A/N: This chapter is a little shorter than the others, due to me trying to write it over Thanksgiving. Oh well, I hope you enjoy it. Some of you may have noticed that I changed the rating on this from K+ to T. I did that for safty reasons, though I promise nothing is really bad other than a single swear word. Just better to be safe than sorry. I think I responded to everyone who reviewed, but if not, please bug me about it. OK, last thing before the chapter starts. I did include some phrases in Spanish. I am not very good at Spanish right now, so if you notice something wrong, please tell me! Now for the chapter! :)
Disclaimer: Stairs may be slippery when wet
Ten minutes earlier:
Raphael was running aimlessly. He didn't give a fig where he ended up; he just needed to run to block the pain. At last, he found himself on the shore of a long peninsula and he could run no farther. The sand and gravel felt soothing to his feet. However, the condition of his feet had nothing to do with the condition of his heart. He picked up a small stone and hurled it as far as he could.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGH!! WHY?!?" he yelled at the sky. "WE DIDN'T DO NUTHIN'! 'SPECIALLY NOT LEO! ME, MAYBE, BUT 'SPECIALLY NOT LEO! WHY'S LEO GOT TA BE THE ONE DYIN'?"
He threw another rock, tears streaming out of his eyes.
"Why couldn't it be me?" he muttered, flopping down onto the beach. "I mean, the others – Donnie an' Mikey – they can live without me. But no Leo? I shoulda been able ta do somethin'!"
He drew his knees into his chest, feeling so helpless. He barely noticed the waves lapping up against him as the tide was quickly coming in. Nor did he notice the faint creaking and splashing sounds that were drifting over the water.
"Well, what do we have here? It's the big, bad kame that took out twelve of our best fighters singlehandedly, and he's sitting there crying!" a harsh, yet all too familiar voice called out over the water.
A small cluster of row boats were pulling towards the turtle. Standing in the bow of the lead boat was Celorthod the Bad. Each of the other boats was filled to the brim with baboons. The red-clad turtle leapt to his feet. Even though he was never one to turn down a fight, Raphael quickly realized that he was severely outnumbered. Not that that had ever stopped him before, but just in case, he glanced over his back and checked his escape route. He was shocked to see that he was no longer on a peninsula, but on an island. The long stretch of land that reached out to his position had been covered by the tide. He really wished that LeYael hadn't taken his sai. He would just have to do this the hard way.
"Thought you goons couldn't land here or you'd get zapped or somethin'!" he taunted.
Celorthod grinned evilly, showing his long, sharp canines. "We can't land on the mainland, but nothing is stopping us from landing on an island!"
The small islet was now surrounded by the slave trader's boats.
"It's payback time, boys!" the mandrill screeched, pointing at the turtle.
Baboons and various other monkeys began leaping out of the boats, swarming towards Raphael. He punched one in the face, sending it flying back into the water. Two grabbed onto his arms, trying to pull him over. Raphael jerked them up off of the ground and spun them into their comrades. While he was distracted with those two, a small capuchin leapt onto his leg and bit down hard. Raph screamed in anger and pain, tearing the monkey off. A group of baboons came at him with a net. The enraged turtle ran at them, dropping to the ground as they threw it at him. The net sailed harmlessly overhead, ensnaring another baboon on the other side of the ten-foot island. As the turtle jumped back up, a rather large baboon smacked his injured leg with a paddle from the boats. This sent Raph stumbling to his knees, gasping in pain. Raphael waited for a moment as the baboon drew closer, carrying the paddle overhead, and ready to strike. The turtle let his uninjured leg suddenly shoot backwards and into the baboon's gut. It fell with a satisfying thud. Hurtling back upright, Raphael bowled into another group of the baboons as they stepped out of their boat. While they were down, he leaped over them and into the water.
"Turtles are amphibious, ya lousy twit!"
He dove under the water, knowing that he probably couldn't take them all – and win – with an injured leg and no weapons. The water was murky due to the churning of the baboon's paddles. Raph couldn't remember exactly which way the land of the peninsula was, so he struck out in a direction that he thought would be the shortest distance to land. He grimaced at the touch of the salt water on his bleeding leg. Around him, oars were dipping into the water. The baboons had obviously not given up the chase yet. It was all the turtle could do to not be hit by the probing pieces of wood. Suddenly, his luck ran out as a hard blade crashed into his skull.
