Chapter I: Beginnings
?We have to leave?..there is no time for this?..? A young boy stated flatly, his voice carrying the hint of annoyance at his brother?s dawdling. They stood at a fish stand they regularly visited?.late for their return home yet again. The air carried the scent of many things, spices and foods that seemed to drift through the air and play with one?s nose and imagination. The smell of animals such as chickens and pigs among other things. The smell of sweat from a hard day?s work coming from so many. The sounds of people screaming out their wares or people arguing over prices?..these things were normal at a market.
?In a second? Gouken replied, staring at a group of young Japanese soldiers marching in the distance a couple miles away, his eyes wide with admiration and curiosity. In one hand he carried a bag full of fish ready to be cooked and eaten for dinner, the bag slipping out of his hands?.his full attention locked unto the troops far away. Suddenly he turned away and began walking away from the market, completely silent as he began the trek back home. The road was lonely, a beaten path stretching out for miles, with wild grass on the sides. Gouki grunted loudly and started walking moments later, trailing behind his brother and following in silence.
Gouken was the elder sibling, at least three years Gouki?s senior. Gouken was 11, Gouki was 8 years of age. Gouken?s frame was lean and firm, a typical build for a young boy. Gouki?s however, was thin and frail, and he was at least a foot shorter than his brother. Gouken was the stronger one, he always was. While Gouki was frequently stricken with illness and confined to his bed, Gouken often ran in the fields and played much more than most adults wanted him too. While Gouken was loud and expressed his views freely Gouki often remained silent unless he truly felt that something needed to be said. Gouken wore his emotions on his sleeve and was as carefree as anyone could be?.while Gouki was downright stoic, often thought of as cold and emotionless by the other children??children he never played with. Gouki preferred to hear stories of great samurai and pursue the academics. These two brothers were truly exact opposites, yet they got along just fine. They kept each other at a distance, as much as two brothers could.
?Where?.where do you think those men are going? They look so unhappy?.I bet those uniforms must itch.? Gouken frowned slightly as he thought of himself wearing one. His face was round and kind-natured. His hair was a short black mop on top of his head, he did not pay any attention to it except in the morning. His frown faded into a smile as he turned and looked at his brother.
?They are going off to fight. To take part in some major battle far away??a war no doubt.?
?A war? WOW! Hey Gouki?..what?s a war??
?Arghh??.? Gouki mumbled to himself as he reflected upon the absent-mindedness of his sibling. He had to explain everything to him at least twice?.he always forgot it the first time. Gouki face was always expressionless, his long completely straight jet-black hair going all the way to his chin. His face was slender, and his eyes carried a weight and awareness beyond the years of a normal boy.
?War is a conflict between two parties?.usually two or more nations. Right now Japan (our country)?.is in the beginning stages of a plan for occupation of China-?
?OH LOOK!!? Gouken suddenly shouted as he dived to the ground, picking up a small crystal. He stared at it, his eyes wide and his mouth in an O. Gouki began to wonder once again why he even bothered.
?Like I was SAYING??
?Bah forget it! Let?s go home!?
Gouki sighed to himself as the two brothers slowly walked home. Gouki?s eyes found themselves staring up at the sky, a large group of clouds that were beginning to block out the sun?s rays. The sky was beginning to darken also?..
?A storm is approaching.? He said to himself as he closed his eyes and continued walking.
?My dear friends, we must stand up!?
The voice of a man tired of corruption stood on a pedestal. He was dressed in a brown suit, the jacket missing. Sweat dampened his white shirt, and his glasses were fogged. He was an esteemed professor of the local university, and considered a radical by many of his colleagues. He was in his late thirties, and being watched by the government.
But he didn?t care.
?We must tell our government?.war is not the answer! The occupation of China by Japan is unnecessary and downright tyrannical! If they will not listen?.we will FORCE them to listen!!? The man shouted, answered by the uproar from supporters listening to him. There was an anti-imperialism rally going on, a crowd of at least 100 came to hear this man speak. Who knows how many more caught a brief satch of speeches while walking past.
