It was a bright, sunny day when Zi-Yen came up to me after one of my reading lessons with Nami, "I don't lie your hair...it's too light." You walk funny and you are very clumsy. We must work on you if you want to be part of the Zindin Warrior."
"Zindin Warriors? Who are they?"
"The Zindin Warriors are a special, carefully designed group that is being trained by my own hand with the knowledge of my Samurai ancestors. I will train you to be my second in charge. If anything happens to me, you will take my place. Everything I know, you will know. Everything I do, you will do. We must always be aware of the where each other is, at all times."
"Who else is part of the Zindin?" I asked
"So far, there is you and me."
"Wait, you mean we're the only two in this warrior thing?"
"More will be joining, you'll see. Now follow me!" Zi-Yen took off running into the forest surrounding the town, "We must know this landscape like the back of our hands. We must know the trees, the rocks, where the water flows and any holes within the ground. We must show the forest our respect and then the forest will help us in return. Think of this land as our friend. We protect that which is our home, a great lesson Nami taught me." Another lesson to learn, I wondered, we protect our home.
As we were running I began to soak in the landscape. We would stop and take note of anything such as big rocks or unusual trees that would signal to us where exactly we were at, sometimes forming the lands into images of animals. There was a rock shaped like a bear and some trees that looked like fire.
Zi-Yen and I trained for a full cycle of seasons, many days and many nights went by as we trained our bodies and minds to melt with our surroundings. We trained our senses to become aware of the slightest sight and sound in the forest. We also practiced hiding, painting our bodies like zebras and then blending into the surroundings, becoming one with the trees and shrubs. It felt like the forest nurtured our minds and it healed my hurt, my past pain left in the city. I really felt peace within that forest.
As I was tuning my eyesight to the landscape during a morning run I spotted a little grey fuzzball. At first I didn't know what it was so I bent down to take a closer look and noticed it was a little wolf puppy barely alive. I picked it up carefully and rushed back to get some help. It started to whimper and I felt very sad, wanting desperately to take care of him. I found some scraps of meat to feed him, and some baby's milk from a nursing mother. His strength came back in the days that followed and I got him to move around on all four-legs. Soon he was running with a renewed spirit.
"I wonder what I should call you?" I asked him one day. But all he could do was look at me funny. He was a curious little puppy, snooping in other people's tents and sometimes taking a child's doll. I would have to chase him to get the doll and then take the doll back to the owner. He would make me so angry taking the doll again, and he knew that too, dropping the doll out of his mouth when I would shake my finger at him. He was very smart and learned very quickly. Zi-Yen came up with the name "Ninja," as a way to honor more of his ancestors, and he wanted me to train with Ninja because he said animals have much stronger senses than humans and that Ninja could detect anything strange or unusual in the forest, to protect our home.
So Ninja was now the newest member of the Zindin Warriors and he was to be by my side at all times, training with me out in the forest. His training included staying and holding very still in one spot while I went to go hide in another spot. At first Ninja wanted to chase everything in sight, every butterfly, every bird, every rabbit. He really tested my patience and anger. Sometimes it felt like he was training me to be patient and tolerant. Eventually he learned his job after a full cycle of the seasons. If he would not have learned then we would not have been prepared for what was to come next...