Tourneys and Treachery
The next morning, all the fighters assembled at the main courtyard of the arena. The Hamato family were amongst the warriors, once more dressed in their provided armor. The group looked around the arena, seeing countless creatures and warriors lined up and ready for battle. As they did, Raph’s eyes fell on a familiar face, one of an anthropomorphic triceratops with battle scars and a gladiator’s armor set.
“Hey guys!” Raph called out. “I think that’s Traximus!”
The rest of the siblings turned towards the Triceraton, who turned to them and gave them a wave.
“It is Traximus!” Hisako declared. “He made it out!”
“Dude, we are so catching up with him once they call a break.” Mikey announced.
“Agreed.” Leo responded.
Just then, a series of trumpets rang out, and a large, regal figure emerged out on an upper balcony. The figure was an older man with long white hair that was done in a low ponytail. He had a full mustache and beard that were braided together, and he wore golden armor over a red robe. In his hands was a large scepter that looked like a dragon wrapped around a pulsating blue orb. On the man’s right was the Translucent Man from the day before. On his left was Ue-Sama, his face hidden behind his oni mask.
“Betcha twelve pizzas that’s the Daimyo.” Raph guessed.
“What gave it away?” Donny remarked.
“Greetings, warriors of the Battle Nexus!” The elder man announced. “I am The Daimyo, Master of the Nexus, here to welcome you to this year’s Tournament of Champions!”
The entire arena broke out into applause, including the warriors below.
“Heed my words, warriors!” The Daimyo continued. “This is a contest of honor and integrity! Cheating and outside interference will not be tolerated! As an added rule, all fighting is to remain in the arena! I will not have any disgruntled warriors attempting to settle scores in my Nexus!”
“Sounds like the Daimyo runs a tight ship.” Leo remarked.
“Guess that means this really will be a clean fight.” Mikey added. “Sweet.”
The Daimyo then raised his staff, the orb beginning to glow.
“Now, let the Tournament... Begin!”
Light shot out of the staff, striking the center of the arena. Once it did, it bounced to each contestant, causing them to disappear. After that, the arena was divided into sixteen equal slices, two contestants per slice. The turtles, Splinter, and Hisako each appeared on one of these slices, each facing down one of the other contestants.
Raph was going up against an orange skinned man with rings in his hands. Without a second’s hesitation, the ring man charged at Raph, swinging his weapons at him. Raph easily leapt out of the way of the strikes and blocked a few with his sai. After blocking an attack, Raph shoved him off and tried swinging at him with his sai. The ring man backflipped away and produced two other rings in each hand before throwing them at Raph.
Raphael quickly deflected them with his sai as he ran close. As the ring man swung at him, Raph dropped to his knees and slid under the weapon. He then got to his feet and spun around, clocking the combatant on the jaw with his sai before leaping into the air and kicking him in the chest. The impact sent him flying into a wall before he disappeared into a shimmering ray of light.
Raph looked around in confusion before his eyes drifted up to a small observation deck above the arena. There, his opponent faded into view, unharmed yet defeated. Raph grinned then, lifted his sai into the air, much to the crowd’s enjoyment.
Leo was staring down a massive metallic looking alien with blades for hands. Leo spent a good portion of the fight dodging and blocking the blades with his swords. As he backed into a wall, the combatant tried stabbing at him. Leo quickly ducked, causing the creature to stab the wall. As the creature tried to pull his arm free, Leo swung his swords right at him, causing him to disappear into a shimmering ray of light. Leo took this as to mean the fight was over as he sheathed his swords.
Mikey saw his next opponent and couldn’t help but chuckle a little. A large blue alien with fur on various parts of his body and a sword in his hands.
“I don’t mean to be insensitive here dude, but what is up with that do?” He asked. “Do all people from your world look like that or did you just wanna stand out and impress the ladies?”
Roaring, the creature charged forward, swinging his blade at him. Yelping a bit, Mikey quickly backflipped out of the way. The creature tried swinging at him continuously, but Mikey smoothly and almost mockingly dodged every blow. Finally, Mikey pulled out a nunchaku and swung it at the blade, knocking it out of his hands. Before the creature could react, Mikey smacked him in the face repeatedly until finally, the creature dropped down and disappeared.
