TMNT: Secret of the Sewers

By Author of the Insane

Action / Drama

Mikey's Big Win

The crowds gathered in the arena once more, the final four contestants arranged in a line down below. Ue-Sama emerged onto the balcony, a mournful look in his eyes.

“Friends.” he addressed. “Warriors. Honorable creatures. It is with a heavy heart that I stand before you. I had hoped to spare you all the horrid truth of what had befallen my father, but I fear the time has come. Earlier this day, an assassin attempted to take the life of the Daimyo.”

This was met with a chorus of horrified gasps and murmurs of disbelief.

“Though the Master Healer has done the best he can, he says that there is little hope of recovery.” he said sadly. “I know that we will all mourn his loss, but I also know my father would have wanted the tournament to continue. And so, let us congratulate our final four contestants. Kluh of Dimension Levram, Gennosuke of Dimension Earth 2.5, Tigerclaw of Dimension Nekomata, Hamato Michelangelo of Dimension 5th Earth.”

As their names were called, each contestant stepped forward, raising their weapons towards the cheering crowd. Mikey looked at the three large fighters that were left, suddenly feeling a might overwhelmed. The feeling was fleeting as he took a deep breath, steadying his nerves.

“You can do this, Mikey.” he told himself. “It’s time to show them what you’re made of.”

“Champions,” Ue-Sama spoke. “Good luck, and may the best warrior win!”

He slammed his staff down on the ground, and light shimmered around the contestants once again. They disappeared into light as the arena shifted one more time. This time, it divided perfectly down the middle, the final four contestants split up at random.

...

Mikey had his eyes closed as he reformed in his half of the arena. He slowly cracked his eye open, finding himself facing off against Gennosuke. He let out a sigh of relief, drawing his nunchucks.

“Oh thank goodness.” he said gratefully. “It’s just you.”

“Don’t sound too relieved turtle.” Gen replied, drawing a sword. “I am a formidable bounty hunter in my world. I was trained my entire like to track, hunt, and kill. And I’ve been doing it a lot longer then you, kid.”

“Oh is that supposed to impress me?” Mikey asked. “Eh, it’s cool I guess.”

Gennosuke spat, then charged at Mikey, his sword in the air. Mikey quickly leapt out of the way of the blade before it hit him.

...

Kluh grew to his full size, growling as he stared down Tigerclaw. The tiger merely popped the joint in his neck, then flexed his claws in a clear “come at me” motion. Kluh ran forward, his weapon high above his head. Tigerclaw caught it, but Kluh quickly wrenched it from his grasp before the tiger could truly try something. He then caught Tigerclaw in the gut, forcing all the air out of his lungs. Before he could react, he was backhanded across the arena, where he landed in a heap. He grunted in pain, pulling himself to his feet.

“Well now things are getting interesting.” he smirked.

He got to his feet, pulling a long chain with a weight on the end from his belt. The weight fell to the ground with a loud thud before Tigerclaw began twirling it in the air.

“Come on.” The tiger insisted, a sadistic grin on his face. “Let’s fight!”

...

In the dungeon, Splinter paced around his cell, nervous energy making the usually calm ninja master jittery and jumpy. Tigerclaw’s threat still rang in his ear, filling his mind with confusion and despair.

“Will he truly spare her life?” he asked aloud. “This may be nothing more than a ruse to force me to do his bidding… but can I take that chance?”

The sound of the dungeon doors opening filled his senses and stopped his pacing. He turned towards the cell door, just as Ue-Sama approached him.

“I hope you are happy, rat.” he snarled. “My father is not long for this world, and neither is your daughter.”

“I imagine so.” Splinter replied.

“What kind of monster would risk his own child’s life in order to fulfill his own selfish desires?” Ue-Sama questioned. “Or perhaps, she was never more than a pawn to you. A foolish little girl who put her faith in the wrong creature.”

Splinter’s hands tightened into fists, gripping the fabric of his robe in barely controlled rage. Every fiber of his being wanted to lash out at the ninja for so much as suggesting such a horrible thing. However, he forced himself to remain where he was, leveling his voice as he finally spoke.

“All fathers care for their children.” he told Ue-Sama, meeting his gaze without hesitation of remorse.

“If that’s true,” Ue-Sama replied. “Then confess. Spare your so-called ‘children’ the devastation of seeing the monster their ‘father’ truly is.”

Splinter said nothing as he lowered his head and closed his eyes. Ue-Sama slammed his fist against the bars.

“You’re only prolonging the inevitable.” he swore. “You will confess to your sins, rat. One way or the other.”

With that, Ue-Sama exited the dungeon, leaving Splinter alone in solace.

...

