Chapter 23 - Discussion
Not far from Guan's temple were two familiar faces, staring on as they waited for night time to come.
"I don't understand why we have go to the retrieval work. Isn't that what minions are for." Wuya huffed.
Hannibal glared at the witch. "Well Wuya let's review how well your minions have fared. They failed to get the Rio Reverser, have made no real effort to get it back and if I hadn't intervened you and your minions would have failed in getting the treasure of the blind swordsman too."
"We would have gotten the treasure on our own." Wuya protested. "Besides what happened to keeping a low profile and keeping it subtle?"
"What happened was that time is running out and we still don't have the pieces we need." Hannibal said. "We have even less than I thought we did thanks to you and Chase utterly destroying and scattering the ashes of the one corpse we needed to reanimate."
"You're not going to let that one go are you?"
"This mean we have to get creative. But we can't do that without the right pieces."
"But why not take Jack."
"I can't find the whimpering idiot anywhere."
How are you feeling Mr Spicer?" The nurse asked.
"Fine," Jack said, "I'll feel even better when I back at that demon."
"Um excuse me," The nurse said. "Did you say demon?"
"Yeah I did, Rai is a wind demon that helps the losers at the Xiaolin temple find the mystical shen gong wu that are scattered around the world and one of the biggest jerks I have ever met on the Xiaolin side." Jack seemed to go off into his own rant. "I mean me and the monks had a good thing going, we race around the world for the Wu, me in my jet, them on their dragon, it worked. And then Rai shows up and not only does he smash my robots and threatens to decapitate me, he makes fun of me, lulls me into a false sense of security before hurting me even more. When I become ruler of the world, he will pay."
The nurse took a few tactical steps back and picked up a nearby phone. "I'm just going to ask a friend of mine to come visit. Would you be able to tell him the same thing you just told me?"
"Sure, why not."
Sometime later Jack found himself in a padded cell, wearing a straight-jacket.
"I did not see that coming."
"And even if I could find him, I need someone half capable to help me with this task, so quit whining." Hannibal paused. "And I thought I told you to bring Chameleon Bot thing along." At that, 'Wuya' morphed into Chameleon Bot. Hannibal glared at it. "I told you to stop doing that."
"So," Clone Rai said while Rai dug round the vault for the Wu he wanted. "Is me telling you what a potentially stupid idea this is going change your mind at all?"
"Nope." Rai pocketed the golden tiger claws, shroud of shadows and the falcon's eye.
"Well alright then."
Rai paused. "That's it? You're just going to give up this argument just like that?"
"Well to be honest, this can't really class as an argument." Clone Rai admitted. "You see, pretty soon you're going to realise a gaping hole in your plan so I'm just going to wait until you realise it and then I win this argument by default."
"Oh yeah, shows what you know," Rai said smugly. "I have this perfect figured out. We need to get an idea of what the Heylin side is planning. The best way to that is to go check out Jack's place and see if I can find anything. I'm going alone because I know Wuya and Hannibal best so I'm the most likely to be able to pull this off. I didn't tell anyone because they'll object. I also waited until dark because then it will provide better cover and make less people suspicious of me missing and I've packed enough Wu to be useful but not enough that Wuya or Hannibal may be able to sense it."
"So you've got everything figured out." Clone Rai stated. "No holes what so ever."
"Not one." At that Rai started to walk off.
"Hey Rai." Clone Rai inspected his nails. "Where does Jack live?"
Rai stopped as realisation hit and then pressed his head against a nearby wall in frustration. "You know, I would hate you if you weren't so good looking."
The Wudai warriors were sitting at a table enjoying a pot of freshly brewed tea as mulled over the strange day they had had.
"Well, considering how strange it can get around, I'd say that this is more or less on par with the status quo." Kimiko decide.
"Ya got a point there." Clay admitted, "Though I can't help but feel as if the day isn't quite over yet."
As if on cue Rai walked in, doing what appeared to be an innocent whistle. "Hey guys how's it going?" Omi his mouth to answer but Rai interrupted before he could get a word out. "Great to hear. Hey Omi, you know that guy who pesters us from time to time?" Rai asked. "Jack Spooner?"
"Jack Spicer?" Omi offered.
"Yeah that's the one, do you know how I would get to his place from here?"
Omi was about to answer when Kimiko covered his mouth to stop him. "Why do you need to know how to get to his place?"
"Oh nothing," Rai said a little too quickly, "just ideal curiosity."
Kimiko let go of Omi and casually walked up to Rai, "Oh well in that case." Kimiko grabbed Rai's nipples and twisted hard. "Tell the truth."
