• Published 12th Apr 2016
  • 14,953 Views, 12,558 Comments

Three More Things! - Tatsurou

Uncle Chan tries to balance running an antique shop, fighting demons, and being a Chi Wizard with being a loving Uncle to his nephew, his somewhat removed niece...and three little ponies who drive him straight up the wall.

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Not My Choice

It didn't take long to pack for the trip to Bhutan, mostly because the monks insisted that - as far as the Chosen One was concerned - the trip was to be an ascetic one, bringing with her nothing of her present life as she embraced her role as the Chosen One to better acclimate to the awakening of her previous lives. This had left Jade so put out and distraught that no one else had packed much beyond absolute essentials so as to not leave her feeling worse.

On the long flight there, everyone attempted to talk to Jade, to try and gauge how she was feeling about all this and try and comfort her. However, she didn't respond to any of their conversational gambits, at most nodding or shaking her head in response to direct inquiries, or putting them off by saying she was going to meditate. The only ones she hadn't actively chased away in this way - mostly because they hadn't attempted to talk to her - were Hsi Wu and Tohru. Hsi Wu simply sat by her side, oddly silent as things happened. Tohru had taken up his position behind her and assumed the pose of bodyguard, well practiced after how long he served that very role for Valmont. Still, the scowl that made him intimidating wasn't entirely a role, as he remained angry with himself that he could not provide proper comfort. He didn't even know where to begin.

Before long, and yet far too soon, the plane touched down in Bhutan at the only available airport in range of the Temple that was their destination. The airport was some distance from the base of the mountain, and the Temple stood at its peak. Along the path up the mountain were the various settlements that supported the Temple in terms of its mundane and magical needs, as well as providing connection between the Temple and the outside world. Minor temples were visible from the air in each settlement, stops that the group would be taking on the way up the mountain.

At the airstrip, more monks awaited happily, bowing to Jade as she stepped off the plane, Tohru right behind her. The monks held out white silk robes to Jade. "Your sacred garments, Chosen One," they offered warmly and happily.

Sighing, Jade took the robes. While any other day she'd have been impressed by just how fine the robes were - truly the best quality available in this magical world, she had gotten good at recognizing the feel of Jorumungo silk as opposed to that of worms, and could sense the sheer amount of purification, cleansing, protective, and sanctifying spells inlaid into the very fabric - just now she could only see it as one more piece of her own personal identity she was losing as the monks were bound and determined to turn her into 'The Chosen One'. Sadly, she walked off to where Hsi Wu had already erected a privacy screen for her to change in.

"Many rituals surround the journey of the Chosen One," Ysabelle spoke up, unfolding a book she'd brought with as she flipped through the pages. "Some of us are going to have to fill some of those roles as best we can, to ensure Jade's chi catalyzes safely. It would also be good for Jade if we filled those roles rather than the monks, so that she doesn't feel abandoned in this."

"What are the rituals?" Tohru asked curiously. "As her Guardian, I'm pretty sure my role is to stay close, look intimidating, and keep her safe...and I have the feeling Hsi Wu could pull that off better by temporarily discarding his human form."

"More or less," Ysabelle confirmed, pushing her glasses up. "First, though, someone is supposed to walk ahead of Jade to ensure her path is strewn with flowers, to symbolize her walking in life."

"So Ah walk ahead of her and stop holdin' mah magic in?" Apple Bloom asked curiously. "That's easy enough." To demonstrate, she took a few steps along the stone path, grass and flowers springing up in her steps. The monks gasped in awe and murmured to each other excitedly.

"She's also suppose to be 'cooled by natural breeze," Ysabelle continued. "This is generally done by having someone walk beside her with a leaf fan-"

"Or me riding Cumulo beside her and using my wings?" Scootaloo suggested helpfully.

"Does that mean I get to walk beside her as a sign of good portent, that she's accompanied by a Qi Lin?" Sweetie Belle asked hopefully.

Ysabelle flipped through a few pages. "Well, it's not part of the ritual done every time, but accompanied by great Good Chi like you three definitely bodes well..."

