Hey everyone, I'm back from the dead.
Sorry for taking so long on this chapter, but I'm in my last year of college and the courses are getting really hard and its making it difficult to find time to do this.
Don't worry I'm not giving up on this story, I am just explaining why there has been a lacking in updates.
But I got this chapter done so without further ado let's begin.
(At the Jade Palace)
Night had come and almost of everyone was asleep, and in their rooms at the Jade palace. The only person currently awake was Shifu as he sat in the hall of warriors with the scroll about the human in front of him and a few candles around him. He thought of what would come the following day when the 'human' would be brought to the palace for questioning.
After he had sent his students to capture it he had decided to see if he could find anything else on this human. But after searching nearly every scroll in the archives he couldn't finding a single scroll on them, so all he had to go on was this single scroll.
But what happened after this supposed war with them? Where did they go? Maybe this 'USA' that was mentioned by the odd object that was brought back the first time. But if so why did they disappear?
The scroll made out to be their victory was certain, but then they were never seen again.
It didn't make sense… and if they were so violent, why hadn't it killed anyone yet? The weapons it possessed were more then capable of doing so if it could easily destroy a board from the training equipment, and the fact that the human had almost beaten his students shows it was a capable warrior, so it knew how to use them… so why didn't it?
'What if it didn't want to hurt anyone?' He then wondered, as the thought floated into his mind.
It would make some sense since it only injured one of the guards the first time it was encountered, but Viper did tell him that it was about to use one of its weapons on Tigress. That thought brought him to a stop as shuttered at the thought before he tried to unravel this problem. It had nearly beaten his students so it enforced his idea that the human was a skilled warrior, but his students were some of the most skilled warriors in all of china.
So, did that pressure it into thinking that it needed to use it weapons to defend itself? The thought did make some sense after some consideration.
'Maybe it only killed it if absolutely had too but was not afraid to protect itself and would take any step necessary too.' He pondered.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted though when he heard the doors to the hall open, and after turning around he saw Zeng entering with a worried look on his face.
"Zeng? What the matter?" Shifu asked as he got up and began walking towards him.
"Uuuhhhh" he first responded as he fiddled with his feathers nervously which worried Shifu as the only time he did that was when there was bad news.
"Well?" he then questioned as really didn't want to waste anymore of the night.
"The monster master Shifu… it sort of… escaped!" Zeng explained with a slight gulp to tried and settle his nerves.
"What!?" shouted Shifu in shock.
"It escaped… master Shifu." Zeng repeated with another gulp.
Shifu shifted his gaze to the ground for a moment as the information sank in. After a few seconds he readjusted his gaze to Zeng, as his look went from shock to serious.
"Did it harm anyone?" he then asked as wanted to test his theory about the human.
"No master Shifu, it only knocked out one guard." Zeng told, which gave more support to Shifu's theory.
Seeing that he that his theory may now be correct, Shifu decided to chance it and allow the human to go free for now.
"Go and tell the guards not to pursue it." Shifu ordered.
"What!? But… Master Shifu?" Zeng then questioned but stopped when Shifu raised his hand to silence him.
"There is more happening here then there appears to be… so I want you to go down to the valley and tell the guards." Explained Shifu, as he lowered his hands, with there being a few seconds of silence before Zeng gave in.
"Yes master Shifu." He replied before taking off and out the door towards the valley below.
Shifu turned back to the scroll and looked closely at the human image, he could only hope
Mark stumbled forward as he was sheer exhausted from running for hours on end. He had no idea where he was, and the night was nearly gone as the first rays of sun light came over the horizon.
Breathing heavily, he rested against a tree, as he took deep breathes and tried to control his shaking from being so exhausted. Looking up he saw a small stream through the trees, and without even thinking, he stumbled forward towards the stream as though he were drugged.
Reaching the flowing water, he allowed himself to fall to his hands and knees at the bank and began drinking the water with his hands. Feeling the cool sensation of the water, he took his hands and splashed water on his face before releasing a deep sign.
Mark looked back down at his reflection and saw all the cuts and scratches, that were visible behind the dirt and blood. Turning to look at his hands he saw that they too were covered in blood and dirt. Putting his hands back into the water he started rubbing furiously and watched as the blood and dirt disappeared into the water.
