Some TMNT stuff was always meant for grownups.
(Leonardo slicing off an enemy's hand)
[My name's Leonardo.]
[I've always walked the straight and narrow. I've always believed that A leads to B. I've always had a certain clarity that's enabled me to see the consequences of my actions. It's been my path towards seeking truth, beauty and, at times, perfection.]
[It's the simple philosophy behind my ninjitsu training. Every goal is a point in time and all training is the straight line that leads to a given point: The goal.]
[It's the way I approach a battle, the foundation to my strategies, the way I've lived my life. Clarity, goals, straight lines, known outcomes. No confusion.]
[Except for that one time. Or was it four times?]
[The skipping, folding, looping arc of confusion, of nonlinear time... I still don't know how to adequately view it, let alone explain it. But I'll try...]
[Let me tell you a story...]
[He was old, very old. And like most of the ancient ones that I've known he too often lay adrift in memory, a sailor upon his own oceanic waves of time, embraced by its tides and held fast by its currents.]
[He enjoyed his memories, for his life had been full. He remembered everything, down to the smallest detail. This pleased him, for he was a great sensualist.]
[But it was precisely because he remembered everything, because his life was so full, that he could not accept the fact that his life was nearing its end and that his memories would soon cease.]
[So he thought about what to do. He had great powers, a sharp intellect. He had accomplished many remarkable things in his life, god-like things... Could he cheat death, too? Perhaps, he thought.]
[So he developed a plan, a very complicated plan.]
[One that involved me.]
Pai-Doth Noor "Leonardo."
Hamato Splinter "Leonardo."
[I was eight years old, a baby. Splinter still tucked me in at bedtime, still quelled my nightmares.]
Splinter "You have done quit well in your studies, my son, quite well indeed."
Splinter "It is time to put aside your wooden practice sword."
Leo "You... You mean...?"
Splinter "I do."
Splinter "Behold, Leonardo: A katana of ancient, tempered steel."
Splinter "This sword has memories, my son, centuries of memories."
Splinter "I am proud to bestow it upon you."
Leo "Wow. It's heavy."
Leo "Thank you, Sensei. Thank you very, very much!"
[That night, while my brothers slept, I battled.]
[I slew dragons...]
Leo "Hold on, lady."
Unknown Brother "Go to sleep, buttmunch."
[...Sliced the heads off of pirates...]
Leo "And stay dead!"
Preteen Leo "Freaky!"
Noor "Hello, boy."
Preteen Leo "This is scary."
Elderly Leo "Don't be afraid, he doesn't mean us any harm."
Noor "Hey, old man."
Adult Leo "I... I sort of remember this..."
Preteen Leo "Hey! You, you're... You're me!"
Preteen Leo "Where's Master Splinter?"
Preteen Leo "I want Master Splinter..."
Elderly Leo "Go take care of our youngest self."
Adult Leo "Will do."
Elderly Leo "Meanwhile, I'll handle..."
Elderly Leo "...Pai-Doth Noor."
Elderly Leo "We all have a vague memory of this. All but the boy, I suppose."
Elderly Leo "Now, what is it you want of us, Noor?"
Noor "A favor owed, surely you remember that?*"
[* See Tales #4.]
Noor "It's a simple matter. Since I am unable to walk your plane of existence I need you to deliver something for me."
Noor "A gift."
Adult Leo "A gift? What, do I look like I'm wearing a Fed Ex uniform?"
Elderly Leo "Which of us is to be entrusted with your gift, Noor?"
Noor "The quiet one. The fifteen year-old."
Teen Leo "Gee, thanks. I think."
Preteen Leo "Gee, how old are you?"
Adult Leo "Forty-five. In human years."
Adult Leo "So where are we supposed to deliver this gift... And to whom?"
Noor "To he who is called Cynocea. He lives in this castle... Back when Egypt most of northeastern Africa. Most... But not this castle kingdom."
Preteen Leo "The see-no-what?"
Elderly Leo "What's the catch, Noor?"
