Shadow comes at Guardian swinging his sticks madly. Just as Guardian expected, Shadow’s moves were erratic. He can’t fight well with an unclear head. The dark ninja’s attacks were choppy but there was still some refinement in their deployment. Shadow was struggling to hold on to his focus but his anger and the grinding pain in his arm aren’t assisting him at all. Guardian danced his way around the swinging steel with less effort than before. Though he’s avoiding Shadow’s attacks with little resistance, he knows eventually that his maddened foe will land a clean hit. Once that happens, they won’t stop. Besides he doesn’t want to give them that satisfaction.
Guardian blocks one attack and hops away from another. That was Shadow’s opportunity. With an extremely quick burst of speed, the ninja plows his injured right arm into Guardian’s gut just as he lands, then he quickly uppercuts his trench-coated enemy with the same arm. The pain was stifling but Shadow stamped it out of his mind as he delivered a hard right. He then thrusts one leg straight up, landing a powerful kick to his opponent’s jaw. Shadow quickly takes to the air after he launched Guardian skyward. He drives a metal stick into the hero’s abdomen and follows with an upward slash. After digging his knee into Guardian’s chest, Shadow pounds his back three times, the last strike using both sticks together. “Shadow Blade!” the ninja called out. He swipes one of his sticks, releasing a purple wave of dark energy. The wave strikes Guardian propelling him to the ground at an alarming rate. Sand is thrown into the air when he slammed into the ground. Though his first energy attack was successful, Shadow was going take any chances. He quickly channels power into his sticks. They glow with dark energy. “Shadows Fall.” He then begins swiping his weapons rapidly, releasing continuous energy waves. The barrage of Shadow Blades strikes the ground with deadly force. Plumes of sand shoot into the air and the ground rumbles with each strike. Shadow soon ends his deadly assault and descends speedily to the ground. He clamps the rods together once more. Pouring more energy into it, the ninja raises the staff high. The staff glows intensely, wrapped in an insidious dark aura. “Dark Eclipse!” Shadow swings his staff hard. A large energy wave sails through the air, heading for the decreasing cloud of sand. It explodes into a large dome. Anything inside would’ve been annihilated. It churned with dark energies before eventually dissipating.
Shadow stood with his staff lowered. He was exhausted. The two attacks he used to ensure Guardian destruction have taken their toll on him. The pain in his arm, inflicted by his enemy, has spread through his body. His muscles ached, more from wear than fatigue. Shadow stared into the sand cloud as it quickly settled. As the heavy sand returned to the ground, an unsettling feeling set in as the ninja stared into the dissipating sand cloud. It was an impossible thought that twitched in the back of his mind. The uneasy feeling set in further as the sand cloud vanishes. “No! Impossible!” Shadow’s eyes widen in disbelief. The crater punched into the ground by his last attack was present. His eyes darted back and forth across the crater. There was nothing. No trench coat. No hat. There was no sign of Guardian. Even if Shadow’s Dark Eclipse had destroyed him utterly, there would some sort of evidence, but there was nothing. “Did…did I defeat him?” That minute thought entered his mind but he couldn’t shake the possibility of Guardian’s survival.
Silence falls upon the battle ground. The only sounds were the slight tussling of the trees nearby and Shadow’s short breaths. The ninja listened carefully. But still he heard nothing. Suddenly there was a tap on his shoulder. “Hey,” a familiar voice broke the silence. Shadow’s eyes shot wide open. “Don’t look now. But you missed me,” Guardian sang in his ear. Shadow was completely mortified. He couldn’t believe that someone was able to withstand his most powerful attacks. He didn’t miss. Thinking back, Shadow knows his Shadow Blade was dead on, as well as his other two powerful attacks. No one should’ve survived them or at least not have the ability to move. But somehow, someway Guardian did. Shadow trembled, both from the anger swelling up inside him and a horrible possibility that he never expected. That Guardian may be stronger than he is. He clenched his sticks tightly as he became more infuriated. Shadow refused to believe that this unorthodox excuse for a warrior is stronger than him. With an angered yell, he spun around and lashed out a fast swipe. He only struck the empty air behind him.
“Yo! Over here!” Shadow whirled around again to find Guardian at his back once more. “That’s strike one. Be careful you only get two more.” Guardian teased.
“You arrogant punk!” Shadow hollered. He rushed at him and swung hard.
Guardian catches the metal stick just before it hit him. “That’s strike two.” The ninja yells and swings his other stick. It lands right in Guardian’s waiting hand. He grins mischievously as Shadow tried to pull his weapons free. “Strike three.” Then the trench-coated hero drives a knee into the ninja’s gut. He releases the stick on his right and throws an uppercut into his chin, popping him back up. Guardian spins into Shadow and thrusts an elbow into his chest while at the same time dislodging the metal rod from the ninja’s right hand. A thrust kick to the body sends Shadow stumbling backward to the ground. “You’re out,” said Guardian. He looks at the stick with dispatched sympathy and bends it just the same.
