This short-story is sponsored by Sennin-Cola: The only weapon of mass destruction with aroma.
It was a sunny day, but a shadow was hanging over the vast lands of the blog. The people looked upon the sky and thought: ‘…I really should have talked to that hot chick at the bar last night.’ At least one thought that, Erwin Markel. He was a thirty years old carpenter and he used to have fun reading stories of this blog after work.
But at that moment he regretted his decision of being here, since he just saw, how a giant mountain was falling down on the blog, which will most likely smash him and everyone else on this site. Well, he had a good life.
No, he had a crappy one, but he still wanted to live the rest of it.
He took his mobile phone and dialed the number of his parents. But instead of the dialing tone, he heart a message: «Sorry for the inconvenience, but your call cannot currently be connected. But don’t worry, we have nothing under control, but despise that, everything will be alright.» Why did the message said ‘nothing under control’ instead of ‘everything’? «And if you die a horrible dead, you may confer our complains department. By the way, we’re currently not connected to the afterlife, so be sure to complain about your untimely dead, while you’re dead, but still in the world of the living. Ah, and we don’t take complains from ghosts, since they can’t sign signatures. For equal treatment reasons this includes poltergeists. If you’re another form of unliving, deathless or undead, we decide by a case-to-case-basis. Have good day, open your mouth, shut your eyes, impact is incoming.»
Erwin just spent the last moments of his live listening a recorded phone message, that didn’t make any sense. But he closed his eyes, opened his jaw and waited for the impact.
One minute. Two minutes. *Pock* This somehow sounded like a small stone which fell to the ground. Five minutes, still nothing.
Then he opened his eyes again. And right before him, he saw a mountain standing. He never saw something like this before, it was higher than the clouds, different terrains, from ice deserts to jungles, sometimes things like a desert and a forest were next to each other with clean borders, as if a knife had cut them.
Erwin heard the sounds of different animals, but he could only recognize an elephant’s trumpet. And then he saw it: A stampede, which seemed to come from that movie, Jumanji. Elephants, antelopes, bison and other big animals are running at top speed away from the mountain right towards Erwin.
“…shit.” This was a completely understandable reaction. Since one shock came after another, Erwin still needed time to process them, so the little room for action he had left was used up by a single word, which emphasis all what he currently felt. He wasn’t even able to, you know, just run as fast away as possible, of course to the sideline of the stampede would have been ideal. Dammit Erwin, just run!
But that idiot missed the chance and was only waiting for the foremost elephant to crush him under its feet. The feet, the big elephant feet, is approaching and: *Wuuuuush* The elephant was uppercut, forcing the other animals in the stampede to change course around it, creating a pocket of safety.
‘Who was that?’ Erwin thought. He could see a single figure, a tall man, whose blazing red hair was so long, it reached his ankles. His skin was white, not Caucasian white, but white as snow. Or a painted wall. His eyes were black as onyxes. He wore something like a yellow-black short kimono.
“It’s called a happi.” The red-haired person corrected Erwin’s thought. “And you know, who I am.” Yes, Erwin remembered him. He couldn’t even tell how, but he instinctively knew the identity of the person: It’s Akageno-Sennin, the red-haired hermit! “If you have acrophobia, please aim to the sky, so that you puke on yourself first.” Then Akageno-Sennin grabbed Erwin by his shirt and threw him in the sky. Several feet into the air.
After that, Akageno-Sennin kicked the uppercut elephant, pushing it seventy feet into the still onging stampede, hurling the animals which were hit by it through the air. Then he set a pose: “Older than three thousands years, the force of nature appeared! Former member of the gamemasters of a forum roleplay game, I’m now here to protect the people of this blog. I’m Akageno-Sennin and I am-” Then Akageno-Sennin got stepped on by another elephant. “-stepped on.” He finishes his sentence, while crying out his pain.
After the elephant, three antelopes and five bison took the liberty to crush Akageno-Sennin under their feet. And one giraffe, if you forget the giraffe, it will turn and do it again!
By the way, Erwin is still flying, making airscrew after airscrew and he was about to puke, but the centrifugal forces made it impossible to him to do so.
The stampede was finally over and the battered Akageno-Sennin was lying a foot deep in the dirt. “Ouch.” He seemed to be good, since nobody would say ‘Ouch.’ if there was a real injury.
He stood up and looked after the stampede. “Hey, I’m still standing! Come back!” But the stampede just increased its speed. “Don’t you dare to ignore me! Hermit Art: Incinerating Sweep!” Akageno-Sennin performed a jumping spin roundhouse-kick and his leg caught fire. This fire grew to a line, while he was spinning and he shot that line of fire towards the stampede.
The whole stampede was incinerated. It only took a moment. And Erwin couldn’t even see that, since he was busy trying to hurl. And he had additional trouble, since he was about to hit ground.
