TMNT: Becoming Masters – CH. 2

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TMNT Becoming Masters is my vision of the turtles as they move on without their father. Told from April’s point of view, she recounts her history with the turtles as they become men. I hope you enjoy TMNT – Becoming Masters. Please share this article if you enjoyed it and please leave comments and thoughts about the story.

Read TMNT: Becoming Masters – Chapter 1

Chapter 2 – The Wolf and the Turtle

Leo had gone to the country-house. He hadn’t been there in years – since we thought we lost Splinter the first time. Splinter was resilient back then – strong. But those days were over. Splinter wasn’t here any longer and Leo was alone.

I’m not sure why Leo went to my dad’s old house, but when he asked me if he could stay, I couldn’t say no. Though he and his brothers weren’t entirely sure how they’d find themselves without their father, something about the old house drew Leo. He spent the first week fixing it up and making it comfortable. He wasn’t sure how long he’d stay, but he decided he might as well make the place hospitable for however long he’d be there. He pulled the old sheets from the torn furniture and opened the windows. He set up a space downstairs for meditation and he used the basement to practice his ninjitsu and stay fit. Even in grief, Leo was disciplined.

When he walked through the bottom floor of the house for the first time, each room triggered old memories of when he and his brothers were younger and more naive. He thought of how lucky they were during their first fight with the Foot Clan and Shredder. The turtles were reckless and impulsive. If it weren’t for Splinter’s help, they would’ve been no match for Shredder, even with all their years of training. Shredder was a monster – a beast.

Leo walked upstairs while contemplating the memories that came to mind. He remembered all the nights he’d stayed in the house with Raph to make sure he was okay after their first encounter with The Foot Clan. They’d just had a brutal fight, the turtles were outnumbered and Raph took the brunt of the damage. He was almost beaten to death. I was the one who suggested we hold-up inside my dad’s old house after the battle since we needed somewhere to escape to. It was out of the way and no-one would find us. Leo put Raph in the upstairs tub to keep him close to water and let him rest. Leo would watch him all day and night, without sleep, for any sign of improvement. It was a scary few days waiting to know whether or not Raph would be okay. Once he’d recuperated, I’d never seen him and Leo as strong and connected. They were inseparable for weeks afterward.

Leo was in the house without his brothers now. He spent a great deal of the first few nights just sleeping, meditating, and practicing. The emotional toll of losing his mentor drained him. But one morning, Leo woke to a strange sound coming from the woods behind the house. It sounded like a howl, but he couldn’t be sure. He couldn’t remember there ever being wolves on the property, but he decided to go and take a look around. He slowly sat up in his bed and saw himself in the mirror from across the room. His dark green skin was shimmering from the sunlight drifting into the room through the window.  The last few months, Leo had begun to see a few subtle changes to his body.

Splinter had taught his sons to stay in tune with their bodies. He used to say “your bodies are your shrine. It is your connection to your ancestors and is your means to becoming ninja.” Leo always took the words of his master seriously. So as he stared at himself in the mirror, he noticed the slightest hint of crow’s feet making his features. They were barely noticeable to anyone else, but Leo could tell he was beginning to age. He wasn’t a teenager any longer.

As Leo sat in bed staring into the mirror, he heard the howl again. This time, he could tell it was coming from the woods behind the house. He got up quickly and peered through the window trying to find any sign of movement. He saw none. He turned away from the window and put his faded-blue bandana across his eyes and bow and quiver strapped to his back to prepare for the day. He’d decided to go exploring into the woods for signs of the creature making the howl.

He didn’t worry about being seen since the closest farmstead was 3 miles away, but he couldn’t help but stay stealthy as he moved through the woods searching for the strange noise. His ninja-training kept his movements fast and silent. If you’d been watching, you’d have trouble spotting him darting in and out of the mist. He moved through the forest of birch and pine trees looking for tracks and listening intently for any more howling.

After searching for a half-hour without any luck, he started walking back when he found something. A single paw print was clearly pressed into the mud about 50 yards away from the house.There was a wolf somewhere in the woods.

Finding the print was satisfying; he wasn’t as good at tracking as Mikey or Donnie, but he wasn’t incompetent. Finding it now inspired him. He would find this wolf. He would kill it. Something inside him needed to take the life of this beast. Somehow, Leo felt that it would give him some kind of peace knowing that this creature wouldn’t terrorize the surrounding area anymore. He imagined the wolf as a feral hunter with no regard for balance or nature. Leo saw it as wild and dangerous and in need of being exterminated. Leo decided then that this wolf would be his way of finding himself again. This would be his means of becoming whole after the loss of his mentor.

The following morning, he set out for a hunt at dawn. The food he brought only lasted the first week, so he wasn’t hunting for just wolf that particular day. He was also hunting for survival. He’d packed enough food for two weeks before he left the sewer, but he should’ve known that Mikey would’ve gotten to it. If there’s food somewhere, Mikey will eat it. So Leo set out on his spiritual journey less prepared than he intended, which made him uneasy. Now he was out in the woods with a bow and a growling stomach. As he lurked through the forest watching for prey, he thought of all the ways he’d make Mikey pay for his hunger pains.

Leo wasn’t as talented with the bow as Raph, but he knew where his strengths rested. Leo was patient. A rabbit ran by, but was too quick for him to stock his arrow, so Leo waited. He spooked a deer as he slowly inched toward it for a better shot, so Leo waited. Two hours had passed and the sun had finally risen above the horizon, and Leo was still patiently waiting for his chance to nab breakfast. He eventually approached a small pond surrounded by birch trees. He found a large tree with two strong branches that provided a makeshift nest where he could rest and keep a look out for game.

As he sat in his tree, Leo’s mind began to wander involuntarily. Leo wasn’t one to allow his mind to drift aimlessly, but since Splinter’s death he found himself unable to focus at times. Perhaps the extra sleeping was starting to affect his meditation. His thoughts always drifted back to Shredder and the image of him driving his katana into Splinter’s belly. After Shredder struck his vital blow, he turned and smiled at Leo. That smile was driving Leo mad with rage now as he waited in his solitude. He was trying to find peace out in the woods, but he was only finding anger now.

Anger wasn’t an emotion that typically lasted this long with Leo. With the proper meditation, taught to him by his master, he’d always found his serenity. Even when all hope was lost and all he felt was pain, Leo was always able to see the truth through his emotions and act objectively. But as each day passed in the old house, Leo wasn’t finding serenity. He was growing angrier. As his anger grew, he found that there were more and more people with which he was growing angry.

He was mad at Donnie for not being smart enough to see Shredder’s plan. Donnie knew the Turtles had been spotted diving into the sewer by Foot Clan scouts, but he didn’t mention anything to the rest of his brothers. Donnie knew better than to keep information like that to himself. But he always had to be the smartest guy in the room – the only one who knew anything. This time his selfishness cost the family more than they could handle.

Something from down below snapped Leo out of his thoughts of anger and back to the moment at hand. He noticed movement in grass from across the pond. Something was moving down there. He took an arrow from his quiver and steadily readied his bow in his left hand. He needed to be silent and calm if he wanted to catch something before too much of the morning was gone. As the arrow reached the bow he got a first glimpse at his target. It had matted gray and black fur and had to be close to 70 pounds. It was the wolf.

Read TMNT: Becoming Masters Chapter 1

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