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The third episode of Deep of Muscle.

The following is a fan-translation of the Japanese content.


The story of how The Ninja fell into the Devil Chojin world in his youth.


Chapter 1

Part 1



It’s a term for clandestine warriors that operate behind the scenes, living in the shadows, and existed in Japan from the Heian period to the Kamakura period (794 CE to 1333 CE). They boast an extraordinary level of skill; they have great running abilities, great jumping abilities, and other great physical attributes. They even learn a great range of assassination techniques, which involve easy-to-carry weapons such as shuriken, kunai, and makibishi. They can creep up unnoticed on enemies, sneaking up on them and sneaking away, and use mind-blowing techniques that would frighten you out of your wits to witness.

There are some that can walk on water, and others that can move like moles in the soil. There are some that can transform into strange monsters, and others that can summon huge swarms of insects or reptiles to place under their control. Not only that, there are some whose secret techniques cannot be truly understood, such as those that can appear and disappear, or those that can transform into the likeness of another person, like two peas in a pod. Those that see these skills will often die by those skills. As such, the mystery of those techniques forever remains a mystery.

They say that ninjas live quietly in secret, and create hidden villages deep in the mountains, where they can train one another and live away from people. Currently, Iga in the Mie Prefecture, and Koka in the Shiga Prefecture, are the most well-known of the villages under this system.

The less well-known fact is that, after a period of intense training, some of their descendants have become “chojin”, but they simply pretend to be ordinary human and live nicely in modern society. Even on Earth, where Justice Chojin are stationed to protect humans, the most important “ninja chojin” – of all nations – will assemble during times of emergency, and these still operate behind the scenes in absolute secrecy!

This story is about one of those “ninja chojin”.

We will explore the youth of the Ninja, who is a man who made a name for himself as one of the Six Devil Knights . . . later, he would fight in Kinniku Ataru’s Blood Oath Brigade. He was a chivalrous spirit with plenty of guts, and hot-blooded and kind-hearted, but once he was a cold-blooded and feared Devil Knight. So why did he once pledge allegiance to the Great Demon King, Satan, and descend into the dark underworld of the Devil Chojin world?

It is time, here and now, to explore that secret life of his . . .

Part 2

Tokyo is the capital of Japan. Inside, there is a prime piece of real-estate. It is surrounded by tall trees, which almost fence it inside, and have the useful purpose of hiding it from sight. There is a peaceful garden there, filled with flowerbeds, and – towering behind it – is a stylish Western-styled building, which acts as the consulate to a certain country.

“He ran that way! Follow him!”

There is a long corridor inside that building, which is lined with a red carpet and ornate chandelier. A black shadow runs along there with such speed that he’s like the wind. Behind him, a series of angry voices echo out; they are at odds with the elegant atmosphere of the main hall. There are five or six men in black suits, and they hurry after the shadow with pistols in hand. They are the “Secret Service”, also known as the “SS”, and are professionals entrusted with guarding the consulate. They are all rather red in the face.

“Stop that rat!”

One of them fired three shots at the shadow, but – despite moving at a great speed – the shadows seemed to shake from side to side, able to dodge each and every one of the bullets. The firing of those gunshots seemed to trigger more, as everyone else pulled the trigger together. They aimed their pistols . . . bang, bang . . . the gunshots echoed out loudly down the hallway.

They were approximately 50m from their target. They concentrated their attacks on the black shadow, but – after around five or six bullets – the shadow seemed to lose its momentum, before finally collapsing onto the floor with a great deal of force. Two of the bullets had struck the target. The target was completely silent. Despite it being unresponsive, the men rushed closer to their prey without once lowering their guard. The SS were stunned when they saw the remains of the shadow:

It was a big clay dummy that lay wrapped in a black cloth.

“Fuck, it’s that dummy again! How many damned dolls is that now?”

“I still have four dummies left. Kukuku,” called a voice.

It echoed out from somewhere in the shadows, while the fallen clay doll suddenly stood upright. It bent at strange angles, almost like a living being, and jumped out at the SS! The SS acted out of reflex, as they grabbed the dummy and tossed it onto its back on the floor, and one man screamed at them: “Stop!”

He stood at the back of the others, seemingly the leader of the SS. Unfortunately, his order came too late, and – the second the dummy struck the floor – a shadowy voice echoed out:

“Welcome to the fires of hell!”

A sharp burst of light shot forth from underneath the dummy. It let loose a huge shockwave, with a tremendous roaring noise that deafened all present. It was a huge explosion. The roof and walls nearest the epicentre were blown away, and the SS in the area were now mere husks of meat, save for one lone survivor . . . it seems the only man who lived was the man who’d notice what was about to happen, and had thus assumed defensive position. He was no longer able to fight. He sat slumped bloody against a remaining wall.

“Hah, you son of a bitch,” said the shadowy voice. “You shouldn’t even be alive right now. I guess the problem was in the dummies . . . maybe I should have increased the amount of gunpowder?”

A man appeared with his hands linked into a strange symbol. He was covered head-to-toe in a black cloth that shrouded his body, and moved silently like a ghost. The man kicked at the surviving SS leader’s right arm, before snatching away his pistol, and the ruffian continued to speak to him:

“Hmm. This is an interesting weapon, most certainly. As a result of our ancestors allowing these primitive tools by early European traders, the fives senses of the Japanese person have greatly diminished. Well, I suppose it makes my job easier, but it’s still disappointing . . .”

In the middle of speaking, he quickly jumped backwards! This was because he heard a fainting hissing sound coming from the half-collapsed ceiling, and sensed something flying towards him with the bloodthirsty intent to slaughter him. It was an instinctive judgement call, but one that saved his life in a spectacular fashion. There were three long needles sticking out of the floor, just where he had been standing, and the smoke emanating from them indicated a dangerous poison.

“Buwhahaha,” laughed someone. “It’s as I expected, you avoided my attack! You must be the Ninja, descended from the Koga Clan, who were thought completely lost to time!”

