A Warrior: Within and Out

Chapter 1: An Ordinary Day in the Life...

The sun rose majestically from the horizon and a koi leapt majestically

from its pond, the fish's color highlighted in the sun's glaze, and

Nagami Tetsuro rather unmajestically rose out of bed. He made his way

across his room and smacked the alarm. The 15 year old highschool

student rubbed his eyes and picked up his glasses and slipped them on

his head, then looked at the clock.

"5:30," he mumbled. "Remind me again why I have to be up so early..."

Receiving no answer from the empty walls of his room as he expected, he

silently made his way to the shower. As Tetsuro slipped his pajamas

off, he saw his rather unimpressive reflection in the mirror. Topping

off at 4 ft 10 inches and weighing all of 106 pounds, Tetsuro was the

kind of kid known to be a stringbean and that was fine with him. He'd

rather play RPG's than exercise all day.

***

Fifteen minutes later, cleaned, groomed, and attired in his school

uniform, he arrived in the family room to see his father reading the

morning paper and his mother bustling about serving breakfast.

"'Mornin'," Tetsuro said. His father gave a curt nod from behind the

paper.

His mother, Shishen paused briefly enough in her duties to smile and

said, "Good morning young man. Help yourself; I'll have your lunch ready

by the time you leave." Tetsuro nodded, sat, and quietly began to eat

what his mother had put out. He looked at his father and noted

although the old man started to have touches of gray around his

sideburns, the man was built solidly enough to be a force in Aikido, his

family's art.

*Sigh...first day of school, and already this routine seems old,* he

thought, as he gradually ate away his breakfast When he finished, he

set his bowl down and grabbed his school bag and bento. "Okay, I'm off

for school," he announced with a deadpanned tone to his voice.

Reyu, whom was Tetsuro's father, folded up his newspaper and looked

squarely at his son. "Do not forget that with the beginning of the

school year comes the beginning of your final training," he said,

looking Tetsuro dead in the eye with a glint that only appeared when

training was on his mind.

.

Tetsuro casually waved a hand. "Yeah, yeah, I know. I'll be there," he

said out loud, then added under his breath, "Unless I can get out of

it."

"Tetsuro," Reyu stood, showing his full size and stature to add

emphasis, "It concerns me how little respect you have for our family's

art. You do know you are heir to our school. Or, at least in

consideration."

"Yes, dad, I KNOW. Why do you think I'm still studying it at all? It's

not like I WANT to dishonor us or anything." Tetsuro spat back in

defiance.

Reyu sat again. "Good. See to it that you do not. I know you are not the

strongest in the world, but you are smart. You can always use that to

your advantage, especially within aikido."

"Yeah, listen dad, I'd love to talk about honor and all, but I can't

miss school!" Tetsuro shouted as he exited the door.

"That boy," Reyu muttered, then thought for a moment. "Shishen, can

you call back home? Perhaps we should get Shikka here."

"Shikka?" Shishen asked in confusion. "What are you planning to do to

our child, Reyu?"

"Oh, its just some friendly competition," Reyu replied, grinning.

***

On his way to school, Tetsuro pondered what he could do to get out of

training later that day.

"I really don't want to go; I'm not all that interested anymore. Heh, I

never really was in the first place. It's only because Dad could kill me

in a second that I still do it." He sighed. "I wish he'd just give it a

rest and name someone else. It's not like I'll ever use it-" Tetsuru

mused to himself as he looked down at his feet and walked to school.

Almost as if the gods sought to disprove him, three menacing figures

stepped out from an alleyway, each looked like upperclassmen and

sporting a few scars.

Tetsuro sighed again, stopping. "Look, you guys, I ain't got money," he

said as he hefted up his bento to illustrate his point, "and I ain't got

time. I'm barely going to get to school on time as it is."

The left figure laughed. "He doesn't have time for us, eh? Well, we'll

just have to MAKE the time, won't we?" His cronies laughed; then,

suddenly, the rightmost one lunged at Tetsuro.

