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A Tested Heart

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“O Savior of Japan,” The Head Shindo Ancestor chants as his magic smoke first takes on the shape of the young Shindo heir mounted upon his loyal steed before the smoke changes to look like the Shindo residence, “you have ennobled the House of Shindo. In gratitude, we honor you. All veneration to you, O mighty…” the Head Ancestor pause, not pleased with what he is having to say here.


Then a sneaky voice speaks up, sounding very confident, “Go on, say it.”


With an annoyed sigh, the Head Ancestor says, “Lacus.”


With his name said, a few spotlights turn on and shine on the small purple dragon with Lacus lounging as he takes in the lights of glory. “That’s what I’m talking about. Thanks for the intro, Head Man.”


Clearly the Head Ancestor and the other Shindo ancestors are just annoyed with his attitude with Urd, the older dragon spirit who is the Stone Dragon, stands in the background, his arms crossed and an even more annoyed glare towards his younger brother. Ringing a small bell with his tail, Lacus summons the other ancestors that he’ll be using as stairs to reach his most favorite spot in the temple; his pedestal.


“My brother keeps forgetting that Mikaela is the one who saved Japan.” Urd groans as he stands beside the Head Ancestor.


“It is his heroic act that restored Lacus his position as a family guardian.” the Head Ancestor replies.


“Honestly, with each passing day as he abuses his position, the more I believe he does not deserve to be a guardian again.”


“You couldn’t be any more right on that, Urd.”


As he settles on his pedestal, Lacus starts to relax in a hot tub he had installed as soon as he had regained his job as family guardian, not planning on leaving the hot tub or his pedestal for a long while, with Urd and the ancestors groaning at having to deal with him.

Inside the Shindo home, Manami is setting up a game, a symbol of in-yo easily seen, when she notices Sirius pacing. “Do relax, dear. I have seen that Yuichiro will return and propose to Mikaela before this evening. There is plenty of time to join in on the pool.”


To hear her offer them to start betting as well, Anahita nearly chokes on her tea with Sirius giving his mother-in-law a stern look. As Anahita leaves the room to pray in the family shrine, Sirius and Manami hear small knocks on the door. Manami continues setting up her game, Sirius answers the door to find two small young girls, both giving him smiles. “Hello there, Fumie, Ako.”


Fumie and her friend Ako were two girls that his son had found in the destroyed village in the mountains during the war against Ferid Bathory and the Rogue Vampires. After the war had been won with Ferid’s death and the Rogue Vampires defeated, the young girls and the other children from the village were able to find their parents. Since their old home is destroyed, the children and their families had moved to Mika’s home village so they could be close to the war hero with Ako and Fumie almost always with Mika.


The two young girls bow in respect to Sirius before they both asked, “Is Mika Shindo here?”


“He’s at the waterfalls.” Sirius answers.


“That’s right.” Manami adds. “He’s doing his daily meditation.” It’s been known that Mika is soon to be pregnant with his mate’s child. Ever since the matchmakers had made that announcement, the two have been very excited that they will start their own family together.


“I’m sure he would love some company.” Sirius says to the girls knowing that they admire his son to no end.


“Ok, thank you, sir.” Fumie and Ako bow to Sirius before the two run off together towards the waterfalls.


Shutting the door gently once they were gone, Sirius lets out a gentle sigh with a smile across his face. “The children just love Mikaela.”


“Why wouldn’t they be? He is strong, brave, inspiring, he’s handsome.” Manami adds with a soft chuckle.


Outside his home village where many beautiful waterfalls can be seen, Mika sits beneath one of the waterfalls, breathing slowly and gently as he concentrates on meditating. Sometime today, his beloved mate will be back from his meeting with the Empress.


After a few more minutes of relaxing under the waterfalls, Mika steps out of the soothing flowing waters and as he dries off, the blond finds himself surrounded by the village children, including the five he and the troops found in the destroyed village. “Well hello. What’s going on, everyone?”


