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The Ultimate Challenge
Part Eight: Let's All Join The Circus Instead!

Tsubasa is running as fast he could, cutting through the scores of people who are cluttering the streets in horror.

Tsubasa<to himself>:"Wonderful! The Super Shuttle is out of order! What am I supposed to do now? Walk to Hiroshima?!"

Tsubasa started walking down the street in disappointment. It is getting late, and Tsubasa is really feeling tired. It was a very long day, let alone a hectic one. While he was pondering about his wife, Tsubasa finds himself at a hotel's door.

Tsubasa:"Well, this hotel looks stable enough to spend the night in."

Tsubasa approaches the counter and begins to speak with the receptionist.

Tsubasa:"Good evening. I would like a room for one night please!"

Receptionist:"Why, certainly sir! If you would just register yourself on that Informatix machine over there, I'll be glad to lead you to your room!"

So he went in the machine's direction, registered his information, and paid by the DigiCash CardTM
Then he followed the receptionist to his reserved room. When they arrived, she opened the door and handed Tsubasa the Binary Key.

Receptionist:"I hope you enjoy your stay with us, Mr.Ozora."

Tsubasa:"Thank you, I will! Oh, by the way, is there a telephone with the room's options?"

Recepionist<puzzled>:"You're in a Five Star hotel, Mr.Ozora!"

Tsubasa:"Oops! Silly me! Thanks again!"

Tsubasa slams the door shut as soon as the receptionist left. He picks up the phone and dials a long distance number. Of course, who else would he call other than his wife? Sanae picks up on the other end after a few rings.

Sanae:"Hello?"

Tsubasa:"Honey! It's me! Tsubasa! How are you doing??"

Sanae:"Oh, my love!! I've been worried sick about you! Where are you calling from? Osaka, right?"

Tsubasa:"Uhh..Err..Yeah yeah! That's right, Osaka! I'm staying with Mikami san!"

Sanae:"Oh! You've reminded me! Guess who came to visit us over here yesterday?"

Tsubasa:"The Foreign Inspector??"

Sanae:"NO!!! Matsuyama kun!"

Tsubasa:"WHAT?! NO KIDDING??"

Sanae:"Yeah, and he says hi. He's reviewing a business deal with one of the Fortune 1000 companies over here. So he thought to drop by and see how we're doing. He is a very polite gentleman."

Tsubasa:"Damn it!"

Sanae:"Excuse me??"

Tsubasa:"Sanae! Did he give you his telephone number back at the hotel?"

Sanae:"Yes, as a matter of fact he did...Why?"

Tsubasa:"Call him right now and tell him to contact Gamou san on this number, 143-711-222. Did you get it?"

Sanae:"Uh, all right! Take care of yourself dear!"

Tsubasa:"I love you!"

This must be Tsubasa's luckiest week. He spotted four of his teammates. He's tired of sleeping on the Shuttle. Tsubasa opens his gym bag and takes out his pajamas. It is going to be one heck of a refreshing night...He really needed it.

Back in Dresden, Germany, Eman is seen tied to an executive chair in the middle of a semi dark room. Schneider storms through the door and stands in front of his hostage in disgust. He slaps her as hard as he could. She opens her bloody eyes to get a glimpse of her "host".

Karl<angry>:"I've been told that you refuse to eat. I do not tolerate stubbornness, is that understood, Fraulein??"

Eman:"I'd rather die than to eat pork you miserable hog!"

Karl<smiling>:"Sorry! That's all we've got. You either eat it or, eat it!HOAHOAHOAHOAHOA!!"

Eman spits on the Laughing Hyena's face. He shuts up for a moment, and then gives her another slap. He then leaves the room, while Eman is crying her eyes out.

Karl:"The day will come when your brother will watch you dying a very slow and torturing death! Sleep 'tight' my dear! HOAHOAHOAHOAHOAHOA!!"

