"Aw, c'mon, it's gotta be around here somewhere," Clay huffed as he wiped his brow.
The group had been searching the area of New Jersey's Atsion Lake for hours now: with Kimiko on the sandy coast, Omi in the grass, Raimundo by the lake's edge, and Clay beneath a thick tree. Still, they had not found the Shen Gong Wu.
"Dojo," Kimiko added, lifting up some driftwood, "Are you sure this is where the 'Wu revealed itself?"
"Positive… this rash on my back ain't lyin'!" Dojo whipped out his scroll to reveal the destined Shen Gong Wu in question – the Shroud of Shadows.
"It's kind of a hard one, kiddos," Dojo continued, scratching his head, "It turns things invisible, so it kinda—"
"You got it, yellow one!"
"Oh, great," Raimundo sighed, "So the Shroud of Shadows could literally be right in front of our noses, and we still wouldn't be able to find it?"
"Correct, Xiaolin Loser~!"
Whipping around at the familiar voice from behind, the Dragon of Wind peered with angry green eyes fully ready to attack Spicer… and was very surprised not to find him there. Raimundo was sure he'd heard him.
"Alright, Spicer… where did you—"
"Surprise!" Jack cried, pulling off the Shroud of Shadows as he cackled. Then, with a push…
Before Raimundo knew it, he was in the water. Being the chilly February day that it was, the lake reflected the season's icy temperature. Raimundo felt his bones lock – the water had him nearly frozen stiff!
'Man… I knew I needed a bath, but this is ridiculous!'
After the initial shock, a muffled voice called his name from the surface. With all of his energy, he pushed back up to the air. Clay pulled him to shore as his fellow dragons surrounded him; and all the while, he could hear Jack cackling as he hacked up the lake water.
"Ha ha haha! Another day, another victory, huh Wuya?!"
"Let's just go, you idiot", Wuya replied dryly.
"Right," Jack replied, blushing, "But we'll go in style: Shroud of Shadows~!"
And with a whoosh of the cape, the two Heylin deviants were out of sight. Clearly disappointed, the monks stared blankly.
"I h-h-h-hate that guy," Raimundo stutter, his teeth chattering.
"Tarnation!" Clay cried as he threw his cap to the ground, "Why, I oughtta—"
"Ah, he ain't worth the sweat," Dojo cried, morphing into his larger size, "Alright kiddos, hop aboard. We've got a long trip home."
While Clay helped Kimiko climb Dojo's back, Raimundo trudged his quaking body over to the dragon. He hugged himself for warmth, though his efforts failed him. Meanwhile, Omi cocked his head.
"Are you alright, Raimundo? You seem… quiet. More quiet than usual. Actually, you are really never quiet, so-"
"'M' f-f-fine, Omi," the dragon of wind assured, "J-just get on…"
As he lifted the littlest warrior, Raimundo could feel the extra weight of his soaked uniform weighing him down. Boy, did he feel drained! It was like the rest of his energy was stuck at the bottom of the lake. Regardless, Rai mustered up his strength and hoisted himself up to mount Dojo's back.
"Everybody on? Good! Next stop… the Temple!"
As Dojo said, it was a long trip from 'Jersey to the Xiaolin Temple. This meant a long time up in the air. For the others, it was almost refreshing! And normally, it would've been especially nice for Raimundo, being the Dragon of Wind and everything. However…
The monks turned their heads simultaneously at Raimundo's sneeze.
The chilly monk gulped. 'Oh man…'
"Y'doin' alright back there, partner?" Clay called back, "Yer shakin' like a leaf."
Watching her friend thunderously shivering, Kimiko chimed in.
"And you're soaking wet! You sure you don't wanna change into some dry clothes? I always pack a spare—"
As Kimiko held up a very vibrant, pink outfit, Raimundo tried to hide his grimace.
"N-n-no thanks, Kim," the Brazilian teen replied with a sniffle, "P-pink isn't really my color."
"L-look, guys," Rai insisted, "I'm o-okay. R-really!"
The others looked at each other, then back at a seemingly irritated Raimundo.
"Well, alright, Raimundo," Clay shrugged, "Jus' don't wantcha to go catchin' a chill, is all."
Omi scratched his head, "How does one simply 'catch' a chill, Clay? It certainly sounds like a difficult task."
