Learning the secret of perfect defense, Tomo begins her career—here!
She impresses her master Kon.
She saves lovers Meg and Cho.
She establishes the standard special effects LIGHT and I’M IN UR FIGHT, BLOCKING UR ATTACKS!
She even reforms two night-grim thieves!
But she has drawn the eye of a terribly offensive shogun—
[LEGEND OF PERFECTLY DEFENSIVE SAMURAI]
Bats scream silently in the airy heights of Daiimon’s citadel.
The terribly offensive shogun taps his fingers on his throne.
“I am displeased,” he says.
Before him—the LEGENDARY KNEELING LIEUTENANT,
May lowers her head.
“Why is that?” she asks.
“It is difficult to govern as a terribly offensive shogun if I am not feared,” he says.
“And you are not feared?”
“‘He cannot destroy the perfectly defensive samurai’—people say. ‘Lo, his grip on this land weakens’—people say. Fear runs out of them like rain out of a gutter. Soon the last of it will be gone.”
“Then send me,” May says.
Daiimon looks up. His eyes are bleak and set deep in his head.
“If you fail,” he says, “I will end you with the lightest breath of the TERRIBLY OFFENSIVE TECHNIQUE.”
“Ha!” agrees May.
Then she is gone.
Tomo sits under a pink and white umbrella. She eats a sticky hunk of rice and melon. She leans back and looks at the sun.
“Ur hot,” she tells the sun. “But u can’t burn me. I can feel the breath of blocking u.”
The sun, she thinks, is obligated to agree.
AN EVIL FEELING!
Tomo breaks the umbrella into three pieces with the side of her hand. The top blows away in the wind. The bottom falls to the ground. The middle piece is a great thin sword.
She pushes off from the ground with one hand, dirt griming up her fingers. The other hand swings the sword forward to block.
May staggers backwards. She falls into a kneeling position. Her sword slips back into its sheath. A lock of hair falls over her eye.
“No less,” May says, “from the legendary defensive samurai.”
“PERFECTLY DEFENSIVE,” Tomo clarifies.
“We’ll see!” says May.
She is a blur. She outpaces the green and blue of her kimono so that the color bleeds off of her to stay behind her in the air and she moves forward as a sepia ghost. She moves in that other world of kung fu where great scars cut through the air and the wind blows hollow.
Her sword is out. It is inevitable. It is invincible. It cuts towards Tomo’s neck.
The umbrella sword explodes. Tomo lurches back and to the side, May’s sword passing right by her neck.
May twists her wrist in a fashion that causes the tendons to jangle with great pain. But Tomo’s foot has found the bottom piece of the umbrella and kicked it up
May’s sleeve sword falls into her second hand. It jabs.
Tomo smiles ethereally.
She exhales: haa.
Her hand comes around. There is nothing in it. Yet:
And May rolls at terrible speed along the ground in a snapped-to-color world and black rocks cut into her skin and shards of broken umbrella catch in her hair and she fetches up against a stone building wall, KLUN.
Her sword snaps back into its sheath.
Tomo is transcendent.
She stands there with her hair floating back and her leg back in stance and a thin mist of dirt falling away from her hand.
“You are my master,” she says. “What would you have of me?”
I’M IN UR FIGHT,
BLOCKING UR ATTACKS
“Your will!” May agrees, knocking her head.
And for three long weeks and three more days, where May fights, Tomo blocks, laughing. But a weed of guilt eats at the rice paddy of May’s heart. It grows to choke the ox.
Tomo’s spirit is too bright for May.
So May abandons Tomo and goes to the mountain, to a certain place she knows where Tomo cannot block Daiimon’s attacks, and she waits.
The fire of the TERRIBLY OFFENSIVE TECHNIQUE comes down from the sky and burns May’s shadow to the stone.
[LEGEND OF PERFECTLY DEFENSIVE SAMURAI]
Tomo walks along the road. She munches on a peach. She tosses the pit aside.
It hits a monkey.
“O noes,” Tomo says. She is horrified. Her face stretches in an expression of plaintive apology.
She is a perfectly defensive samurai!
She does not mean to attack!
But the monkey is not kind.
It jumps up and down.
It is an angry monkey, this monkey, and it does not forgive.
THIS IS THE SADNESS OF THE WORLD
PEOPLE LEAVE US
MONKEYS GET OFFENDED
PEACHES DO NOT REMAIN
Daiimon rises from his distant throne, and his eyes burn red.
Next time on Legend of Perfectly Defensive Samurai:
SHOGUN AND SAMURAI