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Not So Far

High above the clouds, where the wind blows, they made their game. Yajirobe was a fine man in his own estimation. He quite liked himself, although such emotion was quite exhausting in his opinion. Across the table sat the old master – Korin, the Wondercat. Korin was the bane of Yajirobe’s existence. The samurai wanted to live a life of ecstasy and laziness, but the old kitty was always on him like a fox on a green-furred toy wiener dog. He was constantly nagging Yajirobe, as if he were the man’s mother. It made Yajirobe mad – mad as a kitty without a slice of ham to warm his belly.

He was as quick-witted as anyone who ever lived. Yajirobe was great. He was the best samurai in the world (he was the only samurai in the world); he was a beautiful man with great potential and a charming personality specifically tailored for the girls. Yajirobe shivered. The autumn wind was caressing the nape of his neck. Looking down, he found his cards: the queen of diamonds and the seven of spades. Pure trash (or, as Vegeta would say, “space trash!”). He threw the noble lady and her lackluster consort into the muck in disgust.

“Nice fold, big guy,” Korin said wisely, looking over Yajirobe with that usual judgmental gaze of his. “You would’ve lost a lotta chips with those ones.”

“Yeah right,” Yajirobe grunted. “If I wanted to, I could’ve busted you. But I chose not to out of the kindness of my heart.”

That made Ledas giggle. The boy sat between the samurai and the senbyo. He had folded as well. Yajirobe didn’t like that; he wanted Korin to pay for his arrogance severely. He wanted to paint that cat’s fur blue for all he’d done to poor, decent Yajirobe.

The cards were dealt again. Korin poured them all another round – chilled saké for Yajirobe and himself, and a fresh cup of tap water for the grey-eyed Saiyan boy with a monkey’s tail to boot (an outrageous appendage in Yajirobe’s good opinion).

“It’s the best tap water this side of Yunzabit Heights!” Korin boasted, but Yajirobe knew better. Still, he said not a word.

The samurai threw ten thousand chips into the pot, causing Korin to fold; but the Saiyan boy was not convinced. He called. That incensed Yajirobe. He had the three of diamonds and the jack of hearts. He had a terrible hand. The flop came: the four of spades, the queen of diamonds, and the nine of spades. It was, as must be noted, a ruinous flop for the proud samurai. He nearly upended the table right then and there. He had a weak hand, an absolutely worthless hand, yet he threw fifty thousand additional chips into the pot in a desperate bluff. Ledas called him. A ten of hearts came on the turn.

A bluejay landed on the railing of Korin Tower and cried out passionately. The Saiyan boy tried to answer it in song, but his voice wasn’t like a bluejay’s at all. The bird cocked its head and screeched obnoxiously; Ledas sang back at it at the top of his lungs; Yajirobe nearly exploded with impatience.

“Come on, do something already!” he roared.

“Alright,” Ledas shrugged. “All in.”

Those were the two worst words Yajirobe had ever heard, bless his soul. He lived a simple life and rarely had to deal with extreme situations such as this. It was too much for him. He was used to just giving Goku or the others a handful of senzu beans and going on with his day. But this level of pressure… he hadn’t experienced this much anxiety since that blind lizard alien had tried to kill him.

“Fine, be that way.” He folded, crossing his arms in contempt. “That was ridiculous.”

Ledas laughed. “I had a great hand.”

“Sure you did.”

“Looks like you’re the new short stack, champ,” Korin said coolly, eyeing Yajirobe’s chips. “Heh, I’m not surprised.”

“Whatever, man. I’m gonna win this thing.”

“Sure ya are.” Korin’s voice was as sweet as sugar. He was an elegant cat, a proper courtly jester. He was so fancy, Yajirobe wanted to vomit. “How about this: if you win, I’ll give you a senzu bean. How’s that sound, eh? That’ll be a special treat for you, Yajirobe!”

The man barely deigned to reply with a snort. Korin raised four times the big blind. Ledas folded; Yajirobe decided to call. He had pocket sevens. He was a legend. The wind blew with icy fervency upon his cheeks. The bluejay had left the rail.

“Y’know, when I was younger… oh, maybe four or five hundred years ago… I lived in Emperor Chaoko's court.”

Yajirobe knew well this strategy by the master Korin. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. We get it. You were a big shot a long time ago. Nobody cares any more.”

