There was once a young man named Seita. Not much is known about him growing up. It is agreed that he was an orphan. Seita had the drive to survive. By the time he was eighteen, he needed shelter and money. For close to a month, Seita went from house to house looking for those things. His journey led him further into the woods. To his surprise, there was a big house like on the edge of a village. The lights felt so warm to his soul. Before he knew it, Seita stood at the front door and knocked.
“Coming!” a man’s voice grumbled. Seita stood back and waited. He looked up when the door creaked open. A deep brown eye stared him down.
“What do you want?” he asked. Seita stood up straight with his shoulders back.
“I am looking for a job,” he replied. “Please put me up for the night.” The man in the house raised an eyebrow.
“Why would I want to hire you?” he asked.
“I am a hard worker!” the young man said. “I will not disappoint you.” The man was about to close the door in his face, but Seita stuck his foot inside.
“Get out!” the home owner said.
“I won’t leave until I have a job!”
“Get lost already!”
“No!” This kept up for close to ten minutes before the man dropped his shoulders.
“Fine,” he said. “Come in. Seita followed the man into the house. While his new tenant ate, the home owner fixed up a back room for the young man to sleep in.
“Your room’s ready,” he said.
“Okay,” Seita said as he finished his dinner. He bid his new landlord good night and went to bed.
Seita proved his worth around the house and the garden. He was efficient and did the work over his boss’ approval. One day while he copped wood for the fire, the boss came over to him.
“Seita,” he said. The young man lowered his axe and turned his focus on the older man.
“Yes, sir?” he asked.
“How would you like to be my student?”
Seita tilted his head. “Student, sir?”
“Yes.” The older man felt along his arm. “You would make a fine swordsman. What would you say?”
The young man about gasped. “Sure!” By sundown, the kendo training began. To Seita’s surprise, the training looked harder than what he was used to seeing. To his master’s surprise, he found that the boy had rough potential in his skills.
“You need a lot of work,” he said.
“I will train every day,” Seita vowed. This shift from worker to student settled into a comfortable rhythm. He didn’t really plan on things being any different. However, another shift came along in the form of a young lady.
Her name was Kasumi. She was the older man’s niece and she lost her parents when she was only about fifteen years old. The young lady came to live with her uncle for obvious reasons. This all seemed fine in the beginning. However, her need for fighting and a precious sword would send them spiraling downwards.
It all started when she approached him with the only thing that she could offer him at the time.
“Teach me how to fight,” Kasumi said to him in his room over the candlelight. Seita eyed her with a dull look in her eyes.
“Why should I?” he asked.
“Uncle won’t teach me because I am a girl.”
Kasumi pressed her lips together and rolled her baggy shirt over her head. Seita raised an eyebrow. Sure, he might have been a hard worker and a skilled swordsman, but he was still a man.