“Checking in, Mr. Hayabusa?” the perky reception girl smiles at you. You stand perfectly silent, allowing the wind rustling your hair to be the answer to her question. When this fails to adequately communicate how you feel, you lean forward and impart the message your hair could not.
“Yes.” You say, in as stealthy ninja a manner as you can muster. Grabbing a keycard from the receptionist, you bound up the hotel stairs to your floor. Opening the door to your room, you are greeted by a small chamber equipped with a bed, television, and telephone. It disgusts you. The key to the success of a ninja is discipline, and the way the room is laid out is just so sloppy it makes you feel like spiders are crawling all over your skin.
Rolling into the room, you pounce into action. Sliding open the balcony door, you fling the bedspread into the muggy Washington, D.C. night. Noting the mattress is stained slightly yellow, you move the bed to the west side of the room to improve the fung shui. After remaking the bed several times, you feel that enough discipline has been enacted upon the room for one evening. Laying down on the mattress, you cross your arms over your chest and close your eyes.
A loud series of thumps from the room above you snaps you from your slumber. The moon still hangs high in the sky, and you can now hear muffled screams coming from above.
Springing to your feet, you rush to the balcony. You start to take a running leap to the ledge, above, but then you get the disconcerting feeling you didn’t lock your hotel room door. After checking to see if it’s locked (it was), your return to the balcony and climb up.
The upstairs balcony door is locked, but the curtains are open. Peering through the glass, you are treated to a gruesome sight. The room’s walls and ceiling are painted dark red. The bed is nowhere to be seen, leaving a wide expanse of floor. This floor is occupied by eight headless corpses arranged in a circle. The corpses appear to be wearing suits, copious amounts of blood gush from the gaping neckholes. Scattered throughout the room are severed heads, one severed head appears to be screaming.
Normally, all that screaming from above would be your cue to investigate. But you are on vacation, as evidenced by the Hawaiian-print ninja robes you are wearing. Grabbing the blankets and pillows, you head off to sleep in the bathtub.
A few hours later you groggily rise from the tub. You could use a few more hours of sleep, but today you have a bus tour of D.C. and it’s going to be fun. Grabbing your camera and especially festive all-black bandana to cover your mouth, you bound downstairs to meet your tour group.
The tour goes spectacularly. All day you are taken from one fascinating monument to another, all of them impeccably clean. Your favorite is the towering obelisk called the Washington Monument, which you spend a peaceful 15 minutes standing atop. Returning to your homeland rested and with vigor, you know that you will cherish these memories for a lifetime.
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’VE REACHED AN ENDING! Believe it or not, this is not the best ending, but great job nonetheless! All your hard work and discipline finally paid off!
You’ll never be at ease knowing there’s such a huge mess in the room above yours. Hitting the glass door with your sword, it fractures into thousands of shards.You hear a scurrying sound against the walls but see nothing. Examining the bodies, you sadly conclude that there’s nothing you can do. You begin trying to match heads to various bodies to make the room feel a little more organized. You never once see the hairy eight-armed man attached to the ceiling, not even as he drops on you and chokes you to death.
A disciplined ninja knows never to charge headlong into a strange and deadly situation. Hopping over the railing, you swing onto your balcony and head inside. Intending to phone the police, you flip on the lights. This reveals a redheaded woman in a tight black skirtsuit, sitting calmly on your bed. You curse yourself for not checking to see if your door was locked several more times. Instinctively, you draw your sword, but the woman’s body stays relaxed.
“Hello, Mr. Hayabusa,” she whispers in a sultry voice, “I am Agent Jinjara, of the C.I.A.”
You urgently point to the room above you. The agent doesn’t seem to notice, or care, but she does continue, “recently, eight of our field agents were killed in a hotel room.”
“Upstairs” you shout, wondering how the agent got here so quickly.
“Yes, it did happen upstairs, your reconnaissance work is as good as they say it is. The agents were all investigating an illegal chemicals shipment from San Francisco to Asia. Since the investigation seems to be fraught with homicide, we decided to bring in the best. That’s where you come in.”
Still surprised at her rapid response time, you inquire what she wants of you.
“Our intelligence shows that you are the perfect candidate to infiltrate San Francisco’s Chinatown chemical smuggling ring.”
“Why?” you ask.
She looks down at your feet, then back into your eyes, “because you’re, you know… Chinese.”
For a brief moment, you consider slicing off her head. But then you’d be in here all day, cleaning up the mess. Instead, you sign, and begrudgingly take the airplane ticket she offers you.
Arriving in San Francisco, you make your way to Chinatown. It looks exactly as you pictured it, in that there are a lot of Chinese people there. You pull up your bandana, hoping they won’t notice your dark skin.
Before your flight, the C.I.A. gave specific instructions on how to find the chemical smuggler’s boat. Heading to the appropriate pier, you see a huge cargo ship. Deckhands are quickly loading boxes onto the deck.
You scramble up the bow. Hopping onto the deck, you glance around for a place to hide. Dashing towards a nearby barrel, you are dismayed when a nearby deckhand notices you and shouts.
Hoping no one will wonder about the dockworker wearing ninja robes, you grab a box and head on board. The plan goes with ease, you drop the box near a pile of others.
A huge bolt of fear strikes you as you realize the cargo boxes are not arranged evenly. You spend the next few hours obsessively neatening the pile, and don’t even notice when the ship sets sail.
“Who are you?” a deckhand shouts. You turn around to see a menacingly scruffy man wielding a broken rum bottle.
Drawing your sword, you neatly slice off the deckhand’s head. Dumping him overboard, you jump in the empty barrel and hide until the ship departs. At night, you wait until almost everyone is asleep, then slip out of your hiding spot.
Hoping to get somewhere no one can follow you, you climb the crows nest. From here, you can see the majestic sight of “homeless people doing weird tricks for spare change” that is Fisherman’s Wharf. This reminds you that you were supposed to be enjoying a vacation, and you shed a single tear.
Your thoughts are interrupted by a loud crack. Looking down you see that several deckhands have chopped through the mast. It topples over, sending you plunging into the icy waters of the San Francisco Bay. You are fished out by police officials, who put you in jail for trespassing.
