Demon of Wind

Chapter 20 - Omens

"So Chase Young told you all of this just like that?" Kimiko said, clearly as disbelieving as some of the others.

"Yeah I know by it self it sounds pretty screwy to me too," Rai agreed, "but if you combine that with the rest of the signs then it starts making sense."

"Signs?" Omi asked, "do you mean what you heard Vlad and Robo-Jack talk about?"

"Yeah but its more than that." Rai shifted slightly. "At first everything has been going pretty much business as usual. Wu activates, mad dash, smash a few robots, fight Jack, Wuya and/or any henchman that they have decided to bring. Then, shortly after the whole Shadow Slicer incident, nothing. All of a sudden the big players stop being so interested in Wu and all we've got left is some minor leaguers trying their hand at the get powerful quick game. You don't have to have been on the Heylin side to know that they don't just give up the chase like that unless they have something big planned."

"How big are ya thinking, partner?" Clay asked.

"If it involves the Rio Reverser, its already too big for my liking regardless." Without really thinking about it Rai rested his hand on his signature dagger, a souvenir from someone he definitely wanted to stay dead, he quickly covered it by stretching as he decided to move on to the next topic. "So how did the hunt for the treasure of the blind swordsman go?"

"Well we got our Wudai weapons alright but then we...kinda lost the treasure?"

"...what?"

"Hey we didn't do it on purpose," Kimiko hastily explained, "we were having issues with our Wudai weapons, then Jack and Wuya kidnapped the old guy who was protecting the treasure so we had go save him but when we got back the treasure was missing."

Rai and Guan looked at each other for a moment.

"Hannibal," They said in unison.

"Hannibal?" Omi asked.

"Yep," Rai replied, "that little stunt has Hannibal written all over it. And the future is beginning look like it has a near end of world experience written over it."

"But what use would the treasure be to them?" Kimiko asked, "when we opened it, nothing happened."

"Did you try picturing what you wanted?"

"Come again."

"Yeah sure, for the treasure of the blind swordsman to work the person has to actually want something other just to open the box. Didn't you guys know that?"

The veins popped out in all three warriors foreheads.

"No," Kimiko said, "but a heads up would have been nice."

"Hm...you might have a point...oh well no use worrying about that now. We need a plan." Rai stood still for a moment, completely lost in thought. "I've got! We find Jack, drive a stake through his heart, cut off his head, throw it into the nearest river, burn his body, pour virgin's tears onto the ashes and then scatter them to the four winds."

"And how would that help us get the treasure of the blind swordsman back?" Clay asked.

Rai stared Clay blankly, "get the what-now back?"

"Perhaps we should take a break and enjoy the meal I have prepared for Wudai warriors," Guan interjected. "A full stomach and a nights rest will better prepare us for think how we will combat the unrest."

"Well I can't fight that logic, Clay said rubbing his hands together, "Lead the way to the grub."

Guan started to lead the warriors inside to the dinning hall when Rai stopped. He turned and stared out to the horizon, suddenly very alert.

"Rai?"

Rai knew something was coming, he call sense it, feel it, taste it. Something was coming to the temple, something powerful, something unpredictable, something unstoppable, something that if the temple was unprepared for could have disastrous consequences.

Unnerved by the sudden intensity in Rai's expression, the Wudai Warriors quickly pulled out their weapons. "Uh Rai?" Kimiko asked, "what do you sense?"

"Storm's coming."

Everyone else promptly face-faulted.


"Alright books, prepare to call me mommy."

Kimiko took the first book out of the pile she had made and started reading. Three months of research and she still wasn't any closer to finding something would cure Rai. The fact that she had to do this alone and couldn't tell anyone didn't help but she wasn't going to give up. Kimiko had decided to use the storm as an opportunity to have a read through some of the books it Guan's library which, though not as old as the Xiaolin temple's one, was still highly extensive.

And it meant a lot of reading. After the last three months Kimiko had learn to suppress her groan reflex, mostly.

"I see you have found my library."

Kimiko jumped back and would have fallen off her seat if Guan hadn't caught her. She chuckled nervously. "Thanks."

"You are welcome." Guan returned Kimiko to the upright sitting position." Though it is always good to see a pupil that is enthusiastic about learning wouldn't you rather be taking some time off to recover from your quest?"

"Just making sure my mind's still sharp after the long trip."

"By reading texts on spiritual cleansing?"

"Hey," Kimiko replied weakly as she felt her cover up falling apart, "a girls allowed a weird hobby or two."

An awkward silence passed before before Guan took one of the books from Kimiko's pile and put it back on the shelf.

"I've already read through this one, Ka-shing Lao was a great Master of his art but for any of his spells to work the demon inside Rai would have to still be alive and the containment spell complicates it further."

That almost cause Kimiko to go bug eyed. "You know that Rai's..."she stopped herself from finishing that sentence, fearing what saying it out loud may do.

"Unique? Far more unique than I first realised." the way Guan said unique seemed to leave no room doubt what Guan had been referring.

