TMNT: Secret of the Sewers

By Author of the Insane

Action / Drama

Miwa in Japan

In the city of Tokyo, Miwa sat in the back of a taxi cab, looking out the window listlessly. A sense of homesickness had creeped into her heart at the sight of all the towering buildings. Though it had only been her home for a few months, she was already missing New York. Still, she knew that there was work to be done here in Japan, and that she had to do it.

“We’re here.” The cab driver declared, the taxi coming to a stop.

Miwa looked up, seeing the large walls that surrounded the Foot Clan dojo. She sighed, getting out of the cab and grabbing her suitcase. She slowly walked towards the dojo, the large gates opening for her and allowing her inside. A line of Foot Soldiers in traditional uniforms stood on either side of the path, as if watching her every move to prevent an escape. As the gates closed behind her, she couldn’t help but jump.

“I feel like I’m being marched down the Green Mile.” she muttered.

She continued making her way to the dojo until she reached the front door. She took a deep breath, then pushed the doors open. There, she was greeted by even more Foot soldiers, a lone man standing at the head of it all. The man was complete bald, save for a thick mustache that traveled from his upper lip to the sides of his mouth. His face was serious, and his posture was that of someone who was expecting trouble. Miwa approached him, setting down her suitcase before bowing before him.

“Master Tatsu.” she greeted. “It is an honor to see you again.”

Tatsu said nothing. He just glared at her in contempt, much to her dismay. She cleared her throat, determined not to let it phase her.

“I’ve come to lend my services in restoring the honor of the Foot Clan.”

“A task not easily done, considering all that Saki has done to drag the name of the Foot through the mud.” Tatsu snarled.

Miwa winced, realizing just how difficult this was going to be.

“Master Tatsu,” she began, “I am not your enemy in this. I am a victim of the Shredder, just as the rest of the clan. I was lied to, led to believe that what Saki was doing was for the benefit of all. I realize now how wrong he was, and how wrong I was for believing him. That is why I am here. To atone for my sins as Karai.”

“Pretty words.” Tatsu dismissed. “Saki spun many a web of lies with naught but words. These webs nearly cost the Foot everything. If the Foot is to be restored to its former glory, action will be needed, not more words.”

Miwa bowed her head.

“Yes, Master Tatsu.” she replied.

“One more thing.” Tatsu spoke up, drawing Miwa’s attention a second time. “Should you give me reason to suspect your ties to the Shredder aren’t as renounced as you say, I will not hesitate to take you out. Is that clear?”

Miwa gulped, but remained where she was.

“Yes, Master Tatsu.” she answered.

“Good.” Tatsu nodded, gesturing to a pair of Foot soldiers. “These two will escort you to your chambers. Tomorrow, we will begin your retraining.”

Tatsu then walked off, leaving Miwa to be escorted away.

...

Miwa’s room was a smaller one, with a basic futon, a table, and a dresser. She began unpacking, pulling several pieces of clothing from her suitcase before finally pulling out a fair sized picture frame. It contained a copy of Raph’s drawing of the entire family, all of them smiling and holding one another. Miwa smiled at it, her fingers gently pressing against the image of Splinter.

“Miss you, dad.” She let out.

The final item she pulled out was her Shell Cell. She held it in her hand, contemplating using it before eventually setting it aside.

“You knew this wasn’t gonna be easy.” She said to herself. “There were going to be hard feelings. You just need to prove yourself. You can do this. You have to.”

...

The next day, Miwa woke up early for training. She put on the Foot training uniform she had, reporting to the dojo. Other students were there, swapping idle chatter with one another. However, once she entered the room, it all slowly died away. She gritted her teeth in embarrassment, but tried not to let it show as she took her spot on the mat. She kept her eyes firmly planted on the mat, doing her best to ignore the hateful and suspicious glares thrown her way. And that was when she began hearing whispers amongst the others.

“Shredder’s daughter... She’s got some nerve showing her face around here.”

