I HAVE NEVER SEEN THE LAST SAMURAI- I HAVE WATCHED CLIPS AND READ ABOUT IT ON WIKIPEDIA. DON'T JUDGE!
Set when Nathan is climbing to the top of a mountain to see the view of the valley
Huffing and puffing, Nathan was definitely out of breath. Finally arriving at the peak, he braced his hands on his knees and rested. Seeing another figure, he yelped. Sitting there cross legged was a thin girl with long dark brown hair. She was wearing a dark blue tunic, black fighter's pants, and leather slippers. Lying next to her on the cold ground was a naginta, katana, and three small daggers, all finely made. Nathan finally realized that this girl was meditating.
With this knowledge, he tried to smother his heavy breathing with his right hand, unsuccessfully. Deciding on staying there, he looked out over the valley.
About five minutes later, he descended the hill. Seeing Katsumoto, he walked up to him. Graham hurried up, ready to translate.
"Who is the girl on the hill?" Algern asked.
"Mai Nhi Trung." Graham translated. "She is a master in fighting. She will help teach Nobutada to fight with the style of Viet Vo Dao." graham continued.
"What is Viet Vo Do?" Algern asked.
"A type of martial art- it's from Vietnam." Graham looked at Algern, who bowed at Katsumoto in reverence. He returned the gesture and walked away.
Later in the week, Algern lost heartily to Katsumoto in a sparring match with bamboo katanas.
Back at the bungalow, Taka gestured furiously toward Algern with a cleaning sponge. There was a long gash, dripping blood, running down Algern's stomach.
"No," Algern said stubbornly. "It will be fine."
"There is a fine line between bravery and idiocy." A smooth voice said in English behind him. He turned around- there was a tall girl of about fifteen. She had long brown hair, and deep brown eyes. Her features were American- long nose, full lips, and ear bobs- but her coloring was Southern Asian.
"Plus, bamboo under the skin is never good. Let Mistress Taka clean the wounds." She said.
"May I first ask who you are?" Algern inquired politely.
"I am Mai Nhi Trung of Hanoi, Vietnam. I am a trainer of Nobutada." This was the girl Katsumoto had spoken of!
"Pleased to meet you. I am-" the girl cut him off.
"Nathan Algern. I know. Nobutada won't stop talking about you. And you came up Ieyashi Mountain when I was meditating." She continued. How did she know? Algern wondered, puzzled. She laughed.
"Only a non-Asian or one raised without an Asian environment would breathe that loudly," she grinned. "Don't worry. It's preventable..."
Nathan sighed and nodded at Taka. She brought the sponge slowly to his stomach, only to turn bright red. He could feel his own face heating up.
"I'll leave you two lovebirds to it." Mai said, then repeated it in Japanese. Taka waved her hand at Mai in mock annoyance. Mai turned to Nobutada and said something else in Japanese. He began to laugh, and the two of them left the room. Taka smiled, and began sponging the wound, avoiding eye contact.
Algern walked down to the practice rooms, where sounds of a spar were floating through the bamboo doors. There were Katsumoto and Shun Sugita sparring with bamboo katanas. However, there were others practicing as well. In the far corner was Mai, spinning a live Katana over her head. She was a facing a dummy, constructed out of an unknown material. With two quick slices, the dummy was decapitated and slashes in half diagonally. Algern raised his eyebrows and walked over to her. She replaced to dummy with a fresh one, and rolled up her pant legs and sleeves, revealing two tattoos, in the shape of lungs, Asian dragons. She crouched low, unarmed. With three quick, fluid movements, with what looked like flicking her arms out, she had removed both of the dummy's arms. Spinning around again, she rapidly raised her left arm in front of her face and kicked up quickly, hitting the 'neck'. The dummy's head popped off cleanly. She placed her palms on her thighs and bowed to the beat up dummy. Taking it down, she replaced it and gathered her belongings. As she walked out, Algern joined her. "Excuse me, Miss Mai?"
Mai didn't have to look up to look him square in the eye- she was very tall.
"Please, just Mai."
