Heart of Metal, Beats Like Gold

Arigatou

'Why is she so calm?'

Randy was frowning as he punched Ottobots left and right, slicing some in half and blasting others with Ninja balls. Whenever they came across a screaming Norrisvillian, he would save him or her just in time. But while he was so intent on destroying them all, Kuno was just…walking.

She didn't flinch when they saw an Ottobot cornering someone, she would merely bypass them, leaving the Ninja to take care of the problem himself. He was flabbergasted, wondering what the cheese was on her mind right now. He couldn't really do anything about it, and just tried catching up to her.

"Kin!" he cried out, running up to her side. "Honking cheese, Kuno Ichi, what is up with you?"

"I am afraid I cannot tell you that," Kuno replied stoically. "Please continue to follow."

He had no choice but to obey; and it was no soon that they had neared the McFist Industries.

"Whoa," Randy gaped up at the tall building, watching as more robots continued to produce from the top. The source of all the Ottobots was literally the entire area, and all the purple-haired teen wanted to do was burn it all. If he could bring the building to its knees at the very moment, he could. He would desperately want to. For now, all he could do was stare up, feeling ounces of terror surging up in his body, as the bots just kept multiplying…

"We have arrived," Kuno declared.

"I am aware," Randy said bluntly. "Kin, are you seriously suggesting we take over McFist Industries ourselves?"

"Not precisely," she responded. "We shall need all the help we can get. And we must start with the man who started it all."

"McFist?"

"Are you serious."

"I'm just messing with ya. But really, Viceroy's loco in the coco at the moment, if you know what I mean."

"No, I am afraid I do not."

"The point is, going back to the person who created you and clearly ran away from is a completely bad idea!"

"I did not run away from him, Randall, you merely rebooted me, restored my memories, and destroyed my tracking device."

"You had a tracking device?"

"Never mind. We still need to talk to him. It is voluntary."

"OK, you know what? Why don't we just sneak in like the Ninjas we are and destroy the duplicating Otto machine ourselves."

"Randy, is there a reason you do not want to see Viceroy."

"I'm just sayin'! I'm afraid if I have to look at him in the eye, I'd Ninja-ball his sorry behind out of Norrisville. He started all this, and he has to pay for it!"

"As you have mentioned, Randy, he also built me."

At that, the Ninja was silent, and all that was heard was the sound of destruction.

"…You know I know that. But I hate the fact he tried to change you, for not being who you are. I couldn't my friend suffer."

"I strongly appreciate your loyalty, Randy Cunningham." When her brown orbs gazed into his blue ones, she had to smile. "Thank you for standing up to me. But we have to face him. As I have said, I have a plan."

"I know. Let's kick some Otto-butt."

Behind the other side of the door, the Ottobots perked right up when they heard banging. It seemed as if someone was knocking on the industry entrance. And not in the good way. One robot thought otherwise and thought it would be polite to open the door for them.

It was a mistake to do so, because that very robot was knocked right down by the same door. All Ottobots got into position and glared at the Ninja that had just kicked down a new hole in their building. Randy only smirked at them as he brought out his Ninja sword. Kuno held a stoic expression as she held up her Ninja stars, but a burning fire raged through her eyes as she looked at the bots. Without even thinking, the bots let out a loud battle cry and charged.

The same routine was repeated once again.

Randy stabbed Ottobots this time, appearing practically murderous as he swung through the room on his scarf and viciously carved out their internal systems. He did not hesitate to leave out a single one, and was too focused to even say his signature "Ninja slice, ninja slice!" catchphrase anymore. He was performing just like Kuno, who was merely standing in one place as she targeted any robot coming for her. She successfully proved her perfect hand-eye coordination, as she as well never missed a shot. Some robots were risky enough to try stealth approach. Others were smart enough to flee. But no bot in the room made it out the same way.

Once all was quiet once again, only one robot was left, and it was shaking rather frightfully. It tried to escape, but Kuno used her last Ninja star and pinned that antennae on top of him to the wall. It shook even more ferociously when both Ninjas neared it.

"Where is Viceroy?" Kuno asked calmly.

The terrified little bot shook itself vigorously.

"Talk!" Randy demanded, aiming a Ninja sai dangerously close to its eyes. The Ottobot let out a horrified squeak.