The speaker paused to wipe his glasses, his breathing heavy yet patient. He silently slipped his glasses back on, and wiped some hair that had fallen into his eyes.
?Do you see what our government is trying to do?! They?re trying to control the world! I have proof of this?..a document called the Tanaka Plan?.and I will reveal it in a week?s time. This document will-?
Suddenly something caught the eye of the speaker. Someone in the crowd suddenly began to leave. He aggressively pushed through the crowd on his way out, his back was turned but the speaker could clearly recognize??
The uniform of a Japanese General.
Gouken shouted as he saw his father in the doorway to their house. He immediately took off running at full speed, just to spring up into his arms.
?Ummm…what?s this?? The father wondered as Gouken handed him the bag.
?Fish. How was the rally for the thingie??
?The rally against the Tanaka plan you mean? It went wonderfully son.?
Gouki slowly approached his father, his lips began to curl into a slight smile when his father greeted him with a playful noogie.
?And how are you, my other son??
?I am fine.?
?A storm is approaching father.?
?I know son?.I know.? Suddenly his father?s smile faded, his eyes looked distant and worried. Gouki stared up at his father, trying to find something to say yet nothing came.
?Now?.let?s go eat.? His father?s smile returned as Gouki and his brother were herded inside.
It was now night, and still no rain had come.
The house was modest, the dwelling of a comfortable middle class family. There were pictures on the walls, and rows and rows of old books. The family dug into their food like they were truly hungry. Gouken ate like a wild animal, while Gouki ate slowly and carefully. Their father watched them while eating himself, in a mood of reflection.
?Gouken?..has Mitsuko?s spirit??? The father thought as he reflected on his late wife and mother to his children. She died in labor?.Gouki never knew her, and Gouken could barely remember her. It was a shame?she was such a beautiful person. The only women he had even known that really rebelled against Japan?s traditional roles for women. You catch her in jeans before you?d ever catch her in a Kimono?..the father chuckled at the thought of it.
?Good food dad?love it.? Gouken said with a mouth stuffed full of dinner. Gouki nodded, seconding the notion.
?I?m glad you like-?
Suddenly there was a loud rapping on the door. An impatient knocking that signified poorly masked anger. Instantly a cold chill ran up the father?s spine.
He got up to answer the door. Once opened there stood the same general from before, his hard facial features and cold gaze locked onto the professor.
?General Fujima, greetings.? The professor opened the conversation with.
?Professor??I need to have a conversation with you?..alone.? The general said, his eyes quickly pouncing upon the children when he uttered ?alone?. Fujima?s voice was deep and commanding.
?Boys, go play.?
?But Dad it?s night-?
?go play.? The father?s voice suddenly gained an intense authority, and the boys slowly exited.
?Now?what did you come here for Fujima.?
?That guy?s scary.? Gouken said once they were outside, 15 feet away from the house.
The general stared at the professor, his intense gaze trying to intimidate, but it had no effect.
?The government?.does not approve of your actions professor.?
?Well, I never asked the government to approve?.and it doesn?t concern me if they do or not.? Fujima?s eyes suddenly widened at the response, then he regained himself.
?We?.cannot tolerate your course of action any longer professor. Your protests and rallies?..will stop.?
?The hell they will.?
Fujima?s fists clenched and so did his teeth. He stared at the resistant professor, and the gaze was returned. Neither side was willing, or able to relent.
?Professor?..the Tanaka Plan will never be mentioned. Do not mention it.?
?The world needs to hear it. The world needs to hear what you monsters plan to do?.and have already done. I will never stop.?
The tension in the room was a thick shroud that lay over all. Sweat beaded, and cascaded down the professor?s soft facial features, but his eyes were hard as steel.
?I hope you understand professor?..I cannot leave until you are silenced.?
The conversation had escalated; Gouki and Gouken could now hear it from outside.
?Wow?they?re fighting about something?.?
?They?re fighting about Dad?s protests???
Suddenly a crash could be heard inside. Gouken jumped, and Gouki turned to see. Seconds later, their father came crashing out of the house through the window, laying on the ground 10 feet from the house, peppered with shattered glass. The general calmly walked outside, his movements crisp and mechanical. The professor quickly picked himself off the ground and unbuttoned the top buttons of his shirt.
