Kinnikuman Wiki
Advertisement
Kinnikuman Wiki


The eighth episode of Deep of Muscle.

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

Summary

To make a mask for Mongolman, Dr. Bombe goes to the mystical land of "Gandhara" with a Brutal Chojin: Gokuman.

Story

Chapter One

Part One

Prologue

Ramenman was once diagnosed as having an incurable brain injury, which was a result of his fight against Warsman. Eventually, however, he reached the sacred peak of a holy mountain, where they grew the Tree of Life, which emitted a gas that contained a medicinal healing property, and was able to make a temporary – yet miraculous – recovery. Sadly, the medicinal effects from the Tree of Life stop once he left the mountain area, and Ramenman thus reverted to his comatose state.

There was no way he could return to the ring like this . . .

There was one man that reached out to help him, who also happened to be a world-famous chojin doctor: Dr. Bombe. He used the bark from the Tree of Life to carve a mask with medicinal properties, which he gifted unto Ramenman, and dubbed it the ‘Mongolman Mask’. If he wore this mask, it would allow him to breathe in the same air from the mountain, and hopefully allow him to fight with his previous healthy condition within the ring.

This is how Ramenman came to be known as ‘Mongolman’. He wore the mask since that day, and hid his true identity with the intention of being born again, while he rejoined his old ally Kinnikuman. The following battles against the forces of evil are known across the globe.

There is another secret, important and unknown story behind this key item known as the Mongolman mask. If all you needed to do was carve a piece of wood from the tree, anyone – not just Dr. Bombe – could have created this miraculous mask, could they not? The fact is that only Dr. Bombe could create such a mask, and that was achieved by – after years of research – combining his extremely rare medicinal elixir with the miraculous healing properties of the Tree of Life.

The secret elixir is very precious, and it can only be found in a faraway and mystical land of ‘Gandhara’, located deep within the mountains of India. You cannot reach it with modern transport, such as aeroplanes or motor vehicles, and so you must go there by foot. Not only that, but many dangerous enemies and obstacles lie in wait along its path, and so it is impossible to reach alone.

So how was Dr. Bombe able to reach there in the first place? Well, it took the help of an unknown chojin. This particular chojin was once the representative of China at the Chojin Olympics, where he represented his country alongside Ramenman, and he is also the incarnation of a monkey. The name of this chojin is . . . Gokuman.

Part Two

This is the mythical mountain on the border of China and Mongolia: Wuxinshan.

It is a quiet area, without a single person in sight. Under the cloudy sky, and against a desolate landscape, the only sound is that of a low breeze echoing in vain. There were quiet footsteps moving in a regular rhythm, as heading towards the centre of this lonely land. Slowly . . . slowly . . . an old man made his way to the centre, while carrying his cane alongside him.

Not many people approach this place in the first place. This is because the desert area beyond the mountain has become a lawless area where many evil chojin live. The leader of these evil chojin, who once rampaged there, is imprisoned at the foot of Mount Wuxinshan. It is for this reason that the human came to loathe this place, and no one went near there unless there was great need.

The fact that an old man came here meant there was some unfortunate circumstance behind his visit. He was one to be pitied. The former leader of the evil chojin sensed the quiet footsteps from even deep inside his prison; while the leader absently cast his attention to these matters, he cast an idle ear to the sounds that broke the monotony of passing time.

How long has he been left alone in this prison? He had tried many times to break out of his prison, but – despite the lack of guards – a shock ran through his body any time he touched the bars. It was a marvellous force that powered this barrier. There had been many of his men that tried to break the barrier from the outside, but all were injured to the point of death and barely escaped with their lives. He was unable to escape. He had since given up his futile attempts and spends his day bored and lounging around.

That absent frame of mind was soon made sharp. The footsteps from earlier were getting louder and louder, and they were getting closer and closer to him. He thought again about his situation; there were no more friends that would help him, and no sign of any guards. Who was this person?

This question remained in his mind, even as the footsteps grew clearer and clearer, until finally the old man appeared at the bars of his prison. The man was very old, but his eyes are sharp. He stared at the imprisoned leader, as if he wasn’t afraid of anything. The old man called out to him with a deep, dignified and serious voice:

“Are you Gokuman?”

“Ah, that is right,” said the man. “I am Gokuman; I am the Brutal Chojin, who controlled all these lands with his gang of villains. I was the kind of guy to take candy from a baby.”

“What do you mean by the leader of a ‘gang of villains’?” The old man continued to stare at him and continued: “Gokuman, you once held the hope of China, alongside Ramenman. You even represented China in the Chojin Olympics, as one of its representatives.”

“Huh, well, it’s nice to know someone still remembers me . . .”

The old man continued, as if he did not care for the response: “Life was good until that point, but that was the start of your downfall. Unfortunately, you lost immediately in the first preliminary competition: rock-paper-scissors. You’ve lost my nerve since then; despite your age, you’re a bit of a blond delinquent. On top of all that, you’re just a chojin that threw away your life in this remote place . . . shoplifting, extortion, reckless acts . . . forever the underdog. You’re just the defeated monkey: Gokuman.”

“Nah . . . wait . . . what?!”

“I’m asking if you’re this same man?”

Gokuman’s face turned bright red . . . no, he was already a reddish colour due to being the embodiment of a monkey, but now his red hair was even redder than before. He was trembling in anger . . . it was no good. The hardest thing for a man to hear is the truth. He cried out:

“You old git! I’m going to beat you half to death!”

He quickly pulled out a few strands of his blond hair. Once he blew on the strands, countless doppelgangers appeared in a miniature form! They all looked like small and delinquent monkeys, each one wearing sunglasses . . .

“Come on, guys,” shouted Gokuman. “We’ll teach that old geezer a lesson; we’ll show him what happens to men that mock the broken dreams of others!”

The monkeys reacted at once to his screams, and surrounded the old man with enough speed to make event the Nikko Monkey Corps jealous. They stopped circling him and jumped onto the old man’s legs! All of them stood on tiptoes, as they climbed on the ones beneath, and covered his lower limbs until they could put even Ramenman’s stream of victories to shame! Gokuman yelled:

“Let’s do this! You're going to be kicked to death by a hundred monkeys, old man!”

But the old man calmly flipped up his cloak, raised the tip of his cane to the sky and shouted: “O’ Clouds! Save this poor old man!!”

The smoke from his staff immediately formed a huge black cloud above his head . . .

“Divine Punishment!”

All at once, sharp thunderbolts rained down around the old man! The area was in instant chaos.

