Not too long ago, I expanded on my sci-fi version of the Japanese fairy tale, Momotaro. It was made for a writing competition for the Adventure Game Studio forum.
Unfortunately, it was not what the magazine was looking for at the time. Ah, well, it was worth a shot. And the guy in charge of submissions gave advice that I should expand on characters when they were first introduced. Might have to remember that for future stories.
Anyway, here’s my sci-fi futuristic Momotaro story.
Momotaro of the Future
by Danny Wheeler
One moonlit mid-spring night, in a coastal town in Japan…
A strange, glowing meteor crashed into a field.
The elderly farmer and his wife crept out to get a closer look at the meteorite. They were quite taken aback when they saw what looked like a crystalline peach!
They were flabbergasted when the meteorite open to reveal a small baby boy. Then the meteorite seemed to melt and turn into clothing for the boy.
When the couple picked up the child, the wife discovered a strange object, which looked like the handle of something. They kept it close, just in case.
A nametag was near the child, which read “Momotaro” (say “moh-moh-TAH-row”). This was his name henceforth.
The child grew up as the son of the elderly farmer and his wife. They treasured the young boy and the kind of man he was growing up to be.
But the couple remained fearful, as the town they lived outside of had been constantly harassed by an alien warlord and his forces, who lived on an artificial island fortress that was codenamed “Oni Island.” (Oni is pronounced “oh-NEE”.) The alien forces took on the form of oni—demon ogres from the lore of the land—to intimidate the people. Like the oni of legend, they would have distorted humanoid features and small demon horns. These demon horns could also function as antennae for communications, as radar, or have other functions as well. In fact, as a child, Momotaro once peeked out a window through the window blinds and saw two shadowy figures of oni. It was very fortunate they did not see him.
Momotaro grew up, and on his eighteenth birthday–which was celebrated on the day his peach meteorite was found–the farmer and his wife showed him the strange object that was with him. Momotaro took the object and surprised everybody when a blade of emerald green magical light formed from it! It was a magical light sword!
“I now know my destiny!” said Momotaro.
The young man went to the kitchen and made some rice balls and other rations. He went upstairs to his room and got some other supplies. He was wearing a gray-white sleeveless undershirt, a blue vest, and red pants, along with his special sandals.
“What are you doing, son?” asked the farmer.
“I know my destiny, father,” replied Momotaro. “I am going to save our land from that vile warlord on Oni Island! That is why I have my magical light sword!”
“Oh, son!” said the farmer’s wife, fearing for Momotaro, “If you truly go…”
Momotaro gently touched her shoulder, saying “It will be all right, mother.”
Momotaro waved farewell as he went on his long journey.
To get to Oni Island, Momotaro needed to first get to the coast. The trail to the coast led through a thick forest; despite the fact it was a coastal town, there was enough of a distance from the coast for a forest to grow in that part where the farm was situated in.
The hero had soon reached the trail leading into the forest, but before he could enter, he soon saw an ushi-oni (say “OO-shee-OH-nee”), a gray colored demon that looked like a giant insectoid with a bull’s head, and each leg with a single, wickedly sharp claw. The monster was clawing at certain varieties of trees, which were homes to the kodama (say “koh-DAH-mah”), the tree spirits. These trees were indicated by the special braided ropes surrounding them, known as shimenawa (say “SHEE-may-NAH-wah”), which indicated to not cut these trees down without asking for permission of the kodama—for it was said that cutting down a tree that was a kodama’s home would cause serious misfortune.
The cries of the kodama as the ushi-oni pricked Momotaro in his heart. Indignant, he got out his light sword for his first battle with the enemy forces.
“Monster!” Momotaro shouted to the ushi-oni. “Away from the kodama! You face me now!”
The ushi-oni made a grunt, then a deep yet loud moo, before skittering towards the human hero with the intent to gore him on its horns.
As it charged, it made various small pits in the dirt trail, almost like small divots one would see on a golf course, but in dry dirt.
Momotaro rolled out of the way of the charge, just barely dodging the claws of the charging enemy. He then stood up, dusted himself off, and called out to the creature.
“Hey, bully!” shouted Momotaro. “I’m back over here!” The kodama giggled at the intentional pun that the hero made.
The beast then wiggled its legs as it turned around and made another charge. But the human was ready. At the last possible moment, he leapt upward, landed on the back of the ushi-oni, and decapitated it with one swipe. Since it was a plasma weapon, it cauterized as it cut, so no blood gushed forth from the wound. Nevertheless, the beast’s carcass just slumped down, still.
Momotaro then put his light sword up and approached the trees. The kodama soon emerged, cheering. The kodama looked like faces within the trees themselves. Some faces were male, others female. All of them applauded with branches that were makeshift arms.
“We thank you, good hero,” said one male kodama. “That ushi-oni was sent by the leader of Oni Island, to gather up life force to use as experiments for more evil plans.”
A female kodama added, “It even rooted up some of our sapling children. I can only shudder to think what they did to them.”
“I am on my way to Oni Island to fight them,” said Momotaro. “Their wicked ways will not be for long!”
“We wish you the best of luck,” said another male kodama.
Another female kodama said, “May the goddess Amaterasu lead you to victory!”
“May she indeed,” replied Momotaro. “Farewell!”
The kodama cheered and gave farewells as the hero soon began his journey into the forest.
The forest at first was relatively quiet, save for the songs of birds, the sound of the breeze in the treetops, or other natural sounds. It was early summer, and the green of the trees began to show. Momotaro carefully stepped over a few flat stones to cross a creek. He sat down a bit to relax and plan his next steps.
The early part of the forest mainly consisted of broadleaf trees, which had donned their leaves anew after being dormant all winter. Only a few conifer trees were there, as most of the conifer were in the middle part of the forest.
While sitting and reflecting, he overheard an obnoxious bakezori (say “bah-kay-ZOH-ree”). Its name means “ghost sandal”, and it was a creature that sprung to life from a long neglected zori sandal, which was a sandal made from of braided yellow-gray rice straw. The creature had two arms and two legs, but one eye, and looked like a hairy humanoid made of the very rice straw that his previous form was made of.
Zori sandals were made long before the more sophisticated geta sandals–geta sandals having two extra line-like extentions each sole, almost resembling equal signs.
When items in that land were left neglected for long periods of time, some strange energy would gather into them, and they would gain spirits of their own and become animate creatures. Some were benign, others were dangerous.
The bakezori normally wandered at night, but this one was out in the day. Still, he said his famous taunt:
“Ka-ra-rin, ko-ro-rin, kan-ko-ro-rin! Two eyes, three eyes and two teeth!”
The creature chanted over and over this taunt to insult the geta sandals that replaced him and his ilk.
“I thought bakezori only came out at night,” Momotaro said to himself. “Why is this one out in the day?”
He then chuckled and said, “Maybe he’s practicing for his night show.”
The hero soon looked further down the path he was taking. The path very rarely branched to others, and he remembered from maps his adoptive parents had of the area that the path he was taking was the most direct path to the coast.
“I guess I’d best be on my way,” said Momotaro. He then got up, adjusted his clothing and pack, and continued on his way.
