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« BtF - Part VII

Before the Fire
Written by: FedeTkd
Published:
Part VIII: Rocks on the Road

BtF - Part IX »



Nikaho, Akita Prefecture, February 6th, 2022

“Really?!” Miya asks.

“Yes…” his friend answers.

“But…how?”

“It  just happened. I don't know why I'm telling you, I am compromising you. But I feel I need to get this out of my chest...”

“Forget about that!  Forget about Shun. I stand with you on this.”

“You shouldn't. You must be neutral or be with him. I'm not doing things right. This is the worst thing I've ever made.”

“Sakura should've already told him. He's her boyfriend!”

“And I'm his best friend…"

“Forget about him!”

"What are you talking about?! I'm not like that."

"And? Everyone must be selfish sometime."

“No...No that's not me... Not now..."

"If I was In your position, I wouldn't tell him.”

“…”

“Still how do you fell about what you have done?”

“Guilty. But still…about Sakura…I do not know. I have always liked her, but I never imagine this would happen.”

“You're tired and can't thing about this. Clear your mind.”Miya gets up from the chair “I won't say anything.”

“Thank you. Sorry for this.”

“We're brothers. And brothers protect and support each other...”

He closes the door behind of him.

“...Even if that means doing whatever it takes for a friend's happiness…”

Miya sees Sakura getting out of Shun’s room and follows her to the entrance of the dormitories, far from any curious listeners or watchers.

“Wait!” Miya says loudly

“Yes Miya? What happened?”

“I know what you've done with him.”

She is shocked to his words and remains for some seconds.

“Now tell me? Who do you truly love? eh???”

“That's not your buisness”

He pushes her against the wall, placing his left forearm choking her and voiding any scream. He moves his face close to hers.

“Now listen to me, bitch. You'll end your relationship with Shun and decide to begin a relationship with him. And he has no part on this. I'm doing it for myself, after all this is what a friend would do...”

He removes his forearm, as she falls to the ground coughing a lot. Miya got his knees down.

"What's wrong with you?!" She asks, after recovering her breath.

"Nothing...I'm just doing what I must. Do what you have to do, unless you want someone else to reveal secrets for you.”

He gets up and leaves her.

Sakura was impressed and shocked for what he had done.

She had always been good friends with Miya, but it seems that he was no longer the man he once was. The blond girl gets up and leaves the dormitories walking wondering about what she would do with this problem.

---

Nikaho, Akita Prefecture, February 10th, 2022

Shun clashes swords with another student, making a powerful downwards strike which is parried by him, and then another attack horizontally. The student then counters with two fast slashes which are parried with ease by Shun. Still the student tried to continue his attack, but the Green Ronin beds his legs, passing the sword inches from his head. Once he had gotten to his adversaries back, he made a single blow directly to the leg forcing him to the ground.

Shun looks to his best friend just sitting at the side of the dojo with his eyes closed looking to the ground.

“Give me a moment.” He says to his partner as he got next to his friend. “Hey, fight with someone.”

He looks up at him.

“Why? If I don't want to fight I'll remain here in the shade.”

Kirei: “Shun, continue training! And send your friend here. We need to have a conversation”

The Blue Ronin sights. Shun offers his hand to help his friend up, but he directly ignored it and gets up by himself.

“Go. I'll see you later.” He says before going wqith Kirei.

He walks to Kirei, following him out of the Dojo. Kirei turns around and begins talking.

“Do you know how a great warrior is forged? One the combination of years of training. Dedication. Sacrifice.Your best friend, Shun, right there is a testament of such. You'd consider yourself his equal?”

“While fighting every man is equal to each other...”

“A champion's more than the best swordsman of the class. He's also the sum of his actions. Every decision one takes, no matter how small or dim, it speaks about the man. And the balance of his heart and will. And what does your beat for?”

He stood confused for a moment. He didn't know what to respond. It didn't supriced him, considering he'd been confused over the last ten days and  it seemed the thought wouldn't get out of his head in a long while. 

He tries to find a way, no matter how stupid it sounded, to excuse himself and get out of that conversation.

“For your dojo’s training.” he answers.

It was a lie, of course.

“Return to the Dojo. Do whatever you want...”

He walks back to the Dojo.

Kirei noticed it.

He was just searching for words he sought him to hear. Though probably the best swordsman in the dojo, he was no champion of his Dojo.

He walks back to the Dojo, and he realizes was Sakura staring at him. They glare for a moment, but she parts it rapidly. He sighted with anger and looks at Tai without any opponent.

“Tai! Use that fucking sword for something!”

---

“Sakura!”

He runs to get near to him.

“Please! We need to talk.”

“I have non to give!”

“It's important. Please.”

“You avoid my gaze, every moment.”

“As you should mine. It'll be better for both of us if you did.”

She tries to get inside of Shun’s room, but he intercepts her faster.

“Sakura. Please. What happened between us…”

“We have to foget it. We must forget and never say anything about it.”

She tries for a second time to pass him but he again stops her.

“I've tried. I've tried a lot. I can't. There's not a sinlge second I can't get that out of my head. I know you feel the same about me...”

