Teaser Fic #3
Arakihoto is a famous town in the Kanto region for many reasons. First is its beachside location with perfect weather to boot. Second, and most importantly, it's home to more than four hundred years worth of martial arts history and culture. Many great clans and schools were started in this metropolis.
I had been sent here as a part of my later training by my old master, the one who taught me and six other children when we were very young. Once we all graduated at age 10, we went back to our respected homes throughout Japan, never to see one another again. Well, if we did see one another, we wouldn't know it. I especially miss my 'little sister' from the group, the two of us were very close in those years we spent together.
But that's a story for another time.
I made my way out of the train station with my duffle bag, the soft spring breezes rustling my messy brown hair. I went to the upper prefectures to find my new residence: a sort of special dojo-dorm for martial artists in training like myself, run by my old sensei's assistant, Midori Shikitama. Ms. Midori was probably in her mid thirties by now, and was waiting for me at the dormitory. My other stuff would be sent there in a matter of days
"So this is the place, huh?" I breathed as I made it up a long hill of stairs to the former Edo-style mansion. The address matched the one written on the paper in my hand, but I still couldn't believe this grand estate was the new training ground I was to be residing at. As I made my way to the front door, a fleeting image of my little sister crossed my mind, the memory of her chubby cheeks and bright smile still as clear as the days I spent with her. I never did see her after the seven of us were split up, and wondered about her and how she might be doing now.
"Well, I bet she's thinking the same thing right now…" I smiled as I stepped inside, seeing four sets of shoes at the doorway as I removed mine. "Hm…Counting Ms. Midori, that makes three other occupants besides me. I wonder if they were told I'd be here" I mused aloud as I looked around. The compound was vast and maze-like for me at first, and somehow I stumbled into a steam room of sorts. Peering in, I saw punching bags and various martial arts training gear and weapons. Odd…
My curiosity got the better of me as I checked out the room. A sauna's heat with a workout's heat combined. Talk about endurance. My family was from the Tohoko region, so heat wasn't my thing, but I had heard that such training methods, so long as you didn't dehydrate, proved useful for burning calories faster. Unzipping my bag, I retrieved my kendo bamboo sword and stripped to my wifebeater and shorts. Hopefully no one would get the wrong idea.
I began with a few dozen forward strikes before switching to left and right swipes. The sound of a pair of footsteps entering from another doorway alerted me to the presence of a newcomer.
"Hm? Who are you?" a tall girl with long black hair asked, clad in a sports bra and a women's briefs. Her eyes seemed almost white from my distance, though they were probably just a very light blue.
"Um…I blushed. "I'm Satoshi Urosuko," I introduced myself. "I'm the new boarder here."
"Oh, I see," she nodded as she approached me. "Hmm…Odd name, but, a name isn't important in a fight unless you want to make an impression. I'm Keiko Tarakoji, nice to meet you. I can tell you're a kendo student from those swipes you were doing. Am I right?"
"Yeah," I looked over to see her deep amber bokken. "You too, huh?"
"Yeah. Hey," she grinned. "Care to have a one on one match for fun?"
"With me?" I blinked. "Well, sure, no contact with the body right?"
"Right. But don't go on easy on me, got that?" she gave a fanged smile as she readied her stance, her legs shoulder-length and her sword held back in a lunging position.
"Same to you," I gave a smile back as I assumed my school's fighting pose with my legs leaning to my right while my sword held back in a right-sided thrust position.
"Hiyah!" Keiko cried as she dove at me with grace and speed like my fellow classmates possessed, but I blocked her attack to my left, our blades a cross of wood between us. "Nice parry," my opponent smiled as she leaned her body weight against my sword, turning it to my right side as she then hopped to my exposed flank to strike.
A crack of wood and bamboo rang throughout the room as I pointed my weapon toward the ground in a last-second block, flipping Keiko's sword upwards as I prepared to freeze my strike just a few centimeters away from her bare stomach. But before I could swing at her, my sparring partner leapt over me and gracefully landed behind me to make the finished blow. I ducked just in time to smack her sword out of her hands as she fell back, my training sword's tip pointed at her.
"Point to me," I breathed. "But that was a damn close match," I smiled, offering my hand to her. Rather than take it, she felt through the air to find it, despite it being right in front of her face. Wait a second…Don't tell me…
"Thanks," she stood and took a few deep breaths. "You're one tough gal, Satoshi," she smiled back. "I could get used to having you for a rival and sparring buddy."
