Makoto - Something Long Overdue

Description: After being beaten soundly in the Inter-Highschool competition some months ago, Makoto had sent out an invitation to her opponent, calling her to a private meeting at the Rindou-kan dojo for reasons undisclosed. Somehow, that letter only just now got noticed...



"Tadaima!"

Kicking off sneakers and throwing herself on to her bed with a air filled fwump of body hitting duvet. Hitomi luxuriated in being back and in her 'own' bed. The room was still just as she had left it. A few of her school books neatly piled, a plush rabbit toy from a crane machine welcoming her home. Brightly gleaming red bicycle tucked away against the far wall surely glad to see her. She didn't have much stuff herec but the Kasagi Bunkhouse felt like a second home.

Huh?

The envelope sitting on the chair beside her bed however was new. Rolling around through a one-eighty degree turn she manoeuvres around to grasp the envelope while kicking her heels. That was so mysterious! She didn't know anybody here that might have sent her a letter, she fumbles with opening it and prying out the paper contents. She has to read it a couple of times, confused the first time, even more confused the second time.

Sneakers back on and carefully carrying her bicycle down the stairs. She hurriedly apologizes to guests who were waiting to use the stairs to get to their own rooms and heads for the front door. Cycling hurriedly away from the bunkhouse she has the letter with her and has to keep referring back to it. Slowing to ask pedestrians sometimes as she narrows and hunts down the address of the sender.

According to the date the letter was sent; She was already horribly late.

The address provided turns out to be quite some distance away requiring the better part of the afternoon even for someone equipped with a set of wheels, partly due to its location at the outer fringes of the city and partly because no one seems to know anything about it. Most of the people Hitomi stops to ask for directions just give her blank looks when the name of the dojo is mentioned but a few are able to point her in the general direction based on the street provided in the address.

By the time the complex comes into view the sun is already beginning its final descent into the horizon, soaking the landscape in a wash of golden-orange light. Surrounded by a large wall of smooth stone, the dojo stretches across a fairly sizable portion of the street. Thick shingles of fired clay layer the top of the wall in traditional fashion though several of them have broken or simply fallen off, either due to age or neglect, but the wide sidewalk that lines the front of the building is remarkably clean despite the dozens of thick trees that loom overhead, their boughs still heavy with wilted leaves. The wall is broken in only one place where a pair of massive twin wooden doors open up onto the street beneath a tall arched entryway.

There is no sound to be heard coming from within as she approaches the large gate, no shuffle of feet on wood nor bellows of exertion that might indicate that students currently occupy these training grounds. There's a sense of serene calm that permeates the air, the dying golden light giving the place an almost mystical aura. Two buildings await her within, should she choose to proceed: a large rectangular structure which must be the dojo's main training hall and a smaller but more modern metal shed that sits in the far corner. Various training implements lie scattered about the yard, straw dummies in various states of disrepair, thick wooden poles with sticks jutting from them at various angles to represent ideal striking targets, and small racks of bo staves comprise the majority of the detrius.

Strangely, there appears to be little signs that anyone is here, other than the gates being wide open.

Double checking the address. It's correct; it took her much longer than she'd hoped to actually find the place. Opening and closing her hands on the handlebar grips, Weighing the merits of trying to get home before it's properly dark versus- No! Firmly shaking her head; she was already so late in responding, she should at least try and make some form of apology.

This place was more than a little intimidating thou.

Rapping against the door didn't seem to bring anyone and there wasn't a bell, so she sets to pushing the heavy door open herself. It doesn't move easily nad the creaking and squeaking when it does is a little painful on the ears. It's with just a little trepidation that she actually sticks her head in, hands still comfortingly pressed to the door to stop it closing behind her.

The dummies scattered in various places all through the yard, broken or mangled in some way most of them, she swallows hard seeing that. It caused a small ache in her chest but mostly questions in her head. Were they in a state of disrepair? ...or had the mystery letter sender done this? Wheeling the bike inside the compound and leaning against the wall to the side of the door. She gives the whole place another careful and thorough scan.

Her sense of unease, it wasn't the place.

Now she was looked at it again (and her heart wasn't pounding so hard in her chest.) It was pretty amazing space, her first chance to see a real authentic Japanese Dojo. Yet, The lack of students training, No cars parked nearby or even welcoming lights indicating the place was open to the public. Was this a place people were meant to enter freely or only by invitation?

Picking her way up the path she heads to the main building.

"Hello?"She slows to turn and examine a straw dummy, walking backward for a spell so she can keep staring at it.

"Is there anyone here?"

Reaching the threshold and near at the limit of where she feels comfortable entering she tries knocking carefully against the frame of the door and calling out louder.

"Hello, I'm sorry if I'm disturbing you but I have-"

A letter. The cacophonous CAW from a fierce looking bird all in black. Now it was glaring down at her from a nearby tree. Cut's off mid-knock as she pauses to stare back up at it.

