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There are bad days. There are worse days. And then there's his day.

Kyoji's girlfriend cheats on him, breaks up with him, everything reminds him of her, and he manages to forget his keys at the bar he told the near omniscient bartender, Takamura, his woes. He meets another cute girl, Hatsumomo, who also happens to know said bartender, and it's not long before they become close.

It takes even less time for her to be kidnapped, by the Japanese mafia, no less. Geez, will he ever catch a break?

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But what starts with a sudden kidnapping reveals to be so much more: a prophetic call to adventure that had been foretold ages before the heroes of this story came around. In a world where the only thing extraordinary is the amount of unengaging ordinariness, below the seemingly mundane surface lies an incredible, lavish secret world that not many are privy to. From Whisperers of Death, to Dragons, to Kabuki Creatures and ghoulish Zombies, those aware of this hidden reality have fantastical journeys and adventurous trials laying in wait for them.

Some seek to rescue a kidnapped friend and distribute justice while keeping malevolent forces at bay. Others plot to eliminate the existence of those pesky do-gooders, plans of conquesting combat and corrupting those that stand in their way. Others still just happened to be caught up in the cross-fire, and they are NOT happy about it.

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Whatever actions they take and consequences they face, at the end of the day, the sword shall always be sheathed.

Catch the debut novel of newcomer author S.A. Bouraleh whenever a literary agent deems it worthy of being picked up and is eventually published!


The Sheathing of the Sword contains examples of:

