Red Hawk

Chapter 22: Twenty Years Later

The roar of the crowd filled the stadium. Red Hawk banners filled the stadium, it having been built by the guild to host this tournament. People from all over were invited to face off in this grand event every other year.A stone ring positioned at the center of the field. Standing within the ring was an aged Odin. He tightly held the microphone, “The time has come everyone. The final match, how will the tournament end?” The crowd once more exploded with cheers. Everyone excited to witness the final match. “Our finalist need no introduction, but they deserve one. From the A bracket, we have Loki! Once a member of Red Hawk, he has torn through the competition!”
Loki stepped out into the stadium, the applause going wild as he approached the ring. Throughout the crowd one could find his fans. Holding signs or wearing his merchandise. When he stepped into the ring, he gave Odin a swift hug. The two had not seen each other in over thirteen years, Loki now the leader of his own fighting school. He had come to support his friends, and hopefully inspire new members to join.
“Moving on,” Odin announced, “the new comer who has quickly become a fan favorite, Hikari!” A young woman stepped into the stadium from the opposite side. She hid her face behind a strange mask. Something that had confused everyone since the start of the match. “Little is known about her, but someone has trained her well.” She was silent as she climbed into the ring.
At that moment, she removed her mask. Both Odin and Loki were shocked. They couldn’t believe what they saw. Orange eyes. Hikari had seemed to be hiding her eyes on purpose.
Loki spoke up, “You have orange eyes? Are you Leon and Joy’s child?”
“So you know my parents, big deal,” she laughed. “So what, want a medal?” They were even more shocked by her personality. “Can we fight already, or do you want to quit old man?”
Loki’s eye twitched in annoyance, “Odin please start the match, I wish to end this quickly.”
Hikari stuck her tongue out, “I’ll beat you in one shot.” Odin stepped out of the ring, allowing them to begin. At the start, Hikari charged, throwing a roundhouse kick to Loki’s neck. He caught it with ease. She dropped down onto her hands, allowing her free foot to rise in the arc, striking at his chin. Loki barely backed off in time. “You’re a fast fossil I see.”
“I’m not that old,” Loki sighed, waving for her to come at him again. She gladly took that offer, unleashing a flurry of kicks. As she fought, Odin couldn’t help but think of Kai. Their styles very similar. Her entire style having changed from earlier. Hikari had done well in hiding her connection to her family, even from him. But even being a blood relative of him, she shouldn’t have been this good at using his fighting style. Each movement flowed exactly like Kai. Almost like he fought through her.
It seemed that Loki had noticed this as well. Countering how he would in sparring all those years ago. It made him wish the other members of Red Hawk had been here for the tournament. They surely would have enjoyed seeing this. The crowd’s excitement never died down, neither fighter missing a beat. Perfectly countering everything thrown their way. So when Hikair landed a blow, the applause was greater than ever.
Loki stumbled back, “Nice hit, but you’re weak.”
“Weak this!” she charged at him.
“That makes no sense,” Loki groaned as he stepped aside. Using her momentum against her, he flipped her onto her back with a loud crack. Having landed wrong, she suffered great pain. Now unable to move, losing to a countdown.

Her injury had been worse than expected, causing her to be stuck in bed for an entire day. When she was finally able to move, she went to the Red Hawk guild. Odin had the room filled with paperwork. He smiled when she entered, “I was surprised you entered the tournament. If I recall, your parents forbid such things.”
She rolled her eyes, “Well, they can’t say anything about it now. I’m an adult.” Hikari took a seat, “Just sucks I lost.” It was obvious there was something on her mind when she began to play with the pens on Odin’s desk.
“Care to speak your mind?”
“Not really,” she started to doodle on one of the forms Odin was filling out.
“Watch it, that is important paperwork.”
“And now it has art on it, so it’s worth something.” Odin just ignored that remark. Unable to believe that she was from the same gene pool as Kai. Her orange eyes something hard to stare at. He had watched her grow up, but never imagined seeing her actually compete. And their meetings had always been short. Too many memories flooded Odin’s mind when he saw those eyes. “What was my brother like?” she asked out of the blue.
“I am sure you have heard many stories from your parents,” he answered, flipping through the paperwork on his desk. “But, he was someone who cared for others.”
“I heard he was a prick.” That threw Odin off guard, forcing him to drop his stack of papers. “So it’s true!”
“Well no, but he did take time to warm up to people. And died a hero.” At that time, Odin recalled something. “You have been to his grave, right?”
“Not once,” she cheerfully answers. “When I was younger I was too scared to, but as I grew older I made a promise to myself. Only to visit his grave after I defeat one of his former guild mates.” This was not something he had expected to hear. Why would she make such a vow? He just had to ask her. “I want him to be proud of me,” she answered. Hikari placed her hand over her eyes, “He was a hero, and I’m just a farmer.”
“And you think he would not be proud of you for that?”
“Well yeah, we come from a line of great fighters! Kai, dad, grandpa, all of them fought in a guild. Meanwhile mom and dad won’t even let me apply for a guild. Even with times being more peaceful!”
Odin chuckled, “Maybe you are a little like Kai. He tried to join Red Hawk because his family had always worked in guilds. But I refused him at first, do you know why?”
“Cause he sucked?” she shrugged.
“No, because I knew he needed a better reason. So, his reason was to be better than your father. But you get to live a life where no one will expect you to fight because your family fought. He would be proud no matter what path you choose.”
Hikari paused for a moment. Taking those words to heart and thinking it over. She then smiled, “Well I want to fight, it’s in my blood. I train every day in secret, hoping to one day be good enough.”
“You have no teacher?”
“Impressive.” Odin then stood up. “Alright, I will allow you to join Red Hawk as a reserve member, with parental permission.”
“Reserve member, no I want to be a full member!”
Odin raised two fingers to stop her, “I will only accept a reserve member. Once or twice a month I will call on you, and if after a while you still wish to pursue this life. Well, I will talk to your parents about a full membership.”
“Fine,” she groaned. “I’ll take that deal, but can you do something else for me?”
“Depends on the something,” Odin leaned in, curious about what she wanted to ask. He could only hope to guess right.
She had a slight blush, “Can you take me to Kai’s grave? I don’t want to go alone.” Odin placed a hand on her head to comfort her. “Stop that, I’m not a child!”
“Could have fooled me,” he jested, but that was a wrong move. She grabbed hold of his hand and squeezed tight. When she finally let go, the two of them headed towards Kai’s casket. It had been painted recently, placing a fresh coat over the Red Hawk emblem they added to the original design.
Hikari knelt down before the casket, “Hey big bro.”