Meanwhile, Raph and Traximus had found one of the palace guards and had him pinned to a wall. Raph twirled his sai in his hand lazily at Traximus kept the unfortunate man pinned to the wall.

“Sorry to bother you.” Raph let out, his eyes on his sai as he turned it in his fingers. “My friend and I just have a few questions for you about a certain rat. His name is Splinter, and you’re gonna tell us where he is.”

“I… I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The guard insisted.

“Well if you’re sure…” Raph responded. “Hey Trax, you hungry?”

Traximus licked his lips in response, causing the guard to panic.

“Alright, alright!” The guard relented. “He’s being held in the palace dungeon!”

“I’m guessing that’s the tall building over there.” Raph guessed, pointing towards the royal palace. “Right?”

“Yes!” the guard replied. “What more do you want from me?!”

Raph stowed his sai in his belt, then reached over and snatched the guard’s helmet off his head.

“I wanna borrow this.” he replied.

Traximus then slammed the guard hard into the wall, knocking him out cold. Raph slid the helmet onto his head, lowering the faceplate.

“I’m already wearing the armor, now I look just like one of them.”

“I doubt they have a suit of armor in my size.” Traximus pointed out.

“True.” Raph agreed. “Luckily I have a plan B. Though something tells me you’re not gonna like it.”

“It can’t be worse than the indignities I suffered in the Tri-Sports Arena.” Traximus replied.

Raph mulled that over, then shrugged.

“Guess you’re right.” he allowed. “C’mon. We gotta hurry.”

...

Back in the arena, Mikey and Gen were still going at it, neither warrior giving the other a chance to get the upper hand.

“Whoa, you’re supposed to me a master sword fighter?” Mikey taunted. “My brother could run circles around you in his sleep. With a hand tied behind his back.”

“Don’t think you’ve won just yet.” Gen told him. “The odds of my victory far exceed yours, turtle.”

“Y’know, there’s this saying back on my world.” Mikey retorted as he pushed Gen away and turned his nunchucks into a three-piece. “Never tell me the odds.”

Mikey spun the three-piece behind his back before bringing it around and actually knocking Gen’s sword out of his hands. Gen blinked in surprise, then began backing away.

“Now, now turtle.” Gen tried to reason. “Let’s talk about this. Tell you what, let me win, and I’ll cut you in for my wins. We’ll split 70-30.”

Mikey swung at him, forcing the rhino to jump out of the way, and in the opposite direction of his fallen sword.

“Ok, 60-40.” he tried again before avoiding another attack from Mikey. “50-50!”

“Tell you what.” Mikey replied. “Why don’t you stop trying to buy me off and start trying to fight me!”

Before Gen could react, Mikey leapt into the air and prepared to land the finishing blow. Gen disappeared into light, the end of Mikey’s staff clattering to the ground. He straightened up, grinning as he undid the staff back into nunchucks.

“Cowabunga that felt good.” he declared.

Tigerclaw and Kluh continued to go at it, with Tigerclaw swinging his weight and chain at Kluh’s weapon repeatedly. Kluh however managed to deflect and block it at every turn.

“That the best you got, kitty cat?” Kluh taunted.

“Pal, you have no idea what my best is like.” Tigerclaw responded.

“Then show me.” Kluh insisted. “I want to beat you at your best, so your defeat will be all the sweeter.”

“If you insist.” Tigerclaw responded, launching his chain at him.

This time, the chain wrapped around his weapon and pulled it out of his grasp. Kluh barely had time to register what had happened before the chain wrapped around him as well. With his arms trapped against his sides, he was helpless as Tigerclaw jumped into the air, claws poised for the killing blow. Kluh vanished just in time, the chain unraveling and falling to the ground as Tigerclaw landed. He stood up, dusting himself off and wiping blood from the corner of his mouth.

With the two fights now concluded, the barriers disappeared completely, leaving the arena with only the two remaining fighters occupying it. The crowds cheered wildly as Ue-Sama came out onto the balcony once more.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” He proclaimed. “I proudly present your finalists! Michelangelo of Dimension 5th Earth, and Tigerclaw of Dimension Nekomata!”

“You gotta be kidding me.” Mikey let out. “All that, and I still end up having to fight Tigerclaw?”

Tigerclaw turned to him, sneering as he unsheathed his claws. The threat was clear, and it made Mikey visibly uneasy.

“Scared little turtle?” Tigerclaw quipped.

Mikey adjusted his grip on his nunchucks, gulping slightly before steeling himself.

“You wish, Tony.” he retorted.

...

Over near the palace, Raph and Traximus began making their way towards the palace gates. Raph paused for a moment, hearing Ue-Sama’s announcements about the final two contestants.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” he muttered. “Mikey’s in the finals?”

“Perhaps you underestimated your brother’s skills.” Traximus suggested.

