Revenge, Inc. Part 10: A Short Story
Hello everyone and welcome back. I apologize for being late on publishing this as time and other responsibilities did not permit me to do so any sooner. My apologies to any and all of you that were waiting to read this, including prettydarkhorse whose inquiry was not ignored! I had the most difficulty writing this one--more so than all my previous installments combined, so I hope that you like it. I'll do my best to continue publishing a new addition every Friday just as I have been doing, albeit in a timely fashion.
Of course if this is your first time here and so are new to my Revenge, Inc. Series, please take the time to catch up on this ongoing series beginning with of course Revenge, Inc. Part 1. Please click on the corresponding links below to get started. I highly recommend that you not miss a single installment.
Training with Natsumi
There was much that I had to learn from Natsumi that I no doubt lacked. One of them was flexibility, which was an obvious strength of hers and weakness of mine. She could a succession of one-handed forward flips while I had problems with using two. After having failed a few times, Natsumi reassured me, “Who cares if you can’t do it yet, Cody. It’s only for show anyhow.” This only further explained why for this next phase of my training, Master Akira was unable to train me as effectively, because in his old age he lost some of his quickness and agility (but apparently not so much so that he couldn't kick my ass) . On Jirai Island was a rock-face cliff I’d learn to scale with the use of a kusarigama and among its many trees, I learned to leap from one to the next like a lemur. Not once did I complain about spending so much time with Natsumi.
“Do you like ‘where you are,’ Natsumi?” I asked her. She took a moment to answer.
“I am kunoichi, Cody, a female ninja. It is my station, my life. To me, there is no other way to live.”
“So this is a choice you made and so was not forced upon?”
“No, I am an outsider just like you.’ And with that I looked at her, I saw in her eye, a twinkle—or so I thought. But what it really was, was a shuriken, flying straight at her. Before I could hesitate, she shoved me forward. One moment we were standing and the next both my hands were upon both her firm breasts, as I quickly rolled her over to gain leverage. Natsumi and I looked at one another for a time that way. The shuriken stuck a young palm behind us.
“I just saved your life, Cody.” She said. And like a dumb-ass, I only smiled while beaming at her. “Um, do you mind?” She was looking down her torso where my hands were. I then looked down and after realizing what she was making mention of, I gently recoiled my hands.
“Sorry.” I said, giving her a schoolboy smile.
“Of course you are.”
“So, what the hell was that?” I said when getting up.
“Gendo. He’s always on the prowl and is always keeping all of us on our toes. It's just a game, so don’t be offended. The team is only testing you to see if you are worthy.”
“So am I?”
“I’m not sure. Just a moment ago, you would’ve been dead were it not for me, Cody. The only thing you would be worthy of at this point would be a watery grave.”
“Well, for all it's worth, I thank you. You are my hero.” I then straightened up squaring my shoulders and bowed to her. She then turned away and if I had to guess, she was smiling. She simply didn’t want me to have the satisfaction of seeing her.
When returning to the house, Master Akira was waiting for me on the porch. Just as I passed by him, he called me back:
"Cody-san! I need to have a word with you."
Akira, Hiroshi, and Naomi
“Let me tell you a little story, Cody-san," he said. "You see, many years ago, Hiroshi was childhood friend. His family had very little money but much in happiness. His father, Yamamoto was a farmer who worked for my father who owned much land. Yamamoto family just one of many who paid tributes to my father.”
“Kind of like serfs to a lord?”
“Yes, much like feudal Japan. Past come back after Second World War and Empire of Japan’s defeat. Hiroshi and I became good friends who played together after academic studies. But my father did not like this. He told me that Hiroshi was peasant and beneath me and warned me to not get ‘too close’ to him as he was not ‘our kind.' Against my father’s wishes, I continued to see my friend Hiroshi everyday and was able to, as my father was a very busy man who was rarley home. Hiroshi was only friend I had. Friendship knows nothing of money or prestige, only happiness, Cody-san…” I of course was only too familiar to this, as I thought immediately of Peter. Already, I was in awe of how much Master Akira’s story mirrored my own.
"One time after monsoon, Hiroshi’s younger sister Naomi contracted illness. Yamamoto begged my father to help pay for a doctor because he could not afford by himself. So my father helped him and so Naomi was spared. But this of course put Yamamoto more in debt as cost for doctor very expensive. How he would repay loan was not important at the time. Most important was life of Naomi.
