“Before you leave, come to training room for one last training session.”
“Do you want me to wait till you’ve had your breakfast?”
“It is unwise to fight on full stomach. Come, Mayhew.”
They went into the training room and stopped at the center.
Hildreth started to bow, but Master Shinowa grabbed him and tossed him across the room.
“Do not expect your opponent to obey rules of fighting.”
Hildreth started to get up, only to get elbow jabbed in the middle of his back. He dropped to his hands and knees.
“Do not expect your opponent to fight fair. If you show weakness, he will exploit it.”
Hildreth grabbed him right above his feet and pulled him down.
Only to get kicked in the face.
“You must fight dirty.” He curled forward and rammed his head against Hildreth’s chest, knocking him back. “Or you die.”
Hildreth rose to his feet.
The two men charged at each other and exchanged a series of fast, hard blows.
“Do not let him distract you with his words.”
“Do not get stuck in thoughts. Thoughts happen after fight. Not during.”
“And important of all—”
Hildreth threw him across the room. He came over to him and stepped on his wrists. “Most important of all, don’t get thrown.”
Master Shinowa grinned. “Smart move.”
Hildreth released his wrists and bent over to help him up.
Only to get flipped on to his back.
“Important of all,” Master Shinowa stood. “Don’t get over-confident.” He helped Hildreth up to his feet. “Those are most important lessons. If you confront Smith the vampire or not, remember those lessons.”
“Yes, Master. Thank you.”
“Come. I will walk you to station.”
Master Shinowa side-glanced at Hildreth. “Lost in thoughts again.”
“Will you speak of it?”
“It’s nothing, really. Just thoughts.”
Master Shinowa turned his attention forward. “Cold day is beautiful.”
“Master. Are you really that okay about your brother? If you want me to go…if you want me to find out…”
Master Shinowa stopped walking and Ambrose followed suit. “Don’t worry, Mayhew. I am not active hunter anymore.” He smiled. “I still have connections. If I seek truth about his death, I will find it. If I choose to seek it.”
“But you won’t?”
“Will that truth make him whole? Will it bring him back? Will it heal me and make me whole?”
“It might. It would be better than living with all of those unanswered questions. It’s better than not knowing.”
“Sometimes knowledge hurts more. If it is Smith the vampire who killed him, what then? That knowledge could lead me into the dark. I will not go into the dark, Mayhew.” He gave him a meaningful look. “Neither should you.”
Before Hildreth could reply to that last line, Master Shinowa resumed walking.
Hildreth followed him.