What was ‘ancient dance style’ anyway? Not concert dance, but just dance? Like a ball?
I knew that mom wanted to make me learn Japanese concert dance. But I hadn’t heard about the “Hundred Earth Ancient Dance” this suspicious old man was talking about.
“Hmm… I must decide if you are suited to join or not. I want to be alone with the applicant.”
The teacher-like person said that, at which my mom and brother left. “Do your best!” my mom said, but I wondered if she knew something about this Hundred Earth Ancient Dance…
“Do you know what kind of dojo this is?”
The teacher-like old man glared right at me as he asked. Sorry, but I had no idea what this Hundred-Earth Dance was.
“No… forgive my ignorance, but I do not know of the Hundred Earth Dance. I had said I wanted to learn combat sports, but I seem to have been brought here.”
There’d be no point in lying to this old man, so I just answered him honestly. He said he wanted to see if I was suited to join, so if that old man realised I was uninterested, he’d probably refuse my entry.
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“Usxcyv prsavp? Zsw?”
“Zlp. R oyp bsrkdt vs zlyad y xyavkyz yav zkjl fkw fkvpw sa ykjkes, oblal qaykzvu nswze nsdiwla pvaldtvb, yde lhld okvb vbl ekqqlaldnl kd rbupkiwl, tkazp yde nbkzeald nswze pvyde wr vs ckt xld. Tsolhla, fkw fkvpw yde ykjkes xykdzu qsnwp sd ryppkdt esod qsaxp, ps R eke dsv jdso bso wplqwz vblu oswze cl kd alyz nsxcyv. R oyp bsrkdt vs zlyad y nsxcyv prsav sakldvle vsoyaep vbyv, cwv…”
R eked’v jdso kq vbkp oyp nsdnlav eydnl sa fwpv dsaxyz eydnl, cwv R jdlo vbyv kv oswzed’v blzr okvb plzq-elqldpl. R’e byhl vs cl nsxrlvldv ldswtb vbyv R oswzed’v tlv clyv wr cu Isdsl Rcwjk, obs’e lmrlakldnl valxldeswp tasovb yqvla nsaalnvksd qasx vbl rasvytsdkpv.
Mbl sze xyd zsolale bkp qynl yde pvyavle pbyjkdt. Yyucl bl oyp bszekdt kd bkp ydtla? Mbyv oyp rascyczu kv. G jke obs bl vbswtbv nyxl kd vs ekpnwpp yrrzukdt qsa bkp pnbssz ynvwyzzu eked’v oydv vs ldvla yv yzz, yde oyp kdvlalpvle kd y ekqqlaldv vurl sq esfs. Tl oyp blal qsa dsvbkdt, ps ds osdela bl tsv xye.
“Tybybybyby! R pll! Kkw fkvpw yde ykjkes olal psqv, ps usw nyxl blal! Omynvzu aktbv! Zsw zssj zkjl y uswdt tkaz, cwv usw’al zkjl y hlvlayd sd vbl kdpkel!”
R bye ds kely obyv vbkp sze xyd oyp vyzjkdt ycswv, pweeldzu zywtbkdt zswezu zkjl vbyv, ps R fwpv prynle swv. Ebyv oyp bl lhld pyukdt? Pke bl pweeldzu clnsxl naygu… sa oykv, oyp bl naygu qasx vbl cltkddkdt? Mbl clpv srvksd oyp vs zlyhl kxxlekyvlzu. Rv zssjle zkjl y ekqqlaldv jkde sq esfs yduoyu, ps R pbswze fwpv awd swv sq blal.
“‘Hundred Earth Ancient Dance’ is a fictitious form to hide it’s true form from the world! It is really ‘Hundred Earth Ancient Martial Arts’, encompassing all 18 types of martial arts, the strongest martial art in the world!
Old man… are you totally insane? I really should say goodbye to this place right now…
“Looks like you don’t understand. Very well… I’ll show you!”
The old man said that, then stood up and hit the wall. It then rotated, and what appeared was…
Many different weapons were hanging on the other side of the wall. Swords, spears, naginatas, staffs, sickle-and-chains, shurikens; a jumble of so many weapons gathered there were lined up in a row.
In an instant… a rotating blade… zipped right beside my cheek. The thrown shuriken made a thwack sound behind me and stuck into the wall.
