Chapter 9
Art of war

"You just ran away. That was your oh so glorious plan?" Wuya grimaced with disgust. Jack made the whole situation sound like he was about to do something big. At first things looked like he was about to deal with the monks permanently, cutting them to tiny little pieces with these robots of his. But it ended up like plain, old stealing stuff while enemies were occupied and running away as fast as possible. She felt disappointed and that made her angry. She hated feeling such things. Especially since her little helper was such promising creature!

"Hey, we get the Wu" Jack protested. While he was making a show, a tiny little robot managed to localize and snatch the mystical feather. Then it ran away to the mansion, just as its master did. But getting hold onto this Shen Gong Wu wasn't making the situation any better in Wuya's eyes. This artifact was pretty much useless, just funny little trinket, if one fancied jumping off the roofs.

"And you ran away like a little girl," she huffed with disapproval.

"Ah, Wuya, Wuya, Wuya!" He shook his head, laughing a little. "Don't you think I'm more intelligent than that? I knew that they are going to trash my robots even before that fight started."

"So what was rest of your plan, my boy?"

"Definitely not get my ass kicked by the bunch of martial artists," his lip quirked up a bit. "I just needed the monks away from the temple."

xxx

Raimundo was right to order them to forget the useless Wu and just go back to the temple.

The place looked way less peaceful than usual. Nothing was burning, but they could spot a huge hole in the building, where the vault was located. What was left of elegant, navy blue tiles laid scattered around. Some of the pieces destroyed the more precious flower bushes. The one's that were not covered in sticky, green goo.

"That asshole!" Raimundo hissed through teeth.

"Yeah, it doesn't look pretty," Clay said quietly. He was observing the temple grounds too with slight frown on his face. Seeing this place in such state wasn't the most pleasant experience. Even if it didn't look like much had happened here while they were away. But still, in his mind, the temple was something untouchable. He knew it was rather ridiculous thing to think, but he couldn't help himself. It just was there from ancient times and was supposed to be there long time after he and his friends would be gone.

"What had happened here?" Omi asked nervously as soon as they reached ground.

"Why are you asking if you already know it?" Kimiko winkled her nose.

"We need to be sure," he licked his lips.

"Your answer is right in front of your eyes, pal," Raimundo grimaced. "Look around! There is that green stuff on everything!"

"Yeah..." Kimiko sighed. "I saw some of the monks dragging away bunch of metal junk too. It's Jack's doing."

"At least nobody seems to be hurt?" Dojo added, circling around the temple ground to find place clean enough to land on.

"That don't make it all right!" Kimiko protested.

"Well, of course not!" Dojo snorted. "To make it all right you probably need a mop and a lot of time!"

They decided to leave it without a comment. The dragon finally landed, choosing lawn instead of square in front of the main building, deciding that grass could survive a bit of creasing on his side. Better that than being stuck whole in the goo, after he change size to his smaller form.

Clay let him climb up his arm and Dojo wrapped himself around boy's shoulder, because of lack of his favorite hiding spot. The hat did not survive the goo.

Soon enough, master Fung welcomed them home, his expression tense.

"It was Jack, wasn't it?" Raimundo asked. He sounded more like he was trying to pick up a fight instead of talking to his old master.

"Machines attacked the temple," the monk said. "And they knew not only what they were looking for, but where too."

That was really bad thing to hear. They hoped that Spicer and his robots won't be able to find the vault. It was hidden pretty cleverly, opening only when one knew what to do, no mention what melody to play using the bells next to the entrance.

"They really took everything away?" Kimiko shook her head, not wanting to believe it. They were working so hard to gather the ancient artifacts and now they were gone, just like that? It wasn't fair!

"Almost," Master Fung sighed. "The Saphire Dragon is still here-"

"And is completely useless," Raimundo cut in. None of them wanted to think about that one anytime soon. Becoming a zombie wasn't the most pleasant experience after all.

Master Fung frowned, but then decided to continue.

"There is also the Longi Kite."

"That is completely useless too!" Raimundo moaned.

"At least that one don't want to kill us," Clay tried to find a bright side, but failed rather miserably at his attempt at humor.

"We were taken completely by surprise," Master Fung admitted. "But there is still a chance to get the Shen Gong Wu back."

"We sure will do that," Raimundo narrowed eyes. "We will take them back and let him know how much we don't like what he did here."

"Vengeance is not a way of xiaolin, my young student," master Fung frowned.

"Theft is evil thing, isn't it?" he shrugged with a smirk. "He need to receive a lesson and we will make sure that lesson is going to be understood."

"Do not do things you will regret later."

"I won't," Raimundo promised.

He was angry. Really, really angry, but also oddly satisfied. Finally, the others were able to see what he knew from the beginning! They saw what Spicer was really like, that cunning little bastard! Now they will stop acting like the bastard was salvageable case, stop trying to make friends with him. Spicer showed them his true colors after long weeks of cheating, lying and charming. Oh, how much Raimundo was waiting for that moment!

