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Heridfel

A New Student at Master Lee's

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Kevin is sweating like a pig for the first time this winter. His sensei is a green belt, helping to teach some of the introductory classes. Kevin looks down at his white belt and frowns. He's used to hard work, but this is worse than football practice. Apparently, he never knew how to throw a punch properly... or kick... or stand. The only thing that's kept him from quitting after the first couple classes is remembering how he felt against that assassin, and the woman in the mecha. Maybe she was too much, but the other guy was just a man, like him.

Class ends, and Kevin remains on the dojang floor a while longer. He wants to stretch before he heads back outside into the cold weather. He's sitting down, reaching towards his toes when he notices someone walking towards him. He looks up, starting at the man's feet and heading up. When he gets to the waist and sees the black belt, he hurriedly gets to his feet and bows. He briefly met Master Lee when he signed up at the school, and even if he doesn't like his instructor, Master Lee is the sort of man who commands respect just by his presense.

Master Lee smiles and says, "As you were. I just came to talk to you for a little bit. I can tell that you are feeling discouraged. John can be a little hard on beginners, especially when they are already fairly skilled. He forgets that you aren't already a higher rank, and corrects the little things that most white belts aren't yet ready to worry about."

Kevin's face reddens a little. He hadn't had thought that his feelings were so obvious. He looks chastened now. "Thank you, Master Lee. I'm glad that I'm not as bad off as I thought I was. I just... well, I started here because I got into a few fights. I didn't start 'em, but the ones who did got me pretty good. I just don't want that to happen again."

Master Lee nods, "You seemed driven by something. Sometime, I wish to hear about these fights. Come with me. There is someone I would like you to meet."

Kevin nods in reply and follows Master Lee to another room within the dojang, where a man is practicing his forms. His skill is evident, and Kevin doesn't need to look at his waist to see that he is a black belt.

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Kevin is sweating like a pig for the first time this winter. His sensei is a green belt, helping to teach some of the introductory classes. Kevin looks down at his white belt and frowns. He's used to hard work, but this is worse than football practice. Apparently, he never knew how to throw a punch properly... or kick... or stand. The only thing that's kept him from quitting after the first couple classes is remembering how he felt against that assassin, and the woman in the mecha. Maybe she was too much, but the other guy was just a man, like him.

Class ends, and Kevin remains on the dojang floor a while longer. He wants to stretch before he heads back outside into the cold weather. He's sitting down, reaching towards his toes when he notices someone walking towards him. He looks up, starting at the man's feet and heading up. When he gets to the waist and sees the black belt, he hurriedly gets to his feet and bows. He briefly met Master Lee when he signed up at the school, and even if he doesn't like his instructor, Master Lee is the sort of man who commands respect just by his presense.

Master Lee smiles and says, "As you were. I just came to talk to you for a little bit. I can tell that you are feeling discouraged. John can be a little hard on beginners, especially when they are already fairly skilled. He forgets that you aren't already a higher rank, and corrects the little things that most white belts aren't yet ready to worry about."

Kevin's face reddens a little. He hadn't had thought that his feelings were so obvious. He looks chastened now. "Thank you, Master Lee. I'm glad that I'm not as bad off as I thought I was. I just... well, I started here because I got into a few fights. I didn't start 'em, but the ones who did got me pretty good. I just don't want that to happen again."

Master Lee nods, "You seemed driven by something. Sometime, I wish to hear about these fights. Come with me. There is someone I would like you to meet."

Kevin nods in reply and follows Master Lee to another room within the dojang, where a man is practicing his forms. His skill is evident, and Kevin doesn't need to look at his waist to see that he is a black belt.

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Kevin is sweating like a pig for the first time this winter. His sensei is a green belt, helping to teach some of the introductory classes. Kevin looks down at his white belt and frowns. He's used to hard work, but this is worse than football practice. Apparently, he never knew how to throw a punch properly... or kick... or stand. The only thing that's kept him from quitting after the first couple classes is remembering how he felt against that assassin, and the woman in the mecha. Maybe she was too much, but the other guy was just a man, like him.

