AN: new chapter hope you guys like it. I know some of the things don't make too much sense so tell me if it seems too forced. Reviews and comments are appreciated.
AN2: Hikari will still play Go but I wanted to know if you guys wanted me to detail the game or if you just want me to be like: the game started and she won ten minutes later.
Disclaimer: Don't own Hikaru no Go
Yagami Misaki stared incredulously at the man sitting across from her.
"You called me in here just to look at some kid's results? They aren't even that good! She only answered 1/5th of them right!" the woman complained. The 23 year old red head was a prodigy. Although prodigies were common in KAGE, many people would agree that even among prodigies, she was a prodigy. She had been recruited into the organization at the age of 13, a little old compared to the other recruits. But, in the 10 years that she has been with the organization, she has risen to become the youngest person to be promoted to Rank 5 in history.
KAGE's ranking structure is based on numbers starting from 12 for new recruits to 1 for the Commander. The members all start out learning the same things at Rank 12 and slowly, as they rise in the ranks, their learning becomes more specialized.
At Rank 9, people are required to choose which Division they want to join.
At Rank 5, the person is promoted to vice captain of his/her squad.
At Rank 4, a person becomes the captain of his/her own squad.
At Rank 3, the member becomes head of their Division.
At Rank 2, the person is made one of the advisors for the organization.
"Calm down for a sec Misaki and look at this test. Doesn't it seem similar to say I don't know, your test before you were recruited?" the man asked.
"Lemme see" Misaki said as she grabbed the test again. "The little trickster!" she said as her eyes widened.
"You see it too right? She only got 1/5th of the questions right because she only answered 1/5th of the questions. But that's not all. Unlike others who answer only the first 50 questions, she answered every 5th question. The difficulty increases as the test goes on. She even answered a question that most high schoolers got wrong!" the man said with excitement. "I would have missed her test all together if I didn't happen to glance at it while looking at another boy's test with the same last name" he admitted.
"Oh? Who were you looking for?" the woman asked with interest. KAGE looks for the best and brightest in today's society. Sometimes, these kids with talent end up famous. KAGE still recruits these people but give some leniency to them. For example, the famous American pianist Alexander Tanner is apart of the organization.
"Touya Akira, the Go player. Go is a strategy game and if he had done well on the test, he would have been perfect for the Intelligence Division. But, he didn't quite meet our expectations. His sister, however, did."
"Well, I'll observe her for a few days before asking. This is her address right? I'll contact you when I have more info." Misaki said as she left the room.
The new year came and went. Hikari returned to her usual daily routine: wake up, go to school, go home, do homework, eat dinner while hearing her family talk amongst themselves, and play NetGo. The days passed and too soon, it was nearing the end of February. And, the only think Hikari could think about was her birthday because she knew that this birthday could make or break her connection with her family.
So preoccupied with her thoughts, Hikari never noticed that she was being observed. Everyday for two weeks, she was being shadowed where ever she went. Her school records were looked into and her internet activity was monitored. But, it didn't take her too long to realize that she was being followed. Occupied as she was, Hikari was still super observant. She noticed the car that was never seen before in her neighborhood follow her to school. She noticed people staring at her. And, right when she could take it no more, she was approached by one of the people that has been loitering around both her school and neighborhood.
Hikari was tasked with cleaning duties the day before her birthday. As she was walking out of school, a woman walked up to her. Now, like every child, Hikari had been told the dangers of talking to strangers. But, she was too curious to run away. She wanted to know if she was really being followed and why. Although, she wasn't too curious to look for escape routes that she could take should the stranger prove to be dangerous.
As she walked towards the child, Misaki took note of the way the child's eyes moved back and forth. 'Looking for ways to escape are we? She's pretty smart.' Misaki thought as she walked closer.
"You are Touya Hikari right?" Misaki asked.
"Who wants to know?" came the girls snarky reply.
"A little careful, aren't we? You don't have to be so jittery. I'm not going to hurt you; I just want to talk to you." the 23 year old calmly said.
"Can't be too careful with strangers; especially ones that follow someone around." Hikari snapped back. She wasn't scared per se. After all, they were at a school. One loud shout and teachers would come running out to see what was going on. But, the woman in front of her was no ordinary person and Hikari could tell. The lady had an aura surrounding her that made her seem untouchable.
"You're right. Smart little girl aren't you? How did you know that we were following you?" Misaki watched in amusement as her little companion twitched at being called a 'little girl.'
"I didn't. I knew that I was being followed but not by who. You just confirmed it for me. So, what do you want?" came the reply.
'She's perfect for our Organization. Smart yet able to hide her intelligence. Not too trusting yet still able to make friends. Now, how best to approach this. From what I remember, she plays NetGo a lot. I know the perfect way to do this!' Misaki thought with a grin. "I just want to tell you a story. Just listen until the end okay?"
"Fine. But I'm leaving right after." the little girl responded.
"No problem. Now, have you ever heard of Kuwabara Torajiro?"
"No, am I supposed to know who he is?" Hikari asked.
"Hmm, well you might have heard of his second name, Honinbo Shusaku."
"The Go player?" Hiakri asked with interest in her eyes. Lately, she had been looking more into Shusaku's kifus. His plays intrigued her, especially the way he always won his game as white and the unusual first moves he played as black.
"Right. He did play Go, but let me tell you about some of his other feats." Misaki started as she told a condensed version of Kuwabara Torajiro's life. When she got to the part about the creation of KAGE, she took note of the disbelieving look on the kid's face.
"So, why did you tell me all that lady?" Hiakri asked as the story finished.