Taking a few more deep breathes he pushed himself back to his feet and tried to move to the other side of the river but collapsed half way through. Feeling totally exhausted Mark forced himself back to his feet, before stumbling to the far bank of the river all the while shaking from exhaustion. Once there he allowed himself to fall to his knees before crawling to a tree a few feet away from him to rest under.
To exhausted to move anymore he merely watched the water flow down the stream, as he felt his eye lids become heavier and heavier. Realising he was going to fall asleep at any moment he pulled his bag off his back to allow himself to sit more comfortably as he placed the bag beside him.
Feeling his eyelids closing he took one last deep breath before he finally allowed himself to fall asleep.
"WHAT!?" shouted everyone as Shifu told them that they were not to pursue the human any more.
"Master that thing is very dangerous and you want us to just let it run about freely in the valley?" question Tigress as she couldn't believe what she was hearing. It was as if she heard Oogway say that Po was to be the dragon warrior all over again.
"Yes Tigress… because I believe its doesn't want to harm anyone but will only when threatened." Shifu stated as he turned to face her.
"Master… why do you believe the human won't hurt anyone?" Asked Viper as she to didn't understand what Shifu thinking.
"With the events you and the others described on the skill of this human, it was able to hold its own against the guards and nearly defeat all of you. Why hasn't it killed anyone with its weapons?" he questioned which got most of his students thinking.
"Maybe it had lousy aim." Purposed Monkey jokingly.
"When it was almost able to defeat us… not likely" rebutted Viper as she started to see where Shifu was going with this.
"What about the villagers though?" questioned Monkey as everyone turned towards him. "A few said it attacked them?" he then explained.
"Maybe it was a misunderstanding." Suggested Viper resulting in Shifu nodding.
"My thoughts exactly… which is why I don't want you or the guards to out right attack it, but rather see if you can convince it to come here for questioning." Shifu replied as he shifted his glance from one of his students to another.
"Is this understood?" he then asked 2hich resulted in chorus of yes master, with a slightly longer time before Tigress responded than the others.
Satisfied with his student's response, change subjects and focused on training for the day and what it will entail but while explaining Tigress still had her thoughts on how to capture this human.
It had now escaped twice and had nearly beaten them the first time, and her master wanted her and the others to just let it go. She knew first hand what this thing was capable of and she knew it was a threat to the valley. So, she couldn't just let this thing run around and she was determined to capture it.
So despite saying yes she decided to that tonight she would secretly sneak out and try and find this human… and eliminate it.
Mark was resting against the tree as the sun was well into evening, as the sky turned from a bright blue, to a warm orange. Shifting ever so slightly Mark adjusted himself to try and get comfier, but after adjusting Mark slipped off of the trunk of tree, waking himself up.
Groaning Mark sat up as he rubbed his eyes, to clear his vision as he stretched slightly, but immediately regretted it as he felt every ache and pain through out his body, and flinch slightly after bruising his fingers over an extra sensitive area.
Realising he needed to get back to his ship he pushed himself from the tree and slung his bag back onto his back. But just after he put the bag on his back, as he scanned his surroundings.
He had no idea where he needed to go in order to get back, and he sure as hell was not going back the way he came. Sighing he began to look around, until he saw a mountain not far from him just peering through the trees.
"Well it's a place to start I guess." Mark mumbled to himself as he slowly began walking towards the mountain.
After about ten minutes of walking he could see he was coming up to a field, so he slowed down and crouch to stay hidden in the brush. As he closed in on the field he could tell it was a farm as he could see crop lines.
Mark immediately hit the dirt though as he heard voices approaching and crawled up to the edge of the bush.
After making sure he couldn't be seen he waited as the voices got closer and closer tell he saw three pigs walking towards him carrying farm tools.
"Alright that enough work for today guys, lets get cleaned up before it gets dark." Said the one on the left as they walked passed the bush Mark was in.
Once they were out of sight Mark got back up to a crouching position before stealthily going back out to the path. Turning towards the mountain he began to notice that there was something on the top, so he squinted to try and make it out. After staring at the mountain for a few moments who could make out a building he could describe as a temple of some kind.
Mark eyes widen though when he realised what happened, as he knew he had wandered towards the major village most likely where the snake, bird, monkey, panda, bug 'thingy', and tiger came from.
'Great! Might as well kill myself now!' he thought sarcastically as he knew without his weapons he was no match for them.
Looking back up though he could tell the sun would be setting in less than an hour, and he wouldn't be able to navigate in the dark, so would have to find a place to hide.
