Chapter VIII.

The First Visit

"Jack!" Kimiko exclaimed, running out from behind the cloaked woman, "You're alive! I mean, you're alive!"

"We thought you were a goner for sure!" Clay added as the rest of the aspects ran up to Jack and Mirella within the white chamber.

"So did I," Jack replied, still reeling from the events in the expanse, "How did you guys get here anyway?"

"This lady brought us here," Nina chimed, nodding to the woman in white. She smiled and gave Jack a slight bow from beneath the hood of her cloak.

"The Council brought us and the Shen-Gong Wu here for safe keeping after the news of your capture reached them," Omi stated. The woman in white motioned to say something, but before she could get another word in edgewise, the aspects flooded around Jack and Mirella, swarming them with questions.

"Clay flew back to the temple and told us the whole thing!" Ninamori exclaimed, "About how Zetsumei fought you guys, but then you tried to stand up to him, but then he threw you into this portal and then Clay couldn't find you! And! And! Aaah-"

"Breathe Nina," Kimiko sighed, placing her hands on the girl's shoulders.

"Right," She smiled, placing her hand on her chest, "I get so excited I forget sometimes…"

"So how'd you do it!?" Amy exclaimed, hugging Jack tightly, "I mean a shade! Not just any shade but YOUR SHADE! How'd you beat him? You gotta tell us!"

"What do they look like?" Raimundo asked, seeming a little more apprehensive than curious.

"They're awful," Jack replied, before anyone could ask him anything else, "They're just like us…but…I don't want to talk about it."

"Well you're safe now!" Amy smiled, hugging even tighter to Jack as he smiled back at her, his face slightly red, "That's all that matters."

"Forgive our rudeness!" Omi then exclaimed, turning to Mirella, who was admittedly feeling a little left out, "We have not been formally introduced."

"Right," Jack squeaked, "Everyone this is Mirella…our new apprentice…"

"Oh…" Raimundo nodded, noting Jack's implication. He then turned to Ninamori, who by this point had the worn crystal wrapped around her wrist. She understood his command as she lifted the stone into the air. It began to glow rather brightly, more brightly than it had in fact, and pulse with great force. The stone pointed directly towards the girl and Ninamori followed the stone's wishes. She walked towards Mirella, until the violently seizing stone came in contact with the girl's person. It then pulsed with a bright light before falling dead around Ninamori's wrist. She turned to her fellow aspects and smiled.

"She's a true blue member of the crew!" Ninamori chirped, jumping up and down.

"Excellent," The woman in white stated as she strode to the center of the group, "The High Councilwoman will be most pleased to hear that the aspects are near completion."

"So when do we get to meet this High Councilwoman anyway?" Raimundo asked, crossing his arms.

"In due time," She smiled, reassuring him, "Young aspect…The High Councilwoman is a very busy woman-"

"Too busy to make time for the most powerful aspects!" Omi exclaimed, somewhat putting himself on a pedestal as he stepped out in front of the others.

"So if you don't mind me asking," Jack inquired, turning to the woman, "Who are you?"

"Me?" She asked, taken aback, "I am just a lowly councilwoman…a glorified errand girl for those below her eminence, High Councilwoman Shadowheart…too lowly to even be noticed by her betters."

"Well we thank you for assisting us," Neviaan stated, his violet eyes looking with admiration at the hooded councilwoman, "Fleet-footed god…" The councilwoman gave him a strange look before simply brushing off the comment as a statement of Neviaan's madness before turning to address the other figure in the room.

"Of course," She continued, gesturing to the odd Chase young duplicate, "The return of your compatriots goes to the assistance of council-"

"Holy!" Raimundo exclaimed, "I didn't even notice him!"

"Him…" The Chase clone scoffed, looking beyond offended, "Him…HIM!? I. AM. A. GIRL!" She (apparently) shouted, throwing off her black cloak. The darkness of the expanse had been deceiving, for she was extremely tall, with a willowy, but very, very female figure. However, her face was extremely similar to that of the Xiaolin monk's longtime rival, Chase Young, except for her less predominate, delicate chin, and bright green eyes. She let down her hair, letting loose soft black locks that flowed past her shoulders, ombre'd to a bright yellow.

"My name is Sasha…" She growled, "Councilwoman Sasha Young…Chase is my little brother."

"The High Councilwoman herself located Sasha," The woman in white explained, "She too is one of the Dragon Aspects."

"So," Sasha sighed, looking down at her nails, "I guess this means that we're all going to be spending some quality time together…" She continued, turning to Raimundo, "And so help me…if you ever, ever call me a man again…"

"Won't happen si-MA'AM!" Raimundo exclaimed, backing away from her.

