond kid begins circle around him. His superior attacks again, but he continues to elude his attacks laughing at him. He makes a forwards strike, yet the kid parries it, and hits the kendo mask he was wearing, leaving his superior a bit dizzy. The Blue Ronin, laughs and begins to run backwards towards one of the corners. While running, he parries another of his opponent's attacks. He turns around and makes a quick short rush, jumping on the wall, and gets to the part of the audience stands. The player of thrid clashes againt the wall. The Blue Ronin turns around and jumps back to the sands, and hiting the back of his opponent. The one of third gets to his knees, as the Blue Ronin get to the center of the sands. The arena roared, as the other removed his helmet protector from the head, and looks back to his opponent, who once again raises both hands opening them while smiling.
Sakura: "He's always acting like a diva..."
Yamato: “He's never serious, right?”
Daisuke: “Never. He'd strip naked and fight with his dick as long as he wins.”
“BLUE RONIN! I LOVE YOOOOOOOOOUUUUUU!!!”
He laughs as he looks a beautiful girl shouting to him. He points his sword at her, in the opposite direction of his opponent. Seizing his distraction, he attacks hitting him on the left side of his forehead and then pushing him back as the audience exclaimed impressed. They set distance between them, as Matou joys from the fight and laughed after his classmates opponent was hit.
The blond kid looked back at his opponent. He thrusts his shinai to the sands leaving its handle vertically. He touches his head noticing the blood and gets up, walking towards his impressed opponent.
Daisuke: "What the fuck?"
Yamato: “What's he doing?”
Miya: “Just relax. Be still and wait…”
He continues to walk to his opponent. When the fighter of thrid makes a horizontal slash, he eludes it by lowering his body, and delivers two hard fists to his opponents face while using his Kote kendo gloves. The crowd roars. The one of third attacks once again making the same attack in the opposite way, but he jumps back and eludes it again. He then the tries to punch him, but the Blue Ronin lowers his body, bypassing the left fist above his head, and punches his face other four times. He fall to the sands
“I told you!” Miya says.
Yamato: "You tought him that?!"
Miya: "Of course I did."
The Blue Ronin shouts out loud to the arena raising his arms. He looks back, his opponent was getting up. He rolls on the sands eluding one of his attacks, getting near his sword and grabbing it. He spins once again eluding another attack and then turns and makes a heavy and strong thrust to his stomach.
He falls down on the sands and raises two fingers, surrendering.
As he did the crowd roared for the blue ronin’s victory, as he raised both arms and made a fearsome battle cry while turning 360º once again.
Tai: “Well, we should get going now.”
Yamato: “Yeah we should.”
Miya: “You well know him still. He can by an entire fucking year there, screaming to the crowd."
Sakura: “Wait...we won't stay for the remaining matches!?”
Daisuke: “Nah, the guys of 3rd have all the prominent matches now. All that are now inside the arena are more than enough to watch Matou stroke his dick.”
Yamato: “Better to not see it then.”
“NOW YOU LOVE ME, NIKAHO!RAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
He raises both hands while keeping that same arrogant and overconfident smile and continues to scream and shout before going back to the inner part of the arena. Before entering, he looks back at the girl that shouted him and winks his eye to her.
Once inside he grabs the dark blue cloth sheath of his sword and places the wooden blade inside, before sliding it on his back.
Shinji, other student of 3rd year speaks to him from back of some bars that separated those that entered from those that got out of the Arena.
“Perhaps one day the pretty little bitch will fight in the afternoon, WITH THE REAL MEN!”
He approaches the bars.
“You and your pink and tiny dick best pray that day never comes!”
He places his hand on his mouth and blows a kiss to Shinji.
Shinji moves the bars in anger and spits to the ground before the Blue Ronin gets out of the arena looking to his friends. As soon as he was out, they started to walk back to the student’s apartments.
Yamato: “You should stop fighting with Shinji, save the blood for the sands.”
Tai: “Seriously. What the hell you're thinking to release your sword in the arena?!”
