Chapter 34:

The Way of the Samurai (Mezu versus Biker)


Mezu ran towards the Nuclear Cooling Tower. The sound of gunfire was everywhere. Bookmark here

Surely the scientists wouldn’t have been stupid enough to put a secret stockpile of nuclear warheads in a nuclear cooling tower?Bookmark here

He looked around for a way to climb the Nuclear Cooling Tower and check the interior, but there was nothing. The only thing nearby was a nuclear bunker. With no better ideas, he ran over and cut open the door. There were a group of scared-looking scientists inside. Bookmark here

‘Please don’t kill us!’ said an Asian woman. The name tag on her lab coat read Professor Soba.Bookmark here

Mezu rested his zanbatō on his shoulder to look intimidating. ‘Where are the nuclear warheads? In the Nuclear Cooling Tower?’Bookmark here

‘I don’t know.’ Professor Soba’s ears twitched.Bookmark here

Mezu gave a long sigh. ‘You baka gaijins actually put nuclear warheads in a nuclear cooling tower. Unbelievable.’Bookmark here

Professor Soba clasped her hands together. ‘You can’t let the Patriots get their hands on them! If they do, we’re all doomed!’Bookmark here

Mezu heard cannon fire behind him.Bookmark here

In the distance, a trio of Army tanks were backing up while firing their main guns. From out of the darkness came Biker on his cruiser motorbike followed by thirty Patriots on quad bikes. Biker did a wheelie and cut the middle tank in half with his motorbike’s chainsaw wheels. The Patriots swarmed on the other two and cut them apart with their chainsaw halberds. They turned and sped towards the Nuclear Cooling Tower. Bookmark here

Doctor Soba and the scientists screamed.Bookmark here

Mezu raised his zanbatō at the Patriots. Damn it! The scientists would have at least been safe if I hadn’t cut open the door! Now I have to worry about them too!Bookmark here

When Biker saw Mezu, he skidded to a halt and held his hand up to the others to stop them. ‘Woah, boys, slow down! It seems we’ve encountered a samurai! This is Mezu of the Big Five! Slayer of Shark Man, Gozu, and our very own Girl Scout! We need to mind our manners around such a dangerous individual!’  Bookmark here

He revved his motorbike engine. The Patriots copied him.Bookmark here

Mezu wasn’t sure whether he was being praised or mocked. He chose to be optimistic. ‘It is good to see you have learned respect for the way of the samurai, Biker. Leave now with your men, or I will take your heads.’Bookmark here

Biker started shaking. ‘Oooh! You hear that, boys! The samurai’s given us bandits an ultimatum! It’s like an Akira Kurosawa film!’ He leant forwards on his handlebars. ‘But y’see, the thing is, samurai, I haven’t learned respect for anything. You killed a big dumb fish, your own little brother, who according to the rumours had never even defeated you in a duel, and a thirteen-year-old girl. It’s not exactly like you took down the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, is it? If I’m honest, you’re a terrible fighter married to an obsolete martial art and an archaic warrior culture. I’m going to enjoy putting you in your place.’Bookmark here

Mezu narrowed his eyes. ‘My ancestors encountered braggart horsemen too. Come then. Test your mettle.’Bookmark here

Biker revved his motorbike. ‘First wave, go!’Bookmark here

Ten Patriots sped towards Mezu with their chainsaw halberds raised.Bookmark here

An easy battle.Bookmark here

Suddenly, the Patriots lit up with sparks. They were using the Zone! Bookmark here

For some reason, a memory flashed through Mezu’s mind. He and the Oyabun had been drinking green tea in the dojo on the day before he set out to America for the Death Game.Bookmark here

Master, he had said. Something has been troubling me. I’m not sure I can continue to fulfil my role as both a samurai and a yakuza.Bookmark here

The Patriots rushed Mezu. Bookmark here

‘Zone Technique: Breaking Wave!’ Mezu cut through chainsaw halberds, quad bikes, and Patriots in a flowing stream of attacks. Bookmark here

Try your best, Mezu, his Oyabun had said. My Wakagashira's influence is growing. I am the only thing keeping him in check. I need the Dagger of Life and Death so I can retain control of the Udon Family.Bookmark here

Biker revved his motorbike. ‘Second wave, go!’Bookmark here

Ten more Patriots rushed Mezu.Bookmark here

‘Zone Technique: Tidal Wave!’ Mezu slashed the ten Patriots with a single strike, but only five fell. Those remaining thrust through his defensive Zone and ripped the flesh beneath. Pained, he cut through their chainsaw halberds and set about executing the unarmed men one by one.Bookmark here

I will try my best, master.Bookmark here

Biker revved his motorbike. ‘Third wave, go!’Bookmark here

The last ten Patriots rushed Mezu. Bookmark here

‘Zone Technique: Rogue Wave!’ Mezu swung wildly at the Patriots and beheaded one. The rest impaled him with their chainsaw halberds and pushed him backwards towards the nuclear bunker. Professor Soba and the other scientists screamed.Bookmark here

The pain was nothing in comparison to the shame.Bookmark here

Another memory flashed through Mezu’s mind. He had been sitting in the Tarantula House Café with Jack discussing the dishonour his brother Gozu had brought to the Takenaka family.Bookmark here

I don’t get it, Jack had said as he ate a chocolate chip muffin. If you’re from a family of assassins, then how is anything Gozu has done dishonourable to you?Bookmark here

We are not assassins, Mezu had said. We are samurai. We have a code of honour. Bookmark here

Mezu, I know I’m not one to talk, but you kill entire families with the exception of the kids, for Chrissakes! That’s not honourable. You’re a monster like me and every other slasher I’ve ever met. You’re just a little better than Gozu from the sounds of it. And I mean, you say Gozu has been corrupted, but I think the Takenaka family was corrupted by the Udon Family two hundred years ago. They’ve been feeding you a line about you still being samurai while using you as assassins. If I were you, I’d just leave the Yakuza. Figure out what you want to do.Bookmark here

Mezu had ignored Jack’s advice at the time, but now it sounded like the wisest thing he’d ever heard.Bookmark here

What did he want to do?Bookmark here

He looked at Professor Soba.Bookmark here

Just once, I’d like to save the girl instead of ruining her life.Bookmark here

He severed the chainsaw halberds from their polearms and slashed savagely through the Patriots and their quad bikes. Bookmark here

He walked forwards shakily, nine chainsaw halberds through his torso.Bookmark here

Biker was silent.Bookmark here

‘Can I ask you something?’ said Mezu.Bookmark here

‘Sure,’ said Biker.Bookmark here

‘What do you fight for?’Bookmark here

'The thrill.'Bookmark here

Mezu smiled and nodded. ‘I’ll give you a thrilling battle then.’Bookmark here

Biker revved his motorbike. ‘I’ll come at you with everything I have. Zone Special: Hell on Wheels!’Bookmark here

Biker’s chainsaw wheels cracked the concrete. He did a wheelie and rushed at Mezu, too fast to dodge.Bookmark here

Mezu slowly breathed in and out. ‘Zone Technique: Breaking Wave.’Bookmark here

Mezu let the chainsaw wheel cut him in half. Bookmark here

Then he cut through Biker and his motorbike with one strike. Bookmark here

A memory of him, Gozu, and the Oyabun laughing in the dojo flashed through his mind.Bookmark here

He smiled and fell.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.