"How do we know we can trust her?" Omi then whispered to the group, "She is the sister of Chase Young-"

"Sasha?" Amy exclaimed, appearing to be the only one not shocked by Sasha's outward appearance, "No way…She's a councilwoman…she's on our side. Besides we go way back."

"You two know each other?!" Raimundo snapped, "Why didn't you warn me she was a woman before I made an ass out of myself!?" He whispered in Amy's ear.

"I didn't think you were going to make an ass out of yourself," Amy replied, rolling her eyes.

"Fair enough," Raimundo replied, raising an eyebrow.

"Besides," Sasha laughed, flipping her hair, "If you're worried that I'm anything like my idiot brother…you've got nothing to worry about. It's been fifteen hundred years, and Chase hasn't beaten me in a fight once. Moron couldn't even figure out how to become immortal on his own and without being saddled with a curse…No. I'm not nearly as stupid as Chase. I know all magic comes with a hefty price, something the Heylin side could never seem to wrap their minds around."

"So this is great!" Kimiko exclaimed, "With Sasha and Mirella…this gives us a grand total of ten aspects, which means we only need three more!"

"Yes and no," The woman interrupted. The others turned to her, somewhat confused, "With the recent attempt on Jack's life, it has become more apparent to the council that the Shade are not willing to wait as we are. So High Councilwoman Shadowheart took it upon herself to…shall we say, locate a few more of the aspects on her own accord."

"Well that's great," Jack nodded, "But if we could get them now and head back to the temple-"

"It is not so easy," The woman in white sighed, holding up her hand, "Jack Spicer…this particular individual requires some breaking still before consigning to their fate."

"Why do I not like where this is going," Clay sighed, crossing his arms.

"Show us any individual," Omi exclaimed, "And we shall split them in half!"

"You mean break them, first of all," Amy corrected, "And Omi, honey, hold on to that thought because I'm going to tell you everything that's wrong with what you just said when we get back to the temple…"

"What's their problem?" Kimiko inquired, raising an eyebrow. The woman in white let out a long sigh as she turned around to the massive wall behind her. She waved her hand over the smooth white surface as a doorway appeared.

"Come with me," She stated, sounding nervous as they followed her out into a large hallway. The aspects were careful to watch their steps as they headed though the corridor. The long white path that stretched through the hall seemed to drop off at both ends into a gaping void.

"Whew…" Raimundo stated, looking down into the drop-off, "That's pretty freaky…"

"It's alright," Sasha stated, reassuringly as she quickly stepped off of the path, seemingly walking on air, "Look up. It's a mirror…" She stated. The remaining aspects looked up to note that the ceiling extended indeterminately.

"It's enchanted," Amy added, walking backwards as Sasha stepped back on to the path, "So it doesn't so anyone else's reflection, just the ceiling. It's meant to deter anyone from trying to infiltrate the council."

"It's still freaky," Clay replied, looking up at the ceiling.

"Most freaky indeed," Omi nodded.

"So this new aspect," Kimiko inquired, changing the subject, and suspicious of the council, "Why couldn't the council just force them to join us like they did with Jack?"

"I'm afraid it's a bit more complicated than that," The woman sighed, making a sharp turn off of the path. When she reached the wall she waved her hand against the surface as she had done before as another large doorway appeared, "Follow me please."

The group then stepped into a drastically different change of setting. The passageway the aspects entered was cold and dark, and the sounds of growls and shouts could be heard echoing throughout the chamber. Jack shook his head, recalling memories to the bleak emptiness of the expanse, and Zetsumei's lifeless expression. He closed his eyes and tried dismissing the thoughts, but they just came creeping back. He then felt two hands wrap around his arm, startling him and causing him to jump slightly. He quickly opened his eyes to note it was Mirella clinging to his person. No doubt she was feeling the same, so Jack let her hold on.

"What is this awful place?" Omi asked.

"The Council's holding cells," The woman stated, "Any being who has ever committed a crime against the council or otherwise, is detained here until they await their sentencing…"

"I'm not getting much feeling of relief here guys," Raimundo whispered as they walked past several dozen frosted iron doors.

"What is there in this whole, dark world that makes this endless torment worthwhile? He will ask them," Neivaan stood behind, seemingly babbling to himself, "Cats! Kitty-cats are nice…"

"What in the world-" Sasha began, turning to look at the nightwalker.

"It's a long story," Amy sighed, placing her hand on Sasha's shoulder.

"Smash thine malevolent crock and ladle! The soup is evil!" Neviaan shouted.

"Best that you just ignore him," Amy sighed.

"O…okay…" Sasha replied.

