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As Alex got off the plane as he landed in Japan he was ecstatic. He was a huge history lover. He had come in hopes to learn not of the diplomatic history, but of the culture in the world of feudal Japan, as well as the mythology of the time. However Alex had other purposes for coming to this great land. He was a fighter. Alex was about 6 ft 1, he wasn’t ripped that was for sure, but he was very toned. His muscles, unlike many people, were stronger in each individual muscle than most people had in entire limbs when combining their muscle’s strength, but he wasn’t some invincible fighter. He had dark brown hair that in the summer seemed to become a dark fire like red, he had a slightly deceiving appearance, where he looked very meek to those who have never fought him. Alex also came to Japan in the hopes of learning the art of the sword. He had done some research, and found some locals over the internet who could help him find the masters of the martial arts, and the masters of the sword.

Alex had just gotten off the plane and headed into town when he met his advisor. He was a small man who was on in his years, he told Alex to just call him Hikari. Hikari helped Alex find his way up the mountains and to an isolated village, untouched by time, and industry. The journey was a long and perilous one, as they were going up a mountain with many predators and bandits. The journey took Alex two and a half weeks. The old man told Alex, that the journey itself was the first step in mastering the arts, as well as becoming one with the ancient culture of the land.

Alex and Hikari had finally made it to the village, and Alex was struggling just to make into the fields, where the villagers quickly helped him into a house and gave him food and water, as well as tending to some minor injuries he got on the way there. The village elder listened to Alex’s purpose for coming to the village and said he would allow him to stay and train. However, he said the only true reason he would let him stay was because of the fact that winter was only days away, and sending him away would be no better than killing him himself.

As Alex lived in the village he entered a small academy for the men of the village to hone their skills. While he was there he trained for many weeks mastering the arts and put the students of other academies in nearby villages, and parts of the village he was in, to shame. He was proving to be a great warrior.

Alex had finally become a true villager. He began to visit the great shrine that lay just in the outskirts of the village every day. Had had a notepad and a pencil which he used to draw the shrine, the temple, and take notes on what the villagers would tell him when they visited the shrine with him on occasion. He had often heard stories of a great Enigma who was rumored to have lived in these parts of Japan, and how she was a mighty warrior, who put all others to shame. He also learned why they believed she was dead when they told him of a violent and evil cult which killed off her kind like cattle. Alex was especially fascinated by this and asked to be told of such things as often as possible. The villagers were delighted that he was so loving their culture and history and were happy to oblige him by telling him one tale of their past every day.

One day while walking up to the shrine admiring it’s beauty, and taking some notes of the writing, a few opposing members of his academy, who hated having a foreigner show up and make them look useless, approached him. The apparent leader was a man Alex had just recently fought in a small tournament. Alex broke 3 of the guy’s ribs, dislocated his shoulder, and broken his wrist, and his arm before he beat him. Alex, however only came in second, the guy he had beaten came in third, he was furious. So the group approached him and the leader of the group said “So the little foreigner thinks he can make a fool of me in front of sensei does he? Well you may be a martial arts master, BUT I am a master of the sword!” the group all unsheathed their swords and pointed them at Alex. Alex became very worried at this “H-h-hey guuuys. Come on think about what you’re doing here.” The leader named Daichi said “Please all we have to say is you wandered too close to a cliff and fell. No one is going to save you, or punish us. Hmph. you should’ve thought twice before shaming the great Daichi!! Kill him!”. The group lunged at Alex as he quickly kicked one in the chest knocking him over, he grabbed the wrist of another who was swinging down his sword and took it from his hand while breaking his wrist. He took the sword, and countered a swing from another and kicked his legs out knocking his face on the ground. He managed to take out 4 of them, but there were 12 total. He knew he was going to lose. He was tired and getting weak, he had several small cuts, bruises, and a broken rib. He was knocked onto the ground by Daichi. Daichi watched as Alex got one knee and used his other foot and sword to balance himself. As Alex did so Daichi said “And now! Experience the wrath OF DAICHI!!!”. As he said this Alex looked to his right as he saw Daichi swing down his sword to behead him and closed his eyes, preparing for what was about to happen.