“Cowabunga!” he cheered.
Splinter just stood patiently and waited for his opponent, a large dragon like creature, to come to him. The dragon charged at Splinter, but he quickly moved out of the way. He then tried whipping his tail at the rat, but he quickly ducked under it as well. Enraged, the dragon them moved to slash at him with his claws, but Splinter quickly grabbed the dragon’s middle finger, twisting it so the dragon would kneel over in pain. Splinter then palm struck the dragon in the face, knocking it to the ground, and causing it to disappear. Splinter then turned back to the cheering crowds and bowed in respect.
Hisako’s opponent was a humanoid being with pointed ears and hair that was such a light shade of blue it was almost white. His eyes were a similar color, with no pupils of whites, and he wielded a large broadsword. She gripped her tessen, then faced off against him. The swordsman blocked her oncoming tessen strikes relatively easily and returning well in kind. The man was clearly a more skilled warrior than her, and Hisako knew she had to think of something else to come out on top. After the two briefly locked weapons, Hisako shoved him off and threw one of her tessen at him. He quickly dodged it as he charged towards her. As she blocked his sword again, the tessen bounced off a wall and came right towards the man. Just as he realized her plan, he disappeared, allowing the tessen to return to her hand. Hisako gave a little bow to the crowds as their cheering continued.
Donny was in the midst of a battle with a mantis like creature wielding a three sectioned staff. The mantis was relentless in his attacks, but Donny was able to keep up with them. Once he saw an opening, Donny swung his staff at the mantis, but the creature was able to duck under the attack before kneeing him in the chest. Before Donny could react, the mantis struck him on the back of the shell, knocking him to the ground as he prepared to deliver the final blow.
“Aw, shell...” Donny let out before vanishing.
He reappeared in the loser’s observation deck, a bit stunned by his sudden shift in position, but also by what had just occurred.
“I lost?” He questioned. “And in the first round?”
He let out a groan as he flopped onto a bench provided to the losers.
“I’m never gonna live this down.” he muttered.
Usagi bowed before his opponent, a large, red creature with a single eye and four legs. The creature wielded a scythe to try and strike down the rabbit Ronin, but Usagi’s blade easily blocked and disarmed the creature before taking a swing at it, causing it to disappear. Usagi just smiled as he sheathed his sword.
Gen clashed with an orange alien with claws on his right hand. The two clashed heartily throughout their bout, but both were eager to end it. The two charged at each other and clashed in midair, only for Gen to remain standing and his opponent to disappear. Gen then basked in the immense praise, loving every second of it.
Traximus was pitted against a massive armored warrior wielding two swords that clashed with his axe more than once. As the two struggled to gain the upper hand, Traximus whipped his tail out, catching his opponent across the stomach. The unfortunate warrior went flying into the corner of their wedge, his swords flung in opposite directions. He barely had time to rub his head before Traximus charged at him, letting out a battle cry as he charged with his axe. His opponent dissolved into light as he finished his charge, lifting his axe high in triumph.
Tigerclaw’s opponent was a large, orange creature with yellow spikes that served as hair. The creature wielded a large mace, one it attempted to bring down on the tiger’s head. Tigerclaw merely caught his hand, snarling as his claws dug into his wrist and forced him to drop the weapon. Tigerclaw then wasted little time flipping the creature over him and onto the floor. As Tigerclaw readied his claws to finish him, the creature disappeared. Tigerclaw then roared in triumph as the audience cheered.
A loud trumpet sounded, indicating the first round was over. The Daimyo stepped forward again, raising his voice loudly.
“Congratulations to our remaining champions!” he proclaimed as the crowds cheered loudly.
“Now, let the second match begin!”
Half of the walls of the divided arena slid down, turning the sixteen slices into only eight. Two champions were faced off against one another, including some familiar combinations.
Leonardo found himself coming face to face with Usagi. He smiled a bit as the two swordsmen bowed before one another.