“You kidding?” Raph retorted. “It has to be a fluke or something because there’s no way in shell that he made it through on his own power.”

“As much as I would love to debate this with you, I believe we have more pressing matters to deal with.” Traximus reminded him.

He then tried to shift his arms, but found that incredibly difficult due to the large cuffs that were now holding his hands behind his back.

“That, and these things are not the most comfortable.” he added. “Remind me again why you had to bind me?”

“Because, we’re gonna trick the other guards into thinking you’re one of the prisoners.” Raph explained. “On Earth, we call this the Wookie Prisoner Gambit.”

“Wookie Prisoner Gambit?” Traximus repeated slowly. “What is a ‘Wookie’?”

“It-” Raph began before cutting himself off. “-would take too long to explain. Let’s just go.”

Traximus just shrugged as he and Raph continued towards the door. As they approached, two guards moved to stop them.

“Halt!” one insisted. “What’s going on here?!”

“Caught this guy plotting to get some vengeance on the contestant that kicked his tail in the tournament.” Raph supplied. “Was told to put him in holding until he calmed down, and if I were you, I wouldn’t keep me waiting. This guy is the definition of pissed-off.”

“I…” the guard tried to argue.

As if on cue, Traximus began snorting and struggling, putting on the act of a pissed-off prisoner. Raph held him as best he could, turning to the guards.

“I said let us in!” he snapped. “You want the Daimyo’s son to hear about this?!”

“No, of course not.” the guard relented. “Let them in!”

The massive doors swung open as Raph and Traximus walked inside. The second the doors closed behind them, Traximus dropped the act.

“Nice work.” Raph whispered. “Now we just need to make our way down.”

Traximus nodded and the two continued their journey.

...

The Daimyo’s eyes slowly began to open, the Master Healer’s chanting filling his ears as he returned to the land of the living. He let out a weak groan, lifting an arm.

“Splint...ter...” he croaked.

Out in the main part of the healing pavilion, Usagi’s ears perked, hearing the Daimyo’s words.

“Leonardo-san, your master goes by the name of Splinter, yes?” he asked.

“Yes.” Leo confirmed. “Why?”

“Because the Daimyo is awake, and is calling his name.”

“What?” Leo let out, rising to his feet.

He left Donny to tend to Hisako, opening the door to the private room. There, he saw the Daimyo struggling to sit up, the Master Healer trying to usher him back onto the futon.

“My lord, you must rest!” he begged. “Your wounds are far from healed!”

“No...” The Daimyo winced. “My son… he has… the wrong...”

He grunted in pain, the healer finally getting him to lay back down on the futon. Leo rushed to his side, taking his hand.

“Daimyo what happened?” he questioned. “Why were you calling my father’s name?”

The Daimyo turned over towards Leo, recognition breaking through the pain.

“You… You’re Splinter’s son… Leonardo...” he wheezed.

“Yes, I am.” Leo confirmed.

“My son… he arrested… your father… for the attempt… on my life…”

“What?!” Leo exclaimed. “Daimyo I promise, my father is innocent!”

“I know...” The Daimyo replied. “It… it was...”

His eyes then rolled back in his head before he passed out, the exertion too much for his weakened state.

“This isn’t good.” Leo dreaded. “I have to find the Daimyo’s son, and let him know he’s made a mistake!”

“I suggest you go to him immediately.” The master healer told him. “He is most likely overseeing the final round of the championship.”

“Right,” Leo agreed, marching out of the personal room before turning to Hisako’s cot. “Donny, Usagi, stay with Hisako. She’s going to need you here.”

“Leo, what’s going on?” Donny questioned.

“Splinter’s being held prisoner for trying to kill the Daimyo.” Leo relayed.

“WHAT?!” Donny exclaimed.

Hisako groaned, as if sensing the turmoil going on. Usagi took her hand, wiping sweat from her brow once more.

“Go, Leonardo-san.” he insisted. “Donatello-san and I will stay here.”

Leo nodded, then took off, making a beeline for the arena.

...

Tigerclaw and Mikey stood in the center of the arena as the entire crowd cheered. Ue-Sama stood on his balcony, waving the staff to quiet the crowd.

“Congratulations for making it to the final round, warriors!” he declared. “However, only one can emerge as the Battle Nexus Champion!”

The crowd cheered again as Mikey and Tigerclaw walked towards each other. Stopping a few feet away from each other, they bowed respectfully.

“May the best fighter win.” Mikey told him, remembering Splinter’s lessons about honor in combat.

“I plan to.” Tigerclaw replied with a grin.

“Let the final match… begin!” Ue-Sama declared.

