Kim Possible fanfiction
immo - note: The epilogue. Finally. And to all of you out there who wanna lynch me for last chapter... YOU'LL HAVE TO FIND ME FIRST! runs away
Bai Su Zhen limped along, rage clouding her features and grief bending her back until she was hunched over. Her state of mind inspired her physical form. As an old beggar, she sat down at the mouth of an alleyway facing a busy street, watching people pass, kicking up the dust.
'Xu Xian, Xu Xian,' Bai Su Zhen watched the people passing in front of her. Children, adults, the elderly, friends, lovers... sisters...
'Xaio Qing,' Bai Su Zhen gnashed her teeth together in anguish as she watched two young girls walking together with their father and mother.
"Hold your sister's hand, alright?" The father kept a close eye on the two as they walked ahead of their parents. The elder of the two sisters could not be more than five years old, and the younger sister could not be more than three. Wide-eyed and wondering, what little hair the younger one had was tied up into pigtails. She was enthusiastically sucking the thumb of one hand while the other hand kept her older sister's forefinger captive in a strong hold.
The young one's eyes wandered to a stall that was selling a kind of clear taffy candy on a stick. "Sis, I want candy."
The older sister put on a thoughtful, grave look. "What do you say?"
The older sister grinned and approached the stall. The man tending the candy stall looked down at the two girls and smiled.
"Oh, I have customers!" The stall owner exclaimed loudly. "And what can I do for you ladies?"
The older sister opened the small pouch that hung around her wrist, in which the tinkling of a few coins could be heard. The grave, thoughtful expression was on her face as she talked to the man. "How much for one taffy, please?"
"Oh, for you, young lady..." the stall owner rubbed his chin. "I have a special price today! One copper for two taffy candies!"
The older sister nodded importantly and produced a single copper coin from her pouch and held it out to the man. "Could I have two, please?"
The man accepted her money with an equally grave expression on his face as the sisters' parents chuckled, watching their two daughters. The man produced two wooden wands and dipped them into the pot of amber liquid, twirling them expertly to collect a big ball of taffy on each stick. He immediately dipped his wares into a bowl of cool water and the soft taffy hardened quickly.
"Here you go, ladies." The man held the two taffy cadies out to the two girls. "Thank you VERY much for your business."
The two girls puffed up with pride and grinned at the man. "You're welcome!"
Bai Su Zhen watched all of this with a bitter expression on her face. Then her eyes fell on a young couple approaching the same stall. The young wife wanted candy and her husband was more than willing to oblige her. An indiscrete bulge in the front of her dress alerted Bai Su Zhen to the fact that this woman was with child.
'Xu Xian,' Bai Su Zhen felt a stab of envy as she watched that young husband. Would he run if he found out his wife was a snake? Bai Su Zhen's eyes fell again to the bulge on the woman's body. Her child... he must have died in the flood. The monk wouldn't have let the child of a demon live. The white snake lurched up and turned towards the darkness of the alleyway.
'My child, my child, I wanted you so much...' Bai Su Zhen mourned the loss of her son, stumbling on things she should see, but didn't. 'Xu Xian, Xu Xian, my husband... Xaio Qing, why?'
Her husband's body had been found and buried, dead too long to resurrect. And even Bai Su Zhen knew an attempted second resurrection would be impossible and would bring the wrath of heaven down on her head. What did she have left? Nobody but Xaio Qing...
"Xaio Qing," Bai Su Zhen tried out the name on her tongue and felt her ire rise. "Xaio Qing..."
She wouldn't go back to Er Mei. She couldn't. A sense of guilt and shame settled on her, but she pushed it away angrily.
"Love conquers all, right?" Bai Su Zhen asked herself. Love always won, didn't it?
She had been so certain she had been in love with Xu Xian. He was her everything. Why didn't love win? Why was he so scared of her when he found out she was a snake? Had she not braved annihilation at the hands of heavenly guardians to win him his life back? Did she not love him enough?
It was Xaio Qing's fault. It had to be. Or else... had she assumed too much about the relationships between humans?
"Vince?" The young asian woman pushed away from the wall, matching her footsteps to the young Chinese man with the diamond stud in his ear.
"Hey, Sue." Vince grinned at the young woman. "You were waiting for me?"
"Just a little bit." Sue smiled at Vince. "I heard from one of the guys that you are leaving for home?"
"Yeah," Vince nodded, frowning a bit. "My father died."
"I am sorry to hear," Sue said smoothly. "So you will not be coming back?"