"Very well. I was wondering ... Maybe you could help me with this whole Asian fighting thing." she looked at him curiously.
"I thought that Katsumoto was teaching you swordplay?"
"Yes, but that does not help me with much of anything besides swordsmanship. I want to learn fighting like a young child would." Algern said honestly. "And I think that you would be able to help me the most."
"Alright. I'll help you. Free of charge." She said. "Your first lesson begins now." He nodded attentively.
"We are going to walk up Daimyo Path." Mai informed him. "I will talk up in the open."
After half an hour of walking, Mai stopped walking.
"Here, sit." She said, laying down her weapons except for her knives. He looked at her curiously.
"It's a rule of the bushido. Always have a short sword with you. Knives can do."
"Oh. What's bushido, exactly?" Algern had heard of it, but didn't know what it was exactly.
"It's the guidelines for any samurai." Mai looked at him, studying his face. "I see you are serious. Then I will tell you know- do not be afraid of death." Algern laughed.
"Don't be afraid of death? What the hell?" he chortled.
She stared at him. "It is no laughing matter: Ancient samurai went as far as to believe that they were already dead. Thus, they would not live in the shadow of death in a battle." she rolled on. "Dying until the name of you warlord, or daimyo, was a high honor."
"Warlord?" Algern was lost with a capital L!
"Let me explain. You do not know much." Mai spread her hands, palms up. "Ancient samurai were trained to serve their master for life, even dying for them. But their code of honor, which is quite like the Code of Chivalry, states that rushing towards death is not wise- it is a terrible deed. Because then, who will defend your lord?"
"So the ancient samurai were very hardcore, huh?" Algern commented.
"Yes. Some samurai went as far as to perform seppuku when their lord died- you do know what seppuku is, right?" Mai looked at Algern, who nodded. "Good. Now, the basis of a samurai was discipline. They needed to be constantly aware of their surroundings. They accomplished this by performing meditation and practicing Zen Buddhism." she glanced at him.
"Should I meditate?" Algern asked in wonder.
"It is the only way to sharpen your senses to the extreme." Mai informed him. "It's not easy. It took me five years to master."
"Ah, thanks for the support!" Algern joked. Laughter entered her eyes.
"Ha ha, Algern." She smiled at him.
"Alright. Works for me." She grinned again.
"Let's begin meditating. You need to focus on your breath. Only your breath..."
Nathan and Mai were in the practice room, practicing Viet Vo Dao with dummies.
Mai planted her right foot firmly on the ground. Suddenly, in a whirl of movement, she moved forward steadily. Duck, stab, duck, kick, trip, double jab, elbow in eye, spin with rigid arm out, knock out wind, sock in gut, stamp on foot. Mai stopped, and turned to Nathan.
"Your turn." She smiled at him; he gulped. Facing the dummy, he raised his left arm to protect his face like Mai had done, keeping the right arm ready to attack at any split second.
"Now!" Mai yelled at him. He clunked forward, planting his foot. He tried the first side sweep, and jabbed the left side of the dummy's stomach.
"No!" Mai stopped him. "If you deliver a stomach hit, keep it precise. Use two fingers, and find an internal organ. Remember- your goal is generally to kill." She then showed him the best areas to hit if you wanted to pop a kidney, or crush a liver.
"Restart." Mai gestured at the dummy. Nathan got to the elbow in the eye. For that, one had to spin around, raise the elbow, and pin down the exact spot. It was very crucial in a death spar- it blinded the opponent. Nathan couldn't both spin and raise his elbow at the same time.
"Clumsy white man," one of the Japanese soldiers who spoke English muttered. Mai glared at him.
"Would you like to try that again or move on?" Mai looked at him. Nathan was taken back when he saw her expression. She seemed to be challenging him, as if to be proving that he was going to give up on the elbow jab. Nathan decided that he was going to master it no matter what happened.
A/N this is my first fanfic! Please review! Thank you so much! Remember, I've never seen The Last Samurai; I've only seen clips and read about it on Wikipedia. Peace out,