Story Notes:Written circa 2002.
Synopsis: The blond Ronin talks about the problem of being too beautiful.
They all call me a flirt. ‘They’ being the rest of the guys, you know. The Ronin Warriors if you’re being technical about it. I don’t flirt. I don’t even have the guts to admit flirting even if I did flirt. It’s just the way the rest of the guys see me; okay, say you’re a really pretty girl and you’re walking along and you see two guys. They look almost exactly alike except one has this angel-golden hair that just invites a double take and the other has plain old boring bag brown. Now, which would you be inclined to hit on? I guess the flirting is all on the girl’s part (which part don’t ask me) and I’m too shy to do anything but sit there and take it like a mime. I have to go incognito on Valentine’s Day or else risk getting mugged, mauled, molested, maimed and/or any of those other ‘m’ words. Then the others all see me with two or three girls at a time hanging off of me like Spanish moss on a willow tree and they think I’m the one doing it. They get jealous and don’t talk to me for a few hours.
I can’t help it if the ladies are attracted to me but it is taxing. I don’t know why they could be jealous in the first place. It’s not like any of us trooper freaks even have a chance of hitting off in a real relationship anyway. I mean, imagine a date where you have to meet the parents:
‘Mom, this is Sage. He’s a mystical samurai warrior who goes around saving the world from disembodied demons. He has a big sword. He says he’ll show it to me sometime.’
You see? It’s kind of hard to develop any sort of relationship outside of our little circle of friends, not that I think Mia would mind a date or two with yours truly but she’s older than me and reminds me of my sister. Yes, the same sister who took perverse pleasure in dressing me up like a girl and putting ribbons in my hair. I was too young to remember quite clearly but it probably owes to my gynophobia. So when I’m forty and still a bachelor I have her to thank. Merci beaucoup, Sis.
I don’t think that Rowen minds this social predicament. When he’s not studying for God-only-knows what, astronuclearphysics or something, he’s reading and when he’s not reading, he’s sleeping and when he’s not sleeping, he’s eating. Guy’s got it made.
Cye seems to be doing fine, perhaps a little too fine. Don’t tell him I told you this, but I think the guy’s as bent as a paperclip. Batting for both sides if you get my drift. God, I feel for Ryo. He’s probably totally clueless as usual. It takes him a while to get a hint but while we’re waiting for an absolution, confession or murder I’m going to sit this one out on the sidelines. Don’t drag me into this. I know, as soon as the topic of the opposite sex comes up everyone’s going to be seething in envy. Hell, I wouldn’t put it past them to blame me for Cye’s ‘pillow biting’ disorder. They’d probably say that since all the girls come flocking to me I’m taking away potential dates. It’s not my fault. I didn’t ask to be born this gorgeous. I’ll admit that I tend to flaunt a little from time to time but if they’re really hurting for a piece of ass there’s several places in town I know of . . . not personally or anything. I just know. Believe me, you’d be astonished at the pieces of paper I find in my back pocket. I have to do my laundry in secret or else someone will raise the cry that there’s a sleaze living in the house and I have to hide somewhere or else get crucified.
It’s really hard being good-looking. If ugly people knew what they were in for when they wish to be pretty, they’d take it back after just having to survive 24 hours in my shoes. I can’t count the number of attempts made on my virginity and when it comes down to it, guys are just as vulnerable as girls, if not more so. A girl can slap a rude guy or spray mace in his eyes, give him an unexpected root canal with her fist, anything. But see when a guy is being rudely approached by a girl, there’s nothing he can do physically. This is coming from a male who grew up as the weaker sex in a house full of powerful women, and to strike a girl invites death in no uncertain terms. So all I can do is run. Flee. Turn tail and head for the hills. I hate that. Sexism on guys. A girl can hit a guy but if a guy hits a girl he gets arrested. As Kento would say, ‘That ain’t right.’