"Guess not." Vince shrugged. "Back to my hometown."
"Maybe I could visit some time?" Sue said tentatively.
Vince smiled non-commitally. "Maybe."
The young man changed the subject immediately, and that didn't go unnoticed by Sue. She didn't press the issue though, and chatted with him while walking across the huge campus. It was late at night, so Vince walked his friend home, then trekked it back to the small apartment he had rented out.
The death notice had caught him by surprise, and Vince was upset... but a little bit happy. He had planned to go back to She Cun after he graduated, but now he would just have to go back a little earlier. He dropped his keys on the small table beside the door next to a framed picture as he shrugged out of his coat. England's weather was always a little damp. Vince couldn't wait to get back home.
He picked up the framed picture and couldn't help smiling at the yellowed photograph of the two children in the picture. A little boy and a little girl holding hands. He brushed a thumb over the glass that covered the visage of the little girl. Fong. "I'm coming home."
"I wish you would bring me." A voice startled him. Heart pumping, he crouched down to the ground and pressed himself against the wall so the table blocked him from view. A prowler? Well, they had messed with the wrong guy.
"Vince, its me." The prowler's voice was very familiar. And it was a girl?
Vince poked his head out cautiously. "Who is it?"
"Sue!" Vince breathed out a sigh of relief and stoof up, flicking on the lights. "What are you doing he--"
The words died in his throat as he caught sight of Suzanne. Vince had to admit that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life, and that included Fong. But now, looking at her decked out in flowing Chinese robes that seemed like they came right out of some long-dead dynasty of China, she was practically divine.
"Sue..." Was all Vince managed to say before he fell to the ground, unconscious. Suzanne smiled kindly at the unconscious young man. It had been such a surprise to sense her blood flowing through this young man and the scent of Xaio Qing's protection on him. To know that he was one of her descendants. So her son survived? She had thought he had died...
"Xaio Qing." Bai Su Zhen tried the name on her lips before she knelt down and checked the young man over to make sure he hadn't been hurt in the fall. She practically tingled from the thought of seeing her sister again. But what if Xaio Qing didn't want to see her? She didn't want to go and be turned away from the only person she had left in the world.
"A little reconnaisance, then." Bai Su Zhen bent down and whispered in Vince's ear.
A breeze blew in from the window and Cheung sat up, startled awake.
'What... what am I doing on the floor?' The Chinese man stood up and rubbed his head gingerly. He felt... like someone had stuffed a lot of cotton in his head. But he quickly shook out of his stupor when he heard the sound of a baby crying from the other room.
"Daddy's here, daddy's here." Cheung walked into the bedroom, his eyes quickly falling on a beautiful baby sitting in the middle of the bed, swaddled in the bed linen. He quickly picked her up into his arms, patting her back comfortingly.
"Its okay, Ting Ting. Daddy's right here." Cheung bounced the baby a little bit until her cries turned into mewling sobs. Finally, she fell asleep, her head resting trustingly on her father's shoulder.
Kim's forehead was pressed against the plane window. Unseeing eyes, red from crying, looked out at clouds.
"Kim, you want a drink? I'm gonna get one and check on Jim and Tim." Monique put a hand over Kim's. The redhead didn't answer. "Alright, then. You just chill, girlfriend. Ron," The blonde man sitting across the way looked up with his one good eye. "Wanna watch her?"
"Sure, Monique." Ron sat down in Monique vacated seat. Pushing up the armrest, he pulled an unresisting Kim into his arms and held her in a protective embrace. Kim turned to hide her face in Ron's neck, and Kim's shoulders started shaking, signalling a fresh onslaught of tears.
"I gotcha Kim," Ron stroked her hair, understanding that the violence in which Shego had been taken was shocking. To all of them. But he didn't know why Kim seemed inconsolable. Sure, it was bad that someone died, but better a bad guy than a good guy.
Kim had given an explanation, leaving out the mention of her relationship with Shego. Team Possible had seen, in that final fight how Shego and Kim were close, but they didn't guess at how close they had been. All they knew was the barest of details that Kim told them, how Shego needed someone to take her place up at Er Mei with Xaio Qing and Shego had redeemed herself by sending Kim away. The rest, they had been a part of. The failed rescue attempt. Kim gave a passing mention on how Shego and her had become friends at that time.
Close friends. But just friends.