On a closer examination, the surviving man was actually a corpse. The cadaver was being used as a puppet. It was some sort of transformation technique! Even more surprisingly, this corpse-puppet knew his name . . . the Ninja said in surprise:

“Hmm, so a bastard like you knows my name. Are you in the same profession as me?”

“Good call! I’m one of the many from the superior Iga Clan, the sworn enemy of your Koga clan for the past 800 years, and one of their elite. Call me Kirigatani Gendou! It’s time to die, Ninja!”

The assassin – who called himself Gendou – had iron claws on both hands. He jumped from the ceiling where he had been hidden, but at the same time the Ninja disappeared into the shadows on the floor. A small amount of liquid squirted from the claws that slashed through the air, and yet again fumes drifted up and dissipated just like those that came earlier from the floor. Apparently, the favourite party-trick of this Gendou was to sprinkle poisonous venom here, there, and everywhere. It made him hard to approach.

Gendou noticed a black shadow slithering along the floor, and – realising it was the body of the Ninja – immediately followed the shadow and shot out three or four needles in rapid succession. Each and every one pierced the floor, where they let loose a poisonous smoke with a hissing sound. The suspicious shadow continued to move along the floor, until it sneaked its way along the wall to the ceiling.

Finally, the body of the Ninja jumped out in all three-dimensions!

Part 3

The Ninja dashes towards him while doing a backward somersault!

“Take this!” Ninja yelled out. “Backspin Skewer!”

He swirled around in the air, before unleashing a sharp toe-kick to the temple of Gendou! Gendou collapsed on impact, but soon he was staring into the mouth of hell. He tried to crawl along the corridor of the half-destroyed mansion, but – before he realised it – he was facing an exposed and craggy rock-face, where far below boiling lava gathered in the base of a volcano. It was like it was eagerly awaiting for him to fall into its depths! H-How was it here?!

“Oi what the hell is this?” Gendou shouted. “What the hell did you do, Ninja?!”

“This is my Area Transfer no Jutsu.” The Ninja turned calmly to the confused Gendou. “I forcibly warped the space around you, and opened a secret pathway into the crater of a volcano.”

“Tch, bullshit! That sort of illusion won’t work on me!”

“You should see for yourself whether it’s an illusion or not. Farewell.”

Ninja did not hesitate. He kicked Gendou into the volcano. The screams of the villain echoed out throughout his entire descent, until – a few seconds later – the hissing sound of something evaporating replaced all previous screams. The Ninja collected a mysterious sheet, which had been spread over the red carpet of the hallway in this certain consulate, and the space returned to its original state. The Ninja looked around this quiet area, where he was finally alone, and muttered with a sigh:

“Hmph, the world is filled with deceptions . . .”

There was no choice, when coming across someone like himself, to deploy his ninja skills in battle . . . still, this situation was not what he expected, and it was awfully coincidental that his surprise opponent was someone with a grudge against him, and there was no guarantee it wouldn’t happen again.

If he thought about it, it wasn’t too unusual to come across a fellow ninja on a mission, and a fierce battle was inevitable to ensue in such circumstances. So the question was: was this just a coincidence or what it something planned? The uncertainty was worrying to him, because – in this modern society – very few people now that there were active ninjas in existence, all operating behind-the-scenes.

Those who had the power and connections to hire a ninja, tended to be national leaders with great political influence, and they also generally belonged to a very privileged group of people. In Japan, there were probably less than a hundred people who me that criteria. Therefore, it was no trivial matter that a hired ninja would come across a rival ninja, also hired to defend against them as an opposing force.

The number of dangerous requests was increasing, and each one had the power to change the nation . . . it could be a sign that the world was in turmoil, but could it also mean -? The Ninja was about to ponder another possible explanation, but quickly re-entered into full alertness. He sensed a great number of people coming at him from all directions, along with the loud sirens of fire engines and police trucks. He should have expected as much from such a loud explosion.

The Ninja was cautious. He checked his chest pocket. Despite the intense battle, he still had the important document that he came here for . . . it was a confidential document signed between various nations and full of secret agreements, but it was still secure in his possession. If he could bring that document safely back, he would have successfully completed his mission.

With that, he knew he no longer needed to remain. There was every chance another ninja would appear and attack him, if he didn’t get out of there fast enough, and that would be a problem. He needed to leave as quickly as possible, while protecting the documents, and made sure no one followed him back . . .

He closed his eyes, made some signals with his hands, and omitted a strange sound from his mouth. A hawk came down from the skies, one of a beautiful and pure pedigree, and – in response – Ninja stashed his documents into a cylindrical container and tossed it to the hawk. The hawk caught the cylinder and flew away at a tremendous speed.

The Ninja put his hand on one of the corpses next to him, and muttered:

“Ninja Arts: Face Copy . . . kukuku, this should do fine.”

When the Ninja removed his hand, his face was transformed into one of the dead SS officers. He took their clothes and donned them in the perfect disguise, before allowing himself to be ‘rescued’ by one of the first responders to the scene, and – after being taken to hospital – successfully escaped from his enemies. He then headed to his secret village, deep in the mountains, where his beloved comrades were stationed.

It is now evening, and he heads further west.

The sun is setting on as he makes his way, and the Western skies are strangely red.

── To be continued

Chapter 2

Part 1

By the time the Ninja returned to the mansion in the Hidden Village, the sun had completely set.

“Welcome home, my lord.”

He was greeted by a young woman around the age of twenty-four or twenty-five. The young woman was very pretty, gentle, and polite; they also held a dignified strength, that complemented her elegance, and her name was Ayame (Iris).

“Oh . . . Ayame?” Ninja asked. “Did anything important happen in my absence?”

“Nothing in particular. The hawk you sent as a messenger recently returned, as you can see for yourself.”

After she said that, she handed the Ninja the cylindrical container that the hawk had entrusted to her some time previous.

“Is that right?” Ninja asked. “That’s a relief. I had to bump someone off in the Iga Clan earlier.”

“Were they there again? There seems to be a lot of them lately.”

