Morning again. Sunbeams were working hard to weasel their way in through the tightly-drawn blinds. Kaiji Kyudoka lie supine on a dusty futon bed, damp cloth across his eyes and head pounding rhythmically to an incessant beat. "Don't forget the happy thoughts,"
he spoke through slatted teeth. "All you need is happy thoughts,"
attempting to reassure himself. The physical pain paled in comparison to that of the emotional sort. Three days (or had it been a week?)
had passed since his incident in the Market District alleyway. It was the incident that left him bedridden. The incident that sent his synapses firing like live wire, that widened the cleft of his corpus callosum and had him drooling. Of course, this was referring to his sudden recollection of a series of past events, memories that he understood no better than sheet music or a foreign language. "Sa-chi-ko,"
each syllable enunciated with care. Kaiji sat up in bed, wet rag falling from his face and landing with a splat in his lap. "I know, Sachi... I know you're out there somewhere. I won't forget,"
his face contorted, "I can't..."
Off to the side, in a corner of the room that was darker than the rest, a balled up piece of paper sat gathering dust. It was a letter, addressed to Kaiji, from his Father. The bespectacled archer lazily gazed over at it, eyes glazed with a sense of apathy. He'd written to his Father after the first set of memories came rushing back. Kaiji's letter was meant to be an update on his progress, how he had improved his archery and above all, unlocked the Takamegan's First Release. Also included in the note was a simple question: 'Who was Sachiko?' When the message had originally arrived, Kaiji tore the envelope open with fervor, desiring like mad to get an answer, but the contents were less than satisfactory. The gist of it went on about how he should train harder, but decent progress so far, don't slack, this, that, yada yada. Only... towards the end were two words, two words that Kaiji had poured over time after time, unfurling the crumpled loose leaf and balling it up again over and over.
| A few hours later |
Kaiji was dressed in his usual attire, long-sleeved shirt and simple pants. His thin-framed glasses were continually catching the glare of the sun, doing nothing to help the last remnants of his earlier headache. Noticing that no one in particular was around, he removed them from his face and clipped them to his neckline. The glasses were for show, serving as a way to beguile others into believing his eyes were nothing special. He had not yet had a chance to test this ruse, due to the isolation and recluse lifestyle he lived for the time being, but as a precaution the spectacles rarely if ever left his face. "Oh this heat,"
Kaiji moaned. "And here I was, just starting to enjoy this whole nature thing."
Despite the sweat gathering across his body in shiny baubles of dew, the teen pressed on. Kaiji Kyudoka had a plan, or, an idea rather. Before, the memories regarding Sachiko came about whenever he'd pondered making friends, so it stood to reason that if he continued along that path, he may come to recall a better picture of this section of his past that stood shrouded in mystery. "Well,"
he spoke, "What do I know about friends? Mmm, no, too specific. What do I know about people? For one thing, I'm a person, so... there's that. Uhhh, people react unpredictably, they're irrational, petty..."
Only vituperative adjectives were coming to mind, worrying Kaiji that this train of thought would go nowhere good. Sigh.
He hadn't wanted it to come to this, but he could see it as his only choice. First-hand experience was the only way to understand the concept of friendship. "Curses!"
he spat under his breath, advancing nearer and nearer a more populated area of the village. It was close by to the Hidden Leaf's heart, where the streets were bustling with activity and voices sounded all around. There were traveling merchants, schoolchildren, couples, even a few shinobi like himself. "A fellow shinobi is my best bet,"
Kaiji said, voice disappearing in the din of the crowd.