Kim Possible didn't want anyone to know. The dialogue Kim, Shego and Xaio Qing had exchanged during the fight was all foreign to Team Possible, so they didn't have a clue. And Kim would keep it that way. It was something she wanted to guard, not because she was ashamed of it; but because it was something she had with Shego, something they shared together. She didn't want to share it with anyone else. The few people that knew were more than enough for Kim.
Monique left the passenger compartment to another room on the private jet that had a kitchenette. Pouring two coffees, one black and one with cream and sugar, she headed to the cockpit. Jim and Tim were flying the aircraft. The matriarch of She Cun had given it to them.
"Here," Monique handed the black coffee to Jim. Tim had fallen asleep on the co-pilot's chair, and Jim didn't have the heart to wake him up. Monique leaned against the pilot chair and looked out the window at the broad expanse of sky while sipping at her own coffee. "I never get sick of seeing this."
"Yeah." Jim put his coffee in the cupholder by the side and held up one hand. Monique grasped it in her own, didn't see it, but knew Jim's cheeks must've dimpled in a smile at the warm pressure. "How's Tigger and Rufus?"
"Tigger and Rufus are both sleeping it off. We'll have to take them both to a vet when we get back to Middleton and make sure they're okay. The splint we made for Tigger should hold for a bit til we get some real help."
Jim nodded absentmindedly. "And the Blue Man Group drop-out?"
"Drakken's still in the back, sleeping off the knockout shot we gave him." Monique tapped Jim's head with her mug. "Really. Lay off right now, okay? So not a good time."
"Yeah, sorry." Jim ducked his head and winced. "Bad timing, huh?"
"Don't let Kim hear you saying anything stupid, dunno what she'll do." Monique sighed. "Might even kick your sorry ass."
"I'm sorry, really. It'll take me a while... I dunno. It's just... I spent more than two years blaming Drakken and Shego." Jim shook his head angrily, humiliated at the fact that he could be so wrong. "its kinda hard to knock out of it, but I'm trying."
"That's all I'm asking for, Jimmy." Monique sighed. They both fell silent, dwelling on the past days' events.
The residents of She Cun had received the returned Bai Su Zhen and Xaio Qing with joy at first, but the joy had quickly been extinguished by the grief everyone felt when they saw what they brought down from the mountain. After the initial shock, they had moved Shego back to her house in the village.
"Ting Ting?" Fong asked Bai Su Zhen hoarsely. Her ex-lover dead. Her adopted child gone. How do you cope with these sudden drastic losses in your life?
Cheung couldn't look at Bai Su Zhen and kept his eyes averted from the white snake's body, flinching when Bai Su Zhen started speaking.
"Ting Ting never was." Bai Su Zhen had the decency to look ashamed. "I was always here. I told Cheung on the way down Er Mei... he had never had a child. He had never married before you. I weaved a spell so he would think that. So he would bring me into She Cun without suspicion."
Lo po-po stared at the two demons sternly, her face was ashen. The body had been wrapped in a sheet before it was brought down, so not many people had gotten a clear view of what had happened to the dead woman. When they were in the privacy of Shego's house, Lo po-po had immediately knelt down to pull back the cloth that enshrouded the corpse. The matriarch almost wished she hadn't.
Lo po-po drew back with a strangled gasp. She hadn't seen Shego after her scales became apparent, so Shego's reptilian face was a shock to the old woman. The sheet was peeled back with trepidition now, and it seemed impossible, but Lo po-po's face grew paler and paler as she glimpsed the gaping wound in Shego's chest and the numerous injuries inflicted on Shego's person.
"My child, my child..." Lo po-po moaned. She touched Shego's cool brow tentatively, the old woman's face was constricted with emotions as she addressed her ancestor. "Where were you all this time, Bai Su Zhen? We had... the stories said you died."
"I was... away." Bai Su Zhen picked her words carefully. "I came back now only because I chanced across Cheung. I had thought I would never come back to Er Mei. Imagine my surprise, when after my life was nothing more than a legend, I recognized one of my descendants..." Throughout the conversation, Xaio Qing clung onto Bai Su Zhen, fearfully casting her eyes around at the people that surrounded her, and some times whimpering when she caught sight of Shego's body.
"Cheung made me realize I missed my sister and it was time to reconcile. I was not really ready to face Xaio Qing, though, so I cast an enchantment on myself that would last six years and allow me to be in She Cun and see what Xaio Qing has been up to without being detected. For six years, I was disguised as Ting Ting. I could not change back or use my powers, nor could I access that part of me that was Bai Su Zhen. I was in mind and body, a child. If I had known this would happen..." Bai Su Zhen trailed off helplessly. How could she have known?