Tetsuro had seen the attack coming, though. He barely dodged out of the

way in time; he felt the wind from the attacker's punch. He watched the

other two spread out a bit, and the third one regained his balance and

joined the other two. Tetsuro dropped his bag and unbuttoned the collar

of his uniform. Shaking out his fists, he began to study the thugs. In

his mind, their different attack opportunities sorted and shifted; his

own various escapes and counters presented themselves in response to

each of his opponents' moves.

Then the center thug made his move. He rushed low, hoping to bull

Tetsuro into the wall. Tetsuro easily saw through the attack; in an

instant, he had analyzed the attack itself, estimated his best options,

and chosen his plan. He waited until the goon was about to grab him,

then ducked and rolled to the side; the thug smashed into the wall and

rebounded, clutching at his nose. *One down, two to go* Tetsuro thought

to himself.

The other two watched Tetsuro more warily than their counterpart had.

Tetsuro watched them right back-no way was he going to let himself be

flanked by these guys. Circling slowly, he managed to come back to his

school bag. He picked it up, and a plan of escape formed in his mind.

He backed up completely against the wall. The thugs maintained their

distance, but they also stopped splitting farther apart. They were now

just out of arm's reach of each other. *Good,* thought Tetsuro. *Almost

ready.*

Holding his book bag in front of himself almost like a shield, he

crouched-not completely, but about halfway from standing to kneeling.

The thugs, watching him, stopped advancing and watched him even closer.

Tetsuro waited. His continued survival ranked higher on the list of his

desires than sore arms.

The two thugs looked at each other, and the one who had spoken earlier

nodded. They both reached for Tetsuro at the same time, but he used all

the energy he could and jumped straight up. He kicked out backwards,

catching the wall and propelling himself forward a bit. His other foot

landed squarely on the back of one of the thugs, and he used that to

launch himself forward. He raced as fast as he could toward his school,

and when he no longer heard footsteps or swearing he slowed down. Then

he groaned.

"No wonder they left..." Tetsuro mused in his victory.

He stood in front of a sign that read Sodamane High and not one second

later heard the bell ring.

* * *

Tetsuro HATED being late, especially on the first day of school, having

to stand outside of class while wearing a sign that read 'Tardy'. *Oh,

well,* he thought. *At least I didn't have to go to the nurse's office.*

He had a silent chuckle at the fates of his would-be attackers: one

broken nose and three cases of wounded pride. Tetsuro had no doubt

they'd be waiting for him later, but he was confident he could evade

them.

Just then the principal walked by.

"It seems you came in late today. What's the matter, another fight?" the

Principal, one Segura Izu observed with a grin.

"Yes, sir." Tetsuro answered, his face down.

"Ha! In my day, fighters didn't GET punished! They got parades! You

should be praised!" Principal Segura said with a laugh as he patted

Tetsuro on the back.

"Yes, sir." Tetsuro answered again, the embarrassment rushing to his

cheeks.

"Well, how'd ya do? Did you kill him?" the principal asked with an

almost morbid curiosity.

"No, sir," was the meek answer from Tetsuro's lips.

"Aww," the principal answered, and then continued, "but you at least

hurt him, right?"

"One of them, sir."

"Ooh, more than one assailant. That speaks highly of you and your

father."

Tetsuro blushed, but hid it by staring at the tops of his suddenly

interesting shoes. "Thank you, sir."

"Well, I'd best be going along. Make sure you take care of those guys

right next time, eh, Nagami?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Good day." With that, the principal left Tetsuro to stare at his

shoes.

"Gah, and he had to bring Dad into this," Tetsuro mumbled to himself

once the hallway was clear. "Now Dad's gonna find out and insist on more

training, and...yuck. Not fun."

