❯ Monkey Power, American Dragon – Monkey Power, American Dragon – Part One ( Chapter 1 )
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Monkey Power, American Dragon
San Francisco, California. Approximately six months ago…
The bustling din of the city was little more than a mild hum amidst the ocean water lapping against the piers and boats docked in the harbor. While the Dockside warehouse district may not have been the most scenic locale that San Francisco had to offer, it was certainly peaceful and quiet in the middle of the night. But suddenly, a blinding flash streaked in through one of the warehouse’s windows. A split-second later, a large body smashed through the concrete wall, driven into the warehouse by a beam of glittering light. The dragon form of none other than Chang, one time member, and now hunted outcast, of the World’s Dragon Council. Stunned, she tried to rise to her feet, but only managed to find enough strength to turn her head and see a silhouetted figure walk up to the hole in the wall. His hair spiked high, dressed in black, and the long, wide tails of his custom-made tuxedo jacket flapping like a cape in the breeze, he twirled a long black cane in his hand, snapping it over his shoulder as he looked down at Chang straining to right herself.
“So…let me see if I got this straight,” Maximillion Ambro slowly reviewed as he leaned against the side of the hole in the warehouse, adjusting his sunglasses, “Your plan…your BRILLIANT strategy…was to find a spellcaster…who was stronger than you…and convince that person…to help you bring back your master…another dragon…from the pocket dimension he’s trapped in…so that he could take over all magic…and then rule the world. That part I got.”
“But see, here’s where you lose me,” he continued as Chang still struggled to get to her feet. “If…you were told no…your backup plan…was then to ATTACK this person…who is stronger than you…and FORCE them…to do it anyway.”
“Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a chess prodigy or a brilliant military tactician by any stretch of the imagination. But I can’t help thinking that there’s a REALLY big flaw in this plan,” Max added in mock thoughtfulness, calmly walking into the warehouse. Suddenly, with a turn of his wrist, Chang was instantly lifted several inches off the ground. And with a flick of Max’s hand, Chang was pulled through the air until she was stopped right in front of him, her face hovering just inches from his.
“Let’s put our heads together and see if we can figure it out…’kay?” Max suggested with a cheesy grin before shoving the air in front of him and sending a panicked Chang shooting back through the warehouse, slamming into a nearby pile of crates. As Chang lay amidst the smashed boxes, letting out a dazed groan, Max simply walked across the room with a lighthearted bounce in his step, as if he didn’t have a single care in the world.
“Thought of anything yet?” he called over, his face flashing another amused smirk. Chang, however, had had just enough of being humiliated as she suddenly got a second wind, rearing back up on her feet and lunging forward, unleashing a searing stream of dragon’s fire straight towards Max. But to her shock, Max simply raised his hand, and the flames bundled into a swirling ball, floating just above his palm.
“Guess that means `no’, huh?” he responded with a smirk before slamming his hand into the warehouse floor, along with the fireball he’d collected. But Chang didn’t have time to wonder what Max was doing, as just at that moment, the dragon fire she launched suddenly erupted into a towering geyser under her feet, sending her flying back into the crates she’s just emerged from.
At that moment, Max could only shake his head with a hollow chuckle, until Chang’s magical monkey servant, Bananas B., leaped down on him from a ceiling rafter, hoping to cause a distraction that would give Chang the opening she needed. But a simple snap from Max’s fingers left Bananas B. hovering helplessly in mid-air, flailing wildly to try to escape until Max whipped his arm out and snatched him out of the air by his yellow jersey.
“GO…AWAAAYY!” Max growled menacingly, pulling his sunglasses down to the bridge of his nose to reveal a pair of glowing white eyes. Such a sight was more than a coward like Bananas B. could handle as he shrieked in fright, retreating into the shadows as soon as Max unceremoniously dropped him to the ground. With that minor nuisance out of the way, Max simply responded with a light chuckle before he turned his attention back to Chang, who at this point, was quite unable to make any offensive move against him. She didn’t even have the energy to maintain her dragon form as she slowly became human again.
“Are we done? Can I go now?” he asked with a shrug, regaining his content demeanor as he righted his sunglasses again. “I mean, this was funny like, two minutes ago. But NOW you’re just BORING me.”
“Hnnnh…we’ll see just how much your boasts are worth…the day my master returns…and every single one of you in the magical world is bowing and groveling at his feet…as you rightly should,” Chang groaned, barely conscious as she once more tried to stand. Max, meanwhile, who had turned to leave, simply tossed a momentary glance over his shoulder before suddenly erupting into a howl of laughter that echoed throughout the entire warehouse.
“Let me tell you something, Lady,” he remarked, clearly amused, “If your so-called `master’ was too WEAK or too STUPID to see what was coming down right on top of his pointy little head, then you know what? He got EXACTLY-WHAT-HE-DESERVED! And if by some miracle, you DO manage to bring him back…he’s only going to get more of the same.”
“Let him be,” Max concluded, whirling around and walking back out of the warehouse the same way he came in. “Believe me, you’ll be saving the both of you a LOT of grief.”
With that, Max stepped outside, waving his hand and conjuring a cup of tea, from which he promptly took a sip. A moment later, he snapped his fingers and casually walked away as the concrete wall behind him repaired itself, leaving Chang lying in the darkness of the warehouse, seething in her frustration.