Class ends, and Kevin remains on the dojang floor a while longer. He wants to stretch before he heads back outside into the cold weather. He's sitting down, reaching towards his toes when he notices someone walking towards him. He looks up, starting at the man's feet and heading up. When he gets to the waist and sees the black belt, he hurriedly gets to his feet and bows. He briefly met Master Lee when he signed up at the school, and even if he doesn't like his instructor, Master Lee is the sort of man who commands respect just by his presense.

Master Lee smiles and says, "As you were. I just came to talk to you for a little bit. I can tell that you are feeling discouraged. John can be a little hard on beginners, especially when they are already fairly skilled. He forgets that you aren't already a higher rank, and corrects the little things that most white belts aren't yet ready to worry about."

Kevin's face reddens a little. He hadn't had thought that his feelings were so obvious. He looks chastened now. "Thank you, Master Lee. I'm glad that I'm not as bad off as I thought I was. I just... well, I started here because I got into a few fights. I didn't start 'em, but the ones who did got me pretty good. I just don't want that to happen again."

Master Lee nods, "You seemed driven by something. Sometime, I wish to hear about these fights. Come with me. There is someone I would like you to meet."

Kevin nods in reply and follows Master Lee to another room within the dojang, where a man is practicing his forms. His skill is evident, and Kevin doesn't need to look at his waist to see that he is a black belt.

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LiamHS.jpg

Martial arts schools go by many different names. Liam trained in a dojang, a kwoon and a dojo during his adolescence, just to name a few. Every teacher in every school pushed him to the slippery precipice of human endurance; his fists were always raw and red, and his feet were constantly burning and blistered. But regardless if he was practicing katas on a fishing boat in Okinawa or snapping fingers in half within a Shaolin monastary perched on a mountaintop, they all had one name for Liam.

Sanctuary.

A refuge from the blaring noise and choking smog that permeates cities. Today is no different. Still shaken from meeting a mechanical enforcer during a drug raid, Liam decided to call in sick to work and spend the chilly day training in Master Lee's school.

Liam stands before a muk yan jong, wearing gray sweatpants rolled up to his knees and a well-worn t-shirt with a faded Freedom City Comets logo on the front. Hip-hop pounds out of a radio sitting on the floor. Sweet-smelling incense fills his nostrils.

He shudders to think what would have happened if that enforcer's fist actually connected.

He inhales deeply. Lifting his hands, he draws closer to the dummy with a smooth single stride and pummels one slat with a forceful open palm strike. He hits another. Then another. His knee slams into a lower slat. Each strike pounds into the dummy in rapid succession, punishing his wooden opponent like a jackhammer cracking open pavement. His mind empties into wide grassy field with wildflowers bending under a gentle breeze. Liam's feet and fists move at an inhuman blur. Then, he hears footsteps to his right. Without looking to see who it is, he stops aburptly and rubs his eyes, then steps over to the radio and turns it off. When he turns to face the newcomers, he sees his old sifu standing beside a young man.

"Master Lee," he says as he bows, "I thought someone wanted to take a turn at the dummy. Can I help ya?"

The ancient sifu raises a single finger. "Like an angry snake, you attack without regard," he says with his airy yet confident voice. "You must be mindful of this."

Liam lowers his eyes. "Just workin' some stuff out."

"Indeed." Master Lee looks to Kevin. "The drive to perfection does not mean we become slaves to our qi. Qi is to be channeled, not obeyed." He places his hand on Kevin's shoulder. "Kevin, this is Liam. He is an . . . old student of mine."

Liam offers his hand. "Hey, kid. Nice ta meet ya."

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Martial arts schools go by many different names. Liam trained in a dojang, a kwoon and a dojo during his adolescence, just to name a few. Every teacher in every school pushed him to the slippery precipice of human endurance; his fists were always raw and red, and his feet were constantly burning and blistered. But regardless if he was practicing katas on a fishing boat in Okinawa or snapping fingers in half within a Shaolin monastary perched on a mountaintop, they all had one name for Liam.

Sanctuary.

A refuge from the blaring noise and choking smog that permeates cities. Today is no different. Still shaken from meeting a mechanical enforcer during a drug raid, Liam decided to call in sick to work and spend the chilly day training in Master Lee's school.