"No, Omi, it means—"
And all the way home, Clay explained the expression to the Dragon of Water. Meanwhile, Raimundo felt himself growing colder by the second as his body wracked with shivers.
'Yeesh', he thought, 'The outfit might've been pink, but it sure would've been warm. Hey, at least they're not making a fuss anymore."
Coming from such a large family, Raimundo was used to being left to himself. Even when he was sick, Rai never liked to be fussed over by his parents or fellow siblings. He preferred to tough things out alone. Why burden others? It seemed pointless. He felt his body shake again.
'It is pretty cold, though… ah, toughen up, Pedrosa—'
"Look!" Kimiko cried, interrupting Rai's train of thought, "I can see the Temple!"
A band of cheers could be heard from the rest of the monks; that is, all except Raimundo, who merely rubbed the underside of his itchy nose. A smooth landing permitted them all a safe return to the Temple grounds.
"Okay, everybody off! Step lively folks," cried a now-shrunken dojo.
Though the monks were glad to be home (none more than Raimundo), they knew that the inevitable had to be faced when they were greeted by their sensei.
"Welcome back, young dragons," Master Fung exalted.
"Er, hi their Master Fung," Clay replied shyly.
"Hello, Master," Kimiko waved sheepishly.
"Master Fung," Omi bowed efficiently.
Raimundo said nothing.
Master Fung cocked an eyebrow.
"Well," the elder began, "We certainly are a quiet group this afternoon, aren't we?"
"We, uh," Clay shrugged, "We lost the 'Wu, Sensei."
"Yes, Master," Kimiko added, "Spicer and Wuya beat us to it."
"-And then he pushed Raimundo in the lake!"
"What? He did!"
Master Fung turned to Raimundo, who stood before him unusually quiet and dripping wet.
"So, I see. Are you alright, my pupil?"
"Y-yes, I," a stifled 'h'x'gtchoo!' interrupted his statement, "Ugh,*sniff*, I-I'm okay."
The group gathered around him concernedly.
"Are you sure?"
"You're positive you're alright?"
Raimundo couldn't take it anymore.
"Hay dios mio! W-w-why does everybody keep asking me?! Y-y-yes, I'm f-fine! I-uh, eh…"
Deep in his nose, Raimundo could feel another sneeze coming on. And this was gonna be a big one…
"Huh, hueh… h'Haaaa-schhheeeew!"
With that, Raimundo felt himself shoot upward into the air. Meanwhile, the other gaped in disbelief… all except Dojo.
"Woah! Hang on, kid!"
Morphing into his massive form, Dojo darted into the sky and caught the monk with the end of his tail. As the dragon returned the teen to the ground, Rai merely shrugged at the group.
"Hehe… *sniff*… 'scuse me."
There was a pause before Master Fung approached the young monk.
"That was quite a sneeze, Raimundo."
"And I thought I had crazy sneezes!" Dojo cried.
"I-it was just a sneeze" Rai shrugged.
"Yeah, you sneezed… and then ya flew ten feet in the air!" Kimiko exclaimed.
Raimundo felt his cheeks grow warm. Or at least warmer than they already were. Clay couldn't help but notice how awful Raimundo looked: his eyes were hazy, his nose and cheeks were tinted pink… if he hadn't been sitting, Clay was sure he would've fallen over!
"You don't look so hot, buckaroo."
Rai sighed with admittance, "Y-yeah… guess I don't feel so hot, either."
Kimiko held her hand to his forehead. "I beg to differ… I'm pretty sure you've got a fever, Rai."
Confirming for his own knowledge, Master Fung felt the boy's sweltering forehead with the back of his own hand.
"Hmmm," the sensei hummed, "Yes, indeed. Come along, Raimundo."
Entering the Temple, Master Fung had ordered Raimundo to slip into dry clothes. He then wrapped the monk in a large blanket and ordered Dojo to slip his feet into a tub of hot water.
"Yyyyuck," Dojo cried, pinching his nose, "Why do I always get the dirty work?"
While Raimundo had a smart remark in mind, the thermometer in his mouth stopped him form uttering anything.
"This shall confirm his temperature," Master Fung nodded.
"What's wrong with 'im, Master Fung?" Clay asked, worry in his eyes.
