"Don't you love the smell of confusion in the morning?"
Daolon didn't respond. But instead found himself thinking of what was sitting before him.
How peculiar of him.
A child, the niece of his great nemesis, sitting on the edge of a building with her legs dangling down and talking to him about how strange it was to be so close to a very dangerous man. It was peculiar because she had not run away or even tried to call for help.
"You know what I always thought? That this was totally illegal, but that's not if anyone catches you," Jade smiled.
Taking another bite of her nutrition bar, she took another look across the wide country. Never has she been so high up in the air before, sitting inches away from a ledge with a man who wanted her family gone.
"Besides being a thousand feet from death, I actually like it here," she took another bite, with a hard crunch," Ouch! My jaw."
She rubbed her cheek.
On her cheek, were a few scratch marks covered with a small bruise. Soon, perhaps tomorrow, the bruise would bloom entirely. Daolon Wong clutched his scepter with a passion.
"Fools. They were not ordered to attack you."
"Tch! I can take care of myself! Even without the talismans…" Jade looked at Daolon Wong," But that doesn't mean I'm giving them up. At all. Anytime soon. To anyone."
Once again, he was silent, looking at her, then gazing in the other direction. His eyes held something heavy and thoughtful. She wasn't stupid. She noticed this and it began to spark her curiosity.
"You know… It's been about an hour, now." She referred to the time.
Daolon Wong looked back at her. Putting all foolishness behind.
"It has been 1 hour and 3 minutes and 43 seconds…" Daolon Wong whispered softly," To be precisely correct."
Jade tapped her fingers together.
There seemed to be a problem.
Daolon Wong looked back at her, but from the corner of his eye he knew that she seemed to be nervous.
There was absolutely nothing to talk about.
That's what the problem was.
Now, Jade wasn't a shy girl, but she did seem to notice that Daolon Wong wasn't going to be the conversation starter.
But with his posture, he was in no mood for talking.
Time to break the ice.
"Protein?" she offered half of the snack bar.
Daolon Wong glanced at the offer, suddenly began to stare at it for the longest time, before Jade cleared her throat.
But that did not even break his intense gaze at the snack bar, so instead of accepting her small peace treaty he lifted the snack bar. Not physically, but it floated in the air.
"You think I am still after the talismans, girl?"
That caught him off guard.
Who was she! Had the obvious slipped her mind! Perhaps she was just another foolish child.
But this wasn't the time to get angry, this was the time to finally make a breakthrough. Daolon Wong turned towards her, with no expression, but with a more kinder voice.
He spoke her name for the first time.
"Perhaps… I did not want the talismans. Perhaps… it is not my place to be your enemy."
"There shall be no alliance with your family. Still, the good wizard and I will forever be enemies. I just need you."
"The warriors were never commanded to attack you, but to bring you to me."
"Aren't I important!" Jade laughed.
Once again Jade floated up in the air, flying around in little circles. She floated towards him.
"So what's the deal?"
He stood up.
"Whoa! I didn't mean an actual-"
He was leaving.
"Hey! Wait! What do you need me for?"
The moment of truth.
He sighed," I am still cursed."
Emotion expanded over his face.
"Perhaps you remember the Three Wise Monkeys?"
"Yea. I went deaf that day. Uncle Jackie was mute and Tohru was blind. I wasn't handicapped. I was handicapable."
"Even being handicapable will not help me… It is nearly the full moon and my dark magic is not enough for the forces of good chi and dark chi. The balance is too great to tamper with," he paced towards her," This is where you are involved, child. Talismans are no use to me if I am blind, deaf, and mute."
"Whoa… Sucks for you. So you want me to help you when you're blind, deaf, and mute? Hm. What do I get? Big bucks? Check? Cold hard cash?"
"Eternal punishment if you leave me to this cursed life! I must find a counter-curse."
"Huh? What about Finn? Ratso and Chow?"
"You expect me to trust them with my life?"
"Good point. Ok! I've made my decision!" she took in a gulp of air," No. After you tried to hurt Scruffy, Royal Medicine, and Sasha… there's no way I'm falling for it. Even after the incident in your castle, too. Duh."