But now, getting hit on by guys is something totally different. Yes, I’ve been hit on by other guys, most of them being in their mid thirties to late forties (nasty God-awful pederasts — go back to Greece you perverts) and I guess that’s sort of my fault. In a way. I like to wear things that accent my, uh, ‘natural beauty’ and since my eyes are a funny shade of blue, wearing purple really brings them out. Of all colors, it had to be purple. In the ancient days it signified royalty since purple dye was hard to come by and only the rich could afford it (Rowen told me that piece of irrelevant data) but these days you might as well have some neon pink letters stenciled on that purple shirt that says, ‘I’M GAY! COME AND GET ME!’
So now I’ve got girls and guys lining up and following me wherever I go (my adoring fan crowd Ryo calls it), showering me with love letters and flowers on any given day, worshipping the ground I walk on... that’s why I’d hate to be a movie star, God help me if I ever become one. I’ve had to change my phone number six times in the past year because I get calls in the middle of the night from all over town. Some of them were long distance. I feel bad about turning down so many nice girls but I’ve got to draw the line somewhere, right? I mean, when I decide that I want a relationship I’ll have one but just not right now. Man. I sound like such a woman. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had been raised as a girl instead. I’d probably still have both genders hitting on me. The irony in my life is enough to inspire another album by Alanis Morissette, if not a book series and television show. If you ever hear about the tragedies of a beautiful person trying to live a normal life in a T.V. Guide or something, let me know. I’ll leave the country and go live in the wilderness.
Huh. Isn’t it mating season for the bears?
Synopsis: Rowen discusses the matters of intellect and social ineptitude.
I hate it when people ask me what I think. I don’t mind the technical questions ‘cause technical questions are what I’m good at. Oops. Ended a sentence with a preposition. My literature professor would kill me. Anyway, so I don’t mind factual questions. I mind the opinionated questions. Everyone, the gang and all, just because they think I’m smart they always have to ask me my opinion. Like I am a source of infinite wisdom or something: ‘Hey, Rowen. Do you think it will rain today?’ when common sense says look up into the clear blue sky and tell me the hell what you think. That’s the kind of stuff that frustrates me. Not so much people’s own stupidity but my own intellectual superiourity.
I hate being smarter than everyone else because it segregates you in a way from the rest of society. That’s why there’s all those movies about the antisocial geek who goes bonkers and blows up the world or something like that. I don’t call myself a geek. Other people do.
The problem is this: I know I’m smart, and other people know I’m smart. That’s the main thing right there. I like to read and I do my homework because I like learning and I like knowing that I’m doing something to expand my knowledge. Everyone else interprets that as antisocialism. ‘Oh, let’s go to the movies without Rowen. You know he’s always studying anyway.’ You see? It’s not me. Although I could be a renegade and skip my homework a few nights a week, I don’t like doing that. My dad taught me that only those who work hard reap the reward, and I believe him. My dad’s a respected man who knows a lot and he didn’t get that way by cutting classes and not doing homework (that’s what he always tells me). So I miss out on a lot.
But I like to have fun, too. I’m a very fun-loving guy who likes to laugh and goof around just like any other teenager but I keep that fun and jesting outside the classroom. On the surface, I’m just your average Joe Schmoe. That’s why I’m more comfortable around strangers. I have to be careful of what I say around them, though. One word over four syllables or a comment on the meteorological aspects of the cumulonimbus clouds in the sky and you’ve just lost a date or a friend. That label comes up and smacks right on my forehead in big, bold letters: GEEKASAURUS REX.
I’ve been called a whiz, a geek, a nerd, a dork, Einstein, the next Pascal, a child prodigy, the whole nine yards and a bag of chips. I don’t care. It’s just a name . . . but it still hurts, even when it’s coming from your friends as a joke. Times like those I wish I was dumb, an ignoramus extraordinaire, just to fit in. That’s all I want. I know it’s a stupid, small, little thing but it is too much to ask? Just a smidgeon of normality? A shred of respect? Einstein got respect, why can’t I? Oh God, now I’m comparing myself to Einstein. No wonder I have a problem making friends.
