Well, I'm back again,
I had a lot of ideas for this story so I finally decided to do it.
And now it's time for the third installment of The Next Dragon Warrior. It picks up right where I left off. Jo is thirteen and still training as the second (next) Dragon Warrior.
So... let's jump right in
The Next Dragon Warrior
The Eyes of the Wolverine
First it was teacher to student.
Then it was father to son.
Now, it's man to man.
-The Karate Kid Part III
First it was student to student
Then it was brother to brother
Now it's master to master
- The Next Dragon Warrior Vol. 3
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
The Eyes of the Wolverine
We stayed locked in that hug for a good while on the bunkhouse porch. I guess this hug is making up for lost time. After Po finally released me from the hug, he and I went back to staring up at the sky. Both of us just reflecting over all that had happened within the last week. 9 days ago I was worried that I would never see my master or my best friend ever again. All the worries from a life-threatening journey were passed. Shifu's former colleagues Valko Monetenegro and Keen Lee were both gone, and I'm here with my best friend
Eventually Po stretched his arms and said "It's gonna feel good to actually sleep in my own bed tonight."
"Yeah, I-" I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of the figure that stood in the dirt path only a short distance away from the porch. Half enveloped in the darkness, he watched us as if with growing curiosity.
"What is it?" Po asked trying to look in the direction I was. As he did though, the creature receded into the darkness somehow without movement. I stared around the area where I'd seen... what ever it was I saw- or might not have seen. "I saw someone watching us."
Po squinted looking out in the darkness. "Doesn't look like anyone is there now."
I knew my eyes hadn't fooled me. There had been someone staring at Po and I on the porch. But why would me and Po hugging be of any concern to him? And how did they get away with so little effort? I tried to shake it off with a laugh. "I'm still a little on edge from the journey, I guess."
"The paranoia will pass, Jo." Po said with a smile. "It always does."
I nodded unsure if I was actually agreeing or was just doing it out of of habit of my usual reaction with Po. We both started inside the bunkhouse. I made sure the bunkhouse door was locked before we both walked to our rooms after saying goodnight. Although the hallway was empty the two yellow orbs were still plain in my mind as if they were still there...
The eyes that watch me
As silent as a shadow
Hold secrets within...
Jo Dakota Crevan
X. T. G.
3 Months Later
Standing on the Jade tortoise bowl was shakier than usual this time. Even with its heavy mass, Po's added weight on the opposite end of me made usually insignificant movements capable of overturning the bowl. Of course that may have been the very purpose for this particular lesson.
The crane balance had been the first thing I'd learned at the palace. Now, a year and a few months past, I was actually practicing it in the training hall. Po and I were both balancing on one leg slowly raising both hands off of our waists. We had been holding the position for about a minute now. Minutes always seem longer when you're standing still. I had long since mastered the bowl, traversing it's 5 inch edge while fending off innocuous projectiles. Although I feel I should mention, most of the maneuvers I did on the bowl gave me access to using both of my legs. I wasn't able to do much with the bowl once we had returned due to my injured leg. But once it had healed, Shifu started me back on the Spinning logs again although he allowed me to practice with it for a while until I moved on to the gauntlet of Wooden warriors. The gauntlet seemed no more harder than facing 52 kung fu students, especially considering the latter was very hard to begin with.
"It's actually easier to balance on this than it is those wooden stakes we had last year." I said. Although I forgot to mention how it was a bit more daunting to do it on the bowl. Standing on the giant bowl's edge kept me about 5 feet off the ground. I looked at Po, whose eyes seemed to convey that there was something more that was going to be added to this. It was too simple for a lesson.
"What's the catch?" I asked.
Po chuckled seeing I had caught on. "I'm teaching you to do a kick while balancing."
"That's it?" I asked still waiting for something else.
"It's a jump kick." Po said finally.
Now, that made it harder. The bowl edge might have seemed easier than the stakes but to jump and land back on it without falling the 5 feet to the ground would be tough.
"I think I've seen this move before. How come it's not taught earlier on?"