"Here we are," the woman stated, gesturing to a large, iron door, coated in ice and frost at the end of the hall. She placed her hand on the handle of the door, causing the divide to fall open. Inside was an even darker room, in the center of which, they could make out the faint outline of a chained figure. His arms were stretched out to the sides, shackled by his wrists.

"Leave me alone…" The figure stated in a low growl.

"I have been instructed," The woman in white stated promptly, "That I am not permitted to leave this place without eleven aspects…"

"Then you will die here," The figure replied, turning his head away from the figure, "I will never fight for the council…the dragons…or anyone…now leave me alone…"

"I cannot allow you to stay in this prison," The woman in white exclaimed, asserting her dominance. Jack looked over at the lowly councilwoman curiously. He was beginning to suspect that this was no ordinary woman. None the less, they had a mission to complete, and he couldn't question her identity now, "I have not come here to force you to join the council…I have come here to force you to accept your destiny."

"If this is some pathetic ploy by your almighty High Councilwoman," The figure growled, "Tell her she needs to try harder…"

"Bold words for a man bound in chains," The woman sighed.

"Loosen these restraints…" The figure replied with a slight laugh, "And show me the might of the Spirit Council then…"

"You couldn't handle us…" She sighed, shaking her head, "You'd end up right back where you are right now. Regardless…" She continued, gesturing the rest of the aspects to step forward, "There is someone here that I'd like you to see."

"Is this some sort of joke?" The figure scoffed as the ten aspects came into the dim, cold light that gently filtered through the chamber, "These are the legendary aspects? The young monks are even a stretch…but Jack Spicer…really? You expect me to believe this insignificant worm is an aspect?"

"Wait a minute…" Jack shouted, "I'd know that voice anywhere…"

"So would I," Sasha growled, walking up beside him. Truthfully speaking, most of the aspects were no stranger to this shadowed figure, "What's it been? Seven…eight hundred years?"

"Seven hundred and ninety-four…sister," Chase young stated, looking up at the aspects, revealing his shrouded face to the group.

"No way…" Raimundo exclaimed, "There's no way that we're taking Chase Young as an aspect…no deal…"

"It is not for you to decide," The woman in white stated somberly, "Young dragon. The fates have made their choice. Chase was born into the life of an aspect, just as you all were. It falls to you now to convince him to join our cause…" She stated darkly as she turned away from them and headed out of the door, back into the hallway.

"You're not going to help us?" Mirella called sounding scared.

"I have done my part," The woman in white added, before closing the door behind them, "As did the council. As I have said before…it falls on you now."

"Well…" Chase sighed, as his restraints fell to the floor with a cloud clang, "This won't take long. It would be easier if you just laid down your arms now-"

"You're joking," Raimundo laughed.

"Ten versus one?" Clay scoffed, "That'll be an easy fight…"

"Ha!" Chase laughed, throwing his head back, "It wouldn't matter if there were ten or one hundred of you. I would still-"

"What if there was only one of me?" Sasha asked stepping forward.

"I'm do not fear you sister," Chase stated, holding his hands out in front of him and positioning himself in a fighting stance, "I never have, and I never will…"

"You're eyes tell a different story," Sasha replied with a smile as she handed her cloak over to Omi, dropping it on top of the small monk, "But if that is the case, let's fight little brother!"

"You haven't learned anything sister!" Chase shouted as the pair leapt towards one another.

Chase's foot went flying towards Sasha, though she made no effort to dive out of Chase's path. Chase smirked and quickly changed his course, spinning around and moving to slash at Sasha's exposed neck with the brunt of his bare hand. However, Sasha still didn't move. Just as Chase was millimeters away from the deadly strike, Sasha ducked underneath him and jabbed her index and middle fingers in between Chase's left scapula and Humerus. It happened so quickly, that the other aspects weren't even sure that they saw anything happen. All they heard was a violent cracking noise as Chase let out a howl of pain, his arm falling limp at his side.

Sasha then seized hold of his face and smiled. She threw her brother back against the stone wall and placed her foot against his chest, kicking off from his body. His head slammed against the stone as she did so, and his chest made a loud snap following. Chase faltered, but just for a moment, as he turned to his sister, popping his arm back in to his shoulder.

"It won't do any good Sasha," Chase sighed, cracking his neck and brushing off Sasha's attacks as though it was casual sparring for a high school wrestling team, "I can keep this up all day…you know I can."

Sasha didn't say anything. She simply smiled and extended her hand forward, beckoning Chase to come at her. Sasha knew her brother, and she knew that once he was locked in combat, he hated to be defeated. Chase readied his stance, however before he moved to strike at his sister once again, he felt a hand pushing against his chest.

