There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One MYSELF!
Chapter 6: You Want Power? Here, Have Seconds
Volume 3: Tsukiyomi, the Dark Secret Organization
When we brought Carol-chan back, Aileen immediately enveloped her in an embrace, choking back tears of joy and relief. In sharp contrast, the mood surrounding us Tsukuyomi members was as if we were holding a vigil for someone who had died.
The reason was simple: we had not been able to erase our tracks at all. Almost immediately after a child was kidnapped from Tsukimori-gumi, a group of people came to seize the child back. Even an idiot would be able to tell that it was Tsukimori-gumi that had retaliated. From there, Tanioka-gumi would declare an all-out war on us, and it would be game over for us. The consequence of having saved Carol-chan was that the entire Tsukimori-gumi would, in very short order, be obliterated with overwhelming violence.
As Oyabun tried his best to put a smile on a face that would otherwise be filled with despair while dealing with a profusely thankful Aileen, Chris leaned in to whisper into his ear.
“Oyabun, I’m sorry for taking out your treasured katana without your permission.”
“…That was my grandfather’s memento.”
“Eh?! Um, I’m sorry for snapping it!”
“It was to save us, right? The sword met a noble death in battle, so don’t sweat it. We have much bigger worries right now…”
“Even I can’t laugh in this situation…”
“I know, right? What are we going to do about this?!”
I mean, like, seriously.
We went in trying to resolve a problem and only ended up making everything worse. Like, what’s up with that?
I’m sick and tired of this. I’ve had enough. Why can’t we just defeat the bad guy and get a happy end in this shitty reality?
“You all look like you might be in need of a little help, hm?”
After peeling off the kids who were all over her and shooing them away, Baba popped into our even-gloomier-than-a-vigil circle.
“Oyabun, I was the one who sent Chris after you guys as reinforcement. Because of my race, I have really sharp ears. I was actually listening in to all your conversations. Sorry about that.”
“O-Oh. I… see? Well, you saved our hides.”
“Mm. So, regarding the matter of erasing your tracks, I believe ‘hide a tree in a forest’ is a saying in Japanese, right?”
“I leaked info to the police about other kidnapped victims who were being held, so they launched simultaneous raids on several other Tanioka-gumi offices to rescue those other victims. Thanks to that, what you guys did would not stand out as much. For now, all-out war between Tsukimori-gumi and Tanioka-gumi has been evaded.”
All of us doubted our ears.
As our minds desperately scrambled to process what Baba had just said so matter-of-factly, she continued on relentlessly.
“There is a member of Tanioka-gumi who loves lolis very much. So I buttered up to him and extracted a ton of info from him. When all the hubbub from the multiple raids finally settles down, the single attack carried out not by police but by a masked group would still stand out like a sore thumb, so all-out war is still inevitable. However, it’s just been pushed back by, well, probably a month, I’d say.”
After a tension-charged moment of silence, Oyabun and Miyama sank deeply into their chairs, exhaling loudly.
Baba’s follow up was so swift and appropriate that it was almost godly. How fast does her mind run?! Baba’s freaking amazing! Guess she wasn’t a former queen for nothing!
Chris turned to look worriedly at Baba.
“Wait, so during the time that we were off saving Carol-chan, Baba went and seduced a lolicon pervert yakuza? Are you all right?! Did he do anything weird to you?!”
“Hmph, I’ve yet to go so senile as to let a whippersnapper younger than a hundred do anything to me.”
“Hyuuu! So cool! Yay for the wisdom of age! As expected of our lolibaba! Grandma’s little bag of wisdom!”
“Ha! Ha! Ha! Now you’re just making me embarrassed.”
Chris grabbed Baba under her armpits and lifted her up into the air, spinning round and round in a jig of joy. Baba was laughing in a composed manner like a grandma would, but the composition itself was completely the scene of a blond teenage girl frolicking with a little girl.
By then, Miyama’s mind finally managed to restart itself.
“If everything you say is true, then your ability to take action is incredible. Though I had faintly suspected that your appearance truly belies your age, are you actually more than 900 years old?”
“It is as I wrote in the ledger.”
“Hmm… I can’t tell whether you’re lying or not, but I suppose that isn’t important here and now. That aside, how did you manage to coincidentally happen upon a lolicon yakuza in such a short amount of time?”
Noticing the suspicion in Miyama’s eyes, Baba tapped Chris’s arm to signal for her to stop spinning and let her down.