"LeYa'el, what is it?" Donatello exclaimed. "What's 'Oh no?'"
"Raphael strayed beyond my boundaries, where he has stumbled upon the slave traders you ran into before you came here and…." Her voice trailed off.
"And what?" Leonardo demanded.
"He didn't win."
"From what I could see, he is currently on a ship, heading onto the Sea of Tears. They're probably heading towards Kozue right now."
"We need to go after him!" Leonardo struggled to push himself up from his prostrate position.
"Leonardo! You will go nowhere!" LeYa'el snapped. "You aren't even breathing on your own right now, and there is no possible situation in which I would allow you to just go and surrender yourself back to the daemon that put you in this situation in the first place!"
"She's right, dude," Michelangelo agreed. "You're going to stay put. We're going to go get Raph back!"
Raphael's head was pounding as he opened his eyes. He was shackled inside of a tiny cage, barely large enough for him to move a couple of inches in any direction. Around him, there were several other animals, shoved into cages barely large enough to hold them. He let a few choice expletives fly.
"Swearin' don't work. Nope, don't do nuthin', rrbrt."
Raphael glared ill-temperedly at the frog that had said that. "I don't got time for this crap," he growled. He yanked on the chains, but they had been expertly crafted and did not even budge.
"Jus' conserve your energy," a rabbit drawled. "You'll need it for later."
"Shaddup! I ain't goin' ta be here for any 'later!'"
"Now, now, just calm down, rrbrt."
"Calm down?!? I've got a bro who's either dyin' or already dead an' I need to be with him, not here in this dump!"
Raphael jerked his shell against the cage's metal bars, but to no avail. He pulled to the other side. That also did nothing.
"Shh, man! Do you want the 'boons to give you the gas? You got to be quiet to usurp their authority. That's how you stick it to the 'boons!"
"You some sort wacko hippie bunny're somethin'?" Raphael turned his angry gaze to the brown and black furry creature.
"No, not a bunny. Just a rabbit." The rabbit giggled hysterically, a crazed look on his face.
The frog shook his stocky head sadly. "Poor Musho here's had the gas a few too many times since he was captured on his home island," the frog explained.
"Well that's peachy for him, but I ain't jus' goin' to sit 'round here an' go shell knows where!"
Just then, the capuchin that had bit Raphael came swinging down into the hold. It leapt up onto the bars of the turtle's cage and grinned at him.
"Fixing for some of me gasses, amigo?"
"The moment I'm out of here, you're dead meat," Raph spat back.
The monkey's evil smile got even wider. "Looks like you're going to be muchos de diversion, tortuga. I wonder what your tongue will talk about when your mind is not around to overhear it!"
Raphael struggled against his bonds, feeling the rage rise in his chest. The capuchin remained exactly as it had been, completely unfazed. It reached into a little pocket that was sewn into its belt and pulled out a tiny red pill. In the blink of an eye, it shot its hand through the bars and cracked the pill under Raphael's nose. The turtle's eyes immediately became bleary. Raphael's head sagged forwards and his mind began to wander into a land of strange shapes and colors.
"You're not serious, are you Mike?" Leonardo asked, his eyeridges slightly raised.
"I'm shell-a serious, Leo," Michelangelo replied. "I just sat around when you were hurt and couldn't do anything, not even stop Raph from going out. I'm not just going to let another of my bros get creamed, no matter what you say, dude!" A determined look shone in his eyes.
Then to his surprise, Michelangelo found that his eldest brother was smiling at him fondly. "What?" the orange-clad turtle ventured hesitantly.
"I'm just proud of you, Mikey," Leonardo explained. "I knew that you're not just a total goof-ball."
The teasing air returned to the youngest of the four brothers. "Not a total goof-ball? What's that supposed to mean? Is part of me missing?"
Donatello opened and then, after thinking the better of it, closed his mouth.
"Are you okay, Uncle Donnie?" Jaden grabbed hold of his uncle's leg.