… … … …
Hong Kong. Today…
Her head concealed behind a wide hood, Chang was making sure not to attract any undue attention as she slowly made her way through the old residential alleys of Hong Kong, many of them having existed since the very first cities were built in the region. But Chang wasn’t interested in history or ambience, focusing on how close she was to her destination. Although where she was going and why, she hadn’t the faintest clue. All she knew was what was waiting for her when she arrived back at the small hovel she’d been hiding out in deep within the city. A piece of paper on what Chang laughably called her dining table, complete with an address and five simple words scrawled on the bottom in a cryptic message…
-I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT-
Eventually, the narrow alley Chang was walking down opened up to finally reveal her destination. A towering building loomed over her, possibly a residence at one time, but now abandoned and dilapidated, barely holding itself together. It was at this point that Chang would have sent Bananas B. on ahead to scout the location and check for any signs of traps or deception. Where WAS that stupid monkey, anyway? Always running off, never around when he might actually prove himself at least marginally useful. He hardly seemed worth the trouble sometimes, especially considering how much food he always managed to stuff into that tiny gut every day.
Still, Chang had come this far. The least she could do at that moment was see it through to the end. But being ever cautious as she opened the door and peered inside, she intended not to be more than a few steps away from the door, just in case she had to retreat at a moment’s notice. A wise precaution, considering that the entire room inside the building was shrouded in darkness, which made Chang all the more uncomfortable as she slowly inched her way inside.
“I warn you, whoever is in here!” Chang called out, trying to assert herself against the unknown. “If this is an idea of a practical joke, you will quickly discover that I am not known for my sense of humor.”
“Is that a fact?” a deep male voice sounded from the shadows, instantly putting Chang on the defensive. “Interesting. After all, I would have thought that considering all of the humiliating defeats you’ve suffered at the hands of the American Dragon, you would recognize a good joke when you saw it in the mirror.”
“What?! How do you…?!” Chang exclaimed, clearly caught off guard by this hidden stranger’s apparent wealth of knowledge. “Who ARE you?!”
“Ah, the REAL question you should be asking isn’t who am I,” the stranger announced, speaking in a firm voice of authority, but one that still sounded very familiar to her. “It’s `what can I do for YOU’?”
Before Chang could think to respond, a long, hooded robe partially emerged from the shadows, still concealing the stranger’s face and hands. But with a wave of his arm, the stranger revealed a glowing white orb, which suddenly appeared in the center of the room. Cautiously, Chang moved in closer to investigate and as she inched her way forward, an image began to emerge within the ball. Distorted at first, the image eventually began to clear as Chang approached it. But as the image finally revealed its true form, there was nothing that could have possibly prepared Chang for the sight in front of her.
“M…Master?” she uttered in disbelief as the terrible face of the evil Dark Dragon appeared amidst the swirling mass of the dimensional limbo he was imprisoned in. And as he caught the sound of Chang’s voice, his eyes immediately opened in shock, revealing that this was no mere illusion.
“Chang?!” he blurted out in surprise, unwilling to accept what his eyes were telling him, “How can this be?! What accursed trick of the mind is this?!”
“Oh, I assure you, this is no simple trick. But this is only the beginning,” the stranger replied, instantly getting the attention of both Chang and the Dark Dragon. “This spell I have used only allows you to see and interact with objects in your dimensions, but it is merely a window to peer out of. But now the question is…would you like a door?”
The Dark Dragon spoke not a word, simply regarding the half-hidden newcomer with a look of undeniable suspicion. Who was this person to suddenly just appear and be making such grand claims? And even if he COULD be trusted to be true to his word, there was ultimately still the question…what would he be asking for in return? Chang, however, was all too willing to hear the stranger out. Knowing her dreams of magical conquest could not possibly be realized without the power of the Dark Dragon behind her, any chance to return him to Earth’s dimension had to be explored.
“What must I do?” she asked simply.
“I know of a technique that will allow dimensional rifts to open that would normally be sealed,” the stranger replied. “But it requires two specific items to be successful. I have already located the first in America.”
With that, the stranger tossed a small scroll across the room which rolled along the ground before stopping at Chang’s feet. Chang took a moment to carefully scan the item in question and its precise location as the stranger prepared to leave. But suddenly, he tossed a quick glance over his shoulder.
“Oh…one more thing,” he mentioned. “In the event that you require assistance, you should find this item useful.”
A brief sparkle flashed through the darkness as the stranger tossed one more item into Chang’s waiting hand. But as she paused to gaze upon their mysterious gift, both she and the Dark Dragon became wide-eyed with surprise.
“This is…!” Chang exclaimed, clutching the glittering, aqua-colored amulet greedily. “But…this has been lost for centuries…!”
“I see you recognize it,” the stranger replied, turning back into the shadows. “Then I needn’t bother explaining its power. Use it well…and this task should prove no challenge for you. Nevertheless, I would suggest you avoid drawing any unnecessary attention to yourselves.”
A moment later, the stranger was gone, leaving Chang and the Dark Dragon to contemplate their good fortune. The Dark Dragon, admittedly, was unable to prevent himself from flashing a wicked smirk before closing his eyes a moment later. Concentrating hard, the Dark Dragon’s body suddenly began to emit a faint glow which transferred from the orb in a slow stream, infusing the amulet with its light. The glow lasted for only a brief moment, but Chang still curled her lips in a smile of anticipation as she walked out of the abandoned building, closing the door behind her.
… … … …
Back in the United States…the city of Middleton, to be specific…the only sights and sounds coming through the Possible home were of the simple fire burning away in the fireplace. With the rest of the family gone, Kim and Ron had moved the living room couch over so they could sit in front of it together while they still had the place to themselves. Rufus had drifted off to sleep on the top of the couch, ensuring no interruptions. And Kim herself clearly seemed to have no complaints as she curled up beside Ron, savoring the moment.
