Author's Notes: So, another special occasion brings me out of my literary slumber. I did something like this once before, I figured it was only fair that I do it for her sister as well. Happy birthday, Seppukumaru, and I hope you enjoy this little story I cooked up real quick. And it shows.
"Eek! We're losing again!"
"No, this can't be!" Seppukumaru nearly fell on his butt as he jumped backwards to avoid an incoming coin shot from Goemon's hand like a large, oval-shaped bullet. "Argh! Quick, grab the fat one and let's get out of here!"
Hatarino and Itakaro pushed Ebisumaru from behind, and the pudgy Ninja of Justice squealed as he stumbled forward into the tall, muscular Seppukumaru's arms. The obsessive sportsman wrapped an arm around Ebisumaru's shoulders and put a knife to his throat. "Take one more step and the pig gets slaughtered!" he shouted.
Goemon winced and cursed under his breath as Ebisumaru shrieked frantically. No more than three seconds passed before Goemon lunged towards Seppukumaru and Ebisumaru, but fortunately Yae was there to quickly pull him back. "Don't be stupid, Goemon!" she scolded. They watched as Seppukumaru slowly backed away, dragging a protesting Ebisumaru along with him, as the four egg-like Tsujigiri followed him, pointing their swords at the remaining ninjas. All five of them stopped for a brief moment before turning around and dashing off, with Goemon and Yae in hot pursuit.
Seppukumaru ran up the ramp of his massive ship, the Sportsman Ship, still carrying a flailing Ebisumaru over his shoulder like he was a sack of flour. "Close the door, quick! Quick!" The four Tsujigiri panted as they turned the cranks at the head of the ramp and watched it slowly separate the inside of the ship from the outside world.
Meanwhile, on the outside, Goemon and Yae ran for the ship as fast as they could, but they were only a mere moment too late. The ramp closed just as they arrived at the ship, with Seppukumaru, the Tsujigiri, and their kidnapped friend aboard. "Damn it!" Goemon shouted as he kicked a rock towards the ship, which was already off the ground and ascending rapidly. "I can't believe this, what was he doing here, anyway?!"
"Calm down, Goemon! And don't ask me, I'm as clueless as you are," Yae replied. She groaned and rubbed her temples in thought and frustration. "All right, look. Let's go to Iga and talk to the Wise Man. Maybe he can help us, or let us borrow Impact, or something."
Meanwhile, back on the ship, the Tsujigiri were sitting, panting and sweating, in the same spot. It had been ages since they had been forced to work so hard to close the door of the ship. It wasn't long before Seppukumaru was hovering over them, however, whacking each of them individually with a rolled up newspaper. "How could you idiots screw up AGAIN?! And there were only three of them this time!"
Amidst the intermittent "Ow"s from the four Tsujigiri, one of them, Nyanko, shrieked as she tried to explain herself to her master. "P-Please forgive us, Lord Seppukumaru!" she begged. "We did the best we could!"
But another sound was carried even over the whining of the perpetually crying Tsujigiri. Huddled in a corner was the Ninja of Justice, whimpering and mumbling to himself as he stared helplessly at his captors. Seppukumaru sighed. "So what shall we do with our portly hostage here?"
Ebisumaru sniffed as he stood up, shaking all over, with his beady eyes piercing through Seppukumaru and the Tsujigiri. "I'm not afraid of you! Nor am I portly!" he said in an unusually squeaky voice. "I, I'll take you all on...with..." The Ninja of Justice patted himself down as his eyes widened in horror. "Oh no! My weapons! My purse! MY EMERGENCY FOOD! How am I gonna survive?!"
Seppukumaru rolled his eyes. He could always tell that "the fat one" was the dumbest and most annoying of the four ninjas; it was a shame that he also seemed to be the most helpless. "What have I gotten myself into?" he wondered aloud. Being an extremely competitive person by his very nature, Seppukumaru wasn't one to accept defeat or go home empty-handed. Thus his attack on Japan, his attempt at revenge against the four ninjas that had humiliated him so on Planet Impact. And thus his insistence on taking a hostage upon his apparent loss at the hands of those very same ninjas minus one, which made the loss even more humiliating.
"At any rate," Seppukumaru said as he and the Tsujigiri cornered the defenseless, hungry Ebisumaru, "you could definitely stand to be away from food for at least a little while, tubby! We're doing you a favor."
"Hey, I told you, I'm not tubby!" Ebisumaru retorted.
"Wrong, you said you're not portly," Itakaro corrected. "And you were definitely wrong on both counts, ke ke ke ke ke..." He and the other Tsujigiri began poking Ebisumaru all over his body to prove that point.
