This is the second installment of my adaptation of the Kung-Fu Panda series/movie/universe.
Consciousness slowly returned to the beggar, but for some reason something felt off about coming back to the waking world. No longer could he feel the cold from the drafty/forgotten home that he'd taken up residence in, as it felt like he was laying outside in the warmth of the spring sun warmth. No longer could he feel the pangs of hunger that constantly gnawed at his insides, as it seemed he'd just eaten another large sack of bread. It all felt like a wonderful dream and all and he just wanted to stay within this wonderful dream. 'I must have passed on to the other side,' were his only thoughts as a smile slowly formed on his furry face.
"If that is not a sign of life, I do not know what is." Said a sweet female voice that the beggar didn't recognize. The voice has what seemed like a slight hiss to it and a bit of fear began to creep into him in thoughts of whom or what the voice belonged too.
"I am surprised that he is awake so soon after the injury he received when those bandits attacked that village." Said another voice that he couldn't quite place the accent from, but knew that it was somewhere off to his right.
"Though from what that old duck said, it is a miracle that he even survived at all, being what he 'is' and all." This voice was clearly different from the other male voice and had some deeper accent than the first and seemed to be coming right from beside his face or right next to his ear.
"Mantis, that isn't very nice to say." Said the first/female voice in such a way that almost sounded like she was scorning the second male voice. "Even if he is what he appears, he still went out of his way to save the old duck from those bandits with little or no concern to that of his own well-being." A small hiss could be heard and the beggar could have sworn that the second male voice or Mantis's voice apologized for the remark.
"I would have to agree with Mantis on this one." Said a new voice that had a fairly deep accent that seemed to come from somewhere far off to the east as well as bit of a growl to it. "Something about him is not sitting right with me. From what the restaurant owner said, he used those spices and herbs to fight back against those bandits with surprising skill. Almost as if he has done something like that in the past." A few moments passed in silence and through it the beggar began to fear the second female voice more than that of the others.
"And for some reason he reminds me a great deal of Tai Lung." Said the female voice and at that the beggar really began to sweat. He'd heard that name before and every time that someone had called him that he'd be pelted with all sorts of things a moment later.
"Tigress!" The first female voice spoke up and gave the second female or Tigress's voice a hiss. "You're frightening the poor man."
"I do apologize for my words Viper. Though you do have to admit that his appearance is remarkably similar to his." This time, Tigress's voice was quite a bit closer to that of the beggars face and he could feel beads of sweat trickle down the side of his furry face.
"Hay everyone, how is our new guest doing?" A jovial voice said from somewhere off to the beggars left. "Does he need some more soup? He certainly needs some more meat on his bones."
"Pretty good all things considered Poe." Said a very calm voice that was mirrored by the rest of the occupants of the place the beggar lay. "Who would have thought that that broth you made would have healed him so swiftly."
"Thanks Crane. My dad taught me that that soup could be used to cure all sorts of ills and spills." A laugh could be heard from the voice that the beggar believed to be that of Poe's voice.
"Plus, he seems to be coming around, though for some reason he does not wish to fully awaken." There came a resounding hiss as if she was accusing the rest of the occupants around the place of being the reason why the beggar wouldn't come around.
"Pretending to be asleep, huh? I know how to fix that." There came the sound of knuckles popping and the beggar began to shake now in fear. "Time to try out my newest attack, the Tickle attack." Poe said in a jovial tone which was followed by a sound of a shout from the beggar.
Quickly rolling off wherever he was laying, the next few moments for the beggar were a bit hectic as it was a mess of limbs and shouts from multiple voices. Though as soon as those few moments had passed did the beggar find himself curled up in the corner of the room, his body shaking like a leaf in that of a violent wind storm. "Please don't hurt me!" He cried/pleaded as he tried his best to cover as much of himself as he could with his arms.
"Now see what you have done Poe," hissed the voice that supposedly belonged to that of Viper, "You have frightened him."
"What is going on in here?" Asked a voice that seemed to come from someone very important.
"MASTER SHI-FU." Said all the voices in the room. Realizing that he was no longer being attacked by all the people in the room, the beggar slowly lowered his guard/arms and began to look about and see who had attacked him a moment ago as well as to put a face to the names that he had heard a few moments before. The room was occupied by several different people, an overly large panda that seemed to have an over a love of food by the judge of his girth, a snake that looked suspiciously like some kind of viper but had a calm demeanor that made it seem like she would be that of a kindly sort, a crane that wore a traditional circular hat that looked to be made up of dried reeds, a small red panda that seemed to have developed some kind of limp from an old injury to his leg as well as wearing some kind of simple outfit, and finally that of a jungle cat/tiger. The beggar eyes seemed to lock onto that of the tiger for a while and somewhere down deep he felt a soft stirring.
"Ah, it would seem that our guest has finally awoken from his slumber." Said a quiet and calm voice that brought the beggars attention back to the others, only to realize that somehow the small red panda had crossed the whole room, to stand before the beggar with his arms clasped behind his back, without his knowing. An overbearing urge to shy away again overcame the beggar as he quickly brought up his arms again and cowered a little more into the corner. Though the beggar cowered there for a time, he came to realize that nothing was happening to him.
