Disclaimer: The author realizes that the song ” The Rose” was performed by LeAnn Rimes and takes no credit for the lyrics.
The author would like to thank Don Berry for helping her with the plot and characters.
I closed the door to my locker and shoved a folder into my book bag. I stood their impatiently waiting for the other seven people in my group to meet me so we could all finish the project at my house. My house! I don’t even have a house! Well it’s kind of a one story room with a fire area and a few blankets for our beds. I guess you could call it a shack, even though I hate to admit I live in one. Dulcea and I live there and while I’m at school she sells other people’s food at a near market place; she gets money from the owners of the food. Then she buys dinner for us with the money.
So anyway I really didn’t want them to come to my place and laugh at me, or even worse pity me. Dulcea, she’s my guardian, thinks that a simple life is the best character building life anyone could have. I guess she’s right, I mean I have no electricity, which means no TV, VCR, radio, boom box, or stove. If we eat, one of us has to earn it. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s helped me not take things for granted. Of course when I was little she’d earned extra food for me. We almost never go hungry.
Oh, sorry, got off topic. I wanted to go to someone else’s house, but it had been settled with drawing straws; I had pulled the smallest from the stack. This was going to be a long evening. As I looked down the hallway, I spotted Trini Kwan walking toward me. Trini and I look pretty much alike. We both are of Asian descent and have jet black hair. Her hair flows down to her mid back and mine ends at my rear. She’s five four while I’m five seven. Trini’s quiet and peaceful, it takes alot to get her mad. She’s a sifu, that is an expert in Kung Fu. Adam, another friend of mine, is also an expert in Kung Fu, but he’s a degree lower than her.
She leaned against the lockers and sighed. I asked her, “ What’s wrong?”
” I just can’t figure it out.”
” Figure out what?”
” Why Billy suddenly wants to learn Kung Fu.”
Billy Cranston’s a genius; he knows more information than the scientists with Doctorate degrees. He’s also really shy. Most of his activities are cerebral.
” Well maybe he just turned a new leaf.”
” Hey,” Kimberly said cheerfully. Trini and Kim used to be best friends when they were toddlers; then they’d grown apart. Kim’s more interested in shopping, gossiping, fashion and gymnastics. They’re still friends though.
Aisha Campbell walked quickly to us. “ Hide me!”
” Why?” Trini asked.
” Zack won’t leave me alone.”
” Well he does have a huge crush on you, Aisha,” Kimberly said. Aisha and Kimberly are best friends. Aisha has the same interests as Kim, but Aisha’s a dancer not a gymnast.
” Aisha, Zack’s gonna come meet us here anyway. What’s the point in hiding?” I asked.
” Oh, good point,” Aisha replied.
Sure enough a few seconds later, Zack came strolling down the hall. He’s not really bad, he’s just really cocky. He’s fun loving and great with people, especially kids. Zack teaches a twelve year old class for his own martial art, Hip Hop Kido; it’s a mixture of Karate and hip hop moves.
” Adam is teaching Billy some moves in the Youth Center. Rocky’s with ‘um,” Zack said, “ They want us to meet them there.”
” Cool,” I said, “ Let’s go.”
We walked in the place and sat at our usual table. I glanced across the room and saw Adam and Billy practice. I heard Adam say,” Billy, you need to make your moves more gracefully. Billy first the left side kick, then the punch, block, then upper cut. Your yellow belt test is coming up. You need to get this right. Now try again.” Adam’s really patient. He’s shy like Billy, but he’s confident enough to stick up for himself. “ Good. You’re getting better.”
” Rocky’s doing great, isn’t he?” Kimberly asked. Of course Kimberly would say that; she is his girlfriend. Rocky’s really outgoing and friendly. He’s also an expert in Karate, which is what he was practicing by himself.
” Yea,” Aisha replied. Adam, Rocky and Billy walked over to us; we left to go to my house.
After thirty minutes of driving we arrived. I saw Kimberly send Aisha a side ward glance. Someone in black was thrown out of my house where a window would be. We scrambled out of the car. I reached my house first; I saw Dulcea kicking some other guy in the stomach. He crouched and struggled to get up; he ran away as he called,” You can’t escape! Ahriman will destroy you!” I didn’t know what that meant then, but I wish I had known.
” Dulcea, are you alright? What happened?” I demanded.
” They were trying to steal something,” she looked past me,” Who are they?”
” They’re the people in my group for school,” I answered. I was almost shaking. I felt like I’d done something wrong.
” When is the project due?”
