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The bus pulled into the platform and with a loud hiss from the airbrake, it came to a halt.  Out of the bus came disheveled passengers.   Maria and Lys collaborated in their hunt for their guest and jointly discovered that the tenth zombie to leave the bus was the Samurai.

“Are we sure that is him though?” Lys whispered.

“Yes, I’m sure of it!”  Maria whispered back.

“He looks…normal.” Lys said.  She gave up whispering.

“He prefers to call himself the samurai.” Maria replied.

“You could call him ‘Sam.’” Lys proposed.

“You are Maria?” The samurai asked the red haired woman.  He had finally found his hosts on the crowded platform.

“Yeah,” Maria answered, “and this is my friend Lys.”  She motioned at the black haired woman standing next to her.  “I hope you enjoy your stay.” Lys said as Maria and the samurai headed out of the station.  She whispered loudly at Maria, “Be sure to call me over if he tries to pull anything!”

Maria and the samurai were driving to her house, when she decided to take the scenic route through town.  “I thought I would show you some things about me and this town.”  She said cheerfully.  The samurai was intent on listening, but was also nervous at this vehicle.  It went slower than those of his time, but he still felt it went too fast for its lack of a computerized guidance system.  He eventually got used to the bumps, realizing that roads were bumpier and cars had less advanced shocks in this time period.

“This is the church I go to.”  Maria announced as they passed a white building with stained glass.

“Christian?”  Samurai asked.

“Of course,” Maria answered.  She was surprised that he had to ask with the obvious black cross on the door.  “I believe that all religions have something to teach us, but Christianity is the best religion for me!”  She said with pride.  The samurai remembered that this was centuries before Protestantism became corrupt and much earlier than the Second Reformation.  “What religion do you practice?” Maria asked curiously.

“Neo-Chri…I mean, Unitarian Universalism.”  The samurai managed to stammer out, quickly remembering that Neo-Christianity was not in existence yet.  Unitarian Universalism was always a good answer when someone asks what religion you practice and you don’t really know, or cannot define it effectively.

“This has no real purpose on the tour, but I thought I would show off the wonderful view of the water.”  Maria said as they drove along a boulevard facing the sea.  “There’s a hospital up that way.”  The car drove through a giant intersection and the samurai felt like a bolt of electricity passed through him.  He heard radio commands, saw a flash of blinding white light, and heard a quiet rumble get louder.  He quickly snapped out of it when Maria spoke again.

“It will be awhile until we get to my house.  I hope you enjoyed our little tour.”  She said cheerfully.

“Thank you, it was nice.”  The samurai replied.

After a pause, Maria decided to make random conversation.  “So, what’s your zodiac sign?”

“Umm…Becker?”  He proposed timidly.

“That’s not a zodiac sign.”  She said flatly.

“I don’t know then.” The samurai said.  In his time, ‘signs’ did not refer to the Zodiac, but instead to Saints.  In his religion, one’s birth month determined which Saint they leaned towards during worship.  All Saints were honored of course, but worship favored one particular Saint depending on the birth month of the worshipper.  This is one of the ways that neo-Christianity encouraged the development of one’s personal spiritual identity.  So the samurai, having been born in May, emphasized St. Becker in his worship.  Like zodiac signs, each Saint carried with it unique personality traits that can be used to predict the development of one’s identity through life.  There are Saints for caution, gratitude, resourcefulness, courage, etc.  St. Becker was the Saint for unconditional love.  An individual emphasizing her in worship would value the belief in love for everyone, and that you need not know someone to love them.  Samurai of course could not possibly explain all of this to Maria yet.  His credibility was strained enough as it was, and he knew that saying he was from the future would be the fastest possible way to be locked in a mental institution.

“We’re here!” Maria announced as she pulled the car into the driveway.  Samurai stepped out of the car in front of a medium sized, pastel yellow ranch style house.  She led him inside.  The interior of the house resembled what he had once seen in a museum in an exhibit on ‘dwellings from a thousand years ago.’  He tried to ignore how much of the building material consisted of listed carcinogens, as that list had gotten quite large by his time.  “Here, I bet you are tired from travel.  Let me make some lemondade.”  It was a hot day, and a cool drink sounded very good.  The samurai thanked her kindly for the offer.  He looked over into the kitchen where Maria was preparing the beverage and was excited to see that she was using REAL LEMONS!  Though all the chemical flavors for natural tasting lemonade could be synthesized in a lab, freshly squeezed lemonade was reserved for the elite in his society, as greenhouse space was limited and citrus was hard to grow in the conditions available.  Though excited, he assumed that this was normal for this time period, and thus he tried to hide his astonishment.

Just as Samurai and Maria had sat down to a cool pitcher of lemonade, the phone rang.  Maria quickly got up to answer it, leaving the Samurai alone at the table to ponder the reason for such primitive cooling methods as suspended ice cubes.