“I'D HAVE KILLED THE MAN WITHOUT AN ARM AND BOTH FUCKING LEGS!”
Miya: “Hubris fine quality…”
“Thanks for those martial arts lessons Miya. Those've been useful.”
Miya: “You should continue with them. You have potential. At least more of the one of Matt”
Taichi: “It still doesn't make you afraid being discovered? You'd have a lot of trouble if that happened."
“No. I'm not affraid at all." The gladiator answers."This games have been running since the last year and never stopped. Besides, I can say the same about the watchers."
Taichi: “Imagine what Kirei would tell you…”
“I'm so happy he's not here! He wouldn't favor the games. But for that, he needs to KNOW of them!”
Yamato: “The guys of 3rd make good work covering the games from the authorities...I don't know how they do…”
Daisuke: “Maybe, we shouldn't even know bro…”
Taichi: “Or maybe we're just having luck…”
“I don't care how, but let the games last...It's exiting, thrilling and amazing.”
Sakura: “Is that so?”
“Yes cheesy girl. You should ask your boyfriend, once he is back upon the sands.”
Sakura: “I don't think Shun will ever come back…”
“Well, then I'll tell you: hearing the roar of the crowd and the herald of your name, filling the air...”
Sakura: “They weren't heralding your name.”
“You didn't get my point still. There's no grater thing, that standing victorious in the arena..." He thinks for a moment "...except maybe girls.”
Miya: “Amen to that, brother.”
Sakura closes her eyes, and sights for a moment.
“Maybe it's better of the options if he doesn't come back to the arena, cheesy girl. If not, too many girls and...”
Sakura: “You can be a real idiot sometimes.”
“The better to be with girls then!” he laughs “Speaking of them…You know that girl who shouted that she loved me?”
Sakura: “Yes. Otome Sayou, she is in on 2-3.”
“Well…it seems I have something to do these weeks...”He laughed again
Daisuke: “Hey, those are?”
Yamato: “Ikuto! Takeru!”
From long distance arriving at the same time as them to the students’ dorms were Ikuto and Takeru. Ikuto was by far a joker and some one that cheer up anyone of the group. Takeru was far the contrary. Silent and few of words, but a bullseye speaking in of terms of archery. He was by far the best on the archery club.
Even they were as night and day, they were best friends and spent most of their free time together.
Ikuto: “Hey! How was the Arena?”
Taichi: “The Champion of second here won.”
Ikuto: “Well done!”
“I thought you would come, and that also Izumi would. What happened?”
Ikuto: “Wait, he didn't tell you?”
Tai: “What happened?”
Ikuto: “Shun told us they're having class now at Kirei’s dojo. Izumi went there with him.”
Tai: “Oh...fuck me!”
“We have to go, Now!”
Sakura: “I'm going with you. I have to help Naoto.”
“Is that…or you want to see shun…”
Sakura: “Shut up...”
“That answers it: she wants to see Shun!”
Sakura looked back at him with a killer sight, but she then laughed. They began to run to the dojo of Kirei, after they said goodbye.
Daisuke: "Always the same mad fuck.”
Yamato: “Will he ever change?”
Miya: “who knows…”
The three arrive running at the Dojo in a small hill, at several blocks from the school dorms.
It was a long way up, like 100 steps. It was one of the few green places in the city of Nikaho, as the dojo was very traditional in Japanese culture. Some sakura trees were round the place, making the scent of the Dojo great and the air was covered in thousands of pink small petals.
They remove their shoes and enter to the dojo. Shun looks at them and they nod back, they go the bathrooms to change themselves, when someone stops them.
Both of them look to their right. There he was dressed in a black hakama, Kyosho Kirei, the sensei and owner of the Dojo.
“Sakuya, Suzaku you can go to the changing room.”
All them three go to the changing room.
“Not you. Come with me. I would have words…”
Kyosho goes out of the Dojo by a big door, which gave way towards a small garden.
Taichi and Sakura look back at him.
“Seems it's time to hear my daily speech. Go. I'll see you later.”
They nod and enter to the changing room.