A loud, resounding clang resounded through the air as the strike that was intended to plunge Alex into the open arms of death instead struck cold, firm steel. The person who held the katana had seemingly materialized from thin air, so fast was this person's movement and form. Long, raven-black hair ran down the warrior's back, tied with a scarlet ribbon in a traditional manner. She wore a white haori with the sleeves removed to allow for more fluid movement and red hakama which accented her position here at the shrine as perhaps assisting in some way with maintaining the grounds as a Miko. Her firm, narrow eyes, however, told a very different story. Her stolid face appeared wise and unwavering, far beyond what would be expected from someone who appeared to be as youthful as she, as she did not look to be over twenty-five years of age.

Without pause or hesitation, she slid the blade along Daichi's and with a single motion she struck his wrist and spun her sword so as to fling it from his grasp and disarm him, then sheathing her sword she struck him on the side of the head with her right elbow to stun him before driving him to the ground.

"Leave now," her tone was authoritative and firm, "Tell your friends to withdraw and turn back. This is a place of holy solitude and mediation, not for settling personal insults either perceived or real. Make any argument and I will kill you all myself, is that understood?"

With that, she released him and let him stand, walking back toward Alex but saying nothing to him as of yet.
Alex heard a loud clanging sound as he waited for death to greet him. He opened his eyes slowly, and looked over at Daichi, and an extremely shocked, and mildly scared expression appeared across his face as thoughts were racing through his head 'what the hell just happened? who is this girl, and where did she come from anyway?' Alex thought and became more confused every second, while still eternally joyful he was saved. He looked up the girl's body from her feet to her beautiful hair the flowed slightly in the winter's morning breeze. In a flash and a sound of metal grinding against metal Alex saw Daichi's sword fly into the air and then came a loud thud as he saw this strange women strike Daichi's with her elbow and pin him to the ground. Daichi was even more confused and scared due to what just happened, as in an instant this girl appeard where there was only air between his blade and Alex's throat. He felt a mighty thud as he saw his sword fly out of his hands and felt this women drive him to the ground and tell him to leave. Needless to say him and his friends all ran away as fast as they could to escape this horrifying women who had just taken down their leader in seconds. Daichi himself ran screaming, as he and his friends ran from the shrine away from the village to avoid shame from their child-like screams.

Alex slowly and cautiosly rose from the ground as he looked at this women who was walking towards him. He cautiously raised his sword in a neutral manner so that if need be he might defend himself, but did so in a non-threatening manner and said "Th-thank you ma'am. I uh... I guess I'll be leaving now?" Alex as he said this got a good look at this women who seemingly grew more beautiful with every step she took while still seeming to have a very cold demeanor.


She watched them run like frightened insects before a lit lightbulb before turning to face him, her narrow eyes slowly studying him. She traced up his legs, to his thighs, across his chest and shoulders before resting on his eyes as they looked toward her. The dark pupils of her eyes were pits which looked into and searched his very soul, as it were, and judged if he were worthy of her attention... To release her from boredom, if nothing else it seemed.

"Wait," the woman held up her hand toward Alex slowly and non-aggressively, signifying her desire to speak with him, "Are you the foreigner from the village I have heard about, or are you merely one of those troublesome tourists who have been visiting shrines as of late?"

"I take from the way you hold your sword that you are no beginner to the art of the sword," she motioned toward him with her extended arm, making long sweeping motions, "But you lack the resilience, fortitude, and form of a true swordsman, which is why those worthless buffoons could overwhelm you. Vulgar folks they are, ones which only understand violence."

She turned and walked back toward one of the small on-sight lodgings which surrounded the shrine itself, "I was preparing some tea before I was so rudely interrupted... Have some if you so desire, but if not, get off my shrine grounds."

It seemed she was the head maiden of the shrines, which few people had ever seen as she often kept herself in meditation and seclusion.
As Alex heard this beautiful girl speak he felt strange, different than when anyone else talks to him and he said "Um yes I am the foreigner, and sure I would love some tea right about now". Alex took his sword and leaned it against a nearby statue, and followed the women into the building and couldn't help but stare at her in wonder of what she had done, and in complete amazement at her beauty which was only made more incredible by her calm, and cool attitude she had. "Oh. By the way, my name is Alex" he said this as he a a little nervously tried catching up to her jogging a few feet to get next to her while they were walking


"Short for Alexander, I presume?" the woman remarked, her words conveying that she did not expect a reply as she led him toward a small square dwelling.