“Squeak! Squeak!”

Hundreds of mini-monkeys were struck by the lightning one after another. They became like black charcoal, as the amount of blackened corpses increased, and created a truly tragic scenes. This was truly a vision of hell. Gokuman cried out:

“No, you guys!”

Just as Gokuman’s mournful cry rang out, the hundreds of monkeys instantly turned into smoke and returned to their original place in his locks of hair.

Part Three

The old man held out his cane once more. He was visibly relieved.

“Hmph,” he said. “That was a close one.”

Gokuman did not stop his tears or tantrum, as he cried out: “You’re mean, Old Man! You’re just a pathetic old fool! No, it’s just cruel . . . you’re not pathetic at all, just plain old cruel!”

“Hmph! It was a legitimate form of self-defence. I thought you would kill me.”

“Oh, I'll kill you! I'd like to beat you to death with my own two hands! It’s just that I’m stuck in here, but if I could just get out . . . if I could break out somehow . . . fuck!”  

Gokuman's face turned red with frustration, but the old man simply said: “That’s what I wanted. You should be happy, as I’ve come here specifically to break you out.”

“Huh?” Gokuman asked. “Don’t talk nonsense, you sadistic old man! The bars of this prison are so strong that – no matter how hard I try – it’s impossible to break them. That’s why they don’t have guards here; if anyone can break me out, I'll be loyal to them for the rest of my life!”

“Is that correct?”

“A man’s word is his bond! It’s impossible for an old man like you, though, so just get the hell out . . .”

Scalpel!”

“Huh?”

The old man vanished as soon as he said that word, and instantly reappeared inside the prison. In his hands, he held three surgical scalpels, and – just behind him – the bars of the impenetrable prison were broken for the first time after many past attempts by others.

“Oi,” said Gokuman. “How – How did you do that just now?”

“My name is Doctor Bombe.” The old man answered Gokuman with: “I am a surgeon that specialises in chojin physiology. My scalpel can make an incision onto the abdomen of a ten-ton man in a matter of seconds, without causing any harm to my patient, and so – with these skills – it’s nothing to break into a prison with ease!”

This was reminiscent of the old proverb: ‘to be bewitched by a fox’. He was certainly as confused as the proverb meant. Gokuman did not understand, as neither would most monkeys, but he was so surprised that this did not matter . . . his earlier anger was completely gone.

“Wait,” said Gokuman. “If you’re a doctor . . . what the hell are you doing here?”

“Well, I know this may sound sudden, but I’m travelling to the land of Gandhara in the far west. I seem to have met a barrier that I cannot pass alone, and need a group of three, which is why I have came through China in an attempt to scout talented young chojin to help me reach my destination. You know that Ramenman, who is China’s most famous and powerful chojin, is currently missing . . .”

“Don’t talk about him!” Gokuman’s expression turned grim. “I don’t want to think about how my life turned for the worst when I lost to him in a rock-paper-scissors match! If I'd won that rock-paper-scissors game . . . all the glory would have been mine. There could have been a manga like ‘Tatakae!! Gokuman’ sold all over China! Now I’m just living like a hillbilly in the boondocks, though . . .”

“Come now! That’s why I’ve come to collect you from this festering hiding place. You're a perfect partner for me, because you were once a Chinese chojin who was on par with the Ramenman. Why don't you come with me to the West?”

Gokuman was taken aback by the sudden offer, but he knew that if he chose to stay then his life would remain boring and empty, and so – now Ramenman had died – he took upon himself the mantel of being the chojin who would carry with him the future of China. He felt so inspired, he agreed to Bombe’s request. He said in a firm voice:

“Okay, I’ll back you up, and I’ll make a fresh start in life. If I lead you to the land of Gandhara, will you promise me that – once again – the world will know the name of ‘Gokuman’? Can my wish come true?”

“Oh, most certainly.”

This is how Gokuman became Bombe’s partner.

── To be continued

Chapter Two

Part One

Dr Bombe and Gokuman walked west together. Gokuman used to think that it was more fun to travel with someone else than to travel alone, but – now he was stating a journey with Dr Bombe – he felt that this was not always necessarily the case. They had spent nearly a whole day together, but their entire journey had been spent in complete silence.

Gokuman could not bear it any longer, and made to speak to Dr Bombe, who walked with the healthy stride of someone a fraction of his age. Dr Bombe beat him to the punch, as he said:

“It’s been lonely travelling this far all alone, so I’m glad to have your company.”

The response took Gokuman by surprise, as if Bombe somehow saw into his mind and chose that precise moment to speak, and so Gokuman said straight back: “Sorry, Gramps, but you’re no fun at all! If anything, it’s just been super awkward all this time! Let’s at least chat a bit! Back and forth, back and forth! A bit of conversational back and forth is important, isn’t it?”

“Ho Ho Ho,” laughed Bombe. “You are a funny one. I've noticed that you've been quiet for a long time, and I’ve noticed you watching me for a long time now, as if searching for something to talk about. It’s inevitable I’d find you fascinating, the way you’ve been watching me all day.”

“You . . . You're a nasty piece of work! If you noticed me, you should’ve said something!”

“No, no, no. It may be true that conversation is important, but to force conversation is rather draining, and that will make it even harder to be around one another. You’ve clearly been thinking about what to talk about for some time, and just the way you look at me speaks volumes, in fact.”

“I don’t get what you’re trying to say. How can you understand me unless I use my words?”

“You’re still young,” continued Bombe. “If you think that only words can convey meaning, you will be forever fooled by those with a silver-tongue. In order to garner an insight into a person’s thoughts, you must analyse their looks, breathing, aura, body movements, tone of voice, and even their rhythm of speech. The truth cannot be comprehended unless you take everything into account. To put it another way, one does not communicate by words alone.”

“I don’t understand a thing you say!”

“No, you know what I mean. At least, you know enough to know we are not incompatible as a pair.”

Gokuman grew embarrassed, as such he blushed a little . . . well, he was a monkey, and as such he was already a little red in the face in the first place, but still he blushed. He even made up for his inability to blush by cursing up a storm in frustration. He spat out:

“Hmph, you’re an awful old man!”

“Well, just remember that you don’t need to agree with me, but what I say may still be useful to you in future. Ah! While we were talking, it looks like company has arrived.”

