A/N: Thanks for all your reviews! ^_^ Glad that you enjoyed the last chap. And I hope you will enjoy the conclusion of this 'Mini-series', so yeah. Again, thanks for the reviews, and hope you enjoy the rest of Kung Fu Panda 3: Political Alliances.
Onward to the chap. ^_^
Don't own the name Tigria. Belongs to Monkeycyborgninja.
The Geese, Rabbits, Pigs and a single Lion snapped to attention, eyes glued to the Grandmaster. The Children of the Valley were all tired, yet their excitement kept that feeling at bay. It had been their last class of the season, as the Four and Grandmaster Shifu always allowed a 'Vacation' from classes and resumed the following month. In a way, it was really like school.
"Dismissed." Shifu said, giving his class a small nod before bowing.
The class mix of at least 12 years of age bowed at the Grandmaster, then at the Fearsome Four, who had participated in the teachings. With the respects out of the way, the children walked to the giant double doors that led out of the Stadium and was reunited with their parents. The families began their descent down to the Village, while the mother of Kento remained behind.
The Lioness smiled, patting her young son on the head and walked toward the Four and Grandmaster Shifu. The Kung Fu Masters stopped their cleaning of the last class of the day to greet her and Kento.
"What can I do for you, Mrs. Ayane?" Shifu replied, smiling gently.
"I can't stop by and say 'Hello' and 'Thanks for teaching my child'?" Kento's mother laughed with amusement.
"Ah, you don't have to just pick up and leave." Viper replied, laughing with her. "You're welcome here, remember?"
"I remember." Ayane cast her eyes to the ground. "But…"
"Master Monkey, can you teach me that move again?" Kento asked excitedly.
"Sure, Kento." Monkey smiled, putting his arm around his shoulders.
The young Lion cub was completely oblivious to the expression on his Mother's face as Monkey led him over to the Training Dummy that resembled the Dragon Warrior. The one next to it had, ironically, been painted to resemble Master Tigress as well.
"So… still no word from them, I take it?" Ayane asked, gesturing to the dummies that Monkey and Kento trained on.
"It's been nine months. If they are not sending any indication that they are fine or something happened, I guess I deserved it." Shifu sighed, still harboring the self hatred of reacting the way he did that night. "It was all my fault. And I would do anything to see them again."
"It's not your fault. It's… a Father's usual reaction to a situation like that." Ayane replied softly. "Am I right?"
"I suppose so, still I should have not reacted the way I should have. Tigress has… never shown an interest in men before and, well…" Shifu sighed heavily.
"I guess I was afraid of losing her. I was unwilling at the time, to accept the fact that Tigress had now found someone…" Shifu admitted. "I know that Po would never do anything to hurt her, but still, in the back of my mind, I was a bit wary."
"I understand." Ayane nodded. "So, how have you all been? I haven't been able to stop by since I've been so busy."
"Actually," Shifu spoke up. "We were thinking of going down to Mr. Ping's for a late lunch, would you and Kento sup with us?"
"I'd like that actually." Ayane smiled. "However, can it wait until Kento is done? He's wanted to learn that move forever."
The Four and Shifu smiled, nodding. Looking over to Monkey and Kento, they saw that the young Lion cub was close to mastering the Chao-Wa Punch-Kick. It was an advance move, but after going so long of pestering, Monkey had given in and began to teach him. The move required precise movements and although Kento had a little trouble keeping his focus. This move required a balance of mind and chi, something that was a bit of a problem. As Kento's excitement kept him from concentrating, he had the movements down, he just needed to focus properly.
"Alright, Kento." Monkey said. "This dummy isn't a good enough opponent, as in, even if you perform the move successfully, it will not affect it at all."
"What do you suggest, Master?" Kento asked.
"Try the move on me." Monkey smiled at Kento's reaction. "Trust me, I've had years of training. I won't feel a thing."
"Are you really sure, Master?" Kento asked hesitantly.
"Positive." Monkey assured.
"Okay, here goes…" The Lion cub shrugged.
"Wait," Monkey said. "Take a deep breath…"
Kento did so. "Empty your mind…"
The Lion calmed himself, closing his eyes as he tried to empty his consciousness. But there was something in the back of his mind that simply refused to go away. The pain of his… father leaving his mother for dead. The man who was supposed to be his father, he did not care. Prox was more of a Father than his 'biological' one would ever be. Not even caring about his mother clinging to the thread of life and leaving Kento to fend for both himself and his mother. His mother had recovered, thanks to Prox, whom the Lion cub now considered his real Father. However, Kento still harbored the hatred toward the man who left them. The anger began to boil, and it was hard to contain and withhold it.
