Daughter of Skill
Two figures crept through the forest. It was an especially dark night, with no moon and a cloudy sky. "How could you drop a baby you idiot!?" one scolded the other.
"I didn't drop her! I just set her down for a moment to readjust the straps on my pack, and then you started griping about me being slow, so when I started after you I forgot her!" The second figure was promptly smacked upside the head.
"How could you forget her!? For crying out loud, she's a squirmy, screaming infant, how hard can it be!" The first figure grabbed the second and glared at him threateningly. "The boss sent us to get his daughter, even if we had to kill the thing's mom to take her, which we did! I'm not letting all that effort go to waste! We traveled across all of China for some stupid tiger cub and you just dropped her on the ground and forgot her!"
"I said I didn't drop her!" the second figure insisted again, pulling back. "If I dropped her she would've been dead before we realized she was gone!"
"We've been gone for three days, she's probably dead now!" the first figure muttered angrily. "Come on, let's just retrace our steps and find her." The two figures made their way through the trees for another few minutes, before bending down to examine the ground. "This doesn't make any sense..." Their prints led to the right spot, but the cub was nowhere to be found. "Are you sure you put her here?"
"Absolutely! Someone must have come along and-Wait a minute." The second figure's eyes followed a trail that lead away and to the west. He stood and pointed in the direction that the tracks led. "That way! Whoever took her must live somewhere over there." The two figures darted off, following the tracks that they noticed belonged to another tiger.
After traveling for a few miles, they came across a large, ornate palace. "Hey, isn't this the Jade Palace?"
"Yeah, where the Furious Five train alongside the Dragon Warrior! Oh I've always wanted to meet them! Ow!" The second figure was slapped a second time.
"We're here to find the boss's daughter, dummy! Not sightsee!" The two figures crept through the palace grounds, quickly finding the barracks and checking through each room for the lost tiger cub. "The tiger master's room is empty!" the first figure reported.
"All the others are asleep."
"So where is she?" The second figure shrugged.
"Let's try looking in the palace." they suggested. The first figure nodded, and the pair crept around the outside walls of the Jade Palace. They soon came to a window, and quietly crept up to it. Peering inside, their eyes widened upon finding their objective in the room, which happened to be a kitchen. And not only that, but also in the arms of someone.
Specifically speaking, Master Tigress.
Qiao sat atop the Jade Palace roof, gazing up at the starry sky in wonder. The full moon shone brightly, illuminating the night. Her mother had told her that a full moon was the sign of correct time; the time to walk on the beach, hand in hand with someone special. The time to take a moment and talk earnestly with someone dear. In local lore, the time for monsters to make an appearance. But Qiao didn't believe in fantasies such as that. So, if the full moon meant the time was right...what was the time right for?
How was she to spend this special night? The twenty year old allowed her feet to hang over the edge of the roof, kicking her feet back and forth gently. Perhaps it was the night to do nothing? She often longed for time to simply sit and do nothing, not even meditate. But tonight she wanted something special. "Mind if I join you?" Qiao flicked her tail in acknowledgement.
"Sure mom." Tigress sat next to her, wrapping an arm around her daughter.
"What are you doing up here so late? Last I saw you were asleep in bed." Qiao sighed.
"I...kind of was. I just...feel unsettled."
"You're probably just excited. I was like this too when I officially became a Kung Fu master." Qiao smiled. This day she had been pronounced a master of the Jade Palace and protector of the Valley of Peace. As well as being counted the first of the second generation of the Furious Five. It was an honor that humbled her to the ground; she wasn't technically Tigress's real daughter. But the tiger master would need an heir sooner or later, and Qiao was the perfect choice. Or so her mother told her.
"You really think I'll live up to what people think of you?" Tigress smiled and held Qiao's head beneath her chin lovingly.
"Of course. You've been trained by the best warriors in China, how could they not?" Qiao smiled and giggled.
"Yeah, you make a good point." The two tigers sat on the rooftop for a while, enjoying each other's presence. "Mom?"
"Do you...would you happen to know...anything about..."
"About...my, other, mom?"
"...I can't say that I do."
