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One of the perks about being the Kings was, before they were inaugurated, they founded and started up a branch of Katsuragi’s shinobi academy over in Japan, placing it in the heart of San Francisco with a wonderful view of the bay. Nobody complained and people offered them property free of charge since, well, they had just saved everyone from a cyborg Nazi conspiracy. Hard to repay that back, but the little things like freedom to found a school closer to where Katsuragi had moved to instead of having to fly back now and again was nice. Atma already had exemplary experience teaching and training people, and her sensei would often compliment her on how well she taught women and called her a genuine treasure to have in that regard, so it was by no hard task that she was named the headmistress of the new school, with Katsuragi in tow behind as the co-headmistress, having experience training and teaching other students, but not a class herself yet until now. Atma helped her catch on quickly, and the two became great leaders in the new market of shinobi action for America and her politics. They were unofficially aligned with the Crimson Squad, who liked to come in and teach seminars when they needed drug money or their farm wasn’t doing so well, and it could be found in the scenic parts of the Castro, because of course it was. Where do you think they’d put it, Chinatown? You incredible racist. Please re-evaluate your priorities.

This stayed their main job, despite being the Kings of California and being its main governing bodies, happily governing the bodies of its more female constituents and citizens. Sure, they’d go into their offices once or twice a day to look good, keep up appearances, and make sure everyone had fresh toilet paper and maybe sign off on a law or two or listen to a protester or petition signer, and then get their hot asses back to school and get good and sweaty and physical, especially with the lady students, and super especially if they asked for hands-on corrections. No, not quite like that, but if one came to them after class and wanted to, ah, study a bit of extra-curricular, Katsuragi and Atma never said no, because what better way was there to get to know your teachers the quickest than a quick runaround the bedpost and getting another notch in it? All those girls were proud notches, and Kat and Atma were proud of how many they had. It was mutual. Nobody complained. No ethics or morals violations to be had, but they still kept it on the downlow just in case Asuka’s grandfather came in for his own version of inspections, being the headmaster of the main branch of the school and all. Mostly because they didn’t want him to know how many more women than he had approached them. You really don’t need to know that the student had surpassed the master in that area, at least not yet. Doubly so for Katsuragi’s old sensei, Master Kiriya, a strictly business-like man who was like a father to dearest Kat after she had lost her own, and well, you don’t need dad lifting up your mattress and finding your Playboys, especially if they’re hotter issues than his own, right? That’s what we thought.

The school would be the main base of operations for this, as was tradition of shinobi schools since they were founded hundreds of years ago. Them in themselves sad battlegrounds for many a shinobi living and dead, knowing any other could rightfully challenge them under shinobi law and burn it down should they lose, Katsuragi and Atma took a pride to making sure their students were ready for anything, and included deep emotional, spiritual, and philosophical training along with imparting history and knowledge of lineage upon all their students. You couldn’t come even half as close to the rank of Kagura without knowing all of this like the back of your kunai. Especially important to Atma, but not a stranger to Katsuragi, was the concept of any kind of honor you may have about your person. Atma was an unusual shinobi in that she came mostly from an old samurai lineage, laying rightful heir and claiming the Clan Saito and appending it to her name, the clan that contained such genius bastards as Dosan and sired others such as Nobunaga. If her ancestors, by blood or by clan, were alive today, she’d have some very interesting and no doubt very bloody family reunions, especially if that Puritan bastard Graham showed up. Fuck off, man, your crackers don’t work. But her identifying at times far more with her samurai lineage than her shinobi one gave her an inherent and strong sense of duty and honor not found in a lot of the shinobi styles and lineages. Not to say they didn’t have them, but they were different. For Atma, it was her whole life, and she would never compromise on it and refused to bend it for anyone, and would sooner die than lose face and be disgraced by anyone. There was no need for the renegade or vagrant shinobi system with her, and she didn’t adopt it on an unofficial basis, even if her school charter required it as a shinobi academy, she never imposed it herself.