You leap over the armed sailor, he swings the broken bottle and just misses you. You slash him in the back, he falls to the ground. Then, due to an inexplicably compulsive urge, you fling his corpse in the air, hit it with your sword again, then saw off the head. Before you can catch your breath, a dozen more sailors rush in.
“Uhhh,” you reply confidently, “I am here to help out.”
“Help out with what?” the sailor snarls.
“With, the, um, lifting of the boxes. And the moving them.”
The sailor looks you up and down, “if you are here to help then answer this. Where is this ship going?
Using your sword as a crowbar, you open a nearby crate labeled “coffee beans.” The side pops off, and red powder spills from the crate. Picking up a handful of powder, you examine it as it spills through your fingers. You’ve never seen anything like it, it has a slight glow. Perhaps if you had elected to take more chemistry courses at the ninja academy you would be able to identify the substance. As such, however, you are stumped.
Creeping below deck, you slip into the cabins. Stacked beds contain sleeping sailors. After taking a moment to tidy up, you search the nearest sleeper. He has a large red key around his neck, which you remove and slip into your pocket. Somewhere in the room, you hear a person roll over on their bunk.
When you were growing up, and learning to be a ninja, you had to spend years practicing invisibility. Hoping those years will pay off, you run to the corner, curl into a ball, and squeeze your eyes shut. Unfortunately, this does not make you any less visible, and the swarthy seafarers eviscerate you.
Summoning strength from deep within you (specifically, from the tacos you had for breakfast), you emit fireballs. They surround you as you move, running headfirst into the pack of sailors. The men catch on fire and scatter all over the place. One man tries to stop, drop, and roll, and only succeeds in setting the wooden ship ablaze. The room fills with smoke, you dash topside. Here, burning men are jumping overboard while others try to extinguish the blazing ship. The fireballs continue to surround you, setting more of the vessel ablaze.
“You did this!” a cry calls out from nearby, the ship’s captain advances towards you with a revolver
Your answer seems to satisfy the sailor. “Alright then, I’ll let you in on a secret.” Looking around furtively, the sailor leans closer, “when we pass the intradimensional rift, on our way to China, I’m going to open it,” he pulls a key out from a chain underneath his shirt.
“Why would you want to go and do a thing like that,” you answer. You want to snatch the key, but not enough to overcome your fear that it is crawling with germs.
“So I can harness the power leaking out of the rift!” He cries, cackling wildly.
“I just… I’ll…” the sailor pauses, “I don’t think I’m explaining this properly. I’m going to open the rift and absorb the power.
“No, I get it,” you respond, “it’s just that I’ve seen plenty of people try to absorb some weird power. They always end up turning into some monster, or releasing a monster, it never works out.”
The pirates face falls, but then a flicker appears in his eyes, “I’ll show you!” he shouts, running above deck.
Procuring a glass of water, you pour in some red powder and give it a stir. Once the water has turned red, you gulp it down. You don’t feel any different, but the ship’s engines grind to a halt.
“Everyone above deck!” screams a rough voice that can only belong to the ship’s captain. Not wanting to stand out, you shuffle up some nearby stairs. On the deck, the crew faces the captain. “Someone ate some vitality essence, and I want to know who.”
Wondering how the captain could have learned this so fast, you plan to keep quiet. However, your plan is betrayed by a loud belch, out of your mouth pours a bright streak of light.
“You fool,” shouts the captain, “you’ve opened up an intradimensional rift inside your stomach.”
Just then your belly rumbles. It turns out to be your colon slipping into another dimension. You collapse on the floor, clutching your stomach in agony. The captain stabs you in the stomach many times, but fails to close the rift inside of you.
To prevent the open crate from tipping of the crew of your presence, you carry it above deck. It is the dead of night, a chilly wind rustles your dark ninja robes and shoelaces. Heading to the side, you toss the crate over the edge. Immediately, the water starts boiling. A bright light appears in the water, from it comes an enormous, winged demon. It’s body is grey, and resembles a dragon with two stickly human legs. It opens its enormous wings, showing their blood red underside. Two long, hairy horns protrude from its skull. It floats above the water, and glares at you with its beady blue eyes.
Hoping to find more artifacts that might shed some light on the purpose of the mysterious red key, you creep to the next bunk. A cursory inspection of the sleeping man there yields nothing.
“Who are you?” You whirl around to find a pajama-clad sailor levelling a gun at your chest.
“I’m a… you’re having night terrors. Sleep paralysis.”
Your bumbling attempt at an explanation turns out to be your final words. The sailor blows a hole in your chest big enough to pull a demon through.
Calling upon all of your ninja training, you roll under a nearby bunk and whimper, quietly. One of the soldiers wearily stumbles out of his bunk and leaves the room. You scoot out and continue your search, when you are startled by movement that seems to come from all around you. Every sleeping man is rising from his bunk, you glance around for a hiding place, but find none. However, the men seem to take no interest in you. Like zombies, they stiffly shuffle out of the room, you can’t even tell if their eyes are open. After they leave, you find yourself completely alone in the room.
Before the swashbuckler can fire his weapon, you arc gracefully over the side of the ship. Plunging into the icy Pacific, you realize now that you may not have worn the best outfit for swimming. In fact, you specifically requested your ninja robes be “extra absorbent” so you wouldn’t be tripped up with blood dripping off of you. But now, that choice proves to be the one that seals your doom, as your soaked robes drag you down to the ocean floor.
The captain’s finger twitches around the trigger. In one smooth motion, you pull a ninja star from your robes and fling it at the sailor. It cleanly slices through his wrist, the gun-holding hand falls to the deck. Before the captain can even register a look of surprise, you have stuck your sword two feet through his chest. Pulling your sword out releases a majestic spray of blood. Panicking that someone might see you with the captain’s body, you scoop the corpse into your arms.
With a swift motion, you fling a star at the captain’s jugular. It buries itself in his neck, the captain falls to his knees. His hand squeezes the trigger: a bullet blows a huge hole in your chest. You fall on top of the captain, both of you bleed out. Your final thought is that the bloody mess will take someone months to clean up.
