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Chapter 5

Shyla couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. Dark Ninja was reasonably intimidating on a good day, but now he was helping her. He had quite literally appeared out of nowhere to grab Shaun and stop him from attacking her. She nodded, and Dark Ninja started forward. Shaun turned and tried to run, but Shyla stopped him by tripping him. His three friends scattered into the house, leaving Shaun alone against the two ninjas. He stood up and turned to Dark Ninja, his hands bloodied from the concrete paving around the pool. “Who the hell are you?” he demanded. “And what are you doing here?”

“I’m not telling you my name,” replied Dark Ninja. “But I am saying one thing; leave the young lady alone.”

Shyla stepped forward. “You want to catch me,” she said, oblivious to Dark Ninja’s sudden stillness. “Try.”

Shaun ran forwards, but Shyla was already behind him, having stepped to the side. Shaun tried again, but Shyla collapsed him onto the nearby patch of grass using a simple move and pinned him with his arms behind his back. “Get off!” said Shaun weakly, his voice muffled against the grass. “I can’t breathe.”

Shyla laughed. “Deal with it.” She snorted, enjoying herself too much to stop.

Dark Ninja took matters into his own hands and pulled her to her feet. He had dragged her over the fence and into a nearby tree before Shaun had even taken a breath. Shaun pushed himself to his feet and staggered inside, dazed and confused.

Henry pulled Ginger Ninja out of the tree and dragged her by her arm to a parking lot. She yanked her arm out of his iron grasp and stopped walking. “What the hell are you doing?” she demanded.

Henry was furious. “I could ask you the same thing. What the hell were you doing back there?”

Ginger Ninja folded her arms. “I’m doing whatever the hell I want. I’m a full ninja now. I don’t need protection. Especially not from you.”

Henry had to control himself to keep from growling at this infuriating ninja. He attempted to keep his voice calm. “Master Wong sent out a bulletin not half an hour ago, warning of Liborio Fragale’s reward on the capture of a live ninja, and I find you getting yourself into that very situation. That’s not smart.”

Ginger Ninja shrugged, confident in her skills as a ninja. “I was handling it.”

“I am protecting you from yourself.” Henry replied. “Shaun is not a ninja, but he wants the reward. Of that I’m positive.”

“How do you know Shaun?” asked Ginger Ninja, confused.

“Who doesn’t?” replied Henry, covering his slip up. He wanted to remain an enigma to this particular ninja.

“True.” Said Ginger Ninja thoughtfully.

Henry stepped closer to her. Something about this ninja intrigued him just as much as she infuriated him. She took a step back, suddenly wary of his motives. Henry watched her slip into an automatic crouch, and chuckled. “Ginger Ninja,” he said, a smile still on his covered lips. “Do you honestly think you can beat me?”

“I’ve done it before,” replied Ginger Ninja through her teeth. Clearly he aggravated her. Good.

Henry moved quickly. He ran around her, grabbed her from behind, and forced her against the wall of the building attached to the parking lot. The moonlight reflected off of her eyes, and they glowed eerily. He held her hands in each of his and pinned her with her back to the wall. “Can you beat me now?” he whispered into her ear.

Shyla struggled against his iron grip. He just pulled tighter against her arms, and whispered again, “Can you beat me now?”

She stopped struggling, looked into his eyes, and was struck once again by the familiarity she saw there. It puzzled her. She had never met this ninja anywhere else before.

Dark Ninja leant closer, and Shyla felt his heart begin to race. It gave her that small bit of satisfaction that he wasn’t as calm as he appeared. “I can beat you,” she replied quietly. “But you have the unfair advantage of being bigger than I am, and you got a head start.”

Dark Ninja’s eyes lit up, and Shyla’s heart began to race along with his. He leant closer, and Shyla could feel his chest pressing against hers. It made her uncomfortable, to have an unknown party so close to her personal space. She turned her face away. “What are you doing?” she asked, hoping to talk her way out of the situation.

“I feel a strange attraction to you.” Dark Ninja whispered in her ear. Her breath caught as her heartbeat became erratic. “I feel like I know you from somewhere. It’s the weirdest feeling…” His voice trailed off, and he let go of her left hand.

He gently grabbed her chin and turned her face to his, forcing Shyla to make eye contact with him. She stared into his dark green eyes, and he gently lifted the bottom of her mask up to her nose. Shyla panicked, grabbed his wrist. “Stop,” she whispered.

“Relax,” he said with an easy smile. “I’m not taking it all the way off, just up to here.”

Shyla looked at him, confused. “What are you doing?”

Dark Ninja, in a movement so quick she wasn’t sure what happened, lifted the bottom of his own mask and pressed his lips to hers. He pulled back after just a second and slid her mask back over her face. Dark Ninja rested his forehead on hers, pulled his own mask back into place, and straightened up. He turned, leapt over a parked car, over the fence and up a tree. Shyla watched him leave, completely confused and unsure of what to do next. She made her way home in a bewildered state of confusion and anger. How dare that ninja take liberties with her? How dare he?

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