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Chapter 6

Henry wanted to kick himself as he landed on the ground a little way away from the parking lot. His irrational side hardly ever made an appearance, but when it did, there was no telling what it would compel him to do. Henry scowled under his mask. He hardly knew this ninja, and now he had gone and behaved like an animal towards her.

He reigned in the urge to do damage, knowing he would just end up hating himself for it in the morning. Still furious with himself, Henry pulled himself back up into the tree and made his way to the high-rise buildings on the CBD.

Shyla was furious. She pushed her way into the convenience store on the corner, unmasked, and skulked into the back corner. After a few moments to cool herself down, she grabbed a soft drink from the fridge and headed to the checkout to pay. As she left the store, a long black car pulled into the lot. Shyla didn’t think twice about the situation, until she saw the two men get out armed with machine guns. Knowing she was unarmed and alone, Shyla made a quick getaway. She knew that guns and ninjas didn’t mix well. The shooting started behind her as she rounded the corner.

Henry sat on the roof of his house, watching the sunrise. He had been out all night, mulling over his mistake. Feeling compelled towards Ginger Ninja was one thing, but there was another player in the mix too. Henry had forgotten Shyla in his moment of weakness. And it was eating him up inside. Shyla had been his friend for years, and he had slowly come to admire her tenacity. Shyla had never been accepted at school, and Henry, by extension, was lumped into the same category. But he had never once wanted to walk away from the friendship, easier though that might be. Because he had seen and accepted the power beneath the prickly exterior.

But now, he may have just thrown it all away. Over an unknown ninja.

Henry lay on his back, scowling up at the steadily lightening sky, and trying to work out how he was going to tell Shyla he loved her.

Shyla rested her head on her knees. The sky was light outside, but she hadn’t slept. She was curled up into a ball in the middle of her bed. She barely knew Dark Ninja, but he seemed so familiar to her. That didn’t make her any less furious for what had happened between them. Leaning back, she spotted a photo sitting on her bedside table. It was a picture of her father. Dad, she thought, what do I do now? How do I break it to Dark Ninja that I like someone else?

The tears began to burn behind her eyelids as she thought of her dad. He had been so special to her, but his life had been cut short by a criminal, a murderer. Shyla threw herself back on her bed, and the tears began to stream down her face. Shyla didn’t allow herself much time to cry under normal circumstances, because she didn’t want to seem weak in front of those who would judge her.

But, as the sky grew lighter and the sun rose slowly over the horizon, Shyla cried like she had never cried before. She cried over her father’s death, over the betrayal Dark Ninja had performed against her, and over what she would have to tell Henry. Each sob cut her heart, and the pain was excruciating. But Shyla knew it needed to happen. Eventually, she had cried herself out, and she finally dropped off to sleep, too exhausted to notice she was still wearing her shoes.

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