Coming topside, you are greeted by the sight of your sailor confidante facing a bright gaping hole above the ship. Light pours from the hole, starting at about eye level and extending up past the crows nest. The light shimmers and changes color, it seems to be taking shape.
“Now it is my time!” cries the sailor, “demon, infuse me with your power!”
The patch of light starts to vibrate. Screaming, the sailor clutches his forehead and falls to his knees. Two hairy horns burst from his temples, his skin breaks out into bumps that horrifically grow into scales. Wings burst from his ribcage, you find yourself staring down a gory, giant demon.
Sprinting to the engine room, you briefly consider which buttons control the power before slashing away at everything you see. Eventually, you sever enough wires to cut power to the entire ship. You sprint to the deck to see if you have impeded the ships progress. There, on the deck, you are accosted by the sight of a giant demon, half the size of the ship itself, tearing the crew to pieces. As you muse about its origins, the demon picks you up and flaps you to death with its huge red wings.
Leaping high into the air, you fling a shuriken at the demon. You always resented your dad for making you play baseball, when all you wanted to do was train to be a ninja. But now, all of those ballplayer fundamentals pay off: your follow-through is strong and the shuriken sinks deep into one of the demon’s eyes. With a roar, the demon falls backwards, plunging into the sea.
Raising your arms high in the air, you feel the light flow from the demon into you. Your muscles tingle with newfound superpowers. With a cackle, you realize you are now a demon, a demon with a ship.
First, you decide you need a crew. Raiding the nearest port, you staff your vessel with miscreants, wash-ups, and uprooted corpses (although the corpses pretty much just lay there).
From there on, your life is spent joyously setting sail around the world. From time to time, you must appease the demonic influence inside of you. But, since you don’t really know what demons want or eat, usually just leveling some village is enough to buy you another month. All in all, it is a satisfying life, and when you finally die at the age of 7,777, you have zero regrets.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’VE FOUND SOME CHEAP EXCUSE FOR AN ENDING! There are still better endings available, fortunately!
Whipping out your Dragon Sword, you begin spinning it in the air. This time, you manage to get both a fireball circle around you and a whirlwind slash. Figuring you are a menacing deliveryman of death, you fling your burning, slashing body at the demon.
Colliding with the demon, you hear a satisfying roar of pain. Huge gashes and burns cover its face, it sinks back into the ocean. With its last bit of strength, the demon grabs you with its strong wings and drags you under the surface. Unfortunately, you never went to demon training school, where one of the first lessons is underwater breathing.
Now that there are no sleeping sailors to avoid, you can give the bedroom cabin a thorough search. Unfortunately, aside from an impressive stash of swimsuit calendars, you find nothing else which can help you identify the purpose of the mysterious key you found.
Perplexed, you trot up to the deck, where a loud commotion has broken out. A humongous, flying spider is tearing the crew members’ limbs from their bodies. Before you can duck out of the way, the monster flings a corpse straight at you. The force knocks you to the ground, unable to take a breath. The monster seizes this opportunity to pick you up and toss you overboard. It’s interesting, being thrown into the water when you already can’t breath. It’s like you get to have a head start on drowning.
Sticking to the shadows, you follow the line of sailors upstairs. You wonder if your stealth is unnecessary, as these sailors seem to be sleepwalking.
Heading onto the deck, you are momentarily blinded by a huge light hovering above the ship. Out of the light steps an enormous demon. Picking up a nearby entranced sailor, the monster pops him in its mouth and starts chewing. Just then, its narrow blue eyes cast their gaze upon you. Spitting out the sailor, the two-story-high demon shuffles towards you.
Prying open the lid of a nearby crate, you scoop out about half the red powder, inside, and cram in the captain’s body. Oddly, corpses and mysterious red powder don’t mix. Or, more accurately, they mix violently well. A glowing light bursts from the captain’s chest, his corpse floats in the air. Two enormous wings burst from underneath the captain’s skin. Soon you are staring down a very large, very powerful flying demon. It spits all over you, then attempts to stuff your entire body into its mouth. It fails in quite a comical way. Well, it would be comical, if you weren’t busy dying.
Hoisting the body over your shoulder, you trot up to the open air of the deck. However, all is not peaceful: twelve sailors stand in a ring around a mysterious glowing light. It almost appears as if the air ripped open and light spilled out from another dimension. From this rip climbs an enormous spider-shaped demon.
“I am the Archfiend!” it screams.
“Aren’t you supposed to be the last boss?” you ask.
“Well, yes, but I got lost. Wormholes are hard.” With a roar it charges at you.
Closing your eyes, you spin around in place while focusing on the power of the ancients. When you feel as though you are about to burst from this power, you utter the magic word, “Wheeeeeee!”
Opening your eyes, you see a duplicate of yourself attacking the demon. Joining the fray, you hack and slice until you and your doppelganger have brought it down. Taking a moment to catch your breath, you are surprised when your twin speaks.
“So, shouldn’t you be disappearing, now?” he asks.
“You’re the copy, you tell me,” you retort.
Sadly, your duplicate disagrees on this fundamental matter. You spend hours having philosophical arguments about the situation. Your doppelganger makes some valid points, and eventually you agree with his line of reasoning. Falling on your sword, you end the space-time paradox created when you created a copy of yourself.
Pulling out the red key, you are surprised to see it glowing a similar color to the dimensional rift. With a well-aimed hurl, you fling the key into the demon’s skull.
Up until that point, the demon had been bellowing roars of anger and pleasure. Suddenly, it switches to roars of pain and regret. Shrinking, it flies back into the light, which soon fades away. From thin air falls a stone statue. As you pick it up you examine it. It is of a monk holding a mop, you recognize his clothes as belonging to an impeccably-clean monastery high in the Tibetan mountains.
Happy to have dismissed the demon, you take charge of the ship, steering it to the Shanghai harbor.
The demon is intimidating, but you’ve spent years perfecting a technique that is sure to take it down. Pulling out your Dragon Sword, you concentrate all of your thoughts on its shaft. It begins to glow, but fades when your concentration is broken by a messy blood stain on the hilt. Figuring it will only take a few seconds, you begin cleaning the hilt. Unfortunately, this blood is really set in. Luckily you always bring a set of cleaning products. Before you can pre-soak the stain, the demon reaches out with two hairy arms and pulls your head off.
