Chapter 7: Attack
Lost in thoughts, Mineo subconsciously poked at the beef in his bowl. It was strange, but interesting how things were unfolding. Just a few days ago every single day had been a repeat of the day before; they woke up, went on missions, came back and did the same again. But suddenly everything had taken a turn and seemed different than he had ever known.
Katsuro was an example of everything. He’d always felt agitated when things revolved around Hisa’s visions but lately he’d been very interested in how she was coming along. At first he had thought it was his imagination, none of the Imai ninja had ever been disloyal and neither would Katsuro, but as Katsuro’s questions persisted, Mineo started getting suspicious.
Mineo sighed at his food, he hadn’t been as hungry as he thought. He cleaned the table and went to bed. Tomorrow, he really needed to have a talk with Tetsuo.
“Seems like Kazuhiko refused,” Masaru grinned, leaning against the doorway to his dad’s office. He played with the kunai in his hand, “Let me go have a talk with him.”
Takuya exhaled slowly, “Masaru, go rest. You have busy day ahead of you tomorrow.”
“What, examining the Sapphire scouts?” Masaru touched the tip of his Kunai. “That ain’t hard.”
“Masaru, that’s an important responsibility,” Takuya put away his paperwork, he was going to call it a day too, “You have to take it serious.”
“I do take it serious, but there are more important things too.”
“Leave that to me.” Takuya pushed past Masaru and headed towards his quarters. “You’re not ready for those things yet.”
Masaru grunted before angrily punching the wall.
Hisa wiggled about behind a tree, trying to have a better look. This was the first time so far that Kazu had removed his mask but much to Hisa’s dismay he was facing the other way.
She’d waken up before the others and found Kazu missing. Curious to know where he had gone she tried looking around the places near the camp, only to find a rabbit that ran away from the fright just as fast as Hisa. She had decided to wait for him to return before waking the others, but the longer she waited the more curious she got, especially because usually he’d already be insisting to move around this time. She thought he was probably upset about the fight from last night and had started feeling too impatient to wait.
She finally decided to just go to the nearby river to wash up and had coincidentally found Kazu sitting there. She’d squealed in victory and jumped behind a tree.
Kazu was sitting on a hill, staring at the rising sun. The oranges and yellows blended in beautifully with the blue sky, covering the sea in front of him with a golden hue. It was a sight, but that’s not what had Kazu’s attention. He had a decision to make and it was not an easy one.
He had learned too much information at once and didn’t have enough time to process it, let alone make a rational choice. If he had to listen to believe Tama then that would mean his whole existence was a lie, but if he didn’t …then how could he make sense out of everything?
“Psssst!” Tama interrupted Kazu’s thoughts, “The girl is spying on you.”
“Sheeee liiiikessss youuuu!!!!”
“She does not.” Kazu pulled up his mask to cover his face again. “Can you stop joking around?”
“Yeah, cover that thing up…let her believe something handsome is hiding behind the mask kekekekekeke.”
Kazu rubbed his forehead in annoyance, what a pest this voice was.
Tama’s laughter died down, “OI! I heard that! But hey…,” He started snickering again, “Judging from the way you always drool when you stare at her you probably like her too kekekkeke!! Kazu and Hisa sitting in the tree…”
“Kazuhiko-san…?” Hisa’s voice got both their attention, “Are you okay?”
Kazu didn’t bother to ponder over the question whether her concern for him was real or not and gave a small nod, “Yeah.”
Hisa tilted her head a little to the side, wondering if he really was upset about what had happened yesterday, but thought it was best to let it go for now. He’d –hopefully –let them know if there was something he didn’t agree with.
Seeing Kazu stand up, Hisa hurried over and took his arm, “Wait, can we stay a little longer?”
Without a word, Kazu sat back down. He wasn’t in the mood to do anything today actually. He just wanted to sit here or any other quiet place and let everything sink in.
Hisa sat down next to him and smiled, “Waaah, this place is so beautiful!”
Kazu stared before him but didn’t seem as impressed. Instead, he subconsciously turned his head in Hisa’s direction and fixated his eyes on her face. He was feeling too lazy to even try and have a conversation. Seeing her smile, he wondered whether she forced herself to look all happy and content all the time or if it really was a personality trait of hers.
Even though they were two worlds apart, they had certain things in common. One would be how both had been pushed to become strong for the majority of their lives. Decisions were made for them, they had to live up to them whether they agreed or not.