A third of the way into the forest, he first met a person that looked an anthropomorphic male Shiba Inu dog, who looked like he was meditating under a small waterfall. The dog man wore a black ponytail just like a ronin (say “roh-NIN”), which was a samurai without a master to serve—basically Japan’s equivalent of Europe’s “knight errant”. He was shirtless, but he had pants and geta sandals on and he had a naginata with him–a spear-like pole arm weapon with a curved blade at the tip.
“Hello there, friend,” said Momotaro.
The dog man looked up, curious to see who was addressing him.
“Hello to you, sir,” said the dog man. “I am Inu-Ronin.” (Say “EE-noo-roh-NIN”) He shook himself dry and continued, saying “I am a protector of those who travel this forest with good intentions. And I sense a most noble intention within you.”
“I am Momotaro,” he replied, “and I am on my way to Oni Island, to save the people of this land.” Momotaro then reached into his bag and shared a rice ball with Inu-Ronin.
“Thank you, good Momotaro,” he said as he savored the gift. After finishing the food, he stood up, adjusted his naginata, and said, “I shall gladly join you in this noble quest.”
“I appreciate all help I can acquire,” Momotaro replied. The two then continued on their way.
Inu-Ronin then said as they walked, “I myself have a cause to fight the oni forces.”
“You do?” Momotaro asked curiously.
“Indeed,” Inu-Ronin nodded. “My birthplace, a humble village of dog-folk, was destroyed long ago when I was still a pup. I still remember the horrible oni soldiers torching the buildings, and the horrible screams and cries of my people. All of the little pups survived and escaped, of course, as all did the women, but only a few men escaped. There is nothing left of that place.”
“A tragic tale, indeed, good Inu-Ronin,” Momotaro replied sympathetically.
“So that is why I chose the path of the ronin,” explained Inu-Ronin, “to ensure no one has to suffer the same tragedy and loss that I have. I always remind myself that I fight for justice, rather than revenge.”
“Well said,” smiled Momtaro.
Momotaro and Inu-Ronin went down the trail. A gentle breeze blew again, and a few sparrows sang out their songs. The songs of the birds and the rustle of the leaves provided a very calming natural melody.
One such sparrow flitted near the traveling pair, and chirped as though giving a greeting.
“Hello to you too, sweet bird,” said Momotaro.
“How fare you?” asked Inu-Ronin.
The sparrow then sang another sweet song, which gave the two some calm thoughts. It also refreshed them, for they were a slight bit weary at first, but this soon gave them more energy to continue onward.
“Thank you for the sweet tune,” said Inu-Ronin.
“May the rest of your day be as sweet as the song given,” added Momotaro.
The song bird bowed, and then flew off to join the rest of the songbirds.
The rustling in the forest canopy ceased for a moment, as the breezed calmed for a few minutes.
But a different rustle was soon heard. The two travelers looked and saw some robots emerged from behind the underbrush. These robots had the appearance of kasa-obake (say “kah-sah-oh-BAH-kay”). The kasa-obake—the name literally means “umbrella ghost”—were creatures born when old umbrellas or parasols last for about one hundred years. Like other items in that realm that lasted that long, spirits would enter into them, and they’d take on lives and personalities of their own. The androids here resembled them. They had umbrella like bodies, each head of the umbrella had one eye and a smile with a raspberry tongue. Their handles had changed into singular legs, with each one foot fitted with a geta sandal.
These robots were similar to those creatures. But their eyes were robotic, each a black screen with a red blip for their sensor. The membranes that made up the umbrella heads were of a metallic foil. Their legs had springs for hopping.
Some of the androids had in the spokes of the umbrella’s head some miniature machine guns. Others had at the tips some devices that launched small explosives. None of these were incendiaries, though, lest the ensuing forest fire would kill their own allies as well as the intended enemies. Nevertheless, the projectiles were something best avoided.
A hologram emerged from one of the androids, with two eyes. The two travelers could only assume they were the eyes of the leader or one of his subordinates.
A deep, harsh male voice spoke: “Hey! You’re the one who took out my ushi-oni! Kasa-obake Droids! Attack!”
At once, the robots started hopping towards Momotaro and Ronin-Inu. Some of them leapt and did a spin, shooting from their spokes a spray of bullets. Most of these bullets were easy to dodge. But when some of them couldn’t be dodged in time, Momotaro used his light sword to deflect them. The very plasma of the blade incinerated the bullets into harmless ashes.
A couple of the droids also launched their small explosives upward. Ronin-Inu got clever and used his naginata, using the flat sides of the blade rather than the sharp edges to swat the explosives back at some of the umbrella-like robots. This helped drop the number of enemies quite a bit.
The enemy androids soon ran out of ammunition, both in bullets and in explosives. They had not expected for their enemy to last this long, as often times once an enemy was dispatched, they would briefly retreat to reload, and then prepare for the next target. Not so with Momotaro and Inu-Ronin. The androids then leapt towards the two, opening their umbrella heads and spinning quickly, hoping to cut into them with their spins. But Momotaro and Inu-Ronin were ready. Inu-Ronin took out some with his naginata—some of his targets fell from the blade slashes, as the blades cut them in half; others he would thrust into, and many would be skewered at once. Momotaro’s light sword easily did similar, except those impaled in the blade were split in twain as the slid off the plasma blade.
Eventually all the kasa-obake androids were destroyed, and the two heroes put their weapons up.
“Not bad for our first battle together, friend,” Inu-Ronin said with a soft chuckle.
“Indeed,” Momotaro replied, also showing his amusement.
As Inu-Ronin put away his naginata, he turned to Momotaro and said, “That voice mentioned you took down an ushi-oni. Is that really so?”
Momotaro nodded. “It was harming some kodama,” he explained, “and I could not stand by and do nothing. I slew such a beast to save them.”
“That was very noble of you, Momotaro,” said Inu-Ronin. “I am even more pleased to be at your side.”
The two rested for a few minutes, and then proceeded down the forest trail to find the coast on the other side.
The pair soon went to another part of the forest, and soon crossed a wooden bridge over a moderately fast-moving river. The speed of the flow was not too dangerous, but still, the people traveling this forest believed it was best to have a sturdy bridge to cross it. And the bridge did not have to be ornate, like those within fine palaces or large cities, but just sturdy enough for a lot of crossing.
The feet of the two walking over the bridge created a very gentle beat. The bridge had only recently received repairs, so it worked as though when it was newly built.
“Perhaps after our adventure,” chuckled Inu-Ronin, “we should try our hand at fishing. Although swimming in this river is not recommended much, it is a pretty good place for fishing for trout.”
“Ah, yes,” said Momotaro. “I remembered during the days of my youth my adoptive father would take me here to fish. This is indeed a great fishing place. We may have to do so after our quest.”
After crossing the bridge, they soon heard some music of a stringed instrument. On one hand, it was somewhat slow and sad, but on the other hand, it had a bouncy beat to it.
“Where could that music be coming from,” asked Momotaro.
“Only one way to find out,” replied Inu-Ronin. “Let’s follow the sound.”