I’m seventeen and too smart for my own good. Everyone says it’s going to get me into trouble one day. Kento is afraid my brain is going to grow and grow until my head just explodes like a volcanic eruption and then I have to give him a lesson in anterior anatomy to reassure him that everything is alright. Cye seems to sympathise with me, going out of his way to try to include me into group activities. Most of the time I decline because he makes me feel uncomfortable. I know he didn’t intend to but he doesn’t need to treat me special. It’s like everyone feels sorry for me, like I have a disease or something that separates me from the rest of society. ‘Oh, poor Rowen. He’s smart. We’d better leave him alone.’ It makes me feel like a rat in a cage (isn’t there a song about that?) with everyone staring at me pitifully. ‘Oh, doctor. The poor child is intelligent. What a horrible thing to happen to someone so young. Is there any cure?’
‘I’m afraid . . . it’s terminal.’
Sob sob sob. Bring me thy tears, thy sorrow.
I understand. I understand it all and I wish I didn’t. Me and Ryo, we’re good buddies and all but he is exactly the opposite of me. That’s why we argued so much when we were fighting the Dynasty. He acts blindly on his emotions and I rely on strategies. I’m nervous when I don’t have a plan. I like making ‘to do’ lists. It helps me keep my thoughts organised and, believe me, I’ve got a lot of thoughts flying around in my head. That makes for a lot of confrontation between Ryo and I so we never really clicked like we should have. Sage is perhaps my closest friend and it’s all because he treats me remotely like a human being. Either that or he just doesn’t give a damn. I would infer that he’s self-obsessed but most of the time what you infer about people is wrong. Besides, I’m not God and I have no right to judge him. He’s my friend and that’s all that I ask of him. He’s a little insecure, but aren’t we all? Don’t we all have our vices and victories?
In school all the other kids avoided me. I was in gifted and they felt they weren’t worthy enough to play with me. I didn’t care about worth, we were on the playground for God’s sake; all I wanted was a friend to play with. Those times of social interaction were rare, so I always did my homework at recess. I don’t make friends every day and I value the ones I have. That’s why when the others were captured by the Dynasty I gave it my all to rescue them. If they died, I’d have no one. My family is pretty small as it is and I’d have to start from a clean slate. They aren’t just my friends- they’re like my brothers. I’m an only child and I’ve never had siblings, so this is as close as I’ll get to having some. They’re my comrades, my brothers in arms. We’ve fought together, died together, suffered together, and bled together. That’s why it hurts so much to be standing outside the circle and watching them have fun. The fifth wheel, that’s me. I’ve got to stop this self-pity thing I’ve got going on here. It isn’t healthy.
There’s so much more I could say but I’ve said enough. Wow, that was rare. Admitting I’ve said enough. I feel like I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. Well, perhaps another monologue sometime. ‘The Tragedy of Rowen’. Heh. I’m giving Macbeth a run for the money.
Synopsis: Ryo angsts and vents his feelings of inadequacy and frustration with being the “leader”.
Hi! How’s everyone doing? Man, that was a great beginning. I sound like I’m four years old. Anyways, I like to introduce myself before I start talking, you know. It helps me relax. Don’t get the idea that I can’t give speeches or anything — I’m a natural born leader and giving speeches to huge crowds is my strong point. Hm. Sounds like I’m a natural born egomaniac too but hey, that’s life. I suck at a lot of other things so let me boast once in a while.
Speaking of being a leader and things that suck, let me tell you just how hard it is to be the head honcho. When the rest of your comrades look up to you, you have to be setting the example 24/7. It’s hell, man. I mean, you can NOT make a mistake. There’s no room for error and not enough mercy to go around if you do. Make just one mistake, even a tiny, insignificant one and you’ve put fear and doubt into the heart of the team. Okay, so I make a boo-boo and almost everyone loses faith in me and I feel guilty about that, you know, because I feel like: ‘I could have been a better leader than that.’ So then I cry because I get frustrated (if you had to go through what I go through you’d be crying, too). I want to be the best I can be but I feel like it’s never enough and let me tell you, I try. I really do. I guess I think about the team too much. If there was a better leader out there, someone noble and courageous and smart and not as emotional as me, I’d hand over my armor without hesitating. Why? ‘Cause it’s for the good of the team, that’s why. But all they have is me. Yup, stuck with ‘old reliable’ Ryo.
