Chapter 1Mature

The Six Tailed Wolf
A.L.Vullo
In a wolrd filled magical Ninjas and Samurai, there lived spirits Inshigno, that possesed enormous and monstrous power. One of these spirits, the Six Tailed Wolf destroyed towns, armies and the land.
After this beast strangely disappeared, everyone rejoyced. But only few knew the truth. The Beast was reborned in a boy.
That boy is Mudara Kenza.
(All must be said in a dramatic voice)

The Six Tailed Wolf

A.L.Vullo

Prologue

 

The sound Hinzarik heard was like swirly hurricane and explosive lightning engaged in an eternal battle that would never end, for dozens of more generations the battle would continue to rage, it howled on all night and all day. The wind howled endlessly against the side of Hinzarik’s helm, it was loud, it numbed all his senses and his helm was engraved with the face of a snarling dragon, so it was even harder for him to see ahead. Hinzarik could barely see the other samurai in front of him from the fog that had laid a thick layer white along the peaks of the mountain range.

Every few seconds a samurai in front, behind or to the left would let out a series of curses, regrets and some odd comments either about the weather, lack of food, water, sleep, the upcoming battle, or cheating wives. Every time one of these comments were made Hinzarik just wanted to push through the crowd and scream in their face that complaining wouldn’t change any of their problems, even though he understood each one of them, just when you keep hearing the same cries of waling for hours is enough to make any one throw themselves off the cliff.

Being pushed towards the steep mountain side, Hinzarik looked to mountain to try to gain some small bit of respite. He hadn’t noticed it before, but when he looked to the mountain, he saw the armour of his right arm had stopped him from flying into the mountain side, he suddenly felt his arm trembling, he soon realised that his entire body was shaking, from the cold wind and exhaustion. Hinzarik continued to hold up his arm, even though every instinct told him to lower his arm, but he pushed past the pain. Every time there was a sudden change in the wind that was strong, he saw at least two samurai who had no support plummet down the sky high mountain; their screams echoed throughout the marching army of samurai. Hinzarik was safe enough to not commit his entire thoughts to keeping him on the mountain from the two other samurai that kept him from the edge of the mountain.

Hinzarik’s thoughts would often trail off to his home; he would think about his large home, it was almost a small castle, dozens of servants walking around tending to almost every one of his needs, the splendid dinners, the important people that would often come to visit and the fighting tournaments that where held almost every month and not really having any responsibility. His mind would also wonder off to the several Zen gardens that were dotted throughout his family’s estate, these where places where he could rest from his life of mingling with the wealthy.

A small smile rose across Hinzarik’s lips at the thought of home.

“Why are you smiling Hinzarik? You’re enjoying this gorgeous weather? A faint laugh could be heard. The voice could hardly be heard, even though the words were being yelled.

Hinzarik’s friend Bakku always had a carefree attitude and he was always calm, but sometimes he would just cross the line with his attitude and this time was one of those times.

“Bakku, you know I want to go home, I don’t want to walk through these mountains, I don’t want to fight in a real battle, where most of us will die and I just want to go home, back to my normal life.” Hinzarik yelled back. Every word he said was true, Hinzarik didn’t want to be here, he just became a samurai to because of his father’s authority and he wanted to own a full set of armour.

“Come on Hinzarik!” Bakku screamed back. “This is life,” He raised his arms as his he was praising the sky, showing his friend that he loved every minute of this. “This is the outside world, the gritty parts of all the legends you were told has a kid. When you’re old you can tell your grandchildren that you walked over these mountains and they’ll be in awe of you. Don’t you love it?” He laughed again. “This is the very reason you become a samurai or ronin. You have to feel the cold, the heat, the rain and blood on your body to say that you’re a man.”

Bakku truly understood his friends concerns, but what could two men do against a general who was loved be the entire Empire of the Land of Samurai. This is what life is Bakku thought to himself over and over again, not everyone has the privilege of being a samurai and this is what the normal man must deal with every day. This was the very reason why Bakku trained as a samurai, unlike his friend, Bakku just didn’t want a set of armour, he wanted to see the world, enjoy new cultures as much as he could, what is the point of life if you only experience only one way of life.

“Bakku.” Hinzarik yelled. “We’re on another island, far from home, family, warm food, fresh water and we are here to kill Ninja. Ninja!” Hinzarik screamed. “We don’t need to kill them, there savages who still live in small villages, they don’t have any technology and each village tries to kill all the other villages.” What’s the point in fighting Ninja anyway, though don’t harm us, Hinzarik thought to himself.

“There’s not much us two can do now Hinzarik,” Bakku tried to comfort his friend. Bakku loved his friend, they have known each other since they were five, but sometimes he would not stop complaining and it would annoy him.

Another gust of wind came, but this one was weird, different and foul, it gave Hinzarik goose bumps and he felt the small hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Every few minutes a gust of wind like the one that had just happened would echo through the mountains and it wasn’t just Hinzarik who was unsettled by the odd winds, a number of samurai would slow their pace and look up, searching for the source of the sound. Hinzarik knew that he did not want any more of those gusts of wind and whatever was making that sound should stay away.

Maybe it was just his paranoia from being up in the mountains for three days, the lack of food, the elements, or maybe he was just paranoid, but he had heard stories as a child of giant wolves roaming the peaks and all the caverns under the mountains that form a nest.

Hinzarik shivered. “That wind makes me uneasy. Every time,” He struggled to breathe, it took him a few moments to get his breath back under control. “Every time,” He continued. “I feel something foul is getting closer, just waiting to tear down this mountain and to take us all with it. Bakku?” He waited for his friend to face him. “What if it’s the She Wolfs?” Hinzraik shivered at the thought, the stories told of She Wolfs that could destroy entire armies, towns, fields, even mountains.

Bakku laughed. “Hinzarik, you should know,” He also struggled to talk and breathe from his exhaustion. “The She Wolfs are just stories told by parents to the bad children to make them fall into line easier. Really, just think about it. Do you really think that there are wolves in these mountains that can pull down mountains? There all just stories, legends, myths, whatever you want to call them.”

“So you’re the bad child of fifteen other mutts.” Hinzarik joked to lighten the mood.

The two shared a quick and shallow laugh. The laugh ended quickly, an awkward silence loomed over the marching samurai as they all continued to push through the wind and exhaustion. The sound of hard breathing, the clinging of armour and the yelling of officers on their horse as they rode near the cliff’s edge was all that you could hear, except for the wind, the chilling sound of the wind.

For two more hours the samurai marched onwards, the further they went the cliff’s walkway that could only take three samurai abreast now could take at least ten men abreast and the wind had somehow slowed down so it made it easier for everyone to walk forwards.

The screaming of men and the crashing sound of armour rang through the marching line like a flash flood running down the dry river. Men began to draw their katanas, Hinzarik saw each blade as it was drawn; the wielder could not perform a sweeping draw since his comrade was on a half a metre in front of him, so they had to pull the blade up to the sky. The screaming quickly rushed closer and closer, shrieks of pain rushed into his ears, they rang for several moments, but Hinzarik couldn’t be distracted. Hinzarik and Bakku had no choice but to draw his blade and place his body quickly in the traditional battle stance.

A samurai in crimson red and azure blue armour, a face of anger was engraved on the helm, a flowing cape with the same colours as his armour flew behind him and in his right hand was a spear, while his left was tightly wrapped around the reigns of his trembling horse. The samurai was galloping near the cliff’s edge, Hinzarik, nor Bakku had seen him before he and his horse came galloping from around the corner of the wide walkway. He seemed to be bellowing out orders, but no one could understand him, or everyone was too terrified to follow them.

Hanzarik’s eyes followed the man, while Bakku payed him no attention. Moments later he was thrown from his steed and falling down the cliff.

Hinzarik trembled in his armour, he was scared, he turned to see Bakku with his sword drawn, his helm did not cover any of his face, unlike Hinzarik’s which covered the top half of his face. Bakku’s face was drenched in sweat, dirt and tattoos, but he seemed calm, no sign of fear could be seen on his fare face, but his eyes showed concentration, determination and weariness of whatever is coming to kill them.

Bakku could see his friend trembling from the corner of his eyes, his face was wet with sweat and he needed to blink to stop any sweat from entering his eyes. He tried to remain calm, it took most of his strength to, but he was scare, he couldn’t deny it. He needed to help his friend in any way to hold his ground; the heir of the proud Okami family should not be seen scared in the face of ay battle. Bakku’s efforts soon paid off, he saw his friend gain back his control of his fear. “This is what life is.” Bakku whispered to himself, hoping it would give him some more strength.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, almost fourteen samurai could be seen in the air, they waved their arms, legs and bodies like madmen in the air. A large black figure lunged forward through the centre of the stationed samurai. The scene was like watching a katana slice through thin fabric and the samurai were the fabric. Hinzarik and Bakku saw two large eyes, a pair of sharp fangs, with drool dripping from them, pointy ears, night black fur and the head of a wolf pouncing towards him. It snarled and growled as it drove half of the samurai into the cliff’s face, while the other half were thrown from the cliff; the screams blotted out the wolf’s snarling thirst for blood.

