Yup, it's me again! Sooner then I've expected myself to finish the next 'episode' actually! Thanks for all the reviews for last time! I'm really glad you like the story and characters! To be honest I wasn't too good in 'super-hero stories' so I was quite afraid of how this'll turn out and I must say that I'm pretty glad with the result so far.
Now, before I go any further, I'd like to ask you guys something: if you prefer me to write this fic in more 'comic way' or 'cartoon way'. I'll say this straight: this fic was based on the cartoon mostly, so it's not gonna be too dark, but if you guys prefer it I can write it in more comic way and by that I mean going a bit deeper into character feelings etc. But before you make a choice, please note that it'll always be mostly an action/adventure and comedy fic with '13 episodes per season' :D
With that done, I believe I can get on with the show:
Episode 2: Shinobi Showdown
Red Dragon landed on his feet as a powerful explosion occurred behind his back. But he had no time to rest as shuriken flew right at him from small cannons placed in the rocks. Acting on instinct he pulled out his swords and deflected the incoming weapons with them, still running forward.
It was then that stone spikes started shooting from below ground. In a blink of an eye the young shinobi jumped into the air and landing on the first spike, he bounced of it and landed on another, repeating his previous action. With reaching the end of spike route a wide net was shoot straight at him, but he merely cut in half with his swords that he still held in his hands.
As he kept on running, metal balls shoot from below the ground and began circling around him, forming a ring. Then, with an incredible speed, they began shooting at him, making Red Dragon dodge them by any means possible. The first incoming ball was avoided by him jumped up and the second was deflected with the sword. As he landed back on the ground, the rolled under the third and used his left hand to change directions before he could came to a stop as the fourth ball was heading straight at him.
As the balls kept attacking wildly, the Titans leader just kept on running forward, avoiding or deflecting every, single one of the balls, sometimes seemingly in inhuman way. Finally he reached a tall wall, on which he ran. Using the speed, he managed to reach a certain point and as gravity reminded him on her existence, he stabbed his sword into the wall and used it to climb up. The moment he reached the top, he jumped down and a loud buzz was heard.
He breathed a little heavily and then glared at Wendigo, who was standing on a nearby hill, behind a special computer. The African American checked some switches and after a short moment, he announced: "Fifty nine seconds, RD. That's the second best time overall…"
"I wanna do the obstacle course again!" announced the ninja boy. Wendigo only threw him a worried look and after a moment of hesitation, he replied: "Look man, stop… so Electro got a better score then you did, big deal. You know you won't be faster then him, coz he basically gets through the course before most of the traps even manage to activate…"
"I wanna do the course again!" demanded Red Dragon, this time rising his voice slightly. It was then that Nightstar flew closer to her friend and with a both worried and sad expression showing on her face, she asked the team leader quietly:
"Why are you so determinate on this? Why push yourself so hard?" but before the ninja boy managed to answer that, even if he wanted to, Electro came from the tower, carrying few letter: "You dudes, mail's here!" he announced and began to go through the packages.
"Bill… bill… bill…bill…" he went on, throwing most of the letters away. "Bill… oh, this one's for me… no, wait, it's just a bill from my all-you-can-eat night out… bill… bill… this one's for Gaia…" and with that he handed the redhead girl the letter, which she quickly opened and began reading. "Bill… bill… one for Star…" and this time the half-Tamaranian received the mail. "Bill… bill… hey, there's even some weird looking scroll for you, Red!" and so he handed the Titans leader the scroll, which he instantly unwrapped, a little surprised.
"And that's it!" announced the speedster as Wendigo began picking up all the bills the short teen threw away. "Boy, this sucks… what ever happened to my fan club?"
"Since went do you have one?" asked the white-furred Titan with a raised eyebrow. "The only letters you ever get is some bills for eating too much… no, wait, one was for that machine you damaged during that evening you went to the arcade…"
"Well, at least I receive SOME letters…" the blonde shoot back with an evil smile, but just then the ninja boy closed the scroll he was reading and headed back to the tower. "Hey, Red, what's wrong?" asked Electro, but he got no answer.
