Chapter 9: Between A Rock and A Hardhead
At the top floor of one of the tallest buildings in Japan, the representative CEO of Yamato Industries is busy talking on the phone. "Well this is to be expected, sir. If you're here, that woman was bound to come around eventually. I'm already on the job. Just leave everything to me." He hangs up and sighs. From his pocket, he pulls out a lighter and repeatedly sparks it. "I need a vacation…" As he continues flipping the switch on his lighter, he picks up the phone, dials a number, and sets it to speaker. He turns to look out at the window. One ring…two rings…three…
"Hey, hot stuff. How it hanging up on the top floor, huh?" Speaking on the other end is the Spider Queen.
"Cut the cute talk."
"Aw, but don't you miss me~?"
"I just got off the phone with the seniors."
"...And?" The Queen's tone has become much more serious.
"They're getting agitated, especially now that Amaterasu has reared that ugly head of hers. I can't say that I'm not annoyed myself." He presses down on the lighter's ignition with such force that the flame shoots up to twice his height.
"What did you tell them?"
"I told them that everything is under control, of course, which brings me to why I called you. How are things on your end?"
"It's getting there. Shinsu District and Agata Forest are pretty big. It's going to take a little more time, but not so long as to anger the seniors."
"And what about Amaterasu?"
"I came up with something. It's a bit crude, but it should keep her away long enough."
"I see. And what is this 'something', exactly?"
"A ROCK!" Isamu yells. "THERE'S A ROCK BLOCKING THE PATH TO SHINSU DISTRICT! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS! WE CAME ALL THE WAY OUT HERE TO GET STOPPED BY A ROCK!" In a flurry of anger, she jumps into the air and aims a flying kick directly to the boulder's center. "DUMB ROCK!" Of course the kick is ineffective, and she falls to the ground.
Asako continues to look up at the massive boulder. "How did it get here, anyway? No one should be able to just pick a boulder this size and bring it here."
"You're right," Isamu responds as she resumes her examination of the boulder. "It's probably the work of the spider lady and her demon cronies. Only someone like them would be able to do this. They probably don't want us getting in their way of whatever they're doing on the other side."
"No doubt about that, but at least this means we're on the right track."
"Hm…" After a moment of thought, Daichi takes his guitar case and lays it on the ground. "I have an idea."
Asako looks over to him. "Daichi-kun?" Daichi opens the case, revealing a sheathed sword. "Wah! A sword! What are you doing, bringing a weapon around like that!"
"My parents encourage my participation in the kendo club, and they gave this to me as a gift. I just thought that if we were to run into any demons, I'd be more comfortable fighting with a proper weapon. And it seems that it might be useful right now." He removes the weapon from its case. "Maybe I can use my powers to cut the rock down to size."
"Wow! Good thinking, kid!" Isamu gives Daichi a hard pat on the back.
"Ow! Hey, watch it!" Daichi approaches the boulder and slowly unsheathes his sword. He takes a moment to appreciate its beauty. Daichi's parents didn't just get it from anywhere; there was something special about it, although he didn't know what. He discards the thought for now; he has a job to do. He closes his eyes and prepares himself. Before long, a faint blue light emanates from the blade. Asako and Isamu simply stare in awe. Daichi opens his eyes, jumps up and raises his sword to the sky "HaaaaaaAAAAA-"
"HEY! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, KID!"
"Wah!" Daichi's concentration is broken and he falls to the ground in surprise.
"Huh! Who the heck was that?" Isamu and Asako look around to see who it was that yelled when they see a large, bulky man in a police uniform running towards them. "A-A police officer!"
The man slowly comes to a stop, panting heavily and gasping for air.
Asako stares at the man. "Uh…is there a problem, officer?"
"Hm!" The policeman stands up straight, his vitality restored. "THE LEGANDARY POLICE OFFICER MIKOTO NAGI, REPORTING FOR DUTY!" He strikes a powerful pose, as the girls stare on in an extremely awkward silence.
"Hmph! Surely you two girls have heard tales of my amazing feats! In the precinct, I'm known as Susanoo, for my arrival on the crime scene is like a storm ready to blow away all who oppose it!"
"Hold on…" Isamu's head flashes with images of a bumbling drunkard in purple, wielding a wooden sword. "There was a man named Susanoo back then," Isamu thinks to herself. "He was a complete fool, always getting drunk and boasting his strength. You mean…THAT GUY'S BEEN REINCARNATED, TOO!"
"Anyway, that's not the point. What I'm really here for is that!" Officer Mikoto points at Daichi, who is still splayed out face-down on the ground. "Why are you kids carrying around a dangerous weapon like that! That's against the law!"
"Ah!" Isamu takes a quick glance at Daichi, then looks back to the officer. "Oh, th-that! That's nothing, really! We were just, uh…"
A flustered Asako begins to speak. "F-Filming for a school project!"
