Time & Again

Chapter 6 - I Know Karate, Kung Fu, and 47 Other Dangerous Words


They heard the din of the battle before they saw it.

Guan and Jun-Han immediately told Omi and Jack to stay behind; to stay hidden in the nearby crop field and then ran towards the village that was apparently in a great deal of distress.

Omi and Jack looked at each other for a moment. Then, Omi pulled the Monkey Staff out of its hiding place and handed it to Jack, who accepted it with a confused look.

“Where do you hide these things?” he demanded to know as he watched Omi pull out the Orb of Tornami.

“They are Shen-Gong-Wu, and that is all you need to know,” Omi said, before he went racing in the direction of the village.

Jack sighed and shook his head. “Shen-Gong-Wu Space: When pockets just aren’t enough.”

Then, he activated the Monkey Staff and, screeching and hollering, booked it after the other three men.

He quickly caught up with Omi, who admonished him to be quiet, and they paused at the edge of town behind a hay cart that was safely away from the flames spreading through the village.

“I will put out the fires,” said Omi. “You sneak about and try to upset the attackers whenever possible; put them off their balance so they will be easier to defeat.”

“Who died and made you a general?” Jack groused, but nevertheless, he gripped the Monkey Staff tighter with his tail and flexed his muscles, preparing to join the fight.

“Let’s go!” Omi shouted, and he ran under the hay cart to get clear of it, then leaped hard and high into the air to begin dousing the flames with the Orb of Tornami.

Jack sighed as he watched the smaller youth go. I can’t believe I’m about to do this, he grumbled to himself. He ducked when two of the attackers looked towards the hay cart; when it became clear they thought no one was there and turned their backs on him, Jack grinned wickedly and went leaping over to the two bad guys. He landed hard on them, shrieked loudly in their ears, and went leaping away towards a mud puddle. Seeing the villains already getting up and heading his way, he scooped up two handfuls of mud and flung them with surprising accuracy; the mud splattered into the men’s faces, getting into their eyes and clogging their noses and mouths.

A moment later, another one of the attackers was hurtled into the two mud-covered men with enough force to send them all flying and knocking them unconscious.

Jack looked over to see Jun-Han standing nearby, staring at him in surprise. Monkey-Jack let out a laughing screech, gave the other man a thumbs-up, and then loped further into the village to see what else he could accomplish.

Jack worked swiftly and sneakily – two things he was very good at. He would hide in whatever shadows were available and then ambush the Bad Guys with whatever was available. By the time he was done with them, they’d be so confused and off-balance that they were easy pickings for either Jun-Han or Guan or Omi, who’d finished his task of dousing the fires and had then turned his attention to the villains.

Loping towards the center of the village, Jack was intent on getting to Jun-Han when he felt something grab his tail and pull; hard enough to cause him a lot of pain, and he screamed loudly. The scream went from a monkey’s howl to a normal human’s when, whatever had grabbed him, managed to get the Monkey Staff away from him.

Falling to the ground, Jack rolled over and found a soaking wet, soot-smudged, incredibly cranky villain standing over him, holding the Monkey Staff and giving it an incredulous look. Then the man glanced down, saw him, and smiled cruelly.

Tossing aside the Monkey Staff, the villain reached down for him swiftly. Jack yelped and tried to scramble away, but the man caught him by the waist, his fingers pinching hard. Jack groaned and then began scrabbling at the man’s hands, scratching the skin as he tried to make the man let go, but the man only laughed at his struggles.

Irritated, Jack drew back his right arm, tensed, and then swung – cracking his fist across the man’s jaw as hard as he could, instantly bruising his knuckles a dusky purple color.

The man stopped laughing and looked down at Jack furiously. Then he drew back his own right hand and slapped Jack viciously hard, then again, and a third time.

Jack became dizzy with the pain of the hard-handed strikes to his face, but when he felt himself lifted up and slung over a shoulder, he decided he’d better do something and started kicking and struggling as he hollered at the top of his lungs. He started hammering with his fists, looking for vulnerable spots; he was just about to start biting as hard as he could, but then he and his attacker were sent flying as something slammed into the man holding him with brutal force.

The two of them landed with a squelchy plop in the muck of a nearby pig-pen after crashing through the wooden fence that normally kept the pigs inside. Jack skidded through the churned up muck to crash into the trough, which rocked on its base and then tipped over and splattered him with the slop that’d been fed to the pigs only a little while ago and not finished.

Jack gagged and shook himself as he tried to struggle upright. Then, he heard the yells and thuds and looked over, wide-eyed, to see a very angry Jun-Han mixing it up with the man who’d grabbed him. Deciding that he didn’t need to be up quite that badly, Jack hunkered down into the muck and pulled the up-ended trough over him for shelter; knowing he’d never be able to pull himself free of the muck and run fast enough to get out of the way.

He watched as Jun-Han systematically beat the other man senseless with vicious strikes. Soon enough, the villain was lying face-up in the muck and not moving, and Jun-Han was standing over him, looking down at the man with a brutal expression on his face.