"H-Hey, quit it! Stop!" Ebisumaru shouted and squirmed as he tried to avoid the prodding fingers, but it was futile. The chuckling Tsujigiri always managed to find large deposits of fat on his round body.
Seppukumaru shook his head as he watched his minions play with their new toy. "I'm surrounded by idiots," he mumbled; apparently not loudly enough as the juvenile poking and laughing continued. Finally losing patience, he shouted "ENOUGH!", causing all five of the others to freeze on the spot. "I know what we can do with him. It'll be like a sport." He grinned evilly at the visibly confused Ebisumaru.
"Run, Piggy, run!" Itakaro, situated on Ebisumaru's shoulder, whacked his side with a riding crop, at which point the Ninja of Justice squealed loudly. Rokudenashi, on the other shoulder, held a fishing pole with a large piece of sweet bread on the hook, which was dangling in front of Ebisumaru's nose, just out of his reach, while Hatarino and Nyanko adjusted the speed and elevation of the treadmill on which he ran. Ebisumaru drooled and panted as he stared hungrily at and ran as fast as he could towards the wonderful prize ahead of him.
Seppukumaru paced back and forth as the giggling Tsujigiri teased and tormented Ebisumaru. He looked at several clocks on the wall, with the shapes and designs of baseballs, basketballs, and soccer balls. It had been only ten minutes since Ebisumaru began his regiment of forced exercise, and to be completely honest the sight of sweat running down that brow of his reminded Seppukumaru of a greasy, fatty ham. It was disgusting in his mind, to put it lightly. "All right, that's enough!" he shouted finally. "I have to admit, making other people exercise is not nearly as entertaining as doing it yourself. Even when the person needs it desperately."
"Aww, come on, Lord Seppukumaru!" Itakaro responded. He whipped Ebisumaru, who squealed like the pig they all believed he really was and continued to run without actually going anywhere. "This is great fun, you should crack the whip and see for yourself!"
"Grr..." Seppukumaru growled as he grabbed the whip out of Itakaro's hand and used it to whack all four Tsujigiri as well as the profusely sweating Ninja of Justice. "This is stupid! This is no way to make the pig lose weight!" Seppukumaru slammed the button to turn the treadmill off. Ebisumaru fell forward from the sudden loss of resisting speed and slammed his chin against the panel and the track itself, causing large dents in both. "Ah! My treadmill! My favorite treadmill! You've deformed my baby, you clumsy tub of lard!"
It was relatively quiet, save for the sounds of Ebisumaru groaning and panting and Seppukumaru cursing, before the Ninja of Justice spoke up. "So...Can I have the bread now? I'm hungry..."
Seppukumaru thought he was used to dealing with those he deemed to be of inferior intelligence. That was before he spent any significant amount of time with one Ebisumaru, however.
"Don't you think this place can use a little redecoration? What's with that outfit? Can I eat now? When can I go home?" The inundation of Ebisumaru's questions to Seppukumaru seemed to have no end.
Seppukumaru's headache grew stronger with each new question. What there was to do for fun, what there was to eat, where the bathroom was...Unable to take anymore, Seppukumaru finally cracked. "ENOUGH! Here, have an energy bar." Seppukumaru opened a cabinet, filled to the brim with several varieties of energy-boosting foods, and tossed a bar to Ebisumaru.
The Ninja of Justice looked confusedly at this unfamiliar food, but eventually unwrapped it and took a large bite. No sooner had it gone in his mouth than it was forcefully ejected from the same place. "Blech! You call that food? What else have you got?"
"No, no more questions fatty!" Seppukumaru said, pointing a threatening finger in Ebisumaru's direction.
Ebisumaru simply stared and blinked. Finally, he decided to speak. "Why do you keep calling me fat?"
"RAAAHHHH!" Ebisumaru ducked just in time to avoid Seppukumaru's fist, which slammed into the wall of the ship. "YEOW!" Seppukumaru roared. "Ow, son of a bitch, you stupid, fat, stupid..."
"Oh, Lord Seppukumaru..." Rokudenashi called out. "We have something to cheer you up. Let's go!" The four Tsujigiri walked out of a door, but they were barely visible under the giant cake they carried over their heads.
"Wha--What's this, now?" Seppukumaru asked in surprise. He blinked at the mere size of the dessert; it stood nearly as tall as himself.
"We know you've been frustrated with the pudgy prisoner, so we decided to make some low-fat cake for you," Hatarino answered. "We would have roasted the pig too, if you wanted us to, but--"
Hatarino's explanation was cut off by an enthusiastic "Oh boy, cake!" With no warning but this, Ebisumaru dove forward and started grabbing handfuls of the cake and stuffing them into his mouth.
