• Published 12th Apr 2016
  • 14,955 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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Your Choices

When her eyes closed, Jade felt herself sinking into the darkness, the chant echoing around her until that too faded. She found herself floating in a void of absolute darkness, the only source of light a bare dozen stars in the far distance, a murmur of whispers coming from them. When she looked at them, images flooded her mind.

Waking up surrounded by tall stones, waving grass spreading into the distance...stones, grass...there were words for these things...words shaping in thoughts...


That voice...my voice...I am...

A searing pain. The past flooding into my mind. This doesn't work well...it needs to be fixed, before there's too much...

The temple is still being built, but already the enchantments are laid. So much easier, waking up like this than the old way...need to lay down instructions so humans can do it for me, time weighs heavy on my companions, I doubt they could do so again...

Jade flinched back from the voices, from the light, from fate...only for more stars to appear in the darkness around her. One by one, the green stars flicked on as energy gathered to them, and each one murmured with a voice from the past, murmuring murmuring...unless she focused on one, and then the memories blazed in her mind, more than she could take. Eventually, the sum total of the murmuring became an almost roar as she became surrounded by light. Squeezing her eyes shut and covering her ears, she screamed defiance against the overwhelming flood of the past. "NO! I'm not all of you! I'm not some cog in fate or history or the world! I'm ME! I'M JADE!"

Her scream echoed over the roar...which faded. A chuckle echoed from all the lights before focusing in one...one that stood on Jade's shoulder.

"Well who else would you be?" Saint asked softly as she walked calmly down Jade's arm, seeming to swell until at last she leapt off Jade's hand. When she landed in front of Jade, she looked her right in the eye. She seemed to still be growing, but held it back. "This should be easier for you to hear from than me as an adult." A face that was almost - but not quite - a mirror of Jade's looked her in the eye. "I'm Emeraude. It's a pleasure to formally meet you, Jade."

Jade blinked in confusion as she lowered her hands. "W...what?" she gasped out. "I...I don't-"

"You're confused," Emeraude explained. "You've come here expecting things to go a certain way, to have no choice in the matter, to be completely overwritten by the Fate you're here to face. I know. I was there." She gestured to the lights scattered around. "We all were-"

The first batch of lights pulsed, and a brief murmuring interrupted Emeraude's words.

Emeraude rolled her eyes. "Fine, most of us were!" she snapped irritably, much like Jade herself would. "You lot don't really count in this case. You were the first few, after all!" She pointed at the light that had sent the thought of writing instructions for humans. "The Temple was built in your lifetime, after all! At your instruction, at that!"

More irritable and contradictory murmuring echoed. "Hey!" Emeraude snapped out, putting her hands on her hips in a manner very reminiscent of Jade herself. "How many of you were eleven when this happened to you, huh? Huh?" Silence echoed. "I didn't think so! So how about you let me handle this, huh? Let us girls talk it out our way, rather than having a bunch of old men kibitzing! Hearing all of you nammer about how improper I was being drove me nuts when it was my turn! I got stuck on her shoulder for a reason, after all!"

"...oh my gosh, I'm such an idiot..." Jade groaned, burying her face in her hands. "There's no way a human brain could hold all this...so there was never any chance of me being overwritten...none of it was going to pour uncontrolled into my head to begin with, was it?"

Emeraude chuckled as she sat down, a table and chairs appearing in the void as a grassy plain spread around them, the stars that were past lives now shaping a night sky. "Don't feel too bad," she offered as she poured tea for them both. "I was the same way when it was my turn. It's why I tried to recklessly stop it...until a second Hsi Wu showed up with the Deja Vu stone to tell me what would happen if I went through with it." She took a sip of tea. "Waiting was definitely the second best choice I ever made. My body wasn't ready at 11." She offered a plate of bat-shaped cookies. "Want one?"

Unsure what else to do, Jade took a cookie and nibbled it. She then stared at it. "...how long has it been and he still hasn't updated the recipe?" she asked awkwardly.

Emeraude giggled girlishly. "Glad to hear that's still the same. It was nice watching him from your shoulder."

Jade frowned a little guiltily. "So...was it him that you were...?"

Emeraude blinked...and then an expression of grossed out disgust crossed her face. "Eww, no! Why would you even think that?"

Jade found herself bristling. "What? Something wrong with him?" she demanded angrily.

"Other than being my big brother, I guess not," Emeraude allowed as she shuddered.


Emeraude smirked. "Yeah! It wasn't me that bound him to me as a familiar. That was my Dad. I was two at the time...and he did that because I'd already blown up his wizard's lab six times!"

Jade couldn't help but chuckle. "Bet Hsi had fun with you..."

"That he did," Emeraude agreed warmly. "It was formative years for both of us. In demon terms, he wasn't much older than me. It was...nice."

Jade took a sip of the tea, and found it was her favorite flavor. Briefly, she wondered if that was deliberately chosen by Emeraude to make her feel comfortable or just something else they had in common...only to discard the speculation as unimportant at the moment. "So...why'd you make him promise not to tell me?" Jade asked sadly, her fingers closing around the Taijitu half-coin she held.

"Because of one sentence I let slip when I was older...that might have ruined things for you in the now," Emeraude explained softly. "When talking about being the Chosen One...I described it as the best choice I ever made."

Jade blinked in shock. "Wait...you mean I get to choose?"

"Of course," Emeraude confirmed. "Being the Chosen One is more than just a matter of being born into it. It's a duty, a role, something you need to embrace. Just because your chi is right for the job, doesn't mean your mind or heart are. That's what all this is." She gestured to the starry sky, and to the grassy plain, making Jade see that each blade of grass was another spark of life, from the world itself. "This lets you see the true nature of the role, and your own true essence...so you can decide if you're cut out for the job, and more than that, if you're up to it."

"And...the reason why he couldn't tell me that?" Jade pressed.

Emeraude smiled impishly. "Do you really think any words could have done justice to how this feels?"

Jade thought about that, leaning back as she let herself just feel. All the energy flowing into and through her, balancing her against the world and the world against her...the feeling of all of history unfolding for her just by looking up...knowledge and wisdom simply waiting for her to need it, an awareness just beyond awareness of past lives...

"No...words couldn't do it justice," she allowed finally. "Even if they were the right words...it'd be a pale shadow...and a terrifying one at that."

"And that plus knowledge that you got to choose..." Emeraude explained softly. "You would either be overwhelmed and terrified, convincing yourself you weren't cut out for it before you even got here...or be consumed with a desire for the power and knowledge, convincing yourself you could handle it or worse, deserved it. We'd end up losing the good ones and only getting the bad ones."

"And...if I choose no?" Jade inquired. "What happens then?"

Emeraude gestured around. "This fades. You wake up without memory of what passed here, and only knowing that the burden was not yours. Your chi returns to the pre-catalyzation state. The things you learn so easily will come harder, as they no longer tap into past life knowledge. Magic will be harder as you won't have ready access to past-life chi. And the essence will move, passing to the next Chosen One, until another chooses to embrace it."

"I...see," Jade mused thoughtfully.

"The ritual's almost finished," Emeraude spoke carefully. "Are you ready to choose?"

Jade closed her eyes, letting all of it flow through her mind. In her heart of hearts, she thought about what type of person she was, and what this all meant. After a time, she opened her eyes...

...and chose.

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