"Centuries ago I dreamed of what it would be like to hold these staffs in my hand." Tatsuo marveled as he toyed with the jade staffs of Xiao that Wu Ting once guarded. "To think that woman Wu Ting would go to her death to hide it and its secrets from me....."
He paced back and forth from his throne room slowly as he turned the stick in his hand over and over again. Celeste stood silently to the side, entranced, her face never flinching and her eyes never blinking. Her mind in another realm but her body in the present and at his command.
"And now I have its owner and the world here at my feet." He smiled as he ran a hand through her lavender hair and then turned to Kitsune. "Of course I have you to thank for all of this."
She bowed her head slightly as she stood by the open terrace that looked down at the city below.
"We must move forward with our plans and gather our forces. I need an army and a legion to follow me." He mused openly and held the staff out. The brilliant gem at the end changed color to a foreboding shade of red as he walked out onto the terrace and held it up to the sky. "The good citizens of this city would make good soldiers."
He brought the staff down against the rail guard as a loud "ding" rang out causing a shock wave to travel down the building face and disperse on the streets below. The camera crew, the onlookers and anyone else who dared to get close suddenly covered their ears as if the noise perturbed them and doubled over in pain. When they slowly stood straight again their eyes were glowing red and their faces oddly blank as they stared up at the tower to gaze upon their new master. Tatsuo had charmed them and now they were his loyal puppets to command.
"Lets give this fare city a demonstration of my power. Find the turtles and drag them out into the light of day. Expose them then execute them!" He commanded as his soldiers turned slowly on their heels and like zombies walked out into the city.
Out of the window of light that Renet had created a lumbering grey figure stomped out followed by two cloaked figures with hoods. Everyone recognized Slash from the get go but his two companions were a mystery.
"Well boys did you miss me?" He smiled as he entered the room. The old couple on the center couch gasped and scooted back against the far side of the Sofa as the remaining guards raised their guns.
"He's one of us." Leo said and raised his hand to the guards. They murmured in hesitation but did as they were told.
"Who are the other two?" Mikey asked as he bro fisted the big grey giant.
One of them gave an audible sigh. "You'd think my white paws and tail would be a dead give away..." and she threw back her cloak hood to reveal the white furred face of an arctic fox with mesmorizing blue markings around her eyes. Alopex smiled at them slightly as she swished her tail about her.
"You!" Raph gasped. Actually he had been the first one to discover Alopex back in their early days as ninja's though at the time she was allied with the Shredder but then later defected against him when Kitsune came into the picture. She was a sly young fox mutant who had more cunning and more attitude than all 4 turtles put together. She would be a excellent and much needed ally.
"No one knows Kitsune's tricks more than me." She said proudly as she put a paw to her hip. "Plus I cant let someone like you hog all the fun."
"Where have you been hiding out this whole time?" Raph crossed his arms over his chest, matching his attitude to hers.
"Here and there." She laughed cryptically.
The other hooded figure spoke up. "My dear friends, it has been a long time. I hope that the years have no soiled our good relationship."
Leo recognized the voice instantly. "Yojimbo."
"That I am." Said the creature as he took off his cloak and revealed the hakuma clad humanoid rabbit with white fur and long ears to match. His blue yukata was a nice accompaniment to his black hakuma pants and katana that sat at his side as if he were a traditional Samurai. But he considered himself a Yojimbo and thus he adopted that as his name, a wondering warrior for hire but a noble and trustworthy soul. He had at one time, landed himself in New York and relied on the turtles to share their world and knowledge with him which he in turn brought back to Japan. However due to his own mutation, he kept out of the publics eye and last they heard he had been living up in a mountain shrine in one of the more desolate areas of Japan and kept his habitat there. Despite his attempts at keeping low, the name and title of Usagi Yojimbo did have a certain persuasion in the land of the rising sun. He had a reputation here. So much so that the Emperor and Empress gasped at the name.
He turned his white face to them and bowed. "I apologize for the intrusion."
"You....You're the Yojimbo? The legendary swordsman?" The Emperors face was priceless. Even he knew the story and name of Usagi but never imagined it was literally a Samurai Rabbit.
"At your service my lord." He answered calmly.
"These are your allies?" The Emperor asked Leo.
"I guess they are." He smiled apologetically.
"We all saw what happened on TV." Slash shrugged.
"We know that Tatsuo has returned so our blades are yours. We are at your disposal." Usagi said.
"Dont forget about me too!" Renet said cheerfully. "I may not be a warrior but I can still beat the crog out of someone!"
"Alright so that makes us a party of 8." Donnie observed.
"The more the merrier!" Mikey smiled.
"The odds are still against us though." Donnie pointed out.
"We have to take our chances and hope for the best." Leo said.
The sergeant, who had long ago left to the room to attend to more pressing matters, returned with his walkie talkie in hand and a strange look on his face. "Sorry for the interruption but Sire...there is a group of strange foreigners outside asking for them." He pointed to the turtles who all raised their collective brows. What others surprises would this night bring for them?
"Let them in." He commanded and the sergeat pushed the door open as a group of 7 ladies entered. They were all of different races and stature and surely not all from the same countries as their ethnic clothing did not match at all. The eldest was a tall thin lady in a black pants suit with sunglasses on her thin wrinkled face. Despite her obvious age, she still had class and gave off a interesting air that could only be summed up as hair raising. Her salt and pepper hair was tied back in a clean bun and in her hands she held a long thin walking stick for the blind. Donatello knew who it was right away.