I don’t think they realize how hard I work for them, for us all. I’m busting my ass but all they see are the negative outcomes. So I get mad and snappy, they retreat posthaste, I’m left standing all by my lonesome and soon I’m crying again ‘cause I can’t control my temper. I guess that’s why people call me emotionally unstable. Everyone says I have a very passionate nature; I wish I could learn to control that passion. I envy Sage’s mellowness. Sage is so laid-back and calm that he’s usually the first person I go to with a monkey on my back. I unleash my hostility on him and he takes it with a grain of salt. Nothing seems to phase the guy, unless one of us brings up the topic of girls or his sisters. Otherwise, the dude is cool as a cucumber. Maybe he should be the leader. Or Rowen. He’s smart. Or maybe Cye. He’s caring and sympathetic. Or maybe Kento. He’s enthusiastic and doesn’t let anything stand in his way. He doesn’t suffer from lack of self-confidence or doubt. I don’t know if it’s optimism or plain stupidity, but I admire it, whichever it is. He’d probably bust me one for making that comment.
Being a leader is a big responsibility. I was raised to be responsible. I’m an orphan, you know, after my dad died and all, so I had to learn to support myself. Whenever the guys bring up the subject of family, like Sage would be all ‘Oh, my parents are so old-fashioned!’ and Cye would be like ‘My mum is me closest friend!’ and Kento would say something like ‘My folks don’t give me enough allowance.’ and then Rowen gets started on his dad and I’m like, just sitting there and listening to them. It’s sad. Why couldn’t I be like everyone else? Why can’t we all be like everyone else? Fate? Destiny? Damned bad luck? I should ask Rowen. He seems to know everything whether he likes it or not. I wonder if he decided to be smart or if that was just another twist of fate.
Nobody likes being the centre of negative attention so I try my best not to make an error. Of course, when you’re arguing with a genius there’s a pretty weak chance that you’re going to win. Rowen absolutely loves to point out any mistake I make, especially when it comes to strategy plans. He knows that I know that he knows he’s better equipped to do the job than I so most of the time I pick up my shattered pride and ego off the floor and let him do it. I don’t like arguing, especially with Rowen. I’ve heard him and Kento go at it like barking dogs and it’s almost funny. Here’s Kento, calling him a dork-o-matic or something equally childish and Rowen over there yelling about mental troglodytes and evolutionary throwbacks, cess scum in the gene pool and I have to leave the room or else bust up laughing and have them both come and kill me. But Kento and I get along fine since we both seem to be pretty much alike. It’s Cye who I’m worried about. Yeah, he’s caring and kind and nice and he makes a damn good meatloaf but these days I’m thinking he might reaaalllly be out to lunch, you know? Like maybe he’s a little too happy or something . . . ? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being happy but I think this is a whole new “happy” side of Cye I’ve never seen before. You kinda get what I’m saying? Or maybe, maybe it’s just the way the British are raised. Cye was raised by his mom — excuse me — mum and sister, which would account for a lot. But like always, I usually miss the forest ‘cause of the trees and I’m probably just imagining things. Cye’s still one of my good friends. They are all my good friends. God. I don’t know what I’d do without them. If it weren’t for them I’d be a hermit or something.
