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The Lone Ninja

by Casey Gilman

The Final Chapters: Mechanical Magic


Sometimes King Cyan Garamonde hated his new job. He had never wanted to be a king, he'd rather be a warrior who protected Doma. If the vote from his citizens hadn't been nearly unanimous, then he definitely wouldn't be standing in front of the throne right now.

Before him stood a man who he had fought with to save the world. He had always known this dark-clothed person as Shadow; a lone ninja, who was also an assassin. Now, he had just taken off his hood for the first time, revealing himself as Clyde Arrowny, one of the men who robbed Doma's train a little over twelve years ago.

His partner, known only as Baram, had been found and identified as one of the train robbers, and died shortly after. The people of Doma had given up searching for his partner long ago, and Cyan never dreamed he'd walk right to the king and identify himself.

"It's true," Shadow broke a long silence,"I have half a million gold pieces hidden."

"I just can't believe it!" Cyan was shocked,"I knew you had a criminal record, but I didn't think you stole from my people!"

"I've been hiding my guilt all this time," replied Shadow,"I almost went crazy. I needed to tell you."

"Well," Cyan began,"I suppose saving the world from a madman helps clear your name a little. But, it is only fair that you pay for your actions. You will spend your nights in prison, and work for Doma during the day."

"I understand," replied Shadow,"It's more than fair."

"By the way," Cyan said,"You said you had the money hidden. Where is it?"

"Most of it is in a cave on the Southern Continent. It's just north of Maranda."

"We'll head out tomorrow," commanded Cyan,"You're going to lead us to the remainder of the money. Guard, take him to his cell."

* * *

Clyde sat in his cell that night, in leather clothing. They had stripped him of his weapons, and made him change out of his ninja outfit. He looked out at the moon, which was casting a beam of light on the stone floor. Shadow wondered why he had even done it in the first place. He was young, and thought he could get away with anything. He was right. Baram died due to injuries inflicted by the Doma authorities, but Clyde had gotten away. That was one reason why he felt so guilty. In fact, he hadn't spent most of the money, because he couldn't bear to look at it. He used just enough of it to get by.

Shadow had definately made some mistakes in his life. He had also had a child in Thamasa, who he abandoned when her mother died. He never knew what happened to her, but he had suspicions that a girl named Relm was his daughter. But a man named Strago was Relm's grandfather, and neither he nor his wife had a father named Strago. Clyde remembered the old man Strago, with a little less white hair, was living in Thamasa even back when Clyde lived there. He had heard that Strago had lived his whole life there, as many of Thamasa's citizen's had. He was also very sure that Strago never had children. How could he have a granddaughter?

Clyde was far to tired to worry about the matter anymore tonight. He wanted to be well rested, for he was going with Cyan, and some Doma troops to find the Gold Pieces in the morning.

* * *

Just outside the back end of the castle, where the prison was, stood an ominous figure. He noticed that the town that was growing near Doma castle was only in front of it, so no one except the castle guards had a chance of seeing him.

'What could the guards possibly do against me anyway?' he thought,'Oh well, it's time to prove my worth.'

The tall, strongly-built man noticed two guards patrolling the castle, on the second story. 'Time to take care of the watchmen,' he thought to himself.

He pulled a small pod from out of a pouch on his belt. It was taken from a rare plant, that few knew about. In fact, he had just recently learned of it. Looking at it now, he noticed it looked a lot like milkweed.

He pulled back his tree trunk-like arm, and hurled the pod onto the second story balcony, which surrounded the castle. Instantly, the giant man saw a white vapor spread from where the pod had landed, and apparently had broken open.

The two guards leapt to attention, but they were too late. The vapor had already taken effect, and they were soon unconscious.

'Man, that guy is smart,' thought the muscle-bound stranger,' A plant that contains knock-out gas. I guess that's why he's my boss.'

He noticed that he hadn't attracted any attention. This would be easier than he thought. He ran up to the back wall of the castle. He had recently learned that the prison was on the other side. There was no door on this side, but that didn't matter much to him.

* * *

Inside the prison section of the castle, the guard noticed that all the prisoners were asleep. He wished that he were asleep. It was hard to sleep during the day in such a busy, bustling town. He heard his stomach growl.

'I'm starving,' he thought. Then he saw all the prisoners in peaceful slumber. 'I'm going to get something to eat. The prisoners can't do anything.' He walked out of the prison.

Soon after, Clyde awoke abruptly. He heard a giant crash. He peered out the bars of his cell, and saw a huge man at the end of the hall. There was a giant hole in the wall behind him, revealing the field outside the back of the castle.

'Did he PUNCH that hole in the stone wall?!' thought Clyde. He looked strong enough to. Shadow noticed that the other prisoners were awake, and he also realized there was no guard.

"Listen up!" exclaimed the man, who must've been at least seven feet tall,"I'm breakin' you guys out, so you can work for me! If anyone has a problem with that, I'll be happy to rip them in two! Now stay put while I open your cells!"

The bald-headed, black-vested man began ripping the barred iron doors off their hinges. Clyde noticed that he did it with remarkable ease. After going down the hallway, and ripping open all the doors, he headed back to the entrance that he had made. Clyde may have been a criminal, but he felt that he should do something.

As the slow-moving man stomped back by Clyde's now-open cell, the ninja quietly slipped out, and moved back to the other end of the hallway. There was a small room here, where all the weapons and items taken from prisoners were stored. None of the prisoners seemed to noticed him, because they were excited to be freed.

Shadow swiftly donned on his dark suit, and re-armed himself with dirks and stars. "Now," he heard the man bellow,"Follow me!"

The criminals began to exit their cells. Just then, Shadow stepped out of the small room, and back into the hallway.

"Stop now!" he cried.

"Huh?" said the man,"I recognize you! You're that assassin, Shadow! You helped save the world! I don't know why you're here, but you're gonna wish you had never came!"

The ninja charged down the hallway, towards his muscular opponent. He leapt into the air, and was prepared to kick the man. Unfortunately, the man was too quick. Shadow realized this, just as his fist flew into Shadow's stomach-area. The fist had to be as big as Shadow's head! He flew down to the hard stone floor.

"Some assassin!" the monstrous man chuckled. This was the last thing Shadow heard before he became unconscious.

* * *

"Are you okay?!" Clyde saw a guard looking over him.

"I'll be fine, given enough time," Shadow mumbled, as he began to regain consciousness.

"You may not have a lot of time after what you just did!" exclaimed the guard. "Huh?" Shadow mumbled.

"Don't play stupid with me!" cried the guard,"That knockout gas was obviously a ninja tactic, and the weapons you have are the only ones missing from the storage room. You'll have plenty of time to explain how you made that gaping hole in the wall."

"You don't understand!" cried Clyde.

"Oh I understand. We all understand. You came here only to free Doma's prisoners, and for some reason they attacked you. You're one evil man, Clyde Arrowny!"

Shadow was beginning to wish that he had lived with his guilt.
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy VI
Version 6
©1997–2019 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

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