"Now, Randy," Kin gently put a hand on his wrist and set the sai down. "We must be delicate with the creature. A trapped animal is no good dead…yet." The robot was frozen up now. "Where is McFist? You can at least tell us that, yes?"

Only hesitating for a few seconds, the bot reluctantly scanned his data for a map. The pixels in its eyes were visible for just a few milliseconds before a holographic illustration of the industry was shown to the two. The Ottobot zoomed into the 3D map and viewed a certain room.

"There he is," Kuno declared, pointing. "In Viceroy's lab."

"Then he's with Viceroy!" the Ninja exclaimed. "He'll lead us to the duplicating machine."

"Thank you for your cooperation," Kuno said solemnly. The bot only continued to shake. "…Unfortunately, you are never going to be needed." With one swift motion, she took one of Randy's sais and stabbed the Ottobot, almost hearing a little scream as its database was punctured. Just like with all the others, the light in its eyes died down and it stopped functioning.

Despite everything that happened, Randy was still uncomfortable as his friend handed him back his weapon. "Why'd you do that? We could've let the little guy free."

Kin did not respond immediately when she pulled her shuriken out of the wall. "There will only be one robot that will ever be needed in my life again," she said quietly.

It was only at that moment did Randy comprehend how much Kuno was close with Otto. He wasn't just another invention companion to Viceroy's collection, but he was literally Kuno's first mechanical friend. He was there first when she was brought into the world. He was there for her when she needed time off Viceroy. The day she had met Randy, it was only then did she realize it. And now that she knows there are grave actions being done upon him, the robot girl wants nothing more than to rescue the little bot that was literally with her her whole life. This was more than just about saving the city now.

"Hang in there, Kin," Randy said, patting her shoulder lightly. "Come on, let's head down."

She didn't hesitate in following him.

When they arrived at the lab entrance, Randy swiftly kicked the door down again. "All right, Viceroy, give it up!" Randy yelled out. "We've come to—" He cut himself off when he noticed something. "Wait, what?"

The whole lab was empty. No machine, no Otto, no Viceroy. There were only a few things to be seen, and one of them was a platform. It appeared that it was lifting something from the lab and up into the rooftop for more air to occupy it. Upon gazing upwards, Kuno got from the limited vision she had that the machine was there.

Another thing they noticed was that there was something dangling from the ceiling, and the sight was more than just for sore eyes. "McFist?" the Ninja questioned.

"You two! Get me down from here!"

The sight was rather entertaining. McFist seemed to be caught in the old foot-in-a-rope trap, as he was literally hanging from one of Viceroy's large tubes, struggling with all (or not all) his might to get himself free, only to end to no avail. Randy was already bursting into fits of hilarity, while Kuno found difficulty in sustaining a smile. This made the older man angrier.

"Oh, haha very funny, but I bet you wouldn't like it if your blood was ALREADY REACHING UP TO YOUR HEAD!"

"Should we leave him, Kuno?" the Ninja joked. "I think that blood would do him some good. It'll finally get his brains working."

"WHY YOU LITTLE—"

"Let us get him down, Ninja," Kuno insisted, already reaching for the rope. "We need him."

Before Randy could contradict, the robot girl sliced the rope into two with her shuriken. McFist slammed onto the floor before he could even scream.

"You couldn't have gotten me down the proper way?!"

"No," Randy said.

"Tell us, McFist," Kuno said. "Is Viceroy up there?"

"Why should I help you?!" the man shouted.

"Uh, you do realize we just helped you from getting TBI, right?" Randy asked.

"How would you know?! You probably even made it worse!"

"Just answer the honking question!"

"I don't want anything to do with you, Ninja! Or you!" He jabbed a hasty, impugning finger at Kuno and squinted daggers at her. "This is all your fault! Iknew creating you was a bad idea from the start!"

"Bet you always claimed she was your idea," the Ninja muttered behind his mask.

"Viceroy was obsessed with you for three months! You were supposed to be my greatest plan! You just had to go haywire, didn't you!"

"I did not malfunction," Kuno said. "I found the truth."

"Potato, potatoh! The point is, Viceroy outsmarted me, and HE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT!"