The moment the Titans leader returned to his room, her took his backpack and began packing. His eyes were narrowed as the message written on the scroll echoed in his head:
It's been a while, Red Dragon… and I'd certainly like to tell you everything that happened during the time you abandoned us, but that can wait. I need you back here… and that is not a request… that is an order. It'd seem that a certain business that should have been taken care of long ago has yet to be resolved. And resolving it was your duty. Meet me out the temple. I'll be waiting.
Signed Mong Zu
And with putting the last of his shuriken into his backpack, he left the room through the window, in hope to avoid meeting his friends. As fast as he could, he reached the airport and took the first flight to Japan… a free flight, that is.
"Red Dragon?" Nightstar called her friend with knocking on his door lightly. "Red Dragon, I just wanted to make sure if everything is okay…" and with that she opened the door before walking into the room.
Now that she came in, she realized this was basically her first time being in it since the time the ninja boy took it as his and she was living in the Tower the longest. She found her friend's room quite unusual: a punching dummy hung in the corner and several, training sticks stood next to that. On the walls hung many, unique weapons, such as swords, sticks, axes and shuriken, many decorated with golden paint, though the half-Tamaranian noticed that some spots seemed to be empty. In the entire room there were only two closets and a bed.
"Red Dragon?" Nightstar repeated quietly, now starting to get worry as she held her hands together. And in a flash she flew back to the living room, sounding the alarm: "Friends, trouble! Red Dragon is gone!"
"Red's gone!" yelled Electro, grabbing his head. "Red's gone! Oh no, this can't be so! I'm too young for Red to disappear! What are we gonna do? What are we gonna do!" and with that he began running around the room like crazy. In the whole racket no-one even noticed Gaia walking out.
"Any idea why he left or where?" asked Wendigo, keeping his calm.
"No…" Nightstar shook her head, but at this time Gaia returned, holding the mysterious scroll from this morning in her hand: "Will this do?" she asked a little sarcastic as she handed the 'mail' to the furry Titan.
And as the young heroes began preparations to fly to Japan, night felt over the sky in the island country while Red Dragon set his feet on the land and left Tokyo, heading towards the nearby mountains. That was his real destination.
The route led up and soon the young shinobi found himself sticking to the cold, mountain wall as the road became narrow and the way down was certainly a long one. Cold wind blew, sending chills down his spine, but years of training allowed him to ignore what his body could not. He hate to admit it, but he was trained to be an assassin. His skills were supposed to away life. He lowered his sight at the memory of the days he was still very young.
Finally he managed to reached an old temple, surrounded with a wall built from grey stones. As he walked through the gate he entered a wide square with a lot of wooden, training sticks, which certainly saw better days. The building, mostly made from both wood and stone, seemed like they hadn't been cleared for at least a year and in some places they began to fall apart. But all that wasn't important to Red Dragon. What interested him the most was a man standing in the middle of the square.
He was an elder man, who seemed around eighty. He wore a traditional, mostly blue, Japanese dress, decorated with black leaves and a black, snake dragon on the back. The man had grey hair and an awfully long beard, that reached all the way to the ground.
"Ah, Red Dragon…" the man spoken in a weak voice as he noticed the Titans leader. "I'm glad you managed to come… and that you've decided to listen to an old man's request…"
"Request?" replied the ninja boy coldly with narrowed eyes. "You wrote yourself that was an order. Or did your age became this much of a burden to you that you can't even remember your own words from few days ago?"
"Do I really deserve that?" asked the man calmly, still smiling. "I took you in when you had no-one… I've shown you how to defend yourself…" but at this point he was interrupted by the teenager: "Yeah, because you believe I'll become a killer!"