"Has he captured the chill you mentioned, Clay?" Omi inquired.
Kimiko laughed, "Yeah, Omi, Rai's caught himself a pretty bad cold."
"Looks like we've got an add-on with this order," Dojo cried as he pulled the thermometer from Raimundo's mouth, "We've got one, fresh cold with a side of a fever – hold the mayo."
"Wh-what? No way!" Rai exclaimed with a cough.
"Face it, kid, you're sick."
"Dojo is right, Raimundo," Master Fung confirmed, "You are quite ill, that is certain."
"A-and what about that sneeze back there," Clay asked, "He almost got himself stuck up on one a' the clouds there!"
"This must be due to his element," Master Fung scratched his chin, "While peculiar, it could be that Raimundo's cold is slightly interfering with his powers."
"Oh, great," Dojo slapped his forehead, "The Dragon of Wind has a cold. What's next: sneezin' up tornados?!"
"Speakig of which, Dojo," Raimundo added, his nose growing more congested, "I do feel a sneeze comin' on… You mbight wadda duck for cover."
Without hesitation, Dojo scrambled beneath one of the futons. He was so far under, he couldn't hear Raimundo laughing at his own prank. This, however, brought its own karma – as Raimundo broke into a coughing fit shortly after. Kimiko's frown deepened.
"He will be alright, won't he, Master Fung?"
"Of course, child," the sensei replied, "Just as with any cold, plenty of fluids and bedrest will serve him well."
"-And just how mbuch 'bedrest' are we talkid' about," Rai chimed in, blowing his nose.
"It's hard to say for certain," Master Fung replied, "But I'd say… a week, to be on the safe side."
"A whole week?! No way!"
"This is an order, Raimundo – not a suggestion. Do I make myself clear?"
"Hrffff smfff, whuddever," Raimundo mumbled under his breath.
"I said, 'Do I make myself clear?"
Raimundo swallowed hard. "C-crystal."
"Good," Master Fung affirmed, "Now, we'll leave you to rest. As for the rest of you, to the training room. At once!"
Promptly, Master Fung exited the living space. Before following, the other monks bade their ill mate farewell.
"Rest up, Raimundo," Clay assured, elbowing Rai in the arm.
"Oof! Will do…" he replied… Clay never did know his own strength.
Omi was next, bowing at the side of the couch, "I hope that your chill does not stay captured for long, Raimundo."
Rai couldn't help but chuckle, "Thadks, little dude."
Kimiko waited for Clay and Omi to leave, then placed a damp washcloth on Raimundo's forehead.
"If you need anything, promise me you'll ask somebody." she stated.
"Scout's hondor," Raimundo swore with his left hand… and crossing his fingers with his right.
As he playfully smirked at her, Raimundo saw the ends of her blue eyes swoop upward. That meant she was happy, and that meant the Dragon of Wind had done his job. Meanwhile, under the couch…
"D-d-d-didja sneeze yet?"
Raimundo couldn't help but laugh. "Come ond out, Dojo. *Snuff* I was only jokin'."
A pair of large eyes and a green lizard head peered out from beneath the couch.
"Oh, well, okay! Gee, for somebody who's sick, you sure are—"
"Oh, nice try, Raimundo: not fallin' for—"
With that, a whirlwind of a sneeze lifted both the couch and the little green dragon up into the air.
"WAAAHAHHH!" Dojo screamed!
"S-sorry, dude," the Dragon of Wind cried, rubbing his nose.
"Raimundo?" Master Fung cried from the training hall, "Is everything alright?"
The two turned to each other.
"Yes~!" they yelled in unison.
Seemingly quiet, the two exhaled with relief.
"Alight kid, you bettah get some rest," Dojo added, exiting the room, "And for goodness sakes, control that sneezing of yours!"
Raimundo sighed and blew his nose. This was gonna be a long week.
Three days had gone by, and things had been somewhat quiet…
And it was driving Raimundo insane! Everyday had the same routine in store: he'd wake up, Dojo would bring him tea and take his temperature, then he'd nap, Dojo would bring him soup and take his temperature, then he'd nap, the others would come and visit him, and then… bedtime. It was maddening! Each day around 3 o'clock, the young monk would sigh and stare out the window as he watched his fellow clan members training.
