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Toa Smoke Monster

The Darkness Within - NiS Contest Entry

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The Darkness Within

 

Sensei Wu led Lloyd through the dark, thick forest of a very remote part of Ninjago. He hadn't been in this forest for a very long time, nor had he spoken of its existence to anyone. He had also stayed quiet about he and Lloyd's destination in it. The fewer people who knew about where they were going, the better.

 

Behind him, Lloyd was wondering many things. He wondered why Sensei Wu insisted on the young Ninja only bringing a sword and couple other supplies on their trek. He also questioned why the other Ninja were not invited to come with them. If there was a threat in this forest, why were they the only two going to face it?

 

"Their paths are their own." Wu had told him when Lloyd asked. "This path leads to a test. One only for you, Green Ninja."

 

Lloyd nodded at the reply, but deep down he didn't understand it. He was the Green Ninja, destined to save Ninjago from his Father, the evil Garmadon. He had expected intense training, grand adventures, and the coming day where he would face his father in the battle of all battles. If anything, he had expected to his journey to be a grand one.

 

But he didn't expect it lead him through this dark, vine covered forest.

 

"So what kind of test is this?" Lloyd ask Wu.

 

"One that you need to take." The Sensei replied. Lloyd couldn't help but hear the hint of hesitation in Wu's voice. It was as if something in this forest was making him nervous, which was something Lloyd wouldn't expect from the wise one.

 

Wu bushed away a cluster of vines to clear the pathway. He wasn't sure if Lloyd was ready for the challenge that the Sensei was leading him to, but he had to make sure Lloyd was armed with the knowledge he needed not only for the day that he faced Garmadon, but also for his life afterwards if he succeeded in that final battle. He had to make sure Lloyd understood what true power could do to someone unprepared for it

 

"I just hope it doesn't lead him to his death." Wu thought.

 

The Sensei and Lloyd kept going for another two hours before coming to a stop. The path ahead was blanketed in a thick fog. A strong wind that blew through the trees and into the fog, but it didn't even move the fog a little.

 

Lloyd may not have been the most experienced Ninja ever to exist (at least, not yet anyway), but even he could tell that this fog was covering a location that was unnatural to this region, and possibly nature itself.

 

Wu turned to the young Ninja and pointed into the fog. "This is the path that you will continue down to meet your test. It will lead you to a field littered with trees and boulders. I will remain here."

 

"What?" Lloyd exclaimed. "I have to go in there alone! Why won't you come with me?"

 

"Because this something you have to do alone." Wu replied. "I will enter only when it is the right time for me to do so."

 

Lloyd gave the Sensei a puzzled look. Wu turned from the Green Ninja and shook his head. "This is a place of evil, a place that I wish it didn't have a reason to exist." He went on. "But sadly it does, which is why you must go in there."

 

"What kind of test do I have to pass in there?" Lloyd asked in confusion.

 

"It's not about passing it, Lloyd." Wu said worriedly. "It's about understanding it."

 

*******

 

Lloyd cautiously entered the new environment. As Wu had told him minutes ago, the fog was covering a field littered with trees and boulders. What Wu hadn't told him was that the ground had changed from muddy to very dry ground, which was fine with Lloyd.

 

He could only see a couple feet in front of him. He thought about using his Spinjizu to try to remove some of the fog, but then realized that could reveal his location to any enemies that could on the field with him.

 

Because there had to be an enemy of some sort in here, right? That had to be Sensei Wu's test. Lloyd was supposed to overcome some threat in this fog covered field, so that he could better hone his powers.

 

"That has to be why I'm here." Lloyd thought confidently. "I must be here to defeat some foe to get a better understanding of my powers. That has to be what he meant."

 

The Green Ninja's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of metal scrapping against one of the nearby boulders. Lloyd turned to the noise, but the only thing he saw was darkness. He then heard rustling in the nearby trees, as if a figure was swiftly moving through them. Lloyd turned again, but once again was too late to see what was moving around him.

 

Lloyd pulled out the sword that Wu had given him and pointed out in front of him in a defensive position. He had no idea what was moving through the trees, but if it was a threat to him, the young Ninja would ready for it.

 

"Garmadon."

 

The name echoed through the trees, the voice saying it in a haunting tone. The mention of the name caught Lloyd a little off guard. Not only was 'Garmadon' his last name, it was also the name that his father went by. Could it be that Lord Garmadon, his father, was here now?

