A good seven minutes passed since the trio of Shadow Viper, Emma, and Genya defeated the butcher’s dozen. After the fight was over, each of the three took time to thank each other for their efforts in a victorious battle. Of course, their minds never left the encounter entirely, as they felt more monsters could be after them. Thus, the trio quickly set to climbing the floating landmasses as they headed towards the northeastern end of the tri-pronged junction. After much climbing, they reached their destination, which was adorned with a steel porticullis in the middle of the green path. A sign that read “to Kerning City” crowned the top of the arch. It was just in front of this landmark that the sisters knew they had to go separate ways.
“This is where our time with you ends, for now,” Emma explained. “We’re sorry we can’t continue with you, but we must return to our home of Ellinia and get Genya a new wand.” The older girl motioned to her sibling, who held the three pieces of her staff, along with a sad look on her face. “Still, don’t worry,” Emma continued. “It”s a straight shot to the city from here. Just continue through the forests beyond the arch, and you’ll get there in no time. Just watch out for the blue mushrooms on the way. Oh, and once more, thank you for your help. I’m very grateful for how you helped my sister.”
Shadow nodded, taking all of the info to heart. “There is no need to thank me,” he replied. “I was merely repaying you for your help at Lith Harbor. I hope we see each other again soon.”
Genya’s ears perked up at his words. She watched as Shadow was about to leave for a moment before a compulsion of sincere thankfulness drove her towards the bandit. She wrapped her arms around him in a hug. “Good….good luck…” she whispered into his ear. Shadow simply nodded, returning the hug. Then Genya returned to Emma, and the two groups went on their respective ways.
However, none of the three had noticed, at any time during the entire pig battle, that they had secretly been watched. Silently hidden in the foilage of the earthen platform on which the fight took place, a youmg man arose, clad in a black and green ninja suit. The bodies of the feral pigs had long since disappeared, along with the prizes they had dropped, including mesos and random items.
The ninja stepped out from the bushes, looking in the direction Shadow Viper had gone. His mind replayed a few of the moments of the battle he’d been able to see without being detected. Those moments saw Shadow cutting down the ravaging swine with ease. The hurricane kick that sent one off the floating grass patch itself was the most amazing moment by far. After the images finished replaying, the spy quickly became certain of who he was. Taking a moment to see if anyone was watching, the ninja snapped one of his hands toward the ground, and instantly became invisible. Out of sight and out of mind, he quickly dashed off, headed for the town of Henesys.
Time passed. It wasn’t long before the black and green ninja made it to a cave entrance past Henesys. The cave entrance itself wasn’t too far from town, just on an off-route that led away from the village. The path to the cave was short, but somewhat treacherous, a path that only fairly strong adventurers took. A fair amount of monsters patrolled the area, some of them extremely powerful. Traps also littered the area, including a pit of spikes and thorny bushes.
The interior of the cave was a dark, haunting place. No matter how nature formed the rocky tunnels, it was easy to see that intimidation was heavily considered. The caverns held endless rockiness through the twisting tunnels, which stretched downward towards the center of the world itself. Mobs of very strong monsters, all of them physically fear-inducing, clustered throughout the earthen halls, always looking to make the adventurers spelunking journeys rockier than the cave itself did. The green and black ninja, of course, was unhindered by the wild beasts, allowing him to sneak by unnoticed while groups of adventurers did the work.
The spy unceasingly continued through the perilous tunnels at an unmatched speed, running towards his destination. He smiled to himself as undead mushrooms and stirge bats alike passed by his unseen form as if no one were there. Loose, burning geysers littered the floor as he delved deeper, but he zipped by untouched, with the help of effortless leaping and flipping.
As the ninja continued, the caves turned from brown to blue, and some of the rockiness seemed somewhat shinier. The monsters were bigger and fiercer here, and the geysers blew more forcefully, sending out larger and deadlier pillars of smoke. Unfazed by this, the spy passed by all of them, unobserved and unhindered. Right now, all that mattered to him was that he was close to his destination.
Eventually, the green and black figure finally made it to the deepest section of the rocky dungeon. These parts held monolithic ruins scattered about in pieces, all of them giving minor clues to the possibility that people once settled here. In this section, monsters were undeniably imposing, both in size and in ferocity. The largest creatures walked on two legs and had horns for heads. Some wielded spears, and others wielded crescent-shaped staves.
In the midst of the monsters, the ninja revealed himself. The monsters caught sight of him, but paid little heed as they allowed him to pass. He walked calmly, watching as the monsters kept watch for any adventurers who dared to enter the monolithic chamber. The monsters who noticed him reacted somewhat; the tall, horned creatures nodded in his presence, those in his way immediately clearing it for him, and small, two-legged cycloptic monsters skittered away in fright.