"Hello?"
"Yeah, yeah, class was boring today, you missed nothing."

She was far enough away from the table that only her side of the conversation could be heard.
"Oh, yeah?  Oh that's why you have been so sick!"
"You're having it out tomorrow?"
"Alright.  Best of luck Amy.  I will keep you in my prayers."

After 30 seconds of silence, Maria put the phone down.  She reseated herself at the white wooden table and poured herself more lemonade.  "That was my friend Amy.  She's having surgery tomorrow."

"Ah," the samurai replied, "Then I will keep her in my prayers as well."

"I hope you get to meet her during your visit." Maria continued.  "She is an amazing person.  She is wise and thoughtful, and whenever I have been sad she is always there with a hug.  She loves everyone."

"Meeting her would be nice."  The samurai replied.  Something about this person sounded familiar to him.  Part of him thought she might be a May worshipper as he was, but then quickly remembered Maria’s reaction to his proposal for a Zodiac sign and that his religion wouldn’t exist yet for at least 500 years.

“Well, I have some homework to do,” Maria said exhaustedly, “so you can try to keep yourself amused.”

“I will try, but I am concerned about what your parents will think of this.  Are you sure that they will be okay with some random guy you have never seen before, suddenly staying in your house?”  The samurai asked.

“I’ve worked up a story for them.” she replied.  “Just remember that you are a friend from my childhood and that you suddenly came to visit.”

“That’s a reasonable explanation.” The samurai said in agreement.

Maria went on to her studies, while the samurai amused himself with the TV turned to CNN.  This got him excited because the news covered many things that were printed in his history textbooks.  Things like rising gas prices, the search for alternative fuels, corporate greed and corruption, to name a few.  He knew when the American war in Iraq ended, and how many years the unsuccessful campaign lasted, but with the way the bleak reports came across the screen, his guess at that moment was as good as anyone’s.  Every so often, they replayed a clip of the American President giving a speech.  The samurai couldn’t help but notice that he talked funny, and made many pauses.  He also noticed that he misused tenses and words, and even made up some words that didn’t exist in his language.  He snickered quietly and then Maria’s dad walked in on him and the TV.  He quickly stopped the snickering as he didn’t want to offend this citizen of the nation by making fun of his president.

“He’s dumb ain’t he?”  The man grunted.
“Well, yes, but not for a politician.” The samurai answered.  In his time, he had seen dumber politicians.  This was nothing.

Maria’s father chuckled and went about his business.

Later that evening, as the house quieted down and prepared for slumber, the samurai went in search of his bed.  Maria had explained to him that there was a cot for him in the basement that he could set up.  It was the best she could offer, and would also grant him a lower profile.   He found it in a closet and began setting it up.  It would only take three steps; fold it out, slap blankets and a pillow on it, and lay down to sleep.  Of course, the samurai made it much harder.  First off, he did not fold it out all the way so that the braces snapped into place.  Therefore, it sagged when he placed bedding on it, and upon lying down, it ate him like a Venus flytrap.  He struggled out of the mess and refolded it out.  Once he heard a ‘click,’ he tested the surface for tautness, then collected bedding from the radius surrounding the site of his struggle, and finally settled himself in for sleep.
… A chorus of beeps is accompanied by the din of shouted commands and the clatter of surgical tools as they are grabbed from and tossed into wax bottomed trays…

The samurai awoke quickly.  He tried to get back to sleep.
…”Love everyone, unconditionally.”  His Pastor told him.  That was the way of St. Becker.”  He continues to guide the samurai through his trance.  “She loved everyone.  She loved her parents, her friends, her pets, the people of the city, and even the men who killed her.”…

The samurai awoke again.  It was going to be a long night.
This is the ninth installment of The Samurai, my series for :iconmaria-minamino:

Once again, I advise you to reread if stuff doesn't make sense. For this one, I highly recommend rereading VIII.
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:iconmaria-minamino:
Aw - The Samurai and Maria finally meet. <3
When IS your actual birthday? If you told me over the years I have forgotten? *sorrysorrysorryifIhaveD:*
I am sorry for not replying to the last one - I have read it - and I'll reply later - I just haven't been on much because of working.
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:iconnebula02:
My actual birthday is October 11th. I know you probably wished me a happy birthday last time that date came around. If not, it's okay. The May birthday of the samurai will be important later.

I love you Maria, and so do alot of people, more than you can ever know. :hug:
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:iconmaria-minamino:
I thought it was October something - the May thing threw me off XD
I love you too <3 You mean so much to me :D I'm glad I've had you as my friend for so long :D :hug:
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:iconescaflowneluvr:
Yay!! They Finally met!! :dance: I loved reading it. It was very well written =D And you're right, I see the significance of chapter VIII now =D
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:iconnebula02:
I am still writing X. There will eventually be a chapter where IV makes alot more sense, and the story picks up from there.
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