Exactly 2,000 words. Rating R. Previous parts are HERE. Banner by spikeshunny.
Dojo Hard Part 11
The three baby-cart mechanics wheeled out the completed vehicle and displayed it proudly. “What do you think, Chopstick-san?” Warren asked. “Pretty cool, huh?”
Chopstick looked out from the window of the palanquin and nodded approval. He struck a pose and recited a haiku.
“Black as winter nights
Desoto baby-cart rolls
On missions of death.”
Warren’s eyes widened. “Missions of death? Uh, I thought it was for, like, a costume party.”
“Yeah, sure,” Chopstick said. “Don’t take the haiku literally. Costume party, yeah. How about this one?”
As Lone Wolf and Cub we go
To Shogun’s party.”
“Cool,” Jonathan said, nodding his head, and then he pouted. “How come we never get invited to parties?”
“When we are masters and not just apprentices we’ll get invited,” Warren assured him. “Master Desoto gets plenty of invites. Not that he goes, on account of Zen, but he gets them. It will be totally cool when we qualify. Sake, and geishas, and all that stuff. And hey, we’ve made a big sale today. That’s got to count for something, right?”
“I guess,” Jonathan said. “Maybe we could have our own little party? Go to The Bonze or something?”
“I saw a bare naked lady outside The Bonze,” Andrew announced.
“You did? Hey, the entertainment there might be getting a little more interesting,” Warren speculated.
“If she was entertainment how come she was outside?” Jonathan asked.
“I don’t know,” said Andrew. “It looked like she was going in, though. She was with the Shogun’s ninja girl Buffy Summers.”
Jonathan sucked in his lips and his brow furrowed. “I can’t imagine Buffy working for anyone but the Shogun. I wonder what she was up to?”
“Well, there’s this kinda rumor going around that the Shogun has been overthrown,” Andrew revealed. “So, maybe she’s out of work and looking for something else?”
“That would be a pretty big career change,” Warren commented. “The Shogun’s been overthrown? Bummer. Shogun Giles was pretty cool for an old guy.” His eyebrows descended low over his eyes. “Hey, if the Shogun’s been overthrown maybe the party’s cancelled. You’re still gonna have to pay for the work we’ve done on this special baby-cart, dude.”
“No problem, Warren-san,” Chopstick told him. “Accession party for the new Shogun, innit?”
“Oh, good,” Warren said. “Hey, who is the new Shogun anyway?”
“Angel,” Chopstick said. “Bloke who was the Lord High Executioner. You know. Lame, bloody stupid, hair goes straight up.”
“Oh, yeah,” Warren said. “I know the guy. He’s totally obsessed with deferring, right?”
“And his taste in music totally sucks,” Jonathan commented. “Oh well, I guess there’s nothing we can do about it. Maybe Buffy will overthrow him again and we can get Giles back.” The corners of his mouth drooped. “Uh, not that I’m being disloyal to the new Shogun. I mean, you’re not gonna tell him I said that, right? We’ve done a good job on your baby-cart, haven’t we?”
Chopstick laughed. “Bloody good job, right. My lips are sealed, mate. He’s not my favorite Shogun either. Won’t say a word.” He counted out the agreed fee for the baby-cart, waited until the three apprentices had departed, and turned to Dalton and Oz. “Buffy Summers might make a bloody brilliant ally. All depends on if she’s stayed loyal to Shogun Giles or joined up with her great pillock of a boyfriend. Think you could go back to Dru’s lot and find out, Dalton-san?”
Dalton bit his lip. “If my absence has not been noticed. I will try, oh Chopstick-sama.”
Chopstick screwed up his mouth. “Nah, not worth the risk. Dru knows you’re loyal to me, she’d probably put two and two together if she did notice that you’d buggered off. We’ll just have to go looking for Buffy and find out that way.” He raised himself up on his arms and his two attendants lifted him out of the palanquin. “Right, lads,” Chopstick said, “for great justice, and the safety of puppies, and the Kanamara penis festival. Let’s fight that evil. Quickly, to the Chopstick-mobile, and away!”
“You are extremely big, Olaf-san,” Drusilla said. “Have you ever thought of becoming a Sumo wrestler?”
The massive ronin shook his head. “I do not have the patience to work my way up through the divisions,” he confessed, “and performing menial tasks in the lower divisions is not for me. Also, I think that the mawashi looks like a diaper.”
Drusilla laughed. “Perhaps it does.” Her laugh was replaced by a frown. “You failed to capture Buffy, Olaf-san, and I am displeased. Yet I shall give you another chance. Capture her, and the gaijin Ampata who spoiled our trap, and I shall reward you with fragrant sake and delicious tonkatsu.”
Olaf beamed and smacked his lips. “I shall look forward to that, Drusilla-san. I cannot understand how anyone could prefer marmalade sandwiches.”
Drusilla put her hand to her forehead. “Oh, Olaf-san, you have given me an idea. You must dig a trap for Ampata. A Very Deep Pit. And you must put a jar of marmalade in the Very Deep Pit, and she will be lured to it, and fall into the Very Deep Pit, and then you can catch her and make merry sport with her. What sort of sport? Football? Sumo? – no, not Sumo, of course, silly me.”
Olaf coughed and bowed his head. “There is a small flaw in your plan, Drusilla-san. A Very Deep Pit is a trap for Heffalumps and they cannot climb. Ampata comes from a land of high mountains and, as we saw when she escaped with Buffy Summers, she can climb and jump very well.”