“See what I mean, Ron? This is nice,” she observed, breaking the silence. “You know, just being together, letting the world pass us by. We don’t have to be in a state of constant lip-lock for a night to be romantic.”
“Oh…Well, yeah…I mean, sure. This is…you know…really…kinda…really…good…you know…,” Ron replied, trying to sound more enthusiastic than he really was, even as his voice trailed off. But to Kim, Ron’s response was just another part of his strange, cute charm that just made him so irresistible to her. So she simply gave him an amused smile and snuggled in closer. After all, as the warm glow flickered throughout the dimly lit room and the gentle crackling entered their ears, it was a moment between them where it seemed that everything was well and truly right with the world…
“How long have we been sitting like this now?” Kim asked dryly.
“…Thirty two seconds,” Ron answered, after taking a moment to look at his watch.
“Mm,” Kim mused, even as she rolled her eyes playfully before turning her attention back to Ron, “It’s almost a minute.”
“OOF!” Ron cried out as Kim lunged at him, tackling him down onto the couch. At that moment, the two of them couldn’t help but laugh out loud hysterically. But after a few seconds, their laughter dwindled off into light giggles and then soft murmurs, uttered between the gentle sounds of loving kisses. At that moment, they could feel as if they were in a cartoon show, with tiny hearts fluttering up over their heads at that moment, each one popping away like a delicate bubble.
Just then, a familiar jingle of beeps pierced through the moment, bringing it to a most unwelcome end. Still, it was another second or two before Kim and Ron finally managed to ratchet themselves back up into a sitting position on the couch, both of them wearing an expression which indicated that they were clearly less than impressed.
“Waaaade…?” Kim spoke through her teeth as she and Ron both flashed a stern frown towards the Kimmunicator screen.
“Kim, I…oh no,” Wade started to say, until he saw Kim and Ron’s faces and instantly shrank back behind his desk. “You guys are giving me that look again.”
“Do you have ANY idea how important this had better be?” Kim asked, the slow pace of her words indicating that she was trying exceptionally hard to keep her responses polite.
“Sorry, sorry,” Wade groveled. “Someone just tripped the silent alarm at the Upperton museum of history. I just thought this would be an easy one…like, 10 minutes, okay? I promise, I won’t call for the rest of the night.”
“Uuhhh…let’s go,” Kim sighed, forcing herself up off the couch with Ron right behind her, who turned around just long enough to gently pick up a still-sleeping Rufus.
… … … …
“Aaahh!” the pudgy security guard cried out, diving to safety as a magical blast from Chang’s staff smashed the Upperton museum’s silent alarm.
“That was not very wise,” Chang remarked threateningly in her dragon form as she stood over the guard, sprawled out on the floor.
“Wh…what is going on?! What are you?!” the trembling guard could only blurt out in shock and fright.
“A small, insignificant mortal like you would not believe me, even if I told you,” Chang replied, whipping her tail around the guard’s waist and yanking him towards her. “However, be that as it may, you may yet be of some small use to me…”
“…At least for the moment.”
Before the guard knew what was happening, Chang slipped the amulet she’d received in Hong Kong around his neck. A quick blast of magical energy from her staff was all that was required to infuse the amulet with energy and a moment later, the guard’s eyes became glazed over with a dull glow before slumping his head down lifelessly.
“I bid you welcome…Master,” Chang boasted as the guard suddenly raised his head, his opening eyes still lightly glowing. A moment later, an eerie spectral image of none other than the Dark Dragon’s head appeared, encasing itself over the guard’s head as he responded simply with a grim smirk.
A moment later, Chang and the security guard, whose mind was now under the control of the Dark Dragon, burst out the museum doors, making a beeline through the empty parking lot. Neither one of them were particularly concerned about running into human authorities. Nevertheless, they HAD been warned to keep a low profile.
“Ah, we have the Phoenix Pendant. The first piece of the puzzle is now within our grasp,” Chang gloated as they ran, clutching the golden chain which looped around a golden ornament with a small diamond lodged in the center.
“I still can’t believe THESE are the depths I’ve been reduced to, forced to control the weak body of this fat mortal,” the Dark Dragon responded, his mood far less festive. “Did you have to settle for the first pathetic human that crossed your path?”
“Forgive me, Master,” Chang stated apologetically. “But I felt you would want to oversee this undertaking personally. Besides, it IS better than the alternative.”
“Not by much,” the Dark Dragon disputed. Before Chang could respond, the Dark Dragon used the guard’s pass key to open the gates to the museum lot and make their escape. But no sooner were the two of them on the other side, than they were momentarily blinded by a pair of high beam headlights. Headlights that belonged to Kim Possible’s car as she and Ron quickly stepped out of the front doors.
“Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I REALLY think you have something there in your hand that doesn’t belong to you,” Kim announced as she and Ron stood against the pair of would-be thieves. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid if you want historical trinkets, you’re going to have to check out the museum’s gift shop during the course of normal business hours.”
“Yeah, not to mention that, considering what you’re already wearing, that is WAY overkill,” Ron added, pointing out the amulet around the guard’s neck that was allowing him to be controlled by the Dark Dragon. “Dude, take it from someone who’s tried to go down that road, okay? There REALLY is such a thing as too much bling.”