The two then followed the music and found what was known as a Biwa-bokuboku (say “BEE-wah-boh-koo-boh-koo”). The name meant “biwa goblin”. The biwa was a Japanese string instrument similar to a lute. And a biwa-bokuboku was a creature spawned when a biwa was abandoned for a century and then inhabited by a spirit, like many creatures in the land that spawned from long-neglected objects. The creature had the lute-like instrument for a head, which was medium brown, save for the tan on the front, where the strings were attached. The strings almost served as a nose, as the eyes were on the sides of the stringed part, and his mouth was the cavity the lute originally had. His body was mostly a green-black shadow-like blob, but molded into a torso, arms, and legs. Even fingers could be seen from the hand-like appendages. He was dressed in a striped kimono in colors of gray, blue, and dull brown. And he also wore some geta sandals.
“A biwa-bokuboku!” both Momotaro and Inu-Ronin said in amazement.
“Ah, you found me,” replied the creature.
The two travelers were at first wary, as some biwa-bokuboku were vengeful (or at best, merely frustrated) and would raise a ruckus out of said frustration. This one, however, was merely sad. Or at worst, he was passive-aggressive.
“Would you please give me the comfort of your company?” begged the lute creature. “I need someone to perform for.”
Momotaro and Inu-Ronin nodded. The two sat down to listen to his song.
He plucked the strings on his head as he sang:
“I got the blues…
I got the blues…
I got the abandoned-by-my-previous owner blues.
“I was once my owner’s favorite toy,
With many a great tune my strings did employ.
But then electric guitars became the next big thing.
So, he ditched me for one of them. Thus, out of sorrow, I sing—
“I got the blues…
I got the blues…
I got the abandoned-by-my-previous owner blues!”
Momotaro and Inu-Ronin applauded him.
“Th-thank you,” the biwa-bokuboku said in amazement. “You really liked my song?”
“Indeed,” said Momotaro. “Through that song, you truly poured out your heart!”
“And we have some words of comfort,” added Inu-Ronin. “There are people who are still interested in the traditional musical instruments. Some restore them like new. Others find whatever remaining documents of how to make them, and make them themselves.”
“In both cases,” concluded Momotaro, “they play them, and demonstrate to new generations the music of ages gone by. You might say they are making the old new again!”
The creature soon showed a happy smile.
“You have truly lifted me from despair!” said the biwa-bokuboku.
“In fact,” said Momotaro, “I remember my adoptive father listening to some biwa music while I was still a child.”
“Gladly would I perform for him!” the biwa creature said. “Where does he live?”
Momotaro pointed down the trail and said, “Just go straight down the path, not taking any of the other forks, and you should reach his farm.”
The biwa-bokuboku bowed to his newfound friends, saying “Thank you! Thank you so much! I shall go down there swiftly!” The creature then leapt for joy and skipped along the trail to the ones who would also be added to his list of newfound friends.
Further into the forest, Momotaro and Inu-Ronin soon found three evil creatures tormenting an anthropomorphic male monkey. The three enemies looked almost humanoid, were it not for the unearthly skin tones of blue-gray, and suits that indicate space traveler uniforms.
The monkey man had a cybernetic eye as well a robotic right arm, tail, and left leg, but the rest of them are natural. And the monkey wore a gray sleeveless undershirt and green shorts. One would expect the robotic arm and leg to break free of some binds, but these were specially enhanced manacles that restrained the primate as the three enemies prodded him and mocked him.
Momotaro recognized the three immediately as followers of the alien warlord of Oni Island. The childhood memories of him seeing some still chilled him. But he was now a grown man, and prepared to face these fiends.
Enraged that they would gang up on someone in a cowardly fashion, he got out his plasma sword. Inu-Ronin also got out his naginata.
“Release him now!” said Momotaro.
One of the oni said, “Hey, it’s that one guy!”
The second said, “The same one who took out our Ushi-Oni AND our Kasa-Obake droids?!”
The third one, the same voice from the hologram of the umbrella-like robots, replied, “That’s him! We’ll take him down ourselves! I bet the boss’ll give us a hefty bonus for doing so!”
The three aliens got out their heat daggers—which looked like medieval Japanese daggers but with devices that made the blades very hot—and lunged at the two heroes. Inu-Ronin used his weapon to take out two of the enemies very easily—a quick swing from the naginata was able to take out the oni soldiers before they could get too close to be a real threat. The third alien soldier was dispatched quickly with a thrust of Momotaro’s plasma sword, as the human hero did a daring somersault over the enemy, and do a quick turn and slash attack to do the fiend in.
After the battle ended, Momotaro approached and released the monkey from his binds, and shared a rice ball with him.
“Bless you, friend, for freeing me,” said the monkey. After munching down his rice ball treat, he said, “I am Tetsuzaru.” (Say “teh-tsoo-ZAH-roo”) He stood up and continued, “I had sabotaged these enemies’ craft to free a human they wanted to enslave, but they soon captured me. They had already taken a fair human princess captive, if memory serves me right.”
“I am Momotaro,” said Momotaro, “and this is Inu-Ronin. We are on our way to Oni Island to face the warlord.”
“We appreciate any help we can find along the way,” added Inu-Ronin.
“As gratitude for my freedom,” said Tetsuzaru, “I will gladly aid you. Aside from a captive princess, the enemies also have amassed hordes of wealth stolen from the people.”
The three then continued on their way to the coast.
Momotaro, Inu-Ronin, and Tetsuzaru continued down the trail through the forest, as the coast was still a fair distance away.
It was in the late afternoon, just before sunset, when they reached a peculiar clearing.
A small herd of bakeneko (say “bah-kay-NEH-koh”) were gathered around. Bakeneko were similar to house cats, and would be mistaken for such, were it not for their ability to stand on their hind legs, speak like humans, and reason well.
The herd, consisting of both male and female bakeneko, were preparing for a dance that they would perform in a village not too far from where they were.
Inu-Ronin whispered softly, “I never thought we’d find a clearing of bakeneko. We’d best be very careful to not cause them any worry.”
Soon, the herd stood still, and one of the males turned.
“Look!” said the male cat-like creature. “We have some visitors!”
One of the females then asked, “Who are you? And what brings you here?”
Momotaro stepped forward and answered, “I am Momotaro. And these are my friends Inu-Ronin and Tetsuzaru.” Each of them stepped forward as he called them by name. He continued, “We are on our way to Oni Island, to free this land from the evil fiends’ control.”
One male bakeneko, dressed as an ancient Japanese daimyo (say “dye-MEE-oh”)—a feudal lord—approached and said, “That is a very brave undertaking, young man. Please, let us perform for you, to lift your spirits and give you courage for the challenges ahead.”
The three then sat down as the herd of bakeneko began their dance. The leader beat on a log as a makeshift drum, and his wife—a female bakeneko also dressed elaborately—played her bamboo flute. For creatures resembling house cats, they danced most gracefully, and in a way that would impress even the best human dancers.
The dance ended, and all the bakeneko bowed. The three travelers applauded their prowess.
“Thank you,” said the leader’s wife. “Your encouragement means much to us.”
The leader then said, “This path will take you further down to the coast. But be on your guard, for the oni have allies, and one kind of such is rumored to be here.”
The trio then stood up, and saw the trail leading further to their destination.
“I hope we meet again someday,” said Tetsuzaru. “Farewell!”
The bakeneko soon gave their farewells as the three heroes soon continued down the trail.
It was soon nearing sunset, and the three travelers soon were looking for a place to camp for the night.
