Because I want to write more of Shen, and have a bit of fun with the Kung Fu Panda universe, this story was born.
Full summary: Without support from his parents or old allies, Shen must survive on his own with just his failing health, wolf soldiers and ruthless nature. As a first step, he rushes straight to the man who taught him martial arts: Warlord Junfa, of the Shíyóu huāngyuán (Translation: The Oil Wastelands), the chief supplier of oil to the rest of China.
Can Shen regain his former glory?
"Drill four is broken" explained the rhino, and tapped a large gong. Drawn to the sound, a leopard covered in oil patches ran up. "What message do you have for the foreman?" she asked. The rhino told it the problem, and the leopard nodded, running down the scaffold steps and darting across the dreary ground.
Around her, huge behemoth constructions dug into the earth and received the black bounty of China's land. Rhinos trudged around the ancient machines, checking quality and strength, while others on their breaks or acting as guards.
On the outskirts of the Wastelands stood a large pagoda blackened by dirt, the top destroyed. Two rhino soldiers wielded large flails, eyeing everything with suspicion at the bottom entrance. It was in front of the work-fields, where leopards, rhino and wolves worked at the large constructions, gathering the filthy liquid to supply China's more fortunate inhabitants. It was the place you went when nowhere else wanted you.
The Wolf Boss flanked Shen as he walked towards the derelict building, pausing just in front of the guards. "State your name and intention" asked the deep voiced one on the left. "I am Lord Shen, of Gongmen City. I wish an audience with Warlord Junfa" demanded Shen, holding back a cough. His mouth and nose were protected by a special mask. The soot and dirt would play havoc on his body if not. Indeed, the young Lord had almost suffocated in his first days here.
The rhino took the papers identifying him, then rang a blackened bell. The door opened with a creak, and Shen walked forwards. The Wolf Boss followed, a perpetual snarl on his face to intimidate. He and the rhino understood each other clearly, strength recognising strength.
Shen wondered how his old teacher would be. They shared a kinship now, for Junfa had been exiled from his own city as well, for stirring up the population against a ruling family. Once charismatic, popular and a figure of strength, his defeat at the hands of Master Flying Rhino made him what he was today: a wreck of a peacock, fit only to look after the most depressing and deserted place in China.
Bowls of fire littered the walls and floor of Warlord Junfa's room, flames licking high. The fire was stopped by the small chimneys that fed the oily smoke out of the room. The result was a lot of heat with a comfortable light.
Through a burnt hole, Shen saw the dark sky. It was always gloomy in Shíyóu huāngyuán, for a reason no one could ever fathom. Some said the despair of dead workers made it so, others just that the clouds were cursed.
Junfa the Warlord, known also as The Black Peacock, looked up from his bored reverie to notice Shen. "Ah, greetings Shen. It's been a while since we've spoken, my pupil" he asked, voice hoarse and croaking. That was what happened when you hung around soot, dirt, oil and earth all your life. He drunk from a jug of water.
"Yes, your skills have helped much, master Junfa. However, I am sorry to say I require your help" explained the white Peacock, moving into the room slowly. His metal claws left stark footprints in the dirty floor, the white peacock moving over to a chair. The wolf moved over quickly and used a cloth to wipe it down, allowing the Lord to sit. "I trained you in martial arts, Shen. Wasn't that enough for you?" asked Junfa, resting his head on a wing.
Shen rested his hands on his lap. "Yes, and like I said, it helped much. However, now I need something different. To share in your resources" explained Shen, and Junfa gave a harsh gritty laugh. "I'm not joking. I need another source of power" asked Shen and the Warlord's laughter descended into wheezing. "Why don't you ask your big name parents? Why come to me?" questioned Junfa, eyeing the younger peacock suspiciously.
"They banished me, stripped me of my title. I am asking you as one peacock unjustly exiled to another" explained Shen lightly and matter-of-factly. Junfa's expression dropped. "You're not royalty anymore? You said at the door your title was Lord Shen" protested Junfa, standing up now and spreading his tailfeathers warningly. One sweep and blackened dust would kill Shen's weak immune system.
"I am still royalty. My parents' blood runs in my veins ,and I have respect. I thought you were a comrade, or at least an associate" added Shen, remaining calm. "I did all that because you were royalty, and of noble descent. You had power, Shen, and I hoped you would help me rise out of this... this filth. However, you're nothing more than a common peacock. Get out of my house" exclaimed the Black Peacock in that harsh voice, and turned away to move to another room.
"I am not... COMMON!" shrieked Shen in a rage, blades coming out and flying true.
Outside, the two rhino were busy guarding the entrance when a black lump fell in front of them. Both readied their flails in response, examining the intrusion. However, when they saw it was Warlord Junfa, bloodied and lifeless, they were shocked out of their defenses. Landing in front of the corpse was the white shape of Shen, pulling a silver blade from the body with a wet sliding noise.
"I run this place now. Any questions?" demanded Shen, an army of wolves coming in the distance with flaming torches and arrows. The rhino looked at each other, then slowly laid their weapons down. Shen smiled, kicking aside the body of his teacher and friend.
His revenge begins now.
Yay~ OK I hope my OC was alright, and that you found him engaging (For the few paragraphs he was around). I put a lot of thought into my stories, as you can see, so reviews are appreciated. If you want to see more of Junfa (I find this unlikely but you never will) then, just ask!
More chapters to come. I may not do the soothsayer meeting Shen bit as that has sort of been done to death a bit. Still, if demand is high enough, I'll give it a shot. But again, I'm not great touchy-feely emotion (Especially the happy friendship kind) unless it's brought on by carnage, chaos and destruction (See my Extermination story for an example).