?Fujima, is this how you want to settle this? I have the ability to fight you off?.I?ve been taught martial arts.?
?So have I?.you should not be a problem.? Fujima stated flatly as he cracked his knuckles and rotated his head, stretching his neck.
?My boys?.run.? the professor whispered as he got into stance. The boys stood frozen, paralyzed by fear.
The general rushed forward, faking a left hook which the professor concentrated on?.only to strike with a right hook. The professor staggered, and the general did a quick and powerful roundhouse, knocking his opponent to the ground.
?Are you kidding me? Pathetic?.? The general said as he walked over to the boys? father. Suddenly the professor lashed out with back flip, knocking away the general and regaining his footing at the same time.
?Wow?.dad?s strong.? Gouken muttered.
?Why hasn?t he taught any of those moves? ??..Gouki?? Silence was the response he got from his brother.
Fujima rushed forward, the professor leaned forward with a punch but missed horribly. The general kneed his opponent in the chest?..then he kneed him again?.and again?..and again?..and again. The professor coughed blood as Fujima let him go, the professor falling to the ground limply.
The boys stood horrified as Fujima viciously kicked the professor as he lay on the ground, forcing him to get up. The professor obliged, only to be hit by a punch to the chest, and a backhand so powerful it instantly knocked the professor down.
Thunder roared across the sky, and it began to rain. Hard, fast rain that cascaded from the heavens, the tears of the gods themselves. Fujima?s lips were pulled back in a snarl, his white gritted teeth exposed as he stared down at the beaten professor. He kneeled, and grabbed the professor by his black hair, lifting his head up?.facing his children.
?Any last words before I end your pathetic life, you traitorous dog?? Fujima?s voice carried a sick glee to it as he held the professor?s head in his hands, his eyes wide with madness.
The boys could only stare, speechless?.terrified. The rain beat down on all of them?soaking their clothes.
?My boys??? The professor began?still coughing up blood.
?I love you?always know that?.and I?m sorry-? The professor was interrupted by Fujima savagely snapped his neck. The general let the professor fall to the wet ground, a sick smile still on the general?s face. Lightning flashed through the sky, bathed Fujima in an eerie light as he stared up at the boys.
?Children?..you are now orphans.? And with that, Fujima turned to leave.
Tears welled up in Gouken?s eyes as he began to shake uncontrollably. Gouki was silent, his hands balled into tight fists at his sides, his upper teeth sinking into his lower lip, holding back the tears.
?My dad?..you killed him?.YOU KILLED HIM YOU BASTARD???
Gouken screamed at the top of his lungs as he threw himself at Fujima, with pure murder in his eyes. Before he could attack, a sharp roundhouse without even looked from Fujima stopped him, the force of the impact so powerful it flung him against a tree trunk 17 feet away, knocking him unconscious.
Gouki?s lower lip now oozed blood, the tears now streaming down his face. His fists were shaking violently, but he said nothing. He stared up at the grinning Fujima, his eyes sad and filled with the strongest rage.
?And I suppose you?re going to fight me too boy??
?Hmph. You?re more pathetic than you brother. Die in the streets for all I care.? Fujima turned to leave, the rain beating down on all?.the tears of the gods bathing them all. Gouki stood there, for seemingly hours?crying silently, his blood mixing with his tears with all of this mixing with the hard rain.
?Do you…wish to be strong child?? A voice suddenly said. Gouki turned to find a man standing behind him. The man wore black, the veil of the night was too thick for him to see what in particular. The man had long straight black hair that extended to the middle of his back, with frequent streaks of gray peppering it. The man?s face showed that he was at least middle aged, but his form was that of a fighter in his prime. The man stared down at his with piercing black eyes.
?Well boy!? Do you wish to be strong?? The man said again. Gouki nodded slowly.
?Well gather your brother and come with me.?
Lighting flashed across the night sky as the gods continued weeping, and the lives of two young boys changed forever.