"Amy," Sasha sighed, shaking her head, "Babe…I got this…go play with the other kids…"

"Stop," Amy demanded, "Both of you."

"Who is this?" Chase scoffed in disgust as he swatted Amy's hand away from him.

"My name is Amy," She stated nervously, standing before him, "Amy Levin…I'm an envoy for the Spirit Council…Please…there's an easier way to do this."

"What…" Chase growled, staring her down, "Do you want?"

"To tell you that you're an idiot," Amy stated flatly, though her voice was still quavering.

Amy what are you doing? Jack thought, biting the inside of his cheek.

"What did you just call me?" Chase asked quietly.

"I said you're an idiot," Amy replied, getting a little braver with each passing second, "You really should read up on the aspects more…you know that?"

"And why is that?" Chase growled, crossing his arms.

"Because," Amy began, very matter-of-factly, "Now that you've come in to contact with the rest of the aspects…I-it's only a matter of time until we find the last two!"

"And?" Chase replied, sounding thoroughly annoyed, raising an eyebrow.

"Amy stop wasting your time and just let me kick his a-" Sasha groaned.

"Hold on!" Amy squeaked, holding her hands up, turning back to Chase, "And…that means that once the twelve of us are together, and…given that…given…given that we've also made contact with you, we'll activate as the aspects!" Amy exclaimed triumphantly.

"I fail to see your point?" Chase scoffed.

"The point is," Amy replied, with a wicked smile on her face, "That one of these people in this room is YOUR potential corresponding aspect! Without their complimentary corresponding aspect, the aspect in question cannot survive and will cease to exist! So…my point is," Amy continued, mocking the Heylin warrior, "If you're not around to protect your corresponding aspect…bye-bye…"

"I-Is that stuff really true?" Jack whispered, leaning over to the monks.

"I have no idea," Omi replied, shaking his head.

"You're bluffing," Chase stated, crossing his arms.

"Are you really in a position to find out if I am or not?" Amy chided, a devious smile still painted across her lips. Chase stood in silence for several long moments before he began to walk around Amy in circles. She stood completely still, and somewhat uncomfortable as the dark immortal began to size her up.

"Well you look to be well versed in the ways of the streets," Chase laughed, rolling his eyes, "Could probably talk your way out of just about anything."

"Oh no…" Ninamori gulped.

"What did you just say to me…" Amy demanded quietly, her eyes wide and her tone becoming very shaky, "Oh no…I know he did NOT JUST SAY what I THINK he said!" She shouted as she leapt towards him. However Sasha managed to intervene, holding the young woman back by her arms as she attempted to claw at the prisoner, "LET ME GO! NOBODY CALLS ME THAT AND GETS AWAY WITH IT!"

"I do not understand," Omi began, "What did he call her?"

"Oh Omi," Jack sighed, patting him on the head, "I'll tell you when you're older…"

"You heard what Amy had to say," Raimundo called, stepping forward from the group, "Either way…we're not leaving here without you." He stated, crossing his arms.

"Very well," Chase hissed, staring the group down, "It seems I am given no other choice."

"Excellent! Then sweet Celestian! Weaver of the Stars! Come forth and aid us on our venture," Neviaan shouted, startling the group. Chase looked at the strangest member of the aspects and walked towards him. Neviaan's violet eyes stared blankly off into the distance as the Heylin warrior examined him closely.

"What strain of Cain's curse spawned this madness?" Chase asked himself quietly. In that instance, Neviaan's eyes flickered from violet to green as he growled at Chase pushing him away.

"What are you looking at!?" Neviaan asked angrily, "…let's get out of here…we got what we came here for…" He grumbled, slinking back into the darkness.

"Have you all lost your minds?" Chase then exclaimed, turning to the rest of the group. But before Chase could elaborate, the door to Chase's cell opened and the woman in white reappeared. She was holding on to Chase's old armor, and from beneath her hood she had a pleased smile on her face.

"You have done well Amy," She chimed, "But now is not the time to dawdle…there is much work to be done still!"

"Now ya'll said you had another aspect here at the council?" Clay inquired, looking around behind the woman to see if she had brought a guest.

"Yes," She nodded, "But she is otherwise occupied…And is in good hands here with us. In due time…we will send her to you. For now, return to the Xiaolin Temple…as I have said…there is much work to be done still." She continued, as she summoned a familiar, silvery grey vortex behind her.

Please leave a review! Let's me know that people are reading! Thanks in advance!

[Additional Message from KC]: So for the sake of pacing in the story I was going to introduce the remaining 3 aspects all in this chapter, but I changed a lot of things from the original to this I changed my it's going to be a lot longer...mmmkay ._. besides finding them all is half the journey :D

-Happy Thursday!