“Can’t believe they even let her in here. I bet she’s a spy.”

Miwa clenched her fists, trying her best to ignore them. Thankfully, all the gossip ended when the dojo master entered. He looked amongst the ninjas before him, his eyes eventually falling on Miwa. He scrutinized her for a moment before pointing at her.

“You.” he called out, causing her to jolt up. “Come here.”

Miwa wordlessly did as she was told, bowing politely before standing at attention.

“A true warrior must know how to take out an opponent quickly and efficiently.” he instructed before turning to Miwa, his hands behind his back. “Attack me, girl.”

Miwa nodded, then went for a basic punch. The dojo master easily caught her arm, twisting it painfully before shoving her into the mat. All of the onlookers watched, letting out ’oohs at her swift takedown. The dojo master released her arm as she sat up, shaking his head.

“Sloppy.” he chastised. “One would think the daughter of the Shredder would know better.”

Miwa winced at the title, slowly getting back to her feet. She rubbed her arm as she faced him once again.

“Attack me.” The dojo master demanded. “Harder!”

She launched forward, trying several times to land a hit. The dojo master stepped back and dodged each blow, jumping just in time to avoid a sweeping kick. As he came back down, he delivered a kick of his own to Miwa’s ribs. She grunted, crumbling to the ground and clutching her side.

“Disgraceful.” he muttered, shaking his head in disappointment.

Wheezing, she got back up, still holding her side. She then charged one last time, swinging her free arm. The dojo master merely caught it, flipping her onto her back before planting a foot on her stomach.

“Is this truly the best you have to offer?” He questioned.

She said nothing, just struggling to breathe under the weight of his foot. Eventually, he let out a dismissive sniff, removing his foot and turning his back to her.

“Return to your place.” he ordered.

Miwa got up, her body aching as she sat back down. All of the other students were snickering and jeering, having clearly enjoyed the show. Despite this, Miwa just focused on the master, doing her best to ignore them.

...

She was still quite sore as lunch rolled around. Everyone was gathered up in groups across the mess hall, chatting and enjoying themselves. Despite the plethora of people, Miwa never felt so alone. She took her lunch, setting herself up in the corner of the lunchroom and preparing to eat alone. Before she could, a shadow fell over her. A sense of dread filled her before a kind voice spoke up.

“Mind if I sit here?” she asked.

Miwa looked up, genuinely surprised. Standing before her was a girl about her age with alabaster skin and long black hair that covered one of her eyes. She gave Miwa a warm, gentle smile, one that completely disarmed the kunoichi.

“Uh, not at all.” she answered.

The girl sat down, offering a hand to Miwa.

“My name’s Aya.” she introduced. “But everyone calls me Shinigami.”

Miwa took the hand, but was confused.

“Why are you nicknamed after a god of death?” she questioned.

Aya chuckled.

“I’m a Yakuza orphan.” she explained. “My parents were killed when the thugs trashed our family’s sushi restaurant. By the time the Foot found me, I’d killed the thug responsible. I was five.”

“Damn...” Miwa let out, wincing in sympathy.

“Yeah.” Aya shrugged. “The nickname stuck, especially after I became the best knife thrower in my squad. But, I digress. What’s your name?”

“Miwa.” she replied.

Aya nodded in recognition.

“Oh yeah.” She let out. “You’re the one everyone’s talking about. I could have sworn your name was Karai though.”

“Not anymore.” Miwa corrected. “That’s the name the Shredder gave me... when he stole me from my true father, Hamato Yoshi.”

“Whoa...” Aya murmured. “So the rumors are true.”

Miwa nodded, then Aya looked back and forth before leaning in.

“What about the other rumors?” She questioned. “Y’know, about Yoshi being turned into a rat?”

“It’s true.” Miwa answered.

“That’s incredible” Aya let out. “How is that even possible?”

“That is an incredibly long and convoluted story.” Miwa answered. “I doubt you’d be interested in it.”

