(This is the first time I've EVER done a story that's slightly centered my OC. Well, it centers around Shen, the soothsayer, and my OC, but you know. Don't be judging me or my character too quickly. I've worked hard developing her and this is my first story with her. Without further adue...)
Prologue - The Heart In The Smoke
Birds chirped eagerly, greeting the new and glorious morning. Brilliant luminous shades of pink and orange glowed around the rising sun. It shone a bright and soft light onto the mountain top and Valley Of Peace.
"Brilliant job, students," Shifu praised lightly, watching with pride as his students sparred together. "But Kurisu, bring your leg up higher in your kicks!" he advised.
The kitten nodded to her teacher's advice, eying her target with playful malice: her brother. Her tail flicked up playfully; her eyes gleamed with childish evil as she brushed her tail against her brother's stomach.
"Ah – hey!" The panda leaped back immediately. He yelped a bit as he teetered on on a small rock, and nearly tripped backwards. Regaining his footing, he pouted at his younger adopted sister. "Tickling is cheating!"
The younger blue kitten laughed. "But the path to victory is-"
"-to find your opponents weakness and make him suffer – yeah, yeah," Po muttered. "But you can't tickle in a real battle! You have to know how to fight!"
At that, Kurisu's cheerful little grin dissipated into an angry scowl. "How dare you! Who helped fight the bandits?" she demanded. "And who dragged you back up the stairs when a bandit knocked you out because you were distractedly eying a bowl of noodles on Dad's counter?"
The five paused in their training to watch the sibling spat with mild amusement.
"..You did," Po mumbled, glumly. He scowled when the kitten smirked triumphantly. "Fine, fine..I'm hungry." As if he wasn't always hungry.
Shifu hopped down off the Peach Tree Of Heavenly Wisdom. His daunting look confirmed Po's worst suspicions.
"Kurisu, fetch some dumplings for me to train Po with," the red panda instructed, chuckling as Po's face fell into a boyish pout.
"Oh, come on, man! Can't I just eat them?" the panda wailed. "Is there no normal meals here?"
The grandmaster smirked. "No."
The kitten grinned, her developing fangs showing. "Right away, Master."
Oh, she could practically taste those delicious dumplings herself! She wondered if Shifu would be kind enough to allow her a bowl. After all, she didn't train by food. She trained in a normal fashion. Of course, Shifu had reminded her that everyone learned different.
I guess Po learns best when he drools, she inwardly giggled.
What was that?
Kurisu stumbled out of her thoughts, whirling to face the direction of The Sacred Hall Of Warriors. Now, she knew that sound came from the hall. And with ears as big and alert as hers, there was no way she was mistaken.
Bandits! Hoho, now was her chance to impress Shifu by taking on a bandit alone for the first time! Oh yeah! Bandit, you're going dooown!With that, she charged into the hall.
The kitten was taken aback by the entrancing beauty of the feathers dancing before her eyes. Its deadly ruby tinge – dark and dangerous, glaring at her like a bunch of eyeballs. The small form (well, smaller than the fan of feathers), was turned to her, directed at the pedestal. At the Sword Of Heroes.Even without having met the murderous peacock, she knew who he was.
"Shen!" the kitten shouted, instantly getting into a fighting stance.
He spun to her; his tail knocking over a case of shurikens as he did. At first there was a hint of nervousness on his face, fearing one of the five had come in. When he saw it was merely a child that only came up to his neck, he snorted, then laughed. "For a moment, I was almost worried." The cold smirked faded as he waved his wing in disgust. "Get her!"
Wolves tore down the pillars holding up the Sacred Hall Of Warriors, brandishing a barrage of weapons towards her.
The kitten gasped; a dim panicky feeling welled up in her chest. She couldn't fight all these wolves! And Lord Shen? Forget about it! Wasn't he supposed to be dead? Never mind that, she only had time for one thing: to jump. She leaped over the wolves' heads and clung to the pillar, leering down at Shen.
The peacock sheathed a long twisted blade from his robe and slammed the hilt of the sword into the pillar. It shook, but the child remained tightly clung.
"Persistent little brat," Shen snarled, his feathers flaring up in annoyance. "Kill her! If anyone here finds out we've been here to steal relics and catch us in the act – we're done for!"
"You're too late, you ugly chicken!" Kurisu yelled back. She flipped off the pillar and landed on all fours, tiny kitten claws extracted. "I know you're here! If you want to leave here alive, you'll have to deal with me!"
Shen blinked, promptly bursting into laughter and encouraging his wolves to join in. "How precious, she actually feels she has a chance!" He brandished several throwing blades, kicking a foot out of his robe. "Well, come at me then."
