Disclaimer: All characters of "Phineas and Ferb" belong to the ones known as Dan, Jeff, and Disney.
The numerous shouts rang throughout the small lodge.
The six young kids swung their shinais simultaneously.
The masked women in front of them held her own practice sword, swinging it in time with the six others.
"Do you ladies know why I called you to the lodge today?" the woman asked.
"Yeah," one of the girls on the end answered. "Because Katie's a tattletale."
"Hey!" The girl on the other end turned her head toward the side. "At least I'm not a snarky little stick-in-the-mud."
The girl next to her stopped her shinai in mid-air. "Leave her alone, Katie. Why do you have to be in everyone's business all of the time?"
"You're one to talk, Ginger. Where were you when I was telling everyone about Adyson's excursion the other night? ("Hey!") Oh, that's right. Right across the table. So don't talk about being all high and mighty if you can't back it up."
"Guys." The girl next to Ginger held her arms out in exasperation. "Just calm down. We're doing these exercises because of all of this nonsense."
The other girls paid her no heed and continued to bicker at each other, raising their voices so loud that order had to be brought in.
The kids turned to the girl in the center, her hands shaking with anger. "Would you guys stop? This whole thing is pointless. Milly's right. We're here because of this stupid bickering. And I'm tired of it as well." She threw her practice sword down in disgust. "We're best friends. Why do we have to argue all of the time? We should be better than this! We are better than this! We're-"
She stopped mid-sentence, startled by her teacher's interruption. She sadly turned around to face her. "I'm sorry, Miss-"
Confused, the girl followed her order, sitting with the rest of the girls in the formal kneeled position. The woman continued her gaze at the group, walking in front of them with her weapon behind her back.
"So it would appear that you girls have had some disagreements in the past few days."
The helmeted kids twisted their heads toward each other, not daring to utter a word.
"It's become a little obvious to see now that I've been with you for the past several minutes," the woman continued. "Good thing that someone reported you girls so that I could-"
"Who reported us?" the girl on the end interrupted. "I bet it was Ginger. She's doing this stuff all of the time, Miss-"
"Is it really important who did it, Katie?"
She snapped her mouth shut, put-off by the stern retort of the teacher.
"The important part was to bring the conflict out so that we can work on it together. This sort of thing is best worked out together, not separately."
The woman started to pace in front of the girls. "Do you ladies know why we're doing this particular set of exercises?"
"Because you want us to get tired really fast for us to learn our lesson?" Katie said.
"That too," her teacher replied. "But I had a different suggestion in mind." She continued her walk down the line, her practice sword at her side.
"Are you girls aware of the concept of bushido?"
If their faces were visible, the troop would have seen each other's eyes dart back and forth down the line, silently daring the others to answer the question. Finally, the center girl spoke up.
"The 'way of the warrior'?" She drummed her fingers nervously. "Yes, we've learned about it in school, but I don't see what that has to do with us."
"It's perfectly relevant to what we're doing here. Well, mostly relevant." The woman waved her hand dismissively. "I think your second-in-command knows the finer points of what doesn't apply," she added, motioning to the smallest girl.
"Like the honorable death and seppaku, yes," she said.
"Seppaku?" her best friend asked. "What is-"
"Perhaps for another time, dearie," the teacher cut in. "The point that I'm trying to make is that the art of bushido, while usually a philosophy applied to a single warrior, is a concept that I see in the seven of you."
"In us?" the troop leader said. "How so?"
The woman sheathed her shinai as she answered her student's question. "There are seven virtues that were coveted by the samurai of old Japan. These virtues comprise the concept of Bushido. Normally, one person has to possess all of these to be considered an honorable being. As a troop that has to work together to achieve success, this can cause...problems to arise. You girls are great scouts. But as the adage goes, too many cooks can spoil whatever you're making.
"That's why I believe you girls need to realize of your best qualities. The one trait that you have that, when collected, makes one true warrior. These seven virtues must act in unison in order to have any effect. Seven traits." The teacher stopped at the end of the line, facing the girl in front of her. "Seven girls."
She set her kendo stick on her shoulder. "It is impossible to find one person without any flaws, but together, you girls can overcome each other's faults and accomplish anything you set your mind to."
She stopped in front of the first girl, her pigtails tied behind her helmet. "Courage. Confronting danger and uncertainty despite fear. Acting out when opposition is evident tells the world you're not afraid."
