Disclaimer: I know that I'm using characters that are not of my legal property but that of SABAN. Well, that's all for that.

The Shallow Grave
By: Ab. Velasco

Act I: Hamburger Chopsticks
Tokyo, Japan. March 1997.

Master Kenjibo Ishiwaka stared at the orange setting sun and wondered just how it could have been that his most treasured student had been away for that long. She was a very puzzling girl. She had arrived at his doorstep almost out of nowhere; she was like a baby that had been dropped from the sky like a stork.

She had come to him when she was seventeen; she had claimed to have arrived from Switzerland to study the Japanese culture and its language. She insisted that he teach her all that he knew about martial arts and spiritual manipulations. She wanted to be his student. At first, Kenjibo Ishiwaka was very unsure; after all, he usually started the training of his students at the age of five; she was about to turn eighteen. But she was insistent and even challenged to him a duel. He could have easily broken her back for her blunt audacity, but he spared her because he saw potential in her. For the first time in his life, he had broken out in sweat.

"Master," his second best student, Ryu Kentaka arrived with two buckets of water at his back. "Here's the water you wanted me to fetch for you." Ryu was also one of his favourite students. While the rest of the world would have laughed at him and called him an idiot for not turning on the faucet, Ryu understood Kenjibo's need to continue the old-fashioned way. Fetching buckets of water from the ravine was one of the trainings Kenjibo had received as a child and it was going to be the same for his students.

"Master, when is she coming back?" Ryu asked.

"Is that concern I hear in your voice?" Kenjibo said.

Ryu saw a smile that was not evident in Kenjibo's serene stare and heard teasing laughter from a mouth that rarely cracked a joke. Ryu blushed.

"She's an American girl and American girls love to shop," Kenjibo said. and added, "no matter how disciplined they are. Mei was never like that." Mei was his daughter and she had left him. The two of them had drifted apart when Mei refused to live the old-fashioned lifestyle and fled with her boyfriend to America. Her "betrayal" had caused great dishonour for Kenjibo but deep in his heart he would always love his dear Mei. His son Jokan was another story.

"I see her coming," Ryu said as a red Porsche drove up the unpaved gravel.

"I see the wheels are being weighed down by her shopping bags," Kenjibo quipped with a straight-face.

The Porsche stopped and the front door opened. An eighteen year old female stepped out. She had long black hair tied back to a ponytail; thin Calvin Klein shades concealed her eyes. She was wearing a tight yellow top and long tight black pants. She pulled her purse over her back and requested Ryu to help her carry the shopping bags from the trunk. She bowed in front of Kenjibo and said "Sensei".

"Welcome back, Trini," Kenjibo said. "I hope shopping had created an appetite; Ryu had caught a whale for dinner."