Unperturbed, the legendary white-furred cat continued, “While I was staying there, I met a beautiful girl named Lady Myobu. She was His Majesty’s prized pet cat, and he appointed her to fifth rank in the entire kingdom.”

Yajirobe, having heard this fable before, was rather annoyed. “Can you just bet or fold already? I don’t have all day!”

Korin gave a wry smile. “Lady Myobu was the most beautiful girl I ever met.”

“Did you date her?” the Saiyan asked curiously.

“No way!” Korin shook his head. “She was too good for me! His Majesty, the emperor, adored her. He spoiled her rotten, made her think that she was somethin’ special.”

“Yeah, yeah, come on, move,” Yajirobe said impatiently. “Do something.”

Korin eyed Yajirobe intently as he spilled some chips into the pot, like some nice fava beans on parade. “I tried to court her,” he lamented. “But she was fifth rank in the entire kingdom. The emperor loved Lady Myobu very much. I thought, maybe, if I could make her my girlfriend… maybe I could become someone.”

“Drugs are bad,” Ledas noted. “And don’t forget that being bad is wrong!” He slammed his cup down upon the table enthusiastically, shattering it. The glass fragments that shot forth mostly found their way into Korin’s fur, though a few shards got in Yajirobe’s hair, and he cursed that grey-eyed boy plentifully for his reprehensible nature. Ledas merely cooed like a pigeon in response.

The turn came. The board read: the four of clubs, the ace of spades, the two of clubs, the five of clubs. All was looking good for Yajirobe. He bet an exorbitant amount, causing Korin to rub his tummy and moan in wonder upon witnessing the samurai’s gambit. This was wholly unexpected, and Yajirobe was happy to see that he had flummoxed Korin. Nevertheless, after spending approximately twelve seconds in the tank, the wonder-kitty called him, and they were off to the river.

“One day I tried to introduce myself to her. I was so nervous. I spent hours getting ready. I took a bath, got my fur cleaned and all shiny, bought myself an expensive purple collar, and even trimmed my claws! I walked up to her slowly, my tail in the air, trying to be as non-threatening as possible, and all the while, she’s sitting there on a pillow staring at me with those wide green eyes of hers. I was shaking, I tell ya! And then when I tried to greet her, Lady Myobu screamed. Apparently, she had been napping up there on the windowsill. How was I supposed to know? They told me afterwards that she sleeps with her eyes open. That’s weird, right?” Ledas nodded energetically and swung his feet back and forth. “The emperor had me banished to Dog Island, even though I’m a cat! It was the worst moment of my life! But what could I do, eh?”

“That was extremely ridiculous, and that emperor should be ashamed of himself,” Ledas agreed.

It was the king of hearts. There were two overcards to his pocket sevens, but Yajirobe didn’t care. The air was wailing; his stomach was grumbling. This was just a stupid game after all. “All in.”

Korin eyed the man suspiciously. “Anyways, later I heard she got with this tomcat. He was promoted to eighth rank after they got engaged. I’ve heard the party they threw afterwards was unlike anything else ever seen in the kingdom.”

Ledas frowned. “How did the emperor know the kitties wanted to get married?”

Yajirobe grunted and wondered if it was time to feast. Clearly not, he knew. He couldn’t feast for at least three hundred more words. That was the price he had to pay for playing this hand so wonderfully.

“He had a feeling. It was strange, I’d say. The emperor was an eccentric man. It’s no surprise that his kingdom collapsed under his rule. Making Lady Myobu fifth rank of the entire kingdom… even as beautiful as she was… that was a bad move. She was ranked above everyone, aside from the emperor, his wife, and their two kids. It’s absurd.” The kitty folded his hand and drummed his fingers on the white-cloth-covered table. “Anyone know the name of Myobu’s paramour?”

“Endoplasmic reticulum?” Ledas asked, poking his head up.

“Endoplastic what now?” Yajirobe was confused.

The boy shrugged. “I dunno, it’s just something people say.”

“Nope,” Korin said, eyeing Ledas with a piercing gaze. The wind gusted through the boy’s hair. “He wasn’t handsome; he wasn’t charming; he wasn’t very smart. Heck, I shoulda been her husband! Sheesh! Come on, what’s a guy to do?!”

“Alright, alright, just deal the cards, man,” Yajirobe said quickly. “I’m starvin’ over here!”

Korin ignored him. “But anyways… his name was Nir.”