Tigerclaw wasted no time trying to slash at Mikey, causing him to backflip out of the way. He drew his nunchucks and started spinning them as Tigerclaw ran up. The tiger’s bola whipped through the air, the weight nearly coming down on the orange turtle before he deftly side stepped out of the way.

“You’ll have to be faster than that, kitty cat!” Mikey taunted before kicking Tigerclaw in the chest.

Tigerclaw went skidding back as his claws dragged on the floor.

“Not bad, for a cub.” Tigerclaw relented. “But this battle is far from over!”

As the two continued their battle, Gyoji appeared beside Ue-Sama.

“My lord, Hamato Leonardo is requesting an audience.” he informed the young lord. “He says it is of the utmost importance.”

Ue-Sama glared at this, not sure what to make of it.

“Very well.” Ue-Sama replied. “I shall meet with him in the throne room.”

Gyoji bowed, then disappeared to inform Leo. Ue-Sama’s eyes narrowed and his grip on his staff tightened as he made his way towards the throne room.

...

Leo was pacing anxiously as he waited for Ue-Sama to appear. After what felt like an hour, even though it was only a handful of minutes, the young lord appeared. He slipped into the room closing the door before stealthily locking it behind him.

“Leonardo-san.” He greeted with a curt bow. “I was told you wish to speak with me.”

“Yes, it’s about my father.” Leo told him. “And the fact that you have him under arrest for a crime he didn’t commit!”

Ue-Sama paused, grateful for the mask that hid his expression.

“This is… a very serious matter.” He voiced. “Especially since I have kept the name of the accused secret from the public to avoid an uproar. How did you come to learn of his arrest?”

“I learned it from your father.” Leo told him.

Ue-Sama nearly dropped his staff in shock.

“He’s awake?” He questioned. “He’s alive?”

“Alive, but slipped back into unconsciousness.” Leo relayed. “And he told me that your men carted Splinter away.”

“He must be delirious from the pain.” Ue-Sama supplied. “Besides, even if this were true, all the evidence points to your father. He was found standing over my father with the bloody tanto.”

“I know my father, and he would never harm an innocent.” Leo insisted. “Whatever’s going on, has got to be a setup.”

“I’m afraid your word means little.” Ue-Sama lamented. “He is your father, and you would say anything to free him.”

“I’m telling the truth!” Leo insisted, grabbing Ue-Sama by the cloak. “Listen, you have to let him go!”

“Unhand me, you filthy mutate!” Ue-Sama snapped, backhanding Leo hard.

Leo went stumbling back, gripping his cheek in shock.

“I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to!” Ue-Sama declared, his eyes brimming with hatred as his staff began to glow, turning an angry red. “For the first time in my life, I’m in charge! My father tried to keep me from my birthright, but now it is finally mine!”

“You know, you sound like some other entitled jerk I know.” Leo remarked, drawing a sword. “He didn’t take resistance well either.”

“I should have known you freaks would be trouble...” Ue-Sama sneered. “I shouldn’t have stopped with the psychic.”

Leo went wide eyed, realizing what he had done. He wasted no words, charging at Ue-Sama. His blade clashed with his staff, fury in his eyes.

“You… you’re the one who poisoned Hisako!” He screamed.

“Yes.” Ue-Sama declared. “Consider yourself lucky. Your death will be far swifter!”

Ue-Sama shoved Leo off, but Leo quickly kicked the staff out of his hands, knocking it across the room. Ue-Sama turned towards him and drew his own swords.

“Now you will see how I earned the title of the Ultimate Ninja!” Ue-Sama declared.

“Bring it!” Leo shouted.

The two charged at each other, their blades ringing as they clashed.

...

Raph continued leading Traximus through the prison, passing several guards along the way. After finally making it to the lowest levels, Raph freed Trax’s arms, but kept his helmet on just in case.

“Smell anything, Trax?” he questioned. “He’d probably smell like incense and stagnant water.”

Traximus took a few sniffs, then turned towards a darker path.

“That way.” he declared, pointing in the right direction.

They made their way through the dimly lit dungeon hall, keeping their eyes peeled.

“Master Splinter?” Raph called out quietly. “Master Splinter, where are ya?”

“Raphael?” Splinter’s voice called out.

“Sensei!” Raph cried out.

He ran towards the sound of his sensei’s voice, finding him in a cell at the end. He pushed the front of his helmet up reaching through the bars and pulling him into a hug. Splinter returned the hug in kind as Traximus approached.

“You must be Splinter.” Traximus greeted. “Your children saved my life several months ago. I am here to repay that debt.”

Raph pulled back from his sensei, stepping away from the bars.

“Don’t worry Master Splinter, we’ll have you out of there in no time.”

Traximus stepped forward to grab the bars, most likely to pry them apart, but Splinter quickly held up a hand to stop him.

“Raphael, wait!” Splinter nearly shouted.

