Monday, February 20, 2012

Hope is Lost

Taro knew that he had to hide. If he was caught now, his whole mission would be in jeopardy.

The vases were large and were big enough to hide in, but he wouldn't have time to get in without risking knocking them over or making too much noise.

He looked up, and noticed that the ceiling was covered with loose tiles that could be pushed up. He pulled out the chair from the nearest desk and jumped on top of it. Barely able to reach, he pushed the tile to the side with his finger tips and looked inside.

There were several large air pipes running along the ceiling, and a few support beams above that.

The voices started getting loader.

"Get him inside!" called one of the voices from outside the door.

He had no time to decide. It was all or nothing.

Taro threw his grappling hook through the hole and watched as it rapped around one of the support beams. With a leap, he grabbed onto the rope and pulled himself up with all of his might. Placing one hand over another, he scaled his way up the rope to the support beam and grabbed on with one hand, pulling the rope up with the other and dangling like a decorative ornament.

The door swung open.

"Sit him down!" demanded the voice again.

"Yes, sir," complied another.

Taro threw the rope up over the beam and grabbing on with the other hand, swung his feet up to hug the beam.

"Please, I can explain!" pleaded yet another voice.

"Shut up!" the first man called.

Taro heard a thud and the pleading man gasped for air.

There was no time to sit idle, Taro knew. He had to secure the tile before anyone noticed it was displaced.

Now hugging the beam, Taro freed one of his hands and tied the rope around his waste. He slowly lowered himself using the rope but kept his legs around the beam for support.

He inched his way down to the tile and slid it closed. Then he pulled out a kunai knife from his belt and began slowly carving a hole in the tile to see through. It didn't take much. The tile was flimsy styrofoam.

He couldn't see much from his vantage point, but he could see that the man had now been tied up in a chair and the other two were standing around him.

"Please Mr. Takowa, I didn't know!"

"Keep your mouth shut unless Mr. Takowa speaks to you," said one of the other men, lurching forward and hitting the man in the face.

"You lost a forty thousand dollar shipment," said Mr. Takowa. "How do you plan on paying me back for the money you lost me?"

"I'll find a way, please don't kill me!" the man pleaded some more.

"Wrong answer!" said Mr. Takowa. He made a gesture to the other man.

"Boss!" he said, stepping forward and hitting the man again.

"It seems you're too much of a liability for my organization," said Mr. Takowa. "Show this man what we do about liabilities."

"No, please!"

Mr. Takowa turned around and headed for the door.

"Give me another chance!"

It was no use. Mr. Takowa left without another word, and the other man pulled out a gun from his jacket and pointed it at the tied up man.

"Please... Don't do this. Just let me--"

Taro nearly fell as his muscles tensed up. He watched as the pleading man fell limp and the other man began to walk away like nothing had happened.

It suddenly felt like more to Taro than he could take. He would be too late, and Michio was already dead. It was too late. There was no point in trying to save him.

Tears fell from his cheeks, catching in his hair and falling on the ceiling tile.

Hold on Michio, if you're still alive.

Taro could only watch as the ruthless gang killed a man right before his eyes. He is now uncertain whether his friend is even alive at all. What will Taro do now? Find out in the next chapter of the exciting web-novel "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.