"Even when this is true, you can't deny the fact that I took care of you…" responded Mong Zu, losing his patience a little. But he was quick to regain his posture and once more spoken in his calm voice: "And yet, my orders shouldn't be important to you, so you came here out of your own, free will…"
"Consider this my final favor to you…" replied Red Dragon, still coldly, crossing his hands. "Tell me what you expect from me, so I can leave this behind. My friends might worry about me…" and at hearing that, the man smiled: "Your friends, eh? And do they know how you gained your skills?" and as the boy lowered his head slightly, the man's smile widen even more: "I'll take that as a 'no'… but that's only natural… after all, you claim you're not an assassin… you can deny that fact, but that is for what you were trained for and nothing you can do will be able to change that fact…"
"Why did you call me here?" demanded the Titans leader, losing his patience.
"But of course…" replied Mong Zu, but the smile didn't disappear from his face. "For starters, you should know that the Society fell apart soon after you've run away…" and at that point he made a pause, making RD's eyes narrow: "You want me to feel guilty?" he asked, still in a cold voice.
"No, of course not…" responded the man with a little widen smile. "After all, guilt is an emotion and we trained you to throw those away… but you must know why the Society felt apart. It was because of Black Phoenix…" and as Mong Zu mentioned that name, Red Dragon's eyes widen. "Ah, I see you still remember him… you two were the… top of the class. But when you quit, Black Phoenix decided that he has no reason to stay anymore. And so he betrayed us… and took the Spear of the Fox…"
"What?" at this point the Titans leader lost his cold attitude completely. "Wasn't that thing a myth? That's what you told me, geezer!" but Mong Zu only smiled again: "It exists… and all you've heard about it is true… it was the reason why the Society was so feared…"
"So why call me?" asked Red Dragon. "You want me to take that spear back? I'm not a member of the Society anymore and further more, I don't have any business with Black Phoenix anymore. What he does is not my concern…"
"Do you really think that statement can convince me? I raised you, Red Dragon… I know you better then anyone… besides, Black Phoenix wants you… he said he'll be visiting your memorial stone everyday until you'll come… he wants to finish your rivalry once and for all."
The Titans leader lowered his head and looking at the ground, he stated: "I'll do this and my dept to you is paid… once the spear will be taken away from Black Phoenix, I don't know you anymore and I expect that you'll do the same with me…"
"Agreed…" nodded the old man and receiving his confirmation, the young ninja went on his way. He knew what Black Phoenix meant by their memorial stone. It was the place they've always fought each other. Back then they claimed it's was just sparring, but in reality, they were a little too serious for their matches to be called training.
"Ah, Tokyo!" announced Electro with a smile as he put his sunglasses on. "C'mon people, if we'll hurry, we'll get to the 24/7 arcade that's nearby!" and as he said so, everyone else sweat dropped.
"Since it's 24/7…" began Wendigo slowly. "Where's the rush? Besides, we came here to find Red Dragon!" and with that he raised his voice, but then instantly tried to calm down. "Oh right, this should be easy…" replied the short teen sarcastically. "After all, this is only a few million metropolis, how finding one guy in it could prove difficult by any means!"
"I never thought I'll be forced to say this, but Electro's right…" Gaia agreed, teasing the blonde boy a bit. "Red left his communicator behind, so it's not like he'll be calling for pizza… and this is Japan after all, it's not like a guy wearing a ninja outfit would really stand out…"
"But with must find him!" stated Nightstar with determination in her voice. "He may be in danger and need our assistance!" and so she flew towards the city. The other Titans just exchanged glares and followed her, with Electro only whining a little about 'at least buying the new Gamestation'…
---Back to Red Dragon---
Finally the young hero came to the right spot: a cliffy with one, single tree. He didn't had to wait for his adversary. The thief was already there. He wore the same clothes as Red Dragon, with only one difference: in the place where the Titans leader had a dragon, the other boy had a violet phoenix. And he held a long spear with golden handle and strange markings on the blade. And what could be seen as surprising to some of you, he was the same age as RD!
"So, you finally came…" stated the boy, apparently Black Phoenix, with a smile appearing behind his mask. "Took you long enough, old friend… I was even starting to think you wouldn't want to have a reunion… it saddens me, really…"
"Cut it, BP…" replied Red Dragon with an ordering tone. "Why did you steal the Spear of the Fox? For someone who was so committed to the Society, the last thing I'd except was tratory…"
"As usual, you misunderstand…" came a response. "All I never wanted… was to finish our rivalry!" and with that Black Phoenix jumped forward, aiming the blade of his weapon at the Titans leader's head.