"Time to reconcile... it was a little late, wasn't it?" Lo po-po spat out the words, trembling with righteous fury. Bai Su Zhen accepted the admonishments impassively. Yes, she deserved it. Homecoming was bittersweet, almost too painful to bear. But Xaio Qing made it okay. Beloved Xaio Qing who never wavered. Centuries of wandering, and finally Bai Su Zhen had come back to her home even though she had wanted to run away. Wondered many times in her wandering if Xaio Qing was alive and found it harder and harder to think of Xaio Qing with anything other than a great yearning.
"How could this..." Cheung started, then stopped. He couldn't even get the words out. His daughter. He wanted his daughter back. "I don't understand. How could you?"
"I meant no harm," Bai Su Zhen raised her hand up in a pleading gesture. Even though she wasn't Ting Ting anymore, she still retained the memories of her previous form and it was hard not to fall into old habits. "Ba-ba--"
"Don't call me father." Cheung said wearily. "I... can't have you call me that. I changed your diapers, I fed you, I watched you grow up for six years. How could you do that to somebody?"
Cheung's voice rose steadily until he was almost shouting at Bai Su Zhen, and still, the white snake stood there and let him.
"I am sorry." Bai Su Zhen whispered. Her children were yelling at her. When she had first cast the spell on herself, she had imagined how happy everybody would be at the end of it, the surprise she would've given them. How could she have been so wrong?
Lo po-po gently pulled sheet back up over Shego's body, wiping away the tears that were staining her cheek. "I'm sorry, but Lady White Snake, Lady Green Snake... give us time to grieve for Shego and bury her. Then we have to talk."
Bai Su Zhen agreed and left with Xaio Qing after some final words with grandma Lo. That had been a few days ago. Now, the village was draped in white as people grieved.
"Even when its a funeral, I can't help admiring how pretty everything looks." Kim commented. Fong and Kim stayed with the body. They were in Shego's house, with Shego's body resting in between them. Fong and Kim had attended to the first part of the funeral preparations. Shego's body was washed with a damp cloth, dusted with talcum powder and dressed in her best clothes. Fong had wanted Shego to wear a silk cheongsam, while Kim wanted the dead woman to be dressed in the green and black jumpsuit she always wore when fighting. The two reached a compromise, finding a black cheongsam in Shego's stash of clothes with dark green designs sewn tastefully all over it. A yellow cloth covered Shego's face from view while a light blue one covered her body. A white cloth hung from the doorway of the house, signalling to everyone who passed that there was a death in the household.
"You're not staying for the funeral?" Fong asked.
Kim shook her head and reached out to touch Shego's covered arm. It was... comforting. To have that physical connection there. "I can't stay. I don't think I can bear seeing her go into the ground."
Fong bowed her head, understanding her completely. Both women felt the tears well up again. Since Shego's death, the two women gravitated towards each other and preferred each other's company to anybody else's, shunning even their closest friends and family. It was that one factor both of them shared that made the two seek each other out. They both had loved Shego.
"When I get back, I'll tell her brothers right away." Kim smiled, remembering how Shego had tried to keep the fondness out of her voice on one of those rare occassions when she talked about her siblings. "They might try to haul her back--"
"We won't let them." Fong said firmly. Back when Shego had first stumbled into She Cun, and her and Fong were just starting to become friends, Shego had brought up the subject of ceremonies and rituals.
"Superstitious bunch, aren't you?" Shego smirked. Fong let out a long-suffering sigh. The green-eyed woman seemed to rejoice in annoying her.
"Whatever you say, Shego." droned Fong. It was laundry day, and she was scrubbing away while Shego lounged around watching her and making stupid comments. But Shego was good company. "Are you going to help me? Some of these clothes are yours."
"Hey, you look like you're doing just fine." Shego took out a nail file that she seemed to constantly have with her, and starting filing away. "Plus, these hands are high-maintanence."
"You're just lazy." Fong grumbled some other choice words as she rinsed a shirt.
"Anyways," Shego started talking again, as if she hadn't heard Fong's scathing remarks. "What do you guys do for funerals here?"
"Why do you ask?" Fong looked up curiously from her work. Shego jumped down from the boulder she had been sitting on and helped Fong tuck away several strands of hair that had fallen in the asian woman's face. Fong blushed at the casual touches. At the beginning, after Shego found out what an ice queen Fong was known to be, the villainess delighted in giving the other woman lingering touches and invading her personal space. Fong had gotten used to Shego's blatant disregard for the asian woman's comfort zone, and now--to her own chagrin--Fong even enjoyed the attention she received.
