SO, double update because I finally delivered after Christ knows how long. It takes a while to get to the actual graveyard part and I'M SORRY! Just, I had so many ideas for this but they perished in a great hard drive failure that resulted in the other chapters of my things being lost. So, derp, sorry. I will keep improving it! Anyway, enjoy, and I am back for real now.
They had not allowed him to be at the funeral. Having suffered so much, that had been the last straw. It was raining then too, a wet splattering that turned the streets into an ocean. Even the heavens were crying for the death's of two benevolent rulers, murmured the superstitious.
Standing at the gates to Gongmen City, the Wolf Boss held an umbrella over his lord's head, as he strode forwards and broke open the gates. "Where are my parents?" he demanded, and a hammer was held a few inches from his face. Thundering Rhino drew the hammer back slightly, but still kept a careful watch on the peacock. Beside him, Jade Wings and Master Leopard were ready for combat, watching the wolves and the furry beasts they had never seen before with bulging muscles.
"You will not stop me paying my respects to them!" exclaimed Shen, threatening to push past, and the hammer was hoisted once more. "Leave, Shen. I will not tell you another time" replied the Rhinoceros simply. Drawing himself to his full height, the peacock moved forwards and stared up unflinching into the rhino's eyes. "They are my parents, and you will let me see them."
"You talk about paying respects, yet you abandoned them. You broke their hearts, tore their minds apart. Your presence would just be a defilement!" replied Jade Wings with a squark, exploding her green plumage in a display of elegance and challenge. Shen responded by fluttering his own white feathers out, and the two birds glared at each other. "Enough, Jade Wings!" admonished Thundering Rhino, and the peahen lowered the feathers, keeping a stern eye on Shen.
Shen clicked several metal talons together, and the wolves all readied their weapons. The peacock himself readied his own knives, already working out the weak spots in his opponent's defence: Thundering Rhino was not entirely covered in fur, his eyes a clear target. Jade Wings was fast but not strong, and Master Leopard was barely older than Shen himself. Starting the charge, a nobbled walking stick suddenly lashed through the rain and hit Shen's arm.
The Lord cried out, dropping several knives in surprise and turning to see what manner of creature had dared to oppose him. The hatred vanished from his face, however, when he saw the wizened face of the Soothsayer, stroking her beard and hiding from the rain underneath an umbrella that was situated on her shoulders. At a loss, Shen picked his knives off the ground and secreted them once more. "Please, Masters. Let me speak with the Lord alone" requested the Soothsayer, putting a gentle hand on her charge's shoulder.
Shen relented, unable to hurt the kind visage that had helped him through so much, but the hatred burnt fiercer: just not at her. Thundering Rhino narrowed his eyes, then nodded, and turned to leave. As his companions and the soldiers returned to their city, the rhinoceros looked back. "I see what techniques you have learnt. Fighting styles are the most comfortable to a warrior, and you are obviously comfortable with swiftness, deception and trickery. How far you have fallen from when we used to spar, Shen. Pray our paths do not cross again, or I will kill you."
With her soothing words and careful diplomacy, Shen was pushed away from the gates and led up to a cliff top that overlooked the city. "Watch the procession from there. It passes right beneath you, and perhaps you can give a message to your parents as they ascend into Nirvana." Shen's eye twitched and he dismissed the wolves, marking them as lookouts. When he saw none of them around, he took out his blade, rearing up before the old goat.
She did nothing, already accepting her death if that was what was to come. Instead, Shen stuck the weapon into the ground, and used it to support himself, tears falling from his eyes. "Father... mother..." he cried softly, the rain and sorrow in his soul dousing the fire for a few moments.
A month later, and this time Shen had been more bold. No diplomacy, no requests, just a quick invasion of Gongmen City, allowing him to visit the graveyard while his wolves protected his back. Jade Wings had flew up to intercept his passage among the roofs, but had gorilla used it's climbing skills to clamber up the walls and jump at the peahen, tackling her to the ground. They both vanished in a mix of grunting and sprawled green feathers, disappearing from sight. Shen smirked.
Now, with the sounds of battle too far away to be heard, he looked at the statue erected above his parents' final resting place. Both of them clasped arm in arm, loved by each other and by all. And he, their son, the great Prince, Lord Shen, was nowhere to be seen. He flew at the statue in a rage, beating his metal claws against it and trying to take vengeance on his parents. After the third pounding the bird allowed himself to slip back to the ground, staring at the grave dirt.
Slowly, Shen removed his metal talons, the cool mud beneath his feet cooling burn wounds. His silk robe was soaked through, his feathers were wet, and his heart was broken. "WHY!" he suddenly yelled at them.
"Why! TELL ME WHY! You betrayed me, you cast me out, you exiled me, there was horror in your eyes! YOU LOOK AT ME WITH HORROR!" raged the peacock, using all his restraint to not dig up their corpses and perform the ultimate desecration. "WHY... do I feel SAD? I HATE YOU, and I FEEL sad why. WHY! TELL ME WHY!" Shen's temper tantrum reached penultimate levels, the bird stomping around and hurling curses at his parents. "You... hated me... why should I feel anything..." cried the peacock, falling to his front to claw at the grave dirt. All physical pain was forgotten as Shen's pent up anger and frustration released itself all at once.
Amongst the despair, a single memory pervaded his thoughts. His mother, bandaging his leg after a fireworks display had gone wrong. Shen remember sniffling like a... well, he was a child as she did it. "There... all better now, right my little Prince?" asked the peahen, bouncing Shen on her knee while the peachick poked at the bindings. "It still hurts, mother" he complained, causing the peahen to hug Shen to her chest. "Soon it'll be better, my love."
Present day Shen touched the now healed skin, rubbing it gently. She had been right, but... no, he hated her. Didn't he? Yes, she abandoned him.
He abandoned them.
No! They... what? It... HE.
"I LOVE YOU MOTHER AND FATHER!" raged the peacock, and stopped himself short. "I mean... I lo-loathe you you, mother... and... father. I LOV-I mean, LOATHE you. YES, oh for the love of Heaven PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME!"
But no matter how much he cajoled and begged with it the statue remained silent. With all his emotions out of him, Shen breathed heavily as if he had just run a thousand miles. A tranquil fury engulfed him now, the peacock thinking clearly, and understanding better now the hate. "Mother, father. You were complete and utter... IDIOTS!" shouted the peacock, and turned to go. His metal talons were left as a peace offering, however, and after a few steps Shen turned paused.
"But you weren't fools. I chose this path, to go it alone. I will hold strong to my convictions, but I will never love myself again. Goodbye, father and mother. I'll make sure to look after my city" finished Shen calmly. Ten minutes later, the old goat came by and picked up the talons. The rain had lightened now, the cold air causing it to turn to snow. Shen had been here, and she buried the offerings below the ground slightly, so they would not be disturbed.
Perhaps there was hope for him yet, even if Shen himself did not realise it.