Running by RandomNinjaMetal

Note: This is another unfinished thing. I started it earlier this summer. I might or might not write more of it. Mainly, I just wanted to write Yuki, now that she's getting some official character development. But the story didn't go far enough for me to be able to do much of that... As always, it's full of odd grammar and other technical issues, but whatever. Fun fact- the word processor I used for this fails at spell check, so there might be a few errors there, too...

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After the most recent heroic acts of Goemon Ishikawa (which consisted of defeating evil, fighting robots, saving Japan from certain peril, and of course rescuing the town idol, Omitsu, and the nearly as lovely Princess, Yuki) the Lord declared that a three day festival would be held in his honor. Being the sort of guy that enjoys having some time in the spotlight, Goemon was more than happy to accept this- after all, despite the large debt the general public owed him, his work was mostly thankless.

Ebisumaru was also excited, as festivals generally meant large quantities of delicious food, and, as Goemon's favorite sidekick, who would deny him the right to enjoy it for free? Indeed, he abused this privledge to such an extent on the first day of the festival that, by the second, vendors began quietly tracking his location, so as to be able to hide what they had before he was within eyesight.

Sasuke was somewhat bewildered by the attention he was receiving, but he couldn't help but enjoy the party atmosphere. Monoshiri stayed with him, bragging about the accomplishments of this particular invention to any young woman who would pause long enough to listen.

As for Yae, she wasn't exactly enjoying the attention- after all, a big part of her job required that she work from the shadows. Public attention of this magnitude would only serve to hinder that goal. So while there was nothing she could do about the fact that her name was on many of the banners decorating the area, she did her best to steer clear of the main festivities.

There was, however, one event that she couldn't pass up- on the last day, there was to be a race. Nothing major, just one of several things organized at the last minute primarily for the Lord's idle entertainment. But for Yae, who had always prided herself on her agility, it gave her a chance to finally settle a certain nagging question...

And so she found herself, a mere five minutes before the race was to begin, trying to reason with a certain someone. "Come on, Sasuke! It won't be fun if you don't join in!"

"I'm not sure I understand the point of this competition, Ms. Yae..."

"What did I just say? It's just for fun. Please?"

Sasuke shook his head. "Alright then-"

Thrilled to get the assurance she needed, she grabbed his arm and rushed him over to the registration table before he could change his mind.

Someone else was vacilating prior to the competition, but for reasons other than an inability to understand the spirit of competition.

Goemon was well aware of the fact that both Yae and Sasuke were considerably faster than he was, a fact that usually didn't bother him... except for the fact that the entire town would be watching, and thus, he really, really didn't want to lose. Particularly for the sake of his favorite beautiful waitress.

Omitsu was, of course, cheering him on. And he had no intention of disappointing her. But... when he had signed up an hour previous, he hadn't seen the names of either of his two quicker friends on the list... yes, surely he'd be able to beat anyone else, as long as those two weren't in it. So with his usual confidence, he took his place at the crowded starting line.

The crowd cheered at the sight of their hero, and he waved, grinning- until he saw Yae, with Sasuke trailing slightly behind her, on their way from the registration area to the starting line.

"You can do it, Goemon!" Omitsu shouted. The man in question, however, felt anything but encouraged.

"Oh shit..."

Meanwhile, Yae was stretching and mentally preparing herself. She had long been hopeing for a chance to settle, once and for all, who was faster- herself, or Sasuke. What could be a better excuse than this?

Ebisumaru had been intending to cheer for Goemon alongside Omitsu, but... well, he was hungry. The first few times he had approached a vendor only to find they had 'ran out' of food only seconds before, he had believed it and moved on to the next. But this can only happen so many times before one grows suspicious. So he decided that, due to his extreme hunger, it was time to try a different tactic... So, he searched out his friends.

It happened that he saw Sasuke and Yae waiting for the race to begin. Yae was deep in concentration, readying herself for the task at hand, but Sasuke looked bored.

"Hey! Sasuke!" the fat ninja shouted.

He looked up and saw Ebisumaru waving frantically. Wondering what could possibly be upsetting his friend this much, he left his spot in the lineup and joined him on the sidelines.

"Sasuke, I have a very important mission for you," Ebisumaru began...

At that very moment, the sound of firecrackers igniting marked the beginning of the race.

Oh well, Sasuke thought. Obviously, my main objective is this mission.

Meanwhile, the race moved forward. Very quickly, Yae pulled into the lead, Goemon not far behind her. She could hear his footsteps, but wrongfully assumed them to be Sasuke's, and wondered why he sounded so much heavier than usual. She decided not to think about it, but intead concentrated on nothing but moving forward.

Goemon, meanwhile, was wracking his brain, hopeing to figure out some genius tactic that would allow him to pull ahead of Yae. By some amazing luck, Sasuke had dropped out of the race seconds before it began, but he still knew it would be next to impossible to best Yae.

And that's when Yae noticed Sasuke, off in the distance, talking to a vendor. What the hell did he think he was doing, anyway? She slowed her pace considerably to try and see better what was happening.

This was the opening Goemon needed, and he sprinted ahead of her. The crowd cheered loudly, happy to see their hero in the lead.

About a mile away, Princess Yuki sat, bored. It had been the Lord's idea for her to sit at the finish line, marking the end of the race track. But at the moment, all the excitement was far away and out of her view, so all she could do was sit and wait.

And of course, she thought as she squinted into the distance, this is all going so predicatably. She could hear the crowd's cheers, and a certain name being repeated. Yes, of course Goemon would win. He was the hero, how could anyone ever doubt it?

Goemon now had a substantial lead, and was now regaining his confidence. Of course he would win! He was the hero! How did he ever doubt it?

He could see Yuki-hime in the not so distant distance, and knew he was nearly there. This was going to be much easier than he had thought.

Yae, meanwhile, had fallen into a distant second place. Irritated with Sasuke for dropping out, she considered doing so herself- until she noticed Goemon's lead. If he won, he would probably brag about it for ages... and she didn't want to have to listen to that. So she turned her mind back to the task at hand and rushed forward.

Yuki leaned her head on her hand and tapped her foot impatiently. Goemon was now within clear view and she knew he'd be here any second. But she was tired of waiting. But that's when she noticed someone else rapidly pulling in behind him. Now THIS was interesting!

It was that pretty kunoichi that hangs out with Goemon and his ninjas- what was her name, Yae or something like that? She was still behind him, but was clearly much faster. Really, either of them could conveivably win. Her interest recaptured, she leaned forward excitedly...