At last. Finally, the time that I have been waiting for a long time has finally become a reality.
I'm a shinobi. A shinobi. Shinobi. I repeated those words over and over again in my head, as I walked down the ice paths, back home probably to the extent that Okami was trying her hardest to cover her ears, And to believe, only this morning I was released from that hideous cell. I shuddered at the memories. Whatever Mother put into my system, it definitely did the trick. I was awake and chirpy again, unlike the broken mess I was this morning.
I came home to find Mother reading some through some complex first aid jutsus. She had her eyes closed and there was chakra igniting in the palms of her hands. I could hear her muttering to herself as she concentrated.
“Hey Mother.” I whispered, putting a hand on her shoulder
The book that was on Mother's knee thudded to the ground as she jolted in shock. Wow she must have been concentrating hard.
Finally she looked up, “Oh, hey baby. Gosh don't ever do that to me again...gave me a real shock." she held her hand to her chest. I could hear it beating away quickly. She swallowed her surprise and then smiled brightly, "How did the exam go?”
At that moment, for some odd reason I got really shy. I scuffed my foot on the wooden floor and looked away, a very pale pink glowed on my cheeks. Slowly I held up my headband, which I had not let go of since I left the academy, "I passed." I whispered.
Mother's jaw dropped in an exaggerated manner, "I knew it! I just knew you were going to graduate! Oh come here yooou~" she cooed, glomping me into an embrace, nearly lifting my tiny body off my feet.
I made a funny squeak noise as I felt all of the oxygen leave my body, which signalled to Mother that I was in need of some air. She placed me back on the floor again, but didn't let go of me. She rested her hands on my shoulders, and smiled proudly at me.
"Well done, darling. I guess I should've said that first before crushing you like that." she giggled slightly like a girl of my age, which was really unusual for the usually cool and calm woman she is, "And I think Taichi is home too. Hey Tadashi!" Mother called up the stairs, "Come see what Akemi's got!"
Jeez...I think Mother is more excited about this than what I am... I sweatdropped as Mother slowly ascended the stairs when Taichi did come out of his room immediately.
I heard a thud come from Taichi's room, and then the door open, “I've have heard that somebody has graduated." Taichi was all toothy grin as he stood at the top of the stairs. His smile was contagious, how he doesn't have a girlfriend yet I have no idea...
"Nice one little sis.” in a flash he was standing directly in front of me, holding out one of his hands, "Don't leave me hanging." he waited patiently.
I sighed, but my smile didn't wash away, "How old are you again?" I asked as I raised my hand to hi five him.
He shrugged when he lowered his hand, "Not old enough to legally be an adult yet, let's just leave it at that hey? Anyway, where's the headband? Why aren't you wearing it yet?"
I had almost forgotten about the unworn headband still in my hand. I looked down at it, at the metal plate. The moment seemed unreal again. Was this really true? Was I worthy of wearing this?
"I'll do the honours." Mother butted in, standing directly behind me and gently taking the headband out of my hand. Wrapping the fabric around my head, she tightened the headband around my forehead and secured it in the right position, "Perfect." she spun me around and had a look at my face again, "You look like a shinobi ready to go out on a mission." she beamed.
We all laughed slightly while Taichi added, "You said exactly the same to me when I graduated Mother."
"That's because it's true." Mother smiled again, kissing his hair.
"Still," Taichi's lip turned up at the corner, "At least you can now cover that big forehead of yours." he turned to me mischievously.
"Taichi!" Mother scolded him, shock wiping across her pretty face.
But I just smirked back and retorted, "Look who that's coming from...Megamind himself." I strutted forward, climbed onto my tiptoes and flicked his forehead, which was lacking a headband.
"Ow! Damn it Akemi!" he groaned, rubbing the already reddening spot on his forehead.
"Serves you right!" me and Mother replied at the same time. We stared at each other for a second and burst into laughter.
Taichi grumbled, "Like two peas in a pod you are..."
Oh I hope so, Taichi-san...I hope so...
