Once again, Kagetora fell through the hole and into the lake, the memories of all the times he had done this already were starting to melt together. `I'm starting to lose myself´ he thought and shook his head. Time to find Beni, if she was here, oh how he hoped she was.
After wandering a bit he heard a girl scream and quickly ran towards the sound, what he found was certainly not anything he would ever have expected. Before him lay three, no, four men unconscious on the forest floor the fifth being held up against a tree by a girl but he soon joined the rest. The wind changed and the girl turned around meeting his gaze with incredible speed, upon seeing her face he stopped dead in his tracks, mahogany eyes, reddish black hair tied up in an unruly ponytail. Except the slightly more girly features everything about this girl looked like his mirror reflection.
Strangely, the girl relaxed and beckoned him over after a moment, a smile almost gracing her features. `Three moles. . . huh´ she thought and sat down in the grass once he had come close enough.
What's your name?
Would you please sit down, it's been so long since I had a normal talk with anyone.
Feeling slightly suspicious of this overly friendly stranger he sat down nonetheless, maybe if he talked with someone he would be able to figure out "where" he had landed.
Do you remember your childhood, Kagetora-san?
There was a moment of silence as he tried to search his memories before answering, making his answer as truthful as possible.
No, barely a thing. He sighed, feeling he had disappointed her somehow.
I see. She said. Well then, let me tell you about mine. If that is okay with you?
He nodded, pulse quickening, this woman resembles him so much, perhaps he'll know why when this story ends.
I grew up a farmers daughter, with my father, my mother, an older brother, a younger sister and mothers' unborn baby. . .
She ran through the streets of the small village to a shack at the very end of it right next to a stream and burst through the straw flap used as a door. "Brother!" she called and the one whom this title belonged to in this particular case raised his head from cooking and expressed his acknowledgment. "Yes, younger sister?" The girl, only thirteen years of age panted heavily for a few moments before bursting out again "It's father! He. . . he!" The older sibling, sixteen, stood, alarm shining in his mahogany eyes. "He what!" The girl flinched, he had sounded far more angry than intended. "He is hurt, so much that he can't work anymore for half a year at least. What to do?" The eyes darkened to black as he contemplated "we will have to make due, and work harder, little sister, it will be alright" he said with a smile and ruffled her reddish black hair which made it even more unruly than it already was.
Weeks went by and the days meals lessened each day in quantity as harvest after harvest failed, still, making sure the mother always got the biggest share. As the food dwindled down so did the communication and good spirits within the family. The girl glanced back and forth between her brother and father, noting they both acted strangely as the others sat quiet, as if having a staring contest. As soon as the next day, she would know why.
What happened? He asked becoming more worried by the minute.
I am getting to that. She answered, making sure not to sound harsh.
The next day, the father had gone away in the early morning, as he had for a time now, as the family continued about their lives. She came back first, to start with dinner and was greeted by mother and sister, as dinner was ready the brother came home and they started eating, being used to the fathers antics by now. Halfway through the meal the father came home and the younger sister ran to greet him, then, father suddenly drew a weapon and slashed her down before she reached him, the others looking on in horror and disbelief. When he went for the mother, brother lashed out "Why! You said you wouldn't, father!" the man gave a weak smile after drawing the sword from the woman's now lifeless body. "It is better this way" he said "we won't have to suffer on the other side" then he raised his sword against her but the brother jumped in between, the weapon piercing them both. "I'm sorry" he whispered but it went mostly unnoticed by her, it felt as if her very soul had shattered into so tiny pieces it no longer existed. A thump was heard and she watched the father lie in a pool of blood, so much blood was everywhere. Vaguely, she felt her brothers' body grow cold as his breathing and heartbeat stopped, then all the world went black around her.
He was about to inject another comment but hindered himself anticipating a similar answer as to the previous one if he did and so, settled with listening on intently.
How long she had lain there she could not know, neither did she care, all she knew was that she was breathing still, alive still. The father had missed her heart but pierced her brothers'. She lay there in silence somehow regretting she had not died, then, she heard it. A sound as clear as a sunrise in the darkness and in a heartbeat her soul had returned, the sound of a baby crying. Her sibling had not died, it had lived and been born, now, it was her purpose to take care of it, for this purpose she must live, she shall.
Yes, a baby brother.
I see. And where is he now?
I don't know.
I stole our food, kept moving every day, never staying in one place and then, one day when he was four. Just a few miles from here I think, we were attacked. People from the town had followed me and they showed no mercy. I tried to run but they were everywhere, suddenly, his hand slipped out of mine and they beat me down. When I woke he was nowhere to be found, that was a year ago. I have been looking, but I can't find him.
Even if you do, how will you know it's him? People change.
No matter how much he has changed, no matter how old he gets, I will know who he is. You see, he has had three moles close to his hairline, ever since he was born. She points to the exact spot, exactly where his own moles are.
If he is right, then in this time, he is five, and the one sitting next to him on this hill, with the same hair color and same eye color. His sister. He makes an estimation, thirteen years, if she still lives she would be. . . 31 in his time. He sits right next to his only remaining family and he cannot recognize her as just that.
I will keep looking, but at the very least, I will have to worry no more, because I know that my Minato grows up to be fine man. She said, and smiled knowingly at the same age boy sitting beside her.
I am a ninja, he said, I became a ninja. It was no relevant statement, but he felt it needed to be said.
I understand, well, no matter what you are, I just want you to be safe and happy.
Thank you. . . um?
Kasami, or sis, whatever you want.
Older sister. . . Kasami-neesan. Can you show me where it happened?
As he stood in the field, wind blowing in his hair, all memories came rushing back.