In a completely different universe, there is an immense planet where countless of living beings and thousands of races live, where a small walled city, called Argen, is located in the northern hemisphere. It's a fairly small metropolis, inhabited by approximately a thousand people, and most of them are elderly, since the birth rate is scarce because of the poor economy.
Among the citizens stands out a small family where our protagonist, Kinori, is the youngest son, already 13 years old. His attitude is rebellious and playful, since, whenever he and his mother went shopping together, he distracted the merchants by running around or beckoning to them. As the vendors were already used to it, from the moment they saw the two approaching their stores, they greeted them saying, "Hello! how is my favorite little boy?"
The appearance of the child is unique in the village, he has straight, long hair pulled back in a ponytail, the color is pure white, the skin is the same color but a little darker and also the eyes are light green. That's why the villagers, the first time they saw him, thought he was an elf or something non-human, but the parents confirmed that he was a normal human.
His family lives in a small house, which has two exterior doors, one that overlooks the small garden where Kinori always helps to collect the vegetables and fruits that grow, and another, which has a path that goes straight and where it can be seen neighboring houses surrounding it. As for the interior, it has a dining room, a kitchen, a small bathroom and his parents' room. Kinori sleeps with his brother in the living room, where every night they prepare their beds in the ground. As for their parents, they use their own room, it's small with a large bed and a window where it can be seen the orchard.
One of the things Kinori loves to do the most is visiting Yuki, a monk, as he always tells stories about legendary samurai acts, something that he is excited about because he always dreams of being a great samurai warrior. Sometimes the monk himself comes to visit them and always brings with him some homemade cookies that Kinori loves: they are round, sweet and crunchy.
Among his family is Zares, Kinori's older brother, already 19 years old. He is tall, with black, long and straight hair pulled back in a ponytail. And he has a little brown skin and black eyes.
He's already prepared for the next war. The warriors of the village are trained from the age of 12, so Zares already has 7 years of experience. Although he really could have already battled his first war at the age of 18, he got a friendly war between the Argen soldiers instead. And Kinori was jealous of it. He is passionate about battles, and always dreams of participating in one.
"I envy you. You'll go to a war before me," said Kinori while looking at the ground. Then he turned his gaze to Zares. "And with how skilled and strong you are, you're sure to be raised through the ranks quickly."
The little boy is together with his brother going back home. The oldest is wearing a samurai armor, since the time to leave for war is approaching, he also has in his hand the shopping bag that his mother ordered, and Kinori has another small bag with a few grams of flour. The brother stopped to answer Kinori.
"Everything has its time, dear brother," Zares replied smiling as he rested his right hand on his little brother's left shoulder. "Hey, look what I have for us." Then he started rummaging through his pocket trying to get something out. Two necklaces came out of his pocket, and he put one to Kinori, which had the white part of the famous Yin and Yang amulet as an accessory; the black part was put on by Zares.
"Wow how cool, it's what we always wanted! thank you very much." Kinori said hugging his brother.
"You're welcome," replied Zares, stroking the little boy's hair. "This necklace represents our dreams, because, at all costs, we'll both fulfill them," he continued while smiling at Kinori.
"But the Yin and Yang doesn't represent that, did you know, brother?" the boy replied admiring his necklace.
"Hahahahaha, I know you're very smart and you love legends, I'm sure you know more than I do about these amulets." The eldest replied by putting his hand on the back of his hair. "But I want it to represent that feeling, understood? we will both achieve our goals."
"You promise me?" said Kinori pulling out his little finger and smiling.
"I promise you." Zares replied joining his little finger with his brother's.
Then they continued on their way home chatting and laughing.
When they arrived next to the home, their father was waiting for them with a group of men in samurai armor mounted on horseback.
The father is quite tall, with hair and a typical black samurai mustache; his skin is brown. As for his attitude, this was serious as his gaze, and he is considered one of the best samurai warriors in the village. His name is Etis.