” In three days,” Trini answered. Trini’s the only person who’s ever seen Dulcea before. The others were gawking at her, especially the guys. She normally wears a green bikini and skirt which is exactly what she was wearing. I handed Dulcea her shawl; she put it on.
” Then they can come back tomorrow. They cannot stay, today.”
” Why, not?” I protested,” I told you we were coming today and we need to get this project done.”
” Diana, do not argue. They can come back tomorrow.”
I turned to my friends, “ Sorry, guys. You have to leave.” They were too stunned to argue. They left silently. She sat down. I turned and glared. “ What did you do that--”
” Complete all the forms of every martial art I have taught you.” That was why she threw my friends out? I’ve trained every single night since I was three in Shaolin Kung Fu, Mantis Kung Fu, Karate, Vovinam, Tri-Ksiu, Yi Chi, and Phae-Leik.
” Now!” She’d almost shouted. She never shouts; she meant business. So, I began to perform non stop. Hours later I was done. “ Repeat your vow.”
” I will use all you teach me for good. I promise to protect the weak and innocent. I will pass on my skills to my children. I will do whatever it takes to defeat evil. I swear by my honor, blood, and life.”
” Then take this to protect others and to symbolize your hard work.” I froze. This wasn’t apart of the normal ritual. She’d normally nod or bow her head. She took out a silver dagger. I nelt down on my knees as she placed it in my hands. On the white hilt was the face of a wolverine. The wolverine was a solid silver color. The blade was the same silver. “ Diana Argent, you are now and forever a Master of Ninjetti.”
I looked at her. “ W....W...What?”
” You know everything I can teach you. You know everything I know. Congradulations.” I smiled and hugged her. “ I am sorry I yelled at you earlier. You needed to earn it now.”
” You will know in time. Get some sleep. I will wake you at sunrise to do your homework.” I nodded and went to sleep.
I walked to school after I’d done my homework Dulcea had been acting a little strange that mornig. She’d been really sentimental. Her behavoir that morning was on my mind. She’d said, “ Diana, I want you to know that you are like a daughter to me. Your father would be proud of everything you have accomplished. No matter what will happen in the future, you must go on and do what is right.”
“ I will. Thank you. You have always been a mother to me.” We’d hugged after that. Why did I feel like I was saying goodbye?
As i’d walked out the door, she’d called to me,” Stay strong!”
” I will!” What else could I say?
I went through my normal school day, but I felt this empty feeling inside. I tried to shake it away, but it lingered in me like a fish stuck in water. I felt like something was missing; something very important.
At the end of the day, I was thinking of telling Dulcea of how I was feeling. Once my thoughts uttered the word Dulcea a wave of nausea washed over me. My lungs felt tight, like someone wringing out a rag. I grabbed on to my locker for balance.
” Hey, Diana! The others wanted to--” then Trini saw my face as I looked at her. “ Diana!” She grabbed me roughly and dragged me into the Ladies’ Room. I looked in the mirror. My face was pale. She splashed cold water on my face. Kimberly and Aisha burst into the room.
Kimberly said,” Everyone’s here. We can leave whenever you’re--”
Aisha blurted,” Diana, you look terrible!”
What did you expect? I feel terrible!I thought miserably. “ I need to go home!” I yelled aloud. I ran out the room into the almost deserted hallway. Suddenly a rush of complete despair washed over me; I collapsed under its tremendous weight.
” Diana!” I heard Adam yell. He ran toward me and knelt beside me. He looked at me with troubled eyes.
Again I cried my plea,” Please take me home!” Adam picked me up and carried me to Rocky’s van. All eight of us got in the vehicle and Rocky drove us to my house. I ran in my house as fear clutched my breath away from my lungs. I stared. I started breathing again as soon as the others came up behind me.
Dulcea lay limply on the floor. Her right hand was in the middle of the fire place; her other hand’s fingers dug into the dirt. I smelled fresh blood. I saw blood gush from a fatal wound in her stomach. Then behind her I saw a man dressed in black; the man who yelled at her yesterday! He was covered with blood and not moving. I took it all in, as I approached her body. “ Are you crazy! She’s dead!” Rocky hissed. I took out my dagger. I almost placed it beside her when the fire place started burning. Kimberly began to run out the door, but it slammed shut. Kimberly screamed. I noticed a scroll in the fire started glowing. A voice came from the scroll, like a recording.
