Huddling together in front of Chie's old and battered 14-inch TV wasn't the best way to watch a movie, but it was most definitely the cosiest.

They lay close together under a blanket, shoulder to shoulder, half-emptied bowls of snacks and soda cans strewn about as the credits for Nine Hundred And One Monkey Fists, their third movie for the night, rolled. Predictably, it had been quite awful, but Chie had liked it because it had a couple of nice fight scenes, and Yukiko had liked it because it made her laugh (the fact that it was in Korean and very poorly subtitled probably had something to do with it). Other than that, it had been the usual affair - master killed, student pissed, revenge taken, and also ninjas. Lots and lots of ninjas.

The ninjas seemed to have had a profound effect on Yukiko, because she had stopped giggling about halfway through the last epic battle and was watching the screen with a somewhat vacant expression.

"I was thinking," she said. The reflection of the credits - white characters neither of them could read on a black background - in her eyes would have made her look a bit creepy if she hadn't been covered in Chie's embarrassingly pink blanket, and if she hadn't been drinking chilled tea through a straw right out of the can the moment before.


"I think the bad guy could have won if he hired less ninjas."

Chie had been reaching for the sequel - Nine Hundred And Two Monkey Fists - but now she froze.

"Wha-? That doesn't make any sense at all!"

"No, I mean it. Remember how the hero almost lost when he fought a ninja in the scene behind the temple?"

Chie frowned. "Oh yeah, where he used the Style of the Twenty-Sixth Monkey Fist! What about it?"

Yukiko's shoulders shook briefly with silent laughter. "That was just one ninja. But then, in the bamboo grove, he fought the..."

"...first six brothers of the Seven Green Tigers Pearl Gang?"

"Yes." Not even a twitch this time. "And they were much stronger than the first ninja."

"But then he unlocked the Seventy-Sixth Monkey Fist. So obviously he was much stronger, too."

Yukiko nodded. "I thought so too. But when he fought the seventh brother, it took much longer."

"Um." Chie blinked. "You... got a point there, but..."

"And then," Yukiko continued, "he fought the whole Monkey Ninja Clan just to get to the pagoda, but then he almost lost to the last four of them in the courtyard. And in the final battle on the roof, he beat the whole zombie Monkey Ninja Clan again in just two minutes."


"It seems that whenever there are many ninjas, the hero always wins, but if there is just one ninja, it's an even fight." Yukiko tapped her chin with her straw.

"But," Chie objected, "but-!"

"Suggesting that there is only room for roughly one ninja's worth of skill on the screen at any given time, and when split up, results in multiple but much weaker ninjas. So you see, if he just put one ninja in each room in the pagoda, the hero would have been defeated long before he reached the top floor."

Chie noticed her jaw hanging open and closed it. "You... really thought about this, didn't you?"

Yukiko nodded. "It seems so obvious," she said, "once you do think about it."

"You were thinking about ninjas."

"I'm sorry. Was I not supposed to?"

"Well, I think..."


"I think you're going to have to take your clothes off, because I have this sudden urge to ravage you right here on the spot."

"I think you mean ravish," Yukiko said. "But I think I can let it slip... just this once."

Chie growled and tackled her, sending a bowl of peanuts spinning across the floor, scattering its contents.

Nine Hundred And Two Monkey Fists would have to wait for another day.