"I'm fine," he replied with a smile. "Just a few too many years of dealing with a very bad case of foot-in-mouth disease."
"You can put your foot in your mouth?" the toddler gaped.
"Never mind," Donnie muttered, looking embarrassed.
"Anyway, in all seriousness, we've got to go after Raph and we've got to hurry!"
"I'm afraid that Michelangelo is right," LeYa'el agreed. "If the traders reach Kozue, it will be almost impossible to rescue him."
"Would the floater work?" Crystal asked.
Night-eyes shook his head. "Only if you want to be tossed around so badly that you are cursed with a never-ending case of seasickness. It would be like being a leaf tossed on the wind."
"Then what can we do?"
The portal opened into the Daimyo's throne room in the Battle Nexus and the Daimyo, Master Splinter, and April all stepped through.
"From here, I can open both portals at the same time," the Daimyo informed them. "I shall do so and hopefully pull your sons and Mr. Jones through."
"That sounds like a very wise idea, my old friend," Master Splinter agreed.
The ancient goblin held out his famed war staff and half-closed his eyes in concentration. "Because Mr. Jones will be most likely in a simple situation to withdraw him from, I shall concentrate on him first."
A glowing portal appeared. Even though the rainbow-colored edges were circling rapidly, the center was pure white. Neither Master Splinter nor April could make out any person or shape.
"Hmm," the Daimyo grumbled in annoyance. "It seems as though Mr. Jones is currently traveling between dimensions. There is no way for me to retrieve him until he reaches his destination. In the meantime, I will try to locate your sons."
The portal shifted slightly to the right. For a brief moment, the rainbow flashes from the edges reached in towards the center. As they moved back out, the center image kept switching back and forth between two scenes, but not staying long enough on either to allow the viewers to see clearly.
"It seems that your sons, the turtles, are not all together. Although I am receiving much interference, I could send you to them. However, I cannot pull them through, nor could I tell you exactly where you would end up. Something or someone is blocking my ability to fully concentrate. I am sorry, my friends."
"You have done even more than I could have imagined, my dear friend," Splinter laid a consoling hand on the Daimyo's arm. "I shall take my chance and join my sons." He turned to April. "You, however, Miss O'Neil, must make your own decision. It could be very dangerous."
"Master Splinter, the turtles are like family to me. I won't abandon them if they're in trouble," the girl replied.
"Very well," the rat conceded. He turned back to the Daimyo. "We shall go through. I can never thank you enough, my friend."
"Think nothing of it," the Daimyo replied, seeming to smile. "I am always glad to offer my help to a friend."
Master Splinter and April turned to the portal and stepped through.
"Then what can we do?" Michelangelo's question hung on the air for a moment.
No one answered.
"Are there any other sorts of transportation?" Leonardo finally asked after a pause.
LeYa'el shook her head doubtfully. Night-eyes creased his brow.
"I might be able to conjure something up, but it would take a while."
"I could help you if you want," Donatello offered.
Suddenly in front of them, a large, multi-colored portal materialized. To the shock of everyone present, a large rat stepped through it.
April stepped through the portal and landed with a soft thud in a dark room. She found herself in a bin of what was either hay or straw, from the feel of it. She was having a hard time adjusting her eyes after the bright light from the portal. Even without sight, though, she could sense that she must be on some sort of boat or ship. There was wood creaking all around her and there was no mistaking the sloshing sensation in her stomach. Her eyes slowly began to pick out tiny dots of light shining into the darkness. At last, she had adjusted enough to see the faint outlines of the various objects in the room. She was sitting in a corner. In front of her, there were some largish crates. Finally, at the very opposite side of the small room, there was a door with a sliver of faint light peeking out from underneath it. Master Splinter was nowhere to be seen.
He must have been sent to the other location, she realized.
Carefully so as to not disturb anything, April crept around the crates and made her way to the door. She leaned a careful ear up against it and strained to hear any sounds. The most that she could hear was a slight croaking sound and the sound like a small animal chattering. She tested the handle and was thrilled to find that the door was unlatched. Using all of the ninja skills that Master Splinter had taught her over the past several months, she nudged the door open, tensed for any sound that would betray her presence. After a few agonizing seconds, she had opened it enough to see through. She gasped at the sight before her.
