The weeks following Kitachi Sunahama’s confrontation with Simon Croft were full of training... but then again his days since joining Ryouzanpaku had been full of nothing but school and training. He had six masters teaching him everything they could about fighting, focusing primarily on skills to defeat a tournament fighter.
Kisara was walking down the hall that night after Kit had left. She was in the middle of her late-night training when her sensei Daisuke had pulled her master away from their training for an important dojo meeting. Kisara, being the only “expert class” martial artist enrolled at the dojo, was allowed to sit in on proceedings.
“He’s improving by leaps and bounds, but to put it bluntly... it’s not enough; at this rate he’s going to hit a ceiling very quickly,” Denali told them.
“A ceiling... I don’t understand what is this about?” Kisara asked them.
“It’s about Kit. In our world we refer to an artificial limit on a person’s ability as a ‘ceiling’. In our world as you know we refer to those of us who achieve our highest potential as ‘birds’, the term ceiling in this case as a metaphor... a bird in a in a cage can’t fly in the sky, because of the ceiling... all martial artists have the ability to become birds, but for various reasons we don’t all make it that far. Kit’s in some serious danger of reaching one; he doesn’t have any sort of talent for the arts, but he makes up for it in his only REAL talents. Kit’s exceptionally gifted in that he’s quick to pick up on things; you noticed that he can walk the circle with the same aptitude as those that have been doing it for years, and he has a motivational drive like I’ve never seen,” Natasha explained to her.
“Then what’s going to hold him back?” She asked.
“Simple, he can’t devote enough of his day to training as long as he has to go home everyday. What we’re proposing is to raise Kit from the rank of a pupil to a full on Disciple; he’d come to live here, and we’d be able to ensure that he’s always being watched and always in training,” Daisuke told her.
“So wait... you want HIM... to live HERE?” Kisara asked them.
“It’s unfortunate that he came to us so late in his life, a few years earlier and we would have had plenty of time, but as it is his opponents are all going to have had years of training; with our methods we can make up the difference, but we can’t do it at this rate. If we don’t get him up to snuff he’ll get in over his head, he’ll get hurt, and if he’s especially unlucky, he’ll end up dead,” Hitomi said somberly.
“Sounds like we’re all in agreement then?” her uncle asked aloud.
“Then let the plan begin,” Brock said excitedly.
“What plan?” Kisara asked them.
“It’s called ‘get tough or die trying’; the name says it all. We’re going to begin a new form of training with Kit... the goal is a complete and total reformation of Kit’s physical and psychological build; hopefully the results will turn this soft weakling into a powerful warrior,” Daisuke explained to her.
“HOPEFULLY? What happens if it doesn’t work?” Kisara asked him.
Daisuke just chuckled. “It’s a succeed or die situation, either way, we’ll be done training him by the time he graduates high school... whether that’s because he’s a master or he’s a corpse is up to the kid,” the cruel master responded.
“How do you reform him?” she asked curiously.
“Well... we push him to the breaking point... and beyond; his body will either get stronger and his mind sharper, or they’ll both get deader... WIN-FREAKIN’-WIN!” Daisuke shouted. ~
The next day when Kit arrived for his training he was instantly set on alert... at the point when Kisara would usually force him to climb over the wall, she asked him to come in the front door... something was going on. I started off with Daisuke, running laps around the town.
“We’ll make this a tough one... we’ll go to the docks and back,” his master told him. “Wait, before you get going we should take off that training harness... don’t want to over do it.”
Kit didn’t really know what to say... he was afraid that if he said something that Daisuke would pull the rug out from under him, so they made what usually took him two hours of physical training a fifteen minute run... instead of extinguishing Kit’s fears it fueled them... Daisuke was up to something.
Next he trained with Denali, for this one they brought in Kisara as a sparring partner. “This is just a light session, so Kisara, go easy on him,” Denali instructed them.
