Round 1. Battle 1.
"What happened to Donny?" April12 asked in shock. "He just couldn't move."
"Stage fright." Pete explained, rustling his feathers anxiously. "I don't blame the poor guy. Having to perform in front of all these people."
"I'd better get down there." April12 rose to her feet immediately, leaving the box and heading down a series of steps at the back of the stadium. Making her way into the holding area, she immediately spied Don12 sitting forlornly with Mike12 rubbing his shell and muttering encouraging things to his older brother.
"Donny! Are you okay?" April12 knelt at the turtle's feet. He wouldn't look her in the eye, and his cheeks flushed with humiliation.
"I choked, April. What kind of a fighter am I?" Don12 braved a peek and he saw the gentle smile radiating from the girl's face.
"The best, Donny. The best fighter I know." April12 said softly, putting one warm human hand on his colder reptilian skin – his knee. He felt the heat radiate from her skin and reach right into his body; drawing the inner strength he sought.
"Hey, that isn't right." Raph12 crossed his arms in mock anger. "I'm the best."
"Look, I have faith in you. If you don't want to take part in this contest, I'd understand." April12 patted the embarrassed turtles knee.
"I want to, April. I really do." Don12 looked at April12 in wonder. He knew she spoke the truth to him – whatever he decided would be fine for her. She didn't care about the contest if it meant harming him in any way. "I'll be okay. I'm going to meditate while the Raphs fight."
"Okay, Donny." April12 turned and smiled as she walked away. Making her way back to her VIP box, April12 heard the roar of applause as the Raphaels began to fight.
"You ready for this?" Raph07 asked, drawing the sai from his belt with a fluid ease. They stood facing each other in the centre of the arena – the crowd filled with excitement and nervous tension.
"You bet, ace. Let's get this party started." RaphPrime drew his own weapons from his belt. They were both using Battle Nexus weapons, the same dimensional steel. It had been decided that this was the fairest option as steel quality varied in different dimensions.
Raph07 circled his opponent. He watched the smaller turtle with a focused expression whilst he kept moving - the build up of adrenaline was intoxicating. He felt the hush descend over the arena and a small shudder of excitement trickled through him - he and his dimensional counterpart were now the entire focus of this whole place and the mood was electric. He felt his muscles clench in readiness and he waited for the other to attack patiently.
RaphPrime circled his adversary too, a wry smile on his monochrome face. He was feeling the tension from the arena building in his body and coiling like a tight spring. He was ready to leap into action at any moment and hesitated for a moment - after all, this was no villain he was about to fight. He was fighting a good guy. What happened if either of them got hurt? Gyoji had reassured him that this would not happen, but the younger turtle still feared he might do some serious harm.
"Any time you're ready." Raph07 grinned, tightening his grip on his two sai firmly. The invitation was just what RaphPrime needed to hear. His thoughts were a whirlwind of activity, and the older turtle's voice helped to center his spirit and bring him back to the arena with a clear mind.
"Go for it, Raphs!" A voice from the crowd shouted with obvious joy.
The two Raphaels smiled at the request from the depths of the many spectators. It was an encouraging thought - there were people here in the arena rooting for them both. They had their admirers, and the two decided there and then to give the audience as good a show as they could manage.
The Prime was the first to engage in an attack. He lunged towards his adversary and steel collided as the sai met for the first time. Both turtles leaned into their attack, pushing forward and relying heavily on their strength to push their opponent back. The strategy – coveted by both Raphaels – created a sai-locked power struggle as their biceps groaned and both tried to overpower the other. Sweat broke out on the Prime's face as he battled with the older version of himself - Raph07's face was blank and devoid of emotion as he pressed his weight forward. They remained like this for a few minutes, straining and grunting until the pressure broke one of Raph07's sai. Tossing the broken metal aside, the older turtle closed his hand into a meaty fist and punched the Prime with a powerful hook.
RaphPrime hit the ground with a grunt but shook his head and leapt at Raph07 once again with both sai primed for attack. Raph07 held his remaining sai in a ready stance as the youngster collided with him. He caught one of the sai securely and tugged the weapon out of the Prime's left hand flicking it towards the holding area. A collective gasp rose from the spectators. Both Raphaels now only had one sai dagger to work with, and the arena was collectively holding its breath in awestruck silence.
Raph07 hit the ground and swept out his leg with sudden grace. RaphPrime jumped the leg sweep and leapt back with his one remaining sai – circling the other turtle with a hungry expression on his face.
He wanted this. He wanted to win.
Raph07 smiled at the passion he saw in the Prime's eyes. Leaping forward, one sai at the ready, the older turtle turned suddenly and hit RaphPrime full force with the weight of his shell. The heavy and durable shell met against the colourless plastron and the Prime staggered back dazed. It was a powerful move, the Prime's sai bouncing harmlessly off Raph07's protective shell and clattering to the ground gracelessly.