“I had made preparations beforehand, of course. Yaku and I both don’t have our memories, so I decided to look into it. It didn’t take long for me to find out about a clash that had happened that night in the vicinity of where we woke up that Tanioka-gumi had been involved in. As evidence, residents in the area reported the sound of two gunshots. Suspecting that our memory loss was possibly related to us having been caught up in this fight, I dedicated myself to digging deeper. It was during this digging that I had become acquainted with that guy. Discharging firearms, kidnapping, and pedophilia… what a truly villainous criminal indeed.”
“Is that so?! So our memory loss is Tanioka-gumi’s fault?!”
Curse you, Tanioka-gumi!
What reprehensible monsters you all are!
I shall not forgive you!
Guess I have no choice but to bring you all to justice!
To that end…
“So, I’m changing the topic, but there’s something I want to say.”
“Eh, what is it? Could it be that you’ve fallen for my godly rescue? Ehehe, you’re making me blush~!”
“Shut up, apprentice ninja. Look, all of you are far too weak. You guys need to train your superpowers. At the moment, they’re not even worth talking about. Chris, you have a Seed inside you too, so I’ll wake it up for you. Then it’s straight off to training with you too. With this one month of moratorium that Baba’s made for us, we need to get all of you to a combat-ready state.”
Thus, the curtains rose on Tsukuyomi’s training arc.
◇ ◇ ◇
In order to avoid unnecessary trouble, it was common practice to perform superpower training in a place out of the public’s eye. Therefore, all of us illegally trespassed into a mountain owned by a certain duchess that I certainly was not acquainted with and holed ourselves up for some hardcore mountain training (Chris being the only one commuting). In regards to our food, we had filled up a minitruck and brought it along. In regards to the running of Tsukimori-gumi during the meantime, everything was left in Baba’s more than capable hands. I served as the trainer for all three of our new superpowered recruits.
Oyabun’s fundamental training was basically just muscle training.
Run up the mountain while shouldering a tombstone. Climb a tree while shouldering Miyama. Throw straight punches while standing under a waterfall.
As Oyabun’s mukimukin gave him the power to strengthen himself, there was really nothing else to do other than muscle training. So I had him focus on that, all while consciously having self-strengthening activated as long as possible. With his physical muscles and supernatural muscles both being trained, he was bulking up pretty much two-fold. Pure strength was an orthodox build that was hard to go wrong with.
Without using his mukimukin, Oyabun’s grip strength was 95kg. While using it, his grip strength jumped up to 96kg → 100kg → 104kg → 108kg, from which it could be calculated that he had a 1.04 growth rate. Or he might just be growing by 4kg each time, but previous cases all pointed to superpower growth being geometric series. This was an extremely low growth rate. In fact, it was the lowest number that I had ever seen.
However, mukimukin had such a wide breadth of applicability that the low growth rate almost didn’t matter.
At first, even though Oyabun had been putting off training his legs, he still strangely got faster at running.
Even though he had done no jumping training whatsoever, his jumps got higher and higher.
This was strange. Normally, only the muscles being trained would get stronger. It was impossible to get faster at running by doing push-ups. But Oyabun was pulling off exactly this impossibility.
The conclusion that could be drawn from this was that mukimukin was full-body strengthening. When activated, it would strengthen the user’s entire body, be it arm strength, leg strength, or strength anywhere else. Even if Oyabun did nothing but push-ups, as long as his mukimukin continued growing, his jumping ability and running speed would also get bolstered. The need to separately train each group of muscles, such as having an arm day and a leg day, was rendered completely moot.
The first day, his self-strengthening ability bolstered his strength by a factor of 1.01. Four days later, it was a factor of 1.1. As that continued growing at a rate of 1.04 every other day, by the time that this training was over one month later, his superpower would bolster his strength by a factor of 1.82. Simple calculation would give us the following numbers:
Grip strength: 95kg → 173kg (world record: 192kg)
Vertical jump: 80cm → 146cm (world record: 129cm)
Benchpress: 140kg → 255kg (world record: 335kg)
Max instantaneous velocity: 38km/h → 69km/h (world record: 45km/h)
Common sense would say that it was impossible for physical training to be so simple, but breaking common sense was the very reason behind the ‘super’ part of the word ‘superpower.’
With a grip strength rivaling that of an orangutan, jumping power beyond human limits, and the speed of an automobile, Oyabun would be a literal superhuman. If this was the case, then focusing solely on fundamental training should prove a much more efficient use of time rather than messing around with applicability training.
As long as he never hit his growth ceiling, crunching the numbers, that would mean a strengthening factor of 1,271-fold after one year of training. That meant being capable of running at Mach 39 and escaping Earth’s rotational gravity with a single jump.