"What?! No, I won't lose in the sport of speed-eating!" With that, Seppukumaru too began ravenously eating cake, but didn't eat nearly as much as the Ninja of Justice as he was forcibly and repeatedly shoved away by him. It wasn't long before the whole cake was gone, with Seppukumaru having eaten only a small portion.
"Mmm, that was good..." Ebisumaru said as he rubbed his stomach. "And it's low-fat, so I shouldn't gain a single pound!"
"No! I, I can't believe this...I lost!" Seppukumaru plopped down, cross-legged, and pulled out a long, thin knife that he pointed at his torso. "Having lost at the sport of speed-eating, I must now make up for it by finally completing the ultimate sport, seppuku!"
"What?! No!" All four Tsujigiri grabbed Seppukumaru's arms and pulled on them.
"L-Let me go, you fools! Seppuku is the ultimate sport, and one that I must perform! Unhand me this instant!"
"No, we won't let you do it, Lord Seppukumaru! Stop, stop, stop!" The Tsujigiri struggled with their master, neither group having any clear advantage over the other.
Ebisumaru, meanwhile, merely looked at them with a raised eyebrow. High-pitched shouts intermixed with deeper tones, which corresponded with their back-and-forth motions. "What kind of a stupid thing is that?" he asked after watching the drama unfold in front of him.
All five of those struggling paused immediately. Only silence filled the room as the gazes of the Tsujigiri and Seppukumaru each met that of Ebisumaru. "What...did you say?" Seppukumaru hissed finally.
"Seppuku is suicide, right? Suicide is not a sport," Ebisumaru replied very matter-of-factly. "After all, every life, even yours, should be treated with dignity and respect, and--"
But Seppukumaru was already standing over him and looking down fiercely. His head seemed to have grown quite a bit in the short distance he had to jump to get to that spot. "SEPPUKU IS A SPORT AND DON'T TRY TO TELL ME OTHERWISE!"
The Wise Man leaned on his staff as he rubbed his chin in thought. "This is a tricky situation indeed..." he mused, as Goemon paced frantically. "Ebisumaru taken hostage in a ship, and his current location unknown...Very, very tricky..."
Goemon slammed his fist against a wooden wall. "Yeah, we've gone over that ten times now! And there's nothing 'tricky' about the solution! Let's just take Impact and go after them!"
"No, we can't do that, Goemon!" the Wise Man retorted. "All ten of the times we've gone over this, I've told you that Impact is too big and too loud! Seppukumaru would see you coming from a mile away, and that'd give him ample opportunity to shoot you out of the sky. No, we've gotta think of something with a little more tact..."
Goemon groaned and buried his face in his hands, shooing away a small robot that offered him a cup of tea. Yae merely looked at him puzzlingly after accepting her own cup with a short statement of thanks. "Hmm?" Goemon grunted when he noticed Yae's stare. "What're you looking at me like that for, Yae?"
"I was just wondering, Goemon..." she said as she sipped her tea. "Could it be that you're actually concerned about Ebisumaru's safety? Now that would be a surprise, indeed."
"Wha--What are you talking about, Yae?! I don't care about Ebisumaru, I just wanna teach that Seppukumaru bastard a lesson! I, I mean, well, I do care about him a little bit, I mean, how can I not...But not much!" Goemon grew redder and redder with each uttered word, at which Yae could do nothing but giggle.
Suddenly, the Wise Man's face lit up and his arm shot straight in the air. "I've got it!" he shouted, startling both Goemon and Yae. "I've got the perfect invention to get you guys all the way to the Sportsman Ship! Sasuke, you can go with them."
A short robot with a blue tuft of hair at the end of a long, thin pole and a green tunic sitting in a corner sipping tea looked up at the mention of his name. "Me, Wise ol' Man? But I thought you wanted me to stay here and clean the house. I even brought the work clothes downstairs with me." He motioned to a small, purple maid's outfit with matching headgear, folded and placed to his right.
"Sasuke, no!" The Wise Man blushed as he threw the "work clothes" into another room and quietly reprimanded Sasuke. "I, I don't know where you found those clothes, my boy, but they're definitely not for you," he said, loud enough for the others to hear. "Anyway, the three of you will go after Seppukumaru. I'll have some of the other robots set up the machine and you three as well." The Wise Man pulled out a remote control and pushed one of the many buttons on it, and before Goemon knew what was happening, he, Yae, and Sasuke were being picked up by a legion of small clockwork robots and stuffed into space suits and helmets, with only the first two ninjas giving any sort of protestation. The three of them were then each forced to assume a ball shape, with their knees pushed tightly against their chests and wrapped by their arms. "That should do it..." the Wise Man said as the robots then proceeded to bind Goemon, Yae, and Sasuke with strong rope, keeping them in this uncomfortable position. "Don't worry, those ropes will come right off when you get into space."