Slowly lowering his arms, that were covering his face, he slowly looked over them to see that the red panda was still standing there, patiently waiting for...something. "You are not going to attack me?" The beggar asked, as if not really believing that if the red panda that he believed to be the one that everyone else in the room was calling 'Master Shi-Fu.'
"Now why would I do such a thing? You have done no harm to the inhabitants of the Jade Palace." He brought about an arm and swept it across the room, as if to indicate the other occupants of the small room that the beggar was now beginning to see. The room was very plain, only that of a single sleeping pad on the floor, a window, and some kind of blanket that'd been tossed to the far side of the room, as if in a haste to be thrown off whoever was just recently under it. The other occupants of the place were still slightly leaned over and those with hands had placed their right fist into that of an open left palm.
It was only a few moments of looking about, as well as seeing a slight harsh look come from the tiger, that the beggar's brain began to work again. "The....the Jade...." He stammered as if not believing what he'd just heard.
"That is right. The Jade Palace." His voice was almost jovial in response to the beggars stutter, as if pleased at the reverence from one such as the beggar. "You were taken here for treatment of your wounds."
The word of wounds was what shocked the beggar back to the here and now, as he realized his predicament. Slowly he lowered his hands further and almost with trepidation he slowly began to run his hands over where he'd been sure that he'd been hurt earlier, while never taking his eyes off the one that so many of the other occupants of the room were showing such respect towards.
(Some time later)
"For some reason, people seem to think that I am this, Lung person." The beggar said as he took a long sigh and hung his head while his arms rested on his thighs and his hands were clasped in his lap. The room had been cleared out of the other people that'd awoken that of the beggar and now there was just master Shi-Fu and himself. "Who is that person and why do people think I'm him?"
The small panda lowered his head and gave it a slow shake. "It is enough to know that he was not someone that you would have wanted to meet. Though as to why people think that you are him, you are almost the spitting image of him, height excluded." To which he waved his hand at, almost like that of a dismissing notion. "Though all that is in the past. Tai-Lung has passed from this world and will trouble no-one anymore."
The beggar could tell that there was probably a lot more to that story due to the tone of his voice, but the look that came from Master Shi-Fu led him to believe that it was probably not something that should be brought up anymore or delved into at any depth. Due to his mal-nutrition, from not eating properly or sometimes not at all, his recovery was quite slow, but Poe had assured the beggar that thought his father's secret ingredient soup recipe would have him back on his feet in no time. It was upon one of these nights that the beggar was started to find himself in some kind of choke hold. He was so startled by his new predicament that he really didn't have a chance to see who it was that had gotten him in that hold.
"You don't belong here." A deep growl could be heard, as if the voice was coming from right beside his left ear. "I do not know what sort of game you are playing at, but if you know what's good for you, you'll leave this place...NOW!" The voice came with that of a deep throated growl and the beggar knew almost instantly that it was Master Tigress. Before lightheadedness began to set in, a conscious thought passed through his head, to which he wondered how she'd snuck into his room and gotten him in this hold. It was also in that instant that something else bubbled up in him and before he could stop himself he'd reached into one of his pockets and threw a small amount of powder over his shoulder while using his other to jab Master Tigress in her side.
Taken aback by the move as well as the jab to her sensitive side, Master Tigress winced at the blow as well as taking in a quickly breath. The only problem was when she did she'd inhaled from the blow, she'd taken in a bit of the dust and began to cough, only to be swiftly followed by her rolling on the ground choking with her claws at her throat, as if poised to rip out her own throat. It was the sound of a bowl shattering on the ground that brought the beggar back to the moment. "Mater Tigress?" Came Poe's shocked voice.
The next few moments were lost to that of the beggar as everyone began to panic and run about. It was only when the beggars face was slapped that he was brought out of his shock. "Snap out of it beggar." The beggar looked down and saw that it was Master Shi-Fu there looking up at him with a very unhappy look on his face. "We need your expertise to heal Master Tigress." It only took a quick look over to her from that of Master Tigress to shock him into action. Giving orders almost as if he actually knew what he was talking about, the other members quickly ran about the place gathering anything and everything the beggar asked for. When it was all said and done the beggar held a wet rag containing the ingredients he'd called out for, over Master Tigress's mouth and nose.
Everyone waited with baited breath, eagerly awaiting any change in Master Tigress's condition. Once they saw that her breathing began to come in and out without any hindrance of her airway being hindered like before, they all let out their own held breath. It was at that moment that the beggar's strength seemed to have left him as he fell to his backside and wiped at his brow with a cloth. It was also at that moment that everyone turned to the beggar and he could see that he was in trouble. Thankfully or maybe, unthankfully, he was pulled painfully by the ear out of the room by Master Shi-Fu and into that of the hallway.
"I do not begin to fathom what happened back in there, but it seems to me that you have some skill in the herbal arts." There came a long silence between the two as well as a bit of unease from that of the beggar. "It seems to me that there is more to you beggar than what is first perceived."