“Well Usagi, it looks like we’ll have to face each other after all.” Leo remarked.
“Fate often has a particular sense of humor.” Usagi replied, drawing his swords. “If we are to battle, let us battle with honor! May the best swordsman win!”
Leo drew his own swords and the two clashed. Each one trading blow for blow, neither gaining enough ground on the other. Leo couldn’t help but smile during the whole thing. It was so refreshing to be fighting and not be constantly worried about his siblings’ lives.
In another section of the arena, Mikey opened his eyes to find himself facing off against his sensei. He gulped, backing away slowly as a sense of dread creeped into his chest.
“Umm...” he let out, tugging at the collar of his outfit. “Is this the part where you wax my shell?”
Splinter looked at his son, then perked an ear up at the crowds. A small smile graced his snout.
“Do you hear the crowd, my son?” he asked.
“How can I not?” Mikey replied. “Is this what it’s like? Fighting for honor and glory?”
“Yes, my son.” Splinter agreed. “When I was a man, I knew this feeling well. I relished an honorable battle against my fellow ninja. It pained me that you and your siblings would never know such contentment.”
He sank to the ground, assuming a meditative position with his walking stick across his lap.
“But now, you have that chance.” Splinter told him.
“What are you saying Sensei?” Mikey asked, genuinely confused.
“I am saying that when my children fight with honor, they honor their father.” Splinter said, bowing his head.
Just then, the translucent man appeared in front of them.
“You must deliver a finishing blow to end the match.” He told Michelangelo.
Mikey took out a nunchaku and walked over to Splinter.
“Master Splinter I... I...” Mikey spoke before simply placing the nunchaku on Splinter’s shoulder. “Thanks Sensei.”
With that, Splinter disappeared from the arena, and reappeared not in the loser’s observation deck, but right next to the Daimyo and Ue-Sama, overseeing the arena.
“Ah, Splinter-san.” The Daimyo greeted. “I see the master in you lost to the father.”
Splinter nodded once, looking out at the fight with a proud smile.
“So it would seem.” he admitted.
“Your children fight with great honor.” The Daimyo continued. “You must be proud.”
“Prouder than any words could express.” Splinter agreed.
“Your family is certainly an interesting one.” Ue-Sama commented.
“Indeed.” The Daimyo agreed. “Four turtle warriors and a psychic. Perhaps once the tournament is over, you will regale me with how your family came to be.”
Ue-Sama’s eyes went wide when his father mentioned a psychic. His eyes then drifted down into the arena, where Hisako was facing off against Tigerclaw. Panic setting in, he got to his feet, trying to keep his voice even while his mask hid his face.
“Excuse me, father.” he requested. “I just remembered that I had business to attend to before the final round.”
“Of course, my son.” The Daimyo replied.
Ue-Sama quickly excused himself, making his way out of the royal box.
Raph twirled his sai in his hands as he faced down his opponent: Traximus.
“I gotta say, this is the last place I expected to see you, Traximus.” Raph commented, assuming a fighting stance. “Then again, I’d be lying if I said I expected to see you again.”
“Fate has been kind to both of us, Raphael.” Traximus replied. “But do not believe that it will save you from defeat at my hand.”
“You couldn’t beat us back on your home world, and that ain’t gonna change here!” Raph declared before charging at Traximus.
Traximus swung at Raph, narrowly missing at the red turtle jumped into the air. He roundhouse kicked the Triceraton, but he stepped back, catching Raph in the stomach with the butt of his axe. Raph was sent sliding back into a wall, but this only succeeded in ticking him off. Getting back to his feet, Raph charged at Traximus, who immediately swung his axe at him. Raph quickly rolled under, twisting around so he knocked Traximus off his feet. The Triceraton fell hard as Raph jumped into the air, sai poised to attack. Traximus let out a gasp, then dissolved into light just before Raph’s sai would have skewered him. Raph got up, smirking as he stuffed his sai back in his belt.
“Told ya.” he snorted.
Hisako and Tigerclaw circled one another, the latter letting out a low growl as he examined his opponent. Hisako smirked a bit, then moved in for an attack. Tigerclaw side stepped out of the way off a tessen strike before Hisako turned towards him and swung again.