Closer and closer it got. Hinzarik raised his blade ready to strike. Hinzarik side stepped closer to the cliff’s face, he could now see the feral fur of the wolf, it was shaggy and spiky; katana slices already have been slashed down the side of its body, a spear thrust could be seen just below the glowing yellow eye. It was huge, about the size of two horses, its claw the size of large knives, the fangs even larger. Its claws lashed forwards, killing several men almost instantly, its tail like a whip, men were thrown from their feet, its large fangs easily ripping into armour and flesh, blood sprayed from wounds and the beast’s mouth dripped with blood. Already Hinzarik and Bakku had seen the wolf in front of them kill several samurai, some they knew, while others were total strangers, but each death hurt with the death of a fellow samurai and also the killer was getting closer.

“Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” Hinzarik screamed.

“Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” Bakku howled.

Hinzarik didn’t think; he just drove his katana straight down as he saw the fangs of the wolf bite into his friend’s chest, blood sprayed from every bite wound that was in Bakku’s chest. He felt the blade make contact with the wolf’s flesh and blood ran out of the wound, but the wolf didn’t even seem to stagger, it just kept running, Bakku still trapped in its jaws.

All Hinzarik could do was watch the wolf take his friend away and taking more and samurai with it.

After Hinzarik had come back to his senses and went through his thoughts, his eyes slowly scanned the scene of carnage that one lone wolf had done. Hinzarik saw men staggering as they pushed themselves to their feet; blood covered their bodies, men kneeling beside their fallen comrades, their cries and the sound of groaning men filled the sky of fog. There lied piles of mangled bodies, sprays of blood coated the cliff’s edge, the ground and the bodies of those alive and dead. A foul stench loomed over Hinzarik, he started to panic, his eyes shot left and right, he didn’t know what he was looking for, he just kept looking. He began to create scenarios that would have kept his friend alive. “What could I have done?” He whispered to himself. “Why him? Why the one that wanted to be here? Why not me? Why not the coward?” He soon felt two cold rivers of tears running down his face, soon his face was drenched in tears of pain and even started to drip wet snot from his nose.

Hinzarik heard a samurai that he knew only by the name of Odishi; he was a small man about a head smaller than himself, whenever Hinzarik saw him he was always reading a scroll, or telling a tale from the scrolls. Hinzarik could hear him muttering to himself, “Not over. Not over. Not over. It’s not over!” He finally screamed. Odishi walked as if he was drunk or had a limp, he looked up and saw Hinzarik, he started to stumble towards Hinzarik.

Odishi placed both of his hands on Hinzarik’s shoulders. “It’s not over. I can tell you right now, it’s not over.” Odishi’s face was covered in sweat, blood and covered with fear.

“What do you mean Odishi? Why isn’t it over? What else is out there?” Hinzarik replied.

Odishi started to shake. “That was a She Wolf.

What? Hinzarik snapped back.

“She Wolfs hunt in packs, large packs, about a dozen, the mothers with her cubs. Every animal needs food to survive, just a She Wolf needs more food than most. There are probably more wolves waiting for the right moment to strike. They’ve probably been stalking us for days, watching us as we set up camp every night, when take down the camps and as we march. The army is large… enormous, so the entire pack could have spread out and attacked other parts of the army. A She Wolf can take down a Dragon, Sea Monsters, God Eagles, so they can easily tear down a mountain.”

“So where are the cubs Odishi?” Hinzarik asked. ‘That couldn’t have been a cub thought, it was too big for a cub’ though Hinzarik.

“That thing was a cub you idiot. The mother is probably going to kill the rest of us.”

“Odishi, you’re just paranoid. I understand, I’m scared as well, but we have to gather everyone that’s alive and come up with plan. It’s the only way to stay alive in this shit hole of a mountain.”

“What plan Hinzarik! Tell me your plan. Tell me your fucking plan!” Odishi howled as he lightly slapped Hinzarik on the cheek.

“Okay. Um, we’ll carry the wounded down the mountain, make a small camp attend to the wounds of everyone that actually makes it down the mountains, we wait for the general to find us and then he’ll decide what to do. Is that good enough for you?”

“Is it good enough? No!” Odishi screamed in Hinzarik’s face. “Look at this! The general devised this great plan and look what has happened!” Odishi was engulfed with rage and fear; he was jumping in his armour. “The general isn’t here. He is sitting, in a warm tent, with food, water and women dancing around him, dozens of kilometres away from this bloody bloodbath.”

Hinzarik and Odishi saw everyone flinch at the sound of the foul wind that before had sent shivered throughout his soul, but now after seeing his friend die in front of him, he wasn’t afraid of some wind.

“Why are they all afraid of some wind?” They’re samurai.

Odishi was disgusted by the comment. “That wasn’t the wind. Hinzarik.”

“What!”

Odishi shivered. “All of us ‘samurai’,” Odishi’s voice was filled with fear. “As you call them, were all dead as soon as we stepped a single foot onto these mountains.”

“What are you talking about Odishi? You sound mad.” Hinzarik snapped at the shivering fool.

Odishi pointed to the edge of the cliff, his finger shook uncontrollably. His lips tried to spit out some words.

Hinzarik didn’t look too were his ‘friend’ was pointing. ‘What! What is it?” He screamed.

“L, l, l, look.” The words finally spat out.

Hinzarik span around and unknowingly dropped his katana that he was still holding.

Everyone that still breathed saw the two large red eyes, the size of horses. Again the wind howled, but this time it rain flew with it against the samurai.

“Snot?” One of the samurai said near the cliff’s edge as he tried to remove the snot from his amour.

“What in hells is that?” Hinzarik gasped. As he saw a furry snout the size of a boat rose up from the mist.

“That is the Mother She Wolf.” Odishi’s voice was hollow. “My friend Hinzarik, although this was a short converse, it was quite nice arguing with a dumb rich boy.”

Hinzarik and Odishi both gazed up at the Mother She Wolf.

 

Chapter 1

The Unlikely Ninja

 

The sky was ocean blue with dozens of cloudy islands of white dotted throughout the sea that lay above. Mudara watched the clouds slowly float by, like a snail trying to run as it is being chased by a predator. Mudara liked watching the clouds, it calmed him and it gave him time to think. Throughout his years of watching the clouds when he was bored and getting away from family’s arguments, he found that no two clouds are the same. The clouds gave him peace and quiet, he enjoyed that about clouds, he could just talk to them, they didn’t judge, they didn’t ask questions, they just listened and Mudara could just tell the truth.

Mudara laid across a plane of long grass, his head rested on both of his hands. The slight breeze was cold and it ruined the warm air of midday, but it was still nice, the sun was bright and Mudara couldn’t look at the bulb of light for a second or two. The river next to Mudara was filled with ripples and the sound calmed him and made him slowly doze off, as he did nothing but listen to the water rushing past him and the slow rhythm of his breathing.

Mudara’s eyes slowly opened, they staggered, but they eventually opened. His vision was blurry and took him a few long moments for his vision to become clear again. He pushed his body up with his arms as support. As he looked to the sky, Mudara noticed that the sun was much closer to the horizon, the sky was red and the air was much colder than before. Mudara noticed a stirring in his stomach, it growled like a bear in hibernation.

“Dinner! Yes.” Mudara said to himself, as he clenched a fist in excitement. “Pork Buns and steamed rice. The best!” He licked his lips.

Mudara used his Inshigno to launch himself into the air. Mudara jumped a metre in the air; he seemed too floated there for a slipt second before his feet landed firmly on the ground. Mudara scanned the field of grass; each blade of grass seemed to be level with each other. The field that Mudara had slept in was based in valley as his village was a few kilometres away to the south.

“To home!” Mudara declared to himself. Pointing to the general direction of his home.

Mudara started to run. He again used his Inshigno to increase his running speed.

As Mudara ran he could feel wind rushing against his body, it was cold, but somehow refreshing and it gave him some more life. Mudara’s village was based in the middle of the Jade Forest, so it was hard to find for anyone who did not know the secrets of the Ninja.

To Mudara’s left was the beginning of the Jade Forest, there were bonsai trees and other trees that looked much larger and sturdier at the border that Mudara could easily make out, but as he looked past the border and into the actual forest, he noticed there was no distinct tree shapes.