The Lion's eyes snapped open, and Monkey was slightly shocked by the anger in his eyes. Spinning, he performed the correct movements, and then kicked, thrusting out with his fist, palm out. Master Monkey seized up, falling on his back, causing the group observing Kento's progress to cheer and congratulate the Lion cub.
Shifu began to walk toward Monkey to start the reversal, when Kento grabbed Monkey by the neck and hauled him in the air as if he weighed nothing. Claws extended, Kento reared his hand back to strike, mortal fear reflected in the Simian's eyes. Shifu was so shocked by the display of madness, that he temporarily froze up.
"Kento, contain yourself!" Everyone had blinked at exactly the same time, and as such, they did not realize a Snow Leopard suddenly appeared to grab Kento's arm just in time to save Monkey from certain mutilation.
"Kento…" the Snow Leopard said softly, helping Monkey out of the Feline's grasp and knelt to be eye level with the Lion cub. He was not surprised when he saw that Kento's eyes were crimson.
"Calm yourself…" the feline put his hands on the cubs shoulders, looking him dead in the eyes. The Leopard was not perturbed when Kento suddenly grabbed his neck, the others, however, were shocked.
"Prox…" Kento mumbled, his eyes beginning to return to normal.
"I'm sorry, Baba!" Kento cried suddenly, flinging his arms around the Snow Leopard. "Forgive me…"
"Kento, it's not me you should ask." The Snow Leopard replied, as Shifu performed the reversal of the Punch Kick. Kento released the hug to look at him. "It's Master Monkey."
"Master, I understand if you don't want to teach-" Monkey cut him off gently.
"Forget it," Monkey said, grinning. "It doesn't matter, you did really good."
"I… did?" Kento asked, surprised. "But…"
"It doesn't matter, don't worry." Monkey assured. "I've worked up an appetite, how about the rest of you."
If it had been anyone else, they would have been concerned. However, Monkey forgave easily, as was his nature, and the let the matter slide. Shifu took one long look at his Student, and then nodded. He looked at the Four and they immediately began to clean up, and in a span of less than a minute, the Stadium was bare once more.
"I shall buy." The Snow Leopard spoke up. "My treat."
"Are you sure? I do not-" But the Leopard waved a hand.
"Don't worry," he smiled. "I don't mind."
Shifu nodded, and then to his Students, who bowed. They left to clean up and attend to whatever matter required their attention first, as they waited Shifu wondered exactly who this mysterious Snow Leopard truly was. It definitely wasn't Tai Lung, that much Shifu was sure of.
"Forgive me, but… who are you?" Shifu asked. "Kento called you 'Baba' but yet, I do not understand. What happened to-"
"He left Kento and Ayane." the Snow Leopard said flatly, knowing full well what Shifu was going to ask. "Ayane was not feeling well, none at all, on the brink of Death in fact. How I found out, really, was when I was saving Kento here, from an angry marketer, whom he had stolen something from him."
The Lion cub grinned nervously, scratching the back of his head.
"I managed to concoct a cure to what was ailing her. And I began to leave, thinking since I had done a good deed that I was no longer needed." The Leopard continued.
He laughed. "How wrong was I? Kento begged for me to stay, but I did not want to impose on them. Ayane offered to make some dinner, and asked for me to stay. I complied, I owed her at least that much. So, over dinner, she explained what had transpired. Needless to say, I cannot fathom why a man would leave such a beautiful woman as Ayane."
The Lioness blushed, lightly punching the Leopard on the arm.
"Needless to say, our relationship did not start immediately." the Leopard said. "I visited Kento periodically, stopping for dinner whenever I could. I trained Kento on some of the basics of Kung Fu, before recommending him to the Jade Palace classes. And, gradually, I felt accepted into this family. And finally, after a long night of thinking, and pondering on the question Ayane gave me. I decided."
"If he left, why should I?" He asked. "I swore to myself, I would not follow suit. They need me, as I need them."
"I was merely a traveler at first, with nowhere to go. My past, I'd rather not talk about. I do not care about my past." the Leopard replied. "But what I do care about is the Present, and the Future I have with my family."
As he said this, he wrapped an arm around Ayane's waist and brought Kento into a one armed hug. Shifu was silent, taking all of this in. And after a while, he smiled.