“What the hell is going on... usually when we start out you say something like ‘Kisara if you think he’s not taking it seriously just go ahead and kill him’,” Kit told him.
“Oh, now Kit... you know I’d NEVER say something like that,” he answered me. Even Kisara was in on this... she was approaching the fight with kid gloves, but even so she still managed to take him down twice. “That’s enough you two, don’t want to hurt our star pupil,” Denali interrupted before he sent them on to the next stage.
In training with Natasha, she gave him a plain mannequin to throw, and was sure to commend him for every minor thing he did right.
By supper time Kit’s curiosity had overwhelmed him. At the table they had his portion of food waiting for them. He was in the process of taking in as much as he could as fast as he could (his manners had left after he’d gone hungry for three days, as it was he usually barely managed to eat enough to make it to bed at night), but unlike most nights nobody was stealing anything off his plate, they were all watching him eerily and when he stood up to get another plate of food the elder offered Kit his.
“What the hell is going on... you guys aren’t like... in any legal trouble or anything are you? You’re not going to like... rob me or something when I try to leave are you? Or are you all impostors or something because you’re really starting to freak me the fuck out,” Kit told them.
They all laughed at his rather un-funny joke and were sure to tell him how much of a joker he was. “Whatever do you mean?” Brock asked him kindly.
“You’ve all been..... NICE.... today. That’s not normal,” Kit stated.
“Oh Kit... we’re always nice to our FAVORITE disciple,” Katrina told him with a laugh.
“OH GOD WHAT DID I DO? YOU’RE GOING TO KILL ME ARE YOU?” Kit asked in hysteria. “IT WASN’T ME I SWEAR... I DIDN’T STEAL KISARA’S PANTIES, I HAVEN’T BEEN PEEPING IN THE BATHROOM I PROMISE AND WHOEVER TOLD YOU I DID IS A LIAR!” he shouted quickly. “I DON’T WANNA DIE!”
“You’ve been stealing my panties?!” Kisara asked as he temper began to rise.
“You’ve been peeking on us while we’re in the bathroom?” Hitomi said as her own anger began to show... all of the women were wearing these grins, like they were about to kill him but wanted to look happy.
“That’s... FINE!” Natasha managed to mutter angrilly.
“Kit... would you say you like your time here at Ryouzanpaku?” Daisuke interjected.
“Uh... yeah, I mean... you guys are strict, but I can really feel myself getting stronger,” Kit answered.
“Sounds like it’s settled then,” the elder announced happily, and suddenly Kit could feel the trap closing around him.
“What- what’s settled... we didn’t settle anythi- what did we settle?” he asked nervously.
“You’re going to move into Ryouzanpaku and continue your training,” Brock told him happily. Kit felt the noose tightening around his neck. The masters all stood up from the table as they circled around him, a wicked gleam in their eyes.
“NUUUUUUUUU!” Kit shouted as he jumped up from his spot at the table. “I DON’T WANT TO DIE... WHAT DID I EVER DO TO DESERVE THIS?” he shouted as he bolted from the room.
“Not so fast!” Daisuke shouted as the chain came around in front of him, a second later it was wrapped securely around his arms and stomach... Kit kept running despite the fact that Daisuke was slowly reeling him in.
He was three feet from the master when he finally managed to slip through the loop in the chain. “Don’t let him get away!” Kisara shouted as he took off running again. Denali dove for his ankles but Kit jumped to avoid him. Hitomi tried to grab him out of the air but instead Kit used her head as a springboard to escape.
“NOOOOOOOOO; PLEASE DON’T KILL ME!” Kit shouted as he dodged Brock in mid-air.
“GOT YA!” the elder shouted from behind as two trunk-like arms wrapped around Kit’s stomach and elbows like a vice.
Kit alternated between wailing “I don’t wanna live here” and “I don’t wanna die!”
“You’re training is gunna be hell, but IF you survive, you’ll be VERY strong,” Denali tried to entice him.