But he was caught by Akageno-Sennin just in the nick of time: “Are you OK, Er-”
“BUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAARGHHH!” Erwin puked on Akageno-Sennin.
“And that after telling you to aim for the sky. Well, then there’s only one left to do. Counterattack!” And then Akageno-Sennin returned the favor the same way, his spurt was more of a jet, who not only mentally damaged Erwin, but he could feel pain all over the body. “Good, now let’s clean up. Hermit Art: Puke Removal!” Akageno-Sennin spun around his own axis, causing the puke to be splattered all around him. Erwin had to hurl again, but this technique avoided any further filth, because the new puke was just removed by centrifugal force as well.
After everything was removed, Akageno-Sennin stopped his art and asked Erwin again: “Despise being out of gastric juices, are you OK, Erwin?”
“How… how do you know my name?”
“Of course I know. You’re the chosen one.”
“The chosen one?”
“Yes, you’re Erwin, the carpenter. I already met a chosen carpenter about two thousands years ago, I think his name was Brian. But nonetheless, Carpenter is a job, which is prone to have a lot of chosen ones, and you’re one of them as well.”
This was too much. First a mountain landed without even damaging anything, then a stampede, after that Akageno-Sennin, and now Erwin was the chosen one? He wanted some time to process it already!
“I know, being a chosen one is a great responsibility, but that’s why I am here. I will guide you on the way to your chosen task, and I’m here to protect you from-” Akageno-Sennin turned his head around. “-them. For example.”
Three bipedal hippos stood were Akageno-Sennin looked. They had brass knuckles, chains and leather jackets. “We finally found you.” And attacked without hesitation, swinging their chains.
Akageno-Sennin blocked all of them with one hand. “Hermit Art: It’s Shocking!” With a bad pun, electricity jumped from his fingers into the chains and from there to the hippos. They were stunned by this attack, but the hermit didn’t stop there. “I’m still pissed about the fact, that a hippo was chosen as a mascot for that particular chocolate confectionery instead of me.” With a sinister look, he unleashed a flurry of blows against the three hippos, until they were little more than a bloody mess. “And now the icing.” He took three empty wrappings of a certain chocoloate snacks out of his happi and put each of the hippos in one of them and resealed them. “Whenever it’s red and white, it’s Akageno-Sennin. Remember it!”
If there are any members of a certain Italian confectionery product brand line reading this, be beware: Akageno-Sennin is on the loose and holds a grudge!
“This was close, Erwin. I almost lost.” More than ‘lost it’ than actually lost, if you consider the one-sided brutality. “Good thing that they’re vulnerable to beating.” Akageno-Sennin took a map from his happi and look at it. It’s a map from a theme-park of a certain mouse-emperor, but he seems to make sense out of it. “We have to go this way!”
“I’d rather not.”
“Erwin, I know that being a vital part of something great can be frightening, but if you don’t hurry,… I will use my mind-controlling hermit arts and coerce you to do as I say.” What a tyrant! “I could see the part, that you’re not willing to do what your destinies tells you and how you and I have to undergo several adventures to form a bond with each other, so that you finally decide to take up your role in the vast realms of fate, and do what you’re supposed to do. But we’re short on time, so just shut up and follow me! And if you have nothing else to do, than you can quietly form our interpersonal bond by yourself.” This… is not how this works.
But Erwin had no other chance but to follow Akageno-Sennin.
“We have to climb the mountain! It’s the source of all evil and to stop it, we have to beat the Four Heavenly Kings. But be beware, there are ambushes everywhere. Like now.” A horde of angry monkeys are jumping out from the trees at the root of the mountain, ready to attack everyone who’s entering their territory. “But do not fear, since I- oh.” Akageno-Sennin took a watch from his happi. “I’m on break. See you in half an hour. Being an craftsman, you know how important it is to take your breaks. Hermit Art: Break Time!” He vanished, leaving Erwin alone with a horde of angry monkeys, who had no qualm to beat the hell out of him.
Half an hour later, Akageno-Sennin reappeared and look at the sorry state of Erwin. “Oops.” He looked for the monkeys, but they were satisfied by the bloodbath. “Well, he still seems to be alive.” A hard kick into Erwin’s side. “Stand up. We have to go!”
“…*puargh*” Erwin spat blood. “Don’t you… have an Art… to heal me?”
Akageno-Sennin helped Erwin to stand and support him. “Yes I do.”
“And you won’t use it?”
“Erwin, I can’t take care of all of your problems.” So the severely hurt Erwin and the rested Akageno-Sennin continued their journey.
They passed the forest-part and went through a desert. “Water… water…” Erwin felt how parched his throat was. It was too hot and the sun scorched his hair and skin.
“I think it’s still not dry enough, this desert.” Akageno-Sennin, on the other hand, complained about how he was not feeling anything.