“There should be a cave that makes a great campsite,” said Inu-Ronin, “if my memory serves me correctly.”
“Good,” sighed Tetsuzaru, “because I don’t think we have tents. We probably didn’t expect to be out in the wilderness that long.”
But further down the forest trail, another type of feline creature appeared, known as the nekomata (say “neh-koh-MAH-tah”). Unlike the bakeneko, these had a tail that split into two tips. These ones also had the appearance of anthropomorphic cats. And these ones were also unfriendly to outsiders. They wore the garb that one would expect ninja to wear, and wielded weapons that would also befit such people. Some had short swords, others had sickles with chains, others with sai daggers, and others still with handheld kunai daggers.
“I get the feeling we’re not welcome in these parts,” said Tetsuzaru.
“No, you are not,” replied the lead nekomata—his rank indicated by a special emblem on his chest. “We have been sent by the leader of Oni Island to stop you from progressing further, and it is our duty to fulfill that order!”
Momotaro’s light sword again shone.
Inu-Ronin prepared his naginata, and gave the growl of a dog ready for a fight.
And Tetsuzaru activated a device on his cybernetic arm that revealed a special gun.
“If it is a fight you want,” said Momotaro, “then it is a fight you shall have! Come at us!”
A few nekomata threw some throwing stars at the party. Tetsuzaru shot the projectiles down with his gun and neutralized the threat. When all of the shuriken were exhausted, the cat-like enemies had to resort to their main weapons.
The ones with sai and kunai lunged first. Tetsuzaru put away the gun and resorted to fisticuffs in fighting them off. Momotaro and Inu-Ronin laughed as two nekomata had their heads knocked together by the half-robotic monkey.
One nekomata then tried to snatch away Inu-Ronin’s naginata, but the dog warrior was stronger, and he pulled the cat creature forward and delivered a kick, knocking him out.
Another nekomata with a chained sickle, this one female, tried to get Tetsuzaru. She wrapped her weapon around the cybernetic arm, but he pulled her forward.
The female nekomata nervously stammered, “You wouldn’t hit a lady, would you?”
Tetsuzaru smiled and said, “Kitty, you are hardly a lady.” At that, he did a backwards rolling toss that threw her into some of her feline comrades.
A few with short swords then lunged through, and these were easily dispatched by the trio’s close-range attacks, though one of them got lucky to injure Momotaro on the side.
“Momotaro!” Inu-Ronin cried in concern.
“I’m all right,” replied Momotaro. “Just keep fighting!”
Soon, only a few nekomata remained, including the leader.
“Enough!” said the leader. “I shall fight him myself—I need not lose all my followers in one battle!”
The nekomata leader then got out his own katana—its blade roughly the same length as Momotaro’s sword, but enchanted to not be damaged by the plasma blade.
“I am amazed you are able to fight despite your wound, human,” laughed the enemy leader.
“Just worry about yourself, troublemaker,” replied Momotaro, resisting the pain.
The two then leapt up in the air, and the blades met, with a flash of light.
When the flash faded, the two landed. Momotaro knelt. Inu-Ronin and Tetsuzaru gasped, fearing Momotaro might have lost.
But then, they saw the nekomata leader fall face first. A few seconds later, his feline body exploded in a cloud of black dust.
The surviving nekomata forces, seeing their leader slain, all fled in absolute horror.
Inu-Ronin and Tetsuzaru approached Momotaro.
“Here, let me help you up,” said Inu-Ronin.
“I got an antiseptic spray,” said Tetsuzaru. Opening a compartment on his cyborg leg, he got out the medical spray.
“It’ll only cause a slight tingling sensation,” said the cyborg monkey, “but it will help the wound heal faster.”
“Thank you, friend,” replied Momotaro. Inu-Ronin then found some vines and leaves that made good improvised bandages.
The team then continued on, and soon found a suitable camp site. There was a small cave for shelter, should the weather become rainy overnight. Inu-Ronin found some fallen branches as firewood. Tetsuzaru use his cybernetic arm to light the fire. The three then tried to sleep for the night, but the rest would be brief.
Sometime before midnight, an eerie moaning woke them up.
“Tetsuzaru, do you have a snoring problem?” asked Inu-Ronin.
But something else answered the question for him. All three soon saw they were surrounded by chochin-obake (say “choh-chin-o-BAH-kay”). The chochin-obake—the name means “paper lantern ghost”—were old paper and bamboo lanterns brought to life by spirits. They looked like paper lanterns, each with one eye and an open mouth showing a long tongue hanging out. And the three travelers did not want to know what would happen if one of the ghosts licked either of them.
“Let’s deal with these lantern pests!” said Momotaro, getting his sword out.
At once, the three were fighting off the spirits, sending the ghosts back to the afterworld.
But one of them floated back to the outside and chanted an eerie incantation.
The ground began to rumble underneath them, and out emerged a gigantic humanoid skeleton known as a gashadokuro (say “gah-shah-DOH-koo-roh”). The chochin-obake then merged with the giant skeleton, and its hands started glowing with a purplish fire-like glow.
The three then started dodging the giant bone creature’s swipes, trying to look for a key weakness.
Inu-Ronin then looked up and saw a glowing gemstone—a purple gem not unlike an amethyst.
“That stone!” said Inu-Ronin. “Perhaps…”
The dog then leapt up and thrusted his naginata into the gem, shattering it into three pieces. The pieces then disappeared in wisps of dark-blue smoke.
The gashadokuro then became still for a few seconds. Then the bones separated from the joints and fell to the earth, where they dissolved into the very soil from which it came.
“That’s one nightmare I wouldn’t want to go through again,” said Tetsuzaru.
“I’m with you on that,” replied Momotaro.
“Let’s try to get back to sleep so we can continue our journey,” sighed Inu-Ronin.
The other two nodded in agreement and returned to their sleeping spots.
This time, their sleep was much sounder.
Sunrise soon came, and the two had a small breakfast from some of the wild nuts growing there. Afterwards they continued on their journey. It did not take long for them to get to the other side of the forest.
Momotaro and his friends soon made it to the coast, and the large fortress of Oni Island was across the sea.
“There should be a boat nearby,” said Tetsuzaru.
“What’s that?” said Momotaro, pointing to something along the beach.
The party soon approached and found an android fashioned in the style of a female pheasant. The main body of the android was made of chromium, and the tail feathers were painstakingly painted in colors that matched a natural female pheasant.
“Here,” said Tetsuzaru, giving a special device. “I can recognize the power source of the android, and I have a similar power battery I can spare.”
Momotaro put in the device in the pheasant android, and she soon activated. Her eyes lit up in a calming sky-blue color.
“Greetings,” said the android in a pleasant female voice. “I am Kiji-ko Unit 7.” (Kiji-ko is pronounced “kee-JEE-koh”).
“I am Momotaro,” said Momotaro. “And these are Inu-Ronin and Tetsuzaru. We are on our way to Oni Island to save the people from the warlord.”
“I shall be of assistance,” said Kiji-ko Unit 7. “There is a security lock that I am able to hack into and open.”
The group then found the boat that Tetsuzaru mentioned earlier. The cyborg monkey had another spare power source, this one to power the boat, and the four set off to the enemy base.