Aya just leaned forward, placing her chin on her hands. Miwa chuckled, practically hearing the stars twinkling in her eyes. She sighed, and opened her mouth to begin the story. Before she could begin, a large hand came down on the table, startling both girls. They looked up, seeing two of the larger and more intimidating members of the Foot trainees looking down at them.

“Hey Shinigami.” One of the trainees spoke up. “What are you doing over here with the traitor?”

“She’ll stab you in the back if you aren’t careful.” the second one warned.

“Leave her alone!” Aya snapped. “She’s not like that.”

“You kidding?” the first trainee scoffed. “Look at her. She’s a chip of the old block.”

“Once a traitor, always a traitor.” The second trainee insisted. “Mark my words. It’s only a matter of time before she stabs us all in the back just like her old man.”

Miwa looked away, clenching her fists again. Aya growled at this, getting to her feet.

“Shut up!” she screamed.

Rather than intimidate them in any way, the two trainees just seemed amused.

“Well, well, look at this.” the first one chuckled. “The angel of death is protecting the turncoat. Guess death and destruction really do follow you everywhere.”

The second one grabbed Miwa by her hair, pulling her head back and growling in her ear.

“You’ll never be one of us.” he swore. “You’ll never be anything more than the spawn of that filthy traitor.”

Miwa’s fist clenched, her anger rising.

“I’m not his daughter.” she snarled. “I’m just another victim, like everyone else.”

Aya then grabbed the second one by the arm, meeting his gaze with a cold gaze.

“Let her go, now.” she demanded, her voice as icy as her stare.

“Or what?” the trainee taunted. “You gonna cry?”

Aya extended her free arm, a knife popping out of her sleeve and into her hand. She held it up and twirled it in her fingers, her eyes never leaving the trainee.

“Let her go, or I’ll cut your fingers off.” she promised. “It’s your call.”

The bully snorted and released Miwa, shoving her into her tray. She grunted, sitting up and brushing grains of rice off her face.

“Your little bodyguard can’t protect you forever, backstabber” The second trainee warned.

“And you made a big mistake today Aya, siding with that.” the first one declared, gesturing to Miwa with his thumb.

“Then it’s one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made.” Aya retorted. “Now go bother someone else.”

The two trainees walked off as Aya retook her seat. Miwa looked up at her, still brushing rice off her face.

“Thanks.” she told her. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“Unlike the other idiots here, I can tell you’re nothing like Shredder.” Aya assured her. “You’re a good person who made some mistakes, ones you’re trying to make up for.”

“I’m just glad someone understands.” Miwa let out.

Aya took her hand, giving it a squeeze.

“The others will come around eventually.” she assured her. “Just give them time. You’ll see.”

“I know.” Miwa sighed. “I know.”

...

Later on in the day, the two were called before Master Tatsu. They both walked into his office, bowing down before him. The master sat behind a low table, a cup of tea before him. He took a sip from it as he looked down at them both.

“I received a message today, saying that you two caused quite a disturbance in the mess hall.” he told them. “You assaulted two of my prized warriors, Taichi and Yamato, and threatened them with a knife.”

“Master, with all due respect, it was Tai and Yamato that started it in the first place.” Aya argued. “They were manhandling Miwa and I was just trying to protect her.”

“So you felt that you needed to escalate the situation by threatening to, and I quote, ‘cut off their fingers’.” Tatsu argued.

“Well...” Aya winced, realizing how bad this looked. “Yes, Master Tatsu.”

“Your violent tendencies should be reserved for missions and training only, Aya.” Tatsu insisted. “And as for you, Karai-”

“Miwa…” She interrupted. “My name is Miwa.”

Tatsu’s eyes narrowed at her before he went on.

“This disruptive behavior will not stand.” he declared. “As punishment, you will both be cleaning the dojo tonight. For your sake, it best be spotless by tomorrow morning.”

Both girls bowed again, answering in unison.