"We need to get the Shen Gong Wu back!" Omi said, before Raimundo opened his mouth to tell the others now was the right time to fight back. "They cannot be left in hands other that our own! It would be disastrous!"

"It already is, but, you're right," Clay smiled slightly. "Who knows what Spicer is planning to do with them."

"Hell if I care," Raimundo snorted. "But yeah, we need our stuff back. Kimiko, can you find where he lives, or something?"

"I could try..." she mumbled biting on her thumb. "That wouldn't be exactly legal if he didn't dropped his home address on some social page or something like that..."

"He don't seem to be that stupid," Clay sighed.

"Don't worry, I'll be careful," she promised. "Just let me get my PDA..."

"How long it will take?" Raimundo asked curiously. He never was really all that interesting in hacking. He knew how to create and send pretty harmless, irritating virus, but only because his older brother taught him to do that. Then they pranked together anyone who was safe enough to do so. The other stuff was still like some odd, ancient dialect of Chinese. He understood only one word in a few and there was always possibility that he interpreted the symbol completely wrong.

"How can I know?"she huffed. "There are too many things to just guess!"

It was safer to just let Kimiko work. They were really lucky at all with her actually knowing how to deal with that sort of stuff. Omi was absolutely hopeless and Clay wasn't all that useful too. The cowboy wasn't even planning on getting anywhere near some illegal stuff. Funny thing, considering they were planning breaking into somebody's house and steal a lot of priceless trinkets.

Luckily for them, Spicer wasn't hiding himself very hard, so soon enough Kimiko had everything they needed to do was to get there. And then find their belongings. It looked like not very moral thing to do, but then again, Jack was the one who started it.

"So?" Clay blinked. "Are we just going to crash into his house and hope for the best?"

"I'm hoping he will be home," Raimundo said with a nasty grin on his face.

"I do not," Omi mumbled.

"Why? You should be happy for the opportunity!"

"And I am not,"

"Just let him be," Clay rolled his eyes. "And that plan seems to be somewhat half-baked. How we even know he keeps the Wu at home?"

"Because I'm somewhat hoping for beating the answers out..."

"Oh, for crying out loud, stop talking about the beating already!" Kimiko hissed. "This is getting irritating!"

xxx

"You know, there was that dude, Sun Tzu, or something like that," Jack started explaining his brilliant plan to Wuya. Or at least he acted like it was some act of genius mind at work, anyway. "He told a lot of things to watch out for while fighting with somebody. You get it, right? To know your enemy, to know what your enemy think of you and where your enemy is… stuff like that."

"I am familiar with the concept," Wuya said coldly.

"You do? Ah, well!" he grinned. "that make it actually easier to explain."

"So do it already!" she hissed. "I do not like wasting my time.

"So, the most important think to know is not where your enemy is, but where he i ," Jack smirked. "And the monks always are away from the temple, when the Shen Gong Wu activates itself."

Wuya was silent, letting him ramble some more.

"While they all are trying to get out of my sticky gel, the other robots did their job," Jack waltzed towards the table and demonstrated it content to the witch. "I told you I can get the Wu back. Every. Single. One."

She floated over the table, gaping with wide eyes at all the ancient items.

"I must admit, you overdid yourself this time, my apprentice..."

"Yeah, that was neat job," Jack eyes narrowed. "Well, every Wu, short of Longi Kite. Somebody probably caught up to the last of my robots and managed to destroy it."

"A shame."

"Doubt they would fall for that trick for a second time. At least not for a while," Jack stretched himself lazily. "No mention they so are going to try and steal it back."

"And what are you planning to do to prevent that?"

"Give it up?" Jack laughed. "Don't worry. I'm a genius. Got every sort of a plan!"

xxx

In the mansion there was only silence. No robots in sight, nor Spicer himself. The building itself was ridiculously huge, white and elegant with subtle oriental touch to it. Somebody definitely put a lot of money to building it. The inside was intimidating in similar way, clearly speaking about professional designers hired to make it look good.

The monks wandered around a bit, feeling completely out-of-place in such rooms. At least the boys were uneasy. Kimiko was just irritated, because it was like going back to the most irritating part of her old life, where she was the sole heir of pretty big fortune and had to attend a few very boring, very snobby parties with her dad. She was always the only kid there and was bored almost to the death after first fifteen minutes.

"Do you guys think there is map or something somewhere?" Raimundo laughed a bit. "Because, seriously, how the hell do you find anything here?"

"Usually there are people to bring the thing to you," Kimiko shrugged.

"And when you get lost?"

"A lot of people to bring you beverage too."

"I don't know if it is strange or just scary," Omi said. "The place seems so… empty! Why somebody would need so much space?"

"Because they have a money to afford it?" Clay scratched his head. "Anyway, we need to find the Wu and get out of here before somebody finds us. It could end ugly."