To top things off, the higher his base strength, the more effective his power would be, so normal strength training was going to be important too. Doubling a grip strength of 95kg means something very different from doubling a grip strength of 150kg. Duh.
In parallel with physical training, I also had Oyabun undergo battle training.
If I was to be honest, I would have much rather he learned a martial art, but trying to use the tiny amount that he could learn within a single month would, in all likelihood, only end up injuring him. Just like how using a half-assed superpower weakened him in the raid, using a half-assed martial art would only introduce hesitation into his fighting style. This was why I gave him not martial arts training, but battle training.
That meant sparring with me as I strengthened myself with telekinesis (weakened version).
That meant facing me as I rushed at him with a dulled knife.
That meant dodging the rocks that I shot at him with telekinesis.
That meant throwing me to the ground as I suddenly pointed a model gun at him during mealtime.
In addition, I also taught him how to throw things properly, how to get out of grappling holds, and how to pull off his own surprise attacks.
By the end of the training, what Oyabun had mastered was what was more commonly known as “street brawling.”
He had gotten largely used to throwing punches and taking punches, as well as thinking quickly on his feet. This, too, was a powerful strength to have.
One month later, I did somehow manage to get Oyabun to the minimum level needed to fight against Tanioka-gumi.
Just as predicted, his self-strengthening power had reached a factor of 1.82.
The duration of usage was 8 seconds, unchanged from its original value.
With a brand new weapon in hand and brawling techniques now ingrained into his body, he was a walking tank that was ready to do some serious damage.
In sharp contrast to how Oyabun’s training menu was mainly only fundamental training, Miyama’s training menu was switched to applicability training rather early on.
Miyama’s soundpamin granted him sonic projection capabilities. Fundamental training led to an increase in the duration at which he could continuously use his superpower. He could only keep it up for 6s at first, but then that grew to 6s → 9s → 13s → 20s → 30s → 45s → 68s → 102s → 154s, which worked out to a 1.5 growth rate.
At the start, Miyama could only produce a tiny, pathetic1 sound softer than a whisper. However, the discovery of an unexpected side effect during the course of a round of fundamental training prompted the immediate switch to applicability training.
Long story short, superpowered individuals would not get superpower fatigue when listening to the sounds that Miyama made with his superpower.
What led to the discovery was a session of Oyabun’s training during which he was climbing the mountain while carrying Miyama on his shoulders. For that session, and that session alone, the duration at which he could maintain his self-strengthening was longer than usual. At the time, Miyama had been producing some kind of sound using his superpower. After that, we confirmed that listening to his sound indeed caused all other superpower sources, be it mukimukin or my own telekimuscle, to not grow tired. In short, it served to ward off weariness. Unfortunately, it could not help to relieve the fatigue of an already tired-out superpower source, though.
Herein lay the reason how Oyabun was capable of fighting despite only being capable of maintaining his self-strengthening for only 8 seconds. Miyama could continuously make noise for 154s, which was 2m 34s. Considering how Oyabun could fight using his superpower without having to pace himself for this 2m 34s time window, the max duration that he could hold a fight became 2m 42s.
However, the catch was that the sound had to be heard for it to have any effect. If there was any other sound nearby — be it blaring music, shouting, or general sounds of destruction — that was otherwise drowning out Miyama’s sound, then the protection from fatigue would disappear.
Considering how the original decibel level of his sound was soft enough to get drowned out by mere footsteps, it was blatantly clear that working on the loudness had suddenly become top priority.
To increase the loudness of Miyama’s sound, we used the concept of resonance.
The definition of ‘resonance’ was ‘the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection from a surface or by the synchronous vibration of a neighbouring object.’ Two people singing a duet at karaoke sounding louder than before would be a real-life example of resonance. To put it in extremely simplified terms, two sources making the same sound can be combined together to make a single, louder sound.
I downloaded some free audio software on my computer that could record and playback Miyama’s sound. He could then familiarize himself with the sound that had grown louder from resonance and then strain his soundpamin to produce the same. This method proved effective at helping him make successively louder and louder noises.
While doing his applicability training, Miyama supposedly experienced an intense pain that he described this way: “if I had to express this in a chuuni way, I feel like my rampaging soul is breaking out of its shell and spewing chaos all over.” The whole soul and chaos thing is standard superpower muscle pain for all us espers. I’m afraid that you’re gonna have to just bear it.
One month later, I barely succeeded in getting Miyama also up to the minimum level needed to fight against Tanioka-gumi. It was his job to wear a bulletproof vest and bulletproof helmet and just stand in the back and continuously project a sound as loud as normal speech. As camouflage for his sound, his standard loadout would also include his guitar.