“Nir, huh? Wow, that’s a really cool name,” Ledas whispered.

“He was a tabby. His parents were street urchins, and so was he. I don’t know what she saw in him…” Korin shook his head as he peeked at his cards. “Alright, I’m all in.”

Yajirobe scowled a mean scowl. “Come on man.”

“You gotta beat the best to be the best,” the white-furred beast replied. “Do something, Yajirobe.”

The grumpy samurai folded, though he hadn’t wanted to. Korin cackled and dealt another hand. He had half a mind to whip out his katana and cut that arrogant kitty’s favorite cat tower in half, but he restrained himself. It wasn’t yet time. His hand was eight-deuce, so he discarded it easily.

“Mr. Korin sir, don’t you have anything else to say?”

“Eh?” The cat was looking over his cards.

“About the Nir kitty.”

“Ah, that’s right!” Korin cleared his throat. “So she fell for him. He knew how to sing outside her door in the moonlight.” Korin looked sickened as he threw his cards into the muck, following a bold re-raise by Ledas. That almost made Yajirobe happy. A flock of wild geese flew by the tower, honking abrasively. He grit his teeth and shouted some pretty mean things at them, but they just kept on shrieking and screeching and ignoring poor Yajirobe. Farther off in the sky, orange-bellied robins glided and swarmed like swirling leaves. “The emperor prepared an extravagant wedding. He spared no expense,” said the senbyo who decided to throw a blind bet into the pot before he even looked at his cards. That morally outraged Yajirobe. He thought back to a boy he’d once known and wondered how Korin had managed to mimic him so. “So I made it the worst wedding ever.”

Yajirobe scowled. He’d heard this story a thousand times. It was like eating senzu beans – the feeling was always the same. He bet seven times the big blind, which caused an immediate fold by Ledas. Korin stared him down.

“So that’s how it is, eh?”

“I’m not telling you anything, man.” Yajirobe stuck his lip up like a proper fancy boy.

“I blew up the cake,” Korin muttered.

The Saiyan burst out laughing. “You did… what?!”

“You heard me.” Korin’s eyes never left Yajirobe’s. He called the samurai’s raise. Yajirobe felt a keen, cold sweat descend down his spine as he tried to think up his next move. He had a king, and he had a seven – decent cards, but not great. Korin could have anything. “When the emperor presented Lady Myobu to Nir, I detonated the cake with some firecrackers I stole from a mutt on Dog Island. It splattered all over that mongrel’s orange fur, and he ran out of there screaming like a pussy.”

“So you got back with her?” the boy asked, as naïve as a spring morning.

“No,” Korin shook his head sadly. “Nir was disgraced. I made sure of that. He fled the capital. He never saw Myobu again. But it didn’t matter. When I was preparing to make my grand entrance, the emperor wheeled out another cat – a black-and-white fatty who looked like he’d been stuck on a roof all his life. His name was Ishmael. The marriage ceremony happened so fast, I had no chance to stop it. It was over before it began.”

The flop came: the ace of diamonds, the two of diamonds, and the queen of diamonds. Yajirobe peeked at his cards to see if he held a diamond, but he didn’t. That was typical luck, he knew. If the old cat’s luck were half as bad as his, the game would already be over. When Korin raised him all in, Yajirobe had no choice but to immediately fold.

They were quiet as Korin collected his next pot. Yajirobe ground his teeth. His stomach growled, and he shivered. “Raise!” shouted Ledas obnoxiously. He was a clueless boy; he’d be the first one to bust out, surely. Yajirobe had seen young flames burn out before, though remembering those old memories did him no good, he knew.

“Your turn, kid,” Korin snapped, calling Ledas’ ridiculous aggro-play.

“Huh?!” Ledas was wide-eyed as a caught fox, red-furred and all.

“Tell us a story, or you’ll have to cook us dinner!”

“No way!” The boy was aghast. His girlish gasp made even Yajirobe look away, it was so embarrassing.

“I’m not kidding, champ.”

The boy was simmering in the tank like Phil Laak after an all-in by Antonio Esfandiari. That was a horribly obscure reference, and Yajirobe felt ashamed of himself for making it. He wanted to slit his own throat. Life is meaningless and full of pain, so they say.

