[Message From Kingdom Come]: Hello Xiaolin Showdown world and all who inhabit it...it's kind of weird to be back...thank you to kiss-me-not killer for re-motivating and actually getting me to re-post this :D. Because i did like this story. And I did miss it. A few things though. First, The Regiment of Twilight is kind if my first priority and updates for that will come first (but I will try and update this as regularly as possible). second, this is the third story I will now trying to be updating so I've got a lot to try and keep up with. Third, keep in mind that I am a sophomore in college ^_^' so my life is very stressful...I don't sleep or eat or breathe much... That's all I have to say :3 it's good to be back with the shadow chronicles guys! and I hope to actually reach the end this time! enjoy!


Prologue.

A Message

A thick grey haze lingered around the stone bastion and a myriad of white light flashing throughout the sky accompanied a chorus of thunder that performed throughout the skies above. Though, the grand citadel stood strong throughout the storm, as it's obsidian spires loomed over the world below and the parapets of stone looked out over into an unsuspecting world below.

The dark castle looked to be something that could be found in ruin across the country sides of some far off European country. However no one could have predicated that the bastion was drifting ominously only a few hundred feet above the ground, watching over the mortals below, silently and completely shrouded by the human eye, trained, naked, or otherwise.

Through the stone walls of the citadel, somewhere deep within the winding corridors, and through the ever-descending levels of the labyrinth-like castle, was the origin of a great commotion. On the lowermost level of the citadel was the inner sanctum, a large, round room that towered stories above those who entered. The sanctuary was carved from a glassy black stone, obsidian, except for the white marble columns that lined the walls. There were several rod iron fixtures upon the walls, each brandishing a brightly burning torch. Lastly, several large, impossibly blue, stained glass windows loomed over the room, flooding the sanctum with the most chilling, yet calming blue light. The air was so frozen that if one were to exhale, their breath would have crystallized before them. It seemed hardly plausible that there would be anything living within this place. And yet, the sanctum buzzed with a single being.

In the centre of the cavernous sanctum was but one life form, feverishly typing in a system of coordinates into the massive and monstrous machine that stood before the small hooded figure.

There was a large octagonal glass chamber that sat upon the base of the machine. It glowed slightly and made several low groaning noises as the machine's commanded continued typing in coordinates on the large metal keyboard attached to the base of the machine by several hundred small twisting black chords. Protruding from the machine were also several dozen cables of every shape and size that slithered and coiled across the cold, lightly frosted floor of the room, like thick black serpents. Lastly, there was another small glass chamber attached to the machine by one singular, but thick black cable.

The room was then silent for a few moments as the machine's master took several steps away from the contraption, and let out a long sigh. The cloaked figure stared into the glassy surface of the large chamber for several minuets before turning to look at the dark corridor that lead into the sanctum. The sound of soft footsteps was heard approaching the inner sanctum, and by the sound, there was more than one person approaching.

Three cloaked figures glided into the sanctum like a troop of shadows and bowed before the first cloaked figure.

"Master," The first of the shadows began casually. He stepped across the floor and walked towards the machinistst and held what looked like a small red and gold coin up before him. The machinist smiled from under the darkness of their hood and took the item from him.

"Thank you Zetsumei," The machinist began. Her voice was youthful, but harsh and cold at the same time, "You've done your part well…but how goes the search for my key?"

"I could be going better than we had hoped," The first of the shadows replied casually, looking away from the machinist slightly, "Be thankful that I was able to pull the Mantis Flip Coin out from under the noses of those fools at the temple. I can only do so much…"

"That's very typical of you Zetsumei," The machinist replied indifferently with a voice that could freeze blood, "Only doing the absolute minimum…I think it might actually kill you to go above and beyond for once, but no matter. You did bring me a Shen-Gong Wu and that's all I need for now."

"Now that one of the monk's precious artifacts is in our possession," One of the shadows demanded eagerly, "When should we enact our plan?" The machinist turned towards her, and was not by any means thrilled with her speaking out of term. The shadow then took a step back and tilted her cloaked head towards the ground. The machinist then turned away from her and directed her attention back to the first of the shadows.

"It is too soon," The machinist stated quietly. Her voice bore no comfort or pleasantry about it. It became more and more evident that this small hooded woman was as soulless as the machine to which she so desperately relied on, "For now," She stated flatly, reaching towards the smaller glass chamber that sat only a few feet from her, "Is to send a message."

She gently placed a thin pale hand upon the smooth glass surface. The top of the chamber appeared to melt away as she dropped the coin inside and waved her hand back over the glass. It sealed instantly, and the machinist turned to the keyboard attached to the hulking contraption. The other shadows heard a melody of clicks and taps as the machinist's pale hands danced rapidly across the keys. The room then fell silent as the machinist stepped away from the contraption. The large glass chamber then began to hum, then hiss, then howl, and then scream as a dull violet light. The light continued to grow until a deep vortex appeared within the glass, filling the room with a dower and hopeless dark light.

