"Mother! Can you tell me once more about dragons?" asked the young peachick, scrambling up onto its mother's lap. The peahen chuckled and stroked her son's cap of feathers, but nodded. "There have been only two dragons seen so far. The first was Shukojin, who appeared thousands of years ago. It is said he looked down on the poor country of China, and took pity on a land which had had no chance of life. So, Shukojin used his fire and majestic powers to carve a great society out of the wasteland that was once China. After tending to the creatures that had flourished, he returned to the Heavens, never to be seen again" spoke Shen's mother, her eyes closed as if she was imagining it happening right in front of her.
"They had that much power?" asked the young Shen in awe, always interested in this part of the story. "Dragons are powerful beings, able to do anything. That is why we have the festival, to commemorate all they have done" added his mother, smiling down.
Shen drank in the story, trying to imagine what it must have been like to see such power, for this was a Shen devoid of hatred and so had no reason to desire any more than he already had. His mother went on to explain about the second dragon that came down and inspired Oogway to invent the martial arts, and thus, the prophecy of the Dragon Warrior was spread throughout.
The memories stirred in the mind of the white peacock, the intense searing pain replaced by an odd calm. "Dragons… powerful… majestic…" echoed the words and Shen sought out his consciousness, trying to regain it. However, another memory took him.
On Lord Shen's tenth birthday, everyone had gathered below the palace to celebrate his tenth year on the earth. He was dear to all of them, for despite his legion of wolf guards, whenever Shen visited the city he was always fun and cheerful. Always so young, the citizens took great joy in pointing out things and giving him free food to taste. There was a great hush suddenly, and Lord Shen appeared with his parents to oversee the crowd.
A great cheer went up, and Shen timidly raised a hand, not used to such a grand gathering. He waved, and they still cheered, while Shen's father gave the signal to the workers. A great load of fireworks were blasted into the sky, oohs and aahs being drawn out of the crowd. They burst into spectacular shapes, and everyone, even Shen, cheered, enjoying the spectacle.
Several fireworks shot up once more, but this time they got closer and closer to the balcony until Shen could feel the white hot heat emanating from them. He turned to ask his parents what was wrong, but found himself alone, the fireworks continuing in loud bangs that echoed through his mind. Down below, the people had gone too and now the fireworks were being shot at him, explosions overriding his senses, until he felt the fire around him burning feathers. His white plumage began blackened and burnt, a cry of pain unable to come out of a dry throat.
Then he opened his eyes. The fire was gone, but the heat remaining, several burns covering… well, the entirety of his body. He sobbed quietly in pain, never having suffered such burns as these, and then saw a figure push open the curtains to the darkened room, letting in a glimmer of light. Moving his head achingly slowly due to the pain, he was greeted by the smiling face of his caretaker: the Soothsayer. He gasped in surprise then whined as pain shot through him.
"Good morning your Ladyship" said a servant, causing Shen to turn his head once more, and stare. "Mother!" he exclaimed, sitting up violently and causing such a large spasm of pain that he collapsed into unconsciousness once more