***

At lunch, Tetsuro settled underneath a nice shady tree and opened up his

bento. He sighed in slight disappointment in seeing his normal lunch

and dug in. "What's with the long face? Did you get stuck on 'Mystic

Warriors 4' again?" a voice asked from the side. Tetsuro turned to the

voice and grinned.

"Hey Nohike," Tetsuro said to his friend. "Naah, its just the same

stuff with my dad."

"Ahh, that sounds tough," Tomodo Nohike agreed. "Did he

threaten to take away your Playstation again?"

"You know my mother wouldn't allow him to do that again,"

Tetsuro pointed out. "Anyways, I just wish that people would take what

I want to do more seriously." The young boy leaned back on the tree

and pushed his eyeglasses back up to the bridge of his nose as he gazed

at a group of girls and took particular interest in the one with the

long brown hair. Nohike noticed his friend's subject of interest.

"Look man, you already asked her," Nohike reminded his friend.

"Don't you remember the way she humiliated you? Girls like Kigu are

too hung up on looks, especially their own."

"Yeah, you're right..." Tetsuro mused. "It's just that she's

so smart too."

"Smart but vain," Nohike added. The two friends shared a look

and finished their lunch in silence.

***

Tetsuro snuck through the back door after the dojo's classes were

dismissed for the day. He hid out at his friend's Nohike place in

hopes of escaping training. Tetsuro dropped his school bag in his room

when his father rounded the corner.

"Tetsuro." Reyu said to his son, his arms cross and eyes firm with

resolution.

Tetsuro sighed to himself and answered. "Yes?"

"I spoke with your principal today. You were in a fight?"

"Yeah...before school. Three guys tried to jump me, but I got away."

"He informs me one of them has sustained injury."

"Uhh...yeah, I guess so."

"You...guess so?"

"Well, he was so ugly, I couldn't tell if the broken nose was real or if

he was faking it!"

Tetsuro's father stayed silent and leveled his warrior's gaze on his

son.

"Okay, okay...I'm sorry; I know you don't want me in danger until I've

mastered the art." Tetsuro said in quick apology.

"Exactly. I want you to take a different route to school now."

" I was going to anyway, but..."

"But?"

"Well, I know you want me to be heir and everything, but what happens if

I get involved in something at school or whatever that eats up time for

the art!" Tetsuro shouted at his father

"If you no longer wish to be the heir, then tell me, so I may find a

suitable replacement." Reyu noted.

"Seriously?" Hope sprung in Tetsuro's mind.

"No. You are my heir, until I say otherwise," Reyu said.

Tetsuro sweatdropped. "I thought so."

"Although...because you seem to be so lackluster about it, perhaps I

will ask your cousin to come over. There is nothing like competition,

I always say."

"Cousin?" Tetsuro had only a few, and only one near his age. "You don't

mean..."

"Yes; Shikka would be a good heir, because she seems to care more about

the art than you do. Perhaps I should start training her."

Despite his lack of regard for the art, that jab still stung Tetsuro a

little. "Now look, Dad, I know I'm not the greatest yet, but don't let

impatience cloud your decisions!"

Reyu looked at his son. *He seems almost genuine about it,* he thought.

"Very well, then. Until further notice, you will remain as the one to

inherit the school. However, Shikka is still on her way. Perhaps all

you need is another sparring partner.." With that, Reyu left his son.

Tetsuro stared after him. "Wow, talk about reverse psychology...I didn't

even realize what I was saying until he left! Ah, well, I can probably

get by with what I have, anyway; it's not like a master of the martial

arts could do anything today except teach."

He sighed. "Oh, well. I guess right now I have other things to worry

about." He pulled out a schoolbook and began to study. As Tetsuro

looked at his math problems, his thoughts kept going back to his second

cousin, Shikka. The memories of that brutal girl reminded him of the

bruise she gave him for two weeks, and that was 7 years ago. Tetsuro

just hoped the years tempered his cousin if he would have any hopes of

surviving the school year.

***

The beginning of an original story. Not much, but I think it'll become

enjoyable.