He could perhaps blast his sound as a sonic attack, but we hadn’t managed to get that far with a single month. He was going to have to remain in the rear support role for a while.
Just stand in the back and keep playing your guitar, you fatty! I told you to diet during this month, but your weight hasn’t changed at all! Look at you, so happily wolfing down as many calories as I made you expend with exercise!
Unlike the two who had reached combat readiness, Chris had started off late.
Due to suddenly having to start attending school, realizing her superpower a week late, and her superpower being unsuitable for fighting in the first place, we did not manage to get her superpower to a level where it could contribute to our fights going forward.
The reason why our Freedom City Ninja had suddenly started going to school was because that was the condition that Oyabun had set for admitting her into Tsukuyomi.
Supposedly, at 6, Chris’s parents had brought her to Tokyo. At 7, her parents had racked up a huge debt, and thus made themselves scarce. Until 9, she lived among the homeless community, fishing through trash bins and slipping away from the police. At 9, her parents made it big with some IT enterprise, repaid their debts in full, then popped back into her life. Until 13, she lived in a super gorgeous mansion together with her uncle, who also served as her home tutor (which means that she didn’t go to school). At 13, her parents said they were going to go dig up ancient Mayan artifacts and then disappeared. Immediately afterwards, her uncle seized all of the Najeen family’s assets, sold even the mansion, then absconded. Until 14, Chris made a living through part time jobs that she got by inflating her age. On her 14th birthday, her parents returned while dragging her uncle along, the latter of whom looked extremely beat up and frightened out of his wits. From 14 to 15, Chris lived in the Koga Ninja Village in Shiga Prefecture2, learning ninjutsu from the masters there. At 15, she learned that even the masters in the village could not perform Clone Jutsu, fell into despair, and returned to Tokyo. It was just around then that the Super Water Sphere Incident occurred. Her parents tried to play the violently fluctuating stock market, lost everything they had, and then fled overseas. Left alone in the City of Chaos, Tokyo, Chris proceeded to enjoy a ninja-style city survival lifestyle. However, both her money and luck ran out, and that was when she bumped into me.
I was extremely interested in her very eccentric-sounding parents, but what Oyabun picked up from her account was that she had never once attended school before.
Joining Tsukuyomi was fine. There was a certain degree of danger involved, but Chris herself wanted to join, so Oyabun, Miyama, and I all merely respected her choice.
However, every child should experience school. This, too, was something that all of us ossans agreed on.
Attend school, study, and make friends of the same age. Chris needed to learn what “normal life” was and be offered the opportunity to return to normal society. Even if she was to decide afterwards that she still wanted to live within the underground world for the rest of her life, having an education would never hurt. So we ordered her to go to school for at least a while. If she really found that it didn’t suit her, then she could drop out.
High school is fun, you know?
My high school years were ash-colored, but Chris’s high school life is guaranteed to be filled with colors and super fun experiences.
After all, I had had Kaburagi-san secretly arrange things so that Chris could transfer into Shouta-kun and Touka-chan’s school through the backdoor!
Although they were going to be in different classes, with Shouta-kun and Touka-chan being in the Special Class and Chris being in the Normal Class, they were still going to be in the same grade in the same school.
An encounter was inevitable.
More like, if things were left up to shitty reality, they might forever end up just passing by each other, so I was going to forcibly arrange an encounter.
That sort of ensemble arc would be for after we settle things with Tanioka-gumi, but I was already excited for it.
The superpower that Chris awakened to was psychometry, so I named her supernatural source ‘readinglucosamin.’ To describe it simply, she could reach the memories of objects by touching said object.
The telepathic tactile feel of her mutated telekimuscle fragment was very similar to Kaburagi-san’s stoprotein, so I knew almost immediately that it was a unique non-elemental type. However, identifying specifically what it did ended up taking a bit of time. For a while, what Chris read was the memories of the air that her hands were touching, and it took her a whole week to figure out what she was actually doing. She was “reading the air,” literally.
Chris could only read memories from something that she was actually touching. According to her, it was as if she had become that object and could recall what that object had experienced as if it actually had eyes, ears, nose, etc.
She could read the memories of living creatures too, but the image was much fuzzier than what she could pick up from inanimate objects. However, that might have been because the animals that we had her experiment with were a snail, a praying mantis, and a frog. That said, we were too afraid to let her try her ability out on an actual human.
The memories that Chris could read were limited to being in the past. The reading itself took no more than a moment.