“You fight well, for a cub.” he taunted.
“You fight well for a kitten.” she replied without missing a beat.
Tigerclaw growled as he extended his claws and took a swipe at her. She quickly ducked under the strike and went to slice at him with her tessen. He narrowly avoided the blow, continuing his assault.
Off to the side, tucked amongst the shadows, Ue-Sama observed the ongoing battles with narrowed eyes. By this point, all the other contestants had defeated their opponents, leaving only Leo’s battle with Usagi, and Hisako’s battle with Tigerclaw.
“I cannot allow that girl to live.” he sword, pulling a blow gun from his belt. “She will ruin everything.”
He loaded a small dart into the gun, raising it to his lips. With a quick puff of air, he sent it flying across the arena, where it struck Hisako on a bare spot on her neck. The shot caught her off guard, just enough for Tigerclaw to get in a deadly swipe. She disappeared into light, reappearing in the loser’s box with Donny.
“Guess we’re both sitting this one out.” Donny remarked walking over to her.
She looked at him, her focus going in and out as her tessen tumbled from her weakened fingers.
“Donnie...” she let out, stumbling slightly. “I don’t... I-”
Her eyes then rolled back in her head and she collapsed to the ground. Donny immediately ran over to her side and turned her onto her back. She was sweaty and pale, her breath coming out in ragged gasps.
“Hisako?!” he exclaimed, shaking her slightly before looking up at the room. “I need a medic! Somebody! My sister’s in trouble!”
His cry rang out across the arena, drawing surprised and horrified gasps from the crowd. Splinter jumped to his feet, recognizing Donny’s voice.
“My daughter!” he exclaimed.
Leo and Usagi paused mid-bout, Leo’s eyes locked on the loser’s box. He then turned to Usagi with a desperate air.
“Usagi, take me out.” He insisted.
“But-” Usagi tried.
“Just do it!” Leo interrupted.
Taken aback by Leo’s sudden desperation, Usagi went for a finishing blow. Leo dissolved into light, reappearing near his siblings.
“Donny, what happened?” Leo asked.
“I don’t know for certain.” Donny admitted. “She just collapsed.”
Splinter came running in at that moment with the Daimyo in tow.
“Hisako!” Splinter let out, running towards her.
“Sensei, she’s not looking good.” Donny announced. “She needs help.”
“Take her to the healing pavilion.” The Daimyo insisted. “Hopefully they should be able to deduce the cause of her ailment. In the meantime, I shall launch a thorough investigation into the cause of this attack.”
“You have my eternal thanks, Daimyo-san.” Splinter responded.
“Gyoji!” The Daimyo shouted.
The translucent man suddenly appeared once more, bowing before the Daimyo.
“Escort the Hamato family to the healing pavilion.” He ordered. “Make haste.”
“As you command.” Gyoji responded.
He waved his war paddle and a water cocoon wrapped around the four family members, causing them to disappear. The Daimyo watched them go, then turned to address the crowd.
“The next round shall be postponed until further notice!” He decreed.
This was met with many murmurs of confusion and worry, as well as a snarl of annoyance from Tigerclaw.
The watery cocoon opened in front of a large hall filled with empty futons. There, a lone man with a long black beard and top knot knelt in front of a low table. He looked up as the Hamato clan came in.
“Honored healer.” Splinter began, bowing before the man. “My daughter is in desperate need of your aid.”
The healer looked at Hisako, rising to his feet.
“Lay her down here.” he insisted, pointing at a nearby futon.
Leo and Donny wasted no time laying her down. The healer knelt next to her, putting his hands together in various positions as he began to chant.
“Rin, pyo, toh, sha.” the Healer chanted.
“What’s the healer doing?” Leo asked.
“I’m not sure.” Donnie admitted. “Any ideas, Sensei?”
Splinter just shook his head as the healer continued, his hands beginning to glow. He then put his hands-on Hisako, only to be violently thrown back. He landed on his rear end with a grunt, rubbing his head.
“My word...” he let out. “How can a face so young bear so many burdens?”