Liam stands before a muk yan jong, wearing gray sweatpants rolled up to his knees and a well-worn t-shirt with a faded Freedom City Comets logo on the front. Hip-hop pounds out of a radio sitting on the floor. Sweet-smelling incense fills his nostrils.

He shudders to think what would have happened if that enforcer's fist actually connected.

He inhales deeply. Lifting his hands, he draws closer to the dummy with a smooth single stride and pummels one slat with a forceful open palm strike. He hits another. Then another. His knee slams into a lower slat. Each strike pounds into the dummy in rapid succession, punishing his wooden opponent like a jackhammer cracking open pavement. His mind empties into wide grassy field with wildflowers bending under a gentle breeze. Liam's feet and fists move at an inhuman blur. Then, he hears footsteps to his right. Without looking to see who it is, he stops aburptly and rubs his eyes, then steps over to the radio and turns it off. When he turns to face the newcomers, he sees his old sifu standing beside a young man.

"Master Lee," he says as he bows, "I thought someone wanted to take a turn at the dummy. Can I help ya?"

The ancient sifu raises a single finger. "Like an angry snake, you attack without regard," he says with his airy yet confident voice. "You must be mindful of this."

Liam lowers his eyes. "Just workin' some stuff out."

"Indeed." Master Lee looks to Kevin. "The drive to perfection does not mean we become slaves to our qi. Qi is to be channeled, not obeyed." He places his hand on Kevin's shoulder. "Kevin, this is Liam. He is an . . . old student of mine."

Liam offers his hand. "Hey, kid. Nice ta meet ya."

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LiamHS.jpg

Martial arts schools go by many different names. Liam trained in a dojang, a kwoon and a dojo during his adolescence, just to name a few. Every teacher in every school pushed him to the slippery precipice of human endurance; his fists were always raw and red, and his feet were constantly burning and blistered. But regardless if he was practicing katas on a fishing boat in Okinawa or snapping fingers in half within a Shaolin monastary perched on a mountaintop, they all had one name for Liam.

Sanctuary.

A refuge from the blaring noise and choking smog that permeates cities. Today is no different. Still shaken from meeting a mechanical enforcer during a drug raid, Liam decided to call in sick to work and spend the chilly day training in Master Lee's school.

Liam stands before a muk yan jong, wearing gray sweatpants rolled up to his knees and a well-worn t-shirt with a faded Freedom City Comets logo on the front. Hip-hop pounds out of a radio sitting on the floor. Sweet-smelling incense fills his nostrils.

He shudders to think what would have happened if that enforcer's fist actually connected.

He inhales deeply. Lifting his hands, he draws closer to the dummy with a smooth single stride and pummels one slat with a forceful open palm strike. He hits another. Then another. His knee slams into a lower slat. Each strike pounds into the dummy in rapid succession, punishing his wooden opponent like a jackhammer cracking open pavement. His mind empties into wide grassy field with wildflowers bending under a gentle breeze. Liam's feet and fists move at an inhuman blur. Then, he hears footsteps to his right. Without looking to see who it is, he stops aburptly and rubs his eyes, then steps over to the radio and turns it off. When he turns to face the newcomers, he sees his old sifu standing beside a young man.

"Master Lee," he says as he bows, "I thought someone wanted to take a turn at the dummy. Can I help ya?"

The ancient sifu raises a single finger. "Like an angry snake, you attack without regard," he says with his airy yet confident voice. "You must be mindful of this."

Liam lowers his eyes. "Just workin' some stuff out."

"Indeed." Master Lee looks to Kevin. "The drive to perfection does not mean we become slaves to our qi. Qi is to be channeled, not obeyed." He places his hand on Kevin's shoulder. "Kevin, this is Liam. He is an . . . old student of mine."

Liam offers his hand. "Hey, kid. Nice ta meet ya."

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Kevin holds out his hand and gives Liam a firm shake. He isn't trying to crush the hand - even if he were that sort of guy, it's clear that Liam isn't a guy to mess around with. He says, "I'm Kevin. I, uh..." he chuckles. "You're really good. I'm still working on standing right, and you're working on your chi."

He pronounces the word a little like the Greek letter, but he's trying to get it right. His Texas accent grows a little thicker as he continues, "But hey, I've got to start somewhere. A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step, and all that. I guess you brought me here to see what my goal should be, Master Lee? To be as good as Liam?"