But with not knowing where the heck to go except back, and Mark would have to move fast and find somewhere to hide for the night.
Looking around he could make the top of houses and other building meaning he was very near what was likely the central village. Looking to his right he couldn't see much other than the trail continuing along the crop fields before entering some more forests. Seeing that being his best option he cautiously began making his way towards the forest and after about fifteen minutes be made it to the forest.
Continuing down the path until the farm was out of sight, Mark decided he was far enough away to go off of the path till morning to he entered the forest on his right. With things getting darker and darker by the minute he realised he needed to find somewhere to hide till morning because he was still sure that there were search parties out hunting him.
After wondering for about five minutes Mark was now having a hard time seeing see so he looked around him and saw a tree with large branches high above him, which he could tell would support his weight.
'Well better then being on the ground.' He thought as he walked up to the tree before and pulling his bag off of his back to retrieve the last bit of rope he had.
Once in hand he put the bag back onto his back and wrapped the rope around the trunk of the tree. Leaning back, he used the rope to hold him in place as he walked up the side of the tree a few steps quickly moving the rope, to repeat the process.
Soon he was at the branch he wanted which was about thirty feet off of the ground, and adjusted himself so he could climb onto it, which took him a couple of tries.
Panting heavily Mark looked down as he whipped the rope around the branch he was sitting on and grabbed it from the other side, before tying himself to it so he couldn't fall off.
Once Mark knew he wasn't going anywhere he leaned back against the tree as he stared up into the sky as the first stars became visible. While he wasn't comfortable, it would do for the night and as more and more star became visible he couldn't complain. He never really got to see the stars like this since he lived in New York, with all the tall buildings and 'light pollution' and what not. The only real time ever got to see the stars like this was when he was on missions and even then, he had to remain focused so he couldn't.
But with nothing else to do he could examine them and admire them in all their glory. Thinking about how odd it was to be entertained by mere dots of light in the sky, which got him to briefly chuckle.
"Guess its true when they say it's the simple things in life we miss the most." Mark thought out loud as he continued to examine the stars.
Tigress stood on top of the palace as she prepared to embark on her mission to find this human. She knew she was going against master Shifu's orders, but she knew this thing was to dangerous to be left wandering the valley. Turning towards the barracks she watches as the last of the candle light went out showing the last of her friends had gone to sleep.
Taking her leave she did the same as she had done when she setoff to confront Tai lung, as she jumped off of the palace's roof and began descending towards the valley below. Flying through the air she quickly spun around to see the incoming ground and building, and at the last second adjusted herself to slid along the roof top before jumping off and landing on another.
'Now to find that human'. She thought as she began running on all fours towards the outskirts of the valley.
After running to the point where she couldn't see the houses anymore she stopped for a moment to try and figure out where the human might have gone.
"Well it did escape the holding cells just out side the musicians village so it's a place to start." She spoke to herself before taking off towards the musician village.
Thirty minutes later she reached the holding cells and began looking for any signs of which direction the human went. Being a tiger, she could see well in the dark so she looked for anything out of the ordinary.
Seeing nothing at the front she began circling towards the back but stopped as she did. Looking to her left she saw just at the edge of the forest she saw some broken branches. Moving quickly, she went over and examined them.
They were broken recently… and they were broken towards the forest meaning what ever had done that was going in that direction.
'I'm onto you human' she thought with a smirk as she began running on all fours in the direction the human had left.
Over the next hour Tigress followed the trail left by the human. She found no general direction in which it was going as she found it to be moving radically. But it was moving towards the main village which frightened her as wondered if it would go after the villagers when it found.
Another ten minutes passed and she finally reached the path that lead towards the northern farms. Looking down she found what she was hoping for.
Tracks… and she didn't recognize them to be any other species in the valley so she was pretty sure that they were from the human. Following the tracks, she was relieved when she found that they were heading away from the village, after another five minutes of following the tracks she found them to go off back into the wilderness.
She was closing in and she knew it. The tracks were getting fresher and didn't look to be that old meaning the human was close by.
Mark was nearly about to fall asleep, when a sound caught his attention and made him wide awake. He could have sworn he heard the sound of a brush moving, so he looked around for anything. Seconds passed and everything was dead silence which made him uneasy.
His heart rate increased though when he heard it again, and then again. Looking to where it was coming from he moved his hand to his belt for the last weapon he had on him which was his combat knife. Seconds ticked by and Mark waited who ever it was to relieve themselves, and to his shock it was the tiger again!
