Haka sat, meditating, next to a monk, under a cold small waterfall. Ever since the death of his parents and older brother, three weeks ago, Haka had been living with this monk and the shrine maidens at the local shrine. They had held the cremation of his parents and brother. And with him having nowhere else to, the monk had taken him in. Haka had told the monk; Osho Daruan, everything that had happened that night.
Osho could understand Haka’s frustration and anger at the people who killed his family. But because he was so young, so influential, having so much potential, Osho wanted to take the chance to take this boy and make him into a good, strong young man. a man that could stay calm in difficult and hard times, one who would be respected by the community. And, since Osho was also a man who had spirit energy, he also wished to train Haka in the spiritual way. Both of the shrine and him.
and so, since the start of these three weeks, Osho had worked Haka hard. Osho was kind, but also driven. As a teacher he could be rather harsh, but he would never push a student too far. There were three other boys who also lived at the shrine. They too had meditated with Osho and Haka. But where Osho spend one hour meditating under the pressure of the waterfall, the three of them had given up after ten minutes. that had been twenty minutes ago.
as he reached the half hour point, Haka stood up, walked to the side, bowed to Osho and said, ‘sensei, I’m heading back now.’ Osho nodded, ‘very well. I’ll see you in three hours in the training hall.’ Haka nodded, bowed again, turned around and walked back toward the shrine. During meditation, he had to go to a place where he felt calm, most relaxed and focus on staying there, wanting nothing more than to remain calm. For him that was his old house. Though it had been difficult, his visions had been troubled before by the house burning and the men coming in and killing his family. It had been difficult to get over that.
but, as Osho and the shrine maidens had taught him, acceptance was the path to peace. And now, he had accepted his family’s death and he had found a new peaceful spot; the shrine. As he opened his eyes, he stood in front of the shrine again and walked onto its grounds, before going to the bath. As he had expected, the other boys were also still there, enjoying the warm bath. All of them were older than him, but he had lasted the longest under the waterfall. All of them had slightly tanned skin, two had black hair and the other dark brown hair. That one, Ojiro, looked at him, ‘hey Haka. Looks like you’ve almost turned blue.’
Haka smiled, dropped his soaking wet clothes and hung them to dry over the fire outside, before joining them in the bath. Ojiro was ten years old. Haku, the black haired boy with the longest hair, was twelve and Orimu, who had short black hair, was thirteen. As Haka stepped into the bath, he looked at his pale skin and noticed that his nails were indeed blue. Orimu nodded with a grin, ‘it’s just like we were saying, right Haku. Haka is really impressive.’ Haku nodded, ‘indeed. The three of us have been here longer than you, doing this training longer than you. and yet, after two weeks, you manage to last longer than us. what’s your secret?’
Haka shrugged, ‘I’m not sure guys. For some reason, after what I’ve seen, cold doesn’t bother me all that much.’ Ojiro nodded, ‘it remains impressive.’ A knock was heard on the wood outside. The head of the shrine maidens, Kaguya, said, ‘Ojiro, Haku, Orimu, you’ve been in there long enough. get started on your chores.’ They nodded and replied they would. They got out of the water, dried off and dressed in fresh dry clothing and walked outside.
Kaguya looked inside, seeing Haka sit there on his own, ‘ah, our youngest trainee is also back. How was the water?’ Haka smiled, ‘a bit cold and coming down as hard as always.’ Kaguya nodded, ‘and how’s the water now? Would you like me to turn up the fire some more?’ Haka shook his head, ‘thanks miss Kaguya. But it’s fine.’ Kaguya nodded and walked on. after twenty minutes of enjoying the bath, Haka got out of the bath as well, dried off, got dressed and walked outside. As he did, Kaguya put him to work right away.
once every two or three days, the shrine had to be cleaned. Today was such a day. And while the other boys had already started, there was still enough of the shrine that needed cleaning, so he went to help them. as he got started, Osho returned from the waterfall as well. as he saw the boys working, he was glad to see them busy.
as the cleaning was finished, the time had come for lunch. The shrine maidens had also finished with their cleanup and had started making some food. As the boys finished their work, they could enjoy some nice rice balls with a cup of tea. They knew they would need this food for what came next. Today was one of the physical training days in the week.
their training on spirituality was split up. One day had no training, another day had physical spiritual training. Another had spiritual training concerning the shrine. And another had spiritual meditation. Another day had normal physical training. And on all these days they also received mental teachings. Sometimes about life, other times about the spiritual world.
as they finished their lunch, the boys went to the training hall. They changed clothes and started their warming up. As Osho entered, in his training clothes, he was happy to see the boys had already started. The thing they trained in, for all three weeks since Haka had been here, though according to the others they had done this for two years, was spirit energy control and direction. They needed to feel their own spirit energy and guide it through their own bodies.
from the top of their head to their nose, from the tips of their fingers to their toes. From their stomach to their knees. From the back of their head, all the way down their spine. And as they trained in this, they also had to try and hit their sparring partner and get them to the floor. To do so, they gathered their spirit energy in the palms of their hands and delivered strikes to the others. To block this, their opponent would gather his spirit energy in his arms and use it to block. The same went for kicks and defense in their legs.
as the four of them trained, Haka noticed that he had the greatest advantage. Even though he was the youngest and physically the weakest, he had the most spirit energy of all four boys. Even if all four of them combined their power, he still had more than them. and through this, he could go on longer than the other three. Also, with the training his father had given him, redirecting his spirit energy into his body for greater strength and speed, combined with this training of direction, he could take on the others as equals.