Raph blinked.

“Sensei...” he let out in confusion. “What’s wrong?”

“I have been accused of attacking the Daimyo.” Splinter explained. “If I escape now, it will only solidify my guilt.”

“Your Master speaks the truth.” Traximus commented.

“So what, we’re just supposed to leave you here?” Raph questioned. “We can’t do that! Hisako’s dying and we can’t lose you too!”

“You won’t lose either of us.” Splinter insisted. “The one behind the attack is a creature called Tigerclaw. He also holds the antidote to the poison afflicting Hisako. Find him, and we’ll both be saved.”

“Tigerclaw?” Traximus repeated. “Raphael, was that not the name of the creature Michelangelo is fighting in the finals?”

“It is...” Raph realized, a cold sense of dread sinking in. “Shell, he’s in trouble!”

“Go, warn Michelangelo!” Splinter ordered. “Hurry!”

“You got it, Sensei!” Raph promised.

He slapped the front of his helmet down, taking off with Traximus on his tail. Splinter watched them go, his own tail twitching with anxiousness.

...

Leo and Ue-Sama continued to battle, the blue turtle finding himself unable to get ahead of the well-trained ninja.

“I don’t get it.” Leo let out. “Why do this? Why come after my family? Why drag us into your plot?”

“The girl would have given everything away.” Ue-Sama snapped. “I couldn’t let her find out, so I poisoned her. As for your father, I just needed a scapegoat.”

“You used him!” Leo exclaimed. “All for what? To seize control?”

“To take what was rightfully mine!” Ue-Sama declared. “My father’s time has passed, and it is time for a new generation to rise. He sought to keep me from taking control, going as far as to forbid me from competing! Well I will no longer be his puppet. From now on, all will bow to me!”

“You’re sick.” Leo spat, shoving Ue-Sama back with his swords. “You’re nothing but a spoiled child who doesn’t care who he hurts!”

“You have no place to judge me!” Ue-Same declared. “I am the Daimyo now, and you are nothing but a freak of nature that is not even fit to stand in my presence!”

Leo let out a yell of fury before leaping at Ue-Sama and trying to bring his swords down on him. Ue-Sama used his own swords to block Leo’s before kicking him in the chest, knocking him to the ground. Ue-Sama tried to stab him, but the blue turtle quickly rolled out of the way before getting back to his feet.

“You’re gonna have to do better than that.” Leo taunted.

“I’m just getting started!” Ue-Sama taunted.

With that, the two charged at each other, resuming the duel.

...

Back in the arena, Mikey and Tigerclaw were in the middle of their fight. Mikey was weaving left and right, using his superior agility to remain out of reach of Tigerclaw’s bola. Tigerclaw was quickly becoming irritated by Mikey’s constant dodging of his attacks, as well as the orange turtle’s constant witty remarks.

“Whoop, too slow!” he let out. “Sheesh, have you ever done this before? I’ve seen fish with more bite than you!”

Tigerclaw growled, ditching the bola and unsheathing his claws. Mikey grinned, twirling his nunchucks in his hands.

“Finally, some excitement!” he cheered.

Tigerclaw ran forward and continuously tried slashing at Mikey with his claws, only hitting nunchucks each time. If they weren’t made out of metal, Mikey was sure they would have been shredded. After blocking another claw strike, Mikey leapt into the air and tried kicking Tigerclaw in the face, but he just grabbed Mikey’s foot and threw him across the arena. As Mikey rolled on the ground, Tigerclaw walked over to him and prepared to strike, but Mikey quickly caught his hand with his nunchuck, just barely holding him back.

“Yikes!” he let out.

Tigerclaw tried using his other claw to slash at Mikey, but he quickly ducked under it before rolling backwards and back onto his feet. As they continued fighting, Raph began shoving his way through the crowd, Traximus doing his best to help. When the red turtle reached the edge of the barrier, he took a deep breath.

“MIKEY!” He screamed. “MICHELANGELO!!”

Mikey looked up and saw Raph waving at him from the barrier.

“Hey Raph!” Mikey called back. “Look who’s a contender now! And you thought I was just a-”

“SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO ME!” Raph told him. “SENSEI’S BEEN ARRESTED AND HISAKO’S DYING!!

Mikey went wide-eyed. Tigerclaw attempted to take advantage of his distracted state, but Mikey deftly dodged him while facing his brother.

“What…?” he let out.

“YOUR OPPONENT THERE HAS THE ONLY CURE TO WHAT’S KILLING HER!!” Raph continued. “IF WE DON’T GET IT SOON, SHE’S A GONER!!”

This time when Tigerclaw went for an attack, Mikey caught his wrist. Tigerclaw’s eyes went wide as he found himself unable to move his arm, much less free it from the orange turtle’s grasp. Mikey slowly turned his head towards Tigerclaw, and he was looking mighty angry.