The boat’s motor soon roared to life. Kiji-ko Unit 7 activated a holographic map on her back. Momotaro took the wheel to drive the boat to Oni Island.
The sea was unusually calm during the first part of the boating trip. “Assuming the conditions stay this way,” said Momotaro, “we should reach Oni Island in just a few minutes.”
“Danger!” said Kiji-ko Unit 7. “I sense an enemy presence!”
“What presence could that be?” asked Inu-Ronin.
His question was soon answered, as the sky suddenly darkened, and a large, almost human-like shadow, emerged from the depths.
Tetsuzaru screeched, “It’s an Umibozou!” (say “oo-mee-BOH-zoh”).
The umibozou was a horrifying sea spirit, resembling the shadow of a monk. It was said that it would try to grab an open barrel on a ship, and use it to sink a ship by constantly filling the ship with sea water.
Luckily, Tetsuzaru knew the legend, and prepared a barrel with no bottom in it, for this was the way to trick an umibozou and thus make it leave.
The shadowy giant reached for the barrel and tried to fill it, but found that there was no bottom, and thus could not be used.
The barrel was soon thrown back—everyone was able to get out of the way just in time.
The umibozou mumbled a mild expletive and said, “Hornswoggled again!” before returning to the depths of the ocean.
The sky soon cleared, and the seas regained their calm.
“It’s a good thing I remembered how to deal with an umibozou, huh?” chuckled Tetsuzaru. “I had to deal with them in the past long before our adventure together. I might have to even tell you about it sometime later.”
“Right,” said Momotaro. “For now, let’s focus on our mission at hand.”
“Affirmative,” said Kiji-ko Unit 7. At that, she reopened her holographic map to resume their journey there.
The ominous high-tech base of Oni Island soon revealed its gates to the intrepid four.
The sturdy gate, made like an evil-looking horned skull, was shut tight.
Kiji-ko flew up to one of its eyes and found the console; it was apparent that none of the guards expected any intruders to try to get in through the window.
The pheasant android then released some tentacle-like wires from her body and connected them to the interface.
“Initiating unlocking sequence,” said Kiji-ko.
In just a few minutes, the gates opened. Once they were open, Kiji-ko disconnected from the interface and flew out before the guards came back in. She then flew back to the party.
“Let’s get in there and save the people from this tyrant!” cheered Momotaro as he and his friends sailed in!
The boat soon landed, and the four got off and onto the harbor dock.
Inu-Ronin tied the boat to a post on the dock so it wouldn’t drift away without them.
“It’s not just the soldiers we need to worry about,” said Tetsuzaru. “I’ve heard they have a VERY sophisticated security system with a lot of booby-traps!”
“Is there a way to disable them?” asked Inu-Ronin.
“Even the best security systems have blind spots,” chuckled Tetsuzaru. “I’ve only found one blind spot before, but hadn’t needed to use it till now. I shall disable the security system!”
At that, the monkey cyborg opened an air vent and followed the one route he remembered that didn’t have security cameras. He then found the master security terminal and disabled it–the alien forces didn’t expect anyone to even TRY to disable their security system, so they didn’t bother with back-ups! This knowledge made Tetsuzaru laugh as he returned to his friends.
“The traps are off!” cheered Tetsuzaru.
“Don’t get cocky, friends,” warned Inu-Ronin. “We still need to worry about alien soldiers!”
“That’s generally the case,” said Momotaro. “Now, let’s find and defeat the enemy leader!”
Momotaro and his party soon began to race through Oni Island.
“I too am able to fight if necessary,” said Kiji-ko. “I have a special laser device within my forehead, so that should definitely prove useful.”
The four went down the lower halls of the base, which resembled underground tunnels of other bases, with pipes and hanging lamps to light the way, and humming machines to keep the temperature moderate. It did not take long for the four to encounter their first battle in Oni Island.
One creature emerged from a room within the lower halls of the base. It looked like an anthropomorphic black bear, but with horns of a demon. This creature was known as an onikuma (say “oh-nee-KOO-mah”), which meant “demon bear”. Such creatures were known to steal livestock from human farmers as food, but on rare occasions would attack humans themselves.
And this particular onikuma had an arm with a chaingun attachment, obviously from experiments of the alien forces.
“That’s one well-armed onikuma!” said Momotaro.
“We need to disorient it somehow,” said Tetsuzaru. “Only then can we have better chances against it.”
“Allow me,” said Kiji-ko. She then fired a beam at one of the pipes in the hall. The resulting spray of steam distracted the onikuma long enough for Tetsuzaru to fire from his cybernetic arm. The shot from the gun hit a wire connecting the chaingun attachment to a battery elsewhere on the monster’s body. But the bear-like monster still had some brute strength which made it a threat. The beast lunged forward to deliver a fatal swipe with the claws of its natural hand—if one were to call such a beast “natural”.
“Not so fast, beast!” said Inu-Ronin. With a quick thrust of his naginata, he impaled the beast in the heart, killing it almost instantly. The dog warrior had a brief struggle loosening his pole arm from the carcass of the monster, but was still able to get it out more or less intact.
“If that’s the first of our battles,” said Momotaro, “then the forces must be very skilled and varied indeed!”
“The enemy leader has united many dangerous creatures to join with the oni forces,” explained Kiji-ko. “So, it will not be just oni alien soldiers we will face.”
“Understood,” said Momotaro. “We’ll be on the alert.”
Further down in the halls, the party stumbled upon what appeared to be a mortuary, similar to what one would find in hospitals and coroners’ offices in larger cities. But it wasn’t one for fallen oni or other monsters. No, this was for slain humans to be taken.
Silently sneaking in, Momotaro and his friends saw some oni scientists working on some human cadavers. They would place them in what appeared to be old Mandarin Chinese attire with the matching hats, inserting some nanotechnology devices into the bodies, and mutter some words which may sound like magic incantations to those outside their group, but in reality, were secret passwords to activate the probes. They were making their own versions of the kyonshi (say “kyohn-SHEE”), the “hopping vampire” of Chinese lore. Instead of blood, the kyonshi in the land’s legends would drain Chi energy, the special life force of people.
One oni scientist sensed the presense of intruders. He had blue skin, and a third eye in the forehead. His eyes were greenish, he had black hair with a reddish shine, and gray horns. But he was dressed in the usual lab coat and attire of a stereotypical scientist.
The oni said, “Look! It’s the human giving us trouble! Let’s test out our new kyonshi on him and his silly friends!”
Other oni scientists gave their agreement, activated their undead, and left their workspace to let their creations test their abilities.
At once, the cadavers sprung to life and started hopping around. Because of rigor mortis, they had to move by hopping. The undead enemies, according to legend, would try to drain Chi by jabbing their fingertips into their victims.
“Quick!” said Momotaro. “Any plans?”
“Well,” replied Tetsuzaru, “like any undead, fire can take them out.”
“Go for it, Tetsuzaru!” cheered Momotaro.
Tetsuzaru then activated a device on his arm. Special nanoprobes on the device converted the regular gun to a flamethrower. He fired out some flames. Most of the undead were burned before the sprinkler systems kicked in and extinguished the blaze. A few Kyonshi were left.
