Thursday, December 1, 2011

Michio, Where Are You? Back at the Ninja Hideout!

Taro crept through the winding path between the tents of his sleeping clansmen. With all of the excitement, it seemed like ages since he had returned, though he knew it had only been a few days. He planned on giving a full report to Master Komatsu before he left, but first, he was intent on filling Michio in with all the new details.

Before he knew it, he was at Michio's tent. He crouched down beside it and whispered, "Hey, Michio! Are you in there?"

There was no response.

He tried again. "Michio! Hey, man. Michio!"

He kept calling, but no matter how much he called, Michio didn't answer. So Taro poked his head in, and sure enough, the tent was empty. Taro turned around and began looking back and forth, as if Michio would suddenly show up out of the blue with impeccable timing. But there was no one there.

Taro began looking around the hideout, looking for any signs of Michio. It seemed reasonable that he might be doing some late-night training for an upcoming mission, so Taro decided to check out some of the training grounds.

He headed over to the sparring ground, but all he found was the shadowy silhouettes of sparring blocks.

He didn't have much luck in the forest either, where Taro and him often climbed trees when they were younger.

He headed over to the kunai dojo where Michio often practiced his aim with his throwing knives. He found himself suddenly going faster, almost desperate to find his friend. He began to feel a sense of misplaced betrayal, as it gradually seemed more hopeless of a pursuit.

He rushed to the door and opened it up, and sure enough someone was inside. But it wasn't Michio.

Master Hayashi was inside practicing his throws, each kunai striking perfectly on its mark. Then he threw several at once, and by some godly power landed every target so close to perfection that it would take a keen eye to notice his small mistakes. Taro watched as the skilled master landed each strike.

Then, Master Hayashi turned to Taro, and as if he had just noticed him (though Taro knew better), said, "Oh, Taro! What are you doing up at this hour?"

"Master Hayashi," Taro said with a respectful bow. "I was looking for Michio. I haven't been able to locate him anywhere."

"Another secret meeting?" Master Hayashi said as his face contorted into a smile.

Taro let out a small gasp. "What do you mean?"

"You don't think that we don't know what goes on around here, do you boy? We are your masters, your keepers. We are charged with protecting and guiding you. It is our duty... no, not our duty. It is our sacred honor as part of this clan to know what goes on within its parts. It is quite a responsibility, but--"

"You've been spying on us this whole time?" Taro suddenly interrupted.

Taro clasped his hands over his mouth.

"Honor your masters by not interrupting them!" Master Hayashi shouted.

"Forgive me." Taro bowed again.

"It seems there is a lot that you haven't been telling us, young ninja. It seems that you've become quite good friends with this Aimoto boy."

"Well, I--" Taro began.

"This needs to stop!" Master Hayashi said as he dramatically threw a kunai into another target. "Do you want to compromise this whole mission? Surely by now you have learned about the full gravity of what we're dealing with here, and you're not the only ninja involved here. You could be putting more than yourself in danger if you make the wrong move."

"Yes, Master Hayashi, but--"

"No excuses, Taro! Your friendship with Ichiro Aimoto must end, and unless you receive specific instructions from a superior to do otherwise, you are from now on only to gather information strictly as an observer. Is this understood?"

Taro bowed his head, but not out of respect as much as out of pain. Other than Michio, Aimoto was the only real friend that Taro had ever really gotten to know, and now he was being forced to give it up. He knew the day would come eventually. A ninja and a commoner simply could not be friends forever, but the sudden reality hit harder than... well, harder than Master Komatsu!

"Yes, Master."

"Since we have an understanding, I must ask you to retire to your tent for the night. You must maintain your strength for your mission."

Read "Secret Mission No One Must Know" >>>>>>>

Our young ninja has gone looking for his friend, but instead he found Master Hayashi in the training hall. But where is Michio? And what will Taro do next? Find out what happens in the next part of our story of "Taro's Ninja Spy High School!"

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What is a Ninja?

There is a lot of misconception about what a ninja is.

A ninja is a weapon. A ninja is a warrior.

First appearing in writing as early as 4th century according to some history, though it is hard to place the beginning of the ninja, and most scholars agree that they emerged around the 7th-10th century. According to most Asian historians, the ninja first developed in opposition to the elite samurai during the Heian Dynasty (794-1185).

By the 15th century, the role of the ninja was primarily hired mercenary or espionage. By this time, there was already boundless myths about ninjas, calling them demons and giving them mystical powers which were widely believed to be true, but in all reality, ninjas were very trained in silence and stealth and could easily hide or slip away quickly and unnoticed in a way that would lead others to believe they were magical.

Our story presupposes a modern Japanese society where ninjas have managed to survive and continue traditional methods of teaching and hired by clients and used as weapons and tools of espionage and mercenary. Taro is one such ninja, growing up in a civilization of ninjas long-thought to be extinct. But when Taro begins his first ninja mission, his whole world gets turned upside down.