Chapter 3: Forge the New Path
For the next six months Shadow lived with the Hamato family, growing into her own person. At times she did have bad days but with the support of her family and friends around her, she wasn’t scare anymore. Shadow even showed them one more thing she was able to do differently than other humans that she was scare to show them due to her past trauma. It was a few days after the guys surprised her with her own room that she decided to join the guys in ninjutsu training. Shadow walked in the dojo one day after breakfast wearing a loosely fitting dusty grey tank top with loose fitting black pants with grey hand wraps. Shadow pulled all her hair into a tight ponytail that fell onto the middle of her back. The rooms light were low enough that Shadow didn’t have to wear her glasses but she did take them with her encase her head started hurting later on.
“Can I join you guys today” Shadow asked. The guys nodded in agreement while Splinter motioned for Shadow to fit between Leo and Raph.
Everyone went through the same routine with warmup stretches and mediation for the first hour and half. Everyone including Splinter were impressed that Shadow was able to keep up with every despite no previous training nor knowledge that they knew of. Moving onto kantas; only Leo who practiced all the time and Shadow were able to continue perform them to the end while the others had to watch at the other side of the room. The type of skill and grace that was required to perform even the simples of kantas memorizes Raph, Don, and Mikey as they watch both Leo and Shadow copy each of Splinters moves perfectly until the last one.
Shadow and Leo both bowed at Splinter then looked at each other, Shadow had a small bead of sweat forming on her brow and was breathing a little heavier than before but she looked like she was enjoying herself. Then everyone moved onto sparring, but because Shadow still had an injured shoulder she had to sit out with Splinter.
Once the sparring between the brothers from hand-to-hand combat to weapons Shadow’s eyes started to change from amber to gold and cat eyed. At the beginning Shadow would do anything to stop them from changing but now, she saw them more as a gift than a curse. Slowing down the speed of the turtle’s movements helped Shadow train her mind and reflexes so that when she could train with them she could all of them increase their skills.
It was after training when Shadow revealed more of what made her different.
Everyone stepped out of the dojo covered in sweat and heavy breathing but that didn’t stop Raph and Mikey from arguing with each other over the littlest of things. Leo and Don wanted to leave them to deal with it themselves but knowing both of them they guessed it might get too heated. Shadow stood with Leo and Donnie while Raph chased Mike around the lair, but what no noticed was the small crack at the top of the lair growing and getting weaker. Raph was able to corner Mikey and throw him over his shoulder towards Leo, Donnie and Shadow.
Just as Mikey landed on the ground did everyone look up to the small rocks that fell onto Mike’s plastron but it was too late to move Mikey as a few rocks started to fall from the crack in the ceiling. The rocks weren’t large enough to kill Mikey but if they fell on him he would be seriously injured.
“MIKEY” Everyone cried out.
Everything slowed down for Shadow, taking a deep breathe she planted both feet firmly on the ground. Raising her hands in the air Shadow closed her eyes and focused her mind on the falling rocks and Mikey. The lair started to shake slightly but just as the rocks were about to fall onto Mikey they just stop. Mikey opened his eyes to see the rocks that were about to crush him were just floating above his head. Raph, Leo, and Donnie pulled Mikey out from under the rocks. They looked over to see how they were stopped only for Shadow to catch their eyes.
“Is he alright?” Shadow asked while grinding her teeth together.
“Yeah he’s good. Umm Shadow what are-“
Donnie was unable to finish as they watched Shadow close both of her hands into a fist, lowering her left arm to the ground first Shadow then then arched her body and left arm to the ground. The rocks that were about to fall onto Mikey were know flying back to where they fell from. Shadow then closed her right fist taking a deep breath as she exhaled and raised her right fist into the air did flames fly out. The rocks were know scorched and with little time until the bond between the rocks broke once again Shadow gather some of the ponds water into a ball and flung it up to the scorched rocks; sealing the bond between the rocks and their base so that they wouldn’t come loose again. As a last patch to the ceiling Shadow blew a strong current towards the rocks so that the rocks were now cool off and the bond won’t break unless forced to by an incredible strong force.
Shadow looked at the guys who were wide eyed and shocked. Shadow looked at what she did and was about to run and hide in her room when Mikey jumped out from his brother’s grasp saying,
“That was so cool. You gotta do that again.” Shadow was shocked at what Mikey was saying.
