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A Shadow's Nocturne

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Being hunted down at a mere six-years-old by your ex-tribe’s arch nemesis, the Yiga Clan, is not what I expected to be a day-to-day thing.

I ran as fast as I could, my feet hardly making a sound as I moved swiftly through the brush. I stumbled as I left the cover of the greenery and into a dead end thanks to a cliff face. I ran to the wall of rock, punching it with my fists.

“No, no, no!” I whimpered.

“Got you!” the voice of my pursuer said.

Gasping, I turned around to see the red-clad ninja that was a Yiga looming over me.

“No more running, little Sheikah,” he said, raising his sickle to strike me down.

I squeezed my red eyes shut, bracing for the impact. The sound of hollow wood hitting someone reached my ears and I flinched.

When I didn’t feel any pain, I slowly opened my eyes to see an elderly man wearing a white kimono with a black belt. Much of his torso was covered by a long, white beard and mustache which also covered his wrinkled face. An orange emblem could be seen on the top left on his kimono, in addition to various creases. He also wore a tan straw hat and held a bamboo staff in his right hand.

He was standing over the unconscious form of the Yiga Clan member. I let out a huge sigh of relief and slid to the ground, trembling.

That’s the closest they’ve ever gotten.

“Come, before he wakes,” the man said, pulling me to stand.

My legs felt like jelly. The man pulled me with him as we ran and we only stopped when we reached stairs that led up a mountain.

I flopped on the ground and caught my breath.

“We should be safe here from whomever that was,” the man said, starting up the steps.

“I hope so…” I mumbled before following him.

I hardly noticed how long it took to climb the steps up to the top of the mountain. When we reached the top, there was a monastery that must have been the man’s home, though, why someone would live isolated on a really tall mountain is beyond me. We entered the courtyard.

“Once you wash, rest, and eat, we can get you back home. And, I suppose, some new clothes would be in order as well…” he said, glancing at my rags and matted blonde hair, “Your parents must be worried.”

I scoffed, rolling my eyes. The man gave me a questioning look. I cleared my throat awkwardly, realizing how rude that was.

“Sorry, sir, but bringing me ‘home’ won’t be necessary,” I answered.

“Either way, you can stay here as long as you want,” the man replied.

The man had given me clothes to replace the dirty rags I wore and he fed me.

 

I had decided to stay with the man. Apparently, he went by Sensei Wu. He had looked so lonely living up here all by himself. When he had asked for my name, I had refused to tell him at first. I didn’t want to be reminded of how I came to be cast out to begin with. Eventually, I got tired of being called ‘child’, ‘girl’, and ‘young one’ and decided to make up a name.

Sheik.

While not the most creative name, as I had just named myself after my tribe, it was all that I could think of without it being too girly for me.

After giving myself a name, I had started to call Sensei Wu ‘Father’, as he felt like the father I never had.

When I told Father where I came from and who my mother was, as well as my sister, he had offered to train me as a ninja. I had agreed in hopes of still being accepted back into my tribe.

I was fourteen when my Father found three new students. All of them were boys.

Cole was first. He was sixteen. He had long shaggy black hair, blue eyes, and thick bushy eyebrows. He was quite calm and intelligent.

Jay came second. He was fifteen. He had short orange-brown hair, bright blue eyes, and a notch on his right eyebrow. You could tell right off the bat that he was a talker and loved jokes.

Zane came next. He was also fifteen. He had tall flat-top blonde hair, grey-blue eyes, and sharp eyebrows. He was definitely quieter than the others. He was serious, reserved, polite and respectful. And he didn’t appear to have a sense of humor.

I had been excited that there were going to be teens around my age that I could talk to until Father told me he didn’t want me to make myself known to them just yet. While disappointed, I sort of understood. They needed to focus on training as much as I did.

I watched as Father ‘taught’ the new kid, Kai, I think his name was. I could tell the boy was getting more and more frustrated with every day that passed. Apparently, it’s Father’s thing to have the students finish the training course before he finishes his tea. And might I add in his tiny cup?

Though hiding wasn’t ideal for me, Father seemed to think it was necessary. The others were out, tasked with surviving in the wilderness and didn’t even know about the new guy.

Kai was fifteen. He had tall, thick, spiky brown hair, brown eyes, and a notch on his left eyebrow. He appeared to be very hotheaded, cocky, and one to leap before he looked. Though, from what I heard from Father, his sister was taken by Skulkins, a skeleton race that lived in the Underworld. And that appeared to be driving his impatience to learn Spinjitzu.

