The figure clad in brown walks down the misty road. Countless iron and stone statues lined the sides, figures of Ashura placed so close together they made a wall. It seemed to him as if he were walking down a corridor instead.
How long had he traveled? He doesn’t know. Time for him now doesn’t tempt his patience. He doesn’t feel hunger, nor does he feel tiredness. He feels at peace with himself, yet feels the need for the further fulfillment of something he might have promised himself long ago…
When he first arrived in that ‘land’, all he knew was that he wanted very much to look for ‘him’. The strangers who approached him gave assurance that he was where he was supposed to belong, and that he could do anything he wanted, and be forevermore happy. However as much as he instinctively trusted them, he couldn’t help but to leave for his own reasons. He didn’t really know where to go next, and hadn’t the slightest clue how to ask for directions, but before he could open his mouth to ask for help, the strangers all smiled and in unison pointed to an opening in the forest that he hadn’t noticed.
And so he walked, and he walked, and generally just kept walking wherever he felt was right. He just kept going, knowing that in time he would eventually meet up with 'him.
He walked up to one of the statues and fingered its outlines. He smiled and looked at the fine carvings on the stone face and gave out a laugh. He tried to rock the figure but it had a heavy bottom and would not budge easily.
“Perfect, as usual…” He muttered to himself.
“I’m glad you recognised it.”
He gave another laugh as he turned around.
“Master Goutetsu. It has been too long.”
They grabbed each other by the wrists.
“Ah, Gouken, time is something I don’t think about anymore. And names are something we do not use here too. I only know of eventualities. And I knew I would eventually meet you again.”
So, you made all these? Gouken gestured toward the endless rows of Ashura lining the road.
No, I made only those on the side you just observed.
So who made those on the other side?
Oh, someone I previously called Master
Gouken raised an eyebrow.
I should like to meet him.
They continued walking down the path together.
So, was it Gouki?
Yes it was, I was hoping it wouldnt be so soon, but he tapped so deeply into Satsui no Hadou that I succumbed to him in battle. I admit I was unprepared. I left so much matters unfinished
Ah, so how many disciples did you have?
I had in total three. I let one go because he fought with anger and couldnt let go of his past. Then, there was Ken, and Ryu
Oh, so you didnt manage to give them their names.
No, I had them prepared, but I thought I had more time.
So what honorary name were you going to give them?
Sourei and Sougon.
So whos the one that is imposingly magnificent?
Ken. Said Gouken, with a smile.
So Ryu is all about solemn grandeur. Hmmm makes sense.
Youve never met him, how would you know?
Oh, word gets around here, if you want to know something, you just have to look for whoever has the right answers.
They reached a split in the path, but they just walked naturally together onto the right one.
I buried you still smiling. I know you were happy but I just have to know why you lost.
Well, obviously for the same reason as you were, I was caught unprepared. I must say as strong as Gouki was, it was a risky move he pulled doing Shun Goku Satsu on me. He was very lucky that I was concentrating on Messatsu Gou Hadou or else I would have stopped him cold.
And because you lost to a lucky shot, you are happy? Gouken smiled.
I know you know the real answer Gouken, but you just want to hear it from my lips dont you. I know that you wouldnt be happy at the outcome. But yes, I was happy that he could reach so deep into Satsui No Hadou. It was the potential in him that I saw, the fact that he would carry on the art to that kind of extreme…
Gouken looked as if he was deep in thought. Goutetsu sighed.
You two have been at odds since the first day both of you sparred. I never regretted taking on both of you as the successors to my art. I dont know if you think that you have in some way failed me, but I tell you no lies and I now say that you havent.
Goutetsu suddenly stopped. Gouken noticed that along the wall of Ashuras, there were two unfinished stone blocks next to each other. They certainly looked out of place with only the lower body finished. Goutetsu walked over to one of the rocks, and began slowly chipping away at the central portion of one of the rocks with tools Gouken didnt see him carrying before.
I know what you have done after my passing. How you have transferred the art to your students wasnt the way I taught it to you. But, I dont see it as a stain in our lineage. Your method is pure. It takes the form of what I have passed down to you, and you have brought it back down to its basics and re-shaped it from there. A Shoryuken is as good as a Gou Shoryuken, it just depends on the individual how you want to take it from the basics on. You knew this when you were teaching the students. Now Im telling you, I know it too. So do not worry about corrupting the art.
Goutetsu grunted as he grabbed and shifted the rock to face another angle, and stooped to continue chipping away.
As for Gouki, he accepted what I had taught, and he took it from there. He never went back, he just went forward. From the moment he left us I knew he was going to explore Satsui No Hadou beyond my instructions. He had always been different from you. He was impatient. And he used to hold grudges. Both of you were always evenly matched. On the occasional sessions that you lost to him, you simply bowed your head and trained for to better. On the occasions he lost to you, he would be so angry that he had such a slow progression. He couldnt see that both of you were improving together. He could only see that he hasnt improved beyond you. I used to think it was my mistake for having such a slow pace in teaching him to embrace Satsui No hado.
Goutetsu glanced upward at Gouken.
I still wonder if it its a good thing that he has no disciples though. For him to want to progress is wonderful. But not to have it passed down would be such a waste. Did you know he tried to get his own disciple, in a manner of speaking?
Was that so? What happened then?
Oh, Ryu turned him down, in his own way.
Gouken was speechless.
Ill be very frank. It was Goukis chance to have passed down what he had improved on the art. The Gouki now isnt the reckless Gouki of before. Hes somewhat matured. So I would guess that he would have made a slightly better master than how we would have envisioned him once before. Fortunately though, because he was turned down, the art that you passed on has flourished and reached a new height.
Is that so? No wait, Master, I searched for you, to ask you one question, and answer many questions I thought you would have. Instead, I ask you one question, and you gave me answers to questions I havent even thought of.
Youll get used to it. And by the way youre a grandfather of sorts, Ken now has a son, and a disciple.
A son? And a disciple? Hes too young to have a son, let alone a disciplewait, how long has it been since I have passed on?
Theres that concept of time again. You need to learn more about your present situation. Anyway, as we speak, it is the year 2000, as we used to say, to them. Ill tell you more about how we pass our time here later on. Anyway, Ryu now is under training again.
Elaborate. said Gouken.
That frown you have shows your concern, but not to worry, he hasnt abandoned our ways, its literally part of him now, and besides, his new guide wouldnt be so foolish as to ask him to throw away a lifetime of hard work. Hes merely going through a period of intense focus and concentration, to improve his overall performance and strength, and to integrate whatever new skills he will learn into his own set of skills.
Whos this new guide?
Good question. His name is Oro
Never heard of him
And neither had I, until I asked around further. Apparently, he went into seclusion decades before our time. Hes a Senjutsu grandmaster, that will make excellent training for Ryu, considering the focusing powers of senjutsu.
Anymore information about him?
Yes, but nothing bad apparently. From what Ive heard so far about Oro, Ryu will be in safe hands. Or hand, as I know it.
Goutetsu got up and looked at the statue, look at Goukens midriff, and look at the statue again.
Seems about rightyes, about Ryu, hes fine, not to worry.
And what about Gouki, is he doing fine? I dont have any grudge against him now actually, I was worried more about his presence and how he would affect the people around him, but I feel at peace with him now.
Well, Gouki is improving tremendously
Goutetsu gives another grunt as he shifts the statue yet again
To be Continued