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It was a cold night. Clouds rolled over the moon, casting shadows on New York City. A man walked along and pulled his long, black coat tighter around him. He did not pay attention to the cars on the street, or seem to notice the people he passed. His black hair was ruffled by the wind, but he did not mind. His mind was set on one thing, and his eyes finally saw what they were looking for.
He walked up to the door and put his face against it, but could see nothing inside. A few moments of futile searching, and he gave up. He would have to use a prect. He reached into his coat pocket and brought out a small, winged insect. Grasping the prect tightly in his hand, he searched along the bottom of the door until he found a place where it could squeeze through. He released it, and it scampered under the door.
Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he curled up against the door and muttered the word of binding. Anyone passing by would have thought he was asleep, but in reality, his mind was joined with the insect. After taking a few seconds to orient himself, he jumped off the ground and flew about the room. The insect mind wanted to find food, but he suppressed the animal urge. There would be time for that later.
He went from room to room, glancing at every object, but not finding what he wanted. Just exhibit after exhibit of worthless junk. Then a glimmer of moonlight caught his eye. Moving towards it, he saw the light was reflecting off something. It was a sword. The sword! The Relic! He had found it!
He quickly brought his delight under control, remembering that emotion is the enemy of self-control. He said the word of unbinding and returned to his own body. After stretching his muscles, he left to report to his superiors. He regretted leaving the prect inside, for they were only used in the most important missions and were hard to breed. But that would soon change. Besides, he could pick it up when he came back.
"Hey, watch it!" Donatello shouted as the basketball bounced off his head. "I'm working here!"
"Sorry," said Michaelangelo.
"I'm starting to regret installing that basketball hoop," said Don.
"C'mon, Don," Mike said. "Hey, cool. I made a rhyme. I'm a poet and I didn't know it."
Don just rolled his eyes and turned back to the computer screen.
"You know," said Mike, "you could use some exercise yourself. All you do is stare at the computer all day."
"I would rather exercise my mental muscle," retorted Don. "Besides, I'm doing more than just staring at it. I'm writing a complicated computer program."
"What's it do?"
"Something you wouldn't understand."
Don sighed. "Like scanning to detect the specific thermal signature of our mutant bodies."
Mike looked confused. "In English, please?" he asked.
"It's a mutant turtle tracker," Don said.
"Why didn't you say that the first time?"
Don said nothing and returned to his work. Raphael walked out of his room and stretched his arms. "What's Don doing?" he asked.
"Staring at the computer," Mike said.
"Programming it to detect the specific thermal signature of our mutant bodies!" Don corrected loudly.
"Whatever," said Raph. "Where's Leo?"
"Falling asleep," said Mike.
"Meditating with Master Splinter," Don corrected again.
"What are you doing, Mike?" Raph asked.
"Shooting hoops," Mike replied, "and annoying Don."
"And about to get his butt kicked for it!" Don interrupted, which prompted Mike to throw the ball at him. Don blocked it and sent it sailing away from him. "Go fetch," he said.
"Hey!" yelled Mike.
Raph decided he didn't want to stay around and see how this turned out.
"Clear your mind," said Splinter, "and relax. Let your inner self reach outward."
Leonardo sat still and followed his master's instructions. He felt peace center in his mind. He continued for a few moments, until he felt a disturbance.
His eyes shot open and his trance was broken, but the feeling lingered on. It felt of hate, fear, and pain. He looked at Splinter, who was looking back at him.
"You have felt it, too," Splinter said. It wasn't a question.
"Is that what you told me about?" Leo asked.
Splinter closed his eyes in thought. "I first felt it a couple days ago. Since then it has grown stronger."
"Can the others feel it?"
"In their own way."
Leo was about to ask what this meant when Raph burst in. "Raph, what are you doing?" he asked, annoyed at the interruption.
"I was bored," Raph replied. "I was wondering what you were doing."
"Raph, you know you're not supposed to barge in while we're meditating."
Raph held his hands up in surrender and said, "Okay, I'm sorry, Leo." He turned and walked out of the room. "If you need me, I'll be doing something useful with my time."
Leo got up and rushed after Raph. "Meditation is useful," he said.
"Yeah, whatever," said Raph.
Leo grabbed him by the arm and pulled him around so they stood face to face. "Meditation allows us to calm our mind and escape the pressures of life," he said.
"It's Greek to me," Raph said.
"Maybe it wouldn't be if you concentrated more."
"Maybe I just don't care."
"That's your problem. Your attitude. You need to stop being so negative."
"Why don't you just shut up! It's seems like all you ever do is talk all day. This leadership thing has gone to your head." With that comment, Raph stormed off.
"Jeez, Raph," Mike said, "who shoved a cactus up your-"
In a flash, Raph pulled out a sai and flung it across the room into Mike's basketball. The air rushed out and it collapsed into a rubber heap on the floor.
"Hey!" Mike shouted.
"You deserved it," Raph said.
This started a loud verbal argument between all the Turtles. Splinter walked to the door, inspected the situation, and then shouted, "Enough!" Everyone was silent and waited for Splinter to continue. "What is going on here?" he asked.
Mike pointed at Raph. "He popped my basketball."
"Then he will buy a new one," Splinter said.
"But Master-" Raph started.
"No buts," said Splinter. He looked at each of his students. "All of you have been irritable lately. You have tried to get rid of this feeling by taking it out on your brothers. This will not work! You need to cope with it in a better way." He paused to let this sink in. "And you also need to take responsibility for your actions. This means, Raphael, you will buy a new basketball for your brother."
With some grumbling, Raph agreed to get a new ball. He picked up his sai before putting on his trenchcoat and going to the world above. Everyone else found something else to do.