“Just imagine it, physical training by day, and fighting ‘til you’re bloody at night,” Brock tried added wistfully.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Kit shouted as he tried to struggle out of the elder’s grasp.
“No wonder he’s so scared... you really think those promises sound enticing... let me talk to the kid alone for a second,” Daisuke told them. Kit had to promise not to run again, he considered lying and trying to run, but then it hit him that no place would be safe from his teachers.
Daisuke took him away from the others, to a place in the docks where the others would have a hard time hearing them and hid his mouth as he put it up to Kit’s ear and whispered to him.
“Do you know what Kisara wears to bed?” he asked softly.
“No,” Kit answered confusedly.
“Bycycle shorts... and nothing else,” Daisuke told him. “It only took me one day to find out that Hitomi doesn’t wear anything as she walks the halls to the bathroom. You were thinking of this all wrong, sure you might die along the way, that’s a possibility, but there’s something that makes it worth the risk,” Daisuke explained.
“What’s that?” Kit asked him.
“Opportunity. Say one night, after you two are done training, Kisara’s tired; the rest of us are out doing our own thing, so she comes down to your room and asks for a massage. Maybe one day you walk down the right hall, Natasha falls over onto you, you cop a little feel and nobody suspects anything. There are four women stalking the halls of this place man... think about it. You go into the bath one night, maybe Katrina’s changing... how’re you to know?” Daisuke started out. He spent the next half an hour jumping from one hypothetical situation to another, each stressing that he would be living in the same house as one woman or another. “Not to mention the cherry on top... you’ll have round the clock access to Kisara... she starts to date a guy... you’ll know, she has somebody she needs to talk to about something? You’re right down the hall. All I’m saying is... don’t forget about the opportunity that comes with the risk of death,” he concluded.
“I never thought of it that way,” Kit answered. ~
Kisara didn’t know what Daisuke had said to Kit, but when he got back, he had this massive smile. He bowed down before the Elder of the dojo with tears in his eyes. “PLEASE LET ME LIVE WITH YOU HERE!” he shouted in a voice that sounded a little... overzealous. He was thinking something dirty. ~
“How did you convince him?” Hitomi asked Daisuke after Kit had left to collect his things from his house.
“I just explained to him the OPPORTUNITY that had been set in front of him,” Daisuke told her with a shrug and cunning grin.
“The poisoned dart in the cherry tart?” she asked him poetically.
“He knew the pie was bad, he just wanted to believe so desperately that he ate it anyway,” Daisuke answered with a charming smile. ~
When Kit returned to Ryouzanpaku the master’s had transformed once again. “Where’s your harness at you lazy sack of shit?” Daisuke shouted at him as soon as he was over the wall.
“You told me to take it off?” Kit answered confused.
“TAKE IT OFF? THAT’S IT... WE’RE DOUBLING THE RESISTANCE... PLAY TIME’S OVER MAGGOT!” he yelled at him.
After he managed to put the harness back on and they’d upped the resistance they forced him into another run. This time he had run 90 laps in a half an hour. He was about to die when they stopped and pushed him into another sparring match.
“This is serious this time... if you don’t give it everything you’ve got, then Kisara will just have to kill you,” Denali told him... Kisara looked prepared to kill him anyway.
Ten minutes later Kisara had him on the floor screaming “I surrender!” and “It wasn’t me!”. She had one of his legs up as she ground her foot down on his groin.
“WHERE’D YOU HIDE THEM!” she shouted enthusiastically as she stomped down on him.
“KISARA! That’s enough,” Hitomi told her after a while. “We haven’t had our turn yet,” the Kempo master reminded Kisara as she motioned to Katrina and Natasha.
They all had their own shouts and jeers as the four women viciously attacked the young student. The men weren’t in a forgiving mood either shouting things like “Finish it!” and “Kill HIM!”.
There were complaints of loud screams from the neighbors into the early hours of the morning. Kit slept that night on the mat... where he’d passed out.