"This is ridiculous," Raimundo said out loud to Dojo, "I'mb fide!"
"Hmm, y'don't sound 'fide', Raimundo," Dojo added, whipping out his reading glasses to check the thermometer, "Besides, you've still got a bit of a fever."
"Barely!" Raimundo fought, "A-and I havend't been sndeezing as mbuch lately. Mbaybe, for, like, just a mbinute, I could—"
"Forget it, kid," Dojo chimed, adjusting his pink apron, "An order's an order. Master Fung wants you to rest for the week, and wwwoooooaaaaaah-!"
All of a sudden, Dojo started spinning like a top around the room. Nearly knocking over vases and prized possesions, the dragon tried to contain himself.
'Alright,' Raimundo thought, 'Finally, some action!'
The Dragon of Wind leapt from the couch and caught the dragon mid-spin. Just as he did this, Clay, Omi, Kimiko and Master Fung entered.
"Dojo," the elder master commented, "What is going on? And, Raimundo, why are you out of bed?"
"Uh, w-well," Raimundo shrugged.
"-A new Shen Gong Wu has revealed itself!" Dojo exclaimed, unraveling the Ancient Scroll.
The others gathered excitedly around the scroll to hear their direction… Raimundo included.
"Looks like it's the—"
With his sneeze barely stifled, all heads turned to Raimundo.
"Ugh, *sniff* s-sorry. So, w-what's the 'Wu?"
"Er," Clay approached his fellow monk gently, "Maybe you oughtta sit this one out, partner."
"-No 'buts' about it, Raimundo," Master Fung urged, "I ordered you to rest in bed for a week, and I meant it."
Raimundo sank back down onto the couch… along with his heart. The others talked out a plan, the rough idea of the location, and other details that the Dragon of Wind would have to sit out on.
'Darn it… stupid cold.'
Before taking off, the others came to Raimundo's makeshift bedside. Clay was first.
"Look, Rai, Master Fung jus' don't wantcha getting' sicker… a-an' neither do we."
"Whatever," Raimundo huffed with a sniffle, turning his back to the team as he rolled over.
Clay looked at Omi. Maybe his naivity would work its charm.
"Do not be sad, Raimundo. Try to turn your frown right-side-up!"
"That's upside-down, Omi," Kimiko nudged.
"Oh, eh, well, that too!"
As the yellow orb-like child walked away, Kimiko approached the sick monk.
"I know it stinks, but… just give yourself time to get better."
Raimundo didn't move.
Kimiko sighed. "We'll be back soon."
Though he couldn't watch them leave, he felt their presence exit as Kimiko exited. He wiped a tear from his green eye, and heard the 'whoosh' of Dojo taking off to some distant location… without him.
"Welp," Rai said to himself with a yawn, "Ndothin' to do but sleep, I guess."
His eyes grew heavy, and he was out before he knew it. Due to the relentless sleep he'd been getting these past few days, his internal clock was completely off. Raimudo woke with a start, sweating due to his constant high temperature.
It was a brief fever dream that woke him – basically, Raimundo was back at the bottom of the lake in New Jersey, and everybody else had left before saving. His breathing was slightly heavy as he looked up at the clock.
And the temple was quiet. Very odd, considering the gang should've been back by now.
'Hmmm, weird…' Rai thought, slowly realizing he wasn't stuck in that nightmare anymore.
Then another thought occurred to him.
What if they were in trouble? What if they weren't back yet because they couldn't get back? This was not a good sign, oh no.
Then… another thought popped up.
Slowly, Raimundo crept into the room where Master Fung liked to meditate. He only peeked in – just far enough, so not to be seen. Therein, the elderly sensei sat with legs folded and eyes closed in meditation.
"Yes…" Rai whispered.
He tiptoed away just as fast as he could, making his way over to the vault of the Shen Gong Wu.
"Now, lemme see… Nope. No. Nah, that one won't – hey!"
Upon the wall, he found the Golden Tiger Claw hanging: a mystical Shen Gong Wu who allowed the use to instantly travel to any destination.
"This'll work," Raimundo jeered, "But… but where are they?"
He took the 'Wu, held it in the air, and cried, "Let's see if this works… Golden Tiger Claw: take me to Xiaolin warriors!"
Swiping the air, Raimundo jumped through the hole.