Master Lee shakes his head slightly, "Liam is one of my best students, but your goal should not be to be as good as he is. You should be as good as you can be, be it more or less than any other. There will be many who are stronger than you, faster than you, and wiser than you. You can defeat them if their qi is disordered while yours remain focused." His words seem to be directed to Liam as much as they are to Kevin, though Kevin doesn't seem to notice it.

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Kevin holds out his hand and gives Liam a firm shake. He isn't trying to crush the hand - even if he were that sort of guy, it's clear that Liam isn't a guy to mess around with. He says, "I'm Kevin. I, uh..." he chuckles. "You're really good. I'm still working on standing right, and you're working on your chi."

He pronounces the word a little like the Greek letter, but he's trying to get it right. His Texas accent grows a little thicker as he continues, "But hey, I've got to start somewhere. A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step, and all that. I guess you brought me here to see what my goal should be, Master Lee? To be as good as Liam?"

Master Lee shakes his head slightly, "Liam is one of my best students, but your goal should not be to be as good as he is. You should be as good as you can be, be it more or less than any other. There will be many who are stronger than you, faster than you, and wiser than you. You can defeat them if their qi is disordered while yours remain focused." His words seem to be directed to Liam as much as they are to Kevin, though Kevin doesn't seem to notice it.

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Kevin holds out his hand and gives Liam a firm shake. He isn't trying to crush the hand - even if he were that sort of guy, it's clear that Liam isn't a guy to mess around with. He says, "I'm Kevin. I, uh..." he chuckles. "You're really good. I'm still working on standing right, and you're working on your chi."

He pronounces the word a little like the Greek letter, but he's trying to get it right. His Texas accent grows a little thicker as he continues, "But hey, I've got to start somewhere. A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step, and all that. I guess you brought me here to see what my goal should be, Master Lee? To be as good as Liam?"

Master Lee shakes his head slightly, "Liam is one of my best students, but your goal should not be to be as good as he is. You should be as good as you can be, be it more or less than any other. There will be many who are stronger than you, faster than you, and wiser than you. You can defeat them if their qi is disordered while yours remain focused." His words seem to be directed to Liam as much as they are to Kevin, though Kevin doesn't seem to notice it.

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Liam appreciates the balanced strength in Kevin's handshake. He lifts a single eyebrow and smirks, following suit by not applying too much pressure.

"Good? Nah. I've jus' been doin' this fer a long time," he says with a hint of apprehension. "After some practice ya'll be wearin' a black belt in no time." He pulls up the bottom of his t-shirt and leans over to wipe the sweat off his forehead.

Liam listens to Master Lee as he counsels Kevin, keeping his eyes away from the old sifu's penetrating gaze. Liam immediately senses that Lee's words also relate to him. He's heard this before and he's said it to himself many times, but it's a lesson he feels he continues to fail.

"He's right," he adds as he straightens up. "Ya always think ya'll do fine as long as ya stick ta yer trainin'. But in the end it comes down to spirit. Ya havta want it more than the other guy." Liam can't pinpoint the exact reason why so many words are spilling out of him at once, and he doesn't care at all. "So there's yer first step, Kevin. Ya havta find yer fight, or yer qi or yer mojo or whatever. Then ya gotta put 'er to good use." Liam steps over to his duffel bag lying on the floor near the radio. He retrieves a water bottle from the bag and takes a sip.

"So, what can I do ya for?" he asks Master Lee, "private tutorin' or somethin'?"

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Liam appreciates the balanced strength in Kevin's handshake. He lifts a single eyebrow and smirks, following suit by not applying too much pressure.

"Good? Nah. I've jus' been doin' this fer a long time," he says with a hint of apprehension. "After some practice ya'll be wearin' a black belt in no time." He pulls up the bottom of his t-shirt and leans over to wipe the sweat off his forehead.

Liam listens to Master Lee as he counsels Kevin, keeping his eyes away from the old sifu's penetrating gaze. Liam immediately senses that Lee's words also relate to him. He's heard this before and he's said it to himself many times, but it's a lesson he feels he continues to fail.

