|Odi wandered around the halls of the Secret Ninja Training School. Everybody else was asleep. He was unable to sleep like the others. He had no idea why. It might have been the rain. It might have been one of those nights.
The shadow Ixi walked through the dark halls with ease. He had been a student at the Secret Ninja Training School for years now. While he was far from being the best student, he was a strong and skilled pupil. Because of his familiarity with the facility, he wasn't nervous about wandering around in the dark.
A thunder strike caused Odi to jump, however. He stopped and regained his composure before walking again. Maybe he was more on edge than he had originally thought he was.
Odi began to wonder that when he began to hear something. He didn't recognize the sound, but it made him curious. Odi began to walk in the direction the sound was coming from...
Date: May 1st
...he crept forward, not entirely sure what he should be looking for. But as the sound grew louder, Odi found that he was heading toward the master's chambers. What could possibly be in there other than his master?
There was a thick shade that usually obscured any vision of what was inside, but this time Odi thought he could make out a shadow. His master was an Aisha, but whatever was behind there was certainly not an Aisha. It wasn't even a recognizable pet.
The noise sounded like a loud crunching now and it sent a chill through him. Odi was starting to get a bad feeling. Maybe he needed to leave. But as he turned to go, he heard a hushed voice coming from behind him.
"Wait!" It said. Odi looked toward it and saw someone he knew...
Date: May 2nd
… “What are you doing here?” Xania the Purple Xweetok asked, her hands firm on the hilt of her katana. Xania was one of the senior students of the school and was the one tasked with security enforcement by the Aisha Master. Odi knew it wasn’t wise to get on her wrong side.
“I… I was trying to find my room.” Odi lied with a nervous grin.
Xania raised an eyebrow, but thankfully, she wasn’t acquainted enough with Odi. “Newbie, aren’t you?” Xania asked. “Weren’t you told not to wander around after the sunset?” Her eyes lingered into the Master’s cabin for a second before turning back to Odi. “You really shouldn’t have come here. Go back to your room now.”
“What’s the matter?” Odi asked. “Who is that person with the Aisha Master?”
“That’s none of your business, kid!” Xania said. “Now go to your room before…” Before Xania could complete, a loud BOOOM threw both Odi and Xania off their feet.
Holding his head, Odi stood up to find Xania lying unconscious under the rubble. The Aisha Master and that mysterious person was nowhere to be seen and the Master’s Cabin was completely devastated in the explosion. Frantically looking around for a clue, Odi’s eyes lingered on a small shiny object…
Date: May 2nd
Odi walked over to the object and picked it up. It was a small coin, with some kind of writing on it. The writing was not anything Odi could make out, it was in some kind of foreign language.
"I need to find out what this coin says," Odi thought to himself. "Then maybe I can figure out what just happened."
Odi knew of a coin shop buried deep in the jungles of Mystery Island. Surely the coin shop owner would know what the writing said.
Odi made his way outside and stood at the edge of the jungle, ready to go in and find the coin shop.
Before Odi could take a step into the bushes he heard a loud crash behind him. Clutching the coin tightly, Odi turned around to see...
Date: May 2nd
...Xania. It appeared as though she had followed him silently some distance before collapsing... She seemed unable to walk and appeared to be in great pain.
Frowning, he picked her up and placed her on his back; he was Ixi, he was strong -- perhaps not as strong as a Uni -- but he could support an Xweetok. "Your valour will not be in vain, Newbie," she said with a wince. "I may not be mobile, but I am able to offer us protection... but it is Master who cannot protect himself."
"Do you know where the coin shop is?" Odi asked her as he entered the Jungle.
"You have found a coin among the rubble?" she asked weakly. Not waiting for his reply, she added, "Yes, I will guide you. Master has sent me on a couple trips to this shop for packaged goods I am trusted not to peek at... the owner is a Techo, a graduate of Master's Training School."
Odi nodded as he took her directions.
At last, he stood outside the door, Xania still on him. He was almost frozen looking at the building; it was very Geraptiku in design, yet there seemed something incredibly... sinister about it.
"Go inside," she said softly, almost encouragingly.