With a rush of wind blowing at him, the young monk stood on a snowy hill.
"Oh, g-g-great," Raimundo huffed, shivering slightly, "O-o-of all th-the p-places—"
"—Let us go, Spicer!"
The familiar cry cut through the light snow flurry like butter.
"I know that voice," Rai cried with a cough, "Clay!—aheck, heck—Clay!"
The Dragon of Wind ran to the voice as fast as he could; and he stopped behind a nearby snowbank just as soon as he spotted the fiery red hair of—
"Jack," Kimiko yelled, "You won't get away with this!"
"Oh, but I already have, ahahahah!"
As Jack cackled, Raimundo watched in horror as his friends were captured by the claw of a massive Jack Bot. He noticed a small item clasped in Jack's hand, which must've been the Shen Gong Wu they'd been searching for. Wuya stood idly by to watch the affair.
"Fine, fine, Jack. Just destroy them already!"
"Why, certainly, I—"
Jack's ears perked up at the chance.
"Who disturbs the great and powerful—"
"Can it, Spicer. *Sniifff*. Let 'em go."
The others were overjoyed.
"What're doing here, pardner?!"
"Yeah," Jack cried, "Good question."
"L-look," Rai replied, fighting the shivers in his legs, "J-just gibbee by friends back, will ya? I –uh, hgh'schhoouu!"
"Say, you don't sound so good, fella," Spicer cried, lowering himself down to Raimundo's level from his elevated boots, "Whassa matter: is the baby sick?"
"J-just *sniff*… just a li'l under the weather."
"Well," Spicer replied, getting face-to-face with Raimundo, "Maybe you should of just stayed in bed."
"Look, Spicer, I'm ndot leavig without mby friends!"
"Well, then it's gonna be a long night for you."
"Guess again-" Raimundo reached out and grabbed the Shen Gong Wu between Jack's fist.
"H-hey! What're you—"
"Jack Spicer: I - *aheck, hem* - I challenge you to a Xiaolin Showdown."
The others look mortified.
"Do not do it, Raimundo!"
Spicer looked fumed! But then… he furrowed his brow. His brown eyes looked deeply into Raimundo green ones; he could practically feel how sick he was. This was gonna be a synch, and Jack's sly grin slid across his face.
"Fine," he replied, "I accept your challenge. The Golden Finger for—"
"Ndo, Spicer. Ndo 'Wu on this challenge. J-jus' you an' me… mano y mano. If you win, you get the 'Wu… But if I win, I just want my friends."
Clay, Kimiko and Omi turned to each other.
Jack scratched his chin. Then, threw out his hand.
"If I win, I get the 'Wu… and you."
The others exclaimed. Jack was crazy! Raimundo didn't flinch.
"Do we have a deal, Pedrosa?"
Rai looked down at his hand. Then, he looked up at his friends. He knew what he had to do.
The Dragon of Wind grabbed at his opponents hand and shook.
Jack's smiled twisted.
"Let's go: Xiaolin Showdown!"
Raimundo cried, "*sniiifff* Gong yi tanpai!"
Jack snapped his fingers, and the challenge was set.
In an instant, the frozen lake had melted down into a makeshift pool: complete with divided lanes and two diving boards. Soon enough, Raimundo and Jack were standing atop each one, in swimtrunks, with the snow still lightly falling about them.
Jack, cool as a cucumber, turned to a shaking Raimundo… still trying to steady his breathing as his frame shook with cold.
"W-w-w-w-what k-k-k-k-kinda ch-ch-challenge i-i-is this, S-s-s-spicer?!"
"Oh, y'know, just swimming. Y'said no 'Wu, so I wanted to do something simple… 'mano y mano' right?"
Raimundo's brow furrowed.
"Whoever makes it to the flag," Jack continued, pointing outward to the edge of the 'pool', "will be the winner."
"Rai—" Kimiko cried, "Y'you don't have to do this!"
"Hey, y'know, she's right," Jack jested, "You don't really have to do this… just surrender! Go back home, nurse your cold—"
"Jack" Raimundo said with a sniffle, "In the words of my ancestors, 'Muérdeme'."
"Huh? What does that mean?"
Jack could feel his cheeks burning with anger as the other monks cackled.
"Wuya!" Jack whined, "Let's get this started!"
