• 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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Choices We Make

The following day proved to be even more dreary for all involved than the day before. Hsi Wu remained in his demonic form, standing tall and strong next to Tohru as they followed along behind Jade. Once more she walked in flowers and was fanned, her family being reduced by tradition into attendants on a destiny she didn't want but couldn't escape. Her own sorrow on the journey weighed on the others...save the monks, who seemed oblivious to her emotional state.

Uncle watched on sorrowfully. At some level, he knew that Jade's conclusions about what was to come had to be wrong. If she were right, then why did history tell of each Chosen One bringing new wisdom to the role? For that matter, if 'The Chosen One' simply overtook each new vessel, why have new vessels in the first place? Why wasn't the Chosen One simply an immortal? If the role was so important, the Jade Council - or any high ranking member - could have easily granted a past Chosen One immortality. No, logic told him that there was a reason for the reincarnation, and there had to be more to it than just adding a new life's worth of chi to the role. But he knew Jade was in no emotional position to accept logic...and he did not know for certain. All he could do...was work to protect her whilst she still needed it.

Rather than try to paste on a fake smile as the followers of the Chosen One congregated once they reached the main Temple at the top of the mountain or upset them with a frown, Jade pulled the hood of her robe further over her face. After all, the only thing any of the followers saw was the Chosen One, so what did it matter who was under the robe? She regretted that these would be some of her last thoughts as herself...and that the last conversation she'd be able to have as herself with Hsi was chasing him away...

The main Temple had a single chamber inside, with tall walls, the ceiling soaring far above and supported with crimson columns. The massive doors closed behind the group as they entered, and Tohru turned to examine them carefully.

"Do not worry, Champion," one of the monks quickly reassured him. "Good chi from all the past Chosen Ones protects the Temple. Dark forces cannot enter from outside unless invited in. We are safe here."

"That just makes me more concerned," Tohru muttered darkly. "Obviously, any dark forces that would be targeting the Chosen One before the ritual here would know that...so why haven't they attacked before?"

The monk shrugged helplessly. "Perhaps they saw the Chosen One was simply too well protected on her journey?" he suggested optimistically.

Tohru only frowned in response. That did not sound like any dark forces he was familiar with. The ones who had sold themselves to darkness rarely had a sense of self-preservation that strong, and those who were born of darkness would relish such a challenge.

Seeing his concern, Sofia, Lucia, and Ysabelle moved into position in a triangle around the area the ritual was to take place in. Each of them used a single fingernail to gently break the skin of their palm to let out a single drop of blood as they began to chant under their breath. Green light linked them focused on the drops of blood.

"Ah!" Uncle marveled excitedly as he saw it. "A Blood Link Barrier! I have read about these, but never thought I'd see one in action. Despite how magic runs in bloodlines, few families of magic train in multiple disciplines and styles, and thus it becomes difficult to find close enough relatives who practice different enough styles to combine magic like this."

Tohru relaxed somewhat. With that protection, Jade should be safer...though now he found himself worried about his girls. That disquiet grew worse as Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo moved into position to shape a second triangle, creating a modified Solomon's Seal protection around the ritual site.

In the center of the site was a massive golden couch with a rune inscribed back, describing the ritual itself. The images showed energy from the past unfolding from the present as lives were merged together into a greater whole. A much older monk - obviously the chief of the Temple - stepped forward. "Welcome, friend," he greeted Jade softly. "Are you prepared to face your destiny?"

Jade said nothing. She knew if she spoke right now, she'd say something she'd regret...or worse, something that might skew the ritual and cause her - and possibly her family - untold harm. She couldn't trust her voice just now. Instead, she turned towards her family.

There was Jackie, standing there with a worried smile with Viper next to him. Both looked on in compassion and concern, arms around each other. Jade could tell, they were worried they would lose her now...she feared being lost. Still, she knew they'd draw strength from each other if that happened.

She turned to Uncle, looking sympathetic...and yet so strong. He was concerned about her, but he seemed unafraid of what would happen here. Jade tried to draw strength from that...but only felt her heart sinking.

She turned to Tohru, standing strong and firm, endlessly watching for threats. Always the protector, apparently destined to protect her on this trip...and that protection hadn't been needed. Still, once she was the Chosen One, he wouldn't have that destiny hanging over him. He could be happy with his girls...

Jade's gaze turned to the girls protecting her, the two spells intermingled to provide strong protection that would take untold power to break. She could only find herself hoping they had spared strength to protect themselves if danger came. As her eyes swept over Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo, she felt tears bead the corners. Her friends, her cousins...her teachers. Were they proud of her? Had she failed them? ...did it even matter?

Her gaze turned to Hsi at last, and the tears flowed freely. Ever since the incident with the Book of Ages, her sleeping mind had followed more and more along the lines of how Queen acted, speculating in dreams of what could be someday. As the dreams had become more and more vivid, she'd even begun to speculate on the...less salacious aspect of such future dreams, thinking about how...nice it could be. How fun. And now...now it would be all gone, and she had thrown away what had been left.

Hsi Wu met her gaze firmly...and brought his fingertips to the half-coin he still wore. It was all Jade could do not to gasp when he smiled after that, her own hands clenching tightly around hers, still held.

With that reassurance, that hope, that a future might still await her...she turned to the head monk and nodded.

"Then let us begin the awakening ritual," the monk intoned, guiding her to lay on her back on the couch. He placed his hands to either side of her forehead. "When you awaken from this trance, your chi will awaken as well...and you will remember your thousand lifetimes, and lead us once again." Noticing Jade swallowing convulsively at that, he chuckled. "Nothing to worry about. No Chosen One has died from this yet."

"Yet?" Jade yelped out awkwardly.

"Just my little joke," the monk promised, though he quailed from the concerted glare that earned him from everyone else. Leaning back, he began to chant. As other monks joined the chant, Jade's eyes slipped closed.

As soon as Jade's eyes closed, one of the monks who had been standing by an incense burner dumped a handful of herbs into the burner, turning it's white smoke dark blue and purple. Before anyone else could make a move, he'd thrown back his robe...revealing Dao Long Wong. "And now it is all mine!" he proclaimed as he unleashed a bolt of magic upward, blasting the roof off as shadows choked the sky and his Dark Warriors descended.

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