“I guess we have to do things the old-fashioned way,” said Momotaro. Getting out his light sword, he then proceeded to decapitate some of them, putting the dead back to their rest.
“We really put a damper in their plans,” said Inu-Ronin.
“There should be a crematorium somewhere,” said Momotaro. “Let us ensure these poor souls have rest at last.”
“I see one,” said Kiji-ko. “Perhaps they had one prepared if some corpses were damaged beyond salvaging.”
“Then we shall use it,” said Momotaro.
Kiji-ko then activated the flame of the furnace. The bodies were placed a few at a time, as Momotaro chanted some prayers for peace for the departed.
When the last of the corpses was burnt to ash, the party then exited the morgue-like laboratory.
After going down the hall for a few moments, they soon found an elevator, and rode it up.
They soon found themselves on the next floor, and this one was like a military base’s first floor. Aside from some security cameras, there were very little in the way of anything fancy or unique.
A few more oni soldiers, many of which similar to Tetsuzaru’s captors, emerged. Some were armed with swords, clubs, and other traditional weapons, albeit with a futuristic twist.
Other oni soldiers were armed with modern day weapons, like machetes, pistols, and even automatic rifles.
Along with them were tengu (say “TEN-goo”). There were two varieties of tengu in that land’s lore. One was similar to a humanoid goblin with long nose. The other variety of tengu were more bird-like in appearance, especially resembling birds of prey.
The tengu encountered here were of the long-nosed humanoid variety. These were armed with their traditional ha-uchiwa (say “hah-oo-chee-wah”), which were feather fans, and these were specially enchanted to create strong winds to blow back attackers.
Inu-Ronin polevaulted over a stream of bullets from an oni-soldier’s rifle with his weapon, and jump-kicked into one tengu, knocking him back into some of his allies.
Another tengu used his ha-uchiwa to send a strong gust to knock Momotaro back briefly, but the human knelt to prevent from falling backwards. When the wind died down, he then raced toward the tengu and took him down with two slashes of his light sword.
Another oni soldier tried to sneak up on Momotaro to stab him with his machete, but Kiji-ko disarmed the would-be killer with her beam. The beam struck the monster’s hand, causing him to drop the blade. And the metallic sound of the blade dropping got Momotaro’s attention to do a spinning slash that sliced the monster through his waist, practically cutting him in half.
Tetsuzaru used the gun in his cybernetic arm to shoot a couple of oni and tengu. Some that got close enough, he did a quick backflip kick, striking anyone close enough with his robotic leg.
“It’s about time I got to put my mechanical leg to use,” chuckled the monkey cyborg.
Eventually, the enemies within that particular area were dispatched, and the party healed up before continuing—they found a few first aid kits on that floor and used them to their advantage.
The four then took a staircase, as one of the elevators was undergoing maintenance at the time.
They had entered a floor that looked very well-kept, and brighter lights to guide the way.
Kiji-ko then said, “I sense various fireproofing chemicals have been used on this floor. It is likely this area is used for testing incendiary weapons. Be on the lookout for flames.”
“Understood,” replied Momotaro.
Indeed, a few more oni soldiers emerged, armed with flamethrower weapons. Some of them shot out steady streams of fire, others shot out fireballs. Both of which were dodged by the party.
Kiji-ko fired a shot that ricocheted around the halls and hit one of the tanks of a soldier’s weapon, causing it to rupture and combust, engulfing the unfortunate ogre in flames.
Inu-Ronin used his naginata to strike a few and cause their weapons to turn against them in a similar manner, whilst at the same time keeping a safe distance.
“What would I give to have some marshmallows to roast right now?” joked the dog with a chuckle.
One of the remaining pressed a few buttons on a device on his wrist, and then nodded to the other remaining soldiers to retreat.
“What was with the wrist action?” asked Tetsuzaru.
His question was soon answered, as an enemy android soon descended. The android had the resemblance of a tormented humanoid face within a wheel. The wheel had fitted in the spokes special spheres that shot bullets—while not flaming, the bullets were quite hot to the touch.
“A wanyudo!” said Inu-Ronin. (Wanyudo is pronounced “wahn-YOO-doh”.) Inu-Ronin remembered the legends concerning such. They were often souls of very wicked men, who were imprisoned inside fiery wheels, and would often capture souls and take them to the inferno with them. While this android most definitely could not do so, it proved to be nevertheless a deadly threat.
The wanyudo android shot its white-hot bullets at the party; they were barely able to dodge the spray of projectiles. Tetsuzaru shot at the droid’s face, but it momentarily knocked it down. It slowly elevated itself back up using its antigravity engine, and resumed its attack.
Kiji-ko then fired a shot, but again, it only knocked it down momentarily, but all four then saw something.
“The thing can’t levitate back up AND fire at the same time,” said Inu-Ronin. “It needs to get back at its desired height before resuming its attack!”
“Now we know how to destroy it!” cheered Momotaro.
Inu-Ronin charged toward the android, dodging bullets on the way, and thrusted his naginata at the robot.
“Attack now, Momotaro!” said the dog.
Before the wheel monster could get back to its height, Momotaro thrusted his light sword into the head of the robot, rendering it completely inoperable.
“We did it!” said Momotaro.
“Sensors indicate a garden-like location between this part of the base and the area containing headquarters,” said Kiji-ko.
“Let’s see what could be there,” said Tetsuzaru.
The four then went down the hallway towards the direction of the garden.
Tetsuzaru carefully opened the door.
On the other side was an outdoor area, similar to the traditional Japanese style garden, with stone lanterns, ponds, fountains, and various trees and shrubs, including bonsai trees.
However, this garden had sort of a demonic-style to befit the oni theme. The stone lanterns had intimidating demon faces. The ponds and fountains were decorated with stone skulls—some regular humanoid skulls, others that looked like horned skulls.
The trees and shrubbery were a good variety. Some of them served as decoration or shade, others bore various fruit. But due to the alien nature, it was very doubtful the fruit was safe to eat for creatures of planet Earth.
“Quite a selection they have here,” said Tetsuzaru.
“Well, oni have to eat too,” replied Inu-Ronin, “whether actual oni, or aliens that resemble them.”
“I see another part of the complex straight ahead,” said Momotaro. “It must be where HQ is!”
“Too bad you will not reach it alive!” said a sneer.
The four looked and saw a group of the other variety of tengu, the bird-like variety. These ones had the heads and wings of black eagles, but they also had humanoid forearms to carry weapons and other items with.
Two of them got out their ha-uchiwa fans and proceeded to create strong gusts. The party was blown back a bit, but Kiji-ko fired some lasers from her forehead to damage the fans, making them unusable. Angered, they got out their kunai daggers to lunge toward them. Momotaro and Inu-Ronin used their weapons to counter, taking out the assailants.
“Fools rush in, after all,” said Momotaro.
More tengu came prepared. Some came with katanas. Some came with bo fighting staves. Others came with machine guns. And one even equipped himself with a blunderbuss shotgun which fired large flaming orbs that exploded into shrapnel!
Inu-Ronin threw his naginata like a throwing spear at the blunderbuss’ muzzle. This caused the gun to be clogged, and it exploded back at him, killing him almost instantly.
“I would not want him to have a chance to use that gun more than a few times,” sighed Inu-Ronin as he picked up his weapon to rejoin his comrades.
