Chapter 03

ARRGH! Suddenly, one of the cold storage chambers behind them opens. A pure white fleshy mass with its face covered in a paper bag lets out a sumoesque scream. It’s a bio-sumotori. Clumsily swings his arms around like the bio-version of Ian Curtis from Joy Division, he bitch slaps his cheeks. ARRGH! This low intellect struggles to speak and probably cannot.

#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Pop Sumotori 1.

Nagamu-san crouches down to protect the rear. He pulls the trigger on his shotgun while standing on one knee. Satou-san follows suit turning to the rear as he lets his flamethrower blaze firing over Nagamu-san’s head. They IRC message at the same time. The message reads: Camaraderie!

“Aieeeee!” Met with fury of fire and hot lead, the surprised sumotori pathetically yelps and scrunches over. The ever-relentless blast of firepower turns the bio-sumotori’s body into a black fleshy mass like a well-done 100% Domestic Bio-Wagyu Beef steak. Once again, the 13th underground floor is ruled by a monotonic bass bellow.

While cutting off the well-done flamethrower fried ears, the kachigumi salarymen think almost the exact thing. Maybe this place is the bio-sumotori nest that they’d heard rumors about. Gaining Nagamu-san’s back up, Satou-san unlocked the next cold storage unit that had “Mystery Wagyu” written on it.

Oh, Namu-Amida-Butsu…Oh my Buddha! What a sweet fall from virtue! Inside several bio-sumotori packed tight like commuters on a train with their backs and stomachs against each other face the same direction. Amid the cold air, you can see their breath as they sleep so peacefully leaning against one another.

This must be the bonus stage. Deep behind the iron grill of their kendo helmets, the eyes of the beast hunters glare with desire. The two kachigumi salarymen are in high and proud spirits yet take to the task of massacring very businesslike. They simply lodge a few grenades hanging from their waist into the storage unit and close the door shut.

Three, two, one, zero. Then the muffled roar of an explosion. Nice cookin’! The screams of the sleeping bio-sumotori seeping out from the Koma Beef cold storage unit soon went unheard. Then a bit later, green bile bio-extract leaks out and glows dimly like lightening bugs before turning dark red.

The kachigumi open the door to the cooler and have a field day harvesting the ears from the dead bodies. What a wonderful place they had found! As they surveyed the area, they could see thousands of massive refrigerators. And if all of them were packed to the brim with sumotori, their bounty would be a mother load and assure them the top score. And what a fine service to society they would be doing by eliminating these beasts from the seventh commercial district.

…But just then, red warning lamps all over the underground area activate. A buzzing squawk like an emergency warning drowns out the Kokeshi Mart theme song. Perhaps they violated some kind of rule. Was that really a no-access fence for authorized personnel only? The two kachigumi soon lose their carnivore fury and start panicking like small animals before a lightening storm.

#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Satou-san, maybe we should find the emergency stairs and get out of here fast.
#KOKESHI:SATOU: Pop ninja 1.

Nagamu-san gazed steadily in the direction that Satou-san was pointing the barrel of his flamethrower. Sure as the rain is polluted by heavy metal, it was a ninja. Standing between the massive cold storage refrigerators that formed an inorganic silver corridor, the ninja dressed in black turned toward them and swaggered over. Satou-san was right. No doubt about it; a ninja. But why would a ninja be here?

#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: What should we do? He’s getting closer.
#KOKESHI:SATOU: He’s not a sumotori doing ninja cosplay, right?
#KOKESHI:NAGAMU: Right. Probably against the law to exterminate him, right?
#KOKESHI:SATOU: But he’s scary. How about we let him have it?

Satou-san lightly squeezed the trigger on his flamethrower and flashed his menace of firepower as if to say, ”Please don’t come any closer.” Then, the ninja stopped in his tracks about ten meters away. Right after the two kachigumi sighed with relief, the ninja cracked his arm back like a whip and threw suriken at them.