Holding your hands together in front of you, you make a ball of fire form. However, as you reach back to fling the fire at the demon, it scalds your hands. Yelping, you drop the fireball onto the deck, where it immediately lights the ship on fire.
You have a magnificent battle with the demon, and eventually emerge victorious. Unfortunately, this outcome is meaningless because the burning ship sinks, stranding you floating in the middle of the Pacific ocean. You attempt to spin your Dragon Sword like a propeller to move through the water, but end up nicking your leg and attracting dozens of hungry sharks.
You land a forceful blow on the spider’s leg, but your sword is not sharp enough to cut through its thick tendons. The leg slams into you, knocking you unconscious. Turns out this is pretty lucky, because the spider demon does some pretty gross stuff with your body, particularly the orifices.
The rough terrain becomes snow. This is a good sign, as it means your ten-hour ascent of Mount Tibet is coming to a close. As you trudge on, silently, you notice how clean the snow looks and dream that one day you can become snow. These metaphysical thoughts increase as you near the monastery.
Once you’re actually in Japan, there is so much to do. You’ve got to talk to your ninja sword guy, and your metal four-pointed star distributor. While you’re here, might as well stop by the fabric district and pick up a couple of boxes of robes. In fact, you decide “screw the C.I.A.,” and forget about the mission entirely. That’s what they get for not using leverage.
The rest of your life plays out peacefully, until you are stabbed by a mugger. Which actually happened the same day you got there, so… the “rest of your life” was only a few hours.
You never entered a monastery without being greeted by cheers of silence, so you stride in the front door. You don’t notice your foot coming down on a switchplate until it is too late. Hundreds of spiders fall from the ceiling. While most are disinterested in you, choosing instead to seek shelter, a few dozen manage to bite you with enough poison to turn your blood brown.
Climbing up the hill into which the monastery was built, you attempt to find some alternate entrance. Monks are cool, and all, but they are always setting up weird traps and tests for each other.
Soon, you kick aside a clump of snow to reveal a trap door. After carefully dusting all of the snow from the trap door, and giving it a quick clean with some ammonia, you open it and slip inside
Landing in a pitch black room, you crouch and listen. You hear scurrying nearby.
As stealtily as you can, you shuffle forward, arms extended. You stumble into an open hole, hitting your head on the side. Bleeding badly, you land in a room lit up with candles. In the center stands… your dad! You stumble towards him, your vision hazy from the blow. Unfortunately, your dad takes this opportunity to chop off your head. In the moment between your head getting severed and oxygen leaving your brain, you find this whole turn of events quite surprising
Concentrating on the direction of the shuffling, you hone in your hearing. It doesn’t work at first, so you drop to your knee and strike a dramatic pose, which helps you hear much better. You hear footsteps.
Screaming a high-pierced shriek, you swing your Dragon Sword exactly seventeen times. Although you feel it connecting with something, there’s no body or blood to be seen. Rushing forward sword-first, you plow your face into a wall. At first, the bright white light you see is a refreshing change from the pitch black, but then the pain sets in. Carefully making sure your ensuing nosebleed doesn’t stain your robes, you decide it’s time for a special power.
With one smooth motion, you pull out your daggers. You were absent for dagger training day, so you windmill your arms and run forward. Your daggers slice through something fleshy. Not wanting to leave a job partially done, you hack away until whatever it was is now lying in pieces.
A torch flickers in the darkness. A fire is lit in the center of the room. This reveals a giant chamber, whose ceiling you can barely discern. Nearby are the remains of… your dad.
The monk with the torch steps forward. “Thank you,” he says, “that beast has kept us away for months.”
“He’s my dad,” you respond.
“Well he ate a statue and turned evil. Let’s have no more discussion of the subject.”
Sheathing your weapons, you rush towards the sound, arms extended. It is a group of monks! Warmly, you grip them in that unique embrace only a ninja and a monk can share. Unfortunately, these monks are dead, which you realize after planting a kiss on a decomposing skull. Trying to recoil in horror, you struggle against a mysteriously restrictive bond. It turns out to be a spiderweb, a huge one. But you don’t figure this out before your head is cleanly bitten off by a spider, so you think you die at the hands of mysterious and angry ghosts.
Your firewheel strikes a nearby fire pit, igniting the dry tinder inside. Soon, your eyes adjust to the light, and you discover you are in a very lofty abbey. The floor is littered with dark holes, you lean over the nearest and can barely make out the bottom.From floor to ceiling stretches an enormous spiderweb. Grabbing a piece of burning tinder, you ignite the web. From one of the holes climbs your dad. You are shocked at first, as he runs around screaming. At first, you find this comical, but then you realize he is on fire. As you glance around for something to extinguish the blaze, your burning father pulls out a curved sword and charges straight at you.
Concentrating super-hard, you make an exact copy of yourself. Well, almost an exact copy, his robes are a bit wrinkled and his collar isn’t perfectly straight. You begin to adjust your double, for you can’t have people seeing him and thinking he’s you and that you’re in less than perfect condition. This is difficult to do in the dark, however, and by the time you manage to iron out the folds in his robes, a sword swings from the darkness, cleaving your head in two. Your last thought is that your double can survive, and your legacy would still technically live on. But he dies right afterward, frozen in terror.
You can’t help but notice the impeccably clean and straight robes the monks have. You inquire as to whether they have some sort of ancient secret laundry technique. The monk explains the value of washing lighter fabrics on cooler cycles, which fascinates you. You spend the entire afternoon learning and comparing techniques for fastidiously keeping everything dust and germ free. By the time the sun sets over the frosty mountains, you have become convinced that this is your calling. You even have the right style of robes. You spend the rest of your long life meditating, cleaning, and utterly avoiding excessive interaction. It is, in a word, divine. You sometimes wonder what became of the whole C.I.A. demon plot, but you don’t let that bother you. That is, until you are 82 and a giant spider demon climbs over the mountain and decimates the monastery, massacring you and all your monk friends.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’VE FOUND A PRETTY GOOD ENDING!