“The years went by. When I turned thirteen, my father sent me here to Jirai Island to live and train with my uncle Yusuke. I had no time to say goodbye to Hiroshi or Naomi. I left at nightfall and by secret. My father told me that he had plans for me to further my education and that was all. I of course did not question my father’s wishes. It was during this time that I learned that I was a legacy of shadow ninja and true Watanabe clan and descendants of the Kogas. Uncle Yusuke taught me everything and that in which I thought only to be myth and fantasy I knew only through childhood books. I had come to realize the truth of my ancestry.
“Later, upon my homecoming, I reunited with my father once again and with Hiroshi. Hiroshi’s father had been lost at sea during a storm. It seems that he had accidentally ventured too far off shore while fishing. But Hiroshi believed otherwise—that his father no longer wanted to live and so wanted to see his deceased wife again. Of course it was good to see my good friend Hiroshi. I truly missed him. When seeing him, I found that he was married and had a one-year old son. Being away from home those five long years, I kept one thought in my mind and in my heart. In those years, I delighted in thought that once again, I’d see her again…”
“Naomi.” I said. Master Akira smiled.
“She was beautiful. Never have I seen any woman in my entire life look so stunning; she was like a cherry blossom. The pretty little girl I remember was gone. A beautiful woman was all that remained. We blushed at one another when seeing each other again. Immediately I rushed to my father and told him that I wanted to marry Naomi and I was surprised when he told me that he not only accepted it, but that he’d command it, as the family of Yamamoto was still indeed very much indebted to us. So I knew what his stance was in the matter. I then when to tell Hiroshi about all of this, as my heart began to grow uneasy with the thought that my father would force Naomi to marry me. However, while the two of us of talked about this, Naomi walked in. That was when I stood up and told her that I loved her…”
“So what happened? Was Hiroshi okay with this?”
“He couldn’t think of a better match and I was of course grateful. He knew that if Naomi was to ever leave the life of a peasant that there was no better way than to marry me. Aside from that, he told me that he couldn’t think of a better brother-in-law. I was honored that he said this and told him so. I then told Naomi that she had a choice and that she didn’t have to marry me if she didn’t want to, no matter what my father said.
“‘But why do you think I waited all of this time?’ She asked me. I realized then that surely, Naomi must have had many suitors. Never in all my days was I so happy to hear such words. Within a month, the two of us were married. She gave to me first Katsuro and then Natsumi…I still miss her very much. I see now why Yamamoto went off to sea.” Master Akira then took a moment to reflect and said something under his breath which I imagined was for Naomi. He looked at me and when I looked at him, his face was hardened. “Focus, Cody-san. You must maintain your focus in your training first.” I thought about this in which led me to think about Natsumi. “Only then can you move further on your journey…Do you understand?”
Caught Off Guard
That night I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep, with a many thoughts. As always, my mind raced with the imagined faces of Hiroshi and Naomi and of Valhalla and my father whom I wondered if I’d ever see again. He was indeed the last link to my family—the only proof that I wasn’t an orphan. He was my entire bloodline so to speak. Although usually a light sleeper, I heard nothing but the sound of the wind rustling through the window to my enclosure—until it was too late. Suddenly, hard blows fell upon me like rain to subdue me and once I showed no more attempts to defend myself, a thin black lasso-rope was fastened around me while one ninja stood before me with his arms folded. Two ninjas on either side of me held me up so I could get a good look at him. Even with his mask, I knew him to be Katsuro. That stance was unmistakable.
“What are you going to do? Kill me?”
“Patience, gai-jin…Not yet. We are going to do something far worse. Death for you is too easy and much too soon. Like my father says, your inability to hear your surroundings is obvious. You are a failure to us all.” Now I was getting pissed. I fought to break free but I did so in vain as the rope that held me was much too tight. In fact, I think it actually got tighter each time I tried to squirm. I could feel the fibers of Katsuro’s rope sinking deeper into my skin.
“Then what the fuck are you gonna do to me?” That was when I heard the most sadistic laugh ever. Katsuro then reached over to me and places his hand very delicately on the side of my head.
“We are going to take away your round-eyes, gai-jin.”
© Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved.
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