The police officer looks at them curiously. "A project?"
Isamu catches on quickly. "That's right! We're part of, uh…our school's AV Club! We wanted to film some scenes to use in a music video! The sword's a prop we bought!" She pulls out her phone. "See, that camera's right here and everything!"
"Uh-huh! That's how it is!" The two girls smile nervously.
"…Is that so?" He stares at them for a moment, making the girls uncomfortable. "Well, I guess that's fine. But you shouldn't be going around with weapons, real or not. I don't want to see these kinds of shenanigans again!"
"Yes, sir! Please excuse us!" Asako and Isamu bow their heads.
"Wh-Wha!" The officer begins to blush. "G-Girls, please! I don't need such a formal apology. I mean, I know my reputation as a legendary police officer precedes me, but I'm but a humble man! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
"This guy's annoying…" Isamu whispers under her breath. "Ah, hold on." She looks at Officer Mikoto. "Actually, we wanted to ask you something." She says as she points to the boulder. "We wanted to get to Shinsu District, but there's a boulder in the way. Do you know how that got there?"
"Hm?" He turns to the blocked path. "HUUUUUUH! WHEN DID THAT GET THERE!"
"YOU JUST NOTICED! Ugh…anyway, do you think you can get it out of there?"
"Tch, I know that the reputation of my superhuman strength precedes me, but even someone like me needs to prepare myself mentally for such a feat! Anyway, it's about to get dark. Don't you have school in the morning, little girl?"
"Just go on home already. I promise I'll have it done by tomorrow. The great Susanoo never leaves a little girl in distress!" He starts to walk away confidently.
"GET BACK HERE, YOU!" Isamu tries to run after him, but Asako holds her back.
"Onee-san, you can't hit a police officer!"
"Really, the nerve of that guy! He's just as annoying as ever!" As Isamu continues to complain, Daichi slowly begins to get up.
"Geez…that guy broke my concentration…"
"And you!" Isamu kicks Daichi, sending him spinning into the air. "What were you thinking! You know showing off a weapon like that is illegal! We won't get anything done if we get arrested for your carelessness!"
"Hey, it's not like I thought I'd have to use it like this! Besides, I didn't hear you complain about it before!"
"THAT'S NOT THE POINT!" The two begin to butt heads.
Before long, Asako pushes them apart. "Stop fighting, you two!" The two ignore her as they try to claw at each other. "Stoooooop!" As the three struggle, two green scrolls and a red scroll appear in front of them. "Huh? That's…! Onee-san, Daichi-kun!"
"Huh?" The two stop fighting and turn to the scrolls, which begin to unravel themselves as they spawn several demons.
"Crap…so they finally showed up, huh?" Daichi readies his sword.
"All right, I was waiting for a bunch of them to show up!" Isamu turns to Asako. "Asako! Now's your chance to do that!"
"Remember that paper that I told you to memorize this morning? Now's the time to do it!"
"Huuuh? Do I really have to do that?"
"Urgh, I told you, it's your trademark! You need something powerful for your enemies to remember you by! Now, get out there and do it! And I don't wanna see it half-assed, either! Put your soul into it!"
"Right." Asako closes her eyes for a moment to compose herself, then opens them abruptly. "Taiyou Kaihen (Solar Transformation)!" Asako jumps into the air and explodes into a flash of light. In the light, her black hair fades into the purest of white, as does her skin. She then waves her hands over various parts of her body, making red markings appear. Next, she places her hands on her head. As she removes her hands, wolf ears pop out. Finally, her beautiful white kimono begins to form around her body. "I have descended from the Celestial Plain to protect this world!" She raises her hands to the sky as the light around her concentrates to a single point to form her weapon: a mirror dressed in fire. She places it on her back. Next, she extends her right arm and from her hand, a paintbrush appears. "Howling at the sun, I raise my brush against evil!" With stroke after stroke, she writes out the kanji for "sun" before she tosses the brush into the air, falling behind her to form her tail. "I am the goddess of the sun and mother of all! Okami Amaterasu!" Her transformation complete, Asako lands gracefully facing the demons.
Isamu starts jumping up and down in excitement. "THAT WAS AMAZING! I knew you'd be able to memorize it perfectly!"
"Wah, but that was so embarrassing! What if someone saw me!"
"No normal human can see you, remember? Ugh, anyway, Daichi, I didn't exactly have time to make one up for you, but-"
"Hmph! Don't worry about me. Issen Kaihen (One-Flash Transformation)!" He jumps into the air and, like Asako, his hair and skin fades into white, and red markings appear on his body. He then performs several slashes in rapid succession, writing out the kanji for "cut". When he is finished, the slashes become visible and his clothes explode into shreds, which then reform into his white kendo gi. "My blade is sharp and true, just like my soul! With sword in hand, I cut evil and hatred into pieces!" He throws his sword down, the blade piercing the ground. He lands quickly and precisely on the tip of the handle. "I am the god of the blade, Tachigami!"