Kiji-ko used her beams to pick off tengu with machine guns, since she was able to do so safely.
Momotaro, Inu-Ronin, and Tetsuzaru were able to take on the enemies with close range weapons.
Tetsuzaru grabbed the bo of a tengu who tried to bean him on the head with it, and slung him over, slamming the avian enemy head first.
Inu-Ronin, despite an injury on his side from a lucky slash of a katana, was still able to take out three tengu with his naginata before needing to stop to heal. He still had some healing tonic from one of the first aid kits he picked up from one of the previous areas in the fortress.
Momotaro was able to cut the blade of an enemy’s katana and finish off the tengu he was fighting. Some of the other katanas were enchanted or otherwise able to not be damaged by the light sword. Nevertheless, he vanquished the targets that came to attack him.
Eventually, the majority of the tengu were defeated, and the few remaining retreated.
“Just let them go,” said Momotaro. “We may not be able to convince a whole army to surrender, but we can convince individuals to do so.”
“Truly you are a person of honor,” said Tetsuzaru.
“Thank you,” replied Momotaro with a nod.
“There is a locking mechanism on this door,” said Kiji-ko as she flew towards the door. “I shall proceed to unlock it.”
The wires soon snaked towards the lock. Within only a few minutes, the lock opened, and the doors slowly yawned open.
“Let’s be ready for more trouble,” said Momotaro as the four entered.
The area the headquarters was situated in had many high-tech traps. Which was appropriate since, in the worst-case scenario for them, they would need to protect the leader at all costs!
Various wall-mounted laser guns would fire if an intruder would touch an invisible infrared beam trigger. Kiji-ko, however, alerted the party if one was near, and where it was, so they would avoid being wounded from that type of trap.
A few more oni soldiers were there, with assault rifles. Tetsuzaru and Kiji-ko used their firearms to take them out from a distance, though one bullet just grazed Momotaro’s shirt.
Soon, the oni sentries were encountered. These oni were dressed in high-tech armor and special helmets. They had a special laser pistol for attacking at a distance, and their own plasma swords for close combat.
Three such sentries emerged. Tetsuzaru shot the laser pistols out of their hands, so the enemies had to use their plasma swords.
“They’re all yours, Momotaro,” said Tetsuzaru.
“Thanks,” chuckled Momotaro as he prepared his light sword. The three tried to attack all at once, but the human dodged as two took each other out, leaving one left to fight personally.
As the two clashed plasma blades, the oni sentry asked, “Why do you persist in this vain endeavor? Even if you do defeat me and my comrades, you are still no match for our leader!”
“One never knows unless he or she tries,” replied Momotaro as he used force to momentarily separate himself from his adversary. Momotaro recovered from the pushback quicker, and made a thrust into the oni’s midsection, killing him that instant.
“That one was a lucky blow,” said Momotaro. “I’m sure other oni like him will take more hits than I gave him to defeat.”
“It would just make the victory all the more well-earned,” said Inu-Ronin.
A few more oni soldiers and sentries emerged, giving the party more battles. At one point, however, they had to retreat and regain their strength, so Kiji-ko used a smokescreen to cover their escape as they hid in an empty room. They patched up their battle wounds, as well as repaired any damage on Kiji-ko, and resumed battle when it was practical to do so.
Many of the alien forces fell to the combined teamwork of the four heroes. The sentries’ armor took multiple hits to break through, but they were still taken down by the prowess of Momotaro and his friends.
One sentry leapt backwards to get some space between himself and the intruding party.
“I can see I need to alert our leader,” said the sentry. “In the meantime, have fun with one of my friends!”
The oni pressed a button on a device on his belt. A whirling creature emerged. It looked like an anthropomorphic weasel, but with a cyborg right arm, cyborg right leg, and a robotic left eye. In his hands were two plasma hand sickles.
Momotaro said, “That must be a kamaitachi!” (Say “kah-mah-ee-TAH-chee”)
The kamaitachi—the name means “sickle weasel”—was another creature known in the lore of the land. The creature was said to move as swift as the wind, and cut so quickly that the wound would not bleed or otherwise be noticed until several moments later.
“Don’t get too close when he’s spinning!” warned Inu-Ronin. “Those plasma sickles look more dangerous than usual sickles that such creatures wield!”
The warning proved true, for while the creature was spinning like a tornado, some of the plasma sickle blades would cut burned gashes into the walls. Being plasma blades, they’d cauterize when they cut, but there’d still be pain, once the pain kicked in.
Tetsuzaru soon looked and found something near one of the fallen oni sentries. There was a special grenade, and he smiled when he saw the symbol, for it was a symbol he remembered the meaning of.
“Check this out!” said the monkey as he threw the grenade at the spinning kamaitachi. It soon released a gummy substance that impeded the creature’s movement.
“No fair!” said the weasel in a high nasal voice.
“Oh, so you can speak,” replied Momotaro.
“Yeah,” said the kamaitachi. “Not all of us are mute, you know. Ugh, this gunk slows me down, but I still have the force to take you out!”
The weasel creature threw one of his plasma sickles, but Inu-Ronin used his naginata to swat it—the blade was lucky enough to hit the handle, so the blade of the polearm would not be damaged.
Before the kamaitachi could throw his second sickle, Momotaro lunged forward and ran him through with his light sword. The beast then slumped over dead.
“That takes care of that creature,” said Momotaro.
“The headquarters of the base is further down that hall,” said Kiji-ko, “just a few yards away.”
“Then that’s where we’re going,” replied Momotaro. “The time has come to finish this!”
The four then ran down the hallway, their spirits renewed.
The four soon made it to the doors to the master sector, where the leader was.
Kiji-ko flew towards the keypad near the door, and again did her unlocking thing.
“The enemy headquarters has been unlocked,” said Kiji-ko.
“The time has come for the final battle,” said Momotaro.
“I shall gladly go with you to aid in this,” said Inu-Ronin.
Some fast-tempo footsteps soon could be heard. Some more oni soldiers and sentries were approaching.
“Go on,” said Tetsuzaru. “Kiji-ko and I can hold them off!”
“All right, good luck!” said Momotaro as he and Inu-Ronin went in.
As soon as the other two had gone through the door, Kiji-ko closed it to prevent the enemy from following.
“All right, Kiji-ko!” cried Tetsuzaru as he prepared his cyborg arm. “Are you ready?”
“Combat protocol prepared!” replied the pheasant android.
At once, the cyborg monkey and robot bird fought, ready to cover their friends’ flanks even at the cost of their own lives.
The master chamber of Oni Island looked like a mix of an ornate throne room, a nightmarish temple, and a high-tech computer room combined into one.
Columns supported the large room, the capitals of which sported hideous demonic faces.
One large window showed the outside, and the wall opposite of that window showed a large computer, where the enemy would make his plans, or at least sought out some sort of entertainment.
A large blue carpet flowed from the exit door to the throne. The throne itself looked like a European monarch’s throne decorated with a dragon skull at the top of the seat’s backing.
Momotaro and Inu-Ronin stood before the enemy leader himself. He had a humanoid face, but three horns–one on either side of his head, and one on top of his bald scalp. He had greenish-blue skin, and armor that was black, blue, and violet. He also had a reddish-black cape. His glowing fiery orange eyes peered at his adversaries.
