| "That's not what happened at all!"
This article is about something not canon to either the storyline of the TV show, Ninjago, or The LEGO Movie franchise.
After losing their individual fights with the Stone Warriors, the downtrodden ninja return to Sensei Wu to lament over their failures. Wu, not wanting them to give into despair, decides to tell them the story of the true reason why he formed their team.
Flashing back to the past, Sensei Wu explains how he had imprisoned several of his enemies in the Tower of Tears, a prison that only a true spinjitzu master would know how to enter and exit. However, one night the Tower of Tears was mysteriously destroyed in an explosion, allowing all of Wu's enemies to escape and plan vengeance.
Arriving back at the Monastery that day, Wu would discover this revelation thanks to a note, which gave him a riddle hinting at the location and identity of one of his enemies; "What is red and blue, covered in feathers, and very, very dangerous?" Realizing the answer is a parrot with an axe, Sensei Wu deduces his enemy is at Parrot Bay and heads there.
Sure enough, he discovers Kirchonn the Invincible; a massive, six-armed warrior wielding axes. Originally, Kirchonn had led a six-armed army, only for his minions to be imprisoned in the Mount of Shadows. Declaring he'll resume his conquest at Parrot Bay, Kirchonn confronts Wu, revealing he's gained the ability to summon an infinite number of axes.
Despite this new advantage, however, Kirchonn fails to defeat Wu, who uses Spinjitzu to tie him up to the mast of the ship. Begrudgingly accepting defeat, Kirchonn warns Wu that time is not on the latter's side before the Sensei leaves to defeat his next opponent. Deciphering Kirchonn's clue, Sensei Wu realizes his next enemy is the Time Ninja, a bandit who gained the power to see a second into the past, allowing him to predict all of his opponents' attacks.
Preparing for his battle, Sensei Wu waits in the Desert of Shadow, where he's confronted by the vengeful Time Ninja. After a brief clash, the Time Ninja, foreseeing Wu's trap, attempts to escape but is trapped when a massive stone cage emerges from the sand, imprisoning the both of them. Explaining that the Time Ninja would be unprepared for a trap that would take more than a second to escape from, he flies out using spinjitzu, even as the Time Ninja yells after him, "You should be very afraid, Sensei. I would be, if I were you . . . it would be the right thing to do."
Too tired to think much of the Time Ninja's hint, Sensei Wu attempts to find sleep, only for his staff, alongside other wooden objects, to come to life and attack him. Incapacitated, he's confronted by Cardinsto, a man with the ability to control nature. Bragging that even if Wu's powers were as numerous as insects in a field, Cardinsto proceeds to make the entire building collapse on Wu before taking his leave.
Sensei Wu, however, narrowly survives and comes to the realization that someone was evidently directing the escapees' attacks on him. Before he can decide, however, Cardinsto attacks a town with his army of plants, forcing Wu to intervene. Using spinjitzu, he tunnels underground several times, eventually awaking and incurring the wrath of a massive beast that had been slumbering underground.
Desperate to escape the monster, Cardinsto is rescued by Wu, who reveals the monster can only stay awake for a minute at a time, even as the beast promptly falls asleep. After using spinjitzu to leave Cardinsto incredibly dizzy, he manages to at least learn that the one directing the attacks has an enormous hatred of him. Before he can learn the being's identity, however, a flash of light blinds Wu, and even as Cardinsto screams in horror, he disappears, leaving behind several weapons and bones.
Still exhausted, Master Wu attempts to fall asleep once more, only to realize the meaning behind Cardinsto's hint; the Insect Master, one of his old foes. Sure enough, a swarm of bees controlled by the Insect Master forces Wu into a nearby river, only for the Barracudox, another of his opponents, to attack him. Using Spinjitzu, Master Wu creates a water spout, defeating the swarm and Barracudox in a single blow, and exhausted, promptly falls asleep.
In his dreams, he's confronted by Flame, who advises Master Wu to stay asleep forever, noting that it must be exhausting to fight several of his enemies, also mentioning the Beast with a Thousand Eyes. Realizing he hadn't fought the Thousand-Eyed Beast, Master Wu figures out the impostor's identity as Gahrann the Dreamer, ruler of the Dream Realm, with the ability to control dreams and harm others through them.
Using his powers over dreams to summon several powers, weapons, and other forces to help him fight Wu, Gahrann, during their fight, is tricked into admitting that he's hiding a secret from Wu. In order to get rid of him, Gahrann shoves Wu into the path of a floating planet, and Wu hits the water.