“Don’t you think that was weird? Too strange and different for you guys?” Shadow asked in a low voice.
The guys shook their heads.
“Hell no kid, just amazed us ta silence that’s all.” Raph said joining Mikey in his excitement.
“Yeah, do something else.” Mikey said.
Shadow nodded her head, walking over to the guys she placed her right arm out to her side. As she was walking over to the turtles did some of the water from the pond trail beside her.
“I didn’t say this earlier Donnie but I could’ve healed by shoulder a long time ago.” Shadow said smirking at Donnie.
“What do you mean?” Don asked.
Donnie got his answer as he witnessed Shadow taking the water from the pond and first cleaning it of any dirt with her left hand. Placing the dirt back into the pond she took the now clean water into a ball and placed it against her left shoulder. While her hand moved slightly across her wound shoulder the guys watched as a small light from the ball glowed through. Then just as the light started to glow too bright for their eyes that the ball disappear into her body.
“See.” Shadow said pulling the corner of her collar off her injured shoulder.
Donnie looked closely at her shoulder to see that there was no more stitches or even a scar from the attack that placed her in their care.
“I never showed you guys because I thought it would make you guys fear me. I know that you guys are my family but I still have thoughts like that in the back of my mind that you guys would abandon me because of what I am.” Shadow stated looking down at the ground.
Donnie looked over to his brothers for some support.
Leo was the first to speak while placing his hand on Shadow’s now healed shoulder.
“Never think that imooto we’re now family and that means we stay together no matter what, right guys?”
“Hell yea, kid yer gifts or powers make ya cooler than what we originally thought. I mean we all thought yer col but this just pushes everythin’ out the window and makes it even better.” Raph stated.
“You’re like one of my comic books so that makes you like number one in my book” Mikey added.
“People just don’t things that are different that probably why they fear people like you and us but no matter our differences we are family and we will always stand together.” Don said.
From that day Shadow stopped hiding who she was. After tell their friends and Splinter about Shadow did life for her start to become more and more enjoyable.
Leo helped Shadow customize her own weapons for battle. After discussing with Splinter about what weapons she would use in battle they decided to go with the katana but instead of having two she was allowed to have three. Two long range and one shorter blade that could match Shadow’s speed and precision. Leo and Shadow worked on forging the blades in the garage after dinner. Each katana had Hamato clan symbol and name in kanji craved into the black scabbard while the handles was black with red typed mixed in to the middle creating a wave pattern. Each handle was designed differently so that Shadow could tell which blade was which.
The guards on the two long ranger swords were silver and the short range was gold. When the swords were unsheathed the blades were made of high grade stainless steel each with a design on them. Leo worked on the design that Shadow called her favorite. It was one of her long range swords with a dragon about three inches big from with its tail beginning at the guard to the tip of the blade. The other long range blade had a tiger appearing to leap off the blade to attack. The short range blade was last; both Shadow and Leo worked on this one. The design of the blade had the phoenix soaring though the sky with little clouds surrounding it.
While during the morning Shadow worked with Donnie with her armor and at night Shadow was with Leo, Raph had Shadow’s attention during the afternoon and nights after Leo and Shadow finished her swords. During that time they worked on making a shell cycle out of parts Raph and Casey were able to get from some of Casey’s old bikes and the junkyard. The construction of the bike was going to take most of their time due to the fact they were building a working bike from scratch and combined with other commitments and time Shadow’s bike was taking longer than expected but that didn’t discourage either one of them.
In fact they enjoyed the time together; Raph and Shadow discovered they had a lot in common from fight techniques and forms to shows on the television about wrestling and motorbike races. It was about mid-December when Raph and Shadow finish the motorcycle and nothing felt better than the fact they both felt closer than ever to each other. The motorcycle had the same design as Raph’s but the color was black with gold trim. The handles were black with red stripes all across, Raph even used the scraps of metal they didn’t use and extended the left side of the bike so that Shadow could have somewhere to hid her swords in public and to use them encase of danger. The holder was designed to look like it was to be used for a sidecar with a dragon flying in the sky engraved in the metal.
