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Blake sat cross-legged on the ground near a cliff overlooking the ocean. He'd found this isolated spot at the edge of the woods that just happened to be near the hotel he was staying in. He was dressed in full ninja uniform, including mask, so that he couldn't be identified in case anyone saw what he was doing. Chances of that were slim, though, because it was still a whole hour away from sunrise.

He held his arms out in front of him, palms facing upward. Tendrils of dark blue energy, jagged and sharp as lightning, crackled just millimeters above his palms. The energy coalesced into a pair of spheres, one over each hand.

Blake counted to ten, then twenty, and then thirty. Finally he grinned, though the expression was hidden by his mask. He had been trying to pull off that trick for the past week. But each time he'd tried it, the spheres never lasted more than ten seconds, and then they either dissipated into thin air or discharged onto his arms. Those times, he envied the Winds, because using their elements came so easily to them. And if any of them happened to lose control once in a while, well, they wouldn't end up getting roasted.

Or causing a block-wide power outage, like he did once.

Pulling back his right arm, he flung one of the energy spheres in the direction of the ocean. The sphere eventually stopped in midair and exploded, sending sparks in every direction. Blake's grin widened. Looking at the sphere that still remained, he slapped his right hand over his left, then shuddered as the sphere burst like a balloon, and electricity raced up both his arms. He was still getting used to the sensation.

Picking up his gear, he darted into the woods to take the long way back to the hotel. Ninja streaking was faster, no doubt. But he didn't want to get a lecture from Sensei Omino the next time he went back to the Thunder Ninja Academy. The man seemed to have spies everywhere, or at least, everywhere Blake went.

***

Jesse managed to knock once before the door to Blake's hotel room swung open.

"We heading out?" Blake asked, though his backpack was already slung over his shoulder, and the rest of his gear was packed in the duffel bag at his feet.

"Obviously, you already knew that," Jesse retorted, grinning even as he shook his head. "I don't know where Factory Blue picked up a freak like you."

"Blue Bay Harbor," Blake replied smoothly.

Jesse rolled his eyes.

Blake grabbed his duffel bag and stepped out into the hallway. "Come on, dude, we've got a race to win."