First of all, a massive apology to everyone left hanging for so long. I have had a document with the next chapter blank since Jan 2015… literally nothing but an annoying blinking icon for two years. I have opened the document many times but just ended up closing it again in frustration. During that time I've been fighting for support for an ongoing health condition and have had little impetus to write at all. The only writing I've been able to achieve is little exercises set for me in a club that I meet with every two weeks. So a huge apology to all the fans of this series. Real life has been hard over the past two years and I've just not had the heart to continue with this. I'll try and get my mojo back though, I think the only cure for this block is to start typing and see where it leads me.
"I see new versions of us in the crowds," Mike 12 pointed to the four bulked up mutants with a quick wave. "God, they're huge!"
"Thank Michael Bay," Leo12 commented drily. "They were given official invitations to watch the contest but are not going to join in the action for now. Since the proceedings have begun, they have agreed to sit the first couple of rounds out among the spectators from Home World."
"Wow." Mike12 spotted Mike03 heading into the arena. Waving furiously, he attracted the other turtle's attention, grinning madly. "Good luck, other me!"
Mike03 gave him the thumbs up and then stopped momentarily. He seemed to be collecting himself as he waited for MikePrime to catch him up.
"Boy, have I been waiting for this one!" Raph03 grinned, rubbing his hands together gleefully. "No more Battle Nexus Winner stuff."
"If he wins, Raph, you know it'll only get worse," Leo03 smirked.
"Please, anything but that!" Raph03 groaned.
MikePrime and Mike03 were now standing in the arena, soaking up the attention with growing excitement. Mike03 was waving to the crowd and bowing. MikePrime was shaking his head watching the coloured version of himself lapping up the support with ever-growing enthusiasm.
"We gonna get this thing started?" MikePrime asked, drawing his nunchuks with a flourish. The nunchuks themselves were in colour so the whole affect was markedly strange. The bulging monochrome muscles flexed as he readied himself for the battle ahead.
"Sure, just one moment bud. Working the crowd here…" Mike03 continued gesticulating to the crowd, mouth in a wide grin.
MikePrime stayed composed and waited for the vanity to subside and the other turtle to draw his nunchuks. Mike03 now seemed incredibly nervous, hands shaking a little as he adopted a fighting stance.
"Enough with the crowd already," MikePrime admonished, leaping forward as Mike03 craned his head to wink at his supporters. "Time to fight."
"Right," Mike03 leapt backwards, nunchuks held before him loosely. "Gotta beat you, pal. Sorry about that. Got a rep to maintain."
"So I've heard," MikePrime said through gritted teeth. "Know all about your legendary competition. You've told me three times, at least."
"Such an achievement at such an early age," Mike03 sighed with a dreamy grin.
"Stop stalling and start fighting!" MikePrime closed the distance between them, drawing within striking distance as he advanced upon Mike03. His colourless hands tightened around the Chukon-bu as he suddenly struck out at the other's head with swift sweeping motions.
Mike03 parried in a panic, deflecting the blows with the wooden Chukon-bu, keeping the strength of his opponents blows suppressed by the wooden handles as he stepped further backwards. A sharp kick almost felled him, connecting to his midriff momentarily. As soon as the foot made impact, he moved, lightening the blow immediately as he sprang into a handstand away from his opponent. The kick lost most of its power as the foot now harmlessly connected with the place Mike03 had been standing an instant ago, an empty space.
MikePrime turned lightning fast, keeping his opponent unsteady and fixated with his strikes, the nunchuks whirring like the rotors of a helicopter. Mike03 again moved backwards, unable to defend his own space, getting a few random blows in. Most of the offensive attack was by MikePrime as the turtle kept closing in on Mike03, darting around him in smaller circles as Mike03 defended himself with more erratic moves.
A crunch spelled the end of the match as one of MikePrime's nunchuks connected with the left side of Mike03's head with a dizzying blow. Uttering a faint cry of surprise, the turtle fell in a heap upon the arena floor, his head lolling painfully as he sought to get back to his feet. MikePrime took a step back as he launched the finishing blow, both nunchuks raised high to complete a final, devastating impact. The weapons had barely touched Mike03's skin when he was instantly transported to the holding area.
A crowd of brothers surrounded him instantly, and Mike03 couldn't tell who was who for the moment. The force of the first blow had stunned him as he was gently prodded over to the sofa and made to lie down by something furry that he supposed was his own sensei.
"He was so fast…" Mike03 groaned, in a dazed state. He could make out the floating form of Leonardo above him. The image wouldn't stay still so the turtle closed his eyes and tried to ignore the pounding pain in his temples.
"Easy bro, we're here. Take it easy." Raph03's voice. Mike03 had imagined his brother would be immensely pleased about his defeat but all he could hear was the worry in Raph03's voice.
"What, what happened?" Mike03 sank into the sofa, his head on a firm pillow. "I tried to parry. I couldn't get a firm footing. He was everywhere."
Blearily, Mike03 heard the voice of Gyoji announcing MikePrime's victory. "Damn it. I lost."
"Michelangelo, you fought honourably," Splinter03 comforted, placing a furry paw on his son's head. "How bad is the pain?"
"Like someone knocked a migraine into my head." Mike03 moaned as Splinter rubbed the sore head gently. "Everything hurts up there. I can't see properly."
"You took a nasty hit, Mikey." Raph explained from somewhere on his right. Mike03 turned to the voice without opening his eyes, the pain in his head like banging drums. "That blow knocked you out of the round. I've never seen a blow that powerful before."
"Is he okay?" MikePrime was crowding in and looking at his defeated opponent with a worried expression on his face. "I didn't mean to hit him so hard."
"He'll be fine," Splinter03 announced. "He needs some rest and quiet now. Come, let us leave him alone for the moment."
The room became quiet as the other turtles and Splinters' left the room alone to Mike03. Gyoji had called the Healer into attendance.
"They're having a break for the moment," Leo03 explained as they stayed on the periphery of the room, watching the Healer as he tended to Mike03. "I think they're going to have a friendly."
"No more turtle battles?" Raph03 asked. "I want my turn!"
"Not for the moment, my son," Splinter03 explained, watching the Healer at work.
"I believe it's going to be a friendly between the Aprils' next," Don03 studied the line-up on the board beside the entrance to the holding area. "This should be interesting. Even the one that's always getting kidnapped is going to take part. You know, the one who looks like she works at a car wash."
"It won't take long," Leo03 looked to the stage as four April O'Neils' converged in the main arena. "Then the battles will continue."
Mike03 had drifted into a lovely, deep sleep. His head pain was almost fully alleviated as he sank gratefully into a sea of dreams. Forgetting the tournament completely, his mind drifted to a city of gold and a sea of sapphire blues.
He began to snore slightly and his mouth curved into a smile as the Healer rose, his job complete.
To be continued...