There was a large, dimly lit cargo hold in front of her. It was filled to capacity with many cages, big and small, each holding some sort of animal or strange creature.
So this is where the animal sounds were coming from.
In the very middle of the hold was a cage that was approximately four-and-a-half feet tall. It was made up of very thick, metal bars. Inside of it, there was a dark, crouched-over figure. Its appendages were attached to the bars. To April's dismay, she recognized it as a giant turtle. She glanced around and couldn't see anything that was not securely fastened inside a cage. Silently, she tiptoed out of the storage room and into the hold. Most of the creatures seemed to be asleep. The few that weren't stared at her curiously, but they didn't make any noises that would have alerted their captors. She drew up next to the largest cage and could make out the turtle's face. Her eyes grew large as she recognized Raphael. His eyes were rolled back in his head and a thin stream of drool was trickling from the corner of his mouth. His head was resting on the solid roof of the cage. But even so, his back and knees were bent in an uncomfortable position just so that he could fit into it.
"Raph!" April whispered, reaching through the bars to touch his hand.
The turtle's head tilted towards her. "Murphl…blurg…" he muttered.
"Huh? I don't think I heard you right, Raph. Are you okay?"
His eyes rolled down and stared at her without seeing. "I'm…alive."
"What happened to you?"
"Damn monkey…gas…you look purdy."
A frog in a near-by cage began to croak at her as though it was speaking, but she couldn't understand what it was saying.
"Come on, Raph. Let's get you out of here."
She walked around until she reached the cage's front. All that was holding it shut was a simple latch. She unhooked it and pulled the door open. The shackles were not so simple. They were so tight on Raphael's wrists and ankles that there was no way to just slide them off, and they required a key to open. The turtle was watching her every move. After a moment, his eyes began to clear again.
"April! What are you doing here?"
"Long story. Any idea where the key for these are?"
Raphael shook his head stiffly, grimacing as his drug-heightened senses felt the rough scrape of wood on his bare skin.
"Let's see how else we can get you out, then." April turned around, looking for any sort of inspiration.
Suddenly, Raphael heard a noise on the stairs leading down to the hold. "Quick! Close my cage back up! Someone's coming!"
April immediately complied.
"Hide!" the turtle hissed.
The girl turned around desperately.
"Go! Just stay in the shadows!"
April ducked behind a pile of cages that were holding several rabbits just in time as the capuchin returned. Raphael had let the bleary look return to his eyes.
"Ah, what have we here, mi loco tortuga?Are you feeling muy feliz, amigo?"
The monkey studied Raphael's face for a moment, and then – apparently satisfied – it scampered back up to the main deck. The turtle's eyes immediately cleared. April stepped out of the shadows and re-opened the door to his cage.
"If only Don was here with his welding tools, then we could get you out right now," she murmured, more to herself than to Raphael.
"Ya mean that a really hot fire can get me out? Duh! Why didn't I think o' this before?" Raphael exclaimed.
He let the energy begin to build in his hands and they started to glow brightly.
"Raph! What's happening?"
"Jus' stand back," he grunted, trying to force his drug-bewildered mind to concentrate on his immense annoyance at everything that had been happening over the course of the past few hours. The energy began to heat up the manacles on his wrists. He winced at the touch of melting metal on his skin. After a moment, he had melted through the metal that was constraining his wrists. Immediately, the energy orbs disappeared and Raphael fell forwards into April's arms. He was trying hard to not show how badly the severe burns on his wrists were hurting him.
"Are you alright?"
"It's jus' a little burn. I'm fine."
"Mmhmm," April said, unbelievingly.
"Let me get m'legs free."
Raphael pushed himself up out of April's arms, and leaned on the bars. He reached down and let the energy form again. This time, he was very careful to only let the energy touch the chains, not the metal that was directly up against his skin. The chains were soon nothing but a lump of molten metal cooling on the bottom of the cage.
"Let's get the shell outa here."
"And that, my children, is how I arrived here to be with you," Master Splinter finished explaining.
