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"Repentance hath a purifying power,
and every tear is of a cleansing virtue."

- South


TH, 2059

Leonardo stood silent for what seemed like an eternity after the elderly Oroku Saki was done speaking, holding the man’s gaze firmly. He studied him carefully, looking for any hint of deception or falsehood. He came up empty.

"I I understand now, Oroku Saki," Leonardo spoke at last.

"So you do. The road of my decadence so painful, in retrospect," the old man rasped. An enigmatic look Leonardo couldn’t read played across his wrinkled face as he gave a deep sigh. "So many regrets"

"Thank you for your time"

The man flashed him an unnerving look. "Never lose sight of your family, Leonardo let go of petty rivalries. Live life while it is still there... Leonardo."

With that, the elderly man took his rusty scythe, turned his frail body around, and started walking back into the rice fields, leaving Leonardo standing there.

A moment later the cellular phone at Leonardo’s hip began vibrating. Leo snatched it up, flicked it open, and hit the "Talk" button. "Leo? This is Don," came the voice of his brother. "Where are you?"

"In Kyoto. I checked out that Oroku estate looks like you were right on t—"

"Sorry about that, Leo. I must have misread it. It’s actually the property of the Gashira family, specifically one Gashira Sakune. Hasn’t belonged to the Orokus for a long time one Oroku Heitchi sold the whole land off fifty years ago, and he’s been dead for thirteen."

"But I just ta"

"You just what, Leo?"

Leonardo winced at the area in the rice field he had just seen the elderly Oroku Saki disappear into. "Just nothing, Donny. Gotta go." Leo flicked his cell phone closed and tucked it back away. Suspiciously, he began weaving his way into the rice fields after Saki, trying to find him.

"Oroku Saki," he called. "Oroku Saki! Are you out here?"

Seeing his straw hat through the rice, he soon found him hunched over not far away, spraying the stems with what he assumed was pesticide near the ground. "There you are, Saki."

"Saki?" The man stood up. Leonardo recognized at once that the man standing before him—in his thirties, by the look of him—was most certainly not the elderly man he had been talking to minutes ago. "Who’s that? And just what the hell are you doing on my land, Turtle man?"

"You haven’t seen an old man around here, have you? About ninety years old? I was just talking to h—"

"What are you, crazy? No old man out here, Turtle man. Now how about find your way out of here just as easily as you found your way in, hai?"

"Yes, sir sorry to disturb you."

Leonardo bowed to the disgruntled man, then began walking back the way he had come. A long walk was ahead of him back to where he had parked his aircar.

The Turtles had never been The Shredder’s enemies. When Leonardo had looked into the eyes of Oroku Saki—whether it was truly him or only a spectre of the man—he truly did understand the man that he and his brothers’ late sensei had raised them to one day rise against and kill. He was not evil. His lonesome life had been a vicious cycle of vengeance and reprisal, on the killers of his brother, his sister, and father, then on the avengers of Hamato Yoshi and Tang Shen.

Through it all, the worst enemy of Saki had been himself.

As Leonardo walked on, he hoped that if it had been only an apparition of Oroku Saki that he had spoken to today, by him making Leonardo understand the decadence that led to his fall from grace—that, at last, one person finally understood him the soul of Oroku Saki could at last rest.



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