Noor "Heh. Funny old man. The catch... Is to not get caught."
Elderly Leo "And how do we get back?"
Noor "Trust me. You'll get back."
Teen Leo "Trust you? I don't know if I even like you."
Elderly Leo "Be brave, young one."
Preteen Leo "I'm doing my best."
Adult Leo "Um, how will we know where to find this castle?"
(Noor) "Just ask around."
(Unknown Leo) "Are you yanking my crank?"
(Noor) "Heh. It's downriver from the Sphinx. You can't miss it..."
Preteen Leo "Cool. It's the Nile."
Elderly Leo "This way. Follow me."
Adult Leo "Who put him in charge?"
Teen Leo "Seniority, I guess."
Adult Leo "Yes, well let's just hope it's not senility."
Preteen Leo "Huh! There's a baby floating down the river in this basket..."
Adult Leo "Heads up, bros. Crocodiles...!"
Adult Leo "Ut-oh!"
Baby "Daa. Daaaaa."
Adult Leo "No way!"
Adult Leo "No frickin' way!"
Adult Leo "I realize that in about two thousand years from now you're gonna be an endangered species, pal but right now..."
Adult Leo "...I really don't care!"
Adult Leo "Whoa."
Adult Leo "Hey!"
Preteen Leo "Um, shouldn't we help him?"
Elderly Leo "Patience. We're resourceful."
Adult Leo "Frickin' A-right!"
Adult Leo "Next time I catch you around here, I'll make booties out of you."
Preteen Leo "Don't forget about the baby!"
Elderly Leo "No. Leave the child to its destiny. We have done enough."
Preteen Leo "But it's just a little baby!"
Elderly Leo "It's Moses."
Adult Leo "I thought as much. Then... Then was this our destiny as well, to save Moses?"
Preteen Leo "Um, I think our destiny is to kick butt."
Elderly Leo "Battle formation delta omega four."
Teen Leo "No need for baroque strategy."
Teen Leo "It's just three humans. I can handle this solo."
Teen Leo "Really? You don't say."
Teen Leo "Gesundheit."
Teen Leo "Ha!"
Teen Leo "Back atcha!"
Teen Leo "Your turn."
Teen Leo "I'll make it quick. This won't hurt. Much."
Teen Leo "Just a little backhand, is all."
Teen Leo "Two down. That just leaves me..."
Teen Leo "...And you."
Teen Leo "Care to tango?"
Elderly Leo "You should not have let him get away. I don't remember being so sloppy."
Teen Leo "Not much of a danger, I guess."
Preteen Leo "I bet we can still catch him."
Adult Leo "Right. I'm on it. Back in a sec."
Teen Leo "Forget about it! The Egyptian dude's got a whole platoon of friends and they're all headed this way!"
Preteen Leo "Cool. Maybe it's the Egyptian army."
Adult Leo "Not cool. Hustle! Move it!!"
Teen Leo "Is this what you call a strategic retreat?"
Adult Leo "Yeah, now quit yapping and vamoose."
Teen Leo "I still think we could have taken them."
Elderly Leo "Hmph. I don't remember being so feckless in my youth."
Teen Leo "You mean I'm going to grow up and be as boring as you two?"
Adult Leo "Don't equate boredom with wisdom. And remember:"
Adult Leo "I know how you think."
Teen Leo "No, you don't! You know how you used to think, not how I think!"
Teen Leo "And right now I'm wondering why I'm the only one who's weirded out by the fact that we're all Leonardo... All at the same time."
Teen Leo "It's creepy watching myself walk and talk..."
Teen Leo "Don't you find this somehow... Wrong?"
Teen Leo "Say something! I mean, I thought I was the quiet one but you're taking all this in stride, acting like we're a bunch of old friends."
Adult Leo "We are."
Adult Leo "I know it must be weird seeing what you'll become but try to imagine the opposite..."
Adult Leo "...Imagine the loss one feels at seeing what one was. And what one shall never be... Again."
Page 14 & 15
Teen Leo "This must be the place."
