25. Kung Fu Panda 3 - Red Dragon.
The Jade Palace Barracks: Tigress's Quarters that same night.
It was hard, not knowing what to do when you realise that someone is in trouble and there's no evidence to back it up! The Noodle Dream, as well as the conclusion of something so nice that holds a dark and terrible secret.
I (Tigress) found it incredibly difficult to get back to sleep, and so did the others after I awoke them. Its like a village is being attacked, and you must protect the villagers and take on those responsible... But instead, sleep it off and tackle it tomorrow. The Grand Opening IS tomorrow and I have to try and decipher a damn dream without arousing suspicion.
This was the only thing I could think of.
It wasn't long before you could hear people sleeping, and even Masters Ox and Croc didn't even wake up earlier on. They really must've been tired.
Liu was sitting on the side of her bed, looking down at her feet and on what she was wearing. It was odd that what the Panther is wearing was similar to that of the Red Dragon Uniform.
As I turned to in bed now facing Liu, I could see her glancing over towards her Jade outfit.
"I don't know about you Mum, but I do feel like rescuing Po. I could even get to eat some Dumplings after all!" She says, then laughs it off, looking like a cross-over of both help, and getting peckish from her dream she had earlier.
“Do you know what I fancy right now, with you and your Dumplings?” I ask. Liu then just looks at me, not sure to take me serious or not.
“These Treacle Dumplings I used to have when I was a child at the Bao Gu Orphanage. This Goat lady used to do these blooming delicious Dumplings that literally melt in your mouth. They were NEVER too hot or cold, just put in your mouth with your fingers. Never used a chopstick to prod ‘em with, and lick my fingers afterwards. If she were still around or if she lives down in the valley, I’d go down there now!” I say as I gaze up towards the ceiling, then towards a Panther now going round her mouth with her tongue just imagining them.
“Wha…Seriously?” She asks as I sit up on my bed.
“HELL YEAH! Both Po and Dad do them, and the Six, but no where NEAR as good as she used to do them. She also used to look after me, and the others back then. Maybe it’s love. Love being the ‘Secret Ingredient’. Talking of which about Dumplings and your Kung Fu — Your more advanced than me when I was your age. I started taking down bad guys when I was in my twenties but you — you’ll be doing night patrols quicker than you could say Dumpling! When we, two of us, or one like myself go down to the valley, we get the occasional nuisance which we tackle. But even they go to Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop, and pay for stuff. I have Noodles and Dumplings, and if I can’t take on the 1000 steps to the Jade Palace to bed, then I stay at Mr. Wong’s who gives us a 20% discount and have breakfast at Mr. Pings.”
“I can’t wait to get started. When do I start?”
“Soon enough! Just not quite yet! Why are you up? Why am I up?” I ask as I look at my bare feet, then at Liu’s Panther feet.
“Well, I got up to pee and see if I can’t at least try to back-track that dream. You, I don’t know.” Liu says to me as she stood up and went to the door for the toilet.
“You do know you can have your own Quarters, your own little domain here at the Jade Palace Barracks.” I say to her as I get back into bed.
“What, and miss being in the same room as the legendary Master Tigress like when you found your Inner Peace?! No way, not yet anyway! Maybe in a month or so but, not yet. If you’re not still awake when I come back then, goodnight, Master Tigress, my Mum!” Liu says, then comes to kiss me on the lips before leaving the door, only to come back for slippers.
…By the time The Jade Liu calls herself got back, I was long gone!
The Next Day.
Like all days, we’d wake at the crack of dawn and present ourselves to my Dad Master Shifu. But with me waking everyone, no one got up! We even left notes for Ox and Croc to stay in bed, unless they wanted to get up they could do and we’d join them later for breakfast. Thankfully, they hadn’t. Even Monkey had put a note on the Gong to say “Please, no wake-up call”.
No one was up, not even the Jade Palace staff. Monkey had even left a message on the gong saying that Tigress had woken them up, then told them to go back to bed and solve an issue in the morning after breakfast! After a little while, the glorious shine of the red sun glowed through our windows. Groans and stretches could be heard from the Six minus The Dragon Warrior.
“Morning… Mum!” Liu says through closed eyes. The sun’s glow made our quarter feel like heaven, it was that nice.