"Gotta be prepared for the unexpected." Raph07 instructed with a small smile, watching intently as the turtle recovered from the shell assault. "How old are you, anyway?"
"Thirteen." The Prime puffed himself up proudly. "Old enough to take you down."
"We'll see." Raph07 held back from the attack and merely waited for his adversary to come to him.
He didn't have to wait long.
RaphPrime flew at him, enraged. Instead of sai, both fists were heading for the older turtle's head and he stood still with a strange little smile and a cocked head as the youngster descended upon him. As the Prime drew closer Raph07 didn't even break a sweat. Finally, his arms went up wielding his own remaining sai as he turned the weapon round and lashed out with the pommell, catching the stunned Prime on the forehead and dazing him momentarily. His right leg spun out and he kicked the Prime solidly in the plastron.
RaphPrime folded in the middle, the kick sharp enough to wind him as he collapsed backwards and fell in a heap at Raph07's feet.
"Uncle?" Raph07 smiled, offering the younger turtle a hand.
"Never!" RaphPrime snarled, staggering to his feet once again and watching the older turtle with narrowed eyes. "I'll die before I give up!"
"Or I'll knock you out first." Raph07's humour left his expression and something cold and resolved took its place - his eyes became driven and determined. He looked at the Prime as he staggered around, looking for his fallen sai.
"Take this." Raph07 offered his own weapon to the youngster.
"I'm not going to take your sai." RaphPrime's eyes narrowed as he got into a fighting stance, determined to take on the older turtle with fists alone.
Raph07 smiled and sheathed his remaining sai, imitating the Prime's stance. The crowd went wild, applauding the two turtles.
It had become clear to Raph07 that the Prime – although powerful and determined – really wasn't a match for him. Being many years younger and at the start of his journey inhibited the turtle and made him vulnerable to Raph07's experience.
Furthermore, Raph07 had gained mastery of all disciplines of Ninjutsu. In addition, he was specialised in both unarmed combat (Taijutsu) and throwing weapons – including the sai. (Shurikenjutsu)
RaphPrime was a powerful force, but he was still very young and had a certain immaturity that was allowing for his rather easy defeat. This further enraged the Prime who was making basic mistakes.
They ran at each other, engaged in unarmed combat. Raph07 easily blocked the Prime's moves and fell back to create a little distance. The youngster's moves were more powerful than he had anticipated, breaking the older turtles defence.
"Nice moves, kid." Raph07 blocked a series of fast kicks and punches. "There's one problem, though."
"What's that?" The Prime snarled as he continued his attack, kick after kick, punch after punch.
"You're gonna wear yourself out." Raph07 was using minimal effort, blocking and dancing out of the way of the attacks. He could see the youngster starting to tire, the effort of a prolonged attack wearing the Prime out. He was becoming sloppy with his fatigue and Raph07 moved in for an attack of his own.
Sweeping the exhausted Prime's legs from under him, Raph07 wrestled the youngster into a firm headlock. The Prime thrashed beneath him but the elder turtle held on, gradually increasing the pressure. It was a classic grappling move executed with perfect grace - a choking hold that allowed for no counter attack. The Prime was helpless beneath Raph07's more mature and toned body and was shaking with the effort of keeping conscious. Finally, RaphPrime went limp and collapsed, his smaller body trembling as it finally gave in.
Gyoji appeared as Raph07 got to his feet and lifted the youngster into his arms. "Excellent work, Raphael. Knock out." He turned to the stadium where a roar of applause swelled and lights flashed as cameras were snapping pictures of the victorious turtle. "Winner, Raph07! Congratulations Champion."
"It was nothing." Raph said, chuckling nervously. He held the Prime in his arms as he wandered back into the holding area.
"Well done, bro." Leo07 grinned at his dimensional brother.
"My son. I am so proud of you." Splinter07 watched with delight as his son placed the Prime on a sofa at the back of the holding area. "You handled yourself gracefully and with much honour."
SplinterPrime attended his unconscious son with a gentleness that stunned everyone in the holding area. The monochrome rat gently massaged RaphPrime's shell as the youngster lay on his belly, still out cold. "My son. You have done your Master proud. Rest easy, for the battle is now over."
"Our Raph didn't stand a chance." LeoPrime stuttered, watching the older Raphael with awe. "That was unbelievable."
Gyoji appeared in the holding area. "Are the Donatellos now ready for their delayed battle?"
Don12 nodded to Don87. "I'm ready."
Don87 grinned and slapped an affectionate arm over Don12's shell. "Come on, Donatello. Let's go have some fun."