Although a lot of people in Philadelphia watched Guardian’s romp with the ninja, there was someone else who was also watching but with great interest. This person viewed the confrontation on a large crystalline wall. Their eyes shone with curiosity and intrigue. A hand waves delicately across the image of Guardian, which fades away almost immediately. The person’s expression changed from interest to admiration. It is clear that this person wants to meet Guardian. “It’s time,” the person said. Then they fade away in a soft glow of white light.
Flying along the Delaware River, Guardian leads the ninja to the area that Detective Williams told him about. After a few more minutes of flying, he spots the sandy area with the hill on it and signals to the ninja to land. They fly down to the ground and land softly. The ninja looks around the beach a bit and then looks back at the hill. “Nice choice of battleground, I’m quite impressed,” the ninja spoke.
“Thanks. I’m glad you like it. So how about you tell me your name?” Guardian said. “After all, you did say that you would tell me in due time. And I think that time is now.”
“Shadow,” said the ninja, “Now that the introductions are out of the way. Shall we begin? I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity to finally see what you’re made of.”
“What a coincidence. I want to see what I’m made of too. So I hope I don’t disappoint you.” Guardian said with a smirk. “Well this has definitely gotta suck for you. No more rooftops for you to jump across. No place to hide.”
Shadow chuckles wickedly. “I’ll assume that there’s no one for quite some distance.”
“Yep, just you and me…and these!” Guardian said. He slaps the bottom half of his coat backward, revealing the two whips hanging from either side of his waist. These are the same whips he claimed for himself after he rescued Sarah from the gang of men last night.
Shadow attentively eyes the leathery weapons. “I guess the only thing missing from you now is a horse,” he said.
“Whoa, an actual comeback. Not bad. It shows you’re thinking. Not well, but thinking nonetheless.” Guardian shot back with quip. “So let’s get this started. I got places to go and things to do in them.”
“Alright,” Shadow says before slowly removing the sticks from their sheath while keeping his eyes fixed on his enemy. With a quick spin, he brings the weapons into readiness and takes an attack stance.
Guardian stands ready with his hands hovering near his whips, like a gunslinger ready for a quick draw. He has trained himself to use the whips to their fullest extent. Now he’s about to demonstrate the fruits of his labor.
The two men trade intense glances, one waiting for the other to make a move. Shadow quickly leads off with a speedy sprint. He charges with his sticks held tightly in his hands, ready to bring them to life. Guardian waits with his hands itching to grab the whips at his sides. He widens his grin as Shadow approached. It would appear that he wanted this challenge just as much as his tightly clothed opponent. Now within striking distance, Shadow swings one metal stick upward. The first strike is dodged. He immediately brings the other stick in to join its twin. A loud clang rang out. The attack was stopped somehow. Shadow peers down and sees what happened. Guardian blocked the swipe aimed for his ribs with the hilt of one of his whips. He casts a flashy smile and boots his ninja adversary in the chest, knocking him backward. Guardian then summons his other whip. Both weapons were now drawn and he was eagerly ready. “I think it’s only fair to fight fire with fire,” he said to himself.
Shadow brings himself to his feet. He gazes at Guardian and his brandished whips. “Using the hilt of your whip to block an attack. Impressive Guardian. But don’t get too self-assured. I haven’t even started to use my power.” Taking a stance, Shadow prepared himself to go at Guardian again. He narrows his gaze, and then he takes off like an Olympic sprinter.
Guardian stands ready. He held the whips with their hilts aimed outward; his hands were slightly behind them. Shadow quickens his sprinting. He covered several paces in an instant and lashes out with one of his sticks. Guardian quickly sidesteps and swings his whip, deflecting the stick with the hilt. Shadow swipes his other stick. But it’s deflected as well. The dark ninja lashes out with a series of swipes and slashes. Each attack was nimbly blocked and deflected by Guardian’s whips. The trench-coated hero had the whips wrapped around his forearms while he effectively used the reinforced hilts to knock away the swinging steel rods. Not only was Guardian defending himself but he was also keeping some distance between himself and Shadow.