Nearby the enemy leader’s throne was the captive princess. Her arms were tied to a column behind her. She had fair skin, hair like a beautiful clear night, eyes like amethysts, and her kimono pink as cherry blossoms in spring. Her tiara also was decorated with rubies. And she was about Momotaro’s age as well.
“Welcome, warriors,” said the enemy leader. “I am the leader of this army, and I go by the codename ‘Oni King’.”
“We are here to put an end to your tyranny, Oni King!” said Momotaro, getting his plasma sword ready.
“We shall set the people free!” said Inu-Ronin, preparing his naginata.
Oni King got out his own masamune (say “mah-sah-moo-nay”) sword—a sword with a blade much longer than a regular katana blade—which also had a plasma blade.
“We shall see who will triumph!” said the Oni King. “Have at you!”
Momotaro and Inu-Ronin soon began to fight the enemy leader. The Oni King leapt upward and thrusted his sword down. While it did not ignite the carpet—it was made of a fireproof material—it DID leave a char mark. The monster leader soon stood up and began to fight again.
The two heroes were wise enough to lure the villain away from the princess so that she would not be accidentally wounded in the battle.
The flashes and sounds of clashing plasma echoed, and the window seemed to vibrate as the battle raged.
Outside the master chamber, Tetsuzaru and Kiji-ko were fighting the alien forces.
The oni soldiers were easy to defeat with a few punches and shots. But the sentries were the ones that were taking their toll on the two. The more resilient armor took more strikes to break, and the two were starting to show some fatigue.
“Man!” said Tetsuzaru. “These guys don’t know the meaning of the word ‘quit’! I think I’m starting to run out of ammo!”
Kiji-ko then said “Warning! Warning! Remaining power in battery 25%!”
“Oh, great,” moaned Tetsuzaru. “I forgot that even those special power sources can only go so far.” After taking out another sentry, he looked back at the master chamber door and said, “Please, friends, hurry!”
Momotaro then made a few more thrusts at the Oni King. Despite receiving a few wounds, he was able to make more hits on his enemy, causing some chinks in his armor.
Inu-Ronin was also able to damage the enemy. He too received his fair share of battle injuries, albeit slightly fewer than his human companion.
“All right,” growled the Oni King. “You are starting to irritate me! Now I shall show you my power!”
The Oni King backed up a bit, and then chanted something barely audible. The masamune began to glow even brighter. The blade received more energy and more damaging power.
The enemy leader lunged toward them, and the two barely dodged. Inu-Ronin slashed at the enemy, but only managed to damage his cape.
“Fool!” said the Oni King, swinging his masamune and destroying Inu-Ronin’s naginata.
Inu-Ronin gasped as his weapon was gone. He was now helpless against the villain.
“You are a dead dog!” said the Oni King. “Figuratively, and soon… LITERALLY!!!”
“Turn, demon!” said Momotaro. “You battle with me!”
The Oni King turned.
“You really are brave,” said the Oni King. “Stupid, but brave. And the courageous are always the first to die!”
The two leapt up and struck their blades together in the air.
A bright flash of light emerged, brighter than the flash from Momotaro’s battle with the nekomata leader. Inu-Ronin and the princess were both blinded at first.
The two landed. Momotaro knelt.
When both Inu-Ronin and the princess could see again, they saw Momotaro kneeling. The princess gasped, fearing at first that the Oni King had won, but then, she looked at the Oni King, as did Momotaro as he looked back a bit.
The Oni King roared in pain as he exploded in beams of light, and then a large cloud of smoke.
Momotaro stood up. He was sore from the battle and whatever wounds he had received, but was otherwise well. He slowly went up to the princess and untied her.
“Thank you, hero,” said the princess as she kissed him. “I am Princess Umehanako.” (Say “ooh-may-hah-NAH-koh”). She then released her grip on Momotaro and continued in a sad tone, “My parents were the true rulers of the land, but Oni King murdered them and took me, trying to force me to be his queen.”
“It is well now,” said Momotaro. “I, Momotaro, have put an end to the Oni King’s evil.”
“The treasure that the Oni King took is not far from here,” said Princess Umehanako.
Momotaro, the princess, and Inu-Ronin soon emerged. When the alien armies saw Momotaro emerge with Princess Umehanako, they knew their leader was dead, so they ran.
“All right, Momotaro!” cheered Tetsuzaru. “You did it!”
“We must find the treasure!” said Momotaro. “It must be returned to the people!”
Inu-Ronin soon sniffed around. “I smell human scent of others,” he said.
The party followed Inu-Ronin, and then found the treasure area. Inu-Ronin soon reached into his pouch and threw some disk-like objects which transported the treasure to some other locations.
“I didn’t know you had miniature transporter devices,” Momotaro said in amazement.
“You never asked,” chuckled Inu-Ronin. He then added, “The devices transported the treasure back to the rightful owners, or the next of kin, if the original owners are deceased.”
Soon, all heard a siren go off.
“Oni Island self-destruct activated!” said a male voice. “Oni Island will explode in 13 minutes! Evacuate immediately!”
Kiji-ko said, “Follow me! There is another elevator leading back to the lowest level. I will then direct us to the shortest route to our boat!”
Halfway between the treasure room and the master chamber was the elevator Kiji-ko mentioned earlier. And it was still functioning. All entered the elevator.
At the bottom, it was a straight dash to the docks.
The pheasant android led the party to the boat—all of the alien soldiers had already fled—and the boat’s engines soon roared to life shortly after Momotaro cut the rope connecting it to the docks, as there was no time to untie the knot.
The party escaped the island base just in time, as three minutes after they exited the base, the large fortress soon exploded.
Tetsuzaru manned the craft to keep it stable and prevent it from capsizing from the waves of the explosion.
“Is everyone all right?” asked Tetsuzaru.
“I am well,” said Momotaro.
“All systems are functional,” said Kiji-ko. “Currently connected to recharging station.”
“I am safe,” said Umehanako.
“I am all right too,” said Inu-Ronin.
“Well, time to head back to the mainland,” said Tetsuzaru.
The group soon returned to the mainland and to the town.
The elderly farmer and his wife were also in town to see their son and his friends returned.
“Is that who I think it is?!” asked one of the people.
“It is!” said another. “It’s Princess Umehanako!”
“Momotaro has saved our princess!” said a third.
The people all cheered!
After the cheering of the crowd died down a bit, Momotaro spoke:
“The victory is not mine alone. My friends had made it possible as well. Let us also cheer for my friends Inu-Ronin, Tetsuzaru, and Kiji-ko Unit 7.”
“Hooray for Momotaro AND his friends!” said the farmer.
His wife added, “And let us celebrate the return of our princess–no, our QUEEN–Umehanako!”
The people cheered even more!
Even the biwa-bokuboku was there, performing a song of celebration. Umehanako could not help but dance along. Soon, Momotaro took her by the hand and danced with her.
A few years after the adventure, Momotaro and Umehanako were married, and begat a dynasty that brought peace to Japan and to neighboring countries.
But… that’s a story for another time.
(Original story is a classic Japanese fairy tale. Sci-fi version (C) Danny “D-Boy” Wheeler.)