Hey! Hey, hey, hey! This crazy old ma… no, that’s wrong. He was a completely crazy person! Someone dangerous! I had to get away from here! Hurry and run away!
“Oh… you’re able to move quickly, even in a situation like this. That’s impressive. Then, you are suited to be this Momochi Sadao’s successor! Child! What is your name!?”
The old man ran after me, holding a rod. I say ‘rod’, but even though it was just a rod, that didn’t mean anything reassuring. It wasn’t like the actual stick kind used in boujitsu1 the art of using a stick as a weapon . This was a real rod, being used by an old man who’d mastered the boujitsu.
The staff went right between my legs and I almost fell over. But, if I fell here, I’d be caught by that absolutely crazy old guy. If he caught me, I have no idea what he’d make me do.
I nearly tripped, but I did a forward roll as I fell over and stood up at the same time using my momentum. I’d done that on a dojo floored with wooden boards, not tatami mats, so my hands hurt from hitting the floor, but this wasn’t the time to worry about that.
“Pretty good. Then, how about this!”
This time, he hooked my collar from behind with the rod. In an instant, I felt like I was being choked and about to pass out. But if I fell here, who knew what he’d make me do?
I kicked behind me, and kicked the rod that was being used to hold me up. As a reaction to that, it shook, the staff was dislodged from my collar, and I landed on the ground. The moment I hit the floor, I started running again. I wouldn’t get caught by this crazy old guy!
“Oh! You have overcome this too. I must thank the heavens that I’ve gotten such a talent.”
The old guy muttered something, but I didn’t know what he said at all. The exit was right there. My mom and brother would be outside. Obviously, if it came to light that he was abusing a pitiful young girl in front of adults, the old guy would be in trouble too. So, if I just got out of here…
“Aaaaaah! What is this!?”
Just as I was right at the exit… my body was wrapped in chains, and I couldn’t move at all.
“A weighted chain!?”
“You know a lot. Stunning. You are becoming more and more suited to becoming my successor.”
This old guy was trying not to hurt me. Even so, I got caught by his display of overwhelming strength. In the first place, he used boujitsu, threw shurikens, and even used a weighted chain… wasn’t this more than just combat sports, but being a ninja?
He even controlled the weighted chain well so that I wouldn’t get injured. Sure, I couldn’t move because the chain was wrapped around me, but I didn’t feel any pain or impact. This wasn’t something you could do even if you were very skilled.
“This isn’t combat sports anymore, you’re a ninja!”
“Ninja… very well. If you think of it like that, that’s fine. The name and form it takes does not matter. Those things change with the ages. So, after you have mastered Hundred-Earth Ancient Martial Arts, you can call it being a ninja, ninjutsu, or whatever you like.”
This old guy’s… really messed up… but well, I’m tied up by a weighted chain so I can’t move; there’s nothing I can really do. I came this far…
“In the first place, you want a technique that’ll help you survive in any and every situation, right? Then Hundred Earth Ancient Martial Arts is the best choice for you. What do you need to refuse or worry about?”
Now that he mentioned it, wasn’t that true? I was thinking about some kind of survival technique that could include anything from sambo to systema. I didn’t really have a reason to limit the choices to weaponless martial arts. I just thought that weaponless martial arts would be better because I couldn’t always carry a weapon around, so I wanted to learn how to fight without weapons.
With this Hundred Earth Ancient Martial Arts, I could learn to fight both with weapons and without. It didn’t use one specific weapon either, instead using anything. It might’ve been a little questionable in terms of weaponless martial arts, but in terms of a technique that’d help me survive any kind of situation, it was probably the best choice.
Ninja and ninjutsu, very good! With this, I could even compete against Konoe Ibuki, right?
“I will learn it! Please teach me Hundred-Earth Ancient Martial Arts!”
“Hoho! I thought you’d say that. But don’t forget that this is publicly known as Hundred Earth Ancient Dance. You’ll be practicing dance too.”
“Uh… well… that’s unavoidable, I guess…”
It wasn’t just because this old man said so; in front of my mom, I needed to learn concert dance or normal dance, whichever one it was. If he was going to take care of that too, then I could fool my mom and learn martial arts. That was the only thing I could do.