"Argh! Alright, alright," Rai spoke very quickly as the pain started to set in. "Wuya and Hannibal might be hiding out there." Rai covered his chest as soon Kimiko let go. "Girl, you need to learn where the line is. Even Wuya knew where there were boundaries."
"Wuya used magic to take away your free will and made you do her dirty work."
"Well yeah but she left my nipples alone."
"Could we stop talking about yer nipples and start talking about why ya think Wuya and Hannibal would be stashed at Jacks house?" Clay asked.
"Well you know how I said Jack had come to the temple with some fake Wu? Well I was feeling sorry for him so we had some tea and I got him talking. Turns out that he's currently playing errand boy to Wuya and Hannibal while their working on some massive plan. Well Jack also complained that Wuya was stealing all of the hot water. Meaning that they're staying at his place? Now that we have some actual proof instead of just making assumption it's time to take the initiative and get some answers."
"So your plan was to go to Jack's place, which you have reason to believe is currently housing Wuya, a witch that has a grudge against you, and Hannibal, a psychotic mastermind, by yourself, poke round for information and just hope for the best?" Kimiko asked.
"You know Kimiko, negativity is very counter productive, the best way to succeed in life is through proactive and goal orientated action."
Clay pinched the bridge of his nose. "Partner, I know you read that self help book out of boredom but could you please not make us suffer because of it."
"You know what Rai, you may actually have a point," Kimiko said, suddenly sounding thoughtful.
Rai did a double take. "Wait what?"
"It would be a good idea for us to check out what Hannibal and Wuya are up to. A good warrior knows to be proactive." Kimiko tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Although it would be stupid to leave the Wu unguarded."
"Yeah I guess so." Rai conceded
"Then it's settled." Kimiko clapped her hands. "Us Wudai Warriors will go check this out while you stay here and guard the Wu."
"Wait what? Oh no. You are not going to con me out of going."
"Yeah you're probably right though it was either con you into staying here or hurting you until you saw it my way." Kimiko nonchalantly cracked her knuckles. "I'm still open to suggestions."
"How about we take an option that involve me still being the one that goes to Jack's place and yet doesn't get hurt by you."
"I'm still open to Good suggestions."
Rai sat in the courtyard as he watched Kimiko and Omi fly off in the Silver Manta Ray. They had decided against taking Dojo purely on the fact that he may have been tempted to take a detour to go see Master Fung. "I still think it should be me going to Jack's place."
"Well better luck next time." Clay replied, sitting next Rai.
"So why are you staying behind?"
"To make sure that ya don't get any ideas of trying to follow them." Clay answered frankly. "It has been noticed that you don't always do what people tell you to."
"Yeah, I've always been bad like that." Rai pulled out his dagger and started cleaning dirt out from under his nails. "Well I guess all I can do is sit here and wait for news."
"Ya're being awfully mature about this." Clay couldn't suppress the surprise in his voice.
"Well, Kimiko got a confession out of me in one of the most degrading forms of physical torture ever and managed to sucker me into 'agreeing' to stay here while she goes to check it out." Rai shook his head. "Really, this doesn't seem to be my night so I'm just better off trying to protect what little dignity I have left."
"Come on Rai, it's nothing to be ashamed about. Being able to make men act like idiots is part of a women's job description." Clay patted Rai on the shoulder. "Besides, Kimiko just did it because she cares about ya, we all do."
"Yeah I care about you guy's too. That's why I wanted to go check it out by myself. That way I may have been able to get some answers and not risk anyone's necks."
"Yeah we figured that was what ya were going for. Appreciate the sentiment but next time save yerself some pain and just come clean." Clay said and, after seeing Rai absentmindedly nod, decided to move on to another topic. "What's story about that knife? Is it a keepsake from when you were human?"
"Nah I was too young to have any keepsakes from back then... This is a souvenir from I faced the former ruler of the land of nowhere. It used to be one of his fangs but he didn't need it anymore and since he had gone through the trouble of sticking it into my leg I figure he would have wanted me to have it." Rai then stopped when he realised that he had off handily revealed that he was once human. "Wow, I did not see that coming. Well played sir well played."
Clay shrugged, "It's not that hard, no-one seems to see it coming when I try subtlety."
"Yeah can't imagine why," Rai muttered sarcastically.
"Nothing." Rai quickly amended. "So how'd you figure it out?"
"Didn't really figure it out." Clay replied. "It was more like a potential theory that I could deem as impossible. Plus you never said that you hadn't once been human."
"True though I also had never said that I wasn't secretly a giant mutant chicken that likes to dress up as a person."