The glass chamber then began to hiss and the geometric panels separated and fell apart, breaking the barrier between the tangible realm, and whatever was waiting on the other side of the vortex. There was no sound within the room, all that could be heart was the faint whisperings of the vortex as it hung gently in the air.

The three shadows watched intently as the machinist stood before the portal, motionless, watching the ethereal rift, much like a child, anticipating something extraordinary would happen. It was at that moment, a thin, oily, and pitchy arm thrust from the portal. It's gnarled claws gripped the panels of the chamber as it pulled its way out of the hopeless abyss and into the world. It fell on to the ground before the shadows and the machinist, stumbling to it's hound-like feet.

The beast, from the waist down, bore the legs of a hound. It's feet were large, with dull black claws that stuck out from the oily black fur that covered its hind quarters. From the waist up, the creature bore the features of a human, or primate of some kind, disregarding its hands, which only bore three digits each. Its arms were long and bony, and nearly hung to the ground, its claws barely grazing the floor as it lumbered towards the shadows. Its face was that of a canine's as well, although the creature had no ears. Its eyes were a piercing red colour and sat like two small gems set deep into the sockets of the skull. Lastly, the creature had a set of dull yellowish teeth, which it bore constantly, probably because of the fact that the creature had very little skin covering its head.

It loomed over the machinist and her three shadows, but she did not move, even as the creature encroached upon her. As it stood, asserting its dominance, several other similar beasts spewed from the vortex, and flooded the room much like an ink well does to paper if spilled. The vortex then sealed shut with a small glimmer of light as the sanctum was now flooded with several dozen black beasts. The first of the beasts lowered its ugly head down towards the face of the machinist. She knew that whatever these creatures were, he was alpha, given the fact that he was the only of the creatures to walk on his hind legs. He opened his foul mouth and bore his fangs in front of the machinist. She said nothing. She was neither intimidated, nor afraid of this creature. Rather, the opposite.

"Why do you call usss…" He hissed. His voice was shallow and breathy, as though he was struggling to speak, "To thisss awful placcce!"

"I acquire the assistance of you and your kind," the machinist stated boldly. The alpha of the creatures appeared as though he did not appreciate this request. He looked down at the feet of the machinist and spat on the ground before her. She looked into the face of the beast directly for the first time. The creature did not back down, so she reached into her cloak, and pulled a small glass vial from her robe. Within the glass was a pure, white light that shone brilliantly throughout the room. The creatures hissed and howled with pain as they fell to the ground, "I happen to know that your kind has a particular weakness to light…where as my kind does not…now you have one of two options. You may either submit to my wishes, and whilst you're here, I will protect you from the light. Or, you die…right here and now."

The alpha looked up at her, with hate filling his small ruby eyes. She then pulled the vial back into her robes, removing the light from the room. The beasts then rose from the ground.

"What do you require?" the alpha inquired reluctantly.

"I want you to go unto the world of mortals," She stated darkly, "And wreak as much chaos, havoc, and destruction as possible. Carve a path of death wherever you may tread, leaving behind no one to tell the tale. No questions asked…"

"Assss you wisssh…" He hissed. The alpha then turned to his back, and began to make several loud, screeching calls to the other beasts of the room. They replied with a similar howl as they rushed out of the room much like water from a flood gate. The alpha let out a low growl as he gave one last look to the machinist and her three shadows before leaving.

"Do you think that was wise to let those beasts out of their prison?" The first shadow inquired, turning to look towards the machinist.

"My use for the gatekeeper and his minions will fade," The machinist stated flatly, "Once they grab the Council's attention, the locations of the dragon aspects will be revealed. Once they return to the earth, we can dispose of them and the council, and then nothing will be standing in the way of my plans."

"What of the High Councilwoman?" One of the shadows inquired quietly.

"Leave Miss Shadowheart to me…" The machinist stated, turning back to her device, "All that I ask of you, is that once the dragons reveal themselves to us…dispose of the twelve consorts."

"What of their leader?" The first shadow asked before the three figures turned and exited the sanctum.

"I didn't ask you to do anything about their leader," She stated flatly, "Just take care of the consorts…and leave the rest to me."

"Yes master," The three shadows replied with a bow as their dark figures faded into the black corridor that lead into the sanctum. Once she was sure her minions were gone, she advanced towards the smaller of the two glass chambers. She opened the compartment and reached inside to where she had laid the Mantis Flip Coin prior to activating her contraption. All that remained was a fine gray dust.

She lifted a handful of the thin powder out of the chamber and let the grey dust settle in her ghostly hands. What was once a powerful, mystical, artifact, had now been reduced to nothing more than a now lifeless pile of ash. As she ran her fingers through it, she felt that the pulsing energy that had once made it an object of power and desire, was gone. She let out a disdainful sigh as she lazily let the dust fall from her hands and fall on to the cold, frosted floor.