You should feel pretty good.
Removing the statue, which has been uncomfortably tucked in your waistband for far too long, you show it to the monk.
The head monk is technically called an abbot but you don’t know that so you decide to call him Monk Master. The Monk Master takes the statue from you. Weighing it in his hands, he suddenly throws the statue on the ground, smashing it open. In the pieces, you can see a gleaming silver key. You reach for it, but the Monk Master slaps your hand away. Picking the key up, the Monk Master offers it too you, which confuses you because he just slapped you. Tentatively, you grab the key. As your fingers wrap around the cool metal, the key glows brighter. The brightness grows until it completely envelops the room, your field of vision looks like the middle of a psychedelic snowstorm. In the distance, a door materializes.
Though your dad has always dwarfed you, you can jump just high enough to plant a foot in its back. Reaching up, your dad pulls out a small dagger and begins hacking at your legs. While you howl in pain, he picks you up with two strong arms. Rolling you over its body, your dad (who never exhibited this behavior at home) extinguishes the flames. You begin to suspect your dad is not your dad, but actually some kind of demon. This is confirmed shortly afterwards, when he bites your head off because for some weird reason that’s the tastiest part of you.
You want nothing to do with angry dad, his fastidious insistence that you maintain perfectly clean robes and only use numbers divisible by 17 is what made you this way, in the first place. Rolling on the floor (which, fortunately, has been recently cleaned), you tumble into a dark corner. Your father runs around screaming an inhuman roar, beating at the flames with his arms. You watch, curious to see if he beats himself to death before it burns up. The fires eventually win out and your dad collapses into a charred mess. Looking closely, you are relieved to see the corpse resembles a giant, winged monstrosity which, incidentally, looks nothing like your dad.
“I’m so glad you did that,” says a monk, emerging from a nearby doorway, “we hate angry demons, so.” He is joined by several other robe-clad, balding monk types.
Opening the door, you feel a blast of freezing air. You take half a step through the doorway, but catch yourself as there is no ground on the other side. Peering through, you see you are floating high above the monastery mountains. A cloud passes through the doorway, everything turns hazy for a moment. When the cloud leaves, your vision has sharpened considerably. You can now see the individual ice crystals glistening off of the snow-capped peaks, it’s like seeing a mountain of diamonds.
You don’t know what is happening, but you had a similar experience at a party during ninja training academy. Curling into a ball, you spend the next two hours trying unsuccessfully to make yourself throw up. The light only intensifies, it feels like its coming from inside your head. Eventually, your mind explodes from the whole brain-blowing experience of it all.
Something about these gentle, peaceful old men makes you suspicious. Whipping out a shuriken, you throw it at the nearest monk’s forehead. The monk casually glances at you, his eyes are completely white. As the ninja star hits the monk, he gets fuzzy looking. The star passes through the monk, embedding itself three inches into the wooden wall behind him. You blink, which turns out to be a fatal mistake as the monks phase out of existence, then reappear surrounding you. They all give you a really mean stare, which makes your brain hemorrhage. As blood pours out your eyes, ears, and nose, you wonder why the monks never opened up a training academy.
Deciding you’re not getting the information you need, you decide to try ninja conversational tactics. Summoning the dragon spirit within, you make the world appear like a wide comic strip. The monk sees what you are doing, his robe rustles in the gusty monastery. You exchange glances then rush headlong at one another.
When you are just a few paces away from the monk, you make a speech bubble appear above your head. It reads “Submit.”
You slow down, the monk matches your pace and you stop face-to-face with the abbey keeper. A speech bubble appears above his head, “Ah, I see you’ve learned the ancient language of dragonspeak. We have searched far and wide for one of your kind.” The monk takes a deep breath, the speech bubble replaces itself with a blank bubble, which fills with “Let me show you what you seek. Be sure to look closely.” The monk makes a rectangular outline with his hands, a door appears inside the outline.
Eager to test your new, heightened vision, you focus on a distant mountaintop and attempt to discern features. While the snowy mountain peak bears no new sights, you do make out what seems to be a fine gossamer web stretching out from the top. Startled, you follow the web, and realizes it heads on for miles, spreading east into the horizon. Following the web, you realize that part of it is attached to the doorway in which you stand.
Turning your super-gaze downward, you are surprised by the clarity. Gazing miles below you, you spot a small gleaming object. A close stare reveals that it is a 1905 buffalo head nickel. Thrilled at such an amazing find, you leap through the door. Plunging several miles to your death gives you plenty of time to reflect on being too impulsive.
Plunging into the doorway, you find yourself freefalling miles above the snow. Of course, the impact is fatal. But, before you land with force so hard your limbs fly off, you manage to pull off some really cool midair ninja moves.
In the ninja academy, the first and foremost lesson which was hammered into your young mind is this: Throwing fireballs is always the best option. Instead of opening the door with the doorknob, like some non-ninja, you emit flames from your hands, burning down the door spectacularly. From your vantage point, there is only blue sky through the doorway.
Hurling a fireball at the web causes a trail of fire to spread throughout the webbing. You jump up and down as the enormous, burning web falls away from nearby peaks. Unfortunately, you trip while jumping up and down, fall through the open doorway, and plunge to your death.
Carefully, you grab onto a strand and swing your body into the web. You try to get up, but find yourself stuck. Struggling to move only makes you get more entangled, but still you struggle fruitlessly until a spider the size of a mountain crawls over and eats you in one gulp.
Delicately, you step out onto the web. The web bounces like a trampoline, at first you reach out to steady yourself, but when you find your feet stuck to the web, you decide to try and balance on your own. Regaining your equilibrium, you try to lift your feet, but are hopelessly stuck.
Making a giant ball of flame in your hands, you splash fire onto your face like aftershave. It burns like aftershave, too. Only, unlike aftershave, it burns away your flesh. Also, unlike aftershave, the fireball leaves you dead, decomposing, and otherwise unattractive to the opposite sex.
Your ninja master always scoffed at your insistence upon bringing metal shoes. Actually, now that you are remembering it, it was more your insistence on bringing no-stick frying pan spray. Laughing the sweet laugh of comeuppance, you don the metal shoes and spray the bottom with no-stick. This does the trick, you dash across the web with ease.
