After my second year of ninja training, I was finally found ready to meet my master. For that matter, I was sent a cryptic map and a secret code. The details of his journey to the village, as well as the location of it, are classified information.
What I found was what seemed like an abandoned rice field, just about the time to the harvest. But there was no one to harvest it. In the middle of the field, a big, ancient and badly damaged cabin. I crossed the rice field in order to meet whoever lived in that house, without stepping on, or even noticing, any of the traps that were set by the locals.
Entering the cabin, I found an aged man, accompanied by about twenty-four teenagers, eating some ramen soup. They didn't stop eating.
" Uh... 紫色の孔雀? " - I said.
A young girl with very long hair filled a dish with soup and handed it to me. Then she stuck her tongue in front of me.
" Just call me Murasaki. The "peacock" is a nickname that got old long ago. I'm still not cutting my hair, though. "
" Okay. I thought it was just a secret code. By the way, I'm Luis... "
" We were waiting for you. Our master is very old and there's no one else to take care of the village, and he said we're too young to take care of ourselves. We need an adult to guide us, he said. "
I became nervous as I looked to all these boys and girls.
" I'm Mizuki. " - another girl continued. She had black hair and pale skin, and seemed the tallest and oldest of the girls there, though she was barely over 160 cm and 17 years old - " We know your story already, and we realize you're not quite sure of your own power. Don't worry, it won't be much harder than what you've already been through, we promise. We already got many years of experience and training in the ninja skills, and our master will still be around to keep teaching us. "
We all looked to the master. He smiled to us, and continued with his soup.
" The problem is, " - Mizuki continued - " we're a little crazy here, and we all have our ideas and desires, and we have our petty conflicts from time to time, you know. And the master, because of his age, has trouble with keeping us with the discipline required for our mastery of the ninja arts. That's why you're here. "
" I see... so you brought me here to bring order to your life. It's that right? "
" Yes. " - Mizuki replied - " And you can count with Murasaki and me for assistance, mostly since we're the only ones that speak some English in here. "
Murasaki smiled. She already finished her soup, and was reading a book.
" She's the village nerd, and we all wish her to go to university. She wants to become a Mechanical Engineer someday, and she has a passion for pretty much anything that has gears. Murasaki, show Luis your karakuri. "
Murasaki clapped. A doll then appears flying over the room. She gradually descends to the middle of the table, and stands over it. It's a doll that looks like a japanese lady in a kimono, but with huge gold wings attached to her back.
" Here's Hiroko. " - Murasaki says while petting her creation - " She doesn't do much right now, other than flying. And she always flies the same way, starting from a given point. But I'm getting there. "
" Impressive. " - I said - " I've seen pictures and descriptions of karakuri, but I've never seen one that flies. How old are you, Murasaki? "
" I'm 12. But don't think I'm a genius because I made this thing. " - Murasaki blushes - " I've seen much better last time I went to Osaka. "
" Murasaki is humble like that. " - Mizuki interrupted - " I wonder if she will keep it like that when she's driving a skyscraper-sized mech twenty years from now. "
Murasaki blushes further, and returns to her reading.
" Anyways, Luis, I must present you the other members of our village. As I said, they don't speak English, only Japanese. "