“She has been through much.” Splinter answered, kneeling over her. “Did you learn anything?”
“No.” He replied, shaking his head sadly. “All I saw was... red.”
Leo and Donny shared worried looks.
“Can you help her?” Leo questioned.
“Without knowledge of what ails her, I fear there is little I can do.” The healer lamented.
“Perhaps I can lend some assistance.”
The group turned to see Usagi enter the pavilion.
“Usagi?” Leo let out, surprised. “What are you doing here?”
“The match has been postponed in the wake of what happened to your sister.” Usagi explained. “However, I would be here even if it weren’t. I have withdrawn from the tournament, since you threw the match to tend to your family. It would have been dishonorable of me to accept such a victory.”
“Thank you, my friend.” Leo responded. “We need to know what exactly happened to Hisako. The healer wasn’t able to find anything.”
Usagi knelt next to Hisako, looking at her closely.
“The armor she’s wearing is very protective.” he noted. “The only place she would be vulnerable would be...”
He went to lift her, but paused, looking back at the turtles and Splinter.
“May I?” he asked.
Splinter gave a nod and Usagi lifted her head. There he found the small red welt on the rise of her neck.
“There.” he declared. “Your sister has been poisoned via air-dart. I have seen it before in my home dimension.”
“Can you cure her?” Leo asked.
“I am a Ronin, not a healer.” Usagi lamented, reaching for his belt. “However, I do have some herbs that should at least slow the poison down.”
“We would welcome any aid you can provide.” Splinter told him.
As Usagi poured some dried herbs into a small pestle, Splinter took a damp cloth and wiped his daughter’s brow. Her pained expression made his heart seize up and he took her hand in his.
“Be strong, Hisako.” he told her. “Be strong.”
Meanwhile, Tigerclaw sat in a small room adorned only by a low table. Outside the door, he could see two guards standing watch. His situation made his hackles stand on end, but he kept his temper in check. Soon, his patience was rewarded by Ue-Sama’s arrival.
“Leave us.” He demanded.
The guards turned and walked away as Ue-Sama approached Tigerclaw.
“I told my father I would handle your interrogation.” Ue-Sama informed him. “After all, I know you are innocent in the girl’s attack.”
“Yes, that would be your screw up, wouldn’t it?” Tigerclaw jeered.
“I was preventing an unexpected obstacle from causing us trouble.” Ue-Sama defended. “The girl possessed telepathic abilities. If she had learned of our plans, I have no doubts that she would have run to my father in a heartbeat.”
“You got rid of one obstacle by creating several more.” Tigerclaw noted. “And you wish to be Daimyo of the Battle Nexus.”
“If you’re worried about the ramifications of this attack, don’t be.” Ue-Sama insisted. “I’ve already worked out a way to tip the scales back in our favor.”
“And what might that be?” Tigerclaw asked.
“You’re going to fulfill your end of the bargain a little earlier than planned.” Ue-Sama informed him. “Meanwhile, I’ll go set up our scapegoat.”
Tigerclaw smirked in response.
“Guess I better get to work then.” He replied.
The Daimyo sat in his throne room, looking over the incident report of Hisako’s attack. He rubbed his chin, shaking his head.
“It makes no sense...” he muttered. “Why was she targeted?”
Suddenly, a chain wrapped around his staff, yanking it from his grasp. As the staff toppled to the floor, Tigerclaw emerged from the shadows. He was completely covered in black clothing, obscuring his face and features. Only his eyes were visible, gleaming with bloodlust as he pounced on the Daimyo.
Ue-Sama entered the healing pavilion, approaching Hisako’s futon. He lifted his mask, his face plastered with a look of pity and remorse.
“Honored warriors.” he greeted. “I have heard of the tragedy that has befallen your sister. You have my most heartfelt apologies for allowing such a travesty to occur.”
“Thank you, Ue-Sama.” Donny said with a bow.
Ue-Sama nodded in response, then turned to Splinter.
“My father wishes to have a word with you, Splinter-san.” he explained. “He believes he may have found a lead on your daughter’s attack.”