Adult Leo "You think?"
Teen Leo "Shut it, Pops."
Elderly Leo "Remarkable. It appears to be carved from solid mountain rock."
Elderly Leo "Excuse me while I go to contemplate this... Alone."
Teen Leo "You sound like Splinter."
Preteen Leo "This place is awesome!"
Teen Leo "So... Will our lives remain as good as they are now?"
Adult Leo "At age fifteen? Ha. Fifteen was fun... I remember it well."
Adult Leo "But let's just say that... Things change... And that life is at best..."
Adult Leo "...Bittersweet."
Teen Leo "Dude, you're bumming me out."
Adult Leo "That's life."
Preteen Leo "This is the life!"
Preteen Leo "Going on adventure..."
Preteen Leo "...Jumping back in time..."
Preteen Leo "...Exploring new places..."
Preteen Leo "...I can't think of anything cooler than this!"
(Elderly Leo levitating)
Preteen Leo "Whoa."
Preteen Leo "I'm gonna be able to do that?"
Preteen Leo "That's pretty darn cool, too!"
Adult Leo "Check this out."
Adult Leo "The locals... They're not afraid of us. They're not even batting an eyelash at seeking walking talking turtle guys."
Adult Leo "I like it!"
Teen Leo "Weird, though."
Adult Leo "They even seem to look at us... Respectfully."
Elderly Leo "It is a simpler time. Man and nature are closer together."
Elderly Leo "Right before the Europeans and Arabs arrive and enslave everyone and exploit the land's resources and kill all its wildlife. Before all the corruption and genocide."
Teen Leo "No way I'm going to become as cynical as you, dude."
Adult Leo "Yeah, well, it's true. Those poor bastards."
Elderly Leo "We must stick together."
Teen Leo "Wait up, dude."
Adult Leo "I'm waiting... But I don't like what I see."
Teen Leo "Huh."
Adult Leo "Yeah."
Teen Leo "No easy way in. In fact, I'd say it's designed to keep people out."
Adult Leo "Looks like we gotta climb."
Adult Leo "...But first we need to cross this moat."
Preteen Leo "Cold!"
Elderly Leo ··Hush.··
Preteen Leo ··Hey, I've read about moats. Aren't moats supposed to be filled with piranha or sharks or-··
Preteen Leo "-Urk!"
SHLICE SHLICE SHLICE
Preteen Leo "Cowabunga!"
Adult Leo ··Sheesh! Keep it down, will ya? We're trying to be ninja here...!··
Preteen Leo ··And thanks for your help with the fishes.··
Teen Leo ··You're a big boy. Consider it a lesson in self reliance.··
Elderly Leo ··You aren't just the age you are. You are all the ages you have ever been.··
Teen Leo ··This looks like a good spot.··
Teen Leo ··Whaddaya think?··
Adult Leo ··Deeds, not words.··
Adult Leo "Sorta smells like ammonia or something..."
Preteen Leo "Cats."
Teen Leo "Right. Smells like cat pee around here."
Adult Leo "We seem to be in some sort of outer courtyard. Let's work our way into the center..."
Teen Leo "The outer ring is a marketplace."
Elderly Leo "A suq."
Elderly Leo "An open-air market. Common to north Africa."
Adult Leo "And this must be the residential district at its center."
Elderly Leo "Homes, bordered by a market and promenade, enclosed within and atop a wall, and surrounded by a moat. A most excellent defense."
Elderly Leo "Come, let us go deeper."
Teen Leo "I still think it's weird that no one's around."
Adult Leo "Yeah... And look at this, people's goods have been left lying out in the open."
Teen Leo "Of course."
Adult Leo "Good."
Adult Leo "Wait."
Adult Leo "There's that smell ag-"
Adult Leo "@#$%!"
Adult Leo "Whoa! Fast!"
Adult Leo "Ha! But remember: There's always someone fas-"
Adult Leo "-ter!"
Adult Leo "Aaargh!"
Adult Leo "Ow."
To be continued!
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