Panel 1
Min Hua walks away from town with a bag of supplies slung over her shoulder, looking annoyed.
Street Vendor: “Little girl, Send that pretty sister of yours next time.”
Panel 2
Min Hua passes a mother and her child, her eyes watering a little.
Child: “Mommy, if she’s so much older, why isn’t little Min any bigger?”
Mother: “Shhh! Not so loud!
Child: “I hope I don’t stay short.”
Panel 3
Min Hua’s sister, Xiu Mei, sitting on top of a now bruised Min Hua, holding her wrist at an awkward angle.
Xiu Mei: You’ve kept me waiting little sister. What am I to do with you?
Min Hua: Nrgh!
Panel 4
Min sits alone crying.

Panel 1
A man in a blue bandana drives a motorcycle to the base of the hill where Min Hua was sitting. Behind him is a girl with red hair. Both are wearing very tattered clothing.

Panel 2
The girl stretches while Kenji calls up to Min Hua.
Kenji Haiyaou: Min Hua? If that’s you, go tell your grandfather that Kenji Haiyaou has arrived!
Min Hua: Uhh. Sure. Please leave your bike down there.

Panel 3
Min Hua walks away from the two, looking back skeptically, now distracted from her earlier distress.
Min Hua: That accent… since when does Grandpa know anyone from Japan? … and what’s with the western girl? Her hair looks ridiculous.

Panel 4
The redhead, Rei, looks around while Kenji fiddles with the bike to prepare it for temporary storage.
Rei Haiyaou: Wow Dad, this place is beautiful.
Kenji: Don’t get too comfortable. We still have to earn our stay.
Rei: Was that her?
Kenji: Unlikely.
Rei: Shame. She was cute.

Grandpa Lin replies to Min Hua (who is off camera) as Xiu Mei practices in the background.

Grandpa Lin: Haiyaou had a girl with him did he? Interesting. Xiu Mei, prepare yourself for a little exhibition spar.

Xiu Mei pulls Min Hua to the side.
Xiu Mei: Go clean yourself up. You look terrible. Honestly.

Xiu Mei releases her hold on Min Hua.

Xiu Mei: Could you, I don't know, try not being pathetic? Maybe... pretend to have some dignity? At least until the company is gone.

Min Hua is inside, looking in a mirror and trying to arrange her hair to best hide the bruises Xiu Mei gave her on page one.

Min Hua: How the heck am I supposed to hide all of this and still see? At least she lent me her brush...

Xiu Mei and Rei face off in the foreground, Xiu Mei looking bored. In the background, Min Hua sits between Grandpa Lin and Kenji Haiyaou.

Grandpa Lin: I must say Kenji... I'm surprised you found a woman willing to bear you a child.

Panel Two:
Closeup of Kenji replying to Grandpa Lin. Grandpa looks surprised while Kenji looks sheepish.

Kenji: That's rather harsh of you. But... you're absolutely right, old friend.

Profile of Min Hua listening to the adults behind her with a mild scowl.

Kenji: I found her on the pier after work. Abandoned.

Grandpa: What authority in their right mind would permit you to keep a child?

Kenji: I... never asked permission. I merely followed destiny's call.

Grandpa: Haiyaou...

Kenji: Do not judge, the girl will never know the feeling of that loss. Only that I, her father, loves her.

Rei stretches, bored, while Xiu Mei tries to get the two adult's attention.

Xiu Mei: Grandfather, I know you haven't seen your friend in forever... but, could you play catch up after... whatever it is we're here for?

Outside view of the tent, the sun descending toward the horizon.

Grandpa Lin: Ah, right. Xiu Mei, this is Kenji Haiyaou, an old friend of mine. That is his daughter, Rei. They have... an unusual proposition.

Xiu Mei side-eyes Rei while Rei continues her watch-and-stretch routine.

Grandpa Lin: The two of you will test your skill against the other. This will be a three-point match. No matter who wins the match...

Both Min Hua and Xiu Mei look confused and surprised.

Grandpa Lin: She and her father will remain here for two months, taking care of the maintenance of our home. Should Xiu Mei win, that will be the extent of the changes.