"Take your marks, morons," Wuya cried, "Annnnd…. Go!"
And just like that, the two hopped into the icy cold water. Raimundo remembered that very uncomfortable feeling wiping over him like a tidal wave… but this time, it was for his friends, so he just had to grin and bear it.
Meanwhile, his friends nervously watched from up above.
"Oh man," Clay exclaimed, "Of all the crazy challenges Spicer could pick—"
"Let's be thankful it was this one," Dojo chimed in.
"Yeah, but just look," Kimiko cried, "Spicer's in the lead."
"Oh, for cryin' out loud, is'at boy part fish or somethin'?"
Omi wore a puzzled look, "Hmmm… maybe."
The gang turned to the yellow one confusedly.
"Come again, partner?"
"Look very closely at Jack," Omi urged, "He has not come up for air once."
Squinting their eyes at the Heylin genius, Kimiko was the one to spot the mystery.
"Wait a sec – what's that around Spicer's neck?"
Dojo almost jumped out of the rope.
"Holy toledo, he's wearing the Gills of Hamachi!"
"What?!" they all cried.
"Why, that son of a gun's cheatin!"
"But what can we—"
With a huge gasp for air, Raimundo came to the surface. Though he knew it was pointless, he hug himself for warmth to escape the bitter cold of the underwater atmosphere. He was shaking so much, he almost didn't hear the others call to him.
"Up here, buckaroo!"
Weakly, the monk looked up.
"Rai-" Dojo stated, "Jack's cheating-"
"He's been using a Shen Gong Wu this whole time!"
"Kimiko's right, Rai!"
"You must come out!"
"J-j-jack d-d-doesn't p-p-p-play by th-the r-r-rules…"
"But, Rai, you're gonna catch yer death!"
"Clay's right! Boy, if you thought you were sneezy before—"
"w-w-wait… th-th-that's it, D-d-dojo!"
But Raimundo couldn't explain. With a deep breath, he went back underwater.
'C'mon… Just one big one… you can do it…'
It took a lot of concentration, but sure enough….
Raimundo's massive sneeze bursted below the water, propelling him past Jack and across the winner's flag seconds before the Heylin warrior.
With a flash, all was back to normal: the pool was gone, Xiaolin warriors were set free, and the Jack Bots were destroyed.
"Woohooo!" Kimiko cried.
"Yeeeeehah!" Clay yelled.
"Most excellent!" Omi cheered.
The monks turned and found their friend back in his original uniform, though still thunderously shivering.
"Rai!" Kimiko ran to him, hugging him for both warmth and gratitude. She planted a sincere kiss on his icy cheek, and squeezed him tight, "Oooh, you big idiot! You could've—"
"B-b-but I didn't," Raimundo said with a wink.
While Clay watched the display, he heard behind him the clanking of steel boots trying to sneak away. The large cowboy raised Jack by his collar.
"Y'know," the Texan growled, motioning towards Raimundo, "He might be too sick to fightcha… but I ain't…"
Jack swallowed hard as Clay cracked his massive knuckles.
"Uh w-w-w-well, why don't uh – oh! Hey, why don't I just, uh, give you all of my Shen Gong Wu, a-a-a-a-and we'll call it even, huh?"
"Fair enough. Now, Spicer, you've got three seconds to git outta my face—THREE…TWO…"
"Yipes! Let's go, Wuya!"
"Oh, why why WHY am I stuck with an insolent fool like you for eternity?"
Clay stuffed the Shen Gong Wu into his pack as he ran back over to his fellow monks.
"How ya holdin' up, partner?"
Kimiko felt his forehead, "Rai, you're burning up!"
"Y-y-y-you're hot yourself, sweet cheeks. H'h'rrrshhhew!"
A brief fit of weak coughs wracked Raimundo's body. While is fever raged, the rest of his body withheld a blue tint: ice cold to the touch. His eyes, puffy and pink, were half opened in a feverish daze.
"Oh boy," Dojo uttered, feeling the heat radiate from Raimundo's forehead, "Let's get you home, kid."
As Dojo morphed into his full size, Clay wrapped his winter jacket around his ailing fellow monk.
"This oughtta help him some," Clay stated, to Raimundo, "You're gonna be alright, feller."