“Ah, I was very careful on my return here, so I don’t think they would have learned the exact location of our village. As a descendent of the Koga clan, it’s inevitable I’ll run into our sworn enemies in the Iga Clan, and even those from the Yagyu or Fuma Clans, from time to time. There will never cease to be conflicts on these high-level missions; it’s to be expected in the ninja world . . .”

“Perhaps, but we can’t ignore the possibility that someone with power is purposely orchestrating these ‘chance’ meetings . . .”

The wise words of Ayame directly struck at the heart of the matter, as she addressed his shared concerns. He sighed and answered her in a quiet voice:

“I hope we’re just worrying over nothing.”


There are a wide variety of ninja schools and clans, and there are many among those clans that never abandoned their skills and services in assassination, with even more among them inheriting the secret skills and techniques of their forefathers. It would thus be counter-intuitive to start a power struggle among the clans, as it would lead to a domino effect of those seeking revenge, and the eventual mutual destruction of all involved. This has led to a tacit understanding between the clans, which created a gentleman’s agreement that the various clans would not engage in conflict with one another.

It is also an unavoidable fact, however, that ninjas may come into contact with one another on a mission, sometimes even in direct odds with one another. There was to be no resentment if one should fall at the hands of the other, and that simple fact was accepted by all ninjas in modern times.

It is also an unavoidable fact, that those who have mastered the arts of assassination will be driven by the basic urge to see which clan was superior. This led to many ninjas, on conflicting missions, to take great joy in battling to see which of the opposing groups would live or die at the hands of the other.

Still, the Ninja was far from happy about the current situation. It was true they were from very different schools and clans, but – generally speaking – they still followed the same Japanese traditions, and both survived for over 800 years as a sort of brethren in the same cause. It was a small world, and they often mixed in the same circles, and yet they instinctively sought to kill one another. It was lamentable.

There was another big reason why it depressed the Ninja.

These worries were deeply connected to his heritage and lineage.

To begin with, the ninja that he earlier fought – the one from the Iga Clan – was correct: he was the descended from the main branch of the Koga Clan, who were a family of Japanese ninjas.

In the second place, the clan to which he belonged was a traditional Japanese clan that inherited many mysterious and time-honoured techniques, which were passed through the generations even to these modern times. He had a great level of skill in specific, and very few ninjas were as good as him; in fact, he was considered a legendary genius among those in that village.

It was thus regrettable that he actually belonged to the branch family, and the other faction – the original head family – also still lived in the Koga region. It was normal when someone like him was in the branch clan, that bad guys would try to upset the sensitive power balance within the overall clan, and – due to that – they were on the cusp of an all out civil war among themselves.

The threat of civil war was rising in the Koga region day by day, and the Ninja abhorred the thought that the 800-year old traditions of their clan was in danger of self-destruction, which is why – one day – he disappeared with a few dozen or so of his friends, upon which he could rely upon in a pinch.

It was because of this, that he left Kansai, the home of the original Koga clan, and opened a small village near a certain mountain in the Kanto region. It is, however, just a small village, and only a few dozen or so people live within its confines. It is because he emigrated under such circumstances, that many people would attempt to assassinate them, should they learn of their whereabouts. This is why they lived as quietly and secretly as possible.

The dozens of people who joined the Ninja were the cream of the crop, hand-chosen by him for being rare geniuses of great skill, and their abilities were so reliable that they soon become the strongest assassination force across all of Japan. All important people knew of them. It was for this reason that special requests were hard to refuse, like the mission today, and often came in via top secret channels. Even then, it was only in special circumstances that they accepted such missions.

It was because of the wealth of secret techniques passed down through the Koga Clan, they were able to agree to a variety of dangerous missions, and these learned techniques were passed down from the original Ninja (the Koga ancestor). That did not stop the Ninja, however, from pondering on death, as he came so close to the otherworld on a number of occasions.

He knew fighting only begat more fighting, and that a warrior could never find rest. Even though he had many friends in this new village with great skill, it was not made up entirely of people like himself (those who fought and killed), but instead had people that could help him outside of battle. There were those with an abundance of knowledge of medicinal herbs, who could heal all illnesses, and those who could talk to animals, as well as those that could control the weather. These new types of ninjutsu could be used in time of peace, which would help them survive in the 21st Century.

He hoped, above all else, that ninjutsu could evolve into a means to protect people, and not just a means to kill people. He wanted to avoid bringing the ever persistent fear of battle to his village, but instead let it thrive as much as possible as a new frontier of revolutionary ninjutsu. It may be rare now, but in the future he hoped such ninjutsu would be common. It was the secret wish of the Ninja, who dreamed of a bright future despite being a master in assassination.

Despite all this, they were flooded on a day-to-day basis with requests for sabotage, intelligence, and assassinations – all of which could affect the course of history itself. It was that same day, that the Ninja’s right-hand man – Saizou, a master of illusion – had accepted a new and dangerous job.

It was a request from the Shadow Boss; the ruler of Japan’s underworld.

Part 2

“On X day, of X month”, said Saizou. “There is a rumour that a politician plans to travel to a certain country, where he will make secret plans with its president. He is the worst traitor in all of known history; he will sell out Japan just to line his own pockets. If we leave this alone, Japan will succumb to a military invasion and be at the mercy of that certain country. To prevent this, they want us to assassinate this politician and make it seem like a natural death.”

Saizou recited the request exactly as he heard it, almost word for word, and delivered his words without any expression. He followed quickly with more words, cutting off anyone before they could interrupt:

“That is the general gist, General. I am honestly at a complete loss as to how to proceed. What should I do with this request? Do we accept it? Do we refuse it? Or . . .?”

“Hmm,” said a female voice.

The woman who was responded to Saizou was called Kazumi (Misty). Kazumi was a female ninja, who was allegedly capable of the art of summoning spirits, and could control and manipulate both insects and men to her will, with her unrivalled beauty. They say that she is an old woman, far older than the twenty-something that she appears, and that she supposedly has discovered an elixir of youth.