"Toh!"

The sound of a bellowing call from within the complex resounds in answer to the girl's timid knocking. A deep crunching noise follows the exclamation moments later as something within is impacted with incredible force. The shockwave of the blow rattles the walls slightly but this turns out to be little more than a precursor to what comes next.

The thin sliding door infront of Hitomi explodes off its hinges in a dramatic spray of wooden splinters and shredded wax paper as something large and solid comes barreling through the opening at incredible speed, smashing its way ruthlessly into anything that happens to be in its path.

"I've told you bastards atleast three times this week - NO SOLICITING!"

The owner of the very annoyed voice steps out of the shadows of the unlit hall and onto the large porch allowing the light of the fading day to shed clarity upon her features. Dressed in her typical attire of a karate gi with a long headband tied around her neck like a scarf, Makoto strides confidently into the open and glares down at the intruder. A large block of wood is held menacingly over the karateka's head, easily the size of her torso and ready to be propelled like a missile.

The door wobbles around on the ground somewhat, as the something or someone trapped under it struggles to find a grip and start extricating itself. Clattering against the ground the frame rises and falls, a jean's covered leg and sneaker swings out wide and the door slowly props itself up on a higher angle. Fingertips curling around the edges as someone hauls themselves back to their feet using the door as support at first and then propping it up. The door twists aside and a bewildered, faintly stunned looking Japanese looking girl with long light brown hair. Dressed in blue denim jeans and jacket over a t-shirt she staggers some as she reveals herself!

"-A Letter."

She gives a noisy wet sniff, drawing attention to a bloody nose she still hasn't quite realized she has. The thumping and rattling of the frame had made her think - earthquake! At first it seemed plausible. But for that bellowing call and the yell that was getting closer. Was someone rushing to get out of the building? At first she was worried the building had just fallen over on her, plainly now she can see it was only the door itself but man it packed a wallop for such a flimsy door!

Turning her head to the occupant on the landing, she didn't remember being quite so many feet away from the doorway, still holding the door no less.

"Ah, I'm sorry. This is-"

Actually she had no idea what this was. How did she manage this? She trails off as her attention moves away from the fact she was carrying a door, there didn't seem to still be (or have been) an earthquake. A few long seconds of staring for her to recall them she finally notices and identifies the figure holding a block over their head. She raises a finger to point in surprise and exclaim.

"You're from Gedo!! ..uhm.. Makoto!"

It all came flooding back now that she could recall where she'd heard that name before. It was supposedly a pretty common name in Japan wasn't it? It never leapt out at her that this could be who had sent her that letter... Maybe? The bird in the tree is unmoved, it's used to this kind of noise and explosive violence. CAW!

Fortunately, the thundering rage of the dojo's owner manages to remain in check long enough for the flattened visitor to extricate themselves from underneath her door, as it probably would not have proven to be any more effective a shield than the first time should the second block of wood come flying at it. Makoto watches with a dark scowl on her face, a terrible scarecrow poised with its weapon in hand. The initial few fumbling words that spill from the intruder don't seem to do much to dissuade the girl from her threatening position but hearing her name brings a short moment of uncertainty.

"How do you..."

Tossing the block aside, she nimbly hops down the stone stairs and makes her way over to the fallen Hitomi to get a better look at her. It takes several seconds of wracking her brain before the answer hits Makoto and her eyes widen in surprise.

"Oh hey, you're that girl from the tournament!" Her scowl returns quickly. "What the hell kept you? I sent that letter weeks ago!"

Ah, so the mystery was solved that was who had sent the letter! At least now the it asking her to come to this address made -some- sense. In that they had met before and it wasn't some kind of stalker, secret admirer or a horrible terrible prank (thinking of Ash Crimson.) She'd had a lot of time to wonder on the bike ride over.

"I'm very sorry about that! -I had work. -In Aomori City."

She has to keep adding to the sentence and building it up to the point it made sense. A possibly legitimate reason for her lagging response time. The trip by train was more than a few hours and she supposed she had been spending an awful lot of time working. And studying, and helping out with chores. The girl bows in place, still holding the door enough that it tips forward to menace the brawny karateka with her apology.


"I found the letter in my roomc oh, 40 minutes ago."

That was something to be more than a little embarrassed about. Weeks?! Had it really been there for WEEKS? Unsure of what to do with the door she twists left and right, eventually settling for leaning it against one of the racks not containing quite so many staffs. Letter removed from her back pocket she was still unsure as to why it had been sent based off the content of the letter.

"it was an invitation to come herec but I wasn't sure why. I was so late I hurried over as soon as I found it!"

There was no phone number or anything enclosed; no business name or advertising. The wording was minimal and a little old fashioned. So she had no real idea what to expect and still didn't. On the plus side she finally knew who had sent it but she was still alone, at night, at a boy's house she barely knew.

Thus her small display of nerves and a little fidgeting.

