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Friday, June 27, 2008

2. Sōjirō: Reminiscence from the past

Chatper II: An older stronger Sōjirō

“Kill the runt; he’s a waste to society .”
“Please! No! Forgive me, I-I didn’t mean to! please, somebody! help! HELP! THEY'RE GOING TO KILL ME!”

Sōjirō’s eyes thrust wide open. His heart was pounding in his ears and his whole body was drenched in sweat: It was just another dream about his childhood. It had been a while since he had dreamed of the past. Of course he hid all his emotions behind that boyish smile of his and if anyone asked if he was feeling alright, he’d just smile it off. No one could possibly find traces of the sadness or the brutality in that bright and innocent smile.
It had been ten long years since Sōjirō had last seen his family. In fact, he wasted little time thinking about them.
“My, it’s been so long since I left my home town”, Sōjirō muttered as he picked up his katana. “Well, I’d better go summon the members of the Jupongatana. Maybe Mr. Shishio will feel better when he’s around those men-not that he needs any protection.”

The Jupongatana, headed by Makoto Shishio was made out of the best fighters in Japan. They were a group of elite fighters who had survived the horrors of the Meiji revolution. No matter how strong and skilled these fighters looked, Sōjirō would always be known as the strongest of the Jupongatana. Sōjirō had learned a technique that reached extraordinary speeds: Indeed, Shishio had taught him well. He moved so fast that the naked eye couldn’t even roll fast enough to see him. Thus, earning himself the nickname Sōjirō the Tenkin.

It was a bright sunny summer day in Kyoto. Sōjirō usually went to the market to buy fresh deacon radish and some tofu for lunch but even though it was a perfect day for shopping, Sōjirō would have no choice but to follow Mr. Shishio’s orders and go meet each and every member of the Jupongatana. As he walked by the ferocious fish traders along with the subtle flower sellers, Sōjirō couldn’t help feel lucky to be able to breathe the fresh morning air and see flowers blossoming with life. Ten years ago he couldn't even smell the sweet fragrance of white plum after a hard days work. In fact, if it wasn’t for Makoto Shishio, Sōjirō would have been sleeping under the flowers.
“I’m glad I met Mr. Shishio, even though he was scary at first. He he.” Sōjirō thought, walking faster than usual but calmly smiling as always.
Ten years ago Shishio taught him one thing, ‘Those who are strong will live and those who are weak will die’. And that fateful night, when young Sōjirō fought for his life, he understood what Shishio meant.

Makoto Shishio was an assassin during the Meiji revolution who was later shot and burnt alive by the Meiji government because he knew too much. He miraculously survived the attempt on his life and after that, he spends the rest of his days plotting against the Meiji government until he is stopped by the Battousai, ending his reign of terror. Shishio saves young Sōjirō from his evil family and molds him into one of the strongest swordsmen in the history of Japan.

Next time

The story of how Sōjirō fights for his life and becomes cursed with a smile...

All characters are based on the anime Samurai X

Click for Chapter 1

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