“ I am Dulcea, Guardian of the Ninjetti Temple and Master Warrior of the planet Phaedos. Ahriman is coming to earth. He’s a destroyer of Worlds, and millions of Galaxies across the Universe. He’s already destroyed Phaedos, Eltar, Triforia and Edonei-- and now he wants Earth. Dopplegangers are his portal group who shape shift into any human that Ahriman has killed. There is a power that can stop him. It is called Ninjetti. Diana is half Phaedosian and half human. Her mother let me raise her and she was born with the Ninja Power. Diana is a Master Ninja. Her power I kept dormant so attention would not be drawn to us. All you have to do is touch the fire and the power will be yours.”
I looked to my friends. “ I never knew any of this!”
” Some people might come back for the body or something. We have to decide,” Zack said.
” If Dulcea says to, I say we do it,” Trini said.
The others nodded; they respect Trini’s wisdom. We touched the fire in a semicircular formation. The scroll glowed.
“Aisha you are the Bear, fierce and unstoppable. Your color is green.
Rocky, you are the Ape, smart and flexible. Your color is red.
Kimberly, light as a feather, you are the agile Crane. Your color is pink.
Zack, you are the Fox, clever and brave. Your color is black.
Billy, cunning and swift, you’re the Wolf. Your color is blue.
Trini, the quick and lithe Cheetah is your spirit. Your color is yellow.
Adam, you are mysterious and courageous, you possess the Frog. Your color is White.
Diana, you’re the Wolverine, possessing inner strength and the heart of a fighter. You are to overcome all obstacles. Your color is Silver.” The power flowed into each of us. I felt the tingling of the power as a suit covered my body. Dulcea’s voice continued,” The power has become one with your souls and can never be taken away or passed to another being.” The last words she recorded stung me the most. “ The Power will go with you to your graves.... I love you, Diana.” I looked at my uniform. It was all silver except for the white band across my waist. A white and silver skirt was only on the front side of my body. A gold circle was on each of our chests showing the head of our own animal spirit. The guys didn’t have skirts.
The scroll disintegrated in the fire and the suits disappeared.
” Okay, now let’s get out of here,” Rocky said.
Wait,” I said. I looked at Dulcea’s hand in the dirt. It was bent as if trying to grab something. I dug under it and grabbed a small book. I shoved it in my pocket. I stuck my knife beneath my belt strap. Dulcea’s body disintegrated.
I heard footsteps. Adam whispered,” We have to get out of here now!”
We opened the door and ran into Rocky’s van. The engine roared as we sped away from my house until it became a dot on the horizon. “ What kind of witch did you live with anyway!” Kimberly yelled at me. I felt as if I’d been slapped across the face. I glared at her; tears filled my eyes from frustration, fear and anger.
” Dulcea was not a witch! She’s alien. So, am I, Kimberly.”
” We’re going to get killed because of a psycho!” Zack yelled angrily.
” I don’t care what she is, you two! I care about who she is, and right now she’s on our side, so stop trying to blame her for the situation! Kimberly switch places with Trini!” Adam shouted from the passenger seat.
Kimberly did as she was told. I believe we have found our leader, I thought to myself. Trini sat beside me and put her hand on my shoulder.
Rocky yelled frantically,” Guys, there’s a lake in front of us!”
” What are those things?” Aisha cried pointing to the rear-view mirror. I looked out the back window.
They were green skinned with large powerful legs, and clawed hands. They had long spiked tails and oval shaped heads. They could only be one thing. “ Dopplegangers!”
” They kill people!” Zack declared, “ We’re dead!”
” If we go into the water they’ll get us for sure,” I said, “ We can’t outrun them.”
” So what are you suggesting?” Adam asked.
” We fight.”
” Are you nuts?!” Rocky exclaimed.
” Dulcea gave us the power for a reason,” Trini said.
” Diana was born with it,” Zack retorted,” Dulcea gave her nothing.”
” Diana, just incase we die, I’m sorry for yelling at you and calling Dulcea a witch,” Kimberly said in a rush.
” It’s okay, Kim. You were just scared. We all were.”
” Were? What do you mean were scared. I am still scared!” Rocky exclaimed.
” We need to stop them from hurting us, first,” Billy spoke up,” We can dispute further action later.”
I thought about the Wolverine. I pictured the spirit in my mind. I locked my hands together and out stretched my arms in front of me. I cried,” Silver Ninja Ranger Power!” Suddenly silver energy shone and my suit appeared. I focused on the Wolverine again. I thought, out of the car. I felt a jolt of energy and suddenly I was standing on grass. I glanced behind me at the van. There was smoke dissolving from my teleportation. I turned and saw about twenty Dopplegangers running straight for me. I saw their round golden eyes shine a murderous gleam.