  • Accidental Hero: The only reason that Kyo got caught up in this adventure is because he had the misfortune to be drunk when the Kuchisake-Onna came calling.
  • Action Girl: Hatsumomo. Comes with being Takamura's apprentice.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted for the most part. Still applies to some adults like Raphael Retaliano and Li Bailong's mother, Li Mei.
  • Affably Evil: G, in all his smiling nonchalance.
  • The Alcoholic: Skippy, the alcoholic unicorn with a Scottish accent.
  • All Gays are Promiscuous: Blake is. He's got a Freudian Excuse as to why.
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  • All Myths Are True: And how. Chinese, Japanese, Norse, Greek and others.
  • Alliterative Name/Added Alliterative Appeal: Sonic Snowdrift, Loki Laufeyson, Alice Anberlin, Raphael Retaliano, Lucky O'Leary.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Dante. He exhibits Camp Gay mannerisms.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Loki, and he's not happy about it.
  • Angst: Chock full of it.
    • Kyo: Over his Disappeared Dad.
    • Hatsumomo: Over her being an orphan.
    • Long: Over his parents abandoning him at the foot of Sifu Lao Shi's mountain, so as to avoid the Triads and Tongs harming him over a debt they couldn't pay.
    • Sonic: Over Ryuusuke murdering his parents in a cruel fashion when he was six-years old.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Sifu Lao Shi claims he can do this with any animal.
  • Animal Motifs: Naturally, given how the Children of the Zodiac all correspond to one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals.
  • Animal Stereotypes: They run rampant in The Sheathing of the Sword series.
  • Anime: Heavily inspired by this.
  • Arch-Enemy: Ace to Kyo. It's one sided. At first.
  • Archer Archetype: What Rosabella wants her niece Noelle to become. She bought her the arrows and bow already.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Sifu Lao Shi may or may not have invented this trope. He has an ego the size of the planet, but it's not as though it's undeserved.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: How they plan to round up the Dragons and the remaining Children of the Zodiac.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Ling Guang is implied to be more than just a mere human. That's because she isn't human at all.
  • Ax-Crazy: Kuchisake-Onna and Ryuusuke, who could not care less about appearances.
  • Backstory
  • Badass in Distress: This is the girl who took out a supernatural, serial-killing psycho spirit. Hatsumomo definitely counts.
  • Battle Aura: Takamura and Sonic demonstrate to Kyo how it can be utilized to ward off wild animals and those of weak wills. It comes out as a burst of killer intent.
  • The Beastmaster: Sifu Lao Shi, who is known as the "Lord of the Lions" and "King of Beasts."
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The little boy whose neck G snapped should have watched his words.
  • Big Bad: The Yakuza.
  • Bond Creature: The familiars double as this.
  • Camp Gay: Blake. Self-proclaimed "Gayest gay that ever gayed" and is fond of quipping, "Only straight I am is straight up bitch."
  • The Casanova: Felipe. He's a ladies man, through and through, though it troubles him he can't seem to win over Deborah.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Everyone is capable of doing this by funnelling chi into whatever body part they wish to enhance.
  • Chinese Mythology
  • Classical Mythology
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Kyo's lighter, handed down to him by his Missing Mom.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Skippy is the most foul-mouthed unicorn you'll ever meet.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience
  • Color-Coded Characters
  • Color-Coded Elements
  • Color Motif: The Taira prefered reds whereas the Minamotos preferred white.
  • Cool Bike: Rosabella gifts this to her nephew Demitrius, a motorcycle she's teaching him to ride.
  • Cool Old Guy: Sifu Lao Shi, if a grumpy one at that.
  • Cool Old Lady: The old Japanese lady at the prologue, where she was far more nonchalant than the old man. Li Bailong's grandmother, Xiao Fei, also qualifies; she also seems to be more knowledgeable than she lets on.
  • Damsel in Distress: Hatsumomo, once the Yakuza get their hands on her.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Most of the cast, mostly because OP is an asshole.
  • Debut Queue
  • Our Demons Are Different: Deborah's familiar Darcy qualifies.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Kyo fits this trope, between wondering what to do education-wise and moving on from his heartbreak with Kikyou.
  • Determinator: Kyo, as shown during the Pebble Challenge.
  • Disability Superpower: Vlad, who is deaf. He makes up for it by Reading Lips proficiently.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kyo's father, Keisuke. Causes him quite a bit of angst. Hatsumomo also, due to the fact that Hiroki killed him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Hatsumomo and Sayuri's father, Hideo, was a politician and spoke out against the Yakuza, decrying them as criminals and using his dislike of them as a platform for his political campaign. Hiroki ended that by killing him and his wife.
    • Hiroki also gives a second one, in which he corrects the lie Mameha told about Sayuri having marks on her cheeks that she wished to clean off (which was a cover for Sayuri to give the guns her father had given her over to her mother) by pulling out a pocket blade and mutilating her face to give her scars.
