Three beers, a pack of smokes, and a whole lotta raw fish later I was no closer to finding the missing Shihan, but caring less and less. I leaned boozily into the bar, smiling at my companion. He was blonde, called himself a Viking, was happy to pay for my beer, and he either didn't know anything about Jun Akiyama or was playing it very close to the vest. Not that he was wearing one under that skin-tight cotton jacket....
"I'm looking for this Shihan," I started....
"Whassamatta, honey, Shodan's not good enough for you?" Kjartan purred into my ear.
"No, but the dojo had closed up, and there was this girl named Uke....," I forged ahead....
"Sure, sure; here, try the luskfish sashimi...."
"....and then I asked her for the key."
You could have heard a pin drop. My Viking stared at me in horror. I felt sick as a babble of voices rose around me; I could barely see, only feel a sensation of bodies milling about and angry shouting.
"Everybody knows there's no such thing as key!"
"Why do you think they call it AiKeyDo?!"
"Hey, its just a life force, like energy!"
"The hell you say!"
"So what is it, physics?"
"Well, what about unbendable arm? Huh?"
"We all have it!"
Suddenly a chair flew threw the air, followed by a woman--no, a man, in a skirt--then a woman; I ducked beneath the edge of the bar as the shouts were overwhelmed by the sounds of breaking glass. Everything started to go dark.
I felt a hand, strong and firm, grasp my wrist, then my other wrist; seemingly without effort I lifted from the floor, spun around and was being propelled towards the door by an invisible force. A soft voice in my ear whispered "Its not just anybody who can start a key war. I don't know who you are, but you'd better get out of town and lay low for a while."
We were out on the street now; the fog had cleared and you could see a pale moon above the whitecaps of the ocean. I turned to face my saviour, but he wasn't there; again I tried to see him and somehow he was always behind and beside me.
"Who are you?" I demanded. "What do you know about the missing Shihan?"
"I am the demigod and I know almost all there is to know. The key is in the key. Here, take this," and he handed me an envelope and disappeared, a sillhoutte with Mickey Mouse ears vanishing along the sand dunes.