A soft breeze rolled in from the mountains stirring the long blades of lush grass. Akashi sighed as the tension slowly slipped from his shoulders, today had indeed been a long day. He sat in the shade of the magnolia tree behind the Akashi estate, subconsciously running his fingers through the long grass; watching as the bright pink flower petals rained down around him. The morning had started off badly when he had to deal with some troublesome business partners from a major electronics company in south Tokyo. Akashi discussed business with the two irritating old men and he smiled dangerously, using both charm and intimidation to bend them to his will. They signed the contracts and he sent them to his father for the final mark off before retreating to his room for a while. The redhead progressed through his day slowly: writing contracts, signing paperwork, winning over powerful clients and slowly but gradually expanding the Akashi Empire.
After Akashi had graduated high school he had immediately took his righteous place in his father’s company and the older Akashi had begrudgingly admitted that his son was an asset after sealing multiple high staking business deals. Akashi had slyly smirked at the old man’s words, his eyes narrowed in satisfaction. He knew that one day he would take over the business and improve it more than his father ever could. He closed his eyes and lay back in the grass. After a few moments passed he raised his hand and caught a small pink petal between his index finger and thumb. He sighed for the hundredth time within the span of his day as second thoughts wove their way into his consciousness. He knew that if he took over his father’s company he would be the most successful in Japan after all he was a prodigy, not just in basketball but he was smart, strategic and skilled in handling the business world; his looks were also a benefit in most situations as well. He let the petal go and it silently fluttered to the ground.
Work had been quickly piling up and clients became more tiresome to deal with, he was losing contact with his friends from both the Rakuzan team and the generation of miracles. His father was still distant and cold towards him; he had been like that ever since his mother had passed away when he was young. He dearly missed his mother as she had been one of the few who showed constant affection towards the young Seijuro and treated him like a child, not a prodigy.
As he grew he felt as if something was missing, he knew the terrified looks people shot at him when they thought he wasn’t looking. Those looks didn’t affect him as much but when people actively avoided him in a painfully obvious way it both annoyed and saddened him. A few girls had confessed their love to him in the past but he turned them away not liking any of them, sure some of them were beautiful but he felt nothing towards them; no emotion at all. He wanted someone that would make his heart race and bring a smile to his usually expressionless face. He looked at the sky through the branches of the magnolia tree and pondered what that person would look like, whether they would be male or female. It wasn’t exactly obvious to most but his teammates and the generation of miracles idiots had known that he was bisexual; they were betting he preferred guys though and often made comment about their presumptions. A glare from Akashi had shut them up faster than one could blink. The redhead closed his eyes, his brows pulling together in mild frustration. He didn’t have time to ponder something as stupid as love; he had a company to manage and a reputation to uphold. Even though he kept repeating this to himself he found that each time he repeated it he seemed to doubt the words even more.
To an outsider Akashi looked like the envisioned emperor who was in complete control of every situation; they all knew that his words were indeed absolute. He had grown up as a child prodigy, top of the class, feared and respected by all; a boy who only knew the taste of victory. Akashi had never lost and was never defied by anyone; not even his own father. Although this all changed after the loss against Seirin in the winter cup finals. He had mellowed slightly and was more passive but in many situations he could still be very volatile.
Akashi knew that he needed a change of pace; he wanted something that would thrill him similar to how his high schooling basketball games once did. He grew more tired and angry with his father each passing day. He also despised how everyone seemed to avoid him even though a tiny part of him was smug at the power he held over them.
He loosened his tie and opened his eyes again, watching the petals dance in the breeze. He needed a distraction right now; anything to avoid the turmoil occurring within his mind. He chose to study each falling petal observing their different shape, size and colour. He was focused on one in particular when it just seemed to vanish… there one second and gone the next. He blinked, his jaw a little slack from surprise. He focused on another petal and after watching it spiral towards the ground for a few seconds it too vanished. He sat up quickly and continued watching this strange phenomenon as it unfolded before him. Some petals vanished while others silently floated to the ground. His eyes narrowed into slits as he tried to process what was happening, he continued to closely examine the tree. After paying more attention to it he noticed that two branches which were the approximate size of his forearm seemed to form the shape of a semi recognisable circle; other branches crossed over and weaved around the original two that indeed appeared be forming a circle of sorts. He watched as every petal that floated through this circle seemed to vanish. He stood and picked up a small stone from the base of the tree. He threw it up and caught it again before moving closer to the tree. He pulled his arm back and tossed the stone, his aim was perfect and true to his observations the rock also vanished after passing between the branches. With the grace of a cat he silently climbed the tree without dirtying his suit. He sat on a branch in front of the natural structure and examined the intertwined branches. His eyes narrowed when he noticed carved markings running along the branches, the symbols were foreign to him but more suspicions arose as he wondered who had dared trespass on the estate to carve the strange symbols in the lone magnolia tree.
He had many questions but no one to ask. He wouldn’t dream of asking his father; he hated the old man and would never stoop so low as to ask him for help. He contemplated asking one of the many servants but they were all afraid of him. He clicked his tongue knowing he’d have to find out on his own. He cautiously but confidently reached forwards but paused right before the branches. The red head looked around to make sure no-one was watching him up in the tree as he sat there with his legs dangling from the branch not looking like the envisioned greatness but more like a curious child. Once he was satisfied no-one was around the resumed his trials. When his fingers touched the space within the branches the air seemed to waver and ripple for a few seconds before the tips of his fingers vanished completely. He snatched his hand back, his eyes gleaming at the discovery. He decided that it had to be a gateway of sorts, possibly to another realm or dimension. His eyebrows pulled together in a frown, he was thinking crazy thoughts; there’s no such thing as alternate dimensions. He reached forwards again, a little further this time. The air shimmered and wavered as his whole hand disappeared. Excitement thrummed in his chest, there was something strange going on yet it had captured his interests; maybe there was another world which he had yet to discover.
The thought of another world to both explore and conquer brought a dangerous smile to his lips, his emperor eye blazed at the idea. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the strange symbols glowed softly, he pulled his hand back and they dimmed once again. It must have been a sign that when the symbols glowed the gateway was active. He was still partially in denial that any of this was happening but the excitement had overpowered any doubts that he was indeed perched in front of a gateway to another dimension. He realised how well it was hidden from onlookers as he had only noticed through observing the petals and not the gate itself. He was about to cross through the gate as curiosity ate at him but he paused and leaned back again. The redhead wondered if he would be able to return to his home but as the wasted minutes passed his resolve hardened. He looked at his watch, 3.55pm. His father wouldn’t be out of his office yet and he grinned. The old man could find some other poor soul to boss around. He gingerly stood on the branch making sure it didn’t break under him and once he was sure it would hold he looked at the gateway. His face expressed excitement as he jumped from the branch and flew the short distance between his take off position and the gateway. He pulled his legs up so he would make it through easily.
Silence filled the space that the redhead had left behind as he vanished through the gate, the air surrounding him rippling a silvery colour before settling once again.