“Such insolence!” Chang shouted in outrage. “You pitiful mortals would do well to curb your flippant attitude and acknowledge this world’s future lord and master!”
“Uh huh…uh huh, yeah,” Kim responded dismissively, the lights from her car making it too bright for her to see the image of the Dark Dragon’s face as she squinted to read the security guard’s nametag, “Look, no offense there…`Leonard’. But speaking as someone who’s spent time with a few of those `take-over-the-world’ types, my first impression of you so far is that you might want to seriously consider a different career path. Because I have to say, I’m REALLY not liking your chances.”
Glaring in anger, the amulet around the guard’s neck began to shine more intensely. And the image of the Dark Dragon’s face overlapping his own suddenly became more solid and visible, much to Kim and Ron’s surprise.
“Okay, is that supposed to happen? Because I don’t think that’s supposed to happen!” Ron exclaimed, unsure of what to think. But they soon had other concerns as Chang let out an angry hiss, transforming into her dragon form and leaving Kim and Ron in even greater disbelief. Unfortunately, they didn’t have time to be caught unawares, as Chang lashed out with a stream of magical energy from her staff, forcing Kim and Ron to dive for cover.
Rufus, who had been napping on Kim’s dashboard, could only shriek and dive for cover onto the front seat, having been rudely awakened by one of Chang’s magic blasts streaking past the passenger window. Kim, meanwhile, had other concerns as the Dark Dragon lunged towards her, trying to overpower her through the body of the security guard.
“Ron, I don’t know what’s going on here!” Kim called over as she managed to avoid the Dark Dragon’s slow strikes with minimal effort. “But something tells me you’re going to have to gear up for this sitch!”
“Already on it, KP!” Ron called back from behind Kim’s car. Chang, meanwhile, was too busy throwing energy streams to notice Ron activating his Mystical Monkey Power just enough to drive his fist into the sidewalk under his feet, loosening up a small chunk of concrete. Chunks that made for a quick, handy weapon as he shot up from behind the car in between blasts, making a lucky throw which knocked Chang’s staff flying out of her hand.
“Ha! Not so tough NOW without your little…AAAAH!” Ron’s boasts were cut off as he dove behind the car again, narrowly avoiding the searing wave of dragon fire Chang blew at him. Meanwhile, Rufus, who was still in the car, could only squeal and chatter in panic as Chang’s flames washed over the windshield like a blistering tide.
“Hey! Nobody tries to roast my car!” Kim shouted, having had just about enough weirdness for one night as she grabbed the guard and heaved his body over her shoulder, sending him rolling along the street.
“HEY! Nobody tries to roast MY mole rat!” Ron hollered, jumping out beside the car and charging towards Chang.
Chang, simply responded with another blaze of dragon fire, feeling completely unthreatened by Ron’s outburst. But this time it was Ron’s turn to go on the offensive with a flash of his Mystical Monkey Power glow, throwing his hands forward and unleashing a wave of force that not only smashed right through Chang’s stream of fire, but hit Chang square in the chest. The impact send Chang flying backward, slamming into the wall surrounding the museum and knocking her out of her dragon form as she collapsed behind the bushes. With that danger passed, Ron powered down and gave a quick rap on the passenger side window, getting Rufus’ attention.
“You okay buddy?” he called inside.
“Mmm hmm. O-kay!” Rufus replied with a grateful “thumbs up”.
With Rufus’ safety assured, Ron ran around to see to Kim. Not that he needed to. Kim was more than capable of handling the Dark Dragon in this current form as she charged in, delivering a running roundhouse kick across the guard’s face and sending him flying before he finally hit the ground and lost consciousness. At that moment, the image of the Dark Dragon’s head overlapping his own became undone, seeming to be forced back into the amulet he was wearing. Meanwhile, Chang had managed to slowly recover from Ron’s attack, but was in no hurry to reveal herself to her enemies. She had other thoughts at that moment.
“Hmm, interesting…it would seem that one possesses powerful magical energies,” Chang muttered to herself, regarding Ron with interest as he and Kim stood over the defeated guard, “It would appear we’ve stumbled upon a far more worthy vessel for my Master after all.”
“`An easy one’, huh? `Ten minutes’, huh?” Kim remarked, any patience she had left long since spent, “Yeah, right. Just what WAS that…THING?”
“No kidding, and what was the deal with this?” Ron added, removing the necklace from around the guard’s neck.
“Uh, Ron? I REALLY don’t think you should be touching…,” Kim started to say, but her warning came too late as Chang burst from hiding, reclaiming her staff and firing a bolt of magical energy directly towards the amulet.
“RON!” Kim cried out, momentarily blinded by the flash. As her sight returned, she was more than relieved to see that Ron wasn’t hurt. But her concerns immediately began to resurface as she noticed that Ron was simply standing rooted to the spot, almost as if he were paralyzed.
“Ron?” Kim called softly, pensively taking a few steps forward. Just then, she heard a sinister chuckle coming from Ron…only it wasn’t his voice. But as Ron casually looped the amulet around his neck and turned to Kim with an evil smile, Kim immediately understood what was happening as the ghostly image of the Dark Dragon’s head enveloped itself over Ron’s.
“Who are you talking to?” The Dark Dragon replied with wicked amusement.
“Oh…that can’t be good,” Kim noted with a worried look. But her feelings were of little concern to the Dark Dragon as he lunged forward to attack. And Kim had just enough time to leap to safety as the Dark Dragon smashed Ron’s fist into the street, right where she had just been standing. While Kim was distracted with dodging the Dark Dragon’s strikes, Chang was quick to press the advantage and recollect their stolen prize.