The teacher continued down the line, glancing down at the next girl, the tallest of the group. "Loyalty. Devotion to a cause, person, or group. Even when times are tough, a person must always remember where their loyalties lie, or else they stand to lose them."
"Benevolence," she said in front of the girl with a bow on her helmet. "Acts of charity and kindness. If you do nice things without a thought for yourself, you'll be sure to make the world a better place."
The troop leader got her next passage. "Respect. Holding your friends and acquaintances in high esteem. Knowing when to defer to another for a certain situation shows not only a trust of you to the troop, but from the troop to you as well."
Her best friend squirmed as the teacher paused near her. "Rectitude. Integrity. Having moral virtue, & knowing, above everything else, the right thing to do."
"Honor." The girl was expecting something else to come out of her mouth, but kept her composure. "Adhering to what is right. Fairness to your way of life, and detracting anyone who wishes to ruin or mar it."
"And..." The teacher spend a few seconds at the end of the line, smiling at the last girl. "Honesty. Telling someone how something is without holding back. Without honest, there would be no truth exchanged between friends and enemies alike."
"Each of these traits are important, and it's not good to devalue any of them. Working together cohesively can make you better. Just because you girls have disagreements doesn't mean that they aren't worse than you. They're just different. What you girls have to learn is that being together is going to come with the bad as well as the good. Learn to take each instance as it is, and don't dwell on it for long, or else you will never move forward."
The armored woman cast one last look at her pupils before setting her weapon down. "It's perfectly fine for you to not agree on everything. There is no such thing as a perfect troop. If there was, it would probably be a little scary."
The girls chuckled slightly, easing their stances.
"That's enough practice for today, ladies," the woman said. "I think you girls have had enough for one day. Go home and get some rest. Dismissed."
The troop, tired but refurbished from their leader's pep talk, began to file out of the lodge, whispering back and forth to each other.
One of the girls, however, hung back. She stepped toward the woman, who was busy packing up her gear.
"Ma'am, I just...wanted to say thank you for doing this. I know that you normally don't do this sort of thing, but that's why I wanted to set this up. It was really-"
The girl looked up at the woman and sighed. Pulling off her helmet, she shook her head to get her hair back in a serviceable condition. "Yes, Ms. Feyerseid?"
Chuckling, the woman took off her own helmet, her face in a wide grin. "You don't have to thank me. I was happy to do it. Plus, it lets me keep up with kids like yourself."
The girls took off her chest piece, still lost in thought. "Ma'am, I don't really understand all that you said. When I...told you about our problems earlier today, you didn't seem very concerned. And then you came into the afternoon meeting with all of this stuff."
"Is there a question somewhere in your analysis, Isabella?"
"I don't know. It might just be my arms being numb. And my brain."
Ms. Feyerseid was back in her regular attire as she put a hand on the young girl's shoulder. "Isabella, your troop is one of the most successful ones that I've seen in a long time. And trust me, I've been around a long time," she joked, motioning to herself. "But I also know that a troop is only as good as its members. You ladies are not going to see eye to eye on everything. That's a given. As long as you have the long-term objective in mind, silly little arguments like you had today are nothing. Pulling yourself together to face large goals will make the small ones seem trivial."
Isabella grinned sheepishly. "To be quite honest, Ma'am, I don't even know what we were arguing about earlier today. Seems sort of stupid now."
"Then we've accomplished what we set out to do today."
The woman peered at the large clock on the wall. "Go home, Isabella. Enjoy the rest of the day. There will be things to do tomorrow when everyone is refreshed."
"All right." Isabella walked over to the door, grabbing her coat and backpack on the way. "Have a good evening, Ms. Feyerseid."
"You as well, dear."
After Isabella left, the founder strolled over to her chair, ready to relax. "Ahh, young people these days. So much energy. Hard to keep up with them."
She stopped in mid-motion. Her eyes had rested on her practice sword, still leaning against the wall. She paused for a moment, then shrugged her shoulders.
"I suppose a little more practice wouldn't hurt."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is just a little piece that I wrote a while ago. It's getting released now because the next chapter of Jingles All The Way is not ready yet.
I really do enjoy the whole concept of Bushido, and I think that it's not very farfetched to think of the qualities being exemplified by the girls. And since you surely can't have those qualities without some headbutting, a little conflict never hurts to bring people together, even if it's just temporarily.
The next chapter of Jingles All The Way is going up tomorrow. Stay tuned for that.
Read and review, if you like. Until next time.