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Meanwhile, Back At Home
I wrote this in response to aldersprig's last prompt, "more Nai, or ha ri."

“Publicity is the best way to get people looking for your daughter quickly, Scholar Sung,” the policeman pointed out patiently to Nai’s father.

“But we’ve just started trying to find her a husband,” protested Sung Kao.  “Running away from home is not the sort of accomplishment of my daughter’s that I want to draw attention to.”

The policeman’s gaze sharpened.  “Indeed, sir?  And what did Nai think about your decision that she’s ready for marriage?”

Her father looked flummoxed.  “She didn’t say anything.  She’s a good girl who does as she’s told…”

“Who walked out of the house the next day and hasn’t come back,” pointed out the policeman.  He sighed inwardly.  For a bright man Scholar Sung needed a lot of things pointed out to him.  If he didn’t want to provide a photo of his missing daughter for the press, then he probably wasn’t going to like the next suggestion either.  “I’d like Constable Kim,” he indicated his female constable, “to look through your daughter’s room to see if there are any clues your family might have missed.  Under your wife’s supervision, of course.”

“I don’t see why you need to do that,” huffed Nai’s father.

“I’m sure you’ve already looked, sir,” soothed the policeman, “but Constable Kim has had more experience with young women who’ve gone missing than I expect you to have had.  There may be some little thing that didn’t seem significant to you, but before that can you and Madam Sung tell us about your daughter’s friends?”

“Nai’s never brought anyone to the house,” offered her mother quietly.  “Never.”

“So no boyfriends, that you know of,” noted the policeman as he wrote in his notebook.  “Is there anyone, a classmate or a teacher, we could speak to?”

The Sungs exchanged a glance and Madam Sung said in a slightly guilty tone, “I’m afraid we haven’t been to any of Nai’s school events in recent years.”

“You must understand, Sergeant,” her husband put in smoothly, “that all of our other children attend selective or specialist secondary schools and we’ve had children in up to six different secondary schools at once.  It hasn’t been uncommon for us to have three school functions on in the one night and there are only two of us.”

“Indeed sir,” the policeman agreed smoothly.  “Now, she was supposed to be going to a gi class.  What about her gi teacher?”

“He’s closed up shop and taken some protégé off on the professional circuit,” complained Scholar Sung.  “At least we know that can’t be Nai, gi teachers are never backwards in asking for more fees if they think a student is any good and would benefit from extra lessons.  This one hasn’t upped his fees since Nai started with him when she was six.”

“That is unusual,” agreed the policeman.  “And his name sir?”

“Master Que Tzu,” replied Scholar Sung.  “I’ve never met him but when I made enquiries I was assured that he is qualified to teach gi.”

The policeman looked slightly stunned and replied gently, “Yes, he would be that.  You said your daughter has been his student since she was six?  I think I can assure you, sir and madam, that if your daughter has gone off with Master Que and his protégé then she is perfectly safe.”

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*CHEERS* good officer!

Good man good man *applauds*

I think he's heard of Master Que...

<giggles> Sounds like. I wonder if he follows the professional circuits. And I wonder if he'll break the news to them.

They really have been wicked negligent about everything related to Nai. WTF?

She's the quiet one of thirteen. She's not the pretty one, or the clever one and she is the talented one at gi, but they don't know that. Even then, the others have talents that have been pointed out to their parents. On top of that, Nai's the one that will go away when she's told, "I'm busy right now, we'll talk about this later."

The episode I'm writing at the moment does talk about this a bit.

That may explain, but does not excuse. Her father's assuming that anything important will be actively (and repeatedly!) brought to his attention is a compounding fault.

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That may explain, but does not excuse. Her father's assuming that anything important will be actively (and repeatedly!) brought to his attention is a compounding fault.

<does not like Nai's parents!>

Whatever their reasons/explanations/excuses, a wake-up call is overdue.

I don't think they've done what they've done deliberately or wilfully but I think the real underlying problem is that although they do care about her, they don't think she's as important as their other children.

Wow, her dad really is super clueless. Well at least it seems like Mom has the sense to feel a tiny bit guilty!

So, how many days was Nai gone before they noticed? And how long after that until they called the police?

And just how big a deal is Master Que? I mean, Nai didn't seem to know her teacher was a big shot, but she of course was raised by clueless idiots so that might explain her not knowing.

-Friendly Anon

I think they actually noticed that she hadn't come home the first night but Dad is concerned about appearances.

In gi circles Master Que is quite a big deal but he made his name in professional circles so his "stage name" is what he's known by. He's the one who's told Nai about his career and summed it up with, "I won a few championships." He discusses it in an off-hand manner and she hasn't been with him around people who'd make a fuss, until now.

Sounds like the policeman has a suspicion Nai is the protege, or he wouldn't have suggested that she might have gone with Master Que Tzu!

Or he's at least wondering why Master Que would keep her on as a student so long. :)

Here, I think it's fairly normal to stay with one martial arts teacher (I think that's a reasonable parallel?), at least while one stays in the same style/school, unless there's a strong reason to change (moving far away, say), even if one is only ever going to be a mediocre student. And even then many people look for the same school.

From the first background piece, I got the feeling that people of mediocre talents do not train in gi for more than a couple years. I think the policeman is surprised that Nai has been training for more than ten years with a teacher who would obviously be a good judge talent. If Nai wasn't good he should have stopped her training long ago.

-Friendly Anon

Or she would have lost interest.

My impression from the little-old-ladies-practice-gi-to-help-their-arthritis bit was that lots of people practiced gi very casually or for exercise without any expectation of becoming particularly good at it -- the national equivalent of aerobics classes or yoga or what have you.

Those probably aren't the sort of classes Master Que gives because he's not the sort of person little old ladies with arthritis would go to for lessons.

No, he seems to have very few students and not to be trying to attract many. Now I wonder how he found Nai, or how she found him ...

But her dad doesn't seem to think her keeping on with lessons was in and of itself odd?

Has her father really engaged his brain when it comes to thinking about anything involving Nai?

I know how Nai wound up with Master Que and I'm hoping to find the right spot to slip it in somewhere.

No, no he hasn't. <goes back go grumping at Nai's parents>

Also, yay! Looking forward to that, too.

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