Leo was on his feet in an instant, as was Donny. Splinter held up his walking stick, stopping them both.
“Remain here with Usagi and your sister.” he ordered. “I will speak with the Daimyo and return soon.”
He walked out of the healing pavilion as Ue-Sama slipped his mask back over his face, just barely hiding his triumphant grin.
The Daimyo let out a low groan of pain as he struggled to get to his feet. Bruises covered his body, as well as deep gashes from Tigerclaw’s tanto blade. The room itself was in tatters, rugs shredded, and rice paper dividers smashed. Tigerclaw himself remained untouched, if somewhat out of breath.
“Nothing personal old man.” Tigerclaw told him. “It’s just business.”
At that moment, the doors opened, and Splinter walked in. The old rat gasped at the sight of the room, then his eyes fell on the fallen Daimyo and his attacker.
“Daimyo!” he shouted.
Under the hood obscuring his face, Tigerclaw grinned.
“I was hoping it would be you.” he snarled, launching himself at Splinter.
Splinter quickly rolled out of the way as Tigerclaw landed, both taking a combative stance.
“Why have you attacked the Daimyo?!” Splinter demanded.
“Like I told him, nothing personal.” Tigerclaw replied. “Just doing what I was hired to do.”
“An assassin.” Splinter pieced together. “Who hired you then?”
“Now that would be telling.” Tigerclaw remarked, extending his claws. “Wouldn’t it.”
Both Tigerclaw and Splinter charged at each other, Splinter clashing his walking stick against the tiger’s claws. Splinter held him off, then Tigerclaw swiped at him with the tanto. The blade embedded itself in the wood of Splinter’s staff and the rat quickly twisted it out of the tiger’s grasp. Splinter then struck Tigerclaw in the eye, causing him to stumble back so Splinter could run up and bash him. Tigerclaw retaliated by punching Splinter in the gut and palm thrusting him in the face, knocking him to the ground.
“You’re a tough old rat, I’ll give you that.” Tigerclaw admitted.
“On my world, it is said that even a cornered rat will bite a cat.” Splinter remarked.
Tigerclaw chuckled, then his ear twitched.
“I’d love to test that theory, but my time is up.” he declared.
He turned and busted through the window, disappearing into the foliage below. Splinter watched him go, then looked at the tanto still in his hand. About that moment, the Daimyo let out another moan, drawing Splinter’s attention.
“Splint...ter...” he wheezed.
“Hold on my friend.” Splinter reassured. “I will get help.”
As he said this, about a dozen guards poured in, all of them aiming their weapons at Splinter.
“Drop the weapons and step away from the Daimyo!” One ordered.
Splinter’s eyes went wide.
“Wait!” he tried to explain. “You don’t-”
“Drop them now!” the guard interrupted.
Splinter quickly dropped the blade and his walking stick, stepping away from them slowly. Two guards immediately grabbed him, wrenching his arms behind his back before harshly cuffing him. About that time, Ue-Sama walked in, his jaw dropping in horror at the sight before him.
“Father!” he cried out falling to his knees beside the Daimyo.
“Ue-Sama, this rat was found standing over him with the bloody weapon.” one of the guards reported as Splinter was shoved to his knees.
Ue-Sama turned to Splinter, eyes brimming with hatred.
“You...” he growled. “You planned this, didn’t you?”
“What?!” Splinter exclaimed. “No, I would never-”
“You no doubt planned this entire scheme!” Ue-Sama went on. “You probably poisoned your own daughter, just so you could get a moment alone with my father!”
The Daimyo let out another low moan, muttering Splinter’s name before collapsing once again.
“See?!” Ue-Sama proclaimed. “Even on the brink of death, my father finds the strength to identify his assassin!”
He got to his feet, looking down at Splinter with cold anger.
“Throw this rat in the dungeon and take my father to the healing pavilion!” He ordered.
The two guards holding Splinter began dragging him away as four more gently picked up the Daimyo, taking him from the room. As the last of the guards left the destroyed room, Ue-Sama picked up his father’s discarded staff. His fingers curled around it as he grinned.
“Finally...” he sighed.