This whole fate and destiny thing, I don’t like thinking about it. I’ve just come to accept it as a way of life. Like when my mom died and my dad died, I just accepted it without questioning it. I just thought it was all a big part of the so-called Great Mystery of Life. Stuff like that . . . it just makes me really unhappy. I can say that, right? I’m unhappy. Yeah, sure, I helped save the world a few times, and yeah, I’m lucky to be alive after all I’ve been through, and yeah, I’m still young and I’ve got my whole life ahead of me . . . but it’s just human nature to want just a little bit more. Do you think I have a case? Or do I sound like a case? I’m as human as the rest of society. I bleed like everyone else and when you take away my armor, my responsibility, my training and my skill I’m just a street kid with no parents. How many of those are there out in the world? I’ve heard the other guys rant and moan about themselves too, and sometimes I get to thinking that we really are a bunch of sad-sack pathetics. I don’t know who the hell to feel sorry for. Ah, there’s a quote drifting around in my head somewhere: “I think everyone should feel sorry for everyone else. We all have our own private little hells.” Whoever said that was right. I’m still Ryo of Wildfire, though. No changing that. I wonder if I even could. Well. I didn’t ask to be a Ronin Warrior. None of us did. Sometimes I think it’s more of a curse than an honor, but that’s just me.
Synopsis: The bearer of the Hardrock armor talks about his attitude and his friends’ dreary outlook on life.
I’m a badass. No. That’s wrong. I am the badass. You’ll see my picture in the dictionary next to the definition for “rock”. Cye always teases me, saying it’s next to the definition for “stubborn”, too. But I let it slide ‘cause he’s my buddy. The rest of the guys say I have an attitude, that I’m always looking for a fight and that my answer to all our problems is beating someone’s ass. Most of the time I’m right, though. Talpa came into out world thinking he could just take over and what did we do? Did we try to negotiate? Hell no. We beat his ass, man. Twice. Shikaisen and his little geeky sidekick? Beat their asses, too. Quickest way to a person’s brain is through a swift kick in the ass. My parents, heck, my whole family knows at least two forms of martial arts and when they were raising a brat like me they didn’t discipline me through “passive discussions and collective agreements”. Tch. Um, no? If I was bad, I got a whoopin’. Striking out physically isn’t the best way to solve every problem but it sure does work when all else fails. The rest of the guys just don’t wanna admit it ‘cause I’m the “dumb” one of the group. Alright, so I may not be a genius like Rowen but what I lack in brains I make up for in brawn. Not my fault, man. It’s my job, self-appointed Smackdown Santa of the team. I’m proud of it.
I’m not afraid of what other people think of me. It’s like, so effing what? I don’t care. They’re just thoughts. Not like thoughts have ever killed anyone . . . directly. That’s Ryo’s problem. He tries so hard to please everybody. He takes all that responsibility on himself, that if he makes one mistake then he’s automatically unworthy of being our leader. I think he thinks we can’t survive without him. Ryo has this great big imagination and he sometimes gets carried away and exaggerates things out of proportion a bit. And talk about emotional. He goes through moodswings like a pregnant woman. One minute all gung-ho, chipper Ryo and a comment later from Rowen about Ryo forgetting to take out the garbage and he’s suddenly “not worthy of us” and runs off to go wallow in misery. Well, maybe I was exaggerating a bit myself, but sometimes it’s really that bad. He sure seems to whine a lot. Maybe all he needs is a good old fashioned ass beating! That should make things better! . . . I’m kidding, folks. I ain’t that dense.
I heard that happiness in intelligent people is rare. If that’s true, I’d rather be dumb and happy than smart and miserable. I consider myself a pretty cheery guy- I have a whole smorgasbord of jokes and gags and I know every prank in the book. I take it as my job to lighten up the group, offer a little humor every now and then. Be the jester, you know. I mean, somebody’s got to do it, right? That’s the basis of proper functioning in a group (ooh, don’t I sound smart). Rowen, man, I think he thinks too much. He’s a great guy — I’ve known him for a long time but he really thinks too much. He thinks so much he can contradict himself when he’s arguing with somebody. I tell him, sometimes you just gotta get out there and act, stop thinking about it and do it already. If the statement about happiness in intelligent people is politically correct (what the hell does that mean, anyway?) then Rowen must be . . . Gawd, he’d be dead by now. I think I’ll keep my eye on him. You know. Just to make sure he doesn’t get too smart and die.
