Graduation Sept 30, 2017 20:18:20 GMT -5
Post by dragonexx on Sept 30, 2017 20:18:20 GMT -5
Of all the times to be unable to find her mask, why now? Ikaruga sighed. It wasn't that important, truth be told, and she of course wouldn't have been allowed it during graduation, but she did feel most comfortable at least knowing where it was. The graduation test had been more or less a formality, thanks to Kiriya's training, and the ceremony itself was short, with officials from the shinobi council merely affirming her's and Katsuragi's loyalty. They would be contacted later, being given missions. On the whole, Ikaruga felt neutral about the concept. It was her duty, nothing more.
With a few quick leaps, she had left the confines of the Hanzo Academy, her home for the last three years, and sailed through the forest to the academies training grounds. Landing on the bridge, she stopped, looking at the waterfall.The air felt crisp and cool, and the sound of the waterfall was steady and soothing. She placed Hien on the railing, ran her hands through her hair and let out a deep breath. Despite all that had happened over these past years, this was the one spot where she felt she could get a way from it all. To vent some stress or to let out her emotions in private. Though now, reflecting back on that, she felt some amount of shame.
"Thought I might find you here." said a voice.
"Huh?" Her heart started and she quickly turned, grabbing Hien, only to realize that her instructor Kiriya had arrived. "Oh."
"You seem upset. Is something wrong?"
Ikaruga paused. "No... I'm just... thinking to myself. It's not important."
He seemed to be able to pick up the issue pretty quick. "It's a big change. It's okay to feel nervous."
Admittedly not the most open person, Ikaruga sighed. "Feelings? Do feelings have a place for a shinobi? We do our duty."
"Is that so?" Kiraya stroked his chin, thinking. She was certain he had already come to an answer, but he was clearly pausing to let her come up with an answer herself.
Ikaruga drilled her mind, but couldn't think of anything herself. "Isn't it?"
"I would say no."
"But why? We are shinobi. Our purpose is to serve. To fight our masters enemies and to exterminate Youma. Emotions do not have a place in that."
"Why though?" Kiriya asked.
"They... are distractions? A weakness that can jeopardize a mission."
"I would disagree."
Ikaruga's eyes widened. "But why?"
"Think back to when you were a student at this academy."
When you were a student. The words hurt more than that should have.
Kiriya continued, regardless. "When you were first here, you were cold, distant, like you seem to be acting now. You remember your earlier interactions with Katsuragi?"
"Y-yes." That was also a source of some embarrasment.
"And later, Asuka, and then, Hibari and Yagyu. Your later interactions with Gessen. What are your thoughts on them."
"They're my... friends." She was starting to get at what Kiriya was saying.
"When your on a mission, your fighting for more than just the objective, your fighting for your comrades and as a good shinobi, for the people you are protecting."
"Cutting yourself off from that sort of empathy is a good way to self-destruct or loose sight of what your fighting for. Sayuri may say otherwise, but I'm not so sure. Ultimately you'll have to make the decision yourself."
Ikaruga was speechless.
"You're a very talented shinobi. I haven't held back in my training, and you've survived and passed each test. You've even fought and defeated Youma, beings you shouldn't have even been aware of until now, let alone faced. Apply that same hard work going forwards and you can accomplish great things." Kiriya gave a smile. "I don't have all the answers, but we're not alone..."
He gestured and stood aside as her classmates emerged from the woods. Asuka, Hibari and Yagyu. Though Katsuragi was strangely absent.
Asuka approached first.
"So... um..." Asuka hesitated.
All of a sudden, Hibari rushed forwards, embracing Ikaruga.
"I don't want you to leave!" She cried.
Ikaruga returned the hug, before patting her on the head. The shinobi-in-training looked up at Ikaruga with tear-filled eyes.
"I'm not going anywhere." She smiled. "I'm not in your class anymore, but we're still Hanzo shinobi! You still see Daidoji around, remember?"
"R-really?" Hibari sniffed.
"Of course. I'll be busy with missions, but I'll still stop by and visit."
"Speaking of which..." Ikaruga turned to Asuka with a grin. "You're the class president now."
"Y-yeah." Asuka said, most likely still coming to terms with the role. "You were always so good in the position. I have no idea how I'll handle it."
"You've more than proved yourself." Yagyu said. "I think you'll do fine."
"Yeah, it'll be a lot of work, but no reason not to give it my all." Asuka grinned back.
"Speaking of which." Kiriya interjected by clearing his throat. "We should meet the new members of your team. Group training will begin shortly after."
"New members?!" Hibari perked up.
Asuka nodded. "Alright."
"By the way? Where's Katsuragi?" Ikaruga asked.
"I thought she was with you?" Yagyu replied.
"No, she took off after graduation, and a haven't heard from her since."
"I'm sure she'll be fine." Asuka said.
"Oh, by the way, you have a visitor." Kiriya said, checking a message on his phone. "They're waiting for you in your old room."
"Who?" Ikaruga asked.
