Sakura Wars Fan Fiction / Beyblade Fan Fiction ❯ Sakura Taisen:Zero One ❯ A Decision Made Under the Stars ( Chapter 4 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

"Man, I think my head's gonna blow up."

The final exam has been a tense yet bustling day for every student on the planet, and of course, the students at Senkaishin Naval Academyare just an example. The tension is no less evident than our dear Takao, whose expression seems to show what his statement says.

"Why shouldn't you be? I told you to study harder." Said Kyoju.

"Gimme a break will you?! All the stuff that happened last week not only gave me nightmares but also left me sleepless for days!"

"He does have a point though," said Hiromi, "It's really hard to believe that stuff straight out of those sci-fi TV shows could actually happen. Even I get the shivers when I try to remember what just happened."

"At least we all had a workout outside of Beyblading."


"Just kidding." Then, the freckle-face's expression turned sober as he said, "But you know, all that sci-fi stuff ain't worth laughing at. If you think about it, we ARE leading a sci-fi life. Still, I myself can't believe that we're beckoned to a higher calling now."

"You mean the letters?" asked Hiromi.

"Speaking of which, have you decided when we should go to the place indicated in the letter?" asked Kyoju, who folded up his laptop that he was working on in the previous moments. "I'd suggest that we should go there as soon as possible."

"Awww, do we have to?" moaned Takao.

"What in the world are you saying?" Hiromi asked incredulously. "Aren't you at least worried what's in store for us?"

"Who cares about what those people want from us? Besides, the letter said that I can ignore the message if I want to....."

"BUT YOU CAN'T!!!!" Hiromi yelled in exasperation. "Don't you remember how you guys almost got killed that day?! That would happen again if you don't ask those people what's going on!!"

"She has a point," said Max, "Besides, no matter how we look at it, it's only that Neo-Imperial Capital Defense thingie outfit that has the answers. That's why even Daitouji-san doesn't have a clue to what's going on."

"But if he doesn't know what's going on, why did he allow those guys to pitch us in?" asked Takao.

"With what happened last week, what I can say is that we had no choice. Either way, our lives will eventually be threatened." Said Kyoju, as he let his gaze trail off into the streets.

The gang was momentarily silenced by his statement and was thrown in deep thought, as they walked down the busy streets of the Tokyo metropolis. But as they approached the intersection on which the building with the colossal digital screen is located, they were suddenly snapped out of their reverie when they saw a huge crowd gathering around the screen's viewing area.

"What's going on?" asked Takao.

"Maybe another big star or something," said Max.

"Hey guys!" cried Hiromi, as her face bore an expression of surprise and some uptightness. "Look up there! It's her! The violet-haired banshee from last week!"

"Violet-haired? You don't mean......" The boys looked up and were equally surprised.

"Guys!" cried Kyoju, "It IS her!!"

True enough, the violet-haired lady that they came across in the past week was shown on the digital screen. Only this time, she was dressed in a concert outfit and seemed to be giving a performance. The people shown in the studio, and those who were watching around the screen were obviously delighted with her presence.

"Is she some sort of pop star or something?" asked Max.

"I don't believe this!" said Hiromi, "Of all the people who could be a STAR, why her??!"

"Now this is getting freakier," said Takao, "what is SHE doing there?!"

"Hey Takao! Fancy seeing you here!"

Among the crowd, they saw some of their classmates, who were obviously watching the show. The two parties gathered and after exchanging formalities (or informalities, as one might put it), Takao asked them who the singer was.

"What?! You don't know??!"

"I'm not surprised, since you practically made a second limb out of your beyblade."

"Enough of newbie insulting will you?" muttered Takao, "Just tell me who she is."

"Okay, okay. She just happens to be one of the lates divas to hit the big and small screen, not to mention the theatre. Not only does she sing, she's also the greatest actress and dancer Japan has ever seen. The name's Sumire Kanzaki."

"Sumire....Kanzaki?" Takao repeated. "So that's her name."

"And not only her. The five other girls up there are also great actresses in their own right."

The gang looked up and was taken by another knock of surprise, as they saw the whole group of young women that they met last week, and were also giving a performance.

"I can't take this anymore!!" cried Takao, "Who really ARE they??!"

"What do you mean?"

"Oh nothing, nothing. Hehehehehehe....." The blue- haired fellow's expression gave out a helpless look. {This whole thing is getting freakier and freakier by the minute. All this stuff is making my head feel like miso soup.....speaking of which, I'm hungry.}

"I guess I better hit it then. I'm hungry."

"You always are." muttered Hiromi.

"Thanks for the info anyway. Bye," said Takao.

"Yeah, see you around," said Max.

As the four left the crowd, their classmates shouted one dominant phrase:

"Take care and get a life, Takao!"