Smartly, you burn away the webbing around your feet, freeing yourself. Not smartly, you plunge through the hole to your death.
Just because you have spent every waking minute of your life exercising severe self-discipline doesn’t mean you can’t spot real fun. Strolling to a particularly bouncy part of the web, you leap as high as you can. Coming down on your feet, you feel the web’s resistance as you sink down into it. Then, with a low “twang,” the web shoots you into the atmosphere.
Soaring high into the clouds, you spot a jet flying nearby. You let out a small laugh, and immediately feel guilt. You figure it’s time to continue your mission
Focusing on the horizon, you begin dashing along the web. You run for what feels like hours, the web is getting no closer, but the thin air seems more breathable. Looking down you come to the startling discovery that, not only are you much lower than when you started, you are above the sea.
As the shock almost sends you to your knees, which would be a fatally sticky mistake, you hear a faint rumbling. Turning around, you are greeted by the horrific sight of an enormous spider. Taller than a skyscraper, this abomination would easily dwarf the biggest animal in the world (which is, of course, a boa constrictor who has just swallowed a blue whale). You attempt to stand still, hoping to go unnoticed, but the spider turns its huge, dripping eyes towards you. Although it seems a long way away, this spider is fast and you only have a moment to react.
Over the next few hours, you bounce along the trampoline. Each leap bounces you higher into the air, you are growing afraid you will launch into space when you finally spot buildings in the distance. A few bounces later, and you are standing atop a high rise in Downtown Tokyo. Turning around, you stare in awe at the web spun around the skyscrapers, which extends all the way to the Tibetan mountains
Your moment of reflection is broken when an enormous spider, itself bigger than downtown Tokyo, springs at you from higher up on the web.
Buoyed by the feeling of walking on the clouds, you tumble end-over-end back into the soft, supple web. Unfortunately, your robes are not made of metal. Not just because this means you wouldn’t have gotten entangled and subsequently eaten by an enormous spider, but, well actually we lied. It is just because of the getting-eaten-by-a-spider thing.
Reaching out a hand, you greet the spider and are greatly offended when it chooses to bite your arm off. As you bleed to death and get mulched by the razor sharp teeth of the spider, your last thoughts are of how cold and unfriendly the bug world has become
Timing your blow with precision, you roll away from the charging spider. Well, it’s hard to roll away from something the size of Manhattan, but you roll away from one of it’s legs. As you do so, you stick out your sword and sever the leg at the first segment.
The spider tilts off balance. Unable to stop its movement in the flexible web, it starts rolling end-over-end. Finally, it stops, belly up, resting against a skyscraper that is part of the Tokyo skyline
You feel something heavy thump against your chest. Reaching into your robes, you pull out the Dragon Statue, which you didn’t really realize you were still holding onto. Giving it a firm toss, you watch it arc towards the spider. The spider slows to watch it too, as the statue gets closer, a look of recognition gleams in a few dozen of its eyes, its mouth hangs open, and the statue flies down the spider’s throat.
Light pours from every eye on the spider’s enormous body. It shrinks to human-size, then blinks out of existence. The statue falls into the webbing.
A man in a suit steps over to the statue and picks it up. You wonder when he got here.
“Thank you,” the man says to you, “for granting me infinite power.” He shoves the considerably large statue down his relatively small throat. Finishing it with a gulp, the man screams and grows ten times in size.
Building up torque, you spin in place until you feel you’ve reached a significant velocity. Pulling out all of your swords, knives, and shurikens, you advance towards the spider. Before you can reach it, however, you cut a gash through the spider web. Plummeting to the streets below, you paint a taxicab’s hood with your splattered organs
Before the spider can scramble to safety, you aim a well placed fireball at the bottom of its web. The web detaches from the Tokyo skyline, the spider finds it no longer has a bridge from the mainland. As the spider tumbles into the sea, you heave a sigh of relief. Trying to find a way off the roof, you turn around to discover a dozen black-robed ninjas facing you
Rubbing your hands together produces smoke at first, then a bright burst of flame. Throwing it at the spider, you succeed in nailing it in the furriest part of its leg. The hair quickly ignites, you hear a garbled scream at the spider darts around, frantically trying to find a way to extinguish itself. Eventually, it collapses into a charring, burning mess
But things are not okay for you, the burning spider has ignited the web. You try to climb higher to avoid the burning strands. But, soon the flames overcome you, your only choice is a plunge to the ground far below. The ground once again proves how much it hates rapidly accelerating bodies by splattering you all over.
Springing high into the air, you wield your Dragon Sword. You land on top of the inverted spider, plunging the sword deep into its belly. This takes out a large chunk of the spider’s abdomen. Pleased, you hack away until the spider has been significantly eviscerated. Hopping to the ground, you breath a sigh of relief. You are horrified when you feel something hot against your chest- this must be the early onset heart attack you frequently warned your doctors that you were going to have. However, your diagnosis proves to be wrong. Reaching into your robes, you remove the monk statue. It glows red, and is so hot you can barely hold it.
“I’ll take that,” says a voice from nearby. A hand swiftly snatches the statue from your grasp. Whirling around, you see an unfamiliar man in a suit. He shoves the statue into his chest, and falls on the ground. After a moment, you move towards his body. However, you stop short when you notice the body has grown to the size of a two-story house. The now giant man climbs to his feet (for inexplicable reasons the web doesn’t stick to him. He turns and starts to sprint towards the Tokyo skyline.
“Hey, that’s not very nice!” You scream at the enormous, fleeing man. When he does not respond nor slow down, you figure he hasn’t heard you. Sprinting after the man, you pursue the mysterious behemoth over the top of a skyscraper. Reaching the edge, the giant leaps to the next building. Summoning all of your ninja courage, you fly off the edge of the building. Unfortunately, it turns out that people ten times your size can jump about five times as far as you. You plummet, screaming to the busy street far below. Your robes do a remarkably good job of staying intact after impact, they hold your exploded guts which makes cleanup quite easy for the coroner.