Gokuman looked out over the bleak and murky dessert ahead of them. He soon saw a huge chojin, who was around 240cm tall, and – as they grew clearer – they appeared half-naked with a face much like an antlion and their skin very dark in tone. The huge body shook as it walked, but eventually stopped about 10m away from them, as he blocked their path onward. The chojin called out to them:

“My name is Scatter Spider, the protector of the Gobi Desert! Oh, you sinful travellers have disturbed my long sleep; if you dare to proceed, your unforgiveable crime shall result in your sacrifice. You –”

“Shut up,” screamed Gokuman. “Special Technique: Straight Magic Staff!”

“Gebooooo!!”

Before the spider can finish his spiel, Gokuman hit him in the face with his fist! Gokuman’s hand mysteriously stretched out, until it struck the spider-man right in his face at the incredible distance! Scatter Spider stumbled back and collapsed, as he mumbled out: “Wh-What an outrage . . .”

“You've been talking too long and it’s driving me crazy! You’ve just been woken up, and clearly you’re not a morning person, so go get some breakfast and don’t dare eat us!”

“You may be right, but this is still just awful . . . guwah!

Dr Bombe had watched the whole scene unfold, until he finally said to Gokuman: “What’s the matter? Are you finally starting to understand? Talking for the sake of talking does not convey any real meaning.”

“Shut it, you! How many more of these things will attack us before we reach Gandhara?”

“Hmm,” said Bombe. “I know many evil chojin who bear grudges about me. It seems that someone secretly put a bounty on my head. I’m sure that our path will be filled with more chojin looking to claim their prize, which is why I called on you to act as my bodyguard. Hahaha, thank God, as you saved me!”

In contrast to the carefree and confident Bombe, Gokuman was red with anger. No, it was red because he was actually a monkey . . .

“Don’t ‘hahaha’ me,” spat Gokuman. “You got me into a lot more trouble than I expected! Anyway, I forgot to ask, but you said that you said that you needed three friends. What about that?”

“Oh, there's a trio of chojin called the ‘Guardians of Gandhara’. It is said that they will not let us pass unless we overcome their challenges, and they won’t accept a challenge unless it’s from a group of three. If this is the case, it means I have trouble ahead.”

“That doesn’t sound like ‘trouble’. What’re the challenges, anyway?”

“I don't know until I actually go there, but no one has ever returned from Gandhara. It could be that it’s actually a pretty fun place, or it could be that maybe everyone just . . .”

“Well, there’s no point worrying about it,” said Gokuman after some thought. “I actually have some trusted companions from back in the olden days, and there’s three of us including myself. I could call them over here, as we used to be pretty proud of our ironclad teamwork. Oi, come on!”

Gokuman used his fingers to whistle. The sky soon turned dark, as a large tornado approached them from a distance down their path. The tornado soon came to a stop in front of them, where it lost its power and disappeared from sight, and there – lying on the ground – rested two new chojin. They stood centre of where the tornado had been, and they cast their eyes directly on Gokuman, who said:

“Let me introduce you my two closest friends: Gojoman and Hakkaiman!”

Part Two

Poor thing . . . they were suddenly carried this way without any warning, and it hardly seemed polite to treat one’s close friends in such a manner. Regardless, they confidently stood and introduced themselves:

“I – I’m Gojoman. I’m the incarnation of a kappa! You can't beat my speed and shrewdness!”

“I’m the incarnation of a pig: Hakkaiman! If you want power and energy, you can rely on me!”

The kappa-like chojin was cool, intelligent, and attractive. The second chojin was more rounded and overweight, much like a pig, and seemed rather like a good-natured third-wheel. Gokuman added with a bright expression:

“And I’m the monkey-incarnation: Gokuman! If the three of us fight together, there’s no one in the world that can stop us! If we were to compare ourselves to sentai heroes: I’d be Red, Gojoman is Blue, and Hakkaiman is yellow. It’s pretty easy to get, huh?”

Once Gokuman finished his boastful speech, Dr Bombe cast him a sceptical look and replied: “No . . . I don’t understand that reference at all, but I at least know you’re good friends. Teamwork is the most important thing . . .”

Before Gokuman could say anything in response, Gojoman instantly grabbed Gokuman by his lapels and said without a moment’s hesitation: “Hey, hold on a second! I’m not sure how many times I have to say not to blow me away by a tornado while I’m sleeping, but if I’ve told Red once then I’ve told him a thousand times! How many times does it take for a monkey to understand? Eh, what kind of explanation does a chimpanzee need?”

“Don’t call me a ‘chimpanzee’, moron! If you're my friend, you're supposed to come when I call you!”

“Then stop summoning me without notice, Chimpanzee!”

“Shut up, you bald-headed prick!”

“Quiet, Chimp!”

“Calm down, guys,” said Hakkaiman. He tried to mediate, while Dr Bombe appeared flustered. “If it can’t be resolved, I’ll take the middle position and act as ‘Red’ instead . . .”

“Hah,” spat Gokuman. “Says the man who spends his whole life eating curry, Fatty!”

“Don't call me fat, you bald-headed chimp! Chimp!

The smile drained from Hakkaiman’s face. After Hakkaiman lost his temper, everything grew entirely out of hand. Dr Bombe started to wonder why Gokuman had summoned them, and prepared to intervene, but – suddenly – a bird-shaped chojin came from the south. No, there was a whole flock of bird-shaped chojin from the southern skies! There were about thirty of them!

“Oi,” cried Bombe. “This is no time to be fighting over trivial matters! Look south!”

Everyone cast their eyes to the south, once Bombe spoke, but it was too late. The leader of the bird-shaped chojin turned to the sentai heroes and said:

“I’ve been waiting for you, Dr Bombe! My name is Condora; I’m a bird-type chojin from the Himalayas, and this is my clan! I have come to you from the foothills of the Himalayas, far to the south, to claim the huge bounty that I’ll receive if I kill you. I’m a bit reluctant to take the life of one so old, but our lives depend on this one act! No matter what, I’ll kill you! Let’s go, men!

On his signal, thirty chojin leapt in their air with their claws bared! The three chojin with Dr Bombe stopped their quarrelling at once, and immediately looked strange in countenance.

“Gojo! Hakkai!” Gokuman cried: “Let’s call a truce for now! Let’s show the old man what we’re really made from!”

“Roger!”

The three men moved with breath-taking precision. Gokuman could change his form at will, and Gojoman could appear and disappear at will, and Hakkaiman – with all his strength – could tear through 30 enemy soldiers with hardly any effort. In no time at all, only Condora was left. He screamed out:

“Fuck! What’s up with this no-name escorts?”