Face faulting, he muttered, "What did they mean by that?"

Having said their goodbyes to each other, the four parted ways and headed for their respective homes. As he took a slow stroll on the pathway towards the dojo, Takao was once again in a meditative state. True, his classmates' words had iffed him up but at the same time, it got him into one thought that he never came across in his whole life: Did he have a life?

{Sure, I had a life. A life of escaping kendo practice, sleeping in class, standing in the corridor, going around the world, challenging here and there, defeating bad guys.....yes, I had a life. A Beybladed life.}

{My life IS Beyblade.}

{Normally, I would even be proud of it, but now,........I don't think I'm sure I should be.}

A gust of wind picked up all the leaves on the pavement and blew it all over the bare space that he was in. {Weird. It's almost summer, but why is the wind so cold?}

The wind grew stronger, so strong that he had to hold on to his sailor hat and keep the wide collar of his uniform from getting into his line of vision. { it me who's feeling cold?}

{What's happening to me? Why am I feeling this?!}

As the wind subsided into a gentle breeze, the blue- haired fellow's thoughts drifted in slow yet deep torrents of confusion, just like the gentle flapping of his necktie and his longish hair in the wind.

{I don't know what's going on.....but whatever it is, something in me tells me that I can't just ignore it.}

Rather gloomily, Takao entered the dojo's huge gate. "Tadaima (I'm back)," he said weakly as he slipped off his shoes at the dojo's doorway.


Catching the shinai (kendo training sword) with his palms, Takao struggled to wrench it off his grandfather's assaulting grip. "What's your problem, gramps??!"

"You're the one who has a problem! Becoming unmindful of your surroundings is gonna make you lose big-time, especially with what happened last week! Speaking of which, the Chairman's on the phone right now and I think he wants to talk about those weird things that happened..."

"Daitouji-san?! All right, just the guy I need!!!" in a hurry to get to the phone, Takao wrestled his grandfather with the shinai still in his hands, with such surprising strength that the old-timer was thrown into the dojo's artificial pond with a great splash.

"Hello? Daitouji-san!!"

"Takao-kun! I'm really, really sorry for what happened last week!"

"What are you saying sorry for? It's not like it's your fault or something."

"No, I must apologize, not only to you but to all of those who got involved in all of this. Not only because I haven't made everything clear from the start, but I might have gotten you kids into more than what I've bargained for!"

"More than what you've bargained for??!" The uneasiness in the Chairman's voice brought back all of Takao's uneasiness from a while ago. More riveted than ever, he decided to ask that big question that he was searching an answer for.

"Please tell me everything you know about the Neo- Imperial Capital Defense."

"Listen carefully then, my boy. I will only say these once."

A quiet, yet heartfelt tension was in the air when the Chairman continued,

"Almost eighty years ago, at the time of Tokyo's steam-powered Industrial Revolution, an evil and powerful force known as the Descended Evil had invaded the city and threatened the well-being of everyone in it. Luckily for them some pioneers in the military had dared to create a radical solution: create robots driven by spiritual and steam power, and mostly young girls with high levels of spiritual power manned these. The demons were eventually defeated, but the International Council back then had decided to put the same girls in the experimental process of cryogenic suspension along with the robots, feeling that the demons will come back in the future and that those girls are the only ones that could defeat them."

"Yes, the demons did come back. The girls and the machines were revived, but all of them weren't prepared from the fact that the demons had grown more powerful from the tension, fear and hatred that arose from the different crises, wars and acts of terrorism that happened in this timeline!"

"That's why the Neo-Imperial Capital Defense had launched Project Kotetsu Hana, whose aim is to build new models of those robots and find new people to man them."

"And that's where we come in?" asked Takao.

"Yes, but those people never told me the whole story when the started knocking at the door of the BBA Headquarters. The military officers who first talked to me simply said that they were only requesting for possible volunteers in some passive field experiments. Since I'm familiar with the division quite well, I obliged and gave them the database of the BBA's best members. But never, ever in my wildest dreams did I expect that they will be using the BBA to gather the people that they will need for this project!"

"So what you're saying is, we had been recruited to a military outfit completely without us knowing it?!"

"Worse than that: you'll be placed into one of the frontline divisions! You know what that means: your lives will be put on the line!"

"Chairman, how could you?!" cried the blue-haired fellow. "How could've you been so stupid to trust those kinds of people?!"

"I know, my boy, I know. That was the biggest mistake that I have done. The only time that I realized that was when you boys were attacked by those demons last week. As soon as I received the news, I confronted the same officers and they told me everything. Please don't be mistaken: they're not that bad. They had sent me their apologies to you and said that as much as they don't want to put your lives in danger, they had no choice. Those monsters are attracted to high levels of spiritual power, and you have the highest levels of spiritual energy, and you have the highest level of it, as last week's incident suggests. Either way, your lives will eventually be threatened."

