The white peacock gazed over his newly captured city. It was his once again, and at that, he smiled.

'Such a lovely night,' he sighed to no one, slipping his feathers into his sleeves. The night was chilled, but not uncomfortably so, and all the stars were to be seen. The moon was slightly obscured by the clouds, yet moonlight did not cease to fall across the city.

No, his city.

His home still looked exactly as how it had when he had been banished. Banished by his parents...

Lord Shen's smile faded. His red eyes gazed at the small rooftops and lanterns, trying to divert his attention to anything but his parents. No, they had been fools, he told himself. They refused to move on from their precious Kung Fu, and look at where it had gotten them. Dead.

Shen retreated from his balcony to the interior of his palace, silver claws scratching against the smooth marble floor as he walked. His feathered tail flowed behind him gracefully, with all the poise of someone to be respected and revered. Lord Shen whispered up the stairs, reaching out a wing to his most prized invention.

His cannon.

The iron dragon head was carved and smoothed, shining dimly from the light of the candles all around. Lord Shen's smile returned as he thought of what his parents might have said if they had seen him now. Would they have been proud? Would they have regretted banishing such an intelligent mind?

Of course they would have.

The tips of his feathers brushed the marvellous surface of the dragon head, trailing down to the igniter. Lord Shen slid his claws across the dark floor, listening to the silence hanging around him and his invention. Soon, he thought. Soon, dear Soothsayer, I shall have the panda.

'I will not be beaten, even if he is the Dragon Warrior,' Lord Shen whispered, crimson eyes leading back to the cannon. 'With my intelligent mind and my incredible inventions...no one will be able to stop me.' He picked up the match in which was made to spark his cannon. Shen gazed at it in his grasp, analyzing the startling contrast of the dark metal to his bright feathers. His thoughts wandered as the metal reminded him of a pipe, a pipe in which his father breathed in...

'Little Shen, you must stop this madness,' his mother said gently. 'Only darkness awaits those who seek power, the Soothsayer said such.'

'Why can't you see that what I'm doing will help us all? With this, there will be no need for Kung Fu and the risk of being defeated! With this, we can be invincible,' Shen hissed, wondering why his parents couldn't understand the brilliance of the idea.

But his mother only shook her head slowly, her eyes closing. 'What you are suggesting is much too dangerous, Shen. The peacocks are not here to rule all of China. We don't need to be invincible.'

'You're weak, all of you!' Shen snapped, unusual red eyes flashing. 'You don't understand what it means to be invincible!'

'No, Shen-'

'You're afraid of change, aren't you, mother? I should have known, with a mind like mine! You're useless!'

His father's tail feathers rose briefly at the challenge; from his own son at that. 'You will not speak to us in such a way, Shen. We shall never speak of this matter again!' His father's breath swirled with smoke from the pipe he held, obscuring Shen's sight and clouding the room.

Shen returned to himself, still holding the match in his hand.

'Pathetic, the two of you,' Shen whispered to the memory of his parents. 'Without you fools in the way, I have grown into something far beyond your comprehension. Do you see me now, dear mother and father?'

Shen threw the match aside, stared straight up into the heavens, and yelled, 'Do you see me now?'

His own voice echoing back was the only he answer he received. The white peacock lowered his proud tail feathers and turned to the cannon.

They didn't understand, Shen thought, silver claws scratching against the smooth marble floor as he walked. His feathered tail flowed behind him gracefully, with all the poise of someone to be respected and revered. Lord Shen whispered up the stairs, reaching out a wing to his most prized invention.

'I will be the king,' Shen said to empty air, crimson eyes seeing himself in the cannon's surface. 'I will be the ruler of China!'

'I will be invincible.'