“We’re not no-name escorts,” shouted Gokuman. “I’m the blazing chojin . . . Gokuman!”

“And I’m the chojin of the mists . . . Gojoman!”

“And I’m the power chojin: Hakkaiman!”

“No one knows you,” Condora vehemently argued. “I don’t know you! What the hell is wrong with you people? Shit, take my finishing technique: Flying Claw Shower!”

“Huh,” said Gojoman. “You’re hardly breaking conventions as a bird-chojin by flying around.”

Condora opened his sharp claws and lunged at Gokuman! At that moment, however, the clever Gojoman jumped on Condora’s back like a demon, and grabbed Condora by his wings. This position . . . it was so similar to what happened during the Warsman-Pentagon match, but . . . then it happened . . .

“No . . . no!”

Gojoman ruthlessly ripped wings from torso! Condora hurtled downward with great speed, but – just before he collided with the ground – Gokuman and Hakkaiman took a hold of him.

“What? You guys are -?”

“We’re not fighting to kill you,” said Gokuman as if it were obvious. “We only want to get Gramps here to his destination, and – now your wings are gone – you aren’t a threat to him any longer. That’s why we’re letting you go. Now, if you understand, get the heck out of dodge!”

Condora and his clan quickly apologised to Dr Bombe, before they returned to the Himalayas, and – once they left – Dr Bombe said to Gokuman:

“Ah, well . . . if history were different, you three would be world renowned heroes . . .”

“Oh! Haha, well, yeah. I’ve finally convinced you that I’m the real Chinese number one, not Ramenman?!”

“Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but . . . it seems I can count on you. Fufufu.”

“What’s with that vague reply? Oh well . . . I’ll get you to admit it soon enough!”

“Oh, I look forward to that.”

This is how the number of friends increased from three to four. Silently, they walked westward.

── To be continued

Chapter Three

Part One

They crossed the desert. They crossed the grasslands, they crossed the wastelands, and they even crossed the mountains. The four of them continued ever westward, but – in the few days they walked together – many different thugs came to block their path! Each time, the trio of Gokuman, Gojoman and Hakkaiman worked together to protect Dr Bombe, and fought off their enemies with skill and strength.

The strength they showed was so great that Bombe was relieved to have them as his bodyguards, but he was also beginning to notice one major problem rearing its ugly head. The problem was simple . . . the longer their journey went on, the more their energy and spirits were drained. It was on the seventh day of their journey that this problem finally came to a climax. On their way to the high mountains, where the cold and harsh icecaps covered the mountaintops, Gokuman finally shouted out:

“I’m so sick of this!”

Here it comes, thought Bombe. Gokuman continued

“This sucks, this sucks! Gramps, we've been walking and fighting and walking and fighting for over a week now . . . how long will it take us to get to Gandhara?”

“Well, I’m not sure,” said Bombe. “It's said to be deep in the mountains of India or the Middle East, but it's called the Land of Illusions. The truth is that even I don't even know its exact location, except that if I keep walking westward – with my own power – I will one day reach Gandhara.”

“Wait, what? You don’t know how many days it will take to reach?”

“That is correct. We may arrive today or tomorrow at the earliest, and decades later at the latest . . .”

“Fuck! I'm tired of walking and fighting. I wish I knew what to do, but turning back would be a hassle in its own right. I should’ve brought a game or two, like Othello or Trump, or anything at least.” He turned to his friend. “Oi, Gojoman! I’m about to die of hunger; why don’t we dance the Lambada?”

“Ew, that’s gross! I don’t know why you’d think I’d do that with you! If you want to dance, why don’t you dance with that happy little pig over there; I’m sure he can make you smile?”

“You’re so cold for a kappa . . . I guess there’s no point.” Gokuman turned to Hakkaiman and said: “Hey, Piggy, do you know how to dance the lambada?”

“I’m not some country bumpkin! Of course I’ve heard about La Bamba!”

“Oh, my bad. They sound similar, but they’re completely different.”

Gokuman bore a reddened face (likely from anger), but so too did Hakkaiman and Gojoman. They were showing clear signs of frustration in regards to Gokuman’s nonsense. There was no avoiding it, however; they were not well-trained and well-behaved Justice Chojin, but instead just delinquents from the middle-of-nowhere.

The reason why delinquents tend to be delinquent is because they don’t like to deal with serious problems. They lack the patience. That is why they rarely succeed, because you need qualities such as patience to become a world-famous chojin. Bombe wondered how he could ever inspire them, but their lack of patience became apparent once more when Hakkaiman stopped and said:

“Ugh, I’m so tired! I may just sleep here. I'll catch up with you all later, so go on ahead . . . goodnight . . .”

To the surprise of Bombe, Hakkaiman lay down and fell asleep. He was unprotected from the elements, and this was a frigid reason with snowstorms blowing through the wintry mountains, and – without a fire – one would easily freeze to death in their sleep. A shocked Gojoman slapped his back.

“Oi, Piggy,” shouted Gojoman. “Don't you dare go to the mountains in winter! You'll die if you fall asleep! If you close your eyes now, you'll end up as frozen food! Wake up, wake up!”

“But I’m so sleepy . . .”

“If you fall asleep, you’ll die! You fatty! Fat bastard! You’re one fucking chubbsy-wubbzy! . . . hey, why aren’t you waking up out of anger?”

“You can call me ‘fatty’ and ‘chubbsy’ all you want, so long as you let me sleep . . .”

“N-No way! You’re a lost cause!” Gojoman realised his taunts were a lost cause, as such he turned to his other companions and said: “Hey, Monkey, Gramps! What do we do now? We can’t go to Gandhara without this fatty with us!”

“We'll just have to find a place to rest around here,” said Bombe. “Ultimate Eye!”

As soon as he said his strange words, Bombe looked around with a squinting expression. He held his hands over his eyes, and continued to look until he found something. He called out to them:

“'Hey, guys. A little further on, about a kilometre to the west, there's a mountain lodge that's perfect for us. We'll rest there for today.”

Gokuman and Gojoman followed Bombe’s instructions, by carrying the sleeping Hakkaiman for approximately one kilometre, and – just as Bombe said – there was a simply constructed mountain-lodge at the designated place. The three men carried inside the sleeping pig, as there was nowhere else to rest, but Gokuman did express a very reasonable concern on entering:

“Hikers rarely climb these high altitudes, so why would they need a lodge here? Is this okay? Do you think it could be a trap or something?”