"Zares, are you ready?" said Etis looking at the oldest son. "You're finally going to experience a real war. I hope you don't disappoint me. Say goodbye, it's time to go."
Etis is always direct when speaking, using few words to express what he wants.
"Kinori," continued the father while looking at his youngest son, "your next training session is soon. I want the coach to inform me when I return from the war that you have trained well."
"Yes, father." The two brothers replied.
Then Zares proceeded to say goodbye to Mizuki, his mother, with a big hug, and she expressed a few words to him:
"Remember this son." As Zares was taller, she had to look up. And with her two hands on the cheeks of the son, she continued. "Better to die with honor than being a coward. Never throw away your sword or escape a duel, don't give up so easily. A true samurai does not show his fear. He turns it into determination to continue the battle."
Mizuki is of medium height, has straight, long and pure black hair like his eyes, is of humble character and always smiled firmly. The village respects her for having a merciful look.
"Yes mother. I promise not to disappoint you." Zares replied, then proceeded to say goodbye to his brother.
When he knelt down to hug him, Kinori was in tears.
"What's wrong little brother?" asked Zares worriedly.
Kinori looked at his brother, but he couldn't stop crying, although he wanted to, the thought that consumed his head wouldn't let him.
"Are you sure you won't die?" asked.
Zares smiled and putted his left hand on Kinori's right shoulder, then said:
"I was always with you. Do you remember what we promised each other a long time ago? We promised to live as much as possible together, so we can share our stories. And a promise cannot be broken." Zares replied wiping away his little brother's tears. "We will fulfill our dreams together, no matter what."
"I understand." Kinori replied faintly.
"Hey! look at me!" insisted Zares. Then Kinori looked up and saw his brother's eyes full of determination." Our village will win the battle."
"Of course, we will!" Replied with determination the little boy.
Then Zares, pleased to have reassured Kinori, got on his horse and smiled at him and his mother.
"Wait!" Exclaimed Mizuki while smiling. "You are leaving with something I need."
Zares realized what she meant: the shopping bag that she asked for, he still had it on his hand.
"Forgive me mother. I've absolutely forgot that." Answered Zares laughing.
The mother approached him so she can take the bag and hug him. Then he, along with his father and his battle companions, left to the war zone. Each time they were not seen, the noise of the gallop of horses and armors was heard less and less.
"Well, it's time to go to the sensei." Mizuki said as she wiped her son's face. "You've heard your father, you won't let him down, will you?"
"I won't mother." Answered the boy, then he gave to her mother the bag of flour that had on his hand. "Take this, I'm going to the dojo."
The mother tried to hold Kinori's hand, but he didn't want to. He was tired of holding hands like a kid, he wanted to go alone this time.
"How many times do I need to I tell you that I have grown up." He complained trying to take his hand away from his mother's. "Also, this time I will go alone, as I learned. And you promised me."
"Okay, but are you sure you know the way?" The mother hesitated.
"We've always went there. I know it by heart." He replied on his way to the dojo.
"Alright son." She said, and then raised her voice, "Good luck in the training!"
Kinori raised his hand to say goodbye as he went on his way. Although the mother was worried about him getting lost, she knew that nothing bad would ever happen to him: the whole village knows their family and if he will really get lost, the villagers will help him find his way.
The dojo was a few blocks away from Kinori's home, so it took him a few minutes by walk, but in the middle of the walk, he decided to run.
"Well, another day going alone, eh little one?" Commented a merchant who saw the boy running. "I'm sure that you'll be the next of the best warriors of Argen."
The boy continued on his way and, as he passed another block, he stopped for a moment and looked at a street that led to the home of one of his only friends. Since most of the inhabitants of Argen were elderly, there weren't many children of his age. "I hope he's here soon," he thought. Then he waited a few minutes while walking around and thinking about the war.
"Kinori!" a voice was heard coming from his friend's home. "Keep going, I'll catch you!"