“Is this information even reliable?” Kazumi asked. “We only have a rumour to go by, after all, that the sly old man is secretly some villainous traitor.”

“Don’t state the obvious, Kazumi”, said the Ninja. He closed his eyes, and – after a long silence – added: “Saizou is also well aware of that. It’s why, first of all, I think we need to clarify the credibility of the information before we act. Is that okay with everyone?”

No one seemed to object to his suggestion, but a bald-headed man named Gounen dared to state the problem that was on everyone’s mind: “But we all know that he’s a regular patron of the Iga Clan. The general needs to bear that in mind, if he doesn’t want outright war between our ninja villages.”

If the Ninja were to be perfectly frank, that was actually the most infuriating part. If he went ahead with the request, it was likely the most elite troops of the Iga Clan would draw their attention on their village, and a life-or-death battle might be unavoidable. Depending on the outcome, it could even cause trouble for the head family of the Koga clan. Still, if this really was a national emergency, only they could stop it. He thus opened his eyes and said:

“Alright, let’s go to Iga.”

This was his final decision. They would go to the head of the Iga Clan, and engage in direct talks.

“General,” said Saizou. “Isn’t that a rather dangerous plan?”

Saizou felt guilty as the one who received the request, and was thus obliged to voice his concerns, but equally did not want to show disrespect to the Ninja, who likely had good reason to make his choice.

“Well,” said the Ninja, “First of all, if it’s true that this certain politician is a patron of the Iga Clan, then it’s entirely possible that the head of the Iga Clan may be unaware of the man’s true nature. Secondly, like the Koga Clan, they’re a ninja-school that has always supported Japan from the shadows. We may have been deadly enemies for 800 years, but – if there is ever a time of national crisis – I believe we ninjas can come together and unite for the sake of Japan! So that’s why I’m going to Iga!”

Kazumi kept a grim expression through the entirety of the Ninja’s impassioned speech, before she finally softened her expression and said: “Hmph. Our lord may be sharp of mind and skill, but he is just as naïve as ever. Unfortunately, it is the destiny of a ninja to obey any decision of their superior, and – I’m sad to say – our superior is . . . the Ninja.”

“Since we left Koga, we have shared a common destiny,” said Gounen. “It means that whatever you say, we have no choice other than to follow.”

Saizou remained silent as usual, but Ninja knew this man well enough to know that Saizou trusted the Ninja unconditionally and more than anyone else present.

“Thank you, guys,” said the Ninja. “I’m so proud to have opened a new village with you . . . that said; we’ll leave tomorrow at 6 a.m. for the base of the Iga Clan, to the secret premise of its leader. It’ll be three of us going; Kasumi, Gounen and me.”

Saizou widened his eyes in surprise, but soon realised what the Ninja meant. The Ninja gave voice to the unspoken words between them:

“Hey, Saizou. I want you to stay and protect the village.”

“Oh! . . . I understand,” said Saizou. “General . . . no, my dearest friend . . . don’t you dare die.”



Dawn seemed to arrive in a flash.

It was time to leave.

The Ninja, Kasumi, and Gounen were some of the best assassins in the village. Still, they knew it would not be easy for them to reach the head of the Iga Clan. Each and every person in the village came to see them off, and the Ninja struggled to hide the anxiety in his expression. Except for Saizou and Ayame, most the remaining people in the village weren’t ninjas trained in combat.

That was why the Ninja decided to leave the village in the care of his most trusted Saizou; if anything were to happen to the Ninja, Saizou would carry on his dream in his place. The Ninja had a hunch that – no matter how resolute he felt – this would be a dangerous and precarious journey.

It is now dawn, and he heads west.

The three of them walked towards the horizon, where the sky was still black, and they turned their back to the sun in the east, which burned with a spectacular sunrise. The question was what was this shade of red that they saw: the colour of hope or the colour of blood?

Ninja remained in quiet self-reflection, as he proceeded to Iga with his two companions.

── To be continued

Chapter 3

Part 1

The three ninjas arrived the next day; the sun had long set on the Iga Village, tucked away in a hidden valley, but it was not quite dusk. They had not come in search of war, but to be found approaching the village in their state was basically asking for a fight, and they would likely to be killed on sight. It was thus best to avoid coming face-to-face with people, lest it cause a disturbance.

This was why – on reaching the entrance to the village – they sneaked carefully past the guards, and hid their presence as much as possible. Instead of brazenly entering through the main gates, they would have to employ other methods to get inside the enemy compound. They soon noticed a young ninja acting as a guard, and appeared in front of him as if from nowhere, and – surrounding the very distressed man – the Ninja said quietly under his breath:

“Wait. This isn’t a night-time attack. Will you hear what we have to say?”

The young ninja stared wide-eyed, too shocked to answer, but the Ninja continued with a calm voice so as not to panic him: “I’m a ninja just like you, but I’m the one called the Ninja, who was once affiliated with the Koga Clan. I’ve come for an audience with the head of the Iga Clan about a serious matter, and it’s urgent that I see them right away. Would you please escort me to them?”

Time was of the essence, and the Ninja was once a member of the Koga Clan . . . this name alone was enough to terrify the young ninja to his core. The Ninja’s position within the Koga Clan, along with immense talents and strengths, was well known even within the Iga Clan. In fact, the Ninja’s branch was once the most fearsome ninja school in all of the Koga Clan, until – a few years ago – they fled without anyone knowing their new whereabouts. Why had they now returned? Why here to their enemies?

The three of them had such an air of intimidation that he knew they were the real deal. Whatever brought them here now was no trivial matter . . . that was why the young ninja decided to quietly take those three people inside his village. He first whistled through his fingers, summoning forth four new ninja. They were almost impossible to see, as they kept their distance, but they kept a close watch over the three of them as a form of guard. It meant that they had an escort of five Iga ninja in total, as they passed through the village gates and went to the mansion of the clan head.

A bonfire was lit in the plaza, which stood centre of the village, as if to welcome their visitors. The huge flames flickered brightly, as night-time descended on them and eliminated the daytime.