  • Does Not Like Men: Deborah, with good reason.
  • Double Entendre: Sifu Lao Shi's name. Sifu is Cantonese for 'teacher' and Lao Shi (laoshi) is Mandarin for 'teacher' as well. Gets into triple entendre when you realize that 'shi' is also Cantonese for 'lion'. His name literally reads: Teacher Teacher/Master Master, with that extra lion pun thrown in there.
    • Shishou Sensei, much like his Chinese counterpart in Sifu Lao Shi, also has a name that is Japanese for 'teacher teacher'. It is actually closer to 'shishou' meaning 'master' (typically of a certain skill set or the like) and sensei literally meaning 'one who came before'/'person born before another', and this is just another play upon Shishou being the sensei of Ace and his name meaning roughly the Japanese equivalent of his Chinese counterpart's word play name of 'teacher teacher'.
  • The Dragon: Ryuusuke to the kumicho (head boss of the Yakuza).
  • Dragon Lady
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Kyo does this quite often.
  • Dream Weaver: Morpheus, Greek God of Dreams. He does so at the behest of Apollo, God of Prophecy.
  • Drill Seregeant Nasty: Sifu Lao Shi is this to Long and Kyo. As Takamura learned from him, she can do this to Hatsumomo and Kyo as well when she feels the need to.
  • Eastern Zodiac: Pivotal to the plot. Sonic relates the story to Kyo. Each Child embodies the spirit of that animal:
    • The Snake: Kyo, also known as the Serpent's Son/Son of the Snake
    • The Ox: Hatsumomo, also known as the Ox's Offspring/Daughter of the Ox
  • Elemental Powers: Everyone is born with a natural elemental affinity, and those powerful enough can develop two or more.
  • Empathic Environment: It's raining outside as Alice cries after finding out Cassie died on her birthday.
  • Empathic Weapon: The titular sword. It radiates a powerful aura that tempts those who see it to possess it, bringing them corruption and chaos.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Everyone and their mothers.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Zombies rise up during the witching hour and attack Alice. Vlad is there to save her, and then she returns the favour albeit temporarily blinding him in the process with pepper spray.
  • Evil Weapon: The titular sword. It's known as The Fury of Hell/Hell's Fury for a reason.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: True to his Real Life mythological counterpart, Loki has done it with everything: men, women, giants, and even a horse.
  • Familiar: Most characters have some sort of affinity for a certain animal or creature.
    • Kyo: Snakes
    • Hatsumomo: Oxen
    • Ace: Tigers
    • Takamura: Dragons
    • Haruhiko: Dragons
    • Felipe: Dragons
    • Sifu Lao Shi: Lions, as well as most animals; he's known as the "Lord of Lions" and "King of Beasts".
    • Deborah: the demon Darcinda "Darcy" Zelda.
  • Fantasy: Naturally.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: It's got a bit of everything for everyone.
  • Fantastic Racism: Bound to occur in a series where fantastical creatures exist.
  • Flashback: Serves as exposition quite a few times.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Sifu Lao Shi and his old friend Shishou Sensei. The latter is the only man that the former respects.
  • Gay Aesop: Blake and his homophobic boss. He uses his homosexuality to get time off work, since his boss believes it's a disease.
  • Geisha: Hatsumomo's always had a fascination with them, ever since she was a little girl. She even wanted to become one.
  • Good is Not Nice: Sifu Lao Shi's mentality as a mentor fits this trope.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking/Smoking Is Glamorous: Takamura is a good variant, with her kiseru (Japanese smoking pipe)
  • The Ghost: Yakuma; Kyo's mother Keiko. Kyo's older brother Kenji. Hatsumomo's older sister Sayuri.
  • Ghostly Chill: Kuchisake-Onna, as a spirit, can do this.
  • Grasp the Sun: Kyo wants to see and conquer the very stars themselves.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Gifted to Lorenzo by his cool aunt Rosabella.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Three guesses as to who. Hint: It's Haruhiko.
  • Has Two Mommies: Heimdall sees your two mommies, and ups it to nine.
  • Heartbroken Badass: We're introduced to a drunk and depressed Kyo, freshly broken up with not half a day earlier.
  • Hermit Guru: Sifu Lao Shi lives all by himself on the "Tranquil Mountain", also known as the "East Great Mountain" Tài Shān, one of the Five Great Mountains of China. He lives in isolation with Long as his source of human contact, and all the animals that live in his mountain top abode of the "Land of the Lions."
  • The Hero: Kyo, even if he never wanted to be.
  • Incest is Relative: See Parental Incest.
  • I See Dead People: Naturally, comes with being an itako.
  • Japanese Mythology
  • The Jeeves: Gin to G.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The titular sword is a katana.
  • Ki Attacks: Everyone and their mamas are born with chi, a form of Life Energy which is known by many names (chakra, mana, and Hatsumomo's even heard it called furyoku once). Chi can be weaponized and can be manipulated in a form that is Pure Energy or manifest as Elemental Powers, with each person having a natural affinity/proclivity for a certain element.
  • Kid Hero: Li Bailong and Lorenzo. Both are rather young.