"Calm your cheese, McFist!" Randy exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air. "We understand, you think you're the smarter one, but everything will be back to normal when we defeat Viceroy and stop all this from happening! Then you can fight me just like old times without any more problems about Viceroy outsmarting you again."

"Ooh! Sounds promising!" Kuno deadpanned at how easily he fell for that. "In that case, he's up there."

"Arigatou," the robot girl had to say.

"Come on, Kin!" Randy cried out, starting to climb the platform support. Kuno followed in pursuit. A smiling McFist was just still sitting on the floor, appearing to be proud for having done himself a good deed.

"Oh, yeah! McFist?! After all this, you'll have to be fighting Kuno as well too!"

"Right," Kuno forced herself to say. She didn't technically have to say anything, but it just came out.

It took a really long time for the older man to figure out what that meant. "Hm…hmmm…hm…wait. Did he just say…I would have two kids to deal with?" His eyes widened when he answered his own question. "…..NINJAS!"

All that he could hear now was the sound of Randy's laugh.

The two just continued to climb and climb. They probably should have taken the stairs, but this was way faster. Randy looked down at Kuno and grinned widely. "We're almost there!" he proclaimed.

Kuno only nodded. In her mind, she was not all too excited to make it to the top. Though she had a plan, it still didn't mean she liked it. But this was for the world…

"Kin."

The robot girl suddenly perked up and quickly climbed up to his side, where Randy was now staring at the area they were in. They appeared to be in McFist's office. But it was very, very different. Hundreds of Ottobots were flying around, and most of them were flying out of the now broken roof above the building. In the middle, there stood the machine Randy had seen before. It was whirring even more now, and was as lively as ever; and very much functioning. A single antenna was positioned up over the machine and out the building. There seemed to be a pod right on top of it, but it was hard to make out what was inside of it. It looked as if it was getting its energy from the lightning in the dark clouds that now occupied the skies. There was only one person standing guard in front of the contraption and that was the inventor himself. It didn't seem like Viceroy was planning on destroying it anytime soon.

"Ready, Kin?" Randy asked, still smiling at her.

'No.'

"Hai."

"Smokebomb!"

Ottobots turned to the shout-out and Viceroy coughed from all the smoke. It was thick, so he couldn't see anything at first, but that catchphrase alone gave him an answer. He glared in the direction of the voice, as the smoke finally cleared, and the Ninja and Kuno Ichi were standing in pose.

"Viceroy!" the Ninja reprimanded. "We are here to stop you! Might as well give up!"

"Ninja," Viceroy only murmured, crossing his arms and letting out a snort. "So nice of you to finally join us. And you brought my robot."

"She's not yours anymore, Viceroy. You never could control her in the first place."

"It's always about you, isn't it? You just have to get everything! You even took my greatest invention!"

"I didn't take her! I just showed her the side that will always win."

The evil genius clenched his fists. "You are incorrect, Ninja. I am in control now. In just a few minutes, I will have all of Norrisville in the palm of my hand! I will have everyone under my ruling!"

"Not if we can help it! We are gonna take. You. Down!"

"Are you, really? Ottobots, attack!" The purple duplicates glared, ready to strike.

"Let's do this," Randy said, ready to slice once again.

Only then did he realize how incredibly quiet the robot girl was. Her eyes seemed even duller than ever, and if not, even more deadly. She seemed to be muttering something under her breath; an enchantment Randy couldn't make out. Was it in Japanese? Before he could decipher or even guess the accent, a long, straight, clean, sharp blade appeared out of her red bangle. She took the sword by its handle and held it up to her face. When she looked at the Ottobots, her eyes turned red.

It took only one swish of the weapon to slice up an entire row of floating Ottobots. The rest now jolted to full attention, freezing up when they saw how agile she did it. Even Randy and Viceroy were shocked. But Kuno wasn't finished. She retreated to proper standing position and began walking towards the machine.

"G-Get her!" Viceroy stammered out. "Destroy! Destroy her!" The Ottobots were hesitant, but they still oveyed.