Mudara felt a slight grin run across his lips as he ran and jumped onto the branches, he felt alive as he dashed from branch to branch. As he flew through the forest Mudara saw a number of different animals hunting, foraging, sleeping and running through the forest as he was.

Mudara could feel that he was getting closer to the village, his thoughts raced from food, to sleeping, to reading, to sitting in the Zen Garden and listening to nature, then training slipped into his mind. He swore at the thought.

Mudara soon realised that he would have to deal with his family; his father, older sister, and two younger brothers. Mudara wasn’t really fond of them; they were all so mean and bitter towards him and his skills of Ninjutsu. Mudara knew he wasn’t the most gifted Ninja and every one of his siblings seemed to be naturally brilliant in the arts of Ninjutsu, but that still didn’t give them any right to look down on him. Mudara’s father had always excluded from his siblings, he would always concentrate on their training, he would help resolve their issues and he would talk to them and even attend their birthday celebrations.

Mudara only saw his siblings commit to their training, their father’s politics and not much else in their free time. Mudara would try to be serious during his training sessions, but he would get distracted and stare at the clouds, or divert to some other hobby of his. At the political sessions Mudara really tried to be serious and pay attention, but again his father would shun him and pay no attention, so Mudara soon lost all interest in politics.

Mudara’s father had always shunned him for his entire life, he wasn’t cruel or harsh, just distant; the only family members that seemed to care about Mudara’s life were his mother, grandmother and dead grandfather. They were the only members of the family that talked to Mudara, without mocking, the always believed in him, even when he was clearly failing and they would always go to his birthday celebrations. When his grandfather died, Mudara went into a state of depression and this just gave his siblings more fuel to mock him.

Mudara’s speed and use of Inshigno increased the distance of his jumps, he dashed across large branches and small ones, but the longer his mind dwindled on his family the slower he went. He was soon eventually forced to stop on quite a thick branch that could easily support his weight.

Mudara stood there for a few minutes, not thinking, not talking, just looking forward, all of a sudden he began to wonder where his life was going to go. ‘Am I going to live like this for the rest of my life?’ Mudara thought to himself. ‘All I do is hide from my family and image life as a true Master of Ninjutsu.’ Mudara kicked the trunk of the tree, it hurt, but his anger numbed the pain.

“Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!” Mudara howled. Usually he was more cautious when he would yell, he always made sure no one was around to hear him, but not this time. This time Mudara just wanted all of his rage to disappear quickly.

“Why am I such a failure? Why? Why?” Mudara trembled as the words slowly oozed out of his mouth, like a stitched up old wound that has just been open again. Mudara’s sister; Rinzula, would often taunt him with. You know what Mudara little brother? You’re not my biological brother at all. Is this a shock to your little brain? You’re just some boy that was found on the street and taken in by my family. They hoped that you would excel in a family like ours, but they now see that you are a failure. Your nothing! And by some miracle you are my brother, than your lucky to have survived the first week of your weak life” She usually spoke in a dark tone and usually possessed a stare like a basilisk’s towards Mudara, which made her taunts the worst to endure, everyone else would often just use ‘Failure.’ or, ‘Worthless.’

Rinzula usually laughed afterwards and walked off, after she broke Mudara’s soul, but other times she stayed there and would stare down Mudara as he cried in a corner, or his bed. At first Mudara just laughed it off at first, but as time went by and after seeing all the incredible skills that his father, mother, his brothers and Rinzula all naturally possessed, he began to believe that he really wasn’t part of the family and that his life was a huge lie.

Mudara was stationary for about five more minutes just going through the sadness of his mind; he finally forced himself to the village.

 

Chapter 2

The Family

 

The walls that stood in front of Mudara raised two metres from the ground. The walls were layered in plaster, on the walls artworks of different scenes ad been smothered all over the plastered wall. Mudara could see that the outlining wall of his home had not been cared for in a while, since some plastering could be seen peeling off and large cracks ruined the authenticity of the wall. The ‘Grand Gates’; that what Mudara called them, rose another metre higher than the walls and was made out of different engraved beams of wood.

Behind the plaster walls and the ‘Grand Gates’, there toward the Kenza mansion, it stood six stories high, the walls were made out of thin wood to support the walls that were made out of white paper, but a lot of the paper had been covered in similar designs to those of the walls outside and there was a roof that had red tiles made out of wood that made the mansion seem taller. The roof of the mansion was in the traditional and preferred shape for a mansion of this size; it rose like an unseasoned red lotus flower. The mansion could house a few hundred people, but it rarely did, only for when the annual Makdizca Tournaments were held. That was the time Mudara most hated. He would spend most of the day in his room, trying to make the day go faster so he would not have to go into a large crowd.

The plaster wall surrounded an area of ten acres; three was the mansion itself, while the rest was made up of Zen gardens, training grounds, a large dojo filled with weapons and other training equipment and a large crystal blue pond were Mudara would mostly read in peace, because no one else would go there.

An old man with a hairless head and large, powerful looking shoulders in a plain blue kimono could be seen standing at the doors. Mudara instantly recognised him, he was the Kenza family butler; Dentochi. Mudara had known Dentochi his entire life, he was a kind, generous man, but at certain times he could become serious and unlikable, at first Mudara found him scary and cruel, but he now sees that it was for his own good and that of the family’s. Now Mudara just thinks him as calm, or boring, but still nice.

“At last the child returns. How are you?” Dentochi said in his usual soft, slow tone. ‘You’ve been gone a long time. Where have you been?’ Dentochi thought to himself. “How was your day Mudara?

Almost every time Mudara saw the family butler, a broad smile was firmly planted on his wrinkled face and this time was no different. Even though the old man was not a part of Mudara’s family, the two trusted each other like a proper family.

“It was quite quiet and extremely calming… you know,” Mudara laughed. “Just the way I like it.” Again he let out a series of small laughs.

“What happened to your kimono and those sandals of yours?” Dentochi said, while he studied the young boy.

“I was in the forest for a few hours. Of course they are going to get a bit of dirt and mud and leaves on them.” Mudara said as slightly raised both hands to emphasise the very little dirt that covered his clothes.

Mudara wore a red kimono, with patterns of black leaves. The kimono went down just past Mudara’s knees, while the sleeves comfortably wrapped around his arms, up to the wrists. The kimono was quite clean, but many times before Mudara had been in a similar situation and he came back covered in mud. The sandals were made out of a soft, but strong wood, it felt awkward and unnatural on the bottom of his feet, but Mudara has quickly gotten used to it.

Mudara had always wished that Dentochi was younger so the two could do more things together; more so when Mudara was younger, but since Dentochi was like two hundred (not really), the dozens of stories kept him happily entertained for hours and hours, the stories still sounded engrossing, even when they were told a seventh time.

“Mudara.” Dentochi asked Mudara.

“Yes old man?” Mudara smiled back.

“Your family is waiting for you to join them at the table. I wouldn’t keep them waiting.” His face went closer to Mudara’s. They’ve been waiting for more than anyone likes.”

Mudara gave his old friend a quick bow of friendship and opened the gate.

Dentochi just smiled and followed the boy through the gates and into the white pebbled courtyard.

There was a central walkway made out of terracotta, while the rest was white pebbles, which had been evenly levelled. A few bonsai and cherry blossom trees could be seen throughout the white courtyard and they made a nice contrast from the boring white that dominated the entrance to the mansion.

The family butler slightly raced himself ahead of Mudara. Dentochi placed his right hand on the door and slid it all the way open. “Here you go, Master Mudara.”

“Thankyou Family Butler.”

“Take those sandals off,” Dentochi pointed to Mudara’s feet. “Give them here, I’ll take them.”

Mudara quickly ripped off his sandals and handed them to the butler. And Dendochi held out both of his hands and took the sandals.

Mudara quickly walked through the hallway, followed by Dendochi. The floor of the hallway was made out of planks of wood that had all just recently been oiled. Flanking Mudara and the Butler were rooms after rooms, with paper doors and connecting hallways. Each room could be easily be recognised by the different colours of paper and different coloured patterns. The hallway was quiet, except for the echoes of the family conversing with each other farther up the hallway.

Mudara continued to walk until he reached the crossroads of the hallways. While Dendochi continued forward to the end of the hallway that opened to a Zen garden.

Mudara turned left were he saw his entire family sitting cross legged on puffed up cushions.

Mudara stood at the entrance to the dining room. The room was twenty metres wide, with a long, thin black table in the middle. Cushions of many different designs where placed around the table. The wooden roof of the room always seemed to loom too close to Mudara’s head. The walls where covered in artworks of different animal, but a dragon could be seen in every scene.