The inside of the mountain lodge was in good condition, and there was a lived-in feel to the place. In the middle of the hall, there were three chairs and a large table, and – nearby – a large fireplace with firewood that was ready to be used. The pots, pans and crockery were neatly arranged and the shelves were stocked with preserved foods such as dried meat and vegetables.

“There's someone living here, isn't there?” Gokuman asked. He called out: “Hello, is anyone here?”

Gokuman shouted, but there was no response inside, only the sound of a terrible blizzard outside. There was no point in hesitating, and so Bombe made the final decision for them:

“Hmm, it can’t be helped. It doesn’t seem like anyone is here; we’ll have to stay without permission, and leave some money for any food we take . . .”

Part Two

Gokuman regained his energy on hearing these words and grew excited.

“Yahoo,” cried Gokuman. “It’s been a long time since we've been to a private house! Hey, Gojoman; let’s search the cupboards and drawers, maybe we’ll find a game of Trump or Othello. Do you think they left some behind?”

“You really like Othello, huh? Well, I guess it’s okay by me . . .”

The second this was said, Gojoman casually threw open the door to the adjacent room. A spectacular sight was revealed to his eyes once the door was opened, and he exclaimed:

“Whoa, take a look in the next room! They have a mah-jong table and it’s totally automatic! What’s with this thing? It’s already turned on and glowing, like it’s ready to start a game of mah-jong; I feel like playing a round. What a house!”

“Ah, mah-jong,” said Gokuman. “That’s not bad either, I guess. Hey, Bombe, why don’t you wake up the pig over there and we play four-man mah-jong for a while? It’s good to take a break, right?”

“Well, I don’t mind, but . . .”

“Oi, that’s settled, then!” Gokuman turned to Hakkaiman and shouted: “Wake up, Hakkaiman! It’s warm now, so are you going to get up?”

“Uh,” mumbled Hakkaiman. “Uh-huh . . . hmm . . . hmm . . . ”

“He’s still half-asleep, but it’s fine. He always discards the tiles he draws, so we just need to throw away any tiles he’s drawn, too.”

They forced the half-asleep Hakkaiman to sit down on a chair, and the four of them began a mah-jong game. They would say things like: ‘Hakkaiman, ron! Great move!’ or ‘Alright, I’ve got a ron! Triple score!’ Gokuman and Gojoman were happy, as they mercilessly beat Hakkaiman, who was almost unconsciously throwing away his tiles. Bombe felt a little sorry for him, as Hakkaiman muttered out:

“. . . guys . . . are you really enjoying this game of mah-jong?”

“Yeah! It’s great!”

“Totally! We’re beating Fatty!”

“. . . you guys are really mean . . .”

Everyone seemed to have great fun, as they played their mah-jong tournament with the intent of beating Hakkaiman. At that moment, the door of the mountain lodge opened and someone entered. They said in a loud voice:

“Hmph! Brother, the snowstorm today is awful!”

“We’re back now,” said another. “We'll play mah-jong by the fireplace!”

“If only we had one more person, we could play a normal game of four-people instead of three.”

“Well . . . it is out fate. We’re three brothers. No matter how hard the challenge, or how fun the game, the three of us have done everything together. One arrow may break easily, but three arrows will never break. Since ancient times, the number ‘three’ has been synonymous with the number of people needed to achieve ‘perfection’. I hope that’s enough to convince you that mah-jong is better with three people, and – with three of us – the game will be more fun than you expect . . .”

The man called ‘Brother’ opened the door to the mah-jong room and heard:

‘Hey! Fatty got a ron! What a turn!’

Bam! . . . He must have been going crazy.

There was somehow a total stranger inside, playing mah-jong in a very loud voice! How did they get into their home?! The second he saw those men, he made the perfectly fair objection:

“H-Hey, you guys! What are you doing? Why are you playing in someone else’s home?”

“Gyaaaaah! Get out! It’s the mah-jong tile monster!”

“Y-You guys are so rude!”

Despite the shouts of the terrified Gokuman, they stood calm, and yet it was no wonder that Gokuman was so surprised, because – while these three men were normal humanoids from the neck down – their heads were giant mah-jong tiles! Each of them was a plain "white" tile, a green "hatsu" tile, and a red "chun" tile. The so-called "three-element tile" in mah-jong terms is the face of the three people, so it's no wonder anyone Gokuman was surprised on first meeting them.

Still, it seemed they were accustomed to this kind of thing. At first they were annoyed by the rude reaction, but gradually they regained their composure and began to introduce themselves. One of them made his introductions to the group:

“Well, it is true that we are a peculiar people, so it’s understandable that you were surprised on a glance. There seems to be no hostility, so let me introduce myself again: we’re chojin who are incarnations of mah-jong tiles, and I – the eldest – am White!”

“I – the second son – am Green.”

“I am the third son: Red.”

“We’re the Three-Tile Warriors: Daisangen! Hahaha!”

The dumbfounded Gokuman could only let out a groan of admiration: “. . . uuuuh.”

White – the leader of Daisangen – asked Gokuman and his group again: “So what are you goes doing in other people's homes?”

“Ah, well, we were trying to travel during this snowstorm. You see that pig half-asleep there? He was exhausted and looking for a place to rest, which is when we found this house! I tried to call out, but no one responded . . . the door was unlocked so I just went inside. I'm sorry!”

“I see. That's a shame. If that's the case, I'm happy to provide you with a place to stay. By the way, why are you travelling so deep into the mountains? This isn’t the kind of place where an ordinary tourist would come . . .”

“Oh, that's because we are travelling in search of a place called 'Gandhara', although we don't really know where it is as such! You'll probably laughing at us once you hear about it, hahaha!”

The atmosphere surrounding the three members of the Daisangen changed completely, as soon as they heard that answer. One of them exclaimed:

“My, is that right . . . well, in that case, welcome to Hell, also known as Gandhara!”

"Wait . . . what?!"

Gokuman and his men immediately shifted into a fighting stance.

── To be continued

Chapter Four

Part One

“Hold up.” Gokuman was now bright red in the face. “This is Gandhara? What’s that supposed to mean, Daisangen?”

White – the leader of Daisangen – spoke calmly to Gokuman: “Let me explain. We are the Daisangen, who are gatekeepers to the land of Gandhara. We have been tasked with keeping out intruders.”

That was lucky! They were blessed to have found such information about the whereabouts of Gandhara . . . so much so that Gokuman dispelled whatever suspicions he once had, and assumed a stoic face as he reached out to them for a handshake.

“Stop,” called Bombe. “Back away, Gokuman!”