If Yajirobe cared about anyone, he was hiding it well, even from himself. He didn’t care about this game. He was numb to everything; nothing meant anything to him, except food. He was a simple man with simple tastes, unlike the Saiyan boy. Smoked wild boar was so much better than these inedible chips stacked in front of him like a mini metropolis.

“It’s storytime, kid… Don’t be shy!” Korin was goading him, like a dirt farmer dangling a carrot in front of a mule. “How about you tell us about a girl you like?”

“No…” Ledas blushed. “Th-there’s nothing going on like that!”

“Sure kid.”

When Yajirobe thought, he thought of salted pork. He thought of fat, short men wading through chest-high water, salivating over what he salivated over. Salted pork was the gift of the gods. When Yajirobe had been five years old, his mother had given him three strips of bacon for his birthday. He’d never had a better birthday since.

“R-really, I-I don’t–”

“Don’t lie to me, Ledas. I know with a face like yours, you gotta be gettin’ some action!” the kitty purred. “Come on, spill the beans!”

His face was scarlet – the color of Makare’s crumpled body in the light of the burning mountain. Yajirobe hadn’t thought of that man in years. Why was his mind turning towards the past now? He couldn’t say. He wanted some wild boar.

Ledas’ uninterrupted sigh broke Yajirobe out of his wandering thoughts. Korin sat tall and loose, fingering several chips and eyeing both of them with high indifference. “Fine… I’ve got a story for you guys.”


Ledas went all in. Korin folded faster than Yajirobe could process what had happened. The samurai played it up, as if he had a decision to make (with his three of hearts and nine of clubs), but in the end, he threw his cards away too. Gotta save face, yo. Yajirobe was a magnificent hambone; he was a wonderful guy; he’d beaten the last great samurai lord to ever walk the Earth in single combat. But no one knew that, not even Korin. The wind was on his cheeks again, and he felt his eyes watering. The weakness annoyed Yajirobe. He wasn’t sad. This wasn’t him. Why was his body reacting against his will?!

“One of my first memories was my dad taking me to a zoo in the royal city. Y’know, back on Planet Vegeta.”

Yajirobe tried to raise his next hand – the five of diamonds and the ace of hearts – but Korin re-raised him so severely, the samurai had to pretend he had a decision to make for more than three minutes before throwing his cards away. He saved face, but not many of his chips. He was going broke faster than a wildebeest who’d just won the lottery.

“I remember we went to see a Sanu – they’re a kind of big, furry predator, sorta like a saber-tooth cat from this planet, okay?”

Korin nodded and folded to Ledas’ next raise. Yajirobe simmered with rage. Why couldn’t the stupid cat do that when he had a hand?

“Anyways, I was like three years old, I think… maybe four. I could’ve just turned four. I don’t remember.”

Korin’s mouth contorted into a knowing grin. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Y-yeah… I guess…” Ledas scratched the back of his head. “Anyways, my dad took me and this girl there together… Chiha-something, I think… Uh… Dang, I don’t remember her name!”

“Sly dog,” Korin noted.

Looking up and narrowing his large eyes, Ledas spoke, “It was a playdate, or something.”

“Or something,” Korin agreed.


“Get on with it,” Yajirobe grumbled. “I don’t have all day, man.”

Korin dealt the cards again. “When we got there, the trainer was feeding the Sanu some meat on a stick, and I guess it got really excited, or maybe it was just super hungry, because it snapped at him and ripped off his arm. There was blood everywhere! And he screamed like a little girl!”

Ledas sounded cheerful when he said that. Yajirobe shook his head. Saiyans were weird. The way that boy’s grey eyes lit up when he went on about the gruesome details… Yajirobe didn’t understand it. It was as if Ledas were an alien or something.

“Must’ve been a new trainer,” Korin said calmly, raising pre-flop and taking the pot. “Otherwise, he should have known what he was getting himself into. So what happened with that Chiharu girl?” the rotund kitty asked. “Did you end up marrying her, kid?”

“Nope. I never saw her again. I’m sure she was killed when Frieza destroyed my homeworld.”

“That was a terrible story,” Yajirobe grunted. His mind was full of explosions, of flashing silver, of a blond-haired, green-eyed boy who’d once been as young as this boy sitting to his left. “Whatever, I’m all in.”

He threw all of his chips to the middle of the table, spilling them forward with ejaculatory spirit. Ledas called him. Korin folded after thinking it over for a few moments. “Alright, champ. Tell us your story, in case you bust out here.”

