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 HEY, KID, YOU'RE 
 A LONG WAY 
 FROM NICKTOONS! 

Some TMNT stuff was always meant for grownups.

Frontispiece

[The yin/yang is beautiful and dreadful.]

[Always together. Always apart.]

[Good and evil always in harmony. Always in conflict.]

[The light and the dark struggle. And they yield.]

[These battles are in all of us.]

[Let me tell you a story...]

Page 1

[Many years ago, I learned the ways of the ninja.]

[I lived in Japan - in a secret compound very close to my home village.]

[I spent much time training my body...]

[...And my mind.]

[I was to be a Foot Ninja for the ancient, honorable Foot Clan.]

[I am Karai.]

Page 2

[As a child, I had heard the legend of Takashi.]

[Takashi was the greatest of all ninja. Very cunning, extremely powerful.]

[He wore a beautiful amulet around his neck, a symbol of his great skill.]

[It was said that Takashi would one day be the greatest leader the Foot would ever know.]

[But his quest for power blinded him...]

Page 3

[He went mad - insane with the lust for power.]

[He forgot the honor that makes a ninja.]

[Because of his great skill, Takashi made quick the deaths of many Foot Ninja.]

[He slaughtered those who would follow him.]

Takashi ··What have I done?··

[The greatest of all ninja had killed his own soldiers.]

[Regret filled his soul.]

[Madness remained in his soul.]

Page 4

[Into the shadows went the fallen warrior, hiding in the mountains.]

[The spirits of the ninja that he killed haunted Takashi.]

Takashi "No. This cannot be real."

[He thought he found safety in a cave.]

[But he was wrong.]

[His only safety was to be found in death, the honorable suicide called seppuku.]

Page 5

[Takashi's spirit left his body... To join the Foot Ninja he'd skilled.]

[...But the ghosts of the murdered Foot would not allow their killer's spirit into their realm.]

[They imprisoned Takashi's soul in his amulet...]

[...Where it has remained trapped all these centuries. It is said that he who finds the amulet will gain Takashi's skill both as a ninja and a leader.]

[But it is also said that the amulet is protected by demonic spirits that can only be defeated through the skull of true ninja.]

[The demons are made of the elements that comprise our world. They symbolize life, created out of the tragedy of death. They guard the amulet, killing those unworthy to wield its great power.]

Page 6

[My fellow Foot and I learned much of the legend of Takashi. Together, though we were very young - we'd not yet completed our ninja training - we discovered the location of the amulet.]

[It was to be ours.]

Karai "My friends, it is time to go."

Yoshikiko "We are ready, Karai. The question is, are you?"

Karai "Do not question my readiness, Yoshikiko. We will find the amulet and learn the power of Master Takashi."

Yoshikiko "The time has come, my friends. The power of the amulet will be restored to the Foot!"

Page 7

"He who finds the amulet will have the power of Takashi."

"It is a promise too great to deny."

Page 8

Unknown "Are you certaint this is the correct path, Yoshikiko?"

Yoshikiko "I have killed men for less than that! Do not doubt me!"

Karai "Yoshikiko! We do not have time to delay! Leave him be!"

Page 9

[We traveled for many days...]

[It came time to pause, for even ninja need rest.]

Botan "Masa and I have found a place to build a fire."

Yoshikiko "It is well, Botan."

Unknown A ··Yoshikiko is acting without honor.··

Unknown B "Indeed. The Amulet of Takashi must not be his."

Hikaru "The amulet calls to me. We are close."

Karai "Silence, Hikaru. I hear something."

Hikaru "What is it?"

Karai "Something... Evil."

Page 10 & 11

Karai "They are the phantom beasts that guard the amulet! Only true ninja can defeat them! They will kill those unworthy of the amulet's power."

Unknown A "I knew we were close!"

Unknown B "Foot - attack!"

Page 12

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Unknown A "Botan!"

Unknown B "Masa!"

Page 13

Unknown "Kaiiiiii!"

Karai "Kisho!"

Page 14

Yoshikiko "Hikaru! Come! He is dead!"

Hikaru "Kisho!"

Yoshikiko "I see the entry to the cave! Quickly!"

Karai "It is there. Up ahead."

Hikaru "My friends, we have arrived."

Page 15

Yoshikiko "We must search this cave to find the amulet! For all the Foot!"

Karai "We shall learn its secrets!"

Hikaru "Hai! For the Foot!"

[The great power of Takashi would soon be ours.]

Page 16

Yoshikiko "Karai."

Yoshikiko "This way."

Yoshikiko "This cavern is winding in a spiral."

Karai "We must find the amulet before Hikaru does. He ran from us - betrayed us. He must be defeated."

Yoshikiko "This cannot be!"

Page 17

Hikaru "Welcome, my friends."

Karai "Hikaru - you do not understand the power in the amulet."

Hikaru "Oh? Do you?"

Page 18

Hikaru "You want the power for yourself. You believe it is yours and yours alone!"

Hikaru "You think the Foot worships you, Yoshikiko. But they do not. You do not deserve Takashi's great power!"

Yoshikiko "You are wrong, Hikaru. I only wanted to bring the Foot - all of us - to greatness!"

Hikaru "The Foot will not rise with you!"

Hikaru "It will be mine!"

Hikaru "It will be me."

Page 19

[Although we were young ninja, insufficiently trained, Yoshikiko and I had mastered at least one skill...]

[...The art of escape.]

[Bonds could not hold us.]

[Hikaru would be defeated.]

Page 20

Yoshikiko "Hikaru!"

Yoshikiko "You will not take the amulet."

Hikaru "I feel its power. I will not give it up."

Yoshikiko "Then you will die!"

Unknown "Kyyyaaaiiiii!"

Page 21

[Yoshikiko and Hikaru fought with the intensity of true ninja.]

[I could sense their focus. Their anger.]

[I shut them from my mind through meditation.]

[The amulet made Hikaru strong. Stronger than Yoshikiko.]

[It gave him the power to kill Yoshikiko.]

[I felt Yoshikiko leave this plane of existence...]

[I knew my duty.]

Karai "Hikaru."

Page 22

Karai "You bring dishonor to the Foot."

Karai "It will not stand."

Hikaru "You cannot stop me! I have the power and spirit of Takashi! The greatest of all Foot!"

Karai "A true Foot would not kill another without cause. Takashi was without honor! You are without honor!"

Page 23

[Yoshikiko truly sought the amulet for the good of all the Foot.]

[But he lacked focus... And lost his life.]

[I will not make that mistake.]

[I am true ninja.]

Page 24

Page 25

[With Takashi's own weapon...]

[...You will be defeated, Hikaru.]

Hikaru "Arrhrhrh!"

[Takashi was free from his prison. Hikaru was free from his madness.]

[Their souls have moved to a greater existence.]

Page 26

[I said that a Foot would not kill another without cause.]

[I had cause to kill Hikaru - to save many other lives.]

[The amulet would have led to many other deaths.]

[But I will not leave him to rest alone. That would be without honor, also.]

[They will lie with their fallen comrades.]

[Like True Foot. With honor and peace.]

[Years later, as I rose within the Foot, I learned that many other Foot had sought the amulet and perished. Their sacrifices, their souls - also trapped within the amulet - refreshed its true power.]

[It purified the hearts of minds of those, like me, who lived to speak of the search for the amulet.]

Page 27

[...]KIKO HIKARU HIRO MASA BOTAN RA[...]

[The legend of Takashi said great power would be found in a jewel.]

[Greatness cannot come from the outside.]

[The true power of the ninja is found within.]

[Great inner strength is the key.]

[The only path.]

The end.

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