Suddenly, smoke rises around the character. Within seconds, the character has submerged into the rippling smoke.
The crowd gasps, caught surprised by the sudden explosion.
As the smoke slowly thins out, the character is gone.
“Che!”, “I knew it!”, “I’ve told you so!”, “Aiyoh!”, “Why like that one!” – are comments heard from the disappointed crowd. Amid the deflated atmosphere, a certain section of the crowd starts to leave.
“Poof!” Another small explosion erupted at the same spot, just as things are starting to quiet down.
The character re-emerges within the smoke, standing still.
As the smoke rises slowly towards the clear sky, the swords are no longer in sight. Lying next to the character is a coil of rope.
The reappearance of the character draws back some departing spectators.
As the crowd settles down, the character picks up one end of the rope and hurls it towards an empty space. The end of the rope leaves his hands and darts towards its intended direction like a flying serpent. As the flying end of the rope pulls itself up from the coil on the ground, it never reduces its speed. The crowd, amazed by the strength that let flies of such speed, gazes at the flying rope intently.
Right before the rope straighten itself completely, the character sprints towards the flying end of the rope. Just as the rope is starting to reach its end, and the blurring image is within the touching distance of the speeding end, the character slows down, puts down both his hands, thumps his chest in arrogance, and gets hold of the end of the rope before it drops to the ground.
Holding the end of the rope in one hand, he stands still.
As he puts the rope down onto the ground, the crowd erupts in applause.
The crowd studies the rope that’s lying silently on the ground. It spreads out to the length of more than 222 people. As they notice the red ribbon tied at the center of the rope, “Tug-of-war!” a child yells out, in excitement.
As the crowd begins to understand of what’s going on. The father explains to the child, “It’s not, son. It’s sort of like tug-of-war. But in this game, strength doesn’t matter. It’s the number of people on each side that determines the winner. See the words sewn onto the rope?”
The child focuses his sight onto the words pointed out by his father - “Vote of Confidence.”
The character turns towards a figure within the crowds, and utter slowly, “9!” putting up both hands, which he needs to put up nine fingers; “2!’, a V-sign his hand makes; “3!”, and an OK hand signal.
By this time, a section of the crowd has already started to leave the place. For they understand that the whistle required to start off this game is in the hand of the other character, who is being challenged to blow the whistle. And they know he would most likely ignore the daring call. Everyone can sense the uneasiness of his frowning face, perturbed perhaps not only by the character in front of him, but also by the rumbling sound behind him.
Knowing nothing is going to happen, again, the crowd begins to dissipate, in droves this time. After all, they have their jobs, and chores to attend to. The show, or no-show, provide a brief respite to their daily worries of rising costs of food, fuel, and finances, and the falling of stock markets, purchasing power, returns on investment, and the stagnant level of their incomes and salaries.
Part of the crowd, who were chanting “916” along with the character before, remains rooted to their place, as the rest slowly leaves the arena …
<Is there more?>