Eventually, the ninja made it to the far end of the ruined tunnel just in time to watch a spectacle: the large man known as Olaf was being physically punished by two ninja. One in black and yellow and his eyes held no pupils. The other was in black and blue, and his eyes were a strong cyan color. A third ninja, dressed in black and red, along with green glowing eyes, looked on from higher ground.
AGH! Please! Stop this, I said I was sorAAGH! Olafs cries for mercy went unheard as the pair of ninja silently tortured the large man with brutal chops and kicks. Despite Olafs superior size, the ninja clearly had power well beyond his to be able to inflict such damage.
The ninja in red continued to watch over the fight until his eyes caught sight of the green ninja entering. Immediately, he called out to the other two. Enough. The others quickly ended the assault, leaving Olaf to quiver on the ground in fright.
After seeing this, the green ninja rolled his reptilian-looking eyes in annoyance. Sssssweet merciful crap, what did the buffoon do now?! he yelled out in anger.
The ninja in red leapt down to his green companion. Two things, he explained. First, he failed to catch and hold back one of the four chosen, who arrived today. He was taken down in combat.
Olaf sat up, shouting in protest. I told you already, he had assista-
His words were silenced when he was forced up into the air. A green aura surrounded him as he floated in the air. He looked down in fright to see the red-clad ninja holding his hand out in his direction. The hand also glowed green, as did the eyes, which narrowed at the giant person.
AAAAA! Okay, Ill be quiet! Olaf cried out. His oppressor seemed to understand as he dropped his hand. Olaf fell back to the ground on his rear, landing with a meaty thud.
Ah, ssssso thatsssss how he made it that far, the green ninja hissed in speculation. I had to admit, he handled himself very well against the pigsssss I had disssspatched. I wassssnt sssssure if he wassss up to the challenge, but he matched your dessssscription when I firssssst ssssssaw him leaving town. What wasssss the sssssecond thing?
Much worse, the red ninja said. The idiot claimed he was using a tactic of fear instilment when he said the empress didnt allow those with his deformity.
The ninja immediately glared at Olaf in fury. WHAT?! he yelled out. You FOOL! How DARE you give away sssssuch a dire sssssecret like that! Not to mention the tactic wasssss uselessss, ssssince you already used it TWICE BEFORE! At that moment, a hole in his mask opened, and a long, rough-looking tongue shot itself out and wrapped itself around the large mans neck. Olaf began choking, quickly being deprived of air.
The red ninja intervened, squeezing the green ones tongue. Enough, he said calmly. While we admire your enthusiasm, weve already given him more than he deserved. Besides, you arent to worry, the target doesnt know of how the empress is involved. One of our spies quickly sent word to those who heard about the attack as simply Olaf being in a drunken rage. They dont even suspect how the townsfolk agreed with him at the time. He motioned to a ring that the viking wore on his right hand.
The green ninja stared at the jewelry with fascination. Ah, the sssssswayers garnet, he said, hissing in awe. It isssss able to compel any number of people to asssssisssst you whenever activated. I persssssonally wish someone more capable could wear it. He shot another look at Olaf.
It is necessary that he wear it in order to mask our presence, the red ninja clarified. Speaking of which, Olaf, your time is done here. Go back to Lith Harbor. The fourth target could come at any time, and you must be ready. DONT fail us again.
The muscular man nodded nervously as he took out a scroll to Lith Harbor and read the incantation on it. Upon finishing, Olaf disappeared in a quick blink of light.
Once they were alone, the red ninja jumped back up to his original place. All right, our brothers, he began to the other three. So far, three of the four targets are on the surface above, improving their abilities in order to combat the evils that reside here. They have each proved amazingly strong so far, though they are nonetheless nowhere near able to challenge our power. So far, two of them have met temporarily, though neither of them, nor the third, is aware of our presence. Overall, we have the advantage, and our leader is pleased with us. For now, we shall continue to wait and watch, using whatever situation we can to our advantage.
Upon finishing his briefing, the red ninja focused on the green. Excellent work in gauging the bandits strength, he commended. Hopefully that will make him overcautious as to how the wildlife acts. For now, go back to Lith Harbor. Keep yourself invisible, and let us know when the fourth one arrives. Finally, as always, do not assist that windbag in anyway.
It will all be done without a problem, the green ninja promised. He then rendered himself invisible and headed back out of the cave.
The red ninja sat himself down, looking at the other two as he contemplated the situation. The prophecy is coming to fruition, he said with concern. The first steps are being taken against us. Still, take heart, our brothers, for we have more than enough power to alter the fate of this world towards our favor.
Chapter 10 is finally up! Sorry it took so long, I was kinda getting myself back in the college mood after spring break(which was awesome, by the way). More key villains are finally introduced. Also, to those who may notice, the four ninjas are inspired from one of my favorite video games. I bet you can’t guess what it is! Even if you can or can’t, free Mountain Dews!