Inside there was a small tea table set in the center of the nearly bare tatami-mat-floored room. Banners hung on the walls, which had simple poems or odes concerning the art of war or swordsmanship in general. She carefully removed her sandals and stepped inside, mumbling a simple declaration that she was back before shuffling over toward the small gas header and the tea pot which rested on top of it. She set down a small tea set upon the tea table and began to grind some leaves into a thin paste, carefully pouring the proper amount of water and turning it twice before presenting it to Alex. Finally, she poured herself a cup as well, showing the same amount of care to the preparation before turning to face him once again.

"So... You wish to learn the art of the sword, do you not?" she spoke firmly and to the point, calmly awaiting his reply.
Alex bowed his head slightly after accepting the tea, and said "Yes. I would also like to learn the history if this land in addition to the arts. I find myself enthralled by the world of the ancients.". Alex took a small sip of his tea and then said "By the way... What is your name exactly?"

Alex in all the excitement had forgotten about asking her name and was rather curious now because he realized that the villagers had never once mentioned a guard at the temple, nor had he ever seen this women in his 5 weeks on the mountain durring his daily visits to the shrine.
"You know" Alex had a curious and cutting, serious tone to his voice now "More important than your name perhaps. Who are you? I have come here every day for nearly 5 weeks and not once have I even heard about you much less seen you."


She raised the cup to her lips and drained it slowly as she listened to his questions, "My name is of no consequence, for if you wish to learn the art of the sword and the world of the ancients, there is no one in this village more suited to that role than myself... To that end, you may call me Sensei."

If she had been entirely honest, she would have expressed her lack of an actual reply. Her own existence was confirmation in itself of her identity, the turning of time itself upon her aged and strained mind having robbed her of such simple assurances as her own, given name. Acquaintances, apprentices, and challengers rarely lasted longer than three decades. The collapse of her perception of time itself made such an expanse feel like but a brief, passing encounter.

"I am the caretaker of this shrine, from the time my foster parents passed its duties down to myself until this day I have been in nearly constant watch over it, for it is the only place in the world which I may rightfully call my home," her words issued from her lips smoothly and without pause, "the villagers know of me, and may have spoken about me in passing on occasion although it may not be apparent to you as of late. It may also be possible that they have developed a strange fixation upon me again, as they have in the past, and wish to grant me peace and solitude. I do not often wander from these four walls due to my habit of engaging in meditation for long periods unless a pressing matter is presented before me. It is no great mystery that we have not met until now..."

The way she spoke belied indifference with a hint of boredom concerning his questions, as if she had enacted the very same conversation many times before. The woman calmly set her cup down onto the table and looked down at him with half-genuine interest and without the slightest indication of concern. She obviously did not consider him to be even remotely threatening, despite the fact that she had apparently heard tell of his local fame among the villagers. There was something unique about this woman, who sat as one within the village yet distinctly separate from it, in the same way that one could easily tell an ancient masterpiece from a modern replica. She was mysterious and elegant, lacking the youthful excitement of life while maintaining the childish desire for something unexpected to appear before her and rouse her from her eternal state of apathy. Comparatively, Alex was merely another stitch in the grand tapestry of time which wound around her mind as she perceived existence.
Alex looked at her seriously, and cautiously as he was known for not being untrusting and skeptical, rather he was known by his peers for observing everything very carefully and never believing a word didn't have a true purpose in being said. Alex looked at her a little more, looking her up and down, looking at her features, her clothes, her sword which seemed unfitting for someone who whatches over a shrine and finally said "I must say... It's a strange thing you said a moment ago. What was it? Oh yes. You don't wander from these four walls unless there's a pressing matter no? Well moments ago I was about to die and you saved me flawlessly. I assume that's what you consider a pressing matter? I mean it really doewn't make much sense to me that someone who watches over a shrine would honestly be so... Unnaturally good with the sword. I don't care about your name though. That's your business, but... I would very much like to know just how someone as young as you got so skilled at fighting. I want to know exactly how you did this." as Alex said this he was not aggressive or untrusting in his tone, but painfully curious. Alex was a very observant person in this situation as he saw someone not much older than him, maybe a year at the most, yet she was on a whole different level than him. He wanted the secrets to such mastery badly, even if it nearly killed him. The idea of such incredible training was unbelievabely fascinating to Alex. The idea of undergoing something that rigorous was insatiable to him. Alex was not a masochist in this perspective but that he in his life has almost never expeirenced true strife, true challenge, or even true pain. He simply met adversity, and those who had the ability to place him in a vulnerable position by using technique that put his to shame, as he was strong and durrable, but often lacked formal skill in certain areas such as the sword.