"I am happy that everything has worked out." Shifu bowed.
"Thanks, Grandmaster Shifu." the Leopard replied, smiling.
"But, you never told me your name." Shifu said.
"As for a name, I never really had a true name." the Leopard admitted. "An old friend, one whom I am unable to see anymore, called me 'Prox'. I do not know why, but it stuck. Ayane calls me 'Ven'."
"Ven?" Shifu asked, dumbfounded.
"Short for 'Ventus'. It means 'Wind' in Latin." Ven replied.
"Ah, I see." Shifu nodded, and his Students had just now finished and were coming back, now dressed in casual clothes. He had… lightened up, over the past nine months. His students were allowed more freedom, however, they were still expected to behave respectfully even though they were dressed informally.
"Are we all ready for dinner?" Shifu asked, chuckling.
"Yeah, pretty much." Crane spoke for the Four.
There was a loud growling, and at first, the Four believed they were under attack. But everyone started to laugh as Shifu clutched his stomach. The red Panda growled, and began walk toward the large double doors in embarrassment. But as he opened the doors, with a squawk, Zeng fell in front of Shifu, panting.
"Zeng, I was worried." Shifu said, helping the Goose steady on his feet. "Where have you been?"
"M-Master Shifu!" Zeng said, trying to desperately catch his breath. "There's… someone at Mr. Ping's… He wishes to see you and the Four."
Ironic… Shifu thought.
"Well, Irony has favored us this time." Shifu said. "We were just on our way to go there for some dinner. Thank you, Zeng. You are dismissed."
The Avian nodded, taking flight and began toward his quarters. It surprised Shifu that he even had the energy to keep flying. Looking back at the group, he allowed a small smile.
"Well, I take it we have to go." he shook his head, causing everyone to laugh.
-Village, Mr. Ping's-
Ven, Kento, Ayane, Shifu and the Four smiled to all the villagers who greeted them, saying 'Hi' or 'Thanks, you too', to everyone that spoke. The Valley of Peace was… well, peaceful. It was nearly sunset, and the Valley was full of life as people bustled by, eager to get home to their families. Either that, or they were on their way to the late night shifts of wherever they worked.
"I just hope it isn't too full." Viper whispered over to her friends.
"You kidding?" Monkey asked, laughing. "When is the shop not full?"
Since those nine months had gone by, the bond that each of them shared had strengthened more than ever. They really did feel like a family, closer than ever before. If only….
"True." Crane smirked. "After all, it is the only place to get noodles."
"Yeah," Mantis sighed, plopping down on Monkey's shoulder. "I miss them…"
"Don't we all?" Monkey sighed with his friend.
"Talking about missing them won't bring them back." Viper replied, her hurt still wounded her. But then again, they were all still hurting, they were just better at hiding it than Viper was.
"Viper…" Crane whispered, putting a wing around her and pulling the Serpent close.
"I miss them…" Viper sighed heavily.
"I know." Crane said softly, bringing her closer into a hug as they continued to walk.
"We're here," Shifu announced, cutting the intimate moment short.
"Master Shifu! Welcome!" Mr. Ping cried, ecstatic.
You would think Mr. Ping would have been angry at Shifu, that was not the case however. True, Mr. Ping did not speak to Master Shifu for weeks when he found out the real reason, but… being a Father himself, he could sort of relate. Regardless, the Goose had berated Shifu for his rash action, and soon, after a bottle of wine to lighten the mood, it was put behind them. There was nothing they could do, but wait.
After the Villagers were done with the formalities, they settled back down and began to attend to their families and meals again.
"Evening, Mr. Ping." Ven spoke up, smiling at the Avian.
"Ah, my number one customer!" Mr. Ping smiled back. "How are you?"
"I've been fine, thank you for asking." Ven nodded.
"You mean, someone who's bought more noodles than Mantis?" Crane whispered to Viper.
Viper just giggled.
"Mr. Ping, Zeng arrived a few minutes ago. He said that someone was here for me and the Four?" Shifu asked.
"Ah… yes." Mr. Ping said, suddenly uneasy. "Please, wait a second."
"Oh, the usual? I presume?" He asked the group, who nodded.
"Right, I will be right back." Mr. Ping said. "Please, seat yourselves."
They did so, and for a while, the Goose was nowhere to be found. They tried to start conversation, however, nothing came to mind. So Kento began to ask if there were any other techniques that he could learn after the Chao-Wa Punch Kick. Then the discussions really started, Monkey began to tell Kento of moves he could teach him. However, when it came to the really advanced ones, Master Shifu decided to step in and make sure Kento didn't get any ideas.
