“Just because I can run faster than any of you guys doesn’t make it my fault. If you knew what was in front of us you could have said something,” Clay said defensively.
“Stop it,” said Nan. The only female in the group of ninjas, it seemed like she was always stopping quarrels and propping up the egos of her partners. “It doesn’t make any difference whose fault it was. We lost them and will need to pick up the trail again later. All I want now is to get back to headquarters and clean up."
“As do I.” Lance’s words made the others look at him. Lance barely spoke and never complained so his tone, in addition to actually contributing to the conversation, indicated his level of displeasure.
The foursome fell silent then. They had a long walk back to headquarters. It wasn’t physical tiredness or the distance to get there, instead the fact that that had failed to capture the criminals weighed most heavily. That and the smell.
For Ninja Force Chi the humiliation of returning without apprehended the four men suspected in a number of burglaries and assaults was magnified by the fact that this foursome was the best, most elite and respected team in the force. Then there was the other factor which they would hear about for years to come. It would most likely be talked about for years after they all retired.
“I can hear the talk now.” Deke kicked a rock down the path. “Chi Force, the most repulsive ninjas in the force.”
“Maybe we’ll pass a lake or pond or river,” Nan said. “At least we could clean up a bit.”
“Yeah,” said Clay. “Lance, you use that keen smeller of yours to sniff out some water.” His three partners looked at him.
“Right,” said Lance with derision. “As if I can smell water over the stench of us.”
“Looks like we’ll have to track our way back and simply hope to find some. Too bad our electronics were all ruined.” Deke pulled his cellphone from a pocket and pressed the button to activate it. No beep came. No screen lit up.
As they walked on in silence each member thought over how they had gotten into this situation. They’d nearly caught up to the gang when they found the abandoned vehicle and trailed them into the woods. Running along the trail none had thought of what might be lurking ahead.
As the trees thinned they saw the men ahead on the grassy plain just below. There were long low buildings placed along the slight bluff. The ninjas aimed for the area between, ran straight off the bluff knowing they could easily land, roll and rise running not having lost any time.
Nearly in an even row, off the bluff they went landing, not on the ground but in a slurry tank filled with hog manure. The buildings on either side were hog confinements.
Struggling to the surface they held their breaths as they swam to the side of the tank and climbed out. The gang was long gone by then. They were covered in manure and stunk to high heaven.
“Chi Force,” Clay said again. “The most elite and respected ninjas in the force. Oh yeah, the most repulsive ninjas too.”