The teenager didn't need to be told twice. She lunged at the peacock, thrusting out her lilac fan at him. He sidestepped it easily and knocked her on her back with his tail, raising his sword high above his head. Right before it plunged into the girl's stomach, she rolled away.
The kitten snarled with rage, sweep kicking the avian down and wrapping her tail around his ankle.
Shen growled like a wild animal, twisting his talons up and puncturing the child's tail with the metal contraptions on his feet. He sneered when she cried out in pain, a cruel smirk on his face. In a flash, his wing was wrapped around the girl's neck; a cold blade pressed against her throat. He spun the child to face him, examining her thoroughly.
"Hm...you may prove better use than I thought. I'm sure the palace would pay dearly to get you back." His smirk widened when the kitten's eyes dilated in fear and her ears went back. "Let's move out! Tie up the brat!" he ordered swiftly, still pointing his sword.
"No! Noooo!" Kurisu struggled, kicked, bit, and thrashed, but it only made a wolf handling her tie the restraints even tighter.
"She's a little wild cat, Master," one of the gorillas snickered to the peacock emperor. "I'd watch my step with her if I were you."
Striding out the back exit of The Sacred Hall Of Warriors, the peacock only coldly chuckled. "If she wishes to stay alive while in my care, she'll learn to behave herself." He glanced back at the child, who's struggling was beginning to turn into desperation as she was dragged further from her home. Tears in her eyes, she struggled to pull her mouth away from the wolf's clamping hand, but to no avail.
"My brother will come and save me!" she muffled out from under the canine's paw. "And then he'll kick your feathered butt just like last time!"
Shen stopped walking."Like last time? You mean your brother is...?"
She grinned evilly. "That's right."
"...Your brother?" Shen repeated, eyebrows raised in doubt.
"I think she's adopted, Master," one of the gorillas whispered. This earned him a painful smack in the face with the back of Shen's head.
"I was getting to that!" the peacock snarled. He paused, contemplating for a few minutes. He turned back towards the kitten, mockingly pinching her small blue cheeks. "Well, if your brother wants to save you, he'll have to find us first." His beady ruby eyes bored into hers. "We're in a slightly different location than last time."
The kitten panted worriedly; she stopped heckling him with questions, swallowing hard. "Wh-what do you want with me?"
"You'll see, child. You'll see."
The soothsayer sighed as she silently went about preparing a meal for her lord. Noodles with bits of sweet plums: his favorite. She hoped he'd be in a better mood than he had the night before. Shattered dishes as a result of his tantrum were still littering the floor in little porcelain shards.
The doors to the Dao-ming tower swung open and slammed abruptly into the wall. Shen was back. Oh joy.
The goat hesitantly approached her lord, unsettled by the eerily satisfied look on his face. "How did it go?"
"Quite well." Shen shoved the kitten forward roughly, chuckling at the stunned look on his nanny's face.
The soothsayer shook her head numbly, blood draining from her face. Tell me it's not true..."You didn't, Shen.."
A cruel sneer came to the avian's face.
"Just when I thought you couldn't stoop any lower!" the goat hissed, her fists clenched. "Have you actually kidnapped a child?"
He smiled thinly, leading the wolves and his new bewildered prisoner to an open cage. "Oh now, 'kidnap' is such a harsh word, soothsayer. I'm merely borrowing the girl for a while."
The aged goat's hoof clenched tighter on her cane. "And what do you plan to do with her!"
"Oh, I don't plan on harming the child." He snickered. "But I imagine the Jade Palace would pay well for her release. That little white rat can't afford to lose any of his little heroes."
The goat glanced worriedly over to the cage containing the kitten. "This is a new low, even for you," she said crossly, tapping her cane against the stone floors. "How much money are you going to ask for for the girl's release?"
"I'm not interested in their coins," he said coldly. "It's their relics I'm after this time. Not to mention the fact that having the brat here will lure THEM." Before the soothsayer could question him further, he strode towards Kurisu's cell.
Shen circled the cage containing his little prisoner. He chuckled darkly, sighting the tearful fear on her face as she gazed from where she sat, tiny, helpless to him. "And how are you enjoying your stay, kitten?"
Instead of responding, the child crouched down. Her back hunched up in feral mode as she summoned the most threatening "back off" hiss she could. Eyes narrowed, ears flat. Tiny still growing fangs baring.
And he had the audacity to laugh. "How cute." A wicked grin came to his face. "But you know, I can do it a little bit better." A roaring wind blew the kitten back a foot as he struck out his wings, fan like tail flaring up; its beady red eyes scattered among the feathers glaring darkly at her. He let out a low and vicious bird croak.
