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Chapter 10

Henry sat on his rooftop, his mind in turmoil. He was supposed to be at school the next day, but he couldn’t seem to sleep. It was a day since his visit with Master Wong, and he still couldn’t believe what the master had told him.

The moon had long since set before he crawled through his window and slid into bed. Sleep overtook his exhausted body, and he slept through his alarm clock for school. “Henry!!!” his Uncle Jacob yelled from the bottom of the stairs. “If you don’t get your ass down here right now, I will personally go up there and kick it!!!”

Henry stumbled down the stairs, his eyes bleary and his black curls resembling a rat’s nest. “Good heavens, boy.” Exclaimed Jacob. “What the hell happened to you?”

“I wish I could find the truck that hit me,” mumbled Henry. “’Cause I’d like to give the driver a piece of my mind.”

He stumbled through into the kitchen and splashed cold water onto his face in an attempt to wake himself up. The shock seemed to kick his brain into gear, and he was processing bits of information as he prepared his cereal.

As Henry ate breakfast, Jacob opened the news paper and began reading. Henry glanced up at the front page and froze. On it was a picture of two black-clad figures standing on the roof of an office block, kissing. He knew instinctively that it was him and Shyla. Her plait shone in the faint moonlight. Henry realised that Shyla had taken to plaiting her hair with black fabric in order to break the lines and colour.

WHO ARE THEY?” the headline read, clearly implying that there were new ninjas in the area. The presence of ninjas in the area was no secret. Often they were the only ones who wouldn’t hesitate to stop Liborio Fragale, and they couldn’t be bought out because nobody knew who they were. But this article now made him and Shyla, and their families, targets for this new campaign of Liborio Fragale. To capture a live ninja.

Henry left his unfinished breakfast on the table, bolted up the stairs, and got dressed in record time. He ran through the kitchen, grabbing a stray piece of toast on the way, and sprinted out the door. He stole next door’s paper and ran to Shyla’s house, anxious to speak to her. He climbed the tree outside her bedroom and rapped on her window.

Shyla turned with a start as Henry tapped on her window. She raised the blind and opened the window. Henry dived through the window and pulled it shut. “Henry?” said Shyla, confused. “What are you doing here?”

Henry wordlessly handed her the paper. Shyla read the headline, saw the picture, and turned pale. She looked up at him and paused when she saw his own face was flushed red. “Henry, why are you showing me this? Who are they?”

Henry took the paper from her and placed it onto her desk. “I spoke to Master Wong.” A flicker of recognition across her face before she hid it. “He showed me what I needed to work it out.”

Shyla froze, then stumbled back against the wall. “No.” it was soundless.

Henry nodded. “You fight well, Ginger Ninja, but your temper, it gets you every time.”

Shyla scowled and fisted her hands. “I do not need tips from the likes of you, Dark Ninja.”

Henry nodded. “That proves my point. The master, he told me you will learn to pick your fights. Until then, I’m supposed to monitor you.”

Shyla recovered from her shock, and something else occurred to her. “So, you kissed Ginger Ninja, and then told me you loved me? Surely that counts as cheating.”

Henry scowled. “Yet, you kissed Dark Ninja, and then hid it from me. Why didn’t you tell me?” he murmured, not looking at her.

“I didn’t want to hurt you.” Mumbled Shyla.

Henry exploded. “And how is this not hurting me?” he yelled. “When were you planning on telling me? We wouldn’t have been able to go on like this.”

“We are both just a guilty. But does it really count as cheating if it was technically the same person?” Shyla whispered, staring at the picture of her father on the bedside table. He would have had the solution, and this fight wouldn’t be happening.

Henry scowled. “I think the principle is what counts. And what we both did was wrong.”

Shyla grabbed his arm. “Please just give us another chance. I’m sorry Henry.” Shyla didn’t really know what she was apologising for, seeing as they were both guilty of cheating on each other with each other.

Henry pulled his arm out of her grip. “You’ve lost my trust, Shyla.”

Those words burnt her more than anything else Henry could have ever said to her. “Get the hell out of my room,” she growled.

Henry fumed silently, raging in a very violent and personal way. How dare the girl he had fallen in love with cheat so callously? It didn’t matter who it was with – or that it was with the same person – because she knew he loved her, but had gone and kissed Dark Ninja anyway.

Shyla had only seen this mood once, and she knew not to touch him, or he could unintentionally hurt her. He turned, opened the window, and disappeared. Shyla stared after him, heartbroken and crying. She knew she had just wrecked something precious, and it broke her.

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