"The killing may be by poisoning, striking, starving, drowning, and a thousand other forms by which human nature can be overcome." - Blackstone.

"Will I have to wear those goggles?"

April stood uncomfortably as Karai cinched the black fabric tight around her lean body.

"No, of course not," the Foot kunoichi answered. "Those are for our soldiers. I just wanted you..." She pulled a black hood over April's head. "...properly dressed to train. Are you ready?"

The redhead nodded.

"Good. Just because you're not hanging out with the turtles is no reason not to keep yourself in condition. Give me your tessen."

April handed it over, and Karai snapped it open. The blade gleamed. Part of April had wanted to return it to Master Splinter, but she didn't think she could stand to see any of them yet. So here she was, in an old warehouse belonging to the Foot, palling around with the mortal enemy of her sort-of brothers. Funny old world.

"Do you know what this is for?" Karai asked, breaking into April's thoughts.

"It's for self-defense, and kind of just... pretty for its own sake?"

Karai scoffed. "It's for exactly two things, princess. Killing other people and stopping them from killing you. Did you think it was pretty just to be pretty? It's pretty so people don't think it's dangerous until you slice their throat open."

She tapped the underside of April's chin with the fan, and April stiffened.

"Look, I'm not going to talk about philosophy," Karai continued. "We've got better things to do. What weapons are you familiar with? Besides this?"

"Well, Master Splinter had me try kamas, and a chain, and a mace-thing..."

"Ha! No wonder you settled on the tessen. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine weapon, and this one..."

She ran her fingers along it, letting out a soft breath. "This one's really special, somehow. But Splinter's too used to training his boys. They're all strong as Hell, even the skinny one. You need something a little more..."


Karai shrugged. "I was going to say sleek. Tomayto, tomahto. Here, try this."

She tossed April her own short sword.

"That's called a ninjato or a ninjaken. It's a lot better for real ninja than those flashy katanas Leo likes."

April gripped the red-wrapped hilt. "The handle's really long," she observed. "Something hidden?"

"Good job! Yeah, there's blinding powder in there. Can you find the catch?"

The redhead's fingers traced along the wrapping until they found a simple little button. "Here?"

Karai smirked. "I was sort of hoping you'd press it and learn a lesson."

April grinned right back. "Wanna show me how to use this?"

She handed the sword back to Karai. "Please."

Karai gave her a toothy smile. "While I'm training you, you say 'Please, Mistress Karai.' Got that?"

April laughed, then straightened up and assumed a sober face. "Please show me how to use the ninjaken, Mistress Karai."

An hour later, the two kunoichi were sitting against the warehouse wall, sharing a bottle of water, breathing hard.

"You're getting a lot better," Karai admitted, smoothing her hair. "You're going to land a punch on me one of these days."

"I got the boys a few times," April said proudly, forgetting her anger in the endorphin rush of exercise.

"I'm better than they are, though," Karai said smugly. "And I'm willing to bet they went easy on you, even if they said they didn't."

April shrugged. "Fair enough."

"Let me show you something." Karai produced a long spool of thread. "Can you guess how you'd kill a man with this?"

April frowned. "Could you strangle him? It doesn't look strong enough... Maybe trip him?"

Karai shook her head. "You hide in his roof. It's not hard, if you do a little research. Then you wait until he sleeps, and let the string down near his mouth."

She lifted a little bottle, turning it so it caught the warehouse's actinic lights. "A few drops will slide right down. It's pretty easy to get them into his mouth, if you time it right." She shrugged. "Then you vanish."

April tucked her knees up to her chest and shivered. "I'm not sure I need to learn about that," she said quietly.

"Well, I'm training you, and I say you do. Say 'Yes, Mistress Karai."

April blushed. "Yes, Mistress Karai."

"You mentioned strangling. I'm going to show you how to do it right. Get up. We've got a long day of training ahead of us..."