Chapter I – Just Another Day
It was a glorious and beautiful day in the Valley of Peace. The sun was shining bright high in the sky, atmosphere amongst the villagers was tender and caring towards one another, and more importantly, the Dragon Warrior himself had found inner peace and tranquility.
It had been three months since the fall of Lord Shen and his army and all of China had been appreciating Po, the Furious Five, Shifu and all the other masters that saved them from a total dictatorship they were not ready to embrace.
The warriors that lived in the Jade Palace had been practicing for a huge Kung Fu demonstration within the next week. Everyone had been practicing new moves and techniques they had created on their own in order to show-off their own brand of martial arts. Shifu was watching them train from a good view in the training hall as Crane and Monkey scrimmaged.
"Man, you're getting rusty, old friend!" Monkey taunted from one side of the floor. "I think you should stick with calligraphy, 'cause fighting isn't just your thing, is it?"
"Laugh now, but I will be the one who laughs last!" Crane retorted back, followed by a barrage of swift kicks. Monkey dodged them all . . . except for one which hit him in the chest, sending him flying to the wall.
While dazed, Crane darted his way over to Monkey, picked him up by the tail with his talons, flew thirty feet in the air, and plunged with him down to the hard ground. Crane then landed on the disoriented simian with one talon, therefore claiming that he had won.
"I (cough) think you got the better (cough) of me this time." Monkey managed to say through his wheezing. Crane then removed his foot from his friend and extended a wing to help him up.
"Great job, both of you." Shifu said to his students.
"Thank you, Master." They both replied simultaneously.
"Monkey you need to work on your defense and knock off the taunting." Shifu criticized. Monkey simply nodded his head in agreement. "Up next is Tigress and Po."
As he stated it, Po and Tigress hopped onto the training room floor. They both stretched out a few muscles and cracked a few joints before getting into their fighting stances.
"You ready, Po?" the tiger asked the panda.
"As I'll ever be! Because you're going down this time, Tigress!" he yelled back.
Shifu then simply smirked at this retort. Po was a great fighter, but never as disciplined and trained as his prized pupil was, Shifu had always thought. "Begin."
With this, Tigress launched herself at Po with incredible speed and momentum, but Po stood his ground against the attempted tackle. He caught her away from his body and threw her another ten yards away from him. She gracefully landed on all fours and pursued Po again. She threw two punches to his left and right, which he blocked, but not the swift kick to his calves causing him to fall backwards and land hard on his back. Tigress then prepared to finish the match with a haymaker to Po's skull, but he saw it coming. As she thrust her fist down towards his face, the unexpected happens. Instead of trying to move his head or attack her first, he catches the punch right next to his cheek. This caused everyone in the room; even Shifu to drop their jaws is awe. As Tigress was stunned by this amazing feat, Po took advantage. He thrust both of his feet upward at Tigress' chest, sending her flying and smashing into the ceiling. As she fell from the roof, Mantis noticed the lifeless look on her face and took immediate action.
"Po! Catch her!" he shouted at the top of his tiny lungs.
"Huh?" Po looked up and saw what Mantis had meant. Po jumped out with one powerful leap, extended his arms and safely caught Tigress, preventing her from hitting the floor. After realizing he safely caught his friend, Po carefully set her head down on the ground with the rest of her body. Everyone quickly rushed to her side in hopes that she was alright. She fluttered her eyes open as she looked around at everyone with questioning eyes.
Po only grinned and told her,"I win."
She took a minute process it, and finally spoke. "I must be in a dream." And with that everyone laughed. "What? I'm serious." Everyone just laughed some more.
Unbelievable, Shifu thought. Po actually beat her. I guess there's a first time for everything.
It truly was a great day in the Valley of Peace.
But far away, in a distant town that had been overrun by ruthless thugs and greedy mercenaries, a feline casually walks in the front gate.
A Siberian tiger strides his way through the village as he is being eyeballed by criminals and thugs from an alley way. He was wearing a cobalt blue vest with black and white decals, jet black pants, and one gold earring on his left ear. His most noticeable features were the scars that spun around his arms, legs and neck.
As he continued to walk down the deserted road, it began rain. The mysterious tiger holds out his paw as rain drops rapidly smash it. He rubs his fingers together, as if to examine the water, and looks around the road again. After spotting a clothing store a few yards down the way, he walks in with money in his paw.
