I. Akira Deals Illegal Drugs During a Presumed Earthquake

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❝ The only journey is the one within

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The only journey is the one within. Rainer Maria Rilke

❀ ❀ ❀

"AGAIN!"

The harsh shout bounced off the walls and echoed throughout the neighborhood. The shining sun on a normal day in Japan brought forth harsh rays of heat that burned with a single touch. Japan's humid air pulled and clung on the skin relentlessly like a child desperate for attention. Jet black hair was tugged back in a tight ponytail with strands sticking to a sweaty forehead. A summer yukata hung on thin arms like dead skin. The bamboo sōzu clacked against a rock, breaking the silence of the hot, still day.

A leg posed forward. Head tilted left. Hand held high and back up straight.

"Put your knees together and walk in a circle!"

Two buckling legs shook as they touched. The sole of a foot pressed against the dirt and spun on its heel.

"Bend your back and move your legs forward!"

Akira Fujioka flipped open her fan and pressed it against her face, for the routine was finished. A heavy exhale snuck from behind the paper fan and she closed her eyes in exhaustion. Beads of sweat dotted her face and ran down her pale cheeks.

Light applause came from behind her. A man robed in a fancy, grey stitched kimono stepped out of the shadows cast from the trees. On the back collar of his kimono was his family's mon, or emblem:

His hair was the color of salt and pepper while his chin was dotted with stubble

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His hair was the color of salt and pepper while his chin was dotted with stubble. "Absolutely..." His hands stopped clapping and his dark eyes stung the back of her neck with their glare. "Disappointing!" He lashed out with an index finger pointed right at her. "At this pace, you will never even place in the Kabuki festival which is merely a week away." He swiveled around and dropped his hand. "I have simply wasted time on you."

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