This story is by Elly Youngstrom and was part of our 2017 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the Spring Writing Contest stories here.
Snap! A twig broke the silence of the large forest. Kellie stopped to listen. Why do I have to be the one to do this? She thought to herself as she looked around for the source of the sound. I’m not ready. “Who’s there?” she called. Probably just the wind. Receiving no answer, she took a deep breath and kept moving forward. I can do this.
Kellie knew this day would come. It had been foretold. She had heard it her whole life. Her first memory was her grandfather telling her about the quest to the Great Castle where she would prove herself to be the first Grand Ninja.
She had been taught by the great ninjas of her village. She knew all there was to know about fighting. Her family felt she knew it all, but she did not think so. As she walked she focused on the sounds around her so as not to be caught by surprise. She heard nothing.
It was getting to be dusk as she reached the top of the ridge. She glanced down at the Great Castle. I can do this. She told herself again as she started down the ridge. She was so determined that she didn’t see the rope on the ground that she tripped over and hit her head on a rock. Her vision started to go black, but she noticed men in dark armor surrounding her. They’ve been following me. That was the twig snap I heard. Then everything went dark.
Kellie woke up to the smell of dead rats. She sat up. What a headache! Where am I? She looked around and found herself in the dungeon of the castle. Oh no! This can’t be good.
She saw a guard outside her cell. “Excuse me.” She said to him. “But, I think there has been a misunderstanding.”
“Oh really?” He said in a gruff voice.
“Yes. I am Kellie Masa and I have come for the Grand Ninja Test.”
The guard burst out laughing. “You? A girl come to take the Grand Ninja Test. That’s the most absurd thing I have ever heard.”
“Just because I am a girl doesn’t mean I can’t fight.” Kellie said defensively. “I demand you take me to the king. You have no right to keep me down here.”
“Actually, we do. You were trespassing the castle grounds with this.” He held up a golden sphere with ancient writing.
“That belongs to me.” Kellie went to reach for it, but the guard pulled it out of her reach.
“Belongs to you? You stole it didn’t you.”
“No! It was given to me by my grandfather. It has been in my family for generations.”
“This little sphere puts you into a lot of trouble.”
“It’s nothing really just hand it over and take me to the King. I will explain why I am here and pass the Grand Ninja Test. When I pass, I will show you how to fight like a real Grand Ninja.”
“Yeah, sure.” The guard said sarcastically. “There’s no way you’ll pass the test. You won’t get out of here either.”
Just then someone called down for the guard to come up. “See ya around ‘grand ninja’” He said with a laugh as he headed up the stairs.
With the guard being gone, she looked around frantically looking for a way out. Oh, how did I allow myself to get into this situation? She thought to herself. I need to escape and find the king and the golden sphere. It was the golden sphere that was the key to the test. With it she could present herself to the king and take the grand ninja test. She thought that this could be the one opportunity to become the first grand ninja. But she had to figure out a way to escape from captivity.
As Kellie was looking around she noticed a stone was loose in the wall of her cell. She pried the cold stone free and found a pair of keys hidden inside. Where did these come from? She tried the keys on the cell door and the lock opened. Yes, I am free.
Kellie sneaked to find a way out of the dungeon just as she was trained to. As she was going around a corner, she saw a guard coming. Remembering her training, she jumped up and hid up in the corner of the ceiling, where the shadows are. The shadows were her friends.
Without letting herself take a breath lest she be revealed, the guard walked by and did not notice her presence. Excellent, my teachers taught me well. She resumed her quest to find a way to the throne room. Suddenly she heard a familiar voice. It was the gruff voice of the guard with the golden sphere. I need that golden sphere and now is the time to retrieve it.
She snuck up to have a good view of the group. Two figures stood there and one of them happened to be the prince. “Do you have the girl, Steven?” He inquired of the guard with the gruff voice.
“Yes, we have her and she is in the dungeon” replied Steven.
“Good, now what to do with the ancient relic” said the prince as he pointed to the golden sphere. “This golden sphere means trouble. This is the only thing that could ruin our plans to kill the king.”
“How can one little sphere ruin our plans?” asked Steven.
“Haven’t you heard of the prophecy about this sphere? It is said that the one who is found possessing the sphere will become the grand ninja and conquer evil” said the Prince.
“It can’t be the little girl, she is a nobody” said Steven.
“Nonetheless, she needs to be executed immediately” stormed the Prince. “I cannot have any loose ends on our plan.”
“Yes sire. It shall be done” replied Steven. And with that they parted ways.
He then commenced to walk the path to the dungeons. Without knowing that Kellie was hiding in the shadows. She sprung on him like a lion attacking its prey. Within seconds he was knocked out. Kellie snatched up the golden sphere and started the way to the throne room. She had to save the king or all was lost.
She wound her way through the halls and found herself at the large doors of the throne room. She slipped past the guards and followed the prince in. She hid in the shadows and watched the prince approach the king.
“How is my son doing?” Laughed the king.
“Oh, I am doing well as usual father” replied the prince.
“I heard that the blacksmiths were working on a new sword for you. Did they do a good job on it?” Inquired the king.
“Yes, it looks like a sword made for a prince. I have it here. Would you like to see?” Asked the prince.
“It would bring me much pleasure to inspect a new shiny sword” said the king.
Then without hesitation the prince brought it up for the king to inspect. The king thought it was very impressive. The prince then pulled the sword up to strike the king.
Now is my chance, Kellie thought. She pulled out a ninja star and with a swift motion of her hand she threw it with such force that it sliced the Prince’s hand.
The prince dropped the sword with a yelp as he grabbed his hand. “Who’s there?” He yelled. Kellie stepped out of the shadows. “You! You’re supposed to be dead!”
“Sorry to disappoint you, but I didn’t come here to die.” Kellie stated. She pulled out the golden sphere and began to chant the ancient writing.
“Stop that!” The prince screamed. Kellie just chanted louder.
This was all part of the challenge and she knew she had to pass or all was lost.
She set down the golden sphere and it began to spin. She came to the prince and said “It’s over, you’ve lost.” She kicked him in the face and knocked him out.
The king said “You have won. That sphere will only spin for the Grand Ninja after the ancient phrase is repeated. You know what that means. We have been searching for you for a very long time.”
Then with that Kellie knew that all was well and that her quest was finished. Her grandfather was right, she did become the first Grand Ninja.