“Oh… God… Could stay in, bed a… bit longer! Too damn comfy! Morning… sweetheart!” I say, stretching. What I said last night escaped my mind. All I could think of was training Liu. Then I sat up and looked towards Liu as she stretched and sat on her bed, looking at her toes as they touch the floor.
“I’ve been here a few months now and every time I wake up, I feel like I’m still dreaming! My toes touch the Jade Palace Barracks floorboards confirm that I am here. My family back at Hope Springs. I never thought I’d be here, especially having you as my adoptive mother! Thank you!” She says, then comes and gives me a loving hug and a kiss.
"Better get ready! Today’s going to be a really long day. I just don’t know what to do till then.” I say. Liu looks at me for a little while trying to work out on what I mean, then it comes to her. Soon afterwards, you can here the others getting up, and know that Dad is coming up to see us.
After getting dressed, rooms immaculate, we present ourselves to my Dad, Master Shifu.
“I don’t blame you on the message Monkey, especially on what it says!” Shifu says, then began to read it which made us all laugh.
“Tigress, as this is your day, you are in charge and will be taking my place, and… Good morning Furious Six.” Dad says. “Thank you, Master.” I reply as Liu’s dream is confirmed.
I had to admit it does seem weird without Po and Mr. Ping, and the other restaurants being closed. Surprisingly, there hadn’t been any thing happen in the Valley of Peace for ages, even a few days before I found Inner Peace which seems odd. This left us to train and wonder around the valley. Old enemies now friends, and even they were seen at restaurants. The rest of the time we trained, wondered, ate, trained, repeat. Adopted Liu and STILL no sign of trouble.
Now, a whole load of it in the form of troubled pasts and noodles.
Everyone, including Shifu, sat down for breakfast as I prepared it. You don’t need to search far to see a Scroll laying around on Po’s & Mr. Ping’s ways of cooking if you forget. This mainly consisted on longer cooking times, secret ingredients that other establishments haven’t added, serving suggestions, it’s all here.
As I started to make the “Morning’s Glow” Bean Buns, which are fruity and lightly herbed and appear green, red, orange, depending on the fillings. Peaches and Apples are often used so those were used often and so after making them, took them to be cooked. It was during this time hearing the others talking and Shifu not giving orders that I made mine.
“Liu, you know when I said to you ages ago that I will train you effectively? Well, despite not being the ‘Right time’ sort of say, how about you take on us, the Furious Five in both unarmed and armed combat… Even using your Katanas.” This made everyone stop what they were saying and doing. I continued looking to breakfast to be served to hungry stomachs. Then the Panther roared.
“Oh HELL yeah! Bring it on! To spar with the Furious Five, one being my Mum… YEAH!”
“Tigress, is this because of… The so-called ‘Noodle Dream’ that you’re talking about here?” My Dad says as I take out the Bean Buns and put them on a rack to cool before serving. I then turn to face the team, leaning against the counter as I do.
“I’ve seen her in combat Dad against Onslo back at that… Camp back then. I know she’s far more highly skilled then she realises. I need to know, not taking chances.”
“Whoa…? She’s 13-years-old Tigress. You know how you were back then, with your Dad Master Shifu…” Monkey said, then looked to me with my face of absolute uncertainty.
“Tonight is the grand opening of The Red Dragon. All the best chefs in China and Japan will be present. Who knows what we’ll face. Liu, I will try and teach you how to fight and disarm your opponent. I don’t think you could… kill, if you actually had to that is.” This caught everyone by surprise.
“Do you actually think this is necessary? She is a child!” Viper cried out, now thinking the dream I had carried a hidden message.
“We don’t know what will happen when we get there Viper. It could be a harmless bit of fun or something sinister. If you saw what we saw back at that building, you’d take precaution.” I reply. Then, Onslo comes to the entrance of the kitchen.
“Morning! Heard about, Jin’s… Grand opening of a super-restaurant, The Red Dragon? I don’t know what path to take! Do I go in armed or as a citizen of the peace?” Oslo pondered. No one said a thing, then I said that I was going to train Liu like he did when he first gave my daughter the tools of death.
“Well, can’t argue there then can I! I can see Tigress is taking this mystery seriously. It MIGHT be family fun, or a trap. Be prepared for both I say.” Onslo says, defending my option against my own bitter judgement to train Liu this way under difficult circumstances. Then I told him about my latest Noodle Dream.