"…Yes, yes, they are right here." They heard over the laughing and the loud cries of the Children.
Turning, there was a robed figure accompanying Mr. Ping. There was something about him that was oddly… familiar… It couldn't be…!
…Could it? After all this time, he finally came back?
"Thank you, Mr. Ping." The man said. "Master Shifu, I presume?"
"Yes," the Grandmaster answered, it was not him. The voice was very different. "And who might you be?"
"A messenger." the man replied. "I merely came to tell you this, "Those you have thought lost, are now found. Happiness follows, and now, it is time to break the silence."."
"…Apologies." Shifu blinked. "I do not think I understand."
"Ah, I knew it wouldn't work. Thanks anyway, Liu." Okay, THAT voice they knew. From the entrance of the Noodle shop, came the person they were all thinking about. For the first time in nine months… he was back!
"PO!" They all yelled, leaping up, overturning the table in the process, and tackled the Panda to the floor. Laughing, the Panda took the hit, and hugged all of his old friends… no, his family. Even Shifu had joined the hug. Ayane, Kento and Ven stood up, ignoring the table and walked over toward the reunion. For a while, the hug continued, until the group had gotten their hug out of the way and let go.
"Where have you been? Why haven't you sent any letters?" Shifu scolded.
"AHEM!" the group suddenly stood up, looking at Mr. Ping. A wooden spoon in his hand, glaring at Po.
He stepped up to the Panda, who knelt.
"Hey Dad." he allowed himself a smile.
Mr. Ping had hit Po across the head with the spoon. "That's for leaving!"
He then hugged Po. "This is for coming back."
"Thanks Dad." Po smile grew.
Breaking the hug, he stood up. The Four and Shifu took a good look at the Panda. He was less rounded than he used to be, and three claw marks were etched into his left cheek. Po was dressed in a Jade green robe with gold trimmings, complete with a hood. All in all, the attire was much different that what he had left with. The Four wondered how he had acquired the wound, and his new attire.
"Po, how did you get the…?" Monkey motioned to his cheek.
"Oh, this?" Po asked, pointing at the claw marks. "Well, Tigress had a small nightmare. Nothing to worry about."
"Where IS Tigress?" Shifu asked, glaring at the Panda.
"She'll be here shortly." Po assured. "Sorry, she just had to make a quick stop."
"I see." Shifu said, focusing his attention the ground.
"Po, I must go." The Man in the hooded robe said.
"Alright, thanks again, Liu." Po smiled, patting the man on the shoulder.
"Anytime, brother." The man nodded, causing the group to stare in shock.
"Brother?" The Four exclaimed.
The man lifted his hood, showing the group his face. He looked almost exactly like Po, however, he had a more serious expression. Despite his expression, his eyes held wisdom. And he appeared a few years younger than Po. He nodded, lifting his hood once more and turned.
"Apologies that I cannot stay any longer. Truly, I would, but my wife needs me." he said, as he began to walk away. "I shall visit again."
"Oh… Kay… bye?" Mantis said, then everyone else wished him farewells.
"Where have you been all this time?" Shifu asked again.
Po smiled as his stomach growled. "Can we talk over dinner?"
There was one thing that hadn't changed about Po: his appetite.
"Wait… so, you found your real Dad?" Monkey asked.
"Shh!" Po shushed, looking in the direction of Mr. Ping's counter. He had not heard. "Please, keep it down. I don't know how he'd take it. Yes, I did. But…"
"But…?" Ven asked, finishing his second bowl of noodles. Kento finished his third, right now, they were having a contest to see who could eat more. Naturally, Ven allowed Kento a head start.
"I'm afraid that it would break his heart. To know that I was at Arkoma with my real Dad and Brother." Po admitted. "I just don't know how to tell him."
"He's your…" Viper stopped. "Well, the Dad that raised you. He should understand, right?"
"I guess so." Po sighed, burying his face in his hands. "Oh! Before I forget, here you are, Monkey."
The Simian looked up from his bowl, to see the same satchel of Yen plop down in front of him. He was in awe, it was still the same size as when he had given it to the Panda.
"You… didn't use any of it?" Monkey asked surprised. "But I gave this to you."
"Correction, we only used one." Po smiled. "But the rest is yours."