Unfortunately, they should've seen their fate coming. Every time a bot would get within ten feet of reach, they would be immediately sliced down. Kuno kept walking. One tried upgrading and used a gun to shoot at her. The robot girl only dodged them all, still swiftly, and managed to slice that one down as well. Viceroy was panicking, as she started getting even closer and closer to the machine. He tried bringing out a remote control and produce more Ottobots, but Kuno kicked it away. Before it could land on the floor, she cut it in half. As it landed in between them, Kuno jabbed her sword in Viceroy's face. He sucked in a strident breath as he held his hands up, his back pressed against the machine while the tip was centimeters away from his face, and their position was nothing more than of a predator and its prey.

Randy whistled from behind the Ninja mask. "Upgrade."

Kuno was staring down at the scientist with her old, apathetic face. "You are at fault."

"S-So what if I am."

"You started it all."

"OK."

"You created me."

"Yes."

"You created this machine."

"Yes!"

"And you are bringing the destruction of Norrisville."

"Yes! What are you implying?"

"You have created many things in the past. Yet they have still not reached to its full content."

This caused Viceroy confusion. Even the Ninja was scratching his head. "Uh, are you saying everything he's doing is a failure?"

Kuno looked straight into her friend's eyes. "Yes."

"Why, you—" Viceroy tried to burst into complaints, but Kuno threatened with her sword again.

"I never understood why you were preparing me to destroy the Ninja. My data told me it was an inconceivable act, yet I was programmed to do what you asked. I almost followed you. I almost did the wrong thing."

"Exactly!" Viceroy choked. "We're villains! We're supposed to do the wrong thing!"

'That is not who I am. It is not my fate. You could have chosen to be good, but you didn't. That is your fate. But destroying the world is not part of your plan."

"You don't know anything about me, Kuno."

"Of course I do. You raised me. I may not follow in your footsteps, but I am still your creation. Everything you have made has been destroyed by the Ninja, or have turned against you. You are a failure, but you still try. That is what makes you Viceroy. And I know for a fact world domination is not a part of your heart. I may be a disappointing invention, but I know my creator. Master, goshujin, I only ask that you see reason."

That was a really weird inspirational speech. Randy was especially confused, continuing to scratch his head like there was no tomorrow. "Ummm…Kin? I don't think that's—"

Much to his surprise, Viceroy started bursting into tears. Randy stared as he spread his arms out and engulfed Kuno in a heart-warming hug. She unfalteringly hugged back. Randy stood and looked around awkwardly as a creator and his robot just cried and hugged for way more than just a few seconds. As he was looking, his eyes widened to look out the window as see more bots terrorizing the city. Most of the buildings were practically in flames, and the fire department was struggling to tend to all of them. People have almost given up stopping them, but the robots haven't. If anything, they were getting bigger. Stronger. Much more destructive.

"Kin!" he screamed out. The robot girl pulled away gently, already knowing of what he was aware of. She stared and placed her hands on her creator's shoulders.

"You aren't a disappointment," he sniffed. "I should've just let you be you. Made another robot. Something. I shouldn't have overreacted."

"Yes, you shouldn't have," Kuno agreed.

"I probably should have made a replacement for you. Then none of this would have happened."

"Yes, you should have."

"Some family," Randy murmured. "OK, is anyone not noticing the fire and the people dying?!"

"Master," Kuno said, breathing like this would be the last time she would call him that. "May I be allowed to destroy your machine?"

"You should know by now it is indestructible, Kuno," Viceroy frowned. "I can't stop it. And if I can't, neither can you."

"We have to try. Otto is in there."

It was only then did Viceroy realize his biggest, most idiotic mistake. He horror-filled eyes whirled over to the giant antenna above the machine. They all gazed up at the pod, which kept getting stricken by the lightning, and only then did the two ninjas realize that the purple robot was up there, in that pod, having been struck just as many times and was now ready to break off and fall.

"My Otto!" Viceroy cried in trepidation.

"You really should have thought this through," Randy said, walking up to him.

"I have a plan," Kuno said, nodding slowly. She made sure they didn't see her inhale deeply. This was it. "Viceroy, you need to head out of the building. I'll be sure to get Otto out with the Ninja safely. We will shut down you invention, I promise."

He was still looking pretty shaken up, but he placed a hasty hand on his robot's shoulder. "I trust you, Kuno Ichi. I wish you luck." He then turned to Randy and squinted his eyes as he adjusted his glassed. "Take care of her, all right?" The Ninja laughed awkwardly, but still wisely chose to nod.