"Whenever a life is in danger, it is a pressing matter indeed," the woman replied plainly, "If you would agree with me on that point or not is for you to decide."

She paused to take another sip of her tea, a slight smile spreading across her lips as she considered his second line of questions, "I do believe that you have a misunderstanding concerning my age. Although I take it as a personal compliment that you think I am young, I would inform you that such is not actually the case. I am well over two thousand years old, the exact number being a moot point when one reaches such ages as I, and through that time I have trained under dozens of teachers, fighting in hundreds of engagements and learning from them all. If it is a simple secret to my form and technique that you desire from me, then you will be disappointed to hear that such a secret simply does not exist. I have reached this level of competence by training and experience alone, with my own unyielding will as my only support."

The woman let her words sink in for a bit before continuing, "If you wish to learn from me, then I will not discourage you, but understand the dedication that it would require. I do not teach those who give up halfway. That is not the way of my people, the Enigma."
Alex looked at the woman in a mildly disgusted matter and crossed his arms, closed his eyes, pulled back his head, and slammed it beck down slightly closer to the woman and said "You lie well with a straight face, but you are really terrible at making stuff up. And by the way, I am not looking for a magical cheat, I am looking for an intensive training that can one day grant me the skills you showed in battle. And as for your little tale... it really wasn't necessary to insult me like that. I just had a request, all you had to do was say you would show me how you trained, or that I oughta leave you alone." Alex at hearing such a strange tale felt offended at the thought of someone being so disrespectful making stuff up like that. But, he thought it stange how fluid her words were, and how she did not waver at all in the telling of her story. He then said "So I'll be straightforward now I guess. If you will train me as you were, I will go all the way, If not, I'll be on my way then. I have some ruins to go over if I am not going to do anything today."


The woman seemed genuinely offended at his remark, but held her peace until he was finished speaking, whereupon she set down her cup and stood without speaking a word. She walked past him to the door and firmly slid it shut, as it had been left open to allow for the outdoor light and air circulation. She then returned to her seat and looked up at him, eyes much more firm and condescending than before.

"I do not take your accusation of falsehood lightly, but be that as it may I will remain patient with you and answer your request," she spoke in a low tone, one that he would soon come to recognize as her voice when she was attempting to hold reign over her temper, "If you wish to be trained in the same manner that I was, then you should begin immediately. It will be a comprehensive study that not only encompasses the art of the sword, but an entire way of life. You will follow my orders without question or reservation. You may ask for clarification if you do not understand, but do not give me reason to question your purposes. You will give me proper respect, and above all else you will never accuse me of lying to you again, is that understood?"

She then stood once again and walked to the far side of the room, sliding a small compartment open and placing her sword inside on a small wooden stand, beside several smaller swords which were all elegantly decorated and masterfully crafted. He had little time to study them, for she quickly closed the compartment after taking one of the smallest swords and fastened it around her belt then returned to the table, setting the tea set away and rolling the tea table into a similar closet so that the entire square room was practically empty. Reaching to her belt once again, she tossed the short Japanese sword to Alex.

"First I must gauge your abilities to see where you should begin. Not all are of equal ability nor do all start at the same point. For that reason, I must see where your training should start and to what extent you require additional refinement," she took her position opposite him, standing equidistant from each wall in the room, "Use that sword to attack me. I will not block any of your attacks as I am currently unarmed, and you may use whatever stance or form you desire. I will merely evade and counter your attacks. You may begin when you are ready."
Alex believed himself a man of honor, an example can be seen in his often sheer hatred of attacking someone who is unharmed, however. Alex understood he must follow her orders and stood up sword in hand and sheathe in the other and ran right up to her and smashed the sword against the floor hard as he could while still pulling back in hopes of knocking her hearing, mind, and feet off balance. He then lunged at her, lunged to her left, then straight at her left to cause confusion, and swung the sheath with great force at her and right behind it, virtually a second after he swung with the sheathe he swung with his sword even stronger in the opening it was to create as he assumed she was right handed, making her left side weaker and less defendable, the sword was to ensure a strike upon her side, arm, leg, or chest. While shouting through the whole ordeal for adreniline and to disrupt the harmony.


