Title: NINJA SQUIRRELS OF THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD
Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 40,000
My Main Character would prefer to live in:
I’m Kuji, a young, black squirrel trainee with the Ninja Squirrels of the Hundred Acre Wood. We’re a secret force protecting the Wood and its inhabitants. Warm, sunny weather is fine if one enjoys frolicking about the Wood. But, Ninja Squirrels don’t frolic, we protect. If we’re frolicking, it’s probably as cover while on patrol. I prefer snow. Nothing is more awesome than the Hundred Acre Wood covered in a blanket of fresh snow. It’s also a challenge because when it’s your job to protect the Wood while maintaining complete secrecy, erasing your every footprint in the snow is essential.
Dear Agent of Sun or Snow,
For most young black squirrels, it’s a dream assignment. For Kuji, his appointment as a trainee with the Ninja Squirrels of the Hundred Acre Wood knocks him off balance, like trying to grip a thin tree limb in a thunderstorm. He's afraid he can't live up to the standards of the elite force responsible for protecting the Wood and its inhabitants.
Kuji discovers the assignment to the Wood fits him like bark on a tree, but his arrival also triggers an increase in attacks by the Hundred Acre Wood’s greatest enemy, the Arachne. The legendary sensei of the Ninja Squirrels claims this increase is because of Kuji’s destiny to be the kami, the ninth member who will bind the Ninja Squirrels and someday become their leader.
Being the kami means more work and responsibility—things Kuji doesn’t welcome in the least. Plus, he risks losing being just one of the squirrels, his favorite thing about being a member of the team. Oh well, nothing like a little extra pressure to test a newbie. He either accepts the kami role or sits back and watches the eight-legged freaks suck all the goodness from the Wood, while the Ninja Squirrels drift apart and leave the Wood vulnerable to the Arachne.
First 250 words:
The young black squirrel Kuji hid behind a fallen tree trunk at the edge of a forest in a thicket of overgrown brambles. His front claws sunk deep into the rotten bark. He fought to keep as still and quiet as possible. This was no time for a fit of nerves.
Another black squirrel raced from the forest on the other side of a creek and down the bank. Kuji hunkered lower. The squirrel jumped from stone to stone across the water until it reached the gravel bank. It stopped and scanned the woods where Kuji hid. It looked for someone; it looked for him.
Kuji knew he should be one hundred percent ready to roll on this first assignment. Holy acorns, he’d graduated from the Squirrel Academy with honors, he should be bristling with confidence right now. Yet, here he was, hiding like a scared, little juvie, watching the arrival of his contact. Part of him said to play it safe, return to Squirrel Academy, and ask for an easier assignment. The other part wanted to step forward to accept the most dangerous, most demanding, and most rewarding assignment a black squirrel could have—The Ninja Squirrels of the Hundred Acre Wood.
Kuji looked over his shoulder in the direction of his former academy. He took a deep breath and followed the tiny voice inside that told him he could do this. He could take this first step onto the creek bank and change his life forever. He could be a Ninja Squirrel.
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