Chapter 04

WASSHOI! All of sudden, the door to the refrigerator behind Iron Vise swung open. Another ninja dressed in a dark red suit sprang out like a cannonball. While spinning around like a drill boring a hole, he leaps in front of one refrigerator and then jumps on top of another one on the opposite side. Finally, the ninja lands on the floor and performs five backward summersaults.

“Domo. Iron Vise-san. Pleased to make your acquaintance. I’m Ninja Slayer.” After landing his final summersault, this new ninja stands at attention as he goes through the aisatsu ritual. “Well, I guess the intel about this distasteful killing zone being a cash cow of the Soukai Syndicate was right. Ninja shall perish. Your time for dying has come.”

In no time, the two ninja went into attack mode. Nagamu-san happenstantially made a narrow escape. Why had these ninja shown up at Killzone Sumotori? Why were they fighting each other? Nagamu couldn’t comprehend the least. All he knew is that he was no longer the target.

Satou-san must surely be dead; his IRC won’t respond. Using the shotgun as a cane, Nagamu-san got to his feet and backtracked fumbling his way through the silver maze of refrigerators lit by the emergency lamps. Pushing through the stench of death, he entered a sideway and hide in place out of sight from the ninja.

“Aaaargh!?” Fearsome ninja shouts echo from not too far away.
Nagamu-san thought as if praying to a higher power, “There’s got to be a safer place.”
He opened a refrigerator door marked “sliced shrimp”

He found more deep-frozen bio-sumotori jam packed inside. But luck was on his side, he found an opening in the center between them big enough for a salaryman wearing kendo armor. After all, self-preservation is the first law of nature. Nagamu-san made up his mind cramming between the back of one sumotori and the stomach of yet another and then closed the door.

Off in the distance, the smackdown mortal combat between Ninja Slayer and Iron Vise raged on.
“Yeeart!” Ninja Slayer ripped off two suriken in succession.
“Yeeart!” Using his muteki attitude, Iron Vise hardened his body like steel and repelled the attack. Fight fire with fire!

If that’s the case then, sure, a chop to the neck might be better than a suriken is what you might be thinking. But Ninja Slayer had analyzed the battle between the kachigumi and Iron Vise very carefully. He knew that this Soukaiya ninja was concealing his dangerous grip strength; therefore, he must be mindful of short range grappling moves.

“Yeeart!” Ninja Slayer’s suriken attacks cannot breakthrough the muteki attitude defense.
“Yeeart!” The suriken get rejected one after the other.
“Yeeart!” At this rate, he’ll make no progress. Realizing this, Fujikido Kenji made a new move.

“Yeeart!” First, he threw a suriken.
“Yeeart!” Iron Vise turned his body to steel again.
“Yeeart!” Then he threw another suriken.
“Yeeart!” Iron Vise defended himself in the same manner again.
But while turned to steel, Iron Vise cannot move for one instant. So if that’s the case, how about throwing suriken even faster?

The first teachings of Ninja Slayer’s instructor Master Dragon Gendoso-sensei echoed in the neurons of his brain.
“Fight fire with fire? One cannot. Make up your mind to fight fire with speed and even deadlier speed you shall create. If the enemy doesn’t fall after a hundred suriken, throw a thousand.” 

Ninja Slayer swung both his arms alternately around like a hellish pitching machine throwing a suriken every zero point five seconds.
“Yeeart!” Throw!
“Yeeart!” Muteki attitude defense.
“Yeeart!” Throw!
“Yeeart!” Muteki attitude defense.
“Yeeart!” Throw!
“Yeeart!” Muteki attitude defense.
“Yeeart!” Throw!
“Yeeart?” Muteki attitude defense.

With no time to undo his steel defense, Iron Vise realizes that he can’t move. But it’s too late. Ninja Slayer, who advanced while throwing his suriken, arrives directly horizontal to this enemy. While throwing the final suriken, he follows up with a right-handed karate chop which immediately struck his neck.

“Aaaargh!” Iron Vise continues his steel defense some more but Ninja Slayer’s karate does not stop. Bit by bit, lethal fissures open up in his steel neck, just like a trembling Lenin statue whose legs are being chipped away by revolutionaries wielding mattocks.

“Stop it, Ninja Slayer-san! Let me meet your demands!”
“No mercy.” Ninja Slayer speeds up and lets out karate chops with incredible speed almost leaving afterimages.
“Aaaaaaargh!?” Along with screams of agony, finally, Iron Vise’s neck snapped.

As his neck is severed, his technique fades and Iron Vise’s body turns back to flesh. While his blood spews like a fountain, he scattered everywhither till kingdom come. As the veil of blood clears, Ninja Slayer is nowhere to be found. He sets his wheels in motion. He must provide Nancy Lee with this conclusive information and exchanges ampoules to save the life of his master.

All that remains are Satou-san’s merciless body sleeping in a sea of bile bio-extract and the mangled minced meat of the bio-sumotori. By tomorrow, some researchers from Yoroshisan Pharmaceuticals will bring mops, remove the blood strains from the ground and probably erase all the adverse evidence.

Nagamu-san, who was still hiding in the refrigerator between the cold sumotori meat, dozes off to sleep. Little by little, his consciousness fades. No matter how long he waits, no IRC message ever comes. The emergency buzzer stops ringing and the humdrum electric monotone bass background music echoes like a lullaby inside the refrigerator.

In a state of soumato recall, his life flashes before him as an old childhood memory rushes around in the neurons of his brain. His poor mother drags him to a going out of business sale at another Kokeshi Mart. In the midst of heavy metal acid rain, the expressionless Kokeshi robots spin in vain at the mall’s entrance and sing, “Cheap, cheap, actually cheap. We’re practically giving it away.” What a fine night it was.

He had escaped poverty and even sold his mother’s organs. While he had finally climbed the ranks to kachigumi was it all going to end here at the Kokeshi Mart? Such irony. Amid his fading consciousness, Nagamu-san self-deprecatingly mutters to himself. Oh, it doesn’t matter anymore. At any rate, even if he made it back to the company, thanks to his error, he had fallen from grace and the promotion course.

Wrapped in his kendo armor, the sound of his mother singing a long-forgotten lullabye echoed in the back our invincible ecological hero’s mind. “Cheap, cheap, actually cheap. We’re practically giving it away. Kokeshi, Kokeshi, Kokeshi Mart. Today and tomorrow. Kokeshi Mart. Cheap, cheap, actually cheap. We’re practically giving it away.”
Nagamu-san’s mind shut down.