The Oni now known as Baby Huey had come far in the world. It was not long ago that he was a brainless brute, smashing caravans on the road and eating the people and good inside, throwing around boulders and trees for fun, and generally wreaking havoc on the countryside. Now, though, he was one of Katsusada Shishauezaemon's most trusted generals, a man of power and prestige, and a mighty undead creature himself. Huey even had his own squad, the legendary Tea Bucket Men, whom he regarded with as much affection as an undead monster Oni could muster. Thinking about them, the Tea Bucket Men were strong, but they could be stronger, right? They could be strong like Oni. They should be strong like Oni, if they were going to be General Baby Huey's personal squad. There was only one thing to do, then. The answer was obvious. Take the Tea Bucket Men to Mount Ooe and train them with real Oni! Then they would surely get tough and strong like him. If Baby Huey got a chance to show off to the other Oni how much status he had attained as a general then, well, that would be a bonus too. [The player may now assume direct control of Baby Huey. You know what to do.]
Baby Huey ponders. Loudly. Next to his men. "First step key. They will go stronger, but take time. Cousin Oni too much for most men. Too too much for weakest of Tea Bucket Men. Must make weakest stronger first, then make next weakest strongerer. Hmm. I will test men and find weak ones." Baby Huey quickly turns his head toward his men, eyes squinted, searching for a flinch in their eyes.
The Tea Bucket Men stare back at Baby Huey, their eyes steely and their bodies rigid, the image of a hardened fighting force. Well, most of them are rigid. There, near the back, a taller, gangly man, without much muscle on his bones. He didn't flinch, exactly, but his eyes fail to meet the general's even now, looking down at the ground with the barest hint of tremble. The man looks up for a moment, sees Baby Huey looking at him, and his face twists into a grimace of horror. He continues staring now, seemingly too frightened to move.
"Oi, 痩せ野郎 [Yase-yaro]." The general menacingly looks at the tall, gangly man, commanding him for his attention. "Come to front. On your way, bring nine more. You ten will be first group." Baby Huey waits for the men to assemble in front of him. He realizes that combat training will never be enough to make them as strong as an Oni. Even one of his best, Tanefuji, during the tournament proved that an Oni has advantages regardless of combat tactics or weapons used. The wildest and strongest of all Oni do not care for such things. They power through every challenges they face and they come out victorious and bloody in the end. "Every day five, we switch groups to be stronger. Yase-yaro lead first group. Today, no weapon fighting. Today, first group go in tree land and find big tree. Cut tree. Then men carry tree all day. Want to go bath? Take big tree. Want to go eat Yumeno's [restaurant] good food? Take big tree. Want to walk down road? Carry big tree." "Go. Find big tree. Bring to me so I judge tree."
The tall man's shoulders sag as soon as Baby Huey finishes speaking. "A- a tree? How are we going to cut down a tree?" he mutters hopelessly, but his moping is interrupted by a meaty hand landing on his shoulder. A giant of a man, by human standards, his arms bulging with muscles and his barrel chest barely contained by his armor, grins at the other. "Ha ha ha! Are you a Tea Bucket Man or not? We'll tear it down with our bare hands if we have to!" The gangly samurai gives this burly figure a look of despair mixed with horror, even as his new companion grabs him by the arm and starts leading him toward the forest, the other eight men in the group soon falling into step behind. -- Several hours later, sounds of rustling and the snapping of branches begin to emit from the nearby forest, followed by a line of Tea Bucket Men carrying a large tree on their shoulders. The burly samurai is among them, holding the log near the end without any apparent effort, and so is the gangly man, near the center, his features screwed up in exertion, sweat running down his head in visible lines. The trunk's base looks to have been cut through with a succession of powerful sword strikes, and Baby Huey notices that the katana of each of the samurai is covered in new chips and notches, including that of the tall man who even now looks as though he's going to collapse under the tree's weight.
"Hmm. Straight, skinny swords not good for cutting trees.", ponders to himself. The general begins the examination as the men present their logs. "Giant-man. You need more. Look at Yase-yarou. He sweating, struggling. He weaker, but knows effort comes with price." "Those not sweating, need tie smaller, extra tree to big tree.", Baby Huey continues. "Before, all get more trees. Rules to follow. If can't carry tree anymore, drag tree, if can't drag tree anymore, rest and not move until able to drag tree again. All with trees need not weapon train today, day off, but don't forget to bring tree everywhere." "Yase-yarou. Good work figuring what I planned.", the tall Oni congratulates the scrawny, tall man for being successful with the tree selection on his first try.
The tall man manages a weak smile, and actually pumps his fist into the air once before almost falling under the weight of his log. Meanwhile, the burly man who had been friendly to him before the exercise looks on with an expression of annoyance. With a frown, he turns to the others who had made the task look easy and, together, they retreat back into the woods. "General Baby Huey, sir!" a shout comes from the remainder of the Tea Bucket Men. On closer inspection, the originator is the de facto squad leader, a well-toned man with a shock of high-cut black hair and a scar across his right cheek in the shape of a curving horn. His name was Hida Tsunesaburo, or something like that. It hadn't been easy for Huey to remember, but it helped that this man was one of the most easily-distinguished members of the squad, thanks to his stern features and that iconic scar. "The rest of the squad, are we to continue with weapons practice as normal?"
"Oh, Buro..." The oni gazes over the well-toned man to the rest of the Tea Bucket Men. He takes a look at the weapon they are using, a weapon he has never once touched before. "Hand me weapon.", the Oni commands in his broken language. Baby Huey is shocked, almost to death, at the weight of the weapon. To him, it weights nothing at all. He inspects the weapon further, testing it's durability, but the weapon easily breaks, like a twig broken by a child. "This weapon will not make any you stronger!", the Oni's voice boom into the distance. "We not continue weapon training. Have everyone pick out trees. Make sure everyone not make mistake, have right amount of for each to carry, enough to make sweat flow. Those that do weapon training, behind, need catch up." Baby Huey cannot believe how foolish he had been all this time. It's no wonder to him why most humans are so weak. "From now on, we do weapon training on morning as warm up before real training." The men gather their logs as quickly as possible, each making sure everyone has just the correct amount of weight to carry around all day. In order to catch up to the first ten men, the forty men walked longer and farther than their earlier comrades. It's getting dark and the men are exhausted, drenched in sweat. "Getting dark. Everyone tired and sleepy, but not sleep yet! This dark, make sure to eat. Oni always eat, even if tired. So this dark, we all eat together." Baby Huey has decided that he will constantly be watching his men from now on. He will make sure they train the proper amount and push themselves to the fullest and he will make sure that they eat as much as possible to replace all the energy they use throughout the day. That dark night, the whole of the Tea Bucket Men ate together, a dinner like this would usually call for laughter and celebration, but on this night, most of the men are too tired to talk, though everyone is quite happy knowing that they've worked hard today. The dinner is an image of calm and serenity.