With that, the evil scientist left the building.

"He has gone," Kuno noted.

"Well, duh," Randy said, laughing lightly.

"Now you go."

"Wait, what?" This definitely wasn't in the plan.

"I am going to enter the duplicator. Using my database, I can transfer a kill code. That will set Otto free, and he can fly out, but it will also cause the machine to collapse."

Randy hesitated slightly longer than he'd expected. "Wait…so does that mean…the place is gonna explode?"

"Yes."

"No!" Kuno was not surprised by his sudden outburst. Randy's face was now covered with expressions of anxiety and alarm, as he stared at his friend in a complete different manner now. "Y-You can't…you said that it was possible to shut this down!"

"I did. This is the only solution."

"But it can't be! Can't we just destroy the antenna or something?!"

"We cannot. The power grid is down here. If the antenna were to be dismantled from the duplicator, everything would collapse at once. The city would be destroyed within minutes."

"But, Kin…there has to be another way! You're going to get yourself killed!"

"I am a robot. I do not—"

"I know that! Be real with me, Kin, come on!" He was pleading now. The Ninja took Kuno by the shoulders and tried shaking some sense into her. "You're throwing yourself into your own doom! You might never come back! We'll never see you again, and—"

"I know. But at least you and everyone else will be safe."

When Randy paused and slowly pulled away, Kuno was staring at the floor. Yes, she knew the consequences. Yes, she knew what would happen. But as long as her friends were still all right…

The robot girl looked up at her friend and smiled softly. If Randy didn't know any better, she could've been crying. "'Sacrifices must be made to save the ones you love'." I had been told that by the Nomicon a while before. At first, I thought I was the one to be sacrificed. But now, I understand its true wisdom."

"Kin, please…you can't do this. We have to find another way."

"Randy, you said it yourself. There are people suffering. And I cannot let it continue any longer."

"But you'll suffer! You won't come back!"

"I am not very remembered. No one will miss me."

"We will! Debbie, Theresa, Howard, Viceroy! ME! I'll miss you!" When tears pricked his eyes, he quickly looked to the floor to wipe them away. "We all will…"

Kuno just kept shaking her head. This was her decision. She chose this. It was for the best. Now, she took Randy and pulled him into a tight hug. The purple-haired teen sniffed and hugged back. Through the sounds of terrorization and demolition, the two friends could only think of how much they were going to miss each other. All the times they've spent, all the fights they've had…it would not be in vain.

When the robot girl pulled away, she took a fistful of the Ninja mask and just yanked it off. As the suit revealed Randy, he didn't get mad, but only stared at her curiously. Kuno was more comfortable now that she knew she was talking to her friend face-to-face. "Thank you for everything," she said, shaking slightly. "Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for singing with me, teaching me about video games, and feeding me pizza-flavored oil. Thank you…for just being my friend. I will never forget you, Randy Cunningham. You were the best friend I have ever had."

"Kuno…" Randy started, but was cut off by another quick hug. He was too shattered to hug back this time.

The robot girl pulled away, finally letting go, as she handed him his mask and uttered a final word: "Arigatou."

"Still don't know what that means," the teen had to laugh. Kuno smiled. One joke was enough.

With that, they both departed.

Kuno ran right for the machine. Randy looked back, frowned, put on his mask, and climbed down the building. There was a hatch that lead to the duplicator's power system, and the robot girl crawled right in. Like most of Viceroy's inventions, there were many wires; and one of them could connect to her files. Kuno quickly unzipped her jacket and pressed her heart panel. After connecting, she felt herself restart. She searched her own folders, until she found the kill code file she used to keep for emergencies. Now, it would be put to good use.

"Transferring: Kill Code."

She couldn't hear much from outside. But in her perspective, it was as if the code was jolting up the antenna like lightning, struck the pod, and opened it up. She could almost hear Otto's excited little shrieks of joy as he was finally able to escape and fly back to his owner. She could just imagine Viceroy now, crying and hugging his little bot. And that made Kuno smile softly.

"Fly free, my friend," she whispered.