Hoping to slow down the sprinting giant, you fling a star at his legs. It buries deep into the back of his knee. The giant lets out a whimper of pain and begins limping
Your strategy of either circling carefully or hacking randomly is a success. You meticulously wipe the blood and guts off of your sword as all of your enemies lay swoon at your feet.
“Well done,” a voice states. From the shadows steps an unfamiliar man in a suit, “you are as good as they’ve told me.” Apprehensively, you hold up your sword. The man pulls out an enormous revolver, leveling the barrel at your chest. “Give me the statue,” he demands brusquely.
Flinging a flurry of stars at the fleeing giant, you manage to hit him several times in his weak leg. He takes a few more pained steps, then collapses on a nearby rooftop with a groan. Dashing over, you pull out your sword and stab him in the chest. An enormous amount of blood gushes from the wound when you remove your blade. It reminds you of a broken fire hydrant. Not wanting to stain your robes, you back away from the bloody geyser. Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect when you back off the edge of the skyscraper. Your robes certainly get quite dirty from your body losing its ability to hold in its organs. Your last emotions are pangs of regret that if anyone ever digs up your corpse, they’ll think you were a messy person.
The giant is quick, but his injured knee slows him down enough for you to catch up. Leaping in front of him, you fiercely wave your sword. The giant stops, and lets out a bellowing roar that makes you take a step backwards. The giant begins glowing, he points a finger. A bolt of lightning shoots from his finger towards you.
Rubbing your temples, you stare intently at the fleeing giant. You feel your perception creep forward, the giant’s mind is so close. A throbbing again blossoms through your brain as you leap into the giant’s consciousness.
Once inside, you attempt to control the giant’s thoughts, and guide him towards the edge of the roof. However, you are distracted by the giant’s gross, unorganized thoughts. Noticing your distress, the Giant does the genius strategy of defecating himself. This is too much for your sterile brain, and you lose the mind connection. Not only that, but the trauma from contacting such an impurity causes you to impulsively jump off the skyscraper. Probably not the best move, but at least you decided your own fate.
Remembering your ninja training for dealing with a gun, you nervously hand over your valuables. The man rips the statue from your grasp. His jaws unhinge like a python, he moves his impossibly-wide lips over the statue. With a gulp, he has swallowed it. The curious man’s chest begins to glow. You take a step back in anticipation of something awful happening. It turns out something awful is happening, and one step back isn’t going to be enough.
The man’s body begins expanding, he is growing. You watch for ten minutes, as the once small man grows to the size of a mountain. Looking up, you can barely see the newly made giant’s face. His weight crushes the skyscraper on which you both are standing. You freefall towards the ground far below. For the giant, it’s just a brief drop.
Trying to do everything in one fluid motion, you pull a shuriken from your robes. The sun briefly catches the ninja star, making a bright gleam of light. This gleam is followed by a second bright flash, as the man pulls the trigger on the gun. Before you can do any more cool ninja tricks, you find that you have an enormous hole blown in the middle of your chest and that you are dead.
You spent over five years mastering the art of self-duplication, while other ninjas were out playing and killing. Desperate to prove all that time wasn’t wasted, you squeeze shut your eyes and project.
When you open your eyes, the man with a gun has a startled look on his face. Turning, you see an exact copy of yourself casually leaning against an antenna. Well, it’s not an exact copy: You notice your doppelganger’s nails aren’t perfectly trimmed, and his posture is only semi-rigid. He shoots a glance at you, you both nod and sprint towards the suited man.
A loud shot makes your ears ring. You look at yourself, but see no bullet-wound blood soiling your perfectly-maintained robes. Your doppelganger stumbles forward, then falls off the rooftop. Grinning, you pounce at the gun-wielding man. In a surprise move (well, to you at least), he turns his gun on you and blows a hole in your chest.
Lightning goes pretty fast. In fact, just the other day, you were having a conversation with a rival while in the middle of a dark field during a thunderstorm. As you recall, the lightning was so fast that you didn’t have enough time to read your rival’s speech bubbles during flashes. This all comes back to you as the bolt of lightning shot from the Giant smacks you hard against a nearby air conditioning vent. The Giant charges you. Just before he brings down a huge fist, you weakly roll out of the way. Stumbling to your feet, you put some distance between the two of you. This evidently makes the Giant pretty mad, he turns his head up and lets out a loud roar
Squeezing your face shut, you project with your mind. Opening your eyes, you see a likewise-falling copy of yourself. You quickly grab yourself, and throw him at the ground below you.
At the ninja academy, the other ninjas often ridiculed you for using a half-box worth of fabric softener every time you washed your robes. As it turns out, that additional fluffiness saves your life as you crash into the surprisingly cushy robes worn by your doppelganger’s corpse. Dusting yourself off, you look at your dead, squished body lying nearby. You hope that, when you die, you don’t go with such a ridiculously surprised expression on your face.
The ground shakes, as the foot of the Giant smashes through a nearby bank. Alarms ring. Looking up, you see the giant turn his enormous head towards you. It’s impossible to truly know if he is looking right at you, as his eyes are up in the clouds. But, he probably does because the Giant immediately jumps in the air and lays prostrate, preparing to belly flop right on top of you. Your eyes widen, your jaw drops, you get a searing pain across your chest. Reaching into your robe you realize the searing pain is from the Dragon Sword, which is glowing red like a hot poker.
Filled with the rage of decades of self-denial, you make a three-foot-high fireball in your palms. Timing your throw to correct for the fact that you are plummeting towards the ground, you zing a fireball right at the Giant’s hairy foot. It connects with his big toe, igniting his enter limb. The Giant performs a “stop, drop, and roll” maneuver which manages to steamroll twenty-four thousand acres of Tokyo. You hit the ground questioning the morality of your decision, and feeling guilty for the devastation. You also feel pretty dead
You didn’t fight your way across the world to succumb to an opponent as weak as “the ground.” Pulling out your sword, you gut yourself open. Your organs splatter onto the concrete seconds before your lifeless body. It takes forensics investigators a long time to figure that one out. Partly because of the unique circumstances surrounding your death, but mainly because there is a giant blocking the crime scene.
