Hey everyone! This is my first JCA story. If you like my idea please leave a review! It's always great to get feedback about your work.
Jade sat on the sidewalk in front of Uncle's Antique Shop, chewing bubble gum and staring at the pavement. Anything beats this, she thought. She'd been stuck in front of this building all summer, without any hint of danger or magic. She wondered briefly if this was her punishment for having too much fun all year long – she had spent the past twelve months tracking down talismans, banishing malicious demons, foiling Daolon Wong's sorcery schemes, and obliterating the Shadow Khan. She'd even become the queen of the Shadow Khan- and almost fell in love with a demon. But now, after all that insanity with fighting the forces of darkness, she had nothing left to do but sit around in the sunlight. Even bragging about her adventures at school was preferable to this: at least there she'd gotten some attention, even if it had been coupled with looks of derision and Drew's constant mockery. But now that Jackie was on another archaeological trip, one that didn't involve any type of magical quest, and Uncle was busy in Japan scouting for new antiques, she had absolutely nothing to do. Even Tohru was busy studying Chi spells, and tending to the shop in the meantime. It seemed as if there were nothing worth living for right now, a thought that chilled Jade. What if nothing exciting would happen to her again?
She sighed, frustration running through her. Picking at the creases in her jeans, she began to long for something extraordinary to happen, for the extraordinary had become the usual to her. And she did not want to live in a world where those extraordinary moments no longer happened.
"I wish some bad guy would pop up and make everything interesting again," she said to herself, pouting as she wiped her face miserably in the heat. "At least that way I'd have something to do."
"Hmph. You have your wish, then," a sinister and very familiar voice emerged from behind her. Jade gasped, turning around only to get sprayed in the face with a sweet-smelling vapor. Her eyes fluttered and her head fell, plunking softly upon a pair of expensive, but sporadically tattered, leather shoes.
Jade awoke to find herself in a completely unadorned apartment room, lying on an inflatable bed. She tried to push herself up with her arms, but realized suddenly that her hands seemed to be incapable of moving- they'd been tied together by some kind of thick rope. She realized suddenly that the gum she'd been chewing was still in her mouth – and was probably very stale by now. Grimacing in disgust, she was about to spit it out when she looked up and gasped loudly at the person writing at the table in front of her, a noise which caused him to turn from his seat and smirk at her.
"I see you've awoken," Valmont said in an unpleasant tone. "Good, I need you to be awake in order for me to carry out my plans."
"What plans?" Jade demanded, immediately asserting herself. She kicked with her feet, though they too were tied together, shaking the puffy mattress up and down. She felt invigorated by this threat somehow, as if the danger of her surroundings would bring her back to life.
"It's really quite simple," Valmont said, enjoying his control over the situation. "I know you're Chan's main weakness, even more so than that old man. All I had to do was bring you back here, and write a ransom note which I left in front of the store. Pity Tohru wasn't watching out for you, but then again, he's too busy being an apprentice to that senile fool anyway."
"Tch, Jackie and Tohru will bust me out of here in no time!" Jade yelled. "You won't be able to do anything before Jackie gets here!"
"I beg to differ, little girl," Valmont said. "What if I told Chan that I have a certain, well, device that would allow me to transport you in time?"
"As if!" Jade rolled her eyes. "You don't have the technology to do that."
"Oh, really?" Valmont raised his eyebrows slyly. "Don't you remember the time you and my Enforcers were carried back through time to when Chan was still a child?"
"So? I highly doubt you were able to make a machine like the one that zapped me at Section 13," Jade said defiantly.
"I don't need to," Valmont said, his voice menacingly light. "Some of my crime associates… well, let's just say that I have quite a few resources. And maybe some of those resources were able to infiltrate Section 13… from the inside."
Jade's eyes opened wide in disbelief. So he did have something to threaten her with, after all. But time travel? That wasn't such a big deal, was it?
As if he knew her thoughts, Valmont explained, "Suppose I made you travel to the past again… only this time, instead of allowing you to escape through the void of time, I forced your present self to switch places with… your past self? Then you would exist as you are now, in your past, while your past self would be brought to this time. But let's say I took it a step further. Suppose I turned the device back so far that you went to a time you weren't even born yet? Then you wouldn't exist in this world… and in the past world, you would have no parents – no one to turn to at all."
"I'd still have Jackie," Jade stated fiercely. "I've met him in the past before, and I'll do it again."
"But you see, you won't be where Jackie is," Valmont sneered. "You'll be in China, where you would havebeen born. Except since this little time travel fiasco has happened, you won't be born there anymore; you'll be stuck where you should have been born, without any familiar faces around or anyplace to go. In other words, you'll be utterly lost and helpless in a completely strange world. And in the present, you'll have suddenly disappeared without a trace – something I'm sure your parents would not be too pleased about."