"Um…Are you blind by chance, Keiko?" I gulped.
"Hm? Yes. But don't let that fool you. I can get by quite well despite my lack of vision. Why?"
"Um, well, I'm actually a guy."
Her face strained as she sniffed the air, then ran her palm at my exposed crotch. I grunted in pain as she held my equipment tightly before I leapt back in terror.
"Y-You…!" she growled as she stomped her foot for a moment, then turned to where her bokken had dropped to. Then…She unsheathed a steel blade hidden underneath it as she stalked forward at me! "How DARE you look at me half-naked! I'll make sure your death is long and painful!"
"What! Wait!" I irked as I ran to my clothes to pull on my shirt before I made a break for it. "But I'm the new boarder!" I panicked as she lunged at me with her steel blade, slicing a few stray strands off my head.
"Liar! Why would we let a male live under the same roof as three girls and a woman!?" Keiko snarled as I ran at top speed down the walkways indoors. As I turned a corner, my body ached in the sudden impact with someone else, sending us both to the floor. "Ow ow ow ow!" I rubbed my sore forehead.
"Christ…Watch it Keiko…" the girl I ran into rubbed her head in equal pain. "Hm?" she looked at me with a surprise. Her ponytailed hair was long and dark, and her skin was a little on the tan side. Scattered around us were various blankets and towels she apparently was carrying. "Uh…Hi?" She blinked at me.
"Um, hi," I laughed weakly.
"Haven't seen you around before. Are you the new boarder we supposed to get?" she helped me up, then snickered at my lower body covered only by my boxers. "I see you've been to the sauna gym. Oh," she brightened up, presenting her hand. "I'm Yumi Takashi. Pleased to meet you."
"Satoshi," I blushed as I tried to cover myself a little as I shook her thin but strong hand. "Satoshi Urosuko, pleased to-"
"YUMI!" Keiko roared as she stopped behind me. "Yumi! There's a guy here that saw me in my underwear in the sauna gym! Have you seen him?" she huffed as she smelled the air.
"Uh, you mean Satoshi here?" she let go of my hand.
"A-HA! Gotcha!" the blind swordswoman grinned insidiously as she brought her katana down at me. I dodged just before the blade tore through several floorboards and the wall.
"KEIKO!" Yumi fumed. "I JUST had those floorboards replaced!"
"I'll pay you back after I kill this damn peeping-tom!"
"Sorry, Yumi!" I cried as I fled the scene with the rabid-sightless-psycho-kendo-girl hot on my trail. "Dammit! I'm sorry! I thought you could see me!" I tried to reason as a swipe of her blade nicked my back just barely.
" 'Sorry' doesn't pay me back for being exposed in front of some lecherous male! Now hold still so I can kill you!" Keiko growled as I turned random corners and tried to find some way to hide. After turning one corner, a phantom hand grabbed me by my shirt and threw me into the room it originated from, a second hand covering my mouth and nose to silence me.
"Sshhh…" the person holding me tight reassured me. I heard my pursuer head down another hallway as she desperately tried to find me. I was finally released as I turned to see Yumi.
"Y-Yumi!" I whispered, lest the blind girl locate me with her no-doubt ultrasonic sense of hearing. "Thanks for saving me."
"No sweat," she winked. "You'll have to excuse Keiko. She hates men."
"So I gathered…" I felt the shortened hairs on top of my head. I looked outside to try and see if the coast was clear, holding my breath before exhaling a sigh of relief. "Whew…Looks like I'm safe."
I then felt a sharp tip of some sort gently trace my neck laterally.
"Whoever said you were safe?" Yumi snickered from behind me. I slowly turned around to see her with a naginata now aimed at my throat! "Keiko WILL kill you, but I gotta get some fun out of you for messing up the floorboards and walls I so painstakingly fixed the other day!" she glared at me with a sadistic grin before attempting to chop my body in two. I burst through the wood and paper door, adding more damages to my bill to Yumi as I now fled from an attacker that could see me this time!
"Crap crap crap crap crap!" I sputtered as I felt the air separate behind me from the glaive's attacks. I skid to a stop as Keiko turned the corner in front of me and we collided. And…I must be the most unlucky guy in the world…My face was planted square into her breasts!