That hurt more than he thought it would.
So be it.
Without another warning, Daolon Wong disappeared in his cocoon of smoke, leaving Jade to fly back home on her own. Jade shrugged, taking the talismans back to Section 13 and walking back home.
In her stomach, she knew it was wrong to reject him. She actually felt…sorry for him. The Enforcers would absolutely betray him when he would see become blind, mute, and deaf. Even destroy him.
She felt guilty for leaving him.
Soon she would suffer the consequences.
The next day, Jade went to a Balloon Festival. This Festival only happened for three each year.
Tohru accompanied her.
The day was perfect. The perfect sunshine which held the perfect temperature. Perfect food and music. People crowded the streets and the park with kites, barbeques, and with their own little balloons.
Dragons, fireflies, birds, and butterfly balloons were floating up in the air. Jade held an ice cream cone which began to quickly melt in the sunlight. There was games and contests.
Sweat began to clog under her neck at her collar, so she was lucky to bring a bag to carry her orange sweatshirt. Revealing a white tank top underneath. Tohru took out his cellphone from his breast pocket.
"Jade. Uncle Jackie has left a voicemail for you. Here."
Jade took the phone. It left a voicemail explaining how she must be careful to not let Daolon Wong come anywhere near her. If there is any trouble, then she shouldn't hesitate to call him or Uncle at any time. In an hour he would come there himself to enjoy the festivities and watch over her.
Too late for that.
"As if, Uncle Jackie…"
Devouring all the ice cream, she started off towards a Crafts stand to decorate her own balloon.
"I'll be here Tohru," she waved, getting a can full of paint.
Her creative mind has set out to paint the balloon into an eye ball. A blue eye with big popping red veins.
It scared all the other children.
"Sickness!" she yelled, running around with a balloon.
"Jade, stay where I can see you!" called Tohru.
"Are you kidding? How am I suppose to show off my third eyeball without some speed?"
Tohru followed her," Jade? Not too far!"
As always, she didn't listen. Unfortunately, her shoelace caught a hold of a safety belt on a popcorn cart. It yanked forward on her shoe and she tripped.
"Ow!" she sat up," Uh-oh…"
The cart began to roll by itself in the opposite direction of its seller, but down a hill.
People yelped and jumped out of the way. In the sky, balloons floated up to the sky, being suddenly released by children who screamed, dodging the popcorn cart.
"Get out of the way!"
It gained speed, swooshing all the way into a police car! Out of ALL the cars parked on this side of town, it just had to be a police vehicle.
"Uh oh. Need to bust a move, send me a check, thank you!" she ran!
There was no way she was going to tell Tohru about this! He would tell Uncle Jackie! No doubt. Then she'll never be able to enjoy her summer vacation.
The police officers gathered around their vehicle, scratched their heads, and looked around to see the who looked the most guilty.
Jade, who was out of sight by now, looked up to the sky to see a tiny balloon floating around in the air.
"Awww…" she groaned.
Her masterpiece was gone.
So, she started over. Innocently going back to the Crafts stand and making another balloon, but with clown designs painted onto it. She had no idea that she was being watched.
Daolon Wong was on top of a roof of a skyscraper. Floating up in the air, hovering and watching her tiny body wander about the Festival. He wasn't the kind of man to give up on something he wanted. Especially if he wanted the love of a niece. She was stubborn.
"The girl is here."
Finn, Ratso, and Chow looked down.
"Hey! What a day, huh?"
"Better than Ice Palace…"
"Is that an eye ball? Yuck!" commented Ratso as an eye ball balloon floated past their heads.
Daolon Wong raised his scepter.
"Idiots. Bring me the child. Do not injure her! Do not harm her! Or you will suffer a punishment far worse than-"
"What's the deal? She doesn't have the talismans."
"Yea, so what are we-"
"SILENCE! You are not to ask questions! I am your master! Now go!"
The three Enforcers were suddenly disguised in human robes, but not as citizens, they were disguised as policemen. The only way that someone could notice was their body shape. One was big with broad shoulders, a small one, and a tall thin policemen. The Enforcers moved into the crowd.
