The Village of Broken Dreams
Kamara flew from the Destiny’s Bounty to the village known as Shuushi. The last rays of sun were dimming behind the horizon, and the air was growing cold. Kamara landed at the gate and cautiously walked inside. It was grim. There were very few people outside, and none of them were exactly chattery. When the villagers spotted the ninja, they stared emotionless at her. The new buildings seemed to be the only things normal and bright in that place. A shiver went down Kamara’s spine. She looked down at the GPS she had borrowed from Nya’s room, which had the coordinates of the place Kamara was supposed to meet presumably the Kurai Kodomo. She was close. Her hands shook a little. She shoved the GPS, along with her hands. trekking deeper into the village, they saw a long string of houses, built extremely close to each other. Each one had been charred and blackened. They hardly even looked like houses with the exception of the basic structure.
“What happened here?” Kamara breathed.
In the middle of this row of burned down houses were small piles of flowers, wilted and dead, along with small pots of incense sticks still burning. There were pictures. Rows of pictures of people of all shapes and sizes, young and old, slightly water-damaged from rain.
“It must’ve been a large fire” Kamara breathed, “I wonder how long ago that was…”
Just then, she heard slamming of doors. She whirled around. All of the people they had seen disappeared. It became eerily quiet. Even the wind had stopped blowing. Did the villagers know what was about to happen? Kamara took a deep breath, and continued on.
She came upon the last of this row of houses. Fear crawled inside Kamara’s mind. This was the place. Cautiously, she climbed inside the desolate structure. She spent a few minutes looking around. She seemed to be the first one to arrive.
“No one else is here but me,” she thought to herself, “Maybe I can find somehow find my sword-brothers before they get here and we can escape.”
Kamara didn’t trust the Kurai Kodomo one bit. She knew this was a trap, but what type of trap she wasn’t sure. The sun disappeared. Kamara pulled out a small flashlight she had, and turned it on. Just then, she spotted something. When she entered to what looked like was the kitchen area, she spotted a trapdoor under some debris. Hope rose inside of her like a warm fire. She quickly removed the debris and pulled the trapdoor open. She saw a ladder down to what looked like a basement, but the ladder was too deteriorated to use. She leaned forward and observed the potential fall.
“That’s not too far…” she thought to herself.
The wind picked up a little. Kamara put her legs into the door, then let herself drop into the passage.
With the help of the wind, Kamara landed much softer than anyone else could. It was damp, and reeked of the smell of smoke. She squinted into the blackness. She lifted the flashlight. The basement looked like it was going to be cut in half, but only the framing was complete. There were rags and buckets lying around, along with a box of tools on the far right of the room.
“It looks like the basement was, for the most part unaffected by the fire…”
Just then, Kamara stopped. She detected something strange. She looked to the left of her where she felt a draft coming from the wall. Her spirits lifted.
“A secret passage?” she thought excitingly.
She put her hands to the wall. Kamara started shaking, this time with eager anticipation. Then, with a deep breath, she gently pushed. A segment of the wall in the shape of a doorway pushed back. Kamara dug her fingers into the edge of the wall, and slid it open. She flashed her light inside. She gasped.
There were the ninja. Every single one of them, unconscious, tied up and gagged.
Kamara was overwhelmed with joy, but also horrified. Kai was the one in the front so she went to him first. She noticed dry blood on his right temple. She immediately removed the gag and cut his bonds with a dagger in her uniform pocket.
“Kai? Kai!” She hissed, shaking him.
They were surprised to see her! One by one, she removed the gags from their mouths.
“Kam! What the heck are you doing here!?” Cole exclaimed.
“Rescuing you, what else?” Kamara replied.
She bent down where the knot was (the ninja were tied together).
“But the Kurai Kodomo could show up any minute! You’re in danger!” Jay exclaimed.
“Right now all I care about it getting you out of here!” Kamara said firmly, “What happened anyway?”
“Shifter was stalling while Harden was thawing out. But instead of leaving us behind, he knocked us out and took us with him. I overheard Shifter talking about ransom,” Cole explained.
She grunted as she struggled with unweaving the big rope knot.
“Yeah, that sounds about right” she growled. “I guess it was a good thing we left our golden weapons back at the base, or else the Kurai Kodomo would’ve had them too!” Zane added.
“Didn’t you bring a knife?” Kai asked, who just happen to be the one in front of Kamara untangling the rope.
She looked up.
“I was told not to bring any weapons” she replied, then winked.
“It’s so good to see you.”
At that moment, Kamara fully loosened the knot. Her cheeks were rosy pink, but she still grinned, glancing at him with bright brown eyes.
“Okay guys,” Kamara warned, “I’m going to hug every single one of you right now, and you’re not going to stop me!”
