Well, now that arc 2 is finished, I've got some time and brain power to devote to the AU. Now, like I said, I haven't thought everything out just yet and because it's a side project, chapters will be shorter than what you're used to in City Shadows. For those who don't know, this is a "Demon World" inspired AU of our Jackie Chan Adventures characters, the Shadow Strikers.
But without further adieu, enjoy the story!
This is Earth, but very likely not the world you know. For in this world there is magic, but there are also demons. Fierce, powerful and cruel. All words to describe the creatures that ruled this world: Demon Sorcerers. Each a master of magic in their own right and each a ruler of their own kingdom. Every day, humans are subjected to cruel labor and are nothing more than slaves to their demon masters. But in this time of darkness, a glimmer of hope shines brightly; hope that humans would be free from demonic rule someday.
"Raah! How is it that such pathetic creatures can cause so much trouble?" Tzan Ren, Shadow Demon Sorcerer and ruler of the Shadow Kingdom, shouted angrily as he knocked things off the large table in his study. "This so-called Resistance has become far too troublesome! How is it that we have been unable to flush them out!"
"The humans have proven to be far more cunning than we thought, master," a tall hooded woman with dark skin and bright red eyes. She had a dark, tattered cloak hanging over her shoulders and a quiver of arrows strapped on her back. In her hand, she held a large, black bow.
"Humans? Cunning? They are pathetic insects! How dare they behave in such a manner to their masters! You are supposed to be the commander of my rangers, Hou Yi! Find this resistance and flush them out!"
"Yes, master!" Hou bowed before rushing out.
"Scouts may not be sufficient, my lord," said a tall male demon dressed in a long coat with light armor. He had a slim, dark blade strapped across his back. He sat in the frame of a large window with a blade of grass in his mouth before moving over to Tzan Ren.
"I am aware of that Jun Bing. But I cannot send in my soldiers under your command or Wei Gong's siege forces if I do not know where I am sending them!" Tzan Ren shouted, banging his fists in the table again angrily. As the Shadow Demon Sorcerer continued to converse with one of his commanders, Linos, Tzan Ren's teenage son, hung from the ceiling just one room over. His eyes were closed in concentration and his ears twitched slightly, focusing in on the conversation just across the hall.
"Ah!" Linos nearly jumped out of his skin and fell from the ceiling when he heard someone next to him. He sighed in relief when he saw that it was only his mother, Hsian Ji, clinging to the ceiling next to him. If you were to put Linos next to his parents, it would be very clear that Linos got his looks from his mother. Her fur was a bright brown like hers and she also had a pair of tan horns sprouting just above her forehead, though hers were larger than his. The only real differences between the two were while Linos had two large wings and two arms - a trait he inherited from his father - Hsian Ji had two sets of wings, one large and one small. And like Linos, she was dressed in dark brown fabric covering her chest and waist while her long black hair, in a bun and ponytail, hung beneath her. "How did you know I was here?"
"My dear, if you think you can hear something from across the hall, you must know that I can hear a butterfly's wingbeat across the sea. You know what your father would say if he caught you eavesdropping again, don't you?" she asked as they simultaneously released their grip from the ceiling and landed flawlessly on the floor.
"I know," he pouted. "I just don't understand why he won't let me come to his meetings with his commanders! I'm not that much younger than Hou Yi!"
"Now, now," she said, brushing back his hair with one of the horns on her wings, "Your father is a busy demon. He's got a whole kingdom to manage and a troublesome resistance that is making life for him difficult."
"Have they found anything out about the resistance? Like who's leading them?" Linos asked as he and his mother walked down the hall of their enormous palace.
"Not quite I'm afraid. These humans have certainly grown quite devious. Perhaps we don't give them enough credit. Don't tell your father I said that," Hsian Ji whispered.
"As long as you don't tell him I was snooping!" Linos added as the two laughed.
"Deal! Now you should hurry off before your father catches you. Where are those two servants of yours? Timothy! Mavis!" Hsian Ji called. At her order, two smaller humans - a boy with short hazel brown hair and a girl with long reddish-brown hair in two, low pigtails - appeared before them from down the hall.
"Come on you two," Linos said, leaving as Tim and Mavis followed him. Once they reached Linos' chambers, he shut the door behind him.
"So what did you-?" Mavis started asking, but stopped when Linos held up his hand to silence her.
Linos placed his hand on the door and a thin glowing barrier formed around the entire room. "There," he said, "Now no one will be able to hear us."
"So what did you find out?" Tim asked.
"Hey, that was my question!" Mavis whined.
"Dad's starting to crack. Our operations against his empire and the Shadow Legion are making a dent. But, he's getting angry. If I know my father, it's that when he gets angry, he becomes unpredictable."
"I've been wondering Linos, when are we going to actually start doing something more. Don't get me wrong, stealing food supplies and sabotaging demon outposts are fun, but if we want to free our land and this entire world from demon rule, we'll need to start making some bigger strikes," Tim pointed out.