Yajirobe scowled. “Just deal the cards, man. I’m hungry. Let’s get this over with.”

“No way, I wanna hear Yajirobe’s tale!” Ledas shrieked. “Make it a good one! I want it to be as long as my daddy’s beard!”

He had half a mind to grant them that request. As everyone knew, Yajirobe had quite a story to his name, and he could pontificate for hours upon days upon weeks upon seconds about his glorious past. He vaguely recalled once running about on a spindle, whatever the hell that meant, but he had not the heart to tell them about those times. Not even the meager wonderkitty knew much about Yajirobe’s early life, and he meant to keep it that way.

He scrunched up his face like a pufferfish after taking three shots of morphine. Sighing long and hard as a young girl in Mr. Coddington’s biology class, Yajirobe began: “Alright, so a long time ago, I was out huntin’ this wild boar, and…”

“How long’re we talking?” the boy asked eagerly.

“After I left the samurai school…”

“Whoa… what’s that?”

“The Iboinoshishi Samurai School,” spoke the mythical kitty of so fine a strain. “The best… and last samurai school in the world. Yajirobe here was among the last people to graduate before it closed up.”

“Oh nice. Great job, Yajirobe!”

“As I was saying,” the poor samurai growled (he was not like a bitch in heat at all), “I was hunting a boar. It was a big one. He had long tusks and a nasty temper.”

“So what did you do?” That was the boy speaking again.

“I cut off his head.”

“Show your cards,” Korin said, causing Yajirobe to bristle with anger. How dare he rebuke the poor samurai so! “You’re all in.”

“Whatever.” He threw the cards towards the pot, revealing a queen of diamonds and a ten of diamonds.

Ledas revealed a pair of cowboys – the king of spades and the king of diamonds. It was the worst thing Yajirobe had ever seen in his life. The geese were far-off now, pale dots against the sinking sun. Yajirobe could not appreciate their beauty any more.

“Deal, you old cat,” Yajirobe grumbled.

“Not until you continue your story,” said wise Korin, blessed be his fur.

“That was the whole story!”

“No it wasn’t.”

Yajirobe scowled. “Fine. I cut off his head and roasted him over the fire. There? You happy?”

“Really, that’s it? That’s what you’re going with?”

Yajirobe crossed his arms. “Whatever, man. I just want to eat.”

The flop came: the three of clubs, the ace of diamonds, and the seven of diamonds. It was not as bad of a flop as he had expected. Heat rose in his chest, though Yajirobe knew not to get too excited. He’d seen too much of this kind of thing before – too much potential go to waste in the most heartbreaking ways. Again, he saw those green eyes in the dark, tearful and wide, and he bit his lip to forget. Tasting blood, the samurai leaned back in his chair awkwardly.

“Well, that’s not so bad,” Ledas said carelessly. “You have a chance, Yajirobe!”

“Why did you take that wild boar?” Korin asked him.

“Because I was hungry.”

“That’s right.”

“Hey?! What’s that supposed to mean?”

Korin smiled sarcastically and dealt a queen of hearts on the turn. It was do or die now. Yajirobe had a few outs – any diamond in the deck, either of the two remaining queens, or one of the three remaining tens – but he was drawing thin. He guessed he had about a 29.55% chance to win. That was okay by his tubby standards. He’d faced worse odds before… and the last time he’d been in such a predicament, he’d slain the greatest samurai in the world in single combat.

“You’re a magnificent storyteller,” the cool cat remarked. “The very best.”

“Yeah man, I know.”

The Saiyan boy’s eyes narrowed again. “So… that’s it? That’s the whole story?”

“Yep.” Yajirobe looked away. His stomach was rumbling. He was ready for some wild boar.

The river dealt a two of clubs, and Yajirobe stood. He felt nothing. He watched the boy raking in the chips for but a moment, and then marched off towards the kitchen, intent on making dinner himself. That was one thing he was good at, at least.

Tired orange light was flickering across his youthful face. Migrating birds chased drifting clouds. A cold wind was rising.

“You’re still here, kid?” Yajirobe called to Ledas.

“Huh?” Ledas had been leaning against the railing of Korin Tower, his hands in the pockets of his red hoodie. He glanced up at the samurai before looking away. “Oh, sorry, I’ll get going…”

“Do what you want, dude. I don’t care if you stay. There’s more boar if you’re still hungry. I know you Saiyans have big appetites.”