Grandpa puts on his grumpy face.

Grandpa Lin: Should the Haiyaou girl be the victor... the free time you would have gained from being relieved of chores will be spent instructing her in our style... as well as one other stipulation that I hope will not need to be discussed.

Rei faces off against Xiu Mei, Kenji, Grandpa and Min Hua in the background.

Xiu Mei (off camera): Ha! Don't worry. I'm sure it won't come to that.

Grandpa Lin: Xiu Mei, that's enough posturing. Min Hua.

Min Hua: Yes Grandfather. Ready... begin.

Xiu Mei opens with a leg sweep, which Rei avoids by lifting her forward leg.

Grandpa Lin (off camera): Oh hoh! Kenji, has your daughter met my Xiu Mei before?

Rei blocks a high kick, aimed at her temple.

Grandpa Lin (off camera): I rarely see her take such an aggressive stance from the start. She seems offended.

Kenji (off camera): She's not alone.

Min watches the match with a bored expression.

Grandpa Lin (off camera): Oh? What do you mean?

Kenji (off camera): Rei isn't smiling. She always enjoys these opening matches, but this time... It seems our girls already aren't getting along.

Min Hua: Hostility is my sister's specialty.

Grandpa leans forward and glowers at Min Hua. Min looks a little panicked at having spoken out.

Grandpa Lin: Min Hua! I know have taught you better than to speak out like this. Your attention should be on the match and the match alone. Why are both of my grandaughters intent on shaming me today?

Min Hua: I'm sorry grandfather. I... I didn't mean to -

Rei and Xiu Mei continue to fight in the foreground. Kenji stands up for Min while Min notices an opening that Xiu Mei is leaving.

Kenji: Oh, don't be like that. We're all friends here. No need to stand on formality.

Rei catches Xiu Mei with a left cross.

Min Hua: Point Haiyaou!

Kenji: Oh my.

Min smirks at Xiu Mei's misfortune while Xiu Mei focuses a little harder on her opponent.

Min Hua: Is the Lin heiress capable of continuing?

Xiu Mei: ... yes.

Min Hua: Is challenger Haiyaou prepared?

Rei: Yeah.

Min Hua: Ready...

Xiu Mei confidently squares off again. She now looks far more interested in the match.

Min Hua (off camera): Begin!

Kenji leans in to whisper to Min Hua.

Kenji: So, Min Hua, was it? How do you think they're doing? I'm guessing you're the usual referee so you've probably got a good eye for these things.

Grandpa Lin chides Kenji while Min watches the match, relieved that she hadn't responded. Kenji looks annoyed.

Grandpa Lin: Kenji! The girl requires her concentration to remain on the match. Not commentating.

Kenji: Mmm.... Hrmph.

Rei and Xiu Mei stop their match to stare at Kenji's tirade. Xiu Mei looks confused.

Kenji (off camera): Don't worry so much! It's not like anything is going to happen. This is the second round. Rei always drags this out and it gets kind of dull.

Rei: Dad.

Kenji (off camera): So instead of just sitting around and waiting for Xiu Mei to make the first move, I wa-

Rei: Dad. Seriously. Just... just stop.

Xiu Mei grabs Rei's shirt, annoyed by what she'd heard from Kenji.

Xiu Mei: What the hell, kid!? Is he serious? Are you really just playing around? Is this just a game to you?

Rei smiles back.

Rei: Well, yeah. It's my favorite. What? Don't you like it?

Xiu Mei looks confused by Rei's response.

Xiu Mei smiles, finding that an acceptable answer.


Xiu Mei, still holding Rei by her shirt, says, "Oh really?"

She then lifts and throws Rei over her shoulder, maintaining her hold to increase the speed of Rei's descent.

Rei, having grabbed onto Xiu Mei's hand, stops her fall short by planting her feet early.

Then, Rei takes advantage of the tattered nature of her shirt by tearing it off, removing Xiu Mei's hold on her.

Rei then reaches up, grabs Xiu Mei by her collar while she's surprised and flips over and on top of her.

Xiu Mei seems to have enjoyed the exchange, which aggravates Min Hua.