They passed through some private and residential houses, until they came to a stop in front of a large building; it was the mansion of the clan head. Kasumi muttered under her breath:

“As I thought . . . it’s hardly an ordinary home.”

The meaning of her words was obvious, as the two instantly saw what she meant. A terrifying aura seemed to enshroud the entire premises, lending to a sense of dread. The leader of the Iga Clan effectively ran the entire village, as such it was by no means surprising that he gave off such an unearthly aura. It was such a negative aura, as well, that the ill-will practically seeped into one’s psyche. It left the Ninja with an uneasy sense of dread there, as if something bad would happen.

The door to the mansion soon opened. It revealed the true cause of the dangerous aura, as – at the back of the great hall – there sat the head of the Iga Clan. He bore a truly recognisable face, which marked him most certainly as the same man who visited the Koga Clan some ten years previous . . . he was not blessed in appearance, but instead old and thin, but – despite being small and dainty – he left an impression. He had sharp and penetrating eyes, which had not changed in all of those ten tears. The second their eyes met, the Ninja felt his hair stand on end and goose-bumps coat his flesh.

“My, what a curious caller,” said the old man. “It’s been ten years since we met, yes?”

The relaxed tone of the old man was at odds with his cold eyes.

“It’s been a long time,” said the Ninja. “Lord Urakusai, Head of the Iga Clan, I am honoured that someone like you would remember someone like me. It makes me very happy.”

“Hmm, it’s been a long time, but you’ve truly grown into a handsome fellow. Thanks to the passage of time, I’m merely an old man now, and a mere shadow of my former glory. Time is a cruel mistress. I am starting to feel my years; Fuo Fuo Fuo Fuo.”

What could he say? This was the legendary ninja: Urakusai Iga. He was hailed for decades as the ultimate warrior of the Iga Clan, just as the Ninja was lauded as the ultimate genius of the Koga Clan. He had such overwhelming charisma and awe-inspiring talent, he still managed to gain respect from people – not just within his clan, but – all over Japan. In the Ninja’s youth, he would listen eagerly to rumours of Urakusai’s exploits. The Ninja had taken the risk in coming to Urakusai, as he knew that the man would hear and understand what needed to be said.

So why was it then that he sensed a wickedness now, which was never thee ten years ago? What had happened in the last ten years to make him that way? The curious suspicions raced through his mind, but he knew that he could not hesitate now that he had come this far. It was time to cut straight to the matter at hand, but Urakusai instead asked the Ninja an unexpected question:

“Ah, by the way, that bastard Saizou at your place . . . did he receive any strange mission requests?”

The Ninja was surprised. How did Urakusai know that? A drop of sweat beaded at the forehead of the Ninja, who silently listened to what was said and analysed the situation at hand. Urakusai continued:

“About that . . . I was the one who sent that request.”

Urakusai suddenly vanished, as a huge, flat, steel plate came crashing down. It all happened so quickly that he barely even had time to finish his sentence!

Part 2

It was at that moment, Kasumi and Gounen moved right away! They had been behind the Ninja, but now Gounen used his fists – which were strong enough to break rock – to smash open the floorboards with an earth-shattering single blow. Kasumi summoned a giant mole, who appeared beneath the floorboards, and it dug a tunnel for them through which they could escape. The two ninja had been distrustful of Urakusai from the start, and were alert enough to act at once . . .

A thunderous roar echoed out, as Urakusai’s mansion crumbled to the ground. Just a few meters away, the Ninja heard a woman sigh with the sound of regret.

“Did you see that, Ninja?” Kasumi asked. “This is what you get for trusting the Iga Clan!”

“Thank you for still helping me,” said the Ninja. “I’m really sorry I put you through this; I owe you one.”

They had not expected such words of apology from their lord (not as his subordinates), but somehow smiles graced their features despite the expectation of something far worse. They had expected this to happen from the very start, after all . . . when they emerged again, they were surrounded by more than a dozen ninjas from the Iga Clan. It was no wonder considering this was the home of their enemies.

“It seems like the negotiations have broken down,” said Gounen. “What do we do now, General?”

“We’ve overstayed our welcome,” replied the Ninja without hesitation. “We’re leaving this village. Don’t hold back. It’s time to go nuts, Kasumi, Gounen!”

“Roger that!”

“As you wish!”

First things first, they needed to secure an escape route. Without a second thought, the Ninja made a small nick on the skin of his neck. It caused countless bird feathers to spring forward, one after another. The waterfowl feathers floated around the three ninjas, on a quick hand-signal, and protected them by dancing gracefully in the form of a shield around them.

“Let’s go,” cried the Ninja. “Ninja Art: Waterfowl Feathers!”

“What is happening?!” The enemies cried out: “It must be an empty threat! Let’s get them!”

At this order, at least ten or more soldiers moved. They slashed out over and over at the storm of feathers, but the Ninja merely laughed with a devious grin. He finally spewed flames from his mouth, as he screamed out: “Activate! Fiery Flying Feathers no Jutsu!” The feathers all around them ignited and turned into a fiery tornado, which burned their enemies to a crisp on impact!


The number of opponents dramatically decreased, and – in the blink of an eye – an opening was finally revealed, allowing the three of them to breakthrough and rush towards the village exit. A huge crack in the earth suddenly appeared before them, blocking their escape. A geyser erupted from the ground, spurting ever endlessly upwards, and dowsed the fiery barrier until it was nothing but smoke and ash.

“Hahahaha, you can’t use fire jutsu with this technique,” cried out a male voice. “I’m a water-user, and one of the five elite warriors of the Iga Clan’s hidden village. Call me Kirigatani Jindou! I’m the younger brother of Kirigatani Gendou, who you brutally murdered the other day on your mission! Come at me, Ninja! It’s time I avenged my brother’s death!”

“Damn it, what a bother,” spat Gounen. “It can’t be helped; Ninja, Kasumi, go on ahead! I’ll deal with this asshole!”Gounen’s fists turned rock-hard as he shouted: “Uwah! Shatter into pieces!”

