X-Men: Kitty Pryde: Shadow & Flame #4

Issue Date: 
November 2005
Story Title: 
The Five Swords of Secrets

Akira Yoshida (writer), Paul Smith (penciller), Joe Rubinstein (inker), VC’s Randy Gentile (lettering), Chris Walker (colors), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (assoicate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The Path of Destiny’s leader, Nao, tells Kitty of the organization’s plans and shows her one of the items meant to help the organization in becoming recognized again, one of Japan’s five Swords of Secrets. When Kitty asks what will happen if she refuses to lead them, Nao threatens to kill the dragons. Kitty offers a compromise: she can get them another of the five sword, the one belonging to Clan Yashida, in exchange for her freedom and the dragons. Nao agrees. At the Yashida compound, Kitty is caught by the current clan leader, the Silver Samurai, who refuses to let Kitty borrow the sword. Kitty challenges him to combat for the sword and seemingly kills Harada during battle. Nao learns of this and decides to have Kitty killed, as this would ingratiate them with Clan Yashida. At section 87, Oshiba and her superiors wonder what Kitty’s plan is and scheme to get the sword in the Path of Destiny’s possession for themselves.

Full Summary: 

The Ninja leader, Nao, leads Kitty through the tunnels and explains that this is Tokyo’s first subway station. While many people think that Ueno was the first underground station, construction on this one started much earlier. However, it was abandoned due to structural concern and costs. It was long forgotten and undiscovered for decades until they came across mention of it in Ogun’s journals.

She leads Kitty into another room, while continuing that it will serve as the perfect staging point for the Path of Destiny’s plans. Seeing as how they want her to lead them, does she have any say in these plans? Kitty asks sarcastically. That will depend… Nao replies hesitatingly. On what? Kitty asks sharply. On her commitment to their cause.

Nao begins to explain about the Path’s history. Unlike the Hand, which tried to drive foreigners from the country, The Path of Destiny chose to maintain traditional Japanese values, while incorporating them with Western philosophies. They embraced the best of both worlds for their advancement in the Japanese underworld. Unlike other clans, which acted as mercenaries, the Path chose to stay hidden and follow their own agendas, acting only when necessary, under the direct leadership of Ogun.

Their agenda is to regain the place of power and respect they once enjoyed in the secret shadows of Japan. And thanks to the newly discovered treasure they recently acquired that place is almost all but assured. A treasure other than her? Kitty quips and professes disappointment. Nao shows her the treasure, Kurokaze, the Black Wind, one of the five Japanese Swords of Secret.

In spite of herself, Kitty is impressed, as she admires the blade’s craftsmanship. Nao explains that the sword once belonged to Ogun but was believed lost for a long time. Combined with a leader of Kitty’s stature the Path of Destiny will finally sit at the table of true power again. And if she refuses, Kitty asks. They will kill the dragons, Nao replies matter-of-fact. The next moment Nao is thrown though the paperwall into the next room where several Path members are relaxing. Kitty follows with an angry scowl on her face, announcing, if Nao ever threatens Lockheed again…

Ninjas attack but Kitty takes them out with contemptuous ease before turning back to Nao and tossing her against the wall. She phases her hand into Nao’s torso and continues her threat; that then she will phase her heart out. If she dies, the dragon dies with her, Nao spits out.

Dammit, Kitty swears, as she releases Nao. Weighing her options she suddenly sees a new possibility. What if she offers them something more valuable than her leadership? The dragons in exchange for a second Sword of Secret. She could offer them Ginrei, the Silver Spirit. Nao scoffs. The blade is in the possession of Clan Yashida. Kitty offers to get it. Another Ninja points out that, even if Kitty succeeds, she would only anger Clan Yashida. Nao, however, sees that having the sword could legitimize them in the eyes of all other clans, She agrees to Kitty’s offer. Kitty demands to see the dragons first.

Nao leads her to a cell were the dragons are chained. The green dragon rises and snarls at Kitty, until she calms her. She announces that the dragon still remembers her after all this time. She then examines Lockheed, who is still out of it from being gassed, and frees him from his chain. She promises she’ll get him out of this. She takes off his collar and also frees the other dragon from her chain.