Bombe's voice rang out from behind him, but it was too late. White grabbed at Gokuman’s wrist and threw him high in the air, while Green jumped out and chased after the other two men. They were just about to grab Gokuman at the same time, but Gojoman and Hakkaiman woke up at that precise moment, and used the opportunity to grab Green and Red from behind. They both assumed the position of a German Suplex and descended from the skies at the same time.

“Let’s go, Piggy!”

“Okay, Kappa!”

‘Double German Suplex Hold,’ they yelled.

‘Guwaah!’

Bang! Bang!

The two members of Daisangen suffered tremendous blows at the same time. White grinned with his expressionless face and said: “Hmm, it’s been a long time since someone with a backbone has come along to challenge us.”

Green and Red rubbed at their heads, as they stood up and assumed a new position. The six men were once again divided into two camps: three against three. They glared at each other, while Bombe watched them from a three metre distance behind Gokuman.

“You’re one crazy monkey,” yelled Hakkaiman. “It’s like you can’t read your opponent at all!”

“S-Sorry, Gojoman, Hakkaiman,” muttered Gokuman. “I shouldn’t have let my guard down around those walking mah-jong tiles! Oi, you guys!” Gokuman turned to the Daisangen and continued: “What the hell are you guys planning to do next?”

White politely answered the question, even as he let loose a strange laugh: “It’s just like I said: we’re the gatekeepers of the holy land of Gandhara We will not just let anyone of doubtful origin pass through, and – let me tell you something else – there’s only one entrance to Gandhara in this world”

“Only one . . .”

“And, in fact, the entrance is hidden in this ordinary mountain lodge!"

“No way . . . in this dilapidated lodge? This is the entrance to Gandhara?”

“This mountain lodge isn’t just a mah-jong parlour, fufufu. It’s not like you would believe us, but that is the simple truth. It will always seem that paradise is far away, but it’s always closer to hand that one thinks. Humans are foolish creatures and will die without realising this, but our ramshackle lodge is actually the representation of this abstract idea.”

“Hmm, well, I don’t really get what you’re saying, but I especially don’t get why you would tell us such a big secret. If you don't want anyone to join you in Gandhara, you should just keep quiet about the place. Better yet, why go out of your way to explain all this only to attack us anyway!”

It was a fair question, and one that Green answered: “It’s not as though we’re not to let anyone through, but just that our mission is to test whether they are truly worthy to pass! You need three things to pass our tests: intelligence, strength, and luck!”

Gokuman struggled to comprehend the current events, and so Red – the third son – continued the explanation on his brothers’ behalf: “Well ‘Intelligence’ relates to the ‘heart’. Gandhara has many wonderful secrets and medicines, all unique to this world, but – if someone with a bad heart were to steals them – they could also be used for terrible things. That is why we test your heart.

“We also must test physical strength, because a good person can easily be robbed of our potions and elixirs on their return home, which would be awful should they fall into evil hands. That is why we test for strength. Finally, we test for luck. This is left to the discretion of our guardian entity, and only with their blessing shall we accept you into Gandhara.

“At this moment in time, you have passed the Intelligence and Strength portions of the test. You have already passed the tests of intellect and strength, and you are now ready for the final test. Do you understand?”

After such a detailed explanation, Gokuman finally understood.

“So you have three qualities to measure: Intelligence, Strength, and Luck,” said Gokuman. “By ‘intelligence’, you don’t mean just the ability to pass a high-school quiz either, but whether we have real ‘heart’. We passed ‘strength’ easily enough, but how’d we pass ‘Intelligence’?”

“Well, you three are certainly idiots, but you’re not bad people,” said White. “Plus, the old man behind you has enough heart to make up for you three fool, and he also has an uncanny sense of justice and a desire to do right by others. This is why I’ve decided to pass you on that quality.”

“Daisangen,” said Bombe on hearing these words. “Thank you for your explanations. I beg you, though, please let me through . . . I have no time to waste.”

“No, old man. It doesn’t matter how much you ask, but you can’t enter until you pass the final test. Do please understand: this is our purpose. You must have anticipated this, else why would you bring three companions with you?”

It was true. It was said that to reach Gandhara, one needed a group of three people tied together with an unbreakable bond. He knew of this information, as such he asked Gokuman and his friends to escort him to his destination, and he knew from the start what was to happen.

“So it comes to this . . . very well. Gokuman, Gojoman, and Hakkaiman -? This is the final test of the Daisangen, and I must leave my fate in your hands . . . no, I pass the torch and entrust the hope of the world to you! Please, open the locked doors to Gandhara! I beg you!”

The three smiled as much as possible, before they turned to him and said:

“Of course, Gramps! Who do you think we are?”

“We’re the most reliable trio in China!”

“Hmph! Let’s go! Gojoman! Hakkaiman!”

Alright!”

Part Two

White explained the rules to Gokuman, along with the others who stepped forward:

“Okay, for our last game, we’ll settle things with what we call the ‘blind tile’ in mah-jong. In short, it’s a game in which you feel a tile without looking at it, and you have to guess what the tile is, but the three tiles are based on us: the Daisangen. In particular, it’s based on our faces. In other words, there are only three types of tiles: White, Green, and Red. It's a simple game of guessing who it is by stroking our faces as we stand facing backwards. If any one of you three succeeds, this task will be completed. Do you have any questions?"

Gokuman and his three companions were sure of victory. It seemed far too simple to guess which of such a large tile would be white, green, or red from a mere touch.

“It’s not like we’re trying our luck, and we have a good shot,” said Gokuman. “But if they’re okay with that, I’m happy with that, too. I don't have any questions.”

“Then it's time to start. First, the first challenger, come out.”

Gojoman went first. He said to the Daisangen:

“I’ll go first; I’ll make quick work of this. Now turn around!”

“Right, that’s fine. Let’s begin . . .”

As soon as the three Daisangen lined up with their backs facing, they began to change places at an unbelievable speed. And when it finally stops, the instructions fly. One asked him:

“Who am I on the right?”

Gojoman stood behind the man on the far right and stroked his face. It was too easy. He felt one line clearly engraved in its centre.

“Easy, anyone would get this! You’re the third son!”

Right after that, the man said:

“Haha! Sorry to say this, but you’re wrong . . .”

The man turned around, but – strange to say – he was plain white!

“Th-That can't be right! What do you mean?”

At that point, White frowned and large wrinkles formed on his face.

“He's a cheat!” Gojoman protested. “It's not a valid game! It's cheating!”

