Chapter 1

The blonde boy sat on his bed, quietly staring at the phone in his hands. Still in his mission gear, he had wanted to make sure Kim had gotten home all right and apologize again for nearly messing up the mission.

"It's no drama to you, but it is to me," Ron said to himself. "I have to learn to fight better. I can't keep getting by on luck."

His eyes fell upon the unopened letter on his nightstand. He'd found it in his backpack after coming back from Japan. A simple note in Sensei's handwriting stated, "Open when you are ready."

Ron ripped open the envelope and scanned the letter. Picking up his phone again, he hit speed dial. "Hey, Wade. I need you to locate someone for me."

It had taken him a while to get to the nature preserve Wade had found for him. Fortunately, Kim was at cheerleading practice and wouldn't miss him until they met at Bueno Nacho. The place was huge and seemed to be surrounded by tall and thick hedges.

Ron called through the double door wrought iron gate, the only entrance; but no one answered. Looking around, he didn't see any kind of doorbell or intercom. "If this were a villain hideout, the door'll be unlocked," he chuckled to himself as he tried the doorknob. Finding the gate in fact unlocked, he nervously opened the door, quietly closing it behind him.

"You're doing this for KP," he repeated to himself as he walked along the large dirt path. "Sensei wouldn't tell me to see this guy if he was evil," not realizing he was talking to himself.

Hearing a noise, Ron looked up to find a large, black dog looking curiously at him with yellow eyes. His relief went cold as he remembered Wade telling him what animals were housed at the preserve, and what the main one was. He was not ten feet from a wolf.

Taking a step forward to reassure it, the wolf growled deep in its chest. Startled, Ron backed into a tree. Seeing this moment of distraction, the wolf charged at the blonde boy. Impulsively, he leaped over the wolf, landing in a crouch. He rose quickly as he turned to check on the wolf, fearing what the thud he had heard meant.

Dazed, he found himself sprawled on the ground, the wolf sniffing his face with a forepaw planted on his chest. Looking up at the animal, he swore it was grinning and laughter danced in its eyes.

"You jumped off the tree," he said to the wolf.

His only answer was a lick to the face before the large creature lay down next to him with its head on his chest and an almost smug look.

"You're not a girl, are you? I get that look a lot from the ladies," Ron asked.

"No, Shadow just likes to show off to new people," a deep voice chuckled from above him."

Ron looked up to find a very tall and solidly muscled man that looked to be in his early thirties. He gave the man a goofy grin. "Is he always this friendly?"

Smiling, the man effortlessly helped Ron to his feet as Shadow moved to the side. "I am Jonathon Wolf. And I've been expecting you, Mr. Ron Stoppable."

"How'd you know I was coming?" Ron asked surprised.

"Sensei contacted me about you."

"With the mystic soul talk thing?"

"Uh, no. Telephone," giving Ron a bemused look.

"Oh," Ron said chagrined.

"Let's get comfortable on the porch so we can talk about the future," Jonathon said, directing him toward his home.

Ron followed, watching the wolf run off ahead. Quietly, he appraised the man he had come to meet. Jonathon had to be seven feet tall and reminded him of an animal. Long, dark brown hair to his shoulders like a mane. Dark hair lightly covered his tanned body giving an impression of fur. The way his muscles moved reminded him of how people described a powerful animal: thick cables under a velvety skin. Oh, yeah, and the fangs and amber eyes like a wolf.

"Um, you wouldn't know DNAmy, would you?"

"I don't believe I've had that distinction. I have, on the other hand, had the pleasure of never meeting Lord Monty Fisk. I assure you, I was born with everything," he answered, giving Ron an amused smile.

Ron would have looked embarrassed had they not rounded a bend to approach Jonathon's home. Expecting something small and unassuming, he was looking upon a large lodge. Not too far past it, he could see part of what looked like a traditional Japanese dojo like he had seen at Yamanouchi.

"Place must be murder to clean," Ron quipped.

"The wolves help. You'd be surprised how clean they are. I also have a lot of stuff. I let groups in to see my museum pieces or let them enjoy nature. Have a seat, " Jonathon offered, taking his own seat on the covered porch. Shadow had already curled up on a couch.

"I guess you know why I'm here?" the young boy asked hesitantly.

"No, I know what you are here to ask for. Only you can tell me why you wish to learn the use of your mystic energy. The reason in your heart."

The boy sat back in thought for a few moments before hesitantly answering. "I want to keep my friend, KP, safe. We go into a lot of dangerous situations, and I'm afraid she'll get hurt because I could have done something better. Been something better."

"Only Ms. Possible? You don't wish to protect others or yourself?" he asked, arching a brow.

"Well, Kim's the one that saves the world. If I have her back, she keeps everyone else safe. I only need to protect myself long enough to make sure Kim is ok."

"What if Kim was not available or there were not enough time to get her? Sometimes injustice occurs in the minor moments."

"You mean if I saw someone getting beat up?"

"Or you yourself. Not everyone is as playful as Shadow."

"I know I can take the hits, but I couldn't watch someone else. I guess I'd be the distraction so the guy could get away."

"Interesting. You don't wish to achieve your destiny as Ultimate Monkey Master?"

"Naw. I only used the monkey power to stop Monkey Fist. I figure if it's meant to be, fate will make it happen."

"You know I'm testing you. Do you let your answers stand?" Jonathon asked gravely.

"Yeah, that's how I feel about it all," he answered without hesitation.

He sighed heavily, "Of course, Sensei told me his impressions of you," Jonathon told him calmly, noticing Ron's nervousness. "He only sent you to me because I possess mystic power. 'The lake cannot know the vastness the ocean feels.' But I will not teach one whom will not use the power wisely." Jonathon hid a smile as he watched the crestfallen look enter the boy's eyes. Let's see if he'll beg. "You could protect the world, but you will only protect those around you. You will help others, but you will not help yourself. Many wish they knew their destiny; you have an important one. But you refuse it."

Ron looked like he would cry, but he held his chin high. "I understand. Sensei wouldn't recommend you if you weren't the best person for this. Better you not waste your time on someone that won't use it right." Standing quickly, "I'd better take off and not waste any more of your time."

Standing up with him, "It is getting late. Here, you'll be needing this," Ron took the manila envelope with a confused look on his face.

"What's this?"

"Permission slips and what not," he answered with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Just need your parents to sign them and turn them in to Mr. Barkin. They approve you for community service credit as well as exempting you from a class or two like PE and get extra credit for a few others. You'll still have to take the fitness evaluation, though."

"Booyah," Ron yelled excitedly.

"I'll see you Saturday," he called as Ron ran home.

Jonathon chuckled to himself as he looked over at Shadow. "I think I'll enjoy working with this one."