The sky was a brilliant cyan when she first saw him on the beach. He was staring out at the ocean as if witnessing a tragedy and in spite of her vow of utter celibacy, she experienced an overwhelming sense of Koi no Yokan. Whispering a curse and then immediately regretting it, Merilyn continued her run across the shoreline leaving the solitary young man behind.
The hostel was serving thin Miso soup and fish again that evening when he walked in. Merilyn tried not to roll her eyes as Donn, at the head of the table, was again vaunting about his prowess with the Shinai and how he was sure to win the Kendo games which would begin the next week. They heard a noise at the door and she recognized the man from the beach standing at the threshold. Tradition demanded that even an ego as big as Donn’s cease pontificating so they could greet the visitor.
They each in turn stood and bowed to the stranger, introducing themselves and welcoming him to the competitor’s hostel. He bowed in return in a gradual manner which she would learn was his way in social settings, though most certainly not during battle.