But that was hardly Kim’s immediate problem as she flipped back to dodge another of the Dark Dragon’s attacks, landing on the chain line that surrounded the shrubbery in front of the gate. The chain shifted under her weight and Kim was unable to recover in time, falling backward into the bushes. With Kim momentarily disposed of, the Dark Dragon turned back into the direction of her car, flashing a stern glare towards Rufus, who could only let out a frightened whimper and dive into the glove compartment to safety. It would be another few seconds before Kim managed to fight her way back onto her feet. But by the time that happened, the Dark Dragon and Chang had both disappeared into the night, with Ron’s body along for the ride.
“Wade, I’m going to see Max,” Kim announced over the Kimmunicator as she ran to her car, “Looks like our `ten minutes’ just went into overtime.”
… … … …
“Uh huh…nope. Never seen it before,” Max remarked simply, gazing at the image of the amulet on the Kimmunicator screen before turning back into his apartment loft. But he barely got half a step before a firm tug on the back of his shirt from Kim stopped him dead in his tracks.
“Okay, see…that REALLY wasn’t the answer I was looking for,” Kim replied with Rufus perched on her shoulder, each flashing Max a harsh gaze. “Look, whatever this thing did to that security guard, it’s doing it to Ron now, too. You’re going to tell me you don’t know ANYTHING?”
“What can I tell you?” Max answered with a shrug. “I know I look like a walking encyclopedia on the subject. But seriously, do you know how much magic there actually is in the world? I mean, I’m lucky if I even know a QUARTER of what’s out there.”
“Well, do you think maybe you know something about her?” Kim asked, flashing Chang’s picture up on the Kimmunicator screen, much to Max’s surprise. “Look, I know this is going to sound weird…well, maybe not weird for you…but I think she actually turned into what looked like a…”
“…dragon,” Max concluded, getting Kim’s attention as he sighed heavily and ran his hand down his face in aggravation, “It just HAD to be dragons.”
“So…wait a minute,” Kim responded with concern and confusion. “You’re telling me that we’re actually talking about…REAL dragons?”
… … … …
“What…have…you…DONE?!” the mysterious stranger shouted furiously upon Chang and the Dark Dragon’s return to the abandoned building in Hong Kong. “YOU FOOLS! Did I not warn you to keep a low profile?!”
“How dare you?!” Chang yelled back in protest, flashing the Phoenix Pendant into view. “Did we not successfully acquire the talisman you requested?!”
“You think that’s all you’ve done?!” the stranger argued as he flashed a second glowing sphere next to the one featuring the Dark Dragon, who was still meditating in order to control Ron through the amulet. The second sphere, however, showed a repeat of the events in Upperton, closing with a close-up view of Kim’s face.
“Thanks not only to your bungling thievery, but also your foolish choice to control that boy’s body with the amulet,” the stranger continued to shout, “you incompetent dimwits have now brought Kim Possible down upon our heads!”
“Bah! A puny mortal girl…What possible threat could SHE be?” the Dark Dragon remarked, using Ron’s powered up fist to smash a concrete joist that had collapsed long ago. “Even if she were to interfere, with this boy’s power, she would have no hope against us. Granted, his magic pales in comparison to my own dark powers, but…”
“Enough! This is not time for your empty boasts!” the stranger cut in. “Have you forgotten that amulet’s weakness?”
“I am well aware of its limitation,” the Dark Dragon replied confidently. “But I will maintain control over this body for as long as I have need of it.”
“Even if you can, that `puny mortal girl’, as you call her, is still far more dangerous than you know,” the stranger continued, his voice lowering to a grumble. “She’s probably already gone to…him.”
“Who?” Chang was compelled to ask.
“Never mind,” the stranger answered, thinking out loud to himself before addressing Chang and the Dark Dragon once more. “I no longer have the time I thought I had. This requires an acceleration of the plan. Remain here until I return with the location of the second artifact.”
“And exactly how much longer are we to act as your lackeys?” Chang asked indignantly as the stranger began to disappear into the shadows once again.
“I don’t recall stating that this arrangement was negotiable. Do you want my help or not?” the stranger replied with an impatient tone as he took a parting glance over his shoulder. With that, he turned and disappeared into the darkness, leaving Chang and the Dark Dragon unable to argue the point.
“When this is over, I intend to teach that fool a particularly harsh lesson in respect,” Chang muttered angrily.
“Once he has fulfilled his part of the bargain and I am free to walk this world once more, I will see that you do,” the Dark Dragon replied menacingly as they waited to see where they would be headed next.
… … … …
“So, let me take this from the top and see if I’ve got it straight,” Kim reviewed as she walked along the streets of New York City with Max, now dressed in his mission clothes. “You’re telling me that dragons have always had the ability to turn into humans…and there’s this Dragon’s Council that’s like, a police force for magic?”
“If you can call it that,” Max replied, switching his focus as he began muttering to himself. “Bunch of arrogant, toothless bureaucrats…care more about flaunting their own authority than doing their jobs half the time…I mean, where do they get off…?”
“I thought we were talking about helping ME,” Kim interjected with a firm tone.
“Right, sorry,” Max answered, getting back on track. “Anyway, you remember that one incarnation of mine that went down to Yamanouchi a couple centuries back? Well, before that, he made a little stopover in Hong Kong where he met a dragon by the name of Xiao-Wen Luong. I remember they became pretty good friends. It’s the earliest memory I have about dealing with dragons.”