"Lo po-po was talking about her funeral. And how she wants a lavish one."
"Don't listen to her," Fong barked out a laugh. "She'll live longer than ALL of us."
"Yeah, I'll probably die before her." Shego crouched down next to Fong. Picking up a smooth, flat stone, Shego chucked it into the river and watched in satisfaction as it skipped across the surface of the water. Fong watched Shego, the sarcasm gone, serious for once. "If I die, I want to be buried in She Cun. Can you promise me that? I don't want my brothers to just have me entombed underneath Go Tower. Being there with them even when I die, god, that would be horrible."
"Oh, I thought the mighty Shego was invincible." Fong teased, flicking a bit of sudsy water at Shego.
"Guess you were wrong about that, huh?" Kim laughed bitterly after Fong's tale and got up. "I have to go."
"You're welcome back any time." Fong dragged her eyes from the floor to look at Kim determinedly. "Shego would like it if you came back to see her."
Kim's brave smile trembled. "I'll try."
The redhead left that house, possibly for the last time and took a deep breath of incense-laced air. Kim knew she wouldn't be able to come back. If it meant visiting Shego's grave and just having this horrible feeling of drowning... Kim made it a good few houses away from Shego's place, before she couldn't take it anymore and dropped to the ground to catch her breath. The heroine had a sense that if she held it all inside, she would definitely drown, so she let the tears fall unchecked.
"Shego," Kim sobbed out the name and slammed her fist into the ground, punctuating each time she said Shego's name with a vicious jab to the earth. "Shego..."
Nam Ho rubbed his shaved head ruefully. "I didn't know about Ting Ting---Bai Su Zhen, actually, until the very end, when she saved me. I suspected there was something more to her when she sought me out to go save Shego... but I had no idea."
"I'm still..." Cheung shook his head, not knowing how to feel. "I don't know how to... I mean, one day I had a daughter, the next, she wasn't. I feel like crying, but she's not really gone... and she wasn't really there."
Nam Ho patted his brother on the shoulders. "Its like your whole world is turned upside down, right? You're feeling exactly what I felt when the monks told me Xaio Qing and She Cun weren't held in the highest regard to outsiders. It burned me and I was so bothered by what they said that I left She Cun to find things out for myself. But even before I left, I knew they had told me the truth..."
Cheung felt like something had lodged in his chest. "Its hard to take in."
Nam Ho nodded. "Then you had to think: was it really Xaio Qing's fault? We're partly responsible. If only she had abandoned us, or we had left. But we were spoiled by her, like a grown child refusing to leave the nest and make its way in the world. Everything was provided for us here. We should have had to struggle like everyone else does to survive, except we had a great big snake watching us. Aren't we tainted by the lives she took for our welfare? She was chained here because of us." Nam Ho said soberly. The truth didn't affect him as much any more, but Cheung seemed to look more uncomfortable by the second. "I dedicated myself to She Cun, you know? Before the monks talked some sense into me, I was wholeheartedly devoted to our way of life. What happens when you've lived your life thinking you were in the right but all along you were horribly wrong? And if we had just... died away. Maybe none of this would've happened."
"Why didn't you try to tell us?" Cheung asked his older brother.
"Would any of you have listened? I tried, but I also realized that She Cun has a... tendency to attack first and ask questions later. Maybe I should have come back to She Cun before I shaved my head." Nam Ho smiled sadly. "Would've's, could've's, should've's."
"Shego shouldn't have died." Cheung grit out between his teeth.
Nam Ho smiled sadly at his brother. "She Cun thinks really highly of Shego, don't they?"
"We do. She can be really... angry some times. But she's a good person." Cheung suddenly had a flashback of Shego, crouched down and playing rock-paper-scissor with a pig-tailed three year old Ting Ting. Both child and woman gone. The brothers sat there in silence until Cheung suddenly slapped his hand down on the table.
"Okay, maybe its a stupid idea, but..." Cheung had a growing look of excitement on his face as something occurred to him. "The phoenixes you told me about... would they be able to... resurrect Shego? Or am I pulling things from western mythology? We would do anything--"
Nam Ho shook his head. "They can... but they can't. Phoenixes only come out during peaceful times, and for them to appear during these troubling times is already a huge favour. They are divine and a different breed of immortals. They, especially, follow the rules to the letter. Don't make me explain the rules or the complicated minds of divinity, because I know only the little I'm telling you now. The best I can explain to you is that they... have a sort of quota set on them limiting their interaction with mortals and certain guidelines on what type of interaction is allowed and what isn't. Once they hit the quota, Feng and Huang leave for a while. They've already gone above and beyond in helping us."