"W-W-WHAT THE-!!" my first attacker screamed as I doubled back, only to have a large blade press against my back. "I…I was just going to cut you to pieces…!" the blind girl breathed in and out like a predatory beast, her face scrunched into a feral snarl. "But now I think I'll just impale you through your groin!"
"Not before I get a few whacks into him first, Keiko!" Yumi smiled. "If I gotta repair that stuff again, I might as well have a little fun beforehand."
"Deal!" Keiko withdrew and stood back. "Go ahead and mutilate him. But don't kill him."
I closed my eyes and hoped that I would be reincarnated as something that lived a more peaceful life after this. I expected a slicing off of my arms or legs, but instead footsteps ran around me and I heard what sounded like a metal pole hitting bone. I turned around to see Keiko slump to the ground with a goose-egg on her forehead where apparently Yumi had whacked her weapon's shaft against.
I gawked. What the hell did she do that for??
"Guys…Why do you all have to be so noisy?" a younger voice sighed as she entered from a hallway next to me. A girl shorter than even Yumi appeared, her short light brown hair all wet and frazzled with her bath towel wrapped around her petite body. She looked no older than a first year high schooler.
She froze as I (unfortunately) saw her nearly naked. "EEEEP!" she screamed as she punched my gut and sent me out a window with the force of a stampeding bull. I landed on my head and lost consciousness for a moment. When I came to I saw Keiko and Yumi looking down at me (well, not so much 'looking' in Keiko's case). The new girl had a white martial arts uniform on, a half-black half-red belt around her waist.
Great. She was a karate student.
"You girls are so noisy it should be a crime…" a familiar female voice sighed from my left as she approached us. "Hm? What's this you're all crowding around?" she asked as she peered down at me. "Oh! Yo, Satoshi. I see you've met your housemates already."
"M-Ms. Midori!" Keiko fumed. "Don't tell me HE'S the new boarder!"
"Didn't I say I was??" I grumbled.
"Well, yeah," Midori chuckled. "Sorry I didn't' tell you he was a guy. I shoulda seen this coming…" my former instructor helped me up. "Wow, talk about starting on the wrong foot, eh Satoshi?"
"Y-Yeah…What assurance do I have that they won't kill me when your back is turned?" I gulped. "I mean, I'd hate to constantly have to be on the watch if I could avoid it."
"Well," she thought for a second. "Keiko aside, Jun and Yumi shouldn't be a problem. Righ, you two?" she turned to the other girls.
"Of course," Yumi laughed hysterically. "I wasn't really going to hurt you, you dork! Hahahaha! I just wanted to mess around with you."
"Then what was the swiping for!?" I scowled
"Oh, just having some fun, don't worry," she laughed. "I'm not the killing type anyways."
"Why don't I believe you…?"
"Heh, you're as big of a goof as my brother," Yumi chuckled, extending her hand. "Still, you do owe me for the repairs. I do most of the maintenance here, so you gotta pay me back for parts and labor." I took her hand and shook it.
"Right, of course," I nodded before turning to the short girl named Jun. "Um…Look, I'm sorry about earlier….Jun, right?"
"Yeah…" she blushed. "Well, I guess I can't walk around the house in a towel now since there's a guy here," she bowed to me. "My name is Jun Iboshi."
"Satoshi Urosuko," I gave a slight bow back. "I take it you're doing karate?"
"Oh," she brightened up. "Actually, Tae Kwon Do. I lived in Korea for a while until I moved here two years ago for some training abroad."
"Cool," I smiled. I had to admit that she was quite sincere despite the blow to my gut a second ago.
"And you've already met Keiko Tarakoji," Midori sighed. "Yes, she's blind. But you've already seen how well-adapted she is to living with her disability. Keiko, don't you have something to say your new housemate?"
"Yes, I do," she gave a sneer as she approached me. "I hope you're a light sleeper, asshole, because I WILL get you back for looking at me and knocking me out." I stayed silent instead of telling her that it was really Yumi that did that to her.
"I meant besides that," our house-mother groaned.
"Oh fine…Welcome to the house, yadda-yadda…" she humphed as she sheathed her sword and headed off to get dressed.
"Sheesh, if looks could kill…" Yumi giggled.
"Right, then," Midori took a breath. "Why not head back to get your clothes on, Satoshi, you look kinda funny without pants," she smirked.