Having friends is great, especially the lesser you have of ‘em. I’d rather have a few really close best friends than a lot of “sorta-kinda-friends”. Cye is, without a doubt, the bestest friend I’ve ever had in my life. I mean, anyone who can prepare a gourmet meal in less than 30 minutes is automatically my best friend. Martha Stewart ain’t got nothin’ on Cye (at least he has EYES for crying out loud) and Cye has better taste in interior decorating. You know, Martha Stewart just reminded me of Sage. Don’t ask why, it must be the whole hair/eyes thing. Ha! I’d absolutely die to see Sage trying to coordinate a dinner party. Now Sage, dude, you could not get more opposite than me and him.
Sage is a flirt, or at least a wanna-be. Pretty boy blondie. That’s my opinion. He’s always got at least two girls hanging off of each arm and on occasion, a few dudes, too. Ick. Nah, we know he ain’t “that” way and he’s too chicken to talk to girls. He calls it shyness. We call it fear. Actually, when I think about it, he doesn’t like anyone. Well, except for us. I know Rowen is his closest friend right after his own reflection. Ha ha! He spends half a day in front of the mirror. If it isn’t narcissism or vanity, it’s self-obsession with his image. As for me, I don’t get hit on by girls a lot but I don’t mind. If a wife’s chief duty is to cook and clean I’ll save myself the torment and just live with Cye for the rest of my life. At least Cye won’t bitch at me for not cleaning the . . . what am I saying? Of course he’ll bitch. I must be cracking up.
And now, like Jerry Springer, I will offer a final thought for all of the above and it is this: from time to time we all need our asses beat, chiefly to keep us in our rightful places and remind us of how much better our lives really are and that there’s no reason to waste time wondering how much greener the grass is on the other side, ‘cause it’s most likely artificial, anyway.
Synopsis: The water-loving lad discusses issues of his personal concern.
Who am I?
Or perhaps to make it philosophical, what am I? Has anyone ever put any mind as to just what I am, technically? I’ll tell you what I am; I am a British samurai. Do you know how absolutely mad that sounds? If I went around saying I was an Englishman given a mystical armour to fight the powers of evil, I’d go straight to the asylum, that’s for bleedin’ sure. But who’s to know? And to make things worse, people automatically assume that because I am friendly, enjoy cooking, in touch with my emotions and happen to think pink isn’t such a bad colour that I’m a prancing nancy. Yes, you heard me. So now I’m a GAY, British, mystical samurai now, am I? Can you imagine how that would look on a job application? Thank God there isn’t a lie detector pencil invented yet or everything would go to cock. Listen to me, gabbin’ about lie detector pencils. I hope this isn’t any indication of how the rest of these five minutes will go.
So anyroad, of all five of us Ronin chaps, I perhaps am the one most taken for granted. When we’re not cavorting over the landscape in pursuit of Talpa’s evil henchmen, it’s like afters at the local pub, a bunch of tanked yobs sitting around and waiting for something to happen. And in that free time, who do you think does the laundry and cleans and cooks for everyone? Mia can’t do it all, bless her heart. She has a job and a life in contrast to the rest of us. So what happens now? Slap the drudgery on Cye, he likes it and all that rubbish. True, I like cooking and keeping a clean house BUT NOT BY MYSELF! They enjoy washing the dishes about as much as getting kicked in the bollocks with steel-toed boots. I’m playing the bird’s role to four other blokes who all have working arms and legs and can do their own bloody laundry without having a maid (me) do it for them. Some of my mates aren’t as bad about it as others. Sage is fairly independent and can do his laundry and clean up his own messes . . .when he knows that it won’t start stacking up and reeking in a few days. See, if I weren’t around they would all pull through (how, I don’t know but they could do it) but since there’s someone hanging about whom they think likes to do chores, they just do the gracious thing and leave ALL of it to me because, after all, ‘tis better to give than receive. What an understatement.