“You'll forget it one day. You just need to give it time..."

She passes next to him and he doesn't stop her, he just looks at her avoiding his sight as she entered to her boyfriend’s room.

“Hey, how's it doing?” She asks Shun.

Fine…I'm tired. The day was very hard.” He says after a long sights.

“I can tell. Your foot's alright?”

He shows his right foot to her.

“Like new.”

She sits down on the bed next to him, placing her head on his chest and closes both eyes.

“Your best friend came at me for a moment.”

“Did he…why?”

“He asked me about you.”

“Strange. He didn't visited me in the hospital. He doesn't talk to me. He's just ignoring me. He seems to no longer embrace me as brother… And I don't even know why he remains distant from me. I did something bed...?”

“No…Your best friends follows nothing but what he wants. Beyond all reason.” He looks deeps into his eyes. “You have focus in yourself now. I know you'll become the next champion, even if you must face him. Maybe he's a bit focused on this and tries to set mind towards the future. I believe you'd do the same.”

"No. He doesn't care about the title."

"Well...Let's forget about him right now. Let's think about us..."

She approaches her lips and they kiss. They remain like that for several minutes, more passionately time for a time, but the memory of him still haunts Sakura, as she began to imagine Shun as him. She tried to remove that thought from her head and continued kissing him, even if that memory came back time by time.

---

She comes out of the room, realizing he was sitting next to the door, waiting for her to get out.

“What're you doing here?” She asks.

“I was waiting for any of you. I'm going to the arena today. I'd like some of my friends in the audience, because the rest of the guys are busy and they can't come with me.” He gets up from the floor. “If you could come, it'd be great?

“You're never serious, are you?!”

“Few times. Right now is one of them...”

“I should return to the girls dormitories…”

“You should...” He keeps on staring at her directly at the eye, as she did the same.

“Why're you doing this?!”

“If i didn't, it would be a lie. And this one will be biggerr one that the one we told Shun. You think I wanted this?!I love him like a brother! But even stil...what I'm now felling for you…I know you're feeling Sakura. I feel exactly the same."

“That's not important.”

He places his hand right on her left cheek, moving her blonde hair and touching her soft with skin.

“It's for me…”

“What'd you do if you were Shun and found out this?!”

“I'd kill us both!”

They kiss and remain like that for few seconds. They slowly parted for each other looking to each other’s eyes, when at last she parted, leaving him alone.

He walks out of the school going to the arena alone for the first time.

All previous times his friends had been with him, cheering for him and at the same time standing beside him. Fighting, bleeding, and giving him strength to continue. But right in that moment, all of them were busy. Not even Miya could come with him.

He had distanced himself from all of them on the recent days. He could not gaze Shun, but he sheared the same sentiment with each one of his friends. What he had done was somehow betrayal to all of them. Betray a code of conduct they had.

He continues walking thinking with his shinai at his back, looking down as he was getting closer and closer to the "Old Arena".

Arriving, he hears the strange sound of sirens. Police sirens.

He rushes fast to get to the stadium. Just before the turn to the left, he stops placing his back to the wall. He slowly moved his head to get a sneak of what was happening.

“Shit…”

Students were outside, placed against a wall as several cars of the police were near them. One of hi biggest fears was real. The games were discovered.

He remains looking while hiding himself, as they could think him as member of the Games, since he was carring a sword.

“Look what we have here?! A gladiator!”

Surprised, he looks to his right noticing two policemen in front of him, ready to capture him. The rush at him but he reacts faster, grabbing the wooded sword from his back, and spins around the first police. As the other comes, he rolls in the ground and starts running at his max speed. He couldn't be captured.

After a block running at top speed, he looks to his back, realizing that even more policemen were running after him. Soon, others appear in front of him. Some police cars were also getting closer to the place. In few seconds, he was surrounded by lots of them. Outnumbered and outmatched, with his back against a wall of a building, without possibility nor to fight nor escape. He just looks seriously around the place, to the semicircle officers staring at him against the wall grabbing his still sheathed shinai. Even if he wields it, it would be useless, or worse.

“Maybe…Maybe this is what I deserve. But even so…I can't leave this without a decent fight.”

He moves his right hand and gets it near and nearer to his sword...

“HOLD!”

He realizes that all the police turns, as he recognizes the voice.

“Leave him. I'll take care.”

The cops leave, returning to the stadium. Once all of them were gone, he sees Kirei. He places his sword to his back and approaches him.

“Thank you. I didn't know what to do.”

Kirei remains silent, looking to him.

“You're not going to ask me what I had done? Why the cops were surrounding me? Well I have no idea. They were capturing some other students nearby and seems they confused me with one of the-”

“Enough of lying!”

“Eh…!”

“I asked myself why you were late, and didn't even come to some classes at the Dojo. And now I finally found out…”

“What do you even mean…”

“Stop lying!”

He was shocked to his words, as his eyes widened. He didn't expect this to happen. In that moment he realizes...Kirei was the one that had informed the police about the games…

But how? How did he know about them?

“Now tell me everything you know, Gladiator! Or should I call you…Blue Ronin?”

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