Now, the walls felt like they were collapsing on her. The machine was shaking, erupting in tremors that felt like they were about to explode any second. And the moment Kuno closed her eyes, she felt nothing.

All that was left was a song in her heart, and she sang it ever-so-softly:

Before I even knew
I ran for it, too
And with my hand in yours
You pulled me right along
Yesterday's far away
Tomorrow's just right ahead
And just that one thought
Makes me smile
And my heart begin to dance

I could've sworn I heard it then
I could've sworn I truly felt it there
Is my heart shaking?
I feel it in my chest and...

It's true now, I feel it here
Now a new sun brightens up the morning
It shines unlike before

I see now, you're waiting for me
I see now, you're calling out for me
My whole soul trembles
Is this happening to me?

I see now, I found it here
I saw off the day, it faded from my sight
Fading like a dream
I held my head high, with a wave towards the sky,

"I thank you, good-bye."

A violent vibration jolted her eyes open. Kuno looked around. It was starting. The eruptions were about to begin.

Boom.

She let out a sigh.

Boom.

"I'll never forget…I will miss all of you…"

Boom.

"Randy…everyone."

Boom.

"Sayonnara."

BOOM.

"…Arigatou."


"AAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Randy was screaming when he found that he took a wrong turn and was falling outside the building. Before he hit the ground, he snapped his scarf onto a lamp post, yelling "Ninja Scarf Swing!" and quickly landed safely.

"Everyone, evacuate!" he immediately yelled. "Leave the area! Go, go, go!"

Fortunately, they followed his command. Everyone scattered about as they hightailed away from McFist Industries. Randy looked up and heard the firstboom. Who knew how many left until it fully exploded? Looking up, he watched as all the Ottobots stopped functioning, deactivated themselves, and started raining on the city like a metal storm. The people had no trouble dodging, and right then did Randy notice that Kuno succeeded.

Kuno. Before he could tear up, he tore his eyes away from the broken roof and took off.

"Otto!" He perked up when he saw Viceroy just standing smack in the middle of the streets, holding his arms out as a certain purple robot flew right into them. The sight was very touching, as creator and invention reunited once again. The evil scientists kept muttering phrases of apologies, and Randy probably would have let him stand there to die. But everyone didn't deserve to.

Boom.

"Viceroy! Get moving!" he yelled, running up to him.

"Ninja!" Viceroy cried. "Where's Kuno? Why isn't she with you?"

He didn't respond to that question. What was an easier way to settle out the fact you didn't listen to what he said by "taking care"?

"She's still there?!" The wild look in his eyes was rather distressing. "We have to—"

"No, you have to run with the others! It's going to blow!"

The scientist only glared at him. "How could you let her go?! Are you even her friend at all? You shouldn't have let her do this to herself!"

"Hey!" Randy shouted out, ready to lose it. "Don't say that about myself. I tried, OK?! She chose this. She chose to sa—"

Boom.

"…Yeah, no time for anymore dramatic speeches, JUST GO!"

Viceroy was too flustered to argue.

Boom.

"Oh, cheese." Randy quickly looked around to make sure no one else was exposed. Soon, he joined and hid behind a sturdy house, now fully prepared for the blow.

Boom.

"Kuno, please."

BOOM.

"No."


Wisps of smoke surrounded the streets. Everyone slowly came out of hiding after the big explosion, trying to sneak a peek at what just happened. Randy coughed, and ran forward first. Once everything was cleared, they all restrained from gasping at what they were seeing.

McFist Industries was completely destroyed. All that was left were its ashes and the half-demolished houses that surrounded it. From a distance, Randy could hear McFist himself shrieking curses and collapsing onto the floor in agony. Somewhere, Viceroy was holding Otto as he cried silently. Somewhere near the school, but still pretty far from the abolished building, three certain kids mourned, for they somehow knew in their hearts a close friend was lost.

Randy, as the Ninja, stepped forward into the ashes of the now open area, and stared down at the black dust. Some of these ashes could've been Kuno's; they were now mixed with the result of her sacrifice. Though, there was one thing that survived in the middle of it all, and it was a peculiar looking object: a shuriken necklace. Randy recognized it as the one Kuno always wore, and he gingerly picked it up. No tears threatened his eyes this time as he instantly pocketed it. Since he was in the middle of the perimeter, the whole town just watched him silently, waiting for his next move. But right now, he was in no mood to do anything. Just as the crowd was in no mood to celebrate.