Gounen immediately thrust his fist at Jindou, with great power and accuracy, but – the second his fist contacted with Jindou’s body – Jindou disappeared with a splash of water and a popping noise.

“What the fuck? Why didn’t my punch work?!”

It was no wonder that Gounen felt confused. It was a strange sensation, like pushing his hand deep into water. . . all the while, he was sure he was delivering a punch into the body of the man before him. Even stranger, the water seemed to evaporate and recombine back into the body of Jindou! It seemed that as a user of water ninjutsu, he had the power to transform his body into water, and he was able to use this special power well!

“Hahaha,” laughed Jindou. “Gendou, you might boast a fist that can crush any rock, but you can’t exactly use that power when it comes to water. Rocks can’t break water; they can only sink and rot!”

Jindou turned into water once more, before mercilessly sticking himself to Gounen’s face. It meant that Gounen was unable to breathe, so soon he would suffocate!

“Hahaha! No matter how much you hit me, you’ll never remove my unholy water from your face! Now die! Maybe if you’re lucky, you can redeem yourself in death!”

“Stop this,” cried the Ninja. “The only one who’ll die today is you! Ninja Art: Absolute Zero!”

In the skies, high above a struggling Gounen, the Ninja spun high and fast in the air itself! He should have long escaped, but instead he was rotating midair. In response, Jindou yelled out flustered:

“No, stop! Stop it now!”

It was soon clear why Jindou was so flustered. The wind caused by the high-speed rotations cooled down the surrounding area, and eventually changed the properties of all it came into contact with, so that water turned into ice (in other words, liquid became a solid).

“Now this is something we can break,” said Kasumi. “Goodbye, monster!”

Kasumi thrust her kunai without any emotion at Jindou, with one ruthless movement, and Jindou immediately collapsed with a big bang on the ground. He died. Gounen was finally able to peel off the remaining ice from his face, but the corrosive aspect of Jindou’s brutal attack meant that it was too late . . . the damage had already been done to his lungs.


They were in such shock, that they could not believe what had happened. They were immensely sad, as Gounen – one of the most feared ninja in the world – was killed.

“Fuhahahaha,” said a voice. “Gounen was a master in the Koga Clan, but he died because he chose to associate with a small-fry like you! You bastard; you should be ashamed, Ninja!”

The Ninja looked in the direction of the voice, and was surprised to see the heir to the Koga leader. This was the person who would one day become head to the Koga Clan!

── To be continued

Chapter 4

Part 1

“Why are you in Iga?” The Ninja asked. “What are you doing here?”

“Ah, about that,” said the leader. “I heard rumours that you bastards were planning on showing up here in Iga, where the people here would massacre you. I simply wanted to make sure of your death with my own two eyes!”

“That can’t be . . . you’re in cahoots with the Iga Clan?!”

“Oh, Ninja. In Koga, many people still see you as a future head of the clan . . . it’s inevitably led to a lot of debate and controversy. Therefore, to sever the lingering loyalties that people have towards you, and to remain as the legitimate head of the clan, I joined hands with the pesky Iga Clan, so that we can could both purge ourselves of a common obstacle and kill you!”

While all this was going on, the head of the Iga Clan – Urakusai, its strongest ninja – had mustered forth the best of its elite forces. It was clear that this small boy wasn’t the only one being manipulated . . .

The Ninja ground his teeth in frustration, as he realised the Koga Clan had been dragged into a political upheaval, and he loathed that the clan seemed cursed to endure such a fate. The current head of the Koga Clan was shallow and short-sighted, despite being the legitimate and rightful heir, and this depressing thought drew from him a frustrated sigh. By leaving the village, he had basically invited conflict, but if he had stayed in charge of the education and training of others . . . would it really be any better?

“Wake up,” spat the Ninja. “You’re being used by Urakusai!”

“That’s rich from a disgraced guy like you. I’m not being used at all.”

“Tch! Brainless brat . . .”

Kasumi had been listening to the whole exchange, but she could no longer stand aside and remain silent: “Hey, you! The spoiled greenhorn! It’s pieces of trash like you that made folks like the Ninja and I leave the village! Unless you get that through your thick skull, you’re doomed to run the clan to extinction. Never forget that!”

“K-Kasumi,” cried the boy. “You – You can’t say that to me, y-you . . . you old hag!”

“Whoa,” said the Ninja. “A stupid, spoiled brat like you could really do with decent parents; maybe they’d have told you that no one ever calls Kasumi an ‘old hag’!”

The vein in Kasumi’s temple was starting to throb, and the Ninja easily noticed it. Everyone knew mentioning her age was very taboo. A dark look flickered in her eyes, as she marched brusquely towards the boy, and placed her palm on the head of the brat. She used all her strength to send him flying. He was blown at least 3 meters away, like a ragdoll.

“I’m going to beat you to death, you fucking loser!”

“Ah – argh!”

The second that Kasumi was about to punch the spoiled brat, the Ninja screamed out: “Hey, Kasumi, pull back! We’re wasting time on that kid!”

At the same time the Ninja spoke, he could see the Urakusai approach with a suspicious twinkle in his eyes that bode badly for all he cast his gaze upon. He was a famous user of one of the Iga Clan’s secret techniques, in which the user could amplify the trauma deep within a person’s psyche, and cast a terrifying illusion to mentally break them into submission. The boy at once collapsed on the floor and wept, as he repeated over and over in a loud scream:

“I’m sorry, Father! I’m sorry, Father!”

It was clear the young boy was helpless to the attack, and suffered an immense internal anguish. It was hard to hate the guy. Even though Kasumi and the Ninja disliked him, they did not hate him enough to see him suffer in such a state.

Soon, the technique broke through to the Ninja and Kasumi. It broke into their minds, where forgotten memories started to bubble and boil to the surface, one after another . . . it triggered traumatic childhood memories in the brain of the Ninja . . .

In one such memory, it was a sunny day.

He is alone. He always walks alone in the woods.

He has no friends with him, but then he had no friends in the first place. He was so young at the time, that his power was no greater or less than an ordinary person, and he knows there is no one to help him . . .