While Raph, Donnie, and Leo took up most of Shadow’s time with their little projects Mikey found time to hang out with her when they cooked for everyone. Mikey’s skills were just at beginner but with Shadow’s help they were able to use a lot more of the leftovers of meals and scraps to create more nutritional and better tasting meals. The time spent in the kitchen and at times comic book comparisons made Shadow’s heart feel lighter and lighter. ‘The Michelangelo affect’ was what Shadow would call it. Though at times Mikey did get on her nerves Shadow gladly received help from Raph to show Mikey the error of his ways.
Shadow and Donnie worked on some armor for when they went on patrol together and the glasses for Shadow to wear were no complete. Donnie was able to make them just like the ones’ she was use to but now the lenses not only stop light from coming in but also at night they could switch between night vision and thermal vision via a switch and senor on the side of the frames. It was at the end of December when Shadow and Donnie finished customizing her armor. Even though Donnie and Shadow were the ones that built the armor from scratch everyone took a part in designing each and every component. With the completion of the armor did Donnie call everyone outside his lab to get their reactions of when Shadow stepped out for the first time in her armor.
The door to the lab creaked open just as everyone quieted down and watched as Shadow stepped out in her full body armor. Shadow decided to stay with Japanese influences and had her armor designed to a kunoichi.
Shadow first wore forming black sleeveless turtle neck and pants with black fingerless gloves that extended from her wrist to her elbow. On top was the armor that they both cared and worked day after day on. All the metal armor was made of titanium due to its lightweight and ease for Shadow to move in without trouble. The chest plate had chain mail wielded inside for extra protection. The chest plate was attached by two straps of Velcro that connected the back and front while soften, more flexible metal was used to help connect the sides of the plates. Both arm covers were made of titanium that protected the back of Shadow’s hands, connected by Velcro at the wrist and below the elbow. Long with covers for her legs that covered from the top of Shadow’s knees to the bottom of her shins, little room was left for her black boots that were laced with dark grey laces. Don reinforced Shadow’s boots steel on the tops, when Shadow asked Don gave no reply but she guessed it was him being overprotective of her entering battle. All the metal was coated to a smoky grey color while the straps were light black.
On Shadow’s waist held up by a dark grey leather belt with matching two holders. Since Shadow was left handed her swords would be primary held on the right side of her body. On her left side held a small dark grey leather case; falling mid-level on her thigh that held kunai knives. Behind her was another small dark grey leather case that held some medical supplies and a steel container that housed some water for Shadow to use encase of emergencies.
Each of the armor was designed by Shadow’s brothers. Leo took control of Shadow’s chest plate, the back had the Hamato clan symbol carved into the back then painted in with black to make it more eligible. A dragon and phoenix that at first had their tails circled the Hamato clan symbol with the dragon on the bottom and phoenix on top then moved across to the back to her front chest plate. The dragon moved from the bottom left corner to the middle while the phoenix entered from the top right corner to the middle, in midair about to clash at each other.
Raph handled her arm covers and had a flame design cover portion of metal that covered just form her wrist to her elbow, leaving the back of her hands portion with Hamato in kanji engraved and painted black on top. Mikey left the design on her legs simple and focused on the leather bags on her thigh and on her belt, Mikey thought all the designs made the armor too masculine for Shadow so he carved into the leather two cherry blossoms from the bottom to the top of the case on her leg and sewed with the help of April a lucky charm with the word “protection” translated into Japanese and written in kanji into the back lining of the bag. Donnie didn’t add anything since he had a hand in from day one with Shadow and her armor.
All that was left was the gift from Splinter, Casey and April. They were able to create a mask to cover from where the bottom of the glasses fell all across the bottom of her face. The mask helped filter out foreign bodies and anything toxic that could enter her system. It was made of flexible titanium that was painted dark grey, connecting ear to ear and with a switch would come apart in the middle and fall back behind her ears. April design them to look like head phones so that Shadow didn’t have to constantly remove them all she had to do was touch the back side of one of her ears for the mask to extend back out and connect to her face. Under the metal was a plastic filter system that was completely self-efficient primarily working off Shadow’s ability to work with air. When the mask is activated all Shadow had to do was to touch the middle of the mask, activating a micro sensor built into the mask and breathe out a strong current of air so the filters could be activated.
Everyone knew the moment that Shadow stepped out with her hair tied up into a tight ponytail, glasses, mask and swords that she was a warrior.