Today was another fail as Kai was tossed into the steps next to Father by the spinning punching bag. I closed the blinds to my bedroom window and stood, stretching myself out.

Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.

Cole, Zane, and Jay would be home tomorrow. Maybe I could toy with them again. Honestly, it’s hilarious to watch them flip out over something so tiny as me moving one of their belongings while they’re not there. And then returning to find it in a different spot. Especially Jay. His freakouts are

.

Once I was sure Kai had gone to bed, I left my room and headed to the kitchen. Father was already there with a cup of tea in his hand.

“How much longer do I have to hide?” I whined, leaning on the counter behind me.

“Not much longer,” he answered.

I brightened.

“But!” he added on.

My expression fell.

“I suggest we hide your gender,” he said.

“What?! Why?!”

“Once Kai finishes his training, we’ll be going to find the Golden Weapons. And you will be getting more field time. The Yiga Clan is still seeking you. It would be safer if you were to disguise yourself so that they would not recognize you.”

“Fine…” I moaned, “But can I still wear the Sheikah emblem? I want to honor my heritage.”

“Even if the Sheikah-”

“-Are the Yiga’s enemy? Yes. The Yiga haven’t attacked at the sight of one in years. And besides, we’re still going to be an enemy anyway.”

Father sighed, “Yes, I suppose so.”

I hugged him, “Thank you, Father!”

He hugged me back with one arm, the other one holding his teacup away from us.

“You best get to bed,” he said, releasing me.

“Okay… Goodnight,” I sighed.

 

I watched in awe as Kai finally finished the training course. I don’t think I would have ever thought of that tactic. He had thrown his sword, knocking Father’s cup out of his hand and finished before he had a chance to finish pouring his tea again. Kai ended his act by sitting next to Father, offering him the sugar.

I snorted in amusement and closed the blinds.

Father came into my room as the sun started to set, bringing me my new outfit. It actually seemed more complicated than I thought it would be. I told my father I didn’t want to wear the typical ninja outfit he had chosen. I wanted something different. Unlike the ninja’s gi, mine didn’t look like pajamas. My suit was the traditional Sheikah stealth armor, with a few added details for customization.

“Complete with the Sheikah emblem,” Father said, handing me the folded suit, “Their final test is tonight.”

He left to go to bed and I put my new outfit on.

It was a skin-tight, indigo and royal blue suit that came with pads for my arms, legs, and shoulders. There was a silver-colored chest binder with the red Sheikah eye and tear to hide what it was. I didn’t trust the pads to not come off while in battle, so I wrapped my arms and legs in bandages to keep them in place. I put a white shawl over my shoulders that covered the bottom half of my face to help conceal myself.

Next came my hair. I didn’t want to chop off all of my blonde hair and I wouldn’t. My hair would have been longer had it not been cut the moment before I was cast out. It currently reached my lower back.

I rolled my eyes at myself as I braided the bottom half of my hair. When I finished I wrapped the top of my head to keep my hair in place. The bottom of the braid reached my mid-back. My bangs covered my left eye. Good. One less freakish red eye to scare the ninja away. I pulled on my boots and fingerless gloves.

I looked at myself in the mirror and felt like something was missing.

My weapons!

I grabbed my four sheathed kunai and strapped them to my thighs. I nodded in satisfaction. Suddenly, there was a crash outside my room. I snapped my head to the door before hiding in the corner by my window. I heard the training course start outside and looked out the window. I relaxed when I saw it was just Kai, Jay, Cole, and Zane. The latter three were fighting Kai.

I exited my room at the same time as Father exited his. He gestured for me to follow. I stayed by the doorway, concealed by a support beam as Father opened the door to the courtyard.

“Stop!”

The four stood from their dog pile, Cole, Jay, and Zane making a quick bow to Father.

“Yes, Sensei.”

Kai remained quiet in his surprise before stepping forward, “Wait a minute. They’re your students too?”

Father nodded.

“This was my final test, wasn’t it-” Kai was cut off by Jay stepping forward.

“Woah-Woah-Woah-Woah-Woah! You never said anything about a fourth. It’s always three. Three blind mice. Three Musketeers. Three-” Cole stepped forward interrupting Jay this time.

“Uh, what he’s trying to say, Sensei Wu, is that the three of us have trained together. We’re solid,” he said.

Kai crossed his arms, “Didn’t look so solid to me.”

“Master, what is the meaning of this?” Zane asked.

Father walked down the steps, “Each of you has been chosen. Each in tune with elemental properties. And it’s not four…”

Jay sighed in relief.