The boy heard his words and ran on his way. As he continued running, loud footsteps could be heard behind him, when he turned, he saw his friend sprinting towards him to push him. Kinori managed to stop him using one of the techniques that Etis taught him, he didn't have it very dominated, so he ended up hurting himself too.
"Hahahaha, damn you," commented Kinori's friend lying on the floor and trying to breathe. The sprint he did left him almost breathless. "Another of your father's tricks."
"Yes," he mocked, trying to cover up the little mistake he made, then stretched out his hand to help lift his friend. "Well, we'd better keep going, Vibarl."
He accepted his hand, and got up with Kinori's help, then made another sprint.
"The last one to arrive will be the one who cleans the dojo!" Vibarl said as he ran. Kinori followed him and the two of them ran the missing blocks.
When they arrived at the dojo, there were very few young people waiting for the sensei. They were all arranged in two rows, so Kinori and Vibarl sneaked into one of the two rows. Since there were only six of them, counting the two of them, the rows were perfect.
While everyone was waiting for a few minutes, the sensei finally appeared, and he started with the introduction. It was the same routine.
Three hours passed, the students were already leaving the dojo to return home, among them were Vibarl and Kinori commenting today's training, the two went home together. On the street where Vibarl's house was, they said goodbye to each other, and Kinori went on his way home.
When he reached the doorway of his house, he opened the door and entered, but not before telling his mother that it was him, saying:
"Mother, it's me, Kinori, I've already arrived from training!"
Everything was quieter, normally it would be heard the voice of Mizuki and Etis talking, or Zares greeting his little brother, but this time, it could only be heard the noise of some dishes moving and water falling from a bucket.
Kinori went to the bathroom to wash his hands and face, and then went to the kitchen where his mother was washing some dishes.
"Hello honey!" said Mizuki smiling. "How was the training?"
"As always. Today we've continued with the positions of the katana," he replied.
"I see. Hey, how about this?" Mizuki said wiping his hands on his apron. "When I finish cleaning, we are going to visit Yuki, surely he has a new legend for you."
"Yuki? Of course!" replied the boy smiling. Hearing Yuki's name made him happy, because he already knew he would have a great time with him.
The boy's smile spread to his mother, so after a few minutes, they went on their way to the monk's home.
When they arrived at his house, the mother came in saying, "Yuki, it's us." The monk came out to greet them: he hugged Kinori and greeted Mizuki. He is already old and lives alone in his humble house. His eyes are light gray, he lacks a lot of hair on his head and his chin is hidden by a large gray beard.
"Come on in! how are my favorite guests?" invited Yuki with a smile. Then he saw that Kinori was a little sad. "Why that face, mini-samurai?" Since the little boy loved samurais and was enthusiastic about their legends, the monk gave him the nickname mini-samurai.
The boy looked worried at Yuki, and as he entered the living room and settled in, he explained little by little why. Mizuki just stared happily at the two of them while drinking the glass of tea offered by the monk.
"So, your brother has already gone to war, huh?" said Yuki.
"Yes, and I'm sure they'll win..." said Kinori, squeezing the teacup loosely. Then he looked up decisively. "He and my father are Argen's best warriors."
"It's good to have high hopes," Yuki replied happily. "Well, today I'll tell you a legend about Takeda Hideyoshi, a legendary shogun who defeated thousands of demons."
The monk began to tell a legend as Kinori looked at him with eyes of amazement and interest.
When the sun went down, Mizuki and Kinori went back home. The mother almost had to drag the little guy. He was exhausted.
"Come on Kinori. How many times do I need to tell you not to do this, sweetheart?"
When they arrived, the boy threw himself on his parent's bed.
"So, you want to sleep here today, huh?" asked Mizuki as she wrapped him up.
"Yes. I don't want to be alone.", Kinori replied with tired eyes.
Then Mizuki told him a little story to make him fall asleep. While the story was told, the boy closed his eyes more and more until he fell asleep. And the mother, already calm, lay down too, and fell asleep in a few minutes together with Kinori.
Merci pour la lecture!
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