Kimiko held tightly to Rai as they sailed home.
"H-h-hey Kim," Rai asked gruffly, his voice hoarse, "Y-y-y-you still got that pink outfit. I-i-I liked it…"
Kimiko couldn't help but chuckle. Omi just groaned.
"Ugh… are we almost home!?"
"Give it an hour," Dojo called.
'An hour', Rai thought, 'That's a lot of time… might as well…'
That was all he remembered thinking before blacked out.
The next time he opened his eyes, he was staring up at a blurred version of the Temple ceiling.
Everything hurt. His muscles ached, his throat was sore, and rough like sandpaper… even his eyeballs seemed to be stiff. Turning his head slightly, he could see his fellow monks on the rug beside him. Omi was asleep, Kimiko was fighting to stay up, and Clay was happy as ever.
"Guys… Guys, he's up! Lookit, h-he's awake!"
Almost instantly, everybody sprung up to ask Raimundo questions.
"Rai, thank goodness!"
"We weren't sure when you were gonna… well at least you're up—"
"How ya feelin', kid?!"
He could barely respond – all he could do was smile.
That is, until their Master cleared his throat.
'Oh boy,' Raimundo thought.
Placing down a tray of tea, Master Fung looked Raimundo dead in the eyes.
"You disobeyed a direct order. You broke into the sacred vault of the Shen Gong Wu. You nearly lost your life in battle, Raimundo, and for that—"
Raimundo's eyes clamped shut. 'Uh oh… here it comes…'
"—Your team is indebted to you."
His eyes popped back open as the elder master continued as he sat on the edge of Rai's bed.
"Raimundo, your fellow monks described your bold display of bravery to me… and it seems that, had it not been for you, well… they would not be here."
The Dragon of Wind was stunned. He turned to the others, shock clearly on his face. Meanwhile, the group winked and gestured back to Master Fung.
"While I should punish you for your actions, it seems that they were quite necessary. Besides… I believe that staying in bed for this next week shall be a punishment in itself. Not to mention the list of chores I'll have waiting for you once you are well."
Raimundo's face twisted with confusion.
"You may have saved your friends' lives, but you still broke many rules. How does the expression go, Clay?"
"Uh… don't do the crime if ya can't do the time?"
"Precisely," Master Fung commended, handing Raimundo a cup of green tea, "Here, drink this. It shall ease your throat and spirit. Then… to bed, young monk. Am I clear?"
"C-crystal," Raimundo replied with all the voice he had.
Master Fung nodded and exited the room. Upon his exit, the rest of the crowd came back to his bedside.
"Well, you sure made out lucky, eh kid?" Dojo winked.
"Shhh," Kimiko urged, pulling the covers under Raimundo's chin, "Rest your voice."
"Yeah, besides," Clay added with a grin, "You've done enough for us tonight."
"Yes, Raimundo," Omi perked up, "It seems that your 'chill' has saved the day. And that is, indeed, very 'cool'! Ha ha! Get it?! Ha! 'Cool'! Because—"
"We get it," they all replied dryly as Raimundo his nose twitched. Uh oh…
"Hey look," Dojo chuckled, "A normal sneeze! Guess I don't hafta duck for cover anymore, huh?"
Rai's cheeks turned burgundy as Kimiko giggled, "Bless you."
"Well, buckaroo, we'd better letcha rest. You sure did earn it!"
"I'll say," Dojo cried with a yawn, " 'night, kids!"
As Dojo left, the others couldn't find it in their hearts to leave a now sleeping Raimundo.
"Y'know," Clay yawned, grabbing a couch pillow and laying on the floor, "This here rug sure does look comfy."
"I agree," Kimiko added, putting her IM device on silent.
"Well," Omi chimed, "I suppose I, too, shall slumber here."
"Sweet dreams, y'all," Clay mumbled.
"'Sweet'? Hmmm, I shall think of candy. No! Ice cream. No! Candy. No!—"
"Er, right… ice cream. Good night, Kimiko."
"Good night, Omi," she replied.
Before turning out the lamp light, she quickly rustled Raimundo's hair.
After Kimiko was finally asleep, Raimundo looked down at his friends as they slumbered. He sighed to himself contentedly for the first time all week.
'Hmm… looks like my family is bigger than I thought… and I'm okay with that."