Osho noticed how fast Haka learned and, after the boy had told the monk his father had trained him in another way, Osho understood why it was that Haka could keep up with others who already trained for two years. As the warming up ended, Osho gathered the boys, ‘all of you have shown you have grasped these basic concepts; completely. You can now direct your spirit energy from one point of your body to another and use it in various ways. The next step is to channel your spirit energy into something else.’
Osho walked to the wall where wooden poles and swords were lying. As he reached it, he turned around and looked at Orimu, ‘Orimu, what was it you said to Saruno yesterday?’ Saruno was one of the young shrine maidens and a good friend of Orimu. The latter cleared his throat and replied, ‘I told her, that as long as she remains at this shrine, I will do everything within my power to protect her.’ Osho nodded, ‘good. And with what would you want to protect here?’ Orimu looked at the tools, ‘a staff sir. That way, I can keep threats at a distance.’ Osho nodded, picked one up and tossed it over at Orimu who caught it.
Osho looked at the others, ‘Orimu has the right idea boys. He wishes to protect someone. And to do that he has chosen a pole. Now, boys, think of what you want to protect and state with what you want to do that.’ Ojiro smiled and said, ‘a staff sensei.’ Haku looked at his options and replied, ‘a dagger sir.’ Haka, ‘a sword.’ Osho tossed all of them the weapons of their choice and asked, ‘now tell me, why did you choose it?’ Ojiro replied, ‘the same reason as Orimu; to keep danger further away.’ Haku, ‘a dagger may be short, but one can react faster with it, thus taking care faster of danger that’s close.’ Haka, ‘a sword has some distance and can become like an extension of the wielder. Allowing the wielder to protect everything in that extended area.’
Osho nodded, ‘now, as you continue sparring, I want you to send your spirit energy into your chosen weapon, both when you attack and when you defend. You now know how it feels to do so within your own body. So you should be able to do the same with a weapon in hand.’ The boys continued. As they did, Haka remembered the first time he had come here and seen the dojo. It had first been made for samurai who came by, needing healing and who wanted to keep up their training. When gifted people wished to be trained in the use of their spirit energy, the dojo was used for those purposes as well.
as their training came to an end after three hours, the boys were free to relax. As they went to their room, Orimu pulled out a Shogi board, challenging the other three boys to a match. As Orimu was the oldest, having played the game the most, he was the best at it. as such, as Haku and Ojiro played against him, they both lost. Haka had learned some strategy from his brother Taro and had played Shogi before with his father. Combining these helped him a little. As such, he lasted ten moves longer than Haka, who lasted a total of 20 moves. As Haku took on Ojiro, Haka wondered how his brother would have compared to Orimu in terms of playing Shogi.
as the first dinner bell was rung, Haka hurried to the kitchen. The shrine maidens and girls who wished to become shrine maidens, had already gathered. Each of the four days, one of the boys had to help in the cooking. Haka, though only six, was capable of helping quite well. washing the salad, boiling the rice, stirring the stew, adding some spices. The women were teaching him how to help with the cooking.
as the second dinner bell was rung, the others came to the dining hall. Everyone sat down and gave thanks for the food in front of them. Osho gave extra thanks, for the peaceful life he lived with his family; everyone who lived with him at the Shrine. As they started eating, everyone enjoyed the taste of the food everyone had worked hard on.
an hour after dinner, Osho went for a walk through the forest with Haka. As they reached a clearing, osho took a firm hold of his staff and took a stance in front of Haka, ‘your body has restored enough since last week. Your Fullbring takes quite a toll on you, as you can only use it once every week. Then again, you’re only six. So that’s impressive. Take it out and let’s see what you can do with it.’ Haka nodded, opened the bag he carried with him and pulled out the golden lower right arm of the skeleton with its red diamonds. As he took it in hand, he activated his Fullbring, turning it into a katana with a blade made of red spirit energy.
Osho nodded and ran at Haka, swinging his spirit staff. As it was charged with spirit energy, it would unleash a powerful shockwave against everything it hit. Haka used what he had learned from his father and from Osho and the other boys. Osho could unleash strong hits, especially with the shockwaves he unleashed. But Haka could turn his great spirit energy into his physical strength, allowing him to stand up to the forty-five year old monk. Even so, Haka knew that if Osho were to fight at full strength and not pull his punches, he’d easily overwhelm him.
Haka kept shifting and jumping from place to place in the clearing, dodging Osho’s staff, before counter attacking. Using the knowledge of the lesson with the weapons from today, as well as the lessons of spiritual energy control, Haka focused his power into his weapon and struck as hard and fast as he could. As some shockwaves blew him away and send him spinning, he accidentally cut down trees with his blade, indicating how sharp his spirit energy was.
as Osho and Haka returned after an hour of training, his Fullbring having deactivated on its own like the last three times, Haka was exhausted; physically and mentally. The night he had obtained his Fullbring, he had rushed out of the village to the shrine. With his Fullbring in hand the monk had first seen him as a threat. Then, seeing the kid holding the weapon and hearing his story, he followed the boy. As they returned to the burned down house, Haka’s Fullbring deactivated. And during the last two training rounds Haka’s Fullbring had deactivated when its wielded had reached his limit.
even so, while living was harsh, it was also good. Haka had gained new friends, had gotten a teacher, had met kind women who could cook as well as his mother. All of them were fair and kind to him. and he tried to return those same qualities to them. for this reason, he could live so peacefully with his new family.