Emerging, drenched, Master Wu stumbles across a young, innocent version of Garmadon, prior to being bitten by the Great Devourer. Shocked, Wu demands to know what's happening, and the young Garmadon explains that he had managed to avoid being bitten by the young Great Devourer and that the Golden Weapons had been destroyed a while back, before remarking that Wu must've had a complex dream.
Taken back to the Monastery, Wu wonders if he had merely been dreaming all of the countless events that had happened to him ever since Garmadon had been infected with the Great Devourer's venom. However, upon being introduced to four trouble-makers who need to be punished, Wu recognizes them as Kai, Cole, Zane, and Jay, whom he had been planning to meet and form into a ninja team.
Realizing the truth, Wu instantly sees through Gahrann's illusion, knocking down the escapee after realizing he was disguised as the young Garmadon the whole time. Incredibly impressed by Wu's ability, Gahrann decides to spare his opponent and wakes Wu up from his dream, disappearing.
Awakened, Sensei Wu, furious over having had his own memories and hopes played with, decides to go on the offensive and seeks out the rest of the escapees, defeating all of them before finally confronting the Mask of Malice, a massive, sentient green hannya mask with supernatural powers. Despite Wu's determination to defeat his final opponent, the Mask of Malice acts disinterested in a battle before finally deciding to stay still, allowing Wu to defeat him.
Perplexed by this decision, Wu decides to hear what the Mask of Malice has to say. The Mask of Malice warns him that the being behind the attacks isn't trying to wear down Sensei Wu; he's actually trying to play up his confidence so that Wu won't be able to anticipate his own defeat. Even as Wu realizes the truth of his words, the Mask of Malice warns Wu to look into a mirror before teleporting.
Deciphering the Mask of Malice's hint, Sensei Wu runs into the closest village and upon peering into a mirror is greeted by his brother, Lord Garmadon. Revealing that mirrors are windows into the Underworld, Wu is attacked by a manifestation of Garmadon's power through the mirror. However, he ultimately drives it off, and deciding to bid farewell, Garmadon gloats that Wu has no idea of where or when he'll strike, before using his powers to shatter the mirror.
Narrowly avoiding the shards, Sensei Wu attempts to relocate his brother by repairing the mirror, realizing it had been touched by his power. Upon his success, however, the mirror showed him visions into the future of later enemies, including the Skulkin, Serpentine, Stone Army, and as implied by Wu, possibly more.
Ending his story, Sensei Wu admits that the true reason he had formed the ninja team was because he knew that he alone would be unable to stop the upcoming threats and had likewise never informed the ninja of what was to come. Explaining that the point of his story was that there was no shame in relying on others to help defeat evil, Sensei Wu proceeds to take his leave, even as a shrunken Mask of Malice mysteriously falls into a nearby tree, its eyes glowing.
The best-selling mega-hit continues as Jay, Cole, Zane, and Kai square off against the evil Stone Warriors! Frustrated and discouraged by their lack of powers and their inability to defeat the Stone Warriors, Jay, Cole, Zane, and Kai learn secrets of Sensei Wu’s past adventures that may hold the key to future victory.
- Interestingly enough, the fates of Gahrann, the Insect Master, and the Mask of Malice are never addressed, with the three of them being the only ones to have reportedly escaped defeat at the hands of Sensei Wu.
- Despite being mentioned in the story, the Insect Master never makes an actual appearance, with the exception of a poster for Stone Cold made by Jolyon Yates.
- It is left ambiguous whether or not Sensei Wu foresaw the Nindroids, Anacondrai Cultists, Ghost Warriors, Sky Pirates, Vermillion, Sons of Garmadon, Dragon Hunters, Oni, Pyro Vipers, and Blizzard Samurai in the mirror.
- The Mask of Malice is possibly female, as it is never referred to by any gender pronouns and is a hannya mask, which are used in Japanese theater to represent jealous female demons.
- According to Greg Farshtey, the author, the title of Stone Cold refers to how Sensei Wu had deceived his students the entire time, keeping hidden his knowledge of several future enemies to come.
- The cover of the book resembles the album cover of With the Beatles.
- Serveral things in this novel are only introduced in the Ninjago theme, years after the book's release: the Time Ninja has the same powers as the Time Twins and has similar clothing, Cardinsto has Cole's hairpece from The LEGO Ninjago Movie, the Mask of Malice is similiar to the Oni Masks, except that it's alive, Diaman is somewhat similar in appearence to the Ice Emperor, and the giant serpent Wu fought in the north is similar to the Ice Serpent.