"How did you find out?" Despite the fact that she might been out of line in her heart she felt in some way that she had a right to know.

"I saw the markings on his chest when I treated a wound on him. The rest was a matter of connecting the right dots, asking the right questions and him trusting me enough to answer them." Guan looked at another book from the pile. "The ones in this one would only be effective if we have a more specific idea of what kind of demon it was, preferably a name too." He placed it back on a shelf. "So how did you find out?"

"Didn't Rai tell you?"

Guan shook his head. "Until I saw you with those books I didn't know he had told anyone else, he probably didn't want you to get into trouble, but it makes a lot more sense knowing that he had told someone else first."

Kimiko let out a sigh of relief, she hadn't realised how important it was for her to know that Rai would keep her secrets just like she would keep his. "When he took me to the woods to give me the Spear of Dashi he let slip that his mum had been human, when I asked about it he continued on to explain the broad brush strokes of how he become what he is. But what do you mean it makes sense?"

"When one has a past like Rai must have had, its hard to share but after being able to the first time it gets easier."

"So did he tell you not to tell the temple as well?"

"No but he knows that I wouldn't." Guan pulled up a chair and sat down. "Just like I know he wouldn't want me to."

"You seem to know a lot about a guy that you used to fight against in the old days."

"The relationship between me and Rai back then was...interesting," Guan explained, "though we fought, there was an almost understanding between us. As opposed to Chase and some of the others from the Heylin side, neither of took our fighting personally. He was Heylin, I was Xiaolin, we battle out of the principle of the matter."

"So it was a punch-clock rivalry? Did you ever think that Rai wasn't doing it completely out of free will."

"As I faced Rai time and time again, I began to see that despite his loyalty he didn't share Wuya's enthusiasm for world conquest." Guan continued, "but I didn't truly comprehend how different Rai was until the incident at the valley in the land of neither here nor there.":

"Me, Dashi, Chase and a trope of soldiers had been chasing after Rai. It was about an incident involving the emperor's daughter that I'd rather not discuss. The terrain had given us an advantage. It was too uneven and Rai wasn't familiar enough with the landscape to risk going at full speed. I, on the other hand, had grown up nearby and knew the area. I was able to keep up with Rai but was separated from the others. Soon we got to an old bridge that crossed the valley. We raced across it but before we could get completely across the ropes snapped. We jumped for it, Rai had been close enough to clear it with ease. I realised just after I jumped with all my might that it wouldn't have been enough to clear it. I was about to make my peace with the world when I felt someone grab my arm and save me; it had been Rai."

"After that day I started seeing him and his actions differently. I tried approach Chase and Dashi about it but Rai was still Wuya's loyal apprentice. Any objections I had stopped matter when Rai received orders from Wuya to kill us."

Kimiko thought back to something Rai had said in the forest.

I suppose I actually should be grateful to Dashi; he was able to trap me before I did something worse...

"So it had been the best thing to do, turning him into stone."

"Yes," Guan agreed, "Rai wasn't meant for that time. Seeing how he is making a life for this time only proves that. Looking back I still agree with what we did, I'm just not sure I still agree with why we did it."

"And that's why you're looking for a cure as well." Kimiko surmised, Guan nodded in return.

"If we find something that may work, I'll approach Rai about it. Until then, knowledge of this search doesn't leave this room."

Kimiko nodded, she understood why it had to be this way, she didn't like it but she understood.

"I just don't get it," Kimiko said, "on some level I can understand why he doesn't want the world to know what he was and/or is but he's not even trying to find a cure. Sometimes it's as if he doesn't want to be human."

"Do you honestly believe that about him?"

"No, not in my heart but he's got people willing to help him now, why is he so certain that the answer isn't out that he isn't even willing to try."

"Kimiko in my lifetime I have met all manner of people and when I look at Rai I don't see someone who is afraid of failure. I see someone who has been hurt before and is afraid of getting his hopes crushed again."


Clay stared out the window at the storm that was in full force. While looking out he noticed that Omi had come to stand beside him. After a moment of silence before Clay broke the silence. "Well little buddy, looks like Rai knew what he was talking about. He predicted a storm and here it is."

"He predicted more then just a storm," Omi replied, "do you think he knows what he is talking about with those as well?"

"Well I don't like to just follow someone wholeheartedly on the grounds that they're a so called expert in the field." Clay paused for a moment to scratch the back of his head. "That said what he said is making a lot of sense and if we're not in the business of listening to people who make sense we won't be in business for very long."

"In deed you are correct, Clay," Omi agreed, "but I am not worried, no matter how powerful the side of evil get they will be no match for us and our allies."

"So is Rai part of that list?" Clay asked

"Of course he is," Omi replied

"Even though he's a demon?"

Omi looked away from the window and up at Clay. "You remember the first Wudai Quest we took?"

"Ya mean the one where the Bird of Paradise turned out to be an old lady who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket?"