"We're not ready. We may have my powers backing us up, but everyone else is still just human. I won't risk their lives," Linos said. "Besides, my father's starting to crack down on Hou Yi, so it's likely her scouts will be all the more frequent. We should lay low for a while."
"Aw man, that's boring!"
"Boring or not, it means less lives will be lost.
"Then I suggest we focus our plans on areas outside the Shadow Kingdom, at least until the heat dies down in this area. That way, we won't lose any momentum and morale while we lay low," Tim suggested.
"Good idea. Come on," Linos said, pulling open the drawer of his bedside table and pulling out a white mask with red eyes. He put the mask on and shadows suddenly swirled around him. In an instant, Linos shrunk down to human size and had fair skin and messy black hair. He wore a red Chinese-style top with ripped ends, brown gloves and pants and a light brown fabric belt and cloak around his neck and shoulders. "We have a resistance to lead." Using his shadow powers, Linos opened a shadow portal beneath them. The trio disappeared into it and reappeared in a dark corner in an alleyway far from the palace. Mavis poked her head out of the alley to check if the coast was clear, before waving for Linos and Tim to move.
High above, Hsian Ji perched on the highest point of the palace rooftop as the full moon shined brightly behind her. She narrowed her eyes as she caught sight of the three of them running through back alleys until they finally disappeared behind a run down building. She spread her large wings wide, taking off before flawlessly gliding down and into a window. She landed right in front of Tzan Ren's map table in his private study while he stood opposite of it.
"Our son is hiding something from me. I know it," he muttered.
"Since when do you know anything about our son. You spend all your time cooped up in our study or out there setting examples! What do you know anything about Linos?" Hsian Ji asked, strolling up to her husband.
"I know that he is… different. There is just something off about him. And as much as it is bothering me that there is something strange about our son, I cannot focus on him while there is a resistance threatening my rule."
"Our rule," she corrected.
"Right, our rule," Tzan Ren said. "Just, keep an eye on him, will you? Let me know if you find out anything."
"Of course, my darling. I shall inform you of whatever I find," Hsian Ji said as she bowed graciously to her husband. With her head hung low so that Tzan Ren couldn't see her face, Hsian Ji grinned widely.
"Get those crates in place, people! We may be a ragtag resistance, but I'll be damned if we aren't the finest looking resistance in the whole damn world!" Mavis shouted, ordering resistance members as they moved through their secret, underground headquarters.
"She's certainly keeping busy," Linos noted, watching as Mavis gave out orders.
"Mavis likes bossing people around," Tim added as he drew notes and lines on the large, old map on their planning table.
"So, I was wondering Tim, you spend all your time in here planning and reading. You sure you don't want to get out in the field someday?"
"Oh no, no, no, trust me, I'll much more of a help to you here than out there. I think we both remember what happened the last time I tried picking up a sword," Tim said as the pair chuckled. "But seriously Linos, I'm more useful to you here behind a planner's desk and a pile of books."
"'Liam'," Linos corrected, "Remember to call me that when I'm in this form," he whispered closely.
"Right, sorry." Suddenly, the pair heard some commotion outside the planning room. When they went out, they saw a crowd gathered around a boy around their age with shaggy, long hair in a low ponytail. He was dressed in black body armor with parts of green that matched his eyes as a long scarf of the same color flowed down his back. When Liam and Tim made their way through the crowd towards him, Remy greeted them with a smirk.
"Remy," Liam greeted.
"Liam," Remy greeted back.
"Have any trouble?"
"You know me, I always get out in one piece," Remy smirked.
"Haha, one way or another, you do. Just try not to take any unnecessary risks, ok Remy? You're one of the best here and we can't afford to lose the last demon hunter," Liam said, placing a reassuring hand on Remy's shoulder as he scanned the scars on Remy's face and exposed chest.
"Yes sir. So what's my next assignment?" Remy asked.
"Here," Liam replied, handing him a scroll. Remy took the scroll and opened it up before scanning its contents. "You sure you don't wanna take a break? You look like you could use one."
"Nah, I focus better when I'm on the job and I'll rest when all humans are free from demon rule. So who am I slaying this time?"
"The Crystal Demon Sorceress and her daughter."
I think the thing I'll look forward to the most about this AU is writing characters who are already deceased by the time of City Shadows, such as Linos' mother Hsian Ji (who's become a quick favorite to the both of us) and Jasper, Mala's father, who will appear in later chapters. Also, for those who follow City Shadows and are anticipating arc 3, you can consider this as sort of a sneak peek to some of the new characters coming in ;)
Ideas and suggestions for future chapters and events are highly encouraged! Please avoid simply saying anything like "awesome" or "when it the next chapter". Please tell me what you did/did not like about the story, were confused by something or think I should try your idea. By leaving me a more extensive review about the story and it's contents and my skills, you help me help you create a more enjoyable reading experience. Plus, review are more fun to read when it's more than just "I like this". Just sayin' :)