And then a rocky terrain.
“Look, Erwin!” Akageno-Sennin pointed to the sky, where a rock was flying directly at them. “Don’t worry.” With a light toss, Akageno-Sennin threw Erwin several feet away. “I can make rocks explode by the power of my mind!” The hermit concentrated on the rock: “And… Explode!” And was hit by it.
“Akegeno-Sennin!” Erwin didn’t want to be left alone in this place! But the rock was big enough to bury the whole hermit under it.
“I miscalculated. This isn’t a rock, it’s a stone.” The ‘stone’ moved, while the hermit talked. “They’re reloading the catapult!” Erwin couldn’t see who ‘they’ were, nor the catapult. But another ‘stone’ was now in the sky. “Don’t worry. Hermit Art: Stonedragon Breeding!” And the ‘stone’ hatched a Chinese dragon made out of stone, which flew into the sky, gulped down the flying stone, then he flew to the horizon. “He will take care of things.” Akageno-Sennin shoved the stone-shells aside and stood up, knocking off the dirt. “Let’s keep going on.”
And it didn’t took long, until the next disaster struck: “Oh, we got the jackpot. The Four Heavenly Kings!” Then four beasts fell down.
“Genbu, the black tortoise of the north!” A black turtle with several holes in its shell, where constantly water flooded out.
“Seiryuu, the blue dragon to the east!” A blue Chinese dragon, with a mane and a beard made out of clouds.
“Suzaku, the vermillion bird of the south!” The feathers of this bird are made out of fire! It’s a phoenix! Not a simple bird!
“And Byakko, the white tiger of the west!” His claws and teeth are made out of gold.
“Finally, Akageno-Sennin, the red-haired hermit of this blog!” And why is Akageno-Sennin now posing to Erwin?
“Akageno-Sennin, you’re part of his team.” Suzaku corrected the hermit.
“Sorry, I was just caught up in the mood.” Akageno-Sennin turned to the beasts and took up his pose: “Akageno-Sennin, the red-haired hermit of this blog!” Then he turned to Erwin again: “Erwin, take this.” He took another piece of paper from his happi, it’s a construction plan. “Do you see this cave? There is a carpentry inside. Build five of these and you have fulfilled your destiny!”
“Because you’re chosen. Don’t hesitate, I will take care of these four. That’s why I’m here.” While Erwin was running inside the cave, Akageno-Sennin stood before the Four Heavenly Kings. “One against the four of you? How unfair of me!”
Then he was zapped by Seiryuu’s lightning, hit by Genbu’s water-cannon, burned by Suzaku’s fire breath and slashed by Byakko’s golden claws. After this he got whipped by Seiryuu’s tail, tackled by Byakko’s shoulder, crushed by Genbu’s body and pecked by Suzaku’s beak.
The Four of them presented perfect teamwork, attacking the hermit in rotation with powerful assaults. After thirty of these rotations, Akageno-Sennin was lying on the ground like a dirty rag. “I’m still good. Give me a second. Or a year.”
Byakko was surprised: “Why didn’t you clone yourself with your Hermit Art? So one of you could fight one of us.”
Akageno-Sennin sat up and facepalmed. “I forgot.”
Seiryuu: “Byakko, you idiot!”
“Hermit Art: Hermit Clones!” And suddenly, thirty-nine clones of Akageno-Sennin stepped out of him. “Instead one for each of you, I’ll use ten!” Each of the clones is as powerful as the original and they’re summoned at full strength. They won’t disappear after one good hit, unlike the ones in a certain anime. The hermit stood up, and staggered a bit.
The clones: “He’s hurt, charge!” All of the clones attacked the original at the same time. It was a gore.
“Byakko, I’m sorry. You’re a genius.”
“Don’t worry, Seiryuu. Even I didn’t thought that clones could have so much grudge against the original.”
“I’ll be the original!” “No, me!” “Me too!” “There can only be one!” “Why?” It was a total mess. “Let’s work together for now and make a finisher attack!” “““““““Hermit Art: Up’n Down Meteor!””””””” Three hermit clones performed tower kicks from below, flinging Akageno-Sennin into the air. The other clones jumped as well, some to be stepping stones for the ones, who want to reach even higher, others kicked Akageno-Sennin even higher. Then from the highest point, one clone threw another, hurling it right towards the original.
*BOOOM* The final kick shattered the air and the hit Akageno-Sennin was sent right back to and into the ground, a big crater appeared, where he landed. “We did i-” Then all of the clones instantly disappeared.
The Four Heavenly Kings saw how Akageno-Sennin climbed out from the crater, it was he, who released his own Hermit Art. “Why didn’t you do that earlier?” Genbu asked.