Cheung fell into disappointed silence. Nam Ho reached over and patted his brother on the arm. "Don't think I didn't ask them, because I did... but resurrection has some serious consequences to the order of things. Only in very, VERY extreme cases will they do it. And this, unfortunately isn't one of those extremes. They wanted to, but they just can't."
Nam Ho got up from his seat and looked up at the rafters of the house he had grown up in. It was odd being back in She Cun. But it was home. He was so happy to be back home, even though the events that lead up to his homecoming was tragic. That look of agony on Kim's face would definitely remain with him for a long time.
"I'm going to kill you." Kim had said those words with such a finality, that it convinced those who understood her that she meant what she said.
Xaio Qing didn't reply, instead, she hid her face back in Bai Su Zhen's chest. The white snake held her sister posessively, stroking the green snake's head comfortingly and whispering soft words to her.
"It will be okay," Kim caught some of those words that Bai Su Zhen spoke. "It will be okay."
Kim walked unsteadily towards them, her fingers aching to wrap around Xaio Qing's neck and throttle her slowly. She froze in her steps though when Bai Su Zhen's clear green eyes caught her in their gaze. Thoughtful green eyes. Mature and sad. A wealth of lifetimes underneath those searching eyes.
"Would you kill my sister? I know it is unbelievable that I ask for this but I beg for the life of my sister." Her lilting Chinese was touched with accents. She spoke like a softer, gentler Shego and Kim found herself struck by how alike they were. Maybe the shape of her eyes? The shape of her face? Maybe it was something that couldn't be discerned by the eyes? There was something undeniable Shego-ish about Bai Su Zhen.
"No." Kim found herself shaking her head violently. "No. She has to die."
Bai Su Zhen let out a sigh and stood up, breaking eye contact with Kim. "I cannot change your mind? I could offer you riches--"
"Don't you dare!" Kim screamed. She was livid with anger now. "Don't you DARE try to buy yourself a guilt-free conscience!"
"I was not." Bai Su Zhen said quietly. "But if this is your will. If Xaio Qing dies, you will be happy? You cannot kill her, you know. My sister has gained some immunity to normal means of death. She is partly immortal. And though she has always been lazy, I see she has taken time to practise and become decent in the arts. You will not kill her easily."
"I'll try until I succeed." Kim snapped back.
Bai Su Zhen drew a shining line in the air in front of her. Then she stuck her hand within that line and pulled out a long gleaming sword. Kim and Team Possible immediately tensed, at the ready for a fight.
"Not for you." The white snake shook her head. She drew a forked sword from the single sheath and let it rest on top of Xaio Qing's neck. Blood started welling up from where the sword touched Xaio Qing's neck and the green snake flinched letting out a low moan, but didn't move from her bowed position. "It is my fault, you know. All of this. If I had been here..."
Kim watched, transfixed at the scene, at the blood dripping down Xaio Qing's neck. Hungry and needing this sacrifice.
"She is a child. She did not know any better." Bai Su Zhen held out her free hand to Xaio Qing. The green snake grasped it and kissed it fervently, her face constricted with remorse. Bai Su Zhen smiled sadly at Xaio Qing, but beyond that, Xaio Qing's impending death didn't seem to affect the older snake as much as it should.
"I am sorry... I am sorry..." Xaio Qing choked out.
"She's like a rabid dog." Kim's face looked like it was set in stone. "And rabid dogs need to be put down."
"And I am the owner of this mad dog." Bai Su Zhen whispered. "So is it my responsibility to put down my pet? Because of my neglect..."
Lady White Snake regretfully tore her hand out of the green snake's and raised her sword--
"You can't!" Yinchun called out, desperate to stay Bai Su Zhen's hand. She had heard about Bai Su Zhen from Xaio Qing, and she had expected more of a reaction from the white snake. More of a compassionate Bai Su Zhen. But if no-one was going to speak for Xaio Qing, she would! Xaio Qing was Yinchun's friend! One of the fox's first memories was that of the green snake's laugh in her ears. Warm arms that carried her back to her mother. Solid food. Caressing strokes on her head. "She is Xaio Qing. She did everything because she thought it was right. She was lonely, she was alone. Spare her for my sake, Kim. Please."