Right, moving onward into my personal matters, I like to cook as a hobby. I’ve even entertained the thought of going to college to study the culinary arts, ain’t that ace? It’s a lot like Rowen and his little chemistry set, except for you can eat your experiment afterwards. Why he (and Ryo especially — he’s worse off than Rowen) can’t cook is anyone’s guess; I suppose Rowen’s mum never taught him how and poor Ryo just doesn’t have the . . . knack for it. I simply cannot fathom a person who can’t cook — I feel pity for anyone lacking the ability. It’s one of the first things man learned to do to survive and unless Ryo and Rowen were born hybrids with no instinct, those abilities are somewhere inside their unconscious minds. To practise the fine art of cooking, you first need a place to do it and that place is the kitchen. The kitchen is my realm, and in that realm I am king, God and tyrant. It’s verily my home, my habitat, my strongest element (aside from the water) and I take pride in that. I’m not above running Mia out when she starts buttering me up for some of my mum’s secret recipes, and I hear the fellows tease that there’s two women in the kitchen. The very nerve. That’s another thing. Aside from Mia, I’m the only person willing to cook and I’d rather to cook than eat any vile thing that Rowen or Ryo could manage to concoct. I remember when even Kento attempted to make pimento cheese and popcorn soup and we all got sickened just by the smell. We called him Kento Pimento after that incident. And, God blind me, there was the night I was feeling a little under the weather so Rowen offered to make his Refried Cajun Bean Casserole for dinner. We ordered pizza that night instead.
My role in the team as a Ronin Warrior is to try to maintain a uniform level of human sense, dignity and sanity. Often times I feel ostracised from the group when they criticise me for “caring too much” or “being the nagging mother”. The truth is, I really don’t like fighting. Sure, I’ve been trained and taught and educated for the sole purpose of being a warrior but I would a thousand times be happier dead than fighting. I’m not like Kento or Sage; they’ve been taught from infancy to follow the strict warrior code and they enjoy the vigour and passion of a battle. Not me. I’ll fight if I have to but not all the time with my heart. My heart beats for the time between battles. That’s when I feel truly alive, truly at peace, not when I’m risking my life in ridiculous ways. I am perhaps the greatest liar out of all the team. Not only do I hide my true feelings from my mates under the guise of someone who is quite well off fighting evil and risking humanity’s survival, but I find myself believing in these lies, and when you lie to yourself there really is no other person you can trust. If you can’t trust yourself . . . who else is there?
We’re all human, us Ronin Warriors, even though our armours possess inhuman qualities. I see my comrades as human beings before I see them as warriors, and that is how they will always be to me. Human. Which is in itself quite true, but given the near immortality of our armours, well . . . if our armours are mystical then surely some of that magic has rubbed off on us, hasn’t it? My forehead kanji has been known from time to time to flare up like a blue rash when I get emotional or am in a state of extreme peace. Like a Christmas tree, PING! The light suddenly comes on. I wonder if that will ever cease or if it will continue for the rest of my life. I’ve gotten some funny looks from strangers and I have to make up the excuse that it’s a birthmark that appears when I have an allergic reaction to something. It’s embarrassing and it sets me apart from the rest of the world. You know, now that I’ve thought about it, that’s all we want to be now: just like everybody else. We’ve spent so much time playing the role of the heroes and basking in the honourable responsibility of being the protectors of this world that when the novelty has worn off all that’s left is regret and a pocketful of memories of a life before we became what we are now. Well, it’s like cooking and cleaning, I suppose. It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it. And like my role as housemaid, that “somebody” just happened to be me. What rotten luck I think it is sometimes.
Well, no sense in crying over it. Guess that’s fate for you, might as well learn to deal with it. “Keep a stiff upper lip” is the phrase used where I come from. Suck it up and deal with it . . . I’m beginning to sound redundant. Maybe I’m repeating myself for no one’s sake but my own. That’s pretty much the only reason you cry anyway; those tears aren’t for someone else, they’re for yourself. Which is good in small amounts, like alcohol, but too much of it, like alcohol, can lead to depression and really sorry luck in your love life. Ah, well, but that’s a whole other story now, isn’t it?
Chapter Endnotes: I am profoundly sorry to anyone who actually read this boring drivel from beginning to end. If I could give you back those 45 minutes, I would.