“Yeah, thanks Yajirobe, but I’m not hungry.”

He sidled over to the boy whose tail was perked up like a frisky kitty’s. “Is this about a girl? I bet that’s why you don’t wanna leave.”

Ledas’ face flushed as he chuckled. “No, not a girl.”


The boy sighed as the wind picked up, fluttering like a cosmic breath through their hair. “Trust me, it wouldn’t interest you.”

Yajirobe was an impressive individual. He didn’t let that Saiyan kid see him shiver. He had already sliced Ledas’ tail off anyways, back when the kid had been a fearsome giant ape running through the forest. He’d done the same thing to Vegeta once, and he’d have done it to Goku too had he ever seen Goku transform. Yajirobe reckoned he was something of a Saiyan whisperer (or maybe just a Great Ape whisperer), whatever that meant. People gave themselves stupid, made-up titles all the time, so why couldn’t he?

“Hey Yajirobe, wanna blow this joint? Why don’t you come with me to this new club Ryori found? It’s called ‘The Guac’. I’ve heard it’s really awesome, but I haven’t been there yet.”

“Whoa…” Yajirobe’s voice went low. “Aren’t you a little young to be going to a place like that? Don’t they serve alcohol and stuff?”

Ledas sighed again, blowing warmth in between his palms. “I like this planet, but I don’t care about the rules. I’m not a human. I’ll do whatever I want. So whaddya say?”

“Eh, I’m good with stayin’ here. I’d rather party by myself, anyways. All those other people are just annoying.” He thought of his youth, of loud music and dark rooms and people stepping on his toes, breathing down his neck, and feeling more alone than he’d ever felt before. “You shouldn’t go there, man. It’s not safe for a kid like you. Just go home and play video games, or stay here, or somethin’…”

The boy smiled sadly. “If you wanna be a party animal, Mr. Yajirobe, you gotta learn to live in the jungle.” He took a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to the big guy. “Thanks again for cooking dinner. It was delicious. I’ll see you later.”

With that, the monkey boy with the messy black hair kicked off into the air and flew towards the setting sun, like those geese fleeing the cold.

Yajirobe unfolded the paper. On it, in the scrawl of an epileptic toddler, was written a haiku:

Dedicated to Yajirobe, my good friend

the fading sun and

smoked meat clinging to the air

a night spent with friends

by Ledas

He wasn’t one for poetry, especially not this lovey-dovey, sentimental crap. Yajirobe crumpled up the piece of paper and pocketed it. Walking back to the kitchen, he found Korin on the counter, a slice of smoked wild boar in his mouth.

“Tsst… tsst!” Yajirobe spat. “Hey, off the counter! Yo, bad kitty!” He grabbed a broom and chased the mythical senbyo out of the room. “Bad kitty!” the samurai bellowed again as he waved the broom back and forth, missing every time. Korin was much quicker than him. It had always been so.

Grumbling to himself, the man returned to the table, where he found a puddle of dark juice on a white plate – the last remains of the wild boar he had spent two hours cooking. He shouted, he cursed, he bit his lip and sighed and waved his arms like a balloon man. But none of that made his favorite delicacy magically reappear on the plate. So sitting – pouting – he reached over and grabbed a stalk of broccoli and dipped it in the pork puddle. Looking over the miserable vegetable, he thought it looked a lot like Ledas’ hair.

He took one bite and frowned. It was repulsive – a veritable, vile weed. Spitting it out all over the table, Yajirobe stood up and returned to the windy railing. The clouds had turned a deep golden orange, with borders of indigo and navy blue. There was maybe thirty minutes of light left.

Yajirobe recalled what Ledas had said to him, and thought back to his days in the Iboinoshishi Samurai School. He’d almost been someone. But they had all died, even the boy whom Ledas reminded him so much of…

Drawing his katana, which glimmered like melted silver in his hand, Yajirobe raised the golden hilt to peer closely at the base of the blade. Scrawled in faint, flowery text, was the name ‘Brian’. He exhaled powerfully and lowered the katana. He still remembered that look in his master’s eyes when it had been him, not Brian, who had returned from their final test.

Pulling a capsule out of his pocket, Yajirobe threw it, revealing an azure hovercar. There was enough daylight left, he knew, as he climbed into the driver’s seat, his sword still in hand.

This would be like hunting boar – better, even.

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