Rinzula sat on a red and yellow patterned cushion. She must have heard her brother’s footsteps. Rinzula’s neck snapped as her head turned towards her younger brother. ‘Hm,’ a smile cut across her face. ‘Here at last,” She thought. “Worthless brother.” She spoke out. “You are always late and you look like that you don’t even care that you have been keeping us waiting.

Mudara felt a drop in his spirit, he felt sad and broken the moment Rinzula made contact with Mudara’s eyes. Her stare was cold; her eyes had a piercing red made any happiness that was still in him rot away.

When Mudara’s father caught a glimpse of his daughter looking up, he slowly floated his eyes up to see his son.

His eyes looked very much like Mudara’s and Rinzula’s, who all looked very similar, but that is where the similarities in appearances ended for Mudara, while on the other hand, Rinzula and Mudara's father each had the same the piercing, black hair, they had a similar faces. Mudara on the other hand, had extremely dark red hair, which people often mistook for brown, he had a more distinct jaw line then the rest of his family.

Whenever Mudara saw his entire family, he always wondered who he looked like, but whenever he asked he wouldn't get a full answer.

Mudara’s father differed from his daughter though, with longer wilder looking hair, his spiky beard that covered the bottom of his face and the tattoo on the left side of his forehead that couldn’t be easily seen due to his hair. He wore a plain black kimono with a red sash around his waist. “Mudara.” He announced in his usual stern voice towards Mudara. “You’re late. Come, sit.” He raised a kimono covered hand, where he quickly shook his hand so the sleeve fell further down his arm. “May I ask where you were while we’ve been waiting?” His eyes followed Mudara as he sat on a cushion. Mudara’s father sat at the far end of the long table. To his left was Rinzula who stared at her younger brother, a grin still stuck on her face. Her black hair was done up in a bun, with more hair flowing down to the back of her neck, two bangs flowed down, flanking her face. Rinzula had much sharper facial features than the rest of the family. She wore a deep red and purple outfit; it looked like a kimono, but it was shorter, it only went just past her knees and there seemed multiple layers of different colours.

To the right was Mudara’s mother; Kinn, who gave a happy smile towards her son, who tried to give one back. Mudara’s mother always had a gentle expression on her face, even when she got angry, only her eyes gave a stern look of anger. Her hair was a light brown, with streaks of black in it that fell down to her shoulders. She wore a very similar kimono to her husband’s, but instead of being plain black, it had dots of white covering it

Further down Kinn were Mudara’s two younger brothers; Menza and Sanari. The two twins whispered in the ears of each other; they exchanged quite giggles to almost every comment they both made. The two looked exactly alike; they both obtained the fair hair from Kinn, but with the spikes of their farther, their eyes like the pale sky and their skin were paler. The two wore brown outfits, that didn’t look anything like a kimono.

“Look Sanari.” Menza whispered as he pointed towards his older brother. ‘What a lowlife I have for an older brother.’ he thought to himself. “It’s that stupid faced freak of our family.” Menza announced. “Look at him Sanari, that sad look in his stupid face.” Menza chuckled.

“Menza brother. I am aware of his stupid expression, just look…” Sanari was usually the quite one of the group, only making jokes and taunts when Menza spoke first.

Mudara felt twitching throughout his fingertips; they shook uncontrollably. He started to grind his teeth, it hurt, but Mudara didn’t care. ‘I just got home and I already want to rip off my brothers’ heads.’ Mudara said under is breathing.

“Oh my god you twins!” Mudara sarcastically said. “Shut up, both of your voices are so squeaky, they sound like a baby duck. Hit puberty already you girls. Your girly voices sound more girly than Rinzula’s voice actually does, it really pisses me off.”

“Boys!” Everything went silent. Whenever Mudara’s father spoke out, everyone had the erg to listen. Whenever he spoke out to his family, his voice was always stern and serious, but it somehow possessed a sense of calm with knowledge of what he was speaking about. “We are at the table,” He eyed his three sons, with his red eyes. “Here we do argue with the family, or anyone else. We are here to eat and enjoy each other’s company, even if we do not like each other. If that is so that you want to kill each other, show them that they do not exist in your world. If you boys want to fight, than eat your meal quickly then fight in a Hinro’ra. Fight until one of you can’t leave the dojo for a few days and when the loser does, we will not give him any pity.” He then picked up his chopsticks; he fiddled for a few seconds as he put them in the correct spot and then scooped up piles of rice into his mouth.

Mudara had already started eating; he had heard that speech thousands of times before and he didn’t want to hear it again. He had always felt that the speech was always directed to him, so instead of listening he felt that it would be better to just eat. Mudara powered his way through the small bowl of rice, after every four or so scoops of rice he would take a sip of the Jasmine Tea. “Yum.” Mudara quietly said.

“You eat like a pig Mudu. It’s disgusting and embarrassing to watch, especially since you’re my brother.” Mudu was the name that Rinzula used as another taunt, to annoy Mudara. “You have no manners what so ever, you might as well be a common criminal, or a lowlife peasant.”

Mudara looked towards his sister. “I’m hungry, beloved sister.” Mudara replied, his mouth full of steamed rice.

“You’re hungry?” Rinzula replied, her voice was sharp and precise, just like her fighting. “How are you hungry? O, that’s right, you’re always hungry, and it’s a wonder why you’re not fat.”

“That is hurtful.” Mudara said trying to sound sad. “I have been out all day, doing all the things that I love and I had no one to tell me to stop, with no food as well I’ll add. So of course I’m going to be a bit hungry. Also,” He raised a finger. “How am I your brother? Last night you said that it would be a miracle if I really was your biological brother. Am I correct? Mudara faced his sister. A slight grin was slapped on his face. Mudara felt a lift in his spirits, maybe it was him complaining to his younger brothers and maybe that gave him the guts to stand up to his sister.

“You truly are a worthless bastard, you know that Mudu.” Rinzula snapped back then continued to take tiny scoops of rice. Rinzula couldn’t stand her brother, he was so heedless and clueless, it just infuriated her when he doesn’t even notice when a serious event arises in front of him. Rinzula especially hated it when she saw her brother run off into the woods during training. “Mudara.” She whispered into her brother’s ear. “We are the primes of our village, the true royal clan of Irit’chi. We as a family and individuals must show this at all times, in public and private. We must show our prestige, position, power and sense of honour. Remember this Mudara. The other noble clans think if they all band together, they can destroy our throne of superiority. But.” She snapped and cleansed her fist. “The other clans fear us and that same fear can solidify our position as the true royalty of this village. Fear is the only way to gain power. Understand?” Rinzula was finally able to go back to her dinner.

Mudara also quickly turned back to the food; he didn’t really listen to what his sister had said, he just watched her mouth move. ‘She always talks about these things. I get it. So why keep telling me the same thing, over and over.’ Mudara thought to himself.

After remembering that he had finished all the rice, he pulled the large bowl that had four pork buns in it towards him.

Mudara quickly devoured his first pork bun; he loved the doughy bread and then the meaty sensation that lay inside like the treasure in a chest. He chewed for a few more seconds to enjoy all the flavours that he could extract from the bun. Mudara was about to start chewing his second before he heard a voice talking to him.

“And how have your days been Mudara? Where they enjoyable? I haven’t been home for a few days.” Kinn had left to see her mother, who lived in one of the many neighbouring villages for a few days. Her mother had dementia and she knew that her mother would not remember anyone else except her and she did not want her family to see her mother in the state that she was in, so she left her family in Irit’chi.

Mudara looked up; he saw his father and Rinzula talking about some new training sessions that they would go through over the next weeks. Mudara also heard his sister talking about her old master who had just been relieved of his position; she said he was a weird and hopeless man. Menza and Sanari whispered in each other’s ears, probably a plot against Mudara. He turned and saw his mother smiling as she gazed at him. Like always her face had that gentle expression, her eyes happy and joyful. When Mudara saw her smile, he again felt revived and happy.

Mudara couldn’t talk with the large bun in his mouth, he just nodded and smiled.

“Good, good. I hope you didn’t do anything silly or dangerous.” She gave him the mother’s look. She knew that he would have doen something stupid, but her son was sitting in front of her, smiling and happy, so anything that did happen, must not have been that bad,

Mudara quickly swallowed the bun and took another sip of the tea. “Mum, I didn’t do anything stupid.” He lied. About an hour through the forest he had spotted a pack of tigers and Mudara wanted to follow them, for an hour he observed them.

“Except being born into this family.” Rinzula butted in, with a snug voice.

Mudara was about to hit her, but his mother quickly put an end to the fight. “That’s enough.” She simply said and both brother and sister quickly withdrew from each other.