Jade gulped upon hearing his words. This was not good. She had to find some way to get out, and fast.
"I see you're starting to get it. Well, don't worry, if Chan is willing to bring me the talismans by a week from now, I won't have to resort to such desperate measures. I could bring you right back without touching a hair on you – if he's willing to trade, that is." Valmont's devious smile widened. "And while I realize I could simply threaten to knife you at any moment, it's much more fun this way. Besides, pressing a button on this little gadget is so much easier- I've already set the target to you, and even if you are not physically present, I can do the time-warp on you at any moment. If Chan decides he'll betray me and take back the talismans at some point… well, there's always this."
Valmont pulled from his coat pocket a small, violet cylindrical piece of metal with odd markings that Jade couldn't quite make out in the dimness of Valmont's room, and waved it at her. Jade grimaced, a look of disgust spreading over her face.
"Let me go, you jerk," she blurted, out of pure anger. "I can't believe you would go this far just to get a couple of talismans. What would you do with them, anyway? Just go on with your lowly bank-robbing? Come on! Don't you have any pride?"
"Pride?" A dangerous glint crept into Valmont's eyes. "Look at this place, you fool! I've hit rock-bottom! Not even my Enforcers have returned to me – they've abandoned me! I have nothing but the clothes on my back, minimal savings from previously attempted conquests, and this one device that could change everything. This is my last chance to regain my former glory as the mastermind of a network of criminals! With the talismans in my hand, I could do anything. With that kind of power, all my wealth could easily return to me. Who cares if my conscience has to take a backseat? I have nothing else to live for!"
Jade gaped at Valmont as he went on his furious rant for justification. So this was why he continued on such a pitiful path. She felt a tinge of pity for this former crime boss, who now lived in such destitution. Maybe it was because he, like her, was desperate for just one single thing that he could not obtain, something that he would willingly give up everything for. But still…
"So you're saying you'd give up all your values to go back to being a leading criminal? Come on, Valmont! You don't have to always be the villain. What if you chose to live a decent life instead? I'm sure with all your connections and your intelligence you'd be able to land a high-paying job. What's the point of going back to where you were? If you're at rock-bottom like you say, why not aim for better?"
Even as she lay tied down, Jade's charismatic voice impressed the ex-Dark Hand ringleader. She was, he could tell, speaking from her heart. She was like that – even when she said something to benefit herself, she wasn't being manipulative, but rather honest. Valmont looked at her, a little shocked at her speech, and posited his hand on his chin with a thoughtful expression on his face.
"Hmph, to think you would dare to directly contradict me after all I just told you about your predicament. I have to admire your courage. Too bad I don't listen to little girls," Valmont said, amused.
"Tch. I always speak my mind. And besides, you need me around to make the tradeoff with Jackie. Just because you can teleport me to the past right now doesn't mean you will," Jade said casually, as if it were obvious.
"You're quite clever," Valmont said, slightly intrigued by her lack of concern over her capture. "It's a good thing I have you all tied up, or who knows what you might try in order to escape."
"Duh! Do you know how many times a day I used to escape Jackie when he told me to stay back?" Jade rolled her eyes at Valmont's underestimation of her capabilities.
"Well, thank you for making me aware of that. I'll be sure to keep you as immobile as possible this entire week," Valmont retorted, pleased with himself. "I imagine it'll be a bit more difficult escaping a physical barrier, like a rope around your arms and legs."
"If you let me move around, I promise not to run away," Jade lied.
"That won't work on someone of my intelligence," Valmont said, waving her off with a dismissive hand gesture.
"Heh. Worth a try," Jade said, the silly smile she wore whenever she deceived Jackie on her face. "But really, what am I going to do all week? When I said I wanted someone to come and make things more… well, exciting, I didn't exactly mean get transferred from the antique shop to an inflatable bed. And not even being able to move on said inflatable bed."
"You'll find some way to cope, I imagine," Valmont said, yawning. "Well, I've got to be off. I'm meeting with a possible ally who has a great variety of undercover transportation available, and I'm sure that will come in quite handy next week when I go on my talisman rampage."
Jade thought quickly, as she was accustomed to doing. The time-travel thing is still in his shirt pocket, so I have to find a way to remove it. But I can't do that; he'd notice immediately. Hmm… what if I removed his shirt instead? That's it!
"Wait!" Jade cried out, a frightened look on her face. "You can't leave me alone in here! I-I'm cold! You tied me up and I don't have any blankets. I really won't be able to stand it in here. You've got to at least give me something warm so I don't freeze to death!"