Acting on instinct, RD jumped back and as the spear hit the ground when he stood just a moment ago, flames burst out, burning the grass around it. But what surprised the young heroes the most, was the fact that those flames didn't even touch BP… they acted almost as if they avoided contact with him on their own.
"Cool trick, isn't it?" asked the boy with a smile behind his mask. "The Spear of the Fox… this is really the reason why the Society was so respected, Red… it can generate flame at will… a flame that I have control over!" and in a flash he lifted the weapon up, aiming the blade at his former comrade.
Right before the Titans leader's eyes a fireball shoot right at him at an amazing speed. Without a second to waste, the young hero jumped to his left and while somersaulting, he drew out his katana. As he landed back on the ground, he charged straight at his former comrade, aiming his blade at the other teen.
Immediately Black Phoenix used his spear to block the incoming attack and as the two blades clash, the 'bad guy' swung his weapon with all his might, this making Red Dragon jumped back a little. It was then that BP charged forward, aiming his spear to pierce through the Titans leader's chest, but RD only jumped up a bit and spinning in mid-air, he deflected the attack with sparks flying the moment the blades clashed again, making his opponent pass him by without causing him any injuries.
As the young hero landed on the ground, he turned around instantly in hope to catch his enemy's back and he was a little relieved when noticing his plan worked, however his happiness didn't last long as a powerful ring of fire suddenly arose around Black Phoenix, making the Titans leader jump away from the heat.
"Face it, Red…" BP spoken while turning back slowly to face his former comrade again, with the flames around him slowly distinguishing. "I'm better then you… and even if we were equals, you can't hope to defeat me while I hold the Spear of the Fox…"
"Maybe I can't…" replied the Titans leader calmly. "Maybe I can…" and so he charged at the thief once more, but this time Black Phoenix send an entire fire wave straight at him, that consumed the entire ground.
Red Dragon tried to stop in time, but he was moving at a too big speed to 'hit the breaks' in time and he'd now be a crisp if it wasn't for a familiar lighting that suddenly came out of nowhere, grabbed him and went far away from the fire, disappearing behind the mountains. BP just stood there surprised with the fire burning out, asking himself what just happened. And in the next second, he received an answer:
"Kurae ashige futomono (A/N: I hope I got this right, but sorry to everyone who know Japanese is I mixed up)" he suddenly heard a voice from behind and as he turned around, he spotted Red Dragon standing few meters behind him along with a strange, short, blonde, Asian kid, who was the one who've spoken: "Or if you prefer English: your butt is kicked…"
And in the next moment he noticed three, more arrivals, each floating in the air: a girl with orange skin, long, black hair and green eyes, a girl wearing a green cloak with a hood and a strange, white-furred beast with wings.
"What are you guys doing here?" demanded Red Dragon as his grip on his sword tightened, looking at his friends. "This is none of your business! Leave now! This is my fight and I must fight it alone!"
"Red Dragon, please…" begged Nightstar. "We came to assist…"
"This is my fight and my fight alone!" repeated the Titans leader, more coldly.
"Yeah, like I'll let you have all the fun and glory…" replied Electro and in a flash he was charging at Black Phoenix, releasing a shoot of electricity in the process. But to his surprise, his opponent easily dodged the charge and what seemed even more surprising, attacked his legs with the stick of the spear with an incredible precision.
Unable to dodge in time, the short teen tripped over, rolled on the ground and landed flat few meters away from the thief. In an instant BP shoot a fireball at him, only to have his eyes widen in the next moment as he saw the ball of flames turning around and coming back right at him. In the last second he jumped aside, avoiding being hit.