He was sitting with the three turtle brothers and Crystal in the same room that he had arrived in. LeYa'el had gone, along with the other two turtles and the Netians, back into the upper levels of the house.
"And so April is…?" Donatello ventured.
"We can only assume that she is now with your brother."
"Master, how can we get them back?"
"As a wise man once said, we must 'think outside of the box.' If there is no boat, then is there another means of transport? Can one simply trace the edge of this sea until one reaches the other side?"
"Unfortunately, no, Master," Crystal answered. "You could walk around the Sea of Tears as much as you could walk around the Atlantic Ocean back on Earth. As far as I know, there isn't any other sort of transport here. But then again, that isn't exactly my area of expertise."
"Are there any other villages near here that might have a boat?" Leonardo asked. He was still inside of the breather-bubble, but had finally managed to sit up.
Crystal shook her head. "No one builds boats around here anymore. There used to be a family of otters – I think – that built little boats, but they disappeared many years ago."
Michelangelo had been strangely quiet during this discussion, just staring down at the floor. All of a sudden, his head shot up and an excited look was in his eyes. "Dudes, we're looking at this all wrong!"
"How so, Mikey?"
"It's like in Justice Force number forty-three when the evil Dr. Jar-brain disabled all of the team's rides when he brainwashed the Silver Sentry and took him to his secret island headquarters!"
All of the others looked at each other and then back to the youngest.
"Would you care to elaborate on that, Michelangelo?" Master Splinter requested.
"Well, you see Master, with all of their rides out and the hideout was over water, most of the team couldn't do anything to go after them. But then they got help from Tsunami from Japan and they went under the water, except for Amanda – 'cause she can fly too, but that's beside the point. Anyway, couldn't we make another bubble like the one Leo's in right now and go under the water?"
Raphael came back down to April. He had just snuck up the stairs and peeked out onto the deck.
"About twenty, jus' on deck. There's bound ta be more someplace else. There were more o' dem than that when those bozos jumped me."
"Then what should we do?"
Raphael looked around as a big grin filled his face. "I've got an idea."
The frog began croaking again.
"Yeah, jus' like that," the turtle replied to it.
April stared at him incredulously. "You can understand what it's saying?"
"To tell you the truth, no."
"Yer kiddin' me."
"Raph," April gave him an exasperated look, "does it look like I'm kidding you?"
The turtle did not reply. Instead, he was already starting to pry open the other animals' cages. "I ain't enough ta take over this bucket. Need more than muscle ta win."
"You're sounding like Leo, Raph," April said, astonished.
"Yeah, well, if ya ever get the chance, don't tell 'im I sometimes listen."
He didn't have his face towards her, so she never saw the momentary look of anguish that filled his eyes. Before April had a chance to ask him what he meant by 'if' she ever got the chance, he had already released almost all of the animals. Despite his continuous hushing, the mass was being very noisy.
"Shaddup! Please!" Raphael waved his hands over his head.
"Don't think it's workin', man," Musho the rabbit said, hopping up next to Raphael's leg and leaning drunkenly up against him.
April stared at the rabbit. "You talk?"
"I can do lots more than that, babe," Musho smirked lopsidedly at her. "Wanna find out what?"
"Thanks, I'm already taken," the girl retorted.
"Would ya all jus' be quiet?" Raphael was becoming even more frustrated. "They'll hear ya, an' it ain't time yet!"
"RRRRRRRBBBBBBBRRRRRTTTT!!!!!" The frog croaked as loudly as it could.
All of the other animals immediately stopped their chattering. Just then, the capuchin came swinging down into the hold. Its eyes became as wide as physically possible. It screamed and turned back towards the main deck.
"Stop him!" Raphael yelled.
Twelve rabbits and a large squirrel pounced on the monkey, quickly subduing it.
"What's going on down there?" a baboon called down.
Everyone looked expectantly at Raphael. He flicked open his hands, creating balls of energy. An enormous, leering grin spread across his face.
"Let's get 'em!"
amigo -- friend
muchos de diversion -- much fun
tortuga -- turtle
mi loco -- my crazy
muy feliz -- very happy
So please review! Any flames will be used to make popcorn!