Hard Warriors (1979)
a Hiroaki Yamada short story
(translation by Guillaume Le Taureau)
They were strong.
They were hard.
Warriors with strength.
One was blue, the other: not blue.
They were ready.
Inside the beast, young Hideo was sweating. Sweating like an animal in the Sun. Like an unborn baby rhinoceros waiting to come out of its mother’s womb. But there was no coming out: the battle was about to begin.
“Stop it now, Isamu!”, he said to his opponent.
“Never!”, Isamu replied through his own metallic warrior.
“You were good! Now you are bad! Why, Isamu? Why?”
“I am bad because you made me bad! I was good! Now we are both bad.”
Hideo threw the first punch.
But Isamu would not be defeated so easily.
What an attack!
“Our strengths are matched! But mine is stronger!”, Isamu gloated.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Isamu!”
And Hideo lept at Isamu, clenching the latter’s waist with his thighs while thumping on his head with his titanium fists.
“Aaaaah! Damn you!”, Isamu screamed.
“You can still end this: we used to be brothers!”
Isamu unleashes a hidden chest saw: sparks fly as Hideo is violently propelled by the rotations of the sharp thoraxian weapon.
“Take that, inferior thing!”
“How about… you take… THIS?”
Hideo’s warrior releases gold arrows from his eyes: they promptly pierce through Isamu’s shoulders. Isamu screams and drops to his knees.
“You will pay for this!”
“Surrender, Isamu! It is what you must do!”
Isamu pulls out one of the gold arrows from himself, stands and runs towards Hideo. He jumps at him, ready to stab Hideo with the arrow but Hideo was prepared: he had already deployed the anti-arrow disc.
The arrow broke.
“Last chance for salvation, Isamu!”
Hideo slices Isamu in half.
Both halves of what once was Isamu plop down to the ground as blood, oil and wires pour out.
“Isamu…”, Hideo says quietly to himself.
Just then, Hideo felt a change of gravity.
Was he flying?
In fact, he was being lifted. Inside the warrior, Hideo panicked, playing with all the buttons peppered over the main control panel.
A voice came from above.
“You have failed, Hideo.”
“Computer”, Hideo asked his control panel desperately, “Analyse big voice!”
Looking up at the screen in front of him, Hideo finally saw the truth.
The voice continued:
“You can’t kill so early: you lose the drama, young Hideo!”
Was that an eyeball facing him?
Were those glasses?
It couldn’t be… they were so big.
“Try again”, said the voice, “This time: use the arrows last. Take your time: length is good. We’ll keep rolling.”
Suddenly, Hideo was placed back down on the ground.
“Aaaaaand: action!”, said the voice.
In front of him, Hideo found another hard warrior.
Could it be?
More from the Hiroaki Yamada soon.
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