“Yes, Master Tatsu.”

...

In the dojo, Miwa and Aya were down on their hands and knees, scrubbing at the floor with thick brushes and soapy water. They worked hard, the sun having already gone down and the hour growing later.

“This isn’t fair.” Aya groaned. “We were the victims here.”

“It’s okay, Aya.” Miwa insisted. “I knew this wasn’t going to be easy when I signed on. Honestly, I was expecting worse than childish bullying and trainer favoritism.”

“Why are you just taking all this?” Aya questioned, setting her brush down. “You should fight back. They wouldn’t mess with you then.”

“No, that will just add fuel to the fire.” Miwa replied. “Besides, it’s called turning the other cheek.”

“I’m pretty sure it’s called getting your butt kicked.” Aya challenged.

“Call it what you want.” Miwa shrugged, resuming her work. “I promised myself I would be better than Shredder, better than everyone who I once looked up to. It’s the entire reason I’m here.”

“Well then, let’s make your reputation as spotless as this dojo.” Aya declared.

“We’ve got a lot of scrubbing on both parts if we want that.” Miwa quipped.

“So let’s get scrubbing.” Aya told her.

Just then, the lights went out, leaving the two in pitch black darkness. Before either of them could react, they were both grabbed, hands covering their mouths to keep them from screaming. Bags were then thrown over their heads as they were dragged off into the darkness.

...

Miwa struggled as she was tightly tied to a chair, the ropes digging into her wrists and ankles. The bag was still over her head, so she couldn’t see where she was. Aya wasn’t doing much better. She’d been tied to a shelf, her arms above her head and her ankles lashed together. Both girls kept fighting to free themselves, but it was to no avail.

“Let us go!” Aya screamed. “You won’t get away with this!”

Just then, a light turned on, the bags ripped off their heads. The sudden onslaught of light disoriented them for a moment their eyes adjusted. They found themselves in a supply closet, the cramped space filled with cleaning chemicals and other stuff. Before them were two Foot ninjas in their full gear, including their masks. Even so, the girls had a pretty good idea who was underneath it all.

“Really?” Miwa let out. “Petty bullying is one thing, but this is straight up kidnapping. Before you go accusing me of being like Shredder, you should look at yourselves in the-”

Miwa was cut off by a smack across the face. Shinigami let out an angry scream, only getting a punch to the gut for her troubles. Miwa looked back at the Foot that had smacked her, letting out a snort.

“You Taichi under there, or Yamato?” she asked.

The ninja pulled off his mask, revealing Taichi underneath.

“Knew it.” she let out. “Look, I don’t want trouble.”

“Too late for that, traitor.” Taichi remarked. “You’re going to get what’s coming to you.”

“You and your little friend here.” Yamato spoke up, grabbing Aya by the chin.

“Two things.” Miwa declared. “One, she has nothing to do with this, so that was your first mistake. Two, if you’re going to tie someone to a chair, make it a metal one, not a wooden one.”

Miwa stood up, chair still attached, and threw herself on the ground. The chair legs snapped and freed her legs, jumping right to her feet. Taichi was caught off guard by the sudden movement.

“What the-?!”

Miwa quickly kicked Taichi in the stomach before he could properly regain his senses, then she turned around and used the rear of the chair to smack Yamato into the wall. The impact shattered the chair the rest of the way, even if her hands were still tied behind her back. She jumped, slipping her hands in front of her as the two boys closed in. she swung her bound hands at Yamato, smacking him across the face before elbowing Taichi. The enclosed space they were in did nothing to aid them, and the two boys were down in a matter of minutes.

“No wonder they used such a petty tactic to capture us.” Miwa quipped. “So much for ‘greatest warriors’.”

She then searched the two downed warriors for a knife, cutting herself free before doing the same for Aya.

“Come on, we still have work to do.” Miwa told her.

“What about them?” Aya questioned.

