At What Cost Victory Chapter IX: The Return of "The Man"
Dan was surprised. It seemed that even in Japan, a dive bar looked like a dive bar. He had met a girl named Ami who had told him to meet at this address. Maybe he got it wrong?
He walked in and nodded at the bartender. He started to fumble for through his phrase book.


Toreda smiled.
"American?"


"Canadian."


"You tell me beer, I'll bring you a beer. Same as everywhere."


"Thank you, sir."


"Just call me Toreda."


"Thanks. The name is Dan."


"The first one's on me. The next rounds will cost you 500 yen. It's the grumpy guy on the blue bill."


"Got it."


The elixir went straight to his head, as did the second one. And the third.
Dan was pretty sure his eyes were still working right, though. A couple of drinks could not possibly get a Canuck drunk. And that orange headed girl that came over- that's got to be Ami, right?
"I'm still okay." He said out loud. "Right, Ami?"


"For a hundred, US, I'll be your Ami," replied the orange haired girl.


"How about a hundred Canadian?"


The strange girl shrugged. Why not? She let him by the hand away from the bar, as a dozen drunken men cheered them on. He grabbed a beer bottle with his left hand as they went to the stalls.

Akage had had some weird requests in her life. And role playing was nothing new- one of these tough guys had worn a collar and called himself a dog. She had walked him around on all fours, nude. But this was...new.


"You want to do me from behind. But I'm not using the bottle on myself."


"You won't. I'm going to make it fly."


Whatever. She hoped that a hundred Canadian dollars was worth something. She stripped and bent over.
He slipped in, and started mumbling to himself. She started her act, like she always did, responding to his thrusts with thrusts of her own.
The door burst open.


"Akage!"
The doorway was filled with the form of the Bloody King.


"Cool it, Takeo. I'm not working for you today."


The thug glared at Dan. "You want to take this outside, American?"


This was hardly the time to say he was Canadian.


"I'm not American," he slurred. "I am Dan."


Akage straightened herself up. She smiled as she helped herself to his wallet contents.
"And he's a REAL man!"


Most of the bar regulars spilled out into the alley to see Dan take on Takeo. The older man clearly had both height and girth on the young man.


"Take a shot, college boy."
Dan obliged. He quickly found himself pushing over a bunch of boxes. He turned to approach the Bloody King again.
Behind him, "Snake Man" laughed.

"You showed him, Takeo!"


A cold hand grasped Genya's shoulder. He turned, ready to fight.
The red spiked hair was full of grime. The eyes were pure white. And the teeth were bared. Other creatures like this one started materializing from the darkest corners of the alley.
The fight was over as the tough guys raced indoors to escape the figures.
Dan was the last in.

Akage came over and stroked Genya's cheek."What were you little boys so afraid of?"


"There's some nasty looking creatures out there," Snake Man replied. Zombies, maybe."


"Zombies are bullshit, Gaijan boy." The green haired girl glared at him. Yuki shook her Mohawked head. "Oh, and there is no Santa Claus."


"Does that mean I don't have to buy you a gift, Yuki?" Genya offered.

 "Only if you want blue balls for Christmas."


The bar roared their approval at her comeback. She picked up a pool cue. Stepping back a bit, she whipped it around her body, ending in a defensive pose. Then she jabbed the white tip forward at Dan.


"Everything dies, boys. You just have to know how to kill it."