"Curse you Panda. I have been patient enough, where is my daughter?" Shifu demanded.
"Geez, is that any way to treat your son?" Po asked, affronted.
The air went silent, Shifu's eye twitched. "Kidding! But… Um… there is something you should know, though."
"What would that be?" Shifu leaned back in his chair, arms crossed.
Shifu's ears snapped up, and he looked in the direction of the voice. Tigress stood in the doorway, a small smile on her face. There were two things that caught Shifu and the Four's attention. One, Tigress was dressed in a red dress, completely uncharacteristic of her. Well… she might have embraced her feminine side while she and Po were gone. The second…..
"Tigress… Is that?" Shifu began to ask, and the Four's eyes nearly bulged out of their heads.
"Yes, Baba." Tigress said, walking over to the group and sat down next to Po, cradling the bundle of blankets securely in her arms.
"We would have come back sooner, but… we thought it better to wait." Po answered everyone's stare.
"I don't understand?" Kento spoke up. "What's going on?"
"Baba, I know that you're probably furious at us, but I just-" Shifu held up a hand.
"Please, let me see her." Shifu said, standing up and holding his arms out.
Tigress gently transferred the bundle from her own arms, to Shifu's. Moving the blankets, he came face to face, with a white baby tigress. The little girl yawned, opening her eyes wide to reveal the amber eyes of Tigress, but yet, she had the smile of Po.
She…. Po and Tigress had a baby girl.
"What is… what is her name?" Shifu asked, as the Four, and Ven's family crowded over the Grandmaster.
"Her name's Tigria." Tigress answered, Po put his arm around her and drew her close.
"She's beautiful…" Viper said, smiling at the baby.
"She got her looks from her mother." Po smiled, kissing Tigress on the cheek.
"But she has your smile… and appetite." Tigress smiled, leaning back into Po's hug.
Shifu didn't even realize he was crying until he noticed tear dots on the pink blanket.
"Y-Yeye…." Tigria cooed.
"Yes, Tigria. I'm your Grandfather." Shifu smiled, looking up at Po and Tigress. He gently handed the baby to Viper, who coiled up and created a makeshift cradle.
"Po… Tigress… Please, accept my apology." Shifu sighed heavily. "I have not… been myself ever since you two have been gone. Please, if you two will, come back to the Palace?"
"Yes, Master." Po smiled.
"Of course, Baba." Tigress smiled as well, bringing the Grandmaster into a hug. Po wrapped his arms around both of them, after all this time. Shifu had finally came to reality, he could not make Tigress' decisions for her.
"I am sorry, the way I acted." Shifu apologized. "It was not fair, to either of you."
"Let's just put it behind us." Po smiled. "Besides, we have to very important things to take care of now."
"Yes, you're right." Shifu smiled back. "We must create a-"
"Well, yes. We do need a nursery for Tigria, but I was going to say, we need to plan a wedding." Po smile grew, causing the group to stop what they were doing and look at the couple.
Tigress held up a hand, and a small gold ring glittered in the faint light of the sunset as she smiled. "We wanted to wait until we got back to actually hold the wedding."
"We have much to do. Much to discuss." Shifu said, snapping everyone out of their trances.
"Of course." Ven smiled. "We'll help too."
"We have a lot to do tomorrow." Po announced. "Man, it's good to be back."
"Good to have you back," The Four- no- Five smiled.
"Yay!" Tigria squealed as Tigress took her daughter back into her arms. The extended family, which included Ven, Ayane, and Kento, began up the Thousand Stairs, and toward the Jade Palace.
A/N: Ventus A.K.A. Prox, is a character I'm sure you are familiar with. Both in name, and from 'Political Alliances'. ^_^ Well, he will also make an appearance in a new series that I will start up after 'PA'.
'Kung Fu Panda: Secrets in Shadows', is the name of the new fic that I plan to write. But first, I want to finish Political Alliances first. I will also write 'Kung Fu Panda 4' simultaneously.
I'm pretty sure most of you could have guessed how it would end, due to the foreshadowing at the end of the last chap. But regardless, I hope that none of you were disappointed. Thanks for all the reviews and favorites on this story, I enjoyed writing it. ^_^
Well, back to 'Political Alliances'. I literally stopped writing the new chap to finish up this, so it wouldn't nag at me. So the new chap for 'PA' will still be a while. I will get it done ASAP though.
Again, thanks for all the reviews and faves, and support, throughout this 'Mini-Series'. Thanks for enjoying it!