Beneath the fabric, Ninja and Child are warm and dry. This cloth was fashioned centuries ago by the Keepers in the Temple of Forbidden Wisdom. In such a temple, goods are manufactured, the likes of which, not a soul could imagine, save the Keepers themselves and ninja who steal from them--nay, ninja who liberate such things from the tyranny of closed-source knowledge, like Robin Hoods of sacred goods, reverse-engineering the magic, proving each time that there is a reproducible science within. The Keepers would have the world believe the goods are simply magical black-boxes of utility and function, simply tools with no instructions, no way to recreate outside the Temple. But Ninja is not a believer.
Ninja and Child are heading back to the Temple, seeking more Forbidden Wisdom. It is, after all, only forbidden by the Keepers and they are not lords over ninja. No, the Keepers are above none but those who choose to put themselves beneath them. There are minions. There are sad, undereducated Keeper Evangelists, who spread the words of Keepers and their rules and their fear. Words of obscurity, rules of dominance, fear of ninja and free thinking, free ideas, global rebellion to their ways.
A field of wheat stands between our heroes and the Temple. Code Name Alice sleeps beneath the rain cloth and radiates heat to Sleep Deprivation Ninja. The rain feels nice.
Behind the stuttering of the raindrops hitting wheat, Ninja detects a faint movement. Something mammalian. Before he has time to react, three figures emerge from the wheat, jettisoned into the air above him, as if launched from a spring loaded platform, bearing scythes, daggers and fists. Human, thinks Ninja, how quaint.
They continue their upward ascent, a painfully miscalculated force in their jump. Ten meters, fifteen, twenty. Ninja cannot see two of them anymore beyond the clouds but one begins to descend rapidly, with daggers. The attacker is thrusting straight for Ninja and Child, blades out and fiercely swinging. Sleep Deprivation Ninja ducks as the man plunges into the brush, sticking up at an angle, as if a poorly aimed dart landing in a couch. Ninja heaves his left leg backward and kicks the sad sop in the ass. He spins up, flipping over several times before landing on his face.
The second attacker falls. This one lands hard but on his feet, crouching down, horse stance with no weapons but fists. He runs toward Ninja and Child, showing an extravagant display of retro-rave dancer flare. As he approaches, Code Name Alice stirs from her sleep, dreaming of butterflies made of clockwork and apples made of blackberry pie. She giggles and the rain cloth begins to glow. She chortle's and Sleep Deprivation Ninja's chest becomes the sun. The rain water sublimates instantly within a golden dome around them as the fist-flinging fighter is blinded and torn apart by the radiation of innocent laughter. The dark mask disintegrates from his face and he melts into a puddle of ruin, washed away by the uncaring rain. Code Name Alice drops back into slumber and the light retreats within.
The remaining assailant smashes the wheat with the weight of a whale, his scythe severing his own head as he lands.
Ninja walks on, stopping briefly to muse at a wooden plank on the ground, covered in wheat. Upon inspection, he finds long, heavy spring loaded force beneath.
Tune in next week for the arrival at the Temple. What will Ninja and Child find there? Who will they meet? What goods will they