"Lady? Oh I never gave you my name did I? Well, I'm Misaki. As for why, I'm sure someone as smart as you figured out already right?"
"You're recruiting me?"
"That's right. My men and I have been observing you for the past couple weeks and we have decided that you would fit perfectly into our Organization." Misaki explained.
"Are you sure you want me? I would have thought that you guys would want my brother instead. After all, he is the Go prodigy." Hikari asked.
"It's you we want. You brother didn't qualify. Just because he can play Go doesn't mean he is good enough to be in KAGE. But I have to say, the way you anwered on your test almost made us miss you. Pretty clever."
"Test? The one we took before winter break? So that's like an entrance exam or something? How does it work?"
"Kind of, but you don't have to worry about that right now. All I'm going to tell you is that you have one week to decide whether or not you want to join. Don't worry about what your parents would think. Don't worry about what is gong to happen to you education. Just think about wheter or not you will join. If you say yes, we will talk about your arrangements."
"What happens if I say no?" the girl questioned.
"You'll never see us again." Misaki answered. "And before you say it, we won't care if you tell others about KAGE. No offense, but no one is going to believe an 7 year old about a secret organization. Just think about it and give me call. I'm the only one on the contact's list." she said as she tossed a cell phone towards Hikari, who caught it with her left hand.
Hikari watched as Misaki walked away. Part of her still doesn't believe what the lady said. But another part of her wants to believe that KAGE is real: that she has a chance for a better life.
Hikari spent the whole night thinking about two things: whether or not she should accept the offer and whether or not her family would remember her birthday. It wasn't a surprise when she noticed that no one greeted her differently when she sat down to eat breakfast. Nor was it a surprise when no word of a party was mentioned.
But, Hikari took it all in stride. After all, she was used to it. There was still a small part that believed that when she came back home from school, there would be a surprise waiting for her. And there was, just not the one she was waiting for.
At school, her classmates and teacher wished her a happy birthday. They were all clamoring about how special her birthday was because it came only once in four years. Her teacher had said that since it was so rare, it made it all the more special. Hikari couldn't help but disagree with that. If she was born on a normal day, maybe her family wouldn't forget her as often.
Sad thoughts aside, she did enjoy the mini party that her classmates threw for her. The candy and cards they got her meant a great deal to her. With a lollipop in her mouth, she made her way home, steeling herself for what awaited her. 'I wonder if today will be different.' she thought.
And, as mentioned earlier, she was surprised by what was there. At home, instead of a party that she didn't expect but wanted, there was only a note.
Akira has his first game for the Honinbo League today in Kyoto. There's no more food in the house. We will be back with dinner to hopefully celebrate. Don't forget to do your homework and finish your chores.
Mom and Dad
All Hikari could do was stare at the note. Her denial instincts kicked in and her mind interpreted the note as saying that her family would come home with dinner to celebrate her birthday. And so, Hikari waited, and waited, and waited. Until it was eight o'clock and her stomach was grumbling. She didn't want to eat any candy for fear of spoiling her appetite. She jumped out of her chair when she heard her house phone ring. Caller ID showed that it was her mom and hope swelled through her chest.
"Hikari! I told you that when you answer the phone, you are supposed to say 'Touya residence, who would you like to speak to?' It is the polite way to answer!" her mom's voice came through.
"Sorry mom but I saw your name on the Caller ID so I thought I didn't have to."
"Why can't you listen like you brother does." Hikari could her mom sigh.
"Why are you calling mom? Are you gonna be home soon?"
"No, we won't be home until midnight. You should probably go to sleep."
"What about dinner mom? I thought you guys were going to come home with food to celebrate?"
"Celebrate? There's nothing to celebrate. Your brother had his first lost today and your father and I are doing everything we can to make him feel better. He finally started feeling better and asked to eat at that famous sushi restaurant in Kyoto. We're standing in line right now."
"But what am I gonna eat for dinner?"
"Hikari! Stop being so selfish! Your brother just experienced his first lost today! Be more understanding. As for food, I'm sure there's something lying around the house that you can eat. By the way, did you finish you homework and chores?"
"Yes..mother*" came a crisp reply. A shout of 'Number 67' could be heard in the background.
"That's our number. Bye Hikari."
Hikari stared at the phone as her mom, no Akiko, hung up. Something in her just wilted away the second the conversation ended. She went upstairs to do the only thing that could help her deal with her frustrations: playing NetGo and crushing her opponents. She wasn't hungry anymore.
The now 8 year old finished her third game and slowly climbed into bed. "Happy Birthday to myself I guess" she muttered. At the corner of her eyes, she spotted the cellphone sitting on her desk. On a whim, she opened the contacts list and called the only number listed.
At age 8, Hikari used a cellphone for the first time.
At age 8, her classmates celebrated her birthday for the first time.
At age 8, she stopped referring to her Akiko and Kouyou as mom and dad. Out loud they will be mother and father but inside, they will always be Akiko and Kouyou.
At age 8, she was introduced to KAGE
At age 8, Hikari officially hated her family and her life.
*I hope some people noticed the transition that happened with Hikari's use of the way she refers to her mom and dad. In the beginning, she uses mommy and daddy like all kids do. Then, when she notices the way she is treated, she starts using mom and dad. Although most kids grow out of using mommy and daddy, they don't change to using mom and dad until usually thier teenage years. Then, when she hears that her birthday was forgotton agai, everything snaps and she starts calling her parents mother and father as a colder way of refering to them out loud. In her mind, they are Akiko and Kouyou because she no longer feels like they are her parents.