A blow to the solar plexus stunned Shadow and she fell to the ground. Her head hit the uneven ground of the cave-lair and she began to black out.
This was stupid, she thought. There was no way I could ever defeat Chase on my own, even with--the darkness swallowing her consciousness.
Something warm began to drip on her cheek as she began to stir. She could hear the sound of
Chase's claws ripping into flesh. Now they were ripping into metal. Shadow kept her eyes closed, anticipating the pain in her black world. Another drip of warm on her cheek. The pain didn't come.
What the heck? Wiping the warm substance from her cheek, she cracked an eye open to look at it. Red blood, and definitely not hers.
Shadow looked up, expecting to see cave ceiling, Chase's dragon form, and possibly her end trails being pulled out, but instead...
"Sh--Shadow! I'm...I'm so glad you--you made it. You're alive!"
Spicer. A trickle of blood found its way around the boy's neck and fell onto Shadow's cheek. I'll have to pay him back for this later, she thought, swallowing her pride and anger.
"Out of my way, worm! Or meet your death!" Chase snarled, claws ripping deeper into the metal of Jack's helipack, causing the boy to wince.
"I've taken way worse from those Xiaolin Losers! There's no way a scratch from your claws could--!?"
In an instant Jack's bleeding body was thrown against the cave wall, a sickening crunch echoing throughout the cavern.
Shadow looked over at Jack's limp body as it slid down to the cave floor. An trail of blood smearing fresh color on the rock's surface. I've never seen Chase this angry before. Well, except for that egg, only this time--
"You won't fare so well without your meat shield to protect you, Shadow," Chase growled.
Shadow turned just in time to dodge her former Master's jaws from tearing off her face. Her fingers closed around something familiar. Chase was turning for another attack, jaws wide! Shadow thrust her hands forward.
Hot liquid spilled onto the stone floor. The dragon looked down to see the Blue Moon Blade thrust into his side. Chase let out a low growl, beginning to lean forward.
"Ah, ah, ah!" Shadow pushed the blade deeper. "Any closer and I'll pierce your heart, and you know very well what that will do," she smirked.
"But the minute you remove that blade of yours I'm free to regenerate on my own, so it looks like we're at a stalemate."
Glancing over to the lifeless body of the idiot boy, Shadow bit her lip. "No--you're WRONG!" The blade traveled the last few centimeters to pierce the dragon's heart. Before parting from her Master one last time, Shadow broke the blade of her prized weapon, watching as the scales around it quickly knit back together, sealing the broken metal inside.
Shadow jumped away as Chase collapsed, his body filling with blood. The cave-lair began to tremble.
I did it! She looked down at the crumpled heap of the boy next to her feet. Shadow paled. In his rage Chase had not only torn off most of the back side of the idiot's clothes, but what little remained of his helipack contraption was--she couldn't take anymore. The gouges from the dragon claws were fine, she was used to seeing those. Even the ones with flecks of white poking through the red and pale skin, but that...
Shadow looked over at the pathetic figure of Chase's dragon form, doubled over and hacking up blood. His glare suddenly pierced right through her, and Shadow could feel the screaming of every cell in her former Master's body as he gave her one last message, YOU WILL NOT MAKE IT OUT ALIVE.
The tremors were getting worse now. She had to get out or be crushed by the falling rubble. She took a step forward--the boy! Jack... I should just leave him. He's more trouble than he's worth. Ugh! But he did allow me to do all this. A stalactite fell from the ceiling, followed by several more.
Girly boy's body was cold when Shadow threw it over her shoulder. She would have preferred to have carried the boy like a princess, but his back injuries prevented that. This mock piggyback ride would have to do as she began to run, gleefully dodging every rock and boulder that fell in her way.
This is even better than sparring with Chase! She kicked a falling stalactite through a falling boulder to clear a path, just in time to pass through the cave's entrance.
A growl echoed through the rubble; the Jungle Cats were coming.
Either they want out, or they smell the fresh meat.
Shadow continued running. The sound of cat pads and claws on the rocky terrain growing behind her. She skidded to a stop at the edge of the cave’s mouth, the Jungle Cats were right behind her. Shadow hissed at them, to no effect.
"This is my prey! Go off and find your own!" she shouted.
The Cats pressed closer.
Shadow took a step back, her heel dislodging rock from the edge of the cave’s mouth. Jack's body began to slip. Shadow grit her teeth.