Drusilla pouted. “Oh, yes, you’re right. Oh well, I’ll leave the details to you. Just catch them.” Her eyes narrowed. “And if Buffy Summers should resist arrest you have my permission to smash her head with your great big hammer.”
Wesley had found a kimono for Ampata and she wore it as she drank tea and ate marmalade sandwiches with him. She told him about her exile from Darkest Peru, and the pursuit by the Spanish Inquisition, and then she expanded on what Buffy had already told him about the two girls’ escape from the castle. “And that is my story, Wesley,” she concluded. “Now, tell me about yourself. How did an English gentleman come to be so far from home, running a night club in the Land of the Rising Sunnydale?”
Wesley fidgeted with his collar. “Ah, it’s rather embarrassing, actually. I fell for the lovely Lady Winifred Burkle but her affections were given to another. To the notorious pirate Black Charles Gunn, the brother of the even more famous Ben Gunn, in fact. I was broken-hearted, and left home in despair, determined to gain renown as a pirate myself and thus win her heart. Alas, my career as a buccaneer was a dismal failure. Nobody would surrender to the Dread Pirate Wesley.”
Buffy slipped silently through the streets, moving from shadow to shadow, one with the dusk. Nobody except another ninja could have spotted her progress.
Unfortunately many of those searching for her were ninjas. They had the advantage of knowing one destination to which she was bound to travel eventually, too, and as Buffy neared her home half a dozen ninjas dropped from the rooftops ahead of her and blocked the street.
Buffy bit her lip. She could defeat six ninjas, certainly, but it had been a long day and she was tired. Fighting them would take a lot out of her and she would rather avoid it. She wasn’t going to be able to go home for the night, that was certain, and she turned to make her escape. A booming voice met her ears.
“There she is! Seize her, puny soldiers.” Olaf the ronin came into sight at the head of a column of ten guards with yari spears. They wore armor and had sashimono banners at their backs proclaiming them to be servants of Shogun Angel. Olaf stepped aside, to allow the men to level their spears and advance in formation, and then moved forward with his hammer raised.
Buffy recoiled. Fighting her way through the tight body of spearmen would be extremely difficult. Not impossible, perhaps, but an intimidating prospect, and the ninjas would come in from behind and make things even worse. She looked to the rooftops at the sides and saw that a couple of ninjas had remained there. She was surrounded.
“I think that I may have a job for you, if you will take it,” Wesley told Ampata. “Buffy’s tale of your escape from the castle has given me an idea. I shall have a pole set up on the stage, and your job will be to gyrate around it, dancing for the entertainment of the patrons. I shall pay you very well, for I foresee that it will bring in a lot of custom.”
Ampata frowned. “That is kind of you, Wesley, but I must confess that I am not trained as a dancer. I have some gymnastic skills but that is all.”
“Your dancing skills are irrelevant,” Wesley said. “The customers won’t notice any deficiencies in that regard, I assure you. Ah, I want you to perform dressed as you were when you arrived here.”
Ampata blushed. “You want me to dance bare?”
“I do,” Wesley confirmed. “It will be outrageous. Alarming. Courageous. Charming. The great attraction everywhere. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and his amazing dancing bare.”
Ampata lowered her eyes. “Could I not wear at least some clothes?”
“It wouldn’t be the same,” Wesley said. “It will make much more of an impact if you give them the full Montezuma, as it were.” He saw Ampata frown in incomprehension. “Oh, sorry, wrong pre-Columbian civilization. The full Atahualpa.”
“I suppose there is little else that I can do in this strange land,” Ampata said. “You will pay me well? And there will be marmalade sandwiches?”
“I will pay you very well, and there will indeed be plenty of marmalade sandwiches,” Wesley promised. “I’ll make a concession about the clothes, too. You can leave your hat on.”
Buffy put her hand to the hilt of her katana and prepared to defend herself. She heard a rumbling noise approaching but paid it no mind, being preoccupied with the wall of spears, but the noise grew louder and suddenly a strange vehicle burst into view.
A baby-cart, jet black and covered in iron plates, with Chopstick sitting up in it and wielding a double-bladed naginata. The contraption smashed into the soldiers and sent them flying or knocked them to the ground where the carriage wheels flattened them. Chopstick struck out with the naginata and slew those who avoided the onrush. All ten fell. “Strike!” Chopstick yelled.
Olaf threw himself aside to dodge the deadly blades but tripped on a fallen guard and crashed into a lamp-post head first. He slumped to the ground unconscious.
The baby-cart thundered past Buffy. She saw the legend ‘Desoto’ painted on the sides, and that it was being pushed by one of Chopstick’s ninjas and by Willow’s boyfriend Oz, and her mouth dropped open.
The ninjas beyond were taken equally by surprise. They stood gaping as the naginata flashed and cut them down before they could react. On the rooftops the remaining ninjas drew their bows. Chopstick grinned and dropped the naginata. He snatched up a harquebus from inside the carriage, fired and toppled one ninja, then released the empty weapon and ducked to avoid an arrow. He came up holding a second harquebus and fired once more. The last ninja clutched his chest and tumbled from the rooftop.
The baby-cart came to a halt. Chopstick lit a cigarette from the smoldering flash-pan of the harquebus and drew on it. He blew out a cloud of smoke and turned to face Buffy.
“The winter storms rage
Baby-cart rolls like thunder
Bowling guards over.”
Chopstick bowed to acknowledge a compliment from Dalton and then grinned at Buffy. “Hello, cutie.”