“So. This is our last day together, before you return home.” The little old woman studied the boys – young men – standing in front of her, pleased with what she saw. She deliberately let the silence lengthen, but they didn’t move, maintaining their respectful stances. “When your grandfather Mori Shintaro called and requested that I come out of retirement and take you for training, I was reluctant to do so. But he is honorable and persistent, “she smiled crookedly. “And I eventually agreed. I am pleased to say now that I do not regret that decision.”
“Thank you, Sensei.” They murmured.
“You have learned all there is to know about the physical arts of ninja.” She continued abruptly. “It is now up to you to maintain your conditioning and refine your techniques. You are now about to embark on the next part of the path towards balance between mind, body, spirit, and heart. ” Her shrewd dark gaze landed on the eldest boy, who returned her look steadily, his clear blue eyes calm and knowing. “Rocky.” He bowed slightly in acknowledgement. “Ah yes. The oldest, the leader, the mind. Mori Shintaro named you well, for you are still as calm and steady as the mountain. You hove an uncanny ability to think-assess-react. That is a strength. But even mountains are every changing and evolving, especially when fire burns deep. There will be moments when you will need to rely on instinct and reflex, and follow your passion, your heart, and not your mind.” She hid a smile as the 23 year old’s brow furrowed slightly as he absorbed her words, but he did not question further, just as she had expected.
Unlike his brother, Colt merely inclined his head slightly in respect and acknowledgement. Although extremely similar in build and body, Colt’s hair had darkened to a sandy brown where his brother was blonde, and had green in his hazel eyes where Rocky’s were more blue. His gaze was respectful, if a bit wary and challenging, and even at a stand still energy thrummed through him. Sensai’s smile widened.
“The middle brother, still as wild and reckless as the spirit of the animal of which you are named after. Even young colts grow up though. Channel that restless energy and spirit into a purpose, someone or something, and you will truly be free as the wind.” She said cryptically. “Together, you two are opposite ends of a balance, two sides of a triangle. You are stronger together than apart.”
“Our brother Michael has taken a different path.” Rocky said quietly, though there was a hint of humor in his voice. “Our grandfather named him true when he chose Tum Tum. He is on a journey – spiritually and physically – to become a sumo wrestler here in Japan, and has goals of becoming a professional chef back home.”
Colt couldn’t help his laughter, poorly disguised as a cough. Their baby brother had grown like a weed in all directions, now out weighing and topping both of his brothers by a good two inches at 6’4. Luckily for everyone, he was still the same sweet Tum Tum at age 18 that he had been at age eight, with the same obsession with all things culinary.
Luckily, Sensei laughed too, for she had met Tum at the beginning of the summer and been charmed by the young giant who still stashed jelly beans in his pockets. “Your paths run parallel right now, but they may cross again in the future. You will always have the connection of brotherhood,” she said cheerfully, before sobering once more. “But this particular journey that I speak of involves the two of you specifically.”