“If they do go to Tatsu, they’ll have to explain their plan, as well as the fact they got their butts handed to them by a girl tied to a chair.” Miwa rationalized. “Besides, that dojo’s not gonna clean itself.”

Aya smiled as the pulled the last of the ropes off of her.

“What do you think they’ll say to explain all the bruises and cuts they’ll be sporting?” she asked.

“Training incident.” Miwa offered up. “Isn’t that the usual BS?”

The two girls shared a laugh before returning to the dojo to finish cleaning.

...

The next day at training, Aya sat next to Miwa. Both girls had wrappings on their wrists and ankles to hide the rope burns. Taichi and Yamato were not so lucky, both boys sporting ugly bruises on their faces and black eyes. The dojo master looked at the two, clearly put off by their injuries.

“What happened to you two?” he asked.

Yamato glanced over at Miwa, the latter giving the boy a small smirk. After a moment, he answered.

“Just a late night training session gone too far, sir.” He explained.

“We got a little rough with one another.” Taichi added. “Nothing more, sir.”

The dojo master paused for a moment, but dismissed it for the time being. Behind their backs, Aya and Miwa exchanged a fist bump.

...

At lunch that day, the two girls sat at their little table of solitude. Aya took a moment to check on their former tormentors, somewhat pleased to see that they were making their way towards the opposite end of the mess hall.

“If that’s what the Foot has been reduced to, we really have our work cut out for us.”

“I couldn’t agree more.” Miwa replied.

The two ate for a minute, then Aya noticed Miwa’s gaze drift over to Taichi and Yamato. Her expression was an uneasy one, something that made Aya a bit worried.

“What’s wrong?” she asked. “You look nervous.”

“Nothing.” Miwa quickly replied.

Aya leaned forward with a skeptical look. Miwa sighed and gave in.

“It’s just…” she began, “I’ve got this feeling about them. Something about how they acted felt… off.”

“What do you mean?” Aya questioned.

“The entire time they were talking, they never once mentioned Shredder by name.” Miwa pointed out.

“Just said I was the ‘daughter of the traitor’.”

“Okay. So?” Aya inquired.

“Shredder had me convinced that my true father, Hamato Yoshi, betrayed the Foot.” Miwa explained.

“Betrayed us all. What if…?”

She shook her head, turning back to her food.

“Nah.” she dismissed. “I’m just paranoid. I’m letting a bad night get to me.”

“Just relax.” Aya insisted. “I’m sure they won’t be bothering us anymore. Yesterday was just a pair of boys who thought they were all that. Now that you’ve established they’re not, we’ve got nothing to worry about.”

“Hope you’re right.” Miwa replied.

...

As Aya predicted, neither Taichi nor Yamato bothered them after that. Very slowly, Miwa began to earn the respect of her fellow trainees. There were still the occasional whispers and hateful glares, but with Aya by her side, Miwa could easily ignore them. A week of two into her training, Miwa finally decided to call home.

"Hello?" Splinter answered before the second ring could begin.

“Hey, dad.” Miwa greeted. “It’s me.”

"Miwa." Splinter replied, a hint of relief in his voice. ”It is so good to hear your voice again. I have missed you greatly."

“Miss you too, dad.” Miwa told him.

"How is Japan?" Splinter asked.

“It’s alright.” Miwa replied simply.

Splinter chuckled on the other end.

"When your siblings say that, they are usually hiding something." he told her before his tone became serious. ”Has something happened?"

Miwa sighed, then told him the truth.

“Things have been pretty rough.” she admitted. “Most of the trainees, and even the Masters themselves, have trouble seeing me as anything but Shredder’s daughter.”

Splinter let out a sigh of his own, feeling sympathetic for his daughter.

"Fear and hatred are a poison that is hard to cure." he told her.

“I know.” she replied. “But things are slowly getting better. I even made a friend who’s willing to stand up for me, so there’s that.”

"Then it seems you are faring better than we are." Splinter admitted.