At any rate… how did my brother know about this place… maybe he had thought about learning it too?
“Also, my name is Momochi Sadao. It’s not old man or crazy old guy.”
I said it out loud… or was this another ninjutsu technique that let you know what people were thinking?
“Then, child, what is your name?”
“I am Kujou Sakuya… please take care of me from now on…”
“I see. Sakuya, from now on, call me Master.”
“Yes… Master Momochi…”
Anyhow, that’s how I started learning what was publicly known as “Hundred Earth Ancient Dance Style”, but was really “Hundred Earth Ancient Martial Arts”. After discussing with Master Momochi, and making a plan to successfully fool my mom, we both innocently called my mom and brother and it was officially decided that I’d enter the school.
Once I’d gotten home, I relaxed in my room while thinking. Today was a really meaningful day. I’d thought my brother had tricked me at first, but in the end, I thought it was a pretty ideal lineup.
At cram school, I was spared the pain of starting over and studying lower elementary. If possible, during my six years of elementary school, I’d like to review my highschool studies. I’d need to have a proper discussion with my teacher about it. At the time, she told me to start with highschool lessons, but in the end I wanted to start with middle school.
The fitness club also turned out well. At first, I thought it was a waste of time to go to a place that had turned into a salon for barrel-shaped madams. But, just from talking to the trainers, I found out that I could get the level of training that I wanted there.
In other words, it wasn’t a problem of how hard the people who went there trained or the location. Would I go there just to leisurely talk like the madams, or would I seriously train? What happened would all depend on my attitude.
And the Hundred-Earth Ancient Dance Style… once I thought about it carefully, wasn’t it a pretty amazing place? A place you could kinda call a modern ninja training school? And it was different from those ninja villages that became tourist attractions. These were real ninjas.
It was true that a ninja in this age was nothing short of fishy. But Master Momochi’s skills were real. He wasn’t some crazy old man who wielded weapons against children. That was definitely skillful technique. At the very least, Master Momochi would be able to easily defeat Konoe Ibuki one-handedly. Of course, I wasn’t talking about the current kindergarten Ibuki, but the monster who had entered the advanced course.
I didn’t need to completely master Hundred Earth Ancient Dance Style. I just needed enough ability to be able to run away even if I picked a fight with Ibuki. If I could move and vanish in an instant like a ninja, that’d be best.
Master Momochi told me to come everyday from now on, but of course I couldn’t actually do that. I had just started learning other things too.. In the first place, I wasn’t just learning his suspicious ninjutsu.
I had just started the fitness club and Hundred Earth Ancient Dance, while there was a little time before the cram school’s new academic year started. Lessons would start once the academic year started. There wasn’t any cutoff for starting at both the fitness club and Hundred-Earth Ancient Dance, so I started them right away. Master Momochi insistently nagged me to come tomorrow, right away.
My mom and brother managed to intervene so I could start a little later, and they managed to reduce the number of days I had to come instead of every day. But they’d told me to try to come everyday if I had free time. As expected, I couldn’t just focus on learning Hundred Earth style.
“Sakuya, can I come in?”
“Brother? Go ahead.”
As I was thinking, my brother knocked on the door and called out to me. It was like the very capable Yoshizane-kun not to just open the door of a lady’s room. I ushered in my brother, who had opened the door. Once he had settled in, he started conversation.
“So, what do you think? Has it managed to live up to your expectations a little?”
“Ah! Yes! It was very ideal! As expected of my big brother! Thank you so much!”
Come to think of it, I hadn’t thanked my brother yet. He had done a really amazing job, convincing my mother to let me learn such an amazing line-up. Once I’d noticed that I’d carelessly forgotten to say my thanks, I hurriedly lowered my head.
“Oh, it’s fine. I know it might be a bit different from what you were thinking, Sakuya, but it was the only way to convince mother.”
“No, that is not true. I am very thankful.”
I could understand what my brother was saying. It was simply stunning how he was able to convince my mother to let me go to places like that when yesterday she was very stubborn about it. I knew that it was hard to convince mother, and yet he picked the ideal places.
“Fufu, I’m happy I could be helpful, Sakuya.”
“Yes! Thank you very much!”
So, thanks to my brother, I was able to learn the things I had wanted to learn.