“Is it true?” he asked in a deadly calm voice, his eyes shrouded by his hair and his grip on Tigerclaw’s hand tightening. “Is Hisako dying? And are you responsible?”

Tigerclaw gritted his teeth as Mikey tightened his grip.

“And if I am?” He snarled. “What will you do about it? You’re nothing more than a worthless buffoon that got this far on sheer dumb luck. What chance do you stand against-?”

Before he could finish, Mikey twisted his wrist, flinging the tiger over his shoulder and onto the ground hard. Mikey then grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him in close.

“Give me the antidote!” Mikey demanded.

“Make me.” Tigerclaw snarled.

Mikey shoved Tigerclaw back and slammed his nunchucks into a three piece. Tigerclaw barely had a chance to get up when Mikey swung it at him. The staff connected with the side of his head, his ribs, his legs, and anything else that came within reach. Everyone stared in awe as the fight took a very sudden turn. Raph was the most surprised, having never seen such fury and determination on his younger brother’s face.

“Holy chalupa...” he let out. “Mikey’s… Mikey’s kicking tail.”

Getting enough of an opening, Tigerclaw grabbed Mikey’s three piece, only for Mikey to kick him in the face, knocking him back down.

“The antidote!” Mikey screamed. “Hand it over, now!”

“Never!” Tigerclaw declared, suddenly palm striking him in the face.

As Mikey flew back and landed on the ground, he noted that he landed next to Tigerclaw’s discarded bola. He picked it up, twirling it in his hands. Tigerclaw laughed.

“Do you even know how to use that thing?” he taunted.

“A true ninja warrior is a master of all weapons.” Mikey recited, closing in on Tigerclaw.

Tigerclaw snarled, preparing to attack. Before he could take one more step, the bola shot out and connected with the side of Tigerclaw’s face. The spiked weight sank right into his eye, the tiger howling in pain. Everyone cringed in pain, even Raph feeling sympathy for the tiger as his brother closed in on his downed opponent.

“The antidote.” he demanded. “Or next time, you’ll lose more than an eye.”

Tigerclaw let out a defeated growl as he reached into his scarf.

“Fine!” He relented. “I hope the girl chokes on it.”

Mikey snatched it, then immediately vaulted up to his brother.

“Where is she?” he asked, his voice still hard and his eyes devoid of emotion.

“Most likely in the healer’s pavilion.” Traximus answered. “I know the way.”

“Then lead on Trax.” Raph told him.

They prepared to leave, but Raph stopped.

“Oh, and one more thing.” he spoke up, pointing right at Tigerclaw. “That’s the guy who tried to kill the Daimyo!”

The entire arena gasped, all the guards stationed around it all turning to Tigerclaw as the turtles took their leave. Tigerclaw yanked the bola from his eye, clutching the bloody socket before turning and running in the opposite direction. Everyone began chasing after him, determined to bring their Daimyo’s assassin to justice.

...

Traximus threw the doors to the healing pavilion open, Mikey and Raph scrambling over to the bed holding Hisako.

“Donny!” Mikey shouted.

Donny looked up and saw his brothers running towards him, holding some strange vial.

“Guys!” Donny let out. “Please tell me that’s some kind of antidote.”

“Not just some kind, Don.” Mikey confirmed. “It’s Hisako’s cure. Now use it!”

He practically shoved it into his brother’s hand, and the purple turtle immediately turned back to Hisako. She was deathly pale, and she was incredibly still. Seeing the state she was in both Raph and Mikey held each other’s hands, fearing for her life.

“Usagi, tilt her head back.” Donny ordered

Usagi obliged and tilted her head back so Donny could give her the cure. Uncorking the vial, he poured the contents down her throat. Once the vial was empty, Usagi gently lowered her head. Everyone then stepped back, waiting for some sign. However, nothing happened. She remained where she lay, much to everyone’s horror.

“No…” Mikey let out.

“We were… too late?” Raph choked.

“I… am sorry, my friends.” Usagi consoled.

Donny just fell to his knees, tears in his eyes as he looked down at his sister. That’s when he saw her chest slowly begin to rise and fall. He gasped, realizing that color was beginning to return to her cheeks.

“Guys.” he whispered. “Guys!”

The others turned and saw Hisako’s rapidly improving condition. Then, her eyes began to open.

“Hey guys...” she croaked. “Where’s the funeral?”

“HISAKO!”

The turtles basically dogpiled their sister, pulling her into a hug. She laughed, returning the hugs as best she could. When they pulled away, all three turtles had tears in their eyes.

“Sis, you have got to stop almost dying on us.” Donny chastised. “I think three times is enough.”