The sun rises in the horizon, declaring a fresh new day. Tsubasa finds it hard to leave his bed, but he had to or he's going to lose his money for nothing. He gets into the bathroom, cleans up and then gets dressed to leave for Kagoshima in Kyushu. He's determined to find the Tchibanna brothers. He was also encouraged by the fact that Matsuyama has been located with no effort.Tsubasa leaves the hotel and decided to take a boat from Port Kobe. He has to circle around Shikoku island and then head straight away to Kagoshima. It will be a very long journey, but it was worth it. In fact, he's starting to like the idea of confronting Saleem, he might have a chance to prove he's a better player. Nobody knows what will happen for sure.

Tsubasa reaches the port and buys a ticket to be onboard the Sea Slasher. After thirty minutes or so, he boards at last and the ship starts to sail towards his desired destination. It didn't take long for him to become sea sick though!

Tsubasa<throwing up>:"*BARF*!! URGH!!"

Author:"YUCK! Not in my MOUTH!! I must do a major brushing work-out right now! Excuse me!"

Tsubasa<dizzy>:"Hahahahaha!! You deserve it BASTARD!"

Back in Berlin, Germany...Gino and Marie are found taking a walk down the Elbe River.

Marie<cheerfully>:"Oh, Gino! I'm so happy to see you again! I missed you so much!"

Gino:"I couldn't wait any longer. I'm deeply in love with you Marie! I must take you with me to Italy, in anyway possible!"

Marie:"But...HOW??"

Gino:"Marry me Marie! Marry me!! Let's get this over with once and for all!"

Marie:"Oh, my eternal love! Yes, I will marry you regardless of any obstacles that might get in our way!"

Gino:"I must get your brother's approval though. Where is he anyway?"

Marie:"He has some business to take care of at Desden. He said it is important."

Gino:"Well, I certainly won't wait for him to arrive, Ms.Hernandez!"

Marie:"What?"

Before she knows it, Marie finds herself in Gino's arms. While both of them felt the warmth and passion that surrounded their bodies and souls, they began to stare in each others' eyes. At that moment, their lips united under the golden rays of the setting sun. It was one prolonged kiss which had love flowing within them like a heavenly river.

Two days later, the Sea Slasher arrives at the shores of Kagoshima. Tsubasa descends the boat's stairs and begins his long walk of inquiry. He asked about the Tchibanna brothers everywhere, but apparently no one knew whether they  live on the island or not. Tsubasa didn't give up, as usual. He kept asking and asking, till dusk had fallen upon the sun's face. Suddenly, he stopped walking. A colorful sign had caught his sight. It belongs to The Shinobi Circus. Tsubasa always dreamed of going to the circus, since he was deprived of it when he was a child. He never thought twice about buying a ticket, so he did. He got into the big tent and found a place to sit in the front row. This must be Tsubasa's lucky day. A minute later, the announcer steps in the circus ring with the spotlight focused on him.

Announcer:"Ladies and gentlemen...Behold...The best circus shows in the Eastern Region of the world!"

Energetic circus music filled the place. Tsubasa really enjoyed watching galloping horses and rolling elephants. He liked the Samurai Clowns even more. He remembered Sanae in the midst of all this fun, how it would become more enjoyable with her sitting by his side. Once all this came to an end, the announcer appears in the scene once more.

Announcer:"And now for the event that you've all been waiting for. Introducing the Fanatics of Acrobatics, the Linguini Brothers!"

Tsubasa<getting up>:"The WHAT?!"

All of a sudden the two lunatic brothers begin to spring all around the circus ring like Flubber! One of them even bounced off the announcer's big belly! Tsubasa is stunned because of this.

Tsubasa:"I can't believe my eyes! Kazuo and Masao Tchibanna, performing in a circus?!"

While they were performing at their best, the two goons spot the soccer guru effortlessly. They begin to snicker with slyness.

Kazuo:"Hey bro! How about picking on our old friend over there?"

Masao:"Yeah, that would be fun!"

Announcer:"All right! We need a volunteer from the audience for this knife-throwing event!"
 
Kazuo:"Ok, are you ready?"

Masao:"Yup!"

Kazuo:"All right, NOW!"

Masao shoots a fierce soccer ball in Tsubasa's direction. Tsubasa is frozen in his place and gets the ball in the face.

Tsubasa<in pain>:"AOWE!!! That hurts you hyperactive monkey! I'll get you for this!"