Valmont turned around, and, looking at Jade's pretty, innocent face, he relented. He sighed to himself, wondering how he could be so soft as a criminal. But she was a little girl, and he felt the slightest bit bad. It wasn't really her fault he had to hold her hostage in exchange for the talismans. He walked to his own bed, picked up the blanket, and bent over towards Jade, gently placing the blanket over her. As he did, she let out a sudden hacking cough – and pink bubble gum sputtered onto his expensive green suit.
"Now look what you did!" Valmont cried, outraged. "I can't wear this bubble-gum spattered shirt to a business meeting! You foolish child, why did you have to cough on me?"
He removed his outer jacket, revealing a white shirt underneath, and headed towards his closet. "Great, now I'll have to wear one of my less presentable clothes, thanks to you."
"Sorry," Jade mumbled, looking away as if in regret. She crossed her tied-up fingers, praying that he'd forgotten about the device inside his original shirt.
"Whatever. I shouldn't have given you that blanket in the first place, how stupid of me. You do one nice thing and everyone takes advantage of you…" Valmont glared at her for several moments before finally taking out a gray suit and walking to the door. "I suppose I should've seen it coming, considering you're related to Chan. Well, remember this for the rest of the week: don't expect any more favors from Valmont."
Jade's face looked a picture of perfect shame as she stared back at him. Satisfied, Valmont opened the door in one quick motion and walked straight out, without any kind of goodbye.
"Yes!" Jade whispered to herself, a devious grin lighting her face once again. She would've pumped her fist, had her arms not been tied together.
Tohru had fallen asleep in between studying chi spells and tending to Uncle's shop, and woke up groggily, realizing that he was staring at the wrinkle-faced book that he'd been studying about chi transfer spells. He rubbed his eyes and stood up, accidentally hitting his head on the lightbulb. "Ow," he groaned, touching the spot where he had been hit.
He glanced at the clock on the door. "Nine o'clock? Already? I forgot to make food for Jade…"
He paused, wondering why she didn't wake him up. Jade usually would have if he'd fallen asleep for that long. He absent-mindedly called her name. "Jade?"
The long silence that followed sent warning bells ringing through his head. Why wasn't she responding? Did she run off somewhere and get lost?
Valmont tapped his foot impatiently as the taxi got caught in traffic again – didn't the damn driver know any better routes? Who gave the weather permission to rain in such torrents at this time of night? He was about to complain when his cell phone buzzed. Damn it all, who was calling him at a moment like this?
"Yes?" He made no attempt to mask his irritation. Once he realized who it was, he quieted his voice. "Okay…Wait, what are you saying? Francesco's postponing the meeting because of an unexpected delay? Damn… when will be able to arrange the tradeoff? Next week? Fine, fine… all right, I expect to see him then."
He cursed under his breath before turning to the driver. "We're heading back. My meeting's been cancelled for today… time to head back to that stinking apartment."
"Almost there," Jade said to herself, reaching the chair on which Valmont had left his green suit. She bent her head upwards and realized what she had to do – bite the cloth to pull it down towards her. Chomping down on the expensive green material, she managed to budge it downwards onto her. Then she spat. "Yuck."
"All right, now to get this little thing out," Jade said, focusing on the green shirt in front of her. Fortunately, the pocket was on the side of the shirt closer to her face. But there was no way she could reach the time apparatus by using her teeth again. This was so frustrating, not being able to use her arms or legs.
She decided to roll around, and as she did, the machine came within reaching distance for her mouth. She bit down ferociously, securing it in her jaws before the suit slid off her. Now to figure out how to switch the target from her to Mr. Criminal Lord…
The door burst open. Valmont entered, soggy with rainwater and fuming, startling Jade immensely. "Wh-what are you doing?" Valmont demanded, shocked by the disorderly scene in front of him. Then he noticed what was entrenched in Jade's mouth… "Hand that over at once, child!"
He practically flew at her, fury etched on his features as he realized that she held his future in her hands - or mouth, to be literal – and was about to snatch it when the desperate Jade made a move that would change both of their fates forever. She bit down on the metal, and something clicked as she did. A lone beep echoed throughout the room, and suddenly, she was gone. And in her place was one of the most beautiful women Valmont had ever seen, sitting uncomfortably on the matted floor.
"What the… who the hell are you?" He asked her foolishly, unable to believe his eyes.
"I'm Jade. Duh," she replied, crossing her arms. Her wide amber-colored eyes glared at him, and he couldn't help but notice how perfect her shape was, how her silky her raven hair glanced off her body in an elegant way. "Where am I? And what are you doing here, Valmont?"
"Damn it to hell," he cursed, looking away. "You pressed the plus-ten-years button."
That's all for chapter 1! Leave a review to let me know if you liked it, and chapter two should be coming within the next week!