They swung and slashed at each other with amazing speed. Loud clangs reverberated through the air. Shadow thrusts his sticks furiously but they were quickly calmed with each successful block. Guardian twirled and called his whips into action. Each block he made with them was followed with a counter attack but the ninja quickly defended and returned fire in kind. Shadow blocks one attack, spins and deflects another as he rushed at Guardian. Guardian hastily calls his whips back and hops back to avoid a swing aimed for his abdomen. Shadow quickly twirls the stick around and rams the end of it in his opponent’s mid-section. He goes for an upward slash only to have it narrowly avoided. A firmly planted elbow in Guardian’s chest remedies that. Shadow drives a knee into his ribs and knocks Guardian away with a powerful kick.
Guardian twists his body while airborne and lands with a slide. He looks at Shadow with an intense glower. The notion that beating Shadow may be more difficult that he expected entered his mind, but only for a moment. Guardian blocks it out of his mind and thinks about how he’s going to defeat him.
Shadow peered at his enemy. His eyes glowed with devious intentions. “I think it’s time to end this.” The ninja twirled one rod around. He then puts them together and gave them a twist, locking them together. Secretly Shadow had a third weapon. The two rods became a long staff. The ends extend a bit for extra length.
“Figures. It is said that ninjas were the masters at the art of deception. I should’ve known you weren’t gonna be any different,” Guardian said. He knows that he now has to be more wary of Shadow. “I gotta be careful. He can separate the staff back into its two components any time he wishes.”
Shadow chuckles with wicked delight. “That is true. Deception is one of the many arts of a ninja. Too bad you realized it too late.” Digging his feet into the sand, Shadow hurls himself at his enemy with his staff raised and ready for action.
Guardian stared down the ninja as he approached him. He tightens his grip around the whips’ hilts. “Here he comes. The one thing about a weapon that big is that it’s easy to read. All I have to do is keep my eye on it.”
Shadow swings his lengthy weapon. Guardian manages to parry it with one whip and strikes with a counterattack with the other. The ninja knocks the strip of flying leather to the side and then he begins thrusting his newly formed staff repeatedly. Guardian swerved and swayed avoiding the staff as it came within mere inches of striking him. He was forced backward as Shadow advanced at him, jabbing the staff wildly. Guardian then quickly dropped down, avoiding a fast swipe that threatened to take off his head. He speedily pops back up, slashing his whip upward. His dark clothed foe hopped back out of its path. Guardian gritted his teeth and went after the ninja. His whips sprang to life as they viciously licked their way through the air. Shadow blocked and dodged the flying leathery strips as they came at him. Guardian masterfully commanded his whips, brandishing them with skill and finesse. The whips howl through the air with loud swooshes and snaps.
Shadow danced his way around the snapping bull whips. The agile ninja’s moves were smooth and fluid. He athletically evaded and defended against each vicious swipe. After dodging one swipe and then blocking another, Shadow returns on the offensive, resuming his previous assault against Guardian. He swings and thrusts his staff more voraciously this time. Guardian had to work a bit harder to avoid being struck. He tries for counterattack and slashes one whip aiming for the ninja’s arm.
Shadow deflects it and rushes at Guardian with his staff raised high. The strike threw Guardian off balance. He back peddled a bit to keep himself on his feet. Shadow wasn’t aiming for Guardian directly. His eyes were set on the whip in his left hand. Guardian had to make a quick decision. At the last second he retracts his hand just as the staff come down. It was a feint. Guardian quickly releases his other whip and drives a hard right into Shadow’s face. It was the first clean hit he had since they started and he’s not about to let up. He pummels the ninja’s head in a few more times before batting him away with a kick. Guardian then chases after his enemy as he tumbled through the air. Shadow manages to spike his staff into the sand and uses the momentum to spin around once, kicking Guardian as he rotated. He flings himself backward pulling his staff out of the sand as he did and lands safely. Shadow immediately throws himself at Guardian. He swings his staff hard. Guardian boots the long metallic rod away and caves Shadow’s jaw in with a powerful right hook. The punch sends the ninja spiraling through the air before slamming onto the sandy ground.