“You should have used your better judgement to predict we’d use tricks,” said White, refusing to overturn his decision. “You were defeated, as you did not give it enough thought.”

“Argh! Damn it! So . . . Wh-What now?”

Gojoman accepted his defeat, but – no sooner had he done so – a cloud came out of nowhere and enveloped his entire body.

“What the hell?”

With a popping sound, Gojoman turned into a small mah-jong tile. The front of the tile was carefully engraved with the word ‘kappa’ in kanji.

Gokuman and Hakkaiman asked in unison:

“Is that what happens if we lose?”

“Don’t worry,” replied White. “He’s not dead. Rest assured, he will be able to return to your original form as soon as one of the two of you can overcome our challenges. Although, in the ten years or so that people have been trying to get to Gandhara, not a single one of them has ever returned to their original form . . . !”

Ah, so that was why no one had come back from Gandhara as of late. Bombe finally understood, but at the same time he felt that this game was too formidable. This was not a test of luck, nor was it a simple mind game. This was a test of something bigger . . . this was a test to find out the true nature of the opponent; a test to see if they could see the truth, without being fooled by trivial matters.

“Oi, Gokuman –”

Bombe tried to say more, but White interrupted him with:

“Hold on, Sir. You can’t give him any advice. This is a game for a team of three; anyone else lending a hand or offering advice is a cause for disqualification."

Bombe bit his tongue and fell silent. He did not know how to proceed. If Gokuman or Hakkaiman realised that one simple fact, the game would be easy for them to win, but . . . time seemed to stand cruelly still, as he was unable to divulge to them what they needed to know.

“All right,” said Hakkaiman. “I'll go next! Kappa, I'll bring you back to us; you wait!”

“Hmm, you you’re Hakkaiman?” White asked. “You’re so proud of your power, but . . . how do you plan to win a game like this with strength alone?”

“Will you boast about your strength now?” Green asked.

“He has nothing to say,” said Red. “He hasn’t even the strength to open his mouth.”

“You can do this, Hakkaiman,” called out Gokuman.

Despite being nervous, Hakkaiman stepped forward.

Chapter Five

Part One

The second round of the Blind Tile Game began right away. Hakkaiman was their next challenger, and he stood at their backs, as the Daisangen lined up with their backs to him. They shuffled themselves again at a remarkably high speed, but they eventually came to a stop . . .

“Alright,” said one. “Which one of us is in the middle?”

The question was asked to Hakkaiman just like the question had been asked before, and – just like before – Hakkaiman stroked at the face of the Daisangen member from behind. He was surprised to feel that there was nothing there to the touch, and his hand stroked up and over a smooth surface. It was obviously a blank tile.

“Hmm,” he hummed. “This feels like . . .”

If this were to be taken at face value, it was obviously the eldest brother: White. The problem was that Gojoman was caught unawares by their trickery earlier, and so it was hard to say for certain. It wasn’t easy to answer. He thought about his situation again; like with White, any one of them may be able to create lines on their faces that were not originally there, but it should not be possible to erase lines. If that was true, the answer had to obviously be:

“White! I’ve made up my mind! I’m sure you were trying to trick us earlier on, hoping we’d stop taking things at face value, but I’m not going to be fooled by that!”

“Bu Bu Bu! Wrong again!”

The Daisangen member burst out into laughter, almost at the exact second that Hakkaiman spoke, and he turned around to reveal – against all odd – the green kanji for the word ‘Green’!

“H-How?! I – I’d surely have felt so many of those messy and complicated lines . . .”

Green scrunched up his face, and soon the kanji grew small, until the tile was completely blank.

“Oh,” said Hakkaiman. “So that’s how it is . . .”

At that moment, the smoke returned from nowhere and enveloped his body, as he whispered: ‘Kappa, I’ll be seeing you soon’. Hakkaiman transformed – with a small popping sound – into a mah-jong tile, with the word ‘Pig’ engraved on its surface a perfectly formed kanji. Gokuman glared at the three Daisangen, who headed in his direction, before he turned to his two companions that now sat motionless as mah-jong tiles.

“Ha Ha Ha,” laughed Green. “How boring; now you’re all that’s left, Gokuman.”

“Tch,” spat Gokuman. “Why, damn it?! They’re still all talk and useless as ever. They do it all the time; always trying to be cool, always going first without asking . . . always getting beaten up in the end. It's pathetic. Who do you think cleans up after those idiots them every time?”

That kind of abusive language could not be ignored! In an instant, Bombe dove before Gokuman and slapped at his cheek with full force, sending him flying backward.

“What the hell?!” Bombe yelled. “Oh, now I see your true colours. . .”

Shut up!” Gokuman screamed. “Shut your face, you stupid old man!”

Bombe was surprised, and it was no wonder. Gokuman was bright red in the face from his tears . . . well, he was red in the face because he was a monkey, but his face was all the more red from having cried so hard, and his eyes were quite swollen, too. He mumbled when he spoke next:

“Hey, Gramps, they’ve always been like that. Even when they don’t have a plan, they’ll still go first and get beaten up for their efforts. It’s because of their sacrifice that I’m always able to win; if I fought alone, I’d always lose, but – if I were to take the beating – they’d be there to take my place . . .”

“Fu Fu Fu,” laughed Bombe. “Now that’s what I call a ‘bond of trust’. It doesn’t matter how much you curse each other out, as you’ll always have unconditional faith in one another. You know that even if they do lose, everything will be fine so long as you’re there to avenge them.”

“Oh, shut it! It ain’t exactly a good thing.”

“No, it is a good thing, and I think you know that. Words aren't the only way to communicate. In order to understand another person's real feelings, you have to analyze their gaze, breathing, aura, body movements, tone of voice, rhythm of speech, and . . . well . . . everything. It means that –”

White, the leader of the Daisangen, interrupted to say:

“It’s time to end this pointless discussion. Come forward, Gokuman.”

Gokuman looked Bombe in the eye and gave a small nod, before he turned on his heels and walked toward the Daisangen. He said: “Alright time to get started, Four-Tile Warriors!”

“You’ve got it wrong! We’re not the Four-Tile Warriors, we’re the Three-Tile Warriors: the Daisangen! Bah, anyway, it’s time to shuffle!”

The three men turned their backs to him, just like they did previously to his comrades, and they moved at their usual unbelievably fast pace. They stopped. The one on the far left asked:

“Who am I on the far left?”

“Hmm,” said Gokuman, who did not even try to touch the face of the man on the left. “Would you mind if I touched the face of the man on the far right instead?”