Miwa felt a lump of cold fear settle in her stomach.

“What happened?” she questioned. “Are you okay?”

"Do you recall when your siblings disappeared into space for several weeks?" Splinter inquired.

“Of course I do.” Miwa replied. “We were all worried sick.”

"It would seem that during their adventure, they made... rather dangerous enemies who tracked them back here." He explained. ”They laid siege to New York, and revealed our presence in the city."

“No…” Miwa gasped, putting a hand over her mouth in shock. “You mean…”
"Yes." Splinter said. ”Everyone in New York knows about us now."

“Oh my God.” She let out, horrified at the idea. “Are you guys okay? Do I need to come home?”

"We are all alright." Splinter assured her. ”We have been laying low for a few days. With luck, the city will settle down and we can return to our lives."

“Here’s hoping.” Miwa said quietly.

Suddenly, there was a knock on her door. Miwa looked up at the noise.

“Be right there!” She called out before turning back to her call. “I’ve got to go.”

"I understand." Splinter told her. ”It was good to hear from you again, my daughter.”

“Same to you, Dad.” Miwa agreed. “I love you.”

"And I, you." Splinter declared.

Miwa hung up and answered the door, where she was greeted by the sight of a breathless Aya.

“Aya?” she greeted in confusion. “What’s going on?”

“Miwa, you have to come with me.” Aya insisted. “It’s Taichi and Yamato.”

“What did those two do this time?” Miwa asked.

“It’s what they’re going to do that I’m worried about.” Aya clarified.

She then took Miwa by the arm, both of them slipping out of the room.

“I passed by their rooms earlier, and they weren’t inside.” Aya explained. “It’s lights out, so everyone should be in bed.”

Miwa sighed.

“And here I was hoping they wouldn’t be that stupid.” she deadpanned. “Any idea where they are now?”

“Well, I’ve been keeping an eye on them ever since the incident, and they do like to retreat to the old garden shed when they think nobody’s looking.” Aya answered.

Miwa blinked in surprise, stopping for a moment.

“You…” she let out, “You were following them?”

“With your bad feeling about them, I just wanted to be sure.” she rationalized.

Miwa smiled at her friend.

“Well, let’s see what they’re up to then.”

...

Slipping out of the compound was easier than either of the girls could believe. Keeping to the shadows and being as silent as possible, Aya and Miwa trekked across the grounds, careful to avoid and guard patrols. After doing this for several minutes, they eventually arrived at the garden shed Aya had mentioned before. As they inch towards the door, they hear voices inside.

“She’s been watching us too closely.” Taichi said.

“Her little guard dog isn’t helping either.” Yamato muttered. “This is our first chance to contact you thanks to her following us.”

Red flags shooting up like crazy, both girls lurk outside the door, making sure to keep quiet as they listened in.

“Your orders were to observe and not draw attention to yourselves.” A new voice, one that seemed to be coming through a phone, snarled. “Or can you not obey the simplest of commands?”

“Our deepest apologies, sir.” Taichi replied remorsefully.

“If this is what the Foot has been reduced to, then Master Shredder will never know his justly deserved vengeance.” The new voice growled.

Both girls covered their mouths to keep themselves quiet, exchanging shocked looks.

“No. He will.” Yamato swore. “I assure you of that.”

“Then for both of your sakes, I urge you not to mess up again.” The new voice warned. “For your next mistake will be your last.”

Both boys gulped nervously.

“As you command, Master Khan.” Taichi said respectfully.

Miwa went wide-eyed at that, recognizing the name all too well. She then grabbed Aya and pulled her away from the shed just as the two boy prepared to leave. Once they’re gone, the girls retreated back inside.

...

The girls took refuge in Miwa’s room, trying to come to terms with what they had just learned.

“They’re loyal to Shredder.” Miwa let out. “It makes so much sense.”

“What are they planning?” Aya questioned.