{It's just like what Kyoju said a while ago!} Realizing that, and feeling the earnest sincerity in the Chairman's voice, Takao's anger and indignation was replaced by pity towards the Chairman. With all that he has said and done, it always is, and always will be, that the Chairman is only doing what he believes is the best for them.

"I'm sorry for calling you stupid, Daitouji-san"

"You don't need to, my boy. It is, after all, my responsibility."

"You only did what you think is the best for us, right? And besides, it's only now that I have realized that those Defense Force big-shots might actually be protecting us by giving us the means to fight back."

"Thank you for being so understanding I hope the others would be the same when I break the news to them."

"They will. Hate to admit it, but they're the ones who think faster than I do."

"And oh.....I forgot the most important thing."

"What is it?"

The Chairman did a thoughtful pause before he continued, "I did say that you WILL be placed in the Force, but you were not YET placed into it. That means, if you really don't want to join them, you can decline the offer, but can still have protection from them as a special civilian. Whatever your decision is, I really do hope that you would think of one very carefully."

"I will, Chairman."

After saying their goodbyes, Takao slowly puts down the receiver and heave a sigh. Only two weeks had gone by, but it felt more like a year with all of this big stuff happening all at once. He can only wait for what happens next in all uncertainty.


Well, almost.

"GRANDPA!! Don't you ever give up?!" The blue- haired fellow growled as he (again) caught his grandfather's shinai with his palms.

"Of course not! I'm not like you who easily shrinks from a few monsters!"

"Are you calling me a coward?!"

"What else will I call those who shrink from their duties to their mommaland?!"

"What duties?!" but caught unawares, it was Takao's turn to be thrown into the artificial pond. The blue-haired fellow stood up in the pond with a carp flapping on his head.

"Bullseye! See what happens when you're uncertain? One wrong step and that's the end of you. Listen to me and listen good! Those military big-shots chose you coz they believe that you're the right man for the job! Aren't you even proud of it?!"

"Wait a sec!" cried Takao, "How did you know what we've been talking about?!"

"Silly goat! Have you forgotten that a big dojo like this needs extension phones?!" and the old salt held up the receiver of one as he said this.

"Oh, I forgot...." once again, Takao fell into the pond with a big splash. When he regained his footing and stood in the pond, the same carp was now flapping halfway into his mouth.

"I told you to listen, young 'un. In times like this that humanity's in danger, saying no to a military summon is outta the question, even in life itself. Most things that you have to do are not of your choosing!"

Takao spat the carp and retorted, "Yeah right! Everything that's going on in my life is not of my choosing! Whose idea was it to put me in a naval school, even if I have no interest in going into the military?! Not to mention that this dorky uniform is making me the laughing stock of the neighborhood." As he said this, he recalled how his neighborhood buddies ridiculed him when he first wore the said uniform, with jeers, taunts and derisive singing of "Popeye the Sailor Man".

"That's not what I'm talking about!" said his grandfather. "Dontcha see?! You boys are the only ones around this country that can stop that demonic slime from last week! You can't just turn your eyes away from it, coz sooner or later, you'll end up seeing nothingness!"

At those words, the horrid visions that haunted Takao's dreams came back to him. The destruction. The carnage. Dragoon's foreboding glow. All of it told him one thing:

He must do something soon if he doesn't want those horrid visions to become reality.

That night, as he settled into his bed, he stared at the ceiling, thinking of everything that happened these past days. {I guess I'm the only one who's stupid.}

{Come to think of it, it IS stupid to say no in this kind of situation. But....but what about everyone else back here? I may be able to protect them, but they will need my personal presence in the long run.}

{It's really hard to decide if you know just how high the stakes are.}

Glancing sideways, he saw his Dragoon on his bedside table.

"Dragoon, what do you think? What shall I do?"

As if on cue, he heard a loud wailing just beside the dojo. Looking at a window of the house that can be seen at his window, he saw that it was a baby crying, and the mother came in, picked it up from its crib and sang a lullaby.

Even if it's in the next house, Takao could clearly hear the mother's voice as the lullaby that she sung struck a part of his memory that was buried deep within his subconscious. Sitting up, he strained to recall from where did he hear that tune. Something on the shelf across his room caught his eye, and he stood up to take a look. It was a photograph of the Kinomiya family, when he was still three and his mother was still alive. It struck him: it was the same tune that his mother sang him to lull him to sleep.

Suddenly, it all became clear.

{There are more important things to take care of other than those I value.}

Clutching Dragoon in his hand, he stared outside the bedroom and into the night sky, as a firm decision formed in him.