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[[Lone Wolf and Cub]


Fifty Leagues from Edo

An unusually bitter autumn wind chases the leaves of the cherry blossom trees along the flat and well-tended path to the Agi juku, or way station. No wheels are allowed on this stretch of road, save those on carts and wagons specifically marked for the business affairs of the Emperor. A harried and toothless fisherman, ever in search of a better day’s catch when his chosen stretch of the great river is barren of trout, sits quietly outside and sips gratefully at the tea that warms his ancient bones. He is fatigued by the effort to maintain an ever-increasing harvest of fish, most of which will be allocated to his feudal lord.

The fisherman sets down his cup and gazes in stunned surprise as a man pushing a baby cart made of wood and bamboo appears on the path, in violation of the Imperial edict. The quiet, yet constant, whisper of the nearby river is joined by the “gara gara” sound of the cart’s wheels. The old man, curious, and lonely from lack of human conversation, wanders towards the imposing figure with the cart…

FISHERMAN: Ho, my friend! Welcome to Agi-han, jewel of the prefecture! Will you do me the honor of sharing a cup of tea?


FISHERMAN: In a hurry, eh? Well, I understand.

The old man reads the painted flag on the baby cart.

FISHERMAN:   “Son for hire

Sword for hire

Suio School

Itto Ogami”

FISHERMAN: I can read…our Karo insisted we learn, before it was decided that peasants learning to read was a waste of time. Your banner…is it true?

OGAMI: My banner does not lie.

FISHERMAN: There is a rumor, almost a legend…of a master assassin, an invincible warrior, who travels with his infant son in a baby cart just such as this one, leaving behind a trail of blood…


FISHERMAN:The legends say the man was formerly the Kaishakunin executioner, who has now chosen the Assassin’s Road. They call him the Lone Wolf. But of course, these are legends told by drunks and fools, and not to be taken seriously.


FISHERMAN: O, is this your son, noble stranger? I can see that he will grow to be strong and tall…like his father. Wait, I have a present for the young master…

The fisherman digs into his rucksack, neatly festooned on the outside with his fishing tackle.

FISHERMAN: Here you are, young master. This is a live cricket, which I use for bait, but I now give to you. It brings good fortune. Tend it well.

The infant boy with the formal samurai-in-training hairstyle laughs and squeals delightedly, as the fisherman turns back to Ogami…

CRICKET: chirrup!

FISHERMAN: Now, of course, we both know that there is not such a person as the Lone Wolf, and your coming to our prefecture is merely a coincidence…but if there were such a man, and I were to meet him and his fine young son, then I might warn him that my Lord and tono, Masagaru, has issued a 500 ryu bounty on the assassin’s head. I might warn him that the upcoming contest is a ploy to trap and slaughter the Lone Wolf and Cub, so that my tono might receive the favor of the Shogunate…


FISHERMAN: Of course, if there were such a man, and he was not just a legend, I might pray to Buddha that he avoid the ambush, and perhaps slay our unjust lord, who demands more koku and fish than our village can possibly supply. I might beg that he end my village’s misery by destroying the man who abuses our women, and enslaves our children.

The fisherman sits back on the way station steps…sipping his tea thoughtfully.

FISHERMAN: Hai, that is what I’d do, if such a man truly existed.


At the hold of the Tono Masagaru, the lord of Agi-han, a line of ronin, or masterless samurai, stand in the center of a large, manicured field. Spectators of noble birth and rank sit comfortably on pillows of the highly coveted Chinese silk, and peasants mill about excitedly, eager to see the much-anticipated games of swordplay.

Standing quietly in the line is the Lone Wolf, Itto Ogami, with his baby cart in front of him, much to the chagrin of the honor-less ronin beside him.

RONIN #1:You bring your infant son to battle? What sort of warrior are you?

RONIN #2: Heh, perhaps he expects his son to fight for him. Is that it, old man?


CRICKET: Chirrup!

CRIER: Hear! Hear! Lords and ladies, my master Masagaru-sama has invited the finest swordsmen-for-hire in all the land to his home, for your entertainment and the glory of the Emperor. The winner is the last man standing, and is to receive an annual stipend of koku, and the right to own land and vassals, as proper samurai!

A roar rushes through the crowd, and the ronin nearly salivate at the thought of a return to respectability and honor. Lord Masagaru whispers to his honored guest and advisor to the Emperor, Lord Takana…

MASAGARU: You see, Takana-sama? That is him, the Lone Wolf assassin. And he has foolishly brought his son into the arena. This will be the day of his death, it is certain.

TAKANA: The Wolf has been the target of treachery before, Masagaru. If your plan fails, the Emperor will be most displeased.