At the start, it wasn’t clear what her power was and so we couldn’t measure it, but once we identified it, we were able to get accurate readings by having her use her ability on a stopwatch.
How far into the past she could read grew from 4.84s to 6.77s → 9.48s → 13.28s → 18.59s → 26.03s, so we were able to determine that she had a 1.4 growth rate.
One might easily imagine how instantaneously taking in all the information of 26 seconds could cause Chris’s brain to explode from information overload, but thanks once again to the “super” part of her “superpower,” she actually reported feeling no strain at all.
Chris’s ability was not one that would be directly useful in a fight. On the contrary, it was much more a support-type, one whose true value lay in intelligence. By reading the memories of a road, she could check who had passed through. By reading the memories of a room, she could check whether someone had come earlier and was lying in wait. By reading the memories of a computer, she had complete and full access to any and all information that it had ever output to a monitor within her readable time frame.
Chris herself was a bit disappointed that she didn’t get an ability that would allow her to move instantaneously or make clones of herself, but her power had made her closer to a real-life ninja more than the fictional image of one.
So lucky! I want that ability so bad. Growth ceiling allowing, I would be able to ‘read’ the memories of ancient ruins left over from civilizations thousands of years ago and see what really happened back then for myself. It’s an ability so full of potential that I could explode trying to contain it all. Give it to me if you don’t want it, Chris!!!
That said, being able to read 26s into the past wasn’t going to be very useful in any real way. For intelligence-gathering purposes, we would want her to reach at least 2 or 3 minutes into the past. Miyama’s support only aided her in making several readings where a single reading would tire her out; however, it had no effect whatsoever on how far back she could read.
Although Chris had not received proper education, she had a rather sharp mind, as evidenced by how much she thought things out when saving us. She had kept her face hidden and spoken in a male voice to misdirect the yakuza present into thinking her to be a boy. Now, if it was Kaburagi-san or Touka-chan who had tried to do this, they would have been exposed immediately thanks to the bulge of their breasts, but there was no need at all to worry about that with Chris. With any luck, they could have taken her for a slim guy with a delicate frame.
Both Chris and I wrung our heads trying to think of some way to utilize 26s of psychometry in battle, but neither of us came up with anything. As a consequence, the training menu that I came up with for Chris focused less on her superpower and more on polishing her skills as a ninja.
Chris loved ninjas, but she was not an actual ninja. She would choke and sputter when attempting Fire Release3, she would drop things while climbing roofs, and she would snap her sword when trying to pull off a surprise attack. In every case, she would drop the ball at the very last moment. There really was no better phrase to describe her than “apprentice ninja.”
Within the one month of time that we had, I managed to train her up to at least genin4 level with my telekinetic-style training.
The key to her improvement was simply sheer repetition. She learned through experiencing various situations and failing as much as she needed.
For example, I made invisible telekinetic footholds over a torrential mountain stream, then tasked her with spotting them by the water droplets and running over them.
I used telekinesis to make paper airplanes fly towards her from every which way with erratic and unpredictable maneuvers, then tasked her with shooting them down by blowing fire at them.
I had her run laps from the foot of the mountain all the way to the summit by jumping from tree to tree and never touching the ground once, while evading my telekinetically thrown stones the entire time.
I had her practice throwing stick shurikens5 at targets while running.
As she already knew how to do the silent ninja walk, we skipped over that and moved straight onto practicing how to climb a smooth cliff face in lieu of the side of a building.
Every day, she would put in three hours of practice after coming back from school, with the weekends being entirely devoted to training all day long. Within this short period of time, she experienced a lot of failure, but also experienced a lot more success. Although her superpower was not at a combat-ready level, she had grown so much as a ninja that she could finally graduate from being a mere apprentice.
After this training arc, we are now entirely different from before, all right?
Behold the holy mystical power that we had absorbed from an ancient, holy mountain (not really) and the results of our properly trained-up superpowers!
Come one, come all!
Crime syndicate Tanioka-gumi vs. secret organization Tsukuyomi.
So begins the war over hegemony of Tokyo’s underground world!
If you’re enjoying the series, please consider buying Volumes 1 and 2 in Japanese and English to support Kurodome-sensei and me!
All details in the Table of Contents page.
2 An actual tourist location! (Though for some reason the official name is Koka Ninja Village even though it is based on the Koga clan.) They teach you how to throw shurikens and climb stone walls and stuff, apparently.
5 Aside from the common imagery of a shuriken that involves a flat star-looking piece of metal (hira-shuriken), there is also a kind of shuriken that basically just looks like a stick of metal with a sharpened tip (bo shuriken). Wikipedia