"He's right," he adds as he straightens up. "Ya always think ya'll do fine as long as ya stick ta yer trainin'. But in the end it comes down to spirit. Ya havta want it more than the other guy." Liam can't pinpoint the exact reason why so many words are spilling out of him at once, and he doesn't care at all. "So there's yer first step, Kevin. Ya havta find yer fight, or yer qi or yer mojo or whatever. Then ya gotta put 'er to good use." Liam steps over to his duffel bag lying on the floor near the radio. He retrieves a water bottle from the bag and takes a sip.

"So, what can I do ya for?" he asks Master Lee, "private tutorin' or somethin'?"

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Liam appreciates the balanced strength in Kevin's handshake. He lifts a single eyebrow and smirks, following suit by not applying too much pressure.

"Good? Nah. I've jus' been doin' this fer a long time," he says with a hint of apprehension. "After some practice ya'll be wearin' a black belt in no time." He pulls up the bottom of his t-shirt and leans over to wipe the sweat off his forehead.

Liam listens to Master Lee as he counsels Kevin, keeping his eyes away from the old sifu's penetrating gaze. Liam immediately senses that Lee's words also relate to him. He's heard this before and he's said it to himself many times, but it's a lesson he feels he continues to fail.

"He's right," he adds as he straightens up. "Ya always think ya'll do fine as long as ya stick ta yer trainin'. But in the end it comes down to spirit. Ya havta want it more than the other guy." Liam can't pinpoint the exact reason why so many words are spilling out of him at once, and he doesn't care at all. "So there's yer first step, Kevin. Ya havta find yer fight, or yer qi or yer mojo or whatever. Then ya gotta put 'er to good use." Liam steps over to his duffel bag lying on the floor near the radio. He retrieves a water bottle from the bag and takes a sip.

"So, what can I do ya for?" he asks Master Lee, "private tutorin' or somethin'?"

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"Something of that nature. I think there is more to Kevin than meets the eye, isn't there, Kevin?" Master Lee asks. Kevin's body language answers the question before his mouth can even start to deny it. He tenses up as he looks at Master Lee closely, his mouth starting to protest. For his part, Master Lee looks to Liam.

"No man is an island. It is still true. Now, I believe that I have a guest soon to arrive. I must prepare myself for him. The two of you, talk. Spar if you lack the words," he says as he shoos them with his hands. He walks out of the room, leaving the two men alone.

"So..." Kevin says. "Yeah... he always like that? Mysterious talking all the time?" To his credit, he doesn't try to claim that there's something special about him. Master Lee seemed to see right through him, and an experience like that is unnerving to the hardiest of men.

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"Something of that nature. I think there is more to Kevin than meets the eye, isn't there, Kevin?" Master Lee asks. Kevin's body language answers the question before his mouth can even start to deny it. He tenses up as he looks at Master Lee closely, his mouth starting to protest. For his part, Master Lee looks to Liam.

"No man is an island. It is still true. Now, I believe that I have a guest soon to arrive. I must prepare myself for him. The two of you, talk. Spar if you lack the words," he says as he shoos them with his hands. He walks out of the room, leaving the two men alone.

"So..." Kevin says. "Yeah... he always like that? Mysterious talking all the time?" To his credit, he doesn't try to claim that there's something special about him. Master Lee seemed to see right through him, and an experience like that is unnerving to the hardiest of men.

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"Something of that nature. I think there is more to Kevin than meets the eye, isn't there, Kevin?" Master Lee asks. Kevin's body language answers the question before his mouth can even start to deny it. He tenses up as he looks at Master Lee closely, his mouth starting to protest. For his part, Master Lee looks to Liam.

"No man is an island. It is still true. Now, I believe that I have a guest soon to arrive. I must prepare myself for him. The two of you, talk. Spar if you lack the words," he says as he shoos them with his hands. He walks out of the room, leaving the two men alone.

"So..." Kevin says. "Yeah... he always like that? Mysterious talking all the time?" To his credit, he doesn't try to claim that there's something special about him. Master Lee seemed to see right through him, and an experience like that is unnerving to the hardiest of men.