“So, how was it?” Kinn continued.

“It was…” Mudara tried to think of a simple word, so his sister wouldn’t come up with some mean comment again. “Calming.” He finally said.

Mudara looked at his mother, who just nodded and smiled at his simple response. He tried to give a smile back, but it wasn’t very good.

 

Chapter 3

The First Steps

 

The meal continued for another hour, with many more bowls of steamed rice and pork buns happily consumed by Mudara, he couldn’t help his eating habits, the food was made quickly and easily, so when one serve of food was finished, another on was placed in front of him. “I am now full. That was nice.” He announced, while patting his stomach, that felt like a rubber being stretched every second.

Countless subjects had been discussed be his family, but Mudara had kept his distance from them, he didn’t really want to get into anything about politics or training, it would just arouse another argument, with him and his sister, or father. No one had really talked to him except his mother, so he enjoyed the meal.

“Mudara, darling.” Kinn said to get her son’s attention. “Are you excited for your inauguration tomorrow? Are you wondering who’ll be in your team, maybe you’ll make new friends? I hope you get a good Nagatza to be your master, I hope you two get along.”

Mudara looked up confused. “What?” He simply said.

“Mudara,” Kin thought he was joking. “Your inauguration as a Ninja Idlib is tomorrow. You couldn’t have forgotten. It will be one of the most important event in your life.”

An Idlib was a Ninja, who has left the training of his family or guardians and is entrusted to a Nagatza; the elites. They will train with each other for a few years until the Master considers them worthy of attaining the next rank of the Kino. The Nagatza will train the Idlib in various different styles, techniques and tools of war. An Idlib can be placed in a team, or just by himself, but he or she will always have an Nagatza to train him.

Mudara was really confused. “What are you talking about mother? The inauguration is in two weeks, not tomorrow.”

Mudara felt a pain in his shoulder point; the pain felt like a thousand knives all stabbed in the same place. His body jumped in pain, dropping his empty cup of tea. He screamed and the echoes faded quickly.

“Are you stupid?” Rinzula snapped at her younger brother. “Even I know that your inauguration is tomorrow and I don’t even want to go to it.”

Mudara looked at his sister, her index and middle finger had been stabbed into his shoulder joint and was now paralysed. He tried to move the limp of his arm, but with all the pain and numbness it was a waste of time. “BITCH.” He bellowed out. “Not necessary.” He tried to retaliate, but his arm would not obey his wishes. The stinging pain was constant, Mudara couldn’t concentrate on anything, but the pain his sister had inflicted on him.

Whenever Mudara watched his sister train with their father, he noticed that she moved like a viper; fast, deadly and precise, never missing her target, with her paralysing finger tips and her nails where quit sharp, so her attacks would bring more pain. She always kept her posture calm, she never lets the situation get the better of her and she would somehow overcome it. She always aimed for perfection; she could not have one hair out of place and if there somehow was one misplaced movement, she would train for even more hours to make up for that insignificant mistake. ‘Almost is not enough, perfection is the only way.’ She would always say, then going back to train moments later.

Rinzula would spend hours training and it made Mudara feel sad for his sister, not committing herself to any other hobby, but he knew his sister loved to train. But even though Rinzula was a total bitch to Mudara, he sometimes felt a sense of pity in himself, she doesn’t have any real social life, except for her squad of ninja. Mudara does admit that his sister is beautiful and it would be easy for her to find a boy, but she has never believed that, she believes that only her hard training will bring a boy to her.

“I though the inauguration was in two weeks, not tomorrow.” Mudara said as he rubbed his shoulder. “You didn’t have to do that, what is I did that to you, you wouldn’t like it.”

“No, I wouldn’t like it, but,” Rinzula paused, she couldn’t help but smile. “But you can’t do anything to me. Because.” A chuckle escaped her mouth. “You can’t use any techniques, because you are a terrible ninja.”

Mudara screwed his face in anger.

“That may be so right now,” Kinn spoke out. “But in a few years, maybe months, your brother will be able to match you in combat.” Kinn had watched her son train time, after time, with her husband and she saw not a lack of skill, but a lack for confidence. ‘If someone can free you from your cage, which has imprisoned you since the day you were born Mudara, than no one would be able to match you, not even the Yomunki.’ Kinn whispered to herself.

Rinzula grinned. “That may be so, but that won’t be for a long time. In that time I have when I am superior to him, I will have fun, beating my younger brother.” Her grinned grew and then she simply drove her fingers again into the same joint on her brother that she had just struck. She felt a sense of satisfaction as she watched her brother howl in pain. ‘Brother, you will have no right arm for a few days.” A series of quite laughs left Rinzula.

“Rinzula!” Kinn’s voice screeched through the air. “Leave!” He finger pointing tone of the door closest to her daughter.

Rinzula smiled, took a bow and quickly exited to the room.

Mudara’s father gently placed his tea cup on the table in front of him. “Why did you do that Kinn?’ The master of the family asked his wife, his voice again stern.

“No child of mine inflicts pain on their siblings.” Kinn scoffed back.

‘No child of mine will be weak’. Hinzarik thought to himself. “She is just making her brother stronger. She is showing him ‘Love’. Life isn’t a constant walk on a straight flat road, many times, you must run on the rocky windy road of life and if you are not strong enough, you are not worthy enough to call yourself strong.”

There was a long silence after that hung awkwardly in the air, but things soon returned to normal, conversations continued and Mudara was left alone. It always seemed whenever Mudara’s mother and father talked about him, they seemed to be at each other’s throats ready to rip the other’s out.

‘I’ve had enough of this.’ Mudara thought to himself.’ “Mother, father.” He stood up and bowed. “I am now going to lie on my bed and happily go to sleep. I bid you good night.” He finally announced.

He turned to the door, the one that his sister had used to leave the room.

“Mudara darling.” Kinn said. “Be ready for your inauguration tomorrow, be up early and put on something presentable. Okay.”

“Okay.” Mudara said back.

Mudara walked through the door and then down the hallway, turned left and faced a staircase, he walked up it, and turned to his room.

 

Chapter 4

Inauguration

 

The morning was cold, dark and a strong wind was howling, like a pack of dying wolves. The sun hid behind the bushes of black clouds, its raise tried to push through the black, but could not prevail. Rows upon rows of to-be Idlibs stood in perfect harmony together, from a bird’s view they looked like statues. Hundreds of different patterned, coloured kimonos stood in the crowds, with jackets, trousers and other styles of clothing. Everyone that stood in the rows all seemed unique and wished to become an Idlib, all knew the hardships that would go into becoming one.

Mudara stood next to a girl. A girl that towered him, her hair was fair, short and fuzzy. He felt extremely intimidated at the thought that this girl could be on his training team, it wasn’t just the reason he hasn’t really talked to a girl, but just the sheer size of her scared him. Mudara had to wake up at six; usually he woke up at eight, though it actually took him another half an hour to actually get out of his bed. He had quickly donned on a black and red kimono, with designs of white dragons, locked in mortal combat; it was his favourite kimono, that he only wore on special occasions and this was one of the best events that have happened in his life.

Mudara still couldn’t move any part of his arm that his sister had struck, it was so numb whenever he struck it, there was no sign that his arm existed.

Mudara was near the back of the crowd, to the flanks of the large courtyard there towered seating stands, with hundreds of eager parents watching their children’s first steps growing up to live the life of the Ninja. Mudara couldn’t see his family; though he didn’t really care, except he just wanted to see his mother. All Mudara wanted today was to see his mother smile at his accomplishments today; he knew no one else would.

To the front of the crowd was a large decorated stage with the newly appointed Yomunki; Sunandrii. She was a tall woman with sandy yellow hair that broke into two pony tails as the hair went behind her back. She wore a pale blue outfit, with a red skirt. She was a woman in her late thirties, but she didn’t look it; she looked more like a young, beautiful woman. Mudara had met her a few times before. Mudara’s mother and Sundandrii, from what he had gathered, where on the same training team, when they were only Idlibs.

In front of Sunandrii stood the always ready, the Keonyin Warriors. A group of some of the most feared, dedicated and deadliest warriors known in the village of Irit’chi. The group was entirely made up of the most exceptional woman that the village has produced. The Warriors stood in a single line, behind, ready to pounce at anyone that would dare attack their Yomunki. They all wore the same red, blue and black dress, with the head piece with a small figure of a crimson dragon, breathing fire, towards the sky and their faces were covered in makeup. Each warrior had a pair of crimson red metal fans, which had the edges sharpened, so it resembled the sharpness of a katana, two warriors could be seen with extremely large fans placed on their backs.