 

"Garmadon."

 

This time, the voice came from behind him. He turned around quickly, sword at the ready, and this time got a glimpse at his tormentor before he vanished into the fog. He looked to be human, roughly the same height as the Green Ninja. He also appeared to be wearing a black cape with a hood covering his face.

 

"Show yourself!" Lloyd demanded. His voice bounced through the trees like a roar.

 

"I did, for a time." Came the reply. Lloyd's eyes widened in surprise. Was it him, or did the voice of his foe sound a little too familiar? It wasn't the voice of his father or a Serpentine, or even of any of the other Ninja. But something told him that he knew this voice. So couldn't he place it with someone's?

 

The sound of a cracking tree branch made Lloyd turn to his right, only to find his foe standing next to him. The cloaked being then lashed out with a sword of his own, only for the surprise attack to be blocked at the last second by Lloyd's own weapon.

 

"Garmadon." The cloaked being repeated. "That is what I wanted to be called. That was the name that I wanted the other Ninja to fear!"

 

He advanced his attack on Lloyd, swinging his sword at him with surprising strength. Lloyd blocked the blade with his own and attempted to grab the cloaked being with his free hand. He responded by pulling both blades up, slapping Lloyd in the face with the flat of his own sword. This caused the Green Ninja to stumble back a few feet.

 

"But then you came to be!" The cloaked being said. "You suppressed me! Never again allowing me to walk in the shadows we loved!"

 

"What are you talking about?" Lloyd asked as he backed away from his foe. "I haven't even seen you before!"

 

"Of course you have seen me, Green Ninja." The being said darkly. "You know me better than anyone."

 

He then pulled the hood off his head, revealing his face to the Green Ninja. He had a pale face, similar to that of his father's. He even had evil red eyes that shined through the thick fog.

 

But that wasn't what made Lloyd gasped in surprise. No, it was that this person looked like a evil version of him!

 

"How can this be?" Lloyd thought in horror. "How can this 'evil clone,' or whatever he is, be here before me?"

 

Lloyd didn't have time to think of answers for his questions. His mysterious attacker rushed at him again, striking at him with this sword once more. Lloyd blocked the blows as best he could and struck back whenever he saw the opportunity to do so.

 

Lloyd's attacker ducked to dodge a blow from Lloyd's blade. Seeing an opening, Lloyd then swung his fist, punching his apparent doppelganger in the face. He let out a gasp as he stumbled back. Lloyd kept up his attack by shooting lightning at his foe. But his opponent saw the attack coming. He raised his hands into the air, palms outward, and stopped the lightning in midair. He then raised his hands up, disintegrating the electricity before it could even touch him.

 

"Who, or what, are you?" Lloyd demanded, aiming the tip of his sword at his foe. The evil one smiled back at him.

 

"I am what you once wished to be, and what will become in the future!" The Attacker replied as he fired his own lightning attack from his sword. Lloyd countered it with own. Now the two of them were pushing against each other with their lightning. Lloyd could feel the pure power behind his foe's attack. He wouldn't be able to keep this up for long. He had to come up with another plan.

 

Suddenly, he had an idea. He shut off his lightning attack, allowing the Evil Lloyd's lightning to come at him at its full power. Lloyd jumped to the side as the electricity flew past him and struck a boulder behind him, causing it to explode. Lloyd then took off into the fog, hoping that his enemy would have a harder time seeing him get away.

 

The Green Ninja climbed the first tree he came across and got into position on a large branch. He planned to wait here, hidden in the fog and foliage, until his enemy walked under him. He would then sneak attack him from above and hopefully take out his opponent. Maybe then he could figure out who he was and why he looked similar to him.

 

"Come and get me!" Lloyd shouted, allowing his words to echo through the field. The Green Ninja had no doubt that this would draw his attacker closer to him, so that he could take him out faster.

 

"We already have each other, Lloyd."

 

He spun around in shock and found his enemy right behind him, sword in hand.

 

"You have just locked me inside."

 

Lloyd lashed out with his weapon, but this time his opponent was ready. He blocked it with a strong uppercut, causing Lloyd to lose his grip on his weapon. The sword went flying off into the darkness.