“There are five of you,” Father finished.

“What?!”

“Five?!”

“Are you serious?!”

“Sheik. You can come out now,” Father said.

I stepped into view, munching on an apple I had snagged on our way out.

Everyone stared at me. I swallowed my bite.

“Oh sorry. Was I supposed to jump out and say ‘surprise’?”

Father sighed, shaking his head, “This is my son, Sheik.”

“You. Have. A. Son?!” Jay asked.

“Adopted son,” I corrected.

“I will explain everything. But first-Ninja go!” Father did Spinjitzu and moved across the four, changing their outfits into their new ninja suits. Zane was white, Jay was blue, Kai was red, and Cole was black.

“Woah! How’d he do that?” Kai asked as he and the others checked out their clothes.

Jay giggled, “Look what color I am!”

“Wait a minute. I’m still black,” Cole said, disappointed.

I temporarily placed my apple on the rail and stood next to Zane.

Father stepped up to Kai, “Kai, Master of Fire. It burns bright in you.”

He then turned to Jay, “Jay is blue. Master of Lightning.”

“Heh, that’s not all I’m the master of. I do a little inventing, I dabble in model building, a touch of cooking, little poetry…” Jay boasted cheerfully.

Cole sighed, “More like ‘Mouth of Lightning’.”

I tried and failed to cover up a snort of laughter.

Father turned to Cole next, “Black ninja is Cole. Solid as rock. Master of Earth.” He stepped back as Cole spun around and planted his scythe on the cobble beneath our feet.

“Ha!” Kai laughed.

Cole pointed his blade at Kai’s throat, “Nice to meet you, Kid. I got your back. And for the record, there ain’t nothin’ in this world I’m afraid of.” He removed his hood.

“Except for dragons,” Zane spoke up.

“Dragons aren’t from this world, Zane. I said in this world,” Cole replied awkwardly, taking the blade away from Kai’s throat.

I think I’ll just let him think that so he can sleep at night…

Father approached me, “Sheik is the indigo ninja. Master of Blight.”

Why does he always have to make a production out of everything?

“Why does he get a different suit?” Jay asked.

“Because I prefer this over PJs,” I replied, looking away from them.

“Ey, ey, ey! These are not PJs!”

I rolled my eyes.

Father turned to Zane, “And white ninja is Zane. Master of Ice. And seer with sixth sense.”

Zane spun his shurikens and they vanished.

“I sense this one takes things a little too seriously,” Kai muttered, leaning towards Cole.

Zane removed his hood and turned to Kai, “You, too, have the gift?”

Jay chuckled, “He’s just making a joke, Zane,” he removed his hood too, “Remember what we talked about? Your sense of humor, huh?”

Zane smiled, “Yes. It was a joke. Ha. Ha.”

Jay facepalmed and Kai removed his hood.

“Pay attention!” Father shouted, drawing our attention. He was now back at the top of the steps, “You five are the chosen ones who will protect the four weapons of Spinjitzu from... Lord Garmadon.”

“But what about my sister?!” Kai asked, pointing his katana at Father.

Jay gasped, “We’re saving a girl? Is she hot?”

I facepalmed. This… This right here is probably why…

“Jay,” Cole scolded.

“I just wanna know what we’re getting ourselves into… Does she like blue?”

“Back off!” Kai warned.

“When we find the weapons, we find your sister. It is time. We must go to the first weapon,” Father announced.

“Woah-Woah-Woah-Woah! Hold on a minute! You said you were going to teach us Spinjitzu,” Cole protested.

“Spinjitzu is inside each and every one of you. But it will only be unlocked when the key is ready to be found,” Father explained.

There were about two seconds of complete silence.

“Come! My feet are tired. We will take the horse carriage,” Father said, going back inside.

“Great…” Cole mumbled sarcastically.

“Now we have to find a key?” Jay asked.

“Yeah, I have a feeling he’s taking us for a ride.”

“Well, if it means finding my sister, then sign me up,” Kai said, pulling his hood back on and heading back inside.

I sighed, fighting back a moan. The horse carriage… Why did it have to be the horse carriage?

 

Dawn was just breaking as we climbed the mountain the Caves of Despair was located on, pulling the horse carriage that Father was riding on. Cole and Kai were up front while Jay, Zane, and I were behind them.

“Sign me up,” Jay mocked Kai in a high pitched, nasally voice, “Way to go, spark plug.”

“I sense this is some strange form of team building,” Zane said.

Well played, Father. Well played.

“Just keep pulling,” Cole encouraged, “We have a long way to go.”