"Spare her? For your sake?" Kim laughed, delirious with grief. "Why should I?"
"You owe us nothing." Bai Su Zhen kept her eyes on Xaio Qing, drinking in the sight of the green snake, head bowed as if before an executioner's axe. Bai Su Zhen touched Xaio Qing's forehead with the tips of her fingers, with her hand that wasn't holding the sword above Xaio Qing's head. That simple touch belied the raw tenderness the White Snake was trying to hide, and Xaio Qing tilted her face up and smiled happily at Bai Su Zhen, despite the situation. How could Xaio Qing be sad when she's wished for this forever? To see Bai Su Zhen again, even if it meant her death.
"Sorry... sorry..." Xaio Qing could only murmur those words now. She would accept this, because it was fair. Bai Su Zhen was going to kill her, and it would be fair. Bai Su Zhen had taught her what fair was. How did she forget? Was it that long ago when Bai Su Zhen lectured her on the intricacies of morality? How could she have forgotten?
Kim didn't answer and refused to look at the abbot. But when Bai Su Zhen drew back, ready to strike again, Kim held up a hand.
"Stop." The redhead croaked out hoarsely. Kim dropped to her knees in dejection. She couldn't do it.
Kim Possible was a hero.
Kim Possible didn't kill, no matter what.
No matter what.
Bai Su Zhen wasted no time in casting her weapon aside and gathering up Xaio Qing in a fierce hug, her stoic mask dropped. Bai Su Zhen had been set on doing the right thing... a life for a life... and for the owner of this beloved mad dog, there was no greater punishment for the owner than destroying the last and only thing she cared about in this world. Sweet relief showed on Bai Su Zhen's face as she hugged Xaio Qing as close as possible, sending the younger snake demon bawling again. The relief of being able to stay together, of knowing they wouldn't be seperated again overwhelmed the green snake.
"Never leave you," Bai Su Zhen promised Xaio Qing. "I will never leave you again."
"Sorry," Xaio Qing blubbered. "I am sorry..."
"Well, we're going to hold a funeral for Shego. I've sent a message to my monastery, we'll send her off in style." Nam Ho was about to leave for Shego's house when Cheung reached out and grabbed the sleeve of his brother's robe.
"For what its worth, I'm sorry." Cheung said awkwardly. "I didn't know anything--"
"No apologies. We all did what we thought was right at the time." Nam Ho rubbed his brother's peach fuzz head and grinned. "Grow some hair. Or are you trying to emulate your older brother?"
"Ha, yeah right. An ugly monk?" Cheung joked. Then, suddenly became nervous. "Dai lo... you.. wanna see your nephew?"
Nam Ho's face brightened. "Really? You'd let me?"
"Of course," Cheung grinned. "He's at Cho gon-gon's place right now. Lo po-po says he looks sorta like you when you were a baby."
Eagerly, the two brothers left, pushing aside the the unpleasant past for the moment. There was always the future; they would just have to live one day at a time and find a way to redeem their wretched lives.
"You two again?" One of the guardians of Kunlun mountain pointed his spear at the two unwelcome guests. His armour of pristine white feathers fluttered in the breeze. Though the clothing looked fragile, the two women knew from a previous encounter that it wasn't so. And the silver and white spear, though beautiful in design, was sharp and unforgiving.
"What a rude reception," The younger one said cheerfully. "Did you not miss us?"
"What business do you have here?" A woman dressed in the dappled pelt of a deer asked. A sword, enclosed in a velvetty brown sheath hung by her side and she had a hand on its hilt, ready to draw. "The two of us had thought we might have seen the last of the two of you, Bai Su Zhen and Xaio Qing. In fact, we had heard through the grapevines that you were dead, Lady White Snake?"
"Apparently, you heard wrong, Lady Lu."
"I did not know we were going to have guests. You should have called beforehand, my lady." The deer guardian, for that was what she was, spoke curtly. "We would have prepared for you."
"Oh nono, we wanted to surprise you!" Xaio Qing chuckled. "We were so pleased with your treatment last time we came back for more."
"I remember last time," The spear-wielding crane guardian chuckled unpleasantly. "Came back for more indeed. Would we be right to assume you came back for the same thing?"
"You would be correct, sir." Bai Su Zhen drew that shining line in the air and retrieved her sword. "I remembered the pleasant dance we had last time. When we win we shall claim our prize."