Although Kazu had reached a state where people would compliment his achievements and look up to him, it still made him feel like he was being controlled by other people. He was only accepted because he lived up to other people’s expectations and hence he never bothered to get friendly with anyone. But now having met someone with a similar fate, but a different attitude and approach, it made him wonder if he was doing something wrong. She didn’t live up to any expectations, but still people were loving towards her. It felt like their feelings for her were genuine, unlike the people he knew.
“You wanna kiss her…” Tama whispered, amused.
Kazu awkwardly rolled his eyes and decided to stare at the sky. Tama was trying to put weird thoughts in his head, he knew how these mind tricks worked.
“Look at her, isn’t she pretty?” Tama continued, “Kyahhh, look she’s wetting her lips heheh!”
Kazu tried hard to resist looking at her. Not because he was having perverted thoughts, but simply because Tama was making comments for him to look.
“Look! Look! She’s puckering her lips HAHAHAHAHA!”
Kazu kept his eyes focused on the sky. No way in hell he’d give Tama another reason to annoy him.
“You know you wanna look mwhahahahah!”
Seeing Kazu’s uncomfortable posture, Hisa stared at him with questioning eyes. “Is everything alright?”
Kazu whipped his head around, “Y-yeah…”
“HAH! You looked!” Tama screamed gleefully.
“She was talking to me.”
“Okay…” Hisa frowned but let it go. When a gust of wind passed, one of Hisa’s hands kept her dress in place as the other moved up to keep her hair from getting in her face.
For once, Tama didn’t make a comment as Kazu was looking at her and Kazu was thankful for that.
“Ne, Kazuhiko-san,” she turned, her eyes filled with excitement at him and smiled, “How is the place you live at?”
Kazu swallowed, “Beautiful…”
“I know, isn’t she?” Tama said in a dreamy tone.
“Zenith…” Kazu cleared his throat and manned up, “It’s beautiful…”
“Really?!” Hisa chirped, “I’m so excited to see it! This is my first time out of Rimae…I’m actually kinda happy we got lost…” She added shyly.
“So is he, darling, so is he.” Tama said in a know-it-all tone. “You’ve never been in love before, have you?”
Kazu thought this silliness had lasted long enough and stood up, “What do you mean before? I’m not in love with her.”
“Oh, pish-posh! I’m over a thousand years old…I’ve seen more than you ever will.”
“The sun is almost up, we should get going.” Kazu held out a hand to Hisa, which she took and stood up as well.
“You party pooper!” Tama flared. “You’re a POOPER!”
“She’s not my type.”
“Now you have a type?”
“All I’m saying is…we’re too different. I’m this roaming-from-here-to-there outcast and she’s…” Kazu quickly glanced at Hisa’s face, she was taking in the sight for the last time. “…betrothed to my brother.”
“He’s not your brother, he’s a lying poop-face!”
“Hey, look!” Hisa pointed at a few ninja heading their way, “It’s Nobunaga-san!”
“Kit, I’m saying this for your own good, RUN!”
Kazu suddenly started feeling like he was being suffocated. He hadn’t expected his dad to send out ninja to look for them, but he guessed the Imai ninja had started getting impatient.
“Even if you don’t wanna do it for the Gensai-clan, do it for yourself!!!” Tama yelled in a hyper mannar, getting excited by the nearing deadline for Kazu to make a decision.
“What?” Kazu frowned, “You want me to kidnap her? I told you I wouldn’t do it…I need time to think.”
“Who said it’s kidnapping, I’m pretty sure she’ll be willing to go with you.”
“I guess your mission ends here,” For some reason, now that the moment was there, Hisa wasn’t so certain about the decision she had made before. Of course she wanted to keep her word, but at the same time she wished someone else would tell her what to do now, because she didn’t know anymore. “I’m not sure if I’ll get to talk to you later…”
Once you hand her over to those ninja it’s over man, IT’S OVER!!!!”
Hisa continued, “That’s why I’d like to say thank –”
“KIT, GET THE GIRL AND LEAVE!”
The pressure rose and Kazu just went with what he thought he wouldn’t regret later on, “Hisa-sama!”
“THAT’S MY BOY!” Tama yelled relieved.
“Y-yes ?” Hisa managed to say before Kazu towered over her and a ‘cling’ from kunai colliding filled the air. Her eyes widened as she noticed they were under attack.