The store was ancient. It looked as if it had not been cleaned in fifty years. Most of the clothes there were either ripped, torn or just too small. The feline browsed the section of the shop where the hooded cloaks were. He shifted the circular rack so he could get a good look at all the store had to offer. Nothing sparked his interests until he saw perfectly intact, not ripped or torn, blood red cloak that was just his size. He yanked it off the rack and proceeded to the cashier at the back of the shop. She was sheepish looking lady that couldn't have been younger that sixty. She was smoking a pipe with hand-picked tobacco that had a stench that would make anyone barf. The tiger tossed the cloak and several gold coins on the counter. The old sheep took the coins off the counter and slid them into her pocket. She then took the pipe out of her mouth and examined the man in front of her.
"You're not from these parts, are you boy?" Her voice managed to crack out. The tiger only shook his head slowly. "Figured not. You don't look like you're up to no good. But there are tons of those kinds out there. Watch yourself." She slid the cloak back over to him as she lifted the pipe back up to her mouth. He took the clothing article, put in on and put the hood on over his head.
He thanked the old shopkeeper and headed back out the door into the freezing rain which was coming down harder now. He simply ignored its existence and walked across the street to a motel that said 'Vacant Rooms'. Little did he know that three little crocodiles had been the ones eyeing him from the alley. The biggest one watched the cat enter the building with an evil grin on his crooked face.
"C'mon, boys, we have some work that needs to be done" he said to his thug buddies as they followed the feline into the motel.
As the tiger made his way into the building, he looked around the room. It appeared to be a diner that had seen better days. He made his way to the bar where he assumed he could purchase a room and maybe some food. The bartender soon noticed his feline guest and immediately dropped what he was doing to service him.
"Is there anything I can help you with, sir?" the pig said with an eager tone.
"Yes, I saw the sign out in front that said rooms were available. I was hoping I could buy one" the tiger answered back with firm tone in his voice.
"Of course! Of course! Is there anything else I can get you? Maybe a drink perhaps?"
"Green tea. Iced. Thank you." The pig hustled over to the waitress who was cleaning dishes and whispered for her to go get a room key while the he fixed drink that had been ordered.
"Here you go. Made fresh! Anything else?" the pig asked as he gingerly set the iced tea down on counter. The striped man took the glass and took a large gulp of the contents before setting it back down. Just then, the three crocs that had been stalking the tiger since he had arrived burst through the door. The leader of the crocs, who had a decent-sized sword on his side, approached the bar with thundering footsteps. The bartender shriveled in fear and the goat waitress hid in the back room when she saw them, but the tiger did not even turn his head to look. He did not have to, for he knew no matter whom it was that there was going to be trouble.
"Well, well, well. Look what we have here?" the head croc gaffed to his fellow reptiles, "We got us some sorta white kitty cat! Too bad I ain't got any yarn for him to play with…" as he said this, the 'kitty cat' took another gulp of green tea. "What's your name, kitty? I'm gonna need to memorize it when I have your tail on a plaque about my fireplace!" The other two crocs chuckled at their leader's threat. The tiger just ignored him and brought the glass of tea to his lips again. Clearly irritated, the croc pulled out his sword and sliced the tea cup in half, spilling tea all over the bar counter. The tiger then just put his broken glass on the counter and gave the croc a death glare.
"Good, now that I have your attention," he continued on, "I can threaten you face to face." The feline promptly stood up and began to walk away, until the croc lead grabbed his arm and tugged him with force. "Hey! I'm talking to-"was all he could get out as the cat pulled out a small dagger he had hidden inside his vest and stabbed the croc's other hand that was laying on the table with incredible force that the knife punctured his hand and penetrated the table. As the croc screamed in pain, the tiger took an empty bottle on the counter with his other hand and smashed it against the reptiles face, knocking him unconscious. The other crocs pulled out small daggers of their own and tried to stab the cat, but he was too agile. The crocs' thrusts proved futile as their weapons were kicked away. The feline then, with one powerful kick, knocks one thug into the other and they soared into a wall on the far side of the diner, knocking them out.
The tiger then exhaled and turned back to the pig bartender, awestruck by what he had just seen.
"Is my room ready yet?" the tiger calmly asked.
The pig nodded his head nervously as he ran over to the waitress who tossed him the key, still shaking. "H-Here…" he manage to mumble out as he dropped the key on the bar table. The tiger place a small bag of coins on the counter and yanked his knife out of the assailant's hand. Then he took the key and proceeded up the stairs to his room. "FIRST DOOR TO YOUR LEFT!" the pig hollered to the new guest already at the top of the staircase.
When he reached his suite, he analyzed the entire area.
'Bamboo bed, tattered. Silk sheets, slightly torn. Stone walls, old and fragile. I've slept in worse' he thought to himself. He removed his cloak from around his shoulders and hung it on the door handle. He practically fell into bed as he quickly drifted to sleep.