Disclaimer: I don't own anyone but Mr. Gao.
Thanks for reading thus far!
It took around seven hours for Uncle to arrive by plane, check into the hotel and make his way up to the temple, with Jackie's help. Naturally, the flight left him crabbier than usual, and his wasn't helped much by the environment. This was not particularly fun for anyone (or, as Uncle put it: "you bring me to stifling rainforest then expect me to take a walk through dusty, twisty tunnels! This is veeeery bad for my age – you want Uncle to get lung disease?" *WHACK*)
But now, Uncle was putting all of his attention into deciphering the symbols and writing around the temple, from glyphs around the altar to the vast writing and paintings in the chamber Jade and Paco had fallen into.
Insistent that they would only get in the way, Uncle had forced everyone but Jackie to wait outside the temple, on pain of his wrath – which was enough to get everyone out, even Jade, without much fuss. So they set up a picnic, having taken the time until Uncle arrived to get some food and a folding table, and waited outside for two hours until Uncle finally resurfaced carrying a book full of notes and symbols he copied down, Jackie right behind him carrying an armful of tablets and objects from inside the temple.
Uncle was uncharacteristically silent, and pale besides. "Uh… Uncle? What's wrong? What did you find in there?" Jade prodded.
"Yes, Uncle," Jackie said, sounding even more in the dark than they were, "what is it? Why am I carrying all of this? What do the inscriptions say."
"Quieeet!" Uncle yelled. He went to the table and sat down and gestured for the others to do the same, though he didn't speak again for several more seconds. "It is… unbelievable."
His words caught everyone's attention, and they all leaned in (except Jackie, who was the only one without a chair). It wasn't every day Uncle found something that stunned him to near silence.
"It is an old chi legend," Uncle started in the ominous voice he used for the gravest of situations. "No… no legend. Less than that. A story. A myth. Never would I have thought it to be true…"
"What?" Paco said, barely able to take the suspense. El Toro didn't even bother to chide his manners – he was on the edge of his seat as well.
Uncle opened his book of notes, and began again. "They say thousands of years ago, before chi wizards of China, before Shendu, perhaps even before Tarakudo, a great evil spread across the world."
"What kind of evil? What was it?"
"It is not important! Only important is what this evil led to. They say as this darkness reached it's peak, a group of early chi warriors from across the world banded together to oppose it, only to fail. All seemed lost, until a mighty chi wizard pure of heart arose, using powers unmatched to destroy the evil, once and for all." He pointed to a figure in a drawing Jade and Paco recognized as from the art in the chamber they fell into.
"Whoa!" Jade said, "that must've been some wizard."
Uncle glared at her. "Do not interrupt!" Jade drew back. "But, yes. The greatest chi wizard of all time, as the stories say. Unfortunately, the strain from destroying the evil was too great, and he soon began to die. But before fading away, he split his power into seven pieces," he pointed at the drawing again, noting six branches splitting off from a main whole. "He gave each of the pieces to one of his colleagues, who pledged to keep each safe and returned to their homelands, each founding one of the different fundamental schools of chi magic in turn."
"That is incredible," Jackie mused.
"That is ridiculouuus!" Uncle screeched. Jackie winced. "Or so I thought, but this…" he held up the gem, which glowed very slightly.
"You mean to say that gem is a piece of that old wizard's power?" El Toro asked in shock.
"Do not interrupt!" El Toro winced. "That is what the temple says," Uncle sighed, "the gem holds one part of the master's power: the ability to sustain (or destroy) life." He gestured to the
"So… why'd the gem suddenly start going haywire and the temple turn into deathtrap central?" Jade asked.
"As the writing says, the other masters sought to prevent those unworthy to hold the grandmaster's power from obtaining it. Each piece was protected to test all potentials, a protection imbued with the characteristic of the grandmaster that disciple found most important. In this case: perseverance and dedication." The others all straightened up with pride – Jade even crossed her arms, and Paco puffed out his chest. "But the masters worried the power would become corrupted by evil minds. As time passed, the power in the gem darkened by influence of thieves and evil… and when the test was triggered last, it became a force for destruction."