“We want to be just like you, Mika Shindo!” Fumie exclaims as she attempt to do a martial arts move she’s seen Mika do but ended up landing on her knees.


“I’m still practicing.” Mika points out.


“Please?” Fumie and Ako starts, soon the other children beg him to teach them.
With a smile, Mika agrees to teach them. “Very well, I can share my knowledge with all of you.” His words caused the young girls and boys to cheer that he’ll be teaching them martial arts when he holds one hand up, causing everyone to stop. “Martial Arts is part of lesson two. The very first and most important lesson I’m teaching you is to be gentle while at the very same time, we’re being tough.”


This only left the children confused. “How can you be both tough and gentle?” one of the boys, Kouta asks, clearly very confused that you have to be the both very different things.


“I know it sounds funny and confusing.” Mika points out. “But you all must know that the world is full of opposites, as well as all of you. In order to be a good warrior, you must keep everything similar and opposite into a strong balance. For example, Earth and Sky, day and night, sound and silence, dark and light.”


With each example of opposites, the children start to slowly understand the balance.


One alone is not enough


As Mika begins to sing, the children all listen closely since they all love it when he sings.


You need both together


To show what he means, Mika gestures to a couple of twins or even to friends such as Ako and Fumie to show that you are stronger together than they are individually.


Winter, summer
Moon and Sun


Taking out his practice sword he always has with him as he trains, Mika twirls it around a bit before holding it straight out.


Lesson number one


Then each of the children grab a bamboo stick that is just as long as Mika’s practice sword.


Like a rock
Ha! Ha!


Mika starts with sending his fists in front of him like he is punching something starting with his right fist, pulling it back and switching with his left fast.


You must be hard
Ha! Ha!


Mika follows up with faster punches before taking a firm hold of his practice sword and shoving it in front like to shove someone away.


Like an oak
Mah!
You must stand firm
Ha! Ha!

Cut quick


Mika then swings his practice sword like he is swinging his sword back in the war.


Like my blade

Think fast


He then leaps into the air, kicking his feet out to the side before pulling them back in as he lands expertly back on the ground.


Ha! Ha!

Unafraid


Rene, who has been watching him with Lest then stands beside Mika, taking his own pose to show the kids. Inspired, the young ones all copy Mika and the moves he’s shown them.


Like a rock
Ha! Ha!
I must be hard
Ha! Ha!

Lika an oak
Mah!
I must stand firm
Ha! Ha!

Cut quick
Like my blade

Think fast
Ha! Ha!

Unafraid


Confident, Ako takes a stance. “Ok, Mika. I’m ready.”


“Uh-huh, but you’re still out of balance.” Mika just barely touch her side and Ako still falls over onto her side. “You’re only halfway there.”


Next Mika instructs the children to gather around him, sitting on the ground, teaching them the next steps of keeping balance.


Like a cloud
You are soft


All seated for meditation, Mika shows the children a few calming poses. Next, back on their feet, he bends his body just like the bamboo.


Like bamboo
You bend in the wind
Creeping slow
You’re at peace because you know


Then just as Rene gives one girl a smile, causing her to shy away from the Beta, one gentle touch from both him and Mika help her be less shy.


It’s okay to be afraid


Just as before, the children copy the moves that Mika has shown them.


Like a cloud
I am soft
Like bamboo
I bend in the wind

Creeping slow
I’m at peace because I know
It’s okay to be afraid


Proud to see that they are understanding the lesson more and becoming more in balance, Mika puts everything together as he then imitates what he had learned during his training sessions and the children follow his lead.


One alone is not enough
One alone is not enough
You need both together
You need both together

Winter, Summer
Moon and Sun
Winter, Summer
Moon and Sun

Lesson number one

(Like a cloud)
Like a rock, ha! Ha!

(I am soft)
I must be hard, ha! Ha!

(Like bamboo)
Like an oak, mah!

(I bend in the wind)
I must stand firm

You can fly

(Creeping slow
I’m at peace because I know)
Cut quick like my blade

Think fast
(It’s okay to be afraid)

Unafraid

You have begun

Lesson number one