Hoping to avoid another bolt of lightning, you fling a handful of four-pointed stars at the Giant’s hands. Before they can reach him, however, the giant points two fingers at you, like he’s shooting invisible guns. The last thing you see is two bursts of lightning plunging into your eyeballs.
One time, when you were a young ninja in training, you tried to put out an electrical fire by throwing a bucket water onto a still-plugged-in toaster. Based on this, and the enormous shock you received afterward, you can only conclude that electricity beats water. Based on this, you logically deduce that fire must stop electricity. Forming a huge fireball in your hand, you wait for the Giant to point at you, then toss a fireball straight ahead. Lightning shoots from the Giant’s hand, straight into the approaching fireball. It turns out, lightning beats fire, too. The bolt passes through the ball of fire and hits you straight in the neck. The resulting shock can only be equivocated to someone putting on one dozen electrified dog training collars, then running past the boundary. Oh, and dying, too, because you die.
Last time, the Giant roared right before firing off a painful bolt of lightning. You dart sideways, as the giant points their fingers at you and fires. The lightning crackles at your feet, just to the side of you. You look at the giant, he is wringing his hands together. You’re not sure what this means, but as long as he’s not pointing at you, you have a moment to react.
You like to consider yourself well read. So, when called upon for quick thinking, as the Giant’s belly flop rapidly descends towards you, you recall the tomes you have perused. Thinking back, you recall one chapter wherein Frodo the Elf gets squished by some sort of spider demon, possibly It. Right before getting sat on, Frodo pulls out his pointed magic wand and has the spider sit on that. This not only kills the spider, but also provides a horrific heterosexual metaphor for bachelor Frodo. Inspired, you send a spinning wheel of fire around yourself, that way the Giant will land on the fire and be totally hurt. You never get to see if your plan comes to fruition (it doesn’t), because the Giant’s rotund body crushes you, spinning fire wheel and all.
You think back to your training under the Ninja Grand Master. “The most important lesson I will ever give you,” he said one rainy afternoon when everyone else had gone home, “is that when you feel like there is no escape, just start randomly fiddling with all your ninja tools. Throw things, flail around, you know: just generally mash buttons.” Although you never quite understood what he meant by, “mash buttons,” you feel that you are in the exact situation he described.
Wielding your glowing sword in both hands, you decide to mash it down your throat. Instead of burning, the sword slides neatly down your esophagus. You feel a warm, fuzzy glow inside your belly, which grows to an overwhelming heat pulse. With a start, you realize your entire body is glowing, you are invincible!
The Giant lands on you with enough force to turn all your carbon atoms into diamonds, but you shrug off the attack. Spinning around with your knives, you slash into the Giant’s stomach like the drill of a dentist with Parkinson’s. Burrowing into his chest, you rip apart the Giant’s heart, then carve a path through his back.
As the sunlight hits your eyes, you realize you should probably make a funny quip, like Dana Carvey in Innerspace. “Boy, I sure got back to the heart of things,” you say, awkwardly. The peals of laughter you anticipate don’t arrive, however, as everyone within earshot is either dead or utterly preoccupied with the enormous, eviscerated Giant’s corpse. Based on “The Wizard of Oz,” you would expect a giant corpse to be a fun, family friendly thing. It turns out it’s a traumatic, vomit-inducing experience that can ruin children for a lifetime.
But that’s not important, now. What’s important is that you accomplished your mission, and helped the C.I.A., or your girlfriend, or your dead father. Frankly, it’s been a few days so you kinda forgot. Deciding against worrying about it, you book a cruise to Hawaii. It goes okay.
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve reached the best ending! Your robes swell with pride.
If there ever was a thing you could call a “childhood hobby” it was throwing fireballs. That is, if angrily burning down your school with dozens of fireballs when you were ten counts as a “childhood hobby.” Summoning forth all of the rage that has been building up inside of you since age 12, when your parents took you out of baseball to put you in an after school/weekend study program, you bring forth a mammoth-sized fireball. Hurling it at the giant, it immediately obscures your view. Because of this, you don’t see the Giant roaring at the sky and pointing a meaty finger in your direction. It probably wouldn’t have mattered, though, the lightning bolt flies at you too quickly for you to even counter-move, knocking you back and off the top of a skyscraper. You fall to your death, and land most dishonorably in a temple garden, your corpse smashing several statues.
CONGRATULATIONS! Although you aren’t around to know it, but your fireball successfully defeated the Giant. Believe it or not, this is not the best ending.
Summoning the force of the winds, you draw your sword and dash towards the Giant. Drawing near, you tense and prepare to strike. Then you relax, as a well-timed kick from the Giant knocks you unconscious. It also knocks you off the building to your death. But you wouldn’t know that, because you were unconscious.
Dashing at the giant, you do a swift array of random ninja moves: Tuck-and-roll jumps… windmill sword slashes… running. This seems to confuse him momentarily. Before he can roar and let out another bolt of lightning, you strike with amazing speed. You cut two of his arms and his head off, then stab his torso through the back for good measure. The dead monster falls into a huge pile of blood.
You begin fastidiously tossing sawdust on the blood, when a helicopter flies near. A man in sunglasses and a black suit steps onto the roof.
“The C.I.A. thanks you for your effort!” He says. You hate when he says that. He usually says that.
You step into the helicopter, dramatically hanging off the side as it flies away despite the desperate pleas of the pilot. As you sail through the Japanese landscape, you mentally recount a list of all the people and corporations who have helped you with your journey. Eventually the helicopter dips low enough to the hillside that you can jump off and ditch these government jerks. This is supposed to be your vacation.
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve reached the best ending. You’ve won the ability to read the sentence which you are reading right now! Nice.
You leap into the air, and soon find yourself high above the ground. In space, ninjas can theoretically jump forever. Looking at the moon far below, you can barely make out the alien horde waving their spears at you angrily. The happiness of your success almost makes you forget about the fact that you can’t breath in space.
Chopping off the strangely-dressed man’s head, you push aside his gushing torso and pull back the curtain. There sits the most amazing contraption you have ever seen: it resembles a bicycle with an pipe organ where the basket should be. The entire thing is painted gold. Climbing onto what is obviously Professor Wertimer’s time and space machine, you set the dials to: