Canto 127 – The Black Spider Theatre
Rocket had swiftly grown to trust Phoenix in ways that were hard to explain. The two pyrokinetics had spent so much time transferring pyro-tricks back and forth with the aid of telepathy by Junior, Sara, or Hassan that he felt like he knew what the inside of Phoenix’s mind fully felt like.
He was surprised when they both ducked through a small, obscure doorway and found themselves in the dark wing of a mostly-dark stage.
Fangwoman was standing at the very front of the stage, wearing the Avenger helmet, holding both arms up and speaking loudly to about four hundred Black Spider ninjas in full ninja cloth armor. Not only were there the ninjas in the audience gallery, but they were surrounded by a couple of thousand lit candles.
“Come, my minions! Now is the time to strike! The Palace of a Thousand Years is in chaos!” She shouted into the candle-lit auditorium. Strike in the name of Shen Ming!”
“Why would we fight in the name of Shen Ming?” asked one confused minion.
“Because Shen Ming has earned our anger! He betrayed us and locked us away!”
“No, he hasn’t,” said a female ninja in peach-colored armor. “If anyone has betrayed us, it would have to be Jinjiro, or Bres, or even Phoenix.”
“He betrayed us by locking us in a hole for a hundred years!”
“No, he didn’t. You must be talking as the weird helmet. The helmet was locked up in the Palace.”
“Oh, why am I arguing!” Fangwoman launched three iron ninja stars faster than anyone could react. The three ninjas who had spoken fell dead with the throwing stars partially protruding from their foreheads.
“We have to stop them before they get to the Palace,” Rocket whispered.
“Don’t worry, Rocket, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Do you see all the candles in here?”
“Yes, but I see all the ninjas too. We’re way too outnumbered.”
“Just follow my lead.”
Phoenix gestured at the far wall. All seven hundred and fifty-three candles on that wall suddenly shot flames upward as if they were flame-throwers.
Phoenix gathered all the flame and heat into one tight column of fire, and then brought it down on the heads of around a hundred of Fangwoman’s minions.
Some died screaming. Others managed to pat out the fires on their clothing. Still others seemed to be wearing flame-proof armor.
Rocket gestured at a near wall to accomplish the same effect It appeared at first that he had set about a hundred and twenty ninjas on fire. The effect was very similar to what Phoenix had achieved. However, more than twice as many put the flames out, and three times as many proved to be fire-proof.
“Well, this should prove difficult,” said Rocket through gritted teeth.’
“Oh, yes! Difficult, but glorious fun!” laughed Phoenix. It was going to be a long, hot night, Rocket thought as he began to grow his fire-form around himself.