The woman actually darted toward him when he smashed the floor with the sword, continuing to advance and keep him from putting distance between them when he then lunged in. With each successive dart forward she side-stepped rather than step backward, her face showing the same control and peace as when they were talking before. her hands remained at her sides, primarily unused except for balancing purposes until he swung the sheath at her. She ducked into a crouching position, deftly avoiding the attack then when he swung to her left intending her to be weaker and less favored on that side she prang forward, countering his attack with a left punch directed at his hip. She then slid her right leg out and in a wide sweeping motion attempted to knock him off his feet.

"Your movements are too easy to read," she remarked, "That is a sword, not a club."
Alex hit the floor hard grasping his side where she hit him. Alex was furious that she brushed him aside like a harmless pup. He got up sweating from pain, and excitement. He looked at her and said "So. Let's give it another go then." Alex was a calm person normally, but perhaps the sole reason he was ever a threat to anyonen was his calm and horrendous rage he entered when he experiences actual pain that his body recognizes as an actual threat it would seem. When Alex was in this state of mind it wasn't are you the loser, or am i the loser. It was, AM I DONE WITH YOU. Alex sprung at the women in an angle he knew would make him not run into her but slide past her. He on close approach shattered the sheathe on the the wooden floor and in the midst of all the chips and dust made a quick and decisive slash at her side and pulled it back along a higher path so that she would have to pull up to counter where he would regardless of a successful hit pull back and swing with his left fist aimed at her left side and stab the sword into her side as she became occupied by blocking the fist, or got knocked into the swords general area, either way he wanted to get 4 good hits, and at least one good slash wound on this strange women, who for the first time in months offered him a real challenge in a fight.


The woman's eyes slightly narrowed as he shattered the sheathe on the flooring, the specks flying up into the air as she remained stalwart and firm before him while he swung his sword toward her. She reached up and slid her hand along the side of the sword as he attacked her, her hand just above the blade as she grasped his hand in hers, pivoting herself along that point, she slipped behind him and directed an elbow strike to his right shoulder. When he swung with his left fist, she caught it then twisted his arm upward so that it would be locked into place, her own body held out of reach of his sword. Her grip was firm, her fingers digging into the flesh of his hand like clamps, preventing him from continuing the attacks.

"If you loose control of yourself in a fight, you have already lost," she spoke frankly, "That will be enough for now, as I can see that there is much groundwork for me to lay before we may conduct regular sparring sessions again... You need to learn how to contain your emotions, for they blind your ability to see clearly. Observation and intuition are two important resources, both of which are clouded."

She released his hand and crouched onto the floor to pick up the pieces of the shattered sheath, carefully picking them up and placing them into her hand before turning back toward him.

"Go outside and walk around the back of the shrine. You should find several large earthen jugs which contain water, and some of them which are empty," she held out one of the tea cups which they had used just a short time earlier, "Use this, and only this, to transfer the water from the full jugs to the empty ones."

When Alex would actually observe the jugs for himself, he would most likely realize that calling them "large" was a severe understatement. They were huge, able to easily fit one or perhaps two full-grown men inside of them. Using only the tiny tea cup would take hundreds of dips into the water to empty just one of the jugs, let alone all of them.
Alex walked around to the jugs out back and as he saw them. His jaw dropped. Alex was horrified at the thought of having to tediously scoop up and pour water from one jug to another jug. A task he was sure would take a full day at least, if he went non-stop at least. So Alex looked at the building behind him, shook his head, and with a pitiful look on his face, began to scoop water up from one jug and place it in the other.

Alex transfered the water slowly. He scooped up water, almost filling the cup, and slowly transferring it from a full jug to an empty jug. Alex did so for 2 and a half hours before he started getting frustrated and tried gscooping up the water as fast as he could, and transfering it as fast as he could. after 20 super fast transfers, Alex only got about one cup of water actually into the other jug. Needless to say this frustrated him even more and he clenched his left hand into a fist and lifted the cup up and prepared to slam it down, when he suddenly hear her words playing back in his mind “You need to learn how to contain your emotions, for they blind your ability to see clearly. Observation and intuition are two important resources, both of which are clouded “. He slowly lowered his hand and unclenched his other fist. Alex for the next 16 hours of the day poured water from one jug to another. He finished the first jug after a gruelling, and tedious day and night of work.