With this stated, this kind of history and education gave birth to an immense body of students that, at a moment’s notice, would act as California’s standing military front line, a force to be reckoned with and acknowledged as a brutal and efficient force by most of the world’s militaries. California dare not be invaded with them around, but with the risk of the school being a potential target, it made sense to round everyone up there and be honest with them and have them ready to defend it just in case. As expected, none of their beloved students suspected Katsuragi or Atma of any wrongdoing, their emphasis on their education as people and humans beyond just being efficient killing machines proving to them their value as leaders and teachers long ago, and knew no fascist would treat their soldiers with such a grand humanity as they did. It was refreshing, even amongst shinobi academies. They were people, women mostly, with lives outside of what they brought into the school, and knowing that made them feel safe and wanted. They were ready to fight and, if needed, die for the academy and their instructors and their state. It would be the proudest duty of any shinobi that they could imagine, a fate glorious and honoring both Katsuragi’s more traditional shinobi education and Atma’s samurai lineage.
There were rooms hidden through the whole building stuffed full of old maps and books on strategy and war and scrolls containing ancient and forbidden and emergency techniques. Supplies like first-aid kits and medicines and weapons and armor and all sorts of vials of all things nasty and wonderful between stocked the shelves. Tables sat in the middle with papers rolled out in the main hidden room, which is where Katsuragi and Atma went to take a break, but would now be the war room, many of the students only entering it now for the first time, or even finding out it existed to begin with, but it was needed to reveal the secret to keep the forces going at a time like this. Hikage and Koshka sat nearby as observers, not needing to say much, but their presence was appreciated, and Hikage could later relay the plans back to the Crimson Squad in case they needed backup, and most likely they would, and were glad to be allied with such a talented band of miscreants. Ayame sat between her two mentors and the objects of her innocent, schoolgirl like obsessions, most likely because she was a schoolgirl and it fit her image more than, say, a ravaging seductress, try as she might now and again. It was always fun to find her in some risque outfit just sitting in the middle of your work pile, and by fun even Katsuragi meant oh holy shit put it away and save it for a more appropriate hour, woman, we’re grading reports here can’t you see. Random students of high esteem sat around, nervous deep down, but putting on a brave face for their Kings and instructors and their women since, well, if those were their women, one could only imagine how fierce they could be if they could keep even Katsuragi and Atma wrapped tight around their fingers.

“So, war. What’s it good for?” Katsuragi started, trying to sound smart, but of course segued only into the following as only she could. “Getting a lot of perfectly good women killed far before their prime and some even past it. What a waste. But here we are, standing at the precipice of it, or at least what would be a moderate annoyance for a few days. Girls, we need you to take arms and protect the school. Some of you will be our bodyguards just in case, doing everything with us, which yes, includes even that, so I hope you brought protection.”

“You can ignore that last part, unless you really want to follow up on her offer.” Atma coughed before continuing. “But she’s right, as we all know well by now since the news won’t shut up about it, we’re in trouble again with the same stale tactic of attempting to turn people on us by smearing us nationally, possibly internationally. Interplanetary shame has yet to be achieved, but I wouldn’t put it past someone someday to try.”

“This means we’re going to be up against civilians, angry ones, possibly hired mercenaries, goons of various kinds, both those something awful and not so much, thugs, and possibly a few turned rogue from the service of our country. If it seems to be a threat, expect international interference. But I believe in you all and trust in the training we’ve given you. If you can help us survive this and defend your school, I don’t see why everyone can’t have an immediate rank promotion.” Kat continued.

“You’d all have earned it. We know you’re in the long haul with us for this, so you’ve already proven loyalty worthy of both my samurai lineage and Katsuragi’s shinobi family. We’re proud of you for standing up to this and being brave and offering your services. Whatever these forces are that intend to get us, they cannot and they will be stopped. At all costs. But do try to stay alive; we like you best that way.”

“Well, I’d prefer you naked and squirming, but that requires the alive part usually. I’m not into corpses.” Kat smirked. “But first things first. Sort a task force out to scour the forests along the Russian River and see what you can find. They knew they were out there, so there has to be evidence of spies or someone inhabiting that area that ought not be. Find clues and bring them back here and you too can win some lovely prizes.”
Ayame stood up and stood proudly, doing the traditional school salute and receiving one in return. She was the school’s standing secretary and shopkeeper, even if Katsuragi and Atma said no, she’d find a way to get an official transfer from the main Hanzo branch anyways. “I’ll be leading the task force. I was just there with them, and well, I’m a target too just for being close to them at all times, so I figure I may as well help lure them out if I go back to the scene of the crime.”

“Be careful now, Miss Cougar.” Atma laughed. “We need you alive and intact, too, so don’t do anything rash. You all come back at the first sign of danger. Bring back anything suspicious, it doesn’t matter how big or small it may seem, and we’ll see what we can grok from it.”

A few of the girls spoke amongst themselves for a bit before nodding and saluting their Kings and instructors, getting one in return and heading towards Ayame for further instructions. They were absolutely ready for this, a few of them positively beaming since it was mentioned that a promotion is most likely at the end of this all. That would put a few of them in some pretty respectable ranks internationally.

“As for us, we wait. Can’t really do anything without information. This sucks, can’t even really get that high to pass the time or anything. I hate work.” Kat groaned, leaning back in her seat and putting her legs up on the table.

Atma sat next to her, slumped over a bit and crossing her arms in deep contemplation. “Yeah, true. Can’t argue with that. Let’s just hope the girls do well and get back with information sooner rather than later and it’s not too hard to figure out who did it. I mean, that’s why shinobi were invented, pretty much. Well that, and to look damn fine doing it.”