“I’ll try...” she told him, sitting up and rubbing her face. “How’d you find the cure?”

“I didn’t.” Donny replied.

“Mikey here got it for you.” Raph told her. “You should have seen him! I swear I’ve never seen him fight like that! It was like he was a completely different ninja!”

“Aw, it was nothing.” Mikey brushed it off.

“Wait until Leonardo-san learns about your survival.” Usagi spoke up, patting Hisako on the back. “I am sure he will be quite pleased.”

“Hey, where is Leo anyway?” Raph asked.

“He went to confront the Daimyo’s son about Splinter’s false imprisonment.” Usagi explained. “Though that was some time ago.”

“Who?” Hisako questioned.

“He kept visiting us to make sure you were okay.” Donny explained. “When Leo heard about Sensei, he went to go talk to him.”

Hisako then began to get up, but her strength hadn’t returned yet. She crumbled to the ground, Raph materialized by her side, catching her as best he could.

“Sis, ya ain’t back to full strength yet.” Raph insisted. “Just rest. We’ll find Leo.”

“You don’t get it...” she let out, still struggling in his grip. “He’s behind it… All of it...”

Everyone was floored.

“What do you mean?” Mikey asked.

“The… Daimyo’s son…” Hisako explained. “I read his mind… he wanted… his father dead. He poisoned me… because he was afraid.”

“Afraid you’d read his mind and learn the truth.” Raph pieced together.

“Yeah…” Hisako confirmed. “We… we gotta stop...”

Usagi scooped up Hisako, putting her onto his back.

“I will carry your sister.” he offered. “We must find your brother immediately.”

“Thanks, Rabbit dude.” Mikey replied.

With that, the group took off to find Leo.

...

Leo meanwhile, was still locked in an intense duel with Ue-Sama. The two continued to clash swords with each other, neither one giving leniency to the other.

“Why do you keep fighting?” Ue-Sama questioned. “I’ve already won! The Daimyo is dying, your father will be executed for the crime, and your sister has no doubt succumbed to the poison in her blood!”

“Forget it pal!” Leo countered. “As long as I’m still breathing, you’re not gonna win!”

“Glad you think so, Leo!” Raph called out.

Both Leo and Ue-Sama turned to see the rest of the turtles enter the room, their weapons drawn. Traximus and Usagi entered as well, Hisako looking up from Usagi’s back.

“I lived.” she declared.

“Hisako!” Leo grinned before turning to Ue-Sama. “Looks like you failed.”

“Oh, and your assassin just got his tail handed to him.” Raph reported. “If your guards haven’t captured him, then he’s probably ditched you.”

“No!” Ue-Same yelled before trying to make a break for the war staff.

Mikey’s newly acquired bola quickly snatched it up before he could reach it. He turned towards Mikey just in time for the orange turtle to smack him across the face with the staff.

“That’s for Hisako.” he snarled.

...

The Daimyo recovered from his wounds not long after. He was still quite weak, leaning on his staff like a cane as he stood before the Hamato siblings. Trax and Usagi were there to, standing off to the side of the throne room. As the siblings stood there, Hisako curled up in Leo’s arms, two guards entered with Splinter in tow.

“My children!” he shouted.

“Father!” they called out in response.

They all ran out and hugged him, a gesture he was more than willing to return. He held Hisako slightly longer, relieved to see her in better condition.

“Your children told me what happened.” The Daimyo explained, sitting down on his throne with a mournful sigh. “To think… my own son would do such a thing.”

“Did you catch Tigerclaw?” Mikey questioned.

“No...” The Daimyo lamented. “He escaped using a personal portal device.”

“Meaning he’ll be back.” Raph lamented.

“We will deal with that in time.” The Daimyo assured him, slowly rising to his feet. “But first, may I borrow Michelangelo?”

“Uh… sure?” Mikey responded, honestly confused.

He followed the Daimyo out onto a balcony, his eyes bulging as he realized that the entire Battle Nexus was gathering below. Upon seeing the Daimyo and Mikey, they all broke out into cheering.

“Honorable citizens of the Battle Nexus, this has been a tournament unlike any other!” The Daimyo declared. “There have been many trials and tribulations along the way, but now, it is my great honor to present to you your Battle Nexus Champion!”

Mikey shook his head in disbelief, hardly able to believe what was happening.

“I’m sorry, what?” He let out.

“Hamato Michelangelo, you have shown unwavering loyalty, undaunting perseverance, and unquestionable honor in the face of adversity.” The Daimyo declared, gently placing his hand on Mikey’s shell. “Never, in the history of this tournament, has there been anyone more worthy of the title.”