“Children.” Sunadrii’s voice echoed through the courtyard so much, that Mudara felt that she could have been standing next to him. “Today, you will take your first step to becoming a Ninja for your village.” She paused for a few seconds. “Being a Ninja isn’t just about…

Mudara began to doze off; he went through his imagination of what his life would be as a Ninja. He became excited at the thought of all the skills he would learn, all the assignments he would go on with his team and who would actually be on his team.

“I will call out a few names and those names will be in one team. When I see that you are all ready and standing up here, I will call another name and you will meet your new master and then you will go with them for a little team chat. We have organised these teams, so that they all will hopefully benefit, both the students and the master as well, so the team will be balanced and not one individual will outshine their fellow teammates.” Sunandrii pulled out a scroll from her back; she quickly opened it and began to call out names.

It seemed to take for ever for Mudara’s name to be called out. About half of the crowd had left along with their family, leaving everyone still standing in the same spot for over thirty minutes.

“Mudara Kenza.”

Mudara almost jumped, he was so excited that it his name had just been called out, he clenched his fists and was almost skipping. He quickly made his to the stage.

“Kumiki Kankaren.” The next name was called out.

Mudara searched for the face or the movements of his new teammate. He tried to peer through the largest group of people thinking is where he would be standing. ‘I have heard the name Kankaren somewhere before, so this Kumiki must be a member of one of the noble clans that Rinzula is always talking about destroying. She won’t like this team that I have been placed in.’ Mudara thought to himself. He continued to the front of the stage.

Mudara finally saw the stage in front of him; it was twice the size of his own height. Mudara turned to his left and saw a boy that really looked that he was born pre-maturely. He had fuzzy hair that had the colour of rust throughout. His had a fair complexion, with pale all over his face, covering his jaw, under his chin, the side of his face and around his mouth, was small rusty coloured prickly hairs. His eyes where sharp, like and eagles and they gave an intimidating stare, but Mudara noticed a sense of gentleness in his eyes. Kumiki’s torso was wrapped layers and pieces of clothing, all with different patterns; Mudra saw red, blue, green, purple, bronze and a large sash of brown was flung over, from his shoulder to his waist. Kumiki’s legs were covered by a red and purple tunic.

Kumiki turned to face Mudara. He smiled and took a light bow to show his respect to his new teammate. “Hi, I’m, Kumiki.” He finally said. Kumiki had been worrying for the last couple of days that his new teammate would be a total douche, but what he saw in front of him was a another boy, that knew all of his problems. ‘Time to find out what he really is.’ He thought to himself.

“Hello Kumiki, I’m Mudara.” Mudara happily said back and returned the bow.

The moment of silence was finally broken, by Sunandrii. “Okay boys!” Her voice boomed. “You two, Mudara Kenza and Kumiki Kankaren, shall be one team under one master.”

“Wait!” Mudara blurted out. “Why does our team only consist of two Idlibs, when most of the other training teams have around three to five, some have six?”

“Yes I was wondering that as well.” Kumiki entered himself to the conversation.

One of the Keonyin Warriors stepped out of her position and jumped from the stage and landed straight in front of Mudara. For long moments she glared at the boy in front of her, disgusted in the he had addressed himself to his Yomunki. “How dare you talk to Lady Sunandrii in that way, you should be ashamed?” She glared at Mudara for another moment and only backed off when the commander of the Warriors called her back.

Mudara watched them for a few moments as the woman who just yelled at him and her commander rallied back words and words.

“You can’t let this boy get away with something as disgraceful as this. You can’t.”

“This matter cannot be solved by us, the Keonyin Warriors, we are but guards and followers of the Yomunki, we carry out their wishes, if she demands action, then we will act.” The commander tried to calm her fellow soldier down.

“That boy can’t talk to Lady Sunandrii in that manner.” She pointed at Mudara. “He must be punished.”

“We cannot decide whether he is to be punished. That is a matter for Lady Sunandrii to decide. If she has taken offence to it, then she will take action.”

The two looked at their Lady Sunandrii and shocked expressions erupted across their faces at the sight of Sunandrii smiling. “Ladies. You must not worry for me, every single second of the week, day and night. Mudara here just asked a question, even though he blurted it out, I found it quite amusing.”

The two Keonyin Warriors took a bow and stepped back into line.

“Mudara and Kumiki.” Sunandrii stepped off the stage and placed herself in front of the boys. “The two of you come from the two most prestigious clans in the village of Irit’chi, the two most influential and most powerful clans. We expect a lot great things from the both of you. You two,” Sunandrii smiled. “Make me proud. Make all of us proud.” Sunandrii turned around and hopped back up to the stage. She turned and again looked at both Mudara and Kumiki. ‘You two can do so much for this village, with all that power you possess. Make them remember you.’ She thought to herself. “Now you two, time to meet your master. When I saw the reports for this team, I was allowed to place a teacher of my choosing for you two.”

Mudara watched as Sunandrii clapped her hands and said. “Karachi!”

To the left of Lady Sunandrii, circling small flashes of red, orange, yellow and purple suddenly appeared. The slashes ripped through the air uncontrollably, but soon afterwards the slashes grew and grew until they appeared to be claws, a cocoon of colours could now be easily seen by everyone.

“Wow.” Kumiki gasped. He had heard stories of the elite Ninja, being able to use their Inshigno to teleport over short distances, with dramatic appearances. He had always wanted to learn how to use it; especially each individual had their own unique style. ‘This must be it.’ He thought to himself, as he shook with uncontrollable excitement. “A, amazing.”

The cocoon swirled faster and faster, until it just exploded. The colours parted in every direction. When the mist of colour disappeared, the silhouette of a man could be seen.

“I’m here.” A voice said.

Sunandrii let a quiet laugh escape. “Where were you Karachi?” She asked.

“I was sitting in the crowd, with some of my friends and I wanted to make a dramatic appearance. Is that alright, Master Sunandrii?”

“I should have guessed you would have done something like that.” Sunandrii replied back. She pointed to Mudara and Kumiki. “These are your students, take care of them.”

The man could now be seen. He was a tall, lean man, with night black hair, that looked like he just woke up. His face was calm, but always alert and his sharp eyes seemed to be almost asleep. He wore a plane black shirt, with short sleeves, with thread works of red, with knots to keep his short covering his body. He wore a pair of knee length shorts, but they had a much more interesting colour pattern then his shirt. The man wore an opened white kimono, with streaks of purple lines. Wrapped around his forehead, was a colourful, long thin headband; to the side of the head was where the tie was made and he let two strands of around thirty centimetres flow in the wind and his right arm and leg, were also wrapped in the colourful bandages.

“Um, hello there, I’m Karachi. You know, just, just Karachi. Nice to meet you two.”

Chapter 5

The Master

 

Mudara and Kumiki had followed their new master Karachi all around the village, from one side to the other, just talking to each other. Mudara and Kumiki threw volley after volley of questions and Karachi just calmly answered back to every one of them as if they were normal ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions, even though Mudara and Kumiki tried really hard to think of difficult ones.

“So you two.” Karachi said as he stopped. “Tell me. I assume you have had a little training in fighting skills, some weaponry and other skills.”

“Kumiki happily nodded. “Yes Master Karachi. My father taught me some of basics to bending leaves. I’m not a master, or by any means an expert, but I guess I am pretty good,” Kumiki lowered his head “But I’m not any good, with any weapons, or evading or any other tools.” He looked back up to his Master. “I’m sorry.” He quietly said.

“Don’t worry about, I just wanted to know where your skills where at. We can work on every skill over time, so don’t worry.” Karachi looked to Mudara. “Mudara, are you willing to share?”

“My father didn’t train me in anything, none of my family did, my sister hates me, as well as my brothers, my mom loves me, but she is away all the time. They all think I’m a failure.” Mudara took a deep gulp. “I only know the very basics.”

“I am sorry to hear about your family.” Karachi solemnly said.”

Mudara turned his back to the group.

“Mudara? I am sorry.” Karachi continued.

“I, I can’t imagine what that is like. I’m sorry.” Kumiki said.

“Thank you.” Mudara slowly said.     

“Well, let us continue our journey.” Karachi said.

The crowd of three soon stopped in front of a store, after another half an hour of walking. Its walls were made out of painted planks of bamboo, the doors and windows were only curtains, which hung on by strands of string. The building was two stories, the bottom being the store, while the top floor was probably the house to the family who owned the store. The roof was shaped into a triangle, with zigzagging patterns engraved into the old wood. Above the door was a piece of wood that had been carved into an octagon, it was painted pink, with words in black of “Tools”.

“Um, come on, we’re going inside.” Karachi said, as he stepped to the curtain and moved it aside to walk through.

‘Why?” Mudara said.