'Oh, come on! Give me a fucking break!' he cursed to himself as he watched the tiger approach.
Knowing he would soon have to fight he silently undid the rope holding him to the tree and waited for the right moment to strike.
Tigress followed the tracks as they lead straight to a tree, before simply vanishing which confused her. She began looking around to see if she missed anything, but she couldn't find anything out of the ordinary. Deciding to change she began to smell the air, and she immediately recognized the scent from the human.
It was very close… as if she was right next to it.
Just as she was about to look up the tree a voice caught her off guard.
"Tigress!" yelled Viper as her and the others approached.
"What are you doing here?" Tigress asked annoyed as she turned to face them.
"We came to find you." Viper told before continuing. "Master Shifu saw you leaving the palace and woke us up to find you." She then explained.
Tigress nearly wanted to curse at herself for being foolish enough to think she could fool her master.
"Well I'm out here to try and find it." She then explained as she turned back to the tracks.
"We know." Said Crane exasperated, despite Tigress sending him a quick glare.
Po shifted uneasily as he tapped his fingers together, as his face wore a look of nervousness which Monkey spotted.
"Don't tell us your afraid of the dark?" he joked with a snicker which was joined by Mantis.
"W-what… ppgghh no of course I'm not scared of the dark." Po quickly replied. "Being out here at night just seems a little creepy." He then admitted a little timidly.
"Don't worry Po… its just us out here." Told Viper as she tried to ease her friend's nerves.
"Ya and the monster… could be right above us for all we know." Joked Mantis with a quick laugh but caused Tigress to freeze solid, which Viper spotted.
"What is it Tigress." She asked as she was slightly concerned.
'Above us' she thought as she looked back to the tree where the tracks lead, before slowly looking up to the branches above.
Just as she did though she was quickly knocked off her feet as she human landed in front of them before grabbing Tigress and throwing her at them and taking off in the opposite direction.
Getting over the shock of what just happened Tigress shook her head before taking off on all fours after the human.
"After it!" she ordered as the others quickly followed suit.
Mark sprinted as fast as his feet would carry him as he knew his lead over his would-be captors wouldn't last long.
Not even two minutes later he was proven correct as he was tackled by the tiger from the side and pinned to the ground with his one arm being pulled painfully above.
"Don't move!" she ordered in a threatening tone as she yanked his arm to an even more painful position.
Realising he needed to get free he looked forward and spotted the knife that tumbled from his grasp, and not wasting a second, he took his one free arm and grabbed it before turning as best he could to take a quick stab at the tiger's leg.
Not wanting to be stabbed she hastily adjusted her stance but it was enough for Mark to break free and get back to his feet in a fighting stance. His focus quickly changed though as the Monkey jumped down from the tree to land a hard kick to his chest making his stumble slightly.
Realising where this was going he knew he had to change the ties of this fight and fast.
Looking to desperate tactics he soon got an idea and prepared to put it into action.
Swiping his knife at the panda he forced him to take a step back, and Mark did the same to keep himself from being completely surrounded.
His chance soon came when the tiger tried once again to attack and using his free hand he blocked the onslaught of strikes, before grabbing her arm on the last strike and yanking her towards himself. Using the momentum to his advantage he forced her arm behind her back as he stepped behind her and placed the knife to her throat, causing the other animals to freeze in their tracks immediately.
Tigress breathed heavily as she could feel the sharp blade being pressed dangerously against her throat., and with being off balance and her arm pinned she was pretty much defenseless.
Looking forward she watches as the others stop dead in their tracks not willing to put her life at risk. The human to a few steps back causing her to follow as she was forced to a greater distance from the other to give itself more time to react if they made any moves.
"Don't… worry about me." Said Tigress as she struggled slightly but was stopped once again as the blade once again pressed against her neck painfully.
"Not going to happen Tigress." Told Viper as she and others nodded at the statement, as they knew there was no way fight without putting her life at risk.
They could only hope that there was a way to reason with the human into letting her go.
Wow so ya Mark's in a really tight situation with taking Tigress as a hostage… guess we can only hope the others can find a way get her back without Mark killing her.
Again sorry for taking so long but finding time for this is getting harder, but don't worry I am not going to give up on this story or any others. I'm just letting you know why I haven't posted anything for a while, and that I might not get another chapter out that fast.
Until next time,
This is the forgotten soldier signing off.