“Attention: we’ve got ya surrounded! Kindly lay down yer arms, and one ‘a my agents will be along shortly to take ya into custody!”

The guy in the jade robes and the weird hat cackles a response. “Minions, to me!” he cries. “Slay the unbelievers and make ready the temple for the coming of the Unknowable Ones!”

MJ turns back to his team and shrugs. “Right, reckon that’s my plan buggered.” It would have been a hard sell in any case. Delta One’s rolling solo on this job, and they’re already down a man with poor Stratton, the team’s mystic, laying there bleeding and unconscious. “How’re we strapped, Sarge?”

Rising up from cover, Sergeant Payne pumps a half-dozen rounds into the oncoming wave of minions—each one a headshot. “That,” he growls, hurling his now useless weapon with deadly accuracy, “was the last of the ammo, chief. Gonna have to bareknuckle the rest ‘a these motherscratchers!” He doesn’t seem too put off by the idea.

Airan drops into the barricade from the rafters above. She lands without a sound. “More good news: we’re the ones who are surrounded. They’ve cut us off from every exit. So…great plan so far, guys!” she says, rolling her eyes.

Dotson bristles at the jab; a rare breach of his cool exterior. “My plan was solid,” he monotones. “The intel was bad. Who knew this guy had all these damn minions? Where do you even get a minion, much less a friggin’ passel of them?”

“Dunno, mate, but in any case we’ve arsed this up somethin’ terrible.” MJ looks around at his team. They’re beaten. Battered. They’re finished. “Been a right honor fightin’ with you lot, but it looks like we’re done for.” He pauses. “Unless…”

A moment passes. Nothing happens. The minions swarm ever closer.

“Unless what?” asks Payne as he rips one of the Cipher’s arms off and takes a couple practice swings with it.

“Not rightly sure,” says MJ. “Kinda figured somethin’ might happen if I—”


A burst of violet smoke swirls at the foot of the temple staircase. A lone figure is barely visible within. He stands proud and ready for battle. He is the valiant, violet vessel of violent vengeance. He is…

“The Purple Ninja!” shouts MJ. “The greatest Demon Hunter of them all!”

The army of minions freezes in terror as the Purple Ninja begins his elaborate and deadly kata—his fists flying in a purpley blur nearly impossible to follow with the human eye! “Hoho-HO-ho-hoHO-HO-hoho-HO!” Each syllable is punctuated by a chop, punch, or kick strong enough to kill.

From his obsidian throne atop the ziggurat, the minions’ master calls down to the new arrival. “Purple Ninja,” he says, “your reputation precedes you. But even one as deadly as you cannot stop us! The Oculus will open, and you and your brethren will be consumed!”

“Do not be so certain my berobed foe! HoHO-hohoHO! As the elephant tramples the banana slug, so too will Purple Ninja crush your weakling army! HoHO-hoho…ho…ho…whooo.” The Purple Ninja slows, then stops entirely, bending over with his hands on his knees for support. “Excuse Purple Ninja for one moment!” he shouts, before staggering off to one side and vomiting behind a rock. Like, a whole lot of puke. Kind of a scary amount.

The cavern is silent, save for the disgusting, gagging noises. The cultists’ sinister ritual has been all but forgotten in the confusion. “Is…is he alright?” calls the cult leader.

The Purple Ninja stumbles back, readjusting his mask. “Purple Ninja begs your forgiveness for his unexpected regurgitation! Purple Ninja’s buddy had a bachelor party last night and, well, things got a little crazy! Really tied one on! Hoho-hoHURP!” he belches into a closed fist and plops down on the temple steps, clutching his stomach. “Oof! Purple Ninja must remind himself that he is no longer in his twenties!”

“Strewth, mate,” MJ says, nodding in ‘been there’ agreement. “So, uh…you gonna help out or…”

“Yes, of course, my friend. Purple Ninja just needs a minute to pull it together. And maybe, like, a glass of water or something.”

Airan digs through her bag and offers a bottle to the ailing ninja. “I’ve got like, half a Gatorade left.”

“Perfection! Ho-HO! Purple Ninja requires electrolytes. Much gratitude to you, pale female!” He pops the cap and somehow chugs the room-temperature sports drink without removing his mask. “Mmm…blue.”

“Och, nae!” Stratton sits bolt upright, startling the other Hunters. His eyes glow a fiery orange. “Wheers th’ barstid wha doon in me @#$*in’ heid? Tha’ cannae stan’! Ah’ll gi’m a @#$*in’ boot oop ‘is arsh!”

The hungover ninja stares blankly at the wounded man. “Hoho…HO? Did any of you get that? Either that was not English, or Purple Ninja is still suuuper drunk.”

Airan and Dotson restrain the injured man before he can do any more damage to himself. “Ye’ll have to forgive Stratton, mate,” says MJ. “He’s a bit wounded, and vaguely Scottish.”

The grand potentate, remembering that he was kind of in the middle of something before the tipsy ninja showed up, rouses his troops. “Attack you fools,” he shouts. “He is weakened! Swarm, my minions, and bring me his heathen head!”

The Purple Ninja tosses the empty Gatorade bottle aside. “INVISIBLE MALADY POKES!” he shouts. “Ho-HO!”


He disappears in a violet cloud. “Chicken$#&@ bastard scampered!” grunts Payne around the stub of a cigar. “So much for your savior, chief.”


Another burst of smoke, and the Purple Ninja reappears. “Eight of your men are now in cardiac arrest!” he shouts, leaning heavily against a nearby column. “Three more will be dead by morning of seemingly natural causes. And one will have a wicked case of hemorrhoids, because it amuses Purple Ninja. Also, I took your wallet. Ho-HO!” He holds the wallet aloft—neon green canvas with a Velcro closure—as eight minions clutch at their chests and fall down. “A similar fate will befall all who oppose Purple Ninja!”

“Parlor tricks!” shouts the poobah. “Do you imagine you can stop all of us? You are but one man, while we are legion!”

“Know this, noble adversary,” He stands proudly, arms akimbo, staring defiantly across the minion horde. “If need be, Purple Ninja will bring these canyon walls crashing down upon your puny temple. None will survive the fury of Purple Ninja! Purple Ninja never loses!” He holds the pose a moment longer before slumping back against the column for support. He rubs at his eyes beneath his sunglasses. “That said, Purple Ninja is totally willing to call this one a draw. Purple Ninja just doesn’t have it in him today. You live to summon evil another day, and Purple Ninja…whoo…Purple Ninja gets to go home and sleep off this utter misery.”

Weird Hat Guy leaps to his feet, murder in his eyes as he stares down at the violet vigilante who had vomited so violently. A tense moment passes. “Eh,” he proclaims, “screw it. Not worth the risk. Minions, let’s bounce! Applebee’s, on me!” The cultists file out of the cavern, chatting excitedly about jalapeño poppers and mile-high mud pies.

“Wow, good on ya, mate!” MJ slaps the Purple Ninja on the back, making him stagger forward a bit. “Really yanked our arses outta the fire. Thanks heaps! Greatest Demon Hunter of them all, am I right!?” The agents of Delta One cheer out a response.

The Purple Ninja turns and grabs a handful of MJ’s shirt. It’s pretty much the only thing keeping him upright. “You are most welcome, my friend. Now Purple Ninja kindly requests that you shut the @#$* up before Purple Ninja’s head splits apart, as the mighty oak splits under the fists of Purple Ninja.” He falls to the ground, alternately clutching at his head and stomach. “Never again. Hoho-HO! Never, ever again!”