"IF you win, Lady Bai Su Zhen." The guardian deer purred. "IF. We have not had the pleasure of your company in a while. I insist, this time you stay a while. Maybe," The guardian's voice turned nasty, "indefinitely. Your bones would do to nourish the herb you plan to steal."
"The lingzhi herb is meant to be used. Why let it just sit on a mountainside?" Xaio Qing clapped her hands together and spread them apart, revealing her own sword. "We would put it to good use."
"This herb is not for mortals!" The feathered man snapped.
Xaio Qing asked prettily, "Please give it to us?"
"No!" Was the reply from the guardians.
"As I thought." Bai Su Zhen drew her blade. "We will have to do this the hard way."
"The only reason you got the lingzhi herb last time was through divine intervention. I do not think any of the immortals will come to your aid this time." The feathered man said with a smirk. "This time, you will die."
"We will win." Xaio Qing struck a pose, determined. Nothing will stop her. She HAD to win.
Defying laws of physic, Lady Lu drew out a gnarled sword from her straight sheath. Instead of steel though, the sword looked like it was made of bone. "What makes you think you will win this time? Care to share?"
"Why of course," Bai Su Zhen laughed lightly, back to back with Xaio Qing. "Let us show you a few new tricks we have learned."
END OF 'A FEW NEW TRICKS'
Thank you all for reading. It's been a long and hard journey, and I thank you all for your kindness, your encouragements and your criticism.
And now, for a big author's note.
This whole series could not have been possible without Tsui Hark's 'Green Snake' to inspire me. I watched the movie, and it spoke to me. What if... Kim Possible was thrown into the legend of Lady White Snake? So I started the first chapter of 'a few new tricks' to see where it would take me. I was inspired, but not particularly motivated to continue what I had started until people started reviewing and asking me if there was a continuation. Of course, who was I to deny my readers? So I continued the story, sorta fearing that I might stop half-way. But I'm DONE. Thank god.
Xaio Qing and Bai Su Zhen's backstory, character and personality are almost purely taken from 'Green Snake'. I would write an in-depth psychological profile on the two, but watching the movie and experiencing the superb acting of the two actresses as Bai Su Zhen and Xaio Qing would explain what motivates the two characters. I totally recommend this movie. I'm serious. Do yourself a favour and watch it. By the way, seems like the Kiwis are making a movie based on the legend called 'Lady White Snake' for a western audience. The Kiwis are doing a joint venture with Taiwan and are gonna start filming October 2006 and its slated to be released in 2008 before(during?) the Olympics in Beijing. I'm kinda excited...
I was gonna translate the Chinese that I have in the past chapters, but I don't think I'll do it. I'm leaving it like it is because I think it frustrates my readers who want to know what's being said. I think it gives readers the frustration Kim is basically feeling when she first arrives and she can't make head or tails of anything.
Yinchun, the fox demon is inspired by the movie 'Wu Yen' that stars Anita Mui(R.I.P, sistah. you rocked asian cinema), Cecilia Cheung and last but not least, Sammi Cheng. In this movie, Sammi stars as Wu Yen the woman warrior who is fated to marry a useless emperor played by Anita Mui. Yes, I said Anita Mui. The emperor and the warrior both accidentally free a fox enchantress that promptly falls in love with Wu Yen. But when Wu Yen refuses to love Yinchun, Yinchun decides to get back at Wu Yen by seducing the emperor.
And hilarity ensues.
So the character of Yinchun in 'a few new tricks' is NOT the Yinchun in the movie 'Wu Yen', but is instead a young niece who is named after her trouble-making aunt. But pretty much is one and the same in character and personality.
Tigger is a based off a real German Shepherd dog, MY dog, actually. This is a nod to him cuz he was the best pet anybody could ever ask for. Rest in peace, baby boy. You were the best German Shepherd that ever was and you'll be the dog I compare all other dogs to.
Now, a thank you to all of you who left reviews or sent emails to encourage me along. Pat yourself on the back. I can't say enough how much your little missives meant to me. Yes. Even the ones that threatened kill me in my sleep. ahahaha... YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
I don't like giving out special mentions, but I guess some of you who have been following for the longest time deserve it, especially the ones who have been reading my stuff before 'a few new tricks'. ... so... thank you, thank you, thank you. All your reviews, even the criticisms, are appreciated. Don't think I don't know who you are, cuz I miss you guys when I don't hear from you and I wonder if I've done something wrong and I get really insecure. lol. So drop me a line after the epilogue ;)
Now I'm gonna take some time to work on some of my stuff that's just been sitting around on my harddrive.