Finding an opening in the iron grill of the kendo helmet, two suriken pierce both of Satou-san’s eyes.
“Aieee!” The barrel of his flamethrower deviates. The severe pain sends Satou-san back bumping into Nagumu-san who was providing backup and diverts the barrel of his shotgun.

Clad in a black suit, the ninja doesn’t miss a beat. Bridging the ten-meter gap in a flash, he pins both of Satou-san’s arms. With unbelievable superhuman strength, he clamps down on the man’s wrists like a steel vise. The specially fabricated heat-resistant, stab-proof kendo gauntlets are powerless against the hammer-and-tongs pressure of the ninja’s grasp.

Satou-san resists and tries making full use of his state-of-the-art kendo armor. Like a capstan lifting a battleship anchor, the ninja’s grip strength grew second by second. Even if Nagamu-san wanted to provide cover fire, he couldn’t. The gap was too small and risked Satou-san being caught in friendly fire.

Then, the ninja grabs hold with both hands. Like a lamb to the slaughter, the ninja crushes the kendo gloves along with Satou-san’s flesh and bones like a tomato.
“Aieeeeeeee!” Satou-san’s screaming echoed. Both his hands holding the flamethrower get torn to pieces and roll on the moldy floor as the gushing blood hemorrhages.

Clutching Satou-san’s neck and raising it up, in no time, the ninja tightens his grip with incredible force. This time, in less than three seconds, Satou-san’s eyeballs along with a thick stream of blood spill through the opening of his Kendo mask. Overcome by fear, Nagumu-san is unable to stand up and falls over on his rear end.
Like a tuna hung out to dry for dashi, Satou-san doesn’t move a single muscle. The ninja soon tosses him behind and gazes down at this next prey. The ninja’s eyes are black like those of stallion with an ominous luster like an aubergine grown in Satan’s garden.

“Who are you? You killed Satou-san; the vice assistant manager of the Uttoko Construction Group Inc. Co. Ltd! I just sent a rescue message. You won’t get away with this. Our team of hotshot lawyers will surround you. We are on intimate terms with a yakuza clan!” Nagamu-san shouted any and all threats that came to his mind.

“Domo. Nagamu-san, pleased to make your acquaintance. I’m Iron Vise.” The ninja was unexpectedly cordial yet bowed as if to mock his powerless opponent. “You two broke the rules. Your death will help you take responsibility for your mistake. And as for Uttoko Construction, compared to the assets backing my group, they don’t amount to a tick on a dog’s back.”

And he was not lying. Iron Vise is affiliated with the Soukai Syndicate who has a “cooperative” relationship with Yoroshisan Pharmaceuticals and Omura Industries, two massive underworld mega-corporations that have the Japanese government under their thumb. But a mere salaryman like Nagamu-san would know nothing about their dark truth.

Still unable to stand up from the fear, Nagamu thought, “Who gives a shit if you’re a ninja or whatever? I’m an elite kachigumi. If I kill him, I can go home.” He resolutely pulled the trigger to his shotgun.
“Yeeart!” Namu-Amida-Butsu…Oh my Buddha! At such a close range, the countless shower of buckshot should have blown the ninja to smithereens. Or so he thought.

But a second before the buckshot cascaded out the barrel, the ninja, with his arms crossed over his chest, let out a karate shout before using his dreaded jujitsu.

In that instant, Iron Vise hardened up his entire body like steel easily reflecting the buckshot. This was muteki attitude, one of the jujitsu techniques propagated in the age of ninja tranquility, in all its glory. The strange out of place cacophony of buckshot hitting the metal refrigerators echoed down the corridor.

Nagamu-san cocked his gauge and fired again.
“Yeeart!” By the same token, Iron Vise showed his muteki attitude again.
“Yeeart!” He flicked the bullets away like raindrops.
Out of ammo and in deperation, Nagumu-san had nothing left to do but shit his pants.
“Game over!” Iron Vise zeroed in on the man with his grip.