• 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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Career Day

Author's Note:

Originally, this was going to be a one chapter covering of "The Warrior Incarnate", the next episode in the timeline, the events mostly cut short because Lo Pei - once animate - would instantly recognize a Qi Lin as a creature of good magic incapable of deception (something he might reconsider if he spent too long with Sweetie Belle), but after actually watching the episode...

With Jade riding Cumulo to and from school and Audrey keeping the Enforcers from attempting a direct assault on Uncle's shop, the statue would never get broken, and so the Talismans would never be brought into it. If the statue of Lo Pei never gets animated, the episode doesn't happen.

So straight to "The Jade Monkey".

At lunch recess on Career Day, Jade was surprised to find Scootaloo sitting off in the corner on Cumulo, looking rather down in the dumps and sighing. "Something wrong, Scootaloo?" she asked curiously.

"It's...it's nothing," Scootaloo replied morosely.

Jade frowned, crossing her arms. "Scoot, that's the exact face and response I gave my parents after I realized they'd never believe me about the crazy things I saw that I now know to be magical. Don't try it on me. So what's bothering you?"

"It's...it's stupid," Scootaloo prevaricated, obviously not wanting to talk about it. "And silly. And not really important."

"And that's how I explained my reasons for misbehaving when I got sick of being punished for things I didn't do so I started doing them," Jade countered bluntly. "Something is bothering you, and however silly or stupid it may sound, it matters to you and I want to be here to help you through it." She rested her hand between Scootaloo's wings. "Now talk to me, okay?"

Sighing and lowering her eyes, Scootaloo shifted her hooves to show she was gripping the Horse Talisman.

Jade's eyes widened. "Scoot, are you sick? Or hurt? Or-"

"No, nothing like that," Scootaloo interrupted quickly. "I..." She looked away. "I snuck it into the Long Term Care Ward at the hospital. You know, for cancer patients or those with wasting diseases and the like." She lowered her eyes. "The area the orderlies call the death watch ward..." She closed her eyes. "I thought...if the Horse was the healer and 'purged alien forces', then maybe it could save them..."

Jade's eyes widened. Despite everything with the magic, she'd have never thought to use the magic that way. "That's a wonderful idea!" she praised happily, but her joy drained away as she saw Scootaloo's face fall even more. "W...what happened?"

"Each time I pressed the Talisman into one of the patient's hands, conscious or not, the Talisman started to light up...and then the light faded." Tears welled up in Scootaloo's eyes, and she sniffled. "I...I offered those people hope...and it was nothing. Uncle...Uncle told me it wouldn't work...but I wanted to try anyway..."

"Why wouldn't it work?" Jade asked, confused. "I mean...it's magic!"

"It still needs its power from somewhere," Scootaloo explained. "When used alone, the Horse Talisman draws its energy from the one being healed, using their vital energy to accelerate their natural healing process. If their body doesn't have enough energy in it to fight off the infection or purge the sickness...the magic won't trigger, to keep from burning them out in the attempt. That's...that's what happened." She rubbed at her eyes. "I knew I probably wouldn't be able to save all of them, or even most...but I'd hoped..." She started to hiccup. "I'd hoped...I could save even one...then it...would have been..." Tears poured down her cheeks.

Jade didn't know what to say. All she could do was pull Scootaloo into a comforting hug and let her cry.

Later in class, Jade was still distracted with thoughts of what she could do to try and cheer Scootaloo up. This meant that she wasn't really paying attention as Jackie gave his presentation about his work as an archaeologist, talking about carefully excavating and preserving artifacts from the dirt with tiny tools to avoid damaging them. Glancing over, Jade noticed that Scootaloo had started to look interested, but was quickly growing morose again. A desperate thought filled her mind. She knew not to bring up the Section 13 work, but he hadn't been working for Section 13 when he'd brought in that shield...

Jackie paused as she noticed her raised hand. "Yes, Jade?" he asked worriedly.

"While I'm sure movies and television have 'sensationalized' archaeology to a certain extent," Jade began carefully, her eyes frequently flicking over to Scootaloo, "surely their characterization has to have some basis in fact, right? Have you ever come across anything like the booby traps we see in TV and movies?"

Jackie raised an eyebrow, not understanding why Jade would be asking that...but noticed Scootaloo slowly raising her head in interest. Smiling, he leaned down conspiratorially, stage-whispering loud enough for the whole class to hear, though they still leaned in with interest. "Well, I'm sure my experience isn't standard for most archaeologists, but there is a reason the museum sends me in when ruins are uncovered mostly intact. Ancient civilizations were very protective of their secrets, and fiendishly clever when it came to security. I've had my share of encounters with such systems..." He then moved on to describe at length the journey that had led to him recovering the shield the Rooster Talisman had been in, but leaving out any mention of the Talisman itself.

Jade grinned widely. Tales of magic or not, this would lend some credence to anything she talked about as far as things she got up to with Jackie. At the same time, Jackie's 'awesome' story was quickly bringing cheer back to Scootaloo's face. As far as Jade was concerned, that was two birds with one stone.

As Jackie finished his story, Uncle stepped up to do his Career Day presentation as Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo's guardian. "I run Uncle's Rare Finds," Uncle began softly. "It is antique store, where I sell ancient items, some that Jackie brings me from digs that museums don't want. I also translate inscriptions on ancient artifacts to discover any magical powers hidden within."

As a few students - and Jackie - groaned, Mrs. Hartman cleared her throat. "Uncle, I'm certain you're exaggerating. There's no such thing as-"

"Drink this," Uncle said quickly, sticking a vial of bubbling pink fluid in the teacher's mouth and pouring it down her throat. "Excellent exfoliation...but do not look in the mirror."

"What?" Mrs. Hartman asked in confusion as the entire class gasped in shock. She opened her compact and gasped, seeing her skin green and leathery like a lizard.

"I told you not to look in the mirror!" Uncle shouted out as the entire class first gasped in shock before bursting into laughter.

"What did you do to-"

Uncle interrupted Mrs. Hartman by pinching her cheek and tugging off a bit of the green skin, revealing smooth, healthy pink skin beneath. "Lizards shed their skin. Leaves much healthier skin behind." As the entire class burst into spontaneous applause while Mrs. Hartman shed the rest of her skin, Uncle gave a playful bow. As Jackie buried his face in his hands, Uncle shot Jade a wink.

Jade grinned widely. Apparently, Uncle was aware of Scootaloo's somewhat downtrodden state, and had shaped his presentation to cheer her up. Now if only between them they could think of something to keep her happy...

"And don't forget, children," Mrs. Hartman called out to the class as she discarded the last of her lizard skin, now looking easily five years younger and blushing at the whistles from one of the single dads, "next week it's your turn to report on your parent's job...after you accompany them to work!"

"One more thing!" Uncle spoke up as Jade cheered at the idea of having an excuse to go on the next assignment and Jackie groaned in frustration. "Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo live at shop with me. See my work every day. Might be better experience for them if they went with Jackie on his work and wrote report with Jade?"

Mrs. Hartman rubbed her chin. "Well, they do turn in top of the line work when they work as a team...I'll allow it, if they'll also each include a report on their day to day lives in the shop."

Seeing Scootaloo beaming from ear to ear, Jade shot Uncle a thumbs up.

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