"So… if we had gotten the gem before passing the test…"
"It may have remained twisted. Wrong. Dangerous…" his eyes flashed, "only a show of the characteristic the power represents can return it to it's former glory."
Paco puffed out his chest again. "Then I suppose it is a good thing we are all so steadfast!"
"DO NOT INTERRUPT!" Paco jumped back, nearly falling off his chair. "One more thing! There are seven pieces of the grandmaster's chi in total, all bound into reality. All require the characteristic they were bound with to be truly activated! Otherwise they may spiral out of control."
"Just one of these fragments was dangerous enough," Jackie noted grimly, "who knows what damage the others might do."
"One more thing! Each of the seven fragments contains a different power. Some may seem more destructive than others, but all are important."
"And let me guess…"
"One more thing! Each of the fragments is stored in a different location, all across the world…"
Jackie sighed deeply. "And here I thought we were done with this sort of thing."
"Alright!" Jade shouted. Her reaction was a complete opposite of her uncle's. "It's been years since we had one of these adventures! Time to save the world again!"
"Oh boy," Jackie looked downcast, but turned to El Toro. "Thank you again for your help El Toro… this looks like it's going to be a hassle, I would hate to get you wrapped up in it. But if we need you, I'll call."
"Not this time, mi amigo," El Toro said sternly, "This debacle began in Mexico, and it is our duty to see it through to the end, as we promised – we will join you in finding these "fragments" the whole way, through thick and thin."
Jackie gaped, torn between being gratified and politely declining his help. Jade, however, looked shrewdly at them, "so… wait. Does that mean you two are gonna be-"
"We will no doubt be joining you in San Fransisco!" Paco grinned. Jade scowled.
Uncle remained impassive. "I will have to research these tablets to find how to detect these chi fragments, but in the meantime this gem must be kept safe."
"No prob, Section 13 is always game to store some kind of magic doohickey – they've already got tons. We'll just get Captain Black to store 'em," Jade smiled at her uncle, "but I guess that means your Mr. Gao won't be getting his gem any time soon."
Jackie gasped and dropped the tablets (earning him a whack from Uncle), "MR. GAO! I FORGOT!"
Some time later, in the topmost floor of the high-rise Gao Tower - Tianjin, China.
"So you see, Mr. Gao," said Jackie Chan's voice over speakerphone. "It looks like the first team you sent in may have accidentally blown an important wall, destroying a large section of the inside and burying themselves. It seems like the artifacts inside were lost for good. I am sorry."
Sitting in a chair at his expensive desk was a impassive looking middle-aged Chinese man, the grim look on his slightly wrinkled face (looking so wrinkled because of the grim looks it often held) only matched by the bitter look in his eyes. "Unfortunate, Mr. Chan. Very unfortunate," he said roughly, "but it could not be helped. I thank you for your time."
He closed the line and scowled, showing bare teeth. "That Chan…" he stood up and started pacing around his enormous office, which surrounded him on all sides with Imperial art and sculpture. "Even when he does not know he is interfering, he interferes!" His voice was like a soft growl, full of fury.
"Yes…" drawled his assistant, who was lurking next to his desk. "He has a knack for that sort of thing. It seems the gem is lost to us…"
"And the others?" Gao's head inclined back slightly as he waited for an answer.
"I have already set-up options for finding them," said his assistant, "you only need to approve them, sir."
"Excellent…" Gao turned towards the wall of windows at the other end of his office and stared down at the city below him. "This is not over yet, Mr. Chan. Not over at all…"
Author's Note: Well, that's that. The end... for now. Until the next episode, the first chapter of which I'll have already posted as you read this, probably.
Looking back on this story, I think if I were to judge anything poorly it'd be that poem that the heroes run into halfway through. What was I thinking, oy... that and my action scenes, which need work. But then, that's why I'm doing this, eh?
Fun Fact: This story was originally going to be called the J2 Adventures and be about the events that led up to Jade joining Section 13 - partially explaining the timeskip - but I eventually scrapped that general idea.
Next Time, On The Amazing Chan Adventures: Our heroes face monsters, chi wizards, and the danger of possibly losing a best friend to the forces of darkness. Can they stop the insidious team-up of Daolon Wong and the Deadpan Monk? Find out, on Old Friends And Enemies!