The Journey of the Single Strike

The Journey of the Single Strike
The book is essentially a series of duels between the protagonist, Hiro, and an assortment of criminals, corrupt officials, and other stylized villains. Although the book was formulaic and
sensationalist, its dramatic depictions of duels captured the imagination of the Empire’s early readers. In the following excerpt, Hiro faces off against a skeptic and gains the admiration of the entire crowd with a beautiful show of swordsmanship. This is a good example of the many detailed descriptions of swordfights in The Journey of the Single Strike, which retains a certain fame even in the modern Empire.

“You are a fool to start a fight with no weapon in your hands,” Taro said. He sneered, and the scar on his nose stretched obscenely across his face. It made the bandit look uglier than before, if that could be believed. He lifted his giant no-dachi and laid it on his shoulders. Blood, still fresh from his last kill, dripped down from the edge of the monstrous blade.

“Come at me, if you are so confident,” Hiro replied. His calm eyes bored holes in the bandit, and Taro flinched. Without taking his eyes off of his opponent, Hiro placed his sword hand on top of the hilt, palm facing the heavens.

A small murmur rose from the mob that circled him, and Taro’s face flushed with anger. The bandit snarled like an angry bear and rushed forward. The no-dachi sliced through the air as Taro swung down at the righteous hero.

Hiro slowly drew in a breath and held it for a long moment. He took all the worries and miscellaneous thoughts in his mind and pushed them far away. The world stopped, and disappeared. All that remained was the slowly moving form of his ursine opponent. Hiro shifted his wrist and grabbed the hilt of his blade. He breathed out as he lunged forward. The blade left the saya with blinding speed. Hiro’s katana flashed golden in the light of the sunset, and the bandit’s no-dachi clattered on the ground…

The Journey of the Single Strike

Legend of the Five Rings Aftermath wintersfirstdaughter HopeHarte