He walked in. A startled Techo woke up from his desk at the sound of the bell on the door. "Yes?" he said awkwardly.
"May you assess this coin?" Odi handed it over to him.
He inspected it, and his eyes went wide. "Where did you get this?" he asked with a seeming mix of fury, awe, and horror.
"I found it in some rubble," Odi replied with a small shrug.
"Let me ask you again, Xania, other," said the Techo as he withdrew a katana and held it up to the two, "where did you get this?"
"It was in Master's room," Xania replied as she unsheathed her weapon as well. "Presumably dropped by Master's... acquaintance, before an explosion turning the room to rubble."
The Techo nodded slowly, comprehendingly. "You see, while I cannot tell you what it says, I can tell you this -- it is written in the language of the leaders of the Sway..."
Date: May 3rd
and your master is in great danger. You must leave now." Said the Techo, pushing them out the door.
"Well that was strange," said Odi as they got outside.
Xania's face was whiter than a ghostkerchief. "Can..can I see the coin?" She stuttered.
Odi handed Xania the coin. When she looked at it she turned even paler, if that was possible. With wide eyes Xania let out a squeal.
"What?" asked Odi, "What is it?"
"This is the coin of disappearance." Xania whispered. "Whenever it is found in someones chambers, that person is never seen again. The Sway leaves it as a message and a warning to people who have wronged them. That means the master must have done what he said he was going to do."
"Which is what?" Questioned Odi.
Xania took a deep breath and started to speak. "He said he was going to...
Date: May 3rd
…construct a plan to steal Lord Norheim's amulet of hypnosis."
As he glanced over at Odi, he saw a confused face staring back to him, "The master wanted to destroy the amulet as its powers are too great and those who fall victim... never fully recover."
Odi gulped , "So what now?" He asked.
With bravery and commitment Xania replied, "We must seek out The Duchess and her allies and do whatever we need, to rescue the master."
At that very moment they were both startled by a loud evil squawk which soared through the sky above them.
"What was that?" Odi called out as he looked overhead.
To the pairs dismay, a Crokabek had hunted them down, it swooped and with a cackle, let loose a scroll which it had clutched in its talons.
The scroll was released and sent floating to the ground, where it landed at the foot of Odi's.
Odi gingerly pick the scroll up, cleared his throat and started to read the message inside...
Date: May 3rd
"In error was his grave mistake,
to get him back, a choice you make.
To some Thieves he took a plot,
of wit and cunning, he risked a lot.
A precious item, to them he bestowed,
A key of the Sway, twisted and old.
Return this relic to our gate,
or in doom you shall seal your master's fate."
As Odi finished reading, he could see Xania was perplexed.
"This can only mean the Master was working with the Thieves Guild. They are the only thieves I know who are brave enough to take on the Sway." mused Xania.
"How will we find them?" Odi asked, though he wasn't sure he wanted to hear the answer.
Xania replied, "We must make our way to where all of Neopia's unsavory creatures go to gather information, The Rickety Shack Tavern on Terror Mountain."
As the pair made their way back to the school, Odi wondered how Xania knew about the tavern and the kind of people it attracted. He continued to wonder and imagine while she restored order at the school. Odi hadn't even thought of what kind of chaos would have befallen the school with the master's disappearance.
When she had calmed the students, gathered supplies, and planned out their voyage, they made way to the docks.
Xania secured them passage on the next ship to leave port and before Odi knew it, they were sailing toward the mainland. Odi still couldn't help wondering what Xania wasn't telling him.
As he stared toward the disappearing island, he heard an argument break out at the bow of the ship...
Date: May 4th
"I am telling you Telo, those two train with him, he is their master." Said a small Ixi in a raised voice.
The Techo she was speaking to yelled back. "I think you are just making things up, you would have no way to know this. Leave my sight now before I do something you regret."
Odi looked at Xania and whispered "Are they talking about us? And our master?"
Before Xania could reply, the Ixi started to walk over towards Odi and Xania, with her head hung low.
"Hi," said Xania to the Ixi. "Are you okay? I couldn't help but overhear your fight back there.."
"Shhh," replied this Ixi. "Not here, follow me."