He looked at the Titans that were still in the air and then the one in green cloak spoke: "I control elements. I cannot create fire, but once the flame is burning, I can do whatever I want with it. Sorry, Bruce Lee junior, but your fireworks won't work while I'm around…"
And just then Wendigo came down and smashed his hands against the ground, making it shake. Black Phoenix certainly wasn't expecting that as he lost his balance slightly. But even that 'slightly' was enough for Nightstar to fly to him and punch the spear out of his hands and straight into the hands of Red Dragon.
With the moment of hesitation, the Titans leader raised the spear to the sky, only to break it in half with his knee a second later. In a flash the weapon began burning, making the young hero let go of it, but before it even hit the ground, it burnt completely, not leaving any ash behind.
Red Dragon walked forward, once again with his katana in his hand, as his eyes narrowed: "It's over B…" he stated calmly and as Black Phoenix looked around, he was already surrounded by the other Titans. "Nowhere to escape…"
"You should know better…" he just replied, with a smile and smashed a smoke bomb right under his feet, making the cloud of white smoke cover him completely and soon 'swallowing' the young heroes as well. Not wasting a second, the Titans leader charged right into the cloud, but it was already too late. His opponent was gone.
---The next day---
Red Dragon sat on a rooftop of the forgotten temple, watching the sun coming up from the horizon. As the first sunrays slowly hit his eyes, he left out a quiet sigh and then, without turning around, he just asked: "You're already up?"
Nightstar, who was now floating behind the ninja boy, nodded with her hands grabbing one another before her face. She flew forward and settled down next to the RD. "Last night… when we interrupted your… battle… you seemed really… angry…" he announced, hesitating on the last word.
The boy didn't reply at first. It even seemed like he didn't hear her. After a longer silence however, he decided to reply: "I wanted for this to be my 'getaway mission'… I owe Mong Zu a great dept… and even though I know he didn't took me in because he was concerned about my fate, he still raised me… he trained me… it's just that…" and at this point he froze for a short moment, not sure of what to say. After a short consideration, he continued: "I never wanted you guys to know how I've gotten my skills… that I was tough them in order to take away lives… I'm not proud of that… I'm not proud of that at all…"
It was then that Nightstar stood back up and placed her hand on his shoulder: "We all received our gifts in different ways. And none of us really had a choice in deciding how they should be granted to us. But it's not what really matters. There are people who gain power by doing wrong and continue to follow that path after they reach their goal. But when you had no saying in receiving your abilities, how you use them is what really counts…" and with that she gave him a warm smile.
The boy's eyes widen slightly and at that point he was happy to wear a mask, just because it prevented his friend to see a big blush appearing on his face. After a short silent, Nightstar continued: "Your skills were granted to you for a reason… but you've decided to use them for a better cause. It won't make me, or any of us for that matter, to think less of you. Actually, it'd be the other way around…" and the moment she said so a smile appeared on the boy's face as well.
He stood up as well and was about to say something, when a strangely familiar voice was heard: "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" as in a flash they both looked in the direction it came from, just to see Electro standing on another rooftop, acting like a chicken. The two just couldn't help burst out laughing.
And soon the time to leave came. The Titans slowly left the temple behind… well, Electro had to be held back by Wendigo, so that the short Asian wouldn't run away too quickly, leaving his friends in the dust…, but before they disappeared, Red Dragon was stopped by Mong Zu:
"In the end, you weren't able to complete the mission…" he stated calmly. "You didn't bring the spear back…" but the Titans leader didn't even turn around. He only replied calmly, but to the old man's surprise, not coldly: "It doesn't really matter… at least not anymore… I can live on with my past… because it's the thing that makes me try even harder to create a better future…"
And at that moment the old Asian smiled under his nose as he watched his 'son' walk away. They were not related by blood. It's even hard to say that their relationship was anything special. Although they lived together for so long, they never really did create a strong bind between themselves. However, for some reason, the sight of a young boy named Red Dragon moving forward and choosing his own route, pleased this old man, who never knew any, deeper feelings. At least until that day.
And so the second 'episode' ends. Hope you enjoyed it. For all you, Wendigo fan, I can say that the next chapter will he centered on him and you'll get to learn a little about his past. Without spoiling anything more, thanks for reading and hope to see you next time!