“Because it’s only polite to wait, until the opponent finishes his special move. And now it’s time for my special move. Super Special Hermit Ar-”
Byakko pounces the hermit, slashing with golden claws, grabbing him with golden teeth and hurling him towards Seiryuu, who unleashed a storm cloud, which trapped Akageno-Sennin with lightning. Genbu shot an aqua laser and finally, Suzaku shot his burning feathers like arrows.
After this barrage of attack, something fell from the storm cloud. It was a demolished golf bag.
“HA!” Akageno-Sennin was right above the Four Heavenly Kings, how he did it will never be explained: “Super Special Hermit Art: Combine!” The hands and feet of Akageno-Sennin were glowing and beams of colored light were shot at the Four Heavenly kings.
A red beam: “Suzaku right hand!” A blue beam: “Seiryuu left hand.” A black beam: “Genbu left leg.” A white beam: “Byakko right leg.” All of the Four Heavenly Kings were absorbed by these beams of light, moving towards Akageno-Sennin: “Super Hermit Megazord!” And they built a giant robot, with legs and arms which resembled the respective Heavenly Kings.
The Super Hermit Megazord, a legendary weapon of truth and justice. Only few would ever see this force of righteousness and goodness, which will defeat all evil. With specs which would put almost every fan in nerdgasm, it was undefeatable.
“Now we need to find an enemy to- Buargh!” Suddenly, the Super Hermit Megazord punched itself in the face. And kicked itself in the butt. Although Akageno-Sennin used the Four Heavenly Kings to form the Super Hermit Megazord, it didn’t mean that he could control it. “Separate!”
A shining light and it was back to one red-haired hermit and the Four Heavenly Kings. “This was scary.” Genbu complained.
“To use us as parts of an ultimate weapon against our wills.” Suzaku continues.
“Kch”, Akageno-Sennin clicked his tongue. “You’re persistent.”
“Aren’t you the one who takes hit after hit?” Byakko was impressed by the tenacity of this hermit.
“But our next technique will be the strongest of all. Everyone!” Seiryuu gave the command.
““““Four-Heavenly-Cannon!!!!”””” All of the Kings opened their jaws and shoot beams from it, which combined and build a spiral beam made out of their respective colors: black, white, red and blue.
The spiral beam hit Akageno-Sennin: “AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!” Then pain was immense, you could see it in his face. His happi tattered, his hair burned and his white skin smoked. It was about to kill him, but-
“Akegano-Sennin, I’m finished!” It was Erwin, who holded… folding chairs?
“Oh, great.” Despise the fact, that Akageno-Sennin cried out in pain before, he easily uppercut the beam, like the elephant before, and the beam shot up in the air. Then it concentrated itself into a four-colored ball. “Hermit Art:” Akageno-Sennin jumped right above the ball of light. “Volleyball Return!” And spiked the ball right back to the Four Heavenly Kings.
““““AAAAAAAAaaaaaa….”””” And all four of them became charcoal. This was… unexpected easy?
“Good work, Erwin. You have fulfilled your destiny.”
“I just build five folding chairs. And the parts were already there, I just had to assemble them.”
“I never said it was a great destiny. There are different types of chosen ones.”
“So this is it?”
“Almost.” Akageno-Sennin took a folding chair and unfolded it, before he sat down on it. “Ah, the sweet moment after you’ve worked hard.”
“Really? All I had to do was to assemble five folding chairs?”
“Why five of them?”
From the charcoal remains of the Four Heavenly Kings four monkey arose. “Guki!” Everyone of them walked up to Erwin, took an folding chair and unfold it besides Akageno-Sennin. Then all of them turned to Erwin: ““““We’re the Akageno-Sennin-Support-Group!””””
“As Seiryuu: Sarutaro, the leader.”
“As Genbu: Sarutobi, the cool one.”
“As Suzaku: Saruhime, the pretty one.”
“And as Byakko, Saruto, the idiot!”
““““Thanks for your support!””””
It was all a play. The Four Heavenly Kings were actually made out of papier-mâché and it was the four monkeys who did all the cool stuff. But you had to admire the realistic making of these costumes.
Erwin snapped at Akageno-Sennin: “So the Four Heavenly Kings were actually your underlings!”
“And you did it for five folding chairs?”
“What about the stampede, what about the hippos and everything else.”
“Well, most of them weren’t after you, but after me. I have some enemies, you know? Like, a lot. The exception is the stampede, actually they were running away from me.”
“What about the mountain?”
“It’s Hermit’s Mountain, my home. From today onward, I will stay on this blog, so could you please make a mailbox and a name sign and put it at the root of the mountain? You’re the chosen one, after all!”
Erwin just left. He would pass the dangerous terrains of this Hermit’s Mountain, but it didn’t matter to him. He just wanted to return home and look for a better story on this blog.
While the monkey sat down on their chairs, Akageno-Sennin turned his head to the readers. “And for the finale, a haiku:
The mountain did fall
and nothing was like before.
The hermit has come.