Jack, deciding that he was as safe as could be, pushed the trough off of himself and began attempting to wriggle free of the muck.

Jun-Han looked over at the struggling youth and the nastiness faded from his expression. He walked over to Jack, moving easily, and extended his hand.

Jack glanced up at the hand offered to him, then down at his own, and lifted his palm to show that it was encased in icky stuff while he looked up at the other man.

Jun-Han smirked and grabbed Jack’s hand anyway, hauling the youth up out of the mud and slime.

Gasping, Jack tensed and it made him slip, but an arm was swiftly wrapped around his waist and he found himself steadied against Jun-Han’s body. Wide-eyed, he looked into amused gold eyes and felt himself blushing.


Jun-Han turned, still holding onto Jack, so the younger man was pulled around with him. They saw Guan and Omi standing on the other side of the demolished fence, looking at them. Omi held the Monkey Staff and the Orb of Tornami.

Jun-Han grinned easily. “The battle is finished?”

Guan smiled back. “The battle is finished. All that remains is repairing the damage.”

“Which isn’t as bad as it could have been, thanks to this young man’s efforts,” said a new voice, and everyone turned to see an elderly man on a cane approaching slowly, pointing to Omi.

“Liu Chang,” Guan said with a smile and a bow. “It is good to see you, my friend.”

Liu smiled back and bowed his head. “As it is to see you, Guan. And you, Jun-Han.”

Jun-Han nodded with a grin, but didn’t release Jack.

“Who are your new friends?” Liu asked, curious.

Omi bowed to the elderly man. “I am Omi, a monk from the Xiaolin Temple.”

Liu nodded and then looked to Jack.

“Jack Spicer. I’m… not from around here,” Jack said, and began pushing against Jun-Han to make the older man let go of him.

Liu blinked. “That is obvious with a name like that.”

Jack scowled. “It’s what my mother named me.”

“I’m sure she knew what she was doing,” Liu replied, watching as Jun-Han finally let go of Jack, though his hand hovered nearby to provide assistance should Jack need it.

“I’ll be sure to tell her,” Jack grumbled.

“In the meantime, there is a village to set to rights. I will see about preparing supper,” Liu said. “Mine was one of the few homes not excessively damaged.”

Guan, Jun-Han, and Omi bowed their thanks while Jack inspected his soggy, nasty clothes and grimaced. Liu, deciding not to call the strange foreigner on his manners, turned and slowly walked away.

Jack flapped his arms and whined a bit as he said, “Man… this is beyond gross!”

The three warriors ignored him as Guan said, “Well, let us get busy.”

That caught Jack’s attention. “Doing what?”

“We are here and we were involved in the battle,” explained Omi. “It is only right that we help repair the damages.”

Jack sneered. “Do I look like a menial laborer?”

Jun-Han frowned. “You look and sound like a spoiled child. You cannot seriously mean to sit back and let others do the work, and then partake of their hospitality?”

Jack was surprised to feel a skirl of shame sweep through him and he shifted restlessly.

“Jack Spicer may not have martial arts skills but he is one of the most skilled craftsmen of our time!” Omi said with a grin, knowing precisely what he was doing. “He can create devices that anyone would believe impossible to make; he is very skilled with his hands.”

Wanting to preen because of the praise and smack the smaller youth at the same time, Jack sighed and said, “That’s because I’m a Master of Robotics, cueball! Not carpentry! If it has an engine and an interface, I can fly it, drive it, or program it. Wood-working is out of my league.”

“But—“ Omi sputtered.

“Besides,” Jack continued, crossing his arms over his chest, “I have a malformed public duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber and am therefore excused from aiding a community.”

“If that is so, then why did you participate in the battle?” Guan asked.

Jack blinked, thought for a moment, and then said, “I have no idea.”

“Perhaps your ‘public duty gland’ is not as malformed as you thought,” Jun-Han suggested with a smirk.

Jack gave the older man an irritated glower. Then he sighed and shook his head. “All right, all right! I can’t promise that whatever I work on will look decent, but if it gets the three of you off my back, then it’s worth it.”

All three warriors grinned smugly and Jack longed for one of his Jack-bots, just so he could order the robot to blast those smiles off the warriors’ faces. Grumbling under his breath, he slogged out of the pig pen and began stomping off towards one of the damaged homes.

“Jack Spicer!” Omi called out, and Jack turned to face the little monk, scowling.

Then his eyes widened and he brought his hands up in an ineffectual attempt to block the incoming stream of water from the Orb of Tornami. He was knocked off his feet and fetched up against the side of a nearby home, coughing and sputtering as Omi turned off the Orb.

“There – now you are not covered in muck!” Omi burbled, his smile huge while Guan and Jun-Han looked on.

Jack slicked back his sopping wet hair and aimed a vicious glare at Omi. “I hate you,” he spat as he got back up on his feet.

Omi had the nerve to look genuinely hurt by those words.

Jack turned his back on the three of them and walked away.


Chapter 5 ~~~~~~~~ Back to Xiaolin Showdown ~~~~~~~~ Chapter 7



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