"Meh it's been done." Clay said. "So why the secrecy bout ya being a human? I mean I kinda guess when ya were Heylin it was better marketing to be considered a demon but now that yer a good guy why not come clean with us."
Rai paused for a moment. "Habit I guess, I'm so used to being hunted by the 'good guys' that I didn't want people to have another excuse to end my existence. And when I finally got over thinking that you guys would betray me someday I just didn't see the point in bringing up the past." He put his nife away after he was satisfied with how clean his nails were. "I can't change what I was but I can make the most of what I am now."
"And what are ya now?" Clay asked, "I mean ya look like a human, act like a human and has the same basic needs as a human. To top it all off of ya don't go all mutant Gator like Chase sometimes does. What exactly makes ya not-human?"
"Uh hello?" Rai pointed to his eyes.
"Oh come on Rai, don't pull that excuse. Having weird eyes does not stop you from being able to call yerself human. My Aunt Miriam's wonky left eye is proof of that."
"Well your Aunt probably didn't have people chasing after her the whole time going all 'Demon!Demon!Kill!Kill! on her butt."
"Nah, that all stopped when we were able to convince the Reverend that she wasn't possessed."
"But that's not the point, just because some idiots jumped to conclusion about you were, doesn't mean that you aren't human. Humanity can only be decided on by looking at that thumper that people have in their rib cage."
Rai sat quietly for a moment before taking in a deep breath as he started to talk again. "Clay, I may look human, act human and in a lot of superficial ways I could be considered human but the truth is I'm not." Clay opened his mouth to protest but Rai raised a hand to silence him. "Look I can't really explain it but somewhere in the core of my being there is something just isn't human. I haven't been human for a very long time so it's should be easy to forget what it feels like to be human but I still remember enough to know that what I feel inside of me isn't human." A faint smile developed on his face. "But having people like you, someone who has seen the real me, still see me as human, it means a lot to me."
Clay shrugged but returned the smile. "Well whatever it is ya go in yer core, yer not gonna me that yer not human." He then stood up, satisfied that this particular conversation was over and that Rai wouldn't be able to catch up with Omi and Kimiko. "Well that's my dose of philosophy. I'm off to get a snack. Interested?"
"Nah, I think I'll go have a nap."
At that Clay and Rai went their separate ways for the time being. Unaware that off in the distance, Hannibal and Chameleon bot were watching them. "Perfect."
Clays was busy digging through the fridge in hopes of finding a tasty morsel. "Heya Clay!" Clay pulled his out see Rai standing there.
"Uh, what happened to going to take a nap?"
"Oh decided hang out with my very bestest friend Clay."
Clay paused, perplexed at Rai's sudden cheerfulness. "You've just eaten a bunch load of candy again, haven't you?"
"Nope," Rai replied cheerfully. "I just have a great love of life."
Clay stared for a moment but then shrugged as he returned to the fridge. 'Rai' meanwhile, developed an evil grin as his right hand morphed into a blade.
Rai sat himself at the foot of a statue of Dashi as he stared up at the sky, mulling over what Clay had said. "That's weird," Rai muttered, "usually I'd have a hallucination appearing about now to discuss this sort of thing with me."
"Discuss what with who?"
Rai tilted his head to the sound of the voice to see Clay standing there. "Oh, nothing." Rai paused, "Weren't you off to get some food?"
"Yeah I was but then I thought about something," Clay said. "What if we were to hide the Wu somewhere other than the vault? I mean that's where the Heylin side are always going to go looking so why not move them somewhere they won't expect?"
"So you just happened to come up with this idea in the space of time between now and when we had our conversation?"
"It's not like it's such a complicated idea." Clay answered. "But how's about we go do that now while the idea's still fresh."
"And if Kimiko and Omi don't like the idea?"
"Then we just put the Wu back, no harm no foul."
Rai looked at Clay sceptically but then shrugged. "Alright, I wasn't nodding off anyway." he stood up, giving Clay a quick one over. "I've been meaning to tell you, When you wear your hat like that, you kind of remind me of Chuck Norris." he said nonchalantly. "Except of course for the fact that you don't have facial hair and you're not a bed wetting girly-man."
"Don't mention it." Rai replied. "So are we heading to the vault or what?"
Clay turned to head to the vault. He made about three steps before having to swing round and catch Rai's hand as Rai was about to stab him in the back. Clay then did a disarming move that took Rai's knife away from him and sent him flying over his shoulder. "Woah, what's got into you, partner, we're both on the same side here."
Rai spun in the air a couple of times before landing in a crouching position. "Word of advice, Hannibal, don't try to pass off as someone if you can't do it convincingly."
The Moby Morpher appeared out of nowhere on Hannibal's arms as he changed back to his normal form. "What gave it away?"