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Liam silently notes Kevin's reaction to Master Lee. The venerable sifu has a way of disarming even the hardest heart, but that isn't Master Lee's intention here. "More than meets the eye?" he thinks, either he's an Autobot or the Old Man thinks the kid has potential. A burst of excitement courses through him, is it possible that Lee has discerned his secret project? He buries his exuberance and smiles politely at Master Lee, regarding the sifu's look with another raised eyebrow.

"No man is an island. It is still true. Now, I believe that I have a guest soon to arrive. I must prepare myself for him. The two of you, talk. Spar if you lack the words," he says as he shoos them with his hands. He walks out of the room, leaving the two men alone.

Liam bows deeply as Master Lee exits the room. "Very well, sifu," he replies.

"So..." Kevin says. "Yeah... he always like that? Mysterious talking all the time?"

"Yeah," he answers with a short laugh, "you can say that. He's worse than a crossword puzzle. Ya get used ta it." Liam takes another sip of water. "How long have ya been trainin' for, Kevin?"

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Liam silently notes Kevin's reaction to Master Lee. The venerable sifu has a way of disarming even the hardest heart, but that isn't Master Lee's intention here. "More than meets the eye?" he thinks, either he's an Autobot or the Old Man thinks the kid has potential. A burst of excitement courses through him, is it possible that Lee has discerned his secret project? He buries his exuberance and smiles politely at Master Lee, regarding the sifu's look with another raised eyebrow.

"No man is an island. It is still true. Now, I believe that I have a guest soon to arrive. I must prepare myself for him. The two of you, talk. Spar if you lack the words," he says as he shoos them with his hands. He walks out of the room, leaving the two men alone.

Liam bows deeply as Master Lee exits the room. "Very well, sifu," he replies.

"So..." Kevin says. "Yeah... he always like that? Mysterious talking all the time?"

"Yeah," he answers with a short laugh, "you can say that. He's worse than a crossword puzzle. Ya get used ta it." Liam takes another sip of water. "How long have ya been trainin' for, Kevin?"

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Liam silently notes Kevin's reaction to Master Lee. The venerable sifu has a way of disarming even the hardest heart, but that isn't Master Lee's intention here. "More than meets the eye?" he thinks, either he's an Autobot or the Old Man thinks the kid has potential. A burst of excitement courses through him, is it possible that Lee has discerned his secret project? He buries his exuberance and smiles politely at Master Lee, regarding the sifu's look with another raised eyebrow.

"No man is an island. It is still true. Now, I believe that I have a guest soon to arrive. I must prepare myself for him. The two of you, talk. Spar if you lack the words," he says as he shoos them with his hands. He walks out of the room, leaving the two men alone.

Liam bows deeply as Master Lee exits the room. "Very well, sifu," he replies.

"So..." Kevin says. "Yeah... he always like that? Mysterious talking all the time?"

"Yeah," he answers with a short laugh, "you can say that. He's worse than a crossword puzzle. Ya get used ta it." Liam takes another sip of water. "How long have ya been trainin' for, Kevin?"

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Sen perched on the roof a building across the street from Master Lee’s Dojo, watching the school, as the noises of the city bustled around him. It wasn’t that he was afraid of an ambush, he just wasn’t sure this was the place. There are few men outside of the Ryoushikage his father spoke of with respect and even fewer, in the entire world he called friend. Sen’s father spoke very rarely about his past acquaintances, but when he mentioned Master Lee his voice took on an entirely different tone. The icy calm, melted and he even smiled, he would begin a story “about a time…†but he never finished. As a child Sen had begun to see this Master Lee as a mythical figure, a great warrior the equal of his father. Yet the building that sat across from him was anything but Legendary. It was, in fact, quite ordinary. The Legend began to crumble.

“Alright enough of this,†he said to himself. Time was wasting. With an inhuman grace the Sen somersaulted off of the roof and landed on the street below without even letting out his breath. Some people paused and began staring; many more simply glanced and kept walking. For some reason this surprised Sen the most. This was Freedom City after all. As he began to cross the street he felt something vibrate within his coat. Unconsciously his hand drifted towards his sword. The hilt was warm. Something was causing the blade to stir.