Makoto crosses her arms over her chest but listens to the excuse ramble on with a stoic expression, only moving when Hitomi bows the door at her, forcing her to either smash it or take a step back; she chooses the latter, if only to save herself the expense of a completely new door. The karateka's eyes slide closed and she sighs in annoyance.

"Well, there's no helping it. I was sure you'd ignored my letter. You're here now, though, so I'll let it slide this time."

Shifting gears, Makoto snaps her head up to gaze across the distance between them with a piercing stare, her mouth twisting into an enthusiastic grin. Her fists slide down to rest on her waist and she takes up a dramatic stance that radiates confidence and purpose.

"Now that I think of it, your arrival comes at an opportune time! It's been quite dull around here lately. People have been keeping their heads down since that mess at Gedo. I barely even get challenged any more! This lack of excitement has been wearing on my nerves. HOWEVER!" Makoto lifts a hand and points an accusing finger at the fidgetting girl and her already intense gaze sharpens a little. "Since you have been BOLD enough to answer my call then I, master of the Rindou-kan Dojo, shall graciously accept you, HITOMI... as my first student!"

Makoto pauses for dramatic effect before lowering her hand back to her waist. She grins broadly, flashing her teeth at Hitomi, clearly pleased with this declaration and awaiting her response. Naturally, it will be one of undying gratitude for receiving such an unprecedented honor.

Aha, she was grateful that Makoto-san was letting it slide. It was a relief that she hadn't really caused offense or angered a fellow karateka. Her eyes widen significantly with the offer. First Student? Of Rindou-kan karate? She was certain that was a real honour in the offering and is plainly overwhelmed! The majesty of the grand position she's been offered. In reality, Hitomi was rather bewildered and torn as to how she could even answer.

Heir to the family business, and her job, what about that?!

"I- 'hm honoured-"

She really was, this didn't feel like a conventional pitch andc first? Drawing a deep breath she assumes a ready stance, arms lowered but firm. Be Calm. Exhale and focus yourself, think carefully about what you want to say. Communicate, be truthful and sincere.

Squaring off against Makoto and sizing her up as a potential teacher. There was real promise there. Two vastly different karateka in build, temperament and appearance. The power Hitomi injects into her voice is familiar to them both, universal.

"First! I am heir to my family school. I will one day have to return home and inherit it. Second! I have a job I treasure, which I won't give up. Third! (And possibly most important) I am looking for someone. I have to keep trying to find them. It may take precedent over an activities organized by the school."

Those were pretty harsh conditions, she was setting her priorities in stone and communicating them plainly. Pound for pound the other probably had the edge in terms of size over here but for right now... Until her terms were accepted? They were peers rather than master and pupil.

"If you can agree to those terms. I will accept your generous offer to study under you, as your student."

She could probably learn a lot here if they were accepted. There were plenty of good reasons they would be unacceptable.

Honored. Even though she expected that response, Makoto feels her pride swell up a little bit and her chest with it but she does her best to remain disciplined. She's a teacher now, she has to set an example. Still, it's hard not to be a little excited. This is a momentous occasion for her and the dojo - the first student since her father passed away!

The look of overbearing enthusiasm begins to dim, however, as Hitomi begins to list off a set of terms. A spark of anger flashes in her eyes but she bites it back until the other girl finishes speaking. The dojo master's arms cross and she closes her eyes, thinking in silence with a stern expression for several moments.

If it's true that Hitomi is the inheritor of her own family's martial arts then that puts something of a fly in the ointment. Normally, no self-respecting fighter would submit to training outside of their own family style. However, Hitomi has already shown herself to be a skilled and competant combatant. Puzzling, but she must have her reasons and being willing to become the student of another school despite all this speaks a great deal of her humility.

As for the other two terms, well, it's hardly the ideal situation. She was raised on a daily regime of very specific training exercises and it is that rigorous adherence to constant practice that has made her the powerhouse of martial might that she is today; but, again, Hitomi has already proven that she has what it takes to be a powerful opponent. Seeing as no one else who has sought her training has managed to meet the criteria she has put forth, she is left with few options.

Taking a deep breath, Makoto opens her eyes and lifts her gaze back up to meet those of her would-be student. "Very well. I accept your terms." She scowls a little but there is no trace of anger in her expression. "I'm not exactly happy with this situation but I guess I can understand if you have other priorities. I'm not really in a position to turn down the only student with any promise to accept my offer, either way."

Makoto's voice rises in both volume and authority as she bellows again. The dojo master takes a step forward, one fist rising up to clench at the air between them. "HOWEVER! Understand that since you won't be around for my usual training schedule, I'm going to be twice as harsh on you! Rindou-kan is not a style for the weak! You will sweat and bleed and suffer! And in return, you will be molded into a great warrior, just like me - or you will be broken and cast aside!"

Log created on 00:31:35 12/06/2015 by Makoto, and last modified on 05:32:24 12/06/2015.