"Hey! What's the big idea?" Takeda asked someone. Ashley looked behind them to see her jujitsu master holding Takeda's arm behind Takeda's back and holding it there.
"Master!" Ashley, Allie, and Haley said. Ashley mainly said it out of shock of what was about to happen.
"My apologies, but I highly suggest that you not touch that young lady by her shoulders. Nor put your arms around her shoulders," Master said. Takeda tried to get free but that only caused him more pain.
"And why is that?" Takeda asked. Ashley could hear the pain he was feeling in his voice. Master looked at Ashley but she just shook her head.
"That's not something I can tell you. All I can tell you is that it would be a foolish move," Master said. He released Takeda and Takeda almost crashed into the table. The jujitsu master went back to his seat and started to talk to Akisame once again. Takeda looked back at Ashley.
"What was that about?" he asked. Ashley just shook her head.
"It's a long and complicated story," she said. He nodded.
"Alright, maybe some other time," he said. She nodded.
"Thanks," she whispered.
"So, what do you practice?" he asked.
"What form of martial arts do you practice?" Takeda elaborated.
"Oh," Ashley said, laughing. "I practice Karate, Muay Thai, weapons, Judo, and Taekwondo."
"Really? That's cool! That's almost the same as Kenichi!" Takeda said.
"Yeah, except Kenichi studies Chinese martial arts instead of Taekwondo," Miu said.
"Yeah, that's right," Kenichi said.
"Say, I've got an idea!" Sakaki said, getting the attention of everyone at the table.
"What's up, Shio?" Kensei asked. Ashley had learned the names of all of Kenichi's masters before dinner.
"Why don't we have our disciple go against one of theirs? Just to see which is stronger?" Sakaki suggested. Ashley quickly glanced around the table and was disturbed to see that all of the masters' eyes were shining white.
"That sounds like a wonderful idea!" one of Ashley's masters said.
"Great, we'll have them fight after dinner," Akisame said. Ashley saw Kenichi gulp.
"Um, I don't think that's such a good idea," Kenichi muttered. His masters chuckled.
"Don't be such a baby, Kenichi! Since you have so much energy, why don't we have them fight right now?" the oldest martial arts master there said.
"That's a great idea!" Sakaki said.
"Yes, let's have them fight now!" Akisame smirked. Ashley and Allie sighed while Kenichi just complained and whined. Sakaki pulled Kenichi by his collar into the room next to the dining room.
"Someone help me!" Kenichi yelled.
"Don't be a wimp! Be a man and fight those girls!" Sakaki yelled. Suddenly Kenichi stopped crying and his face turned dark.
"No," he stated. That made Sakaki stop in his tracks. He didn't turn his head or anything.
"What do you mean 'no'?" he asked.
"I won't fight a girl. It's against my principles," Kenichi said. Ashley and Allie stopped in their tracks and looked at each other.
"Is he serious?" Allie asked.
"I've never heard of a man who wouldn't fight a girl. Even for sparing," Ashley said. Sakaki sighed and let go of Kenichi, causing his head to hit the floor.
"I've got another idea. Why don't my students fight each other?" one of the masters said. Ashley and Allie looked at him like his was crazy.
"Why?" they asked.
"Come on you two. This way you'll be able to find out who is stronger and how much more training the both of you need. Plus, you haven't sparred in a while," he said. They sighed but complied.
"Alright," they said. They all went into the next room and Ashley and Allie prepared to spar. Ashley cracked her knuckles and made Haley shudder.
"You ready for this, Al?" Ashley asked. Allie smirked, stretching her arms.
"Bring it, Ash," Allie said. However, once they were finished stretching, they just stood there.
"What are they just standing there for?" Kensei asked. The Elder stroked his beard.
"Maybe they are concentrating and are trying to intimidate each other?" the Elder guessed.
"No, they're just waiting for us to tell them which martial art to practice," the jujitsu master said, sitting down. "Alright you two! Practice Karate!"
"Yes Master!" they said. Allie got into a defensive position and Ashley just stood there.
"What's Ashley doing? Why isn't she going into a defensive position?" Kenichi asked.
