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Chapter 16

Master Wong paced his small meditation room restlessly. Five ninjas sat in a half circle against one wall. “There was an incident here at the school today.” Said Master Wong. “I had a visit from Liborio Fragale.”

Another ninja spoke up. “What did they do?” he asked.

“They walked in, and asked Maria about training for self-defence.”

The ninja – whom Master Wong had named Green Ninja – sat forward. Like Shyla, Henry and the other two ninjas in the room, he knew Maria was one of the master’s students who had elected to be the first line of defense for the school. Henry grabbed his left hand in his right and echoed Green Ninja’s posture. “What did Maria tell them?” the concern was evident in his voice.

Master Wong looked at Henry. “Exactly what she has been instructed to tell them; we do acupuncture and other cliché remedies for Westerners. Nothing about training.”

Shyla glanced at Henry. “Master,” she said. “Our undercover work seems to be holding for now, so how could Liborio Fragale possibly know about the school?”

Master Wong eased himself into his chair, and looked into five pairs of eyes in front of him. “I have a theory about how they could have found out,” said Master Wong with a frown. “But my contacts have yet to get back to me on the facts.”

The other female ninja, Anna – Silent Ninja – thought over the idea of Master Wong’s contacts. The fact that they had all had to take a course to complement skills or natural talent meant that Master Wong had people in all walks of life to call on for advice.

“What do we do in the meantime?” asked Polka Ninja, a volatile fighter about eighteen years old, spoke up. “Master, what will happen if Liborio Fragale manages to breech the defenses?”

Master Wong looked at Polka Ninja. “I fear grave things.”

Henry looked around the room. He recognised Anna, but the other two ninjas weren’t familiar to him. Master Wong had a habit of referring to full ninjas by the name he gave them, so Henry knew that Polka Ninja was the eighteen year old guy with cherry red hair and bright blue eyes. He obviously got his name from the faded polka-dotted bandana holding his hair back. Green Ninja had dark hair and startlingly green eyes, the reason for his name. But that was as much as Henry knew about them.

Shyla nodded slowly. “We need to get inside Liborio Fragale, find out what they know, what they think they know, and how we can stop them.”

“How could we even do that?” Said Anna. “They are notorious for being careful who they trust, to the point of extensive background checks.”

Master Wong picked up his cell phone, the device obviously on silent. He answered a call. After a tense sounding conversation, he abruptly shut the device and placed it back next to him. “We need to think quickly and act fast,” he said. “Liborio Fragale kidnapped a girl three weeks ago, and it’s just been revealed that she might know something about ninjas.”

“What do we do?” asked Henry.

“Whatever we can to get her out before they break her.” Said Master Wong with finality.

The girl, unaware that a group of dangerous people were planning her escape for her, was still scraping away at the plaster. She had managed to shred her nails, and the blood stained the plaster, but there was no visible change in the plaster around the bar.

She rested her head on the wall next to the window in frustration, and scowled into the blackness. Three weeks and two days since she had been taken, and still she was living. There had to be a reason, but she knew she was running out of time.

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