As Sen crossed the street he opened the door to the building. Inside it was laid out in a style similar to many western dojos. Sen turned towards the nearest student, a green belt. In slightly accented English he said. “I am Kiyoshi Sen. I am here to speak with Master Lee.â€Â

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Sen perched on the roof a building across the street from Master Lee’s Dojo, watching the school, as the noises of the city bustled around him. It wasn’t that he was afraid of an ambush, he just wasn’t sure this was the place. There are few men outside of the Ryoushikage his father spoke of with respect and even fewer, in the entire world he called friend. Sen’s father spoke very rarely about his past acquaintances, but when he mentioned Master Lee his voice took on an entirely different tone. The icy calm, melted and he even smiled, he would begin a story “about a time…†but he never finished. As a child Sen had begun to see this Master Lee as a mythical figure, a great warrior the equal of his father. Yet the building that sat across from him was anything but Legendary. It was, in fact, quite ordinary. The Legend began to crumble.

“Alright enough of this,†he said to himself. Time was wasting. With an inhuman grace the Sen somersaulted off of the roof and landed on the street below without even letting out his breath. Some people paused and began staring; many more simply glanced and kept walking. For some reason this surprised Sen the most. This was Freedom City after all. As he began to cross the street he felt something vibrate within his coat. Unconsciously his hand drifted towards his sword. The hilt was warm. Something was causing the blade to stir.

As Sen crossed the street he opened the door to the building. Inside it was laid out in a style similar to many western dojos. Sen turned towards the nearest student, a green belt. In slightly accented English he said. “I am Kiyoshi Sen. I am here to speak with Master Lee.â€Â

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Sen perched on the roof a building across the street from Master Lee’s Dojo, watching the school, as the noises of the city bustled around him. It wasn’t that he was afraid of an ambush, he just wasn’t sure this was the place. There are few men outside of the Ryoushikage his father spoke of with respect and even fewer, in the entire world he called friend. Sen’s father spoke very rarely about his past acquaintances, but when he mentioned Master Lee his voice took on an entirely different tone. The icy calm, melted and he even smiled, he would begin a story “about a time…†but he never finished. As a child Sen had begun to see this Master Lee as a mythical figure, a great warrior the equal of his father. Yet the building that sat across from him was anything but Legendary. It was, in fact, quite ordinary. The Legend began to crumble.

“Alright enough of this,†he said to himself. Time was wasting. With an inhuman grace the Sen somersaulted off of the roof and landed on the street below without even letting out his breath. Some people paused and began staring; many more simply glanced and kept walking. For some reason this surprised Sen the most. This was Freedom City after all. As he began to cross the street he felt something vibrate within his coat. Unconsciously his hand drifted towards his sword. The hilt was warm. Something was causing the blade to stir.

As Sen crossed the street he opened the door to the building. Inside it was laid out in a style similar to many western dojos. Sen turned towards the nearest student, a green belt. In slightly accented English he said. “I am Kiyoshi Sen. I am here to speak with Master Lee.â€Â

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"Here? Since a little after New Year's. I've been training for football since... wow, about 10 years now. Hadn't thought of it like that," Kevin says. "How about you? You look like you've been doing this for years. Professionally, maybe, if you're a private tutor. Look, I'm a college kid, and I can't afford much more than what I'm already paying..."


The student looked over Sen, and her eyes were drawn to Sen's mid-section. She stands up a little straighter and looks Sen straight in the eyes.

"You aren't allowed to bring weapons in here," she says. Her voice doesn't waver, though she looks like she knows that she's outclassed by Sen. Fortunately, the tense situation is defused by Master Lee, who seems to appear from the other room just as it looks like it might come to blows.

"Stand down," he says as he looks first to the woman, then to Sen. "She is right that you challenge me, to bring your blade in here without declaring yourself first. But I can sense the blade you wield, and I know that you cannot leave it behind. One of the things I have learned in my years is to accept unintentioned insults."

"Amber, please make certain that the students leave," he says to the woman. Amber visibly bites her tongue before nodding and heading to the other rooms to make sure that no one else is there. Once she is gone from sight, Master Lee looks at Sen.

"You are your father's son. Tell me, what has befallen him? I know that he would not allow you to wield the Demon's Blade if he were well."