MASAGARU: The plan is flawless, I assure you, Takana-sama. See, the crier drops his hand, and rather than the man-to-man battle that is expected, all ten of the ronin turn to fight Ogami, as I have paid them to do. What chance has he against ten ruthless swordsmen?

Screams of pain…

TAKANA: Ah, but look again, and see how he uses the baby cart to break the crest of the attack, knocking down his opponents two at a time…

MASAGARU: Unfortunate…but I am not defeated. See how I have hired fifty of the finest archers to attack him from behind…

More screams of pain…

TAKANA: Yes, I see, and that would be a masterful plan, were he not able to hide behind the baby cart, and fire poison darts from its handles…

MASAGARU: The deaths of the archers is a sore blow, I confess, but fortunately, I had anticipated this possibility, and now I send the Fazu clan, three hundred strong and all masters of the war-scythe, against him, all while he is blinded by the dust my vassals have thrown at his eyes!

Lots more painful screaming…

TAKANA: Impressive! Unfortunately, the valiant Fazu clan are being hacked to pieces as the Lone Wolf spins the baby cart relentlessly, causing the retractable blades in the wheels to become exposed…

MASAGARU: I must admit that I am surprised…I thought the Fazu clan might last a bit longer. No matter, as I have the entire Imperial Guard from Kobe on loan from their garrison, and they number over four thousand, and they…

Brief but numerous screams of pain…

TAKANA: …are dead and bleeding already. The Lone Wolf is indeed a formidable opponent.

MASAGARU: But surely, he can’t stand against the 100,000 members of the Emperor’s mounted cavalry, in full armor, with swords and bows?

Screams of pain, also whinnies of pain…

TAKANA: …I don’t see why he had to slaughter all the horses, as well. That seems completely unnecessary.

MASAGARU: Hai. Well, I didn’t want to have to do this, but I’ve called in a few favors, and now, I’m sending the entirety of the Dutch, Chinese and English navies against him…over ten thousand ships with cannon, and nearly a million battle-hardened sailors.

TAKANA: Oh, now he’s just showing off.

MASAGARU: All right, those were merely the preliminaries. I am now sending in the combined armies of every country in the world, from Alaskan Eskimo harpoon masters to Zulu blowgun champions, and also every angry mother-in-law and unruly teenager and thrice-robbed convenience store clerk, and I’m having ten thousand catapults launch angry wolverines at him, and I’ve brought the entire lion and panther population of the globe here and doused him in steak sauce, and as a final guarantee, I have a score of children improperly using air rifles and lawn darts in his direction. I’ve placed newspapers all around so he might get a painful paper cut, and I’ve invented the dirigible so that I may drop anvils upon him from above. The whole arena is a trapdoor, suspended above a mile-wide water pit filled with sharpened spikes, crocodiles, poisonous asps, and scorpions with little knitted life-jackets to keep them afloat. The water pit is surrounded by several precariously positioned electrical appliances, so that when he falls, the toasters and food processors shall fall in as well, which is usually fatal, but will almost certainly stun him until the scorpions can swim over and sting him to death.

Hideous screams of pain in several languages…

TAKANA: Well, you’re thorough, I’ll concede that. I really thought you might have had him with those lawn darts for a moment. Shame about all those dead wolverines.

MASAGARU: Wait…wait, he’s throwing something. Oh! It’s a knife! He’s killed me! I am murdered! I should have purchased more lawn darts!


Later, at the way station, the baby cart assassin again appears before the old fisherman, who holds a strand of freshly-caught trout, as the infant Daigaro delightedly plays with his pet cricket…

FISHERMAN: You did well, and my village is now content. Here is the only payment I can give you, noble sir. May I ask, why did you take this assignment, with no hope of substantial reward?

OGAMI: …My son enjoyed his present.

The fisherman watches as the Lone Wolf quietly pushes his baby cart further down the path, away from Agi-han and Edo. He reaches in his rucksack, and pulls out another live cricket…

FISHERMAN: Ah, but what fine bait you will make, my friend.

Gail says pick up Dark Horse’s Lone Wolf and Cub translations…they’re an outstanding value for some of the greatest comics ever.



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All characters are ™ & © their respective owners. All Rights Reserved.

You’ll All Be Sorry! is a satire published by Comic Book Resources, and is not intended maliciously. CBR has invented all names and situations in its stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental, or used as a fictional depiction or personality parody (permitted under Hustler Magazine v. Fallwell, 485 US 46, 108 S.Ct 876, 99 L.Ed.2d 41 (1988)). CBR makes no representation as to the truth or accuracy of the preceeding information.

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