Nao protests and Kitty tells her not to push her. Nao spits back that Kitty shouldn’t push her. She was obviously wrong about Kitty. Her turning her back on them proves that she is weak. She doesn’t know what Ogun ever saw in Kitty. She never asked for any of this, Kitty points out. One cannot change destiny, Nao retorts. She was led down this path in life for a reason. She cannot change its course now. They’ll see about that, Kitty replies calmly.

At Section 83, the Japanese department of supernatural sciences, agent Ryoko Oshiba debriefs her superiors on agents tracking Kitty and the red-masked ninja to Asakuwa. However, they then disappeared underground. Search teams have found nothing.

One of the men is displeased. Apparently, they have misjudged the situation. Could the Path of Destiny have turned Pryde to their side, the other man suggests. Oshiba protests, making her superiors wonder if she isn’t becoming too emotionally attached to the case. Oshiba denies this. She has been the one to work closest to Kitty, she explains, and she doesn’t see it in her nature to join with the Path. She is too smart for that, unless she has her own endgame in mind.

Her boss announces that this has spiraled out of control He wants Pryde found, the Path shut down and above all he wants Kurokaze.

Kitty stealthily makes her way into the compound of Clan Yashida, unaware that she is being followed by Path ninjas. Inside one room, she finds the sword Ginrei, held by a suit of armor. As she takes up the sword Keniuchio Harada, aka the Silver Samurai, dressed in traditional Japanese garb, calmly greets her and asks if she has found something she likes. He trusts there is a good explanation for her intrusion. Both of them bow politely as Kitty remarks that there is and Harada invites her for tea and hopes she will offer an explanation as for why he shouldn’t kill her for defiling his family’s sacred ancestral sword.

Later, during tea, while the servant girl leaves them alone, Harada repeats disbelievingly what Kitty has told him. She wants him to lend her Ginrei but cannot explain why. Nor does she know for how long? She calls this an explanation?

Outside the room, the servant girl hears a noise and is suddenly dragged aside by Ninjas, who intently listen to the conversation between Harada and Kitty.

Harada flat out refuses. Kitty begs him – it is a matter of life and death. Everything is a matter of life and death with the X-Men, he retorts. That phrase means nothing to him. She should consider herself lucky for being allowed to leave alive. Kitty asks for the chance to fight him for Ginrei. Logan once told her of the time he challenged the Samurai to one-on-one combat. They both sought the same objective, so they settled the matter by drawing swords. She asks for the same opportunity. Harada reminisces and finally agrees.

Later, outside the building with Harada now dressed in his Silver Samurai garb, both combatants bow before beginning their swordfight. After several blows, the Samurai commends Kitty. She may even be better than Logan. She has some moves, she agrees mock-deprecatingly, before the battle begins anew. Finally, Kitty manages to enrage the Samurai when she kicks him in the face. With his sword, he demolishes her blade and then hits her aside. When he goes for the killing blow, Kitty phases her fist through him. From not far away the Path ninjas witness how the Samurai staggers and falls.

Kitty runs to his side exclaiming what she has done. She takes Ginrei and thanks the Samurai’s lifeless form for his sacrifice. She is sorry it came to this. With the sword she leaves.

Later, at the Path of Destiny’s lair, the spies inform Nao that Kitty was successful in retrieving Ginrei. However, she had to kill the Silver Samurai to do it. Nao is impressed. She has clearly been wrong about the girl, but her death has now become the greatest bargaining chip of all. They shall kill her as soon as they have Ginrei, she decides while petting Puff, the green dragon. They will present the sword along the body of its thief and their leader’s killer back to clan Yashida. They will forever be in their debt and the other clans will have to accept them The Path of Destiny has finally returned!

Characters Involved: 

Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat


Puff, the green dragon

Nao, leader of the Path of Destiny

Path ninjas

The Silver Samurai

Ryoko Oshiba, agent of Section 83

Oshiba’s superiors

Yashida servant girl

Story Notes: 

Kitty again refers to having met Puff (the green dragon) before. Actually, that is a continuity mistake, as she wasn’t with the X-Men and Lockheed in Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #12 and Uncanny X-Men #180.

Issue Information: 

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