Once Section 13 had received word that the Greenwich incident had been "resolved" and Kim and Viper were unharmed if annoyed, and confirmation that the Eye of Calypso was a false lead, the rest of the team commenced preparations for their missions. Viper had made a passing remark about perhaps joining Jackie's group once they were on the ground in Turkey.
One intercontinental flight plus ground travel later, Jade and Uncle were in Hong Kong, where Jade's parents waited for them. Jade hugged her parents, but then jumped back and started babbling excitedly all about their most recent adventure, which led to raised eyebrows and some pointed glances at Uncle.
Uncle shrugged. "What? You sent her to Jackie. You let her stay with Jackie even after whole mess with Shendu. You know what you signed up for!"
Jade's mother sighed. "Alright, alright. Come, you two. We have a long ride home."
Once they were in the family car, with the luggage stowed in the trunk, Jade's father asked, "What brings the two of you to Hong Kong so suddenly, and without Jackie?"
"Searching for artifact," Uncle said. "Have three leads on location. First lead already go bust."
"We're looking for this magic green crystal," Jade said. "We'd actually found it in L.A., but then the Monkey King got loose again and while we were dealing with his monkeyshines, somebody stole the crystal and went back in time with it!"
"Back in...time," Jade's father said slowly, disapproval in his tone.
"Very long story," Uncle said. "Actually, Uncle not know whole story. Veeeeeery much crazy Los Angeles thing. Is why Uncle stay away from Hollywood!"
"Yeah, so anyway, we figure either a pirate, an Arab, or Hua Mulan stole it," Jade said. "Oh, did I mention we met Hua Mulan? Because we totally met Hua Mulan."
Jade's mother clucked her tongue. "I see your...imagination is as untamed as ever."
"I'm not making it up, I swear!"
"Atchaaa, believe in demon sorcerors and magic talismans, no believe legendary Chinese hero can travel in time?"
Jade's parents sighed. "Alright, fine, so...Hua Mulan stole some magic crystal. From Hollywood."
"Might have stolen it," Jade said. "I still say it was the Arab. Anyway, Jackie's gone to Turkey to look for it there, and we came here to look for it because some rich guy who claims to be a descendant of Hua Mulan has it in his private collection."
"The Monkey's Jealous Eye?" Jade's mother asked. "I read about that in the newspaper."
"You two aren't going to do anything...illegal, are you?" Jade's father asked, gripping the steering wheel more tightly.
"First, must find out if Eye is crystal we seek," Uncle said. "If it is, then we maybe do something illegal."
Jade grinned. "Sweet, Fun Uncle time!"
"But FIIIIIIRST, we try to get crystal legally," Uncle said. "Never go straight to worst life choice!"
* * * * *
"So this is like, the biggest shopping mall in the Middle East, right?" Ron Stoppable asked. "And we're here to find something that's probably in a museum somewhere."
"Hey, the crystal was in a shopping mall in San Dimas the first time around," Jackie pointed out.
"Fair point," Ron admitted.
"Why are we in the Grand Bazaar?" Tohru asked. "I thought we came to Istanbul to visit one of your archaeology colleagues."
"We are," Jackie said, a mild frown on his face. "Not every archaeologist is scrupulous or reputable. Some are in it for a quick buck." He sighed. "Still, if we're searching the Middle East for a notorious treasure, this is the man I would trust to know the most about it—and if he's found it himself, at least we can try to bargain for it."
"Oh, he's one of those guys," Ron said, pulling a face. "Wonderful. Bet he's got goons armed to the teeth."
"No, that's not his style," Jackie said. "Besides, trust me, if he ever tried to hire goons, they'd tie him up and rob him blind." He frowned as he studied Twilight's tracker. "I am not picking up any signal on this device. I was hoping we would be lucky for a change." He shook his head and rounded a corner. "It's right up here in the Old Bazaar." As they walked through the bustling foot traffic, they soon came upon an unusual sight which made Tohru stop in his tracks:
A short, elderly Japanese woman with a broad, flat face, shaggy eyebrows, and her hair in a topknot was arguing with a tall, ruggedly handsome American man with shaggy blond hair, bright blue eyes, and two days' growth of stubble that gave him a roguish look. The American wore khaki pants, a wrinkled blue dress shirt, and an off-white jacket; the old woman was conservatively dressed in a wine-colored skirt and blazer, a cream blouse with crescent-moon brooch, support hose, and sensible shoes.
"—expect me to believe that?" the old woman said snappishly.
"I assure you, ma'am," the American said, his voice carrying a charming light Southern twang. "It was used by Miyamoto himself."
"Pah!" the old woman retorted. "It is an authentic antique, but sometimes 'antique' just means 'junk', and this shogi set is junk!"
"Hey, it's got the drunk elephant piece," the American said. "You know how rare it is to find a set that's got that?"
The old woman pressed her lips together tightly, making a low, indecisive humming noise.
"Tohru, isn't that—" Jackie said quietly.
Tohru took three large steps toward the argument, drawing the attention of the American, who sized him up with wide eyes and swallowed visibly. Tohru ignored him. "Mother," he rumbled.
Tohru's mother looked round sharply, craning her head. "Tohru!" she said happily. "What a pleasant surprise! I did not know you were in Istanbul!"
"I just got here on business this morning," Tohru said. "What are you doing here, Mother?"
"Just doing a bit of sightseeing," Mama Tohru said. "And right now, haggling with this crook over a piece of junk he claims Miyamoto played shogi on!"
Tohru looked at the merchant, who seemed to have developed a sudden concern for his personal well-being. "Is that so," he said slowly and deliberately.
"Aheh, well...maybe that's a bit of, y'know, color," the merchant hedged.
"If there is one thing you are full of, it is color," Jackie said, his voice dry and dripping with disapproval. The merchant slowly turned his head to stare at Jackie, and his face paled.
Jackie had his arms crossed. "Hello, Owen," he said stonily.