"It didn't say."
Curious, Ikaruga headed back to the academy. Who knew? Katsuragi might have returned. Or perhaps she was to be given her first full shinobi assignment? She reentered the academy building, and easily made her way to the secret shinobi training facility, and to her old room. There, she gasped in shock, as a man she all too recognized lounged in a chair, a smirk on his face.
Ikaruga felt Hien at her side. She didn't reach for the blade, but she confirmed it's position. Murasame lounged in a chair he had clearly brought into the room himself, looking completely confident and relaxed. She wondered what he was planning.
"Why are you here?" She demanded.
"Can't a brother visit his little sister?" He leaned back in the chair, clearly at ease. "It's been quite a while."
"You've never just 'visited' before. What do you want? Hien?"
"That old thing. Why would you ever think that?" He said, chuckling to himself.
This wasn't good. This was the most confident she had ever seen him. Subtly, she scanned the room. Perhaps there was some sort of trap, or ambush waiting.
"How do you keep getting in here?" She asked, stalling.
"The Phoenix Conglomerate are the main donators to this academy. All I have to do is show them my SIN and I have free reign here." He boasted. "But I still don't get why you're being so hostile?"
"You've tried attacking me and stealing Hien multiple times. Our father gave the sword to me. Why else would you be here again?"
He reached behind him. Ikaruga grabbed the hilt of Hien, prepared to draw it, only to let go in shock when she saw him hold up a wrapped gift.
"Because it's your graduation. You're a full-fledged shinobi. Something like that should be celebrated." His smile was humble and genuine.
He stood up, and handed the gift over to her.
"You never seemed like the type to care much about trinkets or keepsakes..."
Ikaruga opened the gift, and had to stiffle a gasp. It was her BC mask.
"So I figured you'd appreciate something that helped you as a shinobi. Try it on."
Hesitantly, Ikaruga placed the visor over her eyes. She blinked as suddenly, everyting appeared as a splotchy mixture of colors. She realized she was seeing into the infrared spectrum!
"Is this, heat sensing?" She asked.
"Pretty neat, huh? I took it to Phoenix's tech labs. This is cutting edge tech, originally designed for military use, though it hasn't even been released for sale yet. Beyond infrared, it's got ultraviolet sight, ultrasound sensors, flare blocking, AR displays, vision range and magnification, and analytical scanners and systems." He indicated towards the part over Ikaruga's ears. "It also works with sounds as well, enhancing hearing range, noise amplification or filtration, as well as a neat headset. It also has an electrode system incorporated, allowing for direct neural links, meaning you won't have to use your hands to alter it's settings."
Ikaruga gasped at all the capabilities that had been added to her mask. "Why would you do something like this?"
"Well... I wanted to make up for my... horrible treatment of you these past three years." He winced slightly.
"I... I can understand... I think."
"Will you permit me to be honest?" He asked, weakly.
"When you were first adopted, I hated you." He both sounded and looked ashamed.
"Murasame..." Even after all this time, those words still hurt.
"All my life i had been raised with the expectation that I would become a shinobi. Yet, try as I might, I had no real aptitude for it. Yet I kept trying. Mother and Father stopped showing up to my training sessions, and... then I found out why."
"They brought me in." Ikaruga said softly.
Murasame sat back down, slouching. "It was like a kick in the face. Everything I had aspired to be, shinobihood, the Houou family's ninja legacy, Hien, all handed off to someone who from my perspective then was a complete stranger."
"M-Murasame... I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault at all, Ikaruga. You were simply doing the best you could in the situation you were put into. These past few years have given me plenty of perspective. I was hurt and jealous, but that doesn't excuse how I treated you." He paused, seeming to try to think of what to say next.
"I forgive you."
"W-what?!" Murasame's eyes were wide with shock. Ikaruga was a little shocked herself. "But..."
"It was a harsh situatuon we both were put in without any real warning." Ikaruga explained. She knelt down next to her slumping brother. "I honestly feel my aloofness may have attributed some to this."
"It's no match to how I behaved. I'm... sorry. I came here, wanting to make things right. To... start over." He paused, clearly unsure of what to say or do next.
Ikaruga did the first thing that came into her mind and hugged him.
"What?!" Murasame was shocked.
"Regardless of whether were related by blood, you're my brother and I'll love you."
"Me to... sister." When Ikaruga let go, she could see the faint hint of tears on her older brothers face. Though they were quickly wiped away. For a while, the two simply stared out the window. It was a pleasant day.
"So... What now?" She asked.
"How about lunch? My treat." He said.
"That sounds like an excellent idea!"
So, I love the Senran Kagura series. It has everything I like, great action, great fanservice, great gameplay, great story, and great characters. For a while, I had this scene kicking around in my head, and I decided to just put it to text and see how it went.
As of now, this is just a one-shot, though I do have plans to perhaps turn this into a full blown story (hence Katsuragi's absence). Might be coming soon! Anyways, thanks for reading. Please leave a comment telling me what you think!