“So,” Kai started, trying to make small talk, “Where did Sensei find you four?”

“Let’s just say, if it wasn’t for Sensei Wu, I don’t think we’d ever be seen together,” Cole said, “I was testing my limits.”

“I was testing my invention,” Jay added.

“And I was testing myself,” Zane said.

“I was running for my life,” I said. They stared at me. “Hi.”

“You’re right. If it weren’t for Sensei, none of us would-” Kai was cut off by Father shushing us.

“Stop!”

We stopped pulling and caught our breath.

“The Caves of Despair.”

We hid amongst the rocks at the top of the pit before us. Skulkins were crawling all over the place.

“Samukai must be close to unearthing the Scythe of Quakes,” Father said, “Remember, do not use the weapon for its power-”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Jay said, “It’s too much for us mortals. Alright, guys. Let’s chop socky this lemonade stand. Cole, you got the plan?”

“Sure do,” Cole answered, “First, we lower ourselves down the ledge and then- Where’s Kai?”

We looked around for the red-clad ninja before finally spotting him jumping behind a rock to avoid being spotted by the skeleton guards.

Jay sighed, “Let’s go!”

We jumped down the ledge, following after Kai. We hid behind one of the tents and waited until the guard posted there wasn’t looking before running for an overturned minecart, pulling it over ourselves just in time before being spotted. We used the cart to move around unnoticed… That was until we hit a rock. We dropped the cart all the way to the ground.

I could hear the skellies curious noises until there was a cry of pain from one of them. They went back to work after that and we continued to move on.

We came upon a Skulkin from behind just as he spotted Kai. Cole pulled the Skulkin into the cart with us and rearranged him so that he wouldn’t be able to alert anyone. We left him behind and rid of the cart once we reached the conveyor belt.

As we passed by the Skulkins, riding on the bottom of it, I could hear two of them that I’ve come to recognize as Kruncha and Nuckal. Nuckal was going on about some rock that was shaped like a donut.

After leaving the conveyor belt, we scaled a tower and basically did monkey bars over a mine rail before flipping down to hide behind a rock pile. We jumped over to Samukai’s tower and climbed it, finally catching up with Kai who was spying on the four-armed leader through a hole in the roof.

We joined the hothead in watching the leader quietly until I heard Jay lightly hit Kai.

“What’s the matter with you?” he whispered.

“Shhh.”

Samukai chuckled and set the map down on a table before walking over to the balcony to watch his minions work.

“The map’s upside down. They’re digging in the wrong spot,” Jay whispered.

“The golden weapon is near,” Zane whispered back. He pulled out one of his shurikens that was attached to a rope and used it to snag the map from the table, pulling it up to us.

Kai took one look at the map, “There’s no time to waste.” With that, he flipped down without another word.

“What’s with that guy? Always in a rush,” Jay whispered in annoyance.

We followed after the hothead and snuck into one of the caves without being seen by its two absolutely

oblivious guards. We caught up with Kai once again and found him trying to move a massive boulder all on his own.

“Hey, before you race off again, you need to remember; we’re a team,” Cole said.

“Yeah… whatever,” Kai answered.

We all pushed the rock aside together. On the other side were statues of what appeared to be Samurai lining the wall and a dragon head poking up from the ground. The scythe was hovering in the dragon's mouth.

“Woah! That is so COOL!” Jay yelled, his voice echoing across the caves.

Oh brother…

“Shh!” Cole hissed as he drew the scythe. He jumped down, “Not so loud.”

He wrapped the weapon in a cloth.

“Aw, c'mon! Don’t be paranoid! We’re totally on the opposite side of the caves,” Jay replied.

“You do realize the caves could be connected and your voice echoes, so there is a high probability that the Skulkins could hear you,” I whispered.

“Just zip it, okay?” Cole asked, directing it at Jay, “Now that we’ve got the scythe, let’s sneak out while those boneheads are still busy.” He threw the scythe behind for Kai to catch.

I barely caught the sound of rock moving before we left the little room. I turned around and saw nothing had changed. Not really, anyway. The dragon’s mouth seemed a little more open than before but that was probably because it looked empty in the scythe’s absence. I brushed it off as me being paranoid and followed after my teammates.

“Alright, team. Everyone stick together. The way out is right around the corner,” Cole stopped and became face to face with Samukai and his army.

Yelping, Cole jumped back and Samukai drew his four bone daggers.

We readied our weapons and charged through the hoard of Skulkins, fighting as we went.