The blue-eyed kid follows his master to the garden, placing both hands on his back he waits for him to speak, while looking anywhere else. Kyosho was looking to a Sakura tree, and then looks back at him.
“You've arrived late. Again.”
“I've been having some...personal problems.”
“I know. Your face suggests that.” Kyosho says referring to the wound of the gladiatorial match.
“Nothing important. Minor disagreement.”
“I can't understand why a student like you has become the champion of the minor classes.”
“In my defense, I never sought the title. You just gave it. Neither do I favor it.”
“But I had no choice. Not since Kazeriya was injured on his battle and broke his arm.”
“Because of that you had to choose me as a last resortm though you never favored anything of me.”
“A Dojo must have a best man. All classes must. That is the tradition of my forefathers.”
“Well...some japanese traditions must change.”
“Tradition is why we ARE Japanese.”
“I don't favor that.”
“I know. You never did. Since I began training youm never wished for something beyond battle. Not glory. Nor honor. Nor following your ideals. Tell me now...why do you fight for?”
“I fight to stay alive, so I can I search that answer, while I grow stronger.”
“Then power. That is what you fight for.”
“No. Not something so slim and stupid...”
“Then what for?”
“As I told you Kirei, I don't know.”
Kirei sights again.
“The truth is…I guess you've never wished for this. Battle, Honor. Your eyes are forever focused on something else. Always looking towards the horizon...towards this thing you don't even know what it is…”
“I'm tired of this Kirei. Always the same discussion.”
“Because you always have the same problem. I remind you: your school has a pact with the next year to go back to your home, at Tokyo. If you want to be one of the few that will be going, you better get back to this...”
“I will remain with my friends, whatever the cost. And nothing will seem me far from them.”
“Then I want you to fight, in a week.”
He walked turning to his student's back, as he turned around.
“The school of Shiba is coming, of your same grade and age. One of our man to face each other, in exposition constest.”
“Who I'm to face then?”
“Some kid called Shinji Kato”
“Kato. I know him. He goes the same school as I do. But is of 3rd.”
“You're still going to face him.”
“And why you don't send your favorite student then to face him?!”
“Because I'm too old to face a kid of 15 years.”
The blond kid turns around, seeing a black haired boy with sky blue of 18 years, dressed with a hakama the same as Kirei. He carried a bokken, a wooden katana.
He well knew him, as he smiled reckoning his rival, yet kept his serious brow.
“That's why.” he approached walking next to the blonde boy.
“That didn't apply when you broke Shun’s arm.”
“That was an accident.”
“I still can't forgive it.”
Kirei: “Keep on being Champion then. And in two months, you'll battle him on your final test.”
“Oh...I'm waiting for it.”
He leaves walking the same way he came. The gladiator keeps his sight on him. Ovan looks back for a moment.
Yamato: “So do I.”
He walks back to his part of the Dojo.
“You can't defeat him.”
“Maybe. But underestimating your opponent is a stupid trait.”
“Still, you need more training. Go to the changing room, and change to you hakama. Train.”
He leaves to the dojo of the class, going to the changing room and in few minutes he got out with his dark blue hakama. He didn't like wearing it, but he didn't have other choice.
He got his Shinai from its sheath and entered the Dojo. He faces his best friend, Shun. They shake hands.
“Kirei's daily speech. I'm so fucking tired of that.”
“I can tell, but what do you expect: you don't favor his traditions, and you almost always arrive late.”
“And I don't favor favoritism. Especially with students. A teacher must be neutral.”
“Be thankful he doesn't know of the arena. By the way, Tai told me you won.”
“You should come back to it. When you're able. The crowd misses the Green Ronin.”
“I also miss the crowd.”
“The roar of the crowd...yes. There's no sound more glorious.”
“But Sakura'd tell otherwise still.”
“Because of all the girls in the Arena, all exited to see the Green Ronin in action. You may throw your girlfriend for another...” He laughed.
“Dick, get in position before I smack your brains to the wood.” he says while laughing.
They face each other and get ready.
They clash swords.