Saviors of the world or not, there wasn't much they would be able to do behind the prison bars. Luckily, after a few minutes of wandering around, they found the stairs leading down to the basement. The doors definitely were out of the place, armored and made of metal. With a few things stuck onto them too. One of the sticker said: "Evil Lair".

"Guys?" Kimiko giggled. "I think we just hit the jackpot…"

Omi laughed too, then explained the joke. Nobody was amused. The basement was ridiculously huge too. And surprisingly neat for Evil Lair of rebellious teenager. Random stuff lay on the shelves in neat rows, the tools were organized and categorized according to the size and type. The floor was shining too.

"Somebody definitely found himself a hobby," Kimiko commented, wandering along the wall.

"My sister would kill for a quarter of this stuff," Clay mumbled.

"She's a geek or something?"

"More like a mechanic? Sort of…" Clay answered, his gaze wandering somewhere away, his face suddenly tense. He clearly wasn't comfortable with the topic, so Raimundo decided to let it go.

"Where do you think Jack Spicer hid the Shen Gong Wu?" Omi asked looking around with wide open eyes. "This place is so big looking through everything would take hours even for me!"

"Probably some sort of a safe? Chest, if he decided to be stylish," Kimiko shrugged. "I doubt that he would left this stuff just somewhere around."

They found a safe indeed. Quite a big one too. It was the same size shelf unit were, but way thicker, shining metallic, almost like it was mocking them.

"Do you guys think the Shen Gong Wu are in the safe?" Raimundo asked, eyeing the doors. They looked thick. Solid. Like something from the movies, but real deal.

"Where else he could put something as precious?" Kimiko rolled her eyes.

"Then we have a problem," Clay sighed. "The safe is shut tight. I don't think we could just open it by force…"

"Oh, how hard it could be?" Omi asked, looking at the electronical lock, and then the panel next to it with numbers on it.

"Well, depends on how long the combination is…" Kimiko started. She was about to tell them all about of probability of finding the real thing blind and then propose to look around for some sort of the clues. But Omi was faster. She gasped, seeing as little monk ran his finger through the first row of the numbers, pushing the buttons. There was a lot of things Kimiko expected after pulling stun like that, including some lasers suddenly activating and starting shooting at them. Or at least a fresh batch of robots ready to battle the intruders.

She definitely was not expecting the safe doors to open with a soft click.

"Well," Clay said, blinking slowly at the pile of Shen Gong Wu in the safe. "That was rather... easy."

"Yeah," Raimundo said slowly, then dig up one of the Wu. "Almost making me think it is some sort of trap or something."

"You think he made false Shen Gong Wu?" Omi's eyes widened.

"That could be a possibility," he nodded, then smirked at the Monkey Staff. "But we know this is favorite one."

"Yeah, he was moaning for this stuff every time we meet him," Kimiko snorted.

"So he would definitely like to keep that one with him!"

"So if the Monkey Staff is real..."

"Then Spicer is more stupid than he thinks he is" Raimundo finished. "So let's check it out..."

He raised up the Shen Gong Wu, cleared his throat and called its name. The Monkey Staff was real deal. In a flash of light he transformed. His limbs suddenly become way more flexible and joints were moving with complete ease, like he was totally, absolutely relaxed. He actually felt like that too. He crouched then jumped up, testing newfound abilities.

"Woah!" he gasped, when not all that strong jump took him all the way to the ceiling. He gracefully turned around and bounced with his feet, finding out that doing saltoes in the air was actually pretty easy. He landed silently in front of his friends, grinning enthusiastically. He could understand the sentiment Spicer had for this Shen Gong Wu.

"Okay, that's it, monkey–boy," Kimiko smirked. "Turn it off and let's head back before something spot us. I'm really not in the mood of getting that stuff in my hair again."

"That would be good idea," Clay nodded.

Raimundo sighed, deactivating the Wu. "We're done here anyway. Somebody would have a nasty surprise."

But nobody moved. There was moment of silence.

"Do you want to borrow my sweater?" Kimiko asked, then giggled. She was slightly blushing and couldn't keep her eyes on him for very long. "Or maybe take something from Jack wardrobe while we're still here?"

"What?" he blinked, not understanding what she was talking around.

Clay and Omi were trying very hard not to laugh, but were failing. There were tears streaming down cowboy cheeks. Raimundo blinked, then sniffed carefully, suddenly afraid that it was a trap after all and there was some sort of a drug in the air. But no, he didn't find any suspicious odors. It looked like everybody else just developed sudden case of stupid.

"You know you had a tail as a monkey, right?" Clay managed to whizz through his teeth.

"Yeah?"

"Well, you don't have that tail anymore, but, uh..."

"We can see things we definitely do not wish to see," Omi finished for him.

"Oh crap!" Raimundo blushed furiously, reaching back with both hands to cover himself.

"Yeah, that actually shows us that stupid trench coat of Spicer had its uses," Kimiko snickered.