Okay this chapter is a little short, but it's necessary. Other than that, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou for the reviews! Please keep them coming!
In the taxi now zooming down Tokyo, Bao, Rose and Athena all sat in silence. Rose sat cross-legged shuffling a deck of tarot cards in her hands while Athena and Bao dreamily looked out the window. The taxi finally stopped outside a large office building, where they got out. Instead of going through the shiny-mirrored doors, they walked past the building down the alleyway next to it and into a small but clean, thatched roof hut.
It smelled like a Chinese apothecary, except instead of jars of herbs and fungi, it was just a gift shop, selling small ornamental Japanese fans and Noh masks. Athena talked to the woman over the counter in Japanese for a few minutes then left. Back out on the street a black stretch limo had parked. Athena hopped straight in, but Bao and Rose hesitated, never really needing a limo before.
As they sat down in the cool interior, Athena spoke, "There has been a change in plans." Her voice wasn't that of her usual perky self. Instead it was calm and serious.
"I know." Replied Rose in a similar cool voice. "I have foreseen it just recently." Rose had a tarot card clutched between to fingers. It was the innocence card.
Backstage at a Kabuki theatre, sat a tall, broad man. He was covered in an odd sort of blue and orange kimono that sat in a really awkward position. He had bright red hair that fell past his waist like flames, which most people mistook for a wig, but was actually his natural hair.
The plucking strings of a shamisen could be heard and as the drums began to beat he walked out on stage. Each step in time with the beating drums and fluently mixed with the tune from the shamisen. His white painted face made no expression, but his hands and his steps were like watching sakura blossoms fall onto water.
He performed his dance accompanied by the other actors, but none of them had his grace. All the eyes in the audience were planted on him, mesmerised by his movements.
After the dance was over, he exited back into his dressing room. On the wall of his dressing room was a most distinguishable woodblock print, obviously very old and very valuable. It portrayed a tall, broad man with his face painted red and white, a strange, bright kimono and long red hair holding a naginata. This man was Kyoshiro, warrior and kabuki actor back in the Edo period and ancestor of the man acting in Osaka today. His name was also Kyoshiro, after being born with his strong face and fierce red hair, his strongly Shinto parents took him to the shrine and the priests believed him to be the great Kyoshiro reincarnated.
Nearly thirty years later and unaware of the Shinto prophecy, Kyoshiro became a fairly famous kabuki actor in Japan and a fierce warrior.
Tonight something was bothering him. He felt cold and heavy. He could hear the rain outside, sliding of the tiled roof and tapping on the roads. Changing into his casual clothes and grabbing his bag he set out back home. Sheltering himself under random roofs from the rain, he was crossing the road when he nearly was run over by a black limo. Startled his dropped his bag and a kimono fell out onto the wet road.
It had stopped just in time. It's bright beams illuminating the drops of rain on either side of him. Inside Rose pulled forth a tarot card from the pile. "The chance card." She murmured vaguely. At this Athena stepped out of the car, "Excuse me!" She called out to Kyoshiro, "I'm really sorry, are you okay?"
"I'm fine. It was my fault." He said politely, picking up the ruined kimono.
'Perfect.' Athena thought to herself. "Please let me make it up to you. I'll drop you to where you're heading and I'll get that kimono fixed."
Kyoshiro wasn't quite certain as to why this little girl was being so kind but he accepted and entered the limo anyway. Inside, now that he could see more clearly, he noticed that the young girl that had talked to him was Athena Asamiya. The other two he didn't know. "Where are you going?" Asked Athena.
"Shibuya." He replied. He had a party to go but as he was already late he was contemplating whether going at all.
"You're right you know." Said Bao.
Kyoshiro looked down at him with a puzzled look?
"The party. It's a bit late and you're not feeling up to it." Bao said matter-of-factly. Kyoshiro was puzzled. Could this small child be reading his mind?
"Well, I'm getting my kimono fixed." He said blankly so it was open for interpretation. Kyoshiro was an actor and could act innocent and stupid if he had to fool some people.
Bao cut the silence continuing with his little game. "Is it true that you are not only very good at fooling people but also a fighter?"
Kyoshiro played along not batting an eyelid but his mind raced at top speed to understand how this child knew so much about him. "Well little child, I have been known to throw temper tantrums when I can't learn my dance steps correctly but that is about it. How about you? Or is that bandage just for effect?" He remarked referring to the bandage over Bao's nose.
Bao's round faced turned a shade of red. "No, I mean I may very well have fallen over whilst performing on stage like those silly- what do you call them? Ka-kooky actors? But I'm talking about 'fighting' fighting. Like samurai for example."
Kyoshiro could handle this. He now knew what was going on. He smiled and said one word. "Orochi?"
It was Rose who spoke now. "Similar." She said as she suffled her deck then drew one final card. The 'twin card'.
The limousine pulled up in front of Kyoshiro's apartment. He had not told them where he lived but assumed they read his mind.
As he stepped out onto the sidewalk, his feet crunched on the wet cement, Athena called out to him, "I'll return this kimono tomorrow, please be ready." And with that the limo drove off. "Please be ready." The words echoed in Kyoshiro's head as he entered his neat and expensive looking apartment. Pouring a glass of sake and sitting down cross-legged on the tatami mats he meditated.
The morning rays hit Kyoshiro's heavy eyelids, illuminating his strong curves and broad facial features. He checked the clock, quickly got dressed and took his naginata out of its box and into a sports bag. Sure enough, as he walked down the stairs and onto the street, Athena was waiting for him. "We will be meeting the other shortly." She said, answering what he was thinking. Getting once again in the back of a limo, they sat in silence all the way to a private airport. Slightly confused Kyoshiro just followed Athena onto a small jet. Rose and Bao were inside already sitting down. "We are going to Tenri. A small town in the Nara prefecture." Athena said, once again reading his mind. "We will be there in a few hours."
"Err, should we have gotten her something too?" Said Benimaru to Chun-Li and Ibuki over dinner at a steamy noodle house. "I mean they gave us plane tickets to Nara and accommodation in Tenri because we beat them?" Benimaru was confused but the girls on the other hand were excited. "I've never been to Nara, so I really want to go!" Said Chun-Li. "Same!" Said Ibuki. "And it's right after our next fight tomorrow."