As soon as Tsubasa hops in the performance area to get his revenge, spotlights got focused on him. Needless to say, it was a blinding experience!

Announcer:"Ah! I see a courageous young man who dared to take this risk! Bravo!"

Tsubasa:"What?! NO! You don't understand!"

Kazuo:"Hahahahahaha!"
Masao:"Hohohohohoho!"
Author:"Hehehehehehehe!"

But it's too late. Tsubasa got grabbed by two gigantic circus dudes and was dragged to the Spinning Wheel. They strapped him to it and it began to revolve with increasing speed.

Tsubasa<to the lungs>:"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!"

Kazuo begins to throw knives like crazy. While he was enjoying it, Tsubasa was certainly not! He just kept spinning and spinning. After five torturous minutes, the wheel stopped. When unstrapped, Tsubasa got down on the circus floor and began kissing it, thanking Buddha for sparing his life. Well, everything but his expensive pants! They were torn by Kazuo's "accurate" aiming.

Tsubasa<to Kazuo>:"You single-toothed imbecile! You're going to pay for this, DEARLY!"

Masao:"<giggle><giggle>...Lighten up, will you?"

Announcer:"And that's it for today folks! Let's give a big hand to The Linguini Brothers and to our hapless volunteer!"

Tsubasa:"Hapless?!"

The Tchibannas lead their beaten-up friend to the trailer. Kazuo recooked some of last week's supper while Masao prepared the dining table. Tsubasa exhaled his terrible experience in the toilet. Then they all sat around the table. Tsubasa began the conversation.

Tsubasa:"All right, first thing's first. Why the Linguini Brothers?!"

Kazuo:"Well, we're wanted by the taxing committee. We've lost a fortune..."

Masao:"And so have decided to join the circus and change our identities."

Tsubasa:"How did you manage to lose all the money that your dad had left to you??"

Kazuo:"We were sitting with the rest of our teammates one day in the Sheraton Tokyo Lobby, discussing our win over our opponents. There was this strange looking guy staring at us all the time. When Masao got up from his seat and called for a toast towards our victory, this man walked right towards the team and said that we're a silly bunch of amateur players. He claimed that he can outdo us in a one against all match in less than five minutes!"

Masao:"We all thought he was a fruit cake. But he kept insisting upon his claim. So we accepted his challenge and agreed to bet money over this! In fact, Kazuo and I decided to bet with ALL our money. We were certain that we're going to crush his ribs. Sadly, the opposite happened! Seven of our primary players were severely injured and forced to retire. We lost all the money to him, and you can guess the rest for yourself..."

Tsubasa:"You don't suppose the man is called Saleem now, do you?"

Tchibannas<surprised>:"YOU'RE RIGHT!!"

Tsubasa:"Aha, I see. Well, I'm glad to inform you of a Re-Match that will take place very soon. If you want to have your real name back and regain your honor, then you have to agree to join the Japanese National Team."

Kazuo:"You bet we will! Who wouldn't?!"

Masao:"What is it that we must do first?"

Tsubasa:"Take this number. It's Gomou san's contact number. Call him and tell him that you're planning to join the team. We have to put an end to Saleem's rampage."

Tchibannas:"You can depend on us, Captain!"

Tsubasa:"Great! There's just one more thing. Do any of you know where I could find the rest of the gang?"

Kazuo:"As a matter of fact, yes. I know where Nitta is. Try the Modern Mental Asylum up north in Fukuoka."

Tsubasa:"Nitta in a mental hospital?! Why??"

Masao:"We were as surprised as you are, man! We don't know exactly what happened to him. We visit him occasionally though, especially during celebrations and holidays."

Tsubasa:"Man! I have to catch up on a lot of things! My friends are all messed up! Ok guys, thanks a million. I'll be leaving in the morning, but in the meantime I'm going to book me a hotel room. Take care Linguinis!!"

Tchibannas:"Dewa matta kondo!"

Tsubasa:"Oh, and Kazuo?"

Kazuo:"Yeah?"

Tsubasa:"You owe me a new pair of Armani trousers. I might catch a horrible cold walking half naked in these streets you know!"

THE END

 Part Nine