‘I will be okay,’ he said. ‘I will be okay on my own.’

He is a model student that can do anything. Because of that, they always left him alone.

Part 2

He is all alone in the forest today.

The very young Ninja is halfway through his stroll, when he sees a huge spider-web. He sees something inside the spider-web; it is a beautiful swallowtail with its wings entangled in the thread. In the distance, a big spider was watching it with an eerie smile. What was about to happen?

Ninja is curious, and so he watches as the spider made its approach. Before anything can happen, a fellow butterfly flutters by its comrade trapped within the spider-web. It watches with a distant eye. It was at this moment that something breaks inside the Ninja! The butterfly in the spider-web has no one in its life that will set it free. Its fellow butterfly had decided it was okay alone, as such he will and die alone.

‘Is it okay to be alone?’

He says to himself as usual.

‘No,’ he says. ‘No, it’s really not okay!’

The Ninja spoke from his heart; it was enough to break the spider’s thread. He notices that the swallowtail butterfly has spread its beautiful wings, and now it flies into the skies above.

He thinks this is a good thing. He feels good inside his heart.


He is surprised when he returns the next day to this same place.

The spider is dead.

Impossible, he thinks. There’s no way! This was definitely the same spider that had tried to eat the butterfly yesterday, but now it was dead. What had the Ninja done?!

‘Oh, is that it?’ The Ninja asks. ‘It was the spider that was alone all along, and he may have seemed really strong, but really he wasn’t okay at all . . .’

From that day on, the Ninja starts to find and think about spiders and their silk.

He thinks about the spider waiting alone in its web, and he thinks about the prey caught inside the thread. He thinks about what they both must feel. It takes time for him to consider both sides, but eventually he arrives at an interesting conclusion.

‘It can’t be,’ he says. ‘This world is made of lies! Fear, sorrow, pain . . . all of these negative feelings are unique to humans, but the world is ever changing and impervious to these concepts!’

He dedicates this philosophy to developing a new technique. One day he cries out:

‘Look! This is my new technique . . . Ninja Arts: Binding Spider-Web!’

It was a brutal technique that psychokinetically tied up an opponent, by using rope or thread to bind them up like a straight-jacket, and removed all ability to move in their new submissive state. The technique relies on making the victim feel as isolated as the one who performed it. Each time he performs this technique, he thinks a secret thought: ‘If you’ll be all alone no matter whose side you’re on, there’s no reason for me not to do everything I can in order to survive in this world’.


Urakusai’s pupil-techniques caused him to meditate inward, where he threatened to be swept away by his dark thoughts and morbid memories. It was Kasumi’s voice that brought him back to his senses:

“Ninja, what are you doing?! It’s time to wake up!”

He roused from his sleep with visible tears, and cried:

“Oh, I thought I would never be okay, again! I know now just what it means to have a friend with me. How could I not be anything other than ecstatic?!”

── To be continued

Chapter 5

Part 1

The Ninja was half-conscious, straddling the line between dreams and reality, and – for an instant – he seemed confused to see Kasumi, but it was extremely important for her to fully wake him in this moment of crisis. She summoned the very last of her energy in an attempt to break Urakusai’s spell over the Ninja, and used a special and secret technique!

“Ninja Arts: Firefly Light!”

The moment she finished her summoning chant, a swarm of fireflies gathered and emitted a radiant light that penetrated all the darkness! It dazzled Urakusai, who – blinded by the light – shut his eyes to protect them. It snapped the Ninja back to his senses, as he regained his usual calmness.

“Kasumi,” he yelled. “Draw their attention here! I got this!”

He took advantage of the ensuing chaos to create a smokescreen, and fled into the nearby forest, accompanied by Kasumi. They decided on a swift retreat back to their hidden village in the Kanto region.

“Fuck,” said Urakusai. “They got away!”

Urakusai smirked as he said these words.

He smirked, as he always intended to let the Ninja escape, unlike the others . . .


Kasumi and the Ninja succeeded in escaping Iga Village.

They soon lost their adversaries, and everything was okay. It was awful that Gounen succumbed to such a violent death, but – for a ninja – death was always a risk of their profession, and they knew that Gounen would not want for them to mourn his departure. He told himself this over and over, until he finally reached his hidden village in the Kanto Region.

It took them roughly a day to reach their destination, but what awaited them when they returned was nothing short of a tragedy. The village they loved . . . the village with a hope for a new future, the village with dreams of a new sort of ninja . . . had been burned to the ground. It was nought but ashes. It seemed that while they were entangled in a kerfuffle with the Koga leader, that someone had set their sights on his people, and all his terrible feelings of foreboding had come true. Kasumi whispered:

“Ninja . . . this is . . .”

“Saizou,” cried the Ninja. “Ayame! Everyone! I’m back now! You can reply, you’re safe now! It’s just us here in the village!

There was no reply from anywhere.

He was about to return to his mansion, when he heard a faint voice calling out in the distance. He listened. It was the voice of Saizou! He was laying face-down on the ground; the Ninja scooped him into his arms, before relentlessly questioning him on events. He rushed out:

“Saizou! What kind of man could have enough power to deal with damage to a man like you?”

“Ninja . . . I’m so sorry . . . I couldn’t keep my promise to you . . .”

A heartbroken voice called out, drowning out the sound of Saizou’s voice:

“General! Don’t be fooled!”

That voice . . . it was Ayame, wasn’t it?! The second that voice spoke, Saizou’s eyes seemed to go wide and stared at a point beyond the Ninja. Ayame was standing right behind them! Like Urakusai in Iga, Saizou was also a user of magic that relied upon the eyes. He summoned all his energy into his eyes, and cast his spell on Ayame’s mind; she had intended to throw a knife at Saizou, but – with her mind in chaos – now stabbed the blade deep into her chest.

The whole thing happened so quickly that the Ninja had no time to react. Saizou jumped far away, as if in the blink of an eye, while the Ninja rushed behind Ayame and held her close.

