• 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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Tempting Fate

Hsi Wu glanced around, examining every possible direction for threat as the group rode the 'bigger on the inside' covered wagon Uncle had chosen for this relaxing trip out to the ancient mansion with all its 'hidden treasures'. The path to the manor led through a dead wood on an old road that no one seemed to have used in decades, if not centuries. The only way across a raging river was an ancient wooden bridge that looked to be on its last legs. Clouds all but covered the moon, and lightning flashed. He could tell there would be a torrential downpour before very long.

He was not happy with the present situation. He couldn't sense anything particularly magical that could be a threat in the direction they were going...but three miles back Audrey III had removed himself from the wagon and refused to go any further, planting himself firmly in the dirt at the side of the road and digging in at least 100 feet with his roots. No matter how Apple Bloom coaxed or wheedled, he'd refused to move...and the only explanation he'd given was to sing, "Spooky Scary Skeletons" over and over again. Eventually, the group had moved on without him once he promised to wait for them there.

Tohru and Sofia sat in the front of the wagon, guiding the ox that was pulling it. Jackie and Viper lay against one side together, Uncle on the other side with a few books. Hsi Wu sat towards the back of the wagon with Jade and the fillies, constantly on the lookout for danger when he wasn't shooting a glare towards Uncle.

After a time, Uncle lifted his head. "What bothers you, demon boy?" he asked happily.

"'What could possibly go wrong'?" Hsi quoted at Uncle. "Seriously? You ask that when we're on our way to unknown ground when there's this much magic in our group? Do you want things to get crazy?"

"Yes," Uncle replied happily.

Everyone stared at him in shock. "...what?" Jackie finally managed to ask.

"Jade is newly awakened Chosen One," Uncle explained. "Hsi is Demon Sorcerer, power amplified by how high up we are. Girls have powerful magic of their own. You have Balance Breaker. Viper has magic tools. Tohru has powerful chi he has learned to channel. Sofia is a Priestess. I have my magic and books. Between all of us, there is very little we should not be able to handle easily if it happens."

"Are you trying to tempt fate?" Hsi Wu demanded in exasperation.

"Yes," Uncle replied firmly. "Either it will be something we don't know how to handle and we will learn from it and overcome, or it will be something we do know how to handle and deal with easily. Either way, fun adventure well within our abilities, without high stakes. One more thing! Will also let me negotiate steep discount with Mr. Lam if we have to fight monsters to get antiques!"

Hsi Wu stared at Uncle, completely flabbergasted. "And I thought Jade could be recklessly overconfident," he growled out irritably.

"Hey!" Jade snapped angrily, tackling Hsi to the bed of the wagon.

"It runs in the family!" Uncle called out teasingly as the fillies shared happy giggles.

"Hey!" Jackie complained.

"Oh relax," Viper offered warmly. "He's got a point...on all counts." She glanced out the front of the wagon, staring across the ancient bridge to the 'mansion' they were heading to. It stood at the top of a mountain, the path to it from the bridge winding around and around the peak, snaking back and forth until it reached the top. The mansion also more resembled an ancient Chinese castle than a rich man's retreat. "...though I'd feel better if this place looked less like a setting from a Horror movie..."

"I'd feel better if I'd actually brought Balance Breaker," Jackie grumbled under his breath.

"Look on the bright side," Kitten said from his shoulder. "That place is huge! If there is a monster in there, there are plenty of places for us to regroup to for safety."

"And plenty of places for more monsters," Tiger agreed as he cracked his knuckles. "This could be fun! No way we can keep track of every single room."

"...and plenty of places Hsi Wu and Jade could sneak off to unnoticed, especially since Hsi Wu can fly," Kitten groaned ruefully. "Especially without Audrey to track them."

"Why would Audrey stay behind, anyway?" Jackie asked curiously. "That doesn't seem like him."

"I don't know," Hsi growled out from under Jade, where she had him pinned with one arm twisted behind his back. "That's what worries me."

Jade glanced out at the area, pressing Hsi's face into the bed of the wagon as she did so. "Yeah, can't imagine why he'd want to miss this place!" she declared happily. "It looks like Chinese Transylvania! So cool!"

"You have seen too many movies, Jade," Jackie chided indulgently.

"If yer talkin' about movies from the old timeline," Apple Bloom began, "a lot o' those movie monsters probably do exist in this new one, and are real dangers."

"Do you really expect me to believe Audrey would be afraid to cross a vampire?" Jackie demanded playfully. "Pretty sure he's got both holly and garlic as part of his plant makeup."

"Some vampires feed on magic rather than blood, though," Sweetie Belle pointed out. "Remember what happened after the fusion to fight the fake-Cthulhu? If Audrey runs out of magic, he might revert to an ordinary plant...which in terms of his personality, is dying."

"Magic eating vampires, huh?" Jade asked thoughtfully, glancing at her shoulder significantly.

"Too many possibilities," Emeraude pointed out flatly. "Assuming there is one - or more - there, we'd need to know what kind to figure out how to prepare or deal with it. Besides, some of them are friendly, and there'd be no reason to antagonize them."

As they came to a halt at last at the entrance to the mansion, two men awaited them. One was an elderly man with Asian features, wearing all black with a black and gold cap on his bald crown. The other was a short man dressed in green and brown with a full head of hair and beard in brown, squatting somewhat under a load of antiques in his arms. The taller man stepped forward. "Greetings," he called out. "I am Mr. Lam. You are here for the antiques?"

"Hello, Mr. Lam," Uncle greeted warmly. "Before we settle on a final price, I wish to examine the antiques here before they are transported."

Mr. Lam frowned thoughtfully. "That will take some time," he pointed out. "And it is getting very late. There is much magic in this area, and it is not completely safe come the midnight hour if one is not properly prepared."

Uncle frowned briefly, but smoothed his features. "I believe we can look after ourselves."

"...very well," Mr. Lam allowed. "Feel free to stay the night. My associate and I will return in the morning to discuss the final price." Turning, he led the way off as his companion set down his load of antiques.

As Uncle and the group made their way into the mansion, Mr. Lam's companion turned to him. "...do you think we should have warned them about the squatters?" he asked in a whisper.

"No," Mr. Lam insisted firmly. "If we had, he would never have come to make an offer, and I'd never wash my hands of this place! Besides, Uncle is clever and talented. If anyone can deal with a pair of beasts like are sealed here, it is him and his group. Now let's get across the river before the storm worsens."

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