"I can see why Tigress is training her daughter. What we saw back... there... wasn't pleasant. It will give Liu the chance to not only take on the Furious Five, but help her should anything happen." He says which not only cheers me up, but also anxious.
"Look, I'm not saying that we should teach Liu how to effectively use her weapons that Onslo here gave her, but make sure she's safe should anything happen! Think of it as eating at Mr. Ping's and someone puts a knife to your throat. I’m Sorry Liu. It hopefully is just a harmless bit of fun from Jin Chow and his men! I just want that certainty that should anything arise, that Liu can handle herself" I finally say, hoping that somebody listens to what I'm trying to do to protect my daughter. Nobody says anything, just look at me with the look of concern on my face, then at Liu now pondering on not only how tonight will go, but of how deadly serious our jobs really are!
"Can't argue with that then can I!" Shifu says. I then hand out the food then rub my daughter on her head before kissing her on the lips. I then sit down next to her, facing her as she looks what has been given to her.
"Liu, I know you can fight, but what we do is extremely dangerous, and lethal. We are all highly trained killers and can kill. What we do, that today might even be our last day on earth for all we know! We get people who try to kill us, or seriously harm us! I know what you can do Liu, as well as the other children. I just want to know that if you really want to go along with this, that you don't necessarily have to be an assassin. You could even help with the maintenance of the Training Hall, or look after the artefacts in the Hall Of Sacred Warriors! Just till you know you are ready sweetheart! Oh, and by the way, your Mum agrees with me. I can hear her. I'm only saying this for your sake Jade." I say to Liu, who not only looks at me, but to the rest of the Furious Six. She then looks up above me, and I know who she can see.
"I want to do this Mums. I know what you all do is dangerous and stupid at times but I know what I want to be... a fighter."
"Are you absolutely sure Liu? I don't want you risking your life for any of us, or try to even prove yourself to us. I know you'll do stuff like we all did as kids. I mean even if I had children of my own, I'd teach them Kung Fu and how to protect themselves, but your far more skilled then I ever was at your age when my Dad Shifu taught me! I know you can and have the ability to kill, but not yet... hopefully that is." This made Liu smile a bit before giving me her answer.
"I know... Tigress." It was afterwards that she grabbed hold of one of the Morning Glories that it was stone cold!
"These are better when they're hot Tigress, not stone cold after hearing you protect Liu Zhang here!" Monkey protests, which made me and the rest laugh.
"Sorry, didn't know I was talking for so long! I wonder what Po would've said?"
Outside the Jade Palace Training Hall.
After eating what should've been a delicious breakfast and stuff washed up, we went outside to train my daughter Liu "The Jade" Zhang against us, The Furious Five, and Master Shifu.
As Liu was getting ready by putting on old clothes she now wears in the Training Hall to save from damaging the good stuff she has, the rest of us put out some training weapons on a table, and the real deal, as well as some staffs which Monkey uses.
Liu came out wearing the stuff she wore when I Shifu and I first saw her (Update Clothing) and went to look at was was presented on the table.
"I know your family is watching you Liu but for gods sakes don't show off in front of them. Many kids have been badly injured doing this, including me which I'm not afraid to admit!" This made my Dad shake is head and laugh.
"I know and I'll try!" Liu says towards me, now looking at me after seeing her invisible Zhang Clan watching over her after finding her dream.
"First up Liu is against Master Monkey with a staff each. The general beat-em up and disarm thing here." I say. Monkey teases Liu and says that this will be a breeze, saying that Liu doesn't stand a chance against a Master.
"What ya gonna do Monkey, use a banana peel?!" She teases back, knowing what we all did all those years ago.
"That was some time ago! Didn't work either!" He replies before laughing it off when he faced Grandmaster Oogway all those years ago.
"You know Tigress, you sound just like your dad Shifu saying what to do!" Crane says after hearing me talk and giving out instructions.
"I suppose I do sound like my Dad. Maybe one day I'll be taking over from him!" I say, then bow towards my Dad.
"Could be, but I'm not going just yet Tigress so you'll just have to wait till that time comes."
"Are you ready Jade?" Monkey asks as he holds his staff.
"I sure am ready Master Monkey, my friend!" Liu replies, holding hers. They both do the traditional bow of respect but do not trust, then go into a fighting stance, Liu's eyes firmly on the Monkey trying to figure out a way to disarm her opponent, and to counter his moves.