"When we what?!" Yae shouted, trying her best to struggle out of this situation, but unable to overpower the ten or so robots that held her down and finished tying her up. "Wise Man, what the hell is wrong with you?! If you're planning what I think you're planning, I swear I'm gonna make you regret it!"
"Relax, my dear," the Wise Man reassured her. "You'll be perfectly safe, I promise."
The Wise Man licked a finger and held it up in the air. "Hmm...No wind today. Perfect. Load the catapult!"
One by one, the three bound and space-bound ninjas were tossed into a bowl at the end of a giant metal catapult. Goemon and Yae had been shouting profanities, curses, and pleas for the Wise Man to get some sense in his head ever since they first learned of their fate, while Sasuke had been reminding them that they should trust the Wise Man who, according to him, usually knew what he was doing.
"So, let's recap. Boys?" At the Wise Man's command, some robots with blue tunics and otherwise slightly similar designs to Sasuke's carried out a canvas with a picture of the catapult on it. Three crudely drawn stick figures were in the bowl that was attached to the end on the ground. The fact that one of them had spiky hair, one long hair, and the third a ponytail made the three ninjas assume that the figures represented them. "The first step has already been completed. We've loaded the catapult with you three." The Wise Man ran a long stick along the three stick figures in the drawing before flipping it over, revealing a picture where the bowl was now the end that was high above the ground. The three ninjas were flying through the air, smiling. "We will then proceed to propel you with enough force to send you all the way to the Sportsman Ship, after locating it with the most advanced technology, of course." The Wise Man flipped this picture back as well, but the next one had only a large question mark on it. "The final part of your mission is to rescue Ebisumaru and come back here. Any questions?"
"Yeah, I've got two questions," Yae replied. "First, how exactly are we supposed to get back here? And second, WHAT THE HELL HAS GOTTEN INTO YOU?! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL US OR SOMETHING?!"
"Oh, don't worry about that, Yae," the Wise Man said as he walked towards a nearby shack. "You and Sasuke are pretty clever, I'm sure you'll come up with something."
While Yae squirmed in what she knew would be her last attempt at escape, Goemon merely mouthed what the Wise Man had just said until realization dawned on him. "H-Hey! What about--"
"All right, we've located the Sportsman Ship!" the Wise Man shouted from inside the shack. Goemon and Yae struggled several degrees more violently than before. "Fortunately, it's not very far, I'm gonna set up all the parameters and you can fire as soon as it's ready. Make sure you hit it as hard as you can!" Some quiet beeps were heard from the Wise Man's general direction before a large red button on a panel at the base of the catapult began flashing.
"No! Don't do it!" Yae begged. The robot standing at the panel positioned his hand over the button and raised his arm high, but froze suddenly. Yae thought for a moment that her latest plea had actually managed to work and breathed a sigh of relief, but soon heard the real reason that the robot likely stopped in his tracks. A loud squealing, getting louder by the second, was heard from somewhere above them. "Oh no..."
A large blue blur landed on the thin end of the catapult, making it drop like a ton of bricks while the basket was sent shooting upwards and its contents sent flying somewhere just past the horizon. All three ninjas could be heard screaming until they were too far for the people remaining on the ground to keep both visual and audio contact with them.
"No, no, no, no, no! Useless piece of junk, you've got to give it more oomph than that! I can't believe you--Oh, Ebisumaru, when did you get here?" The Wise Man hurried over to the thin portion of the catapult, situated right under Ebisumaru's butt, and helped the Ninja of Justice back to his feet.
"Thanks, Wise Man," Ebisumaru said, rubbing his sore derriere. "I was held hostage by Seppukumaru and the four Tsujigiri for a while, but they suddenly decided to let me go and dropped me off back here. They said something about me being a pest who was more trouble than it was worth...Can you believe that, Wise Man? Me, a pest? Can ya? Huh, can ya?"
"Er...No, I can't believe it. And anyway, I already knew about your little predicament with Seppukumaru. Goemon and Yae told me all about it."
"They did?" Ebisumaru looked around. "Where are they, anyway? I wanna say hi, let 'em know that I'm okay."
"Er, well..." The Wise Man rubbed his chin and pointed in the direction that Goemon, Yae, and Sasuke had flown. "I'd say they're about a mile in that general direction. It's a good thing those suits will protect them from any serious injury..."
Ebisumaru blinked in confusion, and then moaned in realization. "Aww, a whole mile? I'm hungry, I'll look for them later." And with that, Ebisumaru scampered off, happy as a clam that he was back in Japan and, more importantly, able to eat at his favorite restaurants once again.
Author's Notes: ...Well, hopefully that wasn't the absolute worst thing you've read. But even if it was I want you to let me know, dear readers. Heh, sucks for Goemon, Sasuke, and Yae, though...