"The fact that you didn't maim me for bad mouthing Chuck Norris." Rai arched backwards to dodge Hannibal's incoming tentacle and then rolled into a handstand to dodge a downward strike. He then start to spin while he was still in a hand stand and hit Hannibal several times with a helicopter kick. Hannibal was finally sent flying into a wall. "Nice sneak attack," Rai complimented, "I almost didn't see it coming."
Hannibal let out a growl as he rubbed his jaw. Rai, not one to give the opponents time to regroup, came in to finish the fight quickly. Hannibal, however was ready this and started blocking and dodging Rai's attacks. Though Rai wasn't able to get a hit in, his reflexes meant that he was able to dodge Hannibal's counter attacks. That was until Hannibal caught Rai's foot and flung him upward.
Unfazed, Rai shouted "HEYLIN HURRICANE!" as he started to spin in the air. The spinning got faster and faster as a column of wind started to form around Rai, growing quickly as it headed straight for Hannibal. Hannibal did nothing for a moment as the tornado surrounded him. He then whipped his tentacles outwards, causing the tornado to vanish and Rai, no longer supported by his wind attack, to come falling back to the ground. Though he managed to land on his feet it also meant landing in front of a smug looking Hannibal.
"A hurricane's not that scary when you're standing in the eye."
Rai went bug eyed as Hannibal grew four extra pairs of tentacles. Rai tried to block the oncoming assault as best he could but soon he went skidding across the floor. He picked self up with a groan. "Great, not only did that hurt but now I feel kinda dirty too."
Hannibal let out a laugh. "I can't wait until I see the look of Wuya's face when she finds out that I managed to get rid of her rogue apprentice."
Just as Hannibal was about to strike again, something flew in and collided with his head. It turned out to be a robotic head that looked just like Rai's. "Didn't expect to see that today."
"Sorry I'm late," Clay said as he jumped in to join Rai's side. "I had a copy cat to deal with."
"How'd you know it wasn't me?" Rai asked.
"He complimented my hat."
"Wow you really do know me well." Rai said, "What am I thinking now?"
"That Hannibal deserves a hurting?"
At that the two warriors charged at the bean. Hannibal swung two tentacles straight at them, Rai jumped to dodge one tentacle while Clay caught the other. Not giving Hannibal time to react, Clay swung on the tentacle and hurled the bean skywards, helped a large part by the fact that Rai had landed behind Hannibal and given him a hard kick up the back side.
"Hey Clay!" Rai shouted. "Going up?"
Clay made a step out of his hands and as Rai jumped into them he flung Rai up as well. Rai flew up and grabbed onto Hannibal's tentacle.
Rai start spinning like an airborne top and Hannibal, still attached, was helpless as he started spinning round as well. Meanwhile Clay ran to the other side of the court yard.
"WUDAI CRATER EARTH!"
Clay stamped his foot in the ground, causing to rise up as pillar until it was level with the spinning Rai. When Clay was satisfied with the height he morphed some earth into a giant baseball bat. "Come on Rai, let's see that pitching arm of yers."
Rai spun for a few more seconds before realising Hannibal. The possessed bean ended up flying straight for Clay. Clay took a big swing and hit his mark, sending Hannibal flying into the horizon with a loud crack. "It is out of there! Ladies and Gentlemen, that is what we in America call home run."
Rai and Clay returned to ground level, laughing triumphantly. "Oh yeah," Rai cheered, "earth and sky showing the bean how we do things." Their victory was interrupted by a cellphone ringing. Clay answered it by putting it on speaker phone.
"Guys, we're at Jacks place and it's empty." Kimiko said, "No Jack, no Wuya, no Bean and no Wu. We couldn't find anything except some mangle up bots. We're coming back now."
Kimiko hung up while Clay and Rai stared each other.
"Chameleon Bot is one of Jack's toys." Clay said. "Meaning that Hannibal and Wuya were working with Jack."
"If that's the case, where is Wuya?"
"THE VAULT!" they cried in unison.
By the time Rai and Clay made it to the vault it was deserted, the only signs of entry being that a few draws were left open.
"Well at least we stopped Hannibal and the Chameleon bot." Rai said optimistically. "Two out of three ain't bad." Clay whacked him in the back of the head. "Yeah I deserved that."
Wuya stood there smirking as Hannibal returned to the agreed on meeting place. "Have fun?"
Hannibal glared at the witch. "Just tell you got what we came here for."
"Oh I did," Wuya held the bag of Wu she had stolen. "How about you?"
Hannibal held up Rai's dagger. "Now our plan can move forward again."