As Alex finished filling up the first jug, he looked to the second jug, and with the same determination he gained from the woman’s words, he calmly filled the 2nd empty jug, cup full by cup full. Alex had filled the two jugs up for nearly two days now. It was the evening when he finally finished, and he was extremely tired. Alex fell asleep. One hand with the cup in the last jug, now full, and the other at his side. He lay peacefully with his back against the horrendously large jug.
(Let me know if you want anymore. I just wanted to finally get something up. SOOOO SORRY again about the wait)


(No problem. I admit I was starting to get a bit worried you had dropped on me, but its good to see you back again ^_^)

As first one day, then two passed, the warrior remained practically invisible while secluded inside of her small square room. He probably had no idea what she was doing during all this time and had little time to even consider it as he was working hard at the tedious task of transferring the water from one jug to the other. The land itself seemed to languish in soothing, lethargic slumber alongside the aged swordswoman as she meditated and sipped tea for most of those two days, time itself hanging as it were above with herself held constant. For her this seemed like a very small length of time in and of itself, as one would wait three minutes for cub ramen to cook in boiling water before enjoying. Even so, she seemed to recognize that he had finished his task and had not given up in frustration or anger, and so stepped out to speak with him.

"Before I assign you your next task... Tell me, what have you learned from all this?" she raised her left eyebrow slightly as she stood above him, her firm, authoritative face loomed over him with serenity and gravity. She appeared to be a strong proponent of learning by experience and by actions rather than by words, almost as if she knew he wouldn't simply take her words to heart even if she tried to instruct him in that manner.
Alex slowly looked up, as the cool winter wind blew a calm breeze across his face, and saw the woman speaking to him. He heard her words, but it was more like his subconcious mind heard her, and informed his concious mind, which was dreadfully tired, and he said "Heh. I learned one of the reasons I lost for one. I also managed to learn just what you meant earlier, back after our little spar, whe you said observation, and intuition are important resources, and how my emotions cloud those resources. I learned as I poured the water slowly that I would never get done fast, so in frustration, I transfered the water as fast as I possibly could." Alex gave a small grin and said "After 2 minutes and 20 or so transfers of the water, I got barely a cups worth across. I realized then, that yeah. It's gonna be a while. But I also learned that it would be done when it was done, and that I can't anger myslef and get it done faster. There are things in life that are really rewarding... But you have to learn that many of those things, like Rome, are not made in a day" He smiled


"Exactly," the woman nodded, "The more frustrated you feel about a task, no matter how daunting, will only serve to make the task that much more tiresome and burdening. In everything you do, you must do it with patience and understanding and in the end you will reap the benefits of such both physically and mentally. This is also a symbol of your entire training under me. It will take years to complete your journey, but that does not make it worth the frustration of impatience to demand immediate results. Even as the tea cup holds some water but not much, every step we take together on this path will bring you a little closer to your goal even if it is hard to tell right away."

With that, she reached her hand out and took his in her own. Her fingers where soft and warm to the touch, the strength in her hand being tempered by the gentleness by which she extended it toward him as she helped him up. She then led him around the back of the small house where she had spent the last two days where stood a large metal drum containing warm water with soothing salts dissolved into it. She motioned to him to get in if he wished, then laid down a small bundle before heading back to the house.

"We will continue your training tomorrow morning... We will work on your speed and reaction time as my master taught me," she informed him and gave him some privacy by stepping inside and closing the door behind her, in case he wished to use the bath.
Alex felt great as he breathed in the warm steam, as the women left the room. His tired, and sore body rejoiced and began to completely relax as the steam covered his achy muscles. He could only imagine how great it was going to feel when he finally got to bathe in the hot tub. He undressed slowly, his body still tired from his first trial in his new training.

When he finally pulled off the last of his clothes he placed both hands on the vat slowloy, so as to make sure his body adjusted, and that he wouldn't have to wait for it to cool at all. As he felt the tub, it was very hot, and normally he would've waited for the tub to cool, but his tired bidy convinced him otherwise. He raised his right leg slowly, and slowly put it into the tub. Savoring every moment of pleasure and relaxation, he put it all the way in the water, then did the same with his left leg. after that he slowloy let his body sink into the tub of water, still enjoying the perfect feeling from the warmth of the water and steam opening his pores, and slowly relaxes all of his tense muscles, one by one.

Alex felt better than he had felt in a long time. He of course knew he felt so good only bexause he had never been so physically stressed as he had just now. The pleasure he felt, and the warm comfort that surrounded his body was amplified so much more than normal, as instead of relaxing slightly after only stressing himself an average amount for a hard core trainer of the body, he had stressed his body and mind further than he could recall ever doing in his lifetime.