“Okay, so why are we in New York?” Kim was forced to ask.
“Well, after I got all those past memories pumped into my head back in England, I thought I’d do some checking to see if I could find out whatever happened to the guy,” Max answered. “Turns out, he had a great-grandson who used to be the official Chinese Dragon and then came to America in the 1970s. I even found an address for him.”
“So you’re thinking we can talk to the great-grandson and maybe he can help us figure some things out,” Kim deduced with a knowing nod.
“Well, that’s assuming he’s even still alive,” Max replied, with an unsure shrug. “He’d be an old man today. His name is…”
… … … …
“AIYAA! FU DOG!” Lao Shi Luong shrieked at the top of his lungs from inside his electronics shop. “What happened to all the money in the cash register?!”
“It’s right here. I’m counting it just like to asked me! I mean, come on. What did you THINK was going to happen?” Fu replied innocently from the adjoining counter. Of course, his question hardly needed an answer, as Lao Shi simply followed up with a stern look before walking into the back room.
“Rrrnn, I tell ya, you bet a month’s receipts on one lousy centaur race and suddenly, you can’t be trusted with nothin’ around here,” Fu muttered to himself. But his complaints were only met with more stern looks from the rest of the store. Namely Lao Shi’s grandson, Jake Long, the first American Dragon and his two friends, Trixie Carter and Arthur “Spud” Spudinski, who were helping Lao Shi tidy up around the store.
“What?!” Fu protested. “The bookie I talked to said it was a LOCK!”
“Come on, Fu, just stop!” Jake demanded sternly. “I really don’t want to hear it today.”
“Whoa, talk about frosty,” Fu remarked, taken aback by Jake’s rather unusual lack of understanding. “Who snuck the vitamins into YOUR kibble today, kid?”
“Aw, don’t mind him, Fu,” Trixie answered teasingly. “He’s just in a funk `cause he got in a fight with Rose.”
“Trixie!” Jake shouted.
“Oooo, trouble in paradise,” Fu stated, rubbing his paws in anticipation. “Alright…come on, give it up. I want to hear every juicy detail.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Jake mumbled under his breath.
“Oh well, apparently, Rose is kind of in a mood right now because she and Jake can only have dates through Dream charms,” Spud explained in his usual simple demeanor.
“Spud!” Jake shot back.
“Uh oh, and what did YOU say?” Fu inquired, tossing Jake a suspicious eye.
“Well, you know…I…MAY have said something like…it doesn’t matter whether it’s a dream or not as long as we get to see each other,” Jake answered nervously, “and…from there…it…all kind of…face-planted.”
“Oh, kid…,” Fu could only mutter, slapping a paw to his forehead.
“What?!” Jake exclaimed, now his turn to protest as Fu walked into the back room, shaking his head and muttering.
“Aw, come on, Jakie. I mean, think about it,” Trixie argued. “The girl wants her boo an’ he ain’t around. How do you THINK she’s going to feel?”
“Trixie’s got a point, dude,” Spud chimed in. “You HAD to know how this was gonna go down, right? I mean, Rose is all the way in Hong Kong and you’re…well, not.”
“You think I don’t get that?” Jake immediately responded, even though his voice trailed off. “It’s…just that…”
“Uh, excuse me,” Kim’s voice cut in as she walked through the door, with Max right behind her. “Hi. I was wondering if maybe we could find someone here named…”
“I am NOT just seeing this,” Trixie interrupted, her eyes wide and her jaw hanging open in disbelief. “Oh TELL me I am not just seeing this. It’s…it’s…”
“No way! KIM POSSIBLE!!!” Spud squealed in excitement, actually leaping over Trixie to get up front, much to Kim’s surprise.
“Uh…Kim WHO?” Jake asked, unsure himself of exactly what to think.
“Oh no you didn’t!” Trixie shouted, getting in Jake’s face. “You’re gonna tell me that you’ve never heard of THE Kim Possible?!”
“Miss Possible, this is…oh wow!” Spud blurted instinctively, completely star struck, “This is like three years worth of birthday wishes, Christmas wishes and shooting stars all piled into one! It’s just…you hope for this moment for so long and then when it finally comes, you don’t know what to…would you autograph my face?!”
“I’m sorry, don’t mind him. He’s just an idiot,” Trixie chimed in, shoving Spud out of the way with a nervous laugh. “It’s just…Miss Possible…can I call you Kim…? I mean this is with all due respect but…EEEEEEEE…!!!”
Trixie’s fangirl shriek reverberated off the shops walls, but at that moment, her voice was suddenly and mysteriously cut off. Kim was as surprised as anyone, but when she looked over, her eyes widened in shock to see both Trixie and Spud frozen in time, their bodies strangely glittering. But it only took Kim a brief second to recognize THAT familiar twinkle.
“MAX!” she scolded, whirling around as he wiggled his fingers, finishing the spell to keep Trixie and Spud frozen.
“What?” Max said with a shrug. “Are we in a hurry or not?”
“What did you do to them?!” Jake shouted, flying into a rage as he transformed into his dragon form, ready to leap in and attack. But Max put a quick stop to that with a snap of his fingers, binding Jake in a set of glowing bands.
“Now just calm down,” Max stated, gently lowering Jake’s immobilized body to the ground. “Nothing’s happened to them…they’re perfectly fine. And they’re not going to stay that way, alright? It’s just that we’re not exactly made of time right now.”