"So, Akemi, as two fellow shinobi for the village, shall we head out for a bit?" Taichi asked, closing his book he was reading on the couch and turning up to me excitedly.
Father had just returned from the academy to declare that all three of us have officially graduated.
That was when my stomach sunk a little, Guess that means I can't rid myself from Mai and Tsuyoshi...I wish Yuuko had defeated them...I bet she had to go easy on them...
He and Mother were in the kitchen preparing dinner, leaving me and Taichi on our own in the living room.
"Weren't you studying just?" I asked, moving a pawn across the chessboard I was absent-mindedly playing against myself with.
Taichi shrugged, "So what if I was? Half an hour wouldn't hurt surely?"
"Mm..." I replied, knocking the opposing king piece, "I guess not."
“So what do you want to do sis?” Taichi asked.
I shrugged, pouting my lip, "This was your idea. What do you wanna do?"
He scratched the back of his neck, "That's the only issue...I wanted to go out, buuut..."
"You had no plans?" I finished his sentence, giving him the raised eye look.
"Ahhh...you know me..."
"Only too well."
Instead of going anywhere in particular, me and Taichi just walked unconsciously around the village, talking about anything and everything. That was when we arrived at the older part of the village.
"I remember coming here. Mother brought me here to the shrine just up ahead to summon Aimi. Aimi!" I froze in my spot.
Taichi looked down at me, "You haven't seen her in a while, have you?"
I remained perfectly still, the shock not leaving my face. How can I have forgotten about Aimi? She's been one of the only things I have missed about being locked away...and I have forgotten her....
That horse thing? Okami snorted, Just seemed like a pest to me...
I chose to ignore Okami's snide remark, rolling her eyes and grinning slightly.
"Jeez, it's been too long..." I muttered to Taichi, smiling lightly in embarrassment, "It's almost as if I have forgotten who I am..."
Taichi, completely out of character for him, slipped his hand in mine and squeezed it tightly, "Never forget who you are, Akemi-chan. You are my sister, and rightful heir to the Korikage name." he put on a brave smile, but I could tell behind those blue eyes that he was still a little uneasy at calling me Korikage. He released my hand quickly and stepped forward, a boisterous grin widening on his face, "Anyway, I am no longer a step behind you in this whole 'Inner Demon' thing." he turned to me, the grin not leaving.
Wait...he has one too? "When?" I asked.
"Shortly after you got yours. You just didn't notice, lil sis. I was always catching up with you." he chuckled proudly, before lifting a finger to his mouth and nipping it, "See for yourself." he slammed his palm to the ground, and immediately a loud squawk echoed the surroundings.
From above me, a white figure flapped it's huge feathery wings as it descended from the heavens to just above us. It landed with ease right next to Taichi and lowered it's head so it was level. From what I could see, it was some kind of phoenix. A large bird like creature with magnificent feathery wings and long tail. However, instead of the colour of it being that of fire, it was a mixture of ice and deep blue. It's eyes, however, were still mustard yellow, and the way it glared at me even made Okami feel uneasy.
Oh brilliant, another Inner Demon to make me feel that little bit more unsteady. Do you have any more?
I remained in awe as I looked at the beautiful creature next to my brother. They looked so good together. A majestic mythical creature perched next to my brother, a proud and independent person.
"So what do you think?" Taichi asked, stroking the curved beak of his demon.
I just remained gawked, unable to get the words out of my mouth.
I just chose to nod, before raising my finger to my teeth and biting down to allow the blood to run down it. Aimi presence was already here before I even slammed my hand down, and as quickly as Taichi's appeared, mine appeared. My precious Aimi, as tall and majestic as the last time I saw here. Immediately after she landed, she jumped onto her rear legs excitedly and started flapping her wings wildly at me, sending gale force winds in my direction. Luckily I was quick to react, and used my chakra to maintain my stance, before stepping forward and placing my hand on her muzzle to calm her down.
"It's good to see you too, Aimi!" I giggled, after Aimi let out a snort and a whinny.
And finally, I was whole again.