Dojo gasped as the door to the tower housing the Shen-Gong-Wu vault swung open almost violently. There was no one there.
"Oh, you about gave me a heart attack," the mystical creature sighed. Footsteps strode across the floor to the vault, even though there was no one visible to make them. "Warn me next time you're going to play with the Shroud of Shadows!"
There was no answer, but the vault slid open, the steps grinding downwards.
"Fine, be that way!" Dojo retorted. "Besides, I could hear the boots. I know it was you, Clay-ay-ay . . . ." The dragon trailed off.
He had delivered the cowboy to his home nearly a week ago. Kimiko wore boots sometimes, but the strong, heavy stride definitely belonged to a male. The dragon slithered forward, peering down into the vault. It was empty.
He knew he should go down into the vault and check to see if the Shroud of Shadows was in it's drawer. He knew he should also check to make sure the vault was empty. Dojo did consider doing these things, truly he did.
But then there came a scratching noise from inside one of the drawers.
From inside the drawer that housed the Monkey Staff, to be precise.
Still Dojo hesitated. They were Shen-Gong-Wu, after all. They did odd things sometimes. Then, there was a loud bang, as if someone was trying to jerk the Monkey Staff out of its drawer without opening it first.
Dojo shrieked in alarm and shot for the door.
Omi had just finished his chores and was heading for the bathhouse when he came across something surprising.
The Monkey Staff was lying across the garden path.
The Dragon of Water looked around.
"Hellllllloooooo? Raimundo? Kimiko? Master Fung? Who has left a Shen Gong Wu just lying in the middle of the garden?!" He demanded.
No one answered him.
Omi huffed and snatched up the Monkey Staff, striding back to the vault. Without pausing, he opened the vault, stomped down the stairs and put the Staff back in its drawer. This chore attended to, the little monk left the vault building and strode back towards the bathhouse.
Half-way there, he found the Monkey Staff lying across the garden path.
Omi paused for a very, very long time.
Slowly, gingerly, he reached down and picked up the Staff. A sudden breeze gusted through the leaves.
Omi could swear the wind carried a nasty snicker to his ears.
Shivering hard, the Dragon of Water hurried back to the vault, throwing the Staff back in its drawer and slamming it shut. The little monk let out a sigh of relief.
There was a quiet rattle from inside the drawer.
Omi knew, without a doubt, if he opened the stone drawer, it would be empty.
Erring on the side of cowardice, Omi hurried back out of the vault and ran for the bathhouse.
But he didn't cut through the garden this time.
"I said I was sorry!" Kimiko sighed.
"You can't just-- run on a guy like that!" Rai growled.
"Sorry . . I just . . .something weird happened. I thought you were messing with me." The Japanese girl sighed, looking at her PDA.
"Something weird? Like what?" The Brazilian asked.
"Nothing! It's dumb, I just . . . I heard Clay practicing his Seismic Kicks and I thought—I thought it sounded like footsteps."
"Clay?" Rai cut in. "Clay's been gone for a week. This was yesterday, right?"
Kimiko stopped, blinking in surprise.
She had sworn she heard . . . maybe she was remembering wrong.
"I – I guess I was remembering wrong," Kimiko said quietly.
"Awww, Kim, come on; you don't have to be so angry all the time. Jack's death freaked up all out. You were crying at his funeral, too. It's okay to be freaked out over it," the Dragon of the Wind said softly.
"Angry? Who's angry?! I'm not angry!" Kimiko snarled.
"Listen. Bite my head off if you want to, but I think I know why you've been so irritated. Jack's death scared you, heck, it scared all of us. It scared us bad. I know how you hate to seem like you're vulnerable, but you're human, Kimiko. You have feelings and its okay." The Brazilian monk said quietly.
Kimiko glared at him. Her fists clenched at her sides tightly, trembling a bit as she fought with the warring emotions in her chest.
On the bench behind her, Kimiko's PDA chirped for attention.
The Japanese girl shrieked in fear, leaping forward into Raimundo. After a moment, she recognized her friend Keiko's ring tone.