“Well, looks like we came to the right place, alright,” Kim noted, looking over Jake’s dragon form.
“Yeah, the kid COULD be his grandson,” Max mused. But before Jake could ask what was going on, Fu Dog happened to walk back into the room.
“Hey, what’s all the hubbub goin’ on out here…?” he asked, until the sight of Kim and Max standing in a room with a frozen Trixie and Spud and a restrained Jake were all the answers he needed. “Uh…oooooooooookaaaaaaaaayyyyy.”
“Wait a minute,” Max said, his eyes widening slightly from behind his sunglasses. “Fu? It IS Fu, right?”
“Uuuuhhhh,” Fu stuttered, his eyes darting left and right as though he wasn’t sure what answer he should give. “Look, if this is about that loan from last month, I already told the guy, the check’s in the mail, I swear.”
“Well, it sure doesn’t sound like you’ve changed,” Max remarked, snapping his fingers and vanishing Jake’s restraints. “Hi, the name’s Maximillion Ambro.”
“Mmm…never heard of ya, kid,” Fu replied dismissively.
“No,” Max continued. “But you knew a man named Jonathan Aria.”
“What? Well, yeah…I mean, he was…Hey, wait a minute,” Fu cut himself off as he squinted his eyes tightly, looking over Max carefully, who simply responded with a knowing smirk.
“No way…” Fu uttered in disbelief as his eyes grew big. “Johnny boy…? Is that really you?”
“Not for a while,” Max replied simply. “Doesn’t look like you managed to keep the weight off, huh?”
“Heeeeeeeyyy!” Fu shouted ecstatically, standing up and holding out his front paws in welcome. “How ya doin’, man? Talk about long time, no see. At least you look better than the last guy I saw you as.”
“I’ll choose to ignore that,” Max commented, giving Fu a friendly pat on the head.
“Uh, Fu, you mind giving me the 4-1-1 on just what’s goin’ down here?” Jake had to ask, still too confused about the situation to even transform out of his dragon form yet.
“Oh, relax kid, he’s good people. You’ve got nothin’ to worry about with him,” Fu explained reassuringly. “Believe it or not, he used to pal around with your great-great-great-grandfather another lifetime ago. I mean, you want to talk about magic, there is NOBODY you want to have on your side more than the guy standing right here, okay?”
Before Jake could even think to ask for clarification, a blinding flash popped up from the side. Instinctively, everyone whirled around to see none other than the obnoxious Hans Rotwood…Jake’s principal and obsessive-compulsive, would-be monster hunter…with a smile from ear to ear and a digital camera locked in his trembling fingers.
“Hah! I knew it! I knew you would drop your guard sooner or later, Long!” Rotwood gloated, his voice especially squeaky as he cackled in triumph. “At last, after all these years, the proof of a magical world is…right…here in the…palm…of…my…haaaaannnnnn…”
Kim, Jake and Fu could only look on in surprise as Rotwood suddenly slumped over and his once twinkling eyes became sullen and glazed over. Max, it seemed, had wasted no time in dispatching this annoyance with a slow, downward wave of his hand. With Rotwood successfully entranced, Max casually walked over, lightly plucking the camera out of his hand and flipping through the saved pictures until he found the one Rotwood had just snapped, immediately erasing it. With that, he placed the camera back in Rotwood’s hand before leaning over and looking him straight into his dead eyes.
“You didn’t see nothin’,” Max said straightforwardly before patting Rotwood on the head with a wicked grin. “Now…go away.”
“Yes, I will…go away now,” Rotwood replied blankly as he slowly turned and shambled off down the street in a daze.
Jake could only look on in bewilderment before finding the presence of mind to change back into his human form. But Fu could only give a most satisfied grin. There was no doubt in his mind anymore.
“See kid, what did I tell ya?” he said confidently. “Is this guy good or what?”
“Uh, yeah, don’t think this hasn’t been fun because it hasn’t,” Kim stated, her patience wearing thin. “But can we get back to the sitch at hand, please?”
“What? You came to see the old man?” Fu deduced, grabbing one of Max’s jacket tails and leading him into the back room. “Well, come on, come on. You know, his great-grandfather used to tell him about ol’ Johnny all the time. Trust me, he’ll be glad to meet’cha.”
“Uh, hold up. Are…we gonna do something about them?” Jake was forced to ask, motioning over to Trixie and Spud, who were still frozen in their excitement.
“Oh, it’s okay, don’t worry. They’ll keep,” Max replied simply as Fu led him into the back room with Kim close behind. There didn’t seem to be anything more Jake could do. So he simply shrugged his shoulders and walked into the back himself, leaving Trixie and Spud in their motionless state.
… … … …
“Okay, so…rewind it back,” Jake stated, trying to wrap his head around the last few minutes. “You’re saying that this guy right here…used to be MERLIN? As in, like…THE Merlin?”
“Look kid, take it from someone who knows. I’ve seen what he can do…well, not HIM him, but one of the guys he USED to be,” Fu replied as Max and Kim conferred with Lao Shi. “Trust me, THIS guy makes Eli Pandarus look like a two-bit sideshow act.”
“There is no doubt. Chang has returned…although I HAD hoped we would not hear from her again so quickly,” Lao Shi commented grimly as he observed the images on the Kimmunicator screen. “I admit, I am unfamiliar with this particular amulet. But it is clear that the Dark Dragon is using it to seize control of your friend.”
“But how?” Jake chimed in. “He’s supposed to be trapped in that other dimension with the Dragon Temple for a thousand years.”