Asako claps in appreciation. "Wow! That was amazing, Daichi-kun!"
Isamu sneers. "Ho…so you worked on that all by yourself? It was actually pretty good. That's to be expected of a Super Sentai fanboy…"
Daichi nearly loses his balance. "Sh-Shut up!" He jumps down to the ground and grabs his sword. "Anyway, we don't have any more time to talk."
"Right!" Asako readies her reflector. "Shall we go?"
"Yeah!" They both charge toward the group of demons. "HaaaaaaAAAAA-"
"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!"
"Wah!" The two trip and fall face-first to the ground as Officer Mikoto runs toward them.
"What the heck!" Isamu turns to the officer approaching them. "What are you doing here, old man!"
Mikoto stops to catch his breath. "I…came…as soon as…I heard…the commotion." He stands himself up. "Tch! If it's just a bunch of snot-nosed brats, the great Susanoo can handle them without breaking a…" He takes a better look at the "brats". "WHOA, THOSE AREN'T KIDS! WHO ARE THESE GUYS!"
"YOU THOUGHT THEY WERE KIDS!"
The officer composes himself, trying to make himself look cool. "B-Brats or freaks in c-c-costumes, it doesn't matter!" he says through chattering teeth as he pulls out a custom nightstick. "The great M-Mikoto Nagi will always t-t-triumph against evil! HAVE AT THEE! UOOOOOOOOHHHH!" He charges toward the demons, running right past Isamu.
"Damn, this guy's annoying! Hey, Asako, Daichi!"
"…Huh?" They slowly get up.
"Hurry up and get rid of these guys already! And make sure that dunderhead doesn't get himself killed!"
"Hm?" Daichi looks over at Nagi, who's swinging aimlessly at the demons, his eyes clamped shut. "The hell! Does he have a death wish!"
"Daichi-kun, let's go!" Asako readies her reflector and runs into the action.
"Right!" Daichi follows suit. The two begin to fight off the demons one by one, with the "aid" of officer Mikoto Nagi. The policeman has very little fighting experience and has trouble even hitting one of the demons. And if he does manage to hit them, no real damage is done. However, both Asako and Daichi are easily able to make up for his performance by both killing the demons and swiftly moving the bumbling officer out of harm's way. Before long, there is only one red demon left, its mandolin raised against Mikoto Nagi. Daichi dashes toward the demon and slices up its instrument with ease. "Mother!"
"Right! Haaaa!" Asako takes her reflector and strikes the demon repeatedly.
"Asako!" Isamu yells out to her. "Try out your new power!"
"Right!" She closes her eyes and summons her paintbrush. "Power…" She paints one horizontal line across the demon. "Slash!" She completes the stroke, and the demon is sliced in two before it explodes into black smoke. The two land and revert to their human forms. "Whew!" The two look to each other and smile.
"YAAAAAAAaaaaa…huh?" Mikoto Nagi opens his eyes to see that the demons have disappeared. "I…I did it! I DID IT!" He strikes a victory pose. "Hah! Another victory for the great Mikoto "Susanoo" Nagi! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!" As he continues to bask in his own self-appreciation, the trio looks on, almost pitying him.
"…" Officer Nagi walks up to them.
"Whew, that was a close call! I'm glad you kids are safe. Whenever you need me, just holler, and the great Officer Mikoto "Susanoo" Nagi will be right at your side! AH-HA-HA-HA!" He walks away with a powerful stride in his step.
"Ugh, something tells me we haven't seen the last of that moron…" Isamu pats the two on the back. "Well, at any rate, you two did a great job."
"It wasn't a big deal."
"Hm…" Isamu looks to the horizon. "Damn, it got really dark." She sighs. "Well, we didn't get to check out Shinsu District, but I guess today wasn't a total loss." She stretches herself out. "Let's call it a day for now. But if you're not busy tomorrow, let's come back."
"Sounds good to me. I think I've had enough weird stuff happen to me for one day." Daichi yawns loudly as he sets his sword back in his guitar case. "Well, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Good night, Daichi-kun." Daichi starts to walk back to his home as Asako and Isamu turn to the opposite direction.
"Hm? What is it, onee-san?"
"I mean it." she smiles. "You did great today. Keep it up, and we'll have this over with in no time!" She gives Asako a thumbs up.
Asako's eyes brighten. "Hah…I will!" She smiles back as they both begin to walk home.
"…!" Asako stops suddenly and turns to the boulder blocking the path to Shinsu District. She stares at it with a worried look on her face.
"Hm? What's wrong, Asako?"
"…It's nothing. Let's go." She begins to walk faster than before.
"H-Hey Asako, wait up!" Isamu runs after her.
"What was that just now?" Asako thinks to herself. "Just past the rock, I sensed something. Something primitive…and dark. Just what is happening in Shinsu District…?"