"Oh. I just thought...that since you found me..." Qiao trailed off with a shrug. Tigress rubbed her daughter's arm comfortingly.
"I'm sorry." she said. "I know what it's like to...not know who your parents were, or, why they left you." Qiao blinked and looked up at her.
"R...really?" Tigress nodded.
"I was an orphan too. Shifu adopted me from the Bao Gu Orphanage when I was a little girl. He practically saved my life."
"Did you not like the orphanage?" Tigress grimaced for a moment.
"No. I didn't." she replied softly. Qiao looked away.
"Oh, sorry I asked." Tigress gently turned her face back, gently stroking the white fringe around her daughter's face with her thumb.
"No , it's fine." she assured with a smile. "Now, let's go back to bed. Qiao smiled and hugged her mother. Tigress hugged her back, laying her cheek on the younger tiger's forehead.
Tigress stared up at the sky thoughtfully as she embraced her daughter. She knew how much of a burden it was to never know who one's parents were. She couldn't help but want to protect Qiao from that suffering. But how was she to find her daughter's true parents? Pushing such musings aside, she stood, pulling Qiao up with her. The two tigers returned to the barracks, Tigress making sure her daughter was comfortable in bed before going to her own room. After closing the paper door, she walked over to her window and stared outside for a while.
"What can I do?" she whispered. It was funny really; she was the most powerful of the Furious Five, her skills only topped by Shifu and the Dragon Warrior, and yet for once she was stuck in a situation where she was helpless. She gave a deep sigh, before registering a flick from her ear. Instantly on guard, Tigress raised her head from it's position on her arms and peered keenly into the night. Her fiery eyes shone like rounded flames in the moonlight as she searched for the intruder. No, it was intruders. She growled lowly, silently almost, then vaulted out the window, landing in a four pawed crouch natural to her kind.
The intruders were close, as if stalking the barracks. She prowled lowly through the grass, soon coming to the edge of the Ironwood Forest. She stood up and pressed her back to one of the trees, glancing around cautiously. A twig snapped to her left, and she froze. Cautiously peeking around the trunk, Tigress spotted two shadowy figures making their way towards the barracks. Her eyes narrowed; they had to be intent on taking something. She crept silently after them, her sharp ears catching their conversation.
"I can't believe he had us watch her for twenty years! What are we, babysitters?" one of them complained. Tigress raised a brow; who were they watching?
"Yeah, we've had to wait until she became a master of Kung Fu before bringing her! How does he expect us to transport her now?"
"With the rohypnol, dummy! I managed to slip about four milligrams of it into her drink before that panda gave her the glass, she should be out about now. I don't get why she was up on the roof earlier though." Tigress bit back a snarl. Qiao had been drugged? Why hadn't she smelt it? If not Qiao, sheshould have!
"Oh yeah, that's right! So, we just cart her off while she's asleep, and then there can be a reunion!"
"Reunion? Tigress thought. "What's he going on about?" She crept up behind the two villains, before standing and pinning them against the ground with a snarl. They left out yelp and struggled for a moment. "Who are you?!" she demanded.
"Dude, it's Master Tigress!" one of them squealed. "Oh man, I'm so terrified yet awed right now!" The tiger master rolled her eyes; she never thought she'd meet someone with as much fanboy in him as Po.
"Pipe down, you idiot! Let me handle this!" the other intruder snapped. "Listen, uh, my friend and I here are pretty big fans of the masters of the Jade Palace, and, we just wanted to, you know, get a glimpse of the newest master." Tigress growled and sunk her claws into their shoulders.
"You're here to kidnapmy daughter!"
"Actually she's Huang's daughter." Tigress raised an eyebrow.
"Her father, and that's all you need to know!"
So, that's chapter 1 of my first multi-chapter KFP story! Some of you viewers may recognize me from my work in the Ice Age Archives, so here I am spreading out! Plus, if you were confused at all while reading this, please check out my two one-shots that lead up to this. The first is titled 'Qiao', and the second is titled 'Training'. Fun side note: all the technique info in 'Training' is from my own personal experience as a student of Tae Kwon Do. Plz leave a review! :D