“I am not certain,” Lao Shi replied, clearly as confused as Jake. “It does not seem possible that Chang, alone, could accomplish such a feat. But however it was achieved, it is almost certain that whatever they are planning will involve the Dark Dragon returning to our world.”
“Wait a minute…pocket dimension…,” Max muttered to himself before his eyes suddenly widened. “What was that item they stole from the museum again?”
“Hmmm,” Fu replied, opening up one of Lao Shi’s various books on magic. “It’s called the Phoenix Pendant. Apparently, it was forged by phoenix feathers, created to withstand massive amounts of magical energy. And according to this, the jewel in the center acts as a lens which can direct those energies, focusing them and making them even more intense.”
“That’s how they’re going to do it…,” Max uttered under his breath, almost in disbelief. “I knew how desperate she was, but…Oh, of all the stupid…”
“What?!” Kim exclaimed. “How about giving some of us who aren’t current a quick update?”
“It’s a very crude method and it’s extremely risky. But it IS possible to open sealed dimensional barriers with a powerful enough burst of magical energy,” Max explained. “But that pendant’s only going to take them so far. They’re going to need more than that.”
“Like oh, say, maybe…this?” Fu asked, turning to another page and flashing the image in front of them.
“Oooo…that would do it,” Max replied with a worried glance. “Please tell me no one knows where that thing is.”
“It’s, uh…in a museum,” Fu answered, rather hesitantly, “In…Hong Kong.”
“Okay…That’s REALLY not what I wanted to hear,” Jake remarked.
“All I know is, you guys lost me at `risky’,” Kim chimed in, storming out of the back room. “If this has any chance of my boyfriend getting hurt, you’d better believe I am SO not for it.”
With that, Kim and the others dashed out of the store, with Fu brushing up against a still frozen Trixie and nearly knocking her over. Fortunately, he had the presence of mind to snap back and straighten her teetering body to keep it from falling before heading back outside again.
… … … …
“Aw, why don’t I get to go to Hong Kong?” Haley Long complained as Kim and the others made a quick detour at the Long home. “I can help out too, you know. Besides, I want to see Jake fighting with Rose.”
“Thanks a lot,” Jake responded, clearly irked as he turned his attention back to his cell phone. “Rose, just…would you listen to me, please?”
“I am sorry, Haley, but we need you to remain here, should an emergency arise that requires the services of the American Dragon,” Lao Shi explained. “I also need you to inform Sun Park of what has occurred. If we should fail, she will know what to do.”
“See what I mean when I told you those creeps in the Dragon’s Council were idiots?” Max whispered to Kim. “They act all high and mighty and here they are, sending KIDS out onto the front lines! It’s ridiculous!”
“Jake and Haley are both more than capable of shouldering the responsibility they have been given,” Lao Shi argued, fiercely defensive of his grandchildren. “After all, Jake himself was responsible for the downfall of the Huntsman, as well as the elimination of the entire Huntsclan.”
“YOU did that,” Max stated in Jake’s direction, clearly impressed. “I’d heard someone had. Good on you, kid. Gotta tell you, if thing’s had gotten much worse, I was starting to think I’d have to take down that lunatic myself.”
“Yeah, thanks,” Jake replied dismissively, his attention clearly on other matters. “Look Rose, we’re going to be there in just a few minutes. We just need you to keep an eye on that cauldron and make sure no one goes near it, okay?”
“Oh, so now that it’s an EMERGENCY, I actually get to SEE you now, is that it?” Rose responded angrily from the Hong Kong museum, dressed in her monster fighting clothes with her hair braided. Behind her was a display with a large black pot, with a label that simply read, “The Dragon’s Cauldron”.
“Aw, come on, Rose. We don’t have TIME for this,” Jake replied, trying desperately to be the voice of reason.
“You know what, Jake? That’s EXACTLY the problem. You NEVER have time!” Rose argued.
“Rose look, just…just watch the thing, okay?” Jake shot back, trying not to be too aggressive. “And whatever happens, don’t try to be a hero! We’re gonna be right there any minute, okay?”
“Maybe you’ve forgotten, Jake, but I don’t exactly need you to come running to my rescue. I’m a big girl, I can look after myself,” Rose answered sternly before slapping her cell phone shut. But as she turned around in a huff, she was completely unprepared for the sight that greeted her as a transformed Chang loomed over Ron’s body, his head still engulfed by the image of the Dark Dragon.
“Oh…I am going to absolutely relish this,” the Dark Dragon hissed, eager for revenge against Rose, who was primarily responsible for his dimensional imprisonment.
“ENOUGH, YOU FOOLS!” a voice boomed through the hall as the mysterious hooded stranger’s face appeared in a shimmering ball of light. “This is no time for you to satisfy your petty vendettas! Get the cauldron and return at once!”
“You dare presume authority over me!” The Dark Dragon snarled in defiance. “I will NOT be denied my rightful…!”
“Unless you want to remain floating in that lifeless void, you will not say ONE-MORE-WORD!” the stranger shouted back, finally rendering the Dark Dragon silent. “Now be quick. Time is not your friend.”
With that, the stranger’s image vanished, leaving Chang and the Dark Dragon both to stare down Rose. Rose, meanwhile, held her ground. But since she couldn’t just go strolling into a museum with any of her old Huntsclan weapons, her offensive options at that moment were quite limited as the wicked pair slowly made their way towards her.
“Then it would seem I’ll simply have to enjoy this as much as I can,” the Dark Dragon remarked simply.