The man on the far right jerked his shoulders, but the man in the middle caught the reflex from the corner of his eye and stopped the man on the right before he could move. It was this man in the middle that said: “No. You can only touch the face of the man on the left!”

The moment that Gokuman heard those words, his whole demeanour relaxed.

“Thanks. That’ll do for me,” said Gokuman. “Oi, you on the far left! You’re the youngest brother, right?”

The far left man was surprised and shouted: “N-No! You can’t know that without touching me!”

“No, I know it,” countered Gokuman. “I also know the one in the middle is White, the eldest, and the one on the far right is the middle son. I think that’s everything.”

Part Two

At that moment, the man on the far right groaned out:

“Ugh . . . s-sorry! It’s no good, Brother! I’m already –”

A large cloud of smoke surrounded that same man, and – with a poof – he transformed at once into a green mah-jong tile. After that, a large cloud of smoke surrounded the man on the far left, who turned into a red mah-jong tile, and the final remaining man – with his white face – turned around and asked them with his wrinkled face:

“How did you know? You didn’t even touch him. . .!”

“Right! Well, it didn’t make sense to touch their faces,” said Gokuman. “Hakkaiman and Gojoman made that perfectly clear. Your voices also sound the same, so I couldn’t go off that, which is why I decided to check out the relationships between you guys and your personalities . . . that’s how I worked it out.”

“But you did it so quickly!”

“I know; it’s hard to put into words, but it’s like each of you unconsciously give off an aura. First up, White is the one that gives out all the orders, and you other two are always waiting for him to tell you what to do, because he’s the eldest son. It was the same when I made that stupid suggestion just now: only one of you took over and gave orders, and so  - obviously – that had to be White in the middle.”

“Tch!”

“Next, we have your reaction times,” continued Gokuman. “There was only one of you three that constantly kept having knee-jerk reactions to anything we said or did, and it was annoying every time you did it. That person was you, Green, as the second son. The third son was the opposite to the second son, as he was the type that dealt with matters calmly. The one on the right was the first to react, so he had to be Green, and – by process of elimination – the one on the left has to be Red.”

White clenched his fists in frustration, but then raised his head and said: “I see. You’re a rather unique chojin, aren’t you? At first glance, you seemed like an idiot, but you’re actually rather astute. The old man must have seen your potential, with a trained eye that can see beneath the surface. Alright. You have my approval. I invite all four of you, including the old man, to Gandhara!”

As soon as White said this, there was a huge cloud of smoke around them . . .

“Hey, what’s with this smoke?” Gokuman asked. “This isn’t what you promised!”

After a loud ‘poof’, they all turned into small mah-jong tiles.

It was unknown how much time passed. Gokuman and Bombe awakened to find themselves by a river, where there were many fantastical flowers in full bloom. Gojoman and Hakkaiman were standing above them, peering down from above, as Gojoman shouted to them:

“Oi, wake up! Get up! You two bastards are late!”

“Are you finally here?” Hakkaiman asked. “We were sick of waiting for you!”

Gokuman and Bombe looked around. It was a fantastical sight before them, one that stretched as far as the eye could see, and it seemed like something from another world. This had to be heaven, didn’t it? Gokuman was still confused, as he asked the two men that came before:

“I've got a lot of questions for you, but first . . . where are we?”

“Oh, right.” Gojoman explained: “We’re kind of in Gandhara.”

This is Gandhara?”

“Eh, well, I was surprised when I was turned into a mah-jong tile, but they told me it was part of a ritual that would send me to Gandhara. I don’t know the details, but they said that you can’t come here while you’re still in a physical form. It’s a pretty tall tale, though.”

“When they bring people here, they take their souls and put them in a safe state of suspended animation,” added Hakkaiman. “That’s why it seems like they’re being transformed into mah-jong tiles.”

“Okay,” replied Gokuman. “But why use the form of mah-jong tiles and not something else?”

“It’s just what they like best, I guess.”

After they finished their conversation, a giant man over three metres high appeared. He was very slender, and the four men were very shocked to see him. The man said to them:

“My name is Tallman. I live here in Gandhara.”

“You’re so big! You’re so thin! Do you live here all the time? Are you also in a state of suspended animation?”

“Hmm, I’m not sure about that,” said Tallman. “The chojin gods asked me to show around any visitors, that’s all.”

“Oh, Tallman!” Bombe immediately asked back: “If you really are the messenger of the gods, you should know why I’m here! I am searching for a secret medicine, which I very much need . . .”

“Yes, it's necessary to make a medical mask. Scoop the water from the river and bottle it up. After waking up from suspended animation, the bottled water should have turned into a secret elixir.”

“Oh, thank you! This will save the world! The long-awaited Mongolman mask is ready at last!”

“Hmm,” Gokuman said in an all-too casual manner. “What’s that, Gramps? You mentioned something about a Mongolman mask?”

“Oh . . . ah.” Bombe blushed. “I’m really sorry that I didn’t tell you the truth, especially as you’ve brought me here and helped me so much, but the truth is that a famous Chinese chojin has fallen sick and cannot make a medical recovery . . . I swore to come here in search of a secret medicine that would cure him.”

“Hmm, a famous Chinese chojin, eh?”

“It’s hard to find the words, but . . . that chojin is actually –”

The grin on Gokuman’s lips stopped Bombe midsentence, as he stood with mouth open.

“No worries, Gramps. If you’ve got your eye on him so bad, he must be one hell of a guy. I want you to go back and heal him up, but . . . tell him this from me . . . one day, I want a proper fight with him.”

“Gokuman . . . everyone . . . when did you realise the truth?”

Gokuman pretended to be blasé about matters, but his face was still bright red. He turned away to hide from the eyes of Bombe, as if he were suddenly shy, and mumbled out:

“You can always tell when an old geezer is hiding something by the sorry-ass look on his face!”

“Ah . . . uh . .  .”

“You kept it quiet so as not to hurt our pride, right? Well, it’s fine, as the feeling’s mutual. I know now that not everything can be known by words alone . . . sometimes you got to feel the truth. You’re the one that taught me that, Gramps!”

Hearing this, Doctor Bombe closed his eyes and then said in a calm tone: “Yes, that's right . . . I'm really proud to be able to travel with you, even if it was for such a short time. Thank you so much . . . thank you!”

* * *

A few days later, a new hero was born to the Justice Chojin.

His name was Mongolman, and he happened to look a little like Ramen Man . . .

── The End

Navigation

Advertisement