“Why?” Karachi replied, with half of his body inside the building. He smiled and turned. “Just come inside and see.”

Mudara and Kumiki did so without hesitation. Even though the two only met their master a few hours ago, they both already liked him, even though he was a bit slow on talking and he didn’t really sound enthusiastic, Mudara and Kumiki liked him.

‘He is just like an adult nerd. It’s awesome.’ Kumiki thought to himself.

As Mudara walked through first he saw brightly lit room, with candles and oil lamps in every corner. He saw barrels of different types of blades, with the more favoured katana and ninjato blades on several wooden displays. Mudara instantly ran to them.

Kumiki entered the store after Mudara and saw a glove, with plates of metal partially surrounding it, linked together with small chains. Kumiki saw the fingers encased in metal while metal claws sprouted from the finger tips. He, as Mudara did also ran instantly to the glove that was trapped in a glass container.

The store was very cramped with all the displays, barrels and people. The store had a massive range of weapons. All of them were displayed, some neatly and meant to impress, while the other unflavoured weapons had just been piled up in barrels. To the very back of the store was the counter, with an old, frail looking man keeping the counter company.

“Ok boys.” Karachi gathered Mudara and Kumiki back together for a few words. Karachi’s mind raced with thoughts. ‘Should I tell them? What if they’ll hate me? I can’t waste this opportunity.’ He managed to calm himself. “Fuck it.” He said under his breath.

“Yes Master Karachi?” Mudara said, his voice filled with enthusiasm, his face excited, with his fist clenched.

Karachi struggled to bring up the words. “Um, I, am, just, going to say it, you might hate me afterwards like almost everyone else and if you do. Just walk away. My father was famous Ninja, he met a wounded samurai one day. When he was ordered to kill the samurai by his comrades, he just couldn't kill someone who was defenceless." There was a pause. "So," He continoued. "My father, just slung the samurai over his shoulder and took that poor man back here to the village. You understand so far Mudara? You have some look on your face?"

"Well... yes. So your father and that man got into a fight and your father won." Mudara bursted out.

Karachi replied. “Um, well… No." Karachi paused again. "Later on the man turned out to be a woman, with the name of Kizu. Over time, my father and Kizu bonded more and more, until, my father asked Kizu to marry him. Since Ninjas are like 'oh my god, samurai, they're the enemy.' people wearn't really happy with the marrage. About a year later, I got pooped out and people usually hate me, because of my Kizu.

"Sure, I don't really have any problem with the samuai." Mudara said. He really didn't, he knew that he should, because the Samurai had always been at war with the Ninja, but they are just people to.

"Just one question, if I may ask?" Kumiki asked rasing his hand.

"You don't need to raise your hand Kumiki." Karachi replied, a slight smile on his face.

"Why do you call your father, 'Father', but your mother Kizu? And why did you tell us that story of your father and mother?"

"That can wait for another time. To the second question. I wanted to see if you two were like every other arrogent person in this village, but now I see that you both are opend minded and that is good." Mudara saw something change in Karachi. "Now." He seemed revived. "Go. Look around. See what draws you. Okay?"

Mudara and Kumiki seemed to read each other’s' mind. They both ran off in the same direction, like a dog after a bone, looking for the most exotic looking weaponry they could find. When they found something to their liking they would meet up in the middle of the store, where there was enough room to move and show their discovering. At first Mudara ran for the katanas, while Kumiki ran towards the blades fans, Karachi just stood at the entrance to the store.

About ten minutes of waiting, Karachi soon saw his two students walking towards him. He saw the troubled look on both of their faces. "What’s wrong you two?" He asked.

Kumiki looked up. "We can't afford any of this. We have no money and I don’t really want to ask my family for money.”

“Same.” Mudara said.

“Don’t worry so much you two.” Karachi calmed both boys down. “I take care of my own. I’ll pay for anything you want, within reason, of course. You can pay me back if you want whenever you can.”

“So we can get anything we want, Master Karachi? Anything?” Mudara asked.

“Yes. But I want you to go get both of yourselves a set of Nagera (throwing) Knives and a few dozen shurikens. Every ‘real’ Ninja always needs to have a decent amount on them, at all times. Also the cool thing about the Nagera Knives come in different designs and colours, so pick a style that you like. Hurry up go-go!” Karachi said to get his students to get them away.

Karachi was surprised. Only a few moments later did he see Kumiki running towards him, quickly followed by Mudara. “Oh god.” He quietly said.

Both Mudara and Kumiki carried a small box under their left arms. Both boxes had marks burnt into them, there was a small intricate lock keeping the box from opening. Mudara grasped a pair of smaller looking katanas in his right hand. The blades were covered by a sheath of plain black, with the hilts of the sword being red, green and black.

Kumiki carried a pair of golden blades fans. On each separate part of the fan, were different scenes of different animals.

“Why did you choose the fans Kumiki?” Karachi asked.

“I want to join the Keonyin Warriors when I get older.” Kumiki said. “It is my dream. I want to defend the Yomunki. 

“Kumiki,” Karachi crossed his arms and laughed. “You can’t become a member of the Keonyin Warriors. Just because you wield the same style of fans as they do, even if you surpass them in every single way, you still can’t join them. To join the Keonyin Warriors, you must be born a woman and you are not a woman, you are a man. Not even a man,” A smirk formed on Karachi’s face. “You’re a boy.”

Kumiki’s heart twisted into a tight knot and continued to squeeze. He lowered his head. “Ye.” Kumiki whispered. He didn’t really know what else to say. He had always wanted to join the Keonyin Warriors, even though he knew that only woman could join, he just felt, that he could prove to everyone that someone like him could join a prestigious order of warriors, even though he wasn’t the correct gender.  

Mudara turned around.

He heard a donkey walk past the front of the store; it snorted and squealed as the farmer urged his donkey to either his farm, to help take some of the heavy load or to a market store, to sell the farmers goods. Everyone’s attention seemed to be taken, by a squealing donkey that just walked past.

“Okay, enough of that donkey.” Karachi said. “Now, both of you show me your BLOOD.” Karachi said in gruff voice. “Grab those knives of yours and slit your wrists and if you have the balls, slit your throat, for the pain to end swiftly.”

“What?” Mudara and Kumiki both gasped.

“Oh nothing, I’m just joking trying to be funny I guess.” Karachi took a slight pause after every word, at the same time, his face slowly went sad as he realised that his joke was not funny. “Anyway, show me the Nagera Knives that you got, but don’t cut yourselves, please.”

Mudara and Kumiki both placed their weapons on the ground and took out one knife from the box. Kumiki held his knife out first.

The knife was about the size of a full grown hand, with the hilt being about half the size of the blade. The hilt of the knife was covered in some sort purple and white striped fabric. The blade itself was moulded into the shape of a kite.

“I see that you favour the style of Irit’chi Kumiki.” Karachi said.

“Excuse me?”

“This design of Nagera was made in Irit’chi itself, almost everyone here has these types of knives. They are extremely deadly when thrown at high speeds and the shape of the blade can easily pierce the armour and they are quite light, so you can carry a lot of them. One of the major downsides is that if used incorrectly, the blade can break.” Karachi turned to Mudara. “Now Mudara, which design did you favour?” Karachi asked.

“Well um,” Mudara started. “I got these ones. I hope you like them.” Mudara said, his voice quivering. He didn’t really want his new master to be disappointed with his choice. Mudara held out the knife.

“Ah, you picked the knives that originated from Kauruka, one of the many villages that resides in the Rand Sands.” Karachi raised a finger, for a statement. “Fun fact,” He joked. “The village of Kauruka and the Ninjas of the Golden Cat are one of our oldest, respected allies that have somewhat of a rivalry with us, the Ninjas of Violet Plumed Rooster from Irit’chi. Anyway.” Karachi waved his hands in front of his face. “Enough of fun facts,” Karachi then pointed to the knife. “This design of Nagera can be used in almost any situation, it is strong and durable, you can use it in close quarters relatively easy, and you can slash, hack or stab with it. The only downside to this magnificent design is that it is heavier than most other Nagera Knives.”   

Mudara looked at his knife and was quite satisfied with his choice. He looked at his knife. The blade was about the same size as Kumiki’s, but at the very end there was a distinct curve in the blade. Curved grooves on the bladed edge could be easily seen. “Cool.” Mudara whispered as he tightly clenched his new knife.

“Ok let us leave this store.” Karachi announced. “And train until we vomit.”

“Yes Master Karachi.” Kumiki excitedly said.

While Mudara just boomed out “Ya, let’s go.” While pointed to the door.    