After enjoying simply sitting and resting Alex's mind began to drift as he grabbed a wash cloth, and some soap and started to was himself. Alex began to think back on the way she had so effortlessly struck down his asailants, and even more suprising to him was how pathetic she made him look by striking him down like he was a mere child. As he thought this, these thoughts drifted through his mind "Well I guess only being about 23 I would seem like a child in comparison to a 3,000 year old woman.". As he thought this he was simply thinking with no sarcastic attitude about what she had said, but he now looked back on it with a seriousness, and a painful curiosity he had yet to experience in his life. "Just who is this ancient woman who guards this shrine?".

Alex savored the pleasure of the bath for roughly 2 hours, and when he finally relaxed and was getting out, he recollected his thoughts from earlier, and decided that if this woman would ever teach him just who she was that he would have to accept the fate he had just had to acept when filling the monstrous jugs. The fate of knowing that he would one day be answered, but that he would have to accept also that in order to find out, he would have to take one miniscule step at a time.

Alex got dressed, and walked into the house after getting dressed for sleep, and found an empty bed that he happily filled. Alex knew that this would be hard, but he also realized just how rewarding it would be when he was finished. With these thoughts Alex drifted off into sleep as he waited for morning to come, along with a new lesson to train for.


It was hardly even dawn, as the very first aura of light had just peaked above the distant horizon. The songbirds joined together in their morning music, announcing the coming of a new day as they had for generations upon generations. Alex's wake-up call, however, was much less subtle and much more abrupt.

The door to the room Alex was sleeping in suddenly slammed open, the force alone sufficient to shake the entire frame of the building. The distinct clang of high-quality steel resounded through the opening and the tip of a sword struck millimeters away from the side of Alex's head, slicing off some of his hair in the process. A black-robed figure held the hilt of the sword, a white mask pulled over his attacker's face. The person reached out and grasped him by the scruff of the neck, and whether he was awake or not, hurled him outside and into a shallow tub of cold water. The figure stepped out toward him, sword in hand which was swiftly sheathed, standing tall and firmly before him.
As Alex woke, he woke to the room shaking, and a loud noise, then before he realized qhat was happening, a sword struck, just missing his head. He felt his attacker grabbing him and throwing him almost immediatly after the sword struck. This all happening in the time he was attempting to gather himself to react to this attack.

Alex then found himself flung into a tub of very cold water which woke him up completely. Alex jumped out of the tub facing the masked person, and stooc behind the tub as he grabbed a decent sized rock in his right hand, and he then used his left to place in the tub and splash a large amount of water at the assailant, and threw the rock as hard as he could directly at the masked person.


Unfazed by the splash of water, Alex's attacker bent over backward, avoiding the rock entirely as the person performed a backflip and landed atop the building, feet firmly planted on the ceramic tiles. The figure then drew out two short needle-like weapons, each with thin yet strong line attached to the ends of them. Grasping them between the pointer and middle finger in each hand, the masked person threw them to Alex's left and right before letting out a lot of slack in the line. It was pretty clear what the person was intending to do next: swiftly bind him with the threads.
Alex stood astonished at what was happening before him, a strange figure leaping flawlessly onto a building after perfectly dodging the rock and not even having trouble seeing through the water he had hoped would at least provide some confusion. As Alex saw what he thought were senbon, he got a little worried and even more so when the sun reflected off the wire, and when they were launched at him he began to react.

By now, after being startled awake, quickly frightened, and woken up by ice cold water, Alex's body did what it always did in situations where his body finally recognizes something as an honest threat to his safety. It reacted. His mind and body in these situations were in a very useful kind of synch, far different than normal. His body was pumped full of adrenaline.

Alex in reaction to this immediate threat to his eyesight and well being, decided that he wasn't fast enough to dodge accurately, so he flung his arms in front of his eyes to block the senbon and caught them both in his arms. His right arm covering his left eye, and his left arm covering his left eye, crossing them in front of his face. Alex was using the pain stopping adrenaline to make sure his eyes were safe. He then grabbed the wires, the wire attached to the senbon in his left arm with his right, and the wire from the senbon in his right arm with his left hand, and gave a mighty pull in hopes of pulling the assailant down, and held the wires tight ripping the needles out of his arms, and grabbing them, threw one where the strange person would be falling, the other he kept hold of tight, as one might hold a small knife, and then began to rotate the wire from the senbon he still held in a manner that was designed to entangle or frustrate his attacker.
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