“Let’s try and figure this out.” Miwa insisted, pacing around the room. “They’ve managed to earn the respect of Master Tatsu to the point that he’s called them his ‘Greatest Warriors’.”

She stopped pacing, a sense of dread washing over her. Aya saw her stop, coming to the same horrifying conclusion.

“Oh no...” Miwa let out. “I know what they’re planning.”

“What?” Aya asked, already knowing the answer.

Miwa swallowed hard, turning to her friend.

“They’re here to kill Master Tatsu.” she answered.

Aya gasped in horror, jumping to her feet.

“We have to warn him!” she exclaimed.

Miwa quickly grabbed her arm, shushing her.

“We can’t.” she insisted. “He won’t believe us. Remember, they’re Master Tatsu’s prized pupils, and we’re the trouble-making outcasts.”

Aya cursed, turning back to Miwa.

“We have to do something.” she insisted. “We can’t let them kill him!”

“We won’t.” Miwa promised. “But we have to be smart about this. We’ll need to stop them, and prove that they were behind it all. Otherwise, they’ll be free to try again.”

“What do you suggest?” Aya asked.

“We figure out Master Tatsu’s routine, and discover the best time and place to perform an assassination.” Miwa answered. “Knowing those two, that’s probably why they cozied up to him.”

“I get it.” Aya nodded in understanding. “If we figure out the best time and place, then there’s a likely chance that’s when Taichi and Yamato are going to strike.”

“Exactly.” Miwa declared.

...

The girls spent the next day subtly observing Tatsu. Through their observations, they found that the Master spent most of the morning in meditation before going out to observe the training. During the afternoon, he partook in his own training with the fellow dojo masters before retiring to eat. During the evenings, he assigned the nightly guards before calling for lights out, then spent an hour or so walking along the halls, ensuring everyone was in bed.

In her room, Miwa looked at the screen of her shell cell, texting with Aya. Neither wanted to risk sneaking out a second time, and thus stuck with texting one another to discuss their findings.

“What did you find out?” Miwa texted.

"Bad location during the day.” Aya answered back. ”Not enough entry points, and will be spotted instantly."

“Same for afternoon and most of the evening.” Miwa told her. “Only real opportunity is post lights out rounds.”

"Makes sense" Aya replied. ”Question is from where will they strike?"

“Close quarters attack would be suicide.” Miwa insisted. “If their attack on us is anything to go by. They’d try for a ranged attack.”

"Sniper?" Aya suggested.

“Perhaps.” Miwa replied. “A gun would be too loud though, and would give away their position, even with a silencer.”

"Well, Yamato is top of the ranks in archery." Aya offered up.

“Then that’s how he’s gonna do it.” Miwa declared. “What are good vantage points for an archer to go unnoticed?”

It took a moment for Aya to answer. When she finally did, it was a picture of what looked like a crude drawing of the compound. There was a pink M and a black A on the rough map, no doubt indicating the location of both Miwa’s and Aya’s rooms. There was a dotted line that was Master Tatsu’s route, then a few red Xs along the outer wall. Miwa scrutinized the map, trying to figure out the best place. She then noticed one X relatively close to the pink M, her eyes narrowing.

“Hang on...” she let out. “Why didn’t I think of it before?”

She set her phone down, going to the window of her room.

“Rule number one of assassination, always have a scapegoat ready.” She hissed.

She looked out her window, scanning the area before eventually settling onto a figure hiding in the trees. In the figure’s hands, she could see a bow being pulled back, an arrow ready to fire.

“Oh shell!” Miwa let out.

She bolted out of her room, just in time to see Tatsu rounding the corner. Moving as fast as she could, she ran towards him.

“Master Tatsu, look out!”

She tackled him to the ground, just as an arrow came flying through the window. It struck Miwa in the shoulder, causing her to cry out in pain. Tatsu pulled himself up and saw what Miwa had done, gasping in surprise.

“What is this?” He questioned.

“Assassin!” Miwa let out, holding her injured shoulder. “Outside! In the tree!”