 

Chapter 6

Some Time has Pasted

 Mudara gazed across the flat desert of grass. Each blade of grass swayed in the wind, like a man pretending to be a tree, the green blade flowed left and right. The plane of grass reached out for a few kilometres and ended with a series of high, thick powerful trees. A crystal blue river had been slashed right in the very centre of the plane; rocks could be seen creating ripples in the middle of the river. To the far west a range of jagged mountains pierced the sky.  

The open sky had been pale blue the entire day, with no clouds seen for the last few days. The sun had shown bright, in the middle of the sky, but the wind bit constantly against Mudara’s body. Though it was a warm day, the wind made Mudara shuffle uncomfortably. ‘This wind is weird.’ He thought to himself. “Arr, I’m just paranoid.” He whispered to himself.     

Mudara sat on an extremely round boulder, with an odd flat top. Behind him a tall, skinny tree, that conveniently shaded him from the sun.

Mudara had been thinking of the first time when all three members of Rareta Trio first met, (what you just read before). The Rareto Trio was the name that the trio had given themselves about half a year after they met, to make themselves known to all the other Idlibs in training; who all later gave themselves team names, which Mudara found funny.

Mudara’s memories began to wander to his first training session with Karachi and Kumiki. A smile cut across his face. He remembered running to the exact plane he was looking at now. He clearly remembers being late and that Karachi had scolded him for it, but moments later everyone was telling jokes, as if nothing had even happened. “Nagera Knife throwing.” Mudara said. The training did not go well, only for Mudara, Kumiki seemed to master the throwing knives in a few weeks, but it took Mudara well over five months, with continuous training.  

“Five years now, on this very day isn’t Mudara, that this Trio was formed?” A voice came from behind.

Mudara turned around and saw his master crouching on one of the branches. He smiled and turned back around. “Five years indeed Master.” Mudara replied. “Five long and painful years.”

Karachi had not changed much in the last five years and if he had, it would have been the most insignificant detail that had change. The only difference that could be seen was his tattoo on his left hand, which featured a tiger snarling and crouching.

Karachi wore a white kimono, with streaks of purple palm leaves. The kimono was opened at his chest, revealing short hairs on Karachi’s chest. Since Karachi was crouched Mudara could see a pair of black knee length shorts. Wrapped around his feet, was a pair of dark red wooden sandals. As always wrapped around his forehead, was his colourful patterned, headband, which he took everywhere.

Karachi laughed. “Yes, yes, a long time.” Karachi nodded his head.

There was a slight moment of silent, both Mudara and Karachi thinking about the past.

Mudara thought about all the other training sessions that he had completely failed at, he remembered trying to evade Karachi and he even somehow remembered when he sliced his own hand when he wielded his Wijikai Blades (the shorter katanas he bought). But his mind mostly stayed to the friendly rivalry that formed between himself and Kumiki. Mudara remembered the time when Karachi first made the pair spar and for the first five minuted, the two threw volley after volley of insults.

Karachi’s mind first wandered to the time that he gave the headpiece of the Keonyin Warriors to Kumiki. He remembered how he laughed at his student’s dream and later realised how rude he was and to try and make up for what he did, he gave his student the headpiece. He will always remember the smile and cries of joy Kumiki let out that rainy day. Then his mind turned to when Mudara tried to fight his sister after a year of training. He remembered how Mudara spent eight weeks in the hospital.           

“Now.” Karachi finally broke the silence. “You were just thinking about that little adventure of yours when you first threw those Nagera Knives of yours. Am I correct?”
“How did you know Master?”

“You always had a look on your face when you were throwing those knives and you had that face just a few moments ago.” Karachi said. “Are you ready?”

“Just waiting on Kumiki’s lazy ass to appear, I’m always ready for this.” Mudara joked.

The waiting lasted for ten long, twitchy minutes, without the slightest movement seen on the plane. The wind began to pick up. A wave of autumn leaves left the safety of the trees and lunged viciously at the boulder, circling the rock, like vultures waiting for their meal to die. The circling soon formed in front of the boulder, a tornado appeared. The tornado exploded, leaving Kumiki standing there.

“I did it. I did it.” Kumiki joyfully said over and over again. “I finally did it. I, I really teleported.”

Almost every time Mudara saw Kumiki, he remembered how he had small prickly hairs coming out of his face, but now the lower part of his face was covered in a thick hairs that formed an impressive beard.

“How far did you travel?” Karachi asked.

“Uh.” Kumiki stuttered. “I just beyond the tree line. So not that far.”

“Keep practicing.” Mudara started. “You’ll get decent.”

“Yes, whatever, I’m here. Please excuse me for being late Master Karachi and Mudara. It’s my father’s birthday today and I needed to say him for a bit longer.” Kumiki bowed. “Are we ready to begin?”

“Kumiki, the Lady Man.” Karachi jumped down from the boulder and tightly bear hugged Kumiki. “Polite as always Kumiki, unlike this one.” He looked at Mudara. “Please don’t ever change Kumiki, I can’t stand another one of that.”

“I know what you mean.” Kumiki agreed.

“Well,” Karachi said. “Both of you should get some more stretching. Hurry up.” 

Kumiki nodded, he instantly jumped in the air and crashed hard on the ground. He swiftly completed a set twenty sit-ups, a set of squats and sprinted on the spot. Moments later he jumped atop the boulder and completed some arm and leg stretchers. “I need to win.” He said over and over again, until it was a prayer engraved and locked into his mind.

Mudara just looked at Kumiki, but that was all, he had completed a small set of stretches, before Karachi and then Kumiki arrived.       

“Both of you have changed so much in the five years we’ve been training together. Oh my god, seventeen years old. I feel old at my age of twenty eight.”

“How?” Mudara asked.

 “Well. Both of you are taller, fitter, manlier-ish, older-looking and among other stuff. Like Kumiki’s beard.” Karachi pointed to Kumiki. “You’re really the same, just taller and more mature looking.” He pointed to Mudara.

A further ten minutes of waiting passed as Mudara watched both Karachi and Kumiki complete their drills of stretching and with each passing moment he got more and more agitated. Mudara kept himself occupied by throwing his knives into the trunk of the tree. Deep cut marks where embedded in the very centre of the tree, not one mark was five centimetres apart from each other.  

“Well.” Karachi finally said. “Both of you know the rules. I will count to ten. You will hide. I will search for you for five minutes, if I do not find any of you in that time. Well. You will ambush me. Until one of us has a deadly injury, preferably a broken bone, the fight shall continue and continue, until it is time for our evening meal.” A smile erupted across Karachi’s face. “Now.” Karachi clapped his hands together. “Let us dance. I’m pumped, I hope you are two.”

Mudara and Kumiki both looked at each other and knew what the other was thinking. ‘Time to win.’

“I’m taking you down today Master.” Mudara declared. “Be ready for it. You will taste defeat by my hands.”

“Or maybe, I’m more talented and will take the honours Mudara. Maybe I’ll just leave you in the dust, crying, like a girl.” Kumiki finally said.

“Your rivalry is inspiring.” Karachi said.

For the last four years on this day, in the very plane the Rareto Trio fought to see our much they all had improved. For the last four years to two younger ones had sadly lost, but each time improving. ‘This time will be different.’ Both Mudara and Kumiki thought.

 

Chapter 8

The Master and Students

“Nine. Ten. Ready Bitches!”

Mudara carefully peered through the bush that he had himself in. Mudara had managed to hide himself in two seconds, which he was quite proud of, but he had to make sure, not to rustle the bush too much, or his master would instantly find him. He watched his master to some light stretching in the centre of the plane, it was embarrassing, but that is what he has come to expect of Karachi.

Mudara had made sure he was properly prepared for this fight. The night before he had lost sleep with preparing for this fight. He had sharpened his Wijikai blades, Nagera Knives and even ate foods and took medicenes that would enhance his chances of winning.     

The subtle rustling of the bushes, the new family of birds chirping in their nest and the now comfortable breeze was broken by Karachi.

“You two cannot hope to break my arms! That is a dream that will not happen! You hear me!” Karachi started to scream. “I have been in a relationship with one of the toughest women in the known world, for three years now!” Karachi pointed to a random direction. “She scares me twice as much as you ever will! And I love, every, minute, of, it!” Karachi spread his arms out wide. “And last night we had some great sex and if you break any of my arms I will not be able to have any of that tonight, because I’ll be in the hospital and I will be pissed!

Mudara smiled. ‘We know. You didn’t shut up about it for two months.’ Mudara thought to himself. “I want to fight you.” Mudara quietly said over and over again.

The five minutes seemed to be five hours. Five hours of torturous waiting. Mudara shook with eagerness, he was so excited, he just wanted to jump out when he hid, but he had to follow the rules… this time.

        

 

The End

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