Kurisu swallowed hard, shutting her eyes and trying not to display her fear. Evidently failing.
The peacock emperor smirked, tucking his feathers into his sleeves masterly. "Provided you do as I say, I won't harm you. However.." His eyes glinted. "You disobey and I cannot guarantee your safety...or your life," he whispered.
"You said you couldn't harm the girl for the sake of the ransom," the soothsayer growled, eyes deeply leering at her lord. "What is the point in keeping her?"
"Oh hush, you old goat and just get your bowl ready," Shen ordered, striding towards the soothsayer. He peered down into her bowl. "Well?"
What arose was not what Shen was expecting. He waited, trying to sight what creature took the shape of the smoke. A panda? A tiger? Or perhaps he'd have to kill the Grandmaster to finally get what he wanted. No. A delicate pink heart floated up out of the smoke. So pretty he wanted to gag right there on the spot.
"Your path to victory..." Shen was obviously waiting for her to pronounce he'd have to kill some other species to finally rule China, and was baffled as she went on. "...Won't ever be achieved until you find somebody to care about other than yourself." She looked right into his eyes. "Somebody to care about more than yourself. To learn to show compassion..."
Around this time, the heart intertwined; a pastel blue shading over one side of the pink heart, while a pale white took the other half of the heart.
"To learn to show love."
"What?" Shen hissed. "Have you lost your mind? Now tell me the REAL future!" He held his spiraled sword, threatening to shatter her new bowl.
"I just did.."
"Rubbish!" the peacock hissed, slamming the sword into the porcelain bowl and watching it shatter once more. He began to storm off.
"Is it really?" the soothsayer smirked after him. "Tell me, Shen, when have I been wrong?"
He stopped. For a few moments he didn't speak or turn to her. When he did, both the goat and Kurisu saw hidden pain in his features. "The day I put an end to caring about anyone was the day my parents decided not to love me anymore. Perhaps they never did."
He blinked, feeling the familiar tugging on his sleeve and looked down. "Oh, now really!" He yanked his robe from the soothsayer's mouth. "Don't you get tired of eating my clothes?"
A loud giggle arose from behind them and Shen whipped his head back to see Kurisu stifling laughter with her paw. Within an instant he was at the cage. She screamed and tried to scrambled to the back, but found herself suspended in the air by her foot.
Shen closed his talons around the kitten's ankle and dragged her to the bars, angry eyes burning into her quivering ones. "Something funny, kitten?"
The child kicked frantically at the air for a few frenzied moments, before her foot lined up with Shen and she kicked him straight in the face. A powerful Kung Fu kick.
His feathers bristled in rage as he rubbed his beak and considered pulling out a knife, but thought better of it. "Anymore of that.." He struck a foot into the bars and fiercely grabbed both the girl's feet. "And I'll put cuffs around both your feet as well as your paws. Are we clear?"
Trembling, the girl nodded. "U-uh-huh."
He turned to leave, but her impertinent question froze him in his tracks.
"What about your parents not caring about you? How do you even know that?"
Seeing red for a moment, it took every ounce of chi he could muster to keep from pinning a blade through her little throat. "Don't speak unless spoken to, prisoner! What you asked is none of your concern," the peacock snarled.
The kitten could note undeniable pain in his features when she mentioned his parents. "Are you okay?" Now her face – once holding disdain and hate now held nothing but pity and concern. Suddenly, she was seeing more than simply a genocidal peacock.
Shen glanced back at her, eyes narrowed. The hate painted on his face masked the well hidden pain. "Feed the kitten, soothsayer," he ordered the goat, and abruptly left the room without another word.
(Thought I'd give it a shot.
So, it sets in Dao-ming temple - "shining path" - much further behind where The Tower of The Sacred Flame once stood (before Shen detonated it). I noticed there was a lot of distant trees behind the palace, so I figured it was a perfect place to put my smaller temple.
This isn't really going to be a fic per say, just a series of drabbles twined into one. Still, it needed a prologue. So it mostly focuses on Shen, Kurisu, and the soothsayer. But of course everyone else will come in from time to time. I mean, they'll be looking for the kitten XD
I know I haven't posted Kurisu's story, but traditionally her name means "Crystal". She's a Russian Blue Kitten, but her family immigrated to Japan ages before she was born, and lived in the Japanese Village "Peony Grove" until she was five. Her village was razed to the ground and she was left in a family friend's care – Mr. Ping. This occurs when Po is about eleven.)