"Um…Right…" I nodded with a blush as I headed back to the gym to dress. Yumi followed me as she lead me to where my room would be. It was decently sized, all with the necessary accommodations including a kotatsu that I could use when I would start school out here.
"So, Satoshi," Yumi asked as I unpacked my duffle bag. "Where are ya from?"
"Hm?" I looked over to her. "The northern district of Sendai, actually," I smiled.
"Interesting," she nodded as I put a few of my clean clothes in drawers. "And you're doing kendo?"
"Yeah. Reed Blade School of Kendo."
"Yeah," I turned to face her. "We focus on using heavy bokkens and bamboo swords to train ourselves for wielding normal blades of far lesser weights to increase speed and agility of our attacks."
"Neat-o," Yumi giggled. "Pretty different from Keiko's school."
"What style is she taking?" I blinked.
"Hard to explain, actually," my new housemate thought for a moment. "Her school specializes in pressure points and muscle memory points by aiming for weak spots to cripple rather than kill."
I raised an eyebrow at her words.
"Then what was with the whole 'I'm gonna kill you' attitude earlier?" I asked in disbelief.
"Oh, that," Yumi giggled. "She was so caught up in her anger that she wasn't thinking clearly. Keiko is a bit of a hot-head."
"Is that why you knocked her out?" I wondered.
"Yeah, pretty much. Just don't let her ever have the opportunity to touch you."
"Yeah, I wouldn't want her to strangle me or-"
"No, that's not it," she corrected me. "Like I said, Keiko's school specializes in pressure-points and muscle-memory. If she had the chance just to hold your arm, she'd have enough knowledge to hit the right area of nerves and tendons to paralyze or permanently weaken the muscles in it unless she administers the precise pressure-point counter touch to reactivate the nervous system there."
I gulped at her words.
"So…She could make me quadriplegic if I wasn't careful?" I felt my heart begin to race.
"Pretty much…" Yumi sighed. "Be thankful she's blind, or she'd do it a lot easier."
"Right…Thanks for the heads up," I took a breath of some relief. "Well, what about you?"
"Are you here studying abroad as well?" I asked.
"Yup," she smiled. "I'm actually from Nagasaki."
"And what martial arts are you studying?"
"Ah," I nodded. "Would that explain how you were able to snatch me earlier?"
"Heh heh…Yeah," my dark-haired friend smiled. "Stealth and subtlety are my strengths in combat. But, I'm looking to have some of my skills broadened a bit before I go back home for my main training."
"Same here." I had to admit that Yumi certainly seemed like a nice gal. I almost felt some regret for already having a girlfriend. I zipped my bag up as I stood. "So, care to have a friendly sparring match?"
"Oh? You sure?" she grinned slyly. "I'm a lot more skilled in hand-to-hand than most students are at my age," she bragged as she folded her arms in a superior fashion. "I've been trained in martial arts since I was five."
"Same here," I smiled back ambitiously. "And I certainly know a thing or two about close-quarters fighting."
"Well then, how about a wager then?"
"Oh? What sorta stakes are we playing for?" I asked as we headed to the gym.
"How about if I win, I get to do whatever I want with you for a week straight, no questions asked."
"No hanky-panky?" I raised an eyebrow as we entered the steamy room together.
"None whatsoever. And nothing humiliating like making you trek down town in just your boxers."
"Sounds fair," I smiled as we faced away and stripped to our undergarments to face one another again. I took my fighters' stance and Yumi assumed her school's stance with her hands out in front of her chest. "If I win, you have to buy me lunch for this whole week. Deal?"
"Raise the stakes as high as you like, Satoshi," my opponent began to hop on her feet to start her body. "Because you won't win anyways."
"Don't get cocky," I huffed as I made a lunge to see if I could locate an opening. Yumi was quick to react with a feinting front kick, my reaction to bank to her side where she would lean her weight on. With a swift hook towards my face, she swung at me to miss just barely due to my reaction time. I quickly backed off to rethink my strategies. I watched as she smoothly moved from step to step as she circled me. She must have been taking care not to leave an opening in how she walked to be ready to counter.
This was going to be an interesting fight; that was for sure.