Odi and Xania followed the Ixi to a storage closet at the back of the ship. It was dusty and filled with boxes and various cleaning supplies.
She looked at them with fear in here eyes and spoke softly. "What I am about to tell you will get me in a lot of trouble if my leaders find out. You must not breathe a word to anyone. Your master is here, on this ship..."
Date: May 4th
..."He is being transported to a secret location for... assimilation," the Ixi finished.
"Where is he?" Odi asked.
The Ixi shook her head. "I can't... I can't tell you that. He is too well-guarded. You would be in grave danger if you tried to go to him."
"Then what? We were told to recover what he worked with the Thieves Guild to steal. Are we supposed to keep on with that?" Xania asked. "And what is this about assimilation?"
The Ixi shook her head again. "No, no! It was never stolen, that was just a ruse to keep you occupied. This ship has a secret itinerary. It is first going to Terror Mountain, your stop. Afterwards, it is going to another destination. That is where your master is being transported. A secret location where potential recruits and prisoners are taken. Look, you're ninjas, right? Get off the ship on Terror Mountain, then sneak back on unseen. It'll be easier to find your master when the guards aren't expecting trouble. They might get lax."
She fished two necklaces out of her pocket. They were emblazoned with the Sway logo and had mysterious writing around them. "I recovered these from some former members. They should help you blend in if you need, but please don't need to." With a shifty glance, the Ixi moved toward the door. "I - I need to go. I'll draw attention if I'm gone for too long. Good luck." And she flitted out the door.
Odi examined the necklace. "Should we trust her?" he asked.
Xania sighed. "I don't know. On one hand, she's clearly a member of the Sway and this could be a set-up. On the other hand, maybe she's just a new recruit who is in over her head. I don't know what to think. I need time."
"We don't have time," Odi protested weakly. Beneath him, he could feel the boat was beginning to slow down.
It was slightly muffled through the heavy wooden closet door, but Odi and Xania could hear as the ship slowed: "Attention passengers: we are now arriving at our final stop, Terror Mountain. Please report to the main deck for disembarking..."
Date: May 5th
Odi and Xania looked at each other and nodded. They both knew what they had to do.
They exited the ship with the crowd.
"I am so excited to see Terror Mountain this time of year." Odi said, almost too loudly.
"I know!" Replied Xania, "I heard it is beautiful."
Odi tapped Xania on the arm to quietly get her attention. He then shifted his eyes towards crates being loaded onto the ship.
Xania nodded to him and ducked into the shadows.
They sneakily made their way to the crates. When the Hissi who was standing guard looked away, Odi and Xania slipped into one of the crates.
After what felt like hours, Odi and Xania felt their crate moving. They stayed very still and very quiet until they were 100% sure that they were alone and that their crate was loaded onto the ship.
"I think its clear now," said Odi, lifting the lid to the crate and climbing out.
All of a sudden a beam of a flashlight appeared and stopped right on Odi....
How will the story end?
Date: May 5th
Odi Froze, waiting to see what would happen next. His thoughts were running wild. "Could it be a guard come to kidnap him? Is Xania safely hidden? What was he supposed to do? What about his master."
Just as Odi had mustered up enough courage to speak, the Neopet at the other end of the flashlight started speaking in a very familiar voice.
Odi recognized that voice immediately, it was his Master.
"Master?" said Odi, stepping closer to the beam of light. "Is that you?"
"Odi," Replied his Master. "What are you doing here? Are you alone?"
"I am here too, " Said Xania, stepping into the light. "We came to rescue you, although it looks like you were able to escape on your own."
"I am a Ninja Master," replied The Master, "I can escape from any situation. Now follow me, we must leave before anyone realizes I am gone."
Odi and Xania followed The Master into the shadows. Creeping slowly, and quickly ducking behind objects whenever a noise sounded close.
Once they were all safely off the boat the master spoke. "Thank you both for your bravery today, you are true Ninja's." The Master reached into his robe and pulled out two star shaped pins. "Take this as a token of my gratitude and a reminder of your selfless bravery."
"Thank you," replied Odi and Xania in unison, they both had big beaming smiles on their faces.
"Now then students," The Master said. "Let's go home."
Date: May 8th