  • Killing Intent: Can be utilized to scare off weak-willed people and creatures. See Battle Aura.
  • Kitsune: A recurring theme. Kyo's mother warns him about them, cautioning him to "not fall for looks alone, my sweet child, lest you be ensnared by wicked temptation."
  • Lady of War: Takamura. It's part of her geisha motif.
  • Lady Drunk: Takamura, for a good number of years. Even now, she imbibes heavily. Part of the reason she owns a tavern.
  • Love Hurts: Boy, does it ever.
  • Magitek: Takamura dabbles in techno-sorcery, by transforming Kyo's pillow into a dream-catcher that she can plug into a computer and view his dreams as videos.
  • Making a Splash: Hatsumomo's main ability, as a practitioner of mizudo, the Way of Water. Kyo even asks if she's a "waterbender."
  • Manga: Heavily inspired by this.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Sifu Lao Shi —> Takamura —> Kyo + Hatsumomo.
  • Mentor's New Hope: Kyo serves as this for Takamura, as her previous wards were mostly failures.
  • Miko: Takamura is a very proficient itako, despite the fact she has her eyesight. She is the granddaughter of the famed "Shinto Priestess of Miyakojima" and the "Observer of Okinawa". She actually is blind.
  • Missing Mom: Hatsumomo's mother AND father were killed by Hiroki. Long as well, since his mom gave him up. Lorenzo's mother is also dead. Alice's mother is stashed away in a rehab facility. Li Bailong's mother isn't physically missing, but she's absent mentally.
  • Moody Mount: Skippy. To be fair, though, he's not fond of anyone.
  • Mysterious Stranger: G.
  • Norse Mythology
  • Old Master: Sifu Lao Shi and his rival Shishou Sensei to Kyo/Long and Ace respectively.
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: Siobhán. She's nicknamed The Scream Queen.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different/Vengeful Spirit: Kuchisake-Onna.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Alice and Vlad get to meet a few dozen pissed off ones.
  • Parental Abandonment: A good portion of the cast, not always by merit of the parents' choice.
  • Parental Incest: Deborah's father forced himself on her after his wife died because she was a spitting image of her mother.
  • Photographic Memory: Sonic Snowdrift is blessed with this.
  • Playing with Fire: Kyo's abilities.
  • The Prophecy: The driving plot of the story.
  • Rape as Backstory: Deborah. Done by her own father after the death of her mother. Her older brother also whored her out to men when she was just six.
  • Red Baron: More than one can count.
    • Takamura: Daughter of the Dragon/Dragon's Daughter, The Itako Empress, Whisperer of Death.
    • Haruhiko: The Dragon of Death
    • Felipe: The Dragon of Life
    • Ryuusuke: The Dragon Usurper
    • Loki: Loki Liesmith, Lord of Lies, Prince of Chaos, Trickster Prince, God of Mischief, God of Trickery, God fo Chaos, Flame-Hair, The Treacherous One.
  • Rival Dojos: Sifu Lao Shi and Shishou Sensei both have isolated dojos, and teach diametrically-opposed philosophies and fighting styles: whereas Sifu Lao Shi is ruthless and focuses on hands/fists, Shishou Sensei is much more lax and instead emphasizes legs/feet.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Haruhiko, in spades. He's incredibly bitter and incredibly blunt.
  • Shout-Out: Also in spades.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Sifu Lao Shi's first action to determine whether or not Kyo is even suitable to be his student is to sic his two mountain lion familiars on him, with intent to kill. He makes it plainly clear that he is not here to hold Kyo's hand, for he believes that is the only way he will learn.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Skippy eats, breathes, sleeps and lives this trope. Made funnier by the fact he's a unicorn with a Scottish accent. Often threatens to "bash yer fooken 'ead in, I swear on me mum."
  • Taken for Granite: A voluntary version of this. Wang Mu and Wang Fu, the guardian lions of Sifu Lao Shi's mountain top abode, often sit on either side of the entrance to the Land of the Lions and solidfy themselves into stone.
  • Threshold Guardians: Sifu Lao Shi, by way of his lion familiars, Wang Mu and Wang Fu.
  • Tragic Hero: Take your pick.
  • Training from Hell: Off-screened, but Takamura put Hatsumomo through this. Sifu Lao Shi put Kyo through this once he accepted him as his student. A particular example is the Pebble Exercise.
  • The Trickster: Loki, of course.
  • Unicorn: Skippy is one. He isn't exactly what most people would expect.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The Yakuza like to call themselves the "ninkyo dantai", or chivalrious organizations. Considing that they rape, pillage, extort and bully, it's hardly what they make it out to be.
  • Urban Fantasy
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Ryuusuke.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Takamura and Misaki.
  • Women Are Wiser: Compared to
  • World of Badass: Let's see: there's magic, martial arts, elemental affinities, and a plethora of supernatural creatures and techniques. A world full of badasses is a given.
  • Would Hurt a Child: G. He snaps an orphan's neck because said little boy had been complaining how he didn't want to live anymore.
  • Wuxia: Heavily inspired by this genre.
  • Yakuza: Everyone's favourite bad guys. Takamura used to be a part of them.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Kikyou to Kyo.
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