Shadow pulls himself to his feet. He glowers at Guardian with rage-filled eyes. His anger has reached its boiling point and is slowly going over. Guardian turns toward Shadow, playfully juggling the bent rod in his hand. “Hey, check it out. A boomerang.” he said with a chuckle. He tosses the bent rod. Shadow angrily bats it away. “Is that how you’re gonna be? I make something nice for you and you just toss it aside. Don’t ask me for anything else.” Guardian is ever sarcastic.
“Enough! I’m tired of your games and your brash attitude! I’m ending this fight now!!” Shadow yelled angrily. He twirls his remaining rod and charges at him yelling.
As the angry ninja approached, Guardian gathers some energy and forms a rotating orb in his right hand. Shadow speedily closed in on his enemy. He lashes out with his other rod. Guardian quickly creates a Lightning Disk and swings it as he spun out of the ninja’s path. Shadow spins himself around as he slide to a stop. He burned a fierce gaze at his upstart opponent and prepared to attack him again. He was about to go at him again when he noticed the electrified disk Guardian was holding. “Hey. Is that yours?” Guardian called to him. Shadow looked towards where Guardian was pointing. Once he again he was taken by complete surprise. On the ground laid half of his other rod.
Even more infuriated than before, Shadow threw he useless weapon to the ground. “ENOUGH!!” his anger has evolved into a burning fury. A burst of dark energy envelopes Shadow and he rockets towards Guardian. The trench-coated hero kept his charismatic composure as the maddened ninja approached. Shadow throws a punch but it’s quickly blocked. He immediately swings out a roundhouse kick.
Guardian knocks the swinging leg aside and counters with a hard punch to Shadow’s face. He then kicks him in his ribs and immediately bashes his face in with three fast hard punches and finishes with a jump kick that sends Shadow flying through the air. Guardian suddenly appears in the ninja’s path and boots him in the air. Chasing after him, he rams Shadow in his chest and continues to push him back toward a large hill rapidly. He slams the ninja thunderously into the side of the hill and begins hitting him hard with rapid punches and uppercuts. He then grabs his outfit. “Now I’m gonna introduce you to my favorite dance,” Guardian said. While holding onto Shadow, he spins around and slams him hard against the rocky hillside. “Slam Dancing!” He flashes a big grin as he grabs the ninja’s leg and bashes him against the hill again before hurling him towards the ground. Shadow crashes into the ground hard, creating a deep crater. Guardian descends as Shadow crawls out of the crater. “Alright, pal. I got questions. You got answers. You can guess where I’m going with this,” Guardian said. “What are you doing here?”
Shadow struggles to his feet. He looks up at Guardian. “I’ve got nothing to say to you,” he said harshly.
“Don’t make me beg.” Guardian exasperated a whine. Then in an instant, he rushes at Shadow and drives a fist hard into his gut. The force of the punch pressed the ninja into the hill. “I said don’t make me beg,” Guardian said dispassionately as he removed his fist.
Shadow coughed as he tried to refill his lungs. “I come from a place called the Dark Realm,” he finally said.
“The Dark Realm? What’s that?”
Shadow chuckles wickedly. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” A bolt of lightning fired by Guardian silences him. It was aimed near his head.
“Now you either start talkin’ or I’ll carve my name in this hill with your face,” Guardian said sternly.
“Very well. It’s an alternate reality to your realm full of evil and darkness. I was sent here by my master, the ruler of the Dark Realm, to remove you as a threat to his plans.” Shadow kept his composure despite the near hit at his head.
“Plans? What plans?”
Shadow chuckles evilly and says, “He wants to rule your world and enslave its people. But you are in the way, Defender.”
“Defender? Why did you just call me that?” Guardian asked puzzled.
“That is what you are, isn’t it? A Defender of Earth?”
“Look, Shadow, you better start making some sense or I’ll beat some into you.”
“It doesn’t matter; once I eliminate you, I’ll hunt down the other Defenders and destroy them as well, and my master will have free access to your planet and its people. He will rule your world!” Shadow said coldly, and then he started laughing evilly.
“Not if I have anything to say about!” Guardian said angered by what Shadow had just told him.
“Foolish Defender, your presence is a hindrance to my master’s scheme. Now it’s time for you to see why I’m called Shadow!” His cool demeanor seemed to return. Shadow begins raising his power again. His body began to bulk up as a dark aura manifests around him as he raises his strength. A few more moments go by and Shadow’s transformation is complete. With his body rippling with muscles, he casts a piercing glare at Guardian. “Now your end is at hand, Defender,” Shadow said coldly, “As you can see, I’ve been holding back. Now prepare to face the darkness.”
(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!!”)
Check out my accompanying music video to “Asura vs. Kratos!!”