It takes a couple moments for Shadow to stand up. Once up, he looks at Guardian intensely. “Heh Heh. Good, Guardian. You’re better than I expected,” he said.
Guardian accepts the compliment and grins slyly. “Thanks for the nod. I guess this means our warm-up is over.”
“Quite. Now shall we move on to the main event?”
“Sounds good to me. Ladies first,” Guardian quipped.
Shadow merely scoffs at the comment and chuckles with wicked anticipation. He swings his staff up and holds it over his head as got into a stance. At first nothing seems to be happening. A still silence fell over the area. Then, little by little, the sand around Shadow begins to move. It rippled away from his feet in small waves. He kept a fierce gaze locked on his enemy as his power rose. Guardian could feel it. The ninja’s dark aura was growing. A dark purple glow radiated around Shadow. His powerful aura was growing more sinister. Suddenly, the ninja thrusts his staff into the ground. A burst of dark energy exploded from him. The sand kicked up violently. A bright purple dome surrounded Shadow. Once it faded away, it revealed a newly powered person. Shadow looked virtually unchanged. He appeared to be slightly larger than before. His muscles, though still lithe, pulsated with power. Shadow’s gaze fell upon his enemy. His eyes were cold and lifeless, like a doll’s. “Now…that’s better.” Shadow’s voice is just as soulless with a hint of malice but still it remained curt and proper. “Now it’s your turn, Guardian. Show me what you’re really like. Of course it wouldn’t be fair to fight an unarmed man.” the ninja stated looking at his adversary’s empty hands.
Guardian chuckles mischievously. “Now who said I was…unarmed?” His hands became wrapped in electricity and the whips appeared in a soft glow.
“You continue to impress me, Guardian,” Shadow said.
“Seriously, stop with the compliments. You’re making me blush,” Guardian said. He grins slyly with a mischievous glint in his eyes. “So Shadow, are you ready to finally to get to know me?”
“Indeed,” Shadow replied.
“Then allow me to introduce myself,” Guardian said. Lightning slowly begins to emit around him. It quickly grows intensely. Streams of electricity coursed over his body. His lengthy trench coat fluttered in the light breeze. Guardian crosses his arms over his chest with his whips still in hand and casts a flashy smirk. It was an intimidating pose. Then in a burst of light, his power rises rapidly. The light settles afterward. Guardian stood in a veil of lightning. He lowers his arms. The whips in his hands crackled with electrical power. “This work for you?” he asked with a smirk.
“Yes. I expected you to be strong.” Shadow stared at Guardian. His eyes were filled with excitement. “Now let’s see…what you’re made of!!” He lunges for the trench-coated hero with his staff raised high. Covering several feet in an instant, Shadow brings his staff down on Guardian. It strikes the ground with an awesome impact, spraying a plume of sand upward. Shadow expected something like this. He knew Guardian would dodge his attack. “You are fast. Just as fast as I am.” The ninja lifts his staff and slowly turns around. Guardian stood behind him.
“You shouldn’t give yourself that much credit. If that’s as fast as you can move than I’m better off going at it with a turtle,” Guardian said. His charismatic charm shined brightly.
But Shadow wasn’t biting. “You mock me.” He lets out a small chuckle; then it grew into an uproar of wicked laughter. The curt and proper demeanor has disappeared. Shadow changed into a person seeking bloodshed and the challenge of a worthy adversary. He has found both. “This is going to be glorious!” Raising his staff again, Shadow charges at his cool-headed opponent.
(The story begins HERE!! Get your copy of Defenders Volumes 1 and 2 through the links in the J1 Studios Bookstore for your Kindle and eBook device!! And check out my new fantasy novel Arcana X!! And see the witch dance with the devil in my fan fiction Dante vs. Bayonetta and it’s the angriest vs. the furious in “Kratos vs. Asura!!”)