I noticed her stepping pattern was rhythmic, each step spaced out by about one and a half seconds. I need to attack somewhere around one-half of a second as she lifted her foot for the next step. I steadied my breathing as she neared my right side while I kept my eyes focused on her feet. In a hummingbird's heartbeat, I leapt at Yumi with a forward right punch to her abdomen, but a quick knee to my chest sent me back with a sore front.
"How…-!" I coughed as I shook off the shock and resumed my stance. As I tried to focus on Yumi again, she hopped straight in front of me with a round-house kick to my left. I blocked just in time, grabbing her shin with one hand while the other went with an open-palm hit to her flank.
"Hyaa!" she yelled her kiya as she deflected my blow to my left, then leaning all her wait into her kicking leg to spin me to the floor on my back. Just as I opened my eyes, her fist shot to my face, only to miss by a hair as I rolled away and back onto my feet. I didn't want to admit it, but she was way better at close-quarters fighting than I was. But I couldn't give up, no. I still had to at least do my best to fend her off.
"You know," she cricked her neck to the side for a moment before assuming her stance again. "You have some potential, but you lack the speed and focus to use it." She grinned as she said all this.
"Is that so?" I took a breath to find a new strategy. She had excellent balance, and was quick to react. And it almost seemed like she could anticipate my moves. Was she that skilled in reading body movements?
"Yeah. You have a lot of strength, and that's good for swinging those swords around, but you're too rigid. How about we raise the stakes?" she smirked.
"What are the conditions?" I straightened up.
"You win if you can land at least one hit to me. If I can pin you to the floor before that happens, I win. Same rewards for you if you win and same for me if I do." Yumi extended her hand to me. I walked up to her to shake her hand.
"Deal," I nodded.
"Good. Now prepare yourself!" she roared as she took my hand and pulled it behind my back. "Too slow, just as I thought…" she sighed.
"Grrr-! That was cheap!" I grunted as I tried to figure out a way out of this bind.
"Hey, I never said when the fight began, just how it would end. And speaking of the end…" my black-haired opponent purred as she put her foot in front of my leg to trip me. I willed all my strength and focus to reaching behind my back and grabbing her death-grip hand. "Huh?" she gasped before I bent forward and flung Yumi over my back and onto the mat. I fell too, but the element of surprise was in my favor as I sprang to my partner and readied a punch to stop just a centimeter above her chest.
But with vulpine swiftness, she rolled to my legs and tripped me one last time as I tumbled. In no time at all, she straddled my exposed stomach and froze her knife-hand a mere millimeter from my nose.
"I win," she gave a fanged grin. I couldn't move. I could barely breathe. I certainly had a long way to go before I could become of true martial artist…Yumi got off my and allowed me to get up.
"Shit…" I sighed. "You really are a pro…I'm actually ashamed at myself for not lasting longer, let alone winning."
"Ah, cheer up, Satoshi," the victor patted my shoulder. "I gotta admit that the throw you did surprised even me. Like I said, you have potential, so there's no shame in that at least."
"You make it sound like there's shame I still have to endure…" I leered at her smirk.
"Yup. You start school here Thursday, right?" she asked.
"Yeah…Why…?" I gulped.
"Heh. You'll see…" she laughed villainously as she lead me to get dressed and then took me to her room. I still stank a bit from sweating, so I hoped she didn't have me stay in her room too long. Her room had all her stuff situated. Cleaner than my room ever was. Orderly was the theme, despite the few rock band posters on the walls.
"So, what exactly are you-!" I was interrupted as Yumi pounced me and started to draw on my face with a felt-tip marker. A permanent marker!
"Now let's see…" she hummed in an evil fashion. "First the eyes…and the snout…Voila! A perfect masterpiece!" she chirped as she stood off me and got out a hand mirror to show me her graffiti.
I stared back in horror at the blackened eyes and muzzle region of my face. I looked like a…
"From now on, I'll call you Panda-chan!" Yumi cooed in a babying voice. "The ink will come off in a few days, but the name stays until you can pin me like I did you. Okay, Panda-chan?"
"Is that all?" I sighed with a groan. "Well, I suppose I can-"
"Oh, and you'll be fixing the boards and walls and doors you wrecked, all from your pocket."
"I knew I shouldn't have made that deal with you…" I gave a grumbled of protest.
"Aww…Is Panda-chan getting a little grumpy?" she made a kissy face at me.
"Shut up…At least Keiko won't see this on me…" I gave a sigh of defeat. This was going to be a rough experience out here.