"Oh, oh, it's just Keiko," she gasped, sagging in relief.
"Kim?" Raimundo stared at the girl clutching him in bafflement.
A hot blush suffused her features and she leaped back, snatching up her PDA and running down the garden path.
"What the heck is wrong with her?"
As the young leader shook his head, his eye caught a flash of yellow. Omi was walking through the garden. Well, 'walking' was perhaps too strong a word. The Xiaolin Dragon of Water dipped and dodged, whirling around as though he expected to find someone behind him. Gradually, he made his way to Raimundo.
"What's wrong with you?" Rai asked bluntly.
"Er . . . . . .nothing. Um, only . . . . .do you not feel like someone is watching you?" Omi asked, sneaking looks around the garden.
"You're watching me," The Wind Dragon pointed out, but then stopped. Now that Omi mentioned it, there was a hair-raising, prickly feeling of being stared at; being stared at by someone who was not fond of you at all.
"Yes! That feeling! I have been having it all day!" The little monk cried. "I was going to take a bath, but between Kimiko's sudden urge to see us naked and this feeling I was afraid to!"
Raimundo choked, trying desperately to smother a laugh.
"I-I don't think Kimiko's going to walk in on us again, Omi," he snickered.
The little monk looked unconvinced, looking around the garden nervously.
"Will you take one with me?" Omi asked.
Raimundo stopped laughing abruptly.
"I can't believe this," Rai muttered, gathering up soap and shampoo.
Omi splashed in an oversized tub, his fear seemingly gone.
"Do not forget the towels, Raimundo! If Kimiko's urges overcome her, we should be able cover ourselves quickly!"
Rai hung his head, snickering.
The Brazilian went to the front of the bathhouse, where stacks of linens were kept in neat cupboards.
Omi splashed water up over his bright yellow skin, shivering at the feeling of the hot water on his skin. Then he shivered again, and not from the pleasant feeling of warm water.
That feeling was back.
Someone was staring at him; practically boring holes in his head with their eyes, but there was no one else in this corner of the bathhouse.
Omi huddled down against one side of the immense wooden tub, looking around nervously.
"K-Kimiko? You shouldn't stare at naked men, you know! It is very rude!" He offered the empty space.
Silence greeted him, not so much broken but cracked by the distant sound of conversation.
Omi forced himself to relax.
"Omi . . ." breathed a voice in his ear.
The little monk flung himself to the other side of the bathtub, looking around wildly. From what he could see, he was still alone.
That voiced hadn't sounded like Raimundo. It sounded very, very familiar, but not like Raimundo.
"Ooooooommiiiiiiii . . . . . ." The voice seemed to sweep past the young monk quivering in the bathtub.
That was when he was grabbed by the ankles and dragged under the water.
The Xiaolin Dragon of the Water fought violently against the force holding him under. He could feel, feel a pair of hands on his chest, holding him down. He could feel the fingers digging into his chest.
But when he struck at his attacker, his fists went through nothing but water. Omi choked, trying to cry out without drowning as the water pressed in tight.
In hindsight, he must have only been held underwater for about a minute before the force abruptly went away.
Omi burst up out of the water, gasping and crying.
Someone was still staring at him.
This time, it was Raimundo.
"Omi?" The Dragon of the Wind held a stack of towels in his arms. "Are you okay?"
The little yellow monk burst into tears, flinging himself out of the water to clutch desperately at his friend and leader.
Kimiko was chatting listlessly with her friend Keiko, talking of friends back in Japan and who was dating whom and mundane, safe problems.
She was still chatting when Raimundo rushed across the courtyard, carrying a choking, crying Omi in his arms.
"Master Fung! Master Fung! Something attacked Omi!"
The Japanese girl froze for a minute, her mouth sagging open.
Then a sound came from her PDA.
"All together now!
Teenagers scare the living shit out of me!
They could care less as long as someone'll bleed
So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose
Maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me!"
Kimiko screamed and quickly shut down her PDA.
Again, the clock flashed before the power went off.
It was 7:32 p.m.