"Truthfully," Po said, "it's not a recommended attack. I mean it's a powerful kick, but not as much as people think, and it's only advisable if you have a clear shot at your opponent, which isn't all that common in most real life situations."
"Then why is it so popular?" I asked.
"Honestly," Po said. "people just think it looks really cool."
I laughed but not much not wanting to lose my balance.
"There is actually is a similar kick," Po said. "less known, but with more power behind it. It's called a 'jumping front snap kick.' The main idea of it is to jump, kick and land with the same foot."
"Mind if we try that one when we're not standing on the bowl?" I said staring again at the area of space I had to stand on.
"Considering it requires a running start, I would expect so." He chuckled. "Now heres the basic form of the Crane jump kick."
Po balanced on his right leg, then with that same leg, jumped up in the air, shot his foot out in a powerful kick, then landed with his left leg on the bowl's edge. His landing immediately lowered his side. My side of the bowl quickly shot up throwing me off balance. I leaned forward to keep from falling backwards out of the bowl, but I only succeeded in falling into the bowl. I slid down the rounded edge on my stomache to the bottom of the basin. Po hopped down after me, bringing the bowl back to its flat position.
"You alright, J. C.?" Po asked slightly worried.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I stood up.
How do I always end up falling down even when I'm not the one moving?
Po said "Usually when I make my way to the bottom of a bowl, it's 'cause there was food in it, and it's usually alot more satisfying than this."
I laughed again brushing myself off. Po and I climbed out of the bowl and onto the solid ground of the training hall.
Po said "Maybe someone more... physically compatible should teach you the Crane jump kick on the bowl. You might wanna ask Crane tomorrow."
"For his namesake." I said.
Po said "I guess I'll show you the basic form of the snap kick. It takes more practice than the other, so it will take a while to get down right. Master Shifu always says there aren't many shortcuts in kung fu."
"'There aren't many?'" I said. "I thought there weren't any."
"Well..." Po said thinking. "They're not technically shortcuts. Even with them you have to commit to learning them. There the ones that require more thought than action. I'm mainly talking about stuff like the Wuxi Finger Hold, the nerve attack Tai Lung learned, or the one Master Oogway performed to stop Tai Lung.
"Master Oogway used one on Tai Lung?" I asked in awed. Even though it was common knowledge now that Master Oogway had been the one to end Tai Lung's first rampage, I never thought to question how he actually did it. I'd always assumed he had defeated him after a long battle of extensive kung fu.
Po said "When Tai Lung was denied the Dragon Scroll he attacked the Jade Palace attempting to take it himself. When Master Shifu faltered Oogway stopped him. It was a type of paralyzing attack known as 'the Pentad Strike.' It was even more powerful than the one Tai Lung used against the Five and tried to use on you and me. The one Tai knew could immobilize someone while they were still fully conscious. The one Oogway used could completely knock out it's opponent. Naturally it takes more to do it. Shifu only saw him use it that one time in the Hall of Warriors. He said Oogway struck Tai Lung on his body in 5 different places, 'pressure points' he said, causing these golden ripples across his body. Then he just dropped to the ground, unconscious, not a muscle moved, not even an eye twitch."
I could hardly believe what Po was telling me. All the same, I didn't question anything from Master Oogway let alone Po for a second. "Did he teach you that?" I asked wishing he did so Po could teach me.
"No." Po said, shooting down my short-lived hope. "He didn't even teach it to Master Shifu. Oogway was the only person who knew it. Once he died, the secret went with him."
"It makes you wonder, doesn't it?" I said. "What else do you think he knew that no one else knew?"
"Master Shifu said that when he left us, that he said it was his time to go. Maybe he thought we didn't need any of it. Maybe he figured we'd do well with the knowledge he had left us with."
I shrugged. "It's done us well so far."
Po smiled in agreement. "All right," he said stepping back in front of me readying the next lesson. "The jumping front snap kick."
There's the first chapter for ya.
Thanks so much for reading!
The next chapter is where the fun starts!
If you could review it would make my day!