...For two days and one night, Tiega was in a kind of a foggy blur. The pain in his shoulders had turned into a dull, throbbing ache. Once every three hours, someone came and gave him a bit of water, and for that he was grateful.

Bit by bit, in the times when he was alert, he learned just what the Samusake brothers were about, and it shocked him. They even talked to him freely, knowing that he'd die where he was in any case.

He learned which one was Tao, and which one was Chang. Once the fat one had gotten over his initial fear of him, and realized that he was helpless, he started to talk to him quite easily. That was how Tiega learned of Chang's ambitions. They wanted to bring technoloy back into the world. Not just the useful technology, but the war technology. Tiega understood the usefulness of general technology, like electricity, but he knew that with weapons, man's destruction of each other would be more horrific.

In the hours he was more alert, he told Chang just what he thought of his plans, usually in not very nice terms. Chang just laughed at the young man, told him he was so old-fashioned. Tiega just shook his head, and gave up talking to the Chinese man. He spent the rest of his time in frosty silence, staring down at anyone who dared to look up at him.

Tao didn't really talk to him, just observed him with cold anticipation. As the second day drew to a close, and night fell, Tiega slipped into a dreamy, state, observing all that happened below through thick, swirling fog. He didn't feel pain anymore, just a slowly spreading numbness. It wouldn't be long now. . .

...Outside, one of the guards suddenly slapped at a mosquito, his face crinkling in annoyance. His fingers touched a long thin sliver, and his eyes widened when he realized that mosquitos weren't long, thin slivers. But he didn't have time to think much more, as in the next second, his legs gave away. He fell to his knees, then onto his face, his arms not working to break his fall. Just before his eyes glazed over, he saw the other guards slapping at their necks as if shooing away mosquitoes.

Two minutes later, several dark figures dressed all in tight-fitting black clothes, with their heads covered, and only their eyes showing, crept toward the door, stepping nimbly over the bodies of the guards. Behind them, a large group of Indians gathered, their faces showing grim determination. Tiega had gotten them out; now they were going to rescue him.

...The sudden explosion of the door banging open startled everyone except the lone figure on the catwalk. As the Intruders swarmed in, all the kales and archers gathered themselves together and met them head on.

Although there were only seven of the strange men in the black uniforms, all the Kales and archers could not stop them. Each whipped out arm blades, and worked together to cut down the evil forces. The Indians behind them swept around them, and went into every separate arena, destroying everything in each room.

Chang howled when they reached his lab, tried to stop them, but failed. The Indians threw him out of their path. Even Tao was beaten. He landed up on the sidelines, barely breathing as his life's blood gushed out of several holes.

At last the destruction of the place was complete; all kales and archers were either dead, or had fled for their lives. Chang was dead. No more would he try to destroy the world through technology again.

One Blackguard Ninja, for that was what those strange new characters were, leapt onto the catwalk where Tiega was, and softly approached.

Tiega was only dimly aware of the dark figure before him. It was the man's voice, however, that aroused him.

"Tiega?" The voice was low and soft. Concerned. "Tiega, can you hear me?"

The voice registered in his brain, and the fog receded a bit. Tiega raised his head, whispered, "Jude?"

"Yes," the man pulled off the material that covered his head and face, revealing a dark face and intense dark eyes that Tiega only knew too well. "I have come back."

"You brought. . .the rest," Tiega whispered. By now, two other Ninjas stood on the catwalk, while four remained below, watching with the rest of the Indians in anxious silence.

Jude nodded, eyes glistening. For the first time in his life, he felt worried, scared. He was scared that the boy would die.

"Tiega," he said, voice hoarse. "I'm going to have to pull the shafts out."

"I know," Tiega's voice was tired.

"It's going to hurt."

Tiega just gave a weak smile. "Just do it, Jude. I'll probably die anyway."

"No you won't," Jude said, his voice fierce. He froze, startled by his outburst. Taking a deep breath, he took hold of one off the arrows. "Hang on." And he gave a sharp, powerful tug, yanking the arrow out, and eliciting a terrible scream from Tiega. The boy's eyes rolled back, and he went limp.

Another Ninja reached out and supported the boy while Jude yanked out the remaining arrow. Ripping his own clothes into strips, Jude used them to stuff into the gaping wounds to slow down the bleeding.

Then he lifted the boy into his arms, and carried him down the ladder. A deep silence had fallen over everyone, and they silently stepped aside as Jude swept passed them with his burden.

...It took nearly five months for Tiega to recover. Even then, he still was weak. Jude, and the other seven Ninjai held a ceremony of honor, where they made Tiega a Blackguard Ninja.

As time passed, Tiega himself became the leader of the Ninjai, renaming it the Shadowguard Ninjai, and vowed to fight against the spreading evil. The other Ninjai agreed, and vowed to stop running from their true identities, and take a stand.

The name of the Shadow spread like wildfire after the destruction of Chang's small empire, and people feared the wrath of the Shadow. It became passed from tongue to tongue until the Shadow became a worldwide legend.

Some people believe in it, others scoffed at it. And the poor commonfolk, victim's of other's evil deeds, placed their wavering belief in it, hoping that at last, someone had come to save them all.