"Well, since you've all decided how the rest of my time as me is going to go, I guess we should get going," Jade spoke as Hsi lowered the privacy screen, holding her regular clothes now she was garbed in the sacred robes...which were really too big for her, and thus hung quite loosely around her body, as though she were being swallowed up by them and the role they represented. "Before forces of darkness decide to interfere."

"The Chosen One shows great wisdom!" one of the monks declared proudly. "Truly, the forces of darkness would seek to disrupt the Chosen One's awakening as we journey to the Temple atop the mountain. We must be cautious, but swift, as the catalyzation has already begun. If we take too long..."

As no one wanted to know the rest of that statement, the group immediately began the climb up the mountain.

About halfway up the mountain, the group stopped for the night in one of the communities along the mountain path. Jade, as the Chosen One, would rest inside the minor temple in as great comfort as the community could provide. The others would be housed elsewhere within the community, save Tohru and Hsi. Tohru took up his post at the entrance to the Temple to act as Guardian, while Hsi - as Jade's familiar - was allowed to stay in the temple with her.

To Jade's surprise, Hsi instantly moved around the chamber they were resting in, finding various things hidden in nooks and crannies that made the stay a little more comfortable. "Been here before?" Jade asked curiously.

"Had this very journey before," Hsi allowed softly.

"...you were Emeraude's familiar before she awoke?"

Hsi nodded. "For a long while before," he confirmed.

"...what's it like?"

"Hmm?" Hsi turned to Jade in confusion.

"The...the awakening," Jade explained. "What...what happens? What's going to happen? T...to me? Will...will I still be me when it's over? Still Jade? Or..." Jade swallowed, unable to get the words out.

Hsi stared at her for a time, then sighed sadly. "I can't answer that," he allowed finally.

"What?" Jade demanded in shock, her voice hurt...almost betrayed. "WHY?"

"I promised Emeraude," Hsi answered softly, knowing this was not the answer Jade would want. "If ever I found myself in the same position to a future Chosen One as I was to her, I wouldn't give any spoilers."

Jade stared at Hsi in disbelief. "W...why would you promise that?" she finally gasped out, her voice the barest whisper.

Hsi looked away, not meeting her eyes...and did not answer. Unnoticed to Jade, Saint watched on sorrowfully from her shoulder.

Tears beaded Jade's eyes as her hands slowly clenched into fists, only the silk robes keeping her nails from digging into her palms until they bled. "...get out..." she finally hissed out.

"Jade?" Hsi asked in shock, turning back to her.

"Get out!" Jade screamed out, grabbing the nearest object to hand - a pillow, as it turned out - and chucking it at Hsi with all her might. "I thought you were my friend! I thought you were mine! But the one thing I thought would still be for me when this is all over is just on loan!" She continued to throw things at him, not caring what she grabbed.

Hsi desperately struggled to contain any damage, redirecting anything more breakable than a pillow to a soft landing, letting pillows hit him, and dodging anything sturdy enough to do more damage to him than the other way around. "Jade, I-"

"You don't care about me at all!" Jade screamed out in despair, tears flying off her face as she wailed. "You just want Emeraude back! Just go away and leave me alone!" Grabbing the Taijitu half from around her neck, she hurled it at him.

Hsi caught the coin gently, letting the string it hung from fall around his hand. He stared at Jade sadly...and let his human form fade. Standing tall in his altered demon form, like a living beast of stone made flesh, he gently set the half-coin down on the floor. In this form, he wore naught but a loincloth...and his own half coin hanging around his neck, the one Jade had given him. "...as you wish," he whispered softly in his gravelly voice before turning and walking out of the Temple.

Jade stared after him, her hand to her mouth as she actually heard the things she'd shouted and realized what she'd done. When the door swung shut behind him, Jade rushed to where the half-coin sat on the floor. Taking it up in her hands, she wept bitterly.

On her shoulder, Saint watched on, her own eyes wet and her robes - a match to the ones Jade presently wore - wrapped tight around herself.

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