Dong! The great brass bell high on the Temple of Holda Gigarekt tolled across the land. Dong! Again it rang, its clarion call seeming to bounce from the flagstones of the courtyard, to echo around and reverberate, filling the air with it’s sonorous chime, even in the silence between peals.
Shingo Mitzurugi stood still. He was balanced, his breathing slow and even. His pulse regular within his incomprehensibly invertebrate body. His weight rested forward on the balls of his soft feet. Soft feet that were perfect for grip, balance and poise.
He had been training his whole life for this, all seven and a half days. His eyes were covered, as he needed to reach out with all his senses. The katana seemed to rest awkwardly in his hand. They said he had ‘failed’ to grasp it. Ha! How little they knew. It was perfectly balanced, exactly the way he wanted it.
They surged forward with the ringing of the bell, as he knew they would. They were silent, but he felt the air move against their bodies as they swept towards him. In an instant he was moving, the katana sliding backward in his hand to impale the attack from behind, just as he had planned, before blurring in an arc and into his outstretched flipper. He could not grip a katana, but he had not trained to grip a katana. He slapped the blade back and forth between his flippers in a dizzying whirl, a flashing darting pinwheel of death that never failed to find its mark. In seconds it was over.
Someone in the crowd gave a shout of !slice and applause rent the silence asunder. Shingo lifted his wooly hat and smiled at the other wassie picking themselves from the floor. There were bruised but alive, his katana merely a wooden practice sword. Some nodded to him in respect, others scowled.
An elderly wassie, all of 12 days, shuffled forward, the sparkle shaman sigil bright on this chest. Shingo bowed.
“Arise, sparkle sage,” said the shaman, and touched Shingu on the chest. Shingo’s sparkle sigil shimmered to silver, and a new chapter in his smol life began.