"…Smokebomb."


"I can't believe she did that," Howard sighed sadly.

"It's so sad," Theresa breathed, wiping her eyes.

Randy frowned, as he was just finished telling the story. "I know…but I also know she knew it was for the best. In the end, Kin was the hero."

It had only been a full twenty-four hours later and McFist Industries was back in business. Viceroy had apologized, McFist didn't forgive him at first, but did thirty seconds later when he needed a new robot for the next Ninja-destroying plan. Things were almost getting back to normal.

"I feel bad about still doing the concert without her, though," Randy muttered. "We wrote this first song with all three of us together."

"I'm sure Kin would have wanted you to go on without her," Theresa said, placing a hand on his shoulder. "She would've wanted all of us to move on."

"Thanks…" When he looked at her, he had to smile.

"Besides, we've been working on this for three months," Howard cut in. "So if you try to back out, you're a shoob." He paused, and quickly added, "Not that I'd not want Kin out of this but…" When he realized he was struggling, he gave up and said, "I'm going to miss her."

"I'm going to miss her too," Theresa said softly. "I feel bad I didn't get to know her all that well…"

"Hey," Randy piped up, forcing a smile. "I don't think you needed to. Kuno had a heart of gold. She was kind enough, and we all saw it. She tried reaching out to most of us, even if we didn't see it. In the end, we reached out to her. In the end, she was still good. Just as long as we remember the robot she is...she'll be biologically with us."

"That's too deep, Cunningham," Howard sighed again, shaking his head. "So, uh, we have about a thousand Norrisville Highs students out there waiting for us? Not to sound like I don't care about Kin – I do—I mean I don't – uh, but, um, yeah…" He needed to stop talking.

Randy had to chuckle. "Yeah…let's go."

"Good luck, guys," Theresa said. "You especially, Randy."

The purple-haired boy blushed when she gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

As Theresa left, the boys now paid attention to the cheering students outside the stage. They pulled back some of the curtains to get a quick peek and saw the many people waiting to hear them perform. This was it. This was their night.

"Kin would have loved this," Randy murmured.

Howard placed a hand on his shoulder, as Theresa did. "Maybe someday we'll meet her again."

"She's not a human, Howard, she literally has no soul."

"But she's a robot! She can just be rebuilt again! Right?"

"…Well, maybe…" He honestly wasn't so sure.

"Let's move on. Focus on the here and the now. Kin would've wanted that."

"…Yeah…she probably would have." In the crowd, Theresa had made it to her seat with Debbie Kang. He gave a little wave, and the girl blushed and waved right back.

"Before we go on, good luck and all that, but what exactly were Kin's last words?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"Can't a man be curious."

"Well she definitely didn't mention you."

"Ow."

"Kidding. She said, 'Arigatou'"

"Still have no idea what that means."

"I do now." Randy stared down at his keytar, not helping the small smile that was forming on his face. Howard noticed, and he grinned as well.

"All right! Let's get this party started!"

Without warning, he burst out from behind the stage curtains, and everyone screamed out when he appeared. It was almost obvious to see how he was restraining himself from ripping his shirt off.

Randy inwardly laughed and smiled again. He reached into his pocket nervously and suddenly pulled out a certain object. It was Kuno's shuriken necklace. The one thing he could ever remember her by. Even still though, as he tightened his fist around it, he couldn't help but silently nod at one of her final words.

I'll never forget you, Randy Cunningham. You were the best friend I ever had.

"Arigatou."

"You're welcome, Kin," he mumbled. "Thank you too."

With that said, he threw himself out to the screaming fans, and was proudly smiling as he held his keytar. He couldn't have appeared more confident.

"WHAT UP, NORRISVILLE HIGH!"

What the HEY
Come on YOU
What the JUICE
He's so BRUCE
That's the CHEESE
Ninja, PLEASE
Ninja, ROCK
DON'T STOP!"

What the HEY
Come on YOU
Do it NINJA
WHAT THE JUICE
He's a NINJA
Come on FIGHTER
Just a FRESHMAN
He's a
NINJA!"

~The End~


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