"Fine! If you want him, come and get me!" She leaped over the edge.
The rush of cool air felt nice, refreshing Shadow's mind. Alright, Chase is dead, Jack needs medical attention, and I have no where else to go. She slammed into the ground, reorienting herself and her companion. I reckon worm boy's got some sort of medic robot at his place, but that's way too far away. Plus in his condition, he'd probably bleed out by the time we got there. That leaves the Xiaolin Monks. Shadow groaned. "And I really don't want to come crawling to them."
The roar of a Lion sounded above. The cats had found a way down the crumbling slope.
Shadow adjusted the weight of Jack on her back. "Looks like we don't got much of a choice, then."
She started running, the entire mountain range Chase’s lair had been built into began crumbling, but Shadow took no notice. That part of her life was over now. Buried like her former Master and all his worldly possessions.
Kicking the door in, Shadow stumbled into the Xiaolin Temple's foyer. Resting on her knees, chest heaving, throat parched. She let Jack's body slip from her shoulders onto the tiled floor.
Just then the Monks jumped in, surrounding her and the lifeless body of Jack Spicer.
"You sure picked the wrong time to--whoa! What?!" Raimundo's gaze shifting from Jack to Shadow. His look of horror said enough.
"Wa-water," Shadow spluttered. "And don't blast me with an attack, jellybean." She lifted the limp body of the boy off the ground and pushed it towards the Monks. "Fix him."
All the Monks were taken-aback. Their murmurs incoherent as delirium set in for Shadow.
Shadow let out a snarl. "Just fix him!"
"JUST FIX HIM!!"
The Monks' bodies moved, taking girly boy's body with them.
Shadow heaved a few breaths before laying down on the stone floor. It was cool and fresh.
It reminded her of home, only without the distinct smell of--the Jungle Cats were still coming.
Shadow willed her body to move, but even her eyelids were too heavy to open. She submitted to the feelings of sleep.
"Orb of Torpedo--WATER!"
A splash of water cascaded over Shadow's face. She cracked her eyes open to glare at the source of the water jet.
"I see you are now awake. Care to explain how Jack Spicer got into such a condition in your care?"
Shadow rubbed her cheek where Jack's blood had fallen. At least cheeseball's tactic had washed it off. "Only if you care to explain how 'not blasting me with an attack' translates to blasting me with an attack." She began looking around. She wasn't in the foyer anymore.
"Oh, well, you see, uh, you were clocked cool, so the only way for me to wake you up was--"
"Yeah, peachy. Just cut to the chase." Shadow's face fell. "Chase..."
"Yes, I was going to ask you, what happened to Chase?"
"He, ehh...he's the one that did all that to Jack..."
The bald monk stared closely at her features. "Hmm...and then you saved the evil Jack Spicer out of the goodness of your heart!"
Shadow pushed the child away from her. "No. He owes me and I intend to have him pay me back in full." She stands, her legs wobbling from running so far.
"No, no. My Gecko said not to let you wander about just yet."
She glared daggers at the cue ball, using the nearest wall to help her stand. "Then take me to him," she spat.
"I'm afraid I cannot do that either."
"Listen, jelly bean, take me to girly boy or I'll make sure that--hrrrngh!!" She sank to the floor, hand clutching her chest.
"Look, just take me to him! I--?!" Her voice trailed off. Why do I even feel the need to know if that worm is OK? What am I even doing? She cast her eyes around the room again, a smell hitting her nostrils. I know this smell. "Kimiko."
The young Monk looked surprised, then confused. "Nooo. You must still be cold in the head. I am Omi. The greatest Xiaolin--"
"Yeah, yeah, I know who you are, jelly bean. I'm just saying this room smells like Kimiko is all."
"Oh. That is because it is Kimiko's room."
"I-if you want, I can go get Kimiko to help you settle in to--"
"No need for that, Omi," Kimiko smiled as she walked into the room, shooting Shadow a scowl. "Anyway, the operation is over, so I'll take care of Shadow from here."
"Oh, uh, OK." Omi leaned in, whispering to Kimiko, "I think she might be sicker than we thought so be on your guard."
"Oh, believe me, I already know," Kimiko whispered back. She waved until Omi was out of sight and around the corner.
"I've known rocks that are smarter than that one," Shadow smirked.