“General,” choked Ayame. “The fake request, the journey to Iga . . . it was all set up by Saizou.”

“What are you saying, Ayame?! No way . . . he can’t . . . Saizou is –! . . . Are you sure this isn’t a misunderstanding? No . . . it – it can’t truly be Saizou, can it? If Saizou really had a hand in this –”

“You’re still the same sweet and tender general I know . . . but I’m telling the truth. He – He just seemed to change all of a sudden, and I tried to stop him from harming the people in the village, which is when I sustained all these wounds.”

“I can’t believe it!”

“Please, calm down and listen to me. Saizou was a spy sent by the head branch of the Koga Clan, so that he could spy on you and feed information back to them. This started before you were even born.”


The Ninja was at a total loss for words. Even before he was born, there was a human whose purpose in life was just to deceive him and spy upon him . . . these underhanded methods of the Koga Clan’s head-branch put him at a severe unease, and he had to make sure with Saizou that this was the truth.

“Saizou,” gasped the Ninja. “Saizou, my friend! Let me ask you as a fellow comrade! Even if this was your mission all along; since I was born, we laughed together, worried together, suffered together, and even fought together . . . did you really do all that while staying loyal to the and keeping your mission?”

“Ninja,” muttered Saizou with a smile. “You’re truly a good guy, but the only person I call ‘general’ is the leader of the Koga Clan’s head branch. This is my destiny; it was taught and instilled in me since I was born, and I was raised with this in mind. So you have a grudge against me . . . you curse me, you blame me . . . but if you seriously hate me, use that strength and fight me. Before you die, you deserve to go one round against me. It’s useless to hold back. Let’s go!”

Part 2

Ninja was still lost to the chaos and confusion, when Saizou seized the opportunity to use his psychic glare to instigate the art of his eye techniques. A voice cried out at that precise moment: “Ninja Arts: Firefly Light!” It seemed that Kasumi had remained lurking in the distance, ever wary of Saizou, and used the bright light of her fireflies to blind Saizou and force him to close his eyes!

If she hadn’t acted, the Ninja would have stabbed himself just like Ayame.

“Damn it,” shouted Kasumi. “You won’t die on my watch!”

It seemed that Saizou’s eyes weren’t completely closed, and once more the Ninja was exposed to the madness from the glare of those eyes! Kasumi broke it just in time. She sacrificed herself for the Ninja, and – just like Ayame – committed suicide with a knife to the heart.

“Kasumi,” the Ninja cried. “Why did you do that?”

“Fufufu,” laughed Kasumi. “Since we left the village, we shared a common destiny. It’s like I said; the life of a ninja is tied to their lord . . . unfortunately, my lord just happened to be you . . .”

These were the last words of Kasumi, who was once believed to be immortal . . .

“I’m sorry, Kasumi,” said the Ninja. “You once said that I was too naive, I never realised just how naïve until this moment!”

The Ninja lay Kasumi softly down. She was dead.

“Fuhahaha,” laughed Saizou. “Ninja! Do you finally feel like fighting me, my friend?”

“Hey, Saizou. It’s still so strange to me, that I can hardly believe it. Like Gounen, Ayame, and Kasumi; you and I took great pains to create this village. Remember . . . we all came together to exchange ideas, and we endured each and every struggle together, and finally – on the day we established our village – all laughed together and celebrated together. It’s the happiest memory of my life.”

The Ninja bore a calm, yet mournful, expression in memory of that fateful day.

“Now they’re all dead. Why?! There’s only you and me left in this village, Saizou, and I believed in you . . . tell me honestly: did you ever feel the same bond as the rest of us? Is it possible for friends who laughed together to ever have to fight one another? Was the friend I loved merely a lie and illusion?!”

“You idiot,” yelled Saizou. “Are you really going to grumble about nonsense this late in the game? If that’s the case, the I hope you’ll get you answer when I pierce your heart! Uwaaah!”

The Ninja held onto the slim glimmer of hope that Saizou might have a last minute change of heart, but the knife came right at his chest without any hesitation. At the very last second, the Ninja murmured out a weak: “Ninja Art: Loyalty and Treason at Will!” The knife was now within the Ninja’s hands, but also deeply penetrated into the chest of Saizou. It pierced his heart.

“You bastard,” coughed Saizou. “Your Loyalty and Treason at Will was always your greatest technique. It’s just as . . . perfect as ever. By the grace of God, you have finally released me from my destiny . . .”

Despite this brilliant technique, that allowed the Ninja to trade places with his opponent, there was a cut on the left side of his chest that was approximately one centimetre deep . . . proof that he waited until the absolutely last minute. He felt the betrayal deep in his soul.

“Saizou,” cried the Ninja. “I’m the only one left. How can I carry on living now?”

“Fufufu . . . don’t let your emotions rule you, and find a new purpose in your life . . . be sincere in all you do . . . and – above all else – remember this killing blow was a merciful one . . .”

He passed away. Saizou peacefully took his last breath.

“Saizou, my friend . . . rest in peace.”


The Ninja was a man that lost everything, by trying to protect everything, and all because his love and trust knew no bounds. All those to whom he loved so unconditionally, died because of his unconditional love. Could there be anything more tragic?

Naivety will often lead to its own destruction. In order to protect those you care about, it is not enough to stick to your principles even in anger, but to act ruthlessly and without emotion to achieve your goal. It was that lesson that Kasumi always tried to teach him.

Since that fateful day, the Ninja has spent 49 days in that devastated village in vigil for the dead. The agony in his heart never once lessened, and slowly he transcended beyond a regular mortal, forgoing his need for any material things and cursed this heartless world – which never seemed to change – with all his heart. These black emotions continued to burn away inside him, and eventually this pain summoned forth an evil shadow to his side . . .

“I am the Prince of Darkness, Lord Satan,” called a voice. “Thou must be the Ninja; a traditional Japanese ninja chojin. Thy techniques are rare beyond compare; why dost thou not join me in opening the door to a new world order . . .?”

“Ah, that suits me well. After all, this world is built on deception!”

── The End