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"Here? Since a little after New Year's. I've been training for football since... wow, about 10 years now. Hadn't thought of it like that," Kevin says. "How about you? You look like you've been doing this for years. Professionally, maybe, if you're a private tutor. Look, I'm a college kid, and I can't afford much more than what I'm already paying..."


The student looked over Sen, and her eyes were drawn to Sen's mid-section. She stands up a little straighter and looks Sen straight in the eyes.

"You aren't allowed to bring weapons in here," she says. Her voice doesn't waver, though she looks like she knows that she's outclassed by Sen. Fortunately, the tense situation is defused by Master Lee, who seems to appear from the other room just as it looks like it might come to blows.

"Stand down," he says as he looks first to the woman, then to Sen. "She is right that you challenge me, to bring your blade in here without declaring yourself first. But I can sense the blade you wield, and I know that you cannot leave it behind. One of the things I have learned in my years is to accept unintentioned insults."

"Amber, please make certain that the students leave," he says to the woman. Amber visibly bites her tongue before nodding and heading to the other rooms to make sure that no one else is there. Once she is gone from sight, Master Lee looks at Sen.

"You are your father's son. Tell me, what has befallen him? I know that he would not allow you to wield the Demon's Blade if he were well."

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"Here? Since a little after New Year's. I've been training for football since... wow, about 10 years now. Hadn't thought of it like that," Kevin says. "How about you? You look like you've been doing this for years. Professionally, maybe, if you're a private tutor. Look, I'm a college kid, and I can't afford much more than what I'm already paying..."


The student looked over Sen, and her eyes were drawn to Sen's mid-section. She stands up a little straighter and looks Sen straight in the eyes.

"You aren't allowed to bring weapons in here," she says. Her voice doesn't waver, though she looks like she knows that she's outclassed by Sen. Fortunately, the tense situation is defused by Master Lee, who seems to appear from the other room just as it looks like it might come to blows.

"Stand down," he says as he looks first to the woman, then to Sen. "She is right that you challenge me, to bring your blade in here without declaring yourself first. But I can sense the blade you wield, and I know that you cannot leave it behind. One of the things I have learned in my years is to accept unintentioned insults."

"Amber, please make certain that the students leave," he says to the woman. Amber visibly bites her tongue before nodding and heading to the other rooms to make sure that no one else is there. Once she is gone from sight, Master Lee looks at Sen.

"You are your father's son. Tell me, what has befallen him? I know that he would not allow you to wield the Demon's Blade if he were well."

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Sen's eyes flicker briefly over Miter Lee. Physically he didn't appear to be much, yet there was something Sen couldn't quite place his finger on. The man seemed to fill the room with a calming presense, and an unstated threat that made the demon slayer nervous. Had he angered him?

Sen bowed deeply from the waist. "I apologize for the inuslt Lee-Sama," he said. As he spoke he kept his head down, in the manner he was told to address his elders. "It is not my will, to bring this weapon here." When Master Lee asked his question Sen felt the bitter taste of frustraition.

"I had hoped you could tell me Lee-Sama," Sen finished with a sigh. "Four months ago, father left the clan to undertake a mission in this country. We have not heard of him since. He has never been gone this long without contacting us," Sen said. The longest his father had gone had been two months. "It was decided to send someone to look for him-".

"The Elders of of the Ryoushikage were wise men when last I met them," Master Lee interrupted. "Not the type of men to allow someone so young to leave with that sword, no matter how skilled he was." Sen was silent a minute.

"Yes this was not their will either." No. Their will ahd been to sit around arguing for days about who to send, some had said to send no one at all. It galled Sen to think that they would so casually discuss his father's life as it it were a piece on a game board. Action was required and if they could not act then he would. "But someone had to act Lee-Sama and my father had taken the Masamune..." Master Lee's eyebrow rose a fraction at hearing that.

"I see," was all he said. "Still..." His eyes drifted towards the Muramasa. Suddenly the blade began to vibrate in its sheath. Sen clamped a hand over the hilt. Sen realized why the sword was acting up. It felt... eager.

"My father's mission was unknown to me, but before he left I heard him mention an American by the name of Eldricht. I came here hoping to find this man, but no one in this city seems to have heard of him. Yet I knew that your school was here as well. I had hoped you could tell me of my father, if not maybe you could tell me about this Eldricht."

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