"Valentina?" He asked as he walked towards her and stopped in front of her. She looked up despite her vision impairment and gave a haughty smirk that betrayed her age.
"Im glad we get to finally meet in person Donnie." She grinned.
"Celeste's mentor?" Leo asked.
"Indeed." She turned her head towards him. "My sisters and I have been monitoring the situation and felt it time to intervene, that and the young timestress there told us what happened to Celeste. We are here to get our sister back and you will need all the backup you can get it looks like."
"I cant ask you to fight for us." Leo protested. Having an old lady at the front line wouldnt suit his old fashion thinking but he also knew Valencia had a lot more to her than met the eye even for a 60 something year old.
"Dont worry, I dont plan to charge in ahead of everyone. However these young ladies here are more than qualified to do that in my stead." She jutted her jaw at the 6 ladies flanking her. Each of them was totally different from the other. While Valentina was obviously of Italian descent due to her thick accent and tall thin build, the one standing closest to her was a shorter lady in her 30's with long blonde hair and unearthly green cat eyes that stared out behind long half bangs that slightly hid her face. When she smirked at the turtles, noticing their eyes on her, two small white fangs poked out of her top teeth line. Her cowboy type outfit with tight high waisted jeans and frilly cowboy boots marked her as a tried and true American.
"This one here is Sage and her partner Alder from the Blue Star clan." Valencia pointed out as they stepped forward. Paired up with the blonde woman was a dark skinned beauty of the same height with long black hair and dressed in traditional Navajo clothing. Her arms and neck were adorned with various natural stones and bangles. It contrasted her stunning dark complexion and black eyes. They both bowed and said together as if in one voice. "Our fangs and claws will punish your enemies."
Their strange words brought back a memory to Raphael of when he and Celeste had shared a night together in the same bed. "Werewolves."
The two girls gave mischievous smiles and nodded. "We will show Tatsuo and his kind no mercy."
Two other girls stepped forward to introduce themselves. They were both very tall and slim with African American features and clothing that resembled island clothing from the Caribbean. They had colorful long skirts with many patterns and layer while their tops were loose and shoulder less. One of them had dread lock hair and a variety of feathers and nicknacks hanging from her waist belt. While the other had short hair cut close to her scalp and like her counterpart she too had a variety of items hanging from her waist. Some of the items included small animals skills, feathers, what looked to be a glass bottle of liquid and a long staff like stick with various beads wrapped around it.
"We are Catleya and Jacaranda, witchdoctors from dee Carribbean islands of Jamaica and Haiti. We know dat black magic has been abused here and we plan to sniff out dee ones responsible. Der is no forgiveness for dose who call upon the dark world for assistance. We are pleased to help you." They both bowed their heads and stepped back.
The last two to present themselves were obviously of Clan Umbrea and belonged to Valentina because they could have easily been triplets. They all had the same professional black suit on and bunned up hair however to differentiate themselves they each wore a Venician mask of different colors. Black and white Perspectively.
"I am Elizabeta and this Caroline. We are the daughters of the madam and witches of Umbrea. We will bring the Lady Mage back no matter what." One of them stated and the other nodded.
The turtles stared at the motley crew they had attained and then looked at each other and nodded. "Who am I to argue with help offered when its needed. Alright everyone, lets move out and storm that damn fortress and get out Mage back." Leo smirked. The boys smiled in agreement.
Karai, though she was badly wounded and in no small amount of pain, stood on the other side of the door leading to the living area. Having listened into the conversation through her morphine induced stupor she had an idea of her own to add to the group but cared not to share it openly as was often the case. Walking back to her hospice she pulled out her cellphone and dialed a number as she pressed it to her ear.
Lau Ting Xiao answered the phone. "A call from you was the last thing I would have ever expected in the world but seeing as all hell has literally broken loose tonight I can accept it."
"I figured a business man like you would be up to speed on the latest current events." She said flatly, hating the fact that she was stooping low enough to call that guy for help.
"How can I miss it? Its plastered all over the national news. My regards to the boys for their bang up job." He said sarcastically.
"Then you also know what happened to Celeste."
"Yes and I also know what happened to you." He said simply and non chalantly.
There was a long pause.
He sighed. "If its help you want you only need ask."
"I would never ask for help from you." Karai said sharply. "But on behalf of the Mage I will. Can you do something for her? A man with your "Hobbies" should have a few ideas in mind right?"
"Perhaps...but I want something in return."
"What?" She growled.
"A union between the Foot and the Purple Dragons."
"Never. We wont and never will deal with common thugs."
"And you have the gall to ask me for favors?" He asked in a highly amused voice.
"I will never surrender control to you."
"A partnership then." He suggested. "You know our influences are not what they used to be, its why you embarked on this journey and got involved in the first place. You wanted to consolidate the foots power and Im giving you the avenue to do so. Your idea of reviving the Shredder failed miserably so what other options do you have?"
"And then we what? Knock off 7/11s together? Rob Wallmarts? We are not petty thieves!" She argued back.
"Oh please Karai, you know if I were in total control of the Dragons I wouldnt do something so...simple. Its winning situation for us both, I get control back of my Dragons on the USA side and you get your name and reputation."
There was a long pause and she cursed under her breath. "If you will aide the Turtles and help the Mage then I will consider it but nothing more than that."
"That is good enough for me. I will pester you about it later." He laughed and hung up.