"Jade. How many balloons must you have?" asked Tohru as Jade came up walking with about 10 balloons in her hand.
"I'm on a mission to float away to a waterfall island and to find a rainbow bird and own a talking dog!"
"Excuse me, miss? You're car is parked in a No Parking Zone. Come with us," asked Finn tipping up his cap, his hand on his gun belt.
Jade looked up to three policemen who looked very peculiar.
"I'm not old enough to drive. Duh!"
"The main idea is that-"
"You're under arrest!" Chow pulled out his handcuffs.
Tohru grabbed his hand," May I ask what she is in trouble for?"
"None of our business!"
"Stand back! Or we'll have you arrested!"
"What are you? Some ex-criminal?"
"Yea, you an ex-criminal? We can take you to prison, ya know!"
That got Tohru's attention, but nonetheless, he pushed Jade behind him.
"I must know what you want her for then…" he insisted.
The three glanced at eachother.
Like holding a rockstar, the Enforcers held her up in the air, carrying her through the crowd, pushing and shoving! Tohru gasped and quickly followed! But not before Finn and Ratso pushed over a cotton candy cart, capturing the attention of a million children!
More children swarmed.
"Tohru!" she yelled.
Tohru didn't want to squish anyone, so he slowly stepped over all of them. Cotton candy was everywhere. Clouds of cotton candy!
She was gone.
"How will I explain this to Chan?" he asked himself.
A 12 year old getting arrested for nothing?
He'll never hear the end of it.
At the stroke of 12 in the afternoon, all the balloons were released! Swarming into the air, covering the sun, and floating like bubbles over the skyscrapers. Thousands of rainbow colors glowed off the skin of each rubber bubble, reflecting off the windows of every building in the city.
Although Daolon Wong was certainly not impressed. His dark chi was not phased by this happy social gathering. His warriors appeared, walking through the rooftop doorway to reveal a sleeping Jade in their arms.
"Here ya go, boss!"
"Just as you ordered! One little Chan!"
"Quiet!" Daolon Wong shouted," The full moon is tonight! I will be vulnerable once again until the next rising full moon. We must take to the mountains. The girl will stay with me. Leave us!"
In a swoosh, they disappeared.
"Now, we must take our leave, little Chan," he whispered to the sleeping child," Soon, you will learn that I mean no harm…"
Like shadows, he disappeared back to another place. The swimming rainbow colors were gone, being replaced by the darkness of a hallway. In another castle. There were so many abandoned places he knew and none of them suited his dark ways than this well hidden palace.
Jade floated in the air, automatically following him through the hallways. Daolon Wong went into his main room, decorated with rugs, spell books, cauldrons, and a meditation area.
This place has been neglected for too long.
"Sleep. Sleep, little one… You will have no choice but to stay here with me. Once you see that I am defenseless and powerless, there will be nothing to fear. Though of course, you will hate me…"
Later that night, Daolon Wong waited for the worst. He stood at his open window with his scepter in hand, his discolored eyes gazing out to the orange full moon. It looked like a shiny penny. Rats scurried across the floor. Cobwebs slipped off their perch in a silent hover.
"It is time…" he whispered," The good wizard thinks he has everything in the world at his fingertips. The good chi wizard believes he has found happiness. Well, no more! It is my chance."
He turned towards Jade.
"I am successful. There is no escape for you. Is this all that I need? It can not be! Bah!" he threw his arms up.
Tables were thrown over.
Furious, he kicked the tables.
"It is still not enough! I have the girl. She is with me. What does the good chi wizard know that I do not? Perhaps, only time will tell…"
He looked back at Jade, who squirmed on the floor.
She would wake in the morning.
"A spell will do you good, little Chan."
Daolon Wong was no fool. She was a crafty and deceiving young child. His scepter bursted with blue colors. Lightening zapped the walls, thrashing in an orb, sending friction to other objects.
"As long as I am here, you will never leave this castle. A prisoner, yes. Only once I can see, hear, and speak again will you leave…" he whispered," If you chose to…"