"She's of a higher belt than Allie, so their karate master has been teaching her to start her sparring by just standing in a casual stance," the jujitsu master explained.
"Oh, I see," Kenichi said. Allie ran at Ashley and tried to punch her, but Ashley dodged it and kneed Allie in the stomach. Allie coughed and was forced to jump back a few feet.
"Nice dodge," Sakaki muttered. Allie put her feet to the ground and slowed down. She glanced behind her to see that she was about to land against a wall. She jumped up, put her feet against the wall and pushed against it, allowing her to get more momentum and speed. She once again ran at Ashley and kicked her. This time Ashley couldn't get out of the way. Allie kicked her stomach and Ashley was launched a few feet back, and onto her back. She layed there for a moment.
"What's wrong, Ash? Tired already?" Allie said, teasing Ashley. Ashley glared at her from her position on the ground. Then she flipped up. However, Ashley didn't verbally respond. Instead, she ran at Allie and punched her, sending her flying into, and through, a wall.
"Woah!" Kenichi yelled. Ashley didn't say a word. She just waited for Allie to get up and come back into the room.
"Alright! If that's the way you want to do this, let's dance!" Allie said. She ran at Ashley and they exchanged quite a bit of punches and kicks. Ashley dodged Allie's punches and kicks easily, just like how Allie was able to dodge most of Ashley's punches and kicks.
"Wow! They look like they are evenly matched!" Kenichi said.
"Why are those two holding back?" Sakaki asked.
"Huh? They are holding back?" Kenichi said, surprised.
"It's simply because this is not their house nor are they outside. If either were the case, then they'd be moving a bit faster and would be able to throw a lot more punches," the karate master said. Kenichi's eyes widened.
"Seriously?" he yelled. The karate master nodded. The fight continued for quite some time, the masters watching every move and commenting when one of them made a good move or dodge or when one failed to notice something the other did. By the time they were finished fighting, Allie and Ashley were panting, their limbs hanging loosely from their joints. The karate master loudly clapped his hands once, signaling that the fight was over. The other Masters of Allie and Ashley sighed and complained about how they only got to show off their karate skills.
"Don't worry you guys," Akisame said. He pats them hard on the back. "We can always make them come over here to take turns fighting with Miu!"
"Yeah, so quit complaining!" Sakaki said, taking a sip of his beer. All of the masters laughed and agreed.
"Well, I'm tired and I have school in the morning, so I'm going home early. Goodnight everyone!" Ashley said. Allie stretched, cracking several bones and making Haley shudder.
"Yeah, I'm beat too. I'll go home early as well. Haley, you coming?" Allie said. Haley nodded. She stood up and walked over to them. Just as the three of them were about to leave, Akisame called to Allie and requested that she stay a little while longer.
"Why? Is everything okay?" Allie asked. Akisame nodded.
"Yes, yes. Everything is fine. I just want to talk to you about something important. Something that we talked about on the way to the store," Akisame said. Ashley raised her eyebrow. It was obvious Allie and Akisame were hiding something between them. She then shook her head, concluding that she was too tired to think about it. She turned around and headed out the door with Haley.
"We'll see you at home, Allie!" Ashley called back. Allie nodded hesitantly.
"Uh, yeah, I guess so," Allie said. She walked over to Akisame and he escorted her out of the room. Once Haley and Ashley were out of the gates of Ryouzanpaku, Haley began to ask questions.
"What do you think that was about?" she asked. Ashley shrugged.
"Don't know, but Allie won't be keeping that secret away from us for very long I can tell you that much," Ashley said. She smirked. She loved the thrill of sneaking around and finding out secrets she wasn't supposed to know. It was only a matter of time before either Haley annoyed Allie to the breaking point, or Ashley snuck around long enough to find some answers.
"Now the question is, do we want to know the secret in the end?" Haley asked, not really expecting an answer. Ashley answered her anyway.
"Who knows? I guess we'll know if we want to know when we do know," Ashley said. Haley looked at her confused. Ashley shook her head, already thinking of several methods to get Allie to spill the beans.