The old tailless #15

There came another anonymous tip on the boss’s cellphone. He did not pick it up. In retrospect, the course of his life would have changed completely had he read this message. But, there had been no way for him to know this and, at the time, he had no mind to care for such trivia anyway.

All he could think about at the time was how to deal with the brat in front of him. His knee-jerk reaction from before had put him at a disadvantage in this duel. He initially planned on getting away from the boy’s wooden sword, which had been coated in an unknown toxin, so he disengaged and put a three-meter wide safe zone between him and the boy.

However, as soon as he chose “fight” over “flight”, the distance became a hindrance.

That sword was not a melee weapon. It was, in fact, a ranged weapon. The toxin on the blade could be launched at him in the form of droplets. From the look of it, the toxin would only become a problem on skin contact because otherwise, his opponent would have poisoned himself already.

To begin with, that damn wooden sword was like a club in its own right and he certainly would not want to be hit by that thing, with or without toxin on top.

The boss lifted his sword above his head, the tip pointed backward and the edge facing up, ready to strike at any moment. Young Daisuke, on the other hand, lowered his sword from the basic “balance” position to a more defensive stance with the tip pointing down at the ground.

That was a Fool’s guard, an invitation to strike.

It appeared his opponent actually knew what he was doing and not just copying Sayaka’s techniques. This could be more troublesome than the boss had expected.

The boy inched forward, the boss moved backward.

The boss really would like to avoid giving his opponent the initiative while assuming the least defensive stance of Kendo’s five stances.

The boy inched forward again.

This time, the boss brought down his katana.

The boy responded quickly and parried the strike with his wooden sword. But then, he immediately received an unseen roundhouse kick to his exposed left flank. Then a headbutt landed squarely in the middle of his left cheek, leaving him disoriented and unbalanced. A knee strike soon followed suit and found purchase in the middle of his groin and the chain attack ended with a frontal snap kick from the same leg in the same area.

The boss had altered his fighting style from Kendo to mixed martial arts as soon as the katana impacted the wooden sword. This was, of course, an illegal move in a normal Kendo match but it was fair game in a street brawl.

It only took a split moment after the snap kick for the boss to get on top of the boy stabbed the boy’s sword grip with his katana.

The young Daisuke had no say whatsoever when his hand let go of the wooden sword out of pain. The toxic sword was kicked away by this old teacher, who ruthlessly and efficiently shifted the business end of the katana, the pointy tip that was still dripping blood, toward his chest.

“I told you this ain’t sport, young Daisuke. When your life is on the line, you must use all the tools that you have in your arsenal to survive. And, a fitting tool for your situation is begging for—”

A hard object struck the boss in the shoulder. Then another, and another, and a whole shower of them bombarded him from all directions. Despite his best efforts, he was eventually struck in the head and began to stagger. Then, and only then, more than fifty students pounced on him en mass with baseball bats and wooden swords.

“—Young Daisuke, you…”

The youngling coughed up blood and squeezed his injured hand to stop the bleeding. A victorious smirk formed on his face as a subordinate helped him get back on his feet.

“You’re absolutely damn right, old man! This is why I brought here all my arsenal. For you, just for you!”

These words reminded him of the other youngling who killed his trusted lieutenants. Whether it was mere coincidence or on purpose, it did not matter to him. As he desperately fended off waves after waves of assailants, slashing and mercilessly killing many of the students, his body accumulated more and more damage until finally, he could stand no longer.

These younglings were fearless. Even resorting to lethal forces would not get him out of this mess in one piece. Neither death nor the destruction of their gang could faze these kids any longer. Unless Sayaka and her gang gave up all reasons and stood up for him right this moment, this would be his end.

Sayaka and her gang moved not a centimeter from their spectator seats on the sideline. They watched on with indifference; this, for sure, had not been the outcome they had hoped for but they would not get their hands dirty for an old teacher they barely knew.

For a moment, the boss caught a glimpse of a dark green blazer in the junior crowd. The girl must also have seen his pleading gaze through the gaps but she decidedly turned her back on him. So she got her blazer back from young Daisuke…ah, he could see it already; they must have made a truce before this.

As if taking a cue from their leader, many of the uninvolved junior students also began to embark on a quiet exodus back to their respective classrooms. The teachers, however, remained by the windows looking down the schoolyard. Some were in tears, others were trembling and one, Mr. Hiragi, was gritting his teeth in anger.

This was it, this was his end.

The young Jjang made his way through the crowd to once again stand before the old boss, who was continuously being kicked and pummeled by the students. He spat a bit of blood in his mouth and, with a push with the right foot, he turned the beaten up old boss face up like a sack of potato.

“What’s with that look, old man? No self-respecting mob boss would stand and fight alone. This ain’t sport, I tell you!”

The boss had no rebuttal. He could not muster any strength in his body and he had no sensation at all below his waist. He was bruised all over and blood was streaming down from his head as the cold fingers of death crept closer.

“It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to rip a page out of that twerp’s playbook. But, I’ll resort to backstabbing if I have to…as long as I don’t have to see your ugly face ever again. Farewell, Mr. Shinoda,” said the young Jjang as he was escorted by two subordinates back to the school building.

At the time, the school bell signaling the start of the first homeroom period flared up like a swarm of crickets in late autumn.

And what about the boss? The students dragged his limbed body by the legs. Some of them had gone ahead to bring the shovels and, once they had arrived beneath a cherry blossom tree, they began digging a hole at the base and threw the boss into it…

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