“That’s what she said!” Kat snickered.

“No shit, it’s what I said, you bimbo.” Atma snorted. “This is going to be a long few days until they can figure out just what in the fuck’s going on in our great state, is it?”

“Yeah, most likely.”

Hikage had passed down a page of notes to give to Koshka on what was said, mostly just things like “haha they’re making lewd jokes” “search party” “Ayame has a huge girlboner for both of them still doesn’t she” “I don’t think Atma’s wearing a bra today” and “want to stop and get fries for lunch again on the way home? This is honestly kind of boring and they should be okay without us.”

Koshka scanned it over and nodded to the last one. Their women may be a couple of dense motherfuckers, but they were their dense motherfuckers, and they knew them sometimes better than they knew themselves, but they knew they were strong in body and spirit and they wouldn’t be taken down so quickly or so easily. If they ever were, well, who could possibly exist to manage whatever it was that did that to them? The two got up and placed kisses on their respective lovers’ cheeks and said they were heading out and asked if they should pick us up anything.

“Mm, we’ll get it if we need it. We’re gonna be here a while yet.” Atma sighed. “Oh, and could you two please include some protein or something in your diet? All these starches have got to be killing your blood levels of probably everything. You two and your damn fries.”

Hikage made no expression, but inside she knew she was caught. She motioned to Koshka to get out, completely intent on ignoring that request to eat something more nutritionally balanced. Salt and sodium went great with cocaine, and it was about time to go home, do some lines, and veg out in front of the TV, hopefully with something not the goddamn news on. They had about enough of that for the year. They said their goodbyes and I love yous, and with that, they were out and headed back to their house, probably with some extra fries thrown in, possibly curly style, as revenge for being told what to do with their diets. It’s not like they were their mothers. That would be fucking weird. Unless you’re into that. Sorry to say this story contains no content like that and the only motherfuckers here are metaphorical ones. You sick bastard.

Atma and Katsuragi looked at each other, their expressions turning more serious by the minute. Atma’s thumb pressed against the guard on her katana, pushing it out and pulling it back in a few times, fidgeting out of a slight nervousness she would dare never express. She seemed to never experience fear, even when her life was in danger, and seemed to welcome the adrenaline and attention it brought her in spades, but nerves? Everyone gets nervous, but she had a reputation and an image to uphold, and people were looking up to her, and now was not the time to show that she might be a slight bit hesitant to see just what was at the end of this trail. Katsuragi fidgeted in equal terms, cracking her knuckles, despite not using them in combat, sighing, and playing with her hair, switching which foot was crossed over the other now and again.

“Hey.” Kat spoke up finally, realizing that sitting around and moping wasn’t going to be doing either woman any favors, and that getting out their energy in a more constructive manner than fidgeting and not talking this out would be more conducive to their mutual goals. “Wanna go wrestle?”

Atma beamed up. “I thought you’d never ask. Shall I lead, milady?”

“Yeah, sure, bring it, it’s not like you got anything in your moveset I can’t handle. Come on, let’s go to the main sparring arena, I want a loooot of space so I know you can’t run or hide. No set of boobs escapes THESE babies!” Katsuragi bragged, wiggling her fingers. “Even if they are boobs I’ve bested and bounced a billion times before. Eheh.”

“Loser gropes winner.”

“Agh, you’d subject me to such cruelty? What an awful, nasty headmistress you are. Come now, to battle, for the honor of my boobs, and yours!”

“Aye, to friendship everlasting. And boobs, ours and all both in entirety. Thank you for being boobs. Now let us drop the pretenses, stop using our mouths, and let our fists do the talking!”

“Well, that’d be nice if I cared to punch anything, and if you cared to use something not your goddamn sword. But I get what you’re saying. Lead the way, teach.”

With that, the two walked off proudly to the main arena installed in the school and got their aggressions out the old fashioned way, with a beatdown all over each others’ faces. And clothing. And boobs. Particularly that last one. No spot was too dishonorable for a shinobi to attack, because whatever worked, worked, and they knew that they could spare no effort right now in caring how they won, so long as they won back their beloved California and the hearts of all the women inside and out of it. Why, there could be women crying internationally right now about how broken their hearts were over hearing the Kings overseas they pined for might turn out traitorous! Still more, what about the ones somehow more turned on by the idea of them being even sleazier than normal? They had some moral and ethical standard to uphold, even if it didn’t seem like it.

The two would spar late into the night, completely exhausting their energy pools and barely able to get back home, forgetting to eat before collapsing together on the couch, Hikage and Koshka walking in only to tuck them in and letting them sleep their long, busy day off. For now, they let them have their dreams of whatever horrible things they were dreaming of, and let them restore themselves for the long war ahead.

Tomorrow was another day, and it would be one of the more important ones in their war yet.

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