Gyoji appeared before Mikey, a crystalline trophy in one hand, and a golden medal in the other. Gyoji handed the medal over to the Daimyo, who placed it around Mikey’s neck. The orange turtle then took the trophy, both he and the Daimyo bowing to one another.

“You and your family are welcome back here anytime.” the Daimyo informed him. “Though hopefully next time, you be able to have the peaceful, honorable tournament I promised you.”

“Thank you, Daimyo.” Mikey replied, bowing.

As he stepped back to join his family, the rest of the siblings looked back at their friends.

“It was an honor to meet you, Usagi-san.” Leo told him, bowing.

“Likewise, Leonardo-san.” Usagi replied, bowing back. “Perhaps next time we meet, it will be in your world.”

“Who knows?” Leo answered.

Raph turned to Trax, shooting the Triceraton a grin.

“Good luck with your rebellion.” he told him.

“Thank you my friend.” Traximus replied. “I will be sure to give Y’Gythgba your regards.”

“Thanks.” he smirked, “for everything.”

Gyoji then waved his warhammer, surrounding the Hamato clan in water before they disappeared.

...

The family half expected to find themselves back in the farmhouse, but instead were deposited in their sewer lair. They looked around, finding their stuff from the farmhouse sitting on the couch. Leo set Hisako down on the turtle bed as Mikey looked at the trophy in his hand.

“Battle Nexus Champion...” he mused

“Oh boy.” Raph dreaded, face palming. “And so it begins. He’s gonna go on and on about his big win, rubbing it in our faces every single chance he-”

Raph was suddenly cut off by Leo elbowing him in the side. He turned to his blue-banded brother to see him pointing at Mikey’s room. Raph tilted his head, watching as his brother placed the trophy on a shelf with some of his collectables. He even hung his medal around it, backing out of the room with a smile.

“Y’know, I was thinking that shelf looked a little bare.” he remarked. “Really ties it all together.”

Raph just stared silently for a few seconds.

“That’s it?” Raph asked. “No bragging? No rubbing it in our faces that you came out on top?”

“Why would I do that?” Mikey questioned. “Honestly, it’s just nice to have an accomplishment of my own.”

“What do you mean by that Mikey?” Leo asked.

“Well… look at all you guys.” Mikey explained. “Leo’s the leader and the master of almost everything. Donny’s a super genius who can make anything out of anything. Raph could take on a whole army by himself. Hisako… do I even need to say anything about her? Me… I’m the goofball. The jokester. The guy nobody believes can accomplish anything because all he thinks about is pizza and comics.”

“Mikey, you are so much more than that.” Leo assured him.

“Yeah bro.” Raph agreed, rubbing the back of his neck. “I never should have said any of that stuff about ya. I have never been more wrong in my entire life.”

“You stepped up, Mikey.” Hisako told him. “I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for you.”

“Sensei would still be rotting in jail.” Donny added. “Because of you, we’re all together.”

“And I have never been prouder of you, my son.” Splinter concluded.

“Aww….” Mikey let out. “Guys...”

“Come on guys, why don’t we get some pizza.” Raph suggested. “My treat for our ‘unofficial’ champion.”

“Thanks Raph, coming from you that means…” Mikey replied before realizing his words. “Hey wait a minute! What do you mean, unofficial?!”

“Well Mikey, the only way you got that second wind was when Hisako’s life was in danger.” Raph explained. “So really, you only won on a technicality.”

“Oh yeah?” Mikey replied. “Well I know I ‘technically’ kicked your shell in one of the fights.”

Raph snarled, turning to his brother angrily.

“You got lucky and that’s it!” he insisted.

“I’ve got a trophy and a medal that say otherwise.” Mikey taunted, pulling as his eyelid and sticking his tongue out.

“Ok, that’s it!” Raph declared before tackling him.

The two began wrestling on the ground, rolling across the carpet. Leo and Donny both chuckled, sitting down on the mattress with Hisako as they watched their brothers. Splinter just sighed, shaking his head and sitting down on his easy chair.

“There truly is no place like home.” Splinter mused.

“No there isn’t.” Leo agreed.

...

Right on the edge of the D’Hoonib space lanes, Kraang floated across his outpost, going about his rounds as usual. As he floated around a corner, he ended up running into someone large and bulky. His floatation device went skidding across the air before he managed to get control of it again.

“Hey!” He let out. “What’s the big-?”

He was cut off by a trio of Triceratons standing before him. The leader of the group was none other than Commander Mozar. He plucked the Utrom from his device, holding him up.

“We’re tracking a group of five fugitives who we tracked to this location.” He informed him.

One of the other Triceratons tapped on a hi-tech wristband, activating a holographic screen. It began displaying the mugshots of the Hamato siblings as Mozar gave Kraang a squeeze.

“Tell me where they went, if you value your miserable life.”

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