Jay appeared to be treating this whole thing like a video game, making all kinds of sounds. He even yelled, “Two points!”, after hitting a couple of Skulkins aside. We got separated.

“Kai! Throw it here!” Zane yelled.

The scythe soared over my head and into Zane’s waiting arms.

“Going long!” Cole yelled and Zane threw the scythe to him before being dog-piled.

I twirled my kunai before striking several enemies. While I did excel at hand to hand combat, I much preferred to use a weapon.

“There’s too many of them!” Kai cried, taking down another enemy.

Jay jumped in to help him, “Let me handle that!”

He went on the offensive, making combat noises.

“Hey, guys! It’s just like the training course!” he jumped over Skulkins, kicking them in the process, “Over the planks,” he flipped over more that were swinging their swords at him, “Dodge the swords,” he spun around hitting a charging enemy with his nunchucks, “Here comes the dummy! Cha-ching!”

Jay was suddenly surrounded by a glowing tornado of electricity. He whirled through the cave, taking out several skeletons.

“Woah…!” I breathed.

“Spinjitzu…! Jay, what’s the key?!” Kai asked.

Jay laughed, “I’m just going through the motions! This is what Sensei must have meant when he said we already know it!”

Putting two and two together, Kai mimicked his movements and was enveloped in his own fiery tornado. Soon we were all plowing through the cave in tornadoes unique to our respective elements.

Realizing the danger they were in, Samukai ordered a retreat. We eased out of our Spinjitzu once the Skulkins had all left.

I sheathed my weapons.

“Guess they didn’t want a second serving of these babies!” Cole said, flexing his almost nonexistent muscles.

Kai shook his head, Jay facepalmed, while I rolled my eyes. I turned away from the group and crossed my arms, ignoring the others as they celebrated their first victory together.

I froze when I noticed a giant shadow looming over us. I slowly turned my head up to come face to face with the dragon we had seen the head of deeper in the caves. He had large brown wings with holes in them and a spiked tail.

“Uh...Guys…” I heard Cole whimper.

I guess I wasn’t the only one that noticed…

“Didn’t Sensei say there was a guardian protecting the weapon?” Zane asked.

The others turned to see what we were looking at.

“Is… that… a… That’s not what I think it is, is it?” Cole asked, trembling.

“You mean a dragon?” Jay asked.

“That sure looks like a dragon…!” Kai answered.

The dragon slowly stood up on its hind legs.

“I sense we won’t be able to spin our way out of this one,” Zane said slowly.

The dragon spit out sand and we ducked for cover before trying to flee. We dodged yet another sand attack.

“I thought dragons weren’t from this world!” Cole said.

“Did I not mention that when we first met? Must’ve slipped my mind…!” I replied.

The dragon jumped closer.

“WHAT?! YOU KNEW AND YOU DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING?!”

Kai uncovered the scythe.

“No, no, Kai! Bad idea! Sensei told us not to!” Jay warned, grabbing the red ninja’s shoulder.

“Then you better keep your mouth shut!”

He ran forward, standing in front of the beast.

“Kai!!! Don’t!!!” Cole yelled.

Kai thrust the blade into the ground and an earthquake shook the whole cave. The ground beneath the dragon split and the cave began to collapse. A rock landed on his head as we jumped away. Unfortunately, it didn’t keep him down for long.

“We gotta escape!” Kai said.

We heard a rumbling and looked up. The roof was still caving above us, sunlight pouring in.

“We’ll use Spinjitzu!” Cole said, drawing his scythe for no apparent reason.

The dragon tried to follow us as we used Spinjitzu to escape through the crack. We rocketed out, the dragon barely missing us, and landed on the ground… right in front of Father.

I swallowed hard and approached him as the others celebrated and congratulated each other. I got down on one knee and bowed my head in apology.

“I am sorry, Father. We went against your warning.”

He placed a hand on my shoulder but I could feel the tension in the gesture. I stood next to him as he glared at the other four who were

at it.

“Enough!” Sensei yelled, infuriated.

It caught the boys’ attention to say the least.

“I told you not to use the scythe!”

Cole, Jay, and Zane pointed an accusing finger at Kai.

“He did it!” Jay said.

“What?” Kai asked.

“I warned him Sensei,” Cole said, shrugging.

My jaw slacked at them.

“Using it was my only option,” Kai argued.

“And what makes you think you’re more important than the team? Huh? Huh?!” Father asked, getting in Kai’s face.

“They took my sister, remember?”

“There are still three weapons left. Maybe next time you can do it right.”

Father led our trek back down the mountain.