Then, she stretched out her arms, and embraced them. They were so startled. What did they do to warrant such affection from Kamara of all people? Regardless, Kai, Cole, Jay, and Zane couldn’t help but get warm fuzzy feelings from such a tender hug. Every single one of them were beaming.
“Come on! Let’s get out of here!”
The ninja stepped out into the open air.
“Ah, fresh air, how I’ve missed you!” Jay cried.
They stood up and stretched their aching muscles for a few moments.
“What’s the status of the Bounty?” Cole asked.
Kamara felt for her comm link and pulled it forward.
“Lloyd, can you hear me?” She asked.
There was a moment of silence.
“Lloyd?” She asked again.
“Why is Lloyd picking the calls? Where’s Nya and Sensei?” Kai inquired.
Before Kamara could answer, she heard a little boy’s voice say:
“I’m here, I’m here! Heh, took me a while to find the button for the microphone.”
“Lloyd, I found the rest of the team. Now we need the Bounty. So listen carefully, I’m going to walk you through it.”
Kamara spent a minute or two directing Lloyd through the controls. The ninja eyed her a bit suspiciously as she talked. Something had happened if Lloyd was the one calling the shots at home.
Finally, Lloyd announced: “Got it! Heading your way!”
“Good job Lloyd! That’s one step closer to being a ninja: have a reliable listening ear!”
Lloyd giggled, justifyingly proud of himself.
Suddenly, Kamara heard a noise: three people quickly approaching them.
“Actually Lloyd, I need one more favor of you. I want you to send Jade a message: we need the golden weapons, ASAP!”
Then she turned to the rest of the ninja.
“They’re here” she announced, then added mournfully, “I’m so sorry.”
“Quite the drabby place isn’t it?”
The ninja jumped and whirled around. There were two shadows. The taller one with full hair leaned over to the other one with a hat and whispered something. It nodded. It was Safrina and Shifter. Safrina stepped into the light of the moon. The ninja upped their guard, especially keeping close eye on Shifter, who could try something dirty at any moment.
“Shuushi was quite the beautiful place” Safrina continued, observing the rotting abode, “Oh you should have seen it in the Autumn! This village was a respectable place, one of the last traditional places that carried about the old ways. Smooth curves, luscious colors, the artistry was unmatched.”
“Now look at it: now it’s one of the poorest villages in Ninjago. Everyone’s forgotten it, and its people. Now they scrape to get by. They’ve began to call this place ‘The Village of Broken Dreams’. They aren’t wrong.”
She looked at the incense pots, wilted flowers and tattered photos.
“This tragedy is where it all started: The Great Fire.”
She looked back up at the ninja, with newfound raging eyes.
“Do you know how the fire started?” she asked.
The warriors were suspicious of her stalling. Well, they were stalling as well.
“Why?” Cole finally replied.
“Because the Spinjitzu Masters abandoned us!” Safrina hissed, “The warriors we had looked up to for centuries, the ones who had sworn to protect all of Ninjago, crashed through our city, burned everything!”
Kamara could now see grief pouring out of Safrina.
“And they never came to help us!”
Then, Safrina drew her weapon.
“The world doesn’t need warriors who will fail them! They need competent ones, those you understand the grief of our people! Ninjago needs the Kurai Kodomo!”
Suddenly, three more figures appeared: Masuka, Glacia, and Inazuma. Kamara summoned her windblade and stepped in front. The Kurai Kodomo drew their weapons. The rest of the ninja cuffed their fists, ready for anything.
“Ninja! To the dirt!”
The ninja instinctively ducked. Something whizzed past them and exploded like the sound of a powder. The ninja looked up. A smoke bomb had been thrown in the Kurai Kodomo’s direction. Safrina shrieked, furious and the others hacked and coughed. Zane looked up. There was Jade, behind a decrypted wall. She gestured anxiously to him.
“Over there!” Zane hissed.
The ninja lept up, quickly spotted her, and hastily ran over. On the other side of the wall, Jade had a large black and silver chest behind her.
“Yes!” Jay cried, instantly recognized what it was and what was in it.
Jade ran over to it and pried it open. The ninja eagerly reached into the box and grabbed their golden weapons. Kamara ran and embraced her sister.
“Thank you so much Jade!” Jade quickly pulled away.
“Hey, the affections can happen afterwards! Now go get ‘em!” she cried.
Kamara nodded. The ninja equipped their weapons.
“Kamara, stay with Nya. As soon as Lloyd gets here with the Bounty, get up there and fly as fast as you can away from here!” Cole exclaimed.
Kamara wanted to argue, but the smoke was clearing and the Kurai Kodomo were regaining ground.
“Okay” she replied.
As soon as the word left her mouth, the ninja were running back around the corner, and combating the Dark Children.