 

"Alright, lets see you block this! NINJA, GO!" Lloyd shouted as he activated his spinjizu powers and stormed towards his attacker. The being responded by hitting Lloyd with a powerful low kick, causing Lloyd to lose some of his focus on his spinjizu. The opponent took advantage of this to trip Lloyd with the flat of his blade, causing him to fall out of the tree.

 

Lloyd hit the ground back first. Though the fall didn't break any bones, it had left him stunned. The attacker jumped out of the tree and landed next to him, a grin on his face that would haunt Lloyd for the rest of his life, especially with how shorten it was now appearing to be.

 

"This...this is a trick." Lloyd stammered weakly. "You...are an...illusion of some sort."

 

His opponent smiled. "You can't escape me, Lloyd. You once let us roam Ninjago freely. We freed the Serpentine, and embraced our father's name! Did you really think you could be rid of me so easily?"

 

Lloyd rolled onto his side. "No, I am the Green Ninja now. I'm destined to save...Ninjago..."

 

Evil Lloyd kicked him back onto his backside. "And after that, what will you be, hm? The most powerful spinjizu master, without a foe to face?"

 

He knelt down next to Lloyd, a sphere of energy forming in his hands. "Power corrupts everyone, Lloyd. You fell to it once, and you will again."

 

"I...will never...be evil again!" Lloyd declared angrily.

 

His opponent simply smiled. "We'll just see."

 

Everything that happened next happened in blur. His doppelganger raised his sword, with the intent finishing the fight for good. Lloyd crossed his arms in front of him, braising himself for the blow. Then a bright flash hit both fighters, blinding Lloyd for a second. A hand grabbed him, helped him to his feet, and started pulling him away. Even though he was still dazed and the fog blocked some of his vision, he could see who the hand belonged to.

 

"Sensei Wu!" Lloyd said excitedly. He had never been so happy to see his uncle than at this moment.

 

"Hurry!" The Sensei said quickly. "We must leave while we can!"

 

Lloyd turned to see what happened to his enemy. He was laying next the tree, dazed. But as he saw his unconscious foe disappear into the fog, he couldn't help but notice that his body was vanishing itself, as if he had never existed at all.

 

Wu and Lloyd didn't stop running until they were back at the entrance to the field. It was only Lloyd, still weakened from his battle, that slowed them down. When they cleared the field, both of the fell to the ground and caught their breaths.

 

"Who was that?" Lloyd asked when he had regain his composure. "And what is this place."

 

Wu got to his feet and looked sadly at his nephew. "This place doesn't have a name, but it is a place of necessary evil. It brings the darkness inside yourself to life, so that you can see what you will become if you ever succumb to it from within."

 

Lloyd's eyes widened in shock. "So that was an evil version of me...that I will become one day?"

 

"It is what you could become, if you do not stay in the light." Wu corrected.

 

Lloyd starred at the ground, trying to grasp this new information. It did explain why he couldn't beat his foe, for he had already known all of the Green Ninja's moves.

 

Seeing the confusion in Lloyd's face, Wu walked up to him and laid his hand on his shoulder. "Lloyd, you are good man now, but darkness once had a hold of you. It could be very soon that you will have a great power inside you, a power necessary to defeat Garmadon. But it could also corrupt you again, if you are not careful."

 

"So...I may become like him." Lloyd asked hesitantly.

 

Wu shook his head. "Not if you don't let your power tempt you into darkness. Not if you remember that your power doesn't make you better or stronger than anyone else."

 

Both Sensei and child turned and looked at the fog covered field one last time. Lloyd wished in his heart that he would never have to come here again.

 

"I brought you here so that you could see the worst in you, so that you appreciate the best in you." Wu went on. "It is a struggle that everyone, myself included, lives with. But if we remember what is really important, we will never be lost in the darkness within ourselves."

 

With that said, Lloyd pulled himself to his feet. The two then began to make their way home, where Lloyd's true destiny awaited.

 

*******

 

Notes for anyone curious:

 

1. I would like thank the people who came up with this contest (Ninja in Space). This is the first story I've written in years, and this contest is what gave the inspiration to come up with a story idea and write it out. So again, thanks.

 

2. In case anyone is wondering, the mysterious area Lloyd went into was based off the area filled with the Dark Side of the Force from the planet Dagobah from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

 

Comments and criticism are appreciated! :)

 

Edit: Fixing typo in one of my notes.

Edited by Toa Smoke Monster
  • Upvote 2

Everyone is one choice away from being the bad guy in another person's story.


 


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