Raph walked along the streets grumbling to himself. Though he hated to admit it, Splinter was right. He had been grumpier than usual lately. He didn't understand why, but it seemed like something was weighing down on him. It wasn't a feeling he liked.
He was about to cross the street when he noticed someone was following him. Just what I need, he thought. He turned to walk down the street, and the man did the same. He stopped to admire something in a store window, and his follower also stopped. Raph examined the guy. He had black hair and a long black coat. The man also wore black boots.
Raph started walking again at a faster pace, and the man adjusted to keep up. Raph took a few random turns, knowing he wouldn't get lost in New York, but the man followed every time. Finally, Raph turned into an alley and faced the entrance, waiting for the man to come.
He never did. Raph heard a sound behind him and turned to see what it was. He only had time to glimpse the grinning face before a flash of red light blinded him. He felt like hands were probing through his brain, and thousands of images flashed before his eyes. In a few seconds, it was over. Raph was standing alone in the alley.
Was he crazy? Had what he thought had happened really happened? He couldn't explain it. Maybe he had hallucinated or something. Anyway, he pushed it out of his mind. He left the alley and went to buy Mike's stupid basketball.
Two robed figures sat in a dark room. The only small light came from a blue fire in a lamp on the table between them. Both had their hoods drawn over their heads.
"You believe he was powerful?" asked one of them, the red mark on his robe showing he was a Lower Servant.
"He had much energy in him," the other said, his plain robe showing he was merely a Minion. "More than the others."
"Perhaps he could work for us," speculated the Lower Servant.
"He had the inferior mindset," said the Minion.
"A shame. You said there was one other interesting characteristic?"
"He had an animal shape. A turtle."
The Lower Servant sat back and thought. "What sort of power could have brought this about?"
"I was unable to determine, though I did sense there are others."
"Could they be a threat to us?"
"They do not know our ways."
"I also planted a seed."
"Then you have done good work. Now, prepare for tonight."
"For the Relic?" the Minion asked, excitement in his voice.
"Yes. We are finally able to begin the Mission and start our return to power. It will be a glorious day. Now go. Prepare for the Mission."
The Minion left, leaving the other to ponder the new information.
Raph was standing on a stone platform that hovered in midair. Around him the sky was fire, but he felt ice cold. Behind the fire he could hear voices, all of them chanting one word. "Inferior." Over and over, the same word. He knew they were talking to him. Millions of voices were saying he was inferior. He wanted to scream, but he couldn't. He could only stand there and listen to the voices, over and over and over and…
He woke with up panting and sweaty. It was only a nightmare, he told himself. Nothing to be afraid of. But he couldn't shake that feeling. He lay down and tried to go back to sleep, and when he did, he had the nightmare again.
The next morning, Raph had a pounding headache. He had hardly slept that night, and when he did, he had that nightmare. Therefore, he wasn't too thrilled when Mike popped in his face. "Cheer up, Raph," he said. "Put a smile on your face. It's a beautiful day and-"
"Can it," Raph said sharply. "I'm not in the mood."
Mike walked away and turned on the TV, muttering something about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Raph didn't care. He just wanted this stupid headache to stop!
His thoughts were interrupted by Mike. "Dudes, check this out!"
All four Turtles gathered around the TV to watch April. "The interesting thing about the burglary," she was saying, "was the means of entry. Police believe they entered through a skylight that was found with the glass apparently melted out of it. Police are puzzled as to how this could have been done.
"Another curious fact is that only one object was stolen: a several-thousand-year-old sword, one of the least valuable exhibits in the museum.
"So far the police have no idea who could have done this. No security camera footage was taken during the crime, because the cables had been chewed on. The only lead is a symbol painted in red on where the sword used to rest. It is of a goblet with a sword stuck in it."
"Weird," said Mike. "Why go to all that trouble to steal a worthless sword?"
"It must have some personal significance," Leo replied.
"I wonder what that symbol means," said Don.
Raph said nothing. When he saw the symbol, his headache flared. Clutching his forehead, he walked away.
"Where are you going?" asked Leo.
"To find some Tylenol," Raph answered. "I've got a killer headache."
The Lower Servant stood in front of the Gateway, holding the Relic in his hand. The first step of the Mission was completed. The inferiors would never suspect a thing. The prect had disabled the security camera, and a simple firespell was all they needed to enter the building. After that, they had quickly taken the Relic and left only their Symbol to show they had been there.
Now the Lower Servant stood there, holding the Sword in his hands. His fingers felt the writing on the hilt. The Mission had been started. Soon they would locate the other Relics, and after that…
He smiled and stepped through the outlined blackness into Navand.
Raph tossed and turned in bed. He muttered silent curses and glanced at the clock. It was 5:30, and he had barely slept. Whenever he did, he had that same nightmare. Whenever he was awake, he had that pounding headache. He turned over again and fell asleep.
There was just blackness. It was a relief from his previous nightmares. But then a sword flashed in the darkness. A voice cried, "I summon you, great Zek. Send forth your power!" Then out of the darkness came…monsters!
Raph shot up in bed, the image still fresh in his mind. They had been jet black and insect-like. They walked upright on four legs, and their arms were like a praying mantis's, only sharper. Only one thought was in their mind: destruction.
Raph decided he didn't like this dream any better.
Finally, morning came. Raph's head hurt worse than ever, and it felt like he had a fever. I'd better not be sick, he thought as he walked into the kitchen. He expected some idiotic remark from Mike, but he just stared back at him. "What are you looking at?" Raph asked.
"What's that on your forehead?" Mike asked, sounding worried.
Raph looked at a mirror and stared at his forehead in shock. On it was the symbol of the sword and goblet that had been at the crime scene yesterday. It was glowing bright red.
to be continued…
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and all related characters are the property of someone else. This is a work of fanfiction and no copyright infringement was intended. The Kidash Zek are my own creation.