Tatsu turned towards the tree and saw someone climbing out, trying to escape. His eyes narrowing, he busted through the window, giving chase.

“Stop that ninja!” He shouted.

Tatsu’s shouting woke up nearly everyone up, Foot Ninjas pouring out of every door and window. Aya was among them, her eyes instantly locking on the running figure. Thinking fast, she drew several kunai knives from her sleeve, throwing them at the retreating figure. One of the knives nailed him in the leg, causing him to fall to the ground. Tatsu was on him in a matter of seconds, pinning him to the ground before pulling off his mask.

“Yamato?” Tatsu gasped, dropping the mask in shock. “You?”

A rustle of movement caught his eye, then he caught a second arrow aimed at him. Aya threw another knife, this one hitting pay dirt and sending a second ninja falling to the ground, the knife embedded in their shoulder. Aya grabbed them, dragging them over to Tatsu before unmasking them, revealing Taichi.

“Taichi as well.” Tatsu let out, completely stunned. “But why?”

“Because they serve the Shredder’s Faction.” Aya declared. “Miwa and I heard them speaking with Khan.”

“The Japan cell leader.” Tatsu said quietly before turning to the two traitors. “Why?”

“Shredder was right.” Yamato snapped. “The Foot Clan is weak!”

“He should be the one in charge, not you!” Taichi declared.

“You’re wrong...” Miwa grunted.

The gathering crowd then parted as Miwa made her way forward, the arrow still stuck in her shoulder.

“The Shredder was wrong.” She insisted. “He dishonored everything the Foot stands for. He deceived, manipulated, and did terrible things for his own selfish reasons. He got what he deserved.”

Taichi snarled, then elbowed Aya in the gut, pulling the knife from his shoulder.

“Traitor!” he screamed. “You turned your back on your own father!”

He charged, but Karai easily kicked the knife out of his hand. Two trainees then pinned him to the ground as Karai caught the knife in her good hand, offering it to Tatsu handle out.

“Shredder. Is not. My father.” she declared.

Tatsu took the knife from her, looking at her as if seeing her in a different light. He then nodded, turning to Taichi and Yamato.

“Take these two away.” He ordered. “I’ll take Miss Hamato to the medical wing.”

The two were roughly escorted away as Tatsu took Miwa’s arm. Aya was by her side as well, the two helping her to walk back inside.

...

The arrow was removed with little difficulty, and only some minor swearing on Miwa’s part. Her wound was bandaged and her arm put in a sling, something that made her sigh.

“Guess I’ll be stuck in one-armed combat for a while.” she quipped.

“Just give yourself time to heal.” Aya told her. “On the plus side, I’m pretty sure this incident will make life here easier for you.”

“Hopefully.” Miwa replied.

There was a polite cough, drawing the attention of the girls. They turned to the door, seeing Tatsu standing there.

“I would like to speak to Miss Hamato alone, if you please.” he requested.

“Of course.” Miwa told him, giving Aya a pat on the shoulder.

Aya nodded, then walked out of the room, leaving Tatsu and Miwa alone. Tatsu stood before her, his hands behind his back as he addressed her.

“When you came here, I told you that action would be needed if we were to cleanse the Foot of the stain of the Shredder.” He told her. “Your actions tonight not only rid us of two traitors, but also saved my life.”

He gave her a small bow.

“Thank you, Hamato Miwa.” he said gratefully.

Miwa just smiled.

“I told you before, I came here to atone for my crimes as Karai.” she reminded him. “Hopefully, this is only one of many good deeds I perform.”

Tatsu lifted his head, giving her a genuine smile.

“Let us hope not all of them end in serious injury.” He remarked. “I would hate to lose an honorable warrior.”

He took his leave at that, and Miwa laid down. A smile slipped onto her face as a sense of contentment filled her heart. It had taken her literally taking a shot for him, but she had earned Tatsu’s respect.

“Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.” she mused.

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