"Precisely and one of the lessons we learned was to not let our assumptions get the better of us. Perhaps for too long people were obsessed with what was and not taking the time to see who he was. And the longer he stays on the Xiaolin side the more glimpses I see of someone I would be proud to fight beside."

Clay smiled proudly at Omi. "Well I reckon nobody could have said it better than that." Both Wudai returned to starring at the storm. "So where is our resident Demon anyway?"

"Out there," Omi explained, "He mentioned something about hunting omens."

"Ya kidding me? Only someone out of their would go out in this weather."

"I agree most heartedly."

For a moment both were silent.

"Two day's sweeping duty says that Kimiko goes out to join Rai before the nights out."

"You are on, my friend."


The storm continued. Rai stood on the roof of one of the highest building in Monk Guan's Temple. Getting up there had been as easy as could be expected. There had been a window near the top which meant that Rai had been able to get to the roof with minimal scaling of the outside wall, which beats the idea of having to scale a tower this big on the outside from the ground up.

Been there, done that but that was then and this is now which means it's time to go omen hunting.

Before being turned into a demon his mother had taught him that it was in storms like these that spirits of another plain would come out to play. If you exposed your self to the elements the spirits would give you signs of what the future held. Not small things like your fortune for tomorrow, more like omens for major world changing events. Which was exactly the kind of info Rai was needed.

Thunder came seemingly from all directions.

Conflict.

The wind blew first from the east and then from the west.

The meeting of two forces at this point.

The wind died down, leaving only a steady down pour.

And rain. Lots and lots of Rain.

"What are you doing up here?" Kimiko demanded, "trying to turn your self into a lightning rod!?"

"No I am exposing my self to the elements so that the spirits of chaos that run wild in such storms may send me an omen about what the future holds us and the temple."

"Alright fine, if you're going to hide behind your twisted jokes, don't tell me but only a lunatic would be on a roof in this weather."

"I had a traumatic childhood, what's your excuse?"

"Hey! I'm not a lunatic! I'm up here cause I wanted to talk to you. And at least I had the sense to put on the Jetbutsu." Kimiko replied, pointing to her feet.

"Ok I'm listening."

"Rai," Kimiko took in a deep breath to steady her nerves. "I just want you to know that I'm not like them."

That got Rai's attention. "Not like who?"

"Not like who ever it was that hurt you."

Rai raised an eyebrow."That's a pretty big list so you're gonna have to be more specific." he walked in and closed some of the distance between him and Kimiko. He walked along the ridge of the roof like a tightrope with the skill and ease of someone that had a lot of experience. Kimiko lowered her eyes realising just how stupid what she just said must have sounded. She then raised her gaze when she felt Rai wrapping his outer robe over her shoulders. "but I appreciate the sentiment."

Before Kimiko could protest against Rai giving up his robe, he morphed it slightly so that it had a hood and pulled it up onto her head.

"Dragons smell funny when they get wet."

Kimiko looked down slightly. The robe was making a difference and she could all of her body starting to warm up, including her face. "Why do you have to cheapen a good deed with a smart remark?"

Rai gave a small smile. "Well if I'm not careful you might expect me to be good all the time."

Instead of Kimiko, the weather decided to reply, with a lightning bolt, two feet away from Rai was standing. On instinct, Rai jumped away from it, not the smartest thing to do when your standing on a roof. Rai only realised this when he lost his footing and fell over the edge. Instead of falling to the ground, Rai came to a sudden stop when he felt something grab his arm. After staring at the inky blacks below him, he finally looked up to see that the something was a someone; Kimiko.

"Come on Rai," Kimiko groaned as she struggled to pull Rai up, "when ever you feel like helping out.

After a moment of being stunned, Rai used his free hand to grab onto the ledge. With the combined strength, Rai was back on the roof. Both Rai and Kimiko sat there, just breathing neither one trusting them selves to speak. In a moment of clarity the omen revealed it self to Rai.

Conflict. A strike. A reaction. Instincts blinding me. A moment in limbo. Kimiko between me and oblivion.

"Rai," Kimiko said carefully, "I know you have reason for being up here but can we please get down now?"

"Yeah, I think I've gotten all this storm is willing to give me."


Once they were back inside, Kimiko took of Rai's outer robe. "Here you go."

"Thanks," Rai said, "So just out curiosity, why did you feel the need to establish the fact that you're not like the people that've hurt me?"

Kimiko rubbed her arm slightly. "Well I was talking to Master Guan."

"That can't be good."

"It wasn't bad, it just made me realise how we may seem like the people that hunted you sometimes."

Rai raised an eyebrow. "I've been a part of the good guys for a hundred and thirteen days and you've only figured this out now?"

"You've been counting?!"

"Yep, I like to keep track of things, so much of my life has gone into the 'a lot' category." Rai started to head to the showers. Kimiko followed u "The amount of people that have hurt me to date? A lot. The amount of attempts at my life to date? A lot. The amount of times I've fallen over the edge to date? A lot. The amount of times to date there's been someone to catch me before I reach the bottom?"

"A lot?"

"No," Rai said before closing the door. "Once."

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