Kimiko snapped. "Look, I don't know what you and Jack got into, but I hope it was worth it to you."
"Oh, whatever could you mean, girly? He didn't die on the operating table, did he? Heck, he'd be doing us all a favor if that happened."
Kimiko glared at Shadow.
"What? Don't tell me you've got a soft spot for him?" Shadow cooed, raising an eyebrow.
"No, but I wouldn't be teasing others if I was the one who saved him in the first place."
That wiped the smirk off of Shadow's face real fast. "He owes me a favor," Shadow said through gritted teeth.
"Look, I've known Jack way longer than you have, and I can tell you, he's not going to do anything for you."
"Oh, who said I needed Jack to do anything for me?"
Kimiko's eyes narrowed.
"So tell me, is he dead?"
"No. But there were some...complications. I mean, none of us are exactly doctors or surgeons. You're lucky we even had some of the Shen Gong Wu we used on hand!"
"Just get to the point."
Kimiko's lip quivered. "It...it's probably best if I just show you..."
The boy's eyes fluttered open. He let out a groan, muttering something about the time, reaching around for something. He didn't find it, and pushed himself up, causing his back to twinge with pain. He laid back down on his stomach, pouting, he turned his head and noticed the girl by his bedside for the first time.
"Oh, it's you." He looked around quizzically in his restricted field of vision. "H-how long was I out for? W-where exactly am I? Did we--?!"
A smile cracked the corners of Shadow's lips. "Long enough to get the job done. Right now you're in the the Xiaolin Temple, where you'll be staying."
"You mean...like, I'm a Xiaolin Monk now?" His face lit up stupidly.
"No. I mean you're staying here until you--" her eyes darted over the bandages covering the boy's back. "--until you're fully recovered."
"Fair enough," he huffed. "But still," he gave her a sincere look. "Di-did we...y'know? Did we do it?"
There was a long pause.
"Yes, Jack. We did. In the end, it was your act of stupidity that allowed the plan to be accomplished."
"Wow, really?! I guess that means that--"
"Not so fast. There are a few complications."
"Complications? Like what?"
Shadow looked at the small bumps protruding from Jack's shoulders. "For starters, you got your blood all over my face."
"Despite that, I still saved your life. You owe me."
"I don't think that necessarily--I mean, technically, I--"
Shadow hissed at the boy. "You. Owe. Me."
"Alright, alright. You don't have to have a hissy fit over it." He settled into his bed.
"Um...how long are you gonna be here for?"
"Actually, I'm not allowed to move. Doctor's orders."
"What?! But this is my room!"
"Technically it's on loan."
"W-well, um, y-you're a girl! And, uh--"
"A girl?! I just saved your sorry waste of a life, or would you rather I left you to be crushed by the falling rubble?!"
"Please tell me they aren't going to be staying here permanently," Kimiko groaned. Jack and Shadow's argument could be faintly heard from the kitchen where the Monks were all gathered.
"Relax. It's just until Jack gets well enough to go on his own," Clay said.
"Knowing Jack, that's going to be never!" Raimundo chipped in.
Kimiko groaned, "and what about Shadow? As if Jack isn't bad enough."
"Oh, but Kimiko, think of all the fun girl things you can do with another female around!" Omi chimed.
"Oh yes! Since you two will be sharing a room I am most certain you will take part in the ritual practices of sleep overs," said Ping Pong.
"No way! I am not going to get friendly with her! Besides, she's probably just going to leave as soon as she gets the chance and make off with a good chunk of our Wu, like last time." Kimiko said.
"Aw, c'mon, think about all the cool things you could teach Shadow about make up and stuff," said Raimundo.
"No. Not in this life time."
"Oooh! At least find out how she makes her hair so fantastique!" said Ping Pong.
"I reckon she was just born that way," said Clay.
"You mean like she's always been able to do freaky stuff with her hair?" said Raimundo.
"Oh yes! I can imagine it now--!" said Omi.
"What? A little Shadow doing crazy stuff with her hair?" Kimiko laughed.
"What? No--ME with wondrous opposable hair."
The other Monks let out a collective laugh at the image of that.
Elsewhere, Chase Young pulled himself out of the rubble of his once great lair. He was disheveled, and had even torn his armor off. A fresh scar cut across his left torso where Shadow had stabbed him.
"An eye for an eye and a rib for a rib," he chuckled.