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The Trial of the Temple

You stare at the temple in awe. No doubt about it - this is definitely the kind of temple you'd expect to be hiding something very powerful or valuable. You step forward towards the temple, determined to acquire the weapon Zenki promised would be there. Halfway to the entrance, you hear the wizard's voice calling out at you (seems he followed you through the teleportation circle). You whirl around quickly and glare at him.

The wizard flinches under your vicious stare. "Mi-Milady, are you certain about this? It seems dangerous, and you are of such great importance..." He trails off under your withering gaze, then composes himself. "I-I just don't want you getting hurt..."

You smile sweetly for a brief second before sweep-kicking the wizard's feet out from under him, sending him to the ground. He stares up at you wide-eyed, and you glare at him. "In case you forgot, wizard," you say coldly, "I am far more capable than you. I can handle this myself, I'm going in there to get that weapon, and you're not going to stop me. Understood?" The wizard nods, and you turn and stalk into the temple.

Inside the temple is a great round room. In the center of the room is a humanoid stone statue, roughly carved. The statue stands roughly 15 feet tall and holds a stone-carved sword with both its hands, positioned vertically directly in front of it. Behind the statue at the end of the room opposite the entrance you can see a sword sticking out of a stone pedestal. You smile to yourself. That must be it.

You make your way toward the sword, but are stopped short by a sound like rumbling boulders. You look around and see nothing but the statue, but even as you lay eyes on it you hear the sound again. This time, you can make out words within the rumbling: "Who dares to enter this place?" Still, you see nothing. The voice rings out again: "Do not attempt to hide, intruder!" This time, you can see the statue's head trembling slightly as the voice speaks, so you step forward, in front of the statue.

"Is that you?" you ask, feeling a bit odd talking to a statue (even though it really shouldn't, considering this new world and your new feminine body).

"Indeed. I guard this temple from intrusion. State your name, intruder."

You cross your arms and glare up at the statue. You'd never had any intention of staying in this form, so you never bothered to think of a new name for your new self. Now that you know it's completely irreversible by any means you'll have to figure that out later. In the meantime, though... "I ain't got one yet," you say, a bit sharper than you intended.

Even though it's impossible, you could swear you see the statue's carved eyes widen slightly. "A nameless maiden with hair the color of fire? Perhaps the time has come. Regardless, you are still subject to the trial." Suddenly, the statue's left arm breaks away from its sword, and the right raises it into the air, before slamming it down onto the spot you just were, moments after you jump back to avoid it. The statue raises the stone blade again and breaks its feet free from the floor.

The statue charges, swinging its sword as you jump, duck, and weave to avoid it. You wonder how to fight this thing, especially with no weapon. You can't use the same strategy here as you did in the castle: you were able to 'distract' the guards because they were human, but this is a 15-foor stone statue. Even if you could, it's impossible to steal its weapon - even if the weapon wasn't larger than you are, the sword and the statue's right hand are a single piece of stone. But - maybe you don't have to take it!

You jump, dodging the statue's slamming attack, landing on its arm and immediately pushing off, leaping upwards. Spinning around, you deliver a mighty round-kick to the statue's head in midair. The statue stumbles backwards and you land on the ground from your jump-kick. From the brief stagger the statue catches itself and stands upright, holding out its left hand. "Hold!" the statue orders, then steps aside and gestures. "Claim your prize."

You stare up at the stone statue in confusion, and statue speaks in answer. "You have the necessary power to use the blade. You are indeed the Chosen, and so this blade has always been yours. I cannot defy what has been decreed, and I cannot fight the Chosen One."

Slightly irritated with the 'fate' issue brought up again, you nonetheless head over to the pedestal and grasp the hilt of the sword. Instantly, the pedestal glows briefly and vanishes into thin air. The sword that is revealed is slightly longer than an ordinary longsword, the blade as wide as the 2-inch-wide hilt, which is gold-plated and curves around the blade's base. As you grasp it, the handle glows white briefly and transforms to mold perfectly to your grip. As you lift it to look at the perfect blade with admiration, another brief glow catches the corner of your eye, and you find your other hand now holds a sheath for the sword. There is a white stripe near the top of the black metal sheath, and somehow you know that this point is enchanted to hold fast to your clothing, becoming attached and detached upon command.

"That sword is the perfect weapon." you hear the statue's rumbling voice state from behind you. "It will never break, dull, chip, scratch, or become otherwise compromised. It will always find its way back to its owner. And if you focus it right, it is able to cut through anything other than its owner or its sheath, neither of which it will scratch. Only the Dragon's Claw Blade, Tetsryuu, is comparable."

You smile, pleased with the weapon you have received. You attach the sheath to your dress at the left side of your waist, and are surprised to find it behave like it was attached to a belt rather than directly to the dress. You keep the sword in your hand for now, looking at it almost lazily as you exit the temple. Behind you, the statue resumes its original stance and falls silent, now nothing more than a stone carving.

As you exit the temple, you see the wizard's eyes widen upon seeing the glorious sword in your hand. You smile, showing a mix of confidence and false sweetness. "So..." you say idly, "D' you still doubt me?"


That night, five figures stand atop the temple, looking down upon the two sleeping figures in the field. One has a double-ended halberd slung over his back; the second has a feral, wolfish appearance; the third wields a sickle and crossbow; the fourth holds a sword as large as he is; and the last wears a cloak and holds an axe. "You're sure this is the one?" the one with the halberd whispers quietly.

The cloaked one nods. "Yes. I recorded her aura with the magic tablet, there is no mistake. She is strong, of course, but with all of us we can win."

The one with